Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The right decision in the end

When I was a child, about the age of 10, it dawned on me that "It's not a bad life if you know how to live it." Where this aphorism came from, I have no idea. I don't remember anybody telling me this. I just seemed to understand this from my intuitive mind. The aphorism arose from my "inner well." It seemed a right understanding then and it still does at age 72 all these years later.

Now, after all these years, I have a better understanding of what this aphorism means. According to A Course In Miracles, I can live my life on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit. I have tried, since age 14, to live according to the path of the spirit, and have learned how to do this reflecting on my experience.

Experience has been a great teacher. Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." I have tried to live an examined life. To live an examined life, the person has to admit that (s)he doesn't know. Knowing that you don't know is the first step on the path of the spirit. Knowing that you don't know, and that other people don't either, leads one to no longer trust the path of the ego to provide the satisfaction and fulfillment of the good life.

Throughout my life I have been well aware that bull shit abounds. Bull shit is abundant and we live our lives sinking deeper and deeper into it until we, sometimes desperately, become aware that there must be a better way. With this awareness, what I call, "the dawning," we initiate a search. We become a seeker for what that better way might be. I call this initiation of the search, "the turning." "The turning" is the turn from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit.

"The turning" is easier and ultimately must involve our asking our "Higher Power" for guidance. There are many formula's human beings have created for this requesting. One of my favorites is "What would Love have me do?" or more simply, "What is the loving thing?"

In the Christian prayer, the Our Father, we say in part, "...Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Bringing my will into alignment with what I think is God's will brings peace and joy and the "good life" which I have been seeking.

Sometimes my ego objects to my doing God's will. Doing God's will can fill me with fear sometimes and yet I have found that to move ahead in faith, in spite of the ego's objections, has always been the right decision in the end.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The path to peace

In leading the spiritual life there are some practices that guide us on the path of the spirit.

The first practice is one of intention. When you wake up in the morning simply ask yourself what kind of a day do you wish to have. Will it be one of love, compassion, forgiveness and peace or a day of anger, judgment, attack, and rancor?

If you decide for a day of love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace ask for the help of the Spirit so that you do not make decisions yourself based on the ego but rather ask the Spirit what would Love have me do?

This action, at first, will fill you with fear especially if the response is not what your ego expected and desired. However, trust the Spirit, and continue in faith that Love is the most powerful path of all. This is the path to peace.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Pick your idols carefully

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "The slave of idols is a willing slave. For willing he must be to let himself bow down in worship to what has not life, and seek power in the powerless." T-29.IX. 1:1-2

Referring to money, the cliche is "You can't take it with you."

Referring to power, British politician Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Referring to physical beauty we know that beauty fades.

And yet we humans invest such meaning and significance in our idols and we miss the interior divine connection.

It is written further in the same section of ACIM, "Little child, the light is there. You do but dream, and idols are the toys you dream you play with. Who has the need of toys but children? They pretend they rule the world, and give their toys power to move about, and talk and think and feel and speak for them. Yet everything their toys appear to do is in the minds of those who play with them." T-29.IX.4:3-7

The bumper sticker reads, "Those with the most toys when they die, wins."

The bumper sticker is sarcastic. It is meant to be funny but it is sad and depressing. Is this really what our lives are about? Who wants to live in such a world?

Pick your idols carefully. Better yet, give them up. Set them aside. Hospice nurses tell us that no dying person every said that they wished they worked more. They all say they wish they'd spent more time with their family and friends.

Leave the path of the ego and take the path of the spirit. You and the world will be better off for your choosing the later.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

You are okay just the way you are

What does Unitarian Universalism teach about idols? Francis David, the founder of the Unitarian Church in Transylvania in the 16th century said, "We don't have to think alike to love love alike. Francis David brushed the idols aside and taught that they make no difference, they are not important, hardly worthy of our attention. The important thing is love.

A Course In Miracles teaches that there are many paths to God. The theology is not important. The experience is.

The question is asked in A Course In Miracles, "What is an idol?" The question made me smile and chuckle.

I thought to myself, "An idol is anything that we substitute for God."  We put our idols in front of God all the time because we think our idols will supply what we lack and give us something that will make us happy.

Idols can be money, sex, power, fame, religion, food, gambling, sports, you name it.

I wonder about people who walk around with sports paraphernalia adorning their bodies as if these images enhance their self worth, self esteem, self confidence by not just identifying with a sports team and a player but pretending to be them at some point, an athlete, or a member of the team they idolize.

One of America's favorite reality TV show is even called "American Idol." Whoever is named this year's American Idol will only last for a temporary period until we are on to finding a new idol next season. Idols come and go. They distract us from more substantive questions like why was I born, what is the purpose of my life, what happens to me when I die, what will be my loved one's understanding of what my life was about after I die, what do I think God would want me to do?

The underlying dynamic of idolization is that idols, no matter what they are, divide people from one another; they don't bring people together. Idols set up dynamics of competitiveness, jealousy, envy, exclusion and even animosity, resentment, and attack.

Idols are like the clouds that block the divine rays of God shining on us like the sun. God is always there for us if we would look within, but we look without, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Give up your belief in idols. Turn your attention and focus on the God within and within your brothers and sisters. You are okay just the way you are.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Est quid est

What if there were no time? What if time disappeared and things just were the way they are and that's that?

What if the Buddhist expression, which has become popular in our contemporary time, "it is what it is", is true?

Peace descends and we rise above the turmoil of change on the ego plane. We enter a blissful awareness born of forgiveness of the ego world.

Is this heaven? It matters not what we call it. It simply is what it is. That's it. Period. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Looking for Love in all the wrong places

There are times when we are quiet and still that we sense there is something more deep in us and in other people.That something more is the glimmer of the divine. We want it desperately and we search for it usually in all the wrong places.

Johnny Lee's great song "Looking for love in all the wrong places" sums up the problem succinctly in an entertaining way.

That "something more" is not to found on the path of the ego. It is not external to us where all we find is counterfeit. What we find is "fool's gold." What we find may be temporarily pleasurable but then becomes boring once we are satiated. We come to realize that pleasure is not the same thing as joy and while joy is better, joy is not the same thing as bliss and bliss is what we seek and is to be found in the union with the Beloved.

A Course In Miracles teaches that bliss is to be found in the miracle and the miracle is simply a choice to perceive at the level of spirit rather than ego. The level of spirit is Love. We simply ask "What would Love have me do?" "What would Love have me see?" "What is the Loving thing deep in myself and in my brothers and sisters?"

As the Beatles say, "Love is all you need." However, we have to be on the path of spirit to see it within which means we have to turn back from looking for love in all the wrong places.


Monday, February 12, 2018

If we are to be happy we must be born again

I could be happy if only you would do what I think you should do and if you don't, you are holding out on me because you could do what I want you to do if only you would but you won't because you don't love me. This is how we create hell.

We assign roles to people and expect them to do certain things and when they don't do them we get angry and attack them and get sad, resentful, full of grievance and recrimination. They, of course, are not doing anything to us, we, in fact, have done it to ourselves.

We are playing the game of "give to get." And then we play, "one or the other." These games litter the path of the ego. From these games great drama is created, emotions aroused, pain and suffering inflicted up to and including death.

We come to a point when we realize we don't want to play these games any more. They aren't worth it to us and we say to ourselves "there must be a better way." This slight glimmer of awareness is called, "The Dawning." It starts to dawn on us that we deserve to be happy and have a high quality life full of peace and bliss.

Recognizing that we are meant to be happy and have a high quality life, we begin to search. We become seekers and it is this turning from the path of the ego to something else that marks the beginning of a new life. It's like we're born again and like babies have to learn how to live in this world as spirits and no longer egos.