Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's resolution - give up the fear of the loss of the ego

The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is fear.

What is the basis for most of our fears? It is the loss of our specialness, our ego.

Do you see your brothers and sisters as special or do you see them as part of the divine like everyone else?

If you give up the idea of specialness and look at the divine, what Peace Pilgrim called the divine spark, you will see yourself and the world in a whole new way which will bring you great peace because your looking at the divine instead of the specialness eliminates conflict.

Specialness is the basis of the lives we have chosen to live up until now not knowing any better. But now we know there is another way and we have to choose. We can take our time. There is no rush. The ego should not just be stripped away, it should be voluntarily shed like a snake sheds its skin. It is like being born again into a new reality which we always intuited was just below the surface but we couldn't see it clearly because of all the blocks and obstacles we placed in front of our awareness of Love's presence.

Love is still there, as it always has been, but our fears have kept us from being aware of it. It takes a lot of effort, energy, and stress to invest in and maintain specialness, and once past our fear we can let all that drama go and relax into Love's presence. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Are you afraid of Love?

We are afraid of Love.

We, in essence, are made of Love. It is the ground of our being. To recognize this fact, acknowledge it, embrace it means we have to give up our egos. We have to surrender that which we have made to embrace Love and giving up our egos scares us. We defend our small self. We protect it. We protest its surrender.

Rather than be One with Glory we cling to the mundane, to the little arrogant, isolated island we have made in the oceanic universe.

The ultimate question is, "How is that working for you, the defending, the protecting, the isolating, the clinging, the protesting?" Get a gun why don't you and see how that works.

The biggest joy in life is letting go of the ego. Surrender that sucker, the sucker that sucks all the joy, peace, and bliss from your life.

You, my friend, we all our God's children. We share in God's glory. We can enjoy this glory all the more when we crack open and get out of our shells.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Life, at its basis, is simple. Choose gratitude or victimhood.

People have a choice: gratitude or complaint, blessing or curse, enough or deprivation. It is a matter of the mind not of circumstances. The richest person in the world is the one for whom whatever they have is enough. The poorest person in the world is the one for whom anything is never good enough.

What kind of a person do you intend to be? The spiritual person is the first and lives in heaven and the deprived person who is unspiritual lives in hell.

This existential awareness is simple. Which do you choose: gratitude or deprivation?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Those who live by the sword will die by the sword

There are certain people who can't trust anyone. Everyone is suspect as being a potential for hurt and pain. The attitude is "get them before they get you." If you doubt this observation look at the popularity of guns in the United States. There are more guns in the United States than there are people, more guns than one for every person in the U.S. And it is statically more likely a person will die by a gun if they own a gun than if they don't.

Why the fear? Where does it come from? Fear is generated by the belief that one's fellow citizens are enemies not friends. We have created hell on earth for ourselves and this hell is a major symptom of our spiritual poverty as a nation. In our attempts to manage our fears of the other by arming ourselves we inadvertently wind up damaging ourselves up to an including over 30,000 deaths per year.

Supposing we decided to see people as friends and not enemies? Supposing we decided to help others and not defend ourselves because of our fears of their possible attack? Supposing we decided to heal our nation and no longer hurt ourselves and others because of our defensiveness?

Supposing we asked ourselves how we really wanted to live our lives and worked together to create heaven on earth instead of the hell we have made? Jesus tells Peter to put his sword away and says, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword." Matt 26:52. The spiritually mature get this and not only have put their guns away but reached out to the people who frighten them in a spirit of radical hospitality. They have decided to live lives of peace, joy, contentment, and healing instead of fear, anguish, stress, and war.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

What is the nature of this hell we have created for ourselves?

What is the nature of this hell we call our lives?

They mythic answer from the Christian bible and from St. Augustine is it is the original sin when Eve and Adam ate the apple of knowledge in the garden of Eden. The story tells us that God was angry with Eve and Adam's disobedience and so cast them out of the garden into a life of misery and anguish.

Upon reflection, Universalists, have rejected the story and asked, "What kind of a God is this?" They have gone on and said, "This is not my God. My God loves God's creation unconditionally. It all is good."

In A Course In Miracles, it teaches that human beings have done this to themselves by separating themselves from God thinking that they know better and want to be the authors of their own lives rather than acknowledge their radical dependence on the interdependent web of existence. Human beings think that they know better than God, than Life, until their illusions no longer are manageable. Most people become increasingly anxious until they hit bottom and then, if they are wise, they surrender and attempt to discern the will of God for them rather than the other way around.

There is a bumper sticker which says, "If God is your co-pilot switch seats."

We create our hell by believing in specialness. Some things are better and other things are lacking. We are told that judgement is the root of evil and sin. Who, after all, are we to judge? Our perceptions and understandings are faulty and this faultiness leads to mayhem. We would be very wise to recognize and acknowledge that we don't know what we think we do. The answer to our illusional ways is forgiveness. We, first, have to forgive ourselves our arrogance and pride and willfulness thinking that we are in charge of anything. We can all die in the next hour in a car crash, from a heart attack of stroke. Which one of us is really in charge of this thing we call Life?

Forgiving our arrogance and our judgment of our brothers and sisters, we should enjoy the beauty and bliss of the moment. Spontaneity is the elixir of Life when we go with the flow and become one with God and all of God's creation.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How well do you know yourself?

Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." This statement implies that happiness requires self knowledge. How well do any of us know ourselves, really?

Ask yourself or another person, "What makes you tick?" We are startled and get anxious and then confused and then perplexed and then stumble towards some sort of half baked answer.

People, in the United States, debate endlessly about what is wrong with our school system. There are two major answers.

First, the purpose of human life is happiness. All people want to be happy. The follow-up question, of course, is, what will make us happy? Schools do very little, if anything, to help students figure this out. This question is the basis of moral philosophy and very few if any public schools offer a course in moral philosophy. Our schools teach math, science, history, English, foreign languages, physical education, and health. Recent surveys have found that over 50% of high school students in the U.S. say that their courses are irrelevant. Maybe students are dissatisfied with their schooling because the most basic topic is ignored or avoided.

The second major question is whether people are encouraged to lead examined lives so they can increasingly develop self-knowledge? This takes a vocabulary to identify thoughts, feelings, and behavior that motivate and describe our functioning. In public education this is called "social emotional learning" and there is some focus and effort to educate students. However, this focus and effort is inconsistent and controversial. After schooling, people are left to reflect and learn on their own unless they get into a church, 12 step programs, psychotherapy, or committed relationships that last several years.

Failures in self knowledge lead to disastrous results for individuals and groups. Human beings are notoriously inaccurate in the assessment of their own functioning. In psychology this is known as "denial" and the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Accurate self-knowledge is the major component of what psychologists call "emotional intelligence." It also is a sign of spiritual maturity. Notes On The Spiritual Life strives to provide its readers with the vocabulary, values, and skills to enhance their spiritual life and the spiritual lives of those they are in relationship with and influence.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love

Osho has said:
"Everyone belongs to God. There is no other way. We are born in God, we live in God, we die in God. Our energy is God’s energy: God is simply the name of the total energy of existence. But the total is not arithmetical, the total is mysterious. It is not mechanical, it is organic. There is a great difference between these two which needs to be understood."

Osho. First in the Morning: 365 Uplifting Moments to Start the Day Consciously, p.15  Osho Media International.

It is written in A Course In Miracles that the pursuit of specialness is the basis for sin. It is written, "Pursuit of specialness is always at the cost of peace." T-24.II.2:1

The bumper sticker says, "You are unique like everyone else."

Did the bumper sticker make you laugh?

It is written in ACIM "You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it. They speak a different language and they fall on different ears." T-24.II.5:1-2

It is further written in ACIM : "Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none. Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another, and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive." T-24.II.1:1-3

The Church Lady on Saturday Night Live would say, "Well, aren't you special!" with a sarcastic and condescending tone of voice.

My wife, Angela, and I have nine children. If I were asked, "Which child do you love the most?" I would be perturbed and offended. "I love them all," of course. If God were asked, "Which of your children do you love the most?" what do you think the Creator would say?

Right. He would say like I would, "I love them all."

Further, as Osho says, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To love only a part of the whole is to miss bliss for short sighted, momentary pleasure.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What is the purpose of our relationships?

If you have the same dignity and worth as every other human being, how can some be special while others are deemed not worthy?

Love which is conditional is not love. We could call it appreciation, responsibility, obligation, compassion, protection, possessiveness, desire, identification, but not Unconditional Love.

Unconditional Love is a whole other thing and abides in the cosmic consciousness of which we each are a part and from which we have separated ourselves out of fear of the loss of our little egos.

To protect our little egos we strike special bargains with others to give to get. This illusion becomes the basis for our justification for our behaviors. However, ultimately, give to get leaves us broken hearted, disappointed, angry, bitter, and even more fearful. The give to get dynamic of special relationships is no basis for a peaceful and fulfilling life. Special relationships cannot be the basis of our security and well being. And yet we enter into them unwittingly often and it is not until we find ourselves in anguish because of them that we question "what is the purpose of this relationship?"

Indeed, what is the purpose of our relationships?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Be in the world but not of the world. Just observe the drama that parades before your witness

Jesus says to "be in the world but not of the world." Jesus is telling us not to attach, not to identify with, just witness, just watch, nonjudgmentally.

Osho says:
"Meditation means awareness, alertness, watchfulness, witnessing. Witness your actions, witness your thoughts, witness your feelings, so that slowly, slowly you can see you are neither the body nor the mind nor the heart – you are the witness of it all.

Osho. Last in the Evening: 365 Relaxing Moments to Enter the Night Consciously, 14 Osho Media International. Kindle Edition.

I sometimes share with my clients in psychotherapy, "You are not your body. Your body is constantly changing. You are not your mind. You change your mind all the time. You are not your feelings. Your feelings constantly change. You are not your personality. You can change your personality once you become aware of traits you would like to change. You are not your social status and reputation because this can change easily as well. So if you are not your body, your thoughts, your feelings, your personality, your social status, then who are you? You are the witness, the soul. It is the part of you that can watch these characteristics of what we call the "self."

Some people have a more highly developed sense of witness, soul. Other people are not aware and feel victimized or rewarded by circumstances beyond their control.

The witness, to be beneficial, needs to watch nonjudgementally. If the witness makes value judgement it is prejudiced and its observations are skewed and biased. Just watch. Just watch yourself function in the world, but stay out of it so you can watch with peace, joy, and amusement.

Friday, December 22, 2017

A human being is a seed of the divine waiting to germinate

Osho has said,

"Man is a seed, but just a seed – he is of great potential, but nothing is actual. The seed can die as a seed without ever becoming a tree, without ever coming to flowering. Man is a seed of light. But ordinarily man is not resplendent, man is not luminous, for the simple reason that the shell of the seed is hard and there are no windows. Man remains enclosed in himself; hence the darkness on the faces of people, in their eyes. But if the shell can be broken – and it can be – then great light is released. It is an explosion! That explosion brings ecstasy. That explosion brings you the eternal. That explosion makes you aware of your eternity,

There is no way other than meditation to break the seed. One has to go on hammering with meditation. One never knows how long it will take because each individual is different. No individual is predictable because people have lived different lives in their past and they have accumulated different personalities. A few people have very thin layers: just a little hit is enough, just the shadow of the whip is enough, not even the whip is needed. But a few people are really thick-skinned: unless you go on hammering, their inner light, their inner splendor, cannot be released. And one never knows how thick the layer is.

One thing is certain – it may take a little longer or a little less time, that doesn't matter – the shell of the seed can be broken, the breakthrough is possible. And that is the only hope for man because only through that breakthrough do you become aware that God is. Then life has meaning, significance, beauty, benediction."

Osho. First in the Morning: 365 Uplifting Moments to Start the Day Consciously, p.13

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Don't believe everything you think

It is written in A Course In Miracles that "No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make. For a decision is a conclusion based on everything you believe." T-24.Intro.2:3-5

What is it then that you believe? And based on those beliefs, what do you value? A quick way to hone in the answer to these questions is to fill in this blank, "What matters the most to me in my life is ___________________."

It is written in ACIM, "To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold." T-24.Intro.2:1

Are we willing to do this? Your spiritual growth depends on it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

We must be twice born if we are to really live.

Osho says:

“Once you are aware, you start seeking and searching for a second birth.
And the second birth becomes possible only through meditation.
The first birth is through the mother, the second birth is through meditation:
hence in ancient scriptures, meditation is called the real mother.
Jesus says to his disciples, “Unless you are born again you will not enter the Kingdom of God.”
In the East, the person who has attained to God is called dwija, twice born.
The second birth releases the fragrance.”

Osho. Last in the Evening: 365 Relaxing Moments to Enter the Night Consciously p.12
Osho Media International.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

To whom, to what do you belong?

Have you ever had the faint glimmer of awareness that maybe the ego is not the Self? In A Course In Miracles it is written, "The world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true." W-182.1:1-2

We have the sense that there has to be more to life. We yearn for that something more. We yearn for Love and to go back home. It is written in ACIM: "Belief that there is another way of perceiving is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. That is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the Self." T-4.11.4:10-11

It requires quiet, silence, to remove the blocks and obstacles to our awareness of Love's presence which is our natural inheritance. Looking inward we come to "know" that Existence is of that which we are made and to which we belong. We come to appreciate that our separate self, our separate ego, is not really real. It is a social construction with which we have identified and become attached. The loss of our ego self fills us with fear, even terror. When, in our witness, we gain and regain some perspective, we are reassured when we realize with a laugh that our egos are bull shit, nonsense, illusions, figments of our imaginations, that deep down, we are part of something much more precious. We decide to pack it in and go home. We have had enough. When enough is enough, that's enough. Time to return from whence we came and to acknowledge to whom or to what we belong.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Love is all there is.

Can you forgive someone a little bit? Can you forgive someone for this but not that? Can you really forgive but not forget? Forgiveness which is compromised is not forgiveness at all for it hides deep resentment and fears.

With forgiveness it is all or nothing. This is a difficult teaching, too much for most people. Only the very spiritually mature can forgive wholeheartedly and mean it.

With forgiveness there is no half-assed way to do it genuinely. Either we move on in Love and peace or we are held back by fears and resentments.

Fears are the crux of the problem with forgiveness. We find it difficult to eliminate them because we are pre-occupied with bodies and not with souls. Our bodies can be hurt for sure, but never our souls without our acquiescence and permission.

Deep down we are invincible and there is nothing to fear. We are loved by the Force of the Universe unconditionally. When we realize this, nothing can ever hurt us again. Fears are eliminated by Love. In the last analysis, Love is all there is.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Spiritual seekers are miners

What is it that we seek from others? Love. He could love me, if only he would, and he won't because he is such a prick. She could love me, if only she would, and she won't because she is such a bitch. We accuse each other of perversity or holding out on us as if they had the power to make us happy.

Fact of the matter is that the other is not holding out on us because the other does not have the power to make himself or herself happy, let alone take responsibility for the happiness of another human being. This false belief in the power of the other to make us happy is the basis for all human misery and anguish. We have been looking for love in all the wrong places as the song tells.

The quest, to be successful, must take us within not without. We, each, are ultimately responsible for our own happiness. We can't put this responsibility on someone else. It is existentially unfair, inappropriate, misguided, and a huge mistake. Basically the belief that other people can make us happy is the chief of the ego's illusions. The ego tells us that the pearl of great price, that which we seek, is buried in another person's body. Sooner or later most of us usually with great sorrow and suffering, we come to recognize and acknowledge that this is not true. We have been on a wild goose chase, like a Boy Scout on a snipe hunt.

Clearing away these misguided illusions we come to realize that Love's presence has been within us all the time. We were too distracted to notice. We were too hell bent on getting it from somebody else rather than taking the responsibility ourselves.

The great turning of spiritual maturity is the realization that happiness, Love, is an inside job. It is at the bottom of a deep well which resides covered in slag, dirt, rocks, and vegetation. If we mine for it we will find the precious diamond that has been there forever and is our natural inheritance.

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.