Friday, January 27, 2017

The Power of Love

I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Women’s March held in Nashville, and I know numerous people from Cookeville attended marches in Washington, Chattanooga, and elsewhere.  What an amazing experience with 15,000 to 20,000 marching in Nashville alone! 

The diversity of those participating was fantastic!  Men, women, children, people from all religions, colors, races, politics, genders, and more, came together in love and peace for a common cause…to unite humanity for the civil rights of all people. 

These marches didn’t just occur in America; they were happening all over the world!  It warmed my heart to see millions of people loving, supporting, and encouraging each other to be brave, stand tall, and to know that we will not let anyone take us backwards in time, and that we will continue to promote equality for all.  There has never been a one-day protest this large in the history of the U.S., and overall, every one of them was very peaceful.

This is much more than politics.  In this time of spiritual awakening, people are coming to the realization that we really are all connected.  No matter where we live in the world, we are all human beings, and we need to really start loving and caring for each other.  I’ll say it again and again.  Jesus commanded us to love one another and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  He didn’t make any exceptions.  The great spiritual masters from all religions taught the same thing, and people are starting to get it.   The love and connection we felt towards each other at these marches was phenomenal, and I believe that this love is going to continue to grow!

Recently, I was in a situation where I was with some people who didn’t believe the way I did (which was fine), and some negative comments were made about others.  I felt myself begin to shrink inside when I suddenly heard the words very clearly, “Don’t shrink!  Shine!”  I can’t let anyone make me feel less than or that I don’t matter.  We ALL matter and we are ALL meant to shine!  When we embrace each other with love, compassion, and kindness, then love will always prevail!

James Van Praagh wrote, “You are a soul being beyond human comprehension; your soul light endures through eternity.  The power of love not only transforms your soul but also contributes more to the world than you’ll ever know.”  The Dalai Lama stated, “I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.  The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes.”  

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper January 27, 2017.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dear Humanity...

Chuck Lorre is a television writer, producer and composer, and has created numerous successful sitcoms.  At the end of his TV programs, he writes what he calls “vanity cards” and shows them at the end of the credits.  I’ve often wondered what they said as they weren’t on long enough to read.  I decided to look them up on the Internet and found that he posts all of these cards for everyone to see.  I began reading through them and found that Lorre has a beautiful spiritual side; therefore, many of his cards are filled with much wisdom and knowledge that would be of interest to the spiritual seeker.

One of my favorites is card #524:  “I don't mean to offend anyone, but God told me to write this vanity card. The following are His words. I just took dictation.  ‘Dear Humanity, You are all animated by me. Like electricity lights a bulb, I light you. What you call awareness is, in fact, me. Some awareness plays soaring piano concertos, some shoots three from the perimeter, some drive around in little cars looking for parking violations.  It's still me.  Just in a different guise.  God in drag, if you will.  Simply put, each and every one of you is a perfect expression of my timeless, universe-straddling ineffability.  You are also meaningless and inconsequential.  It's a paradox, I know.  But only to you.  Which brings me to the purpose of this vanity card.  In your endless quest to forge an identity, you have lost sight of what you are.  So I will say it again.  When you strip away all the temporary labels - American, Iranian, Israeli, Russian, Chinese, young man, old woman, soldier, florist, gay, straight, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or Jew - when those identities are taken away, and believe me, they eventually will be, then all that is left of me. Consider this the next time you feel compelled to hurt or kill someone.  Look at them.  See me.  Then act.  On a lighter note, that was a really funny episode of Big Bang tonight! That Sheldon is a hoot!’”

This card was the very first one I chose to read and talk about having a wow moment!  What he wrote is so true.  If we strip away all our labels, all you have is God (by whatever name you use).  It’s the labels that keep us separated from each other, and most importantly, separated from God.  Everything in existence really is connected and we are all a part of each other. 

Swami Vivekananda said, “Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.” Thich Nhat Hanh stated, “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”  And as I always say, “If you want to see God’s face, look in the mirror.”

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper January 20, 2017.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Magic of Synchronicity

Synchronicity, serendipity, coincidences…  All three have meanings in common, but synchronicity has a little more of a spiritual or magical quality.  In other words, synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence.

Synchronicity is something that seems to have happened just by chance, but when looked at more closely, we come to see that it was meant to happen.  We’ve all experienced them.  It’s those moments where the odds of something occurring are so great that they leave us in awe and they can take our breath away. 

As we move forward on a serious spiritual path, the synchronicities occur more often and at faster speeds sometimes leaving us stunned and amazed.  It’s a ‘wow’ moment that reminds us that there really is a plan.  It can also give our spiritual lives a huge boost in confidence, while at the same time increasing our faith and belief that all of life is connected.  For many of us who are awakening, synchronicity reminds us of our direct link with the spiritual realm.

Recently, I had such a wonderful synchronistic experience that it actually brought me to tears.   A beautiful soul from our church had recently passed and a memorial was held to honor her wonderful life.  A couple nights before, the secretary from our church asked me if I had a template for a memorial program since I’ve done them in the past.  I told her I’d be happy to put a program together for her.  I immediately got on the computer and was able to easily design all but the poem on the back.  I wanted the poem to be special in order to honor the exceptional lady that she was.  I searched for numerous poems, but I couldn’t decide which one would be perfect enough for her.  Finally, I settled on one that was very charming and I hoped it might be meaningful for her and to all the attendees.

At the service, a visitor spoke up and said she was surprised that this poem was on the back of the program because she had previously taken the poem and put it to music.  She then proceeded to the piano where she sang this magnificent song.  Her voice was like an angel and the melody, along with the words, brought many of us to tears. 

I was astonished at the synchronicity of it and that it did have so much meaning to those present.  It was a great reminder that we are all spiritually connected, and because of that direct connection, it helped me choose the perfect song for this occasion.  From now on, I will surely be more aware of other synchronicities that may occur in my life and will always be just as amazed as I was with this one.

“When you stop existing and you start truly living, each moment of the day comes alive with the wonder and synchronicity.” Steve Marabol

“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through intuitive knowledge.”  Deepak Chopra

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper January 13, 2017.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Mystery of It All

“Should you believe in a higher power or not?  I say yes.  But I don’t believe in a higher power that is owned by any one religion or one that shows a preference to gender or color.  I don’t believe in a him or her, a he or she, or the God claimed by a specific religion.  I believe in a higher power that we have to answer to.  My higher power has something to do with the inexplicable, massiveness, mystery, and beauty of the universe.  The higher power I believe in does not discriminate and does not tolerate discrimination.  The higher power I believe in has left it up to us to figure out how to navigate all the complexities that get in the way of us understanding that the only things that truly matter are compassion and love.  We get the gift of life; we have to figure out how to make it better.”

The above was written by actor and legendary Dyke Van Dyke in his recent book “Keep Moving.”  I love it that he has respect for everyone’s beliefs, no matter how much they differ, and yet he is comfortable in what he believes for himself.  This is basically what I also believe.  No one knows what God looks like or what form he/she/it takes.  No one has ever seen the face of God.  We only have our beliefs and experiences as to the God we believe in.

Several years ago, actor Sean Penn was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and she asked him if he believed in God.  His response was, “I’m okay with the mystery of it all.”  He was at peace with his beliefs and it also didn’t matter what others believed.

Every religion has its own beliefs as to whom or what God is and none of them are right or wrong.  They’re just right for that religion and for whoever chooses to believe in that religion.  Even people within those religions have various beliefs.

Yet so many people fight and argue over who is right or wrong and think that their particular beliefs are the only right way of believing.  Why can’t we respect and honor whatever anyone else believes?  When we’re secure in our beliefs we don’t need to fight and argue, nor do we need to try to force our beliefs on anyone else. 

I love the diversity of all the various religions and whatever anyone believes.  I even share other religion’s beliefs because I’m secure enough in my own beliefs that I can also learn from other religions and the people who practice them.  It is then that I can understand, have more love for others, and know our total oneness.

Ram Dass said, “As we grow in our consciousness, there will be more compassion and more love, and then the barriers between people, between religions, between nations will begin to fall. Yes, we have to beat down the separateness.”

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 6, 2017.