Tuesday, August 21, 2018

When you look at the world and yourself what do you see?

The perennial psychology distinguishes between the states of human consciousness as asleep and awake. Most human beings spend most of their lives with their consciousness asleep. Steve Taylor describes the sleep state of consciousness in his book, The Leap, as having four categories of signs and symptoms: affective, perceptual, conceptual and behavioral. We will be taking these categories of signs and symptoms of a sleeping consciousness one at a time. In this article we will describe the signs and symptoms of the perceptual category. These signs and symptoms of the perceptual category are not in any particular order.

The perceptual category involves the underlying understanding of the world. In our Western Civilization we have been educated in the Aristotelian model of reduction and causation. With the development of this understanding the scientific method has been created. We see things in linear sequences of causation; a lead to b leads to c leads to d and so on. We have broken things down into component parts, named them as objects, and learned how to manipulate their configurations and interactions. This has given us humans great power over our physical world and motivates the basic questioning of 4 years old who harass their parents with the constant question of "why?"

With maturity and further development in cognitive abilities we come to realize that objects are part of greater wholes and a system awareness dawns on us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We come to realize that the objects in the universe are interdependent and imbued with a power that isn't explained by its component parts and thus scientists become mystics.

We are told in the Tao Te Ching that "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginnings of the heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things." Those ten thousand things though only exist because of the Nameless.

When we awaken from our sleep we no longer just perceive objects. We not only know there is more, but we sense it intuitively. The seventh principle of Unitarian Universalism involves covenanting together with others to affirm and promote the "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Perhaps love is a better word than respect.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

When it comes to spiritual consciousness are most Americans asleep?

The perennial psychology distinguishes between the states of human consciousness as asleep and awake. Most human beings spend most of their lives with their consciousness asleep. Steve Taylor describes the sleep state of consciousness in his book, The Leap, as having four categories of signs and symptoms: affective, perceptual, conceptual and behavioral. We will be taking these categories of signs and symptoms of a sleeping consciousness one at a time. In this article we will describe the signs and symptoms of the affective category. These signs and symptoms of the affective category are not in any particular order.

First, there is a feeling of separation and disconnection from the ground of our being, from a holistic appreciation of existence itself. The biggest problem according to social psychologists in our current times in spite of social media is loneliness. There is a sense of fragmentation. Of things not filling together and being connected in a harmonious ways. The biggest fear we all experience, manifested in a multitude of ways, is abandonment and neglect. Our biggest fear is being unloved. Our anxiety and level of alarm is always at at a low level. It is the back ground noise of our lives.

Second, there is what Taylor calls "thought chatter," the buddhists call "monkey mind," and the psychologists call "rumination." These constant thoughts keep us awake at night and even if we fall asleep exhausted, we wake up in the middle of the night, when the worries take us over again and prevent us from going back to sleep. We deal with this thought chatter by keeping busy and distracting ourselves with sensory excitement whether it is shopping, sports, sex, gambling, workaholism, religion, food, substances, and what we used to call "the hustle."

Third, there is what Taylor calls "abstraction" which he describes as "Rather than live in the world, we live in our minds." or what we might call in our internet age "virtual reality." Our own reality is depressing, boring, upsetting, and so we create and construct virtual realities to live and operate in. This is much more easily down in our internet age with compulsive use of social media and "surfing the web" in a mindless fashion to entertain ourselves or, at least, dull the pain.

Fourth, there is anxiety and discontent. The biggest psychiatric problem in the United States are anxiety disorders and depression for which millions of dollars of medications are prescribed per year. Taylor writes, "In our sleep state there's a sense of fear. Our separateness creates a sense of vulnerability and insecurity, of being threatened by the world and other people."  Our constant use of media, entertainment, and advertising magnifies our sense of vulnerability and insecurity. Mother Teresa said, The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

Mother Teresa's comment that the U.S. is materially very rich, but spiritually very poor might lead one to the conclusion that most Americans are asleep when it comes to spiritual consciousness.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

How does a person awaken?

How does a person achieve enlightenment or awaken? According to Steve Taylor in his book, The Leap, there are three ways: a small number of people are born awake (They have been called "old souls"), some awaken gradually, and some awake in a miraculous moment often induced in a crisis.

The greatest number of people reaching enlightenment are probably in category two, the gradual awakeners. These are people who engage in spiritual practices such as prayer, fasting, meditation, community service in mindful ways, spiritual reading, etc.

Awakening has several associations in psychology such as emotional intelligence and Murray Bowen's concept of "differentiation." Both EQ and differentiation require self knowledge, self control, motivation, empathy, and social skills (interpersonal connections called in religious language agape or love).

The first two aspects of EQ: self knowledge and self control get the biggest focus in religious practices. Shedding the ego, undoing social conditioning, leaving the path of the ego to enter onto the path of the spirit, is the road to enlightenment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Are you ready for the Truth?

We are all called to be teachers of God. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all constantly teaching by how we behave not by what we say. Stephen Gaskin said that in the last analysis all we have to offer another human being is our own state of being. So what state of being is your being in?

The Truth with a capital T will set us free. We are so easily enamored with our truths, small T, that we often don't become aware of the Truth with a capital T. For those of us who are aware of the Truth with a capital T, it is incumbent on us to share it. As Pope John Paul II said, "Never impose, always propose."

And so it is up to us, the Truth tellers, to propose the Truth with enthusiasm, energy, and joy. The Truth of Existence is always fun, enlightening, invigorating, and generous.

It is up to Truth to change the world, not the world to change the Truth. Many small truths don't make a right. Truth is found in right mindedness and truths are found in wrong mindedness.

Often, my truth is not the same as the Truth. The Truth is to be found on the path of the spirit which means we have to leave the path of the ego. Jesus tells the rich young man that if he would enter the Kingdom he would need to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and come follow Him. It was too  much for the young man. He became sad and walked away. He, unfortunately, was not yet ready for the Truth.

Truth which is everything, when we are in our right mind, costs us nothing. It is free for the asking and taking. However in our wrong mind, the Truth appears to be very, very costly.

The Truth does not change or disappear. It is always there waiting for us to recognize it. When will be the time for you?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Has secular noise overwhelmed the silence of sanity?

Robert Barron says, "The secular establishment always prefers Christians who are vacillating, unsure, divided, and altogether eager to privatize their religion. That's the kind of Christianity the regular culture likes:utterly privatized, hidden away, harmless." p.107, To Light A Fire On The Earth.

In our contemporary culture, postmodernist philosophy teaches that truth is a social construction. Truth, small t, is a social construction, relative, situational, a figment of human beings creations on the path of the ego. However, Truth, capital T is about spiritual laws and this Truth is absolute and not of the making of human beings. One truth is found on the path of wrong-mindedness, and the Truth is found on the path of right mindedness.

In our secular world, no distinction is made between truth and Truth. This distinction requires a level of wisdom and understanding that most modern people don't understand. This lack of understanding generates much anxiety and fear. It is written in A Course In Miracles, "You have every reason to feel afraid as you perceive yourself. This is why you cannot escape from fear until you realize that you did not and could not create yourself." T-3.IV.3:8-9

The spiritual path is not about intelligence, knowledge, creeds, belief systems, etc. Spirituality is not cognitive. In order to ascend on the spiritual path one must "lose one's mind." As St. Paul writes, we have to become "fools" for Christ. True spirituality is a return to child-like innocence wondering at the Oneness of existence.

People on the  path of the ego don't want to hear about the Truth. It scares them. It means they would have to detach from the things that they think will make them happy. This is too much. The young man asks Jesus how to get to the kingdom and Jesus tells him to sell all he has, give the money to the poor, and come follow me, and the young man walks away sad.

People on the path of the ego who worship all kinds of idols don't want to hear about the Truth, they just want the Truth tellers to go away, shut their mouths, and keep their understandings to themselves. Unfortunately, they has happened more and more as the secular noise overwhelms the silence of sanity.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Agape or eros?

What does sex have to do with spirituality? Very little. Jesus and Buddha teach very little about it. Since we are not bodies with a spirit, we are spirits with a body, bodily functions are not a focus of healthy spirituality.

Unfortunately, sex is a pre-occupation, though, with religions. Probably because it is a powerful bodily drive like eating and drinking, defecating and urinating. Sexual behavior is something that religions can attempt to control people with.

Religions have made sex an idol. It is placed before their teaching about the love of the Divine. If religions can control the bodies of their members, they can subjugate and oppress millions of people and keep them captive to their control.

The spiritually mature have come to realize that the religious focus and control of sexual behavior is nonsense. Moral condemnation is further attempts to judge and separate not accept and join. With the focus on sexual behavior the Atonement is delayed and thwarted.

Sexual morality is a side show for religious circuses. Religions showcase sexual behavior that is titillating and tempting and focuses on  the very behaviors it is condemning.

Avoid the sideshow and stay focused on the importance of forgiveness, compassion, and agape.

At the end of the day, spirituality is about agape not eros.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What are you?

You are not a body. The body changes over your life span. How could you be it? Look at your baby pictures; you are no longer a baby.

If we are not our body, what are we?

We are not a body with a spirit, we are a spirit with a body.

Same is true of other people. They are not bodies either. They are spirits within bodies.

Watch what one body does to another in war, in bullying, in physical abuse and assault. What is going on?

Bodies come in different colors, different shapes, different weights and heights. Some we judge to be beautiful, some mediocre, and some ugly.

Some bodies kill other bodies. In the U.S.A. black and brown bodies are assaulted, attacked, and killed by white bodies.

President Trump says that because he is a celebrity he can kiss, fondle, and grope bodies as he prefers. He says, "They let me do it." This has become our national standard. If you are rich and powerful your body can do what it wants to obtain pleasure.

However, the spirit becomes sad and is dispirited. The energy is very low and leaden. The spirit becomes demoralized when people are treated as bodies and not as spirits.

We recognize that something is wrong. Our minds have been lead down a mistaken path. We have become wrong minded instead of right minded. We have been robbed of our peace and joy. In this recognition it dawns on us that there is a better way and we begin our search for the better way to live our lives and engage with others who are called to a similar search.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Do you want to be happy? Do you know what it takes?

The Dali Lama has said that the purpose of life is happiness. The big question is, "What will make me happy?" The answer is to live a moral life full of virtue. People respond, "You can't tell me what to do!" And the answer is, "Of course not, it is not my intention to deprive you of your freedom. It is my intention to help you figure out what will make you happy."

Becoming happy is the outcome of implementing certain skills. As with any skill, a person could exercise it any old way he/she wants to, but will this willy nilly approach get the same results? We pay big money for tutors, for teachers to help us improve our skills because we have grasped that accomplishment takes deliberate practice. If you are to play the piano well, it must be practiced on a regular basis and a piano teacher can help.

If you are to live life well it takes a lot of practice and a certain amount of intention and reflection and a good teacher can help as well.

Many things on the path of the ego create obstacles and block our progress to happiness. Are we even aware of what thoughts and behavior will lead to happiness?

Osho makes an important distinction between pleasure, happiness, joy, and bliss. People seek sensory pleasure, but this doesn't contribute to longer term happiness let alone joy and bliss. The Universe calls us to bliss and few people know how to attain it. Sometimes the achievement of bliss requires the forgoing of pleasure. Feeling good and doing good can be two different things.

Achieving happiness and bliss requires discipline and awareness. In achieving a degree of happiness and bliss, wisdom accrues. Seek out and learn from the wise ones.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Is it time to listen to the wise ones?

We live in a culture which is radically subjective and relativistic. It has given up any belief in an objective morality. It believes that anything goes in certain situations, for certain people, at certain times.

In the postmodern world, every thought, every belief, every value, every preference is a social construction. Conscience, justice, goodness, truth, beauty have become things of the past that exist in the realm of nostalgia and sentimentality.

Where are the smart people? Where are the wise ones? Does nobody stand for anything anymore? Is there nothing that I can use as my compass, my navigational north star?

Into this moral morass, this moral swamp, comes Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu. However, these enlightened people shared an understanding of reality that the common human, who is asleep in social conditioning, cannot apprehend let along understand and apply in their lives.

What then is to be done to improve the human condition? Psychotherapy is needed at a societal level. The purpose of this societal psychotherapy is to remove the blocks and obstacles to truth. This removal of the blocks and obstacles to truth is the removal of fear. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said which he is believed to have gotten from Henry David Thoreau, the biggest fear is fearing fear itself.

The biggest problem humans experience at a personal and societal level is fear. Fear prevents them from loving which is the path to peace, joy, and comfort.

The tool to eradicate fear is forgiveness. Until we can rise above the dramas on the path of the ego we will continue to experience turmoil and distress. Forgiveness requires a shift in perception and belief from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit. The means of this shifting is what Jesus, Buddha, and Lao Tzu attempted to teach their fellow human beings. However, because of their fear and willfulness most people do no have the ears to hear, nor the eyes to see, nor the minds to comprehend the suggestions that the great ones offered humanity.

We are coming to a time of listening and awakening. It is here, now, and requires each of us to pay attention, reflect, understand, and apply the wisdom offered to us. Rising above the drama, sensationalism, and entertainment of the ego to embark on a new path of love, compassion, generosity, and charity is the means to the path forward in our human evolution.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Do you know any saints?

Some people say that the function of the church is to produce saints. The function of the church is to help people to become holy. Are there saints among us? Have there been in recent times?

Dorothy Day has been proclaimed a "servant of God" which is a step toward canonization in the Roman Catholic church. Pope Francis has mentioned Dorothy Day along with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thomas Merton as "exemplary Americans."

Do you have your own names of holy people in your life? I think of Father Edward Lintz, the pastor of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary in Brockport, NY as a very holy man. He was a quiet saint, a servant of the people.

There are people in the world committed to goodness. They aspire to goodness as the best way to live their lives and be in the world.

The indicator of goodness, of holiness, of sainthood, is being awake. Recognizing one's existence as part of the Oneness, of the All. It is written in A Course In Miracles that "the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself." T-2.V.5:1

If a person accepts the Atonement for oneself, (s)he cannot help but to be loving and Jesus tells us that the way to the Kingdom, the way to holiness, is to "love as I have loved."

Has your church produced any saints? If yes, how? If no, why not?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What are two things of beauty you have become aware of today?

Beauty is what moves us. The path of the ego pushes the ugly in front of our awareness constantly to capture our attention and encourage our emotional arousal and response. The path of the ego is littered with fear, contempt, disdain, criticism, rejection, and abandonment. These tactics are woven into our lives causing angry attacks, depression, anxiety, and to their extreme: homicide and suicide. The path of the ego is the path to hell.

Exhausted, totally demoralized, on the verge of a nervous break down we cry out to the Universe, "There must be a better way!" And the Universe gently and lovingly responds with signs that there is. And we become aware of what A Course In Miracles calls the Atonement or At-onement.

We come to understand that the path of the ego is hell on earth and its main motivating force is fear. We realize that the path of the spirit is heaven on earth and its main motivating force is love. We come to the fork in the road and realize that we can continue on the path of the ego which is filled with rear and ugliness or the path of the spirit which is filled with love and beauty. Which will I choose: the high road or the low road?

The low road is easy because we can sleep walk it. It takes no effort. The high road is difficult because we have to be awake and awareness while it may not take more effort, it does take discipline.

Beauty is comprised of the true and the good and it illuminates our consciousness. We are moved by it and surrender to it and it fills us with grace. A thing of beauty is a wonder to behold. To make heaven on earth we need to recognize and acknowledge at least two things of beauty we have become aware of every day.

While the path of the ego is littered with ugliness, the path of the spirit entails abundant beauty.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What do you find most true, most beautiful, most good?

Psychotherapists focus on the three aspects of the human personality: thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the world of values we name truth, beauty, and goodness as the pivotal touchstones of our consciousnesses. These values correspond to the aspects of the personality: our thoughts desire truth, our feelings desire beauty, and our behavior desires goodness.

When we apply this trinity to the spiritual life we can wonder: what is truth, what is beauty, and what is goodness? What are the circumstances and factors that contribute to experiencing these three qualities?

It is the pursuit of the truth, beauty, and goodness that comprises the spiritual life and the life worth living. Wherein do these three qualities lie?

In my life, my truth is found in _____________________________.

In my life, beauty is most intensely experienced in ____________________________.

In my life, goodness is found in ________________________________.

In other words, what is the most important truth for you? What is the most beautiful for you? What is the most good that you appreciate most?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Have you become aware of the light?

When we have seen the light, we want to share it. It is not something to kept to oneself. It is like a joke, it is meant to be shared if we are to truly enjoy it.

We live in a society though that doesn't recognize the light because it is so mesmerized by darkness. Mammon and the ego rule the world providing many idols for worship. Those idols are easily shared and envied. Advertising bombards us 24/7/365, constantly. As a society, we have become the people of the lie. We have become so adapted to the con, the scam, the sell that we think nothing of it. This marketing seems normal and even entertaining.

When gears get shifted and the path of the ego is not doing it for us any more, it dawns on us that there must be a better way to live. We give up Mammon and Mammon's idols for something more precious, the real deal, the authentic, the genuine, the Oneness with the Divine, the Source of our Source.

Remember the old gospel hymn, "This little light of mine?" I'm gonna let it shine. This is not ego talking and strutting, this is something within and beyond my ego self. The song title might be better stated as "This little light within" I'm gonna let it shine and illuminate you too."

Monday, July 9, 2018

What are your plans?

One of the seeming paradoxes in life is that we learn what we teach, we receive what we give, we become more aware of what we share.

So, what are you teaching these days? Your actions are the indicator of what you believe. Are you acting in Love or in fear? Are you understanding or judgmental? Do you forgive or condemn?

It's simple, really. We must choose which path we walk: the path of the ego or the path of the spirit. We come to the fork in the road hundreds of times a day.

Most of us walk asleep. We are not aware of our power of choice. We just react without thinking.

Now you know that you have a choice. It is being pointed out to you. Choose. What are your plans?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What is the path to peace?

The third step of the twelve step program for people in recovery is to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.

This decision to "turn it over" comes after the dawning that there must be a better way. This turning initiates the search. What is that better way? What does it look like? How can I stay on the right track and not get lost again? Are there trail markers I should look for or am I to blaze the trail all on my own only following an intuitive compass that points at God's will for me?

What are the differences I should be alert to to discern the differences between the path of the ego and the path of the spirit?

The two biggest trail markers on the path of the spirit are: What is the loving thing? and Will this bring us peace? Notice the word "us". What will bring "us" peace includes "me" but not "me" alone. My relationships with others must be brought into consideration as well.

The body is the not the temple of the Holy Spirit as so many of us have been incorrectly taught. The temple of the Holy Spirit is in relationships. Remember the Jesus said, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be." Jesus was referring to the Divine when He said "I" not his personification.

Giving up our ego is a scary thing. We feel like we are giving up control, and indeed, we are intentionally giving up control, and turning it over to the Divine. We come to not only learn that we are not in control of the universe but we gladly give up the fantasy and illusion.

Let it go. There are far greater things going on than we could ever understand. Give up our attempts to control every thing. As they say in AA, "Let go and let God."

A genuine surrender is the path to peace.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

What is the purpose of our lives?

The three primary existential questions which all humans must deal with are: why was I born; what is the purpose of my life; what happens when I die.

A Course In Miracles provides answers to these three questions but the ego does not like these answers and blocks our awareness of Love which is our natural inheritance.

We are born to become consciously aware of the Atonement. Prior to our birth we were a part of the Atonement but not consciously aware. Birth gives us that opportunity.

The purpose of our lives is to achieve forgiveness which is the recognition that the separation is an illusion of our own creation and that beyond this illusion there is a reality of Love and Peace which is more than we can comprehend.

The important function of forgiveness is to align our individual wills with God's will and let the Holy Spirit lead the way. It is in recognizing, acknowledging, and joining in the Will of God, the Tao, the Oneness that authentic Life lies.

The perennial psychology tells us that we are sleeping and to experience life fully, we must wake up. This waking up can be achieved in several ways, there are many roads to Rome, but the destination, the becoming one with the All is the same experience regardless of the road taken to get there.

The way in the Course In Miracles is forgiveness, first ourselves for our mistake in thinking the path of the ego was the way to happiness and fulfillment rather than the path of the spirit, and then, when we get on the right track, extending this same forgiveness, awareness and intention, to others.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Did you ever think that life is absurd?

Forgiveness, as the term is used in spiritual discourse, is not the pardoning of an offense, or asking to be excused for a harmful act or mistake for which we have regret and may now feel ashamed. Forgiveness, in the spiritual sense, is the recognition that all the drama and nonsense on the path of the ego is not real. It is a figment of our  imagination.

Jesus says as they are killing Him, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," and they didn't and we are still talking about it 2000 years later. We could say the same for most of the stuff that happens to us and that we do to others. "Father, forgive us for we know not what we do," or as my 13 year old friend, Jackson, says, "It's ridiculous, just ridiculous!" And Jackson is expressing Jesus' forgiveness. Jackson and Jesus have the same understanding and Love.

Practicing forgiveness is this shifting of gears from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit. It is a rising above and not taking the drama seriously. It is a deep and hearty laughter at the absurdity and incongruity of life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What is the most important spiritual practice?

The key practice of the spiritual life is not prayer, not worship, not meditation, not alms giving, not service, but forgiveness. When we have achieved forgiveness ourselves, then we are ready to share forgiveness with others.

The benefits of forgiveness are gratitude and healing. We become Holy.

The practice of forgiveness can come about suddenly when we hit bottom and realize that there has to be a better way. There is a sudden shift from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit. This is the miracle which the Course teaches. At other times, the practice of forgiveness can come about slowly with an incremental growing awareness that there is a better way that gently moves us from the path of the ego to the path of a spirit. This can take months, years, decades, a whole life time.

What we each have to learn to move from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit is different for each individual. We each have our role to play in the whole. While acceptance of the Atonement is a universal experience, the path to the acceptance is individual and unique. The only universal requirement is that forgiveness is total. It can't be achieved in part including some and excluding others. It is one of those things in life that is all or nothing.

When we have achieved forgiveness for ourselves, others who need forgiveness as well will find us. The universe has a way of matching the gifts of one with the desires of the other.

Osho says,
     "You get only that which you have – because that which you have becomes a magnetic force; it attracts something similar to it. It is as if a drunkard comes to a city; soon he will find other drunkards. If a gambler comes to the city, soon he will become acquainted with other gamblers. If a thief comes to a city, he will find other thieves. If a seeker of truth comes to the city, he will find other seekers.
     Whatever we create within ourselves becomes a magnetic center, it creates a certain field of energy. And in that field of energy things start happening. So if one wants the blessings of existence, one should create whatever blissfulness one is capable of; one should do one’s utmost and then a thousandfold bliss will be yours. The more you have, the more will be coming. Once this secret is understood, one goes on becoming richer and richer inwardly. Deeper and deeper is one’s joy. And there is no end to ecstasy – one just has to begin in the right direction."

Osho. Last in the Evening: 365 Relaxing Moments to Enter the Night Consciously (Kindle Locations 1905-1910). Osho Media International. Kindle Edition.

If you would heal yourself and become Holy, practice forgiveness. Forgiveness shifts us from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit where miracles occur.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Are you looking for Love?

Unconsciously, and sometimes consciously, we feel guilty and ashamed for separating ourselves from the Oneness, the Divine, God. How do we resolve this shame and guilt? A Course In Miracles calls this "Atonement" or At-one-ment. Christians call it the Body of Christ. It is the drop rejoining the ocean.

The atonement is oceanic. It is ascending to a cosmic consciousness. It is rejoining and becoming one again with the all.

The major tool and activity of the Atonement is forgiveness. Forgiveness, in this sense, does not mean excusing an offense, an unfairness, harm that was done to us, but rather a recognition that all the shenanigans on the path of the ego are illusory. We rise above the bull shit, the drama, the ridiculousness, the illusions on the path of the ego and enter onto the path of the spirit. As Kenneth Wapnick has written in his book, Christian Psychology in A Course In Miracles, on page 29, "The Course teaches that every form of distress reflects some form of unforgiveness in ourselves. We call to God for help, not always understanding the help we need, for we do not recognize the real problem."

The path of the spirit involves the recognition, acknowledgement, and connection with the Divine within us and between us in Creation. The sign of being on the right track is rejoicing in Life.

Look for the Divine spark in yourself and in others and connect the dots. It will build a roaring fire of Love on earth as it is in heaven.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Will you choose to forgive or condemn?

Would you choose to forgive or condemn? People either act out of love or they are making a call for love. The choice we can make in this world, which is our classroom, is to condemn and attack or  forgive and connect.

When we respond to attacks with counter attacks we confirm that there is something to fear. We have sided with the ego and not the Holy Spirit. Politicians do this constantly. President Nixon said, "The best defense is a good offense." President Trump and his administration provides us with a morality play daily of counter attacking and playing the game of "What about ________!" It is a childish game of "he hit me first!" and "look at what she did!"

The morality play broadcast daily in our media demonstrates the futility of the games of the ego. Symptoms of distress emerge in rising suicide rates, mass shootings, protests, and increasing divisiveness. Underlying fears fuel racism, mysogony, xenophobia, and state sanctioned murder with drone strikes, torture, and threats of war.

Kenneth Wapnick writes in his book, Christian Psychology In A Course In Miracles on page 27, "The Holy Spirit's correction is the miracle of forgiveness. It is this that replaces guilt with holiness, illusion with truth, and darkness with light. It is holy because it reflects Christ's love."

The challenge of the times is a whole new way of thinking and understanding of our human experience. Jesus said we should love our enemies. On the path of the ego this injunction is insanity. On the path of the spirit it makes perfect sense. We are all part of the Oneness. We are all in this thing we call Life together and no one gets out alive.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

What is true forgiveness?

In A Course In Miracles, there is an unusual definition of forgiveness. To understand this definition there first must be an understanding of the metaphysics upon which the Course is based.

The first important idea in A Course In Miracles is that the primary problem we, as human beings, experience is the fact that we have separated ourselves from the Oneness which is God. This separation is the Original sin although the Course does not speak of "sin" but of "mistakes." So the separation was our first mistake.

The second important idea is that during the separation from the Oneness we have created a world of illusions within which to live. In other words, the experience on the path of ego is a figment of our mutual imaginations. None of it really exists. It's all make believe. In the Oneness, the world we have created on the path of the ego is filled with mirages which constantly change like dreams in our sleep. Most of the time, viewed from mindful perspective, they don't even make sense.

The third important idea is that if what we are experiencing are mirages of our own illusional making, there is nothing to forgive. As Kenneth Wapnick puts it in his book, Christian Psychology In A Course In Miracles on page 22, "The Course has an unusual definition of forgiveness: we forgive others for what they have not done to us." A little further, Wapnick explains that if we forgive others in the usual way on the path of the ego we see ourselves as "better" while the others are "worse." Wapnick writes on page 23, "Our sense of separation from them is thus increased rather than healed."

Forgiveness, as taught in the Course, is a rising above the situation not a letting go. We come to see mistakes for what they are on the path of the spirit which is simply illusions. Jesus demonstrates this understanding when He says, as He is being crucified, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." And they didn't, and we don't, because if we did, we wouldn't do it.

Love is never having to say you're sorry, Unconditional Love, that is, which is part of the Oneness which we experience on the path of the spirit. How could the drop say to the ocean, "I'm sorry?" And what would the ocean say? "Welcome home."

True forgiveness is a healing brought about by an understanding of what has never been.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Where would you rather go: to hell or heaven?

Just as we have special love relationships, we have special hate relationships. "I love you. I hate you. I love to hate you."

I get to play the victim if you will play the persecutor. "Why does this always happen to me!" is the cry of the victim.

There is a certain sense of righteousness with the expression of indignity at the projected attacks. These attacks are not only the things the persecutor did, but the things the persecutor didn't do especially not loving me enough or in the right way or only a little bit when the full attention was expected.

It is taught in A Course In Miracles that the special relationship is the ego's home. As Kenneth Wapnick, a teacher of the Course writes, "It is to protect its 'home' that the ego always strives to justify anger." p.19 (Christian Psychology in A Course In Miracles)

The path of the ego takes us to hell. The path of the spirit takes us to heaven. Where would you rather go?

Friday, June 29, 2018

What is the Love that you seek?

We live in a culture which puts a high value on the romantic relationship, the one special relationship which we are taught to believe will make us whole, and complete, and happy.

This belief in the salvation of romantic relationships is utter nonsense as they fail more often than they succeed because they are based on the scarcity principle. This scarcity principle is the delusional belief that only this other special person can make us happy.

This belief that only another special person can make us happy is a delusion which leads us to hell. This delusion is based on the unconscious idea that the other special person can give us what we are lacking in ourselves. When the special other pays any attention to anyone else or anything else we go into panic mode that this feared abandonment and rejection will be the death of our emotional, psychological, and social well being.

This search for what is lacking in ourselves in others can only lead to failure. We are looking for love in all the wrong places and wind up playing the game described in A Course In Miracles of "Seek and do not find."

We move from one disappointing special relationship to another usually in succession, but sometimes simultaneously. Betrayal and bitterness, hurt and sorrow become the fruits of our misguided search for Love. At some point, the wise, more mature person comes to realize that the Love they are seeking is within themselves. It is the oneness with the all that they seek and that is found within and between others in a Holy relationship which is inclusive and not exclusive.

When we come to realize that the romantic love we seek is simply using other people and a subtle form of exploitation, we come to see our guilt and shame from the mistakes we have made looking for love where it cannot be found.

True love is unconditional. True love is not based on a "give to get" cycle of mercenary, conditional exchange. We come to realize that we can't give what we don't have, we can't share what we don't possess. True happiness comes from within when we realize the grace of our Oneness with Creation.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

What does the term "projection" mean?

The psychological term for it is "projection." Projection is an "if only" state of mind. If only this happened or that happened, if only he would or she would, if only I could, then, then, then, I would be happy.

The little mantra we repeat over and over and over again to ourselves is "(S)he could if only (s)he would, but (s)he won't because (s)he is holding out on me." And we project our wishes, our resentments, our hopes, and our grievances onto the other person or the situations that we THINK will make us happy.

Even worse, we, then, go looking for evidence that our propositions about the other making us happy are right. Oh, how we want to be right; we are sure we are right; so sure we become mad or sad that our expectations go unfulfilled, sometimes even murderously enraged.

The big mistake, of course, is that external people and things can't make us happy. This idea, we come to understand as we spiritually mature, is utter nonsense, an illusion we create in our desire for our own wish fulfillment.

We need to grow up and take responsibility for our own happiness, not project this responsibility onto others.

People are so silly, ridiculous really. Ask most people what it would take to make them happy and they say silly things like "Winning the lottery," and then they giggle because they know how unlikely and how silly this is. What is frightening is when they say it seriously as if they truly believe this would bring them deep, abiding, authentic happiness.

Jesus says clearly that the kingdom of God is among you. Jesus, when asked by the Pharisees where His kingdom is, says, and I paraphrase, "the kingdom of God is not a place. You can't say look here or look there. The kingdom of which I speak is right here, right now, between you. It is in your midst, but you don't see it because you are constantly looking elsewhere." Luke 17:21.

We are looking for love in all the wrong places.

Stop the projection nonsense. Stop the "if only" game you play with yourself and others. Grow up. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Quit projecting that responsibility onto others. Projection is a main tactic on the path of the ego. It doesn't work. It is disappointing and frustrating. Turn on to the path of the spirit and walk with love: love for yourself and your fellow creatures.

The question is not what can they do for me which they aren't doing, but rather, how do I take care of myself and in the process help them and contribute to the well being of the community?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Is it time to turn off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit?

U.S. President, Donald R. Trump, is not the first leader in the world to abuse children. King Herod does it in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era when he ordered all the male babies under two to be killed.

It is written in the gospel of Matthew, chapter two, verse 16, "When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi."

There are similarities in the personalities of Donald Trump and King Herod. They both are narcissistic, grandiose, paranoid, and brutal bullies.

What should we make of Herod killing babies and Trump separating children from parents at the southern U.S. border?

One of the lessons to be learned is that the path of the ego is littered with death, destruction, and aggrandizement at the expense of others for power. The quest for power, the maintenance of power is an exploitative enterprise which deprives the human community of health and happiness.

When an ego has riches, the other thing to crave is power, domination, subjugation to enhance one's own willfulness.

The will to power is the antidote to Love.

Love does not exploit, it supports. Love does not harm, it nurtures. Love does not bully, it collaborates. Love does not demean, it uplifts. Love does not bully, love respects the dignity of others.

Millions of Americans voted for a narcissistic, grandiose, paranoid, rich, brutal bully. They are getting what they voted for and the children and their families and the human community has been brutalized and is suffering.

It's time to remind ourselves that we are all part of the same human family and turn off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit and get on the Love train.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Are you controlled by fear?

It is written in the introduction to A Course In Miracles, "The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite."

In John's first letter, he writes, "God is love...There is no room in love for fear." 4:18.

The major psychiatric disorder in the United States are anxiety disorders. Psychotropic medications flood the market as well as alcohol and street drugs such as cannabis.

Politicians campaign for election stoking fear throughout the land which only they can save the population from.

The wise person laughs at the fears the ego generates.

The sufferings inflicted are the joke of the ego.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Jesus is knocking. Will you answer?

Jesus tells us in the book of Revelations, chapter 3, verse 20, "Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I'll come right in and sit down to supper with you."

But we don't really want to see Jesus. He calls us to leave our egos behind and join Him on the path of the spirit and we don't want to. The ego offers us all kinds of pleasurable and distracting things to amuse us, and Jesus only offers us peace and love.

We are still children who like our ridiculous play things and if there is a threat to take them away from us we cling to them and run away and hide.

What Jesus offers us is there at the door. Can we overcome our fear and answer the knock?

Not yet. Things will have to get worse. We have yet to hit bottom. Then maybe when we are desperate we will look for a better way. Sometimes it takes great suffering for the dawning to occur that the way of Jesus is a better choice if we want to become truly happy.

Answer the door.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

What is the one decision that makes all the difference in life?

Yes, we have separated ourselves from God. We think we are in charge of our own lives. This idea, of course, is ridiculous. We were born from the Oneness and we will return to the Oneness. In the meantime we feel guilty, unconsciously, of our separation.

This guilt which is better called "shame" is the knowledge that we are not separate from God, and our willfulness will cause problems.

What kind of problems you ask? How about violence, attack, anxiety, depression, compulsive and addictive behaviors, and general all purpose misery? The variations of misery and suffering are as numerable as the stars for every individual is unique and special and his/her suffering is unique and special as well.

And so, we are afraid of more suffering, hurt, and pain, and it our hurt and pain rather than admit our mistake, we insist we are right and project the cause of our suffering onto other people and circumstances. In our misery and pain we come to see ourselves as victims rather than as agents. This defensive strategy for most people is very entrenched and clung to with every fiber of one's being to preserve the ego which has been created.

Of course, all these defensive attempts to protect our egos are bound to crack at some point, perhaps at death when we have no choice but to give up the fight and our stubbornness is overwhelmed. Rather than die peacefully, we die clinging to the last shred of ego we have defended our whole lives, and die in agony.

As is taught in twelve step programs we need to recognize that our lives of the ego are unmanageable and that there is a power greater than ourselves. We then in step three decide to turn our will over to our Higher Power whatever we conceive of that Higher Power to be. This turning over of our will allows us to perform the miracle of changing willfulness into willingness and this decision makes all the difference.

This decision involves the turning from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit and it makes all the difference.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Do we have an authority problem?

In the great Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, the primary line, repeated as the warden was beating him, was, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

In A Course In Miracles, it is stated as clear as day that what we humans have is an "authority problem." It is written referring to symptoms of distress, "I have spoken of different symptoms, and at that level there is almost endless variation, There is, however, only one cause for all the them: the authority problem. This is the "root of all evil."" T-3.VI.7:1-3

Just as Cool hand Luke had a communication problem, we have an authority problem.

We humans think, and we have been told, that we have created ourselves. As 2 years old we say , "No! You're not the boss of me!"

And we insist as adults that God is not the boss of us and even that there is no God only myself to count on.

We can be silly, silly people. "Ridiculous!" as my 13 year old nephew, Caleb, tells me.

Indeed, ridiculousness abounds.

At our death, if not before, we will have to submit to a force far greater than ourselves from which we emerged and unto which we return.

In the meantime, we can continue to entertain our illusions.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Where does greatness lie?

It is written in A Course in Miracles in the introduction in the section on clarification of terms in paragraph 2, verse 5, "A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary."

Has this been your experience, too?

Truth lies beyond illusion. Illusion fragments and Truth unifies.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It is that greatness which is Divine.

Greatness is found on the path of the spirit not on the path of the ego.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Taking the high road following the path of Jesus

Gandhi supposedly said one time that he would convert to Christianity if he ever found a church that actually followed the teachings of Jesus.

What Jesus actually taught through His words and actions is miles away from what most Christian churches preach and teach. It has been debated whether Jesus ever intended to found a church. He was very interested in spirituality and He told people to be religious if they are so inclined but He also said that He intended to transform the teachings of religion, to take them further.

Jesus was certainly not legalistic. He taught that people are more important that the laws. The laws are to benefit the people, not people benefit the laws.

Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is "to love as I have loved."

When the rich young man asked Jesus what he had to do to get to the kingdom, Jesus' first answer is "follow the commandments." The rich young man follows up and says, "I already do that and I still am not happy. What more can I do?" Jesus says simply, "Sell all that you have; give the money to the poor and come follow me." The rich young man became sad and walked away.

That's what happens today in most churches. They preach the commandments, but they don't want to sell what they have, help the poor, and follow Jesus. And so churches are losing members. Young people are not following the teachings of the church. They eschew the legalistic teachings, the theological debates, and they turn to materialism, to drugs and alcohol, to video games, to virtual reality, and to suicide.

Churches are failing in their mission to facilitate and nurture the souls of saints. They engage in self preservation and social justice and political work. Churches have failed and are failing to nurture souls on the spiritual path. Nurturing souls on the spiritual path is intended here. Our work is unusual in our modern society.

The spiritual path calls us from the path of the ego. Has it dawned on you yet that there is a better way? Have you embarked on the search? Are you walking the path of Love? As Jesus said, "Come follow me." Indeed.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Is it time to go home?

Be careful what you pray for. You may be barking up the wrong tree. You may be whistling in the dark.

God is not part of the path of the ego. God is understanding and compassionate and is sad to watch God's creations struggle and suffer on the path of the ego which they have created, but respecting their free will, God does not intervene because God knows nothing of this fantasy which God's creations have built. This is the meaning of the Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve went their own way and decided to create their own world apart from the world which God created. Adam and Eve and their children can't have it both ways: either want to live in God's world or the world of their own making.

We have chosen to live apart from God's world on the path of the ego and then expect God to intervene and make things easier for us in a world not of God's making. This expectation is not only silly and stupid, it is arrogant and full of a false sense of entitlement which springs from the childish willfulness and naivete of a two year old.

An observer might want to shout, "Grow up!" Playing your childish games, and when they go awry, asking God to fix the mess you have made is based on a huge misunderstanding of what has happened and what is going on. You have been on the wrong track. Has it dawned on you that there must be a better way?

Indeed there is a better way. It is turning off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit. This turning initiates a searching for what one has left so long ago. It is a re-membering of the Oneness from which one has separated. This process of re-joining the Oneness is called the At-one-ment, Atonement.

Is it time to quit the nonsense and go back home?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Searching for Truth.

Osho says that the Truth can't be divided into fragments. Either you get the whole of it or nothing. There is no little bit or only part of it.

The whole, as Aristotle said, is greater than the sum of the parts. That's the Truth.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Are you misunderstood?

Here is a fact of life - As soon as you say something it will be misunderstood.

People interpret statements according to their own minds. Most people's minds are biased; they are ridiculous.

This fact is not rocket science. It is very apparent. We experience it hundreds of times every day, and yet we continue on oblivious, impervious.

Most people's minds are fast asleep. They are sleep walking through life, conditioned by cognitive and emotional processes they have no awareness of.

Most people live under the illusion that they have free will. This is what the ego has tricked them into believing so that the ego can stay in charge.

Ask yourself or someone else, "What makes you tick?" Most people have no idea. They are not the least bit mindful. The want, and cling, and hide their sense of lack as they strive to attain whatever it is that they think will make them satiated and whole.

This striving is a sad thing to watch. It is a fool's errand based on fear.

Psychologists tell us that the biggest problem with people addicted to social media in our digital age is FOMO - fear of missing out.

No where is the phenomena of misunderstanding greater than on social media.

It has been described as "ridiculous."

It is time to turn off the path of the ego, and ridiculousness, onto the path of the spirit and peace.

This turning takes forgiveness. We can forgive ourselves for our ridiculousness and others and it is this act which makes all the difference.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What do you have faith in?

Osho says,

"In fact, the moment a child is perfectly conditioned by you, you are very happy; you call it 'religious education.' You are very happy that the child has been initiated in the religion of his parents. All that you have done is you have destroyed his capacity to know on his own. You have destroyed his authenticity. You have destroyed his very precious innocence. You have closed his doors and windows. Now he will have an encapsulated existence. He will live in his inner darkness, surrounded by all kinds of stupid theories, systems of thoughts, philosophies, ideologies. He will be lost in a jungle of words and he will not be able to come out easily.

Even if he comes across a Master, if he meets a Buddha, then too it will take years for him to unlearn - because learning becomes almost your blood, you bones, you marrow. And to go against you own knowledge seems to be going against yourself, against your tradition, against your country, against your religion, It seems as if you are a traitor, as you are betraying. In fact, your society has betrayed you, has contaminated your soul." p.217 "Ah, This!"

Rev. Galen Guengerich, the pastor at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City describes, in his book, God Revised, how when he left his conservative Mennonite community in central Delaware to go to Princeton Theological divinity school that his family and friends were afraid he would lose his faith. Guengerich said, in fact, he didn't lose "his" faith, he lost "their" faith, and now was free to find his own.

Spirituality, unlike religion, is not taught to a person, or given to a person, it must be found by the person as part of his/her own experience. Spirituality is not a creed, a set of beliefs, or the practice of special rituals, or adherence to traditional activities. Spirituality is the experience of the Divine within and among the Divine's creations.

Most of religion appears on the path of the ego. Spirituality appears on the path of the spirit.

What do you have faith in? What informs and gives your experience of your life meaning?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What does it take to be spiritual?

People are not aware that knowledge is not truth. Knowledge is borrowed. Truth is personal.

Religion is not knowledge. Religion is experience.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that knowledge is spiritual. Knowledge is counterfeit spirituality. For a true spiritual experience, knowledge has to be set aside. Knowing about swimming and actually swimming are two entirely different things. In the same way, knowing about religion and being religious are two different things.

As David Francis, the Unitarian pioneer said, we need not think alike to love alike.

Spirituality, in the Christian tradition, is walking in Love. That doesn't take knowledge. It takes forgiveness.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Are you a lover or a meditator or still in the ego?

Osho says, "These are the two paths from the valley leading to the peak. One path is of awareness, meditation: the path of Zen we have been talking about these days. And the other is the path of love, the path of the devotees, the bhaktas, the Sufis. These two paths are separate when you start the journey; you have to choose. Whichever one you choose is going to lead to the same peak. As you come closer to the peak you will be surprised: the travelers on the path are coming closer to you. Slowly, slowly, the paths start merging into each other. By the time you have reached the ultimate, you are one." p.213, "Ah, This!"

We could also say that the path of mediation is the path of the Buddhists, and the path of Love is the path of Christians. Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is to "love as I have loved."

Unitarian Universalists describe what they all their "living tradition" as emanating from six sources, what has also been called the "perennial philosophy" which is what all the religions have in common which is the journey to the top of the peak.

Osho's point seems to be that if you are to journey to the peak you must choose a path. You can't walk them all at once. How can you be in two places at one time? Which route will you choose? Which route is best for you?

It's not that we can't sample them all. Indeed we can, but muddling on them all will not get us to the peak and takes a lot of time and energy.

It seems to me that walking the path of Love takes a certain amount of mindfulness and as one nears the top of the peak, as Osho points out, they become one. Lovers are meditators, and meditators become lovers.

At the very least get off the path of the ego and onto the path of the spirit.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

God is too big for any one religion

There are many roads to Rome, many ways to skin a cat. There are many ways to enlightenment, to remembering your Divine nature which is your natural inheritance.

Various religions offer different rituals, practices, worship experiences, sacraments. No one size fits all as the existence of all the world's religions attest, but they all aim to the same result, remembering the Divine.

Unitarian Univeralism has recognized this phenomenon and only asks the affirmation and promotion of the free and responsible search for Truth and meaning. This search is first for Truth, secondly for cosmic consciousness, and third for bliss.

Like most religions, Unitarian Universalism dawdles and muddles with the mundane. There are few spiritual Masters to be found among their leaders. As with most religions, religious leadership is perceived, and all too often understood, as political. UUs believe in democratic governance which is fine for the religious organizational management, but spiritual leadership is not based on democratic votes. Spiritual leadership is based on experience of the Truth and Love of the Divine and this experience is intensely personal. It is written in A Course In Miracles, “Revelation is intensely personal and cannot be meaningfully translated. That is why any attempt to describe it in words is impossible. Revelation induces only experience.” T-1.II.2:1-3

Religions, to flourish and achieve their mission, must leave the organizational management to the administrators. Administrators can be elected, but spiritual leaders cannot. Spiritual leadership is manifested by a person who has been there, who has achieved oneness with the All, who has dropped the ego, and who has embarked on the walk with Love on the path of the spiritual. These people are rare and even more rarely recognized, but if the student is ready the Master appears and a mutual Love relationship begins and is nurtured and flourishes.

It is rare to find spiritual Masters among religious people. If spiritual Masters are recognized, they often are perceived as a threat to the existing political structure of the religious organization and will be shunned, exiled, excommunicated, or even, as the case with Jesus, killed. Religious organizations, paradoxically from what one might expect, can be hostile territory for spiritual Masters to appear and abide. Spiritual Masters, if they are to survive, often move outside the organization which has not only no longer been a source of nurturance and validation, but antagonistic and hostile.

If you are looking for a Spiritual Master, you will not find him/her within the walls of organized religion but rather on the periphery, if at all connected. The spiritual Master no longer identifies with a religion because the God the Master has found is too big for any one religion.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Enlightenment loves company

Osho says that the Master has two functions: facilitate a person's awakening, and to confirm it when it occurs.

People are like onions with layer on layer on layer on layer. These layers are circles of privacy. At the heart of a person is the unconscious. Most people have not discovered what their unconscious consists of. Most people don't pursue it because they are afraid of it.

Deep down people are afraid that they are inadequate or defective in some way. Hell knows they have experienced this and been told this often enough. This Hell is the work of the ego. The ego tells us that nobody is ever good enough, has enough, is doing enough. The ego operates on the law of scarcity and deprivation.

The Master tells us that the Law of scarcity and deprivation is not true. People are not defective and inadequate. In fact, they are already perfect as creations of God and loved unconditionally. The Master asks us to remember what we were before our social conditioning and to experience this innocence, this heaven again. You'll know it when it fills your heart with gratitude and abundant Love.

When we experience this gratitude, love, and innocence, we are confused and wonder what this experience is and the Master affirms and validates the experience and says to us, "Yes, that's it. You've found it." For most of us, it seems unbelievable. We need to share the experience and have it validated by someone who knows, who has been there and is there too. They say, "Misery loves company" and it is more true that enlightenment loves company as well.

Pursuing the way of Love

When we turn from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit, people will call us crazy. They will say we are mad, madder than the mad Hatter.

St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians that those who have chosen to walk the path of the spirit instead of the ego appear to others to be fools. We appear to be misfits and indeed we are. We no longer are going along with the herd. We are going against the grain, upsetting the apple cart, disturbing the status quo. This scares people. The things they have believed in and done and value are, by us, no longer believed in, no longer valued, and we no longer are going along in the same direction traveling on the accepted and "normal" path.

At first they criticize and say we are wrong and bad. Then they call us crazy and mad. And lastly they exile us or even try to kill us either socially through shunning or literally as they did to Jesus, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and John and Robert Kennedy, and Malcom X, and Gandhi.

Assassination, whether psychologically through gossip and false accusations, or socially through exclusion, shunning, and exile, or physically by murder, torture, and deprivation is often the price paid for choosing not to continue on the path of the ego and, instead, walking the path of the spirit.

And in making that choice, and taking the path less traveled, we experience such Love and joy and peace that the sufferings inflicted by those on the path of the ego seem inconsequential and like a mosquito on an elephant's behind.

And so, those who embark on the mystic's path appear crazy to the rest of the world. And it is this willingness to appear crazy that empowers a person to pursue the way of Love.