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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Laugh or cry?

One of the signs that a person is on a spiritual path is laughter. The spiritual person is full of comic delight. Once one understands the wiles and cares of the ego, how could one take the path of the ego and the things on it seriously any more?

The absurdity, the incongruity, the insanity is simply funny. And the hurt and pain which accompanies the works of the ego only add to the comedy.

When Jesus was being crucified and said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," I imagine Him saying this with amusement. He was right. They didn't know what they were doing. It was so tragic, the whole thing was a joke.

They say "you can either laugh or cry." The difference is which path you are walking on. The path of the ego is a vale of tears. The path of the spirit brings laughter and bliss.

Do you know that you are already enlightened?

Some people think that achieving enlightenment takes a lot of work over a long period of time. Osho says this is nonsense as does A Course In Miracles. The truth is that you are already enlightened, you just aren't aware of it. You have forgotten.

You can remember your enlightened consciousness in an instant. A Course In Miracles even calls it the "Holy Instant," moments when we merge into the Oneness and experience cosmic consciousness. Psychologists call it "flow." It is an orgasmic experience of bliss.

The orgasmic experience of bliss is not just physical, not just mechanical, it is all encompassing of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. It requires a huge letting go, a letting go of the ego. For some people this is easier than others. Avoidant and anxious types have great difficulty. Secure types find it much easier.

Realizing that Godliness is already a part of us is the antidote for fear and it is, in this realization, that we remember our natural inheritance which is enlightenment or Love with a capital L.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The unspirituality of self improvement

Osho says, "Every idea that 'I am' is unspiritual. The idea of the self is unspiritual.

And what is self-cultivation? It is an effort to polish; it is an effort to create a beautiful character, to drop all that is unrespectable and to create all that is respectable." p. 183 "Ah, This!"

Polishing the ego is nonsense. It is a waste of time and effort. In A Course Of Miralces, it is taught that the ego is illusory. It is a figment of our imaginations and a social construction.

In Unitarian Universalism they covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This inherent worth and dignity has nothing to do with the ego. The ego has no inherent worth and dignity. It is a mirage. A mirage is not the real deal. A mirage is a hallucination. To polish and improve the image of a mirage is silly, nonsensical, ridiculous. How could an aware, wise person engage in fool's play?

Billions of dollars are spent in the United States and Europe and other First World Countries on self cultivation and self improvement. Self-help books abound. They have become a whole genre of literature and "how-to" videos and programs proliferate.

The emptiness of it all, the vacuousness, the banality is saddening. We are not separate selves. A separate self is not our essential nature, and so we can conclude that we don't know who we are. If we don't have an accurate understanding of who we are, how can we successfully cultivate it?

What time is it?

Osho says, "Time means mind. Time is a projection of mind. It does not exist; it is only an illusion. Only the present exists - and the present is not part of time. The present is part of eternity. Past is time, future is time; both are non-existential. The past is only memory and the future is only imagination; memory and imagination, both are non-existential." p.180 "Ah, This!"

"Hey, Bob, what time is it?"

"It's time for a cold one."

"It's always time for a cold one with you."

"That's right, it's Miller time."

And as Kurt Vonnegut has written, "And so it goes........"

Hell we create all on our own.

Osho says, "Either I can exist or God can exist; we cannot both exist together - because if I exist, then I am a separate entity. Then I have my own existence independent of God. But God simply means the total, the whole. How can I be independent of it? How can I be separate from it? If I exist, I destroy the very idea of totality." p. 182 "Ah, This!"

And how the ego wants us to be separate. It is this desire which is the original sin. We stupid humans want to be the author of our own existence. This is ridiculous. People, with their egos, are just ridiculous, Ridiculousness reigns supreme on the earth plane and creates the hell for us which we suffer in.

Surrendering our egos is so scary that most of us avoid even thinking about it. It seems like a crazy idea unless we obliterate our consciousnesses with drugs or other mood altering, mind bending activities like compulsive gambling, pornography, workaholism, compulsive overeating, extreme sports, internet addictions, etc.

Our egos set up a false dichotomy of me against Him. "I don't believe in God" we say because like children we don't like anyone being the boss of me.

But "God" is not a person. God is an energy. Luke Skywalker had it right when he called it The Force. Osho teaches that God is a quality; godliness he calls it.

Neale Donald Walsch teaches that if you don't like the word "God" use the word, "Life." "Life" works just as well. Try it.

Who can deny that they are part of life? Life is what we are in, not hell at all. Hell we create all on own.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Becoming Godliness

Osho says, "Ordinarily you think that time is divided into three divisions: past, present, and future. That is totally wrong. That is not how the awakened ones have seen time. They say time consists only of two divisions: past and future. The present is not part of time at all; the present belongs to the beyond." p. 180, "Ah, This!"

Remember the past are memories and the future is imagination. The present is the eternal Now, what is called in A Course In Miracles, "the Holy Instant."

The Buddhists say, "Be here now," but perhaps it would be better put if it they simply said, "Be Now," or maybe just "Now".

God said in the bible when asked who He is, "I am who I am, " or "I is what is."

When we become aware of the present we experience an Oneness with existence. We become Godliness. We become one with the All in the eternal present where there is no time at all.