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.

The Final Lap

When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you;
Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves, make yourself clean.
Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes;
Cease to do evil.

Learn to do well.
Seek justice,
Relieve the oppressed,
Judge the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:15—17

Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto the Lord what is the Lord’s”.

The Lord gets the soul and Caesar gets the taxes.  This is very important because we have come so far from being able to clearly make that distinction.  It may be easy to say what is Caesar’s—it is the price, in coin, that we pay for anything material. It is the rendering of that which is of the material to the material.  Yet, when it comes to what is the Lords we become a little lost.  So, let us specify some of those things which belong to the Lord.  These things are: our compassion, our faith, our hope, and above all—our adherence to the most important of Commandments, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.  This commandment translates into the Golden Rule, “Do unto others that which you would have others do unto you”.

When we do not live up to that Golden Rule, then we are rendering unto Caesar what is the Lords.  When our material gain requires the loss of someone else’s faith, or hope, or even life—we are rendering unto Caesar what belongs to God.  So it is also when we are not living our lives with compassion, love and forgiveness.  For what is Caesar’s is not simply those things of Mammon—gold, silver, or wealth.  What is Caesars are greed, envy, judgment, hatred, and revenge.  If we take from others or cause directly or indirectly their harm for the sake of those emotions, then, we are rendering unto Caesar what belongs to God.

If, to succeed in the world of Mammon, as it was known then, or Capitalism as it is known now, we feel that we must render unto Caesar what belongs to God, then, regardless of how we justify ourselves we are stealing from God.  This is why Jesus said that man cannot serve two masters:

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Luke 16:13

This was not an admonition—it was a statement of fact.  Yet, He also says that if we first seek the Kingdom of Heaven, all else will be added unto us.  What this means is that if we live by the Golden Rule, show justice, compassion, love and forgiveness—whatever material gain we do receive, and we will receive it, will be blessed by the Spiritual.  This is the blessing of the age to come.  It will be that of balance.  All will give and therefore all will receive, all will share therefore all will have—and what they have will be imbued with the qualities of generosity and love.  The Lord and Caesar will be one—the essence of the Lord in the world.

How do we get so lost?  It happens little by little, like all paths that lead away from God.  We make little, almost unnoticeable compromises, that we, perhaps promise ourselves that we will later undo, or make right.  Then it is as if we become lost in a fog that becomes thicker and thicker the farther we go.  Soon, the compromises grow larger and larger and our resolve to make right transforms into our justification that we are right.  Finally, we are either too lost to find our way back or too mesmerized by the glitter ahead of us to want to.

This is where man is today.  We have over the past millennium become so lost in the world of the senses that we have decided it is where we should be.  It makes no difference whether that world consists of our mansions, our corporations and our big cars—or the superiority of our religion over that of any other.  It is only a matter of exchanging one worldly obsession for another because in all cases the cost of sustaining our obsession is born by our souls.  Whether we are willing to kill for oil, kill for country, or kill for God—the result is the same—a broken commandment.

Yet, mankind’s destiny of harmony is fated to be learned through conflict—it is how we grow as individuals, as families, as nations and as a species.  Over the past two thousand years it has been the conflict between the spiritual and the material, and between the heart and the mind, good and evil.  Yet in the new age we will unite heart and mind to form Wisdom and through that wisdom we will unite the spiritual that is within us with the material that we are made of and spirit will truly inhabit the flesh and God will inhabit the world.

The lessons of this age have been carried in through the words of Jesus Christ for He ushered in the age of Pisces.  Many times in His sayings He mentions the “end of this age”, that phrase is synonymous with Judgment Day.  It is the day that this generation graduates.  I believe that this day is not a day but a time—a period of years, perhaps decades—which will fully bring us into the Age of Aquarius.  Christ said, “…For there are five trees for you in Paradise that remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall.  Whoever becomes aquatinted with them will not experience death”. The trees are Faith, Charity, Joy, Peace and Hope.

His teachings were the same teachings as all of the prophets before him, yet, they were like the mustard seed in their growth around the world. Many people now, in the Christian world are talking about the ascension in flesh.  This certainly seems like the best time to ascend.  I believe that we do not really understand what that means. The physical world is a world of death.  It is the valley of the shadow of death, because death is all around us, yet our souls walk through the shadow of death because our souls never experience it.  By this time many of us are realizing that heaven is within not in some place out there.  Since heaven is within, then we must certainly ascend to Heaven while we are in the flesh.  This ascension is finding God or Spirit within ourselves and living it in our lives.  Christ says, “For he (man) did not find it in the day he was in the body, so that he will not find it in the Day of Judgment”. It is stated in other words in Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”

We must live this commandment that was stressed by Jesus Christ:

The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. And then You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

He said, ”Get behind me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”.  Here again it is the same choice, either the things of God or the things of Men.  We have been battling this choice over the past millennium.  We reached a point in the 80’s where the God that we worshipped was Satan.

If you look at the devil in the Rider Waite Tarot Deck, you will notice that the devil is holding the man and woman with chains.  However, the chains are not locked, representing the fact that they can leave at any time.  That card called the Devil represents our being chained to the material world.  In reality the devil is not some horned creature in physical form.  It does not require weird ceremonies and the sacrifice of virgins.  The devil requires corporate downsizing to increase profits, factory closings to make more money, and the sacrifice of people’s livelihoods for the sake of greed.  The Devil requires us to build ourselves up by putting others down.  The devil requires that we hate and steal, whether it is a purse or someone’s business, or walking over the homeless on the street without even acknowledging their existence.

It requires that we condemn people because their beliefs are different to ours, or they look different to us.   It is an energy that tempts us with the material world and binds us by our passion and our greed for possessions.  It is that passion for worldly things, and for power over others, that is the fire of hell.  Jesus said, “A grapevine has been planted apart from the Father. Since it is not strong, it will be pulled up by its root and will perish.” Gospel of Thomas

For those things have no soul and cannot lead us in any way to God, but in fact, lead us away.  The devil is all things that are void of love.

Many say that there is a battle going on between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.  This causes a kind of imagery that I am not at this time comfortable with.  Yet, there is a battle being waged now between the Spiritual and the Material.  However we describe it the energy is the same.  Yet a battle between darkness and light feels like a battle that is going on outside of us.  The battle is not outside but is really being waged within.  Energy is energy it has no form.  We give it form and we direct it.  Our choices will decide either which side wins, or if we can find the Wisdom to make peace between the two.  There is an Hasidic Quotation that goes as follows :

On the day of destruction, power lies at the bottom of the deep and grows. If a pregnant woman goes into labor in the eighth month, when the time is not yet come, doctors try to stop her labor. But not so in the ninth month. If the woman goes into labor then, doctors try to increase it, so that she may soon give birth. That is why, formerly, when people called to heaven, begging God to free the earth of some misery, their prayer was granted, for the time was not yet come. But now that redemption is near, no prayer which ascends in behalf of the sorrowful world is of avail, but sorrow is heaped upon sorrow, so that the birth may soon be accomplished.

This is the same as saying that while we are learning, if we ask the teacher a question we are immediately given the answer.  However, on the day of the final exam we will not be given any answers for now it is time for our knowledge and our ability to learn to be tested.  If and how the end comes will depend upon our choices, but it is certainly clear that sorrow upon sorrow is being heaped upon the world.  Yet we cannot pray for God to make things better, we must pray for God to give us a chance to make ourselves better.

Everything is catching up to us now.  We are destroying the earth and the things of God, so that we may make more room and have more resources for the things of the material world.  The more life that we destroy the more nature is destroying us.

Some delusional being decided one day that if we are created in the image of God, then we have to power of God.  Over the past two thousand years we have built our own Tower of Babel.  We have treated Mother Nature as though she were a thing to suck dry.  She lives, and as we are seeing in the Gulf and around the world through disaster after disaster…she reacts.

All of the hatred and prejudice that we each repress is being played out by the racists and terrorists.  Yet they are not acting in a vacuum, they are absorbing what has been hidden, the emotions that motivate those who move to segregated neighborhoods although they do not consider themselves prejudice, those who do not approve inter-racial or even inter-religious marriages, yet they do not consider themselves prejudice.  It is all of these hidden feelings that are becoming manifest.  Christ said, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]” Gospel of Thomas.  In Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for every purpose under the Sun.  This, is the time to reap.

There are those of us who realize that in order to effect change we must open our eyes, however unpleasant, to that which must be changed.  There are those who will hide from what is front of their faces and seek a liar to tell sooth them.  The ancient alchemists knew that the world “out there” and the world within ourselves is the same.  They saw that my separateness from you is the illusion.

Most people have resentments and prejudices that they hide, perhaps even from themselves, but now those feelings are being acted out within our society.   We can no longer profess love and compassion we must become love and compassion.  We can no longer consider ourselves alone.  As an astrologer, I am one of those who believe that the Judgment Day began officially on August 11th 1999, the day of the Great Millennium Eclipse.  This is our last chance to connect with our spirit.

We must begin to consider our immediate family one that is global.  This generation of souls entered in the Age of Leo, and it is love in its highest form that we must learn.  Up till now we have been learning to develop our individual abilities and our individual sense of self.  Now in the Age of Aquarius we will be asked to take that love and sense of self and use it to serve the greater good of all.  We were not meant to learn this the easy way.  Yet how hard it is depends upon us.  As it stands, we must learn it through terrorism, disasters, wars, hatred and disease. The good thing is that we still have a choice.  We can still change.  This moment in history is critical.

The earth is attacking us with a vengeance; we are attacking each other in the same way and will continue to do so until we learn what we are here to learn.  Christ said,

Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world.   They do not know that it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and war.  For there will be five in a house: three will be against two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the son against the father.  And they will stand solitary.

To stand solitary means to stand united as one.  This is the purpose of what we are experiencing and will continue to experience into the new millennium.

Our collective unconscious, the fabric that holds us together has begun to tear apart, to have holes in it, just as the ozone layer has on the physical plane.  We no longer have agreements to rely on.  We are lost and seeking some firm ground to stand on. People see three sides of every issue, question every rule and break or ignore every law.

Things will change and we will be a part of that change, whether it is through disaster or through love.  We have history for us to learn from.  How many empires crumble because they become too heavy on top for the foundation to support.  We must evenly distribute material of our world because there are cracks in the foundation and it soon will collapse.  We can create that change if we begin within our own hearts.  The world that we live in is the one that we create.  Not merely by our actions but by our true intentions.  We must change the world outside by changing the world inside.  We must become one in truth.   We must find the one truth, because we can no longer agree on any facts.

We are at the end of an Age.  We must connect with those five trees, eat their fruits and become them. So it is important to know what the core curriculum was, and that core curriculum has been taught by sages and prophets since the beginning of time.  It is the Word of God, spoken in all languages and by all of His incarnations.   In this millennium, our teacher in the west has been Jesus Christ.  It is time to love.  Love someone each day, help someone each day and just give of your heart.  We must make the changes in the world by making them within ourselves.  It is never too late, not as long as we are here.  There is no help that we cannot receive for us to be saved.  But we have to choose who we will serve.  Heaven will be on earth when it is alive within the hearts of man hearts.  We must make every season the season of giving.  We are the lost sheep, and when we return to our hearts we will be found.  Jesus said:

The (Father’s) kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it.  After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, ‘I love you more than the ninety-nine.

And those who assumed the form of my type will assume the form of my Word.  Indeed, these will come forth in light forever and (in) friendship with each other in the spirit, since they have known in every respect (and) indivisibility that what is, is ONE.  (Gnostic Scriptures, The Second Treatise of the Great Seth, Jesus speaking about himself, 65:19-33)

Finding Peace, Finding Heaven, by feeling middle C

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. “ Genesis 1:6-8

Faith is knowledge, far greater than belief, it is the knowledge that we are no alone; that we are never  vulnerable, and that there exists no adversity greater than the power we have behind and within us to overcome.  This knowledge is imprinted in the soul.  It is the power that causes everything on earth to grow up, despite the enormous pull of gravity to prevent that.  Faith is the core of the soul.  Fear, is the knowledge of the ego that it is temporary, that it dies to the dreamer when the dreamer awakens.  The ego is not a bad thing, its connection with the material world keeps the body alive.

The soul does not fear nonexistence, because it knows that whether it is has solid form like ice, or flows like water, or even dissipates into the air, like steam, it always is itself.  The soul knows only faith, the ego knows only fear.  And we come in as vessels to learn from the interplay of both.  Every light, peaceful, steady, uplifting emotion emanates from faith; love emanates from faith.  Every painful, hateful, heavy emotion, including greed, judgment, selfishness and bigotry, comes from the survival mechanism of the ego which is fear.

We incarnate (enter meat) in a physical body with physical needs and physical proof that we will not be here long if we do not meet the needs of the physical vehicle.  Faith is intangible,

I know so many people who live their lives in a state of anguish. Drowning in emotions, in fear of never being happy, in sadness when life disappoints seeing disappointment as a sign that happiness is not to be hoped for. Most of the people I love are prisoners living behind invisible bars that no one can see. The bars consist of open wounds, which no one can see. Life is like an ocean, sometimes calm, and other times the waves are relentless.

Ocean waves

For many life feels like a walk at the edge of this ocean while it looks so beautiful,  the reality of it is more like waves of salt water on invisible open wounds . Those who live with these wounds, feel them to be safe. Just as a person who has spent most of his or her life in prison, finds it safe, becoming repeat offenders committing crimes to return to prison. A place others might find to be the equivalent of hell. They find safe because it is the hell that they know.

There is something else about emotional pain, it creates a strange sense of being fully alive. Living is feeling. Feeling reminds us that we exist. It really does not matter what we feel, but as long as we feel, whatever we feel, we know that we are alive. When I lost my store I went into the abyss of depression. I felt abandoned by everyone I had been there for. I felt alone, unloved, unimportant, and most of all invisible. The only thing that surrounded me, and in the strangest way, validated my existence was my suffering, and I grew to need my suffering. I forgot that I did not have to suffer to exist. I had not realized that I did not need to crumble under the weight of my life to be worthy enough, deserving enough…of help.

So, when Prozac came out, many people who lived in constant suffering whether it was sadness or anger took this miracle medication and initially felt thrilled that the dark cloud that seemed to hover over them was gone. Yet, eventually they missed that ability to feel. Some people called it their “edge”, others just felt numb. They did not really feel alive anymore. This made them stop the Prozac and eventually re-enter the depression battle. The thing with that antidepressant is that it veils the emotions in this dense fog. And frankly, when I thought about the middle way discussed by Buddhism, about being in the world and not of it,as mentioned in the Bible, I thought of Prozac. I thought of being without feelings.

Now, I have realized that the middle road does not mask feelings. I asked for something that I could equate it to, and what came to me was, the middle C on the piano, the “do” in, “do, re, ,me, fa, so, la ti” which has always been, to me, the richest note on the piano.  It is rich because it is where all the notes, all the feelings are equal in power, and equal in intensity. It is the point where high and low meet, even touch, but neither consumes the space. It is the point of pure balance. It is where sunrise and sunset are one., where the light sits on the deep.

At the lowest end of the keyboard, it is deep yet there is something unsteady about the notes, something rough.  At the highest end the notes are tinny they are weak.  The middle path, is full; it is not rising or falling, but knowing both.  It is walking on water not drowning in it, while still feeling the light of the Sun.  It is experiencing life while still being firmly planted in the Self.  It is middle C, where we begin and where we return.

Today we live in turbulent times, and they are not going to change.  We can allow ourselves to be thrown to and fro by the the rising and falling waves, or we can plant our feet firmly in the sand and allow the waves of life to pass through us, breathing them in and releasing them back out.  Life is out of our control, but living is not.  If we want to find joy, it is middle C.  We must travel the firmament – The Way, The Tao:

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

Tao Te Ching

Living The Good Life Is Not Good In A Starving World

17360_1_230jpeg images45 mother_and_baby_by_johnmccabe

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

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

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

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

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

Today The World Changed – the inauguration of Barack Obama

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

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

Today the World Changed

I did not receive a release of my debts

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

To my people

Today the world changed

For one moment

Those men who sat for days to build a foundation

Upon which a more perfect union could be built

And those slaves who gave their blood, sweat and tears

To lay the bricks and mortar that would secure that foundation

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

Rose in silent witness

All of those souls – joining hand, and heart

Standing side by side cried tears of Joy

For the resurrection of the Spirit of America

Today the world changed

Not with a bang – but with a whisper

A whisper that resounded throughout the world

And into the Heavens

The sky did not fall

Only that impenetrable ceiling upon which, the words,

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

Came tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.

Today the world changed

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

The spirits of my Hebrew ancestors who escaped Egypt

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

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

Together their tears of joy rain down on us,

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

Are removed from their generation

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Today the world changed

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

And above this multitude of men, women and children

Unnoticed, inconspicuous

Flloated  a multitude of Angelic Beings

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All huddled together to bear witness to

the New World of Man,

the resurrection of Hope,

the resurrection of faith,

And the resurrection of Divine Love,

Today the world changed

The President of the most Powerful Nation in the world,

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

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

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

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

Without laying down to die,

Fueled and Driven by the faith that

One day, if they built it -

He would come

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and complete the circle.


Today the world change

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

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

Get those foolish notions out of your head”

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

be able to say,

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

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

because they are Black, Latino, Chicano, or Asian

except to die in a gang.

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

Is the White man -

He is not in front -

He is not in control,

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

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Today the world changed

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

“I cannot become whatever I want”

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

No excuses left – no justifications left,

There is no greater or more meaningful role-model

Than the President Of The United States.

Today life’s struggles are still overwhelming us,

The tunnel which now darkly surrounds us

Has become neither shorter, nor easier,

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

Has grown no brighter.

Today the roof of my house shelters my family,

Tomorrow, it may be the roof of our car,

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

This is the world that I want to struggle in.

Today the world changed

The dark and spiritless landscape that I stared out at yesterday

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

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

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

what the best might be.

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

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

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

As soon as we see it, it is dead -

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

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

Today the world has changed

The world of my children will not glitter,

It will radiate.

They will remember what being drunk with the world destroyed,

And so they will seek joy – and not intoxication.

History will record that this date ushered in a New Age

This is a great man,

but a great man cannot climb great heights alone

A great man can only accomplish great things by standing on

the shoulders of ordinary men and women,

Today the world changed

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

men and women, gay and straight,

and the littlest of children,

the tiniest of Angels,

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

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

Because although this man is great

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

Today the world changed

Because one man claimed his place in history,

and showed us that we must claim our voices,

We must shout from the rooftops until we are heard,

And never, never be silent again.

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

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

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

And Today the World Is Proud to Be An American

And I am proud to have my country back

Today the world changed

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I have my Statue of Liberty back,

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

and why we are,

As clearly etched eternally on her foundation:

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I have taken my faith back,

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

forever.

Whatever happens, for better or for worse cannot erase,

cannot tarnish,

cannot touch in any way the undeniable fact,

That Today Happened

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

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

Today the world changed

The Last Great door opened wide today

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The Last “Whites Only” sign

Has come down,

And with it, the last excuse for not trying,

or forever yielding the fight Before it’s begun

The White Man has not surrendered -

better than this,

He has realized that we are all in it together

And to stand, we must stand together

Today the world changed

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

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

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And yes, together we did,

Today The World Changed

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

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

even farther,

And for every man or woman who sees -Nothing

Whose lost -Everything,

You!  Find that dream, dust it off,

And dream it like you’ve never dreamed before,

Search for that star

You long ago lost track of,

And MOVE!

RUN!

REACH !

Everything is possible so long as we

Can hold our dreams

and keep our eyes on our stars,

T oday the world changed

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

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And we heard his heart say to us,

I accept your trust, I accept your faith,

I accept your dreams and your hopes.

I accept your need to believe

and I will honor them,

and I will honor you

with every breath in every day.

Today the world changed

On this cold, clouded winter afternoon

We were warmed, united in sacred ceremony

That at last

Meant something

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

Under a common shining light

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

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It matters not what tomorrow brings -

whatever it brings will pass

Only this moment will shine forever

Through whatever darkness lies ahead

It will shine

It will shine until the last hungry child is fed,

It will shine until the last sick child is healed,

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

And until the missiles have been beaten into pruning hooks:

and nation no longer lifts up a sword against nation,

And  neither shall we learn war any more.

Today, The world changed

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

God and Religious Doctrine

What we Know About God

Let’s look at what the history of man has shown us about God. The most obvious thing for a person who believes in reason is that if there were a specific path to pleasing God, no one has found it. There is no one person or group of worshippers or non-worshippers that illness, poverty, suffering and loss have not visited. There exists no list of do’s and don’ts that when followed will exempt anyone or any group from suffering or that will guarantee anyone or any group happiness on this earth. Reasonably, we may presume that whatever God is, it is neutral.

If God were to write a book, one and only one with words that could not in any way be altered, omitted or added to, any God that is worthy of that divine status would not write one word that would not be true and accurate until the end of time, perhaps a great feet for mortal man, but nothing at all for the one and only God who knows all that was, all that is and all that ever will be. As a reasonable person of the twenty-first century, I would expect no less if I were asked, or required to believe that every word in the book came from this omnipresent, all knowing, all seeing God. I would expect that the book would not state that the sun, the moon and the stars revolve around the earth. I would expect that God would know that this is not true. I would expect that God would not say “Thou shalt not kill” and then devote whole chapters in His Book to who and when to kill. Exactly what part of “contradiction” could I reasonably assume that this God does not understand?

It is just the fact that killing is so final, and the ‘who, when, and where’ are often so confusing, that that makes the book itself a map to failure. Let’s look at one of the reasons for death that I am personally very sensitive to, the killing of false prophets:

Kill False Prophets

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT
“Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, ‘Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,’ do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you.”

Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT
“ But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.’ You may wonder, ‘How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?’ If the prophet predicts something in the LORD’s name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared,”

In the first passage, God states that if the prediction comes true, then God is testing you to see if you love him enough to know that this is a false prophet, then a few passages down God answers the question on everyone’s mind, “How do we know a false prophet?” Here, the answer is that we know a false prophet because what he says will not come true. Could God be a tricky God? Could part of the test be figuring out which commands are to be followed and which are just meant to weed out the unholy?

If God created man, then God created the ability to reason that man has been endowed with, that ability which helps us to discern what is valid and enduring from what is not. Our reason and our intelligence evolve as the world in which we must survive evolves, and our ability to be discriminating evolves with ever growing quantity of choices that we face. Man does not have fur; he neither has claws, nor sharp teeth. He does have the mental agility to adapt to the world as it changes. This means that in 2007, we will not put a woman in jail for wearing patent leather shoes because they allow a man to see her tempting private parts. We are able to remove laws, made by men, which have no obvious relevance to our time and do not in any way protect or enhance our quality of life.

These gifts of reason and intelligence with which we have been endowed in order to insure our ultimate survival must be allowed, to examine the Books that many call the “Literal words and doctrine of the One True God”. The fact that throughout the long history of these books, and in the name of the God within their pages, man has committed the most violent, cruel, and inhumane crimes and atrocities that mankind has ever witnessed, obligates every member of our species to relegate these books to the classification of mythology and place them on the same shelves as those housing the books of all other ancient gods.

If we do not do this, we will suffer a fate that has been seen by no man since the dawn of history. Our weapons of mass destruction will be used by those who place their faith in the literal words and doctrine within the pages of these books, and they will ultimately do what is unequivocally demanded by anyone who calls himself faithful to the Word, and that will be to bring about the near extinction of humanity. This will happen because those whom we are labeling terrorists are in truth not terrorists at all but simply the most deeply devout. So long as these books are held as the ‘only true’ words of God, those demands of the complete annihilation of non-believers that run through their pages will find those who are faithful enough to fulfill.

What we know is that consciousness in a mechanical outcome of any physical processes, that we not only exist, that our world exists and that we are able to be conscious of this world and of ourselves is something beyond material explanation and therefore it falls into the realms of the spiritual. So perhaps it is that realm of the spiritual that we can begin to call God. That there are and have always been people who could see the future – some, in astounding detail, must tell the reasonable person that there is some form of a plan laid out before us. Perhaps, we could call a part of what is God. We may begin to get an idea of what God is by observing those things and experiences that seem to be just beyond the “how?” of the world and somewhere within the “why?”, of it.

Intelligent reason is important to us, for it is what we must use in order to eliminate what is not God. We cannot use our brains to know God because we only know what we ourselves to be. As human beings, we can only know God if we attribute humanness to God. We cannot understand God with our minds without attributing thinking, and feeling to God. However, this does not mean that we cannot experience God.

We can experience God when we leave our minds, our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, our fears, and journey within through meditation or deep contemplation into that place that is devoid of all of those things. When we do this, we find peace, we find joy, we find everything and we find nothing. We experience God when we are so centered and so focused that for a small window in time we know that every arrow we send out will hit its mark; we are in the “zone”, thereto, we experience God. No description of this experience can be adequate.