Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Love

For thirty years now I have been leading a life based on Love and the force I call God and that approach has transformed my life, the lives of many others and I am not done influencing. I really enjoy watching and feeling the impact of love on the other people and myself. I know it to be very practical and I continue to wish I understood it better and could predict outcomes — but then I smile knowing love does not work that way. "If you can rise above the fear in your life and live the love within you, and if I can rise above my fear and live the love in me-----if that drama is reenacted enough times by enough of the world’s people-----then we will pierce the cosmic darkness and tip the world in the direction of light." (Marianne Williamson)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Growth

I have had several opportunities to present other people with the option and challenge of expanding their thinking beyond their previous teaching and experience, much as I have been challenged numerous times. The results in myself have usually been initial resistance followed by growth and incorporation of the new information. The responses from others have been quite varied, all the way from wondrous excitement to stubborn resistance. I recall once being invited to participate in a workshop to write questions on cultural awareness for national mental health tests, which I welcomed since I had recently learned how little I really know about cultures other than my own. I wrote a question about a Navajo woman troubled by dreams and visions who would have been considered psychotic in this culture or normal within hers. All of the answers except one had to do with treating her as psychotic which were the answers that most people selected. The correct answer was to treat her as normal and help her talk about her dreams and visions. Fortunately, there was one Navajo man in the room who knew this was the correct answer. The others did not agree. "If we can resist the compulsive pressure of our logical thinking, without relinquishing our precious heritage of lucid thought; if we can hold our ground with our own hardly won ego personalities, yet bow our heads and say, 'Thy will not mine be done'; if we will but notice the reactions of our bodies; and heed the behaviour of the world towards us; if we can learn to listen to the voices within and to the whisper in the wind, with trust as well as with discrimination, we may be able to follow the road where the Rainmaker walks." (Claremont deCastillejo)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Transcendence

It is important for me to always keep in mind that the use of words and language is human and can, at its best, "point" toward the transcendent reality of love or God. Love is beyond that and if I choose to live within that love, which I do, the results can’t necessarily described with words. Because of my disability, I have been dealing with people in the medical profession who have been exhaustively educated using logical reasoning and words. Understandably, they tend to view me through the lens of their training, while I have been using love, spirituality and a holistic approach to deal with my physical challenges. My condition is much better than would be predicted according to the narrow confines of their training. I suspect that I am doing as well as I am because I look and live beyond the words, to transcend them. "To understand better the value of silence in daily life, and its relation to this spiritual transformation for which we yearn, it is useful first to consider the limitation of language, of words. It is next useful to contemplate the limitations of logical reasoning."(Daniel A. Seeger)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gratitude

For the last two days I have written about my role as a "transmitter" or a human embodiment of God’s love, a role that I have certainly earned and am immensely grateful for. I was given that ability during praying in the sweat lodge, a sacred ceremony. It’s a role that, in the human or judgmental sense, I am not worthy of, but in the Divine sense I am. I write that because during the first thirty-six years of my life I was very self-centered and hurt many people, then surrendered and began changing my life to become a selfless being of service. I, apparently, had to live and experience my dark nature before transitioning to loving. I needed to know both sides and I am aware that many people have made similar journeys. "To get we must also give, to advance we must also surrender, to gain we must lose, to attain we must resign. From the nature of things life means choice and selection, and every positive choice negates all other possibilities." (Rufus Jones)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Being Present

I wrote yesterday of my central role as just being "to sit there, be present, be loving and just be" since both people and spirits seem to benefit from an example of a close loving contact with the force I call God. I was given the gift of what that contact feels like many years ago in the sweat lodge and now can generate the feeling for others. In the words of Rufus Jones; "God must have an instrument — an organ is perhaps a better word — for the revelation of His love and tenderness, just as his physical energies must have their coordinator and transmitter." I can’t say that I understand how I can act as that "transmitter" or how that feeling was transmitted to me — but doing so is a wonderful experience and, as with many things of a similar spiritual nature, understanding is not required. I have come to agree with Jones that "If love is ever to reach and move and transform anyone with its wonderful impalpable power it must be a real love expressed in a real life."

Friday, February 16, 2018

Action

Recently, Maria and I have been asked to lead (clerk) the Thursday evening meeting for worship, a role we accept warmly. I do not talk very much and am difficult to understand, so Maria will do that part. At this point, my role is to sit there, be present, be loving and just be, a role I can do. My sense is that the local (graveyard) spirits will partner with me and do the same, in their own swirling way. In the words of Daniel A. Seeger "It [inner silence] is to establish an inner peace, an inner harmony, which will allow us authentically to contribute to the establishment of an outer peace and an outer harmony in the world at large." I tend to spread a feeling of peace and love everywhere I go — just through my presence. I will also take a more active role if and when asked. "It requires even more discernment to discover whether the ministry called for from a particular individual in a particular instance requires prophetic speech, humble and hidden activities, bold and dramatic action, professional service or some, novel and previously unimagined course."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spirits

Tonight I overheard Maria, my wife, talking on the phone about some of my early experiences with spirits and the sweat lodge and her conversation reminded me. I thought I was a normal "white boy" but maybe not. My first encounter was when a haggard looking native asked if he could talk to me while we were preparing for a lodge. He told me that the spirits had come to him in dreams since they could not approach me directly. He told me that the spirits wanted me to build a lodge and that the Navajo elders approved. I later realized that he was probably a spirit himself since he talked to no-one else and I have never seen him before or since. My second experience was when a handsome young Native spirit came to lodge with bare feet and dressed only in deerskin leggings (middle of winter). I, again, thought he was a normal person. We talked a bit quietly, with reverence and he sat next to me in the lodge. Later in the lodge he had disappeared. After the lodge I asked Dicky, the lodge leader, if someone had left the lodge. He assured me that no-one had and — hesitatingly — told me "you’re different Charlie". The world is a strange place and there is much I do not know. "Reality is only partly our invention; it is also partly our discovery. Our task is to discover how much and in what areas which is which; and then to determine how much new freedom this gives us and what we can do with it".(From Alternate Realities by Lawrence LeShan)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shadow Work

During meditation I heard and felt, very deeply, "You do not have to prove yourself anymore" in response to the idea that I was still deserving of punishment. I found those feelings especially interesting since I was completely unaware that my subconscious, shadow, felt I was proving myself. I was reminded of a time very early in my recovery when I heard "You do not have to struggle against drugs or alcohol any more" since I had no idea that my subconscious believed that or that the belief was part of me. There has also been a feeling of release and greater clarity. "Doing shadow-work means making a gentleman's agreement with one's self to engage in an internal conversation that can, at some time down the road result in an authentic self-acceptance and a real compassion for others."(Zweig and Abrams)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mixed Feelings

Today was a day of mixed and dramatically contrasting feelings, from great joy this morning to feelings of pain and deserving to be punished this evening. The joy this morning was due to my mystical connection with my soul or essence, God and eternity, a feeling that lasted most of the day. I then bit myself in an area of scar tissue, causing substantial pain and I also fell and hurt my leg. Falling is something I do about four times a year so I am used to it but I was surprised by a surging feeling of deserving to be punished for past actions in this life and probably before in previous lives. The feeling of deserving to be punished felt like a backlash in response to the joy I felt earlier. Both feelings are very real though deserving to be punished is a throwback to an earlier time and is silly. I need to meditate and feel each, dismissing the need to be punished . I recall that according to the gospel of Thomas Jesus said, "Let the one who seeks not stop seeking until he finds. When he finds he will become troubled; when he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and will rule over all things." I will ask to be released from the feeling of deserving to be punished.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Joy

In my recovery meeting today someone spoke of watching a caterpillar crawl across the ground as being a waste of time and I disagree. To me, taking the time to observe one of God’s creatures go about day to day living brings great joy. Life is a wondrous process to behold, whether the behavior is exceptional or ordinary. At one point not to many years ago, when I could not move without great difficulty, I spent several hours on my porch watching a predatory beetle capturing and devouring prey. Having my mind be quiet enough to simply observe is a wonderful state to be in. In the poem Dejection, Samuel Taylor Coleridge calls joy "this strong music in the soul’, ‘a light, a glory, a luminous cloud’, ‘a beautiful and beauty-making power.’ Joy is a gift, one we cannot will for ourselves, nor even for others."