Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love on Notice

Love is all around us. If we open our hearts and our eyes, we will see it and feel it. As we bear witness to this love, it expands in the universe. A simple act of noticing and acknowledging the love we see as we traverse our daily paths, leads this world to a place of greater love. Like gratitude, noticing love and peace and joy--all the good stuff in life--leads those things to expand in your life like wildflowers tended by heaven.

Try keeping a section in your gratitude notes for times in your daily life when you notice acts of love and kindness. I'm going to call my notes "Love on Notice." I hope you will join me in noticing love where it grows, fertilizing it with your attention and passing it on so others take notice too. If you pay attention in your life, you will find that whatever you look for diligently will show up in your life in greater abundance. Our attention is a powerful magical tool that change our lives and the lives of those who are near us.

Love on Notice, Day 1:

My house mate's kitten, Chi, has a heart filled with love. She licks her siblings' and cousins' heads sometimes and rubs against them, wrapping her tail around them like a hug. Chi is an earth angel. I know this because in her last incarnation, she was my kitty, Zuki, for a couple of years. I rescued her at age 15, but at the same time, she rescued my cat, Dustin, and me. I knew and acknowledged then that she was our little earth angel. Now she is back to be an earth angel to my friend, who is her mommy this time, and she is very aware of her assignments on earth. Chi is a very smart little kitten, but above all, she is the most loving kitten I've ever met. Not all in the house love her back because they have other issues, but she continues to love and melt our hearts with her adorable nature.


Hope is a light to illumine the path before you. If you feel enveloped in darkness, as though you are merely wandering in the woods without a friend, ask the universe for a light. You will find not only a light on the path before your feet but also friends to walk with you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Answers in the Silence

In my mind, the divine waits for me on the beach or in the park or some other quiet place. While everywhere at all times, the divine awaits us in our quiet times and moments to impart guidance and wisdom and the answers we seek so desperately. Competing with the harsh sounds and busy pace of our lives is not how the divine works usually. The divine is there, but we cannot hear that "still, small voice" in the midst of the cacophony of our lives and this world. To hear that voice, we must find that quiet time and place and listen. I call this meditation. While I may "pray without ceasing," informing the divine of my many needs, I cannot hear answers when I am yammering. For that, quiet contemplation and meditation is needed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Getting it Right Vs Just Getting By

The concept that humans are born into the world as "blank slates" (from the Latin, tabula rasa) goes back as far as Aristotle. It found a strong proponent in the seventeenth century philosopher, John Locke. The idea was central to Lockean Empiricism, which helped to fuel the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate that has continued throughout the centuries. The idea that humans are born without any trace of prior programming sounds like a good argument against Christianity's doctrine of "original sin," but I don't see it as plausible. While I don't believe in the doctrine of original sin, I do think that something more along the lines of karma is involved. Of course, just writing the word karma opens up another whole can of philosophical worms. If you believe that there is some sort of balancing of accounts and life actions from one lifetime to another, then you posit reincarnation as a given. That is something many people of the Christian faith are reluctant to do. Never mind that Jesus debated a karmic issue with his followers when they asked him about a man who had been born blind:

"1As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4“We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing."
(John 9:1-7, New American Standard Bible

Note that his followers argue from the assumption of reincarnation. How could the man who had been born blind have sinned without having lived a previous life? Also note that Jesus didn't rebuke the idea that he could have caused it as a result of something done in a prior life. He also doesn't blame the parents for it, as we so often do even today. He goes directly to the heart of the matter, the reason being that his healing was to bring glory to God. Jesus clearly wasn't into casting blame. He was interested in helping others and bringing glory to God. 

I do believe in reincarnation and karma, rather than original sin, although I see how that doctrine arose when there is clearly something going on with the human condition from very early on. We claim that we don't teach children to lie or steal, and yet often little children do just that. While I'm by no means certain that children don't learn to lie and steal through subtleties in the environment around them, I also don't think they arrive in the world as "blank slates." I think in the reincarnation process there are impressions left on our consciousness, and I think those impressions not only color our experiences in our next life, I think they influence them. I think we often have echoes of past life influences in our present lives. In fact, I think those echoes are often the root of present live issues. Those issues are the weeds that grow from the seeds that have been left behind. I think we can get by if we leave the weeds there, but the longer we allow them to grow unchecked, the more they suffocate the healthy plants. Some  people may regularly mow down the weeds, often taking the healthy plants with them. Others may trim the weeds so the healthy plants can grow too and reach the light so they can survive. 

The only way to know that you have a truly successful garden is to pluck up the weeds and plant good seed that will yield a crop of life-giving plants. Then you have to tend the garden and make sure there are no lingering weed seeds beneath the soil, waiting to spring up suddenly. You can get by in life by doing the bare minimum of work or none at all, or you can get it right and live life abundantly. But you have to dig down and get rid of what has produced the weeds in your life so you can sow seeds that grow into lush, healthy plants that sustain you and help you to thrive.

It is popular in the New Thought movement to attempt to change our lives using positive affirmations. While I support this good practice, affirmations alone are not enough. Affirmations are the good seeds that grow healthy plants, but they will be far more effectual if you dig up the roots of the weeds that were planted in your garden, either by you or someone else early in your life or as part of a former life. It takes work to do this. Not the back-breaking, blister-inducing kind. It requires the conscious-awareness kind of inner work that starts in quiet meditation. 

Some people would prefer to dig ditches or swim the English Channel than to exercise the discipline of prayer and meditation. Those people should try working or walking meditation. This is the practice of working alone while in prayer and meditation. The key to this is intention. Choose to think about a particular part of your life that isn't working all that well. It might be finances, relationships, employment, health, or any number of other aspects of your life. Pick a topic while you are in quiet or moving meditation and see if you can't follow that trail back to see where that particular issue might have arisen. It isn't always easy, and it requires a honesty that may cause us to flinch, but it can be done. If you get all the way back to your present life birth and can find incidences there, then it is likely that the roots go back beyond this lifetime and maybe even several more lifetimes. In that case, you may have to seek out help with past life explorations. It may require several sessions exploring each issue until you find that you've dug up, released, and forgiven the final incidence. 

How do you know when you've reached the end of the trail and plucked up the final weed at the root? When those affirmations you've been saying begin to take hold and yield a bountiful harvest. Even while you are digging,  you will find that the affirmation part of the equation will begin to yield more and more fruit. You will know that you are on the right trail at least, but don't stop digging up the weeds until you feel totally free of that particular issue. Then you can go to work on the next issue. While you can work on multiple issues at once, you won't necessarily get free of each one at the same time. Just keep on working at it until you get it right. Or ignore this message and just keep on barely making it. No one but your higher self is going to be urging you to keep going. Your higher self wants to keep growing and improving your life. Your higher self wants you to experience abundant life. 

It is your ego that is content with just getting by. It is your ego that tells you that you don't want to do the work. Your ego will supply you with lots of reasons not to grow strong and to get better. After all, if you are strong and healthy and prosperous, then there is no reason not to be fulfilling your life's goals. You no longer have an excuse. If you show the people in your world that you can do it on your own, then they might get the message that you need them any more to hold your hand. And then what? Then you grow into a fully functioning adult who can have relationships that are healthy rather than needy. 

While that may feel scary now while you are doing the work, the more weeds you clear out of your life's garden, the more you will embrace the healthy crops that are growing and thriving in your life. As you fill your life with healthy plants, you'll realize how sick those weeds were making you feel. You'll want them out and the healthy plants in, but right now, you may just have to take my word for it until you get further along the path. 

My garden isn't finished. Not by a long shot, but the more I work, the more motivated I am to get it right. I want the abundant life. I want good health and positive relationships. I want it enough to work for it and remove the weeds. Do you?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Heroes Among Us

Heroes and superheroes do indeed walk among us, but they don't wear colorful spandex outfits (usually, anyway), but they do perform amazing acts of heroism. They can be found in the midst of us in schools, hospitals and clinics, playgrounds, at beaches. They are also found in the eyes of a friend who reaches out and says, "I won't let you go there alone" when it's time to face an abusive spouse or parent or some other party. They are also behind the fire hose that puts out the blaze and behind the badge that brings an end to the violence at hand. Heroes are everywhere. I'm willing to bet that every one of us knows several of them. I bet we even know more heroes than we know villains. If you know more villains than heroes, then either you are a hero being on hand when you are needed or you need one to help you get out of your environment. I hope that you will take a minute today and thank one of the heroes in your life. I have several in my life. I'm off to thank some of them now.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gratitude Notes

Gratitude Notes:
1. I am a victor rather than a victim.
2. I am still standing against all odds.
3. I know angels exist because I have had encounters with them a few times that I know about. There might have been more when I was unaware of it. The first time was more than 30 years ago.