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Friday, July 23, 2021

A Wise Thought from Goethe

It was Goethe who said: Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute: What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed.

Let us take this thought to heart and  dare to dream big. I dream of world peace where we can all love one another. I dream of the shadow of darkness, hate and violence lifted and gone forever. I dream of plenty for everyone.

Dream big with me and see what happens. Open the inner door to the Divine and feel the flow of strength and ideas. Today can be such a day. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Another Thought from Nona

Spiritual philosophy teaches eternal progression; there is no final revelation. The Spirit of truth is our guide. ---Nona Brooks

The idea of life being a journey rather than a destination has been taught by many spiritual teachers in many religions.  For me, one of the ways I understand that is, that since God is Infinite, I cannot possibly contain Infinite or fully understand Infinite. Infinite has no edges, no boundaries, no borders. It is this, and more and more and more, ad infinitum. So, I should relax into the journey, celebrating each moment on the path of life. I should endeavor to be here now in this unique moment to fully live and embrace the gift that is here in this fleeting now.

Perhaps a more difficult practice is to let the Spirit of truth be our guide. Discerning Truth is an advanced spiritual practice. Egos get in the way and spin things this way or that. Outside events, other people, the news can grip us, confuse us and lead us astray. Personally, I have sought the Spiritual truth all of my life and have faced many blind alleys calling me astray. 

What is the Truth? How can we be guided by it, if we don't know it? There are touchstones I use to seek out Spiritual Truth. I like Jesus' yardsticks, such as --- By their fruits you shall know them; Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself...

If I do this or that or believe this or that, where does it lead me? What is the fruit, the result, of this? A sincere seeker can usually figure that out. Then do I want this fruit? Does this support loving God and myself and others?

Sometimes we are led to hard choices. These show us how firmly we are on the path, striving to live with Spiritual Truth as our guide.

Oh Divine Presence, lead us in Your Ways. Teach us to know Your Truth and live as shining lights, feet firmly on Your Path. May it be so.




Monday, July 19, 2021

Listening to Sages

One of the sages that has touched me deeply is Nona Brooks. This morning I was pondering these words from her book, "Mysteries."

We live, move and have our being in God-life. By divine power, we are alive now.

At first it seems a simple statement, yet on further consideration, it has layers of meaning that can open us to more. Let's dive a bit together.

Being in God-life, we can never actually be separated from God. Maybe we can ignore God, but wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we exist in the Divine. Just as we can ignore the air, it is nevertheless present with us. In meditation we often are asked to be aware of our breath first, and then the Divine. Right now we can stop and consciously inhale air and also inhale the Divine. We can become aware. Try it.

We are alive, but how? How did we come to exist? We don't have the power to give ourselves life, to continually, day after day, hour after hour give ourselves life. We can do things that support our lives such as eat properly, but we cannot make this life continue. 

There is something almost magical about being alive. Nona Brooks says it is by divine power that we live. That makes our life, all life, sacred. We can ponder what this means to us, how we might behave differently, how we treat ourselves and others once we realize the sacredness of life.

You are a sacred person, endowed by God with talents and purpose, and the gift of life so that you can express them. I urge us all to live out our talents and purpose, knowing full well  who we really are. 

Go in peace dear brothers and sisters.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

A Call To the Good People of Earth to Take Prayer Action

 A Call To the Good People of Earth

There is so much talk and dismay everywhere we turn about the rising violence and division and strife. People want to do something, but it seems unknown as to what to do. The vast majority of people are good people. A tiny fraction of people are violent and divisive. Thinking on these things, I had the following idea strike me a few days ago:

This morning I had a powerful directive from the Holy Spirit to initiate a nationwide, or maybe global, call to prayer. Come to our church or go to any place of worship and pray for the forces of good to cleanse us from the darkness seeping in so many corners of life on earth, to cleanse the hearts of those perpetrating the violence. At noon in each time zone, let us lift our voices, our entire beings, our faith in fervent prayer. Let us not accept the rising violence, the resurrected racism, the strife we see rising. Let us not fear this dark tide and shrink from our task. Let us stand up to all this and speak our prayers with strength. Let us put on the full armor of God together.

We are starting a noon prayer every Friday in our sanctuary similar to the samples below. You are invited to be present and to invite friends, as well as let others you know in other churches and towns and invite them to participate, and you are invited, of course, to pray wherever you find yourself at noon. Prayer is powerful. We are not at the mercy of the tiny fraction, we stand together with God, with Love, with Oneness. Let us create a wave of prayer across this globe that will lift the darkness and set free those imprisoned by it. In the old English, hell meant walled off. People acting out negatively are walled off from God, unable to express their divine potential. Even though they are few in number, they create mayhem and fear. Let us pray for God to touch their hearts.

Join us in inviting every church, synagogue, mosque, temple, every good person on earth to pray at noon in their time zone. Help get the word out.

Sample Prayers

Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, we know You are always with us. We stand in this knowing and lift our beloved nation and world up to You. In Your Name, we command the forces of darkness to be gone, vanquished, disempowered, lifted from us. We call forth Your Powers of Love, of Wisdom, of Light to fill us all and lead us forward. Lead us to fully love one another as You Love us. Lead us to cherish and accept one another, to cherish all of Your Creation. Let Love reign and strife be gone. Let hatreds drain away. Let violence fall from us. Let our eyes be open and our hearts attuned to You. We claim Peace here and now. We seal this prayer with the ancient seal of faith and integrity, Amen, Amen and Amen

 

Oh, Holy Presence, in sorrow I come to You. I weep inside for those tortured souls who have gone down the paths of darkness and have convinced themselves that ugliness and violence are right and proper. I lift them to You, and I ask that Your Lovingness enfold them and lead them to drop the pain of hate and open to the joys of kindness and love. Wherever these pained souls are on this planet, I know You are there. Touch them, Heal them. Restore them to the beings You created, to Your very image. I am filled with thanksgiving for I know what is possible with You, what is possible for them, what a future we might all have together as Your children. Let it be so. Amen, Amen and Amen

May God bless us all,

Rev. Dr. Marlene Oaks

Temecula, CA 

 


 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Let The Violence and Division End

 

I am concerned about the rise of violence and division emerging all over. Everywhere I go I hear the same concerns. There seems to be a depression calling from the soul, but what can I do about it? I am only one person. Holy Spirit asked me to get all the good people of earth praying together.  So, I am asking all the good people to join me in prayer. Let the prayers ring around the world. I will share more soon. Join me in this prayer:

Oh, Holy Presence, in sorrow I come to You.

I weep inside for those tortured souls who have gone down the paths of darkness and have convinced themselves that ugliness and violence are right and proper.
I lift them to You, and I ask that Your Lovingness enfold them and lead them to drop the pain of hate and open to the joys of kindness and love. Wherever these pained souls are on this planet, I know You are there. Touch them, Heal them. Restore them to the beings You created, to Your very image.
I am filled with thanksgiving for I know what is possible with You, what is possible for them, what a future we might all have together as Your children.
Let it be so.
Amen. Amen and Amen

Monday, July 5, 2021

Contact

Hello Friends,

I frequently receive an email from some of you that only says "regards." I am not sure what to do about that. I am researching.

I am grateful you read my blog and reach out to me. 

God bless you all,

Love, Light and Blessings,

Marlene

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Pain and Redemption, Restoration

This week has been a week of pain and redemption or restoration lessons.

Physically, I had a tongue biopsy. He took a piece about the size of a nickel; my tongue swelled up like I had a big marble at the spot; and pain, oh my pain! I took his super strong pills the first day, but I switched to ibuprofen the second day. I strongly dislike the mental fog from opiate pills!!! I put numbing goo on the spot several times a day, still today, and the biopsy was Tuesday. But my tongue is forgiving. It is healing. It is redeeming itself with the magical inherent nature of healing. And, all is well, no actual disease, just Covid tongue, one more reaction from the shot, and it will go away on its own just as my red arm went away eventually.

I think of the typical cuts, bruises, scrapes, burns, surgeries etc that happen in the course of our earthly lives. Our bodies waved an internal magic wand and voila, gone. It seems like God knew this earth and our bodies might make a real mess if there were no restoration. Imagine if you could see all of those things at once, if they never went away.  We'd be quite a mess with all cuts, bruises, etc never healed and present for all to see. I am thankful, oh so thankful my body can heal.

Then there are emotional cuts and bruises, maybe a bit harder to heal. We had that this week. We were shown the power of friendship and love as a friend stepped up in a big way as a dire situation hit us. As it turned out, help came from another place that should have prevented the situation in the first place. Our peace and safety were restored.

In the course of life, we have the opportunity to learn and grow and deepen, or to become bitter and take on the cape of victimhood. We are called to have courage and faith, to flex our spiritual muscles, to overcome. This is our time to be all we can become. We are to redeem the challenges by overcoming them, by refusing to be a victim. 

Let us be overcomers, lovers, faith-filled, magnificent beings created in the image and likeness of the Divine. Let's just see how spiritually awake we can be.


Monday, June 28, 2021

In Tune With the Infinite

Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) wrote In Tune With the Infinite, among other things. He influenced Henry Ford, Napoleon Hill and many others. He is often thought of as the grandfather of self-help and positive thinking books. Below are some quotes for us to consider from his above named book:

The great central fact in human life, in your life and mine, is the coming into a conscious, vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite Life, and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow...

For in the degree that we come into this realization and connect ourselves with this Infinite Source, do we make it possible for the higher powers to play, to work, to manifest through us. We keep closed to this divine inflow, to these higher forces and powers, through ignorance, as most of us do, and thus hinder or even prevent their manifesting through us. Or we can intentionally close ourselves to their operations and thus deprive ourselves of the powers to which, by the very nature of our being, we are rightful heirs. On the other hand, we can come into so vital a realization of the oneness of our real selves with this Infinite Life...

It seems to me that the quest to awaken to living at this level of oneness is not the central concern of most of us. Some go to church or retreats or meetings for other reasons - for social needs, to hedge our bets just in case there really is a God, to learn the rules for religion made up by others, etc. Some are busy in the static of social media, wanting to be entertained, seeking empty endeavors and hollow activities, all substitutes for genuine life.

Yet I see a deep hunger in the eyes of people. There is more to life, but they don't know exactly what or how to find it. They don't know where to turn. They haven't learned to turn within to the inner kingdom and deeply connect with The Infinite.

I suggest, if you feel this hunger, find someone to teach you Centering Prayer or some form of meditation and practice it regularly. Walk in nature and open to attune yourself to the vibration there, to feel the tree, the flower, the rays of sunlight. Be willing to awaken to the Infinite. You will be "fed."

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Maniachal

What an interesting word, maniacal. In my life I have had the experience of having someone close to me who had multiple manic breaks, including weeks in a lock up ward. His experience was nothing like anyone else's. During the breaks, his reality was bizarre to those of us looking on and struggling to understand. Bless his tortured soul, he has moved on to the next life where he has found peace I'm sure.

As I look at the current meltdown in our world, it feels to me that much of it seems like a manic break. The values of my lifetime are under siege. It seems like I'm Alice down the rabbit hole in so many ways.

Yet, it also seems like it is a small percent of people who are promoting the destruction of our way of life. It turns out the majority want law and order, our Constitution, our freedoms. Historically, small groups have turned the world upside down. Think the initially small group of Nazis or the small group of Bolsheviks, for example. We need to be informed and aware lest we see history repeat itself.

And we need to stand with our faith. Faith can inform and lead us back on track. Go to church or synagogue or mosque or Buddhist temple or whatever spiritual place calls your soul.

Lord, lead us in Your Ways. Fill us with wisdom and courage. Awaken your people. Save our freedoms.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Me and My Shadow

 In my regular email from Richard Rohr this line grabbed me today:

Usually everybody else can see our shadow, so it is crucial that we learn what everybody else knows about usexcept us!

I've often said that we cannot hide our consciousness, but somehow this way of putting it strikes right at the heart of it. And he's right that we can hide it from ourselves, even though the world can see it.

Our shadow is the dark side in us, the inner dialogue of judgemental thoughts and angry or fearful or hateful feelings everything we don't want the world, let alone God, to know. We need a good inner bath of light and love. It is, of course, ego driven - the part of us that thinks itself superior and so judge and jury of all.

If we are sincere about our spiritual life, we simply must face our own shadows. The great news is that God is merciful and forgiving and calls us to be likewise. We are called to forgive ourselves and others and to cherish ourselves and others. We are not called to be perfect, but to be honest and sincere and loving, always striving for an ever more full connection to all things divine. We are to walk the path of awakening and get back on quickly if we should stumble and step off.

There are no spiritual teachings, of which I am aware, that call us to be angry or mean or judgemental and fill up our egos. Yet so many people act as if that is the natural way to be.

Let us look honestly at ourselves and repair the broken pieces and get ourselves firmly and sincerely on The Path. 

Walk with the Light. Be Love. Gently walk out of the shadow of the false self and be free. All is well with your soul.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Post-Retreat

Yesterday my handouts and experiences centered around the spiritual second birth. As always, I learned from my own retreat. I was filled with joy and remembered again how much I love leading retreats and sharing what I've come to know.

I felt new doors opening in me as I turn to the last chapter of this earthly life. I have more to do, and I am being led. I am excited about where God is leading me next.

I've often said that, if people are in my presence, it is with purpose, and I am to spiritually share with them. So, one of the interesting things yesterday was a woman came who came to our church for the first time Sunday. So while I spoke of the idea of emptiness making anything useful (doors make the room useful, cups have to be empty to receive liquid, etc.), this woman came full, sure she knew everything there was to know about God, Jesus and the Bible. She smugly told me she didn't agree with anything I said and would not be back. Okay, but she did stay for the whole day. So I'm thinking seeds got planted in her soul that will germinate and lead her to a more expansive spiritual life when she is ready, or maybe before she is ready as a spiritual surprise.

What I know is the realm of Spirit, of God, is always calling us. Second birth, or maybe third or fourth or twelfth birth, is there waiting for us to answer the call.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Pre-Retreat

I'm leading a mini-retreat Thursday for the women at church, it's only 10-1:30. As I meditate and pray and  develop the experiences we shall share, I'm experiencing it all ahead of time. I realize that I am having a pre-retreat.

My goal is to lead people to experience The Presence in multiple ways. I hope a major opening happens. I hope for inner moments that transform.

Lord, guide and lead me to present a deeply meaningful day. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Being Helpful

 According to Swedenborg:

Faith apart from good works is just this kind of airy nothing or image, and so are faith and goodwill apart from their practice...

Helpful acts are the good that love does, deriving their essence from the union of what is good and what is true.

It seems to me that my faith almost compels me to act in accordance to its nature. What I hold dear and true directs how I show up in life. Since I strive to live attuned to The Presence and to walk The Way, my actions need to be in harmony with the spiritual realm. When they are not, I see quickly that I have stepped off the path, and adjust myself to what I know to be spiritually so. I seem to live in this dance of on and off the path, with on being more prevalent as I mature.

So, we must evaluate our good deeds. Are they done in love? Are they in tune with God? Do they come from actual goodness? Or are they from ego, from self-glory, a manipulation, or some such darker and less pure place?

It is good to examine ourselves and continue to refine our lives to bring them more and more into spiritual harmony.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A New Thought About Our Bodies

This morning, in that in between time of sleep and wakefulness, I had some musings about my body. 

I saw my body something like a small child or even a pet dog. The "I" that is living in this body has to take care of its body, or it will not be able to stay vital and useful. "I" have to bathe, brush and comb, feed, protect, and be in charge of the body. The body is a vehicle for my soul to be able to be here and learn and grow and contribute. In a similar way to taking care of my car so it can transport my body. I must take care of my body to transport my soul.

Some people do not take very good care of their bodies. They do destructive things like eating way too much so they carry huge amounts of fat wherever they go, or they feed it drugs to numb it, or do all number of things that are opposite of tenderly taking care of the vehicle of their soul.

There are also those who harm the bodies of other people. I wonder if we could clearly see what the body is, if violence against self or others would cease???

It seems to me, it would be wise to care for our bodies so that our souls can get the full experience of human life on earth and learn what our lessons are here in this life. Maybe we could see the sacred job our bodies have as the vehicles of our souls, of everyone's souls. 

Bless the amazing human body, bless our particular human bodies, bless all bodies. Thank You God for this awareness. Help me be a better steward of the body You gave me.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Goodwill Might Not Always Be Good

I'm reading a Swedenborg book this morning, "Regeneration." The section where I am is about who is our neighbor. It is very interesting.

He says our closest and highest neighbor is the Lord. To me, thinking of the Lord as my neighbor is a new way to look at our relationship. He is in me, along side of me and my constant companion, yes I've known that. The neighbor, the most wonderful neighbor, puts a new spin on my thinking. I will contemplate that.

He basically says my neighbors are those in my life, my church my country - at least all who are of goodwill. All of goodwill deserve my love and support, but not those of ill will, not the self-serving, the greedy, the evil behaving people. It is not good to support the darkness. Refrain from supporting those who engage in harm.

He makes sense, in that whatever we support grows stronger. At first it seems in conflict with Jesus's idea of loving our enemies and praying for those who spitefully use you. But on further thought it is not in conflict. It is loving to support the highest and best in ourselves and others. And, conversely, it is not loving to support the lowest and ugliest in ourselves and others. It is, however, to my mind, that being a neighbor of goodwill to those who are in darkness includes praying for them and also not encouraging their darkness.

Looking at all of this from Swedenborg's point, my charity and goodwill are to be focused on those of goodwill. They aren't to be focused on those of ill will, as that encourages more ill will. Here are some of his words:

 Goodwill, then, is an inner motivation that makes us want to do what is good and to do this without reward. Doing this is the joy of our life...

If people have love for themselves and the world as their goal, there is no way they can be focused on goodwill. They do not even know what goodwill is; and they completely fail to grasp the fact that intending and doing good for their neighbor without looking for payment is a heaven inside them—that inherent in this impulse there is just as much happiness as heaven’s angels have: more than words can convey.

  --- Swedenborg

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day/Decoration Day

In The United  States of America, today is our annual honoring of those who have died in service to our country. Let me rephrase that. We honor military deaths in service to our country in warfare. Not included are other categories of people who have died in service, such as medical people or police or fire persons  or construction workers or anyone saving lives or building bridges or doing various heroic things. I add them in my heart and am also thankful for their service.

Our military is important, necessary and vital to protect us from those who would do us harm. We are grateful for their service. We are also grateful for all those in other categories who have died in service.

As always there is another way to look at it. Consider this with me: It is only because of our unhealed consciousness that we need the military. If we actually realized and lived spiritual Truth, we would honor one another as sacred. We would no longer attack one another. We would lift each other up. 

We would celebrate both our differences and our Oneness. Just as my eye is different from my toe, yet part of me, there are varieties of people who are all part of humanity.

Consider how life on earth could be, the potential right in front of us, if we healed ourselves. No greed, no power struggles, no egos leading the way anymore. It may seem far-fetched, unlikely even, but in my heart I know it to be possible.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sanskrit and Jesus

I was thinking this morning about Jesus living only 4 kilometers from the capital of Galilee and all of the exciting travelers passing through there + his dad being a builder would have gone there for work + he would have been exposed to all kinds of thought. I remember the first time I read the Bhagavad  Gita. It seemed to me that Jesus had quoted some of it, or at least some of the ideas in it.

Then I was reading a bit about the Sanskrit word yesterday - satchitananda. Briefly in a simplified overview, Sat is the all pervading Reality. Chit is the knowing, the perceiving. Ananda is the blissful. All lead to being consciously united in God/Brahman.

I suddenly saw all kinds of examples of satchitananda in the New Testament. Flashing in my consciousness were a flood of thoughts - Our Father who art in heaven - the kingdom of heaven is within (Sat) - eyes to see and ears to hear (Chit) - love one another, forgive (Ananda) - all leading to oneness. Many more came to mind in a flash of understanding.

The idea is pointing to the experience of God, of Oneness. How can I explain to you the taste and smell of a certain food you have not seen, smelled or tasted? I can tell you God is here, and you can acknowledge it might be so, but you have to have the knowing, the experience, to truly understand, and that leads to a special inner peace or bliss. Then you can personally experience the glorious knowing in every fiber of your being that God is here, you are a living part of God, all is part of God, all is sacred.

I wish this for you. So it is, Amen.

Monday, May 17, 2021

To Give Up Is Not An Option

Sometimes, I must confess, I feel like giving up on humans. What an unruly bunch we are. Tinged with insanity, malevolence, greed, ego and such, we like lemmings jump off cliffs of common destruction. Voices of compassion and reason are shouted down or attacked with a vengeance. There seems to be some sort of perverted attraction to the refusal to learn from history, and even to distort it or rewrite it.

There are sweet pockets throughout history and now - sweet pockets of those living out a higher vision of love and generosity and peace, a recognition of a Higher Power and of respect and responsibility to It. So I must not give up.

I pray daily for guidance and inspiration as to how we can shift the consciousness of many away from the destruction we seem as a species to seek out, over and over and over again. How do we get people to sincerely seek out a higher path?

Divine Presence, Breath of my breath, open my eyes and mind and heart to You. Guide me, guide humanity, to You, away from destruction, away from dark paths, into Your Light and Love. Awaken us to the call to do and be more, more loving, more attuned to "our higher angels," more stewards of this sacred gift of life on earth. Oh dear Presence, I am thankful, as I realize You hear my prayer, hear the longing in my heart, hear the groaning of humanity. I listen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

From Time to Time Humanity Goes Nuts

Just look at our collective history, and you will see rising and falling of times of apparent insanity speckled periodically with glorious clarity. This is seen in religion, government, families - well everywhere we find people.

Sometimes the insanity is extreme - in my lifetime I've seen Nazis, communists, McCarthyism, prejudice and all manner of hatred. I've also seen pockets of light, of good people standing up, making a difference, modeling moral behavior and refusing to turn to the dark side.

Right now there is a rise in a peculiar kind of nuttyness. It's hysterical, and it's anti-science, pro-pseudo science, anti-spirituality, loosely allied with fact and untethered from truth. People telling the truth are called names and attacked, fired from jobs, suspended from school, ridiculed and spurned.

In these dangerous times, it seems to me, we need to decide where we stand. Will pressure lead us to succumb to the nuttiness in the air? Or will we refuse to turn to the dark side? It is a vitally important decision. Will these times be a dip into darkness, or will this be a time of inspiration, courage and hope? How will our descendants see us - nutty or shining lights? What kind of civilization shall we stand for?


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Mind/Spirit - Body

This morning the thought popped into my mind - I wonder how loosely our Mind/Spirit is tethered to our body???

In sleep, some part of us goes to fantastical places while our bodies stay put at the place we left them when we entered the realm of sleep. In meditation, prayer, hypnosis, concentration, musing and such, we go somewhere without our bodies. Engrossed in a book or film, we can be so enthralled that we are mostly unaware of our bodies.

Pain, of course, brings us back into our body awareness, but with some practices, we can also go away from pain.

Near death experiences tell us of a soul's journey going to another dimension, leaving our bodies here on earth. Intuitive flashes lead us to know something beyond where we stand.

It occurred to me, that a great deal of our earthly life involves Mind/Spirit adventures that are only loosely tied to our bodies. We need bodies to reside on earth, but we seem to be able to spend quite a lot of time oblivious to them.

Working from our Mind/Spirit, it has long been suggested, and mainly proven, that we can improve the life experienced by our earthly selves. Positivity brings something far different to us than negativity. Love radiating from a soul level magnetizes us to a different level of life experience than daggers of judgemental anger.

The challenge seems to be to integrate what we know from our forays away from our bodies with our earthly life experience. If we could realize how fantastic it all is and cherish the full spectrum of our lives, our day to day existence would be lifted beyond to actually awaken to KNOW the Spark of the Divine lives here in each of us.

I salute the Divine in you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Balzac and Today

This morning I found some challenging ideas in Balzac, the brilliant thinker from France who lived 1799-1850. He divided people into three basic groups.

The creature with simple consciousness only is a straw floating on a tide, it moves freely with every influence. The self-conscious man is a needle pivoted by its centre—fixed in one point but revolving freely on that. The man with Cosmic Consciousness is the same needle magnetized. It is still fixed by its centre, but besides that it points steadily to the north—it has found something real and permanent outside of itself toward which it cannot but steadily look.

The goal is to awaken out of the slumber of simple consciousness, move beyond the imprisonment of self-consciousness, and move into the expansive state of cosmic consciousness. He puts it pointedly:

The "resurrection" is not of the so-called dead, but of the living who are "dead" in the sense of never having entered upon true life.

It seems unlikely that one could leap from simple consciousness directly to the cosmic awareness, so the middle step is necessary. Few known people, however, seem to shift into the cosmic awareness. Those we know of are scattered throughout history. It is possible, and I think likely, that there are more than is known, quiet folks who were lights in their areas, villages or tribes but left no written record. 

It is also possible that in this very moment of history there are those who have been "resurrected" out of limited life to have touched the Light and Know beyond usual knowledge, know God. Some may be reticent to share for various reasons. If you are such a person, I urge you to share. The people of the world need Hope and Light and the path to their own "resurrection." 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Walking What?

In the words of St. Francis,, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

Oh how this quote sets ablaze something in me. It speaks to my long held understanding of how important, even urgent, it is to be congruent - to walk and be and model what we believe - to not say one thing while being another. 

Gandhi was reported to have said something like - if you want to know what I believe, watch how I walk my life. What an amazing place this world would be, if we mustered up the courage to live this congruently, this honestly.

I know I've written about this before, so excuse me if I'm being repetitive. Francis' words this morning hit my heart so deeply that I had to share his understanding of being one's teaching, of one's teaching actually being how we show up in life.

So, lets ask ourselves, "What am I teaching those who see me walk my life?  What did I teach yesterday? What shall I teach today?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Just A Quick Word

Nagging in my consciousness this morning, not letting my mind stray far from it, is a thought with many arms. It is centered on abortion. Are we as a people really wanting to eliminate all inconvenient life?

The argument for abortion frames itself in inconvenience. It is not a good time, or there are enough children, or people will find out about one's unfaithfulness, or some such inconvenience.

Carrying out the commitment to eliminate all inconvenient life, where do we stop? Do we eliminate the inconvenient homeless or inconvenient thinkers, or....? Where does that line of thinking stop?

We really need to turn away from that madness toward the sacredness of life. We need to move our consciousness above our petty inconveniences to embrace life, help one another, love one another and live with our whole being on sacred ground.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Intuition or What?

There are so many ways to look at those flashes of knowing, that turn out to be accurate, and might be gathered together in the category of intuition.

They could be from the collective unconscious, from guides or angels, from archetypes to which we relate, from our chakras, from our own subconscious, from flashes of past lives, from God, or even from aliens. That just scratches the surface of things hypothesized.

Back when I was studying for ministry, I read a pile of books on mysticism - from those who studied others to the others being studied. We read Jacob Boehm, Meister Eckhart, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Hildegard of Bingen, and dozens of other mystics. We read Evelyn Underhill and Richard Bucke. So we basically studied how people had attuned themselves to the Infinite, and how we might also do so.

Richard Bucke seemed to fully believe that humans were moving into conscious union with The Divine that would be as monumental as the first self-consciousness of humans in the far distant past. He surveyed the exceptional awareness of the mystics and felt they were fortelling what was coming for us all. 

At every time in history, there have been those who were in tune with the Infinite such as prophets, sages, shamen, wise ones, etc. A question I have is - does this seem to be accelerating? For a shift of all of humanity, there would have to be a critical mass, it seems to me. I see quite a few who are writing and speaking about spiritual matters, but that is still a small minority. I also see a lot of confusion, violence, fear and such in the news and in lives across the globe. 

What can each of us do to attune to the Infinite? I suggest we disengage from a lot of negatives, as much as possible in this "modern" era. Spend some time reading and quietly contemplating some mystics, pick one to begin and stick with that one until you feel like you know them. Spend time just being with nature. Meditate, listen, journal. Put value on your spiritual life.  Just as you would not go out without brushing your teeth and combing your hair, don't go out without bathing for a time in spiritual moments.

There is so much more to life here than you know. Seek it. Find it.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Morning Memories Waft Through My Mind

Often, as I am in the half awake/half asleep moments of the morning, things float into mind. Sometimes it is memories sweet or sad, or answers to questions or to how to fix a project, or sometimes it feels like whispers of the Divine softly flowing and inspiring me.

This morning it was a sweet memory of my dad. He used to cut the white shell off of old, cracked golf balls. We would spend time together unwinding the thin rubberband that came next. There were two possible finds at the very center - a gooey, honey like center, or a small ball that had a lot of bounce. I always hoped for the ball, which I would use for playing Jacks. It added more challenge to the game than the little red ball that came with the set of Jacks. Not only would it bounce higher, but also it might bounce in any direction, for it was grooved by the tight rubberbanding that once encased it.

It is also a metaphor for people. Most people are not totally open to share their deep center to everyone, or may not even know themselves, at least consciously. So they put on an outer shell of protection, a mask. There are layers and layers under that shell - years, decades or more of experiences and memories and decisions. There is a center of perhaps unknown substance to most, for it becomes entombed in the tightly wound bands of the static of human ego.

I know, however, at the center is the soul, the spirit, the eternal essence that is undamaged by whatever has transpired in the jumble of the miles of rubber band which have been accumulated. In every person there is the shining light of The Divine, no matter what the appearance. It is our task to unwind the tangle and stand at last in that Light, letting our Light so shine that it radiates Reality and Hope for all who have eyes to see (paraphrasing Jesus). That is our task to which we are called. I know this to be true.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Why Am I Here?

I was thinking this morning about the idea of a Sacred Contract, written about perhaps most recently by Caroline Myss. I have spoken and written quite a bit about all of us having a common mission - learning unconditional love - and individual missions/purposes. These ideas are certainly related.

We can tell how we are doing by observing our lives, our self talk, our emotions and our consistency or inconsistency of following our inner guidance, our intuition, our beyond thinking knowing. 

People often abandon their missions early on because of experiences in childhood and develop a portfolio of excuses. What called to you in childhood? When and why did you stop going that direction?

For me, it was art and spirituality that had a sort of magnetic pull on me. I veered away from art based on a set of experiences in high school and because of my mother. I kept my urge to create in the background, and I see now I created some big problems for myself by creating the wrong thing. Later I turned my call to create toward sewing, cooking and writing. Nowadays I do draw some and make a lot of quilts, mostly for charity.

I didn't veer away from spiritually. I think the call was so strong that I had to walk that way.  From early childhood, I've had a personal relationship with the Divine. If it had been open to me, when I was younger, I probably would have gone into the ministry. I see now, I needed time and experience to sort of ripen in order become the person who could authentically minister. It was 1978 when I was ordained, and I still had a lot of growing to do.

Because we discern what our purpose/mission/sacred contract is, does not mean it will be fulfilled and handed to us on a silver platter. We aim, we refine, we stumble, we pick ourselves up. We are called and know when we are or are not aligned with our calling, at least if we are paying any attention at all.

So we must ask ourselves and be honest with ourselves - Have I learned unconditional love, does my behavior show it? Am I walking in my purpose, am I fulfilling my sacred contract?

Now go forward with clarity, always listening within.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Real Life

I grieve as I see the violence and agony sprayed across the news in its various forms. In newspapers, on television, on the internet, on social media we hear of this murder and that, of children killed, of mass attacks. We hear of nations massing violence producing weapons on borders. We hear of devious plans to take over the world.

I want to cry out to the people acting with hatred and violence. Can't you remember you came here from a spiritual realm and are to be developing your soul, your compassion, your loving kindness? Can't you remember life here is a privilege? Can't you remember you are accountable for your life? Don't you know about spiritual debt?

Real life is lived awake to spiritual obligations and joys. Real life is knowing there is more than the physical. Real life is steeped in service and care for others. 

It would be so easy to bring peace to earth if only we would remember who we are.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Dealing With Physicalness

Life brings its joys and its challenges at all ages. Even though it's hard for me to realize, I am officially elderly, some might say very elderly at the ripe old age of 81. With this station in life comes some physical challenges unlike any before.

Systems go haywire. Doctors get stumped. Pains become frequent  visitors. Slogging on becomes mandatory, unless one just gives up and fades softly into the night. I don't plan on giving up. I know I have more to do here.

Currently my weird body problems include high parathyroid hormone, therefore bones thinning and infusions needed; swallowing problems and occasional Heimlich maneuvers needed; my immune system attacking my tongue, at least as a working hypothesis, while tests go on to verify what on earth is happening. The tongue thing is new, a few weeks, constant burning, coated plus with white rings, super odd. Today 14 vials of blood at the lab to test for just about everything imaginable. Should be interesting. A biopsy on the list for soon.

Okay, maybe my body is complaining and in need of more TLC than usual. Maybe the Keto diet our doctor put us on is not loved by my body. Maybe the stress we've been under struggling to get our prosperity restored is taking its toll. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

All this leads me to say, take care of your body, your spacesuit that gives your soul the opportunity to learn and grow and flower here on earth. It is a beautiful, magical thing. This morning's egg is transformed into skin and bone and organs. Last night's dream may tell you about some door you need to open, as if a message from another dimension. You may fill with love and compassion and marvel at beautiful sunsets and ancient redwood trees. All of it requires your body. Love it, take care of it, keep it in tune for the grand adventure of life on earth.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Many Lives for the Price of One

As I turned 81 this week, I find myself reflecting on the years. It really seems that I have lived individual segments that could almost be thought of as different lives. There is a constant current of spiritual seeking, creativity in many forms, slogging through whatever it is and a few other things. But still, there are distinct sections.

I wonder if I am addressing different karmic obligations by having sub-chapters in this chapter called Marlene??? Am I wrapping a bunch of stuff up in this chapter? There are almost no people active in my current sub-chapter that were in earlier ones, except my children. My parents lived to 93, so they played a variety of parts in each segment until they passed. Well, actually they play an underlying role still in the effect they had/have on me and my children, especially my son. 

I notice I have somewhat slid into new stories with little or no attachment to those in previous segments. I may think of this one or that one fondly, but they remain as characters in a different story. 

There are people currently in my life that feel like old friends. My husband feels to me like we've been together forever. He has brought a peace into my life unlike any before.

Whatever my journey, I know I walk it with The More and with guides, a cloud of witnesses, soul friends or whatever name. I am not alone and neither are you.

I hope to learn my soul lessons well this life. I hope to fulfill my purpose for coming here. For this I strive.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

What Do Our Actions Say?

As a Christian I endeavor to follow the life and example of Jesus, imperfectly for sure. I try to be loving, forgiving, giving and congruent, although too often I fail and fall short. In my heart I see the goal, I aim for it, and re-aim. 

This morning I am reading a book by Rufus Jones. I find all of his writing inspiring. He was a Quaker. I'd like us to consider something I just read of his.

The influence of Erasmus, the greatest of the humanists, upon the scattered groups of spiritual reformers was very profound. He discounted the value of dogma and theology and turned instead with freshly awakened interest to the original teachings of Jesus...

( A few pages later he wrote this.) It may well be said that the world is not yet ready for this advanced idealism, that Christ Himself was filled with apocalyptic hopes, that He was proposing a programme for a new dispensation, not for this present mixed world. That may all be as it may be. But in any case, there ought to be a world like this one for which Christ lived and died. And that kind of world will never actually come unless some of us take the vision and the hope seriously and set to work to make it real here on this very earth.

Let us set our various dogmas aside and look again at what Jesus taught and endeavor to follow with our whole beings, with heart and mind and action. If you agree that there ought to be such a world of love and compassion, of caring and generosity, let's do as much as we can to bring it about. It won't come magically. It will come when good people all over, scattered in all countries, decide it is time to Be as Jesus called us to be.   

They will know we Walk The Way by how we live our lives.

Monday, March 22, 2021

One of My Favorite Mentors - Emerson

Yes, Ralph Waldo Emerson and I have spent quite a lot of time together. His "Essays" have affected me deeply, and his ideas have tweaked my mind and led me into new trails of thought. He was quoted frequently back in the days when I gave sermons, talks, seminars, etc.

This morning, I saw a quote of his that was significant in my journey. 

Your life talks so loudly that I cannot hear the words you say.

It is somewhat related to a Ghandi statement. Someone asked him what he believed, and his reply was to watch how he walked his life. 

If someone watches me for very long, they will know me at some unspoken level. I remember one-time in Russia, when I used to go there to teach spiritual things, someone told me they believed what I said because they watched me and how I reacted to the various people and surprising challenges of life there. And that was perhaps more important than my words, or at least reinforced my words by being what I taught, even in moments when not realizing anyone was looking.

I suppose human life could be lifted, if each of us were aware of what our lives teach. Is there congruence between our words and actions? Do we teach love and oneness by how we live our lives? Or do we say one thing but do another? Being who we say we are is vitally important.

As an interesting and instructive exercise, watch yourself and be aware of what you teach by what you do and how you react. Be aware of inconsistencies. Strive to become, in thought, word and deed, the best version of yourself. That is a precious and priceless gift to yourself, your loved ones and to all humanity.

Our lives talk loudly. What is being said?

Friday, March 19, 2021

Remembering Is Our Task

There are great men and women strewn across history of whom we are sure have been touched by the Divine, inspired beyond earthly understanding, knowing spiritual things directly, on fire with God. Some are said to come from God, and we worship them and their words.

Since they all tell us we are brothers and sisters, it seems clear that we all have come from Divine realms - but we forgot.

I propose that part of our assignment here on earth is to remember.

Let us remember that all beings are divinely created and in essence are holy. Let us love one another, encourage one another, lift one another, honor life and remember. Listen and you can hear beyond the physical and mundane. Listen  beyond superstition, beyond confusion, beyond custom, beyond to Truth of Oneness. Listen and remember.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Spark of the Divine

For a very long time now, I have taken the words of Meister Eckhart deep into my being - The seed of God is in you, a pear seed turns into a pear tree, a hazel nut into a hazel nut tree, and the seed of God into God.

It led me to my constant teaching about all of us needing to actually KNOW God, the Divine, the More, rather than stop with knowing about God. I have led many seminars, retreats, etc. which aimed at a direct communion. There have been such blessed moments.

Right now I am reading Rufus Jones' book on the Quakers. They were one of the groups with a similar call, although there have been many over the centuries. Sadly, they generally end up losing momentum and inspiration and are dwarfed by "organized religion."

Jones wrote, Religion, they believed, does not rise outside and flow in; it springs up inside and flows out. It is not primarily concerned with books, documents, creeds or institutions. It is rather concerned with the awakening of the divine urge in the utmost depths of the self.

He also points out that this has to be within the context of the times. We cannot recreate first century Christianity, for example, for the culture, the habits, the meanings of words, the worldviews are vastly different from those here in the 21st century. I agree, but then I am drawn to ponder how to offer a way in these times that leads to the flow out of spiritual knowing that comes from precious communion with the More.

I am aware of a yearning hunger, often just under the surface, for genuine personal experience of God in many people. I find ideas swirling around in me, yet because I am old, it is unlikely my task. Perhaps one who reads this blog will be inspired to offer ways to walk that path and water the Divine Seed within. I know my words go where I cannot go. My love comes to you, my siblings in spirit. Do what you can to lift others out of the darkness that comes when Oneness with the More is forgotten.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Your Light

Light and spirituality have long fascinated me. I discovered that the different versions of the Bible speak to us differently with remarkable variations of understanding shed on the concept of light. I've highlighted some parts that particularly speak to me.

I sent out some Bible verses on light for our women's group to ponder and be ready to discuss. On Biblegateway, you can read the Bible in many versions. I chose three to compare Luke 11:33-36. 

King James - The Bible of my childhood:

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

The Message - A Current Favorite Version of Mine

33-36 “No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a musty cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.” 

The Voice - A New to Me Version 

33 You need a light to see. Only an idiot would light a lamp and then put it beneath the floor or under a bucket. No, any intelligent person would put the lamp on a table so everyone who comes in the house can see. 34 Listen, your eye, your outlook, the way you see is your lamp. If your way of seeing is functioning well, then your whole life will be enlightened. But if your way of seeing is darkened, then your life will be a dark, dark place. 35 So be careful, people, because your light may be malfunctioning. 36 If your outlook is good, then your whole life will be bright, with no shadowy corners, as when a radiant lamp brightens your home.

To my surprise, a version of the Bible I've not read spoke loudly to me. I particularly like The Voice as well as The Message, (2 newer translations in our current language).  The way you see is your lamp, grabbed me. I thought of as a man thinketh, whatsoever you believe, I have seen the problem and it is us, etc.

I have read countless studies and seen over and over again how attitude affects all we do and say and chose. I like the way it described our outlook as being the WAY we see, and our outlook may be malfunctioning. If we see shadowy corners, that is a sign for us to give our outlook a check-up. We used to call it, a check-up from the neck up.

I encourage you to read these verses and consider them in relation to your life, your light, your outlook. And then, work on being aware, or more aware, of how you respond to life's many situations. Let's go for more light.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Anger

In my experience, most anger is useless, comes from ego and is a reflection of the angry person more than the object of the anger.

Healing ego issues is no small thing, often taking decades. Once we realize that we are not the center of everything, that others have struggles too, that we are not the judge and jury, that we don't know the full story, that attachments obstruct our lives, that forgiveness and compassion are where the power is, our lives change dramatically. Anger drifts away from our lives in 99% of the cases.

Most people that exhibit frequent, regular anger, try to justify it. "She made me angry, "He deserves it." "Anyone in my shoes would be angry too." "Anger is natural."

None of the justifications are true or close to accurate. If others control you and your emotional state, then you are simply a puppet. Your string gets pulled, and you are angry. You have given the power of your life over to others.

Anyone in your shoes does not get angry. The people at peace with themselves, those with healing egos, those sincerely trying to walk a spiritual path are unlikely to be angry in the same situation, or never. My husband and I have been married 33 years, and I have only seen him angry 4 times, and then it was mostly fear that drove his anger - as in the Brussels Train Station when his briefcase got stolen and it contained papers he needed for an upcoming important meeting. 

In fact, fear is behind most anger outbursts. Afraid you'll look foolish; afraid you cannot control the other person or situation; afraid of loss; afraid you'll look weak; afraid your dreams will never come true, etc. Examine yourself (The unexamined life is not worth living, said Thoreau). The last time you got angry - observe the memory, look behind the anger, of what are you afraid? 

Look at the person or situation that triggered your anger. Did you try to understand them? Did you find out what was going on with them? Did you react rather than respond appropriately? Try to walk in their shoes. Open your heart. Let compassion and kindness lead you.

Also, anger occludes the higher functioning of the brain, keeping you from finding useful and productive solutions to whatever is going on.

As Luke asks - are you living wide-eyed in wonder and belief, filled with light - or are you living squinty-eyed within a musty cellar?

L

Luke 11:33-36 from The Message translation:            No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lampstand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a musty cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

After

I'm reading "After" by Bruce Grayson, a psychiatrist who has extensively studied near death experiences, NDE's. I highly recommend this book. These experiences are near and dear to me.

Christmas 1976 my previous husband had a massive artery break in his brain. As I sat outside of intensive care, I picked up a Reader's Digest that had an article by Raymond Moody on NDES, the first I had heard of them. It explained so much to me. I bought his book and poured over it. 

I recognized the elements of the experiences Even though I had not technically had what might be called an official close brush with death, I had several close calls - pillow smothering, a knife on my throat, extreme emotional distress.

I had met the Being of Light that NDE'S met. I had been told I was not done here. I had lost fear of the next life. I had an extraordinary inner knowing. My experiences were/are in some other category, if anything so profound can be said to have a category.

I know such experiences are a challenge to believe by those who have not had them. If this is true for you, I just ask that you keep an open mind. To actually be assured that life is more than raiment, as Jesus told us, is incredibly freeing, liberating and thrilling.

What I wish everyone could know is that we are more than our bodies, while also being responsible for taking care of our bodies as long as we are here. Our consciousness one day will separate from our bodies and continue on. We will review the good and bad of our lives and experience the pain we have caused others. It is not a judgement so much as it is a learning experience. There are no hell fires or torturing demons out to get us, only our own self-judgement and disappointments. God is love and we are safe.

Peace be with you dear friends. All is well with your soul.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Snakes in the Corner

The old philosophical conundrum of the snake in the corner tells us a lot about our perception and interpretation and reaction. You see a snake in the corner and become fearful. You look more closely and see it is really a coiled rope, or you don't look more closely and run out of the room screaming. If you're totally attached to your idea that it is actually a snake, it indicates you don't/can't challenge your own thinking. Your mind is made up, don't bother you with facts. Your inability to challenge your own thinking leads to numerous irrational choices.

This lack of mental development is seen in far too many people and situations. I think that if we are to grow as people in all areas of life, from politics to religion, we need to flex our mental muscles, so to speak, in order to set our minds free. Much of what upsets, therefore controls us, has no direct relationship to our personal life. We have no direct knowledge of it. 

One of my longtime teachings about spirituality is that we need to move beyond secondhand knowledge, hand me downs. So, we are told it is a snake in the corner, and we accept it without checking it or thinking it through. So much, if not all, of theology is like that.

For example: We are told God is love and if you don't play your cards right, he will burn you for eternity, two mutually exclusive ideas; we are told the Bible is the inerrant word of God, but it is filled with inconsistencies and contradictions and numerous differing translations; well, you get the idea.

In prayer and meditation, on sandy beaches, in redwood forests, on mountain tops and in your garden, you can touch The Presence yourself. You can know because you have spent time actually in The Presence. You can know for yourself there is no snake there. There is peace and love and safety and kindness. God is love without a footnote. All is well with your soul.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Keats and Me

Keats called this earth "a vale of soul making." I agree. Our task here is to develop our inner cores, strengthen our souls, be spiritually alive and awake.

Our soul making has to compete with the vast array dancing before us. From electronics to projects to who knows what, our life energies can become so scattered that we can forget what its all about.

I suggest, that just under the surface of the frenetic dance of "modern" life, is who we are at a deeper level. Our souls call out to be seen. Are they whole and robust and directing our path? Are they shredded by the clamor? 

We can chose how much of the outer we let into our lives, and what we let in can be part of our soul's development. Read a book - which book aimed at what? Does it nourish our souls? Go to a meeting - what meeting? Does it nourish our souls? Participate in politics - does it, can it, nourish our souls? Are there moments of quiet contemplation, maybe under a tree or on a quiet beach or under a starry sky? 

Do the things we do lead to peace and clarity and compassion? Or do they lead to upset and ego? Are we experiencing more wholeness? Are we tending to the nourishment of our souls?

In all of our activity are we listening within? Are we remembering how brief and how precious is our time on earth?  Are we being good stewards of our time? Consider these things with me and turn to the joyful task of being fully present in this vale of soul making.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Thinkers

In every generation and every culture there are, and have been, thinkers. These are people who test hypotheses, look from all sides of an issue, seek truth not confirmation of their own biases. Sometimes they are in hiding from the ruthless dominators, having to work quietly in the shadows. Sometimes they work in large numbers in the open, when breezes of freedom are softly blowing. Those are exciting times. I think of the thinkers who made up America's founding documents, and what amazing conversations were going on as they made up a new kind of government. I think of the first Christians as they pioneered a new way to live the spiritual life. 

I salute you who think with me, as we consider so many things together on this blog. You are thinkers. You and your thinking skills are especially needed right now, here in this moment of history.

This is a pivotal time in history. It's as if earth cries out for thinkers. Hints of totalitarianism are in the air. Marxism comes disguised to woo us. Anti-spiritual ideas are seeded all over. Openly we hear words such as: fundamentally change our country, end borders, think globally, cling to your superstitious religion - opiate Marx called it, do what we say or you will be put out of business, it's not true that masks help- but it proves we can control you, no more objectivity in schools....

It looks a lot like preparations for a dystopian society. It might be a good time to reread some of the classic warning tales like "Brave New World" or "1984." For sure it is a time to hone up our thinking skills like logic.

Personally, I know there is a spiritual foundation to our lives. I have had moments of seeing the Light, hearing the Voice, knowing beyond knowing. My spirituality is my rock, my foundation, the core of my life. One of things I have been shown is that we are stewards of our own lives and of our planet - no excuses, no laziness allowed. We need to cherish this life and this planet that makes this particular life experience possible. We need to get our heads out of hypnotic television and phones and get in touch with a tree, with beauty and with God. We cannot be stewards if we live in make believe. Our full understanding and heart and brainpower are desperately needed right now.

Let he/she with eyes to see, SEE.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Tests and Trials

As they say, into every life some rain must fall. This week, for me it's an infusion of Reclast, accompanied by basically everything on the side effects list. I've been in agony for two days, but it is easing up now. As I look upon my life, there have been sooo many trials in all shapes and sizes, so many moments of terror, so many tears.

I sent our women's group a list of scriptures from The Message translation on love and asked them to pick one to contemplate for a couple of weeks and be ready to discuss at our meeting. I picked for my contemplation Deuteronomy 30:6

God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children's hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live.

The idea of calluses seems to me to be a great metaphor. I can see how some of the deep wounds have built a protective shield around me. In some instances, there is a numbness about some issues/people. In some cases, there are like antennas that pop up saying Warning Danger Stay Away, I guess a protection from walking into more wounding. You could call them callouses on my heart.

The dilemma that occurs to me is this, is it in my best interest to get rid of the calluses, or are they my protective shield that help me to continue? Can I be free to love God fully only with the calluses removed? Do I want to remove them? Deep questions for sure.

In the end, life is an art and a balancing act. A bit of protection is good for me. It's not good when overdone and the heart turns to stone. I'm fairly content to be the current version of me. There's more ahead, more trials, more joys. I'm confident I can face the rest of my life lovingly.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Josephus, Tacitus and Today

I was reading this morning about extra-Biblical accounts about the crucifixion of Jesus. Two Roman historians briefly mention it. 

Josephus was born about 37 CE and was a Jewish Roman historian. There are copies of his writings, but none earlier than the11th century. There are mentions of his writings on Jesus by several Christian writers in the first couple of centuries, and later by some Syrian writers. There are disagreements about what he said. Some say one thing and others the opposite. Such as: Pilate did not kill Jesus because the Jews asked him to; or the Jews asked him to; or "if you can call him a man;" or he was the Messiah; or he was thought by some to be the Messiah; etc.

Tacitus was born about 56 CE. In his "Annals" he wrote about the suspicion that Nero burned Rome in order to blame the unpopular Christians for the destruction. Tacitus, as a Roman elite, had a very negative view of Christians and even more so of Jews. He writes proudly of Pilot for giving an appropriate response to the threat that Jesus posed. As much as he despised the Jews and thought them superstitious, he did not indicate they had any role in the crucifixion.

Of course, the Christians had a different view of Jesus, but they also did not, and still don't, have a consistent account of who and what caused the crucifixion.

So then what came to mind is our current situation in America and the world. We may not be able to unravel ancient history definitively, but one would think current events could be seen clearly. BUT not so.  The reports about what is going on are filtered through all sorts of belief systems that skew things this way and that - right before our eyes. It makes me think of the "stop think" of dystopia. W e have no way to know what is true, what is propaganda, what is error, what ideology twisted it for what end. This is for simple things and complex things. 

Masks are not useful, wear a mask when going out, wear a mask at home, wear 3 masks, all from Dr. Fauci, let alone all the other experts. The President incited a riot at the Capital, the riot was planned in advance, the riot started while he was still talking, he told everyone to be peaceful, he is on trial for inciting a riot so that he can be removed from office even though he is no longer in office, it's unconstitutional to impeach a private citizen, we're doing it anyway.  Five people were killed in the riots at the Capital, only one was shot (and she was unarmed) the rest died of heart attacks and strokes. Covid is so dangerous we have to shut down life, but we are opening our borders to masses of untested immigrants coming from places where Covid is rampant. I could go on for pages with examples.

Is it wise to get angry and worked up over things about which we have no idea what is accurate and what is not? I stare in wonder over the hatred and anger over this or that, knowing full well that none of the upset people have any way to know if whatever it is is true or not.

So I am going to live my life the best I can and deal with life here and now, with the things I have first hand knowledge, of what I'm pretty sure are real. And, since I have no control over the crazed haters and the confusers, I let them go to implode on their own. God bless us all.

Friday, February 5, 2021

How Brave Are We?

As we look upon the current world situation, one of the things we see is a concerted attack on religion, especially Judaism and Christianity, but really all belief in God. 

The secular point of view is basically Marxist - religion is irrational, an opiate, and to be done away with as soon as possible. They think they can lead the people of the earth to social justice with teachings and ideas that are anything but just. Just look where the godless social justice was/is, and you will see despotic situations and mass murders.

Scratch the surface of any one of the "progressives," and you will see ugliness. Margaret Sanger, mother of Planned Parenthood, wanted to get rid of people of color with abortions and sterilizations, and that's just the surface. Look into her life and story. Look at politicians who call themselves "progressive" and what that actually means. Research what liberation theology stands for. Notice the trend now to call everything "racist" in the least racist country.

Consider "progressive" people such as news reporters, comedians, actors, etc who regularly make fun of prayers in times of crisis and sneer at people of faith. Look at the removal of prayer and religious instruction in schools, the removal of the 10 Commandments from halls of "justice," the response to shootings in churches and synagogues. 

You don't have to look very far to see the war on religion. You may have to dig deeper to find out why. You may need to read Marx and Engels and Alinsky to discover what's going on. The question is, are you brave enough to explore and then to stand up?

Religion has flaws. Humans have flaws. The basic teachings however lead to a far, far different place than godless social justice Marxism. How brave are we? 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Getting Clear

Part of our work here on earth is to look beyond appearances and become clear at numerous levels. Jesus suggested we not judge by appearances but judge with righteous judgement.

Appearances do have value as we navigate the highways and byways of life on earth. Surface judgements help us walk or drive to our chosen destination, or select the best produce or make a favorite recipe. But, they are not helpful at more meaningful levels.

Appearances are the main ingredients in prejudice, in ego-led lives, in surface living. Who is this person standing in front of me? Yes, he/she has surface appearances of skin, eye, clothing, etc. But that tells me little. What has his/her life been like? What are the joys, sorrows, goals? What are the loves, the beliefs, the hopes and dreams? What stirs his/her soul? 

My particular interests, for really all of my life, include spirituality, history, philosophy, psychology, and creativity. I am a curious kind of person. I am a seeker of truth, of clarity. Many dawnings of awareness have blessed me, and I know there are more to come. I pray any murkyness in me get cleared up. I desire truth not fidelity to any clouded understanding.

A powerful exercise is to sit somewhere where people walk by and try to see them at a deeper level than appearance. This person is God's own creation, is on a path of some sort, has hopes and dashed hopes, has courageously come to earth to grow and expand, to learn to love.... And so forth. In this little exercise, we may find our hearts open, our compassion expand and our rush to judge and categorize disappear. A bit of clarity sets us free from our knee jerk egos, bit by bit.


Monday, January 25, 2021

A Buddhist Kind of Day

I was just reading a very interesting thought about on-going death and rebirth. It's a tale about impermanence, therefore never stuckness.

Think of something that you experienced yesterday. It has passed away, never to be again. That moment, those people, who you were in that moment are not present in this moment. They exist only in a memory and interpretation of them. If you were foolish, that doesn't exist here and now. If you were afraid, you're all right right now. Moment by moment, all things pass away. New moments come to be lived freshly.

Life is a fluid movement, flowing ever forward. Change is constant.  The flowers in your garden appear and disappear. The tree grows and roots reach out and leaves fall and return as new leaves. How do we label something that never stays the same?

As we learn to relax into the flow, we are lifted out of our ego bubble into a closer relationship with Reality.  We can just be present in this magical one time event, this now, then this now, on and on, now after now.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

My Walk in the WAY

Just to frame what I'm about to share, since early childhood I have endeavored to walk the Way taught and modeled by Jesus. I became wary of a lot of the theology and speculation of men over the centuries. I have explored many paths, delved into history, tried to create a meaningful way to live my life as taught by the greats, particularly Jesus with some insights from Buddha, Lao Tse, a touch of of the Bagavad Gita, medieval and other mystics, and modern physics (all of which are quite sympatico with Jesus in my opinion). I firmly believe that by doing our best to walk The Way, we live an amazing life. We could have close to utopia should we really walk our lives in The Way.

So I often puzzle over why is Christianity declining, rapidly in recent decades. I hear people say things like: too much hypocrisy; too far fetched; not relevant to modern life; too superstitious; not provable, etc.

I can understand these criticisms. Yes, humans are often hypocritical, maybe glaringly so when claiming to be a Christian and then behaving in an un-Jesus-like manner. Much of developed theology is far fetched, and it turns me off too.  I wandered away for a time mostly because of the fantastical teachings. But then I felt a calling to take another look.

I discovered, for example, the word translated "virgin" actually means "young woman." I learned that the virgin birth idea was invented later by men who had no way to know gynecology and who wanted to make Jesus more special than he already was, plus they wanted to bring in goddess worshippers. They kept adding crazy ideas like her hymen wasn't even broken so she remained a virgin. Any woman who has given birth can clear that up right away. 

Jesus doesn't need to be weird and out there to be important in our lives, and the one who leads us out of darkness. Yes, he saves me, he saves me from dead end paths and a lot of messes. He teaches me how to live. He doesn't save me from hell. God of Love is not a sadist who wants to torture me. That's ridiculous thinking. Love and torture are mutually exclusive.

If you have given up on Jesus, give him another chance. Don't read theology (mostly made up of mental contortions), read the Gospels. Imagine him speaking to you about how God has inspired him to share spiritual living.


Monday, January 18, 2021

The Label Trap

Language has its strange side. In English we call the thing in front of me a table. The same thing has other words to label it in other languages. The strange thing is that, once labelled, we rarely pay any particular attention to it, especially to a person to whom we have attached a label.

This person is odd and so dismissed. This person is from another political persuasion or religion and so to be ignored or maybe attacked. This person is .... And on and on we go.

BUT, all people are complicated, many things, with many sides. This person you just labeled something, so you could dismiss them from your attention and maybe your life, is a million other things too. This person is a parent, a child, a spouse, an employee or employer, a friend to some, someone walking through pain and trying to understand, etc. This person is a spiritual being having a human experience just like you, a spiritual sibling on this trek through life here on earth, and quite possibly your teacher.

Once we take off monochromatic labels, we can see the rainbow of that person, the many facets, the sorrows and the joys of being them. Our compassionate heart opens, and we enter a more profound spiritual life. So many spiritual greats tell us compassion is a sign of a spiritually awakening person. 

Today, let it be a great label removing day.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Polarization

Polarization leads to thinking of the "other" as nonhuman, not worthy of consideration, not worthy of kindness and care. In extremes, it leads to slavery, segregation, racism, apartheid, concentration and reeducation camps, war, and totalitarianism.  It is an ugly, non-spiritual mental space that always leads to dark places.

We need to pay attention to our thoughts, words and actions to shift our own selves out of polarizing positions. 

It seemed important to me today to bring our awareness to this, as there seem to be some extreme polarizations going on right now. I suggest this is unhealthy and is leading us to places we'd be wise to turn from. 

For the first time in my long life cancel culture has emerged, talk of enemy lists is spoken of freely, free speech is under attack. Before it's too late and we go into extreme times, I urge us to do our part in turning away from polarization. 

Lord, open my heart to all of your creation. Help me love as You have called me to love. Heal in me any contentious attitudes. Lift me above polarized thinking. Heal me so I can truly love. Lead our world to turn from polarization. Let this be a time of awakening. May Your Will be done. Amen Amen and Amen

Friday, January 8, 2021

Do We Live In a Museum?

 A couple of days ago I read something that keeps playing in my mind.

If the doors of perception were cleansed, said Blake, everything would appear to man as it is --- Infinite.... 

Plainly, it would mean the achievement of a new universe, a new order of reality: escape from the terrible museum-like world of daily life, where everything is classified and labelled, and all the graded fluid facts which have no label are ignored. ---Evelyn Underhill

Of course, this also made me think of Paul and his description of looking through a dark glass, and Jesus' urging to not judge by appearances but to use righteous judgement.

What struck me as a new way to describe it is the museum reference. I think it is apt. I notice quite a few do live like this. Categorize it and stuff it in a drawer. Put a label on it and don't consider it again. If it resists this process, ignore it, dismiss it, or just call it nonsense or heresy or unworthy of consideration. This leads to life cut off from so much, in a circular rut.

The questions spring to mind. How to get to the threshold to be aware this is going on, and then how to begin to climb out??? 

I think some kind of internal switch has to turn on, perhaps from a shock that shakes the person to the core or some form of suffering to that breaks open, even a bit, the crusty walls of their personal museum. Possibly it could begin with reading, study and conversation with someone out of the rut. That would be a gentler way, but still painful as the walls have to come down and the categorized drawers emptied. Light has to stream in. What I am reasonably sure of is that it can't be done for a person, it has to be done within a person.

With so much turmoil going on, I hope and pray this is the time that personal museum walls come down in huge numbers. We desperately need awakened people to help the world walk away from violence and chaos, from totalitarian tendencies set in motion, from the dark side.

God bless us all and lead us to The Light. Lead us to see with cleansed eyes and hearts - to see and know Reality.