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.
Friday, March 30, 2018
I am attempting to act as God’s tool or instrument, as Rufus Jones calls it, in my efforts to change the world, one person at a time. I make use of and transmit love and healing. I am aware that my task and leader are much more than I am so I just keep trying to do the next right thing. I act out of love and feel that light and Love much of the time. When I stay focused, which I do most of the time, my words and actions have a very positive effect on those around me. I also feel on the verge of overwhelmed since what I do is more than I am. "God must have an instrument — an organ is perhaps a better word — for the revelation of His love and tenderness, just as his physical energies must have their coordinator and transmitter." (Rufus Jones)
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
I had considerable lower back pain yesterday which today was very minor and only periodic, a pattern that is common with me. The pain usually begins as muscle soreness and spasticity, rapidly getting worse and involving the lumbar vertebrae and sciatic nerve. Up until this point I usually just accept the pain as part of my day but it gets my attention when the spasms become more consistent, involving bones and nerve, sometimes causing sciatica. At that point I take the time to meditate on the pain, joining with it in order to find out whether or not there is an emotional component to the pain, usually fear, anger or some other emotional blockage. When I take this approach, rather than taking pain medicine, I can address the emotional issue and the pain problem heals more quickly. "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." (Claremont deCastillejo)
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Yesterday I wrote of having found the Kingdom of God within myself and living according to that presence. Also, as I commented, Jesus said was that was possible. More recently Rufus Jones commented on its presence when he wrote "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." He also wrote that "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." I encountered that "meeting place" which I call the "God seed" in each of us, before encountering his words. The largest blockages for my reaching that seed were my own self-doubt and lack of belief. I finally got to that peace, Love, freedom and power through allowing it during my own meditation.
Monday, March 26, 2018
A couple of days ago while in a group talking about our spiritual journeys, I found myself saying "I have found that kingdom", meaning the kingdom of God. By that I meant that I feel great joy, love and peace much of the time in spite of being disabled, having chronic pain and aging. As Jesus said, according to 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." In my life journey, I have found that to be true. In order to achieve that feeling (reality?) I have done a great deal of introspection and the daily practices I mention in my website and book. According to Thomas, Jesus also said "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Maria’s and my most recent service commitment (ministry) is to clerk or lead the Thursday evening Friend’s worship meeting, a task which I find very exciting and loaded with potential. Maria will handle most of the talking part and we will both take care of other duties. Patricia Loring wrote "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." For me, so far, my task is mainly the "humble and hidden activity" of being present, beaming loving energy and encouraging the local spirits to do the same. At the end of each meeting I take the "bold and dramatic action" of approaching and talking with the attendees about whatever came up for them during the meeting. We shall see.
Saturday, March 24, 2018
In my enjoyment of the "variability and vibrancy of spring" which I wrote of yesterday it was implied that I feel a part of the trees, flowers and birds, we are all connected. I cannot say that I understand that connection but I know it is real and that connection is part of my joy. In the words of Jack Kornfield "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."
Friday, March 23, 2018
I truly enjoy the variability and vibrancy of spring. Some of the early flowers like the crocuses, daffodils and some hyacinth have begun blooming and two days ago it snowed heavily (for this area!) and has gotten cold. Yesterday and today, as the snow melted the flowers, once again, began showing themselves. I have also been watching a video cam of nesting bald eagles. As I observe these events I also feel the presence of God or the life force. "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, March 21, 2018
Today it snowed several inches and the spirit side of me connected with the wondrous life-giving nature of the event. I even communicated that to the big oak out back when I did my dawn blessing. The human part of me also felt some irritation at the inconvenience of the snow, but that was slight and modified by the positive thoughts and feelings. I have similarly dual thoughts and feelings about most life events and the eternal or spirit view usually predominates. The Love or God seed in me makes it possible to connect with the Love or God in everyone and everything around me, changing the way I feel and interact. According to the gospel of Thomas, "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.’"
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
During my recovery process I have bathed myself in unconditional love and spirituality in order to address my alcoholism, drug addiction and, later, my disability. I have used love and spirituality to alleviate the hurt and anger resulting from earlier life experiences. I tried using my intellect, reading and therapy and found that they helped my understanding but did not result in the peace I sought. Love and spirituality did. The "allowing" that came with Love was crucial for me to reach resolution. I now give the same to others. "In the Dhammapada the Buddha teaches that in this world hate never dispels hate. Only love dispels hate."
Monday, March 19, 2018
When I meditate I connect with the loving force I call God. That force is much more powerful than anything human caused that I have felt and the feeling brings me great joy. As I describe on my website and in my book, I have also found physical healing power in that feeling. It is a feeling that causes me to be other directed, service oriented and selfless. I cannot imagine how such a force could be negative in any way. I do well up with tears of gratitude at times. "There are, says the saint [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."
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Maria and I are now co-clerking (leading) the Thursday evening Friend’s worship session. She does most of the talking, I beam Love and presence to the attenders and we both extend love and welcome to new-comers. We are focused on diversity, passion and mystical connection. The passion piece and truly welcoming the messiness frequently present with diversity are attitudes that have been largely missing. That particular meeting is small enough and out of the mainstream enough that we can push the envelope a bit. So far I have enjoyed encouraging the spiritual "stray dogs" that I meet there. They are my brothers and sisters. "Yet I sometimes encountered, in churches and elsewhere—in the presence of a venerable Buddhist monk, in the cantor’s singing at a bar mitzvah, and on mountain hikes—something compelling, powerful, even terrifying that I could not ignore, and I had come to see that, besides belief, Christianity involves practice—and paths toward transformation." (Elaine Pagels)
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Recently I have been hearing people talk about perfection and their belief that they were falling short, while I kept thinking each time that they were beautiful and perfect in God’s eyes. In my meditation and connection with God it is my understanding that God’s idea of perfection is closer to the idea of Harmony with all that is versus the human ideas of perfection meaning a total lack of what are thought to be faults. The actions that I take today are certainly not free of mistakes or faults but they are my best attempts at harmony. I almost always act in accordance with the three questions outlined in my book (would I do this in front of God, or whatever you call that power/force?; is my name really on it or is it really my responsibility?; will this increase the integrity of the universe, or is this loving?). I am perfect in God’s eyes. "What I [Jesus] say to you in the dark you must repeat in broad daylight, what you hear whispered you must shout from the rooftops." Mathew (10:27)
Friday, March 16, 2018
Today I went about the day-to-day activities of exercise, laundry, a recovery meeting and cooking with a feelings of quiet joy and peaceful gratitude, feelings that I value highly. My life used to be filled with chaos, drama and excitement, which I thought gave my life meaning. I now find meaning in peace, serenity and loving connections. Last evening I met and connected with a couple of very attractive young females and had no sexual thoughts, only that loving connection as I might have with my own children. I have found these thoughts and feelings within myself but still find it easy to be pulled back into less pleasant thoughts. "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. (Seeger)
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Today I spent the day exercising, cooking vegetable soup and meditating, activities of self care in order to take a break from the struggles I mentioned yesterday (my credit card company, fraudulent activity and my e-mail account). Admittedly they took actions which complicated my life. I wanted to return to a feeling of peace, balance and equanimity. I now realize that the various companies took the actions that companies do and I will simply work with them and allow whatever outcome happens, rather than exerting energy to control the situation. "If we can resist the compulsive pressure of our logical thinking, without relinquishing our precious heritage of lucid thought; if we can hold our ground with our own hardly won ego personalities, yet bow our heads and say, 'Thy will not mine be done'; if we will but notice the reactions of our bodies; and heed the behaviour of the world towards us; if we can learn to listen to the voices within and to the whisper in the wind, with trust as well as with discrimination, we may be able to follow the road where the Rainmaker walks." (Claremont deCastillejo)
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Today I got drawn in and became lost in the day-to-day issues around my credit card company, fraudulent activity and my e-mail account. For the first couple of hours it was amusing, then amusing and irritating then just irritating. The details do not matter but these events are all trivial and necessary for a modern life which does not support ideals like love, silence, quiet time, connection or spirituality. In the words of Daniel A. Seeger: "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." To get my balance back I plan to involve myself in cooking, working in the garden and meditating, activities which do support the ideals I value. As he goes on to say: "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."
Monday, March 12, 2018
Yesterday I wrote of what Saint Faustina Kowalska calls "tribulations", life’s difficulties, and the spiritual awakening that resulted. She describes the situation well when she wrote "When a soul has come out of these tribulations, it is deeply humble. Its purity of soul is great. It knows better without need of reflecting, as it were, what it ought too do at a given moment and what to forbear. It feels the lightest touch of grace and is very faithful to God. It recognizes God from afar and continuously rejoices in Him. It discovers God very quickly in other souls and in its environment in general. The soul has been purified by God Himself. God, as pure spirit, introduces the soul to a life which is purely spiritual. God Himself has first prepared and purified the soul; that is, He has made it capable of close communion with Himself. The soul, in a state of loving repose, communes spiritually with the Lord. It speaks to God without the need of expressing itself through the senses. God fills it with His light." As I move through life I feel a strong sense of joining, communion and presence with everything and everybody. I feel it with the plants when I work in the garden, the vegetables as I fix dinner and the people when I join in a meeting or gathering. Like John Travolta says in the movie Phenomenon "We are all made of the same stuff". We are all also connected.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
I have encountered and had to overcome several speed bumps in my life, each resulting in a deeper understanding of life’s situations and an eventual spiritual awakening. My first years were spent growing up in an alcoholic home with a father that took his rage out on me. During those same years my teachers tried to demonstrate that I was retarded and made efforts to get me out of their classrooms. To be fair I was very uncooperative and not the least bit pleasant to be around. This all changed dramatically when I decided to get to work, got a Ph.D. and became an assistant professor. I was respected and treated with considerable deference. I then became disabled and recently developed a serious speech impediment which has certainly added to my experience and pushed me into that spiritual awakening, giving me great joy. Today I encountered a computer problem which I then tried to explain and, because of my speech impediment, was dismissed as not understanding. I am still a bit angry but also shifting into understanding and compassion. All this has been difficult but also beneficial, having resulted in a miraculous awakening. "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. In that also I saw the infinite love of God; and I had great openings" (John Yungblut)
Saturday, March 10, 2018
I just had a blood test and found out yesterday that my thyroid was functioning normally, which is remarkable since it has been underperforming for over a decade. I was fatigued and then diagnosed with hypothyroidism since blood tests showed a high level of thyroid stimulating hormone and low levels of T-3 and T-4. Since then I have had my thyroid and its hormones tested repeatedly and adjusted medication levels. Seven weeks ago I stopped taking my thyroid medication and began practicing healing touch on my thyroid several times a day. I would fill myself with God’s loving energy which I then, using intent, sent through my hands into my thyroid. It apparently worked and I have done the same with a leaky heart valve, a prostate problem, a possibly cancerous lesion, several cuts, burns and cysts. I have also, successfully, helped others with the technique. "For my own part, if dropping a T.V. set produces more channels, why not watch them?" (Sylvia Fraser)
Friday, March 9, 2018
In my recovery meetings recently there has been a fellow who is probably in his mid-fifties, overweight, outspoken and with only about four months of recovery. He is also very self-centered and does not listen well. When he speaks, no matter what he actually says I hear the hidden message of "won’t someone please listen to me!". As he mentions whenever he shares he has actually been working on recovery for thirty four years, about as long as me but I have not relapsed. I mention him because his presence bothers me — He represents my "shadow" side, the part of me that I would rather not admit to. To use another common phrase "There, but for the grace of God, go I". On most days I look at him with a mixture of irritation, love and compassion. "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, March 7, 2018
In my recovery meeting today people talked of their struggles, difficulties and challenges. Many also lovingly and laughingly spoke of how they made "lemonade of those lemons", through a simple change in attitude. In part due to meetings like this and in part due to the mystical connection I wrote about yesterday, I have learned to view the many difficulties and struggles in my life as sources of growth. Through those struggles I have learned about the power and texture of love. "Fear not, nor be dismayed at the appearance that is darkness, at the disguise that is evil, at the empty cloak that is death, for you have picked these for your challenges. They are the stones on which you choose to whet the keen edge of your spirit. Know that ever about you stands the reality of love, and each moment you have the power to transform your world by what you have learned." (Richard Bach)
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
I am immensely grateful for my mystical connection with God and, through that connection, with everything else. I now have one foot and understanding in this transient earthly reality which I wake up to every morning. The other foot and understanding is focused on the significance of each event within eternity. Each view, separately and together brings me joy. For example I understand and enjoy the fact that one of the large oak trees in the our backyard has a loving sense of a family connection with the English ivy plants around it. The tree and I both know that the same ivy will shorten its life, but that, in the eternal view, that loving connection is more important than a few years of life. "Without needlessly multiplying such testimonies for data, we can say with considerable assurance that mystical experience is consciousness of direct and immediate relationship with some transcendent reality which in the moment of experience is believed to be God."(Rufus Jones)
Monday, March 5, 2018
I am one of the "stray dog spiritual seekers" I spoke of yesterday, always looking for understanding and a home. I have found both in the entity I call God and now spend my days attempting to bring that feeling and reality to as many others as possible. Finding that has changed my life immeasurably, allowing me to become an integrated, fulfilled whole. For me, the "others" that I carry the message to includes living humans and those that have transitioned on. "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)
Sunday, March 4, 2018
This morning my wife and I attended a Friend’s business meeting where the Ministry and Council Committee presented their annual "Spiritual State of the Meeting" report for 2017. In that report one of the main points which concerns this faith community is the desire to be "open" and "inclusive" when it comes to other members of the diverse community of "spiritual seekers", an approach that my wife and I welcome. Recently we have been selected to be Co-clerks (leaders) of the Thursday evening meeting for worship, giving us an exciting and daunting task of being open and inclusive of diversity while also staying loosely within Quaker ideals. To put these ideas in more relaxed terms, I would like to welcome and attract some of the "stray dog" spiritual seekers with their passion and diversity. I know they will make me feel uncomfortable at times and challenge my love for them, but that is how I grow. "In the Dhammapada he [the Buddha] teaches that in this world hate never dispels hate. Only love dispels hate."
Saturday, March 3, 2018
I find that I need to always remember the basics of recovery and the human condition in general while also addressing the loftier issues of my mystical connection with the Source or my communications with spirits. By the basics I mean dealing with things like the fears or lack of control I wrote about yesterday. The basics also include things like my need to pay attention to self-care, exercise, eating carefully, keeping my weight down and getting enough sleep. Today after exercising and eating my oatmeal breakfast, I began watching a movie which I then shut off realizing I needed the silence of contemplation, meditation and working in the garden. "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."
Friday, March 2, 2018
For the last few days I have been dealing with my credit card company on fraud issues and the resultant payment issues with my e-mail account. I am not dealing with either very well. I find that because of past hurt and frustration I am uncomfortable when my attempts at being in control are thwarted. These situations, though trivial in many ways, have ignited fear in me. I need to recognize the difficulty, trust, take the next right action and be at peace. As Jack Kornfield wrote "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." He also wrote "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."
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
I agree with the many spiritual leaders who have commented something to the effect that the purpose of living is to learn to give and receive love. Personally, I have gone through some major and very unenjoyable events in my life which have ultimately taught me about love. For example the deaths of family members, divorce, an unpleasant childhood or my disability. In the case of my disability the medical profession made it clear that they could not help me deal with it or to recover so, in desperation, I turned to God and love. I found love to be a powerful healing force which I do not understand but continue to use for myself and give freely to others, a win-win situation. "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)
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Each night in the "wee" hours, when I get up to pray, meditate and write in this journal, I experience what Jones calls the "transcendent reality" which I have come to know as God, a wonderful gift. I also have that experience often when I work with others or meditate during the day. The feeling can best, though inadequately, be described as a very intense, all encompassing feeling of unconditional love together with a sense of Presence. I consider the feeling to be a force that I use in healing work or selflessly connecting with others. "Without needlessly multiplying such testimonies for data, we can say with considerable assurance that mystical experience is consciousness of direct and immediate relationship with some transcendent reality which in the moment of experience is believed to be God."(Rufus Jones)
Monday, February 26, 2018
Because of my connection with the force I call God, I view everything that happens on this earthly plain through a filter of love and with one foot in the eternal, a view which changes my attitude about life events dramatically. That view is the source of yesterday’s comments. I have also had the experience of having a person standing in front of me, berating me while I felt nothing but love and compassion for that person. I felt that he was just another flawed, angry and hurt individual, like myself, so I wanted to hug him and help him — very strange, but also accurate. "We simply do not know. Scientists discover and theologians affirm; but faced with the mystery of life and death we know almost nothing. We can learn from the experts, but our experience may not fit their theories and it is our experience and our experience alone that we should trust." (Claremont deCastillejo)
Sunday, February 25, 2018
I look back over history and note that, as a species, we have mad a lot of progress in terms of acting in an ethical way or in accordance with the three questions I describe in my book; would I do this in front of God, or whatever you call that power/force?; is my name really on it or is it really my responsibility?; will this increase the integrity of the universe, or is this loving? Basically, overall, we treat each other and the earth in a more loving and respectful way. I also note that we have a long way to go. I like Benjamin Friedman’s comment, that "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." I have hope and will do everything I can to help us move in a loving direction.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
The subject for tonight’s recovery meeting was "strength", which caused me to reflect on the challenges I have faced and my own growth. I have heard it said that "you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have" — Very true for me. I have been presented with several situations I didn’t know I could deal with, particularly through my disability and my work with spirits. I am confronted with challenges, ask for guidance and work through them — growing in the process. "Trouble or suffering of any kind does not come from God. It is an indication that there is a lesson to be learned by us, and the trouble itself furnishes us with the very opportunity that we need in order to learn that lesson, so that such a thing need never happen to us again." (Emmet Fox.)
Friday, February 23, 2018
Today, as I do often, I spent time just sitting and contemplating my own thoughts and actions. The amount of time doing this and the time of day vary but I sit, fill myself with a loving feeling, get with God and sort through my activities. When I do that I generally find myself to be silly, often mistaken, well intentioned and delightfully human. Today I encountered a lack of patience in just being present and listening. If I do the same procedure without getting into a loving space with God I tend to find the same behaviors to be pitiful, weak or irritating. I much prefer looking at myself and the world around me through the lens of love.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
For thirty years now I have been leading a life based on Love and the force I call God and that approach has transformed my life, the lives of many others and I am not done influencing. I really enjoy watching and feeling the impact of love on the other people and myself. I know it to be very practical and I continue to wish I understood it better and could predict outcomes — but then I smile knowing love does not work that way. "If you can rise above the fear in your life and live the love within you, and if I can rise above my fear and live the love in me-----if that drama is reenacted enough times by enough of the world’s people-----then we will pierce the cosmic darkness and tip the world in the direction of light." (Marianne Williamson)
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
I have had several opportunities to present other people with the option and challenge of expanding their thinking beyond their previous teaching and experience, much as I have been challenged numerous times. The results in myself have usually been initial resistance followed by growth and incorporation of the new information. The responses from others have been quite varied, all the way from wondrous excitement to stubborn resistance. I recall once being invited to participate in a workshop to write questions on cultural awareness for national mental health tests, which I welcomed since I had recently learned how little I really know about cultures other than my own. I wrote a question about a Navajo woman troubled by dreams and visions who would have been considered psychotic in this culture or normal within hers. All of the answers except one had to do with treating her as psychotic which were the answers that most people selected. The correct answer was to treat her as normal and help her talk about her dreams and visions. Fortunately, there was one Navajo man in the room who knew this was the correct answer. The others did not agree. "If we can resist the compulsive pressure of our logical thinking, without relinquishing our precious heritage of lucid thought; if we can hold our ground with our own hardly won ego personalities, yet bow our heads and say, 'Thy will not mine be done'; if we will but notice the reactions of our bodies; and heed the behaviour of the world towards us; if we can learn to listen to the voices within and to the whisper in the wind, with trust as well as with discrimination, we may be able to follow the road where the Rainmaker walks." (Claremont deCastillejo)
Monday, February 19, 2018
It is important for me to always keep in mind that the use of words and language is human and can, at its best, "point" toward the transcendent reality of love or God. Love is beyond that and if I choose to live within that love, which I do, the results can’t necessarily described with words. Because of my disability, I have been dealing with people in the medical profession who have been exhaustively educated using logical reasoning and words. Understandably, they tend to view me through the lens of their training, while I have been using love, spirituality and a holistic approach to deal with my physical challenges. My condition is much better than would be predicted according to the narrow confines of their training. I suspect that I am doing as well as I am because I look and live beyond the words, to transcend them. "To understand better the value of silence in daily life, and its relation to this spiritual transformation for which we yearn, it is useful first to consider the limitation of language, of words. It is next useful to contemplate the limitations of logical reasoning."(Daniel A. Seeger)
Sunday, February 18, 2018
For the last two days I have written about my role as a "transmitter" or a human embodiment of God’s love, a role that I have certainly earned and am immensely grateful for. I was given that ability during praying in the sweat lodge, a sacred ceremony. It’s a role that, in the human or judgmental sense, I am not worthy of, but in the Divine sense I am. I write that because during the first thirty-six years of my life I was very self-centered and hurt many people, then surrendered and began changing my life to become a selfless being of service. I, apparently, had to live and experience my dark nature before transitioning to loving. I needed to know both sides and I am aware that many people have made similar journeys. "To get we must also give, to advance we must also surrender, to gain we must lose, to attain we must resign. From the nature of things life means choice and selection, and every positive choice negates all other possibilities." (Rufus Jones)
Saturday, February 17, 2018
I wrote yesterday of my central role as just being "to sit there, be present, be loving and just be" since both people and spirits seem to benefit from an example of a close loving contact with the force I call God. I was given the gift of what that contact feels like many years ago in the sweat lodge and now can generate the feeling for others. In the words of Rufus Jones; "God must have an instrument — an organ is perhaps a better word — for the revelation of His love and tenderness, just as his physical energies must have their coordinator and transmitter." I can’t say that I understand how I can act as that "transmitter" or how that feeling was transmitted to me — but doing so is a wonderful experience and, as with many things of a similar spiritual nature, understanding is not required. I have come to agree with Jones that "If love is ever to reach and move and transform anyone with its wonderful impalpable power it must be a real love expressed in a real life."
Friday, February 16, 2018
Recently, Maria and I have been asked to lead (clerk) the Thursday evening meeting for worship, a role we accept warmly. I do not talk very much and am difficult to understand, so Maria will do that part. At this point, my role is to sit there, be present, be loving and just be, a role I can do. My sense is that the local (graveyard) spirits will partner with me and do the same, in their own swirling way. In the words of Daniel A. Seeger "It [inner silence] is to establish an inner peace, an inner harmony, which will allow us authentically to contribute to the establishment of an outer peace and an outer harmony in the world at large." I tend to spread a feeling of peace and love everywhere I go — just through my presence. I will also take a more active role if and when asked. "It requires even more discernment to discover whether the ministry called for from a particular individual in a particular instance requires prophetic speech, humble and hidden activities, bold and dramatic action, professional service or some, novel and previously unimagined course."
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Tonight I overheard Maria, my wife, talking on the phone about some of my early experiences with spirits and the sweat lodge and her conversation reminded me. I thought I was a normal "white boy" but maybe not. My first encounter was when a haggard looking native asked if he could talk to me while we were preparing for a lodge. He told me that the spirits had come to him in dreams since they could not approach me directly. He told me that the spirits wanted me to build a lodge and that the Navajo elders approved. I later realized that he was probably a spirit himself since he talked to no-one else and I have never seen him before or since. My second experience was when a handsome young Native spirit came to lodge with bare feet and dressed only in deerskin leggings (middle of winter). I, again, thought he was a normal person. We talked a bit quietly, with reverence and he sat next to me in the lodge. Later in the lodge he had disappeared. After the lodge I asked Dicky, the lodge leader, if someone had left the lodge. He assured me that no-one had and — hesitatingly — told me "you’re different Charlie". The world is a strange place and there is much I do not know. "Reality is only partly our invention; it is also partly our discovery. Our task is to discover how much and in what areas which is which; and then to determine how much new freedom this gives us and what we can do with it".(From Alternate Realities by Lawrence LeShan)
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
During meditation I heard and felt, very deeply, "You do not have to prove yourself anymore" in response to the idea that I was still deserving of punishment. I found those feelings especially interesting since I was completely unaware that my subconscious, shadow, felt I was proving myself. I was reminded of a time very early in my recovery when I heard "You do not have to struggle against drugs or alcohol any more" since I had no idea that my subconscious believed that or that the belief was part of me. There has also been a feeling of release and greater clarity. "Doing shadow-work means making a gentleman's agreement with one's self to engage in an internal conversation that can, at some time down the road result in an authentic self-acceptance and a real compassion for others."(Zweig and Abrams)
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Today was a day of mixed and dramatically contrasting feelings, from great joy this morning to feelings of pain and deserving to be punished this evening. The joy this morning was due to my mystical connection with my soul or essence, God and eternity, a feeling that lasted most of the day. I then bit myself in an area of scar tissue, causing substantial pain and I also fell and hurt my leg. Falling is something I do about four times a year so I am used to it but I was surprised by a surging feeling of deserving to be punished for past actions in this life and probably before in previous lives. The feeling of deserving to be punished felt like a backlash in response to the joy I felt earlier. Both feelings are very real though deserving to be punished is a throwback to an earlier time and is silly. I need to meditate and feel each, dismissing the need to be punished . I recall that according to the gospel of Thomas Jesus said, "Let the one who seeks not stop seeking until he finds. When he finds he will become troubled; when he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and will rule over all things." I will ask to be released from the feeling of deserving to be punished.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
In my recovery meeting today someone spoke of watching a caterpillar crawl across the ground as being a waste of time and I disagree. To me, taking the time to observe one of God’s creatures go about day to day living brings great joy. Life is a wondrous process to behold, whether the behavior is exceptional or ordinary. At one point not to many years ago, when I could not move without great difficulty, I spent several hours on my porch watching a predatory beetle capturing and devouring prey. Having my mind be quiet enough to simply observe is a wonderful state to be in. In the poem Dejection, Samuel Taylor Coleridge calls joy "this strong music in the soul’, ‘a light, a glory, a luminous cloud’, ‘a beautiful and beauty-making power.’ Joy is a gift, one we cannot will for ourselves, nor even for others."
Friday, February 9, 2018
For the last couple of days I have written about my ability to connect with other people, an ability which I value very highly — not just connecting with other people but everyone and everything. One of the main factors determining my ability to connect, is my ability to listen and listen deeply without interference from my clamoring intellect. I attempt to listen not just to the words spoken, but everything the Universe has to tell me. This type of listening requires that I focus, reign in my wandering intellect and become internally and externally quiet. "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)
Thursday, February 8, 2018
I am a retired mental health therapist so I have had the privilege of connecting, deeply, with a large number of people, a skill I continue to work on. Personally, I have found that in order to connect deeply I need to do a lot of self-care, be spiritually fit, listen intensely and be able to put my own ego aside. I have also found that when the other person is using a SRI., some other anti-depressant or prescribed medication it makes connection more difficult. If they are using alcohol or illegal drugs anything other than a superficial connection is impossible. I stopped using a prescribed medication for hypothyroidism on the 15th of last month and find, not surprisingly, that my ability to connect has improved.. "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)
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
This evening I was reflecting on a time when I was living in Flagstaff, AZ and made my last visit with my father who was living in a facility in Chapel Hill, NC. He had advanced Alzheimer’s so he could not communicate with cogent complete thoughts or sentences and did not know I was his son. During that visit we went for a short walk down one of the hallways in the facility and had an in depth, complex conversation we could not have had. In that conversation he clearly knew who I was in the spirit plane. We had stopped in front of a print of a harbor, the open ocean and several sailing vessels of various sizes and types. Immediately when we stopped I felt a shift in consciousness and a deeper connection with him. I also felt surrounded by love. Our conversation was about the symbolism of that print and what it meant for each of us. As that conversation ended we went back, sat down and I felt a shift back to this reality and a change in our connection. The love was still there. He looked at me and said "It’s stopped" and I replied "Yes it has". He then asked "What do we do now?", to which I replied "You take a nap before dinner and I’ll go back to AZ." It was an amazing experience during which we each shifted to a different reality than our normal one. "You belong to two worlds do not miss the invisible one while you are busy with the visible one. Cultivate your vision, learn to see the realities which your eyes miss.. Look through the world that is seen and discover the realities which it suggests and implies." (Rufus Jones)
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
I have been a devoted practitioner of various spiritual activities for years, decades in some cases and, as a result, I now feel connected to "all that is" all the time, I have one foot in the eternal and one in the present, I have great joy and I carry out my daily activities from within a "bubble of love". It’s a great way to live which still requires discipline. My joy is surprising from a worldly perspective since I am disabled, in pain much of the tine and approaching my seventieth birthday. I think I’ll keep doing what I am doing! "I will talk about only five sources of spiritual nourishment which I have known as among the chief sustainers of my life: the companionship of other seekers, the pleasures of solitude, the satisfactions of obedience the support of prayer and worship, and the gifts of joy." (Lacey)
Monday, February 5, 2018
In Nourishing the Spiritual Life, Paul A. Lacey writes "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." I spend most of each day in an effort to maintain harmony and balance within and between my "body, soul, mind, [and] emotions including exercising, eating carefully, meditating, connecting with others and connecting with the force I call God. I am also very aware of my connection to all things. It is a very vital and fulfilling way to live.
Sunday, February 4, 2018
Today I was reading about concerns over the possibility of a nuclear exchange and the hopes of the Trump administration to reduce restrictions on a limited exchange. When I take a limited, short term or temporal view the possibility and what that could mean for this planet and the people on it, I feel very disturbed. On the other hand, when I take a long term or eternal view, I can sense that everything is fine. Both seem true to me. In my life I lived within a period of "darkness" for many years before moving into the "light" of love and God. "I [George Fox] 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. In that also I saw the infinite love of God; and I had great openings"
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Yesterday I spoke of "the warm and powerful feeling of God or unconditional Love" that I focus on when I meditate. I meditate on that feeling at least once a day and often several times. I have realized that the feeling is a part of me that was, previously, undeveloped and is now growing. I make use of that feeling during exercise, for physical healing, when working with spirits and in my relationships. There is a lot of power there. Power that helps me in everything I do. "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)
Friday, February 2, 2018
Yesterday Maria, my wife, and I went to a local park and took a short walk through the brambles of a fallow field down to the bank of the Patuxent river. Once there I joined with the plants, animals and forest, told them how magnificent they were and meditated on the warm and powerful feeling of God or unconditional Love, a feeling near but just below my heart center that I was shown during my sweat lodge experience. It was a wonderful, joy-filled experience. I allowed that feeling to grow and then broadcasted it. "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, January 31, 2018
I have had several contacts in the last few days which have reminded me of several important guiding principles. Some of those are that God's Love is absolute (no sign of duality) and unconditional (no levels of love, pleasing or displeasing, judging or any other variation for any reason, just love) and much stronger than anything of human origin. If I encounter anything other than that, it is human, not God. Another is that I need to respect and not try to alter someone else's life process out of Love for them and because I do not truly understand their process. "Some course of action which seems so clearly to be leading to disaster may contain a twist of fate which lifts it to success. That accident whose cause was so apparent may have had an inner meaning we cannot see. That sudden death which we think could have been so easily avoided with greater consciousness may not have been the tragedy it appears. The man who died may have been needed elsewhere. We simply do not know. Scientists discover and theologians affirm; but faced with the mystery of life and death we know almost nothing. We can learn from the experts, but our experience may not fit their theories and it is our experience and our experience alone that we should trust."(Claremont deCastillejo)
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Other than my exercising and regular household duties, I spend most of my time in activities of service to others or working on my own spiritual condition. I also do a lot of self care but even then minimize distractions from spiritual pursuits. I watch one or two movies a week and prefer fantasies of various types finding that I get enough realism in my daily life. In all of this I never lose track of the fact that my primary goal is to develop my spiritual condition. I am quite aware of how easy it is to become involved in worldly pursuits and lose track of my goal. "The most awful calamity which can befall our Religious Society is not a split in the unity of organization, not a loss of social prestige, not persecution by civil authorities, not loss of all our wealth. It is rather the subtle, unseen, slow, everyday weakening of our testimony and practice of absolute devotion." (Kilpack)
Monday, January 29, 2018
Every morning, at dawn this time of year, I go out the back on our deck and experience the "joy of being" along with all of the other plants and animals. The air is usually chilly and full of the moist smells of the beginnings of spring. Birds are just beginning to sing the spring song. I carry that joy and Love with me during the day. I distinguish between joy and pleasure since I have access to joy but cannot do many of the activities associated with pleasure, things like dancing, snow boarding, running or long walks in the woods. There are also many pleasurable activities that I can do such as eating or sitting in the woods but the pleasure is short-lived while the feeling of joy lasts. "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.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
This morning we had a meeting of our reading group in which we are reading and discussing Healing The Heart Of Democracy: The Courage To Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, by Parker J. Palmer. He takes a very loving and spiritual approach to democracy which, as I mentioned this morning, many people are not ready for. The recent election and our now president demonstrate that people are continuing to embrace their dark or shadow sides, including judgmentalness, anger, racism, materialism and selfishness. These "urges", as John Yungblut calls them, are part of all humans and, often, part of our movement or growth to a more loving and spiritual approach to life on this planet. "It was the revelation that not only might good be wrought from the darkness of the unformed abyss, the unconscious, but that part of the very energy of the evil urge in man, if one would but wrestle with it, as had Jacob with the angel, would yield its own peculiar blessing." It is my hope that we can continue without destroying the earth we depend on. "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.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Each week I go to four recovery meetings and two or more Friend’s meetings for worship. During each of them I envelope myself in the Love of Spirit as well as broadcasting and teaching what I have learned, acting as a Bodhisattva, in Buddhist terms. In the past decades I have given up or surrendered many aspects of ego or worldly desires in order to enhance my connection with the Source and benefitted tremendously. I now encourage other to do the same. "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)
Friday, January 26, 2018
I have been taking daily thyroid medication (T3 & T4) for at least the last decade — until about two weeks ago when I stopped due to the lack of availability and a subsequent shift in medication. For now, my body seems to really appreciate being medication-free, a condition which could certainly change over the next few weeks. For now my blood pressure is down. I have a good level of energy, my strength is good and my coordination is minutely better. More importantly I have greater clarity during meditation and my conscious contact has improved. I am more able to go past and ignore the worldly part of the clamor. "From everywhere [including my own clamor!], 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." I am more able to achieve inner silence and listen.(Seeger)
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
For me, the last month or so has been a time of introspection and rest, a period of personal inventory, much needed. I can’t say that the introspection has been "dark" because the light and love have always been present, but some of the personal observations have been unpleasant. For example, I keep realizing for varied circumstances just how self-centered I am, even to the point of selfishly enjoying the feeling of selflessly giving to others. Personal inventory is very good for my humility! In the words of Gilbert Kilpack from Our Hearts Are Restless, "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." He goes on to say "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.". Time to meditate, explore and be Charlie.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Rufus Jones, who wrote during the first half of the 20th century, laments the fact that belief in science, reductionism and the scientific method was eclipsing the higher order, intrinsic and eternal ideals within humanity. In my opinion, that belief is much truer today, roughly one hundred years later. There is an imbalance between science or reductionism and spirituality, favoring science. Personally, I used to be a devotee of belief in intellect and am now quite aware of the void it leaves, the depth and meaning of life that belief leaves out. There is no question of the huge benefits we have gleaned from science — but it is limited. "The supreme attitudes too of a personal mind such, for instance, as conviction of truth, or joy in beauty, or awe in the presence of sublimity, or dedication to goodness for its own sake, or the personal surrender of all selfish interests for the sake of exalted love, are realities of an order quite different from changes in the orbit of a planet or from any movement of masses of matter in space."(Jones)
Monday, January 22, 2018
There is a fellow who attends the recovery meeting I go to on Mondays who is new to recovery, burps, farts, is loud and socially inappropriate in that he does not respond to social ques. I can also see the Love, God and well meaning in him just below the unpleasant surface. The human part of me is obnoxed by him and the God part would like to lovingly help him with his difficulties. He has not asked for my assistance so I keep to myself. "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."
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Last Friday, January 19th, having just parked our car outside the location of our recovery meetings, I noticed a beautiful but deadly adult female black widow spider in the middle of the sidewalk right in front of our car. After confirming the presence of a red "hourglass" on her underside, Maria transported her to a better location. I am not the least bit superstitious, but this is a highly unusual occurrence (adult female web-spinning spider wandering far from any web, mid January, around forty degrees, the middle of the sidewalk in front of my car) so it got my attention. It is not reasonable or logical, but it could be a sign or symbol indicating that there are dangerous waters ahead and I should be careful. "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)
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."