Love Him As Thyself

Fear originates in the belief that I am separate from you and from everything else in the world.    Being separate – I am obviously alone, therefore I have reason to fear.  We are programmed to survive.  It is the first instinct that we have.  If I believe that you are separate from me, I then have every reason to fear you, regardless of what you say.  It does not matter whether or not you, today, are intent on my harm, what matter is that you are in a position to cause me harm unless I can control you or protect myself against the possibility, however small, that someday, for some reason, you may feel the need or desire to harm me.  All of this is predicated upon the belief that this reality that I can see, touch, and hear is the ultimate reality.  When I say “I”, I believe that it is as true for me, as it is for each cell in my body.  I am the totality of the consciousness that pervades every atom in my body and so I cannot claim that each cell does not see itself as, as much of an “I”, as I see myself.  So it is easy for me to see a liver cell finding it hard to conceptualize a lung cell as sharing a common “I”.


If we understood that we are all cells in the same body, whether I am a brain cell, a heart cell or a cell in the rectum.  The body requires the use of each cell in order to survive, therefore each cell shares the same I in every way that matters – each cell shares the same “I” in every way that matters to the ultimate survival of the body.  Every cell in my body is not in a me, you, them relationship with each other cell but in an “I” relationship in the only way that really matters.  If the liver goes down, soon the pancreas will follow, then the kidneys, the lungs, the heart and the brain.  One day, we will realize that the health of our bodies and all of the diseases that seem to plague it are closely tied to our sense of separateness that would logically pervade every cell sharing the same body consciousness.

If I was taught from an early age that I am because you are, which is because they are, which is because we are One.  If we were taught to believe that the illusion is our separateness and not our connectedness – we would have not fear of the “other”.  We do not see the air, but we are taught to believe that it is there even if we cannot see it.  Ants, bees and many other insects function as one body – we may say colony but that is only our vision of their reality.  To the ant and the bee, they are only separate in function and contribution but not in being.  Therefore the one is never alone, and the whole is never unguarded.  There is no fear of each other, and together they act upon that which should be feared.  There are places in the world where it is only a matter of minutes before one bee becomes one thousand bees.  One bee may seem threatened, but with those odds, it soon becomes the threat.

The Golden Rule tells us to do unto others as we would have others do unto ourselves.  In Genesis, we are told that, yes, we are our brothers keepers.  In Leviticus 19:33-34 it is said, 33 “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.  34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”Jesus and other spiritual teachers tell us that we are to go further – that we are meant to go further.  Jesus, in Luke 10:25-28 25 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live.” 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? “

30″ And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.   31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.   32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.   33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  34 And went to him , and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.   36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?   37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” To understand what God means by “neighbor” or “brother”, Jesus uses this example which, at the time, would be the equivalent of telling the story to an Israeli and instead of Samaritan – using a member of Hamas.

I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, yet, it has taken me until now to understand the full import of loving my neighbor as myself.  I have heard so many people, Christians, say to me that they live a certain lifestyle while there is such poverty in the world because, “They worked hard for what they have, they earned it.”  Or, they may say that they, “give to the poor” or to charity.  But that is not what Jesus is saying here, it does not say give what is left after you give to yourself. Or, give what is comfortable, after you give to yourself.  It is saying, think of others in the same way as you think of yourself.  Care for others as you would care for yourself, not after but in the same moment, in the same breath with the same love.  It says give to others what you would give to yourself, because you earned it for yourself and for your brother. If we all did this, then no one would be without enough.  This could be called many names, it could be said that I am talking about socialism or even worse, communism – but I am quoting the Bible, I am speaking about religion.  Yet, I am really speaking about the topic I began this with, fear.  Fear is as responsible as greed and selfishness for the mess that we are in.

We fear that we will not have enough to share, yet in truth, if we do not share we will not have enough.  No one rises up with a full belly.  No one steals when his needs are met.  The storehouse is dwindling and if the owners don’t begin to share, the peasants will take it over.  It is a story that is repeated time and time again throughout history.  We must begin to allow ourselves to open to the belief that we are not separate unless we separate ourselves.  We are all connected by the Spirit that runs through the One Body. We are One in reality, we are One in necessity, and we are One in God.  The only way that we will guarantee our own health and survival is to care for the health and survival of the entire Body of which we are all a part.  Here is another of my favorite stories that exemplifies this point.

There is a story told in Kabbalah:

“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 land­scape 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 an­other 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.”

When the storm is over – we will be free

I remember when I was growing up.  Each year my Mother, sister and I would spend one month in Atlantic City.  It was wonderful.  During those summers I made many friends, one was Wanda Wingate.  She lived in Philly.  From the age of about ten, until I finished high school we would write letters to each other every week.  Each week I would sit and tell her all of my highs and lows.  I share all of the intimate details of my life with only her, and she with me.  We exchanged advice, shared each others happiness and tried to support each other through our sadness.   I loved getting her letters, reading them over and over and placing them in a box.  Through her I met my first great love, Jeffrey Goldson.  He was a few years older than I and when he went off to college we would write to each other a few times a week  I loved to stare at how he formed the letters of each word, I loved the scent of the paper because it carried his scent.  The internet is a wonderful place to share, and to learn – but it came at a great cost.  It cost us those letters, those moments of going off to a quiet place to hold those pages and feel the energy of the person who is writing.  I think that our letters intensified my love for him.  And in his box, I could reach in a pull out the letters and feel again that love whenever I needed.

Then I remember so vividly the first book that moved me, it made me fall in love with reading.  I remember the way that it smelled, I remember the way that each page felt against my fingers – I remember this, but I neither remember the title nor the name of the office, just the feel.  There is no e-book that can compare with the feel of a good book in your hands.

Two of my favorite shows when I was young were “Little House On the Prairie” , and “The Waltons”.  The families in those shows had very little.  Life was hard work, but somewhere in that hard work was a sense of quality of life.  All that they had was the love of family and community, and somehow, life seemed to me so much better then.  They were not plagued by depression – even in the depression.  The wealth of each family was their bonds, bonds created out of necessity and lack of distraction.  But their wealth could not be given a price.  I remember when I was in my own business and making more money than I every imagined that I could make.  I would drop ten thousand dollars in a boutique without blinking an eye, but I have never been so unhappy in my life.  I wore the quality of my life on my back – Escada, Ralph Lauren  my gold rolex, my Fendi purse, wallet and cigarette case.  My life had no other value.  I know now that the ability to feel joy and happiness are what we pay for those things.  The more I bought, the more my soul was being drained out of me.  I did not know it.  A junkie first gets high to feel a little rush, to be taken out of himself for a short time.  This is the same thing that happens when we find ourselves with money.  We buy things that we could not have bought before just to be taken out of the self that we once were.  What we don’t realize is that whether the addiction is to a drug, alcohol, food, or money – we are not taken out of ourselves, instead, our self, is taken out of us.  We don’t realize this, until we kick the habit by choice or by force.  Then we find that ‘living’  feels so much better than anything that we could buy or steal to make us feel like we are living.  If one is born poor, he always looking through windows at the people who have everything.  That experience makes them feel that they are not whole.  So it is their journey to strive to have those things in order to see that nothing in the material world can increase us, to the contrary, it decreases us.  Then there are those who are born with money and the status that it brings.  They do what they have to do because they are raised to feel that who they are is about what they have and how they appear.  Only by losing or giving up what they have, can they learn who they are.

There are two cycles of wealth and both are natural as the cycles of day and night and as much a part of our journey.  These cycles occur to the individual soul as well as to the collective.  There is the cycle of material wealth, where it is our path to gain materially at the cost of the spirit.  This is followed by the cycle of spiritual growth, where it is our path to gain spiritually at the expense of the material.  These are set by God, and we can no more change, extend or redirect them anymore than we can the rotation of the earth around the Sun or the moon around the earth.  We can change these no more than we can change day to night and night to day.  There are many minor cycles within each great cycle, but it is the great cycle that rules through it all.  If you are on the spiritual cycle individually, you may win the lottery – then lose all of the money.  If you are on the material cycle, individually, you may be down to your last dime and come up with an idea that brings you material wealth for the rest of your life.  As a whole, we are so deeply engulfed by our addiction to the things that we don’t need, that we can’t see how life could be better  or even tolerable without them.  We have become enslaved by our material addiction collectively, that we fear losing our chains.  In the Rider Waite Tarot deck the Devil Card has a man and a woman chained to the Devil.

devil

The important thing about this image is that the two people chained to the Devil have their hands free and the chains around their necks are more than loose enough to be slipped right off.  The Devil represents money, power, status, all of those things that are our addictions in the material world.  It seems that the Devil has possessed these people, but in fact, they can leave at any time.  They have taken on the horns of the devil because they have become that which they have coveted.  This is the material part of the cycle.  The Major Arcana, or first 22 cards of the Tarot deck depict the “hero’s” journey from fool to wisdom.  We have been the fulfillment of this card.  But we are entering a Spiritual Cycle.  So, since we will not voluntarily remove the chains, we must be shaken at the roots, we must lose what we have allowed to posess us in order to be free, and so, the card that follows the Devil is the Tower.

tarot_tower

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  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

We must join hands, join resources, and realize that it is not what we have that creates happiness it is what we share.  That is what we will be left with when all is done.  We will have all that we need to live.  Above that we will have the spiritual wealth that is priceless.  We will lose much to gain much more.  We cannot recover we must recreate.  And as hard as it is for many of us to believe, it is in the plan that we will.  We are being shaken from the Devil by the Tower.  But once we have lost all that stands between us and each other, between us and compassion, and between us and God, we become wealthier than we could ever dream because our wealth will flow from an unlimited Source.  It will be spiritual and we will re-birth our humanity – the card in the deck which follows this, tells this story, it is The Star

star

After the tower of all that is false and illusion has crumbled to the ground, we are left with abundance of all that is real and eternal.  The world as we know it is ending, its cycle is over.  The Star represents abundance, a bright future – and most importantly it is a future that one of freedom.  True freedom is owning nothing and being owned by nothing, but being a part of everything.

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Today The World Changed – the inauguration of Barack Obama

The following poem is dedicated to three men who are not here to read it, but were it not for them, I would not be the person that I am today writing it.

It is dedicated to my father Aguinaldo, my brother Alfonso, and my surrogate father Al Wallach.  These three men refused to yield to what they believed to be injustice.  They instilled in me the deep conviction, that if we try to hide from injustice, if we tolerate injustice, or even if we ignore injustice, we are destroying any hope that in this world, there will ever be justice.  They were not here to witness this day – but I think that they planned it that way so that they would have the best seats in Heaven.

Today the World Changed

I did not receive a release of my debts

But still, a debt was paid this day to a people,

To my people

Today the world changed

For one moment

Those men who sat for days to build a foundation

Upon which a more perfect union could be built

And those slaves who gave their blood, sweat and tears

To lay the bricks and mortar that would secure that foundation

And the Red man, from whom all of this was taken

Rose in silent witness

All of those souls – joining hand, and heart

Standing side by side cried tears of Joy

For the resurrection of the Spirit of America

Today the world changed

Not with a bang – but with a whisper

A whisper that resounded throughout the world

And into the Heavens

The sky did not fall

Only that impenetrable ceiling upon which, the words,

“You may rise no further, this club is for “White Men Only”

Came tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.

Today the world changed

The last unyielding, inhumane, bloody chains of oppression gave way,

The spirits of my Hebrew ancestors who escaped Egypt

And had cried that they could not be really free until all mankind was free

Stand, arm in arm with the spirits of all of the slaves that toiled to build this country as the they had once toiled to build the pyramids,

Together their tears of joy rain down on us,

For they are all finally free, and the yokes of slavery and fear

Are removed from their generation

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Today the world changed

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Millions gathered ,of all ages, races, religions, genders, gay and straight, from all nations and all political ideologies

And above this multitude of men, women and children

Unnoticed, inconspicuous

Flloated  a multitude of Angelic Beings

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All huddled together to bear witness to

the New World of Man,

the resurrection of Hope,

the resurrection of faith,

And the resurrection of Divine Love,

Today the world changed

The President of the most Powerful Nation in the world,

Was  raised up by the hands of the thousands of slaves who laid

The path that he walked , who built the stairs that he climbed,

And with pride and overflowing hearts they placed him in the highest seat.

They were able to work through the pain, the blood, and the exhaustion without giving up,

Without laying down to die,

Fueled and Driven by the faith that

One day, if they built it -

He would come

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and complete the circle.


Today the world change

Never again can a teacher tell a little black, Hispanic, or native American child,

“You cannot reach for that goal, why even try, just wash dishes, clean houses

Get those foolish notions out of your head”

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Never again, can a teen on the corner selling drugs to other teens

be able to say,

“The White man condemned me to this life, it is not my fault”

Never Again will the Black, Latino or Asian child be able to say that there is nothing more to aspire to

because they are Black, Latino, Chicano, or Asian

except to die in a gang.

Because – this day, if we look to our left, and we look to our right, there

Is the White man -

He is not in front -

He is not in control,

He is one of us – Today, the united States of America had declared this from here on,

Open seating


Today the world changed

No more can a boy or girl, living in a blighted ghetto or an arid dying suburb say,

“I cannot become whatever I want”

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No one can ever, from this day forward say, I can’t.

No excuses left – no justifications left,

There is no greater or more meaningful role-model

Than the President Of The United States.

Today life’s struggles are still overwhelming us,

The tunnel which now darkly surrounds us

Has become neither shorter, nor easier,

And for so many of us – the light at the end of that tunnel,

Has grown no brighter.

Today the roof of my house shelters my family,

Tomorrow, it may be the roof of our car,

But if I have to struggle through the challenges of each day

This is the world that I want to struggle in.

Today the world changed

The dark and spiritless landscape that I stared out at yesterday

Has become a garden with the just  the tiniest buds of hope, of possibility, and of Light.

Whatever lies ahead for me, I have lived the best of my life.

My greatest fear was that my children would not have the chance to know

what the best might be.

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And I know that the best that lies before my children will be much different than mine -

For mine was not real, it was made of glittering dust and ashes of the material world -

like a star we see far off in the distance of the night sky – so beautiful, yet

As soon as we see it, it is dead -

As soon as we obtain that far off material goal – it too is dead,

Ashes to ashes – dust to dust -we search for the next one.

Today the world has changed

The world of my children will not glitter,

It will radiate.

They will remember what being drunk with the world destroyed,

And so they will seek joy – and not intoxication.

History will record that this date ushered in a New Age

This is a great man,

but a great man cannot climb great heights alone

A great man can only accomplish great things by standing on

the shoulders of ordinary men and women,

Today the world changed

It changed because of white, black yellow and red, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Sufi, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindi, Mormon, Atheist,, Agnostic, and all other faiths -

men and women, gay and straight,

and the littlest of children,

the tiniest of Angels,

all raised him up, with their voices, and their prayers

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pledged their toil, their struggles, their nickels, their dimes, their hopes and their dreams.

Because although this man is great

equally great are the people, the nation and  the world that would not let him down.

Today the world changed

Because one man claimed his place in history,

and showed us that we must claim our voices,

We must shout from the rooftops until we are heard,

And never, never be silent again.

He reminded us, and the world that this is our country -

and in the greatest sense – it is the country of the world -

there is no nation that does not have its own seeds planted in this garden.

And Today the World Is Proud to Be An American

And I am proud to have my country back

Today the world changed

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I have my Statue of Liberty back,

This Lady was given to us as a reminder of who we are,

and why we are,

As clearly etched eternally on her foundation:

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I have taken my faith back,

Knowing in my heart and soul that this moment has sealed it

forever.

Whatever happens, for better or for worse cannot erase,

cannot tarnish,

cannot touch in any way the undeniable fact,

That Today Happened

And it happened to every man woman and child in the world,

And with that faith – I have a reason to go on.

Today the world changed

The Last Great door opened wide today

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The Last “Whites Only” sign

Has come down,

And with it, the last excuse for not trying,

or forever yielding the fight Before it’s begun

The White Man has not surrendered -

better than this,

He has realized that we are all in it together

And to stand, we must stand together

Today the world changed

All because one man, foolhardy enough to think that he could,

Promised millions of people around the world, that,Yes We Can,”

obama-yes-we-can2

And yes, together we did,

Today The World Changed

This is for every little child of every race, religion, and national origin,

you can dream even bigger,  reach for that far off star

even farther,

And for every man or woman who sees -Nothing

Whose lost -Everything,

You!  Find that dream, dust it off,

And dream it like you’ve never dreamed before,

Search for that star

You long ago lost track of,

And MOVE!

RUN!

REACH !

Everything is possible so long as we

Can hold our dreams

and keep our eyes on our stars,

T oday the world changed

Today, with brown hand placed on the Bible, this man said, “I accept”

swearing-in


And we heard his heart say to us,

I accept your trust, I accept your faith,

I accept your dreams and your hopes.

I accept your need to believe

and I will honor them,

and I will honor you

with every breath in every day.

Today the world changed

On this cold, clouded winter afternoon

We were warmed, united in sacred ceremony

That at last

Meant something

in a place within each of us that we no longer dared go,

Under a common shining light

As One Nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice For All

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It matters not what tomorrow brings -

whatever it brings will pass

Only this moment will shine forever

Through whatever darkness lies ahead

It will shine

It will shine until the last hungry child is fed,

It will shine until the last sick child is healed,

And it will shine until the last guns have been beaten into plowshares,

And until the missiles have been beaten into pruning hooks:

and nation no longer lifts up a sword against nation,

And  neither shall we learn war any more.

Today, The world changed

And nothing again as long as we live will ever be deemed, impossible.

It Is Time For Us To Embody the World That We Envision

“Look at yourself, Look at what you are and measure it against what you imagine you are and what your conscience tells you, you must be. Be shocked, America! Be stunned, be overwhelmed by what you see, and feel at the center of your being the purifying fire of remorse.”  Frederick Douglass

This is a small world.  And perhaps it is the shrinking of the world that will ultimately bring us the era of peace that has been prophesied; it is, after all, this small world which has brought us to the entrance of war.

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?”

Frederick Douglass

You see, this shrinking world, has dragged the poor, the slaves, and the under privileged into the ‘grand illuminated temple of  ‘liberty’, a temple into which they may only enter carrying a tray of food to serve, a broom to sweep, a new brick to lay, or through the medium of television.   While the wealthy are spared constant images of poverty flashing into their homes over the airwaves -the poor are not afforded the same courtesy.  The wealthy have claimed ownership of the world’s resources.  Lush fruit trees grow in the back yards of the poor but they may only labor in the fields collecting the harvest, they may not eat of it.  The poor go hungry and children die of starvation even in the wealthiest country in the world.

The ability to communicate and to see what goes on in every country affords the oppressed a view of lives which they would not have otherwise known, and it is through those images of wealth that the poor are faced with the clear reflection of their own poverty.  The world is overburdened by mans inequity and mans psyche is overburdened with pain.  People see that there are opportunities they do not share, and yet, those opportunities are advertised as basic human rights.  They see that all they need to advance in life is a good education, but they will almost never be afforded that education.

Now, the technological advances that have turned an entire planet into a neighborhood where to wealthy unknowingly parade their wealth before their neighbors who have nothing.  Every revolution on the planet has been seeded by this.  I have heard many people who had grown up poor, before the world became so small, say that they did not feel poor or feel badly about being poor because everyone else was in the same position. It is when the poor must endure not only their suffering but the constant exposure to those who are greedy and wasteful that the poor, feeling a loss of value, rebel against those who hoard the wealth.  Without a sense of self-worth, without a sense of value, man finds little left to live for and often is vulnerable or unconsciously seeks out a cause to die for that in some way will give value to their having lived.

We live in a world of uncomfortable neighbors who, were it not for technology, would not be so forced into acknowledging the circumstance of the other. Along with creating animosity that had not existed before, between nations and people who really would not have known each other in such intimate terms, it has also created a way to kill each other with a minimum of effort and a maximum of emotional detachment.  Yet, there is something else, something much more important that the shrinking world has made manifest.  It has forced mankind to come face to face with its own hypocrisy.  This hypocrisy is no less evident in a country whose Declaration of Independence states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This country can state this in its declaration of independence while at the same time supporting slavery and the annihilation of its native peoples.   In an industrialized and technologically advanced world it is necessary to have a workforce that is at least minimally educated.  Because of this necessity, those who once suffered oppression without the education which would awaken their awareness of being oppressed, are now informed of the inequity in which they exist.

The ignorance which once shielded the division of classes is being technologically erased and so society can no longer sustain the division.  We live in the information age, the age of knowledge and knowledge breeds discontent.  What you know can hurt everyone.  Without ignorance, the hypocrisy of inequality is exposed.  Without knowledge, those with vision can only dream, but, with knowledge, those with vision can and do change the world.  Ignorance veils the truth, but once exposed, the truth does set us free.

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is an inevitable truth that whatever we use to selfishly build ourselves up, will one day be used to tear us down.  At whatever moment we make the choice to use any of God’s gifts to advance one over another, we have secured the weapon of our own demise.  What goes around comes around, what is sent out will return.   The technology that the few have used to covet the resources of the earth that belong to all, is that same technology that is exposing this misuse and forcing mankind to look at what we are, as Frederick Douglass said, and measure it against what we imagine ourselves to be.

Technology has made secrets more difficult to keep and it will slowly but surely make abuses more difficult to profit from.  Those who we have elected to govern us have used our trust to place themselves in positions that transform them from representatives of the people to representatives of only themselves.  Ours has declined into a government that represents the interests of those who govern and not those who are governed. If our representatives in congress voted for the people to have the same health insurance and pensions that they themselves enjoy, we would have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  At present, in the United States, we have a government of those in power, by those in power and for those in power.   In the coming lean years, it will be advisable to remember the next paragraph of the Declaration of Independence which states:

“That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security-Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.”

It is foolish to underestimate history.  We study history so that we do not repeat it.  And yet, repeating it is all that we ever do – new set same play.  When will we come to the understanding that we own nothing, we are entitled to nothing above that which every other human being on the planet is entitled.  We are permitted the use of the earth’s resources so long as we understand and accept the responsibility of that use. When resources are limited they must be equally shared.  History has shown us over thousands of years of wars, revolutions, and natural disasters that what we do not share will inevitably be taken away.

When AIDS was used to judge the lifestyles of homosexuals, it was loosed upon those who judged.  We are waiting for Judgment Day, unable to see that it has been here for many years.  The world looks more and more like a comic in the New Yorker magazine depicting Big fat pigs with cigars stepping on little ant sized people.  Those who are the guiltiest of the injustices greed are distorting religion, particularly Christianity to justify their actions.  Greed today, calls itself Capitalism, but it is what it is regardless of what we choose to name it.  It is the worship of mammon, and we can’t dress it up to be anything else, God sees what it does to the little people and calls it what it is.  How can anyone call themselves Christians and not live as Jesus Christ lived?  During his 40 days in the wilderness he was given a test.  It is a test we are all given, particularly in the country. He could have had mansions and servants traveling the world in luxury but that was not the wealth that he chose, who could choose that wealth today and call themselves a Christian, maybe a Christian wanabe in some lifetime, but not a Christian.  The basic tenet upon which almost every religion is built is that we are to love our brothers as ourselves, do unto other as we would have others do unto us. I have to believe that only by losing everything will those who hoard everything ever learn.  That they do not see what they are doing because if they saw, they might change only to save what they have and not learn the lesson of giving.

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.” .”  Isaiah 6:9-10

Many individuals on earth who share the dream of One World are joining together to reach out and aid those who are still in the dark.  We are learning that our survival is intricately connected with the survival of everyone else on the planet because they are our neighbors, we are no longer a world-we are a neighborhood.  One person cannot have a net worth of several billion dollars, while millions of children around the world starve to death.  The world is now a neighborhood and those children are our neighbors’ children.  If we do not protect our neighbors’ children, eventually it will be our children who need protecting, and we will be alone.

“A certain heathen came to Shammai and said to him, “Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Thereupon he repulsed him with the rod which was in his hand. When he went to Hillel, he said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn.”  Judaism. Talmud, Shabbat 31a

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  Albert Einstein

Accepting Responsibility for our Lives

To be responsible is not simply to accept burdens, more than anything else it is to accept power. We are the actors in the play that is our lives – we are at all times spiritually responsible for our actions in that play. However, until that spiritual responsibility becomes emotional and material within our lives we will be destined to enact the same play over and over again with nothing changing but the period wardrobe and props.

When I was a child my father taught me how to play Gin Rummy. We would play for hours and most of the time that we played I would win. One day I was feeling very full of myself as a great card shark and I decided to play for money. My father tried to talk me out of it, but I insisted. I bet my entire allowance and in about five minutes my father won. Now the game was over and he had won and I believed that he should give me my money back. My father refused. I cried, I begged, I sulked, I even tried to borrow the exact amount, but he absolutely refused. I could not believe that my father could actually love me and not give me back my money. I decided that he did not really love me. I believed that if he loved me he would give me anything that I wanted. This was what I really felt. It took a long time for me to understand that my fathers’ love had nothing to do with my responsibility for my own actions.

After many months, perhaps even years, I finally understood what he had given to me. I could never again act in any way or say any words that I was not prepared to be responsible for the outcome of. I realized that my father would never make idol threats, if I wanted to do something that I should not, he would tell me the punishment that I would receive if I did it. He was no longer attached to my choice, and when I ultimately did what I wanted to do anyway, he was not attached to the punishment. I am now grateful for this lesson. The one good thing about this lesson is that it is never too late to learn, and never too late to teach to your children. It only takes one time, which was all it took for me. I may have pushed the envelope many times after that, but the difference was that I was responsible and prepared for whatever the outcome. I was in my power.

I suppose that when our belief in reincarnation was taken away from us, so too was the possibility of ever really being right – so we went for the next best thing which was appearing to be right. Of course if we could do neither, we had to place the responsibility for our being wrong on someone else – blame – so that we could escape whatever repercussions we envisioned. The concept of reincarnation has always felt right to me. I always knew that God was Love, and it just made sense to me that placing us in the darkness and giving us only one chance to find the right light – without a manual was not a loving act. To me, it was like taking your child and putting her out at night having this discourse:

Parent: Go find it and you can’t come home until you do – and if you don’t you will be lost forever.

Child: Find what?

Parent: Figure it out.

Child: Which direction do I go?

Parent: Look in the Book.

Child: Which Book – there are so many?

Parent: Figure it out!

Then having the parent close the door on the child. So, reincarnation made sense to me. As someone who has practiced Astrology for many years, I have looked to the chart for past life content. But a chart may be easily verified in this life, but when referring to past lives it is really theoretical. However, since I started doing past life regressions, I find that the chart does give very accurate information as to the issues we need to take responsibility for in our lives that we have failed to do the same in past lives. I see people repeating the same theme over and over again. In the sixteenth century the theme may have been “Romeo and Juliet”, while in the twentieth century it may have been “West Side Story”. Over and over again I see people making the same ultimate choices, life after life, suffering the same consequences only with a slightly different story line. My father put the responsibility for my actions in my lap. I am still growing into that lesson, it is still a work in progress, but at least there is progress. I thought that my choices were pre-determined. I now realize that they are not pre-determined but they are hardwired into my make-up, because they are the choices that keep my ego where it is the most comfortable – on familiar ground. I love the saying, “Better the hell you know than the hell you don’t”. That is straight from the ego’s mouth. When we take responsibility, full responsibility – “The buck stops here” kind of responsibility, we will very likely end up in unfamiliar territory. I know how to function in a bad relationship, but do I really know how to function in a good one? Even happy is scary if happy is unknown. I always go left, maybe I should go right. I always wait, maybe I should act. I always go for the one who needs love, maybe I should go for the one who has it.

We choose the lessons we will learn. We have to accept responsibility for the choices we made before we came here as well as the choices that we make while we are here. We did not choose to suffer; we chose to learn we chose the areas of growth we would work on in this lifetime. This was how we determined our moment of birth<!–[if supportFields]> XE “birth” < ![endif]–>; we chose that moment so the energies of the planets would create the right atmosphere for the growth we came in to achieve.

Taking responsibility automatically puts us in the present. It puts us in a situation in which we have choices to make. As soon as we acknowledge that we have choices, we will realize that we have power. Finding someone or something to blame for our situation relieves us of the responsibility of changing it. It also prevents it from changing. Even if we blame ourselves, we tend to blame something that we label as an inadequacy rather than our own action or inaction, which we can do something about. I will not permit my children to say, “I can’t”, they have to say, “I won’t”, “I can’t” is a great deal more comfortable than, “I won’t”, “I won’t” implies responsibility.

Some people prefer to be miserable; they prefer to be victims. These people are constantly seeking and rejecting answers. Everything that goes wrong in their lives is the responsibility of someone or something other than themselves, and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise. This is a pattern built up over lifetimes.

The wrong people find them; they don’t find the wrong people. They remember the harsh things said to them but not what they might have said to provoke harsh words from others. If they are ever wrong, it is because they were provoked, tricked, or in some way forced to do whatever they were being held responsible for doing wrong.

If there is any good in their lives they find someone to compare it with who has it better. They do not compromise, because if it is all or nothing there is a much better chance of getting nothing. These same people tend to be luckier than most, they tend to be taken care of although they don’t notice it. These people probably live the most tortured lives because they have to keep validating the external source of their misery. The catch is that when we are not responsible we are not in our power, we hand over our power to those people or circumstances that we consider to be responsible. We are not blocked from having a wonderful life, we miss the chances life presents to do so because we are so deeply engrossed in our need to elude responsibility. “I won’t call her because she hasn’t called me”, “I won’t show love because it is never appreciated”, “I won’t try because I always lose”. Even when we blame ourselves, we say, “I am not tall enough, smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough…” We blame an attribute or lack of an attribute; we don’t take responsibility for an action or lack of action, a choice made or refusal to make a choice. We do not take responsibility, as beings.

This is all perception. If you perceive yourself as not responsible, as helpless then the positive side is that you are off of the hook, you didn’t make a mistake, fail, etc., the negative side is you are helpless, a victim of an unsafe world.

Lets look at an example, say that you have a good job, you have never been late, and have never been sick. One day you walk into the office and the boss’s lover is sitting at your desk and you’re out of a job. Well that is a classic case of victimization if ever one existed right? Perhaps, it really depends on ones perspective. This could be an example of how nothing you do works out, so it is a good reason to go get drunk, or lock yourself in your room. You can add this to the list of wrongs done to you. Or you could tell yourself that you’re lucky that you got away from a losing situation. Perhaps you might perceive it as a sign from the Universe to go on your own, or that it is just a sign to move on.

Most people are afraid of responsibility because they fear being responsible for the outcome of our actions. However, taking responsibility for the outcome is unrealistic. When we take responsible for a child or a valuable piece of jewelry or anything left in our keeping this is in a moment. It is not something that we do twenty-four hours a day. However when we accept responsibility for our actions we are taking responsibility for everything except the outcome and we are taking that responsibility in every moment that we are alive. It is being responsible for each thought, each movement and each word that we say. We cannot control the outcome of anything. I may drink and drive and have an accident or not. I am responsible for having been drinking. I am neither responsible for the fact that I had an accident nor am I responsible if I did not have one. To be responsible is to be present and aware in each action that we take in each thought that we have. This is to be in each now of our lives.

There is a part of our brain that works automatically. It regulates our body, it breathes, it pumps blood to our organs it does not take our presence or our awareness in order to function.

When we are toddlers and we begin to walk we are present. Each step is an effort it takes mindfulness. After we walk long enough it becomes automatic. I watched my son focus and strain while he tries to put his socks on. Eventually he didn’t even notice that he was doing it, because it became automatic. Even when we drive to a certain destination enough times it too becomes automatic, as though the car just knows where to turn.

How often do we bump into a piece of furniture and say, “excuse me”? When our living, becomes automatic we cannot be responsible, we are sleep walking. We are not present. Many times the loss of passion in our relationships and even the loss of growth in our relationships emerges simply out of our having sent the functioning of the relationship to automatic. Where once we experienced each word and movement of our lover and were present within the relationship now the relationship becomes automatic. The relationship becomes part of our unseen unfelt automatic world. So we cannot find where we went wrong because we were not really there. We need to relegate the functioning of our bodies to the automatic brain and the functioning of our lives to our active selves.

When we meditate we are taught to focus on our breathing because that connects us with the present. That connection is the key. When we are connected with our present, with our actions we can then assume responsibility for our lives. When we are truly responsible we are again empowered and in control. It may take work and time to disengage our lives from automatic. It will certainly take walking through our own fears. Yet once this is done we are finally connected with our lives, our loves, our souls and our God. When we are awake we can hear sounds that the sleeping cannot hear and feel things that the numb cannot feel.

When we are awake and responsible nothing gets past us or slips through the cracks. When we say something it has value because it is not just an automatic response. When we are awake we awaken those around us, merely by our presence. Our lives do not just happen; we don’t wonder where the day went. We are aware that we have lived it. Each moment is fuller because we are aware of all the wonders within it. In a relationship we feel all the things that we felt in the beginning because each moment is a beginning when we are alive. Life becomes awe inspiring because we are in it. We feel empowered in the knowledge that we are responsible for how we have lived our lives.

Surviving a Crisis

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
Aristotle.

My son has a close friend TJ. I had noticed his father at different school functions. Jerry was blind and had one leg. His attitude was so completely at peace with his situation that I thought he must have spent most of his life this way. After all, how could anyone seem so happy unless he had had a lifetime to adjust to such tragic circumstances?

I learned that it had only happened a year and a half before. I was shocked that such relatively little time had passed and that everything was so normal. This caused me to look back over my life and the many crises and tragedies I myself have had to face and I found that the only thing I had to regret was the length of time I spent on self-pity. Regardless of what we go through, eventually, we must face that moment when it becomes necessary to evaluate the living of our lives and not our lives themselves. You see, we have no control over what happens to us, but we do have control over how we react, and how we react could possibly determine the quality of the rest of our lives. Although it may seem difficult to control a reaction, reaction is a function of the lower mind. It is a habit. I had my hair pulled when I was a child so as I grew, anytime someone reached their hand in a way that appeared, to me, to be coming towards my head, I would flinch and pull back. Once I became conscious of this reaction, I began to do it less and less, first intentionally, and later not reacting became a habit. It took time to build up our reactions and it will take time to change them, but they can be changed.

We are each being faced, right now, with some form of personal crisis, within a national crisis within a world crisis. At this time, as perhaps at no other, it would be difficult to find one individual on the planet who is not at this time dealing with a crisis. We, in this country, are dealing with the effects of the Iraq War, the destruction caused by the climate changes, and our evaporating economy, while at the same time every individual is dealing with some form of personal, political, financial, racial or religious crisis. So, it helps to know that we are not suffering alone but have actually joined the suffering of mankind.

Putting it in this perspective, we must rise above our personal situations and understand that this is a time of change in the universe. There have been unprecedented increases in the sunspot activity in recent months. The atmospheres of various planets including our own have been going through drastic changes. We have just entered a new millennium, but with all things being synchronistic, we can say that the entire universe is also entering a new era.

For change to occur there must first be a period of breakdown; logically, there cannot be a breakdown without chaos and crisis. That which is not built to move to the next level must be transformed. The beginning of the last millennium was dominated by the advent of Christianity. The first years of breakdown and realignment of previously held beliefs were difficult years. They were not easy years in which to be incarnated, yet many souls chose them for their growth.

I read a book, “Life before Life<!–[if supportFields]> XE “Life before Life” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>“, by Helen Wambach which is now out of print, in which she, during the course of a few years, regressed over one thousand people from all over the country, to the time before they were born. She asked each person to find out the answers to a list of questions, one of which was why they chose this time to be here. The overwhelming reason was that this is a time of so much change and chaos on one hand, and so much available spiritual knowledge on the other, that it offers each soul the rare opportunity in which to fit many lifetimes worth of growth.

When life doesn’t work the way that, we planned or hoped it would, we can’t sit around until we rot; feeling miserable because we were given lemons. We just have to make lemonade. Sure, it is never easy, but the history of the world and the history of our own lives tell us that this too shall pass. And when it does, it is important that we have not wasted this valuable time in self-pity. When God closes one door, He opens another. It may be a struggle at first to face a new door, but it is worth the effort. For every pain, and every heartache there is a seed of equivalent benefit. If we take this as an opportunity to move to the next level, we will find that many of us are being given an opportunity to recreate our lives in a way that we never before believed possible. For so many years now I have been living under an cloud of debt. In the past few years I have felt like the commercial where a couple want to move their house is hovering over their heads. It has been a constant panic, will we lose the house, the cars, and the insurance – or even, will we eat. I constantly fear that I will exhaust my reserves of faith if this goes on much longer. Then, as irony would have it, Easter Sunday my husband walked outside to find that both of our cars had been repossessed. I was initially distraught, I felt violated, lost, and how could we work without transportation? I just felt that this was the domino that would knock the whole building of dominos down. And it could have, no car – no work – no money – no home. But, a funny thing happened after the shock wore off – I felt just them most exhilarating sense of relief knowing two more payments that we could not afford to make were no longer hovering over our heads.

Just a few years before this, I was in the same position only this time I was renting and six months behind in my rent. I had this moment – you know – a movie moment when everything stops in mid-action, and I said to myself, ‘I have done all that I can do, I have tried everything that I can try, if we lose everything and end up in a shelter – it will be God’s will, and we will all learn what we arrived at this experience to learn and climb up from there.’ In that moment there was an energy shift in my life. A crisis can last ten years, or it can last ten minutes. It lasts as long as we remain in crisis mode and ends when we enter acceptance that what is – is, and move on to plan b – or at least to formulating a plan be. Anything that we do, that is not wallowing in the approaching trauma or existing trauma will shift the energy. I shifts from what was or will be lost – to what was or will be gained. Acceptance is the train out of suffering. It is the open door that allows new air to come in. Above all, acceptance allows us to realize that we are in good hands – always. And nothing happens that we did not choose before we came – and for the highest of reasons.

I asked for…
I asked for strength…. and was given difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom…. and was given problems to solve. I asked for prosperity… and was given brain and brawn to work. I asked for courage… and was given danger to overcome. I asked for love… and was given troubled people to help. I asked for favors… and was given opportunities. I received nothing I wanted… I received everything I needed.
From “The Analects of Confucius” – a philosophical translation, by Roger Ames and Henry Rosemont