Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On Love is Not Enouogh


A great spiritual leader of the 20th Century, Raymond Charles Barker, wrote among many pieces of work a wonderful little booklet entitled “Love is not Enough.” This statement will no doubt agitate many of the great lovers of this world, perhaps such as Emmet Fox, who wrote that it does not matter “how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake, a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.” No doubt Dr. Barker would agree with much of this statement but he also adds that “love is a creative emotion which has to be in relationship to others…which is maintained with wisdom.” He said that “when your emotion and intellect are balanced, I believe you can talk about love spiritually. I don’t think love is spiritual unless it is balanced with intelligence.”

A wise mind...

Good point! “Love is only spiritual when it is creative, and it is creative only when it is intelligent.” Is he right? Maybe being a lover of the world does not mean we go off in every direction without thought to guide us. Maybe love rightly demonstrated needs a wise mind to go along with it. Certainly we want to be as loving as possible, but we also do not want to expend such a powerful emotion in useless ways. We all have had our experiences with love, some of them wonderful, others perhaps quite painful, and I would imagine that we often are not very wise in our capacities to love.

Unconditional love...

It’s difficult to even try to speak of unconditional love. We know so little about it, except that it is born of Infinite Wisdom and always moves where love is needed. It matters deeply in a wounded world once created with such Infinite care. Perhaps if we chose to love for the sake of bringing such a gift into life, we, like Dr. Barker, might understand more of the creativity of love, not necessarily attached to particular outcomes either.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You might also enjoy "On Massive Love"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On Truth and Lies

 On balance, it seems to me that it is much easier to tell the truth than to concoct a lie. Still, this assertion, as oversimplified as it may seem, is dependent upon the habits we have formed about truth telling and lying.  It takes real skill to be a good liar, to be able to create a believable story on the spot that others will accept. The problem lies eventually in the fact that, sooner or later, the consistent liar will get caught up in something that does not fit. In fact at one time I knew a woman who was so talented at “making up stuff” (which is just a generous term for lying) that even some of the most implausible facts somehow made sense…until at last the gullible me started checking, only to discover that the fabric of much of her life was based on deception. What was the harm, some might say? To me it seemed a great betrayal. She became inauthentic to me, someone not quite real. What other parts of her life were based on fiction and fantasy?

Real distinctions...
For little children truth telling and lying don’t have any real distinctions until they are taught them. They simply want to get out from under a problem, and an easy lie does the job. (But this is a topic for another blog.) I think that many adults lie when we hold some shame about ourselves or our circumstances. For some reasons we don’t feel quite right about ourselves as individuals or our backgrounds don’t seem good enough, so we invent new ones…Sometimes the tales get spun out so far that we come to believe them ourselves, which can set us up for an existential crisis down the road, promoting a kind of “here-I-am-wasn’t-I” kind of situation.

Little white ones...
We’ve probably all told a few lies…little white ones, perhaps, so that we don’t have to tell someone we love that her outfit looks God awful and should be burned! Not a good idea either because we can become untrustworthy when the lie announces itself…as it usually does when our faces give us away.

Easier to be truthful...

Finally when we become more confident in who we are and who we have become over time, it somehow seems to be easier to be truthful. When what we say matches what we think of ourselves, we become more real, and saying things we think others want to hear does not become important anymore. What becomes more important is the sense that there is no equivocation between ourselves and our words. We are real; we are authentic, and who cannot fail to be attracted to such people, even if sometimes what we say is difficult to hear…and what we can be trusted to hear may sometimes be difficult as well.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon
You might enjoy "Spirit as Flow, Spirit as Form."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Love and Hate


For the moment, hate has a rising hand in Orlando, FL. Another horrendous mass shooting has taken place, apparently our worst to date, in an LGBT gathering, causing terrible losses at every level. The gay community is in mourning, and the Afghan community now has reason to fear the hatred of retaliation because one of its own is the murderer. Yet even now love is emerging around the edges. Prayer is happening, full steam, for hope and healing; the general community is being turned away from blood banks that cannot handle the influx of donors, and volunteer organizations are being flooded with those desiring to help.

The mixed bag...

We are once again seeing the mixed bag of the effects due to a horrible event. We have the work of love, which I believe is a divine attribute, showing up, and we are witnessing what President Bill Clinton once called “the easy habits of hatred” settling in. Why are these habits so easy to form? Perhaps because we hate what we don’t know; we hate what is different; we hate what we fear; and sometimes we even hate ourselves. On the other hand, why does it seem so hard to love? The late psychologist, Dr. Leo Buscaglia, wrote that love is a “learned phenomenon,” and he was right. Even if we come into life bearing the Gift of Love, we still have to learn how to use this tremendous power. By now we should know that healing is found only in love. We do not heal in spite of love but because of it, therefore it simply does not make sense to hate. The great saviors of the world all preached love thy neighbor. The Dalai Lama, one of today’s most loved and respected spiritual leaders, has recently said yet again, “every one of us can become a force for good,” and good is rooted in love. Most of us do not want to command armies; we want to be loved.   

The misuse of good...
Where, then, lies the problem? We know that hatred is taught by societies and that some behaviors can beget violence. Why is it so hard to cultivate the habits of love? Do we believe that love is too soft, that we must show up rough and tough before the world? The philosopher, Ernest Homes, would say that hatred is “the misuse of good.” If he is right, then it is for us to use good wisely and, borrowing more of Bill Clinton’s words, set ourselves to “the hard task of reconciliation.” Can we at least stop…stop acting, stop reacting, and pause? Can we think…clearly about what we may be setting forth by our choices? Can we respond…instead of reacting, with a choice that will regenerate?

It is love that gives life. Hatred only brings death.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On The Peace That Passes Understanding

            In his letter to the group at Phillipi, the Apostle Paul gifted them with a greeting that invoked the “peace of God that passes all understanding," which gives us some good things to think about:  1) Peace is a divine quality. 2) Peace is not legislated, not calculated. 3) Peace is not delivered through reason, especially if it is beyond understanding. I agree…with one small deviation. I believe that when inspiration and reason are moving in the same direction, peace can absolutely break out at any time.

A Gift of the Spirit...

Peace may naturally be lodged within us as a Gift of the Spirit, and it may appear for no apparent reason at all, but it is not necessarily devoid of reason. Peace is not the cessation of war or the absence of hostilities; it is a part of our being and may appear independent of what external situations may be taking place around us, and I believe that when there is an opening within us, peace appears, which may be accompanied by human reason and understanding, even if this is rare. The more we know about ourselves, the more expectations we can set for ourselves. The more we engage in spiritual practices, the clearer and sharper the track through our mind may be.

Heightened human intelligence...

To enjoy peace does not mean we must be stupidly unaware of what we have operating within us. Heightened human intelligence can only accelerate the mode through which divine qualities come forth. It is true that we may never fully understand how, why or when peace appears to manifest, but we may revel in its magnificent characteristics and recognize how much meaning and latitude a clear mind can give it.

Every day experience...

If we truly understand who we are as spiritual beings living in the world today, we can expect deep and great peace to grace us as a natural, every day experience.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon

You may also enjoy "On Resistance and Non-Resistance"

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On Politics

        As I was putting together this blog on politics, I thought I’d better find a definition of the word in which to seat the subject, and, disappointingly enough, it took six dictionary entries to find a definition that even made sense. Besides this, it was very negative as it described politics as “use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control.” If Webster’s can’t do any better than this, it’s no wonder that governmental politics are so despised. There is no doubt that the workings of politics…of any kind…involve strategic thinking. We are maneuvering with ideas and postures, but must they all be for personal gain only? Can they not involve skill and deftness in bringing about the best possible outcome at the time? Surely there is a genuine art in engaging in  critical thinking among parties to come to productive resolutions!

Mindless mudslinging...

Political theory and action is so much more than mindless mudslinging and time wasting. When we are thinking clearly, I believe we know this in our heart of hearts. We could choose to act from the high road of politics and actually attempt to do the right thing.


Unfortunately American politics in 2016 are as nasty and dreadful as it seems possible to get. It is filled with narcissism, untrustworthiness, lies….both deliberate and casual, and horrendous disrespect by candidates for one another. Reminds me of a constant food fight! For those looking for entertainment, the side show doesn’t get any better than this, but it comes with a terrible payment. The discouraged and disgusted voter may stay home on election day, and this would be a huge waste of freedom. 

The best sense...

We are spiritual beings, and we are citizens as well. I hope we are looking through the current political absurdities to arrive at the position that makes the best sense to us. And then, exercise that magnificent freedom that is ours to vote.

More Essays About Everything is now available on Amazon
 You might also enjoy "On Right Mindfulness and Right Effort."