Come Join Us!


Typic (2)

Advertisements

Love’s Work Within

Like a warm embrace in December

or twilight sunbeams slanting through cedars,

this divine energetic we call love.

Love courses like crimson streams in pulsating currents

throughout my biology, weaving its way into the depths of me

I can sense it spiraling down into my DNA until it has assailed the roots of me at last;

the seat of my soul.

I am beset by the fruits of my life’s decisions.

In many ways, I have sown bitter crops, yet in this love we share; at the tasting of this fruit,

every choice I have made has become sweet like

honey upon my lips and I know

I will never now be the same again

You’ve Already Won!

Many of us in America have seen it, if not we can at least imagine it: the 405551_339960279357513_128125867207623_1110965_1253398824_nquarterback of a losing Superbowl contest berating himself for the things he might have done differently on the field of play to make the winning difference in the game; or the track star mulling over in her head a critical laps in judgement on the track. What tends to happen over time, however is that Time doles out to all these precious souls a gift. It is called perspective.

The quarterback determines eventually that, “you know what? No, I didn’t win, but I played on a field that almost no one has had the privilege to tread upon.” The track star recalls the adoring fans… and the lights! oh, the lights. or that she, for a time, got to run with the wind.

Beloved, why despair  over your life? Why allow your heart to fill with regret or your mind to rehearse what could have been?

Can you feel the pulse of life within your wrists? No? then be silent and still until you can. Feel the cool air bathing you inwardly over and over again. That is a gift to you my friend. This  existence is success! You being here with me now, partaking of the words that I am privileged to share with you–It’s grander than any Superbowl. More awe-inspiring than the crossing of any finish line.

We, you and I , are the result of a play of consciousness that is beyond genius. It is impossible for finite minds to perceive an infinite Spirit fully. There isn’t a word to adequately house the miracle that is this moment..and that we can take it for granted.. well, that just speaks to the sheer elegance of it all, doesn’t it? Anything that you choose to do in this existence is the proverbial cherry on top of the opulence that is life.

So breathe it in beloved; this precious moment. It will never leave you or fail you. It will always be here waiting for your awareness of it. and in your awareness of it, you get to, as Moses did, catch a glimpse of God.

Insight

When engaging in a discussion with someone who is presently in denial over the existence of what we would call God or Source, it would behoove you not to reduce the conversation down to a battle of wits and whim, for ultimately your God cannot be explained.. It must be revealed. Either swiftly, In a moment of insight, or slowly like the turning of a sleepy planet about it’s star.

My faith doesn’t require that I convince any person to believe anything that I believe before I am to accept and love them as the divine creatures that they essentially are. I have not an imperative to save anyone from any divine and fiery wrath. I have only a flame of compassion within the recesses of my heart that would compel me to awaken those who are asleep.

Learning to be Free

“Is all that we have been taught all that we know?”

~Emmerson

Perhaps we could go a bit deeper with this inspired question:

Is all that we have been taught Truth? The answer would seem obvious. Yet if we observe the behavior of our fellow man, or even that of ourselves, it would seem that the natural tendancy of mankind is to become rigidly dogmatic, settled in a particular way of being, usually depending on where we were born and what we were exposed to early in life.

I would submit to you that subscribing wholesale to any school of thought, from scientific inquiry to religious ideology, from political affiliation, to sociological engagements, or even artistic interpretation ( believing that there is only one way to know what constitutes beauty) retards our growth as a species. And yes there has been growth, in fact if there is one thing that seems to define us as a species it’s our constant propencity towardl, mental, psychic and spiritual development, however slow that development may unfold.

Here in the west, we can look in our world and observe technological and scientific advances, and how knowledge in these areas is increasing exponentially. Yet in terms of our care and concern for ourselves, for others or for our environment at large, there seems to be a deceleration of sorts.

In a world where the majority are being ruled by a small percentage of people the world over, being taught both how to think and what to think, the enlightenment of humanity at a macro level is being hampered greatly.

Does it sound strange to the ear to hear me suggest that we, Westerners, particularly American citizins who “supposedly” live in a country which represents democracy in it’s grandest form, are being led, bridal and bit, by a minority of people?

We’re supposed to be represented, not ruled.. Right?!?

Enter cultural conditioning…

There are pre set patterns of behavior that we naturally adopt from infancy to adolescence which helps us to navigate our way through our social environment. These pre-set ways of being are what we call culture, and cultural practices have their place in the life of the human. The problem occurs when we fail, at a certain point in life to see this culture in a larger, global or even Universal context. When we determine that our way of being is the only way to be in this world. This is what I refer to as allowing our culture to think through us and there are institutions that exist in our world who promote these ways of being for their own gains by means of popular media and religion (to be certain, there are other means, but these have had the greatest effect on the populous).

Do you know that there’s a good chance that some of the things that you say you believe on matters of religion, politics, race for example may actually be what your culture believes and not necessarily the real You? That if you dislodged yourself from your cultural conditioning, you would discover a You and a world that you were heretofore unaware of?

So how does this dislodging of sorts occur exactly? Let’s look at some of the tools of conditioning:

Media

Are you aware that there is an entire science that has been developed around getting into your mind via television ads and “news”, in order to hypnotize you into believing and consequently behaving a particular way? Here are a couple of practices that I have found helpful in developing a discerning ear whenever I decide to watch a news program:

Question

Sit down to watch a news program and ask yourself after each story,

1.”How did that story just enrich my life?

2. Will it cause me to to make empowered, informed descisions, or fear based ones like clutching my purse whenever I see a bald-headed man with an earring?”

3. does it promote unity or division?

Go on a one week news fast.

That’s right, I said it. I promise you the world will not begin spinning in the other direction because you’re not standing vigil in front of your flat screen watching CNN. In fact, I’m willing to bet that not much of your life will have been down graded as a result of your “information” abstinence.

At the end of the week, do an assesment. Ask yourself how you did overall during the week, both physically and emotionally.

Religion

I have come to learn that religion, from Buddhism to Christianity, to Islam, whatever the theology, all of them are just ways of telling a story about who God is, who we are and the purpose for being, and that I could simply drop the story, silence the chatter and hear for myself the answers to the questions of my life. I have found this way of being to greatly excelerate my personal growth as I learn to see God in everything and everyone.

When you are finally able to dislodge yourself from the prison of cultural conditioning, you will see the world with new eyes. It will be for you a rebirth. This is what that master teacher Jesus meant when he said, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, you must be born again.” In order to enter the kindom of heaven, which, by the way he reiterated over and over again was “within.”, you must turn your gaze from the heavens, toward which our stargazing species have been looking from the beginning, and enter in.. penetrate into that subtle Universe from whence all things emminate. When we look to the stars, we are looking at the fringes of existance beloved.That which has already been spent. Upon looking within however, we reconcile ourselves with our beginnings…Our essential Selves, which just happens to be the Self of every other living and non living thing in our present experience.

When you are truly Born anew, your life will unfold before you as a supple and shining spring leaf, unfurling toward the light of the sun and allowing it to both deepen the roots of your history and expand the branches of your destiny. It isn’t required of you to Make this happen, rather you allow it to unfold before you once you have made the decision to stop pretending not to Know the Truth of your Divine nature. As Gautama Bhudda said, Once you have made the decision to be enlightened, the dye has been cast and it will occur. You’ll strike the mystic chords of memory and become transformed as, over time, you begin to become in consciousness Whom you have always been in essence. You can call it what you will: you may call it God.. you may call it Source, you may call it Spirit. Just call it forth beloved.

20120527-233314.jpg

Prayer (Reloaded)

So I was working in the Operating Room, fully gowned and gloved, when I suddenly felt this strong urge, a pulling within me to sing. Now I’m well acquainted with this pulling sensation… I feel it occasionally, though usually it is an energetic tug beckoning me to sit in the silence and to allow Spirit to have it’s way with me upon my cushion. But this call to sing–this was something I hadn’t felt since my days as a fundamentalist minister.

Still, I trusted it, because, though I had been limited in my understanding of “God” long ago as a minister, Spirit still loved me enough to commune with me in my ignorance.

So I began to sing…

“Blessed always,

Blessed always

for the arms of God surrounds us

Let our joy be so triumphant

that we rest in God and

Say amen…”

I repeated the stanza about three times and just then three things happened:

The world around me melted into blackness as my eyes sealed themselves shut.

Tears began to trickle down my cheeks, dripping onto my sterile gown which would now be considered contaminated and unusable for surgery.

And the third thing which occurred?

The presence of the One, that Sacred Spirit which is known by many names, shot out of me like a spring under pressure, filling the room.  After an undetermined amount of time, my nurse came into the room to ask me if I needed anything. While I could hear her question very well, I couldn’t bare to answer her. I knew that if I had uttered a mumbling word, all decorum would’ve been lost.  To her credit, the she sensed that something larger than either of us was occurring at that moment… within me–so she quietly stepped out of the operating suit.

It has been said that to sing is to pray twice, yet it begs the question, what exactly is prayer anyway? and what place does it have in the life of nonreligious, yet deeply spiritual people?

Traditional Forms of Prayer

According to the dictionary, prayer is  ” a spoken or unspoken address to God, a deity, or a saint.” something that is wanted or hoped for very much. Synonyms for prayer, as defined by the dictionary are: entreaty, appeal, plea, request, desire, hope, wish, supplication, imploration, petition.*

Keep in mind that the above definition of prayer is western in it’s orientation and as such doesn’t by any means encapsulate what prayer is for humanity at large.  The problem that most of us with a more postmodern approach to spirituality have with traditionally western forms of prayer is that, though they have been purported  to be  powerful spiritual tools,  they’ve proven in many cases to actually be quite dis-empowering… and in this age perhaps  even a little dangerous.

Brought up in the Pentecostal Christian tradition,  for me prayer was audible, emotional and loud! The more emotional energy one could conjure, the more beneficial one’s prayer would be! As you can imagine, this philosophy made for some truly interesting prayer meetings.  I observed the sad results from these meetings however;  that people would leave still feeling unhappy and beat down by the cares of  life. There prayers would be full of deep sobbing.. of pleading. Some even seemed to be fighting in their prayers, trying to convince God of their sincerity by praying with blood, sweat and tears.

The idea of begging and beseeching some reluctant deity for blessings from on high, is immediately disempowering because asking God for things implies that we don’t  already have everything which we need, that WE are in a deficit and that something in the form of some external deity is the only solution to our apparent lack. Such thinking not only displaces us from our divine posts within the Universe, as cocreators with Spirit, manifesting, along with God  those things which are beneficial for ourselves and for the world, but Petitionary prayer also displaces God Itself from It’s place as The Universal Substance from which everything comes into being, to some celestial pimp choosing whom to reward and whom to deny.

The recitation of pre-made petitions in order to move God is a form of prayer practiced in Catholicism and other more orthodox forms of Protestantism, Judaism and Islam-and the goals are the same: to convince God with much travail to do something for you.

The very idea of a God who would require us to ask of Him, rather than connect with It reduces the Infinite to not much more than an egoic genie who so craves the attention  of Mankind that It would sit aloft, with arms folded, waiting for us to ask of it before It would aid us in the hour of our need.

Rethinking Prayer                      

Yet I believe there is a better way. First we have to reload our entire Spiritual Operating System in order to have a more practical, more empirically validated understanding of the goals of prayer… namely “state training”

When I began singing in that operating room, I wasn’t asking god for anything, because I understand that I have already, EVERYTHING  that I require in order to live the life of my dreams. I didn’t come to the Infinite from a place of need, but from a spirit of love, pure and simple. The result was that my state of consciousness began to expand until I could perceive my connection with everyone and everything around me, Including God. 

The more you train yourself to experience these blessed moments of expansion, the more these moments cease to be relegated to short periods of time in your life. Instead they become a normal part of your consciousness. This is what development looks like, so that what used to be experienced as states of consciousness, with practice, inevitably becomes stages of development in your everyday life. You can experience bliss in every moment!

These states which I’m referring to can be accessed in a myriad of ways:

Contemplative Prayer

Centuries ago, Trappist Christian monks developed a form of prayer which seemed to have demonstrable results. They found that by sitting in silence, much like way of  many eastern religious traditions, one could literally merge with God; Feel the connection with the infinite so that one moved from facing God to experiencing It.  The monks observed how this new form of prayer seemed to create a greater sense of peace within both the heart and consequently the life of the practitioner. Prayer then became about merging with one’s divinity as apposed to petitioning a distant God for blessings. This form of Christian mysticism has been lost over the centuries, but are in recent years enjoying a renaissance as those who’ve grown out of Christianity still desire to express their spirituality from a more western orientation.

This is the common thread which binds both eastern and western faiths! Though both eastern and western traditions use different terms and verbiage to describe the Divine and the nature of Man’s relationship with It,  these terms point to the same experiences of the divine.

Affirmative Prayer

Affirmative prayer also differs from petitionary prayer (which is the form of prayer which most westerners practice) in that It approaches the Divine from a position of power rather than of lack. A place of Truth and not a lie. Affirmative prayer utilizes a formula which affirms the Truth in any given situation, so for example, say we were praying for the healing of a loved one, we would:

  • Connect with God by acknowledging It’s omnipresence in the Universe
  • Recognize it’s presence and unity within us
  • Know, meditate upon and speak the truth concerning our loved one’s healing.
  • Offer thanks in advance of the manifestation of healing
  • Release the entire situation to the Universal Law which governs all circumstances.

My Spiritual Practice

While I  no longer  consider myself  Christian, there are things about the faith which still holds great value for me… namely the idea of communing with the Divine in a way which recognizes that God, while not anthropomorphic, does have human qualities and personality and as such can be communicated with in human terms!

Although the bulk of my spiritual practice involves forms of Buddhist and Hindu meditation, I also practice a more integral form of prayer which honors all the perspectives which the major religions utilize to address God.

In Judaism, God is not spoken to, rather spoken about in the 3rd person. In Christianity, God is spoken to in 2nd person. And in eastern traditions, The Infinite is experienced as the Self in the 1st person.

Thus, in my prayer time, I touch in on all three perspectives of God starting from the furthest point, 3rd person, to the closest point, the 1st person, experiencing the Divine as me! It is a beautiful and vibrant way of communing with the Divine and one that I believe can breath new life and relevance into your spiritual practice!

Michael

*Prayer definition from bing.com