Maitri May 20, 2015

We need to be kind to ourselves.  This means kindness toward all aspects of our being.  We know that kindness means the absence of anger. It also means not wanting to hurt someone else.  But what if things seem to be falling apart for us?  What if deep down we feel that we have really messed things up?  Those are  the parts of us that hurt the most.  Those are the hardest parts of ourselves to love.  But remember that whatever the circumstances, we are always loved by the Creator of the Universe and the Master of our Souls – no matter what!

Maitri means sticking with ourselves even when we feel like losers.  It is from Buddhism. Maitri is loving-kindness.  How do we do that?

First we need to become aware of our focus.  Who and where do we place most of our thoughts?  If they are mostly internal, and about us, we need to change our perception and our focus will change.  How do we do that?

It takes practice, but we immediately change our internal thought to an external thought. My personal way of doing this is to think of God.  Just think of God.  If we don’t know what to think, just say over and over God, God, God, God…..Thank God for something, the rain, the sun, the good smell in the air, whatever.  Do this as often as necessary.  Keep doing it.  After all, we live in a fallen world.

Christianity says our world fell when Eve ate the apple at the suggestion of “Evil.”  In the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, he says our world fell apart when we became separated from nature, and became enemies to each other and to ourselves.  Today we think of it as separation from the ideal which opens the door for our suffering.  Lao Tzu calls it the loss of the Great Integrity.  Interesting isn’t it that they are both so similar?

Who Is Pogo? May 11, 2015

Created by Walt Kelly, Pogo was a cartoon character who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  The cause of confusion and violence and lack of understanding is in me, and all of us.  We can come to know all of this in ourselves.  But first we have to make friends with ourselves. Blaming someone else is not the the way to get happy.  We have to love ourselves and see that shutting off our friends and the world around us changes nothing.

We have met the friend and he is us.  If we go to the places that we reject, we come to know the parts of ourselves that we reject.

The is an interrelated universe.  We are all connected and responsible for loving and helping each other.  All of our hearts touch. Our energy should be kindness and compassion in everything we touch, think about and love.  Peace is reaching out, even in a small way, (ex. a silent blessing to a bicycle rider who passes us), and that good energy will go where it is needed.  Plan to walk in silent blessing just for today. Bless everyone you see, silently, and see how you feel at the end of the day.

My blessings to all.

The Beauty And Truth Of Being Alive May 3, 2015

How do we experience the light of the soul and the depth of the world in which we live?  Wow.  Now there’s a challenge. There is no way not to do both, but the challenge is to inhabit both the soul’s light and the world’s depth.  I believe that each of us is given a specific life.

We choose our path.  If we choose a life of spirit, it begins with our absolute belief and acceptance that we are part of something larger than ourselves.  What is the basic question we all ask?  We want to know what our connection to the living Universe is and the truth of who we really are.  Once we are touched by suffering and/or love, that question takes a front and center seat in our drive through life.

Every human being has a journey of discovery that is theirs alone.  There is the soul and then there is the world.  We have relationships with each other and through those we discern experience, love and service.  To quote Emmett Fox, “…we’re left to make sense of the kinship between the mysterious forces of life that remain unseeable and the things of this world with all their weight and gravity.”

How do we learn, how do we find peace?  We take care of each other while we share our experiences of becoming who we are.

I know for sure that my soul and my relationship with my Universe is paramount to me finding the beauty and truth of being alive.  I know for sure that love is the card that connects us.  I know for sure that my world, bound and gagged by time constraints, is teaming with unseen forces that can and will help us on our journeys if we just get out of our own way and ask.

Emmett Fox once more, “I learned that authentic living begins with our acceptance of what we’re given.  Then the light of the soul can met the light in the world.”

Shine on everyone.  Shine on.

The Good Old Days April 21, 2015

Too often we have a hard time seeing today’s blessings because we are wired to look through our past filter.  Many of us, in fact I believe most of us, can find bad things that happened to us in the past and we cannot let them go.  As long as we are there, we are hooked and our present potential remains dormant.  Fortunately, today’s scientific world has found ways for us, with diligent effort, to rewire our brains so that we no longer wander through the dark halls of our minds. Practicing selective thinking, in the now, can slowly change perception.

I am deep into a Bible study which can show us how to begin this process of change. For example, maybe we have trouble remembering why we perceive things the way we do.  Here is a lesson.  Let’s look at our  parents, or main caregivers.  Find the worse three things about each of them.  Now find the best three things about them.  We can go back to our grandparents and do the same thing.  When we finish this exercise, look closely at the positives and the negatives.  We are looking at ourselves.

We discover raw and hurtful things, and we discover warm and wonderful things.  That is the new map of our life.  Now, direction cannot change overnight, nor can it change in the past or the future.  Now is our new beginning.  How do we do that?  Look for the good in everything – and I mean everything – from brushing our teeth to smiling at the grocery clerk.  Science says when we smile, we change certain chemicals and feel better.  Try it.

I have found in my 69 years, that Jesus meets me wherever I am.  He already loves me. That is grace.  I want to love like He loves.  I want that more than anything.  So, my life is one in process.  I change the thought if it is negative.  And because I do that, I believe it is the second thought that counts.  I meditate daily and get stronger with positive feelings.

That is my hope and prayer for all of us.  Oh, and we should tell our Creator how much we love and glorify Him, and what we are grateful for because He made us for His glory.  I saw literally thousands of white butterflies the other day.  Nobody can tell me that God wasn’t right there in the middle of them.  I smiled and laughed, and thanked God.  I love white butterflies.

Fall Into The Big Truth April 12, 2015

Judgement starts with a declaration of what is good.  But Jesus follows up with a warning:  We will all be judged by the same measure we use.  If we cannot hold to our standard, we should not apply that standard to others.  In today’s culture the popular opinion is “tolerance.”   But I think what Jesus really means is that we should amend our own behavior and live properly according to the morals and ethics of our culture.  Talk the talk and walk the walk, we hear a lot of people say, before exercising judgement.  And we should help others do the same with our examples.  As long as we hold to our own faults, we will see them in everyone else.  Judgement, like charity, begins at home.

Our Creator has the power to connect us to the source which connects us to everything else.  I believe we need to stay in His power and in His word, because when we are connected there are no accidents anymore.  The universe conspires to keep things on the right path.  When we get there, we know because we are no longer afraid.  We have fallen into the big truth.  We are part of the universe and we are loved by God.  And the most important thing about that is that we cannot change it.

Never Too Late April 2, 2015

It is never too late to walk on a beach, and feel the warm sand beneath your feet.  It is never too late to find a shell that calls to you.  You pick it up and turn it around.  Slapped by the sea for Lord knows how long, it is smooth, but looks like some small prehistoric creature.  You tuck it away in your pocket, vowing to put it in a place where you can look at it often and know that everything in life is beautiful.

It is never too late to sit on the sand, watching the waves roll in, tickle your feet, slip through your fingers, and then roll out again.  Rhythm.  In and out.  Good and bad.  Love and fear.  Listen to the ocean.  It has a sound all its own.  You know when it is happy and content, and you know when it is not.  The sea is a friend if you want it to be.  But that  demands respect.  You have to listen to its moods.

It is never too late to smell the sea.  It has a fishy sandy clean smell all its own.  Draw in a deep breath and know you are drawing in the universe, thirsting for compassion.

It is never too late to extend your loving heart.

Jumping The Cliff March 24, 2015

I am going to borrow an analogy from Father Jason that I heard this past Sunday.  So, please put on your Imagination Caps and get ready for this trip.

Picture two huge cliffs with drops that go straight down.  They are very high, a mile or more, and they are opposite each other by at least a mile.  They are exactly alike except for the fact that you are standing on the edge of one cliff, and God is standing on the other.  You don’t have any tools, but you want to reach God.  How do you get to God?

Now, everybody has a theory.  No, they didn’t have cell phones to call a chopper.  People love to talk (sometimes argue?) politics and religion.  Apologists are those who argue the faith and continue until they are certain they have the answer.  Many people just will not listen to another theory or reasoned explanation.  So, unless it is in what I call a   “religious/political safe zone,”  I never open my mouth.  (I know I have friends who think otherwise, but trust me, I am changing – a work in progress!)

The main reason I do not like apologetics is because there are no concrete answers, save one.  For man to get to God, some kind of “melting” has to take place.  Man has to let go of all his “stuff” and just hand it over to God.  Yes, I know, how do we do that?  I have come to the conclusion that we cannot do it once and figure everything is all right.  I think we have to hand over our stuff to God every single day.

I wake up every day and am first thankful that I have this day.  The second thing I do is tell God that it is His day, I dedicate it to Him, and turn over my concerns to Him.  I pray for those I love, and for those who have asked for prayers, then I petition God in the most gracious way I know how, ending with “Thy will be done.”

Oh, the cliff, the end of the story.  Faith in your life, constant faith, will cause you to melt, to become soft, and that is when your love shows.  When your love shows amazing things happen, like blinking your eyes and finding yourself on the other cliff with your Creator.  Father Jason says the bridge is Jesus because He taught us the “tricks of the trade.”  Somewhere along the line, some of us forgot them, some of us are just rediscovering them, and some of us never will.  But God is waiting.  What do you want to do?

Cut Expectations For A Cure March 14, 2015

I am always resisting some aspect of life.  But I have learned that the trick is that I have to meet resistance head-on to dissolve it.  If it rains and I want the sun, I complain.  I should just feel how wet it is instead.  When it is cold, I want to be warmer.  When I am too warm, I want to be cooler.  I should just meet these conditions as they are when they come.  There is no cure for the here and now; they will go on forever.  I could cut my expectations and make myself feel a whole lot better.

If I can look closely at the moment, try to feel it and ask the why question, I sometimes, not all the time mind you, but sometimes, I feel appreciation.  It feels like my mind and heart open and I feel the very core of just being.

Looking Deeply At Joy And Sorrow March 7, 2015

Loss is part of life.  Well, that’s hardly a profound sentence, is it?  We are conceived and spend probably the best part of this life in our mother’s womb.  We are warm and comfortable.  We move around without effort.  We can kick and feel.  During this process God gets us ready for the biggest shock of our life.  We are pushed, and sometimes prodded, and even cut out of this wonderful place.  We are cold and messy and somebody usually hits us hard on the back holding us upside down.  We cry.  This is the first big let down we experience in this life.

Until we are big enough to know who our “people” are, we still have a bit of our old soul in us, and can even see beyond the veil,  But as we grow and learn to react to outside sources, our ability to look beyond recedes and we then start to understand what it means to live in this world.

We grow up.  We usually have a family of sorts, a mom and dad, or people who have formed a union vowing to take care of us and love us.  By the time we get to 4th or 5th grade, we begin to form our own opinions and we begin to reason.  Ah, that gets interesting.

In today’s world, if we want to know something, we have the internet right at our finger tips.  In my younger days, I had to go to the library and look it up.  When my parents ordered the Book of Knowledge, a series of books on a myriad of topics, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Now, I use the internet.

By the time we are almost adult, we have experienced some kind of tremendous loss or hurt, or disappointment.  We have to learn how to deal with what happened and the feelings that go along with it.

We leave the nest, so-to-speak, and begin to do things for ourselves.  We might choose a career over a family or we might choose both.  We might have had some rough spots growing up that affect us deeply and keep us from being the best we can be.

But here is the thing:  Life does not give us any promises.  No guarantees.  The only thing we can do is look deeply at joy and sorrow, hoping and fearing, and all that lives and dies.  What truly heals us is tenderness and gratitude.

My mother has been gone for seven years.  My father passed just about two months ago.  Today I have to fill out the papers for Arlington National Cemetery so he can be buried.  It seems almost obscene to me that we have to wait that long for closure.  Lord I miss him.  The only thing I can do is remember them both with tenderness and gratitude.  I like the way Leonard Nimoy said it,  “Live long and prosper.”  We cannot do that without an open heart.

God Bless those who are no longer with us.

What To Believe & How To Behave February 22, 2015

Lift up you heart.  Put your trust in something greater than yourself.  Reject humiliation.  Rise above your enemies and do not be disappointed.  Use truth as a teacher.  Remember the only things that are everlasting are compassion and love.  Guide the humble and teach the lowly.  Be faithful to what is right.

This is from Psalm 25, versus 1 through 9, without God in it.  Amazing, isn’t it?