How Did We Get So Broken?

“Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of total spending in the economy. If the level of consumer spending is high, the economy will experience high levels of production and employment; the economy will be booming. On the other hand, if the level of consumer spending declines, the level of production and employment will decline; the economy will be in the doldrums. According to Keynesian theory, the most important determinant of consumer spending is the level of disposable income of households. Important non-income factors that affect consumer spending include consumer expectations, the level of consumer indebtedness, and the wealth of households.”

If we are a nation, and not just people living within close proximity to one another, then to me, that implies a certain amount of unity – a family in the loose sense.  The reason for government, it seems, would be to ensure that there is a system for all, and that the system works for the people – all of the people.

The situation that we are in today, is the result of an economic system.  I am assuming that ‘free enterprise’ is free within the boundaries of some general economic system in place to prevent the bankruptcy of the nation.  However, I have to say that I am absolutely amazed that no one involved in the ‘system’ that we have here in this country saw this coming.  I really mean amazed, shocked, astounded – because I can’t see how our ‘system’ as it is, could ever be expected to work.  It seems to me, that it doesn’t even work in theory.

It’s like a monopoly game where one player has managed to buy all of the hotels.  Now, since that player owns all of the hotels, he now decides to raise the rates to an exorbitant amount.  It doesn’t take very long before the only player with any money is the one who owns the hotels.  Unless he now plays with himself and pays himself to stay in his hotels – the game is over.

I remember after about the first year after we declared victory in Iraq I read an article  by a man who said that he witnessed the ‘war games’, that generally precede a war.  In these games he said that all different scenarios are usually played out in order to understand what we are getting into and how we will get out of it.  He said that the problem with these particular games was that there were no real scenarios played out.  All possible outcomes of each action were not played out.  In other words, we were unprepared because we were not willing to risk the possibility that this could not be a wise move.

So, I’m wondering, when all of this deregulation was pursued with such enthusiasm and gusto, and all of these protections were set in place to protect big business, did the heads of the government in charge of finances and whatever economic ‘system’ we have in place, map out the possible direction that these new ‘systems’ could take us?  Because it seems to me that this was much worse than looking at the patriotism, and self-restraint of corporate America through rose colored glasses.  It seems to me, that it was something like taking a bunch of junkies and letting them loose in a heroine den saying only, “We trust you to show restraint”.  Yeah, right, that works.   I don’t understand how a government that felt it necessary to create a ‘minimum wage’, however miniscule that minimum is, did so because it realized that greed could not be self-regulated.

Of course, being on the bottom end of the bottom that is falling out, this situation that we are in is a bit troubling to me.  Still, what I find the most difficult to understand is that it was allowed to happen.  If this is a consumer driven economy, it seems to me that until the consumers can find jobs, affordable healthcare, and then find their way out of debt, then, and only then – at some distant time in the future, one that seems far far away will we once again have the disposable income to again drive the economy.  I only hope that while most of us are too poor today to even drive our cars – let alone drive an economy, the government figures out that giving money to the companies whose addiction to wealth and power put us into this mess, expecting them to then turn around and make things all better is like giving a junkie the cash to repay the mortgage he took out to buy his drugs.

Every road leads to God

We speak about thinking outside of the box, but what we don’t think about is that there is no amount of “Outside of the box” that is outside of God.  When we have an idea – it is God’s idea.  When we think of a new form of worship – it is God’s thought.  Regardless of what we do or what we think of – ultimately, it comes from God.  Even war was not a product of man but of God.  There are many paths to becoming one with God.  Most of these paths have nothing to do with religion, they have to do with gaining understanding, and faith.  One path is fear – through fear we learn that there is nothing to fear in God.  Through the path of loss we learn that there is nothing that can be lost because all is One in God.  Through hatred – we learn that there is nothing and no one to hate because we are all One in God.  Through war and killing we learn the value of life and living.  Through prejudice we learn acceptance.  Through betrayal we learn forgiveness.  All of these paths are paths and lessons created by God with the only intention that we find our way to the truth of what we are and what we have always been.

Once there were two villages that had established a very prosperous trade between themselves each growing the crops that the other needed.  They were wealthy villages because they had the benefit of an abundant stream of water.  Yet, with time both villages began to get greedy, charging higher and higher prices for their goods each trying to outdo the other.  After time passed and this greed escalated, crime ensued.  Each village began hating the other and refusing to sell to them.  This hurt both villages because they needed what the other had, but their pride had grown too great.

They did not notice that while they were entrenched in the battle over their egos, the stream was drying up.  Soon the crops that could be grown could barely feed the people, let alone the livestock and it seemed that all were destined to die out. After generations of only the water that could be caught from the little rain that fell was now taken by a total drought.  One night as the leader of each village slept, there appeared to each, an angel.  The angel told each of the leaders that there was a miraculous healing stream only seven miles from their villages.  Each was told to journey to the stream early because the stream only filled with water at a certain time.

Each man protested to the angel saying that there had been no water in that stream for generations it was now mo more than a barren waterbed.  The angel told the men that God had heard the prayers of the villagers and answered them by filling the waterbed with a healing stream that would not only heal the people, but would provide such nutrition to the fields that their crops and livestock would grow beyond anything ever seen before.

Early the next morning, unbeknownst to the other, each man began his journey to the stream.  As the stream came into sight, each man watched in awe as the water quickly filled the once barren bed to the brim.  Yet, the water was murky and did not look fit for crops, and in no way did it seem fit to drink.  Even worse than that, when they finally reached the stream, they were astounded to see the water already draining back into the ground through the same opening that it had entered.  Seeing the other, each man ran back to his village to gather the villagers so that they would arrive before the other and be ready to fetch all what they needed before the other village could take all of the water.

However, the peasants from both villages arrived at the same time and as the water began to fill the stream, a fight broke out over the water with the inhabitants of each village pushing, shoving and hitting the other.  By the time they noticed the water again, the last drops were already draining from the streambed.  Filled with anger and frustration, the villagers returned home with their buckets and their hopes empty.

That night, the angel returned to the dreams of the village leaders.  This time the angel told them that instead of pushing and shoving each other they should throw stones.  The angel told them that God had placed stones on their side of the stream.  The next morning as the villagers once again reached the stream as it was filling up, they looked down, each saw the stones at their feet and began to hurl them at the other villagers.  To their surprise, the stones never hit anyone but all seemed to land in the stream.

When there were no more stones to throw, the exhausted villagers noticed that the water had become so clear that they could see every stone lying on the bottom of the stream.  Even more miraculous than this, was the fact that water no longer emptied.  Just then a little boy from one of the villages cried out, “Mommy, mommy, the stones…they look like hearts”.  And just at that moment all of the villagers felt their anger, and their hatred drain from their souls.  They each drew from the stream all of the water that they needed and resumed their trading and sharing of resources with a new sense of gratitude.

Our Path To God Can Begin Anywhere

Once upon a time there was a very religious community.  The members gathered everyday to worship God under the guidance of their wise spiritual teacher.  The people were truly God fearing and followed all of Gods’ Laws.  But their leader had a son whose actions troubled the group.

One day the boy, who was four years old, lost his dog.  After searching all day, he sat down in a field crying and as he cried, he noticed a leaf on the ground near his feet.  He happened to be staring at the leaf while he was crying and for the safe return of his dog.  Two days later the dog was returned healthy and happy.  The boy attributed this miracle to the leaf and ran out to the field to find it.  Once he found the leaf he began praying to the leaf every day and carrying it with him wherever he went – he even brought the leaf to bed.

The congregation became concerned by the actions of this child and spoke to his father.  The father simply replied, “It is his path”.  And the congregation went away disappointed.

Soon, the leaf became worn and dry and it crumbled.  The boy was devastated and cried to his father.  His father simply took him back to the field where he found the leaf and said, “Son, look there, that is the tree from which your leaf came, see the thousands of other leaves it also bears, if not for the tree, you would not have had your leaf.  The boy was overcome with awe at the sight of the tree full of leaves and began to worship the tree, going to it and praying everyday with love and thanksgiving for the life of his dog.

Again, the congregation became concerned by the actions of this child and spoke to his father.  The father simply replied, “It is his path”.  And the congregation went away disappointed.

A few months later the tree became diseased and had to be cut down.  And once again the child was distraught beyond consolation.  His father again led the boy to the field and said, “You see this field, this is the field from which your tree and all of these others have come, and it is the field from which your tree grew, from which your leaf grew that saved your dog.  So the boy, once again in awe of the expanse of trees and leaves produced by this field began to lie in the field on the dirt and the grass and pray every day in love and thanksgiving to the field.

Once again, the congregation became concerned by the actions of this child and spoke to his father.  Once again, father simply replied, “It is his path”.  And the congregation went away disappointed.

Shortly after this, the field was sold to a developer who dug up all the trees and covered the field with concrete and buildings.  Now the boy was beyond himself with loss and desperation, there was no more field, so there would be no more trees, no more leaves and no more miracles.  His father calmly took him out into the road and said, “Son, look around you, the earth is covered with fields of trees, with leaves – all come from the earth and the earth comes from God, the Bible says, in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth”.  God is the Source from which all things are born.  It is God who created the earth upon which your field grew, from which your tree grew, from which your leaf grew.  All things come from God and all things contain God in the form of His messengers.  You prayed to the angel in the leaf, who sent your message to the angel in the tree, who sent your message to the angel in the field, who sent your message to the angel in the earth – who whispered your prayer to God – and because God heard your prayer from  the leaf, your dog was returned.  So the boy said, “From now on I will honor God and His Angels by giving thanks to everything and everyone on earth, but I will send my deepest prayers to God who is the eternal Source of all.”

The boy grew up to assume his father’s role as teacher, but his congregation expanded greatly because his journey taught him to understand and therefore teach, that all paths were created by God to lead us Home.

God created the world with enough diversity that every being on it could find something or someone to believe in.  God knew that there is nothing on earth, whether it is a blade of grass, a human being, a mosquito, or a brick of gold that does not contain God.  That there is nothing that man can worship in, in which he does not worship in God.  Knowing all, God knows that all things on earth will pass, all form will give way, and everything with a beginning will also have an end.  But what has no beginning and no end is our search for union with our Source, and no end to our need to know ourselves and from where we have come.  In the same way that God created us to know and experience Himself.  So God places before us a leaf – in which He is, and then a tree – in which He is, or a statue or a book – in which He is, knowing, that so long as we seeking signs and forms of Him in the world that is wholly of Him, we will continue to seek until we find Him – who is in every atom of the Universe and within whom, the entire universe is but a tiny atom.   So when you criticize the beliefs of others as not the right belief, remember that there is no belief that is not created by God and so there is no belief, except a belief in God.  Just remember the leaf.

The Growing Field

One of the most important phases of maturing is that of growth from self-centering to an understanding relationship to others. A person is not mature until he has both an ability and a willingness to see himself as one among others and to do unto those others as he would have them do to him.Sir Walter Scott

The earth is a growing field. Imagine a seed planted deep within the soil, a seed having to journey through layer after layer of packed earth, finding its way around rocks and other objects until it finally breaks through to the sun—and break through, it will. Yet what apparent insurmountable odds it faces there, deep within the soil. Still, the same soil which seems intent upon blocking its way, contains the nourishment needed for its survival on the journey.

Here, on earth is where the soul comes to learn its greatest lessons. Yet, what is the earth? Live spelled backwards is evil—and on earth what we consider evil is what the earth is made of. It is a wild, dangerous, greedy, and most of all, insatiable planet—a place where every organism large or small seeks one thing—survival. God said to all life, “Be fruitful and multiply”. To survive, each species knows that it must multiply. Microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, grass, weeds, plants, and flowers—all life on earth fights for the same limited space. The less man interferes with a species, the more instinctively and aggressively intent it is on fulfilling what we, as a species, have labeled ‘manifest destiny’. It is the basic driving instinct of all species on earth. Survival is of the fittest. Weeds, trees, and bushes all grow anywhere and everywhere when not checked. Even concrete cannot arrest their growth. Wild animals fight to maintain and then to expand their territory as they seek to expand their herds. Wars are fought on earth over lines drawn in the sand by every species and every organism on the earth. Each species survives at the expense of at least one other species. The earth is one large hungry, greedy, food chain. This doesn’t make the earth less beautiful, but it is necessary to understand the energy of the earth to understand the energy of the body with its instincts and desires —the body into which we each incarnate.
For some species, survival is for the swiftest, and for others, it is the strongest that survive. For yet other species, it is for those that who are best able to scavenge, or appear threatening—and yet, for others—to hide and appear invisible. Yet for some species, such as ants, or bees, survival is in the inborn ability to know what they have to offer their species and to offer it selflessly and without question. Insects seem to be much better prepared to survive than most species—they appear to have mastered the requirements for survival—united we stand divided we fall.

Man is neither swift, nor physically equipped to adapt to the harsh and changing climate of the earth. He has been given the mental and physical agility necessary to manipulate his environment. Man has also been gifted with the heart and the compassion to manage it with benevolence. We have been given the earth to live on, to grow on and to care for, but not, despite what we believe, to master and destroy. She is not ours.

In nineteen seventy-seven there was an object discovered in space. It was difficult to identify—a comet, an asteroid, a planet. No one was sure at first. Finally it was called a centaur, the first of many objects in its category that would be discovered. This first centaur was called Chiron. Chiron was, as all of the centaurs, half man and half horse. With each new discovery in space, some new door is opened here on earth—some new direction taken—some knowledge finally comprehended or information finally received by man. With the discovery of the centaur, Chiron, came the age of holistic medicine treating the mind, body, and the spirit as a whole—understanding that to cure a part of the whole without addressing the whole—ultimately cures nothing.

In mythology, Chiron was a master of all forms of art, of learning, of philosophy, of self-defense and of combat. Chiron turned each hero who passed through his cave into a true hero—a whole; a hero is not simply the one who can defeat the greatest or strongest foe, but the one who can recognize the greatest foe. This is often within the self. He did not simply give them techniques, he gave them appreciation, value and honor. Chiron did not only train the greatest fighters, he trained the greatest healers, musicians, scholars, physicians, and rulers. To teach these things, he had, in some way, embody them.

Chiron was an exceptional centaur according to legend. There were a few, who, like him, were healers, or philosophers; the majority of centaurs could not really be trusted for they were too susceptible to their desires when they became intoxicated. When intoxicated, they were robbers, murderers, and rapists, simply put, they were untamed animals. One day, as one of the legends goes, a group of centaurs became drunk and went on a killing spree. Chiron went out among them trying to bring peace and was accidentally wounded by Hercules, his dearest student, who mistook him for one of the wild centaurs. However, unlike the other centaurs—Chiron could not die—he was immortal, and as such, he faced an eternity of suffering. In spite of his pain, he continued to teach, he continued to love, and he continued to share his wisdom. In the end, Chiron made the ultimate sacrifice—he sacrificed his immortality to end the suffering of Prometheus who was being punished by Zeus for bringing fire to mankind. Because of Chiron’s selflessness and willingness to sacrifice his immortality to end the suffering of another, Zeus took Chiron up to the heavens and gave him his own constellation.

Since the discovery of Chiron we have all become more and more aware of our lower nature. All that we consider evil—all that we consider vile is nothing more than the natural inherent tendencies of our physical nature—our earthly nature. The earth is void of conscience. We, as spiritual beings, are the conscience of the earth—man brings that conscience from God. Conscience is not natural to our environment—not natural to our physical bodies—and not natural to the spiritually unevolved ego. The earth tests the spirit within each of us. To fulfill our destinies, we must not destroy the earth herself, but the world that man has built on the earth by his egos need to be better than its Creator. Man has built a false world and in seeking to become its master, he has become its slave.  In ancient times the donkey or “ass” was a symbol of man’s lower animal nature, just as the body of Chiron.  In the Bible, Jesus finds it necessary to enter the gates of Jerusalem riding an ass.  However, the spiritual meaning of this is somewhat different than the biblical one.  The city of Jerusalem, at the time was a representation of all that is unholy, nowhere did greed not exist.  It was in essence ruled by the lowest part of man, his greed and his desires.  Even in the Temple money was changed.  And the temples did not permit entrance to everyone who wanted to worship regardless of economic status.  It was a city where all catered to the wealthy.  This was why the disciples were astonished that Jesus said that a camel would pass through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man enter the gates of Heaven.  It seemed at the time that wealth was a gift from God because it was the wealthy who seemed to gain the closest audience with Him.  So Jesus rode into the city on the ass, showing all that his spiritual nature was superior to the animal nature – that he mastered the animal in man.

The Ancient creators of the zodiac set the Heavens into a circle with twelve divisions, each one represented by an animal that to them symbolized an aspect of God, or, perhaps the aspect of God capable of controlling the represented aspect of nature.  Jesus came in with the age of Pisces, called by ancients, the age of the fish.  Note the references to fish during the time, however, simply coming up with ideas of the meaning of these references to fish gives us nothing.  The view of fish in ancient times was that they were a species where the large always gobble up the small.  Before language, before writing, this was what was symbolized by fish. In essence, fish was the sign-language for the strong eating up the weak.  Jesus was the fisher of men, because he came to save the small fish from the mouths of the larger fish.  Has this not been the greatest underlying theme of the age of Pisces?  It was so clearly exemplified by the Catholic Church gobbling up all of the smaller Christian groups, destroying their wealth of scripture in order to create their own.  It continues with small businesses gobbled up by larger business, homes taken away to build high-rises, this is the age of the fish, in which the fisher of men appeared, not to eradicate our sins, but to lead us away from being fish.

We are not truly human until we conquer the beast and become humane. Until we do this we are no more than centaurs, no more than fish. For most of us, the intoxicant is not alcohol it is money and the wealth and power that it affords us. And, like the centaurs, once intoxicated by money, our higher selves are consumed by the lower nature, unless we are strong and able to resist the temptation to indulge ourselves in that taste for money. We are driven to consume just as every other organism on the earth—we become predators because it is natural to do so.

In the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Sayings of Jesus, Jesus said,
Blessed is the lion that the human consumes so that the lion becomes human, Cursed is the human that the lion consumes so that the human becomes the lion. When the human eats the lion—devours the beast—it is the soul which has conquered the beast to become humane. The beast, once conquered, serves the soul and thus serves God. The things of the soul are attended to with the aid of the beast that is now lovingly serving the soul. In the twelve labors of Heracles, one of the labors was that he had to kill a lion that had, up to that point, been indestructible. Once Heracles had managed to slay the lion, he kept those parts of the lion that gave it its strength, and wore them as armor. Thus, taking the power of the beast and adding it to his own, he protected himself as he went on his quest. This is man consuming the lion. If the lion consumes the man, however, and becomes human the soul becomes enslaved by the passions and desires of the lower self—the animal self which is of the earth.

I have heard it said that man is the only animal who kills without necessity. I am not sure that this is true. I once had a cat that spent a great deal of his time outdoors. Regularly, we would find dead birds or dead mice that he proudly brought into the house, and presented to us as gifts with no intention of or desire to eat them. He carried his conquests with what appeared to be great pride. Perhaps he was showing us his skill as a hunter—who knows—but what is certain, is that he did not hunt for food—he hunted because it was natural to his species to do so. Perhaps for the cat, like for man himself, the reason for the hunt has been lost in the cans of cat food and bags of crunchy tasty nuggets that he had grown accustomed to eating. But his instincts as a predator were too deeply ingrained in the cellular memory of his body—in the genetic memory of his species since it is born of the predatory earth. My cat, like many other domesticated animals, collected the trophies of his kills because, as an animal, he was a killer. A man mounts his kills on his walls—a tribute to the animal within himself which he has not as yet conquered.

Here on earth there is no evil—there is only the earth. What we call evil is only nature. It is the opposite of spiritual but that does not make it evil. We just need to realize, without judgment, or labels, that we are not this.
Fear is the prevailing emotion on a planet where survival entails eating or being eaten, conquering or being conquered. All that we consider as sins are but the outgrowths of fear; fear of not having enough to survive; fear of not being strong enough to survive; which, ultimately, is fear of death. As we evolve spiritually our fear diminishes because it is replaced by faith. It is faith which raises us above our fears. Faith, affords us the security that we need to rest in the knowledge that there is nothing to fear in God’s universe.

Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations —Delivered October 25, 1985 by Leon Shenandoah, Tadodaho, Haudenosaunee

Listen to the words of the Creator given to the first United Nations—the Haudenosaunee—over 1,000 years ago:
The Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skins shall be seven spans which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive action, and criticism. Their hearts shall be full of peace and good will, and their minds full of a yearning for the welfare of the people. With endless patience, they shall carry out their duty.

Their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds, and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation. In every nation there are wise and good people. These should be appointed Chiefs. They should be the advisors of their people and work for the good of all the people, and their power comes from the “Great Peace.”

A chief must never forget the Creator of mankind; never forget to ask the Creator for help. The Creator will guide our thoughts and strengthen us as we work to be faithful to our sacred trust and restore harmony among all peoples, all living creatures, and Mother Earth.

We were instructed to carry a love for one another and to show a great respect for all the beings of this earth. In our ways spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics. When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.
These are our times and responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes.
In order to do this we must recognize the enemy—the one within us. We must begin with ourselves. We must live in harmony with the Natural World and recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our own destruction.

We cannot trade the welfare of our future generations for profit now. We must abide by the Natural Law or be victims of its ultimate reality. We must stand together, the four sacred colors of humans, as the one family we are, in the interest of peace.

We must abolish nuclear and conventional weapons of war. When warriors are leaders, then you will have war. We must raise leaders of peace.

We must unite the religions of the world as the spiritual force strong enough to prevail in peace. It is no longer good enough to cry, “Peace.”

We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. We are the spiritual energy that is thousands times stronger than nuclear energy. Our energy in the combined will of all people with the spirit of the Natural World, to be of one body, one heart and one mind for peace.

We propose, as a resolution for peace, that October 24th be designated as a Day of Peace, and a world cease-fire take place in honor of our children and the Seventh Generation to come.

The Ability To Feel

When I was a very young child I noticed how unhappy everyone in my family was. I then began to notice that there was so much of the same unhappiness all around me. I watched it, but I also shared it. Everyone felt unloved. At least, I know that is what we believed we felt. It is as though we are all standing in line facing and focusing all of our effort on receiving the love we need from the person standing in front of us, whose back we are facing. If we could all just turn around and give exactly what we are seeking to the person behind us, seeking the same  love and approval, we would all, in turn, receive what stands between wholeness and ourselves.

I believed that if someone married me, I would feel loved; I would be happy. Then I believed that if I had a child of my own, THEN I would feel loved and be happy. When my only hopes for happiness left me still feeling worthless, I entered therapy. I went to the Alfred Adler clinic in New York City. On the intake questionnaire they asked: If you died, what would you want written on your gravestone. My response was, “Denise was WELL LOVED”. I believed that if by the time I died, my legacy was having been loved by many then I would know that somewhere along my journey on this earth I had found the happiness that I was seeking. All I thought I ever wanted was to feel loved.   But what feeling loved really meant to me had nothing to do with another person loving me, but having some person convince me that I was worthy of loving.

I think about that gravestone often, and at various points in my life I have revisited the inscription considering what I would want written at each of those points in my life. At one point, about ten years ago, I arrived at my final revision of that stone. I realized that I would know that my life was all that I could have asked of it, if my gravestone says, “Denise LOVED WELL”. The reality is that the only way that the void of love within remains constantly filled is if it is constantly poured out to others.  Here is a story that I read somewhere:

“With an angel for his guide, the visitor is first ushered through the gates of Hell, which, he is surprised to find, are made of finely wrought gold. The gates, in fact, are incomparably lovely, as is the verdant land¬scape that lies beyond them. All this is quite astonishing to the visitor, who turns to his angelic guide in disbelief. “It’s all so beautiful,” the man says. “The sight of the meadows and mountains . . . the sounds of the birds singing in the trees … the scent of thousands of flowers. . . .” And then another scent catches his attention: the aroma of food being prepared.
The angel leads the visitor toward an immense banquet table laden with every sort of delicacy. However, something is terribly wrong. Hundreds of people are seated around the table, but they all appear to be starving. Their emaciated condition is painful to see in the midst of such bounty, but even worse is the frustration and anger they are obviously experiencing. Each person at the table has a long-handled spoon chained to his wrist. The handles are so long that no one can place food in his mouth. But that does not prevent the condemned souls from trying. For all eternity, they are struggling to feed themselves a meal that is right before them, but that might as well be a hundred miles away. Taken aback by the tragic spectacle, the visitor is now more than ready to visit Paradise, and the angel immediately complies. At once they pass through an¬other set of golden gates, alike in every detail to the gates of hell. In fact, a great deal about the two locales seems to be identical, including the banquet table and the diners chained to their utensils. But the people around this table are well fed and happy, despite the fact that their circumstances are identical to those of the damned. The difference is not in the physical situation, but in how they respond to it. As you might have guessed by now, instead of trying to feed themselves, each of the souls at this table feeds the one across the table.”

Remembering that the ego through which we incarnate in each lifetime is little more than an accumulation of experiences and beliefs of our past lives. Change – growth and the merging of the ego and higher self are instigated by the soul.  Each life is the next chapter in the evolution of the soul.  This plotline of this life carries with it a repetition of situations from prior lives that were not resolved, not balanced.  It also contains new areas experiences and challenges for further growth, and the fruit of lessons that we have mastered from past lives to share with others in this one.  . All souls who are late young, mature or old have lived through lifetimes of conditioning as beings stained at birth by original sin. Few adults living today were not there at the birth of this age, which is drawing to a close, and this age was born with the imprint of original sin.

The majority of people on earth, or at least in the western countries feel in some way inferior to almost everyone else alive. I have admired to so many people who I believed were confident, and self-assured only to find out that the singular difference between them and me was that they were better at pretending. Some assuage their feelings of inadequacy by telling themselves that they are superior to others. The more they immerse themselves in their superiority the less they have to acknowledge their feelings of inferiority. Some make a great show of telling everyone how great they are, while others find a skill, talent, or physique that they use to draw a constant flow of accolades. Then of course, there are embellishments such as wealth, fame and power to make one look superior.

People insist that their religion is the only religion acceptable to God out of a need to feel superior.  It is the need to feel superior that causes people to insist that their choice of worship is the only true choice of worship.  Jealousy is a sign of insecurity – God could not be jealous unless He was insecure about all of the other gods being worshiped.  However, if there is only one God then that one God is not jealous, not wrathful, and not angry because all of those are symptoms of insecurity. Regardless of how superior we appear, and how content we may be with that appearance, within ourselves there are no props that can change how we feel. So, we look to intimate relationships to give us that feeling of adequacy by showering us with love. The problem is that the material world or rather the external world is impermanent. Whatever fills us up today will be insufficient to the task tomorrow. Someone will always come along smarter, prettier, wealthier, more powerful, more famous, more creative, more talented, younger etc. Everything external that matters today will not matter tomorrow, next week, next year, or whenever. Whatever exists in the external world has a shelf life. If that is where we seek our value, or sense of lovability, then we must acknowledge the expiration date.

Our past lives of belief in original sin have convinced us that we are defective. Now is the time to understand and to instill in the young children born at the dawn of this new age that we are each created so perfectly, so flawlessly, that there will never be more than one of each of us. We are each so perfect that we cannot be duplicated. We are each original signed creations of our Source, and there is not now, and will never be an artist superior to our creator, nor will there ever be materials superior to those from which we are made because we are made from the Creator. It is the uniqueness of our design that makes us each so great. And we are each here to add that unique color, that unique quality that is each of us to the great work of art that is in a constant state of becoming, entitled “Life”.

Love is.  It does not exist because of what we do, or who we are.  Love is unconditional.  Many people have found through regressions that they suffer from debilitating illnesses in this life so that they have the opportunity to be taken care of, and to feel love from others who receive nothing in return.  It is the only way that their souls can guarantee the experience.  If someone loves us and we push them away because the love does not come wrapped in the package that we are expecting, although may they move away – they do not stop loving us.

All of this concern over being loved and being lovable dissolves into itself when we stop worrying about being loved and strive to be love itself.  No amount of love, adoration, worship or praise can change how we feel about ourselves when the lights go dim.  Most people I know who do not feel loved are really not very loving.  Whatever they give to others or do for others has some form of string attached, even if it is a required amount of expressed appreciation.  They may not feel that they are measuring, but they can give an extremely accurate account of their expressions of love – for people who are not keeping track.  Whatever experiences have closed them down do not matter.  If we want to feel loved we must take the risk of loving unconditionally.  And what happens when we do this, is that we forget about what we are not getting because we are overwhelmed with the joy of what we are giving.  Then suddenly, out of the blue, we look around and are astounded by the amount of love that is coming to us.

We Share One Body and One Soul

Suppose you and I have had an argument. If you have beaten me instead of my beating you, then are you necessarily right and am I necessarily wrong? If I have beaten you instead of your beating me, then am I necessarily right and are you necessarily wrong? Is one of us right and the other wrong? Are both of us right or are both of us wrong? If you and I don’t know the answer, then other people are bound to be even more in the dark. Whom shall we get to decide what is right? Shall we get someone who agrees with you to decide? But if he already agrees with you, how can he decide fairly? Shall we get someone who agrees with me? But if he already agrees with me, how can he decide? Shall we get someone who disagrees with both of us?… But waiting for one shifting voice [to decide for] another is the same as waiting for none of them. Harmonize them all with the Heavenly Equality, leave them to their endless changes, and so live out your years. What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!

Taoism. Chuang Tzu 2

Around the age of nine, I found my need to find the “right” path to God overwhelming most other things in my life.  So while attending a Yiddish school on Saturdays, I reserved Sundays to attend as many different churches and Sunday schools that I could get to and also gain entrance.  It seems now to have been a young age for such a quest, but at the time, the world in which I lived seemed so chaotic and unjust, that finding the way to God felt to me to be the only journey that could in anyway offer me peace.  My Jewish upbringing taught me to question and so, of all the churches that I attended, my shortest stay was in the Catholic Church where, because of my insistent questioning, I was asked to leave and not return.  I think that my Jewish experience, on a whole was the most enriching in my life, yet, at the same time, the words that I learned were spoken by the Christ resonated profoundly in my heart.  As I went from church to church, somehow I found it difficult to feel that I had found the home that I was seeking.

Yet, even when I ran out of churches to attend, Jesus stayed with me insisting that I find a way to accept Him into my life.  Part of my problem was I felt that to embrace Jesus was to betray my Jewish heritage, which I so deeply valued.  The other problem that I had was that it seemed a contradiction to say in one statement that we were all children of God and then in another that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God.  I spent many hours in silence asking God to help me find a way to make peace with this contradiction.  Other times I just wished that he would go away and leave me alone.  I debated the concept of Christ for hours on end with my Christian friends but never mention it to my Jewish ones.  Inside I had no peace.  My intense questioning and debate caused one Catholic Priest to actually come to my door and ask me to stay away from the Catholic friends that I had who were members of his church.  It was not my intention to cause them to question their faith, only to seek a way for them to convince me.

Then there finally came a time when my life was so consuming that I did find a way to push the entire question away from my conscious attention.  I did this for some years, although during the whole time I heard myself time and time again quoting something that Jesus had said.  And then one day, I simply felt the Christ consciousness within my soul, without explanation, without intellectual understanding, and contrary to popular belief, without invitation.  From that moment on, not only did I have a new vision and understanding of the Christ, but of God and the Universe.  My level of comprehension was lifted above the world of form and shape to a world of essence and consciousness.  I began writing things that I thought were my own words to only later find out that they were in fact his.  What was even more profound was that these words of his, were spoken by Krishna, and the Buddha before him – I was expanding.  I started to rise above the judgments and classifications that were once in my mind to a place of wholeness and acceptance which had no real words to explain.  And this was only the first step on my journey.

Each scripture is written by the same hand.  Each one is speaking in a different symbolic language.  Each different scripture resonates for the souls who vibrate to that language.  We each vibrate to different symbols, and God, in all His Wisdom, comes in the shape and speaks in the symbols understood by all.  Still, as I read through the scriptures and the mythology of various peoples, the characters may seem different but they are basically the same.  The exact description of their experiences may differ, but the underlying message is the same.

So, when someone begins to speak in the language of their religion, and I feel the urge to correct them and explain the “right” way – I push myself past that impulse and find that regardless of what the differences are in our spiritual convictions, we can always meet in the common area, called Love.  It is my belief that God would not have created us with such diversity if it was His intention that we look, think, live, or believe in exactly the same way.  I also don’t believe that He meant for us to be repelled by our differences or to see them as conflicting differences of better or worse, but simply enhancing differences, each offering a new shade of beauty – a different level of experience.  Just as we have seven major charkas, each one vibrating to a different color, between each of the seven are many smaller ones in varying shades of the colors that they lie between.  Throughout our many lives, each one of the charkas is dominant in our experience of ourselves and of our lives, until we finally reach the crown chakra.

Just like different sizes of shoes, each size fits different feet, but no one fits “better” feet than the other.  They are just different.  Each is a joyous expression of God.  And He experiences Himself through us and through our experiences.  The more varied we are the more varied His joy.

Like everyone in the world today, I have been seeking an answer to why we have arrived at this difficult place in history.  The most simplistic reason is that we really are not able to share this planet – we have not learned the true meaning of being a neighbor, and so we have not learned the meaning of brotherhood, because if we had, than sharing would come naturally. If we knew the meaning of brotherhood, no one would WANT to have more than anyone else – not more things, or more land, or more food, friends more status or a more sacred knowledge of God.  We would want, to have enough, and to be sure that our brothers had enough.  It was Cain who questioned being his brother’s keeper and we all know how that worked out for him. Jesus was not the first to mention the idea of brotherhood, and He taught it 2000 years ago.  The Initiates of the Eleusinian mysteries between 1500 and 1425 BCE were called adelphoi, which means brothers, a Philadelphian was someone who practiced “Brotherly Love”, which is where the name of the city comes from.  The So why is it that we have since traveled to the moon, but not journeyed one step closer to true brotherly love.  Certainly, we know how to say it better now than before and we create stories and books showing the joys of brotherhood, but the concept is as much science fiction as the movies showing the year 2520 with desolate nuked out cities run by mutant robots chasing the five humans left who haven’t killed each other – or is the latter more realistic?

“Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”, why is it that the simple things are the most difficult to grasp?  We can communicate over distances thousands of miles in a matter of seconds, but we can’t “Do unto others as we would have other do unto us”.  I know in my heart that God doesn’t make mistakes, so the fact that it is easier to wrap our legs around our necks and act like a pretzel than it is to love our brothers like ourselves must be a sign along the path.  There must be a real message there for us.  Have our brains grown at the expense of our hearts?  Or did we have to master the easy stuff first, like colonizing Mars before we could be ready to tackle the difficult tasks, like learning to share a planet that we have lived on together for tens of thousands of years.

I believe that thirty percent of the people in the capitalist countries hope that there is a God, and thirty percent fear that there might be a God, and another thirty percent hope that there is a God but that either He is too busy to look at what they are doing, or that He has left much more room to maneuver in His Commandments than meets the eye.  This leaves ten percent who truly believe in their hearts that there is a God.  However even of that ten percent who believe that, there is a God, five percent believe that in the end we will find that He did not give us Ten Commandments but the Ten Suggestions.

If everything in the Bible was meant to be taken literally, few of us alive today would make it through the 613 commandments without passing directly to the down elevator.  It is difficult to believe that after thousands of years of floods, plagues and pestilence, God finally grew so frustrated with man that He decided that the only way to secure mankind’s entrance into Heaven was to beget a son, send him to live a life of the highest form of unconditional love for all, and then have him publically tortured and killed.  I believe with all of my heart that God Almighty, All knowing, All seeing, creator of Heaven and earth could find another way.  And I believe that the other Way is through the experience of our lives on earth.  We have been given Teachers, Jesus being one of them, but not the first, nor the last to show us the Way. In Isaiah 13:15-16 the way to Heaven is stated clearly:

15He that walketh righteously,

and speaketh uprightly;

he that despiseth the gain of oppressions,

that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,

that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood,

and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

16He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

Then later in Isaiah: 56:1, the 613 commandments are summed up further this way:

1Thus said Jehovah:

`Keep ye judgment,

and do righteousness,

For near [is] My salvation to come,

And My righteousness to be revealed.

The Way is again made clear by Jesus in Matthew:

19 matt16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17″Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18″Which ones?” the man inquired.
19Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’[4] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[5] “
20″All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

This is really one of the foundations for my belief in reincarnation.  It seems I have believed in it as early as I could imagine anything, but it really began to make sense when it dawned on me that God is always looking and that fact doesn’t seem to have any impact on most people.  I mean – we can justify our actions to ourselves, and we can allow ourselves an ‘E” for effort, but it seems to me that in actuality God does not really ask much of us considering what we receive.  And I don’t think that He is really all that vague on His Commandments, but being a Loving God, I do believe that what He does give us is time, and He gives that to of us in the form of reincarnation.  After all, God knows that we can’t make the leap from colonizing Mars ALL the way to “Loving our neighbors” in one lifetime.  It takes many lifetimes, with frequent rest periods in between to stretch that far from human to humane.  Each incarnating class doesn’t have a really high number of graduates at a time, but we all do, in our own time, make that final leap off of the wheel of incarnation.

One thing that is very clear, from Osiris, to Horus, Dionysius to Jesus, and from the Buddha, to Krishna is that the first and most difficult step is non-attachment to the material.  God tells us not to make idols out of gold and silver, but we forget that we are also told not to make gold and silver into idols.  We must begin that journey of separation from our very closest traveling companion, the ego.  We have a lot of history with our egos and they have served us well.  What makes it even more difficult is that at no other time in history has the climate been so perfect for an ego.  All the toys – all the battles – and all those big, big, guns.  It was a great deal easier to make a clean brake a few centuries ago when we were too busy needing each other to give the ego that much room to move and groove.  Now, it seems so hard to hurt the egos we love, the egos, which aid in serving us the world on a silver platter.

The spark of God lives within all of us.  The journey towards that spark is one that every living being on the planet shares, and, with or without knowing it, we need each other to complete that journey.  Life, what is really life, is God.  That life which is within each of us also connects us one to the other.  It guides all of us, loves all of us and creates the one common thread that unites each living being to each other and to the Source of Life itself.   For just as we each have a body with many parts, but just one soul, all of creation is also one Body with just One Soul, and that soul is God.

35And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.  Leviticus 25:35 (King James Version)

7If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:  8But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.  9Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.   10Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.

11For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land  Deuteronomy 15:7 (King James Version)

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 Those whose walk is blameless,
who do what is righteous,
who speak the truth from their hearts;

3 who have no slander on their tongues,
who do their neighbors no wrong,
who cast no slur on others;

4 who despise those whose ways are vile
but honor whoever fears the LORD;
who keep their oaths even when it hurts;

5 who lend money to the poor without interest
and do not accept bribes against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.