Living The Good Life Is Not Good In A Starving World

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I remember walking down the street in my fur coat a few years back and having someone ask me if I knew how many minks died for my fur. I stopped wearing fur. I stopped because I did not need it, it was a luxury, it was a sign that I had made it – it was ego food. I understood the question. Now, with the world so small, and the suffering so great – so unavoidable – I wonder if we should not feel the same sense of responsibility that we feel for helpless animals, for helpless humans.

There was a time when your choices were beautiful sparkling diamonds or dull glass. It made some sense, if even in a superficial way, to want a diamond. But today, there are faux diamonds that cost a fraction of the cost and sparkle with equal brilliance – so one has to ask oneself why buy the diamond? What is it’s value in our world today? What if you have a ten thousand dollar diamond, trade it in for a one thousand dollar cubic zirconium and give the nine thousand dollars that you have left to buy mosquito nets for children in Africa? Then your diamond would have value., it would show much more than what you can afford to have, it would show what you are willing to give. Wouldn’t it be cool, rather than wearing a five thousand dollar blouse that says you are filthy rich, wearing a five-dollar tee shirt that says, “The money I planned to spend on a blouse is feeding a village in India”. How cool would you be?

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Bling says to the world, “I am wearing this because I can afford it and I have nothing better to do with it than waste it on show”. Yes, it just does. No one can watch the homeless and displaced, the diseased and dying in this country and around the world and then spend thousands of dollars on things, which announce, “It’s about me”. Not today. Today we don’t need to spend thousands, millions of dollars on precious gems in order to sparkle. We can spend a fraction of that on semi-precious gems, give the rest to those in desperate need and not only sparkle from the gems, but glow from the heart. I believe that today it would be much more satisfying to wear something that doesn’t say “I have made it because I can afford to drip in diamonds” but something that says, “I have made it because I can afford to feed a village”. The oohs and ahhs are much greater today and much more long lasting when you show what you give rather than what you wear.

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If our success in a profession is measured by the amount of money that we are paid, that is ok, if we understand that our true worth is measured by what we give. The point is that there is no need for bling today, it doesn’t look better than faux bling, but trading that bling in for heart does look better. We cannot outlaw bling anymore than we can outlaw fur, but it would be nice to ask someone dripping in bling, “How many children’s bellies could be filled by those earrings?” “How many villages could be educated against AIDS with that ring?” And perhaps, while we are at it, we should ask ourselves how much does it cost to make a house a home, and how many children can we give a home to for the price of a ten million dollar house?

I am not advocating ego denial. I am advocating a sense of satisfaction that not only feeds the ego but also feeds the soul. Trust me, it feels better to give to give to children in Somalia than it does to give to salespeople in Harry Winston, Proving to a child that faith has reason, God is alive and that there are angels is so much more gratifying than the stares you get from sparkling down the street in jewels. And who could honestly say that a tour of a mansion you built could hold a candle to a tour of the hospital you built in a village that has not even seen a doctor. Save a mink, don’t buy fur, Save a child, don’t buy bling.

The nature of human evolution

When I read Shakespeare, Greek mythology, or the writings of ancient philosophers, even ancient spiritual writings I wonder about the real meaning of human evolution.  Long ago, in studying genetics I realized that many of our choices as a group or as a society are not really choices, they are genetic programming designed to insure the survival of the species for as long as it is meant to survive.

Many people are astounded by the number of homosexuals there are today.  Some would say that there were always as many, just not so many out of the closet.  I don’t think that this is true.  I believe that there are many more than ever before and the number will continue to increase.  Today, woman who are attracted to younger men are called cougars, this number too is increasing and the relationships between older women and younger men will increase as time goes on.

In time homosexuality will no longer be an issue that drives politics and religion, and older women with younger men will no longer be stigmatized by a label.  This is because these are genetic directives meant to address the overpopulation of the earth by humans which left unchecked would lead to human extinction.  There are even ancient legends regarding war, telling tales of how the gods used to come down and eat men and women.  Finally there was a truce wherein man promised to fight wars rather than to be eaten by the gods in order to prevent the world from being overrun by humans.

There are many of our behaviors that seem to become epidemic before them become commonplace, evolutionary mutations, so to speak – genetic reprogramming that we are unable to override because to do so would be to cause our extinction.  Older woman and younger men, homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases that cause infertility, and wars upon wars upon wars – all leading to an inevitable and necessary population decrease.  Whenever there is a societal change of direction – we have to ask ourselves what will be its outcome?  Today the greatest threat to the earth and to our species is not war, it is overpopulation.  Overpopulation causes a greater drain on our resources than anything that we do.  In order to intelligently deal with overpopulation, we would have to deal with the problems of poverty and ignorance, problems that we as a species have not evolved enough to adequately tackle without Divine intervention.

If we were to go back in time, as far back as recorded history permits we would find that man has not evolved into a higher form of human.  Our chimpanzee cousins live in groups in which men form bonds of kinship, and patrol the borders of their territories.  They live in their own little countries and have distinct power structures.  For all apes, it is good to control the most power, to have to most resources and to form alliances that guarantee these things.  Although the males fight each other to show who is the most powerful, more and more research is revealing that behind every chest pounding males is guiding female.  Our chimp cousins have rudimentary tools for building what they need to build and for foraging for food.  They have a number of medicinal plants that they use for wounds or infections.  They do not use words, but through the teaching of sign language we now know that they have the capacity to communicate their desires.  With few exceptions, we have not evolved beyond our ancient ancestors or even our ape cousins.  What we have done I find very hard to label evolution because it is really only an increase in an already existing ability. What we have done is that we have far exceeded all other animals in the making and use of tools to satisfy our basic animal instincts.  We have become technologically advanced apes.  We still haven’t broken off of the family tree and formed our own.  A chimpanzee is not a gorilla, and a gorilla is not an orangutan – but the differences among them, and their differences from us do not amount to enough to move any of us to a new tree.  Yet, I believe that we were and are meant to strive for that.

It is through our ability to connect with the spiritual, with the intangible, with God, love, art, music, poetry and a sense of connectedness with and responsibility for every other living organism on the planet that is the key to true human evolution.   It is not through the left brain that we will evolve, the left brain is basically good for making and improving tools.  It is through the right brain that we have the capacity to reach up and become the meaning of the image of God.  Obviously, man was created with the ability to live as the image of God, loving unconditionally and being caretaker for all life on the planet and the planet herself.  But we clearly have a choice.  God changed Abram to Abraham and thereby changed him from being a man to being a man of God.  Saul’s name was changed from Saul to Paul thereby changing him from a persecutor to a follower of Christ.  If we, can change from being the human race, to becoming the humane race, this could signal our own evolution from the greatest ape – to the image of the God.

Evolution is always building something better upon what was.  The new brain built not instead of the instinctual brain but built from it.  We have instinct and we have choice.  That choice allows us the option of not just perfecting the ability to fulfill our instinctual desires and protect ourselves from our often self-perpetuating fears by designing better tools.  It allows us to rise above those desires and fears and see them for what they are – to use love and compassion in finding ways to eliminate them without fight or flight.  The animal instinct does not transcend me and mine.  The God in us cannot see me or mine as less than the whole.  We only need to be the race of beings that we came here to become.

It is the animal nature to hoard, to become fat before winter.  It is the animal nature to find the richest territory and defend it against all intruders.  It is the nature of the beast to take and to keep and the nature of God to give and to share.  We will be called upon now to show our true nature.  In the end, all that is hidden – even from ourselves will be disclosed.

Matthew 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 12:3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.  12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.  12:23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?  12:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  12:26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?  12:27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  12:28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?  12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.  12:3112:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.  12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more12:54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.  12:55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.  12:56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?  12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

Just as the God gives to the raven so we are given.  Nothing that we have belongs to us it is all given to us as steps in Jacob’s ladder.  We each have been given what we need to shed the animal and become the human.  We are each unique and through our uniqueness we are to find that which we can give to God by giving back to the earth and its inhabitants.  We can only truly say that have earned that which we give to others.  Whatever we have in abundance we must give abundantly.  The signs are all here, the change is approaching.

The world is on the threshold of a new beginning.  It will not be one in which the power of the few rules over the many, but of power in the whole.  It is one of those evolutionary leap times.  Those of us who have felt like mutations throughout our lives will finally see that evolution is only accomplished through mutation.  This “economic downturn” that seems to be the catalyst of change in the world will continue until we all let go of those things of the world that stand between man and God.  Whatever we cling to is our treasure – therein lies our hearts.  It is the end, at least for a millennia – of the world of mammon.  Those capable of giving away what they have hoarded to those in need will make the transition.  Those who cannot let go, will find that it is taken anyway and there will be no place of comfort.  It is the blessing and the responsibility given to man to become the image of God.  It is that image that will shine in the times ahead.  Those who hope to evolve, who see the path to evolution and hear its call must know that the time is now.

How Did We Get So Broken?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every road leads to God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Path To God Can Begin Anywhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Share One Body and One Soul

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

Taoism. Chuang Tzu 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15He that walketh righteously,

and speaketh uprightly;

he that despiseth the gain of oppressions,

that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,

that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood,

and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

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

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

1Thus said Jehovah:

`Keep ye judgment,

and do righteousness,

For near [is] My salvation to come,

And My righteousness to be revealed.

The Way is again made clear by Jesus in Matthew:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.

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

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

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

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

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