How The First Amendment impedes Our Understanding of The Middle East

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Intolerance breeds injustice. Injustice invariably leads to rebellion and retaliation, and these will lead to escalation on the part of both making reconciliation almost impossible. It would appear that during times of stress, despair and frustration, people become increasingly irrational, and they do things which they never think they are capable of. And so we see hideous brutality perpetrated by the most gentle people.

Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility.” Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the World Evangelical Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 4(excerpts)

We live in a country that was founded on the desire for religious freedom. We have carried through, for this reason, the separation of church and state. The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock came here from the same type of environment that exists in Africa and the Middle East today.

“The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The phrase “separation of church and state”, which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court.”…

“Early immigrants to the American colonies were there motivated largely by the desire to worship freely in their own fashion, particularly after the English Civil War, but also religious wars and disputes in France and Germany.[2] They included a large number of nonconformists such as the Puritans and the Pilgrims, as well as Catholics (in Baltimore). Despite a common background, the groups’ views on broader religious toleration were mixed. While some notable examples such as Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn ensured the protection of religious minorities within their colonies, others such as the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony had established churches. The Dutch colony of New Netherland had also established the Dutch Reformed Church and outlawed all other worship, although enforcement by the Dutch West India Company in the last years of the colony was sparse. Part of the reason for establishment was financial: the established Church was responsible for poor relief, and dissenting churches would therefore have a significant advantage.” – Wikipedia

Without an understanding of history and what this means, we cannot understand what is happening in Iraq. In actuality, we went to Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, operation Iraqi freedom was supposed to free the Iraqis from the oppressive rulership of Saddam. We won that war in 2003. The problem is that we did not, and do not understand the region and what happens to a region when Church equals State. Winning the war was easy what we are unable to win is the peace. Why is it that we cannot with the peace for the Iraqi people?  Why are the conflicts in the Middle East so hard for us to enter into with success?

Imagine that instead of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, as political parties, we had Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Imagine too, that the Christians, are further divided between Roman Catholics and the various groups of Protestants. In this scenario our government is run by the Roman Catholic group of Christians. They declare Catholicism as the ruling religion of the country, banning the practice of any other religions. Now, Texas is predominately Baptist. Texas is an important region because of its oil fields. New York City, which is largely Jewish, is also important because of its financial institutions. The country is under oppressive Catholic rule, many who rebel against being forced to worship in Catholic Churches are being massacred. Now a third party, let’s imagine it is China with an economic stake in the stability of our country, and with no religious leanings, enters our country to free us from the oppressive Catholic rule and manages to defeat the strong-hold of the Catholic government. With the mighty Catholic military disbanded, the other Christian groups, begin to fight for power amongst themselves. At the same time, the Jews and Muslims begin to gather strength in their own states to gain religious control over our country for the sake of their own religions and our country becomes divided into religious territories.

In the midst of all this turmoil created by the dismantling of the strong Catholic Military, China decides to back a Muslim government. Backed by the Chinese military, the Muslim government begins to enter each state and take control. Jews, Baptist, and even Catholics rise up to prevent this from happening – China calls these religious groups, “insurgents” that must be put down. The only way is to cleanse the regions of each group, city by city. Feeling that if our country is taken over by the Chinese backed Muslims it will be the greatest offense against God, Jews, Christians, and Catholics come from all over the world to join in the fight against the Muslim government, seen by many as a puppet regime of the Chinese trying to control the worship of God in the US. The biggest battles are being waged in Texas, where the Baptist, many of them devout Christian Fundamentalists, refuse to allow the rich resources of their state to go to the benefit of the Chinese backed Muslim government. However, violent fighting among all of the religions ensues nationwide as each religion attempts to build a stronghold in a particular state. Money, guns, and ammunition are being smuggled into the country by Protestants, Jews and even Catholics from around the world to support the fight of their particular religion. All of the religious groups are united in their animosity towards China because each group sees that the only peace that China can bring to our country, will cost each religion their faith in God. This scenario is imaginary – only because of the First Amendment to The Constitution.

We have had four hundred years of desire and practice in the separation of church and state. We have had four hundred years of living side by side with so many religions that we forget the world before. We think of ourselves as a nation and its people, not of a religious faith and the affront to God of any other faith existing in the same territory.

The “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia was the Orthodox Christian Serbians “cleansing” the country of Muslims. The conflicts in Israel are not Arab vs. Israeli, they stem from the fact that Israel was established as and needs to remain a Jewish State. If the Palestinians, mostly Muslim and Christian were granted the same rights under the law as Jews, which would of course include full voting rights, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish State, in effect, it would cease to be Israel. In India, the religious and political battle over rulership of the country was between the Hindus and the Muslims, it was only resolved by the formation of the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.

Religion has no borders. Shiite Muslims will fight from all over the world with and for the Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Sunni’s will fight from all over the world with and for the Sunni Muslims in Iraq. The people of the United States are here because they have chosen to live or remain after birth in a country where one is first an American Citizen and then a Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Jew. Because of the separation of church and state that we enjoy, loyalty to the country does not require loyalty to a particular form of worship. This is our Democracy. It is the Democracy, envisioned by our Constitution, which can only survive in a nation where there is an explicit separation of Church and State. Today there are 56 religious based “conflicts” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Chechnya, the Philippines, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East and Kosovo. The Problem with our intervention in any religious conflict, the problem with any outside intervention in any religious conflict is that whatever group we back, we are backing a religion. In removing one religion from power and replacing it with the only alternative, another religion, we simply buy a temporary cease fire. Soon enough the worshipers of the defeated faith, feeling repressed, afraid, and more determined than ever to fight in the name of God, will gather support from the unlimited well of followers devoted to their faith, and God and rise up, and continue the battle. It is not a battle that is won or lost on earth but in Heaven. It is not a battle for a place on earth but for a place in Heaven. If they lose their place on land by fighting and sacrificing their lives in the name of God, they guarantee their place in Heaven.

We have won the war in Iraq that we set out to win. We cannot win the peace, because we are fighting a battle over borders, and they are fighting a battle over love, honor and devotion to God. Where Church, Temple, Mosque, or Ashram, equals State, we can only make things worse.

If there is any lesson that we should learn from this, it is that what prevents us from becoming them, what prevents the United States from becoming Iraq, Serbia, or any of the other nations embroiled in religious wars, is the First Amendment. Those who would like to see it abolished, or even relaxed should pay close attention to what is happening in Africa, Asia and the middle east because the First Amendment is all that separates us from them.

The Bible Story of Joseph and the journey of the Soul


The story of Joseph is a story of the journey of the soul. It seems that this is a soul that has gained wisdom through other lifetimes, and is able to maintain its connection with God throughout its trials on earth. Therefore, it is safe to say that this is the story of an old soul and its journey through the senses and desires of the physical body and the earth plane. In the Bible story of Joseph we see the story of the soul. Joseph has a dream:

5. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7. for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.

Here, we see Joseph, as a soul, envisioning the time when he will become the master over his sense represented by the sheaths of corn, and finally over his fate, as described by the Sun, Mon and eleven Stars. Jacob – here representing the higher self, the connection with God, hears the goal of the soul and keeps note of it, knowing that it is seeking to return – to rise above the body. Most likely, this story represents a soul which has had many lives already and facing the return home.

The brothers, here representing the senses and the desire nature of the body betray Joseph take his coat and throw him into a pit in the wilderness, the pit representing the body where at first , the soul cannot see its way to God through the Maya. The fact that there is no water probably tells us that there is no way for wisdom to flow to the soul at this point:

22. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him: that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. 23. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; 24. and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

Later, the brothers sold Joseph to a passing caravan – he is sold into slavery. So here we see Joseph given by the senses over to one of the desires of the body – greed.

What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? 27. Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him. And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Yet, despite the desire of the senses to break Joseph, God is within him, he is aware of his goal – he is a light within, one that glows without. And because of the light that is steadily growing, the soul continues to maintain his direction. Then, as happens to all souls – Joseph is tempted by the wife of his master. As the soul is always tempted by the desires of the body. Although Joseph does not fall to the temptation – he is then tested further by being punished anyway. He is thrown into jail. Here we see that this soul, cannot be tempted by glitter, nor can he be tempted by adversity. Because of his unwillingness to succumb to the tests of the physical – the greatest of desires and temptations do not stand in his way.

Ultimately, Joseph interprets a dream for Pharaoh. He tells Pharaoh that his dreams state that there will be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Because of this interpretation of the dreams, Pharaoh makes Joseph the final authority in all that happens in the kingdom. Here, Joseph is expressing the wisdom of an advanced soul. He expresses the fact that there are cycles of abundance and cycles of loss in life on earth. If one is not greedy during cycles of abundance one will have enough during cycles of loss. This is very much a statement of the middle way. Pharaoh, representing the higher self, sees that the soul cannot again be affected by what happens in the environment. The soul is prepared for the end of the journey, with its connection to God intact. It has been declared that the senses and the destiny will be under the rule of the soul, and the battle for the soul – has been won by the higher self.

When his brothers come to him in need of food for their families and for their father, he was generous to them. Here the soul ruled person, being ruled by the principal of love is generous and benevolent to all, regardless of what others might have done to him. The soul, is advanced enough to understand that nothing happens that is not determined by God, and so all is good.
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15. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16. And they sent a message unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
17. So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the transgression of thy brethren, and their sin, for that they did unto thee evil. And now, we pray thee, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we are thy servants. 19. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20. And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The soul goes from the pit, to slavery, to temptation, to adversity, to clear perception, and finally to mastery and home. This is only one of the many stories in the bible, which give us such light as to the meaning of life from the perspective of the soul’s journey. When we are ready to understand the scriptures, all scriptures as guides to life at all stages, we will truly see how they are all great master teachers. We see this repeated again when Jesus having received the Christ enters into the wilderness (the descent of the soul into flesh) and faces the temptations of Satan. This is the path of all souls that come into incarnation. It is the facing of the tests, the tests of temptation, and the tests of adversity, to ultimately overcome them all and free the true self that lies within.

How The World Changes

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I have been looking for signs that would tell me how close we were to the Age of Aquarius, and certainly – what would build it. Then, the other day I had the television on as background noise and I heard a commentator speaking about something that the government had attempted to keep secret. The other person on the show remarked that they should have known better in this time of ‘transparency’ with cell phones and other recording devices always around. That conversation struck me as the ‘sign’ that I had been seeking. I could not find a better word to describe the undercurrent that I had been feeling from the people that I had been counseling over the past few years it was the need to live transparently. That saying, “The truth shall set you free” has been playing over and over in my head because over the past few years I have noticed so much of a sense that people were enslaved by the lies that they were living.

I did not grow up in the energetic environment of my parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents so I can’t say how they felt in their lives. I do know that their lives, at least until my parent’s generation, were ruled by the roles society had carved out for them. They seemed to have their ‘place’ and the ‘place’ that they could aspire to. I really can’t say whether or not they were happy once they arrived in their ‘place’. Were wives generally happy serving their husbands and catering to the needs of their children? Did they have needs of their own? If they did, did they believe that the sacrificing of those needs was a worthwhile price to pay for what they received in return? Did they honestly believe that the Church was an ordained pillar of righteousness and all who served were above reproach? Did they honestly believe that our elected officials were moral and honest leaders above and self-serving desires or ulterior motives? In the age of Pisces, illusion is real. And obviously the set up was all an illusion. With all of the rugs being overturned and all of the closets being opened today, it seemed that on the whole, they either closed their eyes, fooling themselves into believing what they were told, and not looking behind closed doors or asking too many questions, or, they told themselves that their lives would be better off if they just lived as if it were right. I imagine that the whole ‘person fit the mold’ thing, rather than, ‘the mold fit the person’, worked for generations.

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What I have noticed in people that I have counseled is a profound unhappiness within seemingly happy lives. In other words, I keep hearing people say that they have everything that others say should make them happy, everything that they believed would make them happy, but they are deeply unhappy. This unhappiness is compounded by the fact that they feel ungrateful because they have what others seem to want. So they feel ashamed of their pain and as a result, too guilty to seek help. If they do seek help, the help that they seek is help in fixing themselves so that they can find the happiness that they are supposed to have with the lives that they are living rather than finding the courage to look within their souls for keys to the true life that would contain their happiness. I am seeing people who either have what they believed would make them happy, or what they were told would make them happy but instead it is the cause of their pain. It is this widespread inner discontent that changes the world. This sense of dissatisfaction – this intense need for some kind of change grows within the collective unconscious until it reaches critical mass and something happens to force a change. We are accustomed to quick fixes, but we need a lasting resolution. Humanity is entering an age that is taking it from the surface to the heart, from the world to the soul, from a world of greater and lesser beings to a world of equality, honesty, freedom and brotherhood. All of the boxes are the same as they always have been, there are still the many ‘things’ out there, the many awards, achievements and ways to find self-gratification – and goodies to buy to advertise our personal greatness, so that we are not overlooked, but God moved the cheese - the happy – to another place.

Everyone wants the brass ring, but we are conditioned to want the brass ring that we can have. Everyone can’t be the queen of England, but some people can, for a time, be the queen of Broadway. So it is to that, which they aspire. Up until about seventy years ago, people were able to be happy because their expectations were very limited. If you were a woman – then you had your list of achievable goals. If your father was a coal miner, you had your list of achievable goals, if you were Black, you had your list of achievable goals and to get to the top of your list, or even close, left most people at least content and usually happy with their lives.

It seems to me that World War II pretty much blew that boat out to sea. Suddenly, people found themselves in strange new roles – roles that were believed and accepted as beyond their reach, or just plain unnatural for them. Women went out to work, formed sports teams, took over supervising positions, supported the country, brought home the bacon and cooked it. Whites had to fight with and often found their lives in the hands of Negro soldiers, all lines, including the color lines were temporarily but still irrevocably crossed. Factory workers became Sergeants, bosses became privates, all in all, everyone found themselves living somehow outside of the box that seemed before to be set in stone. Although the world expected everyone to return to their original roles -and most had to – the taste of the possible never left their palates. Soon, ‘Equality’ was to be the never-ending hum in the background of life from then on. The first key-word for Aquarius was ushered into the age.

Of course, the first harbingers of change are always met with violent opposition, so the shouts for equality were labeled Communist, and the McCarthy era showed that those in power would do anything to combat the massive changes that a movement towards freedom and equality would bring. The generation of children born during and after that war was, as would be required, the “Me” generation. If you think about it, this was the perfect and timely reaction to all of the “everything but me” generations that came before. It made sense because we had to come from ‘what is good for the whole is good for the parts’ to ‘what is good for the parts is good for the whole’ in order to get to our destination of ‘the whole is equal to the parts’ – Aquarius. Change – this kind of change – is not something that happens, like walking out of one room into another. We must transition. For more than two thousand years, power has been held by those who maintained the greatest secrecy. Sometimes it was the manipulation of the ignorant populace by the few who understood the workings and cycles of nature, to pretend to create miracles, such as eclipses, lightening, or droughts. Or, it was by the use of the fear of the gods or God to manipulate the people into submission. Today it is still done, but more through covert actions of institutions, governments, covert deals made with those who manipulate the world’s economies.

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The church has always governed in secrecy the Vatican contains vaults of secret writings, hidden documents etc. For so many years the perverted actions of the clergy went on, hidden and protected by the accepted secrecy so pervasive in this age. Government officials hid their true identities and true motives behind vast networks of cover-ups for as long as we can remember. Then suddenly, bit by bit, the truths have been unearthed, perhaps beginning with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the scrolls found at Nag Hammadi. This, followed by expository journalism, tabloid press, cell phones, hidden cameras, whistle blowers and the internet has made for a growing overall transparency. This is a time of revelations. Everything hidden is being revealed. It is this truth – this revelation – that will ultimately set us free of the shackles of deception and illusion. People said one thing and lived another. We idolized our celebrities as perfect and they had to maintain a public persona. When I was a child I heard the fear of one day having “Big Brother” watching our every move. Today, big Brother is watching us, but we are also watch Big Brother. Everything and everyone is being exposed, more and more. It will only continue to grow. We ourselves are being exposed to ourselves and any lives that we have been living that are not true to our hearts, and our souls, will cause more and more of us heightened levels of pain. I once looked at the supermarket counters loaded with tabloid papers as a part of the degeneration of our society. Until I saw a headline in one of those tabloids saying that two actors, renowned for their humanitarian efforts were going on a spending spree, flying doctors over continents, spending upwards of eight figures for a home and I realized that if we admire people if must be not just for what they do but also for how they live.

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Today, with the world as small as it is, it seems a bit obscene to live large, while others are struggling just to live. And living large is OK, for those who claim with all honesty and candor to be card carrying members of the greedy few. It’s honest. But if you profess a sense of responsibility to the world and the suffering within it, if you believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and want your name in that book, then you must not just do charity but live a charitable life. It is time for us to be ourselves, live as ourselves, wear one face, and walk our talk.  The United States now has a Bi-racial President.  One whose father was a Muslim and mother was a Christian.  He is a reflection of the New Age – but more importantly, he is a reflection of the changing world in which we live.  I believe that man is evolving at a fast pace now.  It is a spiritual evolution.  The last time that the stars lined up as they will in 2012 was approximately 25,000 years ago.  At that time we had the extinction of a certain type of human called the “Neanderthal”.  I believe that the modern human that survived, did so because it had evolved intellectually in a way that better prepared it for survival in the following cycle.  I see this occurring now, in each generation there have been a small percentage of these new humans born.  Each generation increasing the number until these new spiritual humans will be all that are left.  It is the voice of these “new” humans that brought Barack Obama to the Presidency.  They are the ones who will be prepared to join together to build the New World.  They are in “Society” but not of it.  They believe in diversity, equality, and the best of humanity.  They have always felt different.  Some clearly struggle to make the swim upstream, others fake it, and still others lash out against the old with violence.  Then there are those who just check out.  But most of these new beings find each other and join together.   They embrace physical diversity and spiritual oneness.

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This is what the Age of Aquarius is all about. When everyone says, “This is who I am and I am proud of it”, tabloids will have nothing to expose. When we no longer put people on pedestals, we will no longer feel the need to knock them off. There are no pedestals in Aquarius. As we draw nearer and nearer to that Age we will learn that death is not the only great equalizer. God has moved the cheese. The power box is now empty, the material wealth box is now empty, the public adoration box is now empty. The sooner we figure out that God has put the cheese in the box of love given, time shared, selfless service and brotherhood, the sooner we will find the transition into the new Age a rewarding journey of gain, and not a painful succession of losses.  Someone once said that before a wheel can change direction it must stop.  When it stops everything falls apart.  But then it changes direction and moves in a new and better direction.  We are now on a wheel that has stopped.  But it has stopped only to change direction.  We are experiencing the end of the world as we know it, the end of the journey in one direction only to begin the journey in another.  This is a long process, I once heard a scientist say that science does not embrace a new direction until everyone who embraced the old direction dies.  We are in a time when those who want to repair and return to what was, still have power and are hanging on to the wheel in an effort to turn it back.  Those who want to change and move in a new direction, a more spiritual and holistic direction do not yet have the power to move the wheel forward, but they do have enough power to prevent the wheel from moving backwards.  And this is why the wheel is stopped.  There is equal force pulling in both directions.  This will change because of all that is being lost, the losses will weaken the resistance to change, and we will move openly, honestly and together into the New Age.

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Secrets require darkness. A life that cannot stand up under the Sun twenty-four hours a day is a painful life lived in fear and darkness. But sometimes we are more afraid of what will happen to us in the light than we are of the continued fear of the darkness. When we are here, then the Universe must intervene and expose us to the light that we have hidden from and regardless of what we lose from exposure to the light, it pales in comparison to the sense of joy and freedom that comes from not ever having to hide again. When no one has to hide, when no one wants to hide, when no one will hide – we will know that we have officially become a part of the Age of Aquarius.

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The Journey’s End is the Only Cause of Death

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts the sickle, because the harvest has come”. The Gospel of Mark, Parables 4:26-29

Everything grows; a dream grows towards becoming a reality. A journey grows towards its destination. A project grows towards completion and a search grows towards the finding. Everything alive seeks to reach higher, a plant and a tree grow towards the sun, their source of life. The body grows towards the sun, its source of life. The ego grows towards the soul its source of life. The soul grows towards God, or The Source, its life.

It is that growth which pushes us. It is an aching, the aching of the seed, the aching of the plant, and the aching of every life on earth. We seek growth in everything that we do. We challenge our bodies through sports, and through weights. We challenge our minds through puzzles and through overcoming obstacles, finding a new way. We challenge our souls through the obstacles and sorrows that we place before ourselves in life.

What is the reason for growth? It is to unite with our Source, become one with it. Our dreams grow to unite with reality. Our ideas grow to unite with form. Once the light is reached the journey is over. The process is complete. When that is achieved, the seeker becomes that which was sought. The journey becomes the destination. The being becomes its purpose for being. Everything grows to reach its light because it is that light which gives it life. We exist to seek the light, the light enlightens our way, and the light is the force within us that motivates our journey.

The light is the beginning, and the end, the alpha and the omega. To reach the light is the culmination, the highest point that we can achieve, and yet, at the same time the light is the death. It is the end. It is where we begin, our purpose for the journey and the end of it. To die is not to end it is to finally become. The seed dies to become the tree, the caterpillar dies to become the butterfly, the idea dies to become the creation, the dream dies to become the reality. It is a never ending process of birth, death and resurrection. There is no end. We leave one life when it is done. We are born at the moment that God destines our journey to begin in this life, and we die when God destines that it is over. My birth might be called a fluke, my mother could not go into labor, she had already lost one child for that reason. My father stayed out all night, one of many all nighters that he pulled. This night, she decided that he would not spend the next day resting up in bed as was his habit after an all nighter. This night, she decided that he would suffer. So, the next day when he came home she told him that she was in labor and he had to take her to the hospital. To her surprise, the umbilical cord was strangling me and she had to have an immediate emergency C-Section.

The body of the baby dies to become the toddler. The body of the toddler dies to become the child. The body of the child dies to become the teenager. Look at pictures, each resembles the other but each does not share the same body of the other. We die most deaths without know it anymore than we notice the birth of the toddler, or of the adolescent or adult. At the end of each life, there is simply no more script to read, no more lines for our character, it doesn’t matter how old or how young we leave this incarnation, some souls choose to accomplish a great deal in a short time. If a baby survives for only a minute, that baby has still changed the life of the mother who carried it into the world and the family that waited for its arrival. A life touches others for as long as it is written into the play. God allows the soul to choose the length of its stay. And the purpose that it is here to accomplish. We arrive on time and leave on time. The way that we leave is the way our plot ends. It completes the story, the story we chose, and the one chosen for us. They are one in the same. No one causes the death of another as no one causes the birth of another.

The Bhagavad-Gita is a spiritual epic about life, death and our relationship with God in between. As is so very appropriate today, it is the story of Arjuna, a warrior at a time when each person had a role to fill, teacher, ruler, warrior, etc. It is a story of a great battle lasting between warring families and the kingdoms that are their allies. Because of his birth, Arjuna is forced to fight in this battle. Before the battle begins, he asks his charioteer, Krishna, to drive him into the center of the battlefield so that he can see clearly who he will be fighting. He sees that he will be fighting those closest to him, his family members, teachers, mentors, brothers and father-in-law. He is overcome with grief at the prospect of fighting those he loves dearly.

“Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.” “I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krishna, killer of the Keshi demon.” “I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.” “O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarashtra?”… “Better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.” “It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood.”

I didn’t know, when I read this years ago, why it felt so important to me. It was not only the message, but the context of war and the inner conflict that any good hearted man or woman must struggle with that stayed with me. Arjuna is a warrior, battle is not his conflict but with whom he must fight. In his argument laments the fact that although the perpetrators of the war are only fighting out of greed, why must he kill, knowing that it is wrong. He cannot understand how in killing those he loves, knowing it is wrong, he is not equally as sinful as those who do not care who they who kill.

The soldiers know that we support them, but not the war that they are fighting. We have learned from Vietnam not to fault the soldiers, but to love them, pray for them and support them. Yet, it does not matter to the soldiers that we support them, because we are supporting them without really knowing what they are doing that we are supporting. If you tell me that you believe in me, but I cannot tell you what I am really doing, or that I cannot believe in myself for doing it – I gain no comfort from your support. Most Americans do not really know, or really want to know what our soldiers must do and must see. There is no way to erase images that are emotionally or traumatically imprinted on the mind. But what can be done to in some way help those who are suffering loss, or are struggling with the guilt and or shame of feeling responsible for causing the death of another is to help them open up to the possibility of accepting that what we see as death, is a transition, and not one that man, regardless of his actions is capable of causing. The moment of our birth and the moment of our departure from the body are two moments more fated than any other in our lives. As Krishna told Arjuna:

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”… “That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.”…“ One man believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain. Both are ignorant; there is neither slayer nor slain. You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed; you can never change. Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies. Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and unchanging, how can you slay or cause another to be slain?
As a man abandons his worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within. The Self cannot be pierced with weapons or burned with fire; water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it. The Self cannot be pierced or burned, made wet or dry. It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundation of eternity. The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change. Knowing this, you should not grieve.”
( Bhagavad Gita 2.19-25)

When all of the pieces come together we become complete. To become is to die as we were. We die as that which seeks fullness, and are reborn as that which is full. We die as the question and are reborn as the answer. We change into the form that we seek.

Death is not the end of life; it is the end of a form, the end of an experience. It is the completion of a quest, our search for the Pearl. We each go out into the world for a reason, and when we have found what we were looking for or done what we went out to do, we all return home. We wear the garments appropriate for our journey. When we return home, we remove them. This is as it should be. It is when we return home that we are truly together.

Our lives that were once so connected with each other will die. We each go on to build new lives in new places and regardless of how much we loved each other while we were together; the time comes to move on. This is death. It is not the ending of a life; it is the ending of an experience. The act of dying is simply the ceremony, the ritual attached to that moving on, to that removal of our outerwear. Death comes much more peacefully than birth. There are many old souls who would rather die a thousand deaths than be born once more.

I was sitting with a friend of mine at the New Jersey shore, when she told me about a man who had been standing in the bay fishing when a helicopter fell out of the sky and landed on him. Needless to say, he died. She then remarked that there was no doubt that it was his time. We all have our time it is that moment when we have completed all that we came here to do. It does not matter where we are when our time comes because when it comes we will leave. The means of our departure is part of our journey but not the cause of its end.

We establish, before we incarnate all of the things that we are going to accomplish while here. In some lives there are many major events that we need in order to complete our mission, and our lessons. For others the lessons are very few, sometimes everything we experience in our lives is only to support one lesson. Sometimes we just come in to help another soul that we are close to, as in the case of many children who die very young. It is not for themselves that they come; it is to help their families with a lesson and sometimes to effect the whole society as in the case of Ryan White. The length of years that we spend here is not the issue. There are times when in order to connect with all of the souls that we have agreed to connect with we must spend many years on the earth. There are times when it is but a few hours.

Often the time of death is chosen in order to fit in with lessons of those close to us. Perhaps the experience of our dying is a group experience. Or perhaps it is a part of a lesson for those closest to us. So the time when this can best be accomplished will be our time, that time when we graduate to the next level or need to move to another life for our next set of lessons.
When it is our time there is no reason for our soul to stay incarnate. This has nothing to do with our ego attachment to being here, the ego does not rule the lesson, and it is only one of the tests. Often we will place other points in our lives where we may or may not die and although these points do not mark the end of our lesson here in this life, they still mark points where we may end our time here if our souls are ready. We are given the choice. These are times when things like prayer are very important. These are times when we are able to build our faith. We are brought to the edge and allowed a miracle to bring us back. We are able to make a permanent connection with our spirit and see it manifest in our lives. This is a gift to us.

Sometimes we need to come close to death in order to prepare for the next step in our lives. In other cases we need to be brought to the point of choice so that we can make a conscious decision to be here. Once in a while a soul just cannot appreciate being here because he or she may feel that it was not their choice. If that person has a near death experience and makes a choice to return, life then has a different value. When we die it is always our time, it is a time that has been predetermined and agreed upon by all of our soul family. It is a time appointed by God. It is the right time. It happens in the right way, and we are grateful for what it brings to our souls through the experience. It is a completion, a graduation. When someone we love departs from the physical body, we can always feel their presence if we open ourselves to it.

It is important to understand that when someone leaves his or her body, the connection that they had with the souls left behind does not end. The work that we came together to do must be completed. We have to accept that everything in the physical world has a beginning and an end. Yet the end is in effect a merging with a new beginning. Any guilt or regret should be redirected to positive changes for future situations. Nothing is left unfinished, we may not like the conclusion, but death is the period at the end of our sentence on earth, but by no means the end of our story.

When we leave this earth plane and look back on our time here, it is neither the pain nor the joy that we remember, it is the fullness, the richness of all of both pain and joy combined. It is the roller coaster ride that is life that we long to return to. Birth, death, and the time in-between are all points on the circle, which is life. There is really no beginning and no end, those are just illusions. There is just life, continuous, changing and yet always remaining the same, Life.

Would Jesus Call A Dead Child Collateral Damage?

I just finished reading a story about a little six-year-old girl, Sara, living in Baghdad, who was sitting in her living room singing and playing with her baby brother while her mother listened lovingly from the kitchen as she prepared lunch. Suddenly a bomb blast ripped through the apartment where they lived and killed both children. We are told that we entered Iraq to make a difference and givea better life to the Iraqis, but to Sara it won’t make a difference. It was Sara’s freedom we went there to ensure, but we killed her.

Her mother doesn’t see her child as a worthy price to pay for freedom; her child was the only reason freedom would have mattered.

We must remember that there is no such thing as victory in war. The only valid response to war, regardless of the outcome, – is mourning. There are no victors, only victims to a greater or lesser degree. Life, for many Iraqis, may not have been a life that we would consider good, but the choice of death should have been left up to them. Yet, many supported this war and the reasons we have been given for it. We must not fight against those who believe in war. Einstein said that we cannot find a solution at the level of the problem. We cannot fight aggression with aggression. The people of India had no weapons to rid their country of British occupation.

They did not have the arms to fight, but Gandhi realized they had the power. Peace is power. Love is power. Aggression will win some battles, but peace, when firmly believed in and held to fast, will always win the war. So we must stand for peace.

Women are gifted with a natural talent for peacemaking. That is what we must do: we must reach other woman. Because we can, we must reach the love within each woman, the mother, the daughter and the sister within each woman. It is easy to kill children when we do not see their faces; it is easy to say it is worth the cost, when we do not have to know the cost. This is what we can do. We can march — not against war, but in mourning for the children killed in the name of freedom. We must mourn, not fight. We must mourn, not demonstrate. We must feel our hearts and show our hearts to the world and to our children. We must teach the next generation that life has value. No one can teach these lessons except women. We as women must put an end to mass graves. We must use love to put an end to the only real weapon of mass destruction: hate.

Earth is Man’s Growing Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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