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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


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.