Saturday, May 19, 2018

Are you a caterpillar living into a butterfly?

Is the caterpillar aware that it is going to become a butterfly? Are you aware that you can become a buddha?

Some people have this awareness that within them is a piece of the Divine. Others have no idea. Nobody has ever told them to look within. If the person did look within and was confused, perplexed, bored, frightened, they stopped. They didn't stick with it. To pursue the truth of the Divine within takes courage, persistence, and faith.

It helps to have someone further along the path of the spirit to encourage others to come along. Most people will not listen because they don't believe the encourager has anything of value to impart. Jesus says in Matthew 13:4-9:

4 As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. 
5 Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, 
6 so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. 
7 Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. 
8 Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams. 

9 "Are you listening to this? Really listening?" 

Nah, they weren't really listening. Jesus sounds kind of frustrated. As Kurt Vonnegut was fond of saying, "And so it goes...."

Maybe, you, reader, are listening. So try it. Look within and stick with it. Do it for 5 minutes for two weeks and see what happens. Nothing? Quit. Something? Stick with it. You, too, can become a butterfly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Enjoy your existence such as it is.

The biggest mistake we human beings make is to think that we have separated ourselves from God, the font of our being, the Force which animates the universe.

Oh, we are arrogant, and proud, and blind, and ignorant, but deep down we know better. We are part of the Divine, but we forget when we get caught up in our pursuits on the path of the ego.

On the path of the ego we believe that all kinds of nonsense and ridiculousness will make us happy. Be become frustrated, angry, sad, and then scared when they don't. We wonder what's gone wrong in our lives and we run off to our doctors who give us drugs to numb the pain. We stop searching thinking that the drugs will fix the problem.

So, how is that working for you?

At the deepest level, we only have one choice to make: Love or fear. Which would you rather have?

If we choose Love, we have to move off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit, and many of us are not ready to make that turn. We want things to be better but we cling to the familiar. We rather dance with the devil we know than the devil we don't know.

Steven Wright said one time, "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me. I'm afraid of widths." And there are those who are agoraphobic, they are afraid of wide open spaces.

There is always something to be afraid of. The news scares us, our relationships scare us, our fear of scarcity scares us. God knows we love to be afraid because it keeps us from looking within where our biggest fear is the supposed wrath of God because of our willful separation from Him/Her.

We are being silly because God loves us unconditionally. We are part of God and God is part of us.

Relax. Chill. Enjoy your existence such as it is.

Monday, May 14, 2018

A drop of the ocean

One of the metaphors I like best about our spiritual selves is that we are drops of the ocean. We evaporated from the ocean as mist, and separated ourselves from the whole, and we will eventually return to the ocean from which we were separated.

It is amusing when people insist on being their separate drop. The look for ways to improve their drop through self- cultivation. With all the self-cultivation in the ego world, though, they are still going to be just a drop, a single drop, ignoring the awareness that they are really part of the ocean.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "The specialness of God's Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion. All my brothers are special." T-1:V.3:5-6

Steven Wright has said, "They say that the universe is expanding. That should help with the traffic." With global warming the oceans are rising because the ice crystals of the planet's glaciers are rejoining their source. Sooner or later our separate egos will meld with the cosmic consciousness. The illusion of our separateness cannot withstand the truth of our being.

Indeed, the old cheer, "One for all and all for one," is more than just a cheer. It is a basic understanding of our spiritual life.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bringing truth to light

According to researchers anxiety disorders are the biggest mental health problem in the United States. As a psychotherapist, I have observed that what people are most afraid of is the truth.

Truth haunts people, if not consciously, then unconsciously. Experiences have been buried deep in the psyche and the truth of them leaks out creating a terror that is confusing, unexpected, baffling, and seems foreign.

The psychotherapist gently and supportively asks the client to re-member those things the person has repressed and alienated from his/her conscious awareness. The truth has been kept in the dark and because of what the darkness hides, people become afraid of the darkness itself.

The release from darkness entails two stages: first the recognition that darkness can only hide the truth so long and that eventually the truth will find its way to the light either with conscious articulation or in symptoms, and second, that the energy it takes to hide the truth is a waste and that life is lived much more easily and happily once the truth is set free.

Setting the truth free from the darkness is a relief and in the long run brings much peace and bliss. When we come to accept that "it is what it is" we are born again onto the path of the spirit and we leave the path of the ego behind.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Performing miracles

Miracles, according to A Course In Miracles, are not magic. Miracles are not supernatural behavior. Miracles, in A Course In Miracles, is a different way of thinking. Miracles are getting off the path of the ego and onto the path of the spirit.

The miracle is getting off the path of the ego and walking on the path of Love. Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is "to love as I have loved." Jesus is talking about miracle thinking. He is not talking about turning water into wine, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, walking on water, multiplying the loaves and fishes. Jesus is not a circus performer although many people have turned Him into one and totally missed His teaching.

Magicians in Las Vegas put on dazzling shows of slight of hand which give cheap thrills to the ego. They pull rabbits out of a hat, cut pretty women in half, make objects appear and disappear, and suspend objects off the floor. Their acts can be very entertaining.

Miracles are not about entertainment, they are about authentic life. Miracle thinking is eschewing the works of the ego for the life of the Spirit. The miracle is understanding our experience of Life in a whole new way.

With miracle thinking time stands still and we rise above our resentments as we forgive ourselves and others for our ridiculousnesses. We undo and purify our intentions and motives that block our awareness of Love. This shift in consciousness feels like a revelation of a whole new way of experiencing life which is full of peace, Love, and bliss. Some might call it meditation and here we are calling it miracle thinking.

Miracle thinking requires silence, centeredness, mindfulness, forgiveness, and gratitude. We are entering a time here on this blog when we will be describing how a person might shift his/her thinking and start performing and living with more miracles.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Engendering heaven on earth

We have a choice. We can walk the path of the ego or the path of the spirit.

The path of the ego is a path in hell, and the path of the spirit is a path in heaven.

The path of the ego is the path which society conditions us to walk, and we walk it unconsciously until we hit bottom. Our tolerance for pain is very high. When the pain becomes great enough it dawns on us that there must be a better way, and then we turn from the path of the ego and begin to search. That search takes us on the walk with Love on the path of the spirit.

You might think that the walk with Love on the path of the spirit would be easy, and it is, if we are not continually seduced back onto the path of the ego. This seduction is insidious. Temptation abounds. We forget our decision to walk with Love on the path of the spirit until we become aware, once again, that we have a choice.

We must choose again, and again, and again, and gradually, walking with Love on the path of the spirit, becomes our new habitual way of life. Mindfulness is our tool and when tempted we are now aware of the temptation and ask ourselves, "Is this what I really want?" We know, deeper down, that walking the path of the ego is not what we want and we re-focus on walking with Love and the path of the spirit. We find that walking with Love on the path of the spirit fills us with peace and joy and we realize that we have engendered heaven on earth.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Can I experience your experience?

Postmodernism teaches us that our thoughts and perceptions are the result of a social construction. Our thoughts would not have meaning outside of context, and context comes from others.

Sometimes we wonder what other people are thinking and we might say, "A penny for your thoughts," and the person might reply, "They're not for sale at any price." Or maybe they are and the person attempts to share some story of what (s)he is thinking about.

The fact of the matter is, even if we don't want to admit it, that our minds are joined. They are joined in many ways by many things, but the easiest thing to see is language. Beyond language are the common understandings that we assume are shared even when meanings and interpretations of the same word can be quite different. On the path of the ego we become indignant and sometimes even arrogant that our way of thinking is "right." The question arises in A Course In Miracles, "Would you rather be right or happy?"

A simple word like "chair" can lead to all kinds of thoughts about various types of chairs and there is a common understanding at a conceptual, if not specific, level. A word like "God" though instigates many thoughts which, on the path of the ego, are rarely shared but, on the path of the spirit, would be highly shared. For God is not a word but an experience and the experience of God is the sign of salvation which we all share.

The question here is not what thoughts and perceptions do we share, but what experiences? We share very few,if any, experiences on the path of the ego, but on the path of the spirit we are all one experience.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Leave ridiculousness behind and move to the Divine

If it's true that what you think you see is what you get, how does this affect others?

If your perception is biased,what is the impact this has on your relationships?

No person is an island. Homo sapiens are social creatures and our "reality" is a social construction. Our biases not only impact our own perception, but are contagious and somtimes toxic.

What we think we see not only affects our own well being but the well being of others as well, especially those with whom we interact in more immediate and intimate ways.

Grandma said, "Birds of a feather flock together." What kind of birds do you flock with?

Is it true that you can tell a person by his/her friends or is this just another form of bias?

The path of the ego is littered with ridiculous people doing ridiculous things, and these ridiculous people doing ridiculous things leads to us being and acting ridiculous ourselves.

The path of the spirit is quite different. On the path of the spirit we leave ridiculous things behind and move on to Love and peace which comes from forgiveness and connecting with the Divine within ourselves and within others

Monday, May 7, 2018

Giving up our biases

Let's admit it. We are biased. When we look at things, we see what we think we are going to see not what is really there. Most people think it is the other way around, that the things we see trigger our thoughts, but it is more accurate to say that our thoughts influence what we see.

Tough thing to admit. Our egos rarely allow us to become aware of and acknowledge our biases. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think." We could tweak it to say, "Don't believe everything you see."

Turning from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit involves giving up our thoughts, our biases, our assumptions, our prejudices.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Becoming human

The thoughts we have bring either peace or war; either love or fear. Which do you want? Can you tell the difference?

It is taught in A Course In Miracles, in the workbook in lesson 16, that "I have no neutral thoughts." We either walk on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit. Upon the dawning, we must decide which path we want to proceed on. One path takes us to war and fear, and the other to peace and love.

The tolerance for pain in human beings is very high and sometimes, it's not until they hit bottom, that they realize there is a better way. They realize that their thoughts are not an external factor over which they have no control. They come to realize that they can control their thoughts and this control means they have a choice.

This choice over one's thoughts is the beginning of freedom, the beginning of liberation. It is the first step away from being merely an animal to becoming human.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

When will we learn that we can't do it all by ourselves

When my two children were killed by a drunk driver I knew that God did not do this to me. I knew that it was a three time drunk driver that killed my kids. I knew this because, as a student of A Course In Miracles, I had practiced lesson 14 in the workbook which is entitled, "God did not create a meaningless world."

It is written in this lesson, "What God did not create does not exist. And everything that does exist exists as He created it. The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist."

The idea that the path of the ego is strewn with a repertory of horrors and the path of the spirit is comprised of peace and Love instills in us instant objection and resistance. How can this be when the things on the path of the ego seem so real? We have not looked behind the curtain, beyond what Christians call the "vale of tears."

We forget that we have separated ourselves from God and in this separation we make up our own drama, pain, and suffering. The misuse of alcohol and the act of driving killed my kids. Witnesses said that the driver was very upset as he emerged from his truck and saw the wreckage and cried out in an agitated state, "Why do these things always happen to me?!"

Indeed, in a sober state, this is a good question to reflect upon. Today, it is raised for consideration. Why do these things always happen to us? Because we have created and live in a meaningless world as we walk the path of the ego. At some point, it dawns on us that there is a better way.

It is written in the introduction to A Course In Miracles, "This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time."

The dawning that there must be a better way is a significant step onto the path of the spirit in which we search for the world that God has created for us and we give up our own insistence and stubbornness in thinking we can do it all ourselves.

The dawning - "I need help."

We think in images we call thoughts. We make these up. Our thoughts are not real.

The bumper sticker says, "Perception is reality." Most people seem to believe that what they think is real, and they "see" it when they look. They are not "seeing" they are projecting and displacing. What they think they are seeing is an "illusion."

And so when we think things, and see things, we need to remind ourselves that what we are thinking and seeing isn't real but rather perceptions and experiences we have made.

Off we go, "half cocked" as they say, "making shit up" to fit our preconceived notions and preferences.

My favorite bumper sticker says, "Reality is when it happens to you."

Dr. Freud called the checking of our beliefs and perceptions with our experience, "reality testing." We come to learn that life is not the way we thought it was and is, at the bottom, quite different.

We come to the point where we realize that "there must be a better way." As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve step programs with step one, "We have come to realize that our lives are unmanageable."

And so the moral of the story is "Don't believe everything you think."

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Beginning of the spiritual life

If it is true that what we perceive in the world is the result of our psychological set and projections, then what we think we perceive is meaningless. It is nonsense. It is drama. It is what we angrily and sarcastically call "bull shit."

Is your life full of "bull shit?"

Has the "bull shit" that you think you perceive tired you out, exhausted you, stressed you out? Even good things don't seem to last long or be as good as they are expected to be. Some days our meaningless lives are depressing, boring, upsetting, and, maybe, temporarily elating.

The path of the ego is always counterfeit and enervating. We get to the point where enough is enough and it dawns on us that there must be a better way. This dawning brings us to embarking on a search for what that better way might be, and this is the first step onto the path of the spirit and the beginning of a spiritual life.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Meaningless thoughts show me a meaningless world

Comedian, Flip Wilson, when he did his Geraldine routine, would say in a saucy way, "What you see is what you get." I change it to "What you think you see is what you get."

The fact of the matter is that we develop certain psychological sets and project our beliefs out into the world and create what we think we see. If you think you are a bad person and the world is a bad place, then bad things will happen to you. If you think you are a good person and the world is a good place, then good things will happen to you.

Is the glass half full or have empty? Do you have enough or are you lacking? Are you pretty and handsome or blemished and ugly?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder we have been told, as well as that it is only skin deep.

You can't tell a book by its cover we have been told, and we are encouraged to not only read it but read between the lines.

It is written in Lesson 11 in the  workbook for students in A Course In Miracles, "My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world." In other words, the path of the ego is a path of nonsense. The path of the ego is a path of inanity and insanity.

When we realize the drama we create by projecting our thoughts and beliefs out into the world, we realize that there must be a better way. Indeed there is and it begins with forgiving ourselves and others for our stupid thoughts and beliefs. At the end of our life, and when our souls are pried lose from our bodies, we realize, then, if not before, what is really important.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How to find heaven on earth

It is a well established scientific fact that we project our thoughts, beliefs, past experiences, and emotional reactions onto current objects. We don't see what actually is there but what we think we perceive. As the slogan says, "Perception is reality." In this sense, we create our own reality.

If you believe you are a good person living in a good world, good things will happen to you. If on the other hand, you believe you are a bad person living in a malevolent world then bad things will happen to you.

This principle of projection is a fundamental law of the ego. This law is below the level of consciousness for most people. They do not realize that the "reality" they are creating, continually, isn't real.

On the one hand, projection is a product of our experience. The bumper sticker says, "Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement." However, we have the ability to be mindful. We have the ability, stronger in some than in others, to examine and reflect on our experience, and manage it. Rather than being reactive we become responsive.

Spiritual teachers tell us that living the good life entails meditation or some call it now days, mindfulness. I call it the "witness." To what extent does a person have the capacity, the skill, to just observe his/her own functioning?

This power of observation of one's own functioning is the key ingredient in the spiritual life which brings one to peace and joy and heaven on earth.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The beginning of the spiritual journey

Sheila said, "I've been hurt so many times in the past, I've come to expect it. I think there is something about me that people just don't like. I must look like a punching bag to them, because all I get is hit over and over again. I'm at a point where I have very few friends and I don't talk to my family anymore. I just stick to myself. It's safer that way."

Wow! What a wounded person. She has learned how to adapt to protect herself. She is very smart and has learned not to be hurt any more. However, the strategy adopted for protection is very isolating and constraining. It can become very suffocating. Rather than withdraw and isolate to protect herself, might it not be advantageous to learn how to stand up for herself and deflect the blows? My friend, Al, calls this strategy, "spiritual akido."

So, I said to Sheila, "While your withdrawal and isolation works for self protection, it also has some disadvantages of loneliness and the loss of the possibility of love. Might it not be better for you to come out of isolation and when people try to hurt you, you deflect their attack and side step it?"

Sheila looked puzzled and asked, "You mean there might be a better way?"

I said, "Certainly."

Sheila said simply, "Tell me more."

And was the beginning of Sheila's spiritual journey.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Is God smiling on you?

My fears make me jealous and paranoid.

My insecurities make me hypervigilant and I think I see things that aren't there.

Hell has come into my own head and heart and I spread my personal hell into my relationships with others.

I blame them for things they didn't do. I falsely accuse them of things which makes them angry and drives them away. I insist that they are doing things to me that they deny and that only makes me more jealous and paranoid and them angry and rejecting.

Where do these fears come from that fuel the jealousy and paranoia?

Yes, I have been hurt in the past. Yes, I have been wounded. Yes, I don't want to be hurt again. Yes, I live my life on high alert, seeing things that aren't there just to protect myself.

I know what is happening to me. I am becoming aware of the patterns. I realize increasingly what that thing is that always happens to me. There was a time when my fears were appropriate. My fears wanted me to be safe and no longer attacked and harmed. My fears back then were a friend trying to help me. Now, fears have taken over my life and instead of helping me and protecting me, they are destroying my relationships and making my life a living hell.

I have come to realize that my fears are no longer my friend. They have done their job and its time for them to move along. I have learned that deep down I am loved by a Divine energy that is beyond any human understanding. It is in this Divine energy that I will put my trust and accept that no matter what happens I am loved and will be okay.

This connection with the Divine energy within protects me and with this new found source of security, I find myself engaging with the world in an open hearted rather then a close hearted way.

I realize that while others have hurt me, God has smiled on  me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Surrendering to a Higher Power is based on heart felt faith

In Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve Step Programs they say, "Let go and let God." "You do your best and God will do the rest." At times, these slogans get shortened to simply, "Let Go," and "Turn it over."

Sometimes implementing these slogans is called "Surrender." "Surrender" is not giving up or avoiding responsibility. Implementing these slogans is a way of asking for help recognizing that there are powers far greater than ourselves in the Universe.

As a child I was taught that I, and everyone else, has a guardian angel who is looking out for me. In addition, I was instructed to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. When I have done so, it has always helped as long as I let go of any expectations of particular outcomes. I simply have learned to "turn it over" by "asking for guidance," doing my best, and then surrendering to whatever happened after that. After all, what more can one do?

This way of living brings one great peace and joy. This way of living provides one with self confidence, self worth, and a realistic self esteem because one comes to understand who one is, a child of the Divine, who deserves to be here and is entitled to Love. This is a matter of faith. It is not belief. Belief is of the head, and faith is of the heart.

Turning things over to the Holy Spirit for guidance while one endeavors to do one's best brings happiness and peace beyond human understanding.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dealing with monkey mind

How do you deal with your monkey mind? The monkey mind is all the thoughts that come into and out of your mind all day long.

Some of monkey mind's thoughts are exciting and enjoyable and some are worrisome and distressing. They are all the same, really, and come from the same monkey churning them out like hurdy gurdy man.

Have you noticed that if you indulge monkey mind by dwelling on any particular thought it strengthens? Have you noticed if you just objectively and disinterestedly watch it, it passes by and moves on?

Monkey mind wants to distract you from your inner peace. Monkey mind, liked a spoiled child, or dog, just wants your attention so it can enhance its own ego.

How is your time better spent, attending to monkey mind, are relaxing into inner peace?

It takes some effort to ignore monkey mind and to just move past it on your inward journey.

The best way of dealing with monkey mind is just to watch it but like the sign says at the zoo, "Do not feed the animals."

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Would you rather be right or be happy?

We often think we know what things mean don't we? And if we are honest with ourselves, we also have to admit that we often are wrong. When we compare our meanings with the meanings of other people we often are startled and often upset that we don't agree. We attack the other for being wrong and insist that they agree with our version of rightness.

I told her the glass was half full and she told me it was half empty. She got very indignant and called me stupid and I called her a bitch. She said I was not the person she fell in love with and I started to laugh and said, "Who was he?"

This only made her madder and she started to cry. This made me feel bad, but I was still hurt and angry. Then it dawned on me that we don't know what things mean. I thought of the saying from A Course In Miracles which says, "Would you rather be right or be happy?"

I want to be happy, and happiness is achieved by forgiveness for our own and other people's stupidity.

I said to her, "Honey, I'm sorry."

Instead of crying she started whimpering and then stopped.

A peace started to descend between us.

I decided right then and there that I no longer needed to be right. I realized that being right is the path of the ego which takes one to hell. I realized there is a better way and that's the walk with Love on the path of the spirit. I remembered the line from a famous movie several years ago, "Love is never having to say you're sorry." That's because true Love is unconditional. There are no conditions. True Love is freely given. It does not have to be earned, deserved, warranted. Unconditional Love is given just because it wants to be given.

When we live with unconditional Love there is no longer any meaning because being right about meaning is meaningless.

Friday, April 20, 2018

We don't know shit.

Do you think you know what things mean?

Is the glass half full or half empty? It the lamp high or low? Is $20.00 too much or too little? Is she pretty or ugly, thin or fat, tall or short, nice or mean, helpful or uncooperative?

Will today be a good day or a bad day. Will people like me or not? Will I be kind or dismissive?

Let's face it. We don't know what things mean. It's all relative. It depends on our mood. It depends on what happened previously. It depends on what we have been told and people are saying.

We get in a rut. We experience the same old thing. We don't think that things will ever change.

As my brother used to say, "There is no such thing as gravity. The whole world sucks." And indeed, for him, it did.

And so, we make up our reality. What we see is what we get or better yet, what we think we will see is what we will get.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

Be careful what you fear for fearing something will bring it closer to you.

Don't be afraid but love and let go. Do your best and God, Life, The Universe will do the rest.

It must be admitted, when examined closely, that we don't know shit.

Adopt a position of "not knowing" and live your life with curiosity. Life is a search for the Divine. Greater powers than ours generate the universe of which we know very little if anything. Life is a mystery.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Jesus' life hacks

Jesus asked His apostles, "Who do you say that I am?"

After two millennia people are still asking that question of one another.

What do you say? Who is Jesus to you?

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "The name Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for love that is not of this world." MT-23:4:1-2

That's works for me although I would capitalize love, as Love because Jesus tells us "The Father and I are One."

The same thing is true for each one of us, the Father and We are One, except that most of us aren't aware of it and so don't experience it on a consistent basis.

It is written in the introduction to A Course In Miracles, "The course does not aim at the teaching of 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."

A life time, well spent, is consciously working to remove the blocks to the awareness of Love's presence. Jesus came along two thousand years ago and gave us some tips, what now days are called, life hacks.

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

Okay, I get it. Jesus is a coach, a consultant, a teacher, a mentor. I have learned a lot from Him and continue to every day. If you want the Cliff Notes version of Jesus' life hacks read the Sermon on the Mount for starters.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Heaven is born

What is the function of a person on the spiritual path? It is to join with others in forgiveness and Love.

We can't do this half way. We can't do this for some and not for others. It is an all or nothing deal. Either we are one with the All or we are not. Either we see the Divine spark in all people or we don't.

On the path of the ego it is difficult sometimes to see the Divine spark in all people, and yet, our faith tells us it is there if we are on the path of the spirit.

The path of the spirit asks that we walk with Love. Jesus is very clear about this for He tells us that the way to the kingdom is to "Love as I have loved."

We hesitate, though, thinking that some people are deserving of love and forgiveness and other people aren't. Or some people are deserving under certain conditions but not under other conditions. We act as if we are prosecutor, judge, and jury.

In our judgment we have lost our way. We have forgotten that the bull shit on the path of the ego isn't real in the spiritual world. The bull shit is stuff we humans have made up and promulgated and performed.

As we enter onto the walk with Love on the spiritual path we laugh and say, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," and we extend our love and forgiveness to the Divine in everyone and heaven is born.

Heaven or hell is based on the things in your heart

It is written in A Course In Miracles in the Manual For Teachers, "Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality." MT-21.1:9

The word is a symbol denoting a thing or an idea and, according to the course, the thing or the idea is a symbol of our interpretation and meaning making which the Course teaches is not real but an interpretation we have made up.

We see a chair and say to ourselves, "A chair is ______________." This is a meaning we have made up having been stimulated by the sensory perception of the chair.

The Course teaches that what we are after is an experience. The Course teaches that God is not interested in our words, God is interested in our experience. The Course teaches that prayers with words mean nothing to God, because God knows nothing of words. Words are things humans have made up during the separation and to maintain the separation. God cares nothing for words but only what is in our hearts.

It is written in A Course In Miracles in the Manual For Teachers, "The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. The words, then, are symbols for the things asked for, but the things themselves but stand for the experiences that are hoped for." MT-21.2:4-6

The question becomes, then, what is in our heart? What are the things hoped for? What is in our heart and the things hoped for, are the basis of our religious experience which can be either heaven or hell.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Honesty is the best policy

The second milestone on the walk of Love on the path of the spirit is honesty.

Honesty is credibility. Do you mean what you say and say what you mean? Do you do what you say, and say what you do?

Along with honesty and credibility comes dependability and reliance.

People who value honesty know who they are. They do not pretend.

People who are honest are authentic, genuine, sincere. In this, there is great peace.

An indicator of whether a person is walking the way of Love is his/her honesty. This is the bedrock on which the good life and heaven rests.

Those that deceive, create a hell. Self-deception is the worst hell, for nothing in the person's awareness is authentic and genuine. To pretend to yourself and others that you are other than you really are, and things are not the way they seem, is to create an insanity that corrupts any experience of peace and bliss.

False prophets are numerous in the world as are false promises and false pretenses. The path of the ego is littered with the false, the counterfeit, the dishonest, the empty deception which while in the short term may glitter, and gleam, and shinily attract, wind up contaminating our awareness with rot and decay resulting in anguish and suffering.

Honesty is the best policy even when it seems to hurt.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Peace comes from surrendering to the Love of the Divine

What is the peace that is not of this world? What is the peace that goes beyond all understanding?

This peace comes from the awareness that nothing real can be threatened and die.

It follows that nothing unreal exists.

This understanding, my friends, is the peace of God which is beyond all understanding and is not of this world, meaning not on the path of the ego.

The basic doctrine of Buddhism is based on the idea of anica or impermanence. The only thing unchanging on the path of the ego is that all things change, and change continually. In physics this is called the law of entropy.

Buddhism teaches that attachment causes suffering because we will lose on the path of the ego whatever we become attached to.

This suffering is the opposite of the peace we seek.

If all things on the path of the ego change and bring us suffering if we become attached to them, where then does peace abide?

Peace abides in the Love of God. This peace is manifested in Loving Kindness which flows from forgiveness and gratitude.

So if you would have peace that is not of this world, forgive yourself and others who cling to the path of the ego, and encourage yourself and others to surrender themselves to the Love of the Divine.

Friday, April 13, 2018

It's all good

What is justice?

Justice is truth. The truth is that we are all one, not separate.

This idea of oneness is hard for dualistic minds to comprehend. Our understanding on the path of the ego is based on dichotomies, comparisons, perception of differences, the reduction of wholes into component parts, separations.

We have been told, however, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it is in this awareness that truth and justice arise.

Justice requires the giving up of comparisons and dichotomies: this is good, that is bad; this is sweet, that is sour; this is high, that is low; this is thin, that is fat; this is right, that is wrong, etc.

As is said in some circles, "It's all good."

Saying this is an awareness on the spiritual path. This is not a statement that makes sense on the path of the ego.

On the path of the spirit, it is all good, true, and just.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A judgmental attitude always gets one into trouble

A judgmental attitude always gets one into trouble.

When we make a judgment we become irritated and angry.

Irritation and anger is a symptom of our fear.

We should ask ourselves when we are becoming judgmental, "What am I afraid of."

On the path of the ego, there are numerous things we fear.

On the the path of the spirit, there is nothing to fear because we realize that the things on the path of the ego aren't real. The things on the path of the ego are interpretations and meanings that we have made up.

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Drop the judgment. It is what it is. In this awareness there is great peace and bliss.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Do you believe in magic?

Do you believe in magic?

Indeed you do. We all do. We say to ourselves, "If only I obtained this, had that, or that happened then I would be happy."

We attribute our happiness to external events and circumstances.

When these desired objects and events fail us, we become angry or sad or both.

Sometimes we feel guilty that we wanted to control things and failed.

As the bumper sticker says, "Shit happens," and my favorite, "Mega shit happens."

We find ourselves in a hell of our own creation. We thought we could control things, achieve things, obtain things, make people behave toward us as we desired, expected, demanded. Naaaaaaaah, it doesn't work. How long does it take to realize this?

The locker room slogan says, "Winners never quit and quitters never win." Really?

There is a time to quit. There is a time to find a better way. There is help available.

Turn within and ask the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God, Mother Nature, the Muse, the Universe, Life, to help you. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous in their twelve step program, "Surrender to you Higher Power, whatever you conceive your Higher Power to be."

As the jokester said, "If God is your co-pilot, you're in the wrong seat."

The last judgment

Bill asked me if I believe in the last judgment?

I said, "Yes, but not the way most people probably do."

Bill said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "God doesn't judge us. God just strips away all the pretense, all the lies, all the conditioned patterns of our unconscious defense mechanisms, and asks us to look ourselves the way we truly and authentically are. If we like what we see, we are in heaven, and if we don't, we are in hell because that is what we will experience for all eternity."

"So," said Bill, "to thine own self be true?"

"Sort of," I said. "That's a start, but it's more like to thine own self be true that you believe is God's will for you to be."

"Well, okay," said Bill, "but how does God want us to be?"

"Loving, and at peace," I said.

"God wants heaven for everyone," asked Bill?

"Exactly," I said.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Have you accepted your mission from God?

How does a person following a spiritual path spend his/her day?

(S)he starts with God, ends with God, and remembers God several times during the day.

The person following a spiritual path asks him(her) self whenever there is a choice to be made, "What would Love have me do?" "What is God's will here?"

It is in doing God's will that we align ourselves with the Divine.

As the Blues Brothers said, "We're on a mission from God."

Sunday, April 8, 2018

What is the end of the world?

A person was telling me last week about the apocalypse, the end of the world. It was a story full of judgment and punishment that he claims his church taught him.

I smiled and listened. I didn't say it but was thinking, "Golly gee, what kind of a God is it that this church is promoting? What kind of a world is this church painting a picture of?"

I said to this fellow at the end of his description, "Wow, that's some story."

He said, "So, are you saved?"

I said, "Oh, yes."

He said, "Good. God bless you."

And indeed, I am saved by a God of Love and forgiveness not the gods of vengeance, judgment, condemnation, and punishment.

Forgiveness is necessary for churches who teach such nonsense, and their missionaries who promote and spread their misguided teachings about a vengeful, judgmental, condemning, and punishing God who is a projection of this God's believers own guilt, suffering and anguish.

With this forgiveness comes a compassion which is not condescending or patronizing, but rather is empathic and understands the pain which contributes to such warped and distorted beliefs.

God is Unconditional Love and generates a gratefulness for existence and an extension of peace and joy into the world.

The Atonement is when everybody loves everybody all the time and when this occurs the end of time will have come because there will no longer we any need for the world of the ego in which we must learn the lessons of the spirit. We all will become one with all of existence, God.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

All that you got is your soul

Religion makes a big deal out of sacrifice and giving things up. There is an attraction to asceticism which, as it moves to an extreme, can become masochistically sick.

Buddhism is clear, in its teachings, about the importance of the middle path, and balance.

Giving up of the path of the ego, though, is no sacrifice, because, once properly understood, the idols of the ego would not have provided the yearned for fulfillment anyway. Pursuing the idols on the path of the ego is a wild goose chase and never comes to the desired fruition. It is barking up the wrong tree.

Where is the sacrifice, then, in giving up the idols on the path of the ego?

The things on the path of the spirit lead one to authentic fulfillment and wholeness. To pursue the things of the path of the spirit one has to leave the path of the ego. This is no sacrifice, but a turning away as the idols on the path of the ego no longer seem relevant, meaningful, desirable.

Turning from the idols on the path of the spirit is not a sacrifice but a liberation, and freedom from and thereby a freedom to.

As it is written in A Course Of Miracles, the fraudulent motto of the path of the ego is "Seek and do not find."

Jesus says in Matthew 16:25-26:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for My sake will find it. What will it profit a person if that person gains the whole world, yet forfeits their soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for their own soul?

As Tracy Chapman sings, All That You Got Is your Soul.

Friday, April 6, 2018

How many people does it take to save the world?

You know the old jokes about how many ____________does it take to change a light bulb?

How many psychotherapists does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one, but the bulb has to want to change. LOL

How many people does it take to save the world?

Only one, but it has to be one who has become one with the all like Jesus or Buddha.

Jesus made it simple. He said, "Love as I have loved."

How did Jesus love?

He joined His will with what He believed to be the will of His Higher Power.

He forgave those who killed Him. He loved everyone even the tax collectors, the adulterers, the prostitutes, the Samaritans.

He helped people wherever He went. He shared His love of Life with whoever would listen and even those who didn't or wouldn't listen.

Same with Buddha. Buddha said He had achieved enlightenment and was free to go to nirvana but He wanted to help His fellow human beings achieve nirvana as well and so He stayed on earth to teach people how to do what He had achieved.

Are there women too who have loved beyond measure? Billions. Their stories have not been preserved and told in a patriarchal society unless considers Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Theresa, Dorothy Day and hundreds and thousands of other saints.

You can save the world when you become enlightened. In the meantime work on yourself and one soul at a time.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

My will or Thy will makes all the difference

The comedian, Flip Wilson, when he performed his comedic character, Geraldine, would have her say in a sassy, sexy way, "What you see is what you get!" This line always got a laugh. It is funny. Part of the humor in the line is that it is true and we all see a little of ourselves in it.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you love yourself and the world you are living in, or don't you like yourself and the world you are living in? The way you regard yourself and the world you are living in is the lens through which you will perceive and interpret yourself and the world.

The deeper question is "how do you think God sees you and world?" If you think that maybe God sees you and the world different from the way you see yourself and the world, what are these differences?

The path of the ego involves seeing ourselves as sinful and the world as a dangerous place based on the law of scarcity. The path of the spirit involves seeing ourselves as extensions of God's love for the world and the world as a place of abundant Love and peace.

Our experience is not based on external circumstances but on the lens we are using to perceive and interpret the meaning of these circumstances.

We often insist on our own judgment rather than on the judgment of our Higher Power. We want to be the boss and in control for a whole bunch of reasons until we begin to laugh when we realize that we hear God laughing because we have told God our plans and judgments.

In our spiritual development we come to a point where we realize there must be a better way to live our lives and with this dawning realization comes a turning from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit. This turning initiates the search for that better way and our openness to God's will for us rather than insisting on our own, makes all the difference.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Judgment is impossible

One of the milestones on the walk with Love on the path of the spirit is the giving up of judgment. On what could our judgment possibly rest since we lack omniscienceness?

When we judge we delude ourselves. The bumper sticker says, "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."

The phenomenon we observe and even the perceptions we experience our multi-dimensional. How could we ever know totally? At the best, we guess and often are wrong.

As the Buddhists say, "It is what it is." With that, let it go and recognize and acknowledge that we really don't know, can't know. We learn to turn our judgment over to our Higher Power and we are grateful and experience a new found peace.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Make me one with everything

To dichotomize means to distinguish one part  from another. We have deconstructed the whole into component parts but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and so we must ask ourselves what is real?

The distinctions we make are illusionary. We think they serve a purpose and on the path of the ego they do for the ego, but on the path of the spirit they serve no purpose and interfere with our understanding of the truth.

The goal on the path of the spirit is to appreciate and understand the interconnectedness of God's creation. The path of the spirit takes us to an awareness of nonduality and with this awareness differences have no meaning.

The monk said to the hot dog vendor, "Make me one with everything." On the path of the spirit that also is our prayer.

How to make life decisions

People struggle to make life decisions. Should I stay married or get divorced? Should I stay in this job or look for another? Should I say here or move? Should I talk to her anymore or give up on the friendship?

The person is torn between choices and finds it hard to make a decision. The longer one ponders the more one starts to ruminate. If the rumination increases so does the consequent anxiety and depression sometimes leading to fear at disabling levels.

As it is written in A Course In Miracles, the tolerance for pain may be high but not without limit.

What should a person do?

Simple. Turn your will over to God's will for you. God's will be done. Can you bring your will into alignment with what you believe is God's will for you? The word for seeking God's will is "discernment."

How does one discern God's will?

We will make suggestions for how to discern God's will in future articles.

For now be assured that you don't need to make decisions all by yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit, Jesus, God, the Spirit of Life, the Muse, Mother Nature, the Great Spirit, your Higher Power for guidance and be open to what you sense as the answer.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Help offered should be done so unconditionally

When we wish people well and help them, if we worry about the outcome of our well wishes and efforts we have not really helped them. Our well wishes and help is conditional on the giver's expectations and requirements being fulfilled. What was offered was conditional and not freely and unconditionally given. The question then arises should the well wishes and help be offered again? The answer is "no" not until the giver gets his/her frame of mind in the right place first.

What is the right mind? It is one of Unconditional Love for oneself and others. With Unconditional Love the giver has turned his/her will over to his/her Higher Power who is working through him/her. The giver has decided to become one with the all and sees the recipient as part of oneself and therefore any help extended to another is help extended to oneself. In this right mind, well wishing and help never fail, indeed, cannot fail. Failure is impossible.

When well wishing and help is extended from the right mind, it never has be repeated because it's goal is always achieved.

When you wish people well and extend help, do so unconditionally as a conduit of grace of the Higher Power, the Spirit of Life to further the achievement of the Atonement.

Friday, March 30, 2018

We get what we give

When we wish someone well, we benefit whether the wish is of help to the person or not.

A gift is not given with results guaranteed. It is the thought and intention that counts. What happens after that is out of the giver's control.

Wishes well meant are never wasted though they may lie dormant until the receiver is ready to accept what has been offered.

Well wishes and actions last forever on the path of the spirit. They are from the Divine spark within the giver to the Divine Spark in the intended receiver, and an attempt at joining and becoming One has occurred. This attempt at building the At-one-ment is never wasted. The gift is not given to impose or imprison but to liberate, and is sometimes perceived as a threat and distrusted. It is best, then, to turn the outcome of the wishes over to the Higher Power to do with them as is Wished.

It is in relinquishing control over the outcome of the wishes well meant that the true meaning of the gift is fulfilled for in maintaining some control and expectation the gift was never wholly given.

Wishes for well being are never wasted even if sometimes defensively dismissed or even twisted into an attack. If this occurs, forgiveness is suggested and the continuation on the path of the spirit by the well wisher.

The law of karma teaches us that we get what we give, we learn what we teach, as we sow we will reap. The walk with Love is a path of unconditional well wishing which brings peace, and bliss.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The function of the teacher of God

 A teacher of God is anyone who is on the path of the spirit and has left the path of the ego. What is the function of a teacher of God?

It is simply to remind people that they have a choice between the path of the ego and the path of the spirit.

Most people don't even know that a choice exists. The path of the ego is all they know because that is what they have been taught. It has been taught to them by parents who don't know either. It is a case of the blind leading the blind.

Usually in crisis, a person will question what they have been taught. In the midst of great disillusionment, it dawns on them that there must be a better way. It is at this moment, that the teacher of God appears, as an enlightened witness, to remind them of what is already theirs but which they have forgotten and not been consciously aware.

The teacher of God demonstrates from his/her own life and with his/her validating encouragement that "yes, there is a better way," and encourages the person to forgive their earlier mistakes in walking the path of the ego and all those who encouraged them to, and turn onto the path of the spirit which involves a surrender of one's will, one's ego to the Divine.

This surrender of one's ego can fill a person with great fear of engulfment and dissolution and it is with reassurance from the teacher of God that the seeker can take the risk.

People avoid the "risk of change." The person wants things to be different, but their fears keep them from initiating the steps to actually begin that change. They think that it may be better to "dance with the devil they know than the devil they don't know," but what they don't realize is that while they have been dancing with the devil on the path of the ego, there is no devil on the path of the spirit only Unconditional Love.

It is the encouragement from the teacher of God that allows the person to take the risk and let go of the path of ego and enter onto the path of the spirit which is within in them all along, but their awareness had been blocked by their worship of idols which had promised to make them happy.

The function of the teacher of God is threefold. First, the teacher of God is a reminder that there is, indeed, a better way. Second, the teacher of God validates the person's desire and wish to pursue it. Thirdly, the teacher of God encourages the person to take the risk of surrendering their attachment to the path of the ego and initiate their search on the path of the spirit for Oneness with the Divine which brings, peace, joy, and bliss.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Do you choose death or life, victimhood or well being?

What is called for if one would have a happy life is a shift in belief and perception. Do we choose to walk the path of the ego or the path of spirit?

We come to a fork in the road and we have to choose. We cannot walk both paths at the same time. They go in different directions.

The choice is about belief and perception. We see what we believe we see. The life we create for ourselves is a life of never ending self fulfilling prophesies. We develop a mindset set that governs our perceptions. "Perception is reality," says the bumper sticker.

If we choose sickness and death we will get it. If we choose healing and life we will get it.

We think our body can control our mind and we give it powers it doesn't have with using terms like "instincts," and "reflexes," and the names of various diseases which victimize us. Is it "mind over matter," or "matter over mind?"

No circumstances in the world we have created can make us believe, feel, or do anything. Over circumstances we may believe we have no control, but in our response to those circumstances we always do.

What will be our response be to the circumstances of our lives? Do we choose sickness, suffering, and death, or healing, peace, and Life? Are we victims or the beloved creation of the Divine?

Our choice. Choose wisely because our ultimate happiness and well being depends on it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Healing is available if we choose

What would make a person want to be a victim? What would make a person want to suffer? There must be something in it for the person or (s)he wouldn't choose it.

Being a victim and suffering brings sympathy and maybe compensation of some sort as witnesses are manipulated to cater to the victim's desires.

The victim and person suffering becomes the center of attention and requires that others pay homage and console. In victimhood and suffering there is a power, hidden, that places the person in a superior position over others.

Playing the victim and being long suffering, for some, can become a way of life and a very powerful way of controlling interpersonal interactions. Would the victim and suffering person be healed, (s)he would give up his/her power and no longer be able to command the special place they so desire in other people's attention.

Victimhood and suffering have a huge place on the path of the ego. They command the media and our attention to the horrors and trauma that are highlighted constantly. Victimhood and suffering demand that they occupy center stage in our lives that we may all live in fear of the awful and the terrible and feel superior that these terrible things happen, and thank goodness they happen to other people and not to me and mine.

A  bumper sticker says "Reality is when it happens to you." It reminds us to be fearful of our fragile hold on safety and well being because it can be snatched away from us in an instant.

With the dawning comes the awareness that there must be a better way. We come to realize that victimhood and suffering on the path of the ego is nonsense and a social construction that we have created. We realize that these creations have blocked our awareness of Love's presence within us and among us, and once again we have been seduced to walk down the path of the ego instead of on the path of the spirit where healing is available if we choose.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Open-heartedness is a milestone on our spiritual journey

Another milestone on the path of the spirit is open-mindedness or open-heartedness. We give up judgment. We come to understand and experience that all of God's creations deserve our Love because God created and loves them.

Open-hearted people walk with Love on the path of the spirit. Open-minded people are in Love with everybody all the time. This takes forgiveness.

We come to understand that anyone who walks on the path of the ego needs our forgiveness "for they know not what they do."

Mistaking the path of the ego as the road to happiness is a sad choice and the traveler on the path of the spirit gently reminds them to chose again. Mistakes are merely mistakes and the growth in consciousness is inevitable as we all proceed to the At-one-ment when everybody loves everybody all the time.

Ultimately, the open-minded, open-hearted milestone is experienced when forgiveness and Love becomes our experience and who we are. We have unlearned the ways of the path of the ego and pursued the walk with Love on the path of the spirit and this turning brings us peace, and bliss, and Oneness with the All.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Faithfulness is a milestone in spiritual development

Faithfulness is another milestone on the spiritual path. Faithfulness implies an understanding and acceptance of who one is (a creation of the Divine) and the desire to walk with Love on the path of the spirit.

Faithfulness means giving up the path of the ego and all the idols that are placed on that path. We no longer crave money, power, status, sex, control and all the things that the path of the ego tells us are necessary for us to acquire if we are to be happy.

We have recognized the lies that the idols on the path of the ego have told us, and we have committed ourselves to finding a better way to live our lives, but sometimes that commitment is half-hearted. Sometimes that commitment applies to some things and not others. Sometimes that commitment is intense in times of desperation and stress, but less so when we are less desperate and the stress has been reduced.

We may see the benefit and desirability of walking the path of the spirit but we still are ambivalent. Matthew tells the story in Chapter 19:16-22:

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 

17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 

18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 

21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 

22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The rich young man lacked faith. His faith was still in his possessions. He seemed to desire to leave the path of the ego and turn onto the path of the spirit but he was not ready and it made him sorrowful.

At the early stages of our spiritual development, after the dawning and the turning and beginning the search, we still are ambivalent. There is part of us that does not want to leave the path of the ego or we wish we could have our cake and eat it too. Our faithfulness is weak. Over time, though, and with increased practice, we become more faithful to the path of the spirit and we walk it with more confidence with increased peace, bliss, and generosity of spirit.