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.