God Moves The Cheese – How we make major changes

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

Choosing Our Own Way

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor Frankl

Often, we decide what the right direction is for us based on what it is for others. Then we find that we are stuck with a goal without the necessary desire to reach it. A person may decide to go into his own business because he does not like authority. He does not consider how much he hates paperwork, long hours, paying people from money that he has not yet earned, and that he can’t do it all by himself. Instead of looking within to find what the real problems are and what the personal solutions might be —he looks outside to see what others had done.

This is the kind of confusion that we are faced with when we try to follow guidance from outside, and not of from within. When this choice becomes difficult, instead of seeking a different solution, most people just stick with the plan but find any number of obstacles to place in their paths to prevent its completion. They tell themselves and others that it is not that they won’t do it; it is just that there are too many things going on which currently stand in their way. What is really in their way is that it is not their goal. They do not have the passion to walk the chosen path. If we have no passion for what we do with our lives, we cannot do those things well or for long without getting sick, or off balance in some way.

This causes us to consciously face a direction that we are unconsciously running away from. This results in deadlock. I have seen many people in this position one way or another. They complain that everyone else gets opportunities except them; something always gets in their way. Or it is their karma to fail. That is just not true. What they are doing is building their lives from the plans of others. They are making choices based upon the successes of others. It is easier to walk the beaten path than to pave ones own. There was a time when that it worked for most people. Now, we are in an age of individuality. Difficult as it may seem, we are being forced from an inner need for satisfaction from a constant lack of external reinforcement to forge our own path to our own goal.

We have traveled far from that sacred connection to our true selves. Instead of deciding at which place we want to arrive, we first need to decide what inner satisfaction awaits us there, how much we are willing to sacrifice, and most importantly, before we follow another’s path, we must be certain that where others have gone holds the same treasure for us. Once we know the price we are willing to pay, and what it is that we really expect for that price, we have something that we are capable of working with. There really are two different soul paths: those for whom the destination justifies the journey and those for whom the journey is the destination.

It is not a question of one being the right way, and one being the wrong way. It is a question of which way is right for each individual. Some of us become workaholics because we want more and more; we do it for the prize at the end. Others become workaholics because their joy comes from the work they do. Again, neither is right nor wrong. To try to develop the attitude that others say is right, or to attempt to see the truth as others see it, can only lead to miserable and unfulfilled lives, if it is not our own way. There is a difference between what feels right and what others say is right. In these times, we are being asked to find that difference for ourselves.

Those who live their lives based on what works for others cannot remain committed to what they do. Who we are is what dictates what we can do well. We can only do well and for a sustained period of time, that which is in alignment with who we are. Otherwise self-esteem suffers; either we feel like failures, or we feel unsatisfied which leads us to feeling that we are defective because we are missing what we have been told is the obvious.

This is a time when personal truth, rather than conformity is needed for our own inner well-being and for the well being of the whole, every aspect of our living must reflect the inner self. The Native American names such as: Lone Eagle, Running Bear, Night Watcher, are given based on the persons own unique qualities. They are invited to live their lives in fulfillment of those names. There was a time when we all took names that mirrored who we were. We were once in touch with ourselves and with our environment. We are being asked by our souls to return to that ancient spiritual center. We are being called from within to live who we are, to love who we are, and to do what reflects who we are. This is the dawning of a new age, an age of truth. We neither find happiness, nor satisfaction in living anyone else’ s life. No one ever stands in the way of those who know where they are going. We have to go where we know from within.
When the world was disconnected, and there were such a things as distant shores, the structure of society was much stronger. The strength of a society or a religion to influence its members or followers rests strongly on the limitations of outside information that could otherwise be an influence or create choices that do not exist within the structure. The rules worked, not because they were right but because they were the only rules and pertained to everyone.

Since the end of WWII, slowly but consistently distant shores have become neighbors. Members of completely different societies have been unable to prevent the exchange of information. The world of yellow and the separate world of blue remain intact and self-fulfilling so long as yellow remains separate from blue. The rules of right and wrong, and even cause and effect work for all members of the yellow society or religion as they do for the blue although they may be in total contradiction with each other. However, when the members of the blue group and the members of the yellow group begin to mingle and share beliefs and information, a new green group emerges which inevitably destroys both the yellow and the blue. It does this because suddenly there exists and option, a choice, a way not previously known to either yellow or blue. In actuality it does not destroy the two separate groups but instead it is what they become, the product of their evolution.

The internet has completed the erasure of true borders, the world has now become a melting pot, and so, we can no longer look to any external governing principal for our lives, and how we live them or the direction that will work. We must now look within. There are too many truths ‘out there’ to find the one that will work; we must now journey deep into our own hearts and our own souls to find the truth that supersedes contradiction. This is the inner truth.

Mankind has mastered the lessons of leadership and brute force in the Age of Aries; it mastered the lessons of the herd mentality, the pain, suffering and fear of standing outside of the group, and the manipulations of power in the age of Pisces. It has now entered the school of equality through individuality. In this course, pain and suffering will come from inside when we feel our sense of self diminished. These are the ultimate challenges and lessons of the Age of Aquarius. It is not the energy of the individual merging and losing itself into the group but rather the group growing and becoming greater through the distinctly unique contribution of each individual. We are beginning to suffer depression and illness – not from being isolated from the group, but from being isolated from the self. Many of us think to ourselves, ‘I have what everyone says that I should have, I do what everyone says I should do, my life contains all of the pieces that everyone says should make me happy, yet, the pieces will not fit and I am slowly dying’.

Most people are too embarrassed to admit the panic and confusion that overtakes them when someone says, “Just be yourself”. The truth is, very few people know how to do that, or who that self is. So our first step in finding a fulfilling direction is finding the self that is seeking fulfillment and becoming an expression of that true and unique self living within each of us.

Whose Heart Is God Hardening Now, and Why?

image Exodus 4:21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”


Exodus 7:3 “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.”

When Moses wanted to appeal to Pharaoh in order to convince him to allow the Hebrews to leave Egypt, God advised Moses that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would not allow the Hebrews to go free.  What followed, the plagues, the death of children all happened because God meant for them to happen.  In fact, in the study of the Old Testament there is a great deal of destruction and conquering, it is really brutal.  And what is important about that is the fact that the major disasters which occur in the Bible are all orchestrated by God.  It should be noticed that in the Bible, the false idols are statues built of gold.

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Another ancient spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita centers entirely around a battle.  On the surface, like the Bible, we have a story about Arjuna and his relationship with many of the people on the other side of the battle.  We know that he is a great warrior, but it seems that many of those people that he will be required to kill, were also important to making him into the man that he has become. The Bible seems to be filled with unfairness, and ambiguity.  Many Jewish Sages have created back stories to make just what seems unjust, but it is still adding details to a story thousands of years after the story was written.  In the Bhagavad-Gita  the Lord Krishna, who had been posing as Arjuna’s charioteer gives us a spiritual view of the story, depicting it as an external playing out of a human internal battle.

It was understandably easier for the eastern philosophies to be clear in the meaning of their stories because they were not competing with so many other regional belief systems that made it necessary to make the hide the teachings in stories without explanation.  But it is my belief that all religious stories are meant to be inner journeys and that all of the experiences that we have in the world around us are the physical manifestations of those inner journeys to be taken by the soul.

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There is no other way to make sense of the world that we live in.  Today in the United States there is a hardening of the hearts of Republicans and some Democrats who call themselves “Conservative” to the suffering of Americans who, because of the cost of living, the economy and subsequent unemployment, and the rise in catastrophic illness and its cost are literally dying and losing what little they have.  There is no explanation for these statistics except that God has hardened the hearts of of those who could make a difference.

It is easy to see why some people believe that we have been abandoned by God.  It is easy to see this if we see life as beginning and ending with the body.  From that perspective, either there is no God, or God is uncaring and capricious.  Life is as senseless as so many stories in the Bible.  But we are not these bodies we are the souls within them.  And God did not create the world and turn away, the world is recreated every moment, with every life born into it.  Flesh and blood come from the earth, come from man, but life, the life force that animates us and all that is, comes from and exists within God.  It is not manmade.

So God is here and God is Love.  The experiences that we have are lessons for the soul and the bodies that we wear to have these lessons are no different than a school uniform.  Rich, poor, black, yellow, red, brown, white, all are nothing but parts of the lessons in this life. Their meaning is personal and universal but only within the life in which we wear them.  The soul has not race, nor does it have a gender.  It has wealth but that wealth is measured in love, compassion, and understanding.

The following statistics, are proof that our hearts have been hardened, and proof that there can be no recovery because our hardened hearts will not permit us to make the only changes that would prevent what lies ahead.  And so we will fall, and that falling is what will free us, what will part the Red Sea – the sea of suffering and oppression that enslaves us all.

At-Risk Americans: The Uninsured And Underinsured

By Janis McMillen

Data from multiple sources agree that in 2007, 47 million Americans (15.6 percent of the total U.S. population) lacked any kind of health insurance coverage. When these numbers are adjusted for age (excluding those 65 years and older), the uninsured percentage of the population rises to 17.9 percent. Moreover, it is estimated that 25 million adults under age 65 were underinsured during 2007, despite having insurance all year. In total, 42 percent of all adults (86.7 million) were either uninsured or underinsured during 2007.

Putting a face on persons who were uninsured or underinsured during 2007 and 20081

  • Age: One of three people under age 65 were uninsured for some or all of 2007 and 2008; of the total uninsured population, 60.1 million were adults (between 19 and 64 years of age)
  • Duration: Among the underinsured/uninsured, 74.5  percent were uninsured for nine or more months and one-quarter were uninsured the entire 24 months
  • Employment status: 80 percent of individuals who were uninsured were in working families and only 16 percent were not in the labor force (due to disabilities, chronic illness, or serving as family caregivers)
  • Income: Nearly 60 percent were in families with incomes below the federal poverty level (FPL: $21,200/year for a family of four); 52 percent with incomes between 100 to 200 percent of FPL went without health insurance in 2007/2008
  • Racial and Ethnic origin: 55 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, 40.3 percent of African Americans and 34 percent of other racial or ethnic minorities had no health insurance in 2007/2008, compared to 25.8 percent of whites.  While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be uninsured, whites accounted for 49.8  percent of the uninsured
  • Age breakdown: The likelihood of being uninsured declines with age; 49.5 percent of those 19 – 24 years old, 36.3 percent of those 25 – 44 years old, 32.5 percent of those 45 – 54 years old and 21.2 percent of those 55 – 64 years old were uninsured over this two-year time period. The 55- to 64-year-old age group consumes more health care on average than younger adults.

For all ethnic and racial groups, lower-income families and individuals were more likely to be uninsured than lower-income whites. This disparity continues even as incomes rise in all groups.

There is a marked increase in the number of adults having difficulty paying medical bills – the most visible consequence of the weakening in insurance coverage. In 2007, 41 percent of adults (72 million people) reported problems paying medical bills, faced bill collectors or were in debt for medical care, up from 34 percent or 58 million in 2005. The majority had insurance at the time these bills were incurred2 – well in advance of the economic downturn.

1 All statistics above and below are from http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/reports/americans-at-risk-findings.html

2The statistics in this paragraph are from http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Testimonies/2009/Feb/Testimony-Insurance-Design-Matters-Underinsured-Trends-Health-and-Financial-Risks.aspx

Janis McMillen (LWVUS Board member and LWVKS) is chair of the LWVUS Health Care Education Task Force.

Produced by the LWVUS Health Care Education Task Force, 2009

Poverty Facts and Stats

Author and Page information

  1. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.Source 1 

  2. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.Source 2 

  3. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.Source 3 

  4. According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”Source 4 

  5. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.If current trends continue, the Millennium Development Goals target of halving the proportion of underweight children will be missed by 30 million children, largely because of slow progress in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.Source 5 

  6. Based on enrolment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls. And these are regarded as optimisitic numbers.Source 6 

  7. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.Source 7
  8. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.Source 8
  9. Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across the world. An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide.Source 9 

  10. Water problems affect half of humanity:
    • Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea
    • The loss of 443 million school days each year from water-related illness.
    • Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.
    • Millions of women spending several hours a day collecting water.
    • To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit.… The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversions … are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.Source 10

     

  11. Number of children in the world
    2.2 billion
    Number in poverty
    1 billion (every second child)
    Shelter, safe water and health
    For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are:

    • 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3)
    • 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5)
    • 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7)
    Children out of education worldwide
    121 million
    Survival for children
    Worldwide,

    • 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy)
    • 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation
    Health of children
    Worldwide,

    • 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized
    • 15 million children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom)

    Source 11

     

  12. Rural areas account for three in every four people living on less than US$1 a day and a similar share of the world population suffering from malnutrition. However, urbanization is not synonymous with human progress. Urban slum growth is outpacing urban growth by a wide margin.Source 12 

  13. Approximately half the world’s population now live in cities and towns. In 2005, one out of three urban dwellers (approximately 1 billion people) was living in slum conditions.Source 13 

  14. In developing countries some 2.5 billion people are forced to rely on biomass—fuelwood, charcoal and animal dung—to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China.Source 14 

  15. Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels [by poorer segments of society] is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from tuberculosis.Source 15 

  16. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%:The poorest 10% accounted for just 0.5% and the wealthiest 10% accounted for 59% of all the consumption: 

  17. Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues, Updated: 22 Mar. 2009. Accessed: 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

Today we live in an age where information is at our fingertips.  We cannot hide from what is all around us and because of this, we are responsible for it.  Yet we do nothing.

When the pharaohs heart was hardened it was because Egypt had become a nation that worshipped the golden calf.  What is the golden calf but money, power, and all of the things that turn one away from God.  Had Moses convinced Pharaoh to free the Hebrews it would not have been because he had seen the error of his ways, nor because he had realized that the Egypt had become corrupt and inhumane, no, it would have been nothing more than a gesture made to the brother he grew up with.  Had he released the Hebrew slaves, he would have simply increased the numbers of the other slaves.  It was time for Egypt and the Hebrews to see what happens when man turns his back on God and on his fellow man for the sake of the wealth that gold promises.

Man has lost his heart.  The industrialized nations of the world are Egypt.  In the United States, Congress represents Pharaoh and its heart has been hardened to the plight of the majority of the people.  The government and all of those with power worship at the alter of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks, and all of the movers and shakers Wall Street.  And we are the Hebrew slaves.  We are enslaved by the insurance companies that take our money and give back nothing.  We are enslaved by the pharmaceutical companies that charge so much for medications that people die because they cannot afford them.  We are enslaved by the banks that charge so much money for credit card interest that we can never pull ourselves out from the debt that they pile on our backs.

We are the slaves and we are not going to be freed.  Those who could free us have had their hearts hardened.  We will be freed when the system collapses under the weight of its own inequity.  We will be freed by God, but that will only be the beginning.  We have already been given the commandments by which we must live.  We already know they type of people we must become to enter the promised land.  We must become the promised land.  We must build something new.  We must not attempt to recreate the golden towers that enslaved us.  We must redefine success and greatness.  We must establish a new path for our children to follow, one that is not for the self but for all.  We must become one people, and one family.  We will have no choice.  We are slaves, but it is time to build a free world.  We will not recover, we must reinvent.  We must acknowledge the chains that bind us and know we are bound by the chains of our desires.  And when we relinquish those desires, we unlock the chains. We will then lift the fog that hides our future and once again see a light to follow.

BECOMING COMFORTABLE WITH CHANGE

Change has neither thought nor action, because it is in the state of absolute quiet and inactivity, and when acted on, it immediately penetrates all things. If it were not the most spirit-like thing in the world, how can it take part in this universal transformation? (Confucianism. I Ching, Great Commentary 1.10.4)
To be prepared for life is to be comfortable with change. It isn’t change itself that makes us uncomfortable. We are not afraid when we decide to change our homes, or change our minds. The change that we are afraid of is the change that comes from outside of us. It is not change that we fear it is the loss control over our lives.

This is what change means to us. We have come to believe that things should happen a certain way, that life should be lived a certain way. Children need consistency. Everyone needs consistency. Consistency stands for dependability. Yet the consistency that is needed is not material it is spiritual. it is truth.
Children need truth, as we all do. Sometimes the truth hurts our feelings, sometimes it makes us feel uncomfortable, but in the end it gives us something to trust. Regardless of how it feels, the truth is sturdy and strong, solid beneath our feet. It gives us a place where we can go back to, a place that we can count on in the midst of this changing world.

For so long we have lived our lives based on appearances. We have smiled though our hearts were breaking. Living our lives in houses that we could not afford to maintain appearances. Our Society has become so dependent upon these illusions that when they fail to keep their forms we become afraid. I was speaking to my stockbroker the other day and I mentioned the recent market crash. He corrected me and said that it was an adjustment. That is really true. Life is in a state of adjustment now. Things around us are not crazy they are real. The illusions that we have been so dependent upon cannot be maintained. In order to have consistency in our lives we must accept consistent change.

Life will never be as it was because it was not real. We lived our lives based not upon what was truth but upon what worked. If it worked, it was truth. If enough people believed it then it worked and if it worked it was truth. Now all of our beliefs have been questioned because nothing seems to work. Nothing working simply means that nothing is staying the same. As much as we realize that we never step into the same river twice, we still believe that there are things that can be guaranteed.

As children we all held a picture of what our lives would be like when we grew up. Reaching our teens and early twenties we either solidified this picture or developed a new one more in line with the world around us. This picture, whatever it was represented fulfillment for us. This was real. For most of us, this picture of happiness was refined as we grew older, not to a more perfect image of our own wants and needs but a more perfect image of the ideals according to our family or society. Television contributed to our picture of what reality was supposed to be.

All of those unwritten rulebooks that served the generations that lived before were burned in the sixties. The reality that existed before was torn to shreds during the sixties. The roles of men and women, the roles of government, and any form of authority were to be forever changed by the sixties generation. The rules were permanently and irrevocably destroyed. From that time on the mass consciousness could never trust those rules again. What we had accepted as real did not exist anymore. The problem for all of us living today is that the rules were never rewritten. We have since been lost, and brought into this world children who are also lost. All of us have nothing to draw from that we can trust. No consistent reality. We have lived in a world where we have nothing that we can trust. There are no rules that are proven to be trustworthy.

For us, the reality that was in place for generations is now only a fairy tale. We know what once was happiness, in terms of what we should want for our lives, but we don’t know how to get it, and if we do, we don’t know how to trust it anyway. Few of us really know what we want because the world has become hazy, foggy.

Now we must become comfortable with ourselves. The Universal agreements that were holding our facts in place are no longer working. We must find the truth within ourselves and see that it is only within that truth that we are safe. When we are flowing with life it is not moving past us. When we embrace change as growth it does not rock our worlds. Change is not sudden it is constant.

When something seems to happen suddenly it is because we have resisted its coming for so long that the pressure has built up and finally broken through. We are constantly in a state of change from moment to moment and that is evolution. Nothing stays the same that is real. However dealing with change on a personal level and on a societal level is a process. The first step in the process is to see the truth to see that things the way that they are do not work any longer. Once we see the truth we become shaken. After we are shaken, we begin to do everything in our power to recreate the lie, to hold on to the way that it was or the way that we want it to be.

The problem is that once we really know the truth we cannot maintain the lie. When the illusion falls apart for the last time we accept it. This acceptance brings peace. This peace brings power. It is the truth that does not change and the one that we must seek, that truth is our faith in God, and the workings of His Universe.

Anything that does not change does not continue. We must stop thinking of change as different than growth. There is no difference; change is only another word for growth. Embrace change, because it means that we are living. Life flows like water. What is not real will not survive. We can’t be hard on ourselves. We do not find the changes in our lives comfortable because we do not accept that change is a process, and that acceptance is also a process and the time that it takes is very individual. It never takes too long or happens too fast, it happens the way it should for each individual.

When we have a strong center, and a strong core we are not affected by change. When we have faith in God and in the Universe we have freedom and security in the material world. Change becomes flow, because we see and acknowledge and even honor its purpose. Although we live on this planet and within our own lives we are always also living above. Change becomes merely the train that we ride on in order for us to reach our ultimate destination.

The Common Thread

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:

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men 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.