Living in the Flow

The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all [i.e., nothing producing karma]. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action.

Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21

I have a friend who is constantly in an uproar. She had the most difficult time dealing with change, in spite of the fact that life is nothing but change. She always felt that somehow she was in the wrong place, either physically or in life. She was either angry at life, or angry with herself most of the time. She was convinced that she had landed in the wrong place and was unable to accept her life. One day, a woman, from whom she would never normally have accepted advice, told her that the reason her life seemed so miserable and mine did not was because I was able to flow. That statement hit her like a ton of bricks. I think that, at that moment, she realized that the quality of our lives has nothing to do with life itself, but how we approach it. However my life was going and wherever I happened to be, it was my belief that everything was as it should be. I felt, that if I am here, here is where I am meant to be.

I frustrated her every time that I said it. I have always considered myself to be very lazy and really averse to suffering. So, it always seemed simpler and less painful to accept my life as it is rather than to suffer, by resisting the circumstances that obviously exist. It has always just seemed logical to me to play the cards that I have been dealt rather than wasting time and energy, especially emotional energy, fighting what is, because I don’t like it. That, in my opinion, is like beating an impenetrable wall because it is in my way, rather than just looking for a way around it. My philosophy is to acknowledge its existence, and then seek a way around it, and if one cannot be found, then I accept that there is a good purpose for it being there. I prefer to use my time and energy rather than waste it. I am lazy!

The saddest thing about mankind is that we suffer our greatest pain because we won’t face, and accept the inevitable. We waste so much of our time and energy fighting against the inevitable seasons of life, that we leave little time or energy for living. We spend forty-five percent of our time regretting the past and forty five percent of our lives worrying about the future and only ten percent of our time living in the present. It’s hard to imagine what the quality of our lives would be, if only we realized that now is our life.

Each moment evaporates as soon as we experience it. Each “Now” is at once the past, present, and the future. Life is a series of beginnings and endings, some causing joy and some causing pain. Always, as long as we are on the earth, we can look forward to both joys and sorrows, hellos and goodbyes, successes and failures, rising up and falling down, and births and deaths. This will go on as long as the sun rises and the sun sets. A friend is made a friend is lost, an enemy is defeated while a new enemy is making his way to our door. A nation will rise and that same nation will fall. A race of people will rule, and that same race will serve, all in its season. A race will flourish for a time, and then it will be wiped out. Just as each species will flourish for a time and in time become extinct. And what happens has nothing to do with how wise one is, nor how righteous one is, it has only to do with their season. Here on earth, there is no justice, no fairness, but we will, in the end be judged fairly by God. There is no righteous man who has never sinned and no sinner who has never acted righteously, therefore man cannot judge man.

So, what we can do, while living under the sun, is follow the advice in Ecclesiastes 7:13-14:

13. Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked? 14. In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yea, God hath made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything that shall be after him.

Life is a rainbow of colors, some are our favorites and some we don’t particularly like, but we are here to try them all. God creates all of life for us. However many yesterdays we have had, they have mostly been forgotten. However many tomorrows we will have, they are impossible to know. Yet, what we do have is life. We have its flow, with all of the beginnings and all of the endings-all of the seasons. We do not mourn summer when winter comes, and we do not mourn spring when summer comes. This is because we are certain that they will come again. We do not mourn the sun when it sets because we are certain that it will rise, but the truth is that we cannot be certain that it will rise for us. If we believe in God, then we must know that God has no favorites. There is no life in the universe that is more or less important to God than ours. So, whatever happens in our lives is a gift from the one who loves us unconditionally. We must live with the knowledge that first: everything is good, and second: nothing dies, nothing ends, and nothing is born, except form. Spirit is everlasting. Believing this lessens pain, it lessens the sense of loss because that sense of loss is immediately replaced with the anticipation of what will be born in place of what has outworn its usefulness. Life contains no vacuums. Even a circle only appears to be solid. In fact, under a microscope it would be seen as many tiny connected dots, beginnings and endings. And whether or not we choose to accept what happens in our lives will have absolutely no effect on whether or not it happens. If we hate rain, it will still rain.

Life is meant to be lived, and living is experiencing life. Experiencing life with the firm belief that it is only real in this moment. Love with all of your heart, every moment and every experience that it contains. So often we look back at times in our past, when we were so distracted by the things that upset us that we lost those precious moments with those whom we have loved-moments that we can never recapture. Other times we look back and find that those things we were so upset about turned out to be gifts of immeasurable magnitude. We should accept the life that we have been given as being perfect, not because we are perfect, perfect implies a state of completion; and we are not required to be perfect. We are, in each moment, in the process of becoming. We should accept our lives as perfect because the Creator, who gave them to us to live -is perfect.

There are many things in our lives that we can’t change, but those things that we can’t change are meant as gifts from which to learn. Sometimes our lessons come from overcoming, and in those times we will be shown the way to overcome, other times our lessons come from simply enduring and during those times we will be prevented from finding any way to overcome. Yet, whichever way it is meant to be, in the end we will find that it is good. Each life is a puzzle, and we have to put the pieces together. What is important to remember is that life is a puzzle that comes with all the pieces, no matter how difficult the puzzle is that we have been given, we have been given all of the pieces and they will all fit. Life consists of putting the pieces together, and examining and understanding the picture as it grows with each piece. When we have finally put all of the pieces together, it is time for this life to end, so that we may be given a new life with a whole new set of pieces to put together. Each puzzle is a perfect work of art, our creation. We need to have the faith in God and in His work to flow with life and pour our joy into it without counting what we get back in return. Because what we get, is the chance to live it.

Understanding Life In These Spiritual Times

If the natural disasters of the past years have shown us anything, they should have shown us that we cannot control life. We do not know when we will be struck by a disaster. Personal safety is an illusion, just as homeland security is an illusion. We are each on our own clock’s and they will each stop ticking at the appointed time, whether we are in the Twin Towers or walking along the desert. All that we have built and held onto can be lost or taken away from us in a moment. How much better would we feel if we gave what we had to those who have nothing rather than just losing it? Once upon a time the world was immense, and one could comfortably live a lifestyle of opulent excess, ignorant of the starvation and suffering that our excesses could ease. Now, it is not the case.

And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God will say to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Christianity. Luke 12.16-21

Imagine how the earth was created—how the body was created. The earth was given limited resources. The earth could have been created as a garden in which the food and shelter and everything that we could ask for simply grew as quickly as we could harvest it. Or, we could have been given the power to manifest everything we wish to have merely by desiring it to be. But that is not the case. And knowing that the force that guides the Universe is love, we must know that this is not to punish us. No, the earth has limited resources and some men are born with access to those resources while some are born without that access. This is the Divine Design, it places before us the opportunity to choose righteousness, the path must be chosen to have value, one cannot be forced out of fear of punishment or fear of rejection, the path of love must be chosen out of love—the need for love and the desire to give love. It is obvious that in the wild animals do not have this choice. Animals know only one path, and for the lower self in man, the animal way is the natural way. Yet as humans, we are able to reach into our souls and find the strength to rise above the natural choice to the spiritual one.

What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Christianity. James 4.1-3

We are containers with limited space within. We may fill that space with the things of the world or with the things of the spirit or, as it is for most of us – some proportion of both. Everything that the world of flesh has to offer contains an addictive quality. From the moment that we take our first breath – we are engulfed in an addict’s paradise. It is through this addictive garden that we evolve and it is our susceptibility to addiction – not the choice of drug, which marks the level to which a soul has evolved. Addiction is attachment plain and simple, but it is easier for us to raise ourselves above judgment (in our own eyes) if we limit our focus to what one is addicted to rather than that one is addicted. For one to be addicted to cocaine is bad; yet to be addicted to attention – is ok. It is bad to be addicted to alcohol – but power is ok. We become addicted to food, to comfort, to routine, to family, to nation, to form of worship, to race, to position, to war, to being divided or even to being united, to injustice or even to justice. Addiction is attachment.

All of these things that we attach ourselves to will one day be no more. And the extent of our suffering – the intensity of our hellfire, will equal the intensity of our attachment. We are all born within the garden of our own struggle. The lesson is to love your brother as yourself without condition. There is a story of a man who went up to the greatest Jewish religious leader and asked him to condense the entire teachings of all the sacred Wisdom into one sentence and the Rabbi, without hesitation said, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. There are innumerable gardens in which to grow that flower and we are each born in one of them. Some learn through greed, some through religious hatred some through bigotry, some through the need for power and some as victims of the powerful. You can learn the lesson by the choice you are faced with while riding in a limo passing a poor child in a ghetto, or a homeless man on the street. You can learn the lesson being the poor child or the homeless man. Both roles are means to the same end and neither one is a punishment or a reward. The awareness of the other on both ends engenders an emotional response, which in turn forces a choice. The choice that we make in those moments will feed the soil that we sow and determine what we will ultimately reap.

On earth, our parents threaten the harshest punishments on actions that will cause us the greatest harm. They do this out of love for us. So it would stand to reason that the Source of all Love would place the greatest admonishment on those things that hurt us personally the most. And to Do unto others what we would have others do unto us is wise because what we do to others we really do to ourselves. When we harbor hatred, resentment, or anger towards another we create an energetic umbilical cord between the other and ourselves which flows from soul to soul feeding each with poisonous energy. When we are told to forgive, we are really being told to release ourselves from the flow of that poison; to forgive is only to release.

All that belongs to us or will ever belong to us is what we can take with us. All that we can take with us is what we can carry in our souls. Unconditional Love is spiritual tender. Those emotions that can only exist in the absence of Unconditional Love are spiritual debts. When we act selflessly from our hearts we are making deposits into our spiritual retirement accounts. When we act selfishly without regard for others, we are making withdrawals. The account must be full in order to retire from the suffering of this world. How many lifetimes it takes us to fill that account is up to us. There is no judgment. But to retire from suffering, it must be full.

We are here to learn to cherish that which is ours to pass through, with love and appreciation, that which is not ours and to know the difference. We are happy when we receive, when we acquire, when we are applauded, we are happy when we are loved. Happiness is contingent on an action that is happening and when it is no longer happening, we are no longer happy. But our being is transformed into the most elevated joy when we give and the more difficult the gift is to release the greater the feeling of sacrifice – the greater joy that fills us. Remember that to sacrifice is to make sacred. Feed your own body, you satisfy your body, but feed the body of another who is in need and you satisfy your soul.

3. I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their life. 4. I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; 5. I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit; 6. I made me pools of water, to water there from the forest where trees were reared; 7. I bought men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem; 8. I gathered me also silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 9. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor; and this was my portion from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:3-10

God, Spirit, All-That-Is, placed a certain amount of resources on the earth for all life to share. It is limited, but it is always just enough. Regardless of what we tell ourselves about the greatness of our effort, we cannot earn more than our share, we do not deserve more than our share. And what is our share? It is that which leaves enough for every other person on the planet to have their share. Those of us who have more than we need to live comfortably are hoarding the food, the shelter, and the medication that could save the lives of those who are dying because of their lack. And the blood of those who die because of our greed is on our hands. The difference between life and death for a child in Africa is a few dollars; the difference between a life of poverty and suffering and a life of hope and possibilities is a few dollars. We are not only our brother’s keepers; we are our brothers. We are one body human containing one Spirit immortal, and to tell ourselves that what happens in the Sudan will not effect us, it the same as saying that cancer in the foot, untreated, will never effect the heart.

All children are our children, all lives are our lives, and any life that we are able to save becomes our responsibility to save. To whom much is given, much is expected. It makes no difference what lies we tell ourselves in order to buy our ten thousand dollar bags, and six million dollar homes, a child’s face is embedded in every one of those dollars and a child’s life or death is written into those choices that we make.

Jesus said to [the rich young man], “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will by hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Again 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.” Christianity. Matthew 19.21-24

The depression that sweeps the industrialized nations is the price of our greed. The Bible says that money is the root of all evil, but it is not evil, it is the most addictive of all drugs and so it is the root of the greatest spiritual pain. Money is the key to the material kingdom. Money brings worship, adulation, slaves, all things that feed the ego. Yet, it is not money that is the problem it is the hoarding. The more money one hoards, the emptier one is Spiritually because the energy of material possessions in much denser and weighs down our energy fields leaving little or no room for spiritual joy to permanently root itself within us, not because we make money but because we hoard it for ourselves and do not send it back out to do good works.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:25, 2.

Today the Spiritual force of the Universe has made the world one in which we know children are dying needlessly. The world is small enough for us to know where and when men, women and children are being senselessly slaughtered because of the color of their skin or nature of their beliefs. We know, because this has been deemed the time of revelation, when we are revealed for what we are—and what we are is reflected in what we most value, not what we tell others we most value, and not in what we tell ourselves we most value. In this moment, we can stand strong as healthy wheat, wheat that gives nourishment to all, or as weeds nourishing only ourselves at the expense of others. All that we each deserve is enough to live a healthy loving life. All that we have beyond that is what would give that same quality of life to another. I once worked eighteen hours a day and was paid more than generously for that effort; I had a house in the suburbs and three bathrooms in my New York apartment. At the same time a woman sharecropper in Mississippi worked the same eighteen hours a day and could not afford indoor plumbing. I was not being rewarded for being a better person in this life or any past life, what I was being – was tested. It is time for the harvest.

We must learn and not forget that it does not matter how healthy, wealthy or wise we are, the time and manner of our death is not within our control. How long we will keep whatever we have is also not within our control, all outcomes are beyond our control. Now is the time when we are to be seen clearly, we cannot hide or pretend. The true measure of the man is not how much he has, and it is not how much he gives, but how much he is willing to give of that which he cannot bear the thought of living without.

We are being tested, and more than this, we are being given an opportunity through the suffering in the world to show the power of the light that we have within us. The world has become small enough for us to see the needs of others, small enough that we must make a conscious choice with every penny that we waste on selfish pleasures. We are no longer only responsible for the consequences of our actions but we are responsible for the consequences of our lack of action as well.

The Universe is not something around us, it is the substance of our being. God is not a separate entity; God is the Great Self, the Great Soul of which each of us is a part. God is Love; to live in God’s image is to live in the image of love and to love in the image of God. No one is empty, we are all full, those who are empty of attachment to the world are full of Spirit, and those who are filled with worldly attachments are empty of Spirit. Some are half full of the world and half full of Spirit, each have our own proportion of both and that is our choice.

Do you not feel this time as different than any other? This time is not a test it is a gift. It is a gift to us from Our Source, a chance to wipe out our karma with good works, to purify our souls with unconditional love. To strengthen our faith and show our love of All-That-Is by giving without fear of not having enough left for ourselves, for the enjoyment of the world is empty, but the joy of Love is a cup that constantly runneth over. What are the fires of hell? They are the tests and temptations that we must go through on this earth to burn away our attachment to the material – to mammon. The fires of hell are no more or less than the suffering that we endure living with the desire for what we do not need, the fear of losing or actual loss of what we do not own, and the blindness that keeps us from knowing that having and losing in this world are both illusions and what is of value to our souls is always a part of them.

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity.

Christianity. 2 Corinthians 9.6-11

Instructions For Assembling and Maintaining a Loving Relationship

I was watching a cooking show the other day called, “The Barefoot Contessa”, and Ina, the chef in the show, said that she and her husband were celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary.   She said that they were as happy after forty years of marriage as they were the day that they met.  She said that she didn’t believe in working on a relationship, their recipe for happiness in marriage was simple, she wanted to make him happy and he wanted to make her happy.  Work can make a relationship last, but work is not enjoyable.  So, should it really be work?  No, it really shouldn’t.

Our entire growth experiences as human beings is based upon relationships.  The world in which we live exists through relationship.  It is made up of the relationship of one thing to another, of one state of being to another, of one belief system to another and of one person to another.  We understand up because we understand down, we understand dark because we understand light.  Without the two opposite points, we would not have a path to journey upon.  Every human relationship that we have aids us in discovering ourselves, our needs, and what we need to fulfill our lives.

Each thing in our lives that we pursue, we pursue because we are attracted to it.  We are attracted to a food, to a style of dress, to a path of study, a belief system, a career, a friend and a partner.  With each thing that we are attracted to, we taste, we test out, we try on, we investigate, we study.  We do this with everything except our emotional relationships.  In that one, most important area, we just close our eyes and jump.  I believe that it has a great deal to do with society, our families and our peers convincing us that there is a deadline to meet.  If we are not in a relationship by a certain age, it is too late.  It is like musical chairs, if we are not seated when the music stops – we are out.  We are out in the cold, all alone, left to starve.

There is a painful cellular, or past life memory of the deadly consequences, especially for women, of being alone.  There was a time when it was a death sentence.  But that was then and this is now, at least in the west.  We are wired spiritually, genetically, to be attracted to the path that we are meant to travel.   That is the law of attraction.  We are magnetized to our journeys – to our lessons.  So, an example would be that one is attracted to art, then to painting, then to decorative painting.  Through decorative painting one becomes attracted to interior design, and from interior design one finally arrives at a passion and perfect fit with architecture.  Had that person remained in decorative painting after she was drawn to interior design – she would have been unhappy and unfulfilled.  However, it was decorative painting that not only opened her up and prepared her for interior design, but it was what led her to interior design.  It was also her initial attraction to art, then to painting that began the journey.

Some people come into life to name that tune in one note, others come in to name that tune in ten notes.  Human beings are not standardized, our journeys are not standardized, so we cannot standardize the lives that we live.  Success in life is not measured by how many steps it took to get there, but that we ultimately got there.  This is equally valid in our relationships.  Sometimes it takes more than one relationship to find out who we are, what we need, and what we have to give.  Sometimes what we find out about ourselves in one relationship leads us to another.  I read once, that some people enter our lives for a season, some for a reason, and some for a lifetime.  We will not know which is which based upon when they enter.  We will not know which is which based upon the power of the energy that draws us to them or by the passion that we feel around them.  We will only know by the inner sense of fulfillment, of peace and of completion that we feel because they are in our lives.  Each one of us has our own, individual first and last.  And until we reach the last – we are not meant to know in advance which it is.  So armed with patience and our eyes open, we can move on to what that lifetime relationship requires to be fulfilling.

The first thing that is needed is respect.  However high those pheromones are flying, if we don’t respect the person that we are with, those pheromones are not just going to land, they are going to crash.  It is just not possible to continue to treat someone with respect who we really don’t feel respect for.  And if we do not treat our partner with respect, eventually they are going to leave.

We have to have shared values.  If not initially, we have to be at least open to understanding enough to personally value the values of the other.  There must be common ground.  For example, I am very spiritual, and I have a lot of beliefs that everyone does not share.  The person I am with does not have to share my beliefs, but, he has to share my values.  He has to be caring, compassionate, and value others.  He does not have to be spiritual if his sense of humanity is strong.  Who we are, who we believe ourselves to be rests, for better or for worse on our values.  Our values are what we consider to be valuable – they are a reflection of what our souls have accomplished up to this point.  Regardless of the emotions that we feel for another person if our values clash, our sense of being valued will deteriorate.  So much of what we do, of how we react to life comes from our core values that if we are not compatible at that level, the level of our personal foundations, then the foundation of the relationship is not sound enough to withstand the pressures of everyday life.

We need to have developed, within ourselves, the ability to trust.  This is important because we will always find what we are looking for.  If we are unable to trust, we will find reasons to justify our mistrust.   Once we find or imagine those reasons, we are stuck there and the relationship is neglected.

Those are the ingredients that we need to build the foundation of a good and lasting relationship.  They are not what we need to do.  Each person in a relationship must enter it thinking not of what he or she wants to get out of it, or get from the other person, but what he or she wants to give.  Each partner must want, above all, to make the other partner happy.  It is important that this is not a job.  It is important that it is not work.  If I am going to spend most of my time focused on making my partner happy – that in itself must give me some happiness.  If it is a chore, if it feels too much like a sacrifice, then I should not be in that relationship.  If each partner is focused on the happiness and wellbeing of the other partner – then both partners will be happy.

No one outgrows a relationship with these ingredients.   That is because it grows and expands with the needs of each partner because both partners are concerned about the other’s needs.  Life is hard work; a relationship should make it easier to overcome the hard times in life.  It should never create them.  No two people are always going to agree about everything, but if you are both on the same floor, you will eventually find each other, find a way to come together.  Outside of the bedroom, every issue begins with our values.  When two people come together to form a relationship, each places on the table in front of the other, their dreams, hopes, fears, desires, and most of all, self value.  All of these together represent the love that each seeks to share.  Each one shares this love by entrusting the other with these precious parts of who he or she is.  Unless each partner takes those dreams, hopes, fears, desire, etc. of the other and places it before their own,  both partners end up focused only on themselves.  In doing this, the other’s happiness is neglected.  Each feels unloved, alone, and betrayed.  No one feels loved because no one loved.

When you find two people who, after forty, fifty, sixty years still look at each other with love, reach for the other’s hand you know some important things.  You know first, that each can love.  You know that each can trust.  You know that each can give.  Most of all, you know that it is possible to have that kind of love.  It doesn’t take work, but it does take risk.  It is a risk to give your heart in trust to another person.  It is a risk to put another person’s happiness ahead of your own.  Sometimes it feels like the greatest risk is to walk away when your heart says it is so right, but a voice inside of your head says it is so wrong.  Follow your heart to the door, but make sure that you walk in with both.

Each relationship that we have is as destined to be as any other.  The difference is only the purpose that they serve.   None are mistakes, none are failures.  There is no time frame within which love can be found.  The only schedule that we need to follow is the one within our souls.  We are always on time.

We Must Actually Become The Shining Beacon Of Light, Justice and Hope To Survive The Times Ahead

A nation must be governed by conscience. For what is a nation, is it real estate; is it a land of squatters? No, a nation is people. Everyone in the United States of America is a member of a family whose last name is America. There are no servants in a nation, no servants in a family – each member has equal value, equal rights, and can and should have equal expectation of consideration, education, health care, education, and protection. Those members of the family chosen to head the family are chosen by each individual with the valid expectation that their needs, and their rights will be given no less consideration than those of anyone else. They have a right to believe that the size of the population will not in any way diminish the value of every single member. If a whole neglects its parts it will eventually become defective.

33

Our future survival depends more on this than on any other single factor. Humanity has become marginalized. Human beings have been categorized as collateral damage, acceptable loss, consumers, the list goes on. A nation cannot be great if its people are suffering. A nation is not wealthy if its people are hungry. A nation becomes great when the health, education and well being of its people are its priority. A great nation is not a nation that excels in its ability to arm its forces or wage its wars. A nation is not great because it boasts the largest percentage of billionaires, but because it boasts the lowest percentage of poor.

kids-protest-at-starbucks

The United States becomes less and less united every day, and this is because our leadership lacks a connection with the humanity of the citizens whose rights, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness it is pledged to represent. We send children off to fight a war. It does not matter anymore why we entered the war, it is of no importance whose fault it is anymore. What matters is that we understand the difference between supporting our children, our troops, our family members who are risking their lives at our behest, and supporting the war itself. Our sons and daughters sent over to Iraq face physical and emotional challenges that we do not even understand. They face medical and financial challenges that may last their entire lives. Their families, who also serve by sacrificing their husbands and fathers, also face endless emotional , and financial suffering. Why does this country respond so quickly and decisively when it needs young men to serve in its armed forces, and respond so slowly when those same young men need the country to help rebuild their lives? Why is their duty to serve their country unlimited, and our duty to repay their service so very very limited? What happened to a country for the people?

If we are to support our troops, we must hold the government accountable for how much of our tax dollars go to the continued support of the troops and their families, just as our tax dollars go to the continued support of those who serve in congress, the Supreme Court the white house. To serve the country as a lawmaker is no greater a sacrifice, or gift to the nation than that of serving in its defense. If we do not have enough money to honor and protect those who fight for the country in its armed forces, then we do not have enough money to wage a war. If we do not have enough money to afford them the unlimited access to those things that they need in order to enjoy the rights that they are risking their lives to defend – then we cannot afford to go to war. Our children cannot be cannon fodder. Our service men and woman cannot be considered less valuable, in anyway, because they do not have the ability to raise the capital to fund an election campaign.

images876 2007-09-08-johnjones1 child_burnt

What does it mean, United we stand – divided we fall? Siblings fight, differences arise, it is up to a wise leadership to find a way to unite the divided. In a nation composed of people that requires conscience, and when conscience has been lost so is the ability to lead a people forward. We are divided in so many ways, between rich and poor, between races, between religions, between educated and non-educated, but the most dangerous division of all is the division between the head and the body. We have no need to fear outside enemies when the head has become alien to the body. We can do nothing in that state but fall upon ourselves.

Do Not Underestimate The Power of The People

Denise Gibel-Molini

It seems to me that the message that was sent by the people who voted this new administration into office  is being lost in Washington.  There is an enormous difference between government interference in private business, and the taxpayers need to control the incomes of those who they are paying.  The government does not have its own money – it is our money.  These financial institutions that are in need of help from the people, the taxpayers, of the United States, have no right to put stipulations on the help that they get.  That right is ours and ours alone.

In my opinion, these institutions are holding us hostage.  They are counting on the fact that the country needs money to be available for loans.  Each time that one of these institutions refuses the our help, they are saying, “We hold all of the cards, without us, you will fall – and you won’t let that happen – so stop pretending that you are the ones with the choices.”  We are being held hostage, and I fear that our government will cave.

Those who run these financial institutions believe themselves to be superior to us.  They don’t care about those of us whose lives have been ruined and will continue to be ruined by their unceasing greed.  It appears to me that the Republicans, either still feel they are representing the wealthy, or believe that our collective memory is shorter than theirs.  They don’t remember that on election day, the people spoke out.  And they believe that we don’t remember AIG.

Limiting executive compensation for those firms that borrow from the American people is the least that the government can do for the taxpayers.  It is our hard earned money that is being given to these  greedy institutions.  The institutions that played such a large role in the unemployment of over five million American, and homelessness of millions more.  What are we doing?  At enormous cost to us, to our children, and to our grandchildren we are lending money to institutions – money, that very likely will not be paid back.  This is our money, our blood money, it is not the government’s money.  Why should we not determine how our money is spent?  Why should we be kept in the dark as to how our money is spent?  How can our Representatives, bein of sound mind, call this, ‘government interference in private industry’?  This is the lender (the people) laying out the conditions of the loan.  What lender does not have conditions?  What lender does not have built in recourse when a loan is defaulted on?  Do we?

We need to send a message to all who would seek the help of the people.  The message is, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” I would like to see the government tell these institutions to look elsewhere for the money.  Instead of lending it to the banks in hopes of the banks lending it to the people and to small business, the government should itself, lend the money to the people and to small businesses.  The idea of the borrower stipulating the terms of the loan is, to me,  the same, in this instance, as negotiating with terrorists.  How many Americans have and are literally losing their lives because of the practices of these firms?  How many American children are homeless and hungry because of the greed that this country so seriously suffers from?  Why should we, as a people, as taxpaying citizens of the Unites States of America,  kowtow to the banks?  Are we not greater than them? Perhaps, no one heard us last November when we said that we wanted change, or, perhaps the people in Washington somehow have forgotten whose money we are talking about.  I suppose we will have to speak louder and more clearly on the next election day.

More Than Ever Before We Need To Remember Why We Are Here

SUFFERING AND THE UNKNOWABLE WILL OF GOD

It was taught in the name of Rabbi Akiva: A man should always accustom himself to say, “Whatever God does is for good.” Once, while Rabbi Akiva was traveling, he came to a certain town and looked for lodgings but was everywhere refused. He said, Whatever God does is for good,” and went and spent the night in a field. He had with him a cock, a donkey, and a lamp. A wind came and blew out the candles, a cat came and ate the cock, and a lion came and ate the donkey. He said, “Whatever God does is for good.” The same night some soldiers came and carried off the inhabitants of the town. Rabbi Akiva said to his companions, “Did I not say to say, ‘Whatever God does is for good.

-Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 60b-61a

With all that we are going through in the world today, it is more important than ever that we remember what we are, why we are here, and how our experiences now relate to all of that.   Otherwise, we will get lost in the experience and lose sight of its purpose.  We are souls rooted in God.  We enter the earth round of incarnations to learn unconditional love.  It is a concept that we throw around, but one that few really understand and even fewer live.

Every soul in this dream, at this time, is learning his own lesson; however, that lesson is connected with attachment to the things of the material world.  We talk about the final battle between good and evil.  But there is no battle between good and evil.  The battle that is being waged on earth today is between the spiritual world and the material world.  If we were to assign God to the Spiritual and Satan to the Material, then it is hands down a victory for God, because there is no power on earth that can prevent the fall of all those who held material power, along with all those who have been striving for material power and all those who have served material power.  But it is not that easy.  Losing everything is only the beginning of the journey, just as it had been for Job.

The accumulation of wealth in the material world requires a narrow sight.  Even if we do not consider ourselves to have hardened hearts, we must close our eyes to that which would prevent our focus on the goal of accumulation.  When I was in business, my partner and I began with an equal opportunity to amass wealth.  He was able to close his eyes to the needs of those workers whose efforts were necessary for our success.  I was not able to do that.  He felt that his position was earned by him, and obviously sanctioned by God; it was his right to be wealthy.  I felt that it was the Grace of God that had placed me in that position, and not my right. I felt that it put me in a position where I was more responsible for those who were not in my position, not less.  He became wealthy not by screwing other people, so to speak, but by not seeing them.

I was driving in a car with a friend of mine in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and as we drove from the airport I saw that there was a beautiful view of the ocean to my left, and to my right was the very sad view of extreme poverty.  I asked my friend, as I looked at the broken down shacks to my right, how could they live their lives of affluence while they had to see this poverty every day.  He just turned my head towards the ocean and said, “We look this way”.  This position that we are facing, is one created not only by those who did not care, but also by those who would not see.  The fall that we are facing is rooted in the belief of Cain, that “I am not my brother’s keeper”.

There are so few of us who even love God unconditionally.  We live life in accordance with what we believe to be the will of God in order to gain the reward of such living.  It does not matter if we seek the reward of our faithful deeds on earth or in heaven; the point is that we are acting on condition.  What we do, we do as a means to an end.  In Job, we see a righteous man who we find, after being tested by Satan is perhaps righteous in the Biblical sense but not in the Spiritual sense.  It is clear in the beginning that he is good to those God favors, that he prays and gives the sacrifices required by scriptural law.  It is clear that his actions throughout his life had been without sin.  Yet, as is often the belief, he felt that in some way, the wealth, position, power and respect that he enjoyed was due to his life of righteousness, a reward from God.  In the beginning, he took the loss of everything in stride, understanding that God gives and so God can take away.  But as time went on he became angry, certain that he was a righteous man – holding up his end of the agreement – but God was not holding up God’s end.  He reached one point where he came to the belief that there is no benefit in trying to please God, in living a righteous life.  As Satan told God in the beginning, Job’s love was conditioned on the life that he was given, not from his heart.  Job goes through all of these different scenarios with three of his friends, always ending up in the same place.  Finally, the last person to speak to him is the youngest, waiting till the end because of his lack of age and the apparent learning that goes with it.  This young man speaks of God, not from scriptural reference but from the words that have come into his heart.  He tells Job that it may not be about reward or punishment; it may just be that God is speaking to him, teaching him something through these trials.

We want to believe that we are suffering because of the few greedy people who have robbed us.  That we are suffering because we have been deceived by a corrupt government, but that is only slightly true.  A better way of looking at it is that the system that we have fallen victim to is a system that we ourselves have fought to hold in place because we desire the material wealth that is only possible through a system such as ours.  We yell foul, only because it has broken down before we have had the chance to reach the top.  I say we because this is a Democracy and we have, and have always had the power to change the system, which we have not done because we have wanted our own chance at the golden ring.  Whether we can count ourselves among the haves or the have-nots, we are not separated by greater values but by lesser opportunities.  We need to learn, first and foremost that it doesn’t matter whether or not we profited by the system – we still chose to hold it in place.  The capitalist system, contrary to Democracy, creates mountains where those who can climb, can look down and feel superior to those who cannot.

So as we continue down this road of economic collapse, we are given a chance along the way to find our hearts, to forget about what we have left to lose and consider what we have left to share with those who have nothing left at all.  It will be a long road down, and all along the way we will have this opportunity to rise up and embrace the God within our hearts, perhaps this is the rising in our bodies, while we live to the Spiritual principals that are buried in our hearts.  For those Christians who are waiting for Christ to come and take them up in their bodies, perhaps, Christ is here already, waiting for them to enter their hearts and rise up to Christ’s level of unconditional love, while they are still in their bodies.  The number 144,000 breaks down in numerology to the number 9, which is the number of Universal Love.

More than any time in our recorded history it behooves us to remember that we are souls, and as souls we are learning.  Our Teacher is God and the text is the book of life with all of its stages and all of its experiences.  United, as One, we can have more happiness in our lives than money could ever buy.  We just have to open our hearts and see God, love God, and server God in and through every creature on earth.  In this final battle, the material world has no chance against the Spiritual, we just have to take a side and live it.