Saturday, January 20, 2018
According to the gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, "Let the one who seeks not stop seeking until he finds. When he finds he will become troubled; when he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and will rule over all things." Due mainly to the challenges of my alcoholism, pain and disability I have been led to a deep exploration of self, various spiritual traditions and life in general and I have, indeed, found what I found to be troubling and disillusioning. With respect to my own life, I have encountered power and abilities I did not know I had, especially in the area of health. I am still exploring my own capabilities and trying not to hold myself back. The medical professionals that I have seen just tell me to "keep doing whatever your doing".
Friday, January 19, 2018
today I spent some time watching about a third of the movie Never Go Back with Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. The movie is a silly action, adventure with a standard plot line which I found to be very enjoyable and a bit amusing. I needed a distracting break from my "strenuous " pursuit of spirituality and the movie fit the bill. After my watching the movie Maria, my wife, commented that she had come to appreciate the quiet of a "media free" environment and I told her that in the future I would only watch movies when she was not here. I later commented that it was important for this to be a "retreat house" for each of us, if we were to each continue our lives of service and spiritual connection. "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."
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
During and through the many challenges I have experienced in my life I have encountered a feeling of peace, love and well-being which goes well beyond anything reasonable, a very strong feeling largely regardless of the circumstance. I consider that feeling to be the Kingdom Jesus spoke of. I suspect that others can experience it also. As Jesus said according to Luke’s gospel "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." In my case, in order to continue having that feeling I have to continue the practices of service, daily prayer and meditation.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
In the process of spreading love around I generally encourage people to listen to their own inner guidance, have strength and confidence and follow the direction of heart, an approach that works for many, including myself. I need to be patient and keep in mind that there are also many people who, at least for a time, prefer to follow the guidance of an authority figure. I can and do both. As an authority figure I need to keep my ego out of the way and be encouraging rather than authoritarian. "You create a path of your own by looking within yourself and listening to your soul, cultivating your own ways of experiencing the sacred, and then practicing it. Practicing until you make it a song that sings you."(Kidd)
Monday, January 15, 2018
In the words of Rufus Jones; "God [Love] must have an instrument — an organ is perhaps a better word — for the revelation of His love and tenderness, just as his physical energies must have their coordinator and transmitter." In my move from AZ to MD I was choosing to be an instrument of Love. Now, using the sort of practices outlined in my book, I spread that Love in all my interactions, an invigorating experience. I do need to be conscious of taking care of my own needs but that Love sustains me. As Jones goes on to say; "Something more than a petty, tiny, private consciousness is expressing itself through my personality. I am the organ of something more than myself."
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Yesterday I posed the question of "what’s next" and, as I say on my website and in my book, they could readily choose to act and believe according to Love and the God seed within. As I found out for myself, that life is waiting for them. Following a loving authority figure (president!) and life guidelines like I suggest in my book would help. Unfortunately people have selected a president who is both a good person with loving intentions and a self-centered, fearful, racist. We shall see what happens next. It is important for me to realize that, like many spiritual leaders have commented, we are in the process of learning to give and receive love. As it says in the Thomas gospel "His disciples said to him, ‘When will the resurrection of the dead come, and when will the new world come?’ He said to them, ‘What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it.’". It also says in the gospel of Luke "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."
Saturday, January 13, 2018
I was reading the Washington Post today and encountered Trump’s comment about "shit hole" countries, anti-immigration comments and reductions in healthcare to the needy. Those comments are not very loving and a long way from the realization that we are all connected, but also very human and understandable. They bring to mind the comments of Benjamin Friedman "When material progress falters........people become more jealous of their status relative to others. Anti-immigrant sentiment typically increases, as does conflict between races and classes; concern for the poor tends to decline." as quoted in (Healing The Heart Of Democracy: The Courage To Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, by Parker J. Palmer). The question that comes to my mind is "where do we go from here".
Friday, January 12, 2018
This evening I was having a substantial amount of mouth pain and a small amount of back pain and I chose to be angry and self-pitying about how difficult my life is. I do have some challenges but what I wish to emphasize is that I chose to be angry and disgruntled since it felt like a useful release of those feelings. I wanted to be angry for a while. Having gone through that for a few hours, it is now gently raining outside and I can hear and feel the rain hitting the roof and the deck. I am at peace and life feels like a wondrous experience. I still have some pain but it doesn’t seem to matter much. As St. John of the cross said "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".
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Today I feel like I do not know which way to turn other than continuing on my path and to keep doing what I have been doing. In the words of Rufus Jones; "Our moral grandeur springs from, this capacity of ours to live beyond and to outrun anything which the world of experience gives us, and with this idealizing capacity — the power to look before and after — is linked an inevitable sense of obligation to act in conformity with what the soul sees ought to be." I have taken what the "world of experience" gave me (severe physical, emotional and spiritual limitations) and created a wonderful or ideal life, through spirituality. I now wish to be an inspiration to others, to be of service. I have not figured out how yet. I have some idea what "ought to be", but need to work on that.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
I take note that all around me and in everything I do there is the, often attractive, opportunity to choose a path of worldly pleasures, entertainment and distraction rather than the path of truth, spirituality and day to day reality. I choose not to refer to the worldly pleasures, entertainment and distractions as evil but they do, in many cases, take me away from my ideal goal or God. It is a daily choice that I need to be cognizant of in my chosen path of spiritual growth. "These chapters [1st 3 of Genesis] tell a story, and through that story is revealed the agonizing discovery of our human freedom— our freedom to choose between god and evil, and not only freedom to choose but the imperative laid upon us to choose the good daily, or inevitably fall into evil."
Monday, January 8, 2018
Several years ago I was diagnosed with cerebellar degeneration by a neurologist at Johns Hopkins hospital and because of that neurological disability and the related physical pain I was forced to look beyond my worldly experience and what the doctors were telling me. I turned to the power of unconditional love and additional development of my budding spirituality. I found pain to be a powerful motivator! I found the internal discipline to develop what I knew to be there an I am now extremely grateful. "Our moral grandeur springs from, this capacity of ours to live beyond and to outrun anything which the world of experience gives us, and with this idealizing capacity — the power to look before and after — is linked an inevitable sense of obligation to act in conformity with what the soul sees ought to be."(Rufus Jones)
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Today I have been contemplating the words of George Fox, the early Quaker, that ‘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." There are many people who believe that we are now in a time of "darkness" others not. I don’t think it makes much long term difference, though there certainly is right now the possibility of heading into some unpleasant times. What has been dominating my thoughts is that the period of darkness spoken of by Fox is temporal, human caused and limited, while the light is from God and eternal. It is also clear to me that the darkness is needed if we humans are to grow toward the light. I find peace in the thoughts.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
During my recovery meeting today someone mentioned a young person who had died from drugs a few days ago and I mentioned the death of my family members who had died similarly. As a result, death has been on my mind today. I do not think that death is something to be feared any more than any change makes us uneasy. I have been with several people when they died and I have had a "Near Death Experience". During my N.D.E. I was told "this is what it feels like to be dead", a feeling of extreme and overwhelming unconditional love. It strikes me that death is a transition to a different state — and that feeling was wonderful.
Friday, January 5, 2018
Tonight the words of Patricia Loring jumped out and caught my attention as I perused my list of quotes. She wrote "Our awareness develops in the context of prayer, our communication with God—not only as we address God but as we learn to listen for God." What caught my attention was not the God or prayer part — but the need to listen, not just during prayer time but listening to the Universe during all my activities. By Listening I mean paying attention to aches and pains, comments of others, changes in my environment and feelings while letting go of expectations, distractions, attachments and desires, a tall order. The constant noise of my own thoughts make it hard to listen. It helps me to remember that as far as the created order "Nothing matters very much and very few things matter at all".
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
The theme for my recovery meeting today was change and one person spoke of a dream she had in which her internal change was symbolized somewhat violently. I told her that it was a great dream and that I had several dreams symbolizing change, sometimes quite violently. In my case change often feels internally violent, a feeling expressed well in dreams with symbols, sometimes even murder. For example, changing my outlook from control and anger to love was extremely internally difficult for me and in one very vivid dream the process was symbolized by the bloody, bludgeoning murder of a rat, which is how it felt. I now have a very loving outlook but getting here was not easy. "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)
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
In 1987 and the beginning of ‘88 I was having extreme movement difficulties and went to several Drs. in order to find out what was wrong, finally being diagnosed with cerebellar degeneration by a neurologist at Johns Hopkins hospital. At that point it was clear that the medical community could not help me so I began using a holistic approach and took on the task myself. I now focus my life on health, healing, unconditional love and being of service. I use visualization and meditation several times daily. I constantly push myself to be active and to do as much as I can. For example, I now mow the lawn (slowly!) with a push mower, something I could not do a few years ago. I also exercise 5-6 times a week using an exercise bike, treadmill, free weights and calisthenics and walk very slowly, unaided. In spite of the dismal prognosis I was given, it is now thirty years later and I have difficulties, but I am doing pretty well. Recently I have gone to another neurologist and found that he still does not believe in the approach which has worked for me for thirty years – sigh. "You create a path of your own by looking within yourself and listening to your soul, cultivating your own ways of experiencing the sacred, and then practicing it. Practicing until you make it a song that sings you."(Sue Monk Kidd)
Monday, January 1, 2018
For the last several days I have felt lost and groundless because of changes taking place inside me, developing a clearer awareness of what is. This afternoon I just felt gratitude. I have a wonderful life, which includes getting older, disability, pain, connection with all that is, love and gratitude. In the words of Jack Kornfield; "To love fully and live well requires us to recognize finally that we do not possess or own anything---our homes, our cars, our loved ones, not even our own body. Spiritual joy and wisdom do not come through possession but rather through our capacity to open, to love more fully, and to move and be free in life." I have learned to agree with that point of view. He goes on to say; "The happiness we discover in life is not about possessing or owning or even understanding. Instead, it is the discovery of this capacity to love, to have a loving, free and wise relationship with all of life. Such love is not possessive but arises out of a sense of our own well-being and connection with everything."