Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Paradox

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Serenity

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

Monday, June 18, 2018

What Ought To Be

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ministry

Right now I feel like I am in a holding, quiet time in terms of spiritual actions or ministry, a time to quietly continue my own growth and existing activities. I will admit to feeling impatient but also this being the right path for me. I am continuing with my recovery meetings, working with several people, working with spirits and developing the Thursday evening meeting for worship with Maria. I am situated and doing much the same as when I was living in Flagstaff, AZ. I gradually grew and developed, slowly increasing my impact. It seems time to do that here in MD. "It requires even more discernment to discover whether the ministry called for from a particular individual in a particular instance requires prophetic speech, humble and hidden activities, bold and dramatic action, professional service or some, novel and previously unimagined course." (Patricia Loring)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sin

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Choice

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Revelations

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Kingdom

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Choice

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Connection

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

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Solitude

For me, today was a day of solitude, quiet contemplation and peace. I was alone and stayed inside most of the day because of heat and bugs. I did very little, though I did exercise and worked with one person, briefly. I seem to need the silence in order to maintain my connection with God. I also had some whispers from my ego urging me to accomplish things and be more of a human doing rather than a human being. "  I had no trouble ignoring the urging!  It [inner silence] is to establish an inner peace, an inner harmony, which will allow us authentically to contribute to the establishment of an outer peace and an outer harmony in the world at large." (Daniel A. Seeger)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Spiritual Life

Overall I have done well at dealing with my disability, remaining cheerful, keeping my spiritual connection and relating to others for the last couple of days, with only one slip which lasted a couple of hours. Yesterday I went to the dentist for the first time in a few years which put me in a situation of dealing with my disability and age while also explaining several things to the dentist and hygienist. I was clear, upbeat and honest. They listened and asked me to repeat what they did not understand (a position I appreciate for its directness). Today we went to a wildlife sanctuary which was beautiful and physically challenging. Being in the presence of those natural life energies was wonderful. The biting insects were a nuisance. I met the challenge and enjoyed myself in the process. On the downside, yesterday I made an error in our finances and was emphatically sure I was right (I was not). I was stubborn, impatient and did poorly at explaining the situation to others a process which was aggravated by my not speaking well. Life goes on — time to meditate and be grateful! "For after all the beautiful and simple words have been spoken, it is still the pattern of that Life which compels attention: its obscure and humble birth; its education in poverty; its temptation, mortification, and solitude; its acts of compassion and service; its desolation at moments of apparent abandonment of the Divine; its painful death of the self; and its final absorption into the Source." (Daniel A. Seeger)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Mundane Activities

Today I spent most of the day making a big (4 gallon) batch of spaghetti sauce, also going to a recovery meeting, meditating and exercising. I make my own sauce and other meals since I like my own cooking and do not like all the additives and preservatives in "store bought" or processed food. The preparation and clean-up do take longer but feel right since they are true to me and more natural. I am also grateful for having the time and ability. On the one hand, the cooking and gardening or other mundane activities do not contribute much to the universe or eternity but the are a welcome relief from weightier activities.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Connection

When I get up for the first time each day around midnight I pray and meditate while feeling connected to the Presence I know as God. Then when I get up again around dawn, I go outside to walk around my yard and gardens saying good morning and feeling the loving connection to the plants. I put out food for the birds, feeling that connection. Today I also had the opportunity to connect with two people on the phone. I feel very connected to the life process, a wonderful and vital feeling. "I take the spiritual life to be a life of which aims to discover human wholeness, the integration of all aspects of our humanity - body, soul, mind, emotions - and the connection of the self to all of creation." (Paul A. Lacey)

Monday, June 4, 2018

Encountering Violence

Today I have been contemplating the frequent occurrence of violence in this world and how to reduce and eventually eliminate it. At the present time, I make use of the three questions that are the central focus of my book (The three questions are: would I do this in front of God (or whatever you call the power or force behind the Universe); is my name really on it (or is it really my responsibility); will this increase the integrity of the universe (or is this action motivated by love, rather than fear, acting out of love always increases the integrity of the universe). The three questions never lead me to violence. In the past I have encountered violence many times and, in my adult life, I have always used love, understanding and compassion to successfully diffuse it. I suspect that this method would not work in all situations with all people – I do not know. "We can cultivate an environment among us which will foster one another’s spiritual growth by directing and redirecting intention and attention to God; by discouraging what draws us away; by loving support for each other in the vicissitudes of our utterly human lives; by respecting and cherishing the uniqueness of each life." (Patricia Loring)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Harmony

This morning at the monthly Friend’s meeting for worship for business an issue came up which caused an interruption in the worshipful atmosphere. The issue was whether or not to allow a video camera to film of a brief instant of the event. The question did cause an interruption and it was decided to not allow the video since the use of the camera would also detract from the atmosphere, a sound decision. What occurred to me was it would be preferable to have the silent, loving, worshipful atmosphere be strong enough to withstand the blip. In my view, the issue was just another of life’s seemingly endless distractions from the potential peace and harmony of the moment and that it would be best to simply incorporate the blip into the love of the present. "It [inner silence] is to establish an inner peace, an inner harmony, which will allow us authentically to contribute to the establishment of an outer peace and an outer harmony in the world at large." (Daniel A. Seeger)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Balance

Today my activities felt balanced and harmonious, always keeping in mind the sacred nature of life. I exercised, had a good connection and conversation with one of the people I work with, meditated, mowed some lawn and relaxed by eating lunch and watching a movie. I have had some difficulty in maintaining a balance lately, either working too much or participating in too many distractions — neither felt right. "If you choose to center your life in Divine Radiance, two things can be pretty much guaranteed. One, life will not be as simple as it could be if you had chosen another way. The Spirit-centered life has little in common with ‘Business as usual.’  Two, there will never be a dull moment. You will see the colors of music, hear the songs of color and be blessed with magic people. A fair trade I'd say." (Joy Marsh)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Life

Today during meditation I heard "you are not worthy", specifically not worthy of my connection with God, the work I do with other people and the work I do with spirits, a message from my troubled and tumultuous past. This message which was strictly within myself was accompanied by an increase in joint and back pain. Not surprisingly, at almost seventy, I am tired of dealing with my past — sigh. In my meditation I acknowledged the feelings, felt them as strongly as I could (extremely unpleasant!) and let them pass, knowing they had no validity. After a brief increase in intensity, my pain lessened. Life is good, a bit weird but good. "He should learn to remain in God’s presence with a loving attention and a tranquil intellect", even though this seems like idleness to him. Soon he will find little by little that a "divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into his soul". (St. John of the cross)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Discernment

I have encountered several statements saying that discernment (the ability to detect if received comments are of divine or other origin) is a gift from God and that most people cannot determine if a message is divine. I prayed for discernment many years ago and was granted the gift, but I know not how or why. I have likened a divine message as feeling like being bathed in a clear mountain stream. Other messages are "cloudy". The two feel very different. When I get a divine message it is usually simple and clear. If I give myself a message from intellect or ego it can be very convincing but never feels right, "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." (Patricia Loring)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mystical Worship

Yesterday I wrote of my own "mystical worship" or worship (meditation in my case) where I experience the presence of God, a nightly practice of mine. Such a practice is only possible because of what I call the "God seed" within me, also called "that small quiet voice". I often connect with that part of a person when I work with them as a mentor or spiritual guide. I have come to realize that everyone has that seed and potential within them. That seed requires some practice, focus and discipline to make it grow and become stronger. "The very fact that such a mighty experience [mystical worship] as this is possible means that there is some inner meeting place between the soul and God; in other words, that the divine and human, God and man, are not wholly sundered." (Rufus Jones)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Connection

Every night when I connect with the force I call God I find and bathe my spirit in absolute and unconditional love of a strength, power and purity that is well beyond anything of human origin. Somehow when there I also gain insight and guidance primarily for the coming day and sometimes beyond that. I carry that feeling and that guidance with me for the day until I connect again. I often think of this as being with Christ since he knew of and became part of that force, though I generally feel no need to personify God. During that connection I am open and honest about my thoughts, attachments and distractions which can take me away or block me from God, but I simply honor them as part of my humanity, rather than considering them as sins. I do not understand that force but have complete trust and faith in it.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Choice

We had the meeting of the reading group I wrote of yesterday and most of the members spoke with admiration and devotion about the "looking within" of various past Quaker seekers and I spoke of my own disciplines and practices of looking within. What I notice is that many people speak or write with very genuine admiration and devotion about the practices of others and their own wish to have that same connection, but then fail to follow through with their own discipline and practices. As Gilbert Kilpack, another Quaker, wrote, "We want to be spiritually alive, but also to be comfortable; to be prayerful, but not to rise early in the morning to pray; to possess power to lead, but not to undergo the discipline that it takes to control the power." My choice of discipline had to initially be renewed pretty much daily and now comes easily and with pleasure.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Looking Within

The Friend’s reading group I am a part of meets tomorrow to discuss various methods of people "looking within" in order to cultivate and nurture that "small quiet voice", the God seed in each of us. My methods have included daily meditation, contemplation, numerous sweat lodges and four vision quests. I have encountered what Thomas Dubay, S. M. Calls a "mystical touch"; "a deep, intimate contact-union-experience of God in one of His attributes such as power, light, goodness, beauty, or joy." As with other people in the past, in my case this sort of connection has required discipline and daily practice but the resulting feeling of fulfillment has been well worth it. "The unending yearnings of the human spirit are satisfied by nothing that can be measured, seen, heard or touched. To focus selfishly on anything in the created order is to be restricted and thus to fall that far short of full freedom." (Thomas Dubay)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Listening

After the silent, meditative listening meeting for worship last night , one of the participants and I talked about the difficulty and importance of truly listening. The meeting itself is a form of listening for guidance. Whether I am working with a living person, spirit or just meditating on my own it is of great importance that I clear myself of "mind chatter" and listen. I also leave any and all electronic devices at home, in my car or at least out of reach and hearing so that I am not distracted. "Listening is a far more difficult process than most people imagine; really to listen in the way that is meant by the masters is to let go utterly of ourselves, to let go of all the information, all of the concepts, all the ideas and all the prejudices that our heads are stuffed with." (Sogyal Rinpoche)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Clarity

When I meditate, contemplate or connect I aspire to be a clear and open channel, meaning I have worked through and given up the parts of my personality that cloud or color my perceptions. In the past I have had many judgements, desires, fantasies, illusions and attachments, like my beliefs around the importance of my intellect. One by one I have witnessed their importance to me and given them up in favor of my being a clear not clouded mirror, an arduous process which continues. "To get we must also give, to advance we must also surrender, to gain we must lose, to attain we must resign. From the nature of things life means choice and selection, and every positive choice negates all other possibilities." (Rufus Jones)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Clarity

Part of the challenge in my work with spirits is that I have to be completely honest and at peace with who I really am, including all strengths, weaknesses, doubts and fantasies, since they can see "right through me". When working with them it is impossible to hide or present any sort of a false front. Fortunately I have worked through many of my own facades though they help me find new ones. I also am largely free of common religious symbols, metaphors and beliefs which could color or cloud my communications since I was raised without religion. "One by one we move beyond conceptions of ourselves, just as we pass beyond metaphors, symbols, and conceptions of God on the way into unmediated, unknowing, intimate relationship with the source of our being." (Patricia Loring)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Being Present

Several years ago Jack Kornfield commented that "When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment This is the beginning and end of spiritual practice." For me today that meant being physically gentle on myself, going to a recovery meeting, doing the week’s grocery shopping and quietly meditating. These things were done in recognition of the fact that yesterday I exerted myself physically. He goes on to write "As we stop the war, each of us will find something from which we have been running -- our loneliness, our unworthiness, our boredom, our shame, our unfulfilled desires." After years of recovery and spiritual work, I find that feelings of unworthiness still pop up from inside me periodically. I really enjoy silence and being present for myself.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gratitude

I mowed the front lawn today and tonight I feel like a creaky old man with soar muscles and joints. A few minutes ago I felt disappointed and a bit angry that I felt that way — and then I switched to realizing how lucky I was to be able bodied enough to mow the lawn in the first place or to even have a lawn that needed mowing. Being physically able given my condition is against all odds and I am extremely grateful. After a night’s sleep we shall see what tomorrow brings and act accordingly. For tonight I will eat dinner and rest, paying attention to the needs of my body. In this case, gratitude is a simple choice which changes nothing ...... except the way I feel. "Every circumstance------no matter how painful-----is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being." (Williamson)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Discernment

One of my areas of focus during my meditation and contemplation time each day is discerning my path or activities for that day and the immediate future, basically asking for guidance and then listening. In order to be able to listen I have to keep up with my self-care and get silent inside and out. I have to be in decent physical, emotional and spiritual condition in order to be able to listen. It is not unusual for one or more of these conditions to be out of balance, which certainly makes listening more difficult but not impossible (so far!). Being in decent condition and asking for guidance is my part, the rest is not up to me. "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." (Patricia Loring)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Choice

I attempt to follow what I consider a reasonable spirituality which is based on both evidence and heart. I have found love to be a powerful force which I choose to call God. That force has become a major and very practical part of my life, a life which is very fulfilling. I note that a large part of society is based on reductionism and logic with an absence of spirituality and/or love. I would like to see the balance shift in favor of love. "If we can resist the compulsive pressure of our logical thinking, without relinquishing our precious heritage of lucid thought; if we can hold our ground with our own hardly won ego personalities, yet bow our heads and say, 'Thy will not mine be done'; if we will but notice the reactions of our bodies; and heed the behaviour of the world towards us; if we can learn to listen to the voices within and to the whisper in the wind, with trust as well as with discrimination, we may be able to follow the road where the Rainmaker walks." (Irene Claremont deCastillejo)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spiritual Life

Today was a relatively pleasant day with some effort and focus, connection with others, meditation, rain and solitude. I was alone most of the day which was peaceful. The day began with a couple of hours of exercise, which I do a lot of in order to remain functionally disabled. I also mentored a couple of people, went to a recovery meeting and spent around an hour in meditation. I kept thinking of Patricia Loring ‘s comment that "to undertake to live a discerned life, to endeavor daily to be attuned to authentic movements of the Spirit leading us into greater fullness of life, is a strenuous undertaking." That is certainly true in my case. It is best for me to always keep that in mind, with the exception of brief, two or three hour, periods of distraction, which also seem important for self-care. My life is very full and satisfying.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spiritual Journey

I am experiencing an inner conflict as I continue to further "turn my life and will" over to God’s care and guidance. Internally I am shifting and a small part of me is resisting. I cannot put the shift into words using logic and reasoning but I can sense it happening. I have long viewed myself as the cabin boy on a beautiful ocean going several masted sailing ship which I own but God steers, determining where we go and what we do. Using this metaphor, God was like a partner and mostly in charge but the ship was still mine. The best I can do in explaining the current transition is that I no longer own the ship but am still a cabin boy. I simply follow. "One by one we move beyond conceptions of ourselves, just as we pass beyond metaphors, symbols, and conceptions of God on the way into unmediated, unknowing, intimate relationship with the source of our being." (Patricia Loring)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Connection

About seven years ago during my nightly meditation I would make my connection with God and immerse myself in a feeling of unconditional Love, an overwhelmingly strong feeling that I would always remember but leave behind when I came back from meditation. Then, one night the feeling stayed with me when I returned and I asked how I could function in the world feeling like that. I was told "you’ll get used to it", which has happened and I now like the feeling. This evening I watched one of the original James Bond movies to get a break from the intensity of my life, which was a very pleasant and absorbing distraction. I also notice that the, now familiar, feeling of Love and direct connection I just mentioned was also missing. It seems, at least for now, that I cannot have both, simultaneously. I involved myself in service work to get my connection back! "Few things — no things that I know of — are so completely and effectively restorative as the discovery that this World of the environing Spirit is verily closer to us than breathing and is charged with the resources of Life for which we pant." (Rufus Jones)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Choice

As I carry out my daily activities, described yesterday, I keep God/Love in the forefront and feel a sense of joy in all I do, though there is no logical reason for that joy or love. That is what I mean when I say I walk around in a "bubble of love". The feeling is very fulfilling and is available to anyone who will exert the necessary commitment and discipline. "He should learn to remain in God’s presence with a loving attention and a tranquil intellect", even though this seems like idleness to him. Soon he will find little by little that a "divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into his soul". (St. John of the Cross)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Discernment

Lately I have been continuing my activities to be of service to mankind while also taking care of myself and enjoying the vibrance of spring. I connect with God daily through prayer and meditation, asking for support and guidance. As always, I also stay alert for any indications of new assignments, what I call "marching orders", through my daily meditation and contemplation, often during working in our gardens. I work with several living people and spirits that have already transitioned. Maria and I also have our work with the Friends. "It requires even more discernment to discover whether the ministry called for from a particular individual in a particular instance requires prophetic speech, humble and hidden activities, bold and dramatic action, professional service or some, novel and previously unimagined course." (Patricia Loring)

Friday, May 11, 2018

Mystical Experience

On Thursday evenings Maria and I lead a one hour, largely silent, Friend’s worship service in the 19th century meeting house of the Sandy Spring group. For me the evening begins about ½ hour before the actual service when I greet the huge tulip poplar right outside of the meeting house and invite the spirits hanging around the adjacent graveyard to join us. At the appointed time a ½ dozen or so people join us for an hour of meditative, silence seeking guidance and divine connection. Because of the group meditation and the spirits, the feeling of presence is very strong. Usually one or two people speak briefly about what they sense and the rest of us just feel the presence. "The very fact that such a mighty experience [mystical worship] as this is possible means that there is some inner meeting place between the soul and God; in other words, that the divine and human, God and man, are not wholly sundered." (Rufus Jones)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Eternity

Yesterday I wrote about life, death and eternity and today I was feeling the eternal nature of life’s transient events. It is my understanding and experience that it is precisely the dealing with life’s difficulties that gives eternal value to the short-term experiences of life. In my case, I have had numerous physical and emotional difficulties to overcome. Overcoming each of those difficulties has taught me a bit more about Love, compassion and God. In order for me to benefit from life’s events I have to "listen" to the universe rather than simply being pissed off about the challenge or difficulty. "And though ideas such as these may seem unimportant in our bustling world, the testimony of seekers after life in all ages is that nothing is so important as the completion of our half-lives, the God-filling of our void." (Gilbert Kilpack)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Death

Not to be morose but the inevitability and proximity of my death is always with me and, in fact, the presence of that reality adds to the apparent beauty of life. Because of my disability I have taken downturns and been near death three times. My awareness of death is always present. I walk through life with death as my partner, which adds to my appreciation of both life and eternity. Life is very short-lived and transient but what I learn in the process of life will be with my spirit eternally. "The moral which needs more emphasis in this century than in any other of which we have record is that a complete life can only be lived when the fact of death is kept steadily in mind." (Bertrand Russell)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Faith

Elizabeth Ostrander Sutton commented that "Faith, then, means putting trust in a process that slowly builds an intimate relationship with someone I can neither see nor fully understand, but only feel. Living a life of faith implies being in continual contact with God and opening up to being searched and known." I have an intimate relationship with God but I cannot say that my trust is 100%, which, as far as I can tell, matters not at all. My lack of complete trust is simply part of being human and because of the loving, unconditional nature of that relationship, my hesitation does not detract. Admitting that part of me to0 God and myself is an aspect of being "searched and known".

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Awakening

Since getting into recovery I have changed my life, or my life has been changed for me, I’m not sure which (and care not at all!). I used to believe that my intellect, money, power, and prestige would satisfy all of my needs. I was a functional addict/alcoholic in love with my many distractions. I was also fairly accomplished and totally unhappy. I now lead a spiritual life with relationships, love and compassion as my main focus. My approach is very rich and fulfilling. "He stood before me. He stands before mankind, asking us all, asking the nations and the leaders of nations, the statesmen and the simple people, whether they will destroy themselves or whether they will give themselves to the grip of his power and thereby a new life in which love, not greed or lust for power, is the new dynamic."(Emil Fuchs)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Choice

According to Paul in Galatians 5:23 the fruits of the Spirit (evidence that leadings are divine in origin) have been translated as "love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control". For me this means that if I follow the path of the leading, my emotions and spirit will be bathed in love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control, which is why I meditate as much as I do. It is through my meditation and contemplation that I determine my path. My choice certainly entails focus, discipline and partaking in minimal distractions, but is well worth it.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Discernment

Several years back, during a sweat lodge ceremony, I prayed for discernment, the ability to determine the right path or divine guidance as opposed to some sort of ego driven, or self-centered path. I was granted the ability and have developed it since. For me, my right path has the feeling of washing myself in a clear mountain stream, something I have done during camping trips. The feeling is one of peaceful, simple clarity and cleansing of spirit. On the other hand the ego driven or self centered path feels murky. As Patricia Loring once wrote "Discernment is a gift from God, not as a personal achievement. The gift is not the result of training, technique, or analysis. Like other gifts of God, its origin is mysterious and gratuitous." If I choose to follow that path and make that choice, the results are wonderful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Life

Since getting into recovery my life’s path has shifted in a way that’s hard to accurately describe, partly since I don’t, and possibly never will, understand its scope and partly because it’s ineffable. Formerly I was following a "normal" path of intellectual achievement, money, power and prestige, a life that was based on fear and that I found unfulfilling. I have since shifted into a life based on love, relationships and deepening connection with all things, a life I find to be totally fulfilling. I now know that I am far more than I thought I was as long as I stay humble, an interesting paradox. My life has changed and I am grateful. "He [Jesus] stood before me. He stands before mankind, asking us all, asking the nations and the leaders of nations, the statesmen and the simple people, whether they will destroy themselves or whether they will give themselves to the grip of his power and thereby a new life in which love, not greed or lust for power, is the new dynamic. (Emil Fuchs)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Consciousness

Instances of disassociation during the life process and the shift of consciousness upon death have helped me realize that consciousness is not only located in the brain. At times of pain because of my disability my consciousness shifted to points outside of my body so that I became a spectator of my own actions. I have heard similar reports from others during their periods of stress or pain. During my near-death-experience my consciousness shifted for a while to the "outskirts" of the spirit plane while my body remained here. Several people have also reported being able to project their consciousness to locations outside of the body. "Reality is only partly our invention; it is also partly our discovery. Our task is to discover how much and in what areas which is which; and then to determine how much new freedom this gives us and what we can do with it". (Lawrence LeShan)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Spiritual Path

Today during my recovery meeting I described myself as a "spiritual mutt", meaning that my spiritual beliefs are taken from a variety of sources, and that I follow none purely. I have followed and practiced several traditions, not ever believing that any one was the best path but realizing that each had something to teach me. My first paths were all Christian where I first found the strength and power of God but also the conditional nature of some of the beliefs. I turned to Taoism in order to find harmony in that Way, I worked diligently at various Hindu and Buddhist meditative practices, where I discovered the absolute nature of God’s love. I then spent several years following and deepening a mixture of Navajo and Christian beliefs and practices. One of the central principles I found was that all of the systems where approaching the same things using different words and that the different words used were not important — the Love is. The journey and its results have been wonderful. "these, and everything that is both mean and divine say that God is our goal and destiny, and without Him there is no meaning." (Gilbert Kilpack)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Unconditional Love

In 2006 I had a Near-Death-Experience during which I met briefly with God, Jesus or some other entity, an experience I will never forget. It was then that I first felt the absolute and unconditional nature of God’s love, very pure, simple and powerful. I was told "This is what it feels like to be dead" and given the opportunity to return to my earthly life. I chose to come back because I knew that entity wanted me to and I would do absolutely anything that entity wanted of me. The love for me was that strong. "There are, says the saint [St. John of the Cross], encounters with God such that the devil cannot possibly counterfeit them, nor can one’s imagination create them. Some are so indelibly imprinted in the center of one’s being that they can neither be described nor forgotten."

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Mundane Tasks

I spent a good part of this afternoon working in our gardens, pulling the invading plants and making way for the ones we planted and prefer. During the process I talk to the plants, telling them how much I admire them, contemplate on recent events and feel the presence of Love, making weeding very enjoyable. I do the same sort of thing when I cook, wash dishes, pay bills, etc. According to the Thomas gospel Jesus said, "I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me."

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Goal

During my recovery meeting, which was on prayer and meditation, someone commented "pray, meditate and do the next right thing", very simple and what I have been doing for years, not knowing where it would lead me. I set as a goal to "change the world — one person at a time" which is what I have done and continue to do. My hope is that my work with spirits has an impact beyond that, which remains to be determined but that is my intent. This is all very fulfilling and makes me think of the words of a Joan Baez song from years ago "I am less than this song I am singing and more than I thought I could be". Come join me!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Growth

I already know more (or believe I do!) about life on this planet than I thought possible and I am on a never ending quest to find out more. I endeavor to stay open and keep listening to all sources. The most extreme set of beliefs is through my spiritual connection which I cannot say I really understand but keep participating in. I have used and continue to use a lot of meditation and contemplation along with a surrender of self, which I plan to do more of right now. "To get we must also give, to advance we must also surrender, to gain we must lose, to attain we must resign. From the nature of things life means choice and selection, and every positive choice negates all other possibilities." (Rufus Jones)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Choice

On one hand I can see, feel and hear the false promises of a worldly life of money, power, prestige, drama, excitement, etc. "False" in that the promise is of a fulfilling, complete and happy life, which it does not deliver, but is attractive and compelling, all-be-it short lived and hollow. On the other hand I hear and feel that "small quiet voice", urging me to follow a path of service, love, presence and eternity. That voice is indeed quiet and does not advertise but will deliver if I have the discipline to follow. I choose the silence and quiet! "From everywhere, it seems, we are bombarded with the idea that our nature is innately violent, that our chief preoccupation is with our sexuality, and that our main purpose in life is the acquirement of ever more nifty possessions.......Indeed, if is only through the practice of inner silence that we can begin to disentangle ourselves from our culture and its illusions. (Daniel A. Seeger)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Listening

As Scott Peck wrote a few decades ago "Life is difficult." I have been feeling the difficulty during the last few days and struggling with physical and emotional pain. For dealing with the difficulty I have used a lot of meditation, contemplation and listening. The results of that listening are my entries of the last few days. I asked for guidance and listened carefully. As a result, today I felt pretty good. I seem to be over the hump and on the downhill side. The life process works — if I pay attention. "For each circumstance is a gift, and in each experience is hidden a treasure." (Walsch)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Surrender

In order to find fulfillment, peace and happiness in my life I have turned to spiritual enlightenment — close connection with God. I have put/bet all my effort and money on that one card and in order to "win" I need to surrender as much as possible. Over the last few days I have realized that I have not fully surrendered my physical health — I still want to have the illusion of control over my options. I am working through that attitude and trying to become more willing. After complete surrender Timothy Ashworth commented that " he experienced an overwhelming, sweet, fiery sensation in his heart, along with a powerful shift in consciousness." (Marcelle Martin)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Life Force

Originally through my sweat lodge and vision quest experiences I was shown that love, God or the life force existed in everything living and non-living, I just needed to be open to the possibility, which I became. I now see and feel God in everything and everyone. Since then I have also learned that according to the Thomas gospel, Jesus said that this primordial light or love not only brought the entire universe into being but still shines through everything we see and touch. I feel that presence most strongly during my dawn ceremony in my yard each morning, but also when I focus on it while being in the natural world. Jesus said, "I am the light which is before all things. It is I who am all things. From me all things came forth, and to me all things extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me." from the gospel of Thomas

Friday, April 20, 2018

Seeking

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

Loving Attitude

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

Growth

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

Seeking

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

Holistic Healing

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

Love

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

Connection

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

Choice

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

Change

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

Spiritual Path

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

Dealing With Pain 2

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

Dealing With Pain

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

Love

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

Life

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

Issues

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

Growth

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

Daily Activity

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

Path With Heart

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

Service

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

Holistic Healing

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

The Kingdom

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

Spiritual Journey

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

Service

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

Connection

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

Presence

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

God Seed

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

Recovery

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

God

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

Practice

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

Perfection

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

Serenity

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

Self-Care

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

Balance

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

Spiritual Awakening

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

Life

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

Holistic Healing

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

Shadow Side

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

Struggle

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

Connection

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

Service Work

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

Challenge

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

Addressing the Basics

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

Fear

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

Growth

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

Mystical Experience

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

Perspective

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

Growth

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

Strength

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

Lens of Love

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

Love

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Growth

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

Transcendence

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gratitude

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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Being Present

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Action

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spirits

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shadow Work

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