Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Paradox

In reading over yesterdays entry I find that I am actually grateful for the many challenges that I mention since dealing with them has pushed me to go beyond the person I thought I was. My challenges include alcoholism, disability, chronic pain, my age, the fact that everything is difficult for me, the fact that I am slow and that there are many things I cannot do. I deal well with each of them using love and my loving connection to everything and everybody as my main coping tool. Without the pressure those challenges have produced in my life, I would not be nearly the person I am. "To resign one’s self to the fact that one must travel much in the dark and be greatly sifted and tossed about is an inevitable step in the way of spiritual growth." (Gilbert Kilpack)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Serenity

Today I have been reflecting on life as it is for me, finding that the serenity prayer is working for me, particularly accepting what I cannot change and taking action on the things I can. There are also many aspects of my life that are good the way they are, for example my relationships, my health (other than disability), the several people I work with and my spiritual connection. I accept and live with several things like my disability, chronic pain, my age, the fact that everything is difficult for me, the fact that I am slow and that there are many things I cannot do. I exercise five or six days a week, also working on balance and coordination, in order to minimize my pain and be as functional as possible. The highlight of each day is when I get up in the middle of the night to pray, meditate and connect for a couple of hours. Life is good.

Monday, June 18, 2018

What Ought To Be

For the Thursday evening worship session that Maria, my wife, and I now lead I try to welcome all attendees with a human form of the absolute, unconditional love I learned from God. After making sure they feel loved, at peace and welcome, I might make suggestions about "acceptable" conduct at a Friend’s meeting for worship, especially if they plan to go to different meetings. The love, peace and welcome are the important, God given part. "Whenever spirit appears, even in the finite form of our own personal minds, it always outreaches and goes beyond its given expression and embodiment. We always transcend ourselves. We always live beyond our margins. We leap beyond anything that is — the here and now — and we are by the necessity of our being concerned with a more yet that ought to be." (Rufus Jones)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ministry

Right now I feel like I am in a holding, quiet time in terms of spiritual actions or ministry, a time to quietly continue my own growth and existing activities. I will admit to feeling impatient but also this being the right path for me. I am continuing with my recovery meetings, working with several people, working with spirits and developing the Thursday evening meeting for worship with Maria. I am situated and doing much the same as when I was living in Flagstaff, AZ. I gradually grew and developed, slowly increasing my impact. It seems time to do that here in MD. "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." (Patricia Loring)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sin

It’s best and most accurate to think of ourselves as children of the force I now call God, learning about love as we grow. Typically a parent loves his or her children and does not think of them as sinful or bad when they make choices that are harmful to themselves or others. Depending on the age of the child, the parent might lovingly suggest a different choice, but whatever the choice the love is not diminished or altered in any way. Similarly as the owner of a puppy or kitten, a person is likely to love and not judge them when they do silly things that are harmful. In my book I write about choices being loving or not, rather than being bad or good a judgement that originates in human society. I enjoy watching myself and consider myself to be a silly but loving human.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Choice

Two nights ago I wrote about my becoming convinced of the presence and power of God through a sequence of what Marcelle Martin called "openings" or revelations. She also writes about past spiritual seekers changing or "refining" their lives in accordance with their understanding of God. I have certainly also changed my life. I have let go of many earthly, material objects or desires and become much more service oriented. I have made these changes not because I was living a life of sin but because I wish to live a more loving life. Previously I was being human and choosing to live as best I could. I was living as a child and now am more grown up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Revelations

In her book, Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey, Marcelle Martin describes what she calls openings for both early and modern day Quakers. By openings she means revelations or direct experiences of the power and presence of God, leading to "convincement" of God’s presence and reality. I have had around a dozen such experiences, the first dating back to a classroom experience in 1992. As I describe in my book, during the first weeks of that class I gave a talk in which God and I created a "sacred space", changing the class by making it much more loving and open. In one student’s words I "changed the whole class for the whole semester". Some of my other experiences have been dramatic, even traumatic, while others have been quiet. They have certainly convinced me of the power and presence of the loving force I call God. At this point, I would be foolish to deny it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Kingdom

I have overcome or God has relieved me of many attitudes in myself that led to the internal conflicts I have mentioned for the last two days. Attitudes like being self-centered and several attachments to money, power and prestige. I realized that they were blocking me from Love so I did what I had to in order to overcome them. I have done the same with some of my frailties such as shame or feelings of unworthiness and for the same reason. Leaving those attitudes and conflicts behind, together with my meditative connection has allowed me to experience the wonders of God’s kingdom. "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs that can be observed, nor will they say; ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you." (the gospel of Luke)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Choice

Yesterday I mentioned the "conflicts, love and frailty of the human condition" and my acute awareness of their presence and impact on us humans, especially myself. The fact is that the conflicts, love and frailty create the depth and value of the human experience — also the challenges. Today I have been especially aware of the conflict between present day financial gain or security on one side versus the more ephemeral and long term value of caring for the earth on the other side. This particular conflict comes up over and over and it is clear to me that both sides are right — just different. Resolution of the conflict is important. I choose to value, love and respect the earth and its inhabitants.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Connection

Today was a day of connection which, ultimately, left me feeling very stable and positive in a neutral, solid way. The connections began with my wife, followed by the Presence and meeting for worship. After the meeting I had a very interesting and intense connection with a young man at the meeting. Generally, when I connect with individuals like him, our essences essentially agree to connect, listen and be with each other. In his case his soul or essence draws me in by forcefully requesting that I connect and probe at a very deep level and I agree and do the same, resulting in a very deep connection. There were then several hours of an easy and light connection with my mother-in-law. During all of this I was quite aware of the conflicts, love and frailty of the human condition, leaving me feeling "stable and positive in a neutral, solid way".