From July 6, 2003
Consider: When hostile, negative thoughts enter your mind, say, "Thank you for sharing. Please step out of line." This is a challenge because we are dealing with a habit that will need another thought-pattern to take its place. Only the latter habit will serve us. The place to start is with each new day. Read spiritual growth books and listen to tapes. Examples: Anthony Robbins tapes/CDs on "Getting The Edge." Listen to them constantly. Buy his book from BEBooks.com called,Awaken the Giant Within, or Marianne Williams’ book, Return to Love, Wayne Dyer’s, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem. We have spent a lifetime programming our minds quite often without consistent or wholesome guidance. We need to engage in reprogramming them. This takes time and daily effort. The Science is called, Neurolinguistic Reprogramming. Behavior scientists are experimenting with reprogramming the way the brain processes data and being highly successful. In essence this process is "brain washing" but with positive, creative results.
2. Can one lead a spiritual life without belief in God or a god?
Consider: For many people God is an abstraction they cannot move beyond. The concept of God invites too many questions that cannot be answered satisfactorily by the use of human logic or by conclusions drawn from the input from the five senses. One has to be in touch with, to some degree, the world no one can see. Actually, God does not need us to believe anything before we can act intentionally to pursue our spiritual development. Every life form has everything it needs for such development within its seed and humans are no exception. No life form needs a belief system before it blooms. Beliefs are a reflection of our level of consciousness and have nothing to do with the way God's creation has been structured. The more we understand, the more quickly our beliefs change.
3. How does one detach with love? I tend to get absorbed by/in love or I feel numb when I "detach." Where is the balance to serve but not lose myself?
Consider: Quite often the highest form of love is to leave something or someone alone, confident that they are on their path for their own development. People can only move toward greater levels of consciousness when their motivation is commensurate with the quality of their search. No questions, no insights. No insights, no incentive to grow beyond where they are. The saving grace is pragmatic -- nothing a person decides will ultimately work until there is movement and growth. Hence the quote, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." We can teach all we wish, but if a student is disinterested, we might as well share our wisdom with the wind. When this occurs, an alternative is to live before them the sermon we would love for them to hear and absorb. Some people need to be guided visually by role models they have grown to respect and love. Maintaining balance is an art form we develop over time in every area of life. People frequently confuse love with the need to feel completed by someone whom they believe has the power “to fix” them. Detachment comes when we realize that no one can give us anything that we do not already have. The only place we remain incomplete is in a fear our imagination has created. When we polish our own stone and radiate our wholeness, others frequently become healed through our witness. Another way of saying this is “When we raise the bar in our own life, we raise it for everyone else.” We become the leaven for the loaf.
4. To get a better understanding of Spirituality verses Christianity.
Consider: Our wisdom often comes from our perceptions based on our interpretation of what is happening in our lives. When Christianity becomes exclusive and narrow in its beliefs, it loses its universality and thus its message. "Love One Another," is the ultimate recipe of any life-orientation that allows us to create through our expression of loving energy. However, Christianity both lists “the rules" and where they can be found in the Scriptures. Spirituality teaches the development of skills so that they become a way of life, not just a discipline. Thus, a non-believer in Christianity (such as a Zen Master) can become advanced in spiritual development. Such beings, for example, may develop beyond where many Christians are when the latter become emotionally entrenched by issues regarding salvation and the necessity of holding specific beliefs associated with that particular state of consciousness.
5. How can I find the Kingdom of God inside me?
Consider: Every life form has everything it needs within its seed. The best way to discover the Kingdom is to begin using what we have been given. People who feel “empty” are merely communicating that they have given away very little. Developing our talents and abilities through their constant use is the only way to know that we have all the tools of spirit we could possibly want. In fact, God cannot give us any more just as God could not add anything to a magnificent rose. Without use, our qualities remain dormant. We must remember that Jesus used a metaphor for a people who knew well the concept of kingdoms. Today, a synonym would be consciousness. Example: Are we allowing ourselves to be defined by our physical world where everything changes or, are we defining ourselves by the tools of spirit that we use, e.g., patience, understanding, detachment, kindness, etc.?
6. The concept of "Heaven on earth . . ." is that concept spiritual, religious or both?
Consider: “Heaven on earth” can be interpreted to mean that we can live in it anywhere and whenever we wish. It is a mindset or consciousness level that can be achieved. All of our cues for being are taken from the script: “How much love can I radiate during this present moment?” Another interpretation can be that one day everyone will be like-minded and serve one another because they desire to do so. It will be a day when destruction, hatred and fear will be gone from human consciousness because it serves no purpose. There will be no unmet human needs at that time, because we will have learned that fear based logic (from which unmet needs come) and its expression are an unproductive use of energy.
7. How to grow within myself with my life, i.e., get over things and move on?
Consider: The first issue is to determine where your energy is going. Are you keeping alive the painful memories of past events? Are you holding on to hurt feelings, grudges, negative desires, etc.? The skill involved in this question is learning to let go of thought forms that do not serve you while holding on to those that do. It is a habit that needs to develop over time. When an energy draining thought comes, let go of it. Pray: “God, help me let go of this idea, this remembrance, this person.” Express gratitude for the adjustments such a memory has contributed to your life. Be appreciative that the event happened because it helped you facilitate change so you could arrive where you are today. Our most draining life-issues do not come from past episodes in life but from our negative interpretation of those experiences. Assigning new meanings, or re-referencing them, removes the venom from the sting.
8. Can a person be a joyful receiver if they are taught only to give and yet still inherit God's Kingdom? Does this receiving create a guilt trip?
Consider: Not everyone knows how to receive gracefully. Jesus allowed a woman to perfume his feet. The Kingdom has nothing to do specifically with giving or receiving but the spirit in which both are done. When a person receives and feels guilty about the gift, it is an issue they need to address within themselves. This may represent one of the spiritual frontiers they need to approach, cross and move beyond. Receiving has to do with recognizing the spirit of the one giving. When we feel worthless, for example, we are communicating to the giver, “God, what you gave me for a life is useless and meaningless.” Of course, if God had a face like ours, God would smile at such a prayer. This thought reflects our lack of skill in the art of receiving gracefully and nothing more.
9. Tell us about the vulnerable Jesus -- the human. Heaven and Hell are spoken of as "places." I think that they are metaphors for "good" and "evil." Enlighten me, please.
Consider: The vulnerable Jesus is all through the Gospels. He lost his patience repeatedly with his disciples. He labeled and judged Scribes and Pharisees, failing to empathize with their many years of conditioning and training in The Law. His display of anger in the Temple courtyard was not a good model for his followers or a commanding performance of his own ability to forgive 70 times 7. He wearied over the inability of his followers to grasp the meaning of his teachings. And he possibly had feelings of self-doubt when many believers found his teachings too difficult and decided not to follow him anymore. Jesus had to ask his disciples, "Are you also going to leave me? (John 6:67) Yes, Heaven and Hell are not locations or parcels of extraterrestrial real estate that we will inherit as a result of the quality of life we lived while on earth. This would put our future destiny totally into our hands and it is not, at least, not in terms that we might believe or assume. We are infinite beings and so our future has already been assured. However, to achieve the skills of spirit necessary to create with loving energy, we have numerous lessons to learn. This is one of our purposes during our earthly sojourn. We have wanted to be creators and the earth is the matrix provided where our evolution can take place. Everything we make, at this stage, stays here. This is why our “sins” or our ability “to miss the mark,” all stay here. Jesus claimed to have overcome the world and he did that by teaching and showing us that this realm is not the only venue for living we will experience.
10. As we learn and develop a better understanding of ourselves, I can uncover truer (clearer) definitions of my past ways of living that leave me feeling uncomfortable, with regret.
Consider:Try to avoid considering past episodes in life as anything more than stones in the creek bed that you needed to step on to get where you are. We negotiate life's challenges differently as we grow, because we have the opportunity to learn how to choose better moment by moment. Moments that inspire regret do so because of our judgment about them and have little to do with past behavior. Behavior only has meaning when such meaning is assigned by us. Regret is a response we choose among an entire universe of responses. Learn to choose what serves you rather than what will create more pain and hurt.
11. What is the "key" to aging gracefully? So much misery happens to us at the end it makes me fearful of old age.
Consider: Half the secret to aging gracefully is to realize that you never age. You never age! What ages is your body. Remember, you are not your body. This sounds like a mind game but it is true nevertheless. Aging, obviously, is a process the body goes through, but by keeping thoughts healthy, positive and energized one can age gracefully. Also, moderate exercise, not from a spirit of vanity but from a desire for maintenance and fitness, can often extend our lives both in duration and quality. A fear of misery will not serve you. Such fears can interfere with brain function as well as the quality of cellular development. Dynamic energy is what keeps “the light on.” Even people in wheel chairs can still appear in movies! Do not allow fear of aging to define you.
12. The idea of the Devil -- being a body -- or the concept of evil.
Consider: Who created this being and for what purpose? Furthermore, what purpose is served by Hell. Both the Devil and Hell do exist, however. Do not be mistaken about that. They exist in people's thought patterns and in their fear-based beliefs. Since we are creators, these entities exist because of our beliefs in them. Our beliefs will mold our reality. Remember, once the worldwas flat. Once the earth was the center of the universe. Once there were no germs. The larger question is, do they exist once we leave the bounds of the physical world? If God is the creator of unconditional love, we must assume that there is no darkness capable of putting out such a light. The consideration of this possibility may cause us to form a new set of beliefs about this topic. Perhaps we humans are the ones who need God to use our form of justice and our designs for the punishment of evildoers. There can be no greater justice than this: We cannot pretend to be on a level of awareness that we associate with wholeness, while behaving from a consciousness that is manipulative, destructive, self-righteous and mean spirited, i.e., capable of perceiving without love. Thus, we inherit what we create. We live with and act out of such an awareness now. Yet even with this understanding, the loving creativity of God abounds. Mercy is an automatic gift. In time, we learn to think again, to change our minds and begin to create from loving energy patterns. Our growth begins at that moment. Consider the underlying energy pattern embodied by Ebenezer Scrooge. Charles Dickens was very close to understanding when and how authentic life begins.
13. Finding the path for journeying in the world ("right action" as long as we're in the
Consider: Buddhism like many of the world's great religions can easily drift into Pharisaism. The Pharisees were the most right living people who ever lived. They obsessed over their faithful obedience to The Laws of Moses. The issue really is not "right action," as some forms of Buddhism teach, but rather loving energy being authentically expressed through a spirit that wants nothing personally from anyone. Finding the path begins with knowing your identity is not of this world. We are infinite and we are spirits who have manifested in human form. We are here to experience and to grow through what we encounter (our own highly personalized curriculum). There is no timetable for mastery. We grow by creating a newer version of ourselves with each test, trial, success or accomplishment. Both the positive and negative arenas of life can become areas of refinement. Both "good" and "evil" are judgment calls we make and nothing more. They reflect our values. The key questions are: "Who do I want to be in this circumstance?" and "Will deciding in this manner serve to make my understanding of God to become visible?
14. How does the Unitarian-Universalist Church compare with Christian churches?
Consider: It does not matter how they compare. Teachings, rituals, faith systems and denominational cultures will always have within their ranks those people who will manifest loving creativity as well as those who obey the narrowly interpreted dictates of their specific doctrines, scriptures and dogmas. Never judge anything by the label that has been ascribed to it. That which is labeled is only the vehicle or environment where someone can express their level of consciousness. All levels of awareness can be found within any community of faith. To label anyone is to negate them.
15. How to rid oneself of harbored anger. How to live life to the fullest.
Consider: When a person holds onto anger, they are allowing themselves to be controlled by outside personalities and circumstances. Such control is being energized by our thoughts, even though the source is absent and frequently some distance away. These phantoms control the mood and tissue destruction on a cellular level with amazing effectiveness. Once a person recognizes the pain that something invisible is still able to inflict, they release it with joy. The price for holding on to anything becomes too costly. Living life to the fullest takes some getting used to. There are several keys: 1) Maintain your physical form as best you can. Exercise has to be fun and become attached to your daily routine. 2) Monitor your thoughts carefully. You create by building thought patterns that will either serve you or injure you. Thoughts can make you attractive or become a source of embarrassment. Be authentic always. To maintain a public persona that is different from the true self is to expend energy needlessly and wastefully. When we invest our energy in masks, or pursue public approval at all costs, expressing such energy can leave you feeling drained. To practice goodness when your heart is distracted, is self-deceptive. It would be better to practice the mischief of your dreams wholeheartedly until you learn that there is no "gold" in the hills that appear so attractive. Do not put a cork in your desires and pretend they do not exist. They will outcrop when you are vulnerable. What spills from the glass when it is shaken is its true contents. 3) Learn each hour to keep your energy flowing away from you in service. Reflect the highest definition of yourself that you know. Chip away at your moments of delay as soon as they are recognized. 4) Allow other people to be whoever they want to be. If you cannot persuade them with your visible consciousness and your considerate, patient words, you are not their teacher. Someone else will come when they are ready to receive. If that day does not come for them, the universe will remain very patient.
16. How would I recognize a "spiritual" person?
Consider: They are everywhere but they come in different packages and in different forms. You can sense their consciousness through their poetry and art. You feel safe in their presence. In their friendship you can be yourself without feeling that opinions are being formed about you. They require nothing from you other than you being you. They are drawn to things of substance and beauty. They can be introverted or extroverted. They are often sensual. They create with passion, or they create with invisible nuance that moves mountains, e.g., a touch, a glance, a short note, their presence. To see them all, you must be awake and detached from issues of self-interest and self-importance. When you are fully awake, you will see that everyone is a spiritual person. Some, however, are still asleep. If you want, you may try to arouse them by telling them what it is you see in them. Practice the art of turning on the spiritual switches of others. It is fun, creative, and you assist in helping another to be "born again." Remember that such an act must be done stealthily, without judgment that they are lost. Teach by pointing with your own life, the way you use your words and the way you "wear" your energy. Never, ever judge another -- such thoughts only reveal you and your values.