Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Through my limited TV watching (I don’t have a TV), reading the Washington Post and living near DC, I keep hearing about protests over various concerns. I certainly applaud the concerns and passion. I too feel very deeply about what is happening in this world. My concern is that during these protests anger, violence and hate are frequently expressed and that is not a path that will lead to truth, love, compassion and understanding, peace and justice for all. These two approaches represent two sides of each one of us and anger, violence and hate never leads to truth, love, compassion and understanding and peace. Resolution will only come through love. "In the Dhammapada he [the Buddha] teaches that in this world hate never dispels hate. Only love dispels hate."
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Through my talking with others today I have been led to recall the experiences, trials and tribulations I have been through for the last thirty or so years. As I wrote to one person ‘Even thoughts of the journey make me feel tired --- it’s been long and hard". I have gradually been taught to lead a loving, attentive life and I now have great joy each day, in spite of the nuisance of my disability. As st. John of the Cross pointed out "Speaking of touches, the delights they engender more than compensate for all the trials suffered in life, even though innumerable". On one hand I wouldn’t wish my path on anyone and on the other hand I am very grateful for my life.
Monday, August 13, 2018
To me, love is a force very much like gravity or magnetism are forces. Love originates with God and, as I said yesterday, "the nature of love is to grow and spread", meaning anything it touches tends to become loving, like watering the God seed in each of us. Using the three questions (Would I do this in front of God [or whatever you call the power or force behind the Universe]; Is my name really on it [or is it really my responsibility]; Will this increase the integrity of the universe [or is this action motivated by love, rather than fear, acting out of love always increases the integrity of the universe]), I strive to say or do the loving thing at all times, which of course, I cannot do, but it’s fun to try.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Today, Sunday, at our regular meeting for worship two of the young people who have been attending our Thursday meeting joined us, affirming what we are doing on Thursdays. We have tried to be open, welcoming and loving to all. The two young people were one white male and a black female with wonderful dreadlocks, both vegan and neither typical for this community. I was reminded that the nature of love is to grow and spread. "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."(Rufus Jones)
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Today Maria and I went to see "Newsies", a play put on by wonderfully energetic local teens from a theatrical summer camp. The play was inspirational in that truth, love and compassion triumphed over big money and the power structure. It was fun to watch. The play supported my efforts to always act out of love and with God’s guidance believing that the outcome will be good, regardless of events along the way. I often feel that the odds are stacked against me which I need yo remember makes no difference as long as I stay true to my path.
Friday, August 10, 2018
Today I encountered two individuals that, with company backing, lied to me and then tried to manipulate me for company profit. I suspect they each knew they were lying but, having been through this scenario many times before, I doubt they would admit it. I am reminded of a time in 2003 when I purchased my car and told the salesman repeatedly that I wanted him to be honest with me only to be assured that he was being. He wasn’t, as I kept pointing out to him which he never denied. In that case I broke down and lied back. I played his game, lowered the price of my car considerably, and compromised myself in the process. Today I did not compromise myself or give in to them. I also chose to not confront them, knowing it would be pointless and only add to my frustration. They were simple humans doing their best to survive within this milieu. "Only a few achieve the colossal task of holding together, without being split asunder, the clarity of their vision alongside an ability to take their place in a materialistic world." (Irene Claremont deCastillejo)
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Tonight I have been reflecting on the "God or Love seed" within each of us that I write about in my book and is so prevalent in Quaker writings and belief. For myself, numerous Quakers and mystics within all religions or none, God or Love is an experiential reality, not just a belief. It is a powerful and wonderful force to be part of. It is also a force that I am only beginning to understand and probably never will. That reality is why I comment that the name a person uses makes no difference. There is no defensive ego personality to care what name you use — only love. The nature of Love is to grow and create more love, which is why I do what I do. "That God is both utterly beyond me and yet totally within me at the same time is the exquisite balance that most religion seldom achieves..." (R. Rohr a Franciscan mystic)
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
My own physical healing has only gone so far and, like I said yesterday, "I suspect for some reason I do not understand, yet." I am still disabled, though not as severely as I once was and I still have my jaw dystonia, impairing my jaw coordination and control. I am also still bald and, at times, old and creaky. I believe that I am open to complete physical wellness and I know that level of wellness to be possible. For some reason which I do not know it is necessary for me to experience my challenges for now. I feel accepting of what is handed to me and am at peace with that, while still pursuing more. I am always on the lookout for psychological factors holding me back. My meditation and contemplation are good for that.
Monday, August 6, 2018
When I speak or write about "healing" I am referring to an energetic shift to a condition of harmony, love and wholeness within the soul or essence of an individual. I can promote such a shift by channeling and sending love energy into the person, in the manner described yesterday. The energetic healing sometimes also results in restoring physical wellness, though not always. In my case, regarding my disability, I believe that I have been healed since I have that feeling of harmony, love and wholeness yet I still have obvious symptoms of a disability. My symptoms are not as severe as they once were, but still present — I suspect for some reason I do not understand, yet. I am open to getting rid of my remaining symptoms and, meanwhile, I enjoy the harmony.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
I make use of the healing power of God/Love to maintain my physical health at least daily and more often when addressing a specific issue, its one of those things that I don’t really understand but do anyway. I am a spiritual healer and get miraculous results in terms of what I originally thought possible. I now know different. Today I showed the technique to someone else which I have also done before. I told her to begin by focusing on the feeling of love using any of various images of puppies, babies or kittens. Then, using intent, to funnel that feeling into her hands and, again using intent, to send that energy or feeling from her hands into the area needing healing, while touching that area. I also told her to ask God or Jesus for help (she is Christian). "One by one we move beyond conceptions of ourselves, just as we pass beyond metaphors, symbols, and conceptions of God on the way into unmediated, unknowing, intimate relationship with the source of our being." (Patricia Loring)
Saturday, August 4, 2018
I spent a good part of today in silent, peaceful meditation and contemplation for it is within the silence that I connect with the loving force I call God. Within the silence I can quiet my brain in order to feel the Presence and its healing powers for the physical problems I have been having. Today I experienced the silence while sitting in my recliner, I can also do this on a peaceful day, outside and the experience is generally stronger in a group setting like a meeting of the Friends. "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)
Friday, August 3, 2018
Today my pain has captured my attention. I choose not to think or talk about it much — it just is and the fact is that "I have some level of pain most of the time", usually just minor sores in my mouth from biting myself. I do not use medication very often, I use a combination of meditation, relaxation, service work and distraction. I find that when I meditate deeply on love or live within love, like when I write this Blog, I experience a great deal less pain. That is certainly true today — right now. Right now for the first time today, I do not feel like a "creaky old man".
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Today I have been reflecting on love as a force right along with the accepted forces of gravitation and magnetism. Most obviously, I have used the force of love for physical healing and health but I believe love has other applications as well. I use the force of love daily, walking through life with it surrounding me. I do not understand it, but keep using it. As Sean Carroll comments in his book The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. "Even to ask such a question [How well do we know what we think we know?] is to admit that our knowledge, at least in part, is not perfectly reliable. This admission is the first step on the road to wisdom. He goes on to say "And when it comes to understanding the fundamental architecture of reality, none of us has complete information."
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Today, while speaking on the phone, in response to a comment about feeling fear, I commented that "there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of", which is true if a person is viewing reality through the lense of love, eternity and Presence. However, if a person looks at life through the lense of temporal, worldly ideas then fear seems totally reasonable. I choose to be aware of the potential of worldly, temporary pain or discomfort, while keeping my focus on love and eternity. "And though ideas such as these may seem unimportant in our bustling world, the testimony of seekers after life in all ages is that nothing is so important as the completion of our half-lives, the God-filling of our void." (Gilbert Kilpack)
Monday, July 30, 2018
Today Maria, my wife, and I went to visit our nephew, his wife and two week old baby, our new grand-niece. When offered, I turned down the chance to hold the new-born but was able to touch her and bless her with Love the way I do. As a result the feeling of love within me increased, a win-win. I was reminded that the nature of Love is to spread and grow. I did my part and will continue. "Love is the force that increases the integrity of the universe. Whatever is required to do this is loving." (Shepherd Hoodwin)
Sunday, July 29, 2018
If I keep my focus on the God or Love seed within me by doing things like morning prayer and meditation then my day is harmonious and peaceful and my actions are impact full. If, however, I skip that part my day is likely to be a bit chaotic and stressful, a simple choice which I need to remember. The choice being difficult to keep in mind makes no logical sense since the consequences are so simple and black and white. But it was a difficult choice initially. My dawn ceremony and early prayer and meditation have now become a habit and part of my day. "‘That of God in every man’ is as a finger pointing to that of God which is infinitely more than the good in every man." (Gilbert Kilpack)
Saturday, July 28, 2018
I have often told the people I work with to pay attention when something causes them to "well up" and/or cry since this is often the subconscious’ way of saying "this is important to you". Then today I was watching a movie during which one character said to another "they will follow you". I need to pay attention since I welled up with tears when I heard that comment. There are many people who openly admire me and follow me closely. For the sake of my ego it is useful for me to realize that those people are actually admiring me together with the loving power that walks with me. This situation works for me and will continue as long as I stay humble and am careful about what I say and do. I have ample examples in my life of what this kind of admiration and power can do to a person — I would rather not go there.
Friday, July 27, 2018
There was a fellow who today was banned from the Serenity Center, where I go for some of my recovery meetings. He was banned because of his disruptive behavior and not altering that behavior in spite of prior warnings. I agree with the decision since his behavior could discourage and be harmful to the newcomer. I also have empathy for him and will reach out to him, given the chance. It is important for me to realize that he and I are very similar, differing only in some brain chemicals. I, too, have self-centered, grandiose and anti-social thoughts but I choose and have the ability to not act on them. I also have difficulty, at times, in listening to the criticism and comments of others, but I am able to slow down, listen and remain quiet and respectful. He has a bit more difficulty in restraining himself. "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)
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Today was a day of moderate activity (exercise, recovery meeting, talking on the phone and meditating) mixed with periods of relaxation and restoration. I seldom enter into total relaxation or distraction and usually continue to think about my activities at a much reduced rate and intensity as I did today. I watched a movie while also having some thoughts and planning about my interaction with trees. I find this partial relaxation actually helps my creativity and the fruition of my thinking — it is also good self-care. I should also confess that when relaxing I always wonder if I should be doing more!
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Most of the time when I meditate I connect with and feel the strength, Love and power of God, a feeling that is a gift which I can then carry with me during the day. The feeling originates with God not me and, to use an analogy from baseball, the capability of connecting with and generating that feeling is my "home run". I also find that I can pass that feeling to other entities, though doing so is not totally under my control. I am the "instrument" or "organ" of its passage, not the one who decides and is truly in charge. At this point I have transmitted that feeling to spirits, most recently to trees and at least twice (probably more) to living people. My sense is that I could be a better channel with people by being more completely open and then allowing it. I am working on that! "There are encounters with God such that the devil cannot possibly counterfeit them, nor can one’s imagination create them. Some are so indelibly imprinted in the center of one’s being that they can neither be described nor forgotten." (St. John of the Cross)
Monday, July 23, 2018
I bet everything on the single card of my spiritual connection and the guidance I find there. Originally I made that choice because I was desperate and having explored earthly possibilities I found nothing that could help me. For the last couple of decades I have been pursuing a greater connection and continued guidance not from desperation but because of the joy and peace I find there. "Immersion in God entails a being filled with Him, a divine inflowing. Biblical men knew well enough that this self-communication of God is the sole destiny of men." (Thomas Dubay, S. M.). I have an adequate income and possessions but have to keep it spare because of my acquisitive nature. If I have much money or possessions I get excited, focused on the material and want more. As St. Augustine says "we cannot serve two masters. But a man does try to serve two masters if he seeks both the kingdom of God for the great good it is and those other temporal things."
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Words do not do the reality justice, but when Love is present it "desires" to create more Love, that is its nature and purpose. I live within a world of love and do everything I can to pass it on. I would like other people to feel that love, but also trees, stones, earth and everything else. The very human tendency and quest after "money, power and prestige" or technological distractions can block that love. I would like to overcome that tendency in others, leading to greater feeling of contentment and peace. "To the mystic he [God] becomes real in the same sense that experienced beauty is real, or the feel of spring is real, or that summer sunlight is real — he has been found, he has been met, he is present." (Rufus Jones)
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Most of my communication with the trees I mentioned yesterday was around the issues of a youngish but adult in size, pine tree who had lost a major limb, which equated to a large part of its identity and also a change in life attitude to a feeling of vulnerability. Much the same as I felt when at the youngish age of forty, I became disabled. At that point I was very focused and proud of my physical prowess and felt relatively comfortable and in control. Everything changed in a few short months to feeling out of control, vulnerable and desperate. I turned to developing my spirituality — my connection with whatever you call that Presence and the feeling of eternity. I found that I could pass that feeling on, giving others the strength to persevere. "The Lord explained that it was needful that he [George Fox]’should have a sense of all conditions’. How else should he learn ‘to speak to all conditions?’ Then followed the critical experience: ‘I saw the infinite love of God. I saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love which flowed over the ocean of darkness."
Friday, July 20, 2018
Last night and today I have had the opportunity and honor to communicate with several trees concerning how they experience life and what that process means to them. I discover that I do not understand what it is to be a tree, what I call "treeness" — big surprise! Not surprisingly I end up listening a lot and apologizing for my assumptions and lack of understanding. Apparently, many or possibly most of them do not feel the Presence and Love that I feel when doing earthly, physical things, especially within the natural world. They are very focused on survival activities, physical reality rather than spiritual. I can broaden their approach by showing and giving them that feeling. "I tell you, I am in every flower, every rainbow, every star in the heavens, and everything in and on every planet rotating around every star. I am the whisper of the wind, the warmth of your sun, the incredible individuality and the extraordinary perfection of each snowflake. I am the majesty in the soaring flight of eagles, and the innocence of the doe in the field; the courage of lions, the wisdom of the ancient ones." (Walsch)
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
I have been reading about what Marcelle Martin calls "the refiner’s fire" in her book Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey. The idea being that during their spiritual journey a person finds it best to divest or purify themselves of many worldly attachments, desires and behaviors in order to connect more closely with God. For the early Quakers this process was connected and driven by thoughts of sin, the devil, humans being pitiful and needing to be forgiven, reflecting the cultural and religious attitudes of that time. Contemporary Quakers also recognize the need to focus on spiritual values, giving up many worldly concerns but without belief in sin, etc. In my case, I have given up many worldly attachments, desires and distractions, not out of a feeling of duty, but because of love and my desire to be part of that love. I have found that I feel more complete joy if I focus on my spiritual development while participating in the worldly things.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Another of my spiritual experiences was in 2006 when I had my near-death-experience and for the first time felt the power, purity and simplicity of God’s Love. During that experience I was told "this is what it feels like to be dead" and then "you can stay here or go back and be of service". Obviously, I came back but I needed to know what God’s Love felt like so I could generate that feeling for healing and pass it on to living people or spirits. I also immerse myself in that feeling nightly and carry a human version with me during the day. "The appropriate language for the person receiving these favors [communion with God] is that he understand them, experience them within himself, enjoy them and be silent." (St. John of the Cross)
Monday, July 16, 2018
I have been blessed and guided by numerous spiritual events, some quite miraculous and some relatively subtle but definitely worthy of notice. The first was when, in a semi-purposeful manner, I placed myself in a traffic situation where my death was inevitable and was immediately and miraculously moved to a safe location, as if to say "you are not going to do this". The second was years later when I asked for guidance about attending a Sundance to which I had been invited and my wife made it clear she did not approve. I was conflicted. At that time I had an office in the middle of Flagstaff, AZ, and a sign out front announcing my presence as a mental health therapist. A young, black stranger came into my office and when I asked him why he said "my name is Charlie Horton". I then asked him what he was doing in Flagstaff and he replied "I’m on my way to the Sundance". I took that to be my answer and went. "There are encounters with God such that the devil cannot possibly counterfeit them, nor can one’s imagination create them. Some are so indelibly imprinted in the center of one’s being that they can neither be described nor forgotten." (St. John of the Cross)
Sunday, July 15, 2018
After the Friend’s worship session this morning I spent some time talking with a woman who is, by her own admission, a "fixer". She and I talked about my physical challenges and she kept looking for ways to alleviate my symptoms. She suggested massage, which does not work for me, acupuncture, which I have used, chiropractors, which I have used and medications like opiates and benzodiazepines, which are addictive so I cannot use. During the conversation I listened and was moderately amused. I have benefitted from acupuncture and chiropractors but by far my main solution to physical problems has been my spiritual connection. After our talk it occurred to me that "I do not need fixing since I walk through life with the healing presence of God/Love as my partner". "The pure in heart know that when the Kingdom of the Spirit is seen in all its beauty and desired with a single will, then order is brought out of confusion." (Gilbert Kilpack)
Saturday, July 14, 2018
The topic for this morning’s recovery meeting was "humility", an attitude or self-concept that I have found to be of extreme importance. As I commented during the meeting "I listen better" when humble and can then take action accordingly. I take humility to mean that I am "right sized", openly admitting and living within my strengths and weaknesses. If I am feeling either grandiose or like a worm, I am "in my ego" and likely to distort what I hear and my resultant actions. If, on the other hand, I approach any situation with humility, I am apt to perceive conditions accurately and then respond in a way that "increases the integrity of the universe" (Charlie Horton).
Friday, July 13, 2018
Many years ago I prayed to see things the way God does and was then granted that gift. It is my understanding and feeling that God views us and our antics through a lense of love. I now view myself and others with fondness, much the way a parent might view his or her own child. It was remarkable for me to be listening to a person in front of me berating me and have my only feeling be love for that person. The experience helped me to understand some of the behavior and comments of Christ. I have found no judgment or conditionality there. "The God of my childhood has given way to the God of my womanhood, a God of many names----Allah, Shiva, Great Spirit, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, Yahweh. This is the God who is present in the tiniest acorn and the vastest ocean." (Valerie Brown)
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Admittedly my disability has made life very difficult for me but today during my recovery meeting I was contemplating its gifts in my life. The theme in that meeting was the very human tendency to project our worries into the future and the preference to live in the present. My disability has helped me stay in the "now" since my present reality, even when experiencing some pain, is enjoyable. My future may also be enjoyable but I can also project wheelchairs, pain, suffering and death. I prefer to stay in the present while also acknowledging what the future may hold but leaving that part up to the Universe.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
When I meditate I first quiet my mind and stay in the present by counting my breaths, one for the in-breath and two for the out-breath, over and over. I then shift my focus to the feeling and healing power of God’s love. In each case my brain spends eighty to ninety percent of the time wandering about from one topic to another. I would like to be present and focused more of the time but I am not. I have been working on my meditating for many years and this is what I have achieved. It is worth noting that this level is enough to have succeeded in doing many things. Time to meditate!
Monday, July 9, 2018
During my meditation and sacred ceremonies I have been shown and experienced first-hand the simplicity, power and purity of God’s love, quite a gift. My mission is to pass that on, and change the world in doing so. I have passed it on to many spirits and living individuals with remarkable results. I call the process "beaming" and I must confess that I don’t really know how I do it but I feel it as do the recipients. I do know the ability is a gift. The most recent time I used beaming was today at a recovery meeting with the boisterous individual I mentioned a couple of days ago. We shall see what the impact is, as I do it more.
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Today, after the Friend’s silent worship meeting, I spent some time connecting and talking with a woman attendee about various family and relationship issues, very meaningful and enjoyable. It was a very good conversation and she expressed several times how nice it was to talk to me. Recently, several other people have expressed the same pleasure during our talks. I don’t talk much but I listen intently, love and respect the person I am talking with. They know and can feel that. "For there to be a meeting, it seems as though a third, a something else, is always present. You may call it Love, or the Holy Spirit. Jungians would say that it is the presence of the Self. If this 'Other' is present, there cannot have failed to be a meeting." (Claremont deCastillejo)
Saturday, July 7, 2018
There is a fellow present and new to some of my meetings who is very boisterous, self-centered, sure he is right, newly sober, insecure and ignorant about love and recovery. Except for the boisterous part, he is a lot like I was early in my recovery journey. I was quiet but equally obnoxious. He has a huge and very resistant ego and my own ego has a large tendency to rear its ugly, angry head and engage this guy, as others are doing in my meetings. My discernment is telling me that the only way to engage him is through unconditional love and being of service to him, when he is ready, and not to oppose him in any way if he tries to argue. My own ego feels deflated as I write this (hooray!). "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." (Patricia Loring)
Friday, July 6, 2018
During my recovery meeting today one of the participants spoke of his having experienced the simple feeling of joy for the first time. Because of my choices, I experience the glorious feeling of joy much of the time. The thought which keeps coming up in my head is that "you could be so much more [in some areas], if you would only be so much less [in others]. I experience joy when I choose to focus on the love and beauty in my life, while giving up my worldly concerns. "The appropriate language for the person receiving these favors [communion with Love/God] is that he understand them, experience them within himself, enjoy them and be silent." (St. John of the Cross)
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
On one hand loving action is very simple, sensing and doing what intuitively feels right and on the other hand it is complex in that the action may feel right but not good. For example I work with several people and feel a strong love for each of them. I often offer insights about them that they find valuable but also make them feel uncomfortable, even to the point of crying at times. There are also people I know and love but I choose not to offer my insights about them because they do not ask and out of love and respect for them and their own process. "Love has a quality you can learn to discern. It 'feels right'. It is truthful and inclusive. There is no objective measurement to confirm that you are experiencing love. You can only trust your intuition and do your best. If you do, your capacity to discern love will grow. We are all learning this skill." (Shepherd Hoodwin)
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
I have been dealing with a lot of family and financial matters for these last few days, material matters very much tied to this world. However, I did not get lost or absorbed by those matters since I also continued my spiritual practices. I am grateful that I have been able to continue with my spiritual growth in the midst of worldly things. "It [evolution to higher levels] is not now the result of an escalator coming up from below. It depends on us, and persons like us, whether we go on to further goals or not. The possibilities are in us, there is no compulsion. We can sag down to the level of animal life, or we can climb an inward Jacob’s Ladder and become rightly fashioned by spirits, kindled by a flame from above..... We have the possibility of becoming superbiological. (Rufus Jones)
Monday, July 2, 2018
Today I have been reflecting on the fact that there are so many wars or threats of war going on in our world today. There is also a belief that wars or the threat of violence will eventually lead to peace. On the other hand, as many spiritual leaders have pointed out, wars and violence cannot lead to peace. In my view we each have two seeds within us and whichever we feed or nourish affects our choices or actions. One of those seeds is based largely on fear and nourished by violence and war while the other is based on love and fed by acts of compassion, love, understanding and peace. There is no way that violence can feed the love seed. I have lived within each choice and know how different each feels. My choices were changed by the love I was shown and I will continue to love others regardless of their choices.
Sunday, July 1, 2018
One of the things I do when I listen to a person is connect with them on an energetic level, meaning that each of us becomes willing and open enough to allow a joining of our energy fields, permitting emotional and spiritual connection. It is possible to feel it when connection takes place and it allows for a deeper and more honest communication. Today was my brother-in-law’s birthday so we had a late-lunch family gathering during which there was polite and cordial conversation about topics like weather, cars, sports and food but no real connection. I am lousy at that type of talk! I also realize that is the type of communication people are used to and that it reduces the possibility of emotional injury. I miss the connection.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
One of the important objectives which I mentioned yesterday is "listening", which I now do pretty well in spite of the constant clamoring of my intellect. My brain continues to run on like a squirrel in a cage about things that happened years ago, things that might happen tomorrow, what I will fix for dinner, what should happen next, etc. I used to place some importance on what my brain was saying, thinking it an important guard against present dangers. I now continue to have the thoughts but they are quieter and I now choose to simply attend to the present moment. "Listening is a far more difficult process than most people imagine; really to listen in the way that is meant by the masters is to let go utterly of ourselves, to let go of all the information, all of the concepts, all the ideas and all the prejudices that our heads are stuffed with." (Sogyal Rinpoche)
Friday, June 29, 2018
Today’s topic for my recovery meeting was "humility", a topic I consider to be very important since only when I am humble (right-sized) can I be in the present and able to listen to the universe around me. The definition of humility which I learned and latched onto many years ago was and is "lack of pretense", in other words knowing, admitting and living within strengths and weaknesses, something I strive for. I am quite capable of being grandiose, thinking I am better than I am or self-deprecating, thinking I am less. Each is egocentric has its own dangers. Each also takes me out of the moment and changes my focus to past or future. I strive to stay in the present, listen and act out of love.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Tomorrow I turn seventy and will be at my mother-in-law’s, away from my computer unable to write in this Blog so I write this now. I have no idea how long I will keep living but I can say that I turned out to be much more than I thought I would and feel quite satisfied with my life, which included thirty-six years of being totally lost, self-centered and confused followed by decades of figuring things out. As Rufus Jones points out living and growing truly has been a process of affirming and deny myself. He goes on to comment "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.", an observation which fits my process very well. I wonder what lies up ahead and am content to leave it that way.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
I attempt to spread love and light in everything I do and say. This Blog, my cooking, gardening, working with spirits or living people are all part of that effort. I understand that the effort is very important and I do it pretty well, falling back into hurt and anger every once and a while. Recently I have been experiencing some back and shoulder pain due largely to my disability and, as with most physical problems, with an emotional component. My shoulders and back are expressing an internal emotional conflict between the part of me that says "your shoulders are not strong enough to carry the load you are carrying" and another part of me that says "fine but I’ll keep doing what I do anyway — and anything I am called to do in the future". I just keep thinking "bring it on! With God’s guidance and assistance I’ll do it."
Over the years I have come to know a God that "truly embraces the human experience and free will. This is not a personified jealous God/force who judges me, considers me to be sinful or pitiful or requires any sort of obedience." (my website). That entity walks with me through my life and is a truly wonderful partner. As I also comment the Love coming from that force is absolute and unconditional. That God has been with me through many of the normal human conflicts and observed me making several harmful choices. I have cursed that God on several occasions and turned my back on others. It is important to note that nothing I have done has increased, decreased or impacted that Love in any way. My near-death-experience has shown me that when I die I will leave this physical form and bathe myself in that Love.
Sunday, June 24, 2018
This morning we had the monthly meeting of our reading group during which the members spoke of openings, leadings and revelations of divine origin in their own lives, a very powerful and intimate sharing. The ability to discern or distinguish between revelations of divine and human origin was also mentioned. As I said today, I have had numerous leadings, many of which are mentioned in my book, though I do not call them that. Many years ago I also prayed for discernment, and was granted that gift. Over the years it has been made clear to me many times that divine love is absolute and unconditional, very pure and simple. This means that thoughts of sin, judgment, levels of acceptance, any qualifications are of human origin, reflecting the political, moral and spiritual climate of the time. That truth has tremendous value for me.
Saturday, June 23, 2018
At this point I am good at keeping it under control (most of the time!) but I have some level of pain most of the time. If it gets really bad (8 or 9 on pain scale) , I turn to minimal pain medications to assist me but usually I use some combination of meditation of peaceful scenes, biofeedback relaxation with a GSR-2, visualization of physical healing and distraction through service work. I have found for myself and witnessed in others that heavy reliance on pain medication leads to decreased effectiveness of medication and increased pain. Today I am experiencing shoulder pain and used meditation and relaxation.
Friday, June 22, 2018
This evening Maria told me of a boy who during his returning from guitar lessons would stop and play the guitar for the unseen entities along the way, giving him and them great joy. Hearing the story caused me to think back, with fondness, on the times I have done something similar. I greet and say "good morning" to a large oak in our backyard. I recall the feeling of peace and presence while sitting within an aspen grove near Flagstaff. The feeling of being with the large pitch pine at our previous house. While eating lunch at a wildlife sanctuary I had a brief conversation with a feminine feeling spirit who liked that location. Each occurrence gave me a feeling of peace, love, presence and connection. "Jesus said, ‘I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me.’" (gospel of Thomas)
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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".
Saturday, June 9, 2018
For me, today was a day of solitude, quiet contemplation and peace. I was alone and stayed inside most of the day because of heat and bugs. I did very little, though I did exercise and worked with one person, briefly. I seem to need the silence in order to maintain my connection with God. I also had some whispers from my ego urging me to accomplish things and be more of a human doing rather than a human being. " I had no trouble ignoring the urging! 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." (Daniel A. Seeger)
Friday, June 8, 2018
Overall I have done well at dealing with my disability, remaining cheerful, keeping my spiritual connection and relating to others for the last couple of days, with only one slip which lasted a couple of hours. Yesterday I went to the dentist for the first time in a few years which put me in a situation of dealing with my disability and age while also explaining several things to the dentist and hygienist. I was clear, upbeat and honest. They listened and asked me to repeat what they did not understand (a position I appreciate for its directness). Today we went to a wildlife sanctuary which was beautiful and physically challenging. Being in the presence of those natural life energies was wonderful. The biting insects were a nuisance. I met the challenge and enjoyed myself in the process. On the downside, yesterday I made an error in our finances and was emphatically sure I was right (I was not). I was stubborn, impatient and did poorly at explaining the situation to others a process which was aggravated by my not speaking well. Life goes on — time to meditate and be grateful! "For after all the beautiful and simple words have been spoken, it is still the pattern of that Life which compels attention: its obscure and humble birth; its education in poverty; its temptation, mortification, and solitude; its acts of compassion and service; its desolation at moments of apparent abandonment of the Divine; its painful death of the self; and its final absorption into the Source." (Daniel A. Seeger)
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Today I spent most of the day making a big (4 gallon) batch of spaghetti sauce, also going to a recovery meeting, meditating and exercising. I make my own sauce and other meals since I like my own cooking and do not like all the additives and preservatives in "store bought" or processed food. The preparation and clean-up do take longer but feel right since they are true to me and more natural. I am also grateful for having the time and ability. On the one hand, the cooking and gardening or other mundane activities do not contribute much to the universe or eternity but the are a welcome relief from weightier activities.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
When I get up for the first time each day around midnight I pray and meditate while feeling connected to the Presence I know as God. Then when I get up again around dawn, I go outside to walk around my yard and gardens saying good morning and feeling the loving connection to the plants. I put out food for the birds, feeling that connection. Today I also had the opportunity to connect with two people on the phone. I feel very connected to the life process, a wonderful and vital feeling. "I take the spiritual life to be a life of which aims to discover human wholeness, the integration of all aspects of our humanity - body, soul, mind, emotions - and the connection of the self to all of creation." (Paul A. Lacey)
Monday, June 4, 2018
Today I have been contemplating the frequent occurrence of violence in this world and how to reduce and eventually eliminate it. At the present time, I make use of the three questions that are the central focus of my book (The three questions are: would I do this in front of God (or whatever you call the power or force behind the Universe); is my name really on it (or is it really my responsibility); will this increase the integrity of the universe (or is this action motivated by love, rather than fear, acting out of love always increases the integrity of the universe). The three questions never lead me to violence. In the past I have encountered violence many times and, in my adult life, I have always used love, understanding and compassion to successfully diffuse it. I suspect that this method would not work in all situations with all people – I do not know. "We can cultivate an environment among us which will foster one another’s spiritual growth by directing and redirecting intention and attention to God; by discouraging what draws us away; by loving support for each other in the vicissitudes of our utterly human lives; by respecting and cherishing the uniqueness of each life." (Patricia Loring)
Sunday, June 3, 2018
This morning at the monthly Friend’s meeting for worship for business an issue came up which caused an interruption in the worshipful atmosphere. The issue was whether or not to allow a video camera to film of a brief instant of the event. The question did cause an interruption and it was decided to not allow the video since the use of the camera would also detract from the atmosphere, a sound decision. What occurred to me was it would be preferable to have the silent, loving, worshipful atmosphere be strong enough to withstand the blip. In my view, the issue was just another of life’s seemingly endless distractions from the potential peace and harmony of the moment and that it would be best to simply incorporate the blip into the love of the present. "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." (Daniel A. Seeger)
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Today my activities felt balanced and harmonious, always keeping in mind the sacred nature of life. I exercised, had a good connection and conversation with one of the people I work with, meditated, mowed some lawn and relaxed by eating lunch and watching a movie. I have had some difficulty in maintaining a balance lately, either working too much or participating in too many distractions — neither felt right. "If you choose to center your life in Divine Radiance, two things can be pretty much guaranteed. One, life will not be as simple as it could be if you had chosen another way. The Spirit-centered life has little in common with ‘Business as usual.’ Two, there will never be a dull moment. You will see the colors of music, hear the songs of color and be blessed with magic people. A fair trade I'd say." (Joy Marsh)
Friday, June 1, 2018
Today during meditation I heard "you are not worthy", specifically not worthy of my connection with God, the work I do with other people and the work I do with spirits, a message from my troubled and tumultuous past. This message which was strictly within myself was accompanied by an increase in joint and back pain. Not surprisingly, at almost seventy, I am tired of dealing with my past — sigh. In my meditation I acknowledged the feelings, felt them as strongly as I could (extremely unpleasant!) and let them pass, knowing they had no validity. After a brief increase in intensity, my pain lessened. Life is good, a bit weird but good. "He should learn to remain in God’s presence with a loving attention and a tranquil intellect", even though this seems like idleness to him. Soon he will find little by little that a "divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into his soul". (St. John of the cross)
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
I have encountered several statements saying that discernment (the ability to detect if received comments are of divine or other origin) is a gift from God and that most people cannot determine if a message is divine. I prayed for discernment many years ago and was granted the gift, but I know not how or why. I have likened a divine message as feeling like being bathed in a clear mountain stream. Other messages are "cloudy". The two feel very different. When I get a divine message it is usually simple and clear. If I give myself a message from intellect or ego it can be very convincing but never feels right, "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." (Patricia Loring)
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Yesterday I wrote of my own "mystical worship" or worship (meditation in my case) where I experience the presence of God, a nightly practice of mine. Such a practice is only possible because of what I call the "God seed" within me, also called "that small quiet voice". I often connect with that part of a person when I work with them as a mentor or spiritual guide. I have come to realize that everyone has that seed and potential within them. That seed requires some practice, focus and discipline to make it grow and become stronger. "The very fact that such a mighty experience [mystical worship] as this is possible means that there is some inner meeting place between the soul and God; in other words, that the divine and human, God and man, are not wholly sundered." (Rufus Jones)
Monday, May 28, 2018
Every night when I connect with the force I call God I find and bathe my spirit in absolute and unconditional love of a strength, power and purity that is well beyond anything of human origin. Somehow when there I also gain insight and guidance primarily for the coming day and sometimes beyond that. I carry that feeling and that guidance with me for the day until I connect again. I often think of this as being with Christ since he knew of and became part of that force, though I generally feel no need to personify God. During that connection I am open and honest about my thoughts, attachments and distractions which can take me away or block me from God, but I simply honor them as part of my humanity, rather than considering them as sins. I do not understand that force but have complete trust and faith in it.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
We had the meeting of the reading group I wrote of yesterday and most of the members spoke with admiration and devotion about the "looking within" of various past Quaker seekers and I spoke of my own disciplines and practices of looking within. What I notice is that many people speak or write with very genuine admiration and devotion about the practices of others and their own wish to have that same connection, but then fail to follow through with their own discipline and practices. As Gilbert Kilpack, another Quaker, wrote, "We want to be spiritually alive, but also to be comfortable; to be prayerful, but not to rise early in the morning to pray; to possess power to lead, but not to undergo the discipline that it takes to control the power." My choice of discipline had to initially be renewed pretty much daily and now comes easily and with pleasure.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
The Friend’s reading group I am a part of meets tomorrow to discuss various methods of people "looking within" in order to cultivate and nurture that "small quiet voice", the God seed in each of us. My methods have included daily meditation, contemplation, numerous sweat lodges and four vision quests. I have encountered what Thomas Dubay, S. M. Calls a "mystical touch"; "a deep, intimate contact-union-experience of God in one of His attributes such as power, light, goodness, beauty, or joy." As with other people in the past, in my case this sort of connection has required discipline and daily practice but the resulting feeling of fulfillment has been well worth it. "The unending yearnings of the human spirit are satisfied by nothing that can be measured, seen, heard or touched. To focus selfishly on anything in the created order is to be restricted and thus to fall that far short of full freedom." (Thomas Dubay)
Friday, May 25, 2018
After the silent, meditative listening meeting for worship last night , one of the participants and I talked about the difficulty and importance of truly listening. The meeting itself is a form of listening for guidance. Whether I am working with a living person, spirit or just meditating on my own it is of great importance that I clear myself of "mind chatter" and listen. I also leave any and all electronic devices at home, in my car or at least out of reach and hearing so that I am not distracted. "Listening is a far more difficult process than most people imagine; really to listen in the way that is meant by the masters is to let go utterly of ourselves, to let go of all the information, all of the concepts, all the ideas and all the prejudices that our heads are stuffed with." (Sogyal Rinpoche)
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
When I meditate, contemplate or connect I aspire to be a clear and open channel, meaning I have worked through and given up the parts of my personality that cloud or color my perceptions. In the past I have had many judgements, desires, fantasies, illusions and attachments, like my beliefs around the importance of my intellect. One by one I have witnessed their importance to me and given them up in favor of my being a clear not clouded mirror, an arduous process which continues. "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)
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Part of the challenge in my work with spirits is that I have to be completely honest and at peace with who I really am, including all strengths, weaknesses, doubts and fantasies, since they can see "right through me". When working with them it is impossible to hide or present any sort of a false front. Fortunately I have worked through many of my own facades though they help me find new ones. I also am largely free of common religious symbols, metaphors and beliefs which could color or cloud my communications since I was raised without religion. "One by one we move beyond conceptions of ourselves, just as we pass beyond metaphors, symbols, and conceptions of God on the way into unmediated, unknowing, intimate relationship with the source of our being." (Patricia Loring)
Monday, May 21, 2018
Several years ago Jack Kornfield commented that "When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment This is the beginning and end of spiritual practice." For me today that meant being physically gentle on myself, going to a recovery meeting, doing the week’s grocery shopping and quietly meditating. These things were done in recognition of the fact that yesterday I exerted myself physically. He goes on to write "As we stop the war, each of us will find something from which we have been running -- our loneliness, our unworthiness, our boredom, our shame, our unfulfilled desires." After years of recovery and spiritual work, I find that feelings of unworthiness still pop up from inside me periodically. I really enjoy silence and being present for myself.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
I mowed the front lawn today and tonight I feel like a creaky old man with soar muscles and joints. A few minutes ago I felt disappointed and a bit angry that I felt that way — and then I switched to realizing how lucky I was to be able bodied enough to mow the lawn in the first place or to even have a lawn that needed mowing. Being physically able given my condition is against all odds and I am extremely grateful. After a night’s sleep we shall see what tomorrow brings and act accordingly. For tonight I will eat dinner and rest, paying attention to the needs of my body. In this case, gratitude is a simple choice which changes nothing ...... except the way I feel. "Every circumstance------no matter how painful-----is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being." (Williamson)
Saturday, May 19, 2018
One of my areas of focus during my meditation and contemplation time each day is discerning my path or activities for that day and the immediate future, basically asking for guidance and then listening. In order to be able to listen I have to keep up with my self-care and get silent inside and out. I have to be in decent physical, emotional and spiritual condition in order to be able to listen. It is not unusual for one or more of these conditions to be out of balance, which certainly makes listening more difficult but not impossible (so far!). Being in decent condition and asking for guidance is my part, the rest is not up to me. "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." (Patricia Loring)
Friday, May 18, 2018
I attempt to follow what I consider a reasonable spirituality which is based on both evidence and heart. I have found love to be a powerful force which I choose to call God. That force has become a major and very practical part of my life, a life which is very fulfilling. I note that a large part of society is based on reductionism and logic with an absence of spirituality and/or love. I would like to see the balance shift in favor of love. "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." (Irene Claremont deCastillejo)
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Today was a relatively pleasant day with some effort and focus, connection with others, meditation, rain and solitude. I was alone most of the day which was peaceful. The day began with a couple of hours of exercise, which I do a lot of in order to remain functionally disabled. I also mentored a couple of people, went to a recovery meeting and spent around an hour in meditation. I kept thinking of Patricia Loring ‘s comment that "to undertake to live a discerned life, to endeavor daily to be attuned to authentic movements of the Spirit leading us into greater fullness of life, is a strenuous undertaking." That is certainly true in my case. It is best for me to always keep that in mind, with the exception of brief, two or three hour, periods of distraction, which also seem important for self-care. My life is very full and satisfying.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
I am experiencing an inner conflict as I continue to further "turn my life and will" over to God’s care and guidance. Internally I am shifting and a small part of me is resisting. I cannot put the shift into words using logic and reasoning but I can sense it happening. I have long viewed myself as the cabin boy on a beautiful ocean going several masted sailing ship which I own but God steers, determining where we go and what we do. Using this metaphor, God was like a partner and mostly in charge but the ship was still mine. The best I can do in explaining the current transition is that I no longer own the ship but am still a cabin boy. I simply follow. "One by one we move beyond conceptions of ourselves, just as we pass beyond metaphors, symbols, and conceptions of God on the way into unmediated, unknowing, intimate relationship with the source of our being." (Patricia Loring)
Monday, May 14, 2018
About seven years ago during my nightly meditation I would make my connection with God and immerse myself in a feeling of unconditional Love, an overwhelmingly strong feeling that I would always remember but leave behind when I came back from meditation. Then, one night the feeling stayed with me when I returned and I asked how I could function in the world feeling like that. I was told "you’ll get used to it", which has happened and I now like the feeling. This evening I watched one of the original James Bond movies to get a break from the intensity of my life, which was a very pleasant and absorbing distraction. I also notice that the, now familiar, feeling of Love and direct connection I just mentioned was also missing. It seems, at least for now, that I cannot have both, simultaneously. I involved myself in service work to get my connection back! "Few things — no things that I know of — are so completely and effectively restorative as the discovery that this World of the environing Spirit is verily closer to us than breathing and is charged with the resources of Life for which we pant." (Rufus Jones)
Sunday, May 13, 2018
As I carry out my daily activities, described yesterday, I keep God/Love in the forefront and feel a sense of joy in all I do, though there is no logical reason for that joy or love. That is what I mean when I say I walk around in a "bubble of love". The feeling is very fulfilling and is available to anyone who will exert the necessary commitment and discipline. "He should learn to remain in God’s presence with a loving attention and a tranquil intellect", even though this seems like idleness to him. Soon he will find little by little that a "divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into his soul". (St. John of the Cross)
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Lately I have been continuing my activities to be of service to mankind while also taking care of myself and enjoying the vibrance of spring. I connect with God daily through prayer and meditation, asking for support and guidance. As always, I also stay alert for any indications of new assignments, what I call "marching orders", through my daily meditation and contemplation, often during working in our gardens. I work with several living people and spirits that have already transitioned. Maria and I also have our work with the Friends. "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)
Friday, May 11, 2018
On Thursday evenings Maria and I lead a one hour, largely silent, Friend’s worship service in the 19th century meeting house of the Sandy Spring group. For me the evening begins about ½ hour before the actual service when I greet the huge tulip poplar right outside of the meeting house and invite the spirits hanging around the adjacent graveyard to join us. At the appointed time a ½ dozen or so people join us for an hour of meditative, silence seeking guidance and divine connection. Because of the group meditation and the spirits, the feeling of presence is very strong. Usually one or two people speak briefly about what they sense and the rest of us just feel the presence. "The very fact that such a mighty experience [mystical worship] as this is possible means that there is some inner meeting place between the soul and God; in other words, that the divine and human, God and man, are not wholly sundered." (Rufus Jones)
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Yesterday I wrote about life, death and eternity and today I was feeling the eternal nature of life’s transient events. It is my understanding and experience that it is precisely the dealing with life’s difficulties that gives eternal value to the short-term experiences of life. In my case, I have had numerous physical and emotional difficulties to overcome. Overcoming each of those difficulties has taught me a bit more about Love, compassion and God. In order for me to benefit from life’s events I have to "listen" to the universe rather than simply being pissed off about the challenge or difficulty. "And though ideas such as these may seem unimportant in our bustling world, the testimony of seekers after life in all ages is that nothing is so important as the completion of our half-lives, the God-filling of our void." (Gilbert Kilpack)
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Not to be morose but the inevitability and proximity of my death is always with me and, in fact, the presence of that reality adds to the apparent beauty of life. Because of my disability I have taken downturns and been near death three times. My awareness of death is always present. I walk through life with death as my partner, which adds to my appreciation of both life and eternity. Life is very short-lived and transient but what I learn in the process of life will be with my spirit eternally. "The moral which needs more emphasis in this century than in any other of which we have record is that a complete life can only be lived when the fact of death is kept steadily in mind." (Bertrand Russell)
Monday, May 7, 2018
Elizabeth Ostrander Sutton commented that "Faith, then, means putting trust in a process that slowly builds an intimate relationship with someone I can neither see nor fully understand, but only feel. Living a life of faith implies being in continual contact with God and opening up to being searched and known." I have an intimate relationship with God but I cannot say that my trust is 100%, which, as far as I can tell, matters not at all. My lack of complete trust is simply part of being human and because of the loving, unconditional nature of that relationship, my hesitation does not detract. Admitting that part of me to0 God and myself is an aspect of being "searched and known".
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Since getting into recovery I have changed my life, or my life has been changed for me, I’m not sure which (and care not at all!). I used to believe that my intellect, money, power, and prestige would satisfy all of my needs. I was a functional addict/alcoholic in love with my many distractions. I was also fairly accomplished and totally unhappy. I now lead a spiritual life with relationships, love and compassion as my main focus. My approach is very rich and fulfilling. "He stood before me. He stands before mankind, asking us all, asking the nations and the leaders of nations, the statesmen and the simple people, whether they will destroy themselves or whether they will give themselves to the grip of his power and thereby a new life in which love, not greed or lust for power, is the new dynamic."(Emil Fuchs)
Saturday, May 5, 2018
According to Paul in Galatians 5:23 the fruits of the Spirit (evidence that leadings are divine in origin) have been translated as "love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control". For me this means that if I follow the path of the leading, my emotions and spirit will be bathed in love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control, which is why I meditate as much as I do. It is through my meditation and contemplation that I determine my path. My choice certainly entails focus, discipline and partaking in minimal distractions, but is well worth it.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Several years back, during a sweat lodge ceremony, I prayed for discernment, the ability to determine the right path or divine guidance as opposed to some sort of ego driven, or self-centered path. I was granted the ability and have developed it since. For me, my right path has the feeling of washing myself in a clear mountain stream, something I have done during camping trips. The feeling is one of peaceful, simple clarity and cleansing of spirit. On the other hand the ego driven or self centered path feels murky. As Patricia Loring once wrote "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." If I choose to follow that path and make that choice, the results are wonderful.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Since getting into recovery my life’s path has shifted in a way that’s hard to accurately describe, partly since I don’t, and possibly never will, understand its scope and partly because it’s ineffable. Formerly I was following a "normal" path of intellectual achievement, money, power and prestige, a life that was based on fear and that I found unfulfilling. I have since shifted into a life based on love, relationships and deepening connection with all things, a life I find to be totally fulfilling. I now know that I am far more than I thought I was as long as I stay humble, an interesting paradox. My life has changed and I am grateful. "He [Jesus] stood before me. He stands before mankind, asking us all, asking the nations and the leaders of nations, the statesmen and the simple people, whether they will destroy themselves or whether they will give themselves to the grip of his power and thereby a new life in which love, not greed or lust for power, is the new dynamic. (Emil Fuchs)
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Instances of disassociation during the life process and the shift of consciousness upon death have helped me realize that consciousness is not only located in the brain. At times of pain because of my disability my consciousness shifted to points outside of my body so that I became a spectator of my own actions. I have heard similar reports from others during their periods of stress or pain. During my near-death-experience my consciousness shifted for a while to the "outskirts" of the spirit plane while my body remained here. Several people have also reported being able to project their consciousness to locations outside of the body. "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". (Lawrence LeShan)
Monday, April 30, 2018
Today during my recovery meeting I described myself as a "spiritual mutt", meaning that my spiritual beliefs are taken from a variety of sources, and that I follow none purely. I have followed and practiced several traditions, not ever believing that any one was the best path but realizing that each had something to teach me. My first paths were all Christian where I first found the strength and power of God but also the conditional nature of some of the beliefs. I turned to Taoism in order to find harmony in that Way, I worked diligently at various Hindu and Buddhist meditative practices, where I discovered the absolute nature of God’s love. I then spent several years following and deepening a mixture of Navajo and Christian beliefs and practices. One of the central principles I found was that all of the systems where approaching the same things using different words and that the different words used were not important — the Love is. The journey and its results have been wonderful. "these, and everything that is both mean and divine say that God is our goal and destiny, and without Him there is no meaning." (Gilbert Kilpack)
Sunday, April 29, 2018
In 2006 I had a Near-Death-Experience during which I met briefly with God, Jesus or some other entity, an experience I will never forget. It was then that I first felt the absolute and unconditional nature of God’s love, very pure, simple and powerful. I was told "This is what it feels like to be dead" and given the opportunity to return to my earthly life. I chose to come back because I knew that entity wanted me to and I would do absolutely anything that entity wanted of me. The love for me was that strong. "There are, says the saint [St. John of the Cross], encounters with God such that the devil cannot possibly counterfeit them, nor can one’s imagination create them. Some are so indelibly imprinted in the center of one’s being that they can neither be described nor forgotten."
Saturday, April 28, 2018
I spent a good part of this afternoon working in our gardens, pulling the invading plants and making way for the ones we planted and prefer. During the process I talk to the plants, telling them how much I admire them, contemplate on recent events and feel the presence of Love, making weeding very enjoyable. I do the same sort of thing when I cook, wash dishes, pay bills, etc. According to the Thomas gospel Jesus said, "I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me."
Friday, April 27, 2018
During my recovery meeting, which was on prayer and meditation, someone commented "pray, meditate and do the next right thing", very simple and what I have been doing for years, not knowing where it would lead me. I set as a goal to "change the world — one person at a time" which is what I have done and continue to do. My hope is that my work with spirits has an impact beyond that, which remains to be determined but that is my intent. This is all very fulfilling and makes me think of the words of a Joan Baez song from years ago "I am less than this song I am singing and more than I thought I could be". Come join me!
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
I already know more (or believe I do!) about life on this planet than I thought possible and I am on a never ending quest to find out more. I endeavor to stay open and keep listening to all sources. The most extreme set of beliefs is through my spiritual connection which I cannot say I really understand but keep participating in. I have used and continue to use a lot of meditation and contemplation along with a surrender of self, which I plan to do more of right now. "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)
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
On one hand I can see, feel and hear the false promises of a worldly life of money, power, prestige, drama, excitement, etc. "False" in that the promise is of a fulfilling, complete and happy life, which it does not deliver, but is attractive and compelling, all-be-it short lived and hollow. On the other hand I hear and feel that "small quiet voice", urging me to follow a path of service, love, presence and eternity. That voice is indeed quiet and does not advertise but will deliver if I have the discipline to follow. I choose the silence and quiet! "From everywhere, it seems, we are bombarded with the idea that our nature is innately violent, that our chief preoccupation is with our sexuality, and that our main purpose in life is the acquirement of ever more nifty possessions.......Indeed, if is only through the practice of inner silence that we can begin to disentangle ourselves from our culture and its illusions. (Daniel A. Seeger)
Monday, April 23, 2018
As Scott Peck wrote a few decades ago "Life is difficult." I have been feeling the difficulty during the last few days and struggling with physical and emotional pain. For dealing with the difficulty I have used a lot of meditation, contemplation and listening. The results of that listening are my entries of the last few days. I asked for guidance and listened carefully. As a result, today I felt pretty good. I seem to be over the hump and on the downhill side. The life process works — if I pay attention. "For each circumstance is a gift, and in each experience is hidden a treasure." (Walsch)
Sunday, April 22, 2018
In order to find fulfillment, peace and happiness in my life I have turned to spiritual enlightenment — close connection with God. I have put/bet all my effort and money on that one card and in order to "win" I need to surrender as much as possible. Over the last few days I have realized that I have not fully surrendered my physical health — I still want to have the illusion of control over my options. I am working through that attitude and trying to become more willing. After complete surrender Timothy Ashworth commented that " he experienced an overwhelming, sweet, fiery sensation in his heart, along with a powerful shift in consciousness." (Marcelle Martin)
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Originally through my sweat lodge and vision quest experiences I was shown that love, God or the life force existed in everything living and non-living, I just needed to be open to the possibility, which I became. I now see and feel God in everything and everyone. Since then I have also learned that according to the Thomas gospel, Jesus said that this primordial light or love not only brought the entire universe into being but still shines through everything we see and touch. I feel that presence most strongly during my dawn ceremony in my yard each morning, but also when I focus on it while being in the natural world. Jesus said, "I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me." from the gospel of Thomas
Friday, April 20, 2018
For the last week or so during my own meditation, during recovery meetings and during worship sessions of the Friends I keep hearing two things. The first is to center myself in the spirit by detaching from everything in the created order. The second is to focus solely and powerfully on seeking a stronger connection with God and then depending on that relationship. "Seek not humility. Seek God. Through God you will find humility. Sought as an end, humility will run in a circle and bring you directly back to pride. Seek not for faith to move mountains. Seek God first. Perhaps the mountains do not need moving, perhaps He will lift you up above the mountains which may be better than moving them. Seek not pleasure neither of body nor of soul. This too is a gift, eluding those who seek it seek God, for He alone is able to give joy, which is infinitely finer than pleasure. Seek not power, not even power to do great deeds. Seek God and Him alone, and power will flow from you in ways and times which are hidden from you." (Gilbert Kilpack) Sounds like good advice — I think I’ll take it!
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Several times today I found myself reflecting on the potential impact of Maria’s and my new ministry of clerking (leading) our regular Thursday evening worship session. Leading the meeting will allow us to be totally welcoming to all comers and also completely unconditional in our extending love to them, both reflecting my understanding of God. The God I have come to know through my own practices of prayer, meditation and contemplation is both absolute and unconditional in love of the human condition, a good model to follow. "We can cultivate an environment among us which will foster one another’s spiritual growth by directing and redirecting intention and attention to God; by discouraging what draws us away; by loving support for each other in the vicissitudes of our utterly human lives; by respecting and cherishing the uniqueness of each life."(Patricia Loring)
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Through my recovery process and the development of my mystical practices, I have become a different person than when I began. When I was actively drinking and using illegal drugs, though I did not realize it, I was very selfish and self-centered. I was also hurt and angry during those times and the first years of my recovery. My spiritual practices have transformed me into a relatively selfless person who acts mostly out of love and who promotes love in my activities. I am still learning and growing through that connection. Through mystical prayer "We fall away from and lose our little self — our selfish self — and find a deep-lying conjunct or comprehensive self that is always more than we." (Rufus Jones)
Monday, April 16, 2018
Through the daily practices I outline in my website and my book I have developed a very strong, mystical connection with the force I call God. I go through the normal activities of life feeling love, joy and peace regardless of the nature of the activity (on most days!). The level of connection I have achieved does seem to require some degree of self-sacrifice, devotion and daily practice — well worth the effort. I have encountered many people who want a similar connection, but as Gilbert Kilpack says "We want to be spiritually alive, but also to be comfortable; to be prayerful, but not to rise early in the morning to pray; to possess power to lead, but not to undergo the discipline that it takes to control the power." I regularly encourage others to exert themselves for as he also wrote "Seek Him we must, with a headlong love, with enthusiasm and romantic ardor, but also with lowliness and patience, and that is a hard combination."
Sunday, April 15, 2018
As a part of my disability I have muscle spasms all over my body, particularly in my lower back. If the spasms become more frequent than occasional I actually go into the regular relaxation and presence of my meditation and then focus my attention on the location and feeling of the spasm. I then ask if the spasm has anything to tell me and allow my thoughts and images to flow. Recently, I have had a lot of spasms in the right side of my lower back so I followed the above procedure, allowing the feelings to flood my body — very unpleasant. I find a lot of fear all tied up with self esteem issues and a low self-image. I just become aware of them and feel the feelings, knowing that feelings are not facts. The result is a lower frequency of spasm and a promotion of healing. "Physical symptoms may tell us that we are going in the wrong direction or they may be evidence of something in the unconscious which will undermine the whole enterprise unless countered psychologically as well as with aspirin." (Irene Claremont deCastillejo)
Saturday, April 14, 2018
In my recovery meeting tonight the main speaker talked of how the love and support of the recovery program allowed her to begin believing in herself and then to begin acting on her own beliefs. Essentially love gave her enough self esteem to believe in herself. After her talk several people spoke of how the love and support allowed them to connect with others and then follow their advice, superficially the opposite effect. Both were true and the natural result of love and support. Love is a powerful force that allows for the resolution chaotic dysfunction. "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." (Rufus Jones)
Friday, April 13, 2018
To me, life is a wondrous experience of discovery and connection. The discovery aspect is because I am seldom certain of what each day will contain and when I think I am — the universe chuckles. The uncertainty makes me uneasy at times but keeps me paying attention. My connection is with everything and everybody. Today I was "with" the birds out back as they waited for me to put out mealworms for them to eat. Later I felt a similar connection as I surveyed the plants in my gardens out front. I also felt a strong connection with my wife and the people I met with today for mentoring. Life is good. "I take the spiritual life to be a life of which aims to discover human wholeness, the integration of all aspects of our humanity - body, soul, mind, emotions - and the connection of the self to all of creation." (Paul A. Lacey)
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
To me, it is quite apparent that I have two contrasting parts or attitudes within myself, my personality and that I can choose to act as the "bad wolf" or the "good wolf", depending on which I feed or encourage. When I was young I repeatedly acted out of the bad wolf part and occasionally heard whispers from the good wolf, which I usually ignored. I was exceedingly angry, often violent, self-centered and selfish, attitudes that I note in others. I now act lovingly and with compassion and hear whispers from the bad wolf, which I notice but choose not to act on. I also encounter and encourage the good and loving part of the people I meet. It is clear to me that we all have both parts and choices. "From everywhere, it seems, we are bombarded with the idea that our nature is innately violent, that our chief preoccupation is with our sexuality, and that our main purpose in life is the acquirement of ever more nifty possessions.......Indeed, if is only through the practice of inner silence that we can begin to disentangle ourselves from our culture and its illusions. (Daniel A. Seeger)
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Today I have been reflecting on the part of the Serenity Prayer that says "courage to change the things I can", a step that requires trust and faith. For me that step began thirty-three years ago when I gave up drugs and alcohol, a choice which was facilitated by a good deal of emotional pain. Since then my disability has led me to make several changes in life choices due to physical pain. Basically, as I have heard many times, the pain of not changing became greater than my fear of making the change. Along the way, my faith and trust have increased and I now watch and encourage others. "The decisive step toward God consists of letting go of all worries, that is, all fears and attachments. This step requires a foundation of complete and unreserved trust. We can only release our fears in proportion to how much our trust in God has grown, deepened, and ripened into an unshakable faith. The more we abide in living faith, the more we abide in divine love. And where this is, there is no room for fear." (Wolfgang Kopp)
Monday, April 9, 2018
At this time the reading group I belong to is studying what various spiritual leaders have written in the past about increasing their spiritual connections. One person in the group commented that it seemed like a lot of effort and that it sounded like it involved daily practice, certainly true in my case. My connection is deep and wonderful but it also required a single minded focus and the daily practices I describe in my book and on my website. As I commented during my recovery meeting today, the results have been well worth the effort. "And though ideas such as these may seem unimportant in our bustling world, the testimony of seekers after life in all ages is that nothing is so important as the completion of our half-lives, the God-filling of our void." (Gilbert Kilpack)
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Concerning my pain, I followed the guidance that I got through meditation yesterday (talk about it, be more careful, ask for help from any willing source, meditate and listen attentively). It turns out that openly talking and writing about my pain is a method of letting it go and then allowing divine energy to flow into my life, increasing the presence of divine love, a wonderful feeling. I had no incidences of cheek biting today and the pain was less. "The unending yearnings of the human spirit are satisfied by nothing that can be measured, seen, heard or touched. To focus selfishly on anything in the created order is to be restricted and thus to fall that far short of full freedom." (Thomas Dubay, S. M.)
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Today I am struggling with extreme mouth pain, a condition that used to be every day but is now infrequent. I have bitten the inside of my cheek quite hard and in the same spot several times during the last week. I recall my words and thoughts from years ago; "I don’t want to be your f---ing inspiration, I just want the pain to stop!!" During this afternoon I chose not to take any medication to change the way I felt, even ibuprofen, but rather went into meditation asking what the pain meant and what to do next. So far I understand that I should talk about it, be more careful, ask for help from any willing source, meditate and listen attentively. I will. "For after all the beautiful and simple words have been spoken, it is still the pattern of that Life which compels attention: its obscure and humble birth; its education in poverty; its temptation, mortification, and solitude; its acts of compassion and service; its desolation at moments of apparent abandonment of the Divine; its painful death of the self; and its final absorption into the Source." (Daniel A. Seeger)
Friday, April 6, 2018
For some people, such as myself, the veil between this worldly existence and the next is very thin and even semi-permeable, at times. I have learned that the feeling of love which permeates that place is absolute and unconditional. By absolute I mean that there is none of the duality we are accustomed to on the earthly plane, no hate and love, just Love. By unconditional I mean a strength, purity and simplicity under all conditions like nothing I have experienced elsewhere. The absolute and unconditional nature of love there causes me to appreciate more fully the complexity and depth of texture of love here. Love on the earthly plain has great value due to the fact that it is a mixture of strong feelings. "Immersion in God entails a being filled with Him, a divine inflowing. Biblical men knew well enough that this self-communication of God is the sole destiny of men." (Thomas Dubay, S. M.)
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Today I felt restless and disturbed much of the day. Reflecting back on the day and asking why I felt restless and not the serenity I have grown accustomed to, I realize that I participated in several activities that disrupted my sense of peace. Chief among those activities were my continued actions surrounding my e-mail and finances. I also began watching a movie which was full of money, power, prestige, sex (implied) and violence — though it was billed as a light comedy. I turned it off. I find that technology, finances and distractions often take me away from the peace I seek. On the other hand I found peace when I worked in my garden, meditated and went to a recovery meeting. My preference is obvious, unfortunately I am also impacted by life’s situations. "From everywhere, it seems, we are bombarded with the idea that our nature is innately violent, that our chief preoccupation is with our sexuality, and that our main purpose in life is the acquirement of ever more nifty possessions.......Indeed, if is only through the practice of inner silence that we can begin to disentangle ourselves from our culture and its illusions. (Daniel A. Seeger)
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
I spent most of today dealing with the IRS and a couple of financial outfits over the phone, something very difficult for me with my speech problems. Tonight I commented to Maria, my wife, that sometimes life just seems too hard and she then responded by saying something to the effect "that is God’s way of pushing us to greater heights". Her response pissed me off, a good indication that she was on target. I am now working on acceptance, understanding and finding the Light and Love I wrote of two days ago. "And if the light one has becomes temporarily dimmer, the light one seeks is brighter still and is to be found at the very heart of the darkness of the unconscious." (John Yungblut) Time to meditate!
Monday, April 2, 2018
One of the most challenging issues I have had to deal with has been becoming aware of the effect of my past on my unconscious, loving that part of me and also letting it go so that my past did not block my growth. For example, I was raised to believe in the importance of intellect and that intellectual achievement was of paramount importance, to the exclusion of love and spirituality. As a child I was also hurt, angry and oppositional. I had a low opinion of myself. Then, as I aged and changed toward a life of love and spirituality those tendencies were still part of my unconscious and could hold me back. I found that if I treated that part of myself with compassion, understanding and love not only did it not block my growth but, if I let those feelings go, I could use the same energies to propel me forward. "It is not that the demonic forces within the unconscious are not capable of destruction and disintegration. It is rather that within the mystery of the conjunction of opposites their sting can be drawn, their poison drained, and their very energy harnessed to realize a more profound individuation." (John Yungblut)
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Today was a Sunday so I attended an hour of silent worship with the Friends at the Patapsco meeting. I generally do several hours of prayer and meditation each day, beginning in the "wee hours". During the day I am retired so I do things like exercise, cooking, reading, various types of unpaid service work and gardening. I take joy in what I do each day since I find love, gratitude and God in all my activities, especially when dealing with other entities like in my garden or with spirits. I find the love and gratitude to be immense and sustaining — I look forward to "bathing" in it. "He is always more than any finite task declares, and yet he accepts this task because he has discovered that only through the finite is the Infinite to be found." (Rufus Jones)
Saturday, March 31, 2018
This morning I was talking to a female friend about various life-path choices she could take and I gave her the advice which I have done, "follow your heart". In my case that choice has led to emotional and spiritual "riches", but not material or physical ones. I feel fulfilled and complete. I have had the opportunity of watching several people follow the path of increased money or financial security — a hollow victory. I have always liked the words of Don Juan as interpreted by Carlos Castaneda: "Anything is one of a million paths (un camino entre cantidades de caminos). Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that a path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is: Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.