Friday, October 28, 2016

It's Time for a Lovelution!

Is anyone else tired of all the human nonsense occurring in our world right now?  The hate, bigotry, ignorance, lying, fighting, arguing, separation, and on and on it goes?  I know I am!  Therefore, I think it’s time for a Lovelution!  A Lovelution is different than a Revolution in that a Revolution tends to be violent and promotes more of the same because it gets people riled up to commit even more violence.  Violence doesn’t get anyone anywhere except to harm great numbers of people even further. 

A Lovelution uses unconditional love to unite and bring people together for the greater good of all.  If I had to come up with principles for this Lovelution, I think the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis would do very nicely.  “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.  O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”  (You can change the word ‘Lord’ to Universe, Life, Love, or the God of your understanding, as it doesn’t necessarily have to be of a religious nature.)

Lovelutions aren’t new.  They’ve been occurring since the beginning of time.  Our great Spiritual Masters such as Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and so many others throughout history (and today) have been teaching and promoting Lovelutions.  These Masters are the epitome of Love.  Their values are peace, kindness, compassion, loving one another, understanding, honesty, integrity, diversity, humility, spirituality, acceptance, generosity, forgiveness, truth, righteousness, non-violence, taking care of each other, and so much more. 

Sometimes I wonder how we as a human species can be so hateful and violent, and yet we’ve always had that segment of our societies since the beginning of time.  It just seems worse since there are now more people on this planet and because of easy access in the media with modern technology.  Something happens in the world and boom!  It’s in the news and on social media (whether it’s true or not).  And since the media only communicates mostly the negative, we never hear about the good that is occurring.

I never in my life could have ever imagined that I’d hear politicians, religious leaders, and others spew forth such hateful vitriol towards others, and yet again, it’s always been there.  And yet people believe every word they say and are doing their bidding by further promoting the hate and violence, which is the direct opposite of what their Spiritual Masters taught.

Again, we’re experiencing a spiritual awakening and everything that isn’t working is coming to light so that we can see it, cleanse it, and heal it.  It’s going to take those of us taking part in the Lovelution to see everyone and everything surrounded and embraced in the pure, unconditional, perfect Love of that All-That-Is.

If you so choose, you can decide to be a part of the Lovelution or the Revolution.   One lifts up with love and the other destroys.  Whichever one you select, it will define your true beliefs, what your core values really are, and will show whether you are actually following and practicing the teachings of your Spiritual Masters or the teachings of man. 

Ever since I began my serious spiritual journey, I’ve been working hard at being a part of the Lovelution.  I’m certainly not perfect at it as I’m continuing to learn to be the greatest expression of who I was meant to be.  I’ll fall and trip more times than I would care to admit, but I know what it is I want to aspire to, and I will always try to focus on unconditional love.

Bishop Carlton Pearson said, “As a people and nation, we will survive, arrive, and thrive. As an individual, you create in consciousness the manifestation you desire in your present as well as your future reality. Some people call this faith, others call it positive thinking, and still others call it expanded consciousness. Either way, it's energy and energy means movement. Both faith and fear contain momentum and momentum possesses and processes your life in this earth realm.”

As the great Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Be the love, peace, compassion…  No matter what you choose, remember that love always prevails. 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 28, 2016.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Love of Nature

Last weekend, I went to visit my brother in northern Ohio.  He has a really nice cottage home right within a State Park Forest and his property is surrounded by nature.  Up the hill from his house is a bike trail that goes for miles through the forest.  While I was there, I took a walk on the trail that took me up into the small mountain.  I was in heaven.

I love nature and it can bring me feelings of peace and contentment like nothing else.  Breathing in her magnificent fragrances, listening to her beautiful melodies, and seeing the spectacular scenery was like being in paradise.  My dream has always been to have a place in the mountains or at least surrounded by acres of trees where I can be embraced by Mother Nature’s nurturing peacefulness.  Whether or not I’ll ever see that dream come true is up to the Universe.

While I was walking the trail, I communed with my inner Spirit and we had a nice conversation.  I told her my dreams and wishes and she listened with love and patience.  I just cannot begin to tell you how connected I felt to our beautiful Mother Earth and all of life.  I knew we were one and I could feel her loving energy rise through my feet to the top of my head and fill my heart with gratefulness.

At one point as I came around a curve, a stunning groundhog scrambled to the safety of a large fallen tree.  I don’t know who scared who worse. 

A few minutes later as I was deep in thought, I suddenly heard some kind of whirling coming towards me.  My first thought was that a very large bird was flying right at me while frantically flapping its wings.  I looked up and here came a human being on a mountain bike and I had just enough time to get off the path to let him go by as we quickly exchanged greetings.

I continued walking and didn’t want to stop, but parts of the forest were getting dark.  I knew I didn’t want to be out where I couldn’t see, so I was conflicted about whether I should keep going and hope that the path brought me back to my brother’s, or if I should turn around and head back the way I came.  While these thoughts crossed my mind, the path suddenly turned down the mountain away from my brother’s house, so I knew I needed to turn and head back.

As I came closer to my brother’s place, I really wished I could just stay out in the forest close to nature, communing with all the spectacular life that she embraced, but it was getting late and I knew my family would be worried if I stayed out much longer.

Nature holds so much life and energy and Mother Nature knows what she’s doing when she provides us everything we need to live.  It’s sad that there are so many who take her for granted and are destroying so much of this glorious planet that we call home.  Forests and woods are being leveled, oil and other sources of energy are continuously sucked out of her belly, the air she provides is constantly filled with pollution, and I could go on.  I think Mother Earth deserves so much better.  Besides, once we destroy our Mother, there is no other.

There are many others like me who love to get out into nature.  We know her love and her power and we have nothing but respect for her.  We do our part as we are able to take care of her.  The earth is a huge ball of energy that is made of the very same ‘stuff’ as we are.  When we hurt her, we are only hurting ourselves.

If you’re feeling stressed, depressed, not well, etc., try connecting to Mother Earth.  Feel her presence and her power within you as she can be very healing.  Walk in the woods, lie in the grass, or hug a tree.  Commune with Mother Earth and the God of your understanding.  You’d be amazed at how much better you’ll feel. 

Thich Nhat Hanh said, “You carry Mother Earth within you.  She is not outside of you.  Mother Earth is not just your environment in that insight of inter-being.  It is possible to have real communication with the earth, which is the highest form of prayer.” 

And Chief Seattle stated, “This we know.  The earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth.  All things are connected like the blood which unites one family.  All things are connected.”

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 21, 2016.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Words to Live By

Recently, Danielle Egnew, a beautiful voice in the spiritual community, attended the Interchange Symposium Board in Bozeman, Montana where she sat with a Rabbi, a Muslim woman, a Christian Pastor, a military general, a new energy entrepreneur, and an infectious disease specialist.  At 2:00 that morning, she put together a list of consciousness-focusing life modalities.   She then set them to music and developed a YouTube video to express these heartfelt thoughts.  She calls it ‘Words to Live By…My Credo for the 21st Century.’  It’s a marvelous video with empowering words and I would like to share them with you.

“I am not interested in what is wrong.  I am interested in what is right. If you have solutions, I’m interested.  Come share them with me.  I’ll share mine with you. I’ve gone bored with shock cynicism.  I refuse to sacrifice further IQ points at the altar of the lowest common denominator. Fear is not my University. Providing a shoulder to cry on is part of my design. Lies are boring.  Us-against-them is boring.  Mean, insulting, cutting, bullying, defensiveness, nastiness…boring. I’m not interest in distracting myself with the illusion of limitation. Debates are for the undecided.  I’m happy to discuss. Consensus is my religion. Love is the language of God.  I am at peace in the knowledge that at any given time, someone will be completely unhappy with my perspective.  I don’t need to be ‘in control.’  I do need to be aware.  I’m awake.  In this awareness there can sometimes be pain, loneliness, and fear. This awareness does not define reality…but the state of my own reality in that moment. There is nothing on this earth that love cannot heal.  I am designed to radiate love.  And so are you. I assume the best…as I’m simply not interested in the worst. I do not mistake hyper vigilance for provision. Anger is a symptom of pain.  Love is my bottom line.”

A creed is defined as, ‘a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone's actions,’ and is often a shared statement of belief such as the Nicene Creed, which was established as a statement of faith in Christianity between believers.  Creed was derived from the Latin word ‘credo,’ which means ‘I believe.’   Credo is more of a personal statement and is not necessarily used by a group.

Another great creed was written by Christian D. Larson.  It’s called “The Optimist Creed.”  “Promise yourself….  To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.  To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.  To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.  To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.  To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.  To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.  To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.  To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”

We can always use someone else’s creed or credo, we can add to them, or we can write our own.  They are words to live by and express our personal beliefs, integrity, and character.  Sometimes, I’ll sing positive and optimistic songs as my credo.  Other times, I’ll read a creed over and over to get the positive words engrained in my brain.  Words have power and it’s up to us to use them for good, not only for ourselves, but for the world.  They can be short sentences or as long as you want.  They can even be written into poems.  Most of all, they should be an expression of who you are as these glorious beings living on this great planet we call Mother Earth.

Once we have our credo developed, we then need to practice living the words we have written.  If you need help, here are two great quotes to get you started:

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”  Gandhi

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  John Wesley

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 14, 2016.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A State of Love

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  Albert Einstein

It is said that we were made in the image of God and that we are all God’s children, and yet we humans sure do like to separate and put people into categories and attach labels to them.  Some even feel they have the right and the power to decide who is good or bad or who should be loved or not loved.  Some are even preaching, teaching, and declaring that certain segments of society should be banished and/or destroyed (murdered).  Many who are saying these things come from the religious and political realms and people are being brainwashed into believing whatever they say.  So rather than putting their beliefs and faith in God (or the God of your understanding), people are putting their beliefs and faith in man. 

How do you tell the difference?  Jesus made it pretty clear when he said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  All the great spiritual masters have taught that we are to love one another (no exceptions), and yet if you look around you, listen to the media, or even listen to your family and friends, there isn’t much love going around.  If people really believed and followed their spiritual masters from whatever religion they belong to, then there would be a whole lot more love in the world.

As long as we separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters on this planet for whatever reasons, we are separating ourselves from God.  We say that God is love.  Where’s the love?  When I hear people speak words of hate, bigotry, or ignorance, or when they judge others, I know that they are not coming from a state of love; they are coming from a state of fear and it is not of God.  But there’s hope because more and more people are becoming enlightened knowing that unconditional love really is the only answer!

Marianne Williamson wrote, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”

A Course in Miracles states, “If hatred finds a place within your heart, you will perceive a fearful world.  If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and love.  You look upon that which you feel within.” 

We project our beliefs about ourselves and each other out onto the world and it is that world that will manifest from those beliefs.  We see the world as we see ourselves.  If we want love and peace in the world, then we need to cultivate love and peace within us individually.  As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

We have got to stop the hating!  Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.  Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.  Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” 

We wonder why so many are turning their backs on God, the church, and religions, but people are seeing the hypocrisy and they no longer want anything to do with it because they’re literally not seeing the love.

Martin Sheen said, “We wind up in cells of our own making when we’re not generous, loving, compassionate, and forgiving.  Without love, we build dungeons in our hearts and fill them with our perceived enemies.  We believe they deserve to be there for the harm they caused us, but by imprisoning them we’re destroying our own spirits.  When our dungeons are overflowing with these prisoners we refuse to set free, we become slaves to our self-righteousness, our anger, resentments, and self-loathing, which we let multiply until we wind up imprisoned on our own death row.” 

We have a choice.  We can either promote and live in a state of love…or a state of fear.  Which do you choose?  

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 7, 2016.