Archive for April, 2011

Prayer(104)

April 26, 2011

All prayers are good. Spoken spontaneously or memorized, sincere or ritual, self or others. All prayers carry.  While I don’t have many memorized prayers I do have prayers that have the same theme or beginning or ending.  Like a jazz or blues musician, I have my favorite riffs and lines that I play over and over.

I’m enclosing here some of my favorite or useful themes of prayer:

I send them my love and my blessings that their life plan is actualized if it be within the alignment of God’s plan.

I pray that they can be healed and made whole on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. 

I pray that they can be surrounded by Love and bathed in Healing Light. 

I pray that they can see more and be more if they so choose in the light of God.

I pray that I can consecrate this body, concentrate this mind that I may resolve myself to complete wholeness with you.

Some people don’t want prayers.   It’s a violation to pray for those that don’t want prayers. However, I can still pray “General Latent Prayers”, a bank account of god’s love and power if anyone ever decides to accept God and prayer. Like a trust or inheritance for our kids, if they ever want it all they have to do is ask.  These latent prayers are just hovering in the ephemeral universe waiting to be realized:

If anyone ever decides to seek God and to know God then let it be so, let it be real.  Let it be magnified a hundredfold if they ever want know God.

I send my love and blessings to any that would seek love and understanding.  I pray that IF it’s within their current life plan that they ARE healed.  If any want to know God more than let it be so, let it be true, let it be real.

Prayers can be like microscopic surgery.  They can be exact, efficient and to the POINT.

  A friend or relative’s surgery is a good case in point. While we and the patient still believe in earthly healing(surgery) we can still pray for healing in that manner.  We can pray that the surgeon is having a good day.   We can pray that the anesthesiologist and nurses are having a good day.  We can pray that the hospital is fulfilling its obligations properly.  We can pray the our friend or relative is in as peak and healthy a form as possible. We can pray that God guides the surgery, that he works through the surgeon.  We can pray that the surgeon is so on top of his game, that it’s easier than playing dominos, he just knocks them over.

Prayers sometimes should be left in God’s hands.  It may NOT be necessary to make an exact prayer.  The outcome can’t be conceived or seen. In those instances we can only generally pray:

Thy will be done oh Lord, thy will be done.  Not as we might want but according to your Plan. Thank you, God.

 What is that axiom, Let go and Let God.

In some instances, individuals have a path that is not to our understanding. I can’t remember where I read this but I’m reminded of the boy who came into his prayer benefactors dreams and specifically asked not to be prayed for.  His earthly mission was to be ill with disease so that his loved ones could know the love of caring for another.  His mission was a pathway for them to give LOVE.

Some may not like the above paragraph or understand it or believe it.  Sometimes I think that also.  I walk around in my daily life, I see things, come across things and I think “Is that man or God?”  “Are their spiritual things going on there that I don’t understand?”  Probably.  All I can do is my best.  Will I make mistakes?  Probably.   So with that I can only say, “Help me God, help me so very much please.”

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”

                                                                                     – St. Augustine

Advertisements

Happy Easter, Rob Bell and Chad Holtz

April 23, 2011

Rob Bell & Chad Holtz,

Chad Holtz

Thanks for having the courage to call it as you see it.  Because of your simple words you have managed to give many, many people a new sense of Hope, a new way of Faith, a new look at an old Understanding.  I understand that the old version of Hell is obsolete.   We no longer need to scare people to God.  They thirst for God on their own.  The people want to know.

The people know that an old God of eternal damnation doesn’t exist.  The real God  does believe in Resurrection, He believes on Our Resurrection.  He also believes in Love, Fairness, Justice.   God could no more cast us aside then I could disown my own children.  My children will always be redeemable in my eyes.  We will always be redeemable in God’s eyes. 

Thanks for NOT saying “God is like this…, Hell is like that….,  Heaven is like this…!”  It’s hard to understand for some people but what you did was to not replace one illusion with another.   You don’t know and neither do I.   We should let God show us what heaven is like.  I want “certainty” also, like many people do, but I’m not prepared to CREATE NEW THEOLOGY. Instead let us, all of us, embark on a new course of Spiritual Reality.

Thank you for making clear that we must still be accountable.  We must still do good.  The old Hell is gone but somehow we believe that God will give an Equitable Justice, a Fair Assessment, an Earnest Accountability. We WILL pay back what we owe and redeem our indiscretions.  When those lessons come they will be cloaked in Love and should be accepted by each of us with Love.

Rob Bell:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODUvw2McL8g

Chad Holtz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4S9yj0hMRo

Redemption can be found in hell itself if that’s where you happen to be.

                                                                                              –LIN JENSEN

Marriage(101)

April 21, 2011

Today’s post is practical reality, after all what good is Spirituality if it can’t also be practical?  I may pray, and meditate, and fast but if I can’t get along with my own wife what good is it all?   Marriage should seemingly be easy, natural, the right relationship, but sometimes it’s not and we need help.    Bette Midler said it best, and I’m paraphrasing here, “If sex and relationships are so natural and easy why are there so many books written about them?”    Because people are complicated and unique.

First let me talk to the men. Why would I read marriage manuals?   So I can fix things, I am a man after all.  I read my router’s manual, I read my welding book, I did my psychology homework and I can read my tax forms.  I can read. I can fix things.  My life is better.

  I’m listing these in MY order but as usual anyone can read them anyway they like,….as the spirit moves us.

The first book to read is “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”  A great beginning foundational book.  When I first  started to read it and I was all smug  I’d be reading the man’s part and I’m thinking “That’s exactly like I think, that’s just how I feel,…..everyone knows that.”  I actually yawned through the man’s part.  Then I came to the women’s part.  I read that thinking, “No, she doesn’t actually think that does she, how can she feel that?  Oh, I guess that makes sense, I never thought about it like that before.  So that’s why she does that, no wonder!!!”  We are different;……very, very different. This book explains how.

One of my female friends was surprised that I had read it. She said that among her female friends the running joke was “it’s a great book. Just try to get a man to read it though.” Once I read one manual I had to read more.  I had to be expert then and I was torn between being a great husband/humanitarian or being a great welder. I finally realized  that putting two people together was a lot more rewarding then putting two pieces of metal together. I’m kind of joking here but even I can’t tell if I am or not.

The next book to read is “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerich. A great book advancing the ideas of the first book, slightly more sophisticated, very slightly. This is my personal favorite. This is another great book that actually tweaks the message of the first book.  It shines just ever so subtly a light that further illuminates relationships. This book is Christian based so if that offends, read it any way.  It may even come across that he is playing stereotypes, that is NOT what he is saying. Get the message anyway. While it’s a lot like the other book, his examples are different and he places a lot of emphasis on the man’s need for “RESPECT”.  That’s why this book is different.  In the polling for his conferences it was shown to the author that the reason the men even attended the  conference was because “RESPECT” was in the title.  Message to Women:  EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.   If every time a woman wanted to tell her man that “she loves him”, she could stop and sometimes substitute the words, “I RESPECT YOU” then the world would be a much better place.  

A third great book is “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  Another classic. His book explains the way people(regardless of gender) actually express love. There are five ways that people usually express their love.  Why this is a problem is because if you, the man, are using one way and she prefers another expression than it doesn’t work well. I’ll cite three examples.  Some people like to give gifts, some people like quality time with one another, some people do things for the other person. There’s five but you’ll have to read the book to know the other two.  If she wants quality time with her spouse and he thinks to get her chocolates and flowers then the love is being thrust past each other.  Neither party gets it.  If she thinks to do things for him(like cleaning his golf clubs)  and he wants gifts, like basketball tickets or new garden tools then the love is being thrust past each other. Neither side gets it.  This book helps each party figure out their own preferences and needs and then teaches each person how to love in the manner that the other person understands.   Again it’s simple but complicated. 

The last great book is Steve Harvey’s “Act like a Lady, Think Like A Man”.  Mr. Harvey cites three “P’s” that are the obligation of every man.  I’ll cite two of those. You’ll have to buy the book to find out the other “P” in addition to the woman’s own understandings.   A man is supposed to Profess, Protect, & P______.   How he Professes?   He tells you that he loves you.  He tells your parents and his parents that he loves you.  He’s able to tell the whole world that he loves you.  If he can’t then he’s just gaming you.    How he Protects?  If the lady gets insulted, or treated rudely or badly IT IS the man’s job to step up to the plate and protect her.  Unless she wants to do it herself.   He also protects with his castle. 

Some of this may seem stereotypical.  Some of it is.  Your Husband/Wife may be different.  Maybe the roles are even reversed.  Humanity can’t be pigeon-holed and boxed in, but we can still read the signs to find our way and if we can find a better way than so be it.

For easy access I’ve listed these books on the right under Marriage Manuals.  Enjoy.

 A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

              ~Mignon McLaughlin

Spiritual Capitalism

April 18, 2011

My friend Scott had recently turned his life over to Christ.  He told me, “Yea, by accident I overheard a Christian radio show at the pharmacy that asked its listeners if they were prepared to go to Heaven.   They talked about going to Heaven or going to Hell, what would be my choice, so I chose Heaven.”  For awhile some of my coworkers and I had to endure a continuous monologue of “I got mine. You better get yours too!!!”  As the weeks droned on I finally told him “Scott, you sound like a Spiritual Capitalist.”

When I said that, a little light went off in my head. I realized that actually some of Scott’s outlook is good.  What I realized was that actually we do want to invest in our Spiritual Life.  But not as solitary agents or beings.   The upshot as I understand is, “we are all in this thing together. That our Salvation, whether self or others is absolutely tied up in others.  No man is an island, no person can do it alone.” 

Our investment can be reading the Bible, studying scripture, and analyzing Spiritual things.  I believe though that our greatest “investment”  is in each other.  We should be nurturing our developement, helping one another, sharing lessons learned, and teaching Love & Respect.  It’s a communal thing.  If we want to understand God we should know that no person shall be left behind. 

I’m going to tell an experience here that I wouldn’t ordinarily share with anyone because I would consider it boasting.  My kids don’t know, my mom doesn’t know and my wife doesn’t know. But for example I wanted to share what I belatedly realized was to be a Spiritual Investment:

I was driving down the five lane Base Line Road.  All of a sudden I saw a fairly old woman standing beside the road with her bags and her four-point cane. Her grey hair was blowing wildly in the wind and she had her thumb out facing the traffic.  I initially thought “Oh my goodness, what is she doing, does she want to get hit.”   No one hitchhikes on this road. It was very unusual and I barely swerved around her.  As I passed I looked in my rearview mirror and saw her turn and stridently start hiking behind me, very determined and hurriedly. I almost never pick up hitchhikers but sensed that this woman actually did need some help.   I carefully slowed down, put on the brakes, looked for traffic and put on my emergency lights. Then I opened the passenger side door and watched as she seemed to take forever ambling up to my car. 

She got in and we talked, she had a German accent and was half out of breath.  I told her it was unusual to be hitchhiking on this road, and asked what was going on?   She said that she had just had surgery a couple of weeks ago and that she desperately needed to make her next appointment.   She had missed the bus and needed to catch the next one on Delaware Avenue.  I volunteered to drive her there(I was in no hurry for anything).  We talked and we talked and actually found out that we had some shared beliefs about life.  We developed a great rapport in a couple of minutes but knew that it would soon be over.  I dropped her off and told her,”If I don’t see you again then we’ll meet in the hereafter!”  She started laughing and said, “Sounds good but hopefully not to soon!”

We should become Spiritual Capitalists. We should invest in the Spiritual, invest in humanity, and invest in each other.  Thanks Scott.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

                                     – Mother Theresa

Spiritual Book Review: “Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice”

April 14, 2011

It’ s actually a pamphlet that’s 25 pages. It’s from the Foundation for Inner Peace which is part of the Course of Miracles Teaching.  The online site and the PDF version are below. For once I am at a loss for words. This is so well written, so clearly delineated that I can only say “you have to read it yourself”. It is a metaphysical writing. It’s summed up as the Teacher Imparting an Idea to the Brain of the Student, but it’s done through a slight of hand. It’s the patient making the Idea his own.

Since I can’t describe the book properly I’ll offer my closest analogy as realized by me having read the book.

Why does therapy takes so long?  

A patient enters the Psychologist’s office. The Doctor and Patient play The Game, “What is my problem, I’m unable to tell you or to see it for myself. I know I have a problem because everybody tells me so.” The Patient stands defiant, smoking his cigarette and half turning away from the doctor. He says “I have a problem Doc, and I need you to fix it but don’t change me, I’m really alright.” The problem here is that the “problem isn’t a car to be fixed by Tuesday or an object to be rebuilt.”  The problem is a very real and integral part of the person involved. For the Doctor to correct the problem the patient must change his Mind.  He must change to a new mindset, to do that, the patient must have an epiphanous vision of himself and his problem. The Doctor could guess or even tell him; “You have Sexual Orientation Problems,  You’re an Alcoholic, You have Anger issues”, but he knows that he can’t tell him. The patient must step outside of himself to see himself. Until then, the Doctor and patient keep playing the Game.

The patient may lie while all the time trying to get the Doctor’s trust. All the time he’s trying to enact the con game(i.e.; gain the doctors’ confidence) while the Doctor must discern the patient’s lies and denial and ferret out the truth. Even in real life we understand the principle of piercing the defenses with the truth by making the lesson the student’s own discovery. The patient must REALLY, REALLY WANT to be cured and only he(with some guided assistance) can do it.  To my knowledge it has never happened that a Doctor said, “Relax, go home, you’re alright.  Those other people are all wrong. They should have never intervened and convinced you to see me.  Here, let me rubberstamp your wellness card so you can get out here.”

We do this in real life too when we’re not getting through. When a Husband/Wife argue and their voices raise, they emphatically try to drive home each individual’s point. Each side is blind to the other’s side. The argument becomes more vocal and heated. Finally, the wife(or husband) may say “What’s wrong, what do you want me to do.” The Husband responds, “ I DON’T KNOW, YOU TELL ME.” What he’s really saying is “I can’t tell you, you figure it out, you’ll have to make it your own, .” In essence “When the student is ready to change their mind the lesson will be taught.” The first step is the realization and courage of the patient to ask another for help and to be honest with one’s own self. The therapist or teacher is only ever guiding the patient to their own realizations.

The pamphlet is so much better. The whole book can be found online at

 http://www.surrenderworks.com/acim_on_psychotherapy.html

PDF Version: http://www.surrenderworks.com/library/downloads/psychotherapy.pdf

Psychotherepy: Purpose, Process and Practice  25 pages    Cost $6.00    Rating 12 stars out of 10 ************.

It’s not for  sale anywhere except through the Foundation of Inner Peace. I checked both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com

ISBN 0-9606388-6-5

Foundation for Inner Peace

PO Box 598, Mill Valley, CA 94942 (415) 388-2060

Spiritual Book Review: “Love Wins” by Rob Bell

April 12, 2011

I’ve just finished Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins”. I personally think that it’s really good.  He asks a lot of sincere questions and then trys in some ways to provide sensible but loving answers that are not written in stone.  His answers are really opened ended questions that says “I don’t know that I have the answers but I know what I don’t believe.”

He doesn’t believe in the traditional hell although he says that hell can be right here on earth. He doesn’t appear to believe in an eternal hell.  He also appears to believe in eventual salvation for all people for all time. I’m paraphrasing his beliefs(concepts) because he did not really say it so pointedly in the book. I think that is  because he is smart enough and wise enough to let YOU, his intelligent audience draw their own conclusions.  He trusts you to hear what you can hear. Sounds a lot like Teacher(though Rob would be the first to say “I’m just a man”).  It’s difficult and courageous to bring up such urgent and controversial questions. He has some other opinions also that challenge us to think or rethink our prior positions of God, Love, Heaven & Hell.

Apparently there is a need for this open-ended discussion and inquiry.  He has a huge audience and a huge following.  While he disowns some prior beliefs and out dated ideas he also makes it clear that living a loving, productive, and ethical life are very important. He doesn’t pander to his audience and he will say things he feels are true whether it’s believed by them or not.  While he is suffering criticism for these ideas of Hell and Eternal Salvation it appears that again the central Message of Love is being missed by many. He’s forging a path that’s meaningful for him and in so doing trying to share that with others. What more could we ask of a good Child of God?

A very good book!!! 9 stars out of 10, *********

ISBN-10: 006204964X

Other sources:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wins-About-Heaven-Person/dp/006204964X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302619349&sr=1-1

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/01/what-is-a-heretic-exactly-in-the-evangelical-church/

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/us/05bell.html?_r=1

http://abcnews.go.com/US/controversial-book-debunk-concept-hell/story?id=13070964&page=2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg-qgmJ7nzA

Faith

April 10, 2011

And Jesus said unto them,  Because of your unbelief: for verily I (Jesus) say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

                                                                                              -Matt.17:20

When I first read this passage as a child I had in mind one interpretation. I’ve since then become aware of another interpretation.  As I’ve spoken to more people, different people have had different interpretations. One interpretation is that the mustard seed is a living breathing entity that is waiting for the exact right moisture,  temperature, humidity  &  soil conditions to burst forth unto the world. That inside the consciousness of that seed is a yearning, burning desire to explode forth and grow. It eventually does burst forth, its flowers blossoming into a bright yellow.  If we had the same faith as the consciousness of that mustard seed we too could push through, push up and burst forth into the world creating our own flowering blossoms. 

The mustard seed is in fact not the smallest seed but it is pretty small at about 3 mm wide.

http://plants.usda.gov/java/largeImage?imageID=brju_002_ahp.tif

The other interpretation(there may in fact be more) is that if we as human beings and children of God could conjure up true faith, if in our solar plexus we can create a SUBSTANTIVE faith then WE COULD MOVE MOUNTAINS. Can we create 3 mm of faith?  Is our faith then a substance and real? Can we feel the seed of faith within our own solar plexus and can we move mountains with it? Jesus said we could.

Frequently we exercise our will power for faith. This post is about using our whole body, emotions, mind and heart to actualize our faith and our beliefs. Feel the substance of 3 mm’s of Faith in ourselves.

“Faith is like electricity. You can’t see it, but you can see the light.”

                  – Quote from Someone, Somewhere

Spiritual Book Review: The Little Red Book

April 1, 2011

Often the truth isn’t where we think it should be.  By accident I found a copy of  “The Little Red Book” that has a truth one might never expect to find.  It wasn’t written  by theologians.  Nor was it transcribed by Spanish Monks. Tibetan wise men were not counseled for their views.  Actually the book is the result of two people who struggled with temptations, fear and frustration their whole lives.  These precepts are the life lessons of Bill W. and Doctor Bob, originators of the AA program. The Little Red Book(ISBN number 978-0-89486-985-3 ) is the handheld companion book for the Big Book from Alcoholics Anonymous(AA).  I’m not a member of AA so my finding this book is quite remarkable. I was slightly acquainted with it though because I have acquaintances and friends that are members of AA. I actually found this in the bookstore, picked it up, and immediately recognized it.  As I read the 12 Step Program from the book I thought “what a perfect spiritual outlook.” In the subtext is my spiritual reinterpretation of the 12 Steps that can be used by the rest of us. My apologies to any that I may offend by showing this in a different light, the rest of humanity can really learn from these examples and from the people who have followed them:

 Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. 

Sub: We admitted that we were powerless over our lives – that our lives are separated from one another and God.

Step Two:Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity.

Sub: Came to believe that a Power(God) greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity(Wholeness).

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

Sub: Same

Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Sub: Same

Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Sub: Same, a Spiritual Confession

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Sub: Same

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Sub: Same

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Sub: Same

Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Sub: Same

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong (and)  promptly admitted it.

Sub: Same

Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Sub: Same

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Sub: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other people, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Our eternal thanks to Bill W. and Doctor Bob

One day at a time
       – Bill W.

 

“The Little Red Book”  Ten Stars   **********

  ISBN: 978-0-89486-985-3