Friday, December 26, 2008

Beginning Again!

The calendar turns again. A new 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, or 8760 hours lie before us to shape as we will. It may seem, after the preceding year, that we have little to do with shaping our days, but of course you know I am going to tell you that we do!

One of the things that last year should have taught us is that we need to pay more particular attention to the details of our lives rather than leaving them to others and trusting they will take care of us. The immense financial melt down, egregious scandals and evidence of corporate and personal greed have battered not only the nation, but each of us individually. The top one percent of those who hold 80-95% of the nation’s wealth may be just fine. The rest of us have probably taken significant hits to our financial well-being. I don’t need to recount the details here. I can’t imagine you are not fully aware of how you have been affected.

I think it may be that we discovered how bad things were because more of us than ever before in history DID begin to take charge of our decisions. I believe we did this because we finally saw a LEADER emerging who declared he was willing to lead if we would all agree to do our part. President elect, Barack Obama, has demonstrated how he will lead by demonstrating his strong sense of self-confidence. He reached out to surround himself with the most qualified persons he could find who will challenge him to think and act courageously in bringing about the change he promised.

Now comes our part in the process. Beyond communicating our ideas (he says he will encourage the millions of folks on his campaign email list to share their concerns and suggestions with him) we must recognize our need to maintain a positive outlook. It is time to do more than simply think positive. It is time to act.

An email I received the other day included an article by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D, Author of the best seller, Women Who Run with the Wolves. Part of what she had to say is:

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of
stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

Ms. Estes recognizes that we get depressed and discouraged, but urges us to not faint in our effort to be part of the positive change that we will accomplish together. Any effort we individually make will make a difference. No act is insignificant, because none of us is insignificant. Take a deep breath and acknowledge that in a spirit of joy and certainty you act not alone! Hold to the vision of possibility. Keep on keeping on!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Tis The Season

Once again Christians turn their thoughts to the joys of the Christmas Season. No time of the year offers quite as much of an opportunity for experiencing joy, excitement and sharing glad tidings.

The rosy cheeks of little children making snow angels in the freshly fallen snow coupled with their eager smiles will melt the most Scrooge-like person’s heart.

The blue star-filled skies lighted by the moon are searched by all for that great sleigh filled with toys and led, maybe, by that fabled red-nosed reindeer, Rudolph himself!

I hope we are never too old for fables and rich legends about the Holidays. I feel that if we have lost that magical feeling, we may also miss the spirit of Christmas. Certainly Christmas is more than Santa and toys and reindeer rushing across the sky. It is also about the continual rebirth of the Christ within each of us.

That rebirth is not simply a symbolic notion. Jesus, speaking to his disciples, as reported in John 14:20 said: At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. Jesus always referred to himself as one with the Father and claimed the same for everyone. He also claimed that he did nothing of himself, but what the Father did through him. Whatever he did was possible for us as well if only we would believe in the possibility. The rebirth of Christ in us, then, occurs as we claim the possibility of demonstrating in our lives the essence of life, health, and abundance.

All religions celebrate similar potentials, so for non-Christians who may be reading these words, I celebrate with you the Spirit of God—by whatever name—blessing your life with all that is good.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Expectation of Faith and the Impulse of Love

It was in the mid 1960’s that I discovered in the used book section of the Good Will Store in Spokane, Washington the little book of short stories written by Henry Van Dyke. The Blue Flower was published in 1902. I purchased the book because I liked old books and this one was embossed with gold leaf and colored art that made it particularly attractive to me. I was later to discover a story within that book that has lived in my heart ever since. In fact, I had used the story as my Christmas sermon in 1966. I had hoped that our family might make a tradition of sharing the story each Christmas. While that did not develop, the story has continued to move me each time I read it.

What follows is briefer, but based upon that story: The Other Wiseman.

Artaban had missed the appointed meeting with Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the three other wisemen who had agreed to go to greet the newborn King, each bringing his special gift.

Now, nearing the end of his life, Artaban was confronted with giving his last of three gifts for the King—a most beautiful pearl--as ransom for a young girl being sold into slavery. His long journey of 33 years seeking the King had brought him back to Jerusalem just at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. He had already given away his other two gifts, the sapphire to buy food and herbs for a dying man, and the ruby to save a newborn child from the sword of Herod’s soldiers. As he gave his last gift for the King to the girl, the sky darkened and the ground shook in heavy pains of labor. Stones tumbled from the walls of homes along the street. One fell and hit Artaban on the head. As he lay with his head on the girl’s shoulder resigned that his search for the King had ended without his finding Him, the girl saw the old man’s lips move as though in answer:

“Not so, my Lord! For when saw I thee an hungered and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw I thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? When saw I thee sick or in prison, and came unto thee? Three-and-thirty hears have I looked for thee; but I have never seen thy face, nor ministered to thee, my King.”

Then Artaban as well as the girl heard the words, faint and far away:
"Verily I say unto thee, Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me."
His journey was ended. His treasures were accepted. The Other Wise Man had found the King.

As I finished reading this story on Christmas Day 2006 in a flood of tears of deep love and admiration, I realized a Truth about myself. Within minutes I flashed back over my life from birth to the present. I had been told all my life that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. The circumstances of my birth were special in that I was conceived  to a woman who had been told that her very life would be in danger if she were to carry her third child to term. In my early twenties when I learned of this story of my birth many things fell into place in my mind. I began to realize that there was a great expectation about me; that I was born into this life to make a difference. I flashed forward to a later time in my forties while meeting with a small group of three other persons and in a deep altered state. I was again impressed with the calling that I was here to do something significant, something that would have implications to the course of humanity.

Then I was in the moment of a recent session with a therapist who skillfully freed the lock I had imposed upon myself all my life about the expectation that I was to do something special. That expectation, buried deep in my psyche, had the result of my feeling as though I had never lived up to my potential, that I had let not only myself down, but also those for whom I cared. I could never do enough and often what I did do fell short of satisfaction.

At last I came to a recent day and once again to the story of The Other Wiseman. All of the life story I had just flashed upon was true in one sense, but not as I had believed it all of my 70 plus years! Yes, I am special! And, you are special too. We all are. What I have come to realize is that I am an expression of love. Even though I have not expressed that love as well as I might have in the past, I now feel an overwhelming sense of that wondrous, unconditional love in my being. I feel the breaking apart of limitations and of clouds of darkness and ignorance. I hear not only the commendation, but also the injunction to love even the least of these, my brethren.

I have grown up with an expectation embodied in the faith others had in me and have discovered the impulse of love within my being. No words can adequately describe the freedom granted in this love. It is first a freedom for my own expression, to be who I am and to enjoy who I am. It is the realization that true love is always enough because it will inevitably lead one to doing those things that bring healing, peace and satisfying fulfillment. Will this change the world? Perhaps not. This new impulse of love is my understanding of my gift and the motivation to be that love as clearly and as completely as I am able. Change the world? I only know it has started me on the path of change. To that extent my world, and maybe yours, is changed.

(This is an excerpt from the complete article written for my hoped-for upcoming book: Moments.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

With Deep Appreciation

I was surprised and honored to be notified that the third of my three articles reviewing the Matter of Mind workshop in Denver in October was chosen to be part of Master Djwhal Khul’s December lesson for Vajra Flame members. It is very gratifying to know that my experience reflected some of what Master DK seeks to impart to his students.

Visit the Vajra Flame Foundation website at:

You can find all three parts of the article at:

You can read other references to the book, The Matter of Mind, on my blog at:

While my interest in the work of Master Khul is important to me, this blog seeks as well to share a much broader portrait of the philosophies, principles and concepts for living that help people develop a more complete understanding of their potential. Your comments are always invited.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


While thumbing through the books in my library looking for something seasonal to read, I found something I placed within the pages of a special book awhile back. The book is, Anger, by Thich Nhat Hanh. What I found was a flattened foil Dove chocolate candy wrapper. On the inside of the wrapper were the words:

Keep the promises you make to yourself.

The wrapper was serving as a bookmark for the chapter entitled, Putting Out the Fire of Anger. I think I have learned through the years something about the serendipity of events. I was struck by the fact that I had just experienced a situation about the fire of anger being put out, at least from the former size of the blaze. That led me to thinking about how at times something that has angered us, or someone we care about, had been silently forgotten. Then, almost by chance, we discover it again in its new state of being.

This note, serving as the bookmark, reminded me of a past anger I had held that was quite deep. At the time the event occurred I promised myself I would not get into a situation like that again. I had worked to clear the negative emotions and to do outwardly what I could to put out the fire. When anger comes about between two or more persons, that fire may not really be out and the atmosphere cleared and ready for rebuilding until the parties can meet and come to understand how to proceed. In some cases only one party to the event will make the effort.

Promising not to get into such a situation again is almost pointless if one does not really resolve the conditions that brought out the anger in the first place. It is not so much a matter of what the other person does or does not do. It is a matter of what you do. You cannot control the behavior of another person. Trying to get them to change what they are doing could only make things worse. And we kid ourselves if we think that trying to make them feel guilty will have any positive effect on us. Our job is to change our own attitude by examining how we might have acted differently in the situation. Then our promise to ourselves includes not making the same mistakes again. It may also include resolving to be more sensitive to what is actually happening in a situation. If the other person comes forward in an attempt at resolution that is “frosting on the cake.” Relish the occasion and do whatever it takes to keep the promises you make to yourself, to put out the fire of anger.

Monday, December 1, 2008

True Wealth

For me my true wealth consists of my relationships—family, friends and associates. I consider myself truly rich in this regard. The Friday after Thanksgiving, as I listened to the broadcast of Andre Rieu in Vienna and the Johann Strauss Orchestra and Choir on public television, the music enveloped me in a blanket of warmth, joy and thankfulness. I thought of my family, friends and the associates who have particularly blessed my life in the past year. Some of these persons probably do not know just how they have brought light into my life. I determined to mention a few of these professionals, whom I consider to be associates and friends, and share them with you. They appear in alphabetical order.

Raven Dana, Certified Life Coach and Clinical Handwriting Analyst.
I have known Raven for 30 years. She was active in the Whole Life Learning Center in Denver. While she says she considers me one of her mentors, after her 29 years of experience I now look to her as one of my mentors. I can count on her for unvarnished comment on whatever I write, consistently adding new perspectives. She keeps me honest in my effort to tell it like it is! Raven is the founder/director of Stress Wizard Coaching. Find out more at:

Jan Engles-Smith, Shamanic practitioner, counselor and former science teacher. I first met Jan when I attended one of her introductory classes. The meditation exercise she led took me to a deep healing place that I have never forgotten. Her wonderful support through our exchanges of communication reminds me that there are special people who care. She serves her students through a native American wisdom and concern for the well-being of the planet. She is the founder/director of Lightsong School of Shamanic Studies.
Find out more at:

Katherine Jansen-Byrkit, M.P.H., L.P.C., Individual, Couple and Family Therapist through her practice, Innergy. In my intensive work with Katherine she skillfully unlocked my inner self and provided the opportunity for me to begin the long journey back to loving and accepting myself. To say I am grateful is not enough, but appreciation is surely given. I continue to seek to honor the self-image I am discovering. Find out more at:

Kathlyn Kingdon, exceptional channel for Master Djwhal Khul. I experienced Kathlyn and Master Khul just this October in a weekend workshop in Denver. This is another step in my opening to the infinite wisdom that enfolds us all. When truth dawns we realize it has been with us always often hidden beneath the veil of fear and doubt. As the veil parts our souls are reclaimed in their spiritual glory.

I was given Kathlyn’s book, The Matter Of Mind, by a long time friend, Pam McKinnie. Pam is the founder/president of Concepts Unlimited, a full service advertising agency that provides “thoughtful design.” Our paths have crossed from time to time for many years—always an insightful and supportive time. She is a participant in the Vajra Flame Foundation, which promotes the work of Master Khul. For more about Vajra Flame:
For information on Concepts Unlimited:

Jacqueline Sinke, certified Health Fitness Specialist with over 16 years of professional fitness experience. She is the owner of Fitness & Function. For all the “spiritual” seeking one might do, it is also necessary to pay attention to the physical body. (Who says that isn’t spiritual too?) I have been taking Jacqueline’s Ageless Conditioning class for three years and I am still alive to tell about it! She specializes in senior conditioning and well-being, though she also works with businesses and individuals to develop personalized fitness programs. She was particularly supportive during my heart repair work in July. For more information:

These are a few of the professionals in my life for whom I am grateful. I consider them each a part of my true wealth. They have all helped me move forward, especially in times when I am inclined to fall backward. So, I wish them success in all they do and rich and rewarding lives. I encourage you to visit their websites and wherever possible I hope you might avail yourself of their services.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Living In the Cubicle

A majority of offices these days are semi-open cubicles rather than individual closed offices. Some companies even have moved their executives into cubicles just like the staff (albeit in somewhat larger cubicles!).

Beyond what you may experience in your workplace, do you ever get the feeling that you are living your whole life in a kind of cubicle? There are windows through which you can look out at your world but not really participate in what is going on “out there.” Sometimes, we may actually see this as a way to protect ourselves from having to be involved.

I began to think about the idea of living in a cubicle after reading an email from a friend who recounted a gathering recently attended where it seemed each person had some particularly difficult experience they were currently facing. I suddenly imagined how life sometimes is like that cubicle and how it seems that the windows are closing up and becoming walls. We feel isolated from whatever the view had been through that now closed window. Then I imagined that I turned around and, behold, there was another window! The view was different. It was refreshing. It was colorful. It was all the things the previous window/view had lost.

I was reminded of the time-honored saying: When one door closes, another opens. I also remembered the words from Revelation: Behold, I have set before you an open door, which none can close. (Rev.3:8). When, or if, we come upon that feeling of being closed in, cut off from others, hopefully we will remember to turn our attention to new viewpoints. There are always options available to us when it comes to how we view our lives. As one view closes, look to the new, open doors. When you feel alone or are experiencing a loss of some kind, remember you are not alone. A new viewpoint offers new resources, whether they are new friends, a new environment, a new job or simply a refreshed sense of self. Never accept the supposed limitations of the cubicle in which you may find yourself.

Personally, I am grateful for new viewpoints that bring new opportunities and new friends. It feels even better when they are not replacements but additions.

Wishing you the best for Thanksgiving, and always!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Clash of Expectations

Like many of us I have mostly my own experiences from which to draw the lessons of life. If I allow myself to be open to the lessons as they come along, I will most likely find satisfying growth as the outcome.

One of the life lessons that I have had many opportunities to face through the years is that of competing expectations between two or more persons. It is not that people start out to compete. It is that more often than not, when a project goes awry it turns out those engaged in it had different expectations of what was to be done, how it was to be done and who was going to do it. When you get right down to it, they may not really agree on what the goal was in the first place.

When this difference in expectations surfaces (and it almost always will be a surprise) it can be devastating to the project and the relationships between those involved. Sometimes the blowup can scatter the emotions, the respect and the trust one person has for another. If this happens, it is essential to find a way to defuse the negative energy so as to not destroy the connection with the other person or the project.

If what you were attempting to accomplish is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Find a way to resolve the problem. Find a way to be the agent of change by returning to your spiritual center point for clarity of your purpose. In finding and reaffirming your purpose you will be in a better position to communicate it to your partners. They will then be in a better position to share theirs with you. It really only takes one person in a group to get clear for others to begin to clarify their own views. Then communication can begin on a new level of respect and trust.

How to accomplish this “fix” is not as difficult as one might think. At first you may feel threatened. Your body may actually shake with fear of losing something important—a friendship or a dream. Take a deep breath! Remember the idea and creative energy that brought forth this project, that brought you together with the others involved. There was a feeling of confidence, trust and a willingness to risk together. That really has not changed even though a disparate vision of the project may have surfaced. With that deep breath re-envision your dream and your positive relationship with your partners. With that deep breath reaffirm your belief in your ability to clearly communicate with the others sharing this dream.

Families often encounter situations where different expectations surface. We move along together, often assuming we are each seeing things the same way and want the same results. The fact of the matter is no two of us ever see things exactly the same way. Think for a moment of two people standing ten feet apart and looking at some object, such as an automobile. One might see the front grill, the other may be looking at the doors on the side of the car. Same car, different viewpoint. Once we realize we have the same general goal or vision, we can agree to examine each other’s particular insight about it.

One key is being honest in your dealings with family or partners. You cannot pretend to be working together or sharing a dream when you really are not. It is better to say, “That is not my dream. That is not what I want to be doing.” Do not lead others to believe you are sharing something in common. Once it is established that you have separate goals or priorities you can honor the choice you each have made and go on about your own dream.

Unresolved Anger

As I lay semi-conscious before falling asleep I suddenly found myself in a fantasy dialogue with a friend to whom I had long ago sent an article having to do with the interpretation of some ancient scrolls that had finally been deciphered. The friend wrote back with a point-by-point debate about the findings. I thought at the time, “Okay, so you have a different opinion about the matter,” and I let it go.

Then the old “feel-o-meter” began to hit the red zone in my fantasy dialogue. My response to my friend went something like this, “Wait a minute! I wasn’t asking for a debate on Biblical authenticity. I just thought you would be interested in the article. You don’t have to prove your scholarship to me, and I sure as hell don’t have to prove mine to you!”

Bam! There it was. Strong feelings of anger that I didn’t even know I had about a long past situation. Obviously I had a “load” about his dismissal of my effort to share something I thought would be of interest. Frankly, I was a bit taken aback that I had these strong feelings of anger, especially since the experience was a number of years ago and I had not thought of it since. This is a great example of how the “little foxes spoil the vines,” as Jesus pointed out in a parable.

I would not suggest that we necessarily dig around in our subconscious looking for slights that we may have experienced in the past or suppressed anger. However, I certainly encourage examining such feelings when they do surface. As long as we do not face the reality of hidden, suppressed anger, it will slowly eat away at our very being. We may find ourselves expressing strong feelings that are out of proportion to a current situation but which are the release of those pent up past experiences.

When such feelings surface, it is time to consciously acknowledge them and seek to replace them with forgiveness, where necessary, and love for and acceptance of each person’s individuality. If you find your “feel-o-meter” hitting the red zone apparently out of the blue, consider it a blessing that has come to you so you can finish up the unresolved anger. This is part of learning to let it go!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A New Dawn

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and we were talking about the election (like almost everyone else) and my friend mentioned how it looked like we had a real opportunity to restore a positive image of our country in the world. I reflected that I found myself feeling really happy for a change, like a heavy malaise had been lifted. Thinking about this discussion later it seemed like a new dawn had begun.

Like so many millions of others following the election I was deeply moved by the sense of promise that had been awakened across not only our country, but also around the world. This morning as I read the paper I came across Paul Krugman’s editorial. The Nobel Prize winning economist began by saying, “Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, is a date that will live in fame forever. If the election of our first African-American president didn’t stir you, if it didn’t leave you teary-eyed and proud of your country, there’s something wrong with you.”

That is exactly how I felt. I am so proud of our fellow Americans that we could see through the haze of despondency and fear and elect a person as president who has the calm, thoughtful demeanor to set us on a new path toward personal and social reconstruction. We may not all have voted for President Barack Obama, but he is now the president for us all. He is the one faced with the task of setting our course for at least the next four years. He will need all the help he can get. So far, it seems to me he is doing a pretty good job of surrounding himself with the wise, energetic and positive people necessary to getting that job done.

It’s a new dawn! I for one am going to enjoy basking in the sunlight of that dawn and the promise of the new day it portends.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Wish I Had Not Seen These!

I cannot help but write this message. It is a reaction, and I usually do not like myself when I react. However, I need to say this, whether or not it needs to be said.

We just made history as a nation. We rose up as a nation, the majority of us, and decided we have had enough of the bitterness, the hate and the divisive behavior exemplified by the Republican administration and the President and Vice-President in particular. And yet, already I have begun to receive forwarded communications continuing the hate and prejudice that have dimmed the light of our nation for many years and particularly in the last eight.

I have never wanted this web log to be about politics, but I cannot fail to allow my disappointment to be registered. I am proud that I live in a country where you can pretty much say whatever you want and I would defend that right. That does not mean that I think what you say represents intelligence or consideration or patriotism. To be part of the “hate community” by letting such activities and statements go unchecked is not acceptable to me.

Argue all you want to about thinking McCain should have been elected. He was not. Get over it! Now we must find the points upon which we can agree or at the very least agree to disagree with tolerance. I will not waste your time trying to convince you that my vote was smarter than yours. That would be ludicrous! Our votes are equal. In a Democracy, however, the one with the most votes assumes the leadership and the rest of us must rally to support those leaders through constructive action, considered criticism and gratitude that we have the right to continue to participate even though we may not have been on the winning side. In a world rife with discord and inequality we now see hundreds of millions of people the world over rejoicing with hope for a brighter future no matter where they live! They sense that America can once again redeem itself and truly represent the hopes and dreams of our better selves.

I absolutely respect your right to your opinions. I only hope you will find it reprehensible, as do I, that prejudicial hate mail continues to be forwarded around the world.

Now, my friends, if this article offends you, you probably won’t care much about anything else I have to say. If that is the case, I urge you to ask to be removed from my distribution list. Click here: and type “unsubscribe” in the subject line and send it to me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Fat Lady Has Sung!

At 11:00 PM EST by MSNBC

I have been told by a trusted source, Flat Stanley, that the fat lady has sung and the election is over. The President has been chosen! Flat Stanley is a world traveler who is visiting me directly from my grandson’s home in Cocoa, Florida. Kyle is seven years old and Flat Stanley is part of his school project. You can check out this interesting program in general at:

I don’t know about you, but I for one am glad it is finally all over but the shouting! Whether your candidate won not, it is now time for us all to come together and support the new leaders who will be taking this country forward for the next four years.

This has been an extraordinary campaign in all respects. More people have become involved in the various campaigns from the primaries through the election. It has attracted and spent the most money ever. It has lasted longer than any previous campaign. It has demonstrated the typical demagoguery we have come to expect from politicians. It has produced some of the most unpleasant (and untruthful) advertising ever. The Internet has become the new platform for waging a campaign, with both positive and negative effects. The broad diversity of our populace has been demonstrated and our cultures blended. There has also been a parallel high road of integrity and compassion at some points shown by some.

No matter whom you voted for, I hope your candidate won. Also, no matter who won nothing of great value can be accomplished if we simply return to the sidelines to see what happens next. Will we now continue to actively work to build a better society, to meet with those with different opinions and who made other choices? Will we look for areas where we can agree in order to take the actions our passionate participation hoped for? It is up to YOU and it is up to ME. Concerned discussions are wanted. Tolerance and trust are needed. Expect the best from those we have elected and hold the faith! Stay involved at whatever level you are able.

A better homeland and world is possible for all of us!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Matter of Mind Experience - 3

A Three-Part Review of My Experience in the Labyrinth of the Mind Workshop

Part Three – Actions and Results

So what good are philosophies, teachings and practices if they are not utilized in our lives consistently? What results can we expect if we only continue to take in information, but never find ways to begin living the life that information offers us? Surely, not much will change for us if we do not take steps to implement our new understanding of the power at our disposal. Those of us attending the workshop have had the experience of opening the labyrinth of the mind. We have peeked into the vast reservoirs of our spiritual potential. Now, it is up to each of us to find our own way of bringing that potential into manifest form in our lives. This can mean newfound energy in mind and body; increasing abundance to meet our every need; and the confidence to be centers of peace and understanding in our world.

A teaching or set of tenets is of little value in the abstract. For them to serve their intended purpose they must become socialized. That is, they must be brought into our social lives as we interact with others. Any teaching lives ONLY as a FUNCTION. It must be a function of individual expression and social interaction based on altruistic thought, all-embracing compassion, and transcendent wisdom. Teaching in the abstract is an ego exercise. The ego may be interested in new ideas, but it doesn’t want us to do anything with them. New ideas, if used, threaten the ego’s control of our life. When we stop simply stuffing our minds with more information and start using the ideas to change the way we do things, the power of the ego will begin to fade and our spiritual belief structure will take over. This is actually one of the ways we deal with our karma. We are attracted to situations and ideas that follow our karmic patterns and as we recognize that we will begin to see how understanding these new ideas heals the connected karma.

It is important to reconcile the difference between HEARING great ideas and DOING something with those ideas. The value is only real as those ideas are lived. We are all aware of those who go from group to group following each new fad or prominent teacher, yet never seem to change their way of living and thus do not experience the potential for growth that is available.

As we embrace our spiritual potential through reading, consultation with professionals, attendance at classes and workshops we must ask ourselves, “What can I do with this information? What results can I expect by living these ideas?” We will not all do the same things because we each experience our learning uniquely and will find unique ways of demonstrating our understanding. Do not limit yourself by seeking to compare your gift to life with what another’s gift may be. There is no qualitative comparison. Your expression is uniquely worthy and a uniquely productive use of your talents.

Another meditation thought given to us in the workshop was from William James.

I will act as if what I do makes a difference.

Sometimes we may feel like we are just small cogs in the great wheel of life. Remember, however, that if that cog were missing, the wheel would not be complete and could not function as it is intended to operate. You are important! Your every act touches all aspects of the universe. You may be familiar with the butterfly effect, which is the notion that a butterfly cannot move its wings without the furthest reaches of the universe also vibrating in harmony. There is no such thing as an unimportant cog in the wheel of life. Rejoice in who you are and what you are becoming as you unfold as a spiritual being and a master of life.
The Matter of Mind: An Explorer’s Guide to the Labyrinth of the Mind, through Kathlyn Kingdon. Order from

The Matter of Mind Experience - 2

A Three-Part Review of My Experience in the Labyrinth of the Mind Workshop

Part Two – The Matter of Mind Message

One should not construe my comments about the message of the workshop to be directly those of Master DK, as his followers refer to him. What I have to say about the message reflects not only comments by Master DK, but also by participants in exchanges with Master DK and others in the group, and by my own inspiration in response to the experience.

One thought that occurred to me as I thought about the activity and those present was that it is NOT the event that is important, but rather it is HOW the mind sees the event and responds to it. Each of us experienced the event uniquely. I have read the book three times and found that each time through it was an entirely different book! I do not mean that a few paragraphs must have been missed as I first read it. I mean the book was different, period! I know that this is how the workshop was experienced as well, because this is how life is experienced. While we all live in the same universe, we view it and respond to it from our particular perspective. It is especially important to remember this in our relationships with others. We will be more able to express an all-embracing compassion to others as we understand that their perspective will inevitably be somewhat different from ours.

I cannot help but refer once again to the simplicity of the teaching presented. Too often we tend to think that important concepts must be complicated. This is just not so! It is a trick of the ego to try to convince our mind that in order for something to be important it must be complicated, and that because it is complicated we must rely upon our ego to provide the understanding. Ego CANNOT solve problems and ego cannot provide the understanding we need to succeed in life. So, I might suggest that if you are struggling to understand some concept, it may simply be your ego trying to obfuscate the simple truth. Our mind already knows most of what we need to know to begin moving forward. Trust that as you take the first step in faith, the next step will become more evident. You will grow stronger with each successful step forward.

An objective in this workshop was to reveal how enlightenment can be achieved. As I played with the concept of enlightenment these thoughts came to mind. First, enlightenment means to LIGHTEN as in to lighten the load. We view events as problems and burdens when not seen through the enlightened mind. Enlightenment also means to ILLUMINE as in seeing life clearly. Finally, enlightenment refers to IN (within). As we gain an understanding of the power of the mind to see the truth that is always within us, we will begin to lighten our burden and free ourselves from the limitations posed by fear and doubt. Master suggested we begin each day as we rise from bed with this thought: Let the Truth come forth!

Each day our sessions focused on specific meditation thoughts. The following is one that we used.

Today I give thanks for everything and have no complaints whatsoever.
--Djwhal Khul

Just think about that statement for a minute. How far into the day do you think you can go before you typically find something about which to complain? It may be a driver that cuts in front of you. Maybe you overhear someone say something unpleasant about you. Perhaps it is another of those annoying political advertisements. Whatever we find in our day to complain about needs to be faced with a positive and clear denial of its ability to upset us and deprive us of a state of well being. Give thanks that you see through the problem to the enlightened attitude that all things are working together for your good.

In Part Three I will share reflections on the actions we can take to improve our lives and what results we can expect to achieve.
The Matter of Mind: An Explorer’s Guide to the Labyrinth of the Mind, Master Djwhal Khul through Kathlyn Kingdon. Order from

The Matter of Mind Experience - 1

A Three-Part Review of My Experience in the Labyrinth of the Mind Workshop

Part One - Experiencing Master Djwhal Khul

On the weekend of October 10 – 12 I attended the Matter Of Mind workshop in Denver, CO. This workshop was based on the book of the same title and to which I have referred in previous postings on this blog. From the book:

Known affectionately as “the Tibetan,” Ascended Master Djwhal Khul is one of the planetary Wisdom Masters, well known to spiritual aspirants the world over. A master teacher in every respect, he imparts timeless truths from many spiritual traditions in contemporary terms.
For the last twenty-five years he has imparted this wisdom through an outstanding channel, Kathlyn Kingdon. From time to time he has also expressed through others, most prominent among them perhaps was Alice Bailey, whose writings are published by The Lucis Trust.

As I read the Matter Of Mind book I was impressed with the clarity and simplicity of the concepts in a way that I have not previously experienced in similar writings. I determined to further explore this work by attending the workshop in Denver conducted by Kathlyn Kingdon/Master Djwhal Khul. It is somewhat difficult to explain the experience. The presentation was as simple and direct as the book with the added dimension of presence. There was a clear presence of all-embracing energy. It was like a beam of light shining on a path before us.

Many folks might consider a program by an Ascended Master to be a flash of “woo, woo” and hokum. Frankly, many persons interested in such works expect there to be some strange phenomena like lights blinking and ethereal, mystical sounds wafting through the room. I assure you this was not the case in this program. I was struck by the notion that great teachers express quite naturally and without the bells and whistles that attract only the curious rather than those who sincerely seek to know the Truth of their Being.

As she entered the room and comfortably sat down before us, Ms. Kingdon simply took a full breath, relaxed and began, as Master Djwhal Khul, to share insights into how the mind works. There were about 65 persons in attendance. The atmosphere was contemplative, yet there was open access to Master with questions. I felt that this process was so normal and natural that it demonstrated how all of us really do have access to the power of All That Is. For me, this simplicity, this unvarnished sharing of meaningful ideas and processes by which we have the means to transform our lives is what convinced me of the veracity of the message and the honesty of the channel. Even if I were to doubt the process, which I do not, I would still accept the message. I have mentioned before that content is more important than form.

During each session we were led in deep meditations to open our inner pathways to enlightenment and to experience PRESENCE. Our mind is indeed like a labyrinth, but negotiating the path is not as difficult as it might seem at first. In Part Two I will discuss more about the Matter Of Mind message as I experienced it.
The Matter of Mind: An Explorer’s Guide to the Labyrinth of the Mind, Master Djwhal Khul through Kathlyn Kingdon. Order from

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Matter of Mind Workshop

I recently attended a weekend workshop in Denver based on the book, The Matter of Mind, by Master Djwhal Khul expressed through Kathlyn Kingdon. I am developing a three-part article discussing the program. Look for it to be published on this blog soon. I think you will find it interesting and helpful in understanding the labyrinth of the mind.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Satisfying Life Of the Mind

For some time now I have found my attention returning to the idea of “Weltschmerz”1 that I wrote about in a former blog entry in July of this year. I continue to feel a deep sense of empathy with many conditions present in our world. This was triggered again by word of the passing of a truly great human being of our time, Paul Newman. As reports were shared, not only about his acting, which he often felt was below the level of perfection he desired, but also his generosity in giving richly to many charitable causes, I found myself sadly missing his presence, as though he were a personal friend. I also felt a sense of general loss in that humanity often fails to comprehend the contributions so many make behind the scenes. I watched Casablanca the other night and found the same emotions surfacing as I thought about Bogart, Bergman and the other great actors in the film, all gone now. These people have enriched our lives—individually and collectively.

Today I received news from a list that I am on about a book by Kathleen Norris2. It was a review in the Seattle Times by Portland author, Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett. The word “acedia” was new to me, perhaps because, according to reviewer, it has been dropped from dictionaries. We may be more accustomed to the word “sloth,” which is a synonym most associated with the seven deadly sins of Christendom. Sloth suffocates a satisfying life of the mind or a sustaining spirituality. I like the definition given in Wikipedia: “Acedia is a Latin word, from Greek akedia, literally meaning ‘absence of caring’."

These two words: Weltschmerz and acedia came together for me. Feeling world pain can come about because a person recognizes there is an absence of caring in the minds of many on the planet. We tend to care when our needs are not met or we are personally challenged in some way. I believe that a satisfying life of the mind is developed as we begin to reconnect with our spirituality and notice the little things in our world. As we reach beyond our own needs, our vision will embrace the contributions made by so many people doing so many things to make our world better for everyone. Hopefully, this broader vision will also move us past the judgments we tend to make of others we feel fall short of what we expect of them. Finally, I must examine my own life of mind to make certain my thoughts are postive and supportive of the highest and best in myself and in others with whom I have interaction.

As the emotions of concern and positive caring surface in my daily experiences, I will remember the satisfying life of the mind that results as I give of myself wherever I am able and through whatever talents I may have to share.

1 Weltschmerz (VELT-shmerts): German, from Welt (world) and Schmerz (pain). It refers to world-weariness or sadness felt at observing the difference between physical reality and the ideal state.
2 Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life (Riverhead, 334 pp., $25.99).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Comment to Confluence of Coincidence

This comment exceeded the space allotment so I have posted it as a separate item.-- Dan

Yep, the 'coincidence' conversation is an interesting one. Here's my theory: I think that because on a fundamental level of existence we have the wiring that connects us to the vast fields of intelligence and information around us that we have unconscious access to incredible volumes of potential experiences and that we get 'clues' or 'signs' through what we call coincidences that tell us what our particular system is tuned to picking up. I mean, we usually pick up the signal of someone about to contact us or such because it has relevance and potentially can either improve our lives or give us a heads up.

Two stories. I have a friend whose father had been in a nursing home for many months. She had an intuition that her dad's friend Larry would die before he did. She had not heard of or seen Larry in years. Then, four months later, she read in an obit that Larry died and within a week her father took a sudden turn and died one week after Larry. She felt that even though she thought her dad would outlast Larry by several weeks, the intuition gave her enough time to prepare and get things in order.

Another friend had decided to close his business on Sept 15th but then, against his better judgment, decided to stay open until the end of the year. On Sept 15th we had a storm and all the power went out, forcing him to move all his produce to his other store. I said. " Yo dude, that's a memo!" But, after the lights came back on and he moved everything back, he got served with a 72 hour eviction notice because the building got sold and the new owners wanted him out. I call that one Brick To The Head Enlightenment. I do believe my friend will be more willing to act on his gut feelings henceforth.

Raven Dana, Life Coach
Stress Wizard Coaching
PO Box 32265Euclid, Ohio 44132

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Confluence of Coincidence

I am sure you have had an experience of several events happening almost simultaneously or close together that seem coincidental. For example, you may be thinking of someone and “out of the blue” they call you or drop by for a visit. Or maybe your friend starts to share a story with you and you acknowledge, “I had just been thinking about that, too!”

Such experiences are common and we often give them little thought after the fact. There are, however, other “coincidences” that offer the possibility of gaining greater insight regarding what is going on in our lives. As you regular readers will remember, I have been referring to several books I have read recently and sharing some of the insights they provided me. Today I was reading for the third time from a chapter in The Matter of Mind1 having to do with Karma. When I finished the chapter, I opened my email and had a nice item about Karma sent to me from a good friend. Just a “coincidence.” No need to give it any greater importance, one might think. Several days before as I randomly chose a chapter in the book it turned out to address another issue I had been thinking about. That led to connecting with a friend about the “coincidence.”

In The Matter of Mind Karma, as it appears in our life, is presented as an ego projection based on past experiences. (Simplified here.) We have built up a reservoir of experiences through lifetimes and our ego uses those experiences to form our responses to our current events. For example we may go through lifetimes of experiencing a relationship with someone, without consciously realizing it. Yet whenever we are around that person we get certain feelings about them, or seem to “remember” something about them that we know did not happen in this lifetime. This recall is Karma offering an opportunity to perhaps resolve some issue or complete some aspect of the relationship. It really is not coincidental that we have come together again. My belief system concludes that there are no coincidences, that everything is interrelated and is for a purpose. It is our responsibility to get beyond what appears to be the facts of a matter to the essence of the potential for creating a new reality. In short, we are to learn, to grow and to transform our lives.

As I was reading and thought about this, “coincidentally” a person I have known for quite some time came to mind. I am sure we have experienced other lifetimes together. He had what he considers a difficult childhood. His parents divorced and as a result he moved quite often and never got to establish the roots he wanted. As I observed his life in retrospect it seemed that it was unraveling in some ways. I wondered why that was occurring, since he had obvious skills and was very intelligent. Then it seemed to me that he had never seen himself as whole cloth. I felt he saw himself as loose threads, not yet woven into the potential that he knew was possible for his life. He felt disadvantaged by the influence of adults who made decisions he did not like. One could believe this was all an “accident” of fate. But is it really? Is it random coincidence that his particular life events came about or that he was involved with his particular family, friends and associates? Further, is it a coincidence that he came to my mind at this particular time?

One thing is certain, for me. The coincidences that appear in our lives do have a way of coming together with meaning. If we react to life as though it were happening to us instead of through us we will miss the opportunity for transformation. Also, if we choose to feel we are at the mercy of decisions others make, we have abdicated our responsibility to fulfill our own potential for change within those situations. Our ego, acting mainly out of past experience, will constantly find reasons to blame others or circumstances for our problems. This will never lift us beyond our limitations. People, conditions, and events are in our experience in order to provide us with the opportunity to see through any apparent limitations they present. Remember, Karma is seeing a projection from the past. It is overcome by seeing these projections as an opportunity to use our talents to transform the experience and bring about healing. As we get beyond feeling that circumstances are against us, we will see a confluence of opportunity, things are coming together to strengthen us and call forth from us the spiritual insight to see all things working together for our highest good.

1 The Matter of Mind, by Djwhal Khul through Kathlyn Kingdon, Light Technology Publishing

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Coming Home

As I prepared for a time of meditation almost instantly one of those inner dialogues that sometimes occur began to take place. I found myself talking, as though to an old friend, about how I felt I was like the Prodigal Son. I had wandered far from home and squandered my talents and my spiritual inheritance. My friend responded, “But, how?” I said that I now realized that while I thought that I was operating beyond the ego, in fact, my fear of success and my fear of failure were ego fears. I see now that thinking one is not egocentric is one of the first clues that one may be. It is not necessary to go into all the details surrounding that realization and I hasten to point out that I am not condemning myself for now seeing how things might have been different.

The question that came to the front of my awareness in this meditative dialogue was: “How do I get back home?” I can feel the open arms of Spirit welcoming me, but I am still far off. My feet are moving but the landscape passes so slowly. It is like walking on the mud flats as I did as a child gathering crawfish at night at low tide along the Columbia River. I fell that night, flat into the mud. I almost lost the crawfish I had collected. Then, I got up and returned on home. I have fallen a number of times in my life. So far I have managed to get up each time. I am not sure, however, that I always returned “home.”

When one comes to the realization that time appears to have been wasted and talents never quite fully expressed, all might seem lost. Certainly the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ parable felt that way. He found himself eating husks meant for the swine, wishing to be home if only to be a servant in his father’s house. What courage and resolve it took to pick himself up and return to the roots of his being. Of course, those familiar with the story know the ending was a joyous reunion and full welcome home. All that was lost was restored. (Luke 15)

In a sense the journey for all of us is that of “coming home.” As manifest in human form we seemed to have forgotten who we are. In Genesis 1:27 we read: “So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him.” Forgetting this source of our being is how we left home. Remembering it is how we return home. This creation does not mean that God looks like us! It means that our true nature is spirit and transcends the physical self. The ego is concerned with taking credit for satisfying the needs of the physical self. Our spiritual nature is concerned with the expression of God through our talents. God as Spirit is infinite. Man as Spirit is unlimited and free to express the fullness of God in health, happiness and abundance.

There are many individual applications of this concept of “coming home.” This week marks the greatest shock to Wall Street and the financial markets in recent history. It is still uncertain how it will ultimately be resolved. There is plenty of blame to go around, but affixing blame is no better than the dissipation and abuse of talents that created the mess in the first place. In this case perhaps the “coming home” will consist of replacing the greed and riotous living with a return to serving our fellow citizens. Rightly applied our talents are capable of providing abundance and well-being for all. When we fail to use our talents for the good of all persons, we ultimately we find ourselves losing all that we have.

Jesus instructed His disciples:

What will a man gain by winning the whole world, at the cost of his true self? Or what can he give that will buy that self back? Mat. 16:26 NEB
The Prodigal took what he believed was his inheritance and left his family thinking he could do better on his own. Having never recognized the source of his wealth, it did not take long for it to be exhausted. Sometimes we cut ourselves off from our families because we think we can do better without them. I believe our fate will be the same until we remember that it is our connection to our spiritual and human family, our roots, that connects us with our true source of abundance—in love, support and encouragement.

So, I am reflecting on my talents and the Source from which they spring and I am seeking to return home to my true inheritance. I am looking to understand how I can better apply myself to making my world happier, more secure and peace-filled for all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oneness Vs Duality

This is one of those articles that started out in my mind quite clear and concise and became somewhat obfuscated in the attempt to put it into words. It was a toss up as to whether or not to post it. Obviously, I opted to put it out there for your consideration. I hope it finds a resonance that is meaningful to you.

I have watched people struggle with the concept of duality ever since I first considered the subject many years ago. This dichotomy of separation inserts itself into every aspect of our lives--our philosophy, psychology and religion--to the point where we have come to accept it as the reality of our experience. It is, in fact, the basis for our problems and coming to understand oneness will be the solution to those problems, whatever they may be. One path to the realization of oneness is through meditation. The form and focus of meditation has to be correctly based on a belief system that embraces the concept of all is one—God and God is All.

Samadhi1, mental concentration2 in the Buddhist tradition, has as its purpose the notion of expansion into enlightenment rather than for the purpose of contraction. Rather than “excluding” in focus, we “expand” our awareness to the interrelationship of all things – All That Is.

Baird Spalding, in The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East3 discusses duality in which he points out there really is no such thing as duality. We consider the familiar examples often cited, such as black/white; good/evil; up/down; positive/negative. They ARE opposites, but not separate. Would anyone argue that the heads and tails of a coin are separate? No, they are two sides of ONE coin. What about “positive” and “negative?” Positive what? Negative what? We are talking about two observations of the same thing, one points out the “down” side while the other points out the “up” side. We have thought this way for so long that we now believe duality is real.

As I began to reconsider these questions there was a “click” in my consciousness and I suddenly saw Oneness and duality in their raw, true nature! Separation in every way that we might conceive of it only points out the variety of aspects of Oneness. We exhort the notion of “God is All,” and then go on to try to explain all the events and conditions that do not seem to be part of God. It seems to me this is how we arrived at the concept of the devil. There had to be someone to “blame” for everything that is not like our God. It seemed unnatural to think of God as having any part of evil, so we constructed an “alter-ego-god” in whom we placed the bad characteristics.

Either God IS all or there is NO God at all. All That Is, IS!

How much simpler life is for us when we can attribute all that is bad in the world to some force opposing God, which force is constantly vying for our attention and for our souls. Under these conditions we do not have to accept responsibility for the things that go wrong in our lives. “The Devil made me do it!” No, it is quite another thing to recognize that God is All and that any understanding of God that is less than all good is due to our failure to recognize God-Presence/Essence in All and through All as All.

Mr. Spalding also shares an excellent example of how this fits together in Oneness. He mentions that a point when extended becomes a line. The line has opposite ends, but it is one line. If we connect the two ends we have a circle. There is no beginning or end to a circle and it is still a line that began as a point. We can continue this example thusly. If we spin the circle on its diameter, we produce a sphere. The sphere encompasses all, especially when you extend the circumference indefinitely.

Undoubtedly, some will ask, “But what about what lies outside the sphere?” The point is, there IS NO OUTSIDE THE SPHERE! It is our limited perception that fails to include everything as One by drawing the spherical circumference in the first place. As a very young child I can remember looking up at the sky, and influenced by the teaching of my Fundamentalist Sunday School that placed God “out there” in the heavens, wondered where the separation took place. Where did our sky end and God’s heaven begin? I imagined a fence of boards nailed together. We were on one side. God was on the other. It didn’t make sense then, and it sure doesn’t make sense now!

God has been defined as a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Do you get the picture? Edwin Markham says it another way:

He drew a circle that shut me out —

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in.

Edwin Markham, "Outwitted", from The Shoes of Happiness, and Other Poems (1913)

With expanded vision we draw all persons and all that is into that increasingly larger sphere of All That Is! For some persons, I imagine, it will simply be too difficult to change from a belief in duality—good and evil, God and the devil. For those who can begin to change their understanding and recognize that there is One Presence, One Power--God only--their lives will change. By accepting responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions, the condition of our consciousness will change for the better and our world will reflect that change in health, happiness and well-being.

1 Samadhi reference (paraphrased) from Baird Spalding in Vol 4, Chapter 3, Life and Teachings…
2 In Buddhism, samādhi (Pali; Skt.) is mental concentration. (From Wikipedia)
3 Life and Teachings, Vol. 4, Chapter 3

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Families and Societies

The following article was written and originally published in July 2006 in my former ezine, Whole Life Development. I was reviewing items I posted on my Author’s Den page ( ) and as I reread this article, it seemed just as appropriate today as when I wrote it, so I am offering it again.


I am somewhat amazed when I realize that an extended family is a kind of microcosm of society as a whole. Within the family there is diversity of interests, skills, talents and behavior, ranging from the creative and positive to the destructive and negative. What we find of interest and fulfilling or challenging in society, we might also find within our own families were we only to look. Indeed, society is but the reflection of our collective family units.

In a short few months I have progressed through the personal drama that is mirrored in the society in which I live. I have experienced the deep sorrows and emotions of loss, the relief of fears resolved and the exciting prospects of new adventures through the exercise of a regained sense of purpose and meaning. As I look at society I see these things every day. Certainly there is the struggle of sorrow and loss as we see the destruction of wars—between individuals as well as nations—and the personal loss of loved ones. Yet we also see within the process of overcoming the fears of loss a new courage and resolve emerging. Out of this resolve comes a new sense of purpose and meaning that empowers us to move forward rather than to stay bogged down in the loss or fear of loss.

Families experience struggles every day. Some are of little long-term consequence. Some have a deeper, more sinister effect upon us, often unknown to us consciously. A family with unhealthy and destructive tendencies imparts to their children through the very environment in the home a sense of fear and uncertainty. The reverse is also true when the home environment is truly positive and constructive. Children will often bury their fears deep within their psyche by expressing excessive bravado and recklessness. They demonstrate for all to see that they are strong and forceful persons with no fear by constantly subjecting themselves to unnecessary risks in their adventurous lives. Others may live timid, withdrawn existences, afraid to rock the boat or risk failure.

Any time there is a lack of mutual respect and support, an absence of constructive guidelines, or a tendency to express disdain for our neighbors, we set about the construction of separateness, arrogance and mistrust. Just as this is destructive to the family, it becomes a destructive contribution—by the family members—to the society in which they live. Instead of building a sense of belonging, a sense of togetherness, we build walls of separation, in our minds as well as physically. We see strong evidence of this today in the cry for building a fence to separate us physically from Mexico, our neighbor to our south. I am not making a “political” statement here, only an observation as to what can happen as we forget mutual respect, have few if any constructive guidelines (self-limitations to exploitation), and feel superior to our neighbors.

Certainly it will appear to some that this is an over-simplification of the problems we face. This kind of response is evidence of our subtle fall into the excuse response rather than the let’s discuss what we can do response. Think about the meaning of the words you use to convey your state of mind. They are indications of your belief system, which is the foundation for the way you act and react to life. If the effort to resolve a situation is over simplified, what can you offer that deals with at least some of the specifics within the greater situation? What positive and constructive effort can you make?

As family members work with each other out of mutual respect and seek constructive ways of dealing with the specifics of the variety of issues they face, positive results are assured. Strengths are discovered within each other that may not have been seen were it not for beginning with respect and acceptance of each other as persons of worth and value. Family members that feel the only way to be respected is to prove they are stronger, smarter or more forceful, will suffer the result of continuous conflict and struggle for power and recognition in other relationships.

Does this struggle for power and recognition sound familiar? Look at the U.S. foreign policy today. We will not speak to some nations because we do not approve of what they are doing. So, in order to prove their own importance on the world scene, they act even more belligerent, demanding even more attention. This spirals into an even stronger resolve to not talk with them. You can see where this leads.

Why, oh why do we continue to walk this path in our family life and in our societies? Why, when families seem to be breaking apart, do we try even harder to maintain our own position of power—as a parent or as a rebellious youth? It is in our basic nature to have self-respect. When self-respect is demeaned or threatened we will do whatever seems necessary for survival. When a parent seeks to control the youth simply because he or she is the parent, at the expense of recognizing the self-worth of the youth, there will be an irreconcilable break. It is only through knowing our own strengths and expressing them constructively that we will give our children the courage to constructively engage us in conversation that will lead to learning and resolution. Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet says of children:
Your children are not your children . . .
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts. . . .
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. . .
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Families are so important to the structure of our society and our world. It is in the family, ideally, that true nurturing begins, that support for individuality is established, and that courage to offer our most positive influence to our world is instilled. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in your family—each member—for their diversity, talent and courage to bring forth the best that can be. Let your children go forth as living arrows representing the best you have to offer as their proud parents. Encourage them to take up their positions as the next powerful, constructive and caring leaders of our society. If they are not empowered in your home, it will be difficult for them to find the sense of empowerment that they need to do the job we leave them to be done.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Follow Your Own Counsel

Since I began reading the five volumes of The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird T. Spalding, I have found a resonance to the concepts he presents. They are so much like the metaphysical teachings I learned from childhood and studied at Unity School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. I also did some research on Mr. Spalding and found there was much skepticism about the portrayal of his journeys in the Far East. Much of the skepticism was based on the fact that the copious notes he reported taking were never presented for review. I am only pointing this out so none of my readers will think I have not done my due diligence to determine the veracity of his writings.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t care about whether his stories are literally true or not. You may recall that in a previous posting I mentioned that rather than be concerned about so-called historical accuracy of such writings, we would be better advised to examine the message contained and how it might be applied to make our lives and our world better.

Ultimately, our spiritual, mental and emotional well-being are up to us. Each of us is responsible for the attitudes and belief systems we develop and for the results those systems deliver in our lives. We must come to the point where we can trust our insights for the Truth that will guide our lives. We must come to the point where we follow our own counsel by trusting the Spirit of Truth within us.

Mr. Spalding comments:

The gathering of thoughts from teachers and books, building them into the conscious nature of one’s being, is to establish a false determination which is largely hypnotic. . . . Instruction received from the without must be taken into the mentality and assimilated, analyzed, checked with the deepest facts of one’s own inner nature, in order to determine if it be true to the Self. One best consult the Self first and gain his outer knowledge thus at first hand -- Vol. 4, page 199
It is a great step in faith to trust the Self, but remember, that Self is God within you that has always been there and always will be there. We gain our trust in God within not from teachers, books and organizations, as helpful as they may be, but rather from sitting in the true silence with ourselves. In Buddhism this is Samadhi or concentration. This practice few of us undertake because it is difficult. It is well to remember that resolving problems that develop because we have not learned to listen to the True Inner Spirit is often difficult as well. Certainly we will study and learn from teachers and books, but our true understanding always comes from within. If we have developed the capacity to trust that inner Self, all external learning will make a lot more sense a lot more quickly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rebuilding Trust

Of the many challenges I have experienced I think the most difficult has been that of rebuilding trust after it has been broken. For me trust was a characteristic built into my core from an early age. Unfortunately, it had also already begun to break down. My first recollection, in retrospect, was the divorce of my parents when I was eleven. I didn’t think of it as a trust issue then, but I realize now that it was. I had trusted in the security of my home and of the love of my parents. Would I still be loved? Would we be okay?

For a child a nurturing home is one of the most important aspects of his or her development. My memories are of a nurturing home. I remember the things I did with my dad, like watching him when I was five years old work for hours on the wood lathe creating his own set of chessman. The necks on the pawns were less than an eighth of an inch thick. Turning them on the lathe meant a great many were broken before he completed the set. He hand carved the horse head knights. I still have that cherished set today. I remember on “allowance day” when he would come home from work and give me the change from his pocket.

My mother was the one who watched and consoled me when I brought home dead birds so I could give them a proper burial in the cigar boxes she would bring home from her restaurant job. It was my mother and sister who taught me “manners,” an important characteristic for relating to others. Sadly, today, so few children seem to have that learning opportunity.

These and many more were the childhood experiences that provided security and happy memories. They inconspicuously built the trust that I only now realize was my childhood environment. Through the years as an adult I was still basically a trusting person. I did not expect people to give me any reason not to trust them. Of course, like most of you, there have been people who did let me down and there have been people that I know I have also let down.

Once we break a trust or have someone we trusted turn on us, the road to restoring trust in that person is often difficult. Not only is it difficult to regain trust in that person, but also our ability to trust in general is shaken. If we are not careful we become skeptical about the intentions of others. We may isolate ourselves from social interaction so we will not be disappointed again. I recently had a phone call that brought up the trust issue again for me. It was from a person who I felt had seriously broken my ability to trust him. I found myself wondering as I spoke with him, “Why is he calling me now? What does he really want?” After completing the call I found I continued to be disturbed. What bothered me most was the fact that I was asking myself these questions rather than simply respecting the reengagement after a long separation. Even if there might have been ulterior motives, I did not know that. It was simply a suspicion, a fear.

Regaining our ability to be trusting requires that we look to a higher level of engagement rather than what our human fears provide. As we build our trust in the spiritual energy in which we live, move and have our being, we will be secure enough to be loving and forgiving rather than skeptical and overly cautious. We will be able to give someone a second, or even a third chance. I have proven this in my life many times. It is still disappointing when it appears a trust is abused, but my recovery time becomes shorter and shorter as I concentrate on the essence of each of us that knows our oneness and the value of the lessons we provide to each other.

I am reminded of a favorite Biblical quote of one of my professors in seminary.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” -- II Tim.2:15

“Rightly” dividing the word of truth has always meant to me attempting to carefully use my understanding in such a way as to improve my “workmanship” in building healthy, supportive, and forgiving relationships. This has not always been easy, but I believe this is a key to rebuilding trust.

Monday, August 25, 2008

One Source, Many Channels

As many individuals as there are on the face of the earth, so are there that many different ways of viewing and experiencing an event or an idea. No two descriptions of any event will be exactly the same. We may agree with this statement to some degree, but usually when it comes down to comparing my experience or version with your experience or version, I will unequivocally accept mine as the truth of the matter. Likewise, short of a dramatically convincing argument on my side, you will feel the same way about your own version.

Such it is with life. As individuals we cultivate our own sense of being in order to express our uniqueness. We observe, listen and gather information as we grow from children to adults. For the most part, we become our own person with our own views, feelings, actions and reactions to life as we grow into it. This seems to be the natural course of events, the right way for things to unfold.

One of the potential pitfalls of this belief system, however, is that we may close out many useful channels of information in the process. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in how we settle on our religious and spiritual views about life. Whether Christianity or Judaism of the western world, Hinduism and Buddhism of India, Taoism or Confucianism of the Orient or Islam, all are composed of adherents absolutely convinced their vision of truth is the way. Then there are the sub-sections of followers in each group. Finally, we lose sight of the fact that there is One Life, One Source from which everything comes forth into expression and manifestation.

On my particular path I have encountered a variety of influences, philosophies as well as religious influences. I explored parapsychological systems such as the Edgar Cayce work, the Seth Material as delivered through Jane Roberts and other lesser-known psychics. I have friends who deliver information through automatic writing, astrology, numerology, tarot and trance meditation. There are so many ways in which we have access to information about who we are and what this earth experience is all about.

Instead of embracing the variety, we often take a stand against those systems we do not yet understand. Somewhere in our development we must have been convinced we needed to make exclusionary choices rather than attempt to find the measure of truth and interconnection between them. I began by saying that as individuals we all see things in our unique way. However, I did not say that our beliefs made all others wrong. As long as we let our differences divide us we will never find the harmony and peace that is available us. My experience is valid for me, but yours is also valid for you. Where can we find those parts of our individual experiences that overlap? Where can we find common ground?

The figure below demonstrates how I think of the One Source that expresses through many Channels—Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew or even atheist, as well as scientific, philosophical, psychological and parapsychological Channels. The center circle is Source. The arrows proceeding out from center represent the flow of that Source into various Channels, such as scientists, teachers, psychics, ministers and practitioners from many other paths. The colored lines flowing from these Channels touch the lives of countless individuals. Their lives then overlap with others through things they may share in common such as geography, environment, friendships, organizations, etc. By concentrating on what connects us rather than what divides us, we are led back to the Source of all Life, Substance, and Intelligence—All That Is. From our unity of vision we come to know our true sense as humanity and what our purpose individually and collectively is in this earthly experience. We will also begin the process of freeing ourselves from this outer illusion of reality that produces separation. Like notes in a melody, we will blend in an harmonious symphony of the spheres.

All the Channels indicated above have intimated that there is more to life than what appears. It is time to avail ourselves of the fullness of what may be possible. I would urge that we look for ways in which we can find a common understanding when new possibilities are revealed to us regardless of the channel through which those possibilities are made known.