Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Birds In The Air....

A long time ago, I moved to North Carolina from California. It was the first time I'd driven east of Reno. It was mid to late October when I made my trek. Crossing the Mississippi at St. Louis, the topography changed from the Great Plains to wooded countryside.

The leaves had started turning colors and as I drove along, with every mile, the colors seemed to become more intense. From south Illinois through Indiana, heading south through Kentucky to Nashville and straight east to Winston-Salem, it was a most beautiful drive. Someday I'm going to write the post about that trip.

When I got to my new hometown, there was much talk about how tough a winter it was going to be. The squirrels were gathering their winter stores since September as if they knew they were going to be in need of a large supply.

The following month, NC was hit with the worst ice storm it had seen ever. The snow began falling on a Tuesday and didn't stop until Thursday. Then the ice came.

It was a freezing rain. Everything looked like the tree in the pic, only frozen solid. I went for a walk out in it and two things immediately struck me; the silence of humanity and the sound of ice in the trees.

You know how, when you get an ice tray out of the freezer and you give it a twist to loosen the cubes? You know the sound that makes? Imagine it continuing without ceasing as every breeze moved the limbs.

I remember standing in the middle of the street, hearing this, seeming the only human alive and watching to see the ice fall from the trees. But very little ice was actually falling. It was stuck to everything and when it cracked, it didn't loosen itself from where it was stuck. It was really an incredible experience.

Suddenly, a thought came to me and I straightened up, my senses instinctively heightened. I looked around at the trees and in them. I looked on the ground around me. Then I looked under the bushes. Then the trees again. What I was expecting to see wasn't there.

Where are the birds? The temperature hasn't climbed over 25 degrees for 3 days now. My own power had been knocked out due to too much ice on the power lines and they snapped. My apartment was cooling down, but it was still livable.

But out here, in the middle of nature, I surely would be dead by now if I had just the clothes on my back. Why weren't we up to our ankles with dead birds? No way they could survive out here with no food, no water, no protection from the cold.

Why aren't all the birds dead?

At that moment, a warmth came from within me. It spread through my entire body and engulfed me. It felt like I was being hugged.

It was then that I realized that the birds were being taken care of. They'll make it through this just fine, a little worse for wear, but they'll make it.

I headed back to my apartment to warm back up and dream about my new life. "Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"

Now, there's something to think about!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Eve Memory...

My favorite part of Christmas is going to church.

Not just church, but to the services where the candlelighting is done.

I was, at one time, a licensed minister. Actually, for about 20 years.

For a few of those years, I served as pastor of the local parish.

During our Christmas Eve candlelighting service, we would wait until after the sermon to light the candle, while at other services we would light it at the beginning of the service.

The CE service would start at 6:30. The church was lit subtly, the lights in the entry turned down, the ushers greeting people in the always cold and damp winter night air of Berkeley. There, people would be given a small candle for the service and ushered into the sanctuary and they would greet each other in hushed tones. People always decked out for the CE service.

So reverent!

The service would start, first with a carol, then the invocation, another carol following. The meditation would be given then a song from the choir. Brief announcements, then the sermon. A song would follow (we sang a lot!) and the ushers would turn down the lights very low.

All would rise. The candle at the podium would be lit and the candle lighter would say:

"This candle represents the light of the Spirit. That light which flames quietly, bringing a lifetime of contentment and the realization that nothing in this world is worth exchanging for it. As Jesus said, 'You are the light of the world. A city set on a hilltop cannot be hid, nor does a man light a candle and place it under a bushel, but puts it on a stand, where it may give light unto all who enter the house'. Let your Light so shine."

I had the pleasure of calling the ushers forward. I took my candle and lit it from the big candle. The ushers would offer their candles and I would light each, smiling and saying, "Merry Christmas. The Light of the Christ is within you."

The ushers turned and walked down the center aisle, offering their flame to the person sitting closest in the row and wishing them a soft 'Merry Christmas'. They would then turn and pass the flame down the row. One by one, the candles were all lit.

When the ushers got to the back of the sanctuary, the lights would be turned all the way down.

It was a magical sight to see so many candles burning, a soft glow coming from the congregation.

We would then sing Silent Night a Capella. All three verses!

"...sleep in Heavenly Peace...sleep in Heavenly Peace."

It was such a healing to look out at hundreds of people singing that song with One Voice.

At the end of the song, I would pause for just a few moments of quiet stillness.

Then, we would all sing, "Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Jesus, Happy Birthday to you."

"Would you all make a wish and blow out your candle?" I would ask.

Laughter and merriment would ring out to the whooshing sound of hundreds of candles being blown out. The lights would come up and everyone was ecstatic and amused.

We would remain standing to receive the Benediction, the choir would lead a rousing rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" as the ministers would proceed out. The congregation would follow and everyone would come to the Fellowship room where cake, coffee and a buffet of hearty food was awaiting all to partake.

God, I love Christmas Magic!

Monday, December 20, 2010

When Seekers Become Finders...

Over the years, it's been my pleasure to make the acquaintance of many spiritual seekers. So many people are looking for answers, knowing that it's out there, seemingly just out of reach. Someday, if they keep the faith and continue their search, they will find the answer that will unlock the doors to their eternal happiness.

They want the answer. In their heart, they know what it is they're looking for. God only knows how many lifetimes they've been looking for it. Ask them to put it into words and almost all will give a baffled look. Put it into words? It seems almost sacrilegious to do so.

There comes a point when a seeker is on the path that they have to decide if they really want to find. In order to find, they are going to have to be willing to heal themselves. Answers provide healing. And sometimes, when there is a hurt to be healed, it can get messy.

Do you really want to know the answer you're looking for? Or are you more amused with the sport of seeking? After all, seeking can be so much fun. The answer can be had at the next workshop, seminar, class, retreat, lecture, study group or symposium they attend.

You know, and I know, that the answer they seek is not outside of themselves. The answer awaits within. This is sad news for the seeker. They keep themselves so busy with their search. It doesn't seem prudent to sit down and go within looking for the answer. It's so noisy in there. Who can think? Let alone ask the question. Can't someone just give them the answer?

Sometimes, that works. More times than not, however, an answer given freely is not appreciated. That's the easy way out. "I can't accept that as my answer; how do you know it's what I'm looking for? I' not even sure of the question!"

*heavy sigh*

For the Seeker to become the Finder, they first have to answer the question, "Are you ready to heal yourself?" How they answer this question will determine the next step...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When Life Becomes Hopeless...

Everything that is, or has been, created has been created twice. Once in the spiritual, or energetic, realm and once in the physical realm. Every idea is conceptualized before being manifested. The Master tells us "Believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth and, if you do not doubt, what you say will come to pass."And this is the creative paradigm; thought, word, deed.

Even God plays by these rules. God had the idea for light. He could see it as a concept. But it wasn't until God said, "Let there be light" that there was light. It didn't happen, even though He had it as an idea, before He said it. God had to say it in order for it to manifest in the physical realm. Yes, it's a parable, it metaphoric, but it was no accident that it was written in just this way. In fact, as the story goes, God said 9 different things that hadn't manifested until He said so.

Now, when we're looking at creative energies, there are distinct levels that have different intensities. The lowest creative (or weakest) is "hope". Hope is where we have an idea and very little certainty as to our ability to make manifest. We can hope for something, but once another thing to the contrary comes into our awareness, our creation can be destroyed.

The next level of creative energy is "belief". Belief offers a little more certainty than hope and when another thing to the contrary comes into our awareness, our creation might not be as easily destroyed.

The next level of creative energy is "certainty". Certainty is where we have an idea and even when another thing to the contrary comes into our awareness, our ability to manifest our creation is unwavering and comes to pass.

Let me give you a simple example; Let's say you decide it would be nice to take in a movie. There's a new release out and it stars your favorite actor. The pre-release buzz and hype whets your appetite and you decide to see it. Looking at the clock, you plan on how much time it will take to get to the movies. You decide you want to arrive in time to get some popcorn, a drink and a good seat. "I'm going to the movies! I'll be back later!!" you cry out. Your intention is set and now all you have to do is make it happen.

Your degree of certainty will determine how you experience this creation.

As you're driving to the movies, you find yourself stuck in traffic. As you look at the clock, you will make adjustments, again, according to your creative forces.

If you are hoping to see the movie and make your timeline, you would recalculate the time it might take to make it to the movies. Questions will come up "will there be parking? What if I take a different route? What if there's a line for the popcorn? If I can't get a good seat, what's the point?" Confusion creeps in. One thought attracts a like thought and another. Your head is swimming with "what if's?" If and when you finally make it to the movies, it's going to take some time to recover and finally start enjoying the movie.

If you are believing you'll make it to the movie, as you hit the traffic, you might recalculate the time it's going to take to get there. Decisions are made a bit quicker than when you're hoping. You believe you're still going to make it in time. There's still some doubt. There's a chance you might miss the coming attractions and might have to settle on less than a great seat. You still believe you're going to make it, but have a little doubt how it's all going to play out. By the time you get to the movies, time might be needed to let out a sigh of relief and settle in and enjoy the movie.

If you have certainty that you'll see the movie, even when the traffic comes up, you will be undaunted. It's not seen as a problem at all, but a situation that needs to be dealt with. You are certain you will make it. There is no doubt. A new route is selected, you're out of traffic, hit all the green lights, find a parking spot, happily stroll to the theatre, get your popcorn and drink and find a great seat. Just as the coming attractions start rolling! Just like you planned it all along. In fact, if you hadn't hit that traffic, you would have arrived too early and had to wait for the show to begin!

Can you see that? Can you see how it works? Do you see what it is that effects the hope and belief? Yes, it's doubt. Let's review how it's stated: "Believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth and if you do not doubt, whatever you say shall come to pass."

Doubt can certainly effect our creations. And it can erode our certainty. In fact, it can be stated that certainty destroys doubt, and doubt destroys certainty.

Hope and Belief are separate levels of Certainty, each with its own opportunity for doubt to enter. It depends on how clear your own creative energy is. When the clarity of our creativity is high, the space between hope, belief and certainty narrows. In fact, we can become so adept at this process that our doubt never gets to the Hope scale.

And this is when you can tell that you've mastered the process: Life becomes hopeless!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's The Point?

I was talking to a friend last week. Rick's been trying to deal with what seemed to be an insurmountable set of expectations put on him. As I listened to him talk, and held space for him to diffuse some of the energy, he asked, more in frustration than anything, "Oh, what's the point?" At that moment, he gave up. I smiled.

A funny thing happens when one gives up. It's called 'getting out of responsibility and resistance'. When we do this, it opens the door for inspiration to come.

What's the point, indeed? There is no point. If you look for a predestined point to life and living, there is none. Life is pointless. This is the greatest gift God has given us. This might come as a surprise to some who think life does have a point and it's up to us to discover what it is then live up to it.

There are those in the world who think they've discovered the point of life and are living up to it. More than likely, those people were told what the point is and have accepted it.

For my generation, this is what our parents taught us; you go to college, get a degree, start a career, get married, have a family and be happy. This, they said, was 'settling down'. It's something you settle on, come to terms with and you are supposed to settle not for what is best for you, but with that which is acceptable and within the boundaries of 'without struggle'.



Yet, this is not the point of life (unless it is). Life is pointless. There is no point because, I believe, God wants us to create a point and a purpose for our life. And this is the function of life, that we may determine that purpose. In so doing, we create ourselves. Life is like a fresh canvas and everyday, we each have the opportunity to decide what colors are going to be on the canvas, if it's to be a seascape or landscape or self-portrait.

When it comes to the question, "What purpose do I have for my life?", there is no wrong answer. If you choose to go down one path and you find it doesn't serve you, you are free to choose another path. The trick is in discerning if it's really serving you, or not.

I spent many years trying to live up to the meaning my parents had for my life. I was supposed to join the Marine Corps, become an officer and serve my country with pride and honor. When I flunked the physical due to a heart murmur (one so slight the family doctor never made mention of it), my father created a new expectation and purpose for my life: follow in the family business.

Even if I didn't enjoy it, that didn't matter to him. My folks had started the business with every intention of handing it down to my sister and myself when they were ready to retire. When it came time to make the whole thing legal, against the better judgement of family and friends who all saw the opportunity for wealth and security, I walked away from the table. All I could see was the continuation of my parents running my life. Telling my father, "no, thank you" was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. It's also been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

Had I not had the conviction to act on what I felt in my Heart was in my own best interest, I might have walked my parents path rather than having the freedom to create my own path.

Had my path been to "be the good son", then I may have failed miserably! The meaning of the events in our lives is meant to be determined by us individually. We are to give the events purpose and meaning. Whatever we decide is the correct answer. It's really that simple. Free Will has given us that much authority, that much freedom and that much power to create.

If you don't believe this, you may still be looking for the point of life. And all the while, Life has been waiting for you to decide Its purpose.

This is what spiritual freedom is all about; the ability to change that which no longer serves us and to decide what does serve us. As one of my teachers once put it, "Love is the ability to have life, and life is the freedom of expression of one's being".

Rick found his answer, too...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Note From The Universe...

For the past few years, I've been greeted every morning, Monday through Friday, with a note from the Universe. Sometimes it's just a simple thought, sometimes, very thought provoking.

And, as with everything, the message is always perfect for what I'm going through in my life. Kinda nice to know the Universe is keeping an eye out for me.

Sunday, I had a great meditation, reclaiming my certainty. Nothing specific, just my certainty in general. Maybe a better way of saying it would be, my ability to be certain of myself. At the end of the meditation, I was certainly in a great space. So, I sat down to work out my budget for the next two weeks.

At the end of that exercise, I still had my certainty and it was quite empowering. I slept very deeply that night and woke feeling amazingly refreshed. When I logged on to my email, the following note was in my box:

" Yesterday, I watched a small bird, flying very fast, disappear into the canopy of an oak tree. So dense were its leaves that it was impossible to see what happened next, though I can tell you the bird remained inside.

I wondered how the little bird found its opening through the leaves at such a speed, and then managed to gently align its fragile body on the branch it chose to land upon, all within a fraction of a second. Not to mention the impossible to imagine flying maneuvers required: the banking, the curling, the vertical and horizontal stabilization, the deceleration and landing.

Memory? Calculation? Not in that tiny brain. Instinct? Maybe, but how does instinct know which way the branches of a tree have grown when no two are the same?

Ray, that little bird just knew. It had faith, in spite of not being able to see how things would work out, that if (and only if) it stayed the course the details would be taken care of; that an opening would appear and a twig would be found. In fact, had she slowed down enough to carefully and logically inspect the tree first, which would be the prudent thing to do, she would have lost her lift and fallen to the ground.

Kind of like reaching for your dreams. Neither memory, nor calculating, nor instincts are the deciding factors, but faith coupled with action.

~the Universe"

Yeah, me and the Universe are on a first name basis.

Perfect, huh?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

OK, Now...Just Control Yourself...


I have a new friend I'm making the acquaintance of. We have similar backgrounds and even have mutual friends from my California days. We enjoy each others' company when we have the chance to get together and it's a very comfortable thing right now.

What I'm enjoying is that we aren't trying to define what it is we're doing. There's really been no need to. Some people have a need to define a thing, build in expectations and rules and feel like they're in control of it. It's been my experience that there's comfort in doing it that way, but in the end, that which I try to control ends up controlling me. She seems to understand this, too.

Concurrently, I'm taking an evening class these days, the subject is being in control of your money. Well, not YOUR money, but mine. Money has an energy to it, and as such, it's always moving, always doing something. It creates a current in our lives. That's why they call it "currency".

I've thought I've done a pretty good job of it; get paid, write checks for bills on time, plan accordingly. There's always been gas in the tank and money in the checking account.

Since starting this class, I've come to realize that my money's been controlling me, not the other way around. The emphasis has been on making sure my creditors get paid on time, even to the exclusion of taking care of the necessities like food and shelter. I've put them above me. It's the way it's supposed to be, right?

Until recently, I've been playing defense, not offence, in my life. As the truth becomes known, I've not been getting angry at myself. Rather, I'm cutting myself some slack and redesigning the picture. Stepping up to the plate, I'm taking my swings.

My cosmology says that everything unfolds perfectly and happens in the perfect rhythm at the perfect time. There's nothing to do but enjoy the ride. There's a fallacy in that thinking. I've allowed life to control me, when I should have been the one in control.

Perhaps "control" is the wrong word: I've allowed life to direct me, when I should have been directing it.

I'm now learning how to tell my money where it needs to go. I've put myself first on the list of many creditors. Yes, I'm giving myself credit.

As I'm doing this, other areas of my life are shifting. I'm taking better care of myself and directing things to be the way I want them. The energy in my home is raising. My job is less a struggle and more relaxed. My business is growing. Obligations are becoming opportunities. All this time, I thought I was doing it right: Taking care of everyone else's needs before taking care of my own.

It's put me out of control.

Not anymore...