Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On Faith


Many of us live by faith… in something, and not all faith is tied to religion. And what is faith, by the way? Not just something plopped down in the middle of our lives like a solid item. I think of faith as an idea in our minds that connects us with something greater than where we find ourselves. Does this sound amorphous? Of course, but faith is not a motionless monolith. It is more of what cosmologist, Ernest Holmes, called a “movement of thought,” and as such it is very dynamic. It may have to do with a religious belief system, or it may have more to do with simple spirituality.

Inner Vitality...

Or it may be more secular, like an inner vitality that is uniquely ours or that may be connected as a shared idea with others. I am simply suggesting that we all have a mental vitality that, if recognized and well nurtured, will move us along into living that has meaning. Think for a moment…we have faith in love, and if our faith is vital enough, it becomes belief. We believe in the people we love, and they believe in our best intentions. We have faith in our own creativity, and if we are to see it realized, we have to trust our efforts.

A door to be opened...

To the spiritually minded, The Bible gives us something to consider: Heb. 11:1 tells us “now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith, by its nature, does move us into outcomes if we will engage it. Faith in God, perhaps, and faith in ourselves to have what it takes. Faith is not a wall to be climbed; it is a door to be opened…good thing…
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You may also enjoy "One Day at a time"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On Investments

A recent TV commercial featured a pleasant-looking couple sitting across a desk, talking to a cheerful advisor of some kind when a sonorous, voice-over added to the scene with the words: “We invest for what’s next.” It became obvious that this commercial had a financial message in it with the hope that viewers might come to their institution to do business. What I found important were the crisp, clear words: “We invest for what’s next,” and we do, sometimes using money and holdings, at other times with a much larger intention.

Looking ahead...

The fact is that while we have a mind for thinking, we are looking ahead, even if it is only to the demands of the day. Nearly always, though, it is more, much more. Yes, many will want to make their money grow so it can help secure their futures, but often it is human capital that we are more concerned with. So often the brooding questions lie within us: Who am I and what is mine to do? Parents all over the world, even in some of the poorest countries, want their children to be educated. They are investing in a better life for them, which, I believe, is a clear, spiritual recognition of the value of individual lives.

"What's next?"....

This view of “what’s next” never leaves. The expansiveness of self discovery never ceases, only its focus may change. As spiritual individuals the “what’s next” always lies open. Since the Infinite Flow of Being always courses through us, we will constantly find ourselves in the mode of looking ahead. We hear of some men and women who, at the end of their corporate lives or child-rearing years, turn their energies to work in a holy service as monks or sisters. They still have active lives, just turned in a different direction.

Roads to travel....

I think there will always be roads to travel, some actively chosen, some that simply come to us as ours to do. We might readily ask: “What’s next?”

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On Accountability


Sometimes being accountable for what we say and do is no fun, no fun at all. It can mean that we really have to own up to where we find ourselves, whether we look glamorous or not…like the elegant woman who runs out to mail a letter without putting her makeup on and is caught by a friend. Oh, well, here I am, warts and all…maybe quite literally.

"getting out from under"...

During the presidential election frolics we have seen lots of “getting out from under,” Donald Trump’s actions, for example. When called out on an insult or outrageous statement he has made, he will simply blow it off or change the subject entirely. Entertaining, perhaps, but isn’t accountability one of the qualities we desire in an important leader?

"Willie pushed me"....

Ervin Seale, a great metaphysical minister, teacher and author, wrote that many people live by the “Willie pushed me” motto. In other words, someone else caused this, not me. Not only is this a screeching example of the unwillingness to stand up for who we are and what we’re doing, it becomes a sad look at those of us who do not trust ourselves enough to speak up and be counted.

No joy...

When we are willing to let slide inner values such as trust, courage, love, industry…accountability…we lose at every level. We begin to lessen in value before our very eyes. In a way we give up our personal freedoms by letting ourselves slide away from who we are and what is ours to do. There may be momentary satisfaction and some relief in putting one over, but there is no joy. There can’t be, for joy cannot exist at the same time deception is in play. Eventually profound disappointment sets in.

So much better...

This is not a state where a self-aware spiritual being can live proudly or with honor. We’re so much better than this.

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  You may also enjoy "On Intuition"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On the Old Country

There are certain streets that we frequently drive that cause my husband to say, almost automatically, “Just like the old country.” Now when you consider that he has lived the last fifty five years of his long life in the United States, you have to wonder about the durability and the crispness of this memory. What is the deeply-embedded image these streets call up? They all have one, shared characteristic; they are all tree lined with graceful branches shading the streets. He can’t tell me where the inner call lies, so solidly a part of him it is.

Playful boyhood....

Perhaps it harkens back to a time of playful boyhood in Romania before Europe exploded into WWII and safe boundaries were eradicated. Perhaps it was the place of safety that was never supposed to change. I know the onset of the war tore his life apart. He speaks of it easily but is never morbid about it. In fact he loves his adopted country, even as it continues to be a work in progress. To him the United States is still an unruly adolescent while the many centuries of civilization in the European hemisphere give it art and literature but also encrusted ways and long-standing hatreds.

A place of innocence...

Some of us were lucky enough to grow up in a place of innocence, where we were watched over and secured, where love was the norm and abuses had no part. Perhaps the overarching trees along sun-dappled streets reel my loved one back to this brief, innocent time in his life, something long gone but still cherished. Many of us have an “old country” memory of sorts in us, a time that was never supposed to change but did eventually change forever. We grew up; we grew older; we earned gains and also losses, but the preciousness of that shining time remains deep within us, surfacing sometimes at the most unlooked-for moments. These may not appear as tree-lined streets, but they may be an old song, a favorite food, or a beloved ritual. Past and present are fused briefly during these times, and they remind us of how complex we really are.

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You might enjoy "Self Reliance"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On Connection

Is there any one thing, idea or possibility that all of life shares? I think there is, and I believe it is connection, the thread of everything that runs through everything. In our past as a species when we knew less about ourselves and life in general, we saw separation; we saw so much distinction that the element of connection seemed unthinkable. Nature itself belied connection with so many varied forms that suggested innate separation, and our religious beliefs thrust us even more into believers and non-believers, chosen and not chosen, ok and not ok.

"wised up"...

Over time we could say we have “wised up.” We now know that distinct forms are necessary for recognition, not eternal separation. We have come to know that forms come and go before our every eyes but we are not lost when they do. That in us which creates the things of our lives precedes them and is busy making new things, even as the ones in front of us are leaving.

Describe love?...

We have come to recognize essentials, even though they may be hard to discern and even harder to describe. Who among us can really describe love, even though we are discovering it in some of the strangest places? What does it really mean to “belong” when the sense of it is so ineffable, more like something felt at times rather than reasoned?

Shared connections...

Best of all, perhaps, our minds have grown into positions of shared connections as a kind of norm. What Williams James might have called the “rinds” around our minds have ceased to be so resistant and have become more porous to what flows in and out of our softened boundaries. We don’t have to work as hard now to establish a formal connection when our existential connection is so much more easily identified. In many ways life is less mundane than it used to be and more replete with deeper understandings yet to be perceived. It is more complicated but nothing to be feared, for it will show itself eventually in ways we can grasp and embrace.

This is what connection means.

On Regeneration
            Since we like to use nature’s seasonal changes as arbitrary times for beginnings and endings, I wrote a blog last week on completions, suggesting that the close of the year was a good time to close out unfinished business.  By the same token I am using this week’s blog as a good time for regeneration.  We are into a brand new year, which is a time for beginnings.  Now some of us dragging a little mileage behind us may think that there may not be much that is new to us anymore, but I say no to this thinking.  Every time we get up in the morning (or whatever passes for morning) we are into a new, unrepeatable day.  Yesterday’s feet-on-the-ground don’t count anymore.  Today’s feat (pun intended) always contains something as yet unknown to be lived.
            Are we thinking of those who love and care about us because of the many gifts of ourselves that we have given over time?   Not necessarily because of what we have done but because of who we are.  As she grew older, my sainted mother frequently mourned the things she could no longer do and often felt she was useless.  No matter what her children said, she seemed not to realize that simply having her in our lives was enough for us.  Hers was a line of thinking I do not recommend, for it tends to set aside the most priceless gift we have to give.
            We cannot be any more present than we are at this moment, so let us be very excitably and all-tingly present.  Even as the new year begins to lay itself out in both knowable and unknowable events and possibilities, we can welcome them as adventures that are ours, or we can blunt their edges with front-loaded disinterest and dismay.  I don’t recommend this either.  Who knows what we might miss?

            2016 is here, unknown, unlived, a lifetime in waiting.  Ready or not, so are we!
You might also enjoy "On Competition or Cooperation"

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On Growing up Consciously


Ernest Holmes, the founder of The Science of Mind, was particularly fond of the writings of the 13th Century Catholic clergyman, Meister Eckhart, and it is easy to see why. Eckhart wrote such expansive ideas as “the Father, without ceasing in eternity, is born today, within time, in human nature…,” which takes the divine exclusiveness away from just one wonderful son and finds a spiritual nature within all. This was big stuff in the 13th Century, and in some ways, it still is today. But such big ideas show up within certain individuals from time to time and always have surfaced in the writings and sayings of great thinkers. The human species has been growing up in fits and starts through its history, but perhaps now is the time for humanity to grow up all at once because of the technological power at its fingertips.

A global brain...

In his book, The Evolution of God, Robert Wright suggests that “the human species is becoming a global brain, gradually assuming conscious stewardship of the planet…” With all the power available to humankind to either decimate the earth or take it forward to the next steps, isn’t it time for us to recognize the brotherhood and sisterhood of human beings and our responsibilities as self-aware people? We are the only species who can ask the existential question: “Who am I?”, and in the asking of it also become conscious of how the wellbeing of the rest of life sits upon our shoulders.

Speak truth...spread love...

Today is a very good day to grow up, to practice the great spiritual values that the wise have given to us through the ages…to speak truth, to spread love and to value one another as we value ourselves. We are imaginative, but perhaps we have not opened our imaginations far enough. What if we could imagine a world where all had their needs met and had the chance to become all that their natures have dreamed. Would this not become a good, first step toward a vast growing up?

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You might enjoy "On Personhood."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On Things

People who say that things don’t matter do not know where to shop! In saying this I do not mean simply grabbing up items and rushing to a sales clerk. I am speaking of the fine art of a lost activity called “window shopping.” When I was a girl growing up in San Francisco, Ca., my mother and I would dress ourselves nicely and take public transit to the downtown area, which then held major department stores like Macy’s The Emporium and I. Magnin’s. There still are major shopping centers, of course, but the experience is quite different. Long ago we could not get an online peek at major sales on a computer and click a button to order. We had to take ourselves on site to see what the windows and the counters offered. These trips were not usually about purchasing items. Mostly they were a sentient experience that allowed my mother and me the chance to fill the rods and cones of our eyes with beautiful colors…lustrous fabrics, velvety chair coverings, soft window closures elegantly draped, pleasures to the eyes, textures to be touched and some fragrant scents to be inhaled. We did not go to buy …as lower income people we did not have that kind of money…we came simply to enjoy. And we had to make the effort to go where some of the beautiful things were, which we gladly did. The journey downtown, after all, was part of the experience. Consequently I grew up with and consciously retained the ability to completely be delighted by beautiful surroundings around me…without lusting to own them.

Any "thing" can be changed...

I bring up this little trip down memory lane simply to remind us that we live in a world of things, and to either despise or demand them is missing the point. Things give us perspective; they give us outlets for self expression, and if we forget their proper places, they will define us. We will need to remember that the things of our lives come about through the nature of our thoughts. They are not beginnings; they are ends, and if we do not like these ends, we can go back and review the beginnings. Any “thing” can be changed but only if there is a new beginning that precedes it.

Our permanence...

Things come and eventually they will all go, but in the part of us that participates in all this…herein lies our permanence.

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