What to do when the gods are busy …

Think things are a mess? I do, but then my next thought is, “what can I, one person do against such powerful, selfish forces?”

What if … the gods, or God, or whatever you call him/her/it, have come to you, confessing, “We really botched our job of creation of earth. Just look at the state of things that have come from humanity’s misplaced priorities, and particularly what your fearful, mindless race for success at any price. You’ve been unaware that your focus on success has also been at the expense of a numbing of your best impulses. Its not our fault! It’s just that we gods have been so very busy at the first — you know, Big Bang, creating energy, matter, stars, planets, and life! It’s a very big job, after all!

“But, we are still very busy. So, we’re asking for your help to identify two or three primary principles to include in our update, Earth 2. its obvious that things on Earth have gotten completely out of control— you’re losing the planet with your own actions, taking not only humanity, but perhaps all life on this planet, including you!

“Your vision should include an example of how your personally-selected ‘prime principles’ might manifest — for example, if you identify love as a principle, relate your thoughts where you or someone you know actively moves into a place of love when with another.”

I also invite you to join in proving the power of prime principles in action by living them in the life you’re living, right here, right now.

You want change, I want change, and isn’t it just possible that people everywhere know that a change in our underlying beliefs as we now experience them is in order?

“Someone” famously said, “be the change you want in the world!” This “now” is the time, “where” you are, “where” you are, right now!

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Journey — cont’d

In a recent discussion I had with a friend, it became apparent that his version of “God” was very different than mine. My upbringing and my search since has primarily been around the Judeo-Christian concept of God. Ok, so it’s impossible for any of us to get our mind around even that version of the ultimate presence — or whatever you want to call “it” — see, even our language is inadequate!

At any rate, I was making the point that the New Testament account of the life and teachings of Jesus are difficult enough — look at how we come up short in our efforts to live a life that even starts to emulate his.

For example, we call the United States a “Christian Nation,” right? Those who profess to hold the sanctity of life as a principle generally restrict their actions to oppose abortion, while — generally, again — supporting the death penalty, another life-extinguishing practice in most of our country. And, something like 80% of “evangelical Christians” supported the invasion of Iraq!

Jim Wallis of the Sojourners continues to point out that our national budget is a statement of our moral priorities. So what do we make of recent actions by our elected representatives to limit or even eliminate programs that help what Jesus and the prophets call “the least of these,” while taking actions that enhance the wealth of the already-very-wealthy?

Sorry this is a bit of a rambling post — but this is NOT the America I hoped to see in the 21st Century!

We can .. We must .. Do better, Be better than this –

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Journey Inward, Journey Outward

Most of my life — and this blog, to date — have been about a “journey inward.” Meaning a psychological and spiritual pilgrimage, probably trying to answer the question of meaning, both for my own life as well as for all life.

Some years ago Elizaeth O’Connor of The Church of the Savior (CoS) in Washington DC wrote a book with the title of this post, “Journey Inward, Journey Outward.” Ms O’Connor, and CoS’s point seemed to be that a journey to becoming centered in Spirit will ultimately lead to a personal journey into the world.

For me, though, the challenge seems to be one of finding a single “journey outward” — I’m passionate about so many issues! Therefore, I’ll be exploring my thoughts, readings and discoveries in this area for a while. Feel free to join in the exploration and to share your own observations and discoveries!

Namaste

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Creators Are We

We are all in a process of creating, every day and in many ways. I’m amazed how few of us are aware of this power of creation we possess, and even more amazed how often we don’t create congruently.

As I remember it, Conversations with God states that we create in three main ways:

  • First, by our thoughts. We hear it all the time: you are what you think. Think positive thoughts, prosperity thoughts, loving thoughts, and that’s exactly what you get in your life.
  • An even more creative means of creation is through our words. Great words continue with us for generations: “all men are created equal,” “we will never surrender,” “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” and many, many more.
  • Then, the most powerful medium of creation is our actions. I often think of my life as an on-going effort to bring my actions into alignment with my best thoughts and the best of my – or others – words.

In some of my dark times, I despair of ever aligning the three on a consistent basis.  Negative thoughts are bad enough, but there are times when I find words coming out of my mouth that I immediately wish to take back, but can’t. Heated discussions are one particular difficulty for me. And parenting has also been a particularly challenging place for me to make sure my words reflected my best thoughts.

Of course, seeing the incongruity in another can be much easier to observe. I’ve often seen individuals whose words reflect what seem to be their thoughts from some of the most positive, life-affirming, loving aspects of their beingness. But then their actions often reveal a controlling, manipulative, fearful and angry personality. Those people are particularly difficult for me,because I often see myself in the polarity of their – and my – thoughts, words and deeds!

One aspect of this that I wonder about from my remembering of the stories of Jesus’ life; He seemed to be particularly critical in his observation of those whose lives were so scrupulously lived, with a worldly appearance that appeared congruent, or white like the outside of a tomb, I think he says, but were actually rotting on the inside. I seem to remember that he observed that they tithed on even the smallest things while ignoring the more important actions of caring for those we now call “the less fortunate.”

What does this mean for you and me, particularly in this Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years Season?

 

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Effects, or causes?

 

From Neale Donald Walsch’s “The New Revelations:” This is not an exact quote, but my remembering goes something like this …

Some of us believe the very serious problems we humans are faced with today are political problems. We then try to solve these political problems by electing politicians whose appeal is based on his or her promises to “fix things.” Once elected, they vote for or against some programs, but fix nothing. That’s because the problems we face today are NOT political problems.

Others of us believe the very serious problems we face today are social/psychological problems. So we fund this or that social program or one or more approaches designed to fix us. Once again, nothing is fixed because the root cause of these very serious problems is NOT social or psychological.

Still others of us believe our problems are economic. Our governments adopt certain economic approaches and implement policies and pass new laws to facilitate those policies. Once again, those economic policies fail because the underlying cause of our very serious problems are NOT economic, either.

In the meantime, the world continues to slide toward crisis because we have tried everything at the level of “effects,” but have actually done nothing to address the core of the problem, the cause. It’s my observation and belief — here I believe I depart somewhat from the conversation Neale Donald Walsch had with God in this book — that we humans have lost our way! We no longer feel connected to our inner self, with other humans (around us and beyond), with the Earth and all its creation, and with the universe itself, including the animating spirit behind all of it, call it/him/her God, the Force, whatever you will.

It’s amazing isn’t it? With more than seven billion people on this planet, we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re utterly and completely alone in our human experience. And, it’s true — at least to the extent that we believe it to be so, and live out of that belief! And, I propose, that belief of separation from all is the main reason, the root cause of the mess we find ourselves in today!

So, why don’t we examine that core belief and see what we can do to create a new human — in ourselves and in our world!! I’m no expert, whatever that means in this time in the human experience, but I know that “together we are genius,” as Lynne Twist of the Pachamama Alliance puts it . Shall we begin together to create a new heaven, a new earth, and the new human?

This is the place … Now is the time!

Namaste …

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The Shift 1

During my absence from this blog, I’ve been exploring some new (for me!) areas. See “Paradigm Shift,” earlier, for some thoughts about this, or even “Tilting at Windmills.”

At any rate, I now believe Church of the Savior had/has it right: a “Journey Inward,” or becoming attuned to the Spirit or to God within, must ultimately lead to a “Journey Outward,” a mission, calling, or outreach. At least, it’s so for me. So …

Most of us will probably agree that we humans have made quite a mess of things on earth. Water aquifers are drying up, topsoil loss has reached a critical stage in many areas, worldwide, fisheries are collapsing, we’re still converting forests to agricultural uses, and agricultural land into housing and asphalt. Our actions are pushing thousands of species to the brink of extinction, if not over the brink. Many of you know the score …

Some of us simply shut down when faced with the extent of the crises facing us. Others choose to deny its reality, and others of us are aware, but overwhelmed.

Our world leaders and our economic system is largely in denial. But, the vast majority of climate scientists are not! NASA, the UN, and our own military are not.

So, who do we believe, and what can one individual do?

To be continued …

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Conservation & Farming

In a recent visit with a relative who is vegan, and the family vegetarian, I began thinking about our family’s “hit and miss” history of trying to eat better … for more energy and better health.

Some of us are concerned about the state of farming in this country, much of which is now controlled in one way or another by corporations. In response, in our area we’re seeing an increasing demand for organic foods and a proliferation of farmer’s markets in nearly every community during the summer months. We know that much of our food is already full of steroids, vaccines, growth hormones, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and/or herbicides. Now there’s genetically altered foods, and the agricultural industry doesn’t even want to have to inform us of which one of those chemicals or products of chemicals are in our food.

Perhaps, like me, many of us may feel the reactions against these actions is quite a new movement. But, according to Michael Pollan’s introduction to the book, Bringing It to the Table, writers like Wendell Berry, Francis Moore Lappe, Barry Commoner, and Joan Gussow began writing about this very critical connection between the food we eat and the food production industry ‘way back in the 1970s. Pollan quotes one of those pioneers, Wendell Berry:

Why  should conservations have an interest in … farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationist eat. To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd. Urban conservationists may feel entitled fo feel unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can’t be let off too easily, because they are farming by proxy. They can eat only if land is farmed on their behalf by somebody somewhere in some fashion. If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nations. (“Conservation and Agrarian,” 2002)

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Heart of Religion

For two thousand years now we in the churches that call ourselves “Christian” have claimed to base the creeds, principles, doctrines, etc on the life and teachings of Jesus. However, for the most part those doctrines have been a “religion about Jesus,” and not a “religion of Jesus.” Probably earlier, but certainly with the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, the “bishops” began to debate and vote (!!) on the key doctrines of what became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Even the Protestant Reformation failed to greatly alter the reliance on doctrine. Yes, some of the key elements of doctrine were changed, but reliance on doctrine has not. And, in some/most Protestant churches, the authority of the minister is difficult to challenge by the laity.

Keith Miller, in his 1965 book, A Taste of New Wine, quotes William Temple’s Nature, Man and God …

“The heart of religion is not an opinion about God such as philosophy might reach as a conclusion of its arguments; it is a personal relationship with God …

“Faith is not the holding of correct doctrines but personal fellowship with the Living God … What is offered to man’s apprehension in any specific Revelation is not truth concerning God but the Living God Himself.”

From Blaise Pascal’s Pascal’s Pensees, Miller quotes:

“the knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him.”

In our Western culture, we … and most certainly, I … am biased toward my implementation of the scientific method. For me then, this means my tendency is to read, study and contemplate on spiritual things. Yet, if I’m honest, I realize that, although perhaps helpful, such practices are not likely to lead me to an experience of the divine in my life.

I make no claim of expertise in this area, but my recollection of the story of the Buddha’s search for enlightenment comes to mind as an example. For six(?) years he went from teacher to teacher seeking “the path” to enlightenment, totally immersing himself in the various practices [is this like immersing ourselves in the doctrines of our faith?]. But it was not until he stopped “practicing” and sat under the Bodhi tree and stayed in a meditative state that he found what he’d sought.

Perhaps, we — I — can begin to cease doing doctrines, beliefs “about”, etc and sit quietly to alow the Spirit within speak to and through us “of” the enlightened life.

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Who Dunnit?

So, who you think does it to you? Is it fate … God … bad luck … our mothers, fathers, a teacher?

There’s a group of individuals who live in fear, in total paranoia about what’s going on. And I think that to some degree, we all live in fear some, or much, of the time. Fear of losing our loved one, our possessions, our money, our life, our reputation … you name it!

The film, “The Secret” touched on another way of thinking about our ability, our power to create our reality through our use — or misuse — of the power of attraction in our lives. Perhaps the film explained it incompletely, but which of us has the complete story? Or, just perhaps, there are Messiahs all around … maybe you are one! … maybe I am one! What does it take to believe in the Messiah-ship of ourselves?

Let’s return to Richard Bach’s “Illusions,” again [subtitled, "The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah", by the way]:

” … what if someone came along who was really good at this, who could teach me how my world works and how to control it? What if I could meet a super-advanced … what if a Siddhartha or a Jesus came into our time with power over the illusions of the world because he knew the reality behind them?

” … maybe he woudn’t say anything this book says. But then again, the things this one told me; that we magnetize into our lives whatever we hold in our thought, for instance — if that is true, then somehow I have brought myself to this moment for a reason, and so have you. Perhaps it is no coincidence that you’re holding this book [reading this blog]; perhaps there’s something about these adventures that  you came here to remember. I choose to think so.”

As do I …

“All that I have done, you shall do also … and even greater things shall you do …” said another Messiah!

“Just do it!” says still another!

 

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Thoughts3

From David Hawkins seminar tapes:

Peace is the natural state whenever truth prevails AND …

Truth is divinity expressed in a form comprehensible to man.

What do you think? Is Hawkins saying, then, that peace will prevail whenever we comprehend, whenever we are in relationship with the divine? And, wouldn’t a “Christian Nation” be informed by and choose to be guided by a relationship with the divine?

I’m a bit rusty on the Logic course I took a long time ago, but it seems at least reasonable that … If the United States were to consciously make a decision to live in a relationship with the divine, wouldn’t peace naturally prevail?

And … Since peace does not “naturally prevail” in the domestic or international affairs of the United States … we must not be choosing to live from the divine … therefore, we must be choosing another guiding principle, another primary relationship from which to make our decisions.

I’m suggesting that the United States’ primary relationship is with our economic system, with capitalism. And it seems to me that our dedication to that relationship is fast replacing any pretense of having another relationship … with the divine, in particular.

Time to choose again!!

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