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 Value of Man

“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'” (Mark 12:41-44)

In the transitory material world, the value of a man or woman is based upon how much he has amassed. Yet, in the Spiritual World, the value of a man is based upon how much of what he has amassed, he has given to those in need. We are all here to contribute what we have, and who we are. What is expected of us is dependent upon the level of evolution of our souls. A young soul is here to contribute to building of material structure. Young souls translate the spiritual concepts into material form. They immerse themselves in the material world, without them, and all of their apparent superficiality there would be no material world from which the spiritual may emerge. All life is symbolic. A caterpillar represents the soul. The cocoon symbolically represents the material world and the ego. The young soul dissolves into ‘both’ while here on the earth. Remember the cocoon is hard, and it is dark. The caterpillar is lost to itself inside of the cocoon, however, for a time in the beginning it is also safe.

Without knowing why, the young soul is drawn to the material world so opposite from its spiritual origin. Just as the caterpillar is compelled to leave the world of the familiar to create and enter the cocoon. They build the ego structure. The young soul learns to depend upon the material world and all that it has to offer. It learns to be greedy, lustful, and all of those non-spiritual drives that form the walls of the ego structure. Once the young soul has mastered the material world, the ego has no more to learn and so it has no more to give to the soul. The cocoon is complete. Now the soul, once enclosed by the ego must consume the knowledge of the ego and transform the material back into the spiritual and the ego back into the soul. At which point, it becomes a butterfly free of the world. As the young soul begins to find it is no longer nourished by the world as it had once been, it seeks that which is higher than the world. On this part of the journey the soul seeks spiritual nourishment, and still guided by the ego, it seeks this in the world that it knows, the world outside of the self. Thus, it sees God outside of itself. It only does what it knows to do. It recreates spirit in form. It worships God in the image of man, a superman – but still with the feelings and emotions of man, of a father creator. It has not yet seen the world for what it is, but it knows that it needs something more than it sees, or at least above the world that it sees. In order, to reach the God that is above the world it creates religion as a stairway up to that God.

As the process continues, the soul becomes immersed in emotional situations desperately seeking fulfillment of the need to merge, to fully feel at one with something that it does not yet understand. Severed from the ability to identify and merge with the things of the world, it now hungers to identify as one with another. Through the pain and suffering of this part of the journey the soul matures. It begins to find that nothing and no one can satisfy its ‘hunger’ or its ‘emptiness’. Nothing outside of itself can reach into the emptiness within itself and fill the growing void. Again the soul seeks God, but now it can no longer be a God that ‘communicates’ from without nor ‘dictates rules’ from without nor ‘has a home’ without. It must find God within – hear the voice from within and become filled from within. Now the soul finds itself betrayed by the world, betrayed by its things unable to find another soul who can fulfill its expectations and nonetheless, forsaken by its religion. Then, certain of God, certain that what it needs can be found, the mature soul begins to change the direction of its quest from without to within.

Finding less and less value in what it posses, it begins to give. The more that it gives, the better it feels. Without knowing it, the soul has begun the process of turning form into spirit – material into spiritual – and as it does this it finds itself nourished and ‘made full’ in a way that it could never have imagined. The mature soul begins to see beauty, miracles and perfection in the spirit of the world and the spirit of each living spirit on it. And so it releases its attachment to having, and to holding and finds its only joy in giving and sharing. Miraculously, the love, respect, self-worth and value that the soul has spent lifetimes seeking in the world are found in an ever-flowing Source – the God Self within. Diamonds are hidden within coal. The greatest joy in the world is hidden within our fear. Why do we not give more? It is because we fear not having enough.

Once I had a job where I worked very hard. I did my job and my manager’s job. When it came time for the end of the year review, the person in charge of giving out the raises gave me a $2000.00 a year raise and gave him a $5000.00 a year raise. When I complained, he told me that although looking at the amounts it seemed that his raise was greater than mine, if I looked at the percentage increase in his income compared to the percentage increase in my income I would see that my work had been given much greater value. At first, I thought it was a really good line. However later I realized that it was true in everything. In the marketplace, money is money, and one hundred dollars does not buy as much as one-thousand. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. However, when it comes to giving, the value lies not in the face value of the gift, but in how much of what you have to give, you want to give to a person – or to the world.

We live with God within us: we are of God. When we give, to whomever we give, we are expressing how much we care – how much of ourselves have merged with our Spirit and how much of ourselves are yet with the world. That amount has no figure on it, there is no great sum that shows how giving and loving a person is, there is only a great percentage of what we have. If a person has only a penny and selflessly gives that penny, it becomes a mustard seed and grows not only in the works it performs but in the heart and soul of the person who gave it. If a person has a million dollars and gives one thousand to others, the gift will supply its market value and little more. It has little spiritual energy, and it will end up taking more from the giver than it gives. When you give all that you can to those in need, you will be given more than you can contain in love and self-worth.

Contrary to all of your fears, what you give is returned to you ten-fold because you gave beyond what your ‘worldly self’ could release, and you placed your God before the world. No one ever needs to know what you did, nor does anyone need to praise what you did, because the praise flows from within and the gift grows nurtured by Spirit as do you. Here is a true story:
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was “too crowded.”

“I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.

Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class.

The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.

As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.

Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.” For two years she had saved for this offering of love.

When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.

He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.

But the story does not end there…

A newspaper learned of the story and published. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.

When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.

Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00-a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300.

And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.

Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russel H. Conwell, author of the book, “Acres of Diamonds”.

As a soul matures, it finds that all that it clings to and becomes addicted to, in the world, only makes it emptier and hungrier. The emptiness and hunger is only satisfied by letting go, and giving. This turns matter into spirit. It turns what is transitory into what is permanent. The soul learns that only by emptying can it become filled, only by giving can it receive. Then happiness is replaced by joy and the journey to find self-esteem and self-worth finally ends.

How The World Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Journey’s End is the Only Cause of Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living In A Surreal World

 

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money,
first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will
grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property
until their children will wake up homeless. – Thomas Jefferson

The world around us has become surreal. Up until recent years, the energy was focused on new things. We were preoccupied with a new learning curve. Computer technology has changed the way that we live our lives and it seemed, that in order to move anywhere close to ‘business as usual’, we had to learn how to keep up with all of the new devices which suddenly ruled our lives. We had become, necessarily distracted. This new invention, the internet inundated us with information in ways that we had never known before, and viewpoints which were, perhaps, also unknown to us. To some, it seemed to make us feel that we had not been privy to the “TRUTH” before, being limited to the news on television and in print.

In a way, we became overwhelmed by so many points of view, masquerading as information, that we lost our need to distinguish fact from fiction. The more information we received, the less TRUTH mattered in the objective sense. What we wanted, what we have always wanted was a truth that coincided with our own perception of TRUTH. News on the internet, could just as well be propaganda, they became indistinguishable. So the mainstream media, always seeking the numbers, which translated into cash, transformed from the unbiased distribution of facts, to the very biased spreading of opinions. Money went to the media outlets that could spin the facts into a cloth that was preferred by the largest number of people. News distanced itself from journalism and best friended Madison Avenue. The old time. truth telling journalists began to lose favor and finally were slowly moved out to the curb, along with other throwaway items such as, TRUTH, and impartiality. The Constitution, I believe, was at one time interpreted with the original intent and spirit of its framers in mind. Now it is interpreted with only the opinions and best interests of those with the most money in mind.

So now that I can finally look up from my electronic devices to see what is happening around me, I am feeling as though I am on a magic school bus that is transporting me though history to experience, first hand, how empires crumble. I imagine the Roman Senate, so intoxicated with wealth and power that it lost its ability to relate to the Romans themselves. Or old crazy King George the III, who was so eager to milk every last dime out of those distant colonies that he caused the Revolutionary War. Our government and Wall Street have united with Madison Avenue to sell us on the importance of keeping the rich, rich. They have figured out how to make as many Americans as possible hate our President enough to fight against whatever he is in favor of, even if what he is in favor of…is our own ability to survive and sustain our health and the health and wellbeing of our children.

I see the Congress as a caricature from an old New Yorker comic. I see images of Fat Wall Street Bankers shoving cake and candy in their mouths so that they will push through more and more corporate entitlements, after all, now a corporation has the same rights as an individual according to the Supreme Court, only they have more money and power, so in essence, or in real terms, they have more rights. We only get one vote, but they get to buy the candidates. So it turns out that we get to vote between the blow up dolls created and designed by the institutions that we need the most protection from. Our votes have been rendered meaningless, since we can only choose between different looking and different sounding representatives of the same silent, hidden interest. We are given a choice between this Wall Street puppet or that one. Any real representative of the people could not afford the airtime to be heard. In this country, to become a candidate requires the selling of your soul. It is not about whose truth you are aligned with, it is about whose lies are most convincing.

Recently I watched the gubernatorial races around the country and what struck me was that every candidate in the races that I watched, should have been in jail. Those who voted had to vote for the candidate who could make the atrocities of the other candidate sound worse than his own. We were given choices between two evils, two criminals. I don’t know what this says about who we are. I don’t know what this says about what America means anymore. Our values, our morals, are reflected by those we elect to represent us, to govern, to serve. So why do our leaders establish commissions to root out corruption? Are those commissions established to fool us? If they are meant to lead us to believe that this nation does not support corruption, they are not needed. The truth is that we are a corrupt nation. In a time of transparency, and mudslinging, we are fully aware of the lying, stealing and overall corruption of those individuals who are running for office before we vote, and still we elect them. We don’t care who they stole from, cheated on, or killed in their private lives. We don’t care how many millions or billions a candidate stole from the poor or even from the government. We don’t care if a candidate voted to eliminate social security, and unemployment insurance. We care only that we elect a candidate who shares our personal likes and dislikes, our prejudices, or appear on the right side of the right church.

Sadly, those few of us who have eyes and SEE and have ears and HEAR, are so stupefied by what is going on, and are so few in number that we feel powerless. We can only observe as the dam continues to erode, and our chances for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness continues to be only an increasingly distant horizon. We are those voices screaming years before the Revolutionary War, who were ignored, and ostracized by the British supporters, murdered by the Roman Senators. We are those who will not be heard until the majority of people arrive at that destination we, the seeing, fear is ahead.

There are pyramids and other structures around the world that attest to the fact that there were some who either survived Atlantis, or escaped in time to survive and carry the knowledge and wisdom gained throughout the world. And there will be those of us who will, seeing the inevitable collapse that awaits us, will prepare, and simplify our lives. We will join with others in self-sufficient communities, based upon brotherhood and cooperation. We will carry the seeds of life rich in spiritual meaning and Oneness throughout the world.

A TIME TO BUILD UP AND A TIME TO BREAK DOWN

To everything there is a time, a time to build up and a time to break down. This is the time to break down the material foundation that is so far from the heart and from our Source. No one can stop that collapse. No one can save us from the dam that is eroding. It is time; it is the end of its season. Those of us who understand this will survive to teach what we have learned and be a part of building a new legacy. Life seems surreal because it is almost Biblical. What led to the apocalypse, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, and to the end of Rome is what we are witnessing now. The wealthy, and their servants in government are fiddling just like Nero did as Rome burned. When a building becomes disconnected from its foundation, it is no longer a question of if it will fall, but when. And when a government, regardless of whether it calls itself a democracy, a republic, a fascist state or a dictatorship, becomes totally disconnected from the people it governs, it too will inevitably fall.

Beyond the Golden Rule – Loving Thy neighbor As Thyself

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There is a story told in Kabbalah:

“With an angel for his guide, the visitor is first ushered through the gates of Hell, which, he is surprised to find, are made of finely wrought gold. The gates, in fact, are incomparably lovely, as is the verdant land­scape that lies beyond them. All this is quite astonish­ing to the visitor, who turns to his angelic guide in disbelief. “It’s all so beautiful,” the man says. “The sight of the meadows and mountains . . . the sounds of the birds singing in the trees … the scent of thousands of flowers. . . .” And then another scent catches his atten­tion: the aroma of food being prepared.

The angel leads the visitor toward an immense ban­quet table laden with every sort of delicacy. However, something is terribly wrong. Hundreds of people are seated around the table, but they all appear to be starv­ing. Their emaciated condition is painful to see in the midst of such bounty, but even worse is the frustration and anger they are obviously experiencing. Each person at the table has a long-handled spoon chained to his wrist. The handles are so long that no one can place food in his mouth. But that does not prevent the con­demned souls from trying. For all eternity, they are struggling to feed themselves a meal that is right before them, but that might as well be a hundred miles away. Taken aback by the tragic spectacle, the visitor is now more than ready to visit Paradise, and the angel immediately complies. At once they pass through an­other set of golden gates, alike in every detail to the gates of hell. In fact, a great deal about the two locales seems to be identical, including the banquet table and the diners chained to their utensils. But the people around this table are well fed and happy, despite the fact that their circumstances are identical to those of the damned. The difference is not in the physical situa­tion, but in how they respond to it. As you might have guessed by now, instead of trying to feed themselves, each of the souls at this table feeds the one across the table.”