Saturday, December 16, 2017

We are not separate but an ingredient in the Oneness

We have been taught that God is the ultimate judge of our sinfulness. We speak, with some trepidation, about "the last judgment," the time when we "meet out maker." The dysfunctional religions tell us to fear God and then tell us that it is only they, the purveyors of this religious myth, that can save us. "Come to our church," they tell us. "Tithe and you will be rewarded ten fold," the merchants of the gospel of prosperity prophesy. The arrogance of pretending or even thinking that they know what God wants is preposterous and to the enlightened, laughable.

And yet, in our fear, many of us go along with this insanity for many reasons. The agnostic among us engage in Paschal's wager, hedging our bet that God exists even though we have grave doubts just in case God really does.

Fear drives us to what we call "faith" but this kind of "faith" is counterfeit. It is of the ego which we still don't want to surrender that is calling the shots. We still want control and to be able to be the author of our own "life," such as it is, full of drama, anguish, sorrow, anger, resentments, sometimes bitterness and despair. The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous is to admit that our lives are unmanageable.  Ultimately this is true for all of us whether we are alcoholic or engage in other compulsive mood altering behaviors. At some point, and we humans can tolerate a lot of pain and dysfunction, we must "pack it in."

God loves us, the mystics tell us, unconditionally. We don't have to do anything to merit God's love: God created us and shares God's life with us. We are well advised to give up the insane belief that God is a condemning judge. It is this belief which is at the basis of our most fundamental human predicament and it is what A Course In Miracles calls, "A tiny mad idea" that we can separate ourselves entirely from God.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sinners or innocent; punishment or correction?

We have been taught in the Christian world that we all are sinners and as sinners we deserve punishment and damnation. Were it not for the death of Jesus that punishment and damnation would be for all eternity.

It is of note that sin calls for punishment nor correction. It is in our fears of one another that we hate each other and conjure up a god who will do our bidding to punish others so that we can pretend we are innocent. We are justified in our hate and punishment because of what we have judged the other to have done.

This thinking is, of course, insane. The creator of the universe has extended the creator's power and glory through us of which we are a blessed manifestation. We have a choice: would we see ourselves as inherently flawed, deficient, and inadequate or inherently innocent, lovely, and blessed? The spiritually mature have chosen the later. It is in this choice that peace and bliss is revealed.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Love is all there is.

We have been discussing a model of spiritual development which is based on James Fowler's work describing the stages of faith development. While, in a conceptual sense, this model is helpful, in the spiritual realm it is not accurate and may even mislead the spiritual seeker. It is misleading because in the last analysis, as human beings, we are provided a simple choice: love or illusions?

In A Course In Miralces, in the section entitled "The Laws of Chaos," the first law is that truth is different for everyone. The course teaches that this is not true. Illusions may be different for everyone, but Love is the same.

Illusions are individualistic and separate us. Illusions can turn us into enemies and adversaries. The more attached we are to our illusions the more hateful and attacking we can become. Chaos ensues and when we back off and try to develop some perspective, we realize that the belief in the illusions that separate us have led us to the insanity of hell. It is written in ACIM in the section on Principles in Miracles that the first principle is "There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal."

It is true that we can believe in Love which involves an awareness of our Oneness with the divine, or we can believe in illusions which separate and divide us. It is really that simple. This truth is not different for different people. It is maximal for everybody. People don't have to choose it. They can continue with their attachments to their illusions which they may do until they realize they have been mistaken. They have missed the point of their lives because as the Beatles told us, Love is all there is. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

It is not appropriate spiritually to play the victim

Sometimes we all love to play the victim. Some of us more of the time that others. For some it is their default position in life. When people habitually play the victim the ego has conquered their lives and made their lives a hell.

As a children of God none of us are victims except in our own minds. Our victimhood is a figment of our ego's imagination. Victimhood is not are true state. It is written in A Course In Miracles, "Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be." T-14.III.8:2-3

Rather than victimhood, we can call upon the Holy Spirit for guidance in helping us achieve an awareness of our true invulnerability as spiritual creatures inhabiting, temporarily, bodies that get caught up in drama of attack and suffering on the ego plane but which is not real in the spiritual realm.

People who have achieved an intermediate level of spiritual maturity know that they are never victims except in their own insane mistaken beliefs.

For today rise above the baloney and hurt, and return evil with love knowing that the evil is not real and its only power to hurt you spiritually and psychologically is the power you give to it.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Body or soul: Which is for sale?

Who can be safe and secure and at peace who has an enemy? Belief in enemies is to believe in peril, insecurity, and war. This is the situation of most of humanity who sees enemies around every corner, hiding under every tree and stone ready to terrorize and traumatize. This perpetual state of anxiety, this continual war on terror is not the Will of God but a state that humanity has created and imposed on itself. If God's will is something different from what humanity wills for itself, humanity even fears the Will of God which is only for love, peace, and joy, but is opposed to what humanity has been choosing for itself.

Humanity's fears are for its bodies not for its souls. In our spiritual growth we come to understand and appreciate that it is our spirits that matter ultimately not our bodies. Bodies are nothing but organs and molecular structures which are constantly changing and impermanent. Bruce Cockburn sings a song in which the lyric is "there is a day when we all have to be pried loose."

And so we should refocus from our bodies to our souls and consider what, if anything, is the enemy of our souls? Mature souls know that the biggest danger is that we give our soul away or sell our soul to the devil temporarily under we eventually are found again.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Would you be a slave to life or a master?

Man has to go beyond his will so that he can become part of the divine will. One has to drop one’s own will; it is the whole trouble. Once our will is dissolved, then godliness starts functioning through us. Then there is no misery, no anxiety. One is utterly relaxed; there is no difficulty. All problems arise out of your will because will means fighting with the whole. It is struggle, and struggle is bound to bring tension. And you are doomed to fail; hence, however hard one fights, one knows deep down in the heart, deep down somewhere that it is futile. One cannot succeed against the whole. One can succeed only with the whole, not against the whole. Sannyas means surrendering your will, going beyond it. And the moment you surrender your will, all is yours. Suddenly the whole universe opens its doors for you. All the mysteries become available to you, all the secrets are handed over to you, all the keys. The paradox is, in surrendering the will you become the master. And in keeping the will and fighting for it, you will remain a slave.

Osho. Last in the Evening: 365 Relaxing Moments to Enter the Night Consciously, Osho Media International, p.6

Editor - And here we are back to paradox again. Jesus said, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it." Luke 17:33 It takes a degree of spiritual maturity to understand this and practice it.

If God is your co-pilot, switch seats

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What makes the Buddha laugh?

An indicator of spiritual maturity is a rising above the ego and seeing beyond the mistakes of our brothers and sisters to their oneness with us in God's creation. This seeing beyond is what some call "forgiveness." In simpler, more vulgar language, it is overlooking the bull shit and side stepping the drama.

People are more than their problems and often they can't see that, but we that can have a role to play in gently laughing at the absurdity. When our brothers and sisters can laugh along with us we have joined with them in what A Course In Miracles calls a "Holy Relationship."

Why is the Buddha sometimes depicted as smiling? What is the Buddha amused by. What makes him laugh?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ego or divine light: Choose

The moment you are empty of yourself, you are full of God. Both cannot exist together, remember. Remember again and again: both cannot exist together: it is either you or God. And it is the foolish person who chooses himself. Choose God: disappear as an ego. Forget yourself as an entity separate from existence, and in that very disappearance you are reborn. It is a very paradoxical state: the moment you are empty of yourself you become full, and full for the first time, overflowingly full, inexhaustibly full. The ego is just a shadow, it has no substance. It is a dream, not a reality. Drop the shadow so that you can attain the substance. Drop the false so that the real can be attained. All that I teach here is how to be empty of yourself so that you can be full of God. And the fullness is fulfillment.

Osho. First in the Morning: 365 Uplifting Moments to Start the Day Consciously, p.3

It is written in A Course In Miracles: "Now must you choose between yourself and an illusion of yourself. Not both, but one. There is no point in trying to avoid this one decision. It must be made. Faith and belief can fall to either side, but reason tells you misery lies only on one side and joy on the other." T-22.II.6:6-10

Basically it comes down to God's will or your own. Only the foolish would choose their own when they could enjoy the whole cosmos.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

One of the most important post in November, 2017 on NSL

NSL is starting a new label for posts on the blog entitled "most important." There will be a post identified every month which seems to contribute significantly to the goals of NSL. One of the goals of NSL is to create a model for spiritual development which guides our understanding of what a spiritual life consists of. The title of this post is "Our most important choice is acknowledgement of Oneness or persistence in our separation." An important indicator of spiritual maturity is the awareness of our interdependence with all of creation."

At a deep level people have a choice between the drama of the ego world or the peace and joy of Oneness with creation. Hopefully, people come to a point where they are aware of this choice because often they are unaware and feel trapped in vicious cycles and assume the role of victim of circumstances they perceive as beyond their control. While people cannot always control the circumstances which they perceive, they can, with awareness and intention, control their response and management of those circumstances. When people become aware that they have a choice, the further question, then, is what will they choose?

When people become aware of their errors and mistakes, these errors and mistakes call for correction and repair. This correction and repair cannot be done in isolation and on one's own but requires joining with others. This joining usually requires a request for help. It is not only okay to ask for help, it is necessary for in the requesting and obtaining help two and more become joined in improving their mutual welfare and in doing so the ripple effect blesses the whole world in ways beyond our comprehension.

The person and his/her brother/sister are joined together in the work of salvation which is a theological term meaning liberation from the bonds of error and mistakes to a place of peace and joy and well being.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "You are your brother's savior. He is yours." T-21.VI.9:1-2

There is a powerful paragraph in ACIM which states, "God is not mocked; no more His Son can be imprisoned save by his own desire. And it is by his own desire that he is freed. Such is his strength, and not his weakness. He is at his own mercy. And where he chooses to be merciful, there is he free. But where he chooses to condemn instead, there is he held a prisoner, waiting in chains his pardon on himself to set him free." T-21.VI.11:5-10

And so another sign of spiritual maturity is the awareness that one has a choice and God is not mocked meaning that God's love for us is constant, universal, and our natural inheritance and what is required of us is simply the choice of acknowledgement instead of denial.

NSL had 601 page views in November, 2017

Notes on a Spiritual Life had 601 page views in November, 2017 which is about 20 views per day. Thank you for visiting the blog, and thank you for your referrals.

Most popular post on NSL in November, 2017

The most popular post on NSL in November, 2017 was published on 11/04/17 and was entitled "An indicator of spiritual maturity - knowing that love does not die." A saying in a primitive culture is that a person dies twice: once when the physical body dies, and secondly when the last person speaks the person's name for the last time. Having a spirit made manifest in the physical world, the impact of that spirit (karma) lasts forever.

I was taught and many other people too in my Catholic upbringing that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. A Course In Miracles makes it clear that the body is not the temple of the Holy Spirit but relationships are. It is written in ACIM: "The Holy Spirit's temple is not a body, but a relationship." T-20.VI.5:1 Section VI, The Temple of the Holy Spirit describes this idea in more detail. It is our relationship with our Creator and our fellow Creations in which the Holy Spirit abides. Jesus told us the same thing in the New Testament when he said, "Where two or more are gathered together in My name, there I will be."

Rev. Marlin Lavenhar at All Souls Church in Tulsa Oklahoma gave a wonderful sermon on October 29, 2017 entitled "Gone But Never Forgotten" in which he makes the point that love never dies. Bodies do, but not love. Love just changes form. Love is eternal. People with highly developed spiritual awareness know this. It is another indicator of spiritual maturity.

What is the meaning of advent for the spiritually mature?

Today, December 3, 2017, is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season of the year when we more intentionally than usual prepare for the remembrance of the divine light within us and all of God's creation. It is a time of the year when we come to a fork in the road and must choose whether we will go the way of mammon and the ego or the way of Love and of the divine. We must choose, because once we become aware that we have a choice, we cannot continue on our previous path of ignorance. If we do not choose all we can do is delay. This delay causes anxiety which we can medicate away so that we are anesthetized but sooner or later the anesthesia wears off and once again we are faced with the choice.

The path of spiritual development seems, at times, difficult and confusing and yet, looked at a little more seriously, it is actually quite simple. It is written in A Course In Miracles in the Introduction, "The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance." It is this removal of the blocks to our awareness of Love's presence which is the mission of the Advent season.

We need to move beyond the drama and the nonsense and focus on the authentic, the genuine, the sincere. This focus on the authentic, the genuine, the sincere which is the meaning of the season which requires a degree of spiritual maturity to enjoy. May you enjoy this advent season.

What will make human beings happy?

The Dali Lama said one time that the purpose of life is happiness. All human beings want to be happy. He did not continue his comments to say what it is that will make human beings happy. Do you think it would be the same for all human beings or would it be different?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Amazing grace

We live in a time when the errors of the ego are writ large for the whole world to see. Reason has no place when justification of the ego is desired. And like reinforce like and the group goes astray like lost sheep wandering in fog without the guidance of shepherds.

The wolves prey on the wandering sheep lost in the green grass that they nibble unaware of their peril. The shepherds rather than abandon their sheep seek to guide them away from the wolves and back to safety.

Reason like shepherds seeks to restrain and guide the ego but the ego resists attempting to strengthen its loyalty to its errors. The ego fears a loss of its diminishment and so defiantly continues in its error. Reason is filled with compassion and concern and patiently waits for the ego's fear to subside reassuring that there is something far more precious to be found. It is this compassionate patience which is called "grace" and some people have called it "amazing." A song has been created about this experience. Perhaps you know it?


What is enlightenment?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Seek and you will find

There are illusions and then there is truth. When it comes to illusions how can one discern truth among them? One illusion is no different in form and any other. The only difference is content. Seeking and finding truth requires a shift to a whole other level. This shift is what A Course In Miracles calls a "miracle." The 44th of 50 principles of Miracles is "The miracle is an expression of an inner awareness of Christ and the acceptance of His Atonement."

This awareness is a huge thing of which all human beings are capable. We all have the potential of achieving this awareness. As Jesus says, "Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be open to you." However so few people are seeking and without the intention the finding is unlikely to happen unless there is a moment of grace to which the person is open to accepting.

If you are reading this, it may be accurate to assume that you are a seeker too. Thank you for your intention and effort. Together we become The Christ and we join in the At-One-Ment. Welcome.

"We have not lost anything. God is not lost and hence has not to be found. We have only forgotten; it is just a question of remembrance. It is there in the deepest core of our being. Call it truth, God, bliss, beauty: all those things indicate the same phenomenon. There is something eternal in our beings, something immortal, something divine.

All that we have to do is to go deep, dive deep, into our own being, and see, realize, recognize. Hence the journey is not really a journey. We are not to go anywhere; we have simply to sit silently and be." Osho, First In The Morning, p.2

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

There is peace and joy in doing God's will

The atonement, at-one-ment, is when everybody loves everybody all the time. When you love your brother and sister, their spirit not their body, then Love joins you bringing comfort and peace and joy. These relationships are called "holy", "holy relationships," in A Course In Miracles. ACIM describes "Holy relationships" as God's will. It is stated in ACIM,

"If you attack whom God would heal and hate the one He loves, then you and your creator have a different will. Yet if you are His Will, what you must then believe is that you are not yourself. You can indeed believe this, and you do. And you have faith in this and see much evidence on its behalf. And where, you wonder, does your strange uneasiness, you sense of being disconnected, and your haunting fear of lack of meaning in yourself arise? It is as though you wandered in without a plan of any kind except to wander off, for only that seems certain." T-22.1.1:2-7

One of the slogans in AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, is "You are as sick as your secrets." Our biggest secret, which often is unconscious, is that we care nothing for God's will and just want to be left alone to do our own thing. Even worse, we try to hid from people, and God, what we are doing and what our intentions are because we are ashamed of the secrets we keep and what they will think of us, and do, should they find out. Because of the secrets we keep, we see our brothers and sisters as a threat to our safety and so we lie to them, manipulate them, attack them, and say we hate them. We hate them because of our fears of being found out. This fear of being found out robs us of our peace and joy.

Honesty is the best policy. We should strive for authenticity, genuineness, and sincerity. This striving is manifested in our discerning and attempting to do God's will for us. In the great Christian prayer, the "Our Father," we pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." When we bring our will into alignment with what believe is God's will for us we experience great peace and joy, and this peace and joy we want to extend to our brothers and sisters. We can say sincerely and with deep genuineness, "Pax vobiscum."

This desire and ability to extend the joy and peace we have achieved through aligning our wills with what we believe is God's will for us is an important indicator of advanced spiritual development.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

We all can be teachers of God.

"Each age needs a new kind of spirituality because each age is different from any other; hence messengers keep on coming. A messenger is nothing but a person who translates the eternal truth for contemporary people." Osho, First In The Morning, p.1

"A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else's. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure." A Course In Miracles, Manual For Teachers 1.1:1-3

The spirituality of our contemporary age is not parochial. Increasingly, people recognize and acknowledge that God is too big for any one religion. Increasingly, people say they are spiritual but not religious. Unfortunately, religion has been hijacked for ideological reasons and become a tool of politics. Spiritual people see through this sham, this con, this fraudulent counterfeit scheme to propagandize an agenda under the guise of spirituality. Jesus told us to be aware of the prophet who is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

One of the signs of advanced spirituality is the recognition that exclusive parochialism is not the path to the sacred and holy. The person yearns for something more authentic and genuine. This yearning begins with a look within and the start of an adventure that while it can be somewhat scarey is exhilarating as well. As it says in ACIM all it takes is a deliberate choice and extending oneself in a loving way to one's fellow creatures.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Loving just because you want to

Most people are not aware that there are two kinds of love: conditional and unconditional. The foregoing statement is not correct because in reality there is only one kind of love and that is unconditional. Conditional love is counterfeit, fraudulent, and even if called "love" by many is not love at all but a business relationship based on the principle of "give to get."

Unconditional love is a rare and beautiful thing when a person, already complete, satisfied, and fulfilled within him/herself loves just because (s)he wants to extend what they have.

Ben was asked by his friend, Jacob, if he would get married again. Ben replied that he would if he could meet someone who was happy with herself. And then Ben said, "Are there any?" Jacob laughed and said, "They are a rare creature. You are serving up a tall order."

Ben said, "Well, like Diogenes looking for an honest person, I am roaming the world looking for a woman who is happy with herself."

"How about you," asked Jacob? "Are you a happy man? Can you love someone unconditionally without expecting anything in return?"

"I aspire to that," said Ben. "Like everyone I know, I have my baggage, my fears, my frustrations, my depressions, but I am getting there. I have learned that you get what you give, you enhance what you extend, you learn what you teach."

Jacob, with a smile, said "Dominus vobiscum."

Ben laughed and replied as he did in his altar boy days, "Et cum spiritu tuo."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Most popular article on NSL in October, 2017

The most popular post on NSL in October, 2017 was "Forgive your brothers and sisters and gain peace." To access the article click here.

Be still and know that I am God.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, Workbook For Students, Lesson 189,

Today we pass illusions, as we seek to reach to what is true in us, and feel its all-embracing tenderness, its Love which knows us perfect as itself, its sight which is the gift its Love bestows on us. 2 We learn the way today. 3 It is as sure as Love itself, to which it carries us. 4 For its simplicity avoids the snares the foolish convolutions of the world's apparent reasoning but serve to hide.

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. 2 Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. 3 Hold onto nothing. 4 Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. 5 Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.

W-189.8. Is it not He Who knows the way to you? 2 You need not know the way to Him. 3 Your part is simply to allow all obstacles that you have interposed between the Son and God the Father to be quietly removed forever. 4 God will do His part in joyful and immediate response. 5 Ask and receive. 6 But do not make demands, nor point the road to God by which He should appear to you. 7 The way to reach Him is merely to let Him be. 8 For in that way is your reality proclaimed as well.

The only thing we have to do to hear God speak to us and to be one with God is to clear away the clutter, the blocks and obstacles to our awareness of God's presence. In Psalm 46, verse 10, it is written, "Be still and know that I am God." In ACIM this is called the Holy Instant. To achieve this on a regular basis takes practice which involves intention and also relaxation in the sense of "letting go" of all the nonsense of the monkey mind. To achieve this state is a sign of highly developed spiritual awareness.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Do you want joy?

Are you a victim or an agent? Do you feel helpless or a person of influence? Do you have enemies or only friends or potential friends? Do you feel unable to cope with the circumstances in your life or have you developed ways of managing your thoughts and emotions in response to those circumstances? Have you developed a wisdom to accept the things you cannot change and the courage to change the things that you can?

A sign of spiritual maturity is the knowledge and awareness that nobody and no things can make you think, feel, and behave anyway that you don't chose to think, feel, and behave. This awareness and practice brings peace and joy which is constant. Nothing can disturb it without your cooperation.

Some people believe that joy comes and goes, but that is not true. True joy is constant because it is based on balanced constancy which is supported by oneness with Creation. Once the center has been found it is difficult to be knocked off balance for long if at all.

The spirituality mature know the difference between pleasure, happiness, joy, and bliss.

The less spiritually mature settle for pleasure and happiness which is fleeting and can change with the winds. As one advances in spiritual development the awareness that joy and bliss are possible leads to a choice about how one wishes to lead one's life. People are afraid of joy and bliss because they are attached to pleasure and happiness and fear the loss of them. And yet we come to realize that pleasure and happiness are ephemeral and as such aren't "real." What is real is on another level and so we must chose whether we will say trapped in the material world or transition to a higher level of living. It is a choice we can make once we become aware of the option. To realize our full potential and actualize it we must say goodbye to the darker side of our nature.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Our most important choice is acknowledgement of Oneness or persistence in our separation

At a deep level people have a choice between the drama of the ego world or the peace and joy of Oneness with creation. Hopefully, people come to a point where they are aware of this choice because often they are unaware and feel trapped in vicious cycles and assume the role of victim of circumstances they perceive as beyond their control. While people cannot always control the circumstances which they perceive, they can, with awareness and intention, control their response and management of those circumstances. When people become aware that they have a choice, the further question, then, is what will they choose?

When people become aware of their errors and mistakes, these errors and mistakes call for correction and repair. This correction and repair cannot be done in isolation and on one's own but requires joining with others. This joining usually requires a request for help. It is not only okay to ask for help, it is necessary for in the requesting and obtaining help two and more become joined in improving their mutual welfare and in doing so the ripple effect blesses the whole world in ways beyond our comprehension.

The person and his/her brother/sister are joined together in the work of salvation which is a theological term meaning liberation from the bonds of error and mistakes to a place of peace and joy and well being.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "You are your brother's savior. He is yours." T-21.VI.9:1-2

There is a powerful paragraph in ACIM which states, "God is not mocked; no more His Son can be imprisoned save by his own desire. And it is by his own desire that he is freed. Such is his strength, and not his weakness. He is at his own mercy. And where he chooses to be merciful, there is he free. But where he chooses to condemn instead, there is he held a prisoner, waiting in chains his pardon on himself to set him free." T-21.VI.11:5-10

And so another sign of spiritual maturity is the awareness that one has a choice and God is not mocked meaning that God's love for us is constant, universal, and our natural inheritance and what is required of us is simply the choice of acknowledgement instead of denial.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Are you tuned in on the frequency of the angels?

As Geraldine, a character that comedian Flip Wilson created and acted, used to say, "What you see is what you get!" In A Course In Miracles it is written, "Perception selects, and makes the world you see."T-21.V.1:1

The ego creates the drama in our lives. It is written further in A Course In Miracles, "Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you to see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this is your faith." T-21.V.2:1-7

ACIM goes on to explain that this scenario the ego has constructed for us, based on our bidding, is not true. It is only a drama of our own making.

Most of us love gossip and the juicier the better. We are aroused to fear and disgust every day by the constant bombardment of the media. The sensational and emotionally arousing stories get our attention. We gloat initially that these things have happened to other people and we have escaped. The bumper sticker, "Reality is when it happens to you," is the ultimate in the ego's cynicism and sadism.

God's love is always there but we fail to see it because we overlook it as it gets drowned out by the insanity of the ego's world. We see what we have put our faith in. We see what we have been conditioned and trained to believe in. And this unreal world of pain, misery, sorrow, and separation becomes, for us, our own reality.

At this Christmas time of year I saw a church sign board on which was written, "You too can hear the angel's song if you tune in on the right frequency." If you would have peace, joy, and happiness, practice tuning in on the right frequency. Spending more of your life and making decisions on that frequency is a sign of spiritual maturity.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Sign of spiritual maturity - Realizing that God loves us abundantly

Most people are afraid that if they look deep down into their soul they will find that they are inadequate, defective, or sinful in some way. This fear, unconsciously, drives  them to drink too much, eat too much, play video games too much, spend too much time on their media devices, and act out in their relationships and daily life.

There comes a point where people become sick with life. They grow weary, exhausted, depressed, anxious, and sometimes suicidal or wonder why life is so hard and whether it is worth it to go on. As is written in A Course In Miracles peoples tolerance for pain is very high and and they will persist in their patterns of dysfunctional behavior until they hit bottom.

When they have nothing else to lose, a miraculous transformation begins to occur. They are determined to do the right thing no matter what and they don't give a shit any more about the consequences. At this point, they become free to be themselves and to live with integrity. They learn that living with integrity is their birth right. They realize that deep down they are a son or a daughter of God and God doesn't make junk. They learn that the ego had tricked them into believing they were defective so they would continue to do the ego's bidding. They realize that their inherent defectiveness has never been true, is not true now, and never will be true because there is nothing they could do that would completely alienate them from the love of their Creator.

This is what Jesus called the message of good news. Jesus often told people that God doesn't just love them, God loves them abundantly. It is an indicator of spiritual maturity to realize God's love for us and for us to extend this love to each other.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

An indicator of spiritual maturity is discerning and doing God's will

Every now and then we get a glimpse that there must be something more to life. There is a faint memory of a time and place of comfort, peace, security, and well being. People in distress sometimes say, "I can't stand this any more. I can't go on. There are times when I wish I wasn't here."

"Do you have suicidal ideas, " I ask?

"Yeah, I do sometimes," is the answer.

"What keeps you from acting on your ideas," I ask?

"My kids, my dog, my ___________."

"Well, it's a wonder, given how miserable you are, that you haven't killed yourself by now," I say.

"I just can't bring myself to do it. I guess things aren't really that bad. I keep hoping that things will get better."

And it is this hope that keeps the person from ending their earthly life. And what does this hope consist of and where does it come from and how does it work?

"What is it that you are hoping will be different if you go on living," I ask?

"I just want things to be okay."

"Things are okay already if you could see beyond the drama in your life," I say.

"I guess," is the reply.

And there is a glimpse of a vision of heaven and peace on earth which has been blocked out by the workings of the ego. We have to admit that we are not in charge, not in control, not the agent of cure. We have to recognize, acknowledge, and surrender to a power far greater than our own and let go. In the letting go, we paradoxically experience peace.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Let the person without sin cast the first stone

It is written in the Introduction to the 21st chapter of the text of A Course In Miracles:

"Damnation is your judgment on yourself, and this you will project upon the world. 2 See it as damned, and all you see is what you did to hurt the Son of God. 3 If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him. 4 If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free. 5 There is no choice that lies between these two decisions. 6 And you will see the witness to the choice you made, and learn from this to recognize which one you chose. 7 The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. 8 And, if this [is] its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you."

Have you noticed all the condemning going on currently in our society? Condemnation lends itself easily to sound bites and tweets. It seems that those asked for a statement and opinion on some tragic event, when it involves another human being, use the word "condemn" without knowing anything about the person other than the tragic act that they have been reported to have perpetrated.

Have you noticed how people in opposition to others, especially in political campaigns, are prone to condemn their opponents? From where does this desire and willingness to condemn come from?

Judgment is an arrogant act presuming omniscience on the part of the person doing the condemning. Judgment is a usurpation of the omniscience and omnipotence of a Higher Power which the judger engages in with a hypocrisy which only casts himself in a darkness fraught with guilt and anguish.

A person with a more highly developed level of spiritual maturity has given up judgment and condemnation as inappropriate, illegitimate, and a form of idolatry. A spiritually developed person laughs as the absurdity of condemnation of one human being by another. Condemnation of behavior is one thing, but condemnation of a fellow human being is quite another. As Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Not knowing is a significant step on the spiritual path

It is written in the Introduction to Chapter 21 of A Course In Miracles, "As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but chose to change your mind about the world." T-21.Intro.1:6-7

It is also written that "Projection makes perception," or as Geraldine, Flip Wilson's transvestite character used to say, "What you see is what you get!."

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we also learn that you can't judge a book by its cover. So we humbly must question our own perception and judgment and ask ourselves what our perception and judgement are based on and what purpose they serve. The spiritual mature person takes a "not knowing" stance towards the world and its events. As it says in lesson 5 of the workbook of ACIM, "I am never upset for the reason I think."

The spiritual mature person is full of curiosity and engages with the world in generous listening.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chose love

Religion is based on tradition and doctrine. Spirituality is based on experience and love. Which do you prefer?

It might be asked, "Can I have both?" The answer at first, is one is reasonable, appears to be "yes," but in practice love must trump tradition and doctrine every time for an authentic spiritual life. Jesus said that the way to heaven is "to love as I have loved." What did Jesus mean by that?

Jesus came to eschew tradition and doctrine in favor of love and they killed him as a threat to the organizations of the day. Jesus life teaches us that we can't have both. There is only one choice, and He clearly tells us it is love. You will find peace when you chose rightly, chose love.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Looking for the divine spark in people and things

When you look at a person do you see the body or the spirit? If all you see is a body you have not seen correctly in the spiritual realm. The body is of the ego and is the means of creating illusion and mistakes. If a person is to be spiritually developed the spirit will be of most interest and the focus for a Holy relationship. Peace Pilgrim called the spirit the "divine spark." Peace Pilgrim said when she met people she looked for the divine spark in them and then focused on that.

We can be a witness to the divine spark in people when perhaps they are not even aware of it in themselves. This is what it means to love other people. Spiritually mature people are in love with Love and look for Love's manifestation is all of Love's creation.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

An indicator of spiritual maturity - knowing that love does not die.

I was taught and many other people too in my Catholic upbringing that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. A Course In Miracles makes it clear that the body is not the temple of the Holy Spirit but relationships are. It is written in ACIM: "The Holy Spirit's temple is not a body, but a relationship." T-20.VI.5:1 Section VI, The Temple of the Holy Spirit describes this idea in more detail. It is our relationship with our Creator and our fellow Creations in which the Holy Spirit abides. Jesus told us the same thing in the New Testament when he said, "Where two or more are gathered together in My name, there I will be."

Rev. Marlin Lavenhar at All Souls Church in Tulsa Oklahoma gave a wonderful sermon on October 29, 2017 entitled "Gone But Never Forgotten" in which he makes the point that love never dies. Bodies do, but not love. Love just changes form. Love is eternal. People with highly developed spiritual awareness know this. It is another indicator of spiritual maturity.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The spiritual practice of Lectio Divina

In yesterday's article, the importance of our media diet for our spiritual diet was described. Today we will describe the spiritual practice of lectio divina. Lectio divina is described in wikipedia as:
In ChristianityLectio Divina (Latin for "Divine Reading") is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's Word.[1] It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.[2]
Traditionally, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a passage of Scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon. This is followed by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God.[3]
The focus of Lectio Divina is not a theological analysis of biblical passages but viewing them with Christ as the key to their meaning. For example, given Jesus' statement in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you", an analytical approach would focus on the reason for the statement during the Last Supper, the biblical context, etc. In Lectio Divina, however, the practitioner "enters" and shares the peace of Christ rather than "dissecting" it.[4] In some Christian teachings, this form of meditative prayer leads to an increased knowledge of Christ.[5][6]
Throughout my life I have practiced lectio divina for 15 minutes per day. I have expanded the practice far beyond Christian texts to other forms of commentary on the spiritual life and philosophical, humanistic, and secular texts as well. My only criteria in selecting texts is  whether they are likely to inspire and nurture spiritual consciousness.
Today, I will start reviewing and suggesting texts that might be appealing and useful for spiritual reading. There is  a page which can be accessed at the top of the opening NSL web page listing books with a brief annotation in a spiritual reading bibliography.

Currently I am reading A Course In Miracles every day and some commentaries which I find helpful.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How does your media diet influence your spirituality?

One of the things I learned early in my life was what media to consume. Some magazines, newspapers, TV shows, radio programs, movies, and now days social media can be uplifting and nurturing of our spiritual development and other social media not so much. Your media diet should be taken as significant as your food and beverage diet.

We live in the media age of irony and snark which often engages in calumny. In the realm of politics, our discourse has become not only uncivil but abusive, and intentionally so, as "negative" campaigning, it is believed, will lead to electoral victory.

The higher developed spiritually mature person will eschew such media products not because they are evil but because they are absurd and based on the drama of the ego. Just as one would not ingest tainted or spoiled food and beverages, the spiritually mature person would not consume tainted or spoiled media that promote values and beliefs that may be toxic to the human spirit.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Growing old and growing up - two different things

Having been raised a Roman Catholic, I was taught about the seven sacraments for the Roman Catholic church which, unlike most of the Protestant denominations, is a sacramental church. These sacraments occur at points in major transitions in the human life cycle: infant baptism at birth, first Eucharist and penance at the "age of reason" around age 7, confirmation in adolescence, marriage and ordination as a gateway to adulthood and generativity, and last rites at death. Other religions have similar rites of passage. Which rites of passage have been meaningful to you in your spiritual life?

Currently, at 71, I am an elder and it is a role I am still learning how to enact for myself and others in my life. Our contemporary society doesn't help much, as there are no clear rites of passage into elderhood other than obtaining Social Security, Medicare, and, perhaps, retiring from one's main career or professions although many continue to work if they are able at least part time.

Elderhood is also a time of generativity when there is a concern about helping the younger generation benefit from what one has learned from one's life experience. This role is not taken by all older people. As one wag put it, "Growing old and growing up are two different things." As we continue to be alive we all grow older but whether we grow up is a choice and intention we each must make. Growing up has to do with spiritual development. It is the ever increasing development of wisdom.

Socrates said an unexamined life is not worth living. If one has lived and is living an examined life, wisdom is the result, it not then not so much.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Who have been your spiritual teachers?

When we talk about our spiritual lives I want to ask the person, "Who have been your spiritual  teachers?" At my age of 71, I  answer, "There have been so many I couldn't name them all. However, if I had to name the ones who have been the most important I would say, 'Jesus' and 'Osho'. I would also have to mention 'A Course In Miracles.'

Spiritual teachers I have known personally I can't say. Have I ever had what is called a "guru" or "spiritual director?" The answer is "no." It's not that I haven't looked for one, but none have appeared and so I have relied on texts for the most part.

In terms of understanding spiritual development, I have gotten the most from James Fowler and Ken Wilbur as well as Lawrence Kohlberg.

I am very grateful for my spiritual teachers and the work they have done and the lives they have lived. The test of spiritual teaching is experience.  I ask myself and others, "and how is that working for you?" If the teaching helps you get your life on a better track and works for you, then it more likely is authentic, genuine, and true. If not keep on searching.

Different teachers appear at different stages of life and spiritual development. Teachers who were important at one stage may not be as important or even relevant to later stages.

At the stage I am at now in my spiritual life, I am looking for teachers of peace. The teachers of peace, teach love, forgiveness, and oneness.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Forgive your brothers and sisters and gain peace.

The appreciation of the cosmic consciousness, the mystical body of Christ, the oversoul, the godhead, is based on loving our brothers and sisters no matter what their sins, what their mistakes. This is a very difficult call and challenge. The immature are not ready. They can't experience this appreciation because they sill live in fear for their safety. They still identify with their bodies and not with their souls. Once you realize that you are a spirit living in a body and not a body with a spirit your perspective changes. You have come a long way. You are becoming mature. You are no longer immature.

Rising above the drama and mistakes of our brothers and sisters takes a big person, a person with an awareness that far exceeds the everyday nonsense born of our illusions and projections.

Bob said to me angrily, "This isn't right, man! It's bullshit!"

And I said, "How right you are! What will you do?"

Bob said, "I'm gonna set them straight. I'm gonna get to the bottom of this! I'm gonna show them!"

And I said, "Sounds like a waste of time, effort, and energy to me. They're not going to listen to you."

"Okay, if you know so much, what should I do?"

I said, "It's up to you. However if it were me, I'd rise above it. I've got better things to be doing with my time and energy. You're throwing pearls before swine if you know what I mean. Did you hear the one about the farmer who tried to teach his pig to sing?"

"What about it," said Bob?

"Frustrated the hell out of the farmer and annoyed the hell out of the pig," I said.

"Yeah, well," said Bob.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Is that all there is?

Once we remember that we are not our body but rather our spirit we have to decide to which, our body or spirit, we will give our allegiance. In most religious traditions this awareness is called "remembering" as in re-member, becoming again consciously aware of our membership in the body of Christ, the cosmic consciousness, the Oneness of Creation.

In A Course In Miracles, this decision to re-member the Oneness from which we have come and to eschew the separation is called "right mindedness." We no longer are insane in thinking that the egoistic world is real and recognize that we have created a world of illusion. It is written in A Course In Miracles: " The exaltation of the body is given up in favor of the spirit, which you love as you could never love the body." T-19.D.5:4

A friend of mine, Peter, said to me one time, "Dave, don't you think there is so much more to life that we just don't understand?"

I said, "Yes, sometimes I have that thought and feeling too. It's like there is a glimmer of something beyond. I reminded of that old Peggy Lee song, 'Is that all there is?'

"Yeah, well," said Peter, "I've decided to pay more attention to that feeling and sense and less to the drama of my every day life. It seems to make me happier. Do you think I'm nuts?"

"Many people would," I said. "But I don't. I get it, and I'm with you."

"Thank you," Peter said. "You're a good friend."

"Likewise, coming back to you," I said. "What about those Bills this year! Doing pretty well aren't they?"

Monday, October 23, 2017

The big picture not every day dramas

We mistakenly think we are a body and not a part of the mystical body of Christ or a part of the cosmic consciousness or a part of the godhead. We are an extension of the energy and force of the universe. As such we don't die we just change form. The form changes but not the content. We are part of the All and the All is what we are not the body.

This identification with a body degrades our peace. Our ego engenders distress on so many levels in so many areas. The ego creates drama all the time. As a client said to me the other day, "It seems things just keep happening to me. It's one thing after an other!" We laughed. It is funny. The dramas we construct are often incongruous and absurd.

A Course In Miracles teaches that the answer to our lives of drama is to turn them over to the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to judge for us, because, if we are honest and being authentic and genuine, what do we know?

A Course In Miracle suggests we say this little prayer:

"Take this from me and look upon it, judging it for me,
Let me not see it as a sign of sin and death, nor use it for destruction.
Teach me how not to make it an obstacle to peace, but
let You use it for me, to facilitate its coming."

The modern day version of this prayer would be:

"Dear Lord, help me! Fuck it. Don't worry, be happy."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dying with a life well lived

The ego, whose identification is with the body, is terrified by death. The ego knows that with the end of the body, the ego is done, toast, no longer able to do its work in the imagined world of its host.

When it is realized that what we call the person is spirit and not a body, the fear of death loses its grip. The physical body dies but the spirit lives on in the stories that are told about the person in the memories of those left behind and maybe beyond.

A mature spirituality realizes that the spirit is immortal as the law of physics called thermodynamics teaches us. The energy of what we call the person is converted and absorbed back into the ground of being. We become one with the all.

What is at issue is whether we are consciously aware at death or "knocked out." If we are consciously aware at our death, our transition, we forgive others and become aware of forgiveness by them, and we surrender to the will of our Higher Power. When this conscious awareness of our "passing" occurs, there is great peace, if not joy, at going home to the oneness from which we sprang.

Obviously, there can be great grief on the part of others who will miss our bodily presence, and sometimes, we, even ourselves, may grieve the loss of these relationships in this incarnation.

The question is how will I die? Will it be in peace or distress? Will it be with a sense of completion or a sense of distress at wasted opportunities?

One of the huge benefits of a mature spirituality is a great peace and joy for a life well lived.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The body or the spirit: which do you focus on?

Did you ever notice that people who focus on the body to the exclusion of the spirit wind up becoming disillusioned and miserable? Have you ever noticed the fleeting pleasure that the body provides only to become satiated and then anxious again for another fix for whatever it is craving? Does it seem that nothing is ever good enough and there is a greedy belief that more and more is better? Have you noticed that this chasing after bodily pleasures deprives us from any lasting peace?

There is something perverse and sad about the preoccupation and obsessions and compulsions that drive our physical attempts to soothe our troubled cravings. We have misplaced our focus on the expected source of our desired peace and joy on the body instead of the mind.

It is written in A Course In Miracles:

"The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither joy nor pain. 5 It is a means, and not an end. 6 It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. 7 The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it. 8 Only the mind can set a purpose, and only the mind can see the means for its accomplishment, and justify its use. " T-18.B.i.10:4-10

The tendency to objectify the body and submit to lust rather than take interest in and appreciate the spirit is a mistake. This mistake, while momentarily can give us pleasure, robs us of longer term joy and well being. The mature person who has achieved a degree of wisdom knows this.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Who are the teachers of God?

There are many aspects of spiritual development such as who are your spiritual teachers, what have been the ritual and rites of passage celebrations in your life, what media have nourished your spiritual
developments, have there been places of special significance in your journey, what have been critical experiences, etc. We will be taking these aspects one at a time and describing them. These aspects are experienced as very personal even as they have social and cultural and sometimes institutional support. So leave a description of your experiences in the comments.

The first aspect of spiritual development is to reflect on who are the teachers of God?

The answer, if we believe that we learn what we teach, that we all are teachers of God and every person we encounter has something to teach us. Sometimes it is patience, compassion, how to manage our fear and anger.

In a more formal sense, a teacher of God, is someone who is a little further down the path than we have come. Someone who can point the way, provide some direction, enhance our understanding, provide us with Love which is a micro experience of the Love of God.

We, ourselves, are teachers of God all the time whether we know it or not. We teach by example, and by manifesting our own state of being.

When I think of the most important teachers in my own life I would mention Father Edward Lintz who was our pastor at our Catholic Church in Brockport, NY and then Father James Callan and Rev. Mary Ramerman at Spiritus Christi in Rochester. I would then mention the most important gurus in my life as Osho, Matthew Fox, and A Course In Miracles. I also have been interested in Ram Dass and several teachers from Buddhist, and Sufi traditions. I also love Lao Tse. The most important teacher of all has been Jesus of Nazareth whom I have come to know through the New Testament and from A Course In Miracles.

At the age of 71 there have literally been thousands of teachers who I have learned from. If I were to recommend just one or two sources they would be the New Testament and A Course In Miracles. As it says in A Course In Miracles, there are many paths of spiritual development which will take you home. The question is not which is best but which works for you?

Before finishing this post, it must be said that the official representatives of religious organizations are not necessarily the best teachers of God because their loyalty is to their organization and tradition not to genuine spiritual development. As we say in the world of Mammon, "caveat emptor," let the buyer beware.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why the longing?

Why the longing?

Because we have separated ourselves from the godhead, the ground of our being and think we are authorities unto ourselves. This thought is what A Course In Miracles calls "a tiny mad idea."

There is no problem with atheism. The question when someone says they are an atheist is "what kind of god don't you believe in?" Most people don't believe in most gods and so all mature, spiritually developed human beings are atheists of a sort. Being an atheist, though, does not mean that we don't recognize a transcendent energy in the universe called Life. How can any person deny Life of which they are a part?

And so there is a deep longing, a deep hunger to undo our separation and  join with the whole. It says in A Course In Miracles, "Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh." T-27.VIII.6:2 In other words, we humans have taken our separation seriously when the idea of our being separate from the ground of our being is absurd. The idea that we could take our existence on our own authority seriously is indeed funny if you get the joke. Unfortunately, many humans do not get the joke.

One of bosses used to say, "We take work seriously, but never ourselves."

A good sense of humor is a significant sign of highly developed sense of humor.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Awareness of spiritual longing

"Spiritual longing is a sort of loneliness for an unknown yet deeply perceived presence. Some call the presence God; some call it peace; some call it consciousness; some call it love. Its source rests in the well of our hearts. When we slow down, quiet the mind, and allow ourselves to feel hungry for something we do not understand, we are dipping into the abundant well of spiritual longing."
-Elizabeth Lesser, The New American Spirituality, p. xiv

John Bradshaw called this longing the "hole in the soul." Clients go to psychotherapy complaining of depression and anxiety and they cannot identify the source of their anguish. In our materialistic society we have been conditioned to fill the hole in our souls with stuff, chemicals, compulsive behaviors, and special relationships. Some more mature souls recognize the anguish as a separation from the godhead, the ground of their being. This awareness sometimes is only a slight glimmer and comes sometimes only on the heals of tragedy.

Sometimes religion provides a path to greater spiritual awareness and sometimes it obstructs our awareness of Love's presence in our lives.

When have you felt that there is something bigger in life than what you had been aware of before? If you pursued it, how did you connect with it?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What does a grown up spiritual life look like?

“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” 

― Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion

What are the major existential questions?

Question - How can I think about spirituality so I can enhance it in my life in a more deliberate way?

Answer - There are many models of religion but only one of spirituality. This one model of spirituality has been called the perennial philosophy. The perennial philosophy describes the elements of spirituality that is described in all major religions. Over the next several weeks we will be describing these elements.

In this article let's consider the major existential questions that all human beings become aware of and reflect on.

Why was I born?

What is the purpose of my life?

What happens when I die?

Who (What) will make be happy?

Who loves me or will love me?

Who (what) should I love?

When I make mistakes how should I correct them?

Life is a school room and as it teaches in A Course In Miralces we are given the above curriculum. We have no choice in the curriculum. Free will only allows us to choose when and how we take it.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The symptoms for spiritual poverty - gun culture

It is absurdly funny that the politicians who take money from the NRA to promote the gun culture encourage people to pray for the victims in Las Vegas and other mass shootings while they do nothing to change the glorification and enthusiasm for guns.

Guns, being a tool of destruction, are recommended as an antidote to fear of attack by a hostile other who is portrayed as intent on bodily harm. This is the hell on earth that the NRA and our politicians have promoted and encouraged not for the betterment of humanity, but rather to increase the profits from the sale of weapons and ammunition.

These activities of promoting a gun culture are huge mistakes begging for correction and yet profit takes precedence over human well being. This is a symptom of extreme spiritual poverty in the United States of America which promotes a culture of fear and death rather than a culture of well being and happiness.

Change begins with each one of us altering our mindset from one of fear to one of love and helpfulness. Our spiritual well being does not depend on our bodily safety. This is a sophisticated idea because egos identify so strongly with their bodies they fail to realize they are so much more.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Will you share Love with yourself and your brothers and sisters?

" are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned." A Course in Miracles, Manual For Teachers, 2.3:6-8

As a psychotherapist, and in examining my own life, I observe that people do the same damn things over and over again until they learn it's not working and try a different, hopefully, a better way.

Gurdjieff said the difference between winners and losers is not that they both don't suffer. Winners and losers suffer the same. The difference is that winners learn from their suffering and losers don't learn a damn thing. In other words we don't get to chose the curriculum of life only when we want to learn from it.

Socrates said an unexamined life is not worth living. How many people do you know who live examined lives? I am blessed to know some. I live one.

Carl told me that he was sitting at a stop light and noticed the other drivers sitting in cars around him. It dawned on him that they all had stories he knew nothing about. It seemed overwhelming to him for a moment and he asked me if I thought he was going crazy? On the contrary, I responded, it seemed like he was maturing. "You are breaking out of your narcissistic bubble and becoming empathic."

"You mean it's a good thing," he asked skeptically.

"Absolutely," I replied. "Your wondering and caring about your fellow human beings is an important step onto your spiritual path."

Carl seemed content and went on to talk about other things.

In A Course In Miracles this looking on our brother with love and seeing him as part of the whole of which we are also a part is what ACIM calls faith, It is written in ACIM, "To have faith is to heal. It is the sign that you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, and would therefore share it." T-19.I.9:1-2

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Should I put my own oxygen mask on first?

If you are spiritually mature, you understand that you are a teacher of God by your example, the life you have created, the values you act on, the opinions, interpretations, and meanings you make and share. Actions speak louder than words and actions come from our beliefs about what it is we think we want to have happen.

The pupils of the life course we teach have been assigned to us often by circumstances that we can't account for. They come into our lives because there is something they can learn from us and us from them.

A person asked Mother Teresa, "Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is to love as I have loved and I wonder whom should I love?" Mother Teresa replied, "Love whomever Life puts in your path."

Stephen Gaskin said one time that in the end all we have to offer another human being is our own state of existence. So what condition is your condition in? We need to be attentive to our own well being if we are to be of any help to anyone else. People should follow the airplane rule and put their own oxygen mask on first, then attend to the needs of others.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Who or what is your God?

At one level I think it is easy to understand that what we all are looking for is love. And yet we are confused about what love is. I was taught that there are at least 5 kinds of love: agape, charitable love; philia, brotherly love; platonic love; eros, romantic love; and storge, parental love. It seems that these distinctions, while meaningful, still hide the deeper understanding that these different kinds of love are just parts of a larger, grander, more abiding love which is the ground of our being, what some people have called the godhead. Some people, like Jesus, simply say that God is love.

A woman asked me in a pointed way one time whether I believed in God. I answered, "It depends on what God you are asking about?" She was a fundamentalist Christian whose God was very judgmental and consigning people to either heaven or hell. If this is the God she is talking about, her God, no I don't believe in it.

Some people say, "I don't believe in God," and I ask them, "What God is it that you don't believe in?"

Some people's gods are more mature than others. In considering the concept of spiritual development an indicator of the stage of spiritual development might be the kind of God the person does or doesn't believe in.

An indicator of a higher stage of spiritual development is the understanding that God is a verb not a noun. God might be thought of as "the force" which Luke Skywalker in Star Wars described.

"Becoming one with the all" gets mocked as New Age psychobabble and yet this desire of going home, joining the cosmic consciousness is a higher level stage of spiritual development.

If we considered the stages of spiritual development on a continuum from thinking of God like Santa Claus who rewards or punishes good and bad boys and girls to becoming one with the all as in each person being a drop in the ocean who is stressed by being separated from the source of its being until it can meld back into the whole from whence it came, where are you in your spiritual development?

Friday, September 29, 2017

What is it you are looking for?

It is written in A Course In Miracles in lesson 182, "This world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of."

We all are on a mythic journey, a quest, to find the holy grail. And until we look within we never really find it. We make the mistake of looking out there when we should be looking within our own hearts.

Having married at 20 my wife and I moved 16 times in the first 11 years of our marriage. Half of these moves were for practical reasons and the other half I never understood, she just was restless and wanted to move because some sort of novelty attracted her. Then we stayed in one place for 12 years, and then moved 7 more times in the remaining 12 years before our divorce after 35 years of marriage. And did she ever find what she was looking for?