Comparative Religions – Christianity 4

In a way, Unity is regarded a ‘protestant movement’ because it finds its roots partly in Christianity. Unity’s forefathers, the Fillmores, created the Unity Movement combining the theology of different Christian, Jewish, Arabic and Eastern traditions.

So I started a series on introducing different faiths and traditions to show you how Unity embraces them all in a way that it can provide a home for anyone regardless of beliefs, culture, religion, race, etc.

INTRODUCTION
These are many different approaches to the Oneness with God or the Divine Presence, don’t let words mislead you! Everyone is right! All faith and spiritual movements, religions included, were created by a group who were in search for God following the example of someone inspiring.

We must always remember that everyone is in search for God in their own way. It is because what we call God is an energy source that is pure Love and Compassion amongst many other wonderful qualities.

Everyone wants to be Loved unconditionally, however, that kind of Love only exists in the realm of the Spiritual. No human being can love another person unconditionally. It is because of our own personal limitations and karma (issues to learn or let go of). Our vision is blurred by these therefor we cannot see anyone in their purity of Spirit.

What we can do is to have compassion; compassion for self and others, knowing that regardless how it may look, we are all in search for our best selves and for God’s Living Loving Spark within.

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It is important to mention, that one of the most relevant element of Gnostic Christianity to Unity is that in philosophical thought, logos (“word”) was the principle of rationality that connected the highest god to the material world. In Unity, you will find that we place emphases on the words we use. We create positive affirmations and so-called denials to elevate  our consciousness.

Personally, among all Christian traditions, I feel the closest to Gnostic Christianity. I highlighted parts of the text below that felt meaningful to me.

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Antient Christianity – The Gnostics 

Gnostics: those who embody the highest ethical and spiritual values, such as temperance, diligence, humility, chastity, generosity, etc. and who can at will have personal experience with divinity.

Continue reading Comparative Religions – Christianity 4

Comparative Religions – Christianity 3

In a way, Unity is regarded a ‘protestant movement’ because it finds its roots partly in Christianity. Unity’s forefathers, the Fillmores, created the Unity Movement combining different the theology of different Christian and Eastern traditions. 

So I started  a series on introducing different faiths and traditions to show you how Unity embraces them all in a way that it can provide a home for anyone regardless of beliefs, culture, religion, race, etc.

 

I found this fascinating and rather thorough article on the Protestant Churches. I hope you find it revealing!

 

Christianity was born out of the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. More specifically, his disciples began to spread The Gospel, or ”good news,” of Jesus after Jesus was crucified and resurrected. After Christianity had spread for centuries, Christians began to disagree on certain minute theological beliefs. These disagreements spawned different denominations or branches of Christianity. Each denomination slightly differs from the next based on each one’s theological beliefs. Such disagreements include different beliefs on baptism, the means of salvation, and God’s sovereignty.

The Protestant Churches

Protestantism was born in response to what many saw as the rigid teachings and traditions of Roman Catholicism. The spark that began the Protestant flame was Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” critiquing the legalism within the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther was a monk who had extensively studied the Bible and Christian tradition. In his view, Roman Catholicism was the antithesis of Christ’s teachings of salvation through grace alone because Roman Catholic church leaders were selling indulgences as absolution to sin. In addition, Luther believed that Roman Catholic leaders were abusing their power and that they had lost focus on the gospel of Christ. After Martin Luther tacked his “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, Catholicism would be permanently divided.

Source

Continue reading Comparative Religions – Christianity 3

Comparative Religions – Christianity 2

INTRODUCTION

These are many different approaches to the Oneness with God or the Divine Presence, don’t let words mislead you! Everyone is right! All faith and spiritual movements, religions included, were created by a group who were in search for God following the example of someone inspiring.

We must always remember that everyone is in search for God in their own way. It is because what we call God is an energy source that is pure Love and Compassion amongst many other wonderful qualities.

Everyone wants to be Loved unconditionally, however, that kind of Love only exists in the realm of the Spiritual. No human being can love another person unconditionally. It is because of our own personal limitations and karma (issues to learn or let go of). Our vision is blurred by these therefor we cannot see anyone in their purity of Spirit.  

What we can do is to have compassion; compassion for self and others, knowing that regardless how it may look, we are all in search for our best selves and for God’s Living Loving Spark within.

Because the Unity Movement finds its roots in Christianity I decided to start investigating different aspects of Christianity and see how relevant they are to Unity today.

We have just celebrated Orthodox Easter. I have been investigating the differences between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.I found this amazing article. I have copied out some of the article that I found interesting. You can read the entire article HERE (CLICK)

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC CHURCHES

Continue reading Comparative Religions – Christianity 2

Comparative Religions – Christianity 1

These are many different approaches to the Oneness with God or the Divine Presence, don’t let words mislead you! Everyone is right! All faith and spiritual movements, religions included, were created by a group who were in search for God following the example of someone inspiring.

We must always remember that everyone is in search for God in their own way. It is because what we call God is an energy source that is pure Love and Compassion amongst many other wonderful qualities.

Everyone wants to be Loved unconditionally, however, that kind of Love only exists in the realm of the Spiritual. No human being can love another person unconditionally. It is because of our own personal limitations and karma (issues to learn or let go of). Our vision is blurred by these therefor we cannot see anyone in their purity of Spirit.  

What we can do is to have compassion; compassion for self and others, knowing that regardless how it may look, we are all in search for our best selves and for God’s Living Loving Spark within.

Because the Unity Movement finds its roots in Christianity I decided to start investigating different aspects of Christianity and see how relevant they are to Unity today.

Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic

Modernly, the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches remain separated with key doctrinal differences between them. The primary theological difference is that the Catholic Church believes the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father to Jesus Christ the Son, and the Orthodox Church believes the Holy Spirit proceeds only from God the Father. The second major theological difference is that the Catholic Church believes the Pope has supreme authority over the Christian faith, while the modern Orthodox Church has no doctrinal authority. Aside from these key theological differences, modern religious practices and beliefs vary between the two churches. For example, the Orthodox Church allows for divorce, while the Catholic Church does not.

The primary organizational difference between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches is the question of Papal Primacy. The Catholic Church believes that the Pope is the bishop of Rome and heads the Catholic Church. Papal Primacy is a doctrinal belief concerning the respect and authority that all Catholics and members of the Catholic Church must afford the Pope due to the belief that he has primacy jurisdiction over the governance of the church.

source

 

Continue reading Comparative Religions – Christianity 1

Orthodox vs Catholic Easter

This weekend we are celebrating the Orthodox Easter. It is another Holy Celebration that gives us the opportunity to turn within and connect with the Divine Presence.

Every celebration and rituals regardless of the religion or spiritual path give us the opportunity to lift ourselves higher, release and let go of limitations that do not serve us any longer.  the Orthodox Easter is no exception.

First, I  was interested in finding out more about the differences between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches. See my findings further below.

The Orthodox Easter

How can you use this celebration for your upliftment and growth?

Known as Pascha, the Greek word for “passover,” Easter in the Orthodox Church celebrates “the eternal Passover from death to life from earth heaven.” Great Lent, the church’s strictest time of fasting, takes place for 40 days, ending eight days before Easter on Lazarus Saturday—when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, according to Eastern orthodoxy. Palm Sunday and Holy Week follow, with continued fasting until Easter. Orthodox Easter always follows the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Raising Lazarus from the dead. I would like to invite you to contemplate on the metaphysical meaning of ‘raising the dead’ or ‘being risen from the dead’. What does it mean to you? How do you see that being applied to your own life? What do you think you can do to ‘raise yourself from dead’?

I am looking forward to your answers! 🙂

What are Orthodox Easter traditions?

Going to church is obviously an important part of the celebrations and important services start from Good Friday.

The most important prayers are in the early hours of Easter Sunday when celebrations begin, church bells ring and fireworks and crackers go off to mark Christ’s resurrection.

After the fasting of Lent, traditions often revolve around food.

In Greece, Orthodox Christians traditionally eat roasted lamb on a barbecue spit and Tsoureki, a sweet Easter bread.

They also break their fast with a traditional soup called Magiritsa, which is made of lamb, rice and dill before the main feasting begins on Sunday.

Serbian Orthodox families traditionally enjoy appetizers of smoked meats and cheeses, boiled eggs and red wine. The Easter meal consists of chicken noodle or lamb and vegetable soup followed by spit-roasted lamb.

In Russia Orthodox Christians break their fast with a traditional Paskha Easter cake.

As in the western Church, eggs are a symbol of Easter and of new life. At Easter, eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for the redemption of all men.

source

What do you think about trying some of the traditions? I find that practicing rituals offered by different faith help me stay open and accepting towards others’ ideas, thinking, beliefs or even ideology. What do you think? 

Eastern or Orthodox Church traditions revolve around food and feeding so I will check out and see if I can make a Paskha Easter cake 🙂

 

 

Some interesting information

Major Differences in the Orthodox vs. Catholic Churches

Modernly, the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches remain separated with key doctrinal differences between them. The primary theological difference is that the Catholic Church believes the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father to Jesus Christ the Son, and the Orthodox Church believes the Holy Spirit proceeds only from God the Father. The second major theological difference is that the Catholic Church believes the Pope has supreme authority over the Christian faith, while the modern Orthodox Church has no doctrinal authority. Aside from these key theological differences, modern religious practices and beliefs vary between the two churches. For example, the Orthodox Church allows for divorce, while the Catholic Church does not.

source

Easter

According to the Bible’s New Testament, Jesus Christ was crucified by the Romans around A.D. 30, died on the cross on a Friday and was buried in a tomb outside of Jerusalem. Three days later, on Sunday, Christ rose from the dead, according to Matthew 28: 1–10

Non-Orthodox Christians celebrate the resurrection each year on Easter Sunday, the culmination of the 40-day season of Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ humble entry into Jerusalem, Maundy Thursday, honoring the Last Supper, Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified and Holy Saturday, the time of transition between the crucifixion and resurrection.

Why Orthodox Easter and Easter Are on Different Days

Known as Pascha, the Greek word for “passover,” Easter in the Orthodox Church celebrates “the eternal Passover from death to life from earth heaven.” Great Lent, the church’s strictest time of fasting, takes place for 40 days, ending eight days before Easter on Lazarus Saturday—when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, according to Eastern orthodoxy. Palm Sunday and Holy Week follow, with continued fasting until Easter. Orthodox Easter always follows the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Many historians, citing 8th-century monk and Anglo-Saxon scholar the Venerable Bede in his “The Reckoning of Time,” believe Easter’s etymological name comes from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, who was often portrayed in drawings surrounded by hares and was believed to be worshiped during pagan festivals. Anglo-Saxons also reportedly referred to the month of April as Eostre-monath.

Orthodox Christians, who believe faith is inseparable from the church, follow the Julian calendar when it comes to celebrating Easter Sunday. The Julian calendar was established by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C. and is based it on the solar cycle—Earth’s revolutions around the sun.

Orthodox Easter takes place between April 4 and May 8, following the first full moon after Passover. Orthodox Easter always falls after the Jewish celebration of Passover, because, according to the New Testament, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ took place after he entered Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. In 2024, Orthodox Easter occurs on May 5.

Georgian vs Julian Calendar

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII instituted the Gregorian calendar to correct inaccuracies in the Julian Calendar. The new calendar added leap years to correct an 11-minute miscalculation that caused seasons to become out of sync with the calendar, thus pushing Easter away from the spring equinox. Under the Gregorian calendar, churches established Easter to be held on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. In 2024, Easter is celebrated on March 31.

Much of the world came to officially recognize the Gregorian calendar, but Orthodox churches, primarily in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and others, continue to observe Easter according to the Julian calendar.

Source

To better understand this, one needs to go back to 325, the year in which the first Ecumenical council, was held in Nicaea and convened by Emperor Constantine. It was intended to unify the Eastern Churches and find points of agreement between the different rites. Convergences were found, but each community insisted on its calendar.

“The first thing that the council decided was not to align our celebration with the Jewish Passover,”

“The Jews follow the lunar calendar for their Passover. The idea is not to celebrate it simultaneously,” he added.

This principle is also applied by the Orthodox, with one key nuance: The celebration must always fall after the Jewish Passover, never before it. “In the Gospel, Christ is crucified at Passover and resurrected three days later. So it makes sense,”

The second rule that the Council established 1700 years ago is for all Christians not to celebrate Easter before March 22. That’s where the problem lies for Orthodox Christians this year: March 31, the date on which Catholic Easter falls, is March 18 in the Julian calendar. That means it falls before March 22. Hence, the Orthodox cannot celebrate Easter on that date, unless they break the rule decided at Nicaea (now Iznik, in Turkey).

Father Ibrahim Saad, representative of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Saida, Elias Kfoury, explained that “in this case, we move it for one month, using the following full moon as a basis.”

For 2024, Orthodox Easter is supposed to be set on April 28. So why is it on May 5 instead? Father Saad explained “We moved it because the Jewish Passover is celebrated until April 30,” recalling the first rule set by the Council.

“Several popes have called for Easter to be unified, and more and more people are in favor of that,” he said. To make such a change, many more ecumenical councils will be needed.

source

Laylat al-Qadr

In UNITY we believe that Sin is only an error in our thinking. The Night Power or Laylat al-Qadr is an opportunity to meditate, pray and affirm our connectedness with the Divine Source. Our ‘sins’ are forgiven because we surrender our will – eg. through fasting – and allow our consciousness to be lifted higher. 

Mohammad Prophet was a spiritual teacher similar to Jesus who brought forth spiritual laws (suggestions) for the seeker to attain a deeper relationship with the Divine. Mohammad suggests that after having practised abstinence for over 20 days during Ramadan, we now have arrived to The Night Power, that we can use for further stretching our limits. By using the night for meditation and prayer we can expect our reward in attaining a higher level of consciousness.

We must remember that attaining a higher level of conscious has physical implications as well. It is not only an inner experience though often it starts with that. As we lift our gaze or our consciousness higher, our physical experiences start reflecting our becoming more loving, accepting, kinder, embracing and more. It maybe difficult to imagine but as we become more vulnerable through being more in touch with the Divine, we generate and attract more ‘positive’ experiences for ourselves.

It is worth remembering that the spiritual path is not only an inner journey. As we evolve spiritually we also evolve in the physical. 

The Night Power

Laylat al-Qadr, Islamic festival that commemorates the night on which God first revealed the Qurʾān to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel (Jibrīl). It is believed to have taken place on one of the final 10 nights of Ramadan in 610 ce, though the exact night is unclear.

Sunni Muslims believe that Laylat al-Qadr occurs among the odd-numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th). Some scholars opine that if a Friday night occurs on an odd numbered night, the night is likely to be Laylat al-Qadr.

source: Britannica

The Night of Power (Arabic: لیلة القدر, romanized: Laylat al-Qadr; also rendered as the Night of Destiny, Night of Decree, Night of Determination, or the Precious Night), is, in Islamic belief, the night when Muslims believe the Quran was first sent down from heaven to the world and also the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad

Muhammad would usually practice spiritual retreat (Iʿtikāf) during the last ten days of Ramadan, awaiting the Night of Power, fasting and praying throughout the night, and abstaining from sexual relations. He urged his followers to do the same. According to one hadith, Muhammad said: “Whoever stands [in prayer] during the Night of Power out of belief and seeking reward, his previous sins are forgiven.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1901)

Source: WIkipedia

Grumbling vs. Gratitude 

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I grumble. Sometimes I’m irritated by having to wait in long lines or by the driving habits of others…and I grumble about it. Sometimes I’m less than pleased by getting the flu or having the aches and pains that come with an aging body…and I grumble about that. Sometimes I’m impatient with bureaucracy and paperwork and glitching websites and endless waits on hold, trying to reach an actual person to talk to…and I grumble about it. And sometimes I just grumble about life not being exactly the way I want it to be. 

C.S. Lewis wrote, Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining…but “you” are still distinct from it. But there may come a day when you can no longer stop. Then there will be no “you” left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. 

We all know people like this: people who have a sour outlook on life and communicate that dissatisfaction in each and every encounter they have with others. How much do you enjoy being around that type of person? Probably not much.

So, how can I make sure that my occasional grumble about something specific doesn’t become all there is of me? I have a secret weapon: gratitude. Gratitude is the opposite of grumbling. It’s paying more attention to what we have than what we don’t. It is the appreciation of what we have while we have it. It’s remembering who we are, the souls we love, and all the other blessings we have in our lives. Gratitude is what brings joy and contentment into our lives, and helps us grasp the deeper meaning in all that we experience: love.

In my family and social circle and spiritual community, I know people who cannot see, who cannot walk, who live in poverty, who have lost a spouse, who have serious medical conditions, who have faced financial ruin, and in general have circumstances and conditions that anyone else would label as devastating – and yet they have risen above them. They talk with enthusiasm about how grateful they are, and instead of focusing on their afflictions; they ask how others are doing and radiate compassion and kindness toward them. And in every single case, they were able to do that because they practiced gratitude instead of grumbling.

So, today, this day, while we may experience some situations that are less than optimal, we can make them worse – by grumbling – or better, by practicing gratitude. I don’t know about you, but today? Today I’m choosing gratitude.

A moment of Grace by Rev Steven McAfee @ONEBYONE COMMUINTY

Re McAfee is a pastor at Unity Fort Wayne Spiritual Centre. See the March Program below 

Reach Rev McAfee for his programs at onebyonecommunity@gmail.com

Pic source UNSPLASH.COM

Purim, a Jewish Celebration

The message of Purim

In my understanding Purim celebrates two things: overcoming and gratitude.  I look at the Bible as a source of inspiration the teachings behind the stories. The stories in the Bible happened so long ago that nobody knows how much of it had actually happened. 

In Unity, we interpret the stories and take the learnings from them.

Esther’s story for me is about knowing that God is always at work: as we face our challenges, stand up for oneself in the face of dire circumstances, and overcome inner challenges, we can start seeing God’s ever present support. Finally, we can move into gratitude for the support we have received.

How to use celebrating Purim for your benefit?

Similar to celebrations from other traditions, we can simply take the time to contemplate on the messages and teachings, we can spend some time in the silence to become aware of inner errors, ‘fight them’ which means let go of them, and become grateful for triumphing over our own challenges. 

Most of all however, we can use the time to become consciously aware of God’s Presence in our life, the way we are supported from behind the scenes; and we can express our gratitude to the Divine Presence for His never ceasing Love and Care for us. 

What am I going to do?

I will spend the evening to meditate and contemplate on areas of my life where I feel unsupported by God, where I feel I am being let down and left to my own divides. I will also look at where I am in error, why I feel this way. Finally, I will spend the day to observe the ‘behind the scene’  support God provides me with. Finally, I will move into Prayer on Gratitude for all the ‘hidden’ support and guidance I receive that I am be oblivious of. 

What is Purim?

Shushan Purim is a unique day in the cycle of Jewish holidays. Purim is the only holiday whose date depends on where you happen to celebrate it. For most of the world, Purim occurs on the 14th of Adar. However, if you happen to reside in Jerusalem or the city of Shushan (where the story of Purim took place), or any walled city, Purim is on the 15th of Adar. Therefore, the observance is called “Shushan Purim.”

Queen Esther then instituted the holiday of Purim for the day after the Jews were permitted to defend themselves. It is an important distinction for the holiday. Purim does not celebrate a military triumph. It celebrates the day of “rejoicing and feasting” that followed. That is why Purim is on the fourteenth day of Adar, not the thirteenth.


We must be careful to be clear about why we are celebrating.
Real joy is not about triumphalism. We do not rejoice over the death of Haman. Rather, our best celebrations are always about gratitude. We wait a day after our temporal victory and rejoice. We celebrate by laying down our weapons and taking a bag of cookies over to our neighbors’ homes.

That is something to be joyful about.

Source

Read the story in the Bible
Book of Esther HERE

Book of Esther

 

The Fast of Esther

As you can see below the Fast of Esther revolves around Esther success as a result of fasting. Please the story of Esther below.

This time we are observing numerous ‘fasting’ traditions in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions. Probably not by accident.

We seem to be asked, from every angle, to retreat from life events and move into the silence. Fasting is rarely about food, though most traditions focus on the physical aspects of spiritual observations.

In my view, most significant spiritual teacher requested their followers to ‘fast’ on being engaged in daily activates and spend more time with the Divine in silent contemplation. The Fast of Esther seems to be one of these times with a specific focus on ‘overcoming challenges’ as a result of fasting. 

Today, I would like to invite you to spend some time in silent contemplation on what challenges would you wish God to support you to overcome?

Spending time is the silence or in silent contemplation will result in receiving inner guidance of what to do next or it may reveal some aspects of self that needs to be released in order to ‘succeed’. 

Read about Ester’s story

Esther is a prominent figure in the Old Testament. In the Bible, Esther was the Jewish wife of the Persian king, and risked her own life to save her people from an antisemitic royal advisor. The Jewish holiday of Purim celebrates Queen Esther’s story… Source

Book of Esther, book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. It belongs to the third section of the Judaic canon, known as the Ketuvim, or “Writings.” In the Jewish Bible, Esther follows Ecclesiastes and Lamentations and is read on the festival of Purim, which commemorates the rescue of the Jews from Haman’s plottings. The Book of Esther is one of the Megillot, five scrolls read on stated Jewish religious holidays. In the Protestant canon, Esther appears between Nehemiah and Job. In the Roman Catholic canon, Esther appears between Judith and Job and includes six chapters that are considered apocryphal in the Jewish and Protestant traditions.

The book purports to explain how the feast of Purim came to be celebrated by the Jews. Esther, the beautiful Jewish wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), and her cousin Mordecai persuade the king to retract an order for the general annihilation of Jews throughout the empire. The massacre had been plotted by the king’s chief minister, Haman, and the date decided by casting lots (purim). Instead, Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, and, on the day planned for their annihilation, the Jews destroyed their enemies. According to the Book of Esther, the feast of Purim was established to celebrate that day …

Fasting is associated with some pivotal moments in the Purim narrative. One such moment is when Esther approached King Ahasuerus without permission in an effort to intercede on behalf of the Jewish people. Before she went to the king, she fasted for three days, and asked that all the Jews fast as well.

Another dramatic turnaround occurred on Adar 13 (the default date for the Fast of Esther), the date that Haman had set aside for killing the Jews. Instead the Jewish people soundly trounced their enemies. This triumph was accomplished while the Jews were fasting, as they prayed to G‑d that they be successful.

Source

 

Rumi on Anxiety

In times of distress everyone calls for help; in times of toothache, and earache, in doubt, fear and insecurity. In secret everyone calls out hoping that One will hear and grant their requests. Privately, secretly, people perform good deeds to ward off weakness and restore their strength, trusting that Life will accept their gifts and efforts. When they are restored to health and peace of mind, then suddenly their faith leaves, and the phantom of anxiety soon returns.

“O God,” they cry again, “we were in such a terrible state when, with all sincerity, we called upon you from our prison corner. For a hundred prayers you granted our requests. Now, freed of the prison, we are still as much in need. Bring us out of this world of darkness into that world of the prophets, the world of light. Why can freedom not come without prisons and pain? A thousand desires fill us, both good and deceitful, and the conflict of these phantoms brings a thousand tortures that leave us weary. Where is that sure faith that burns up all phantoms?”

God answers, “The seeker of pleasure in you is your enemy and My enemy. When your pleasure-seeking self is imprisoned, filled with trouble and pain, then your freedom arrives and gathers strength. A thousand times you have proved that freedom comes to you out of toothache, headache and fear. Why then are you chained to bodily comfort? Why are you always occupied with tending the flesh? Do not forget the end of that thread: unravel those bodily passions till you have attained your eternal passion, and find freedom from the prison of darkness.”

― Rumi, It Is What It Is: The Personal Discourses of Rumi (source)

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light Source Both

How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water?

Dont’ try to put out fire by throwing on
more fire! Don’t wash a wound with blood.

No matter how fast you run, your shadow
keeps up. Sometimes it’s in front!

Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.

What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is
your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.

I could explain this, but it will break the
glass cover on your heart, and there’s no
fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree feathers and wings sprout on you,
be quieter than a dove. Don’t even open your mouth for
even a coo.

Rumi

Spirituality vs Religion

One of the main reason, I fell in love with Unity was that their main focus is on ‘organised’ spirituality’ without boundaries. Before arriving to Unity I experimented with different types of religious and spiritual movements but I found them either rigid and restrictive or disorganized and confusing to my taste.

I grew up without proper religious education because of the socialistic regime in Hungary at the time. Religious education was discouraged. The elders in my family who belong do different religious groups – Roman Catholic Faith and Lutheran Faith – though both Cristian, had very different messages to convey. My great-aunt was a bigot Catholic who told me about a righteous and vengeful God who does not like badly behaving children; a God to fear. My dear grandma told me about a God who deserted her in her our of need but she never ceased to beg for His forgiveness. 

Everyone with strong religious beliefs told me about a God of Love and Compassion but both approaches to God seemed senseless to me. Why would an unconditionally loving God hate children who are naughty and why would a compassionate God punish someone in her our of need? 

In Unity Europe we celebrate any and all ‘religious’ and spiritually inclined holidays/celebrations because we believe that all path to God//the Divine Presence is valid. Spiritual teachers who offered various tools and practices enabling the seekers to gain a deeper experience of the Divine is worth celebrating.

Therefore, I do my best, to remember and celebrate in small ways, of the different traditions and tools to God. If you join our Facebook Group or Instagram Page you will see how we honour all paths to Oneness with the Divine. 

Unity offers practical, spiritual teachings that empower abundant and meaningful living.

Ali in Battle

Learn from Ali how to fight
without your ego participating.

God’s Lion did nothing
that didn’t originate
from his deep center.

Once in battle he got the best of a certain knight
and quickly drew his sword. The man,
helpless on the ground, spat
in Ali’s face. Ali dropped his sword,
relaxed, and helped the man to his feet.

“Why have you spared me?
How has lightning contracted back
into its cloud? Speak, my prince,
so that my soul can begin to stir
in me like an embryo.”

Ali was quiet and then finally answered,
“I am God’s Lion, not the lion of passion.
The sun is my lord. I have no longing
except for the One

When a wind of personal reaction comes,
I do not go along with it.

There are many winds full of anger,
and lust and greed. They move the rubbish
around, but the solid mountain of our true nature
stays where it’s always been.

There’s nothing now
except the divine qualities.
Come through the opening into me.

Your impudence was better than any reverence,
because in this moment I am you and you are me.

I give you this opened heart as God gives gifts:
the poison of your spit has become
the honey of friendship.”

Source: coleman-barks-the-essential-rumi

A Great Wagon

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
Rumi, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad. “A Great Wagon.” The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, Castle Books, 1997, p. 35-37.

Photo source

QUIETNESS

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.
The speechless full moon
comes out now

By Rumi

Source – coleman barks the essential rumi

Rumi’s poetry

The Essence of Rumi’s Teachings

At the heart of Rumi’s teachings is the concept of divine love and the unity of all existence. He speaks of a boundless, unconditional love that connects every soul to the divine source. Rumi’s poetry often emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, compassion, and the pursuit of inner harmony as essential steps on the path to spiritual enlightenment.

Self-Discovery Through Reflection

Rumi’s verses invite readers to embark on a journey within, urging them to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and actions. He emphasizes the significance of self-awareness, encouraging individuals to question their beliefs and explore the depths of their souls. Through introspection, Rumi teaches that one can unravel the layers of ego and discover the true essence of their being.

What would it look like?

02.14.24  Your Ideal Life
 

What if you woke up tomorrow and had a whole new life? There was nothing you had to do, nothing you were expected to do, no deadlines of any kind, no certain place you had to be, no specific job you were tied to, no one to report to – you were free to choose how to use every hour of your day? What would you do?

If you were free to make a life, how would it look, and how would you feel about living it? Does your heart get excited considering such a possibility? What do you envision?

Chances are you are thinking about things – what kind of house, what kind of job, what kind of activities, what kind of family or friends….. 

And then it probably occurs to you: what about money? – many of the elements you may want in that ideal life could cost more money than you have, maybe more than you can even believe you might be able to have. 

Once actual physical realities come into play, our life options quickly become radically more limited, and before we know it, we are confined to a life much more restricted and difficult than our vision. Recognizing that, some part of us gives up hope.  

We either settle for less and learn to accept it, or we fight against it and become bitter and resentful that we cannot have what we would like to have and feel we deserve to have. 

Look again at your ideal vision, and forget for a moment about the specific physical components of your vision (where you live, your job, how old you are, all of that) and look at who you are in your vision, how you feel about yourself, what kind of person are you to be in a relationship with, what kind of friend you are, and how you feel about life.

Being who you want to be, feeling the resultant sense of peace and freedom within yourself, being the kind of person others want to be with, being a loyal and true friend, being grateful to be alive and happy to have a life at all – none of these depend upon the temporary physical conditions of your life.  You are free to be all of that now. Wherever you are.  Rich or poor, young or old, success or failure, whatever the limitations in which you find yourself.  You are free to be that “you” right now. 

What you value, what you stand for, who you stand with, what you love and treasure, what principles you build your life around – those are up to you.  You may or may not be able to change your physical life.  You may or may not ever have your ideal life.  But you can be the “you” that you envision. IF that is what you really want, IF that is who your heart is calling you to be.  And chances are, someone besides you is hoping you will do that, too.  I know I do.

Rev Steven McAfee, Fort Wyne, Indiana,
One by One Community
Contact Rev McAfee – onebyonecommunity@gmail.com

Basant Panchami

How fascinating that the Hindu tradition of Basant Pachami is aligned with Ash Wednesday and the preparation for Holi is for during the 40 days of Lent this year.

Similarly to Christian traditions of Shove Tuesday, Hindu’s have a feast on the day of Basant Pachami that is followed by a 40-day contemplation and preparation for Holi.

The second story of Lord Shiva is fascinating because it talks about a 40-day penance and resurrection wrapped in a Love story which is a very similar parable to Jesus’ resurrection story.

Finally, the festival of Holi that will be around the same time as Easter for Christians this year celebrates the Hindu God Krishna and is about spring, love and new life.

Good to know

Basant Panchami, celebrated on the first day of spring, which is the fifth day of the month of Magha. Basant Panchami also heralds the start of preparations for Holi, which begins forty days after Basant Panchami. Mustard flowers bloom in India during Basant Panchami, and the festival is associated with the colour yellow. The festival honours the goddess Saraswati, who is worshipped on this day as the representative of learning, creativity and music. It is also the day when we celebrate with our nearest and dearest by eating and sharing.

History of Basant Panchami
According to mythology, Kalidasa was about to commit suicide in a river after learning of his wife’s departure. Just as he was about to do so, the goddess Saraswati emerged from the river and asked Kalidasa to bathe in it. Afterwards, his life was transformed as he was endowed with insight and developed into a talented poet.

Another story concerns the Hindu god of love, Kama, who is said to have interrupted Lord Shiva in the middle of a deep meditation after the death of his wife Sati. Seers approached Kama to rouse him from his meditation, allowing Shiva to re-establish his connection with the outside world and acknowledge Maa Parvati’s efforts on his behalf. Kama nodded and shot flowers and beeswax arrows at Shiva from his sugarcane bow. Kama was reduced to ashes by an angry Lord Shiva, who opened his third eye. On the day of Basant Panchami, Shiva promised to resurrect Rati, his wife, after her 40 days of penance. Later he is said to have been born as Lord Krishna’s son, Pradumna.

Source

Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates spring, love, and new life.

Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun. It’s a colourful festival, with dancing, singing and throwing of powder paint and coloured water.

Holi is also known as the “festival of colours”.Holi marks the arrival of spring and the end of winter. It is usually celebrated in March.

In 2024 Holi will begin on Monday 25 March.

Holi also celebrates the Hindu god Krishna and the legend of Holika and Prahlad.

source

Lessons for ENG8 in God-ing :)

I am an ENG8w7. There is a little bit too much sin, condemnation and judgement in the text for me but the description is spot on. I also like the Bible examples. Steve Job was an ENG1 not an Eng8. There is quite a bit of resemblance. Both ENG1 and ENG8 are in the instinct triad. Both of them tend to control and fix the world though differently. ENG1 perfects whereas ENG8 drops a bomb and rearranges the debris. Anyhow, I love the video.

Blessings at Hannukah

Blessing for lighting the candles
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה.‬

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Translation: “Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah light[s].”

Blessing for the miracles of Hanukkah
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה.‬

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, she’asa nisim la’avoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim ba’z’man ha’ze.

Translation: “Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time…”

Source Wiki

738a89cd1051e7facf4ef71f2fc4fd2ab7e8ac4a

 

Hanukkah – The Jewish Festival of Lights

In 2018, Hanukkah is from the evening of Sunday, 2nd December until the evening of Monday, 10th December. We are soon approaching the end of the Festival of Lights in the Jewish tradition and I thought it is time to remember this beautiful celebration.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, in Israel. This happened in the 160s BCE/BC (before Jesus was born). (Hanukkah is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for ‘dedication’.) Hanukkah lasts for eight days and starts on the 25th of Kislev, the month in the Jewish calendar that occurs at about the same time as December. Because the Jewish calendar is lunar (it uses the moon for its dates), Kislev can happen from late November to late December.

Continue reading Hanukkah – The Jewish Festival of Lights

Coptic Christianity in a Nutshell

The Coptic Orthodox Church split away from the broader Christian community in 451 A.D. The Coptic Church diverged from other Christians during the 5th century in part due to differing beliefs about the nature of Christ. Coptic Christians believe that Christ had two natures ― one human and one divine ― united as one “without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration.” Catholics and other Christian denominations believe in the incarnation of Jesus, which similarly holds that Christ was both fully human and fully divine. But at the time of the split, Coptic Christians were accused of believing in monophysitism ― the belief that Christ had only one, divine nature.

Coptic Christians trace their founding to the apostle St. Mark. Tradition holds that Mark brought Christianity to Egypt and founded the Coptic church during the first century. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in the Middle East and was the first founded in Africa.

Continue reading Coptic Christianity in a Nutshell

The story of the Two Christmases

Coptic Christmas is observed on what the Julian Calendar labels 25 December, a date that currently corresponds with 7 January on the more widely used Gregorian Calendar (which is also when Christmas is observed in Eastern Orthodox countries such as Russia).

The 25 December Nativity of Christ was attested very early by Hippolytus of Rome (170–236) in his Commentary on Daniel 4:23: “The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born at Bethlehem, took place eight days before the calends of January, a Wednesday, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, 5500 years from Adam.”

There may have been more practical considerations for choosing 25 December. The choice would help substitute a major Christian holiday for the popular Pagan celebrations surrounding the Winter Solstice (Roman Sol Sticia, the three-day stasis when the sun would rise consecutively in its southernmost point before heading north, 21, 22 and 23 December.

Until the 16th century, 25 December coincided with 29 Koiak of the Coptic calendar. However, upon the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, 25 December shifted 10 days earlier in comparison with the Julian and Coptic calendars.

Continue reading The story of the Two Christmases

Baha’i Faith

“Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit…”— Bahá’u’lláh

Baha’u’llah’s Revelation affirms that the purpose of our lives is to know God and to attain His presence. Our true identity is our rational soul, whose free will and powers of understanding enable us to continually better ourselves and our society. Walking a path of service to God and to humanity gives life meaning and prepares us for the moment the soul separates from the body and continues on its eternal journey towards its Maker.

Source

“Every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading into His knowledge…”— Bahá’u’lláh

The Bahá’í Writings explain that the reality of God is beyond the understanding of any mortal mind, though we may find expressions of His attributes in every created thing. Throughout the ages, He has sent a succession of Divine Messengers, known as Manifestations of God, to educate and guide humanity, …

God, the Creator of the universe, is all-knowing, all-loving and all-merciful. Just as the physical sun shines on the world, so the light of God is shed upon all Creation. Through the teachings of the Manifestations of God—among them Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh …


Humanity, having passed through the ages of infancy and childhood, now stands at the threshold of its collective maturity, …

Acts 2

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Continue reading Acts 2

Pentecost & Passover

History + Traditions of Pentecost/Whit Sunday & Passover
The word Pentecost is Greek and it means “50th day.” Fifty days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their followers, and the beginning of their Earthly ministry to make disciples of all nations.

At Pentecost, the Apostles and their followers were gathered in a room. Jews from all over the world were gathered with Peter, the leader of the Apostles and the Eleven. At this time, a great wind blew and a flame appeared as a tongue of fire, which split itself into many individual flames above the heads of all those present. The Holy Spirit came upon these people and each began to speak in tongues.

Peter then called all those present to be baptized and about three thousand people were baptized that day.

pentecost2

painting by Ed de Guzman (2014)

Continue reading Pentecost & Passover

Via Dolorosa

The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa (Sorrowful Way), is a popular Lenten devotion. This time we are asked to call to mind the Passion of Christ, that is, the journey Jesus took from his condemnation to his death.

THE HISTORY OF THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
The Way of the Cross has its origins with the Blessed Mother. It is said that she, who pondered all the mysteries of Christ in her heart, retraced the steps of her Son’s Passion and the significant events that happened along the way, keeping in her memory, and for the memory of the Church, the sacred path on which the Son of God trod to accomplish our redemption.

Continue reading Via Dolorosa

St. Valentine, the true story


He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. ” He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.”

“I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara. “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.”

“The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.”

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

Full article

saint-st-valentine_SI

Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2

(Stormzy)
I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace, by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, I’m blinded
By your grace
You came and saved me
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, now I’m blinded
By your grace
You came and saved me
One time for the Lord

Continue reading Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2

Hafiz

“ Beloved,
I am waiting for you to free me
into your mind
And infinite being.
I am pleading in absolute helplessness
To her, finally, your word of Grace:
Fly! Fly into ME!
Hafiz,
Who can understand
Your sublime nearness and separation?”
(Hafiz, I heard God Laughing)

hafiz

Dia de los Muertos

A beautiful celebration of remembering. The Day of the Dead reminds us to embrace the wonderful memories of our loved ones who are not with us any more but whom we can connect with in spirit, particularly, during this fun-filled and light-hearted event.

The celebration of  Dia de los Muertos asks us to remember that in spirit we are all connected and that no soul is lost in God’s realm. The loss of a loved one pains us, nevertheless, we must remember that our journey does not stop at our departure from the physical world. Our spirit travels on and we can reconnect with and celebrate the freedom of the spirit who is not binded by the limitations of life in the physical any more.

The book of Life Trailer

Heartfelt Connection

The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence: A path to personal, social and global coherence

The Spiritual Heart — is in a way a little like a smart phone, invisibly connecting us to a large network of information. It is through an unseen energy that the heart emits that humans are profoundly connected to all living things. The energy of the heart literally links us to each other. Every person’s heart contributes to a ‘collective field environment.’ This short video explains the importance of this connection and how we each add to this collective energy field. The energetic field of the heart even connects us with the earth itself.

The HeartMath Institute is helping provide a more comprehensive picture of this connection between all living things through a special science-based project called the Global Coherence Initiative. They hope to help explain the mysteries of this connection between people and the earth…and even the sun.

Scientists at the HeartMath Institute (HMI) have already conducted extensive research on the power of heart, the heart/brain connection, heart intelligence and practical intuition.

Whether personal relationships, social connections, or even the global community – we are all connected through a field of electromagnetic energy. Increasing individual awareness of what we bring to this field environment could be the key to creating a sustainable future, a future that we can be proud to have helped create.

Links to visit

FRANCIS DUNNERY – WOUNDING AND HEALING OF MAN

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mlof5Vw7Mfg[/youtube]

I don’t know if I’m getting old
I don’t know if I’m getting tired
I don’t know if I want to go to work today
‘Cause I spent last night with my old friend
He said its make or break time
So I asked the burning question
Why when I want to make a forward move do you knock me to the ground?
And he said…

He said I’m gonna break you down
And then I’m gonna build you up again
Stronger then ever before

I don’t know if I’m getting wasted
I don’t know if I’m disillusioned
I don’t know if I want to make the effort today
I had another bad night with my old friend
He said there’s no separation, there’s only integration,
He really isn’t anything physical
Just a voice inside my head, that keeps saying, keep saying, keep saying. ..

He said I’m gonna break you down boy
And then I’m gonna build you up again
Stronger then ever before
(he says I’m gonna break you down boy)
He said I’m gonna break you down
Then I’m gonna build you up again

He said I’m gonna take your mother away
So I can watch your boyhood burn
E’en though your father failed to show you the way
And now there’s no where left to turn
He said I’m gonna break you down boy
I’m gonna turn your rock to sand
He said I’m gonna crush your spirit boy
Then you’ll have to take a stand
He said I’m gonna hurt you so bad
You’ll have no where left to turn
(He said I’m gonna break you down boy)
He said I’m gonna break you down boy
Then you can finally be a man

A child’s world …

Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. In an attempt to dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Instead of displaying distaste, the little boy clambered to the top of the pile and began digging.

“What are you doing?” the psychiatrist asked.

“With all this manure,” the little boy replied, beaming, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”

Ben Jonesx

 

Man in the mirror <3

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…
As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat
Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs
A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)
I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel
to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re
not alone?
A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern on the wind, ya’ see
’Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself and then make a change)
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways – ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make that…
(Take a look at yourself and then make that…)
Change!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzCHhh3GkQk[/youtube]

 

Love

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Corinthians 13: 1-2, 12
angel-mchxjpg

LAF workbook exercises

Through meditation, journaling and LAF, you will begin to open to the Loving that is inside of you; the fears and judgments will slip away and you will begin to live, more and more, the Loving that you truly are.

The following is a breakdown of applying LAF:
Diagnosis ~ Protection + Fear = Separation
Prescription ~ Loving + Acceptance + Forgiveness (LAF)
Applying LAF on a daily basis = Spiritual Healing and Freedom!

Journaling can be a great support to you and your focus on Spirit. By writing down your awarenesses and experiences that you receive in meditation, you will be creating an intention and focus for living the Loving in your daily life.

Applying LAF (Loving, Accepting, Forgiving) supports you in bringing your thoughts and feelings, your actions and reactions, into the Loving so that nothing separates you from God. There are many ways to approach LAF.

Source and more info: ILM.org

In ILM, we focus on one simple meditation, and that meditation has one single purpose: to awaken to the divine that we are by going within to have our own direct personal experience. Meditation is being in communion with God; it is simply loving God … and allowing God to love you.

ilm-logo

Mary did you know?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPsgIhlYQmM[/youtube]

“Mary Did You Know”
(originally by Mark Lowry (lyrics) and Buddy Greene (melody))

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the great “I am”

Source

Experiencing God’s Loving

You’ve got to go in and find the Love of your own soul and merge into that Loving of your own soul. Then open and allow God’s Loving in so that you and God experience the union, the Loving once again, the continual movement of Loving, the giving and receiving all the time, as best you can.

Full Excerpt~

One of the major forms of abandonment that we have to deal with is at the spiritual level because a soul who has come into this creation and then begins to experience what this creation has to offer, begins to experience abandonment. This is because one of the major lessons that we come here to learn is about separation; and we are really separated from God down here. We feel separated. We do not feel One. We do not feel His Presence. We feel alone, and lost, and abandoned; and we have to go in and find a way to connect with God even while we’re in this place of separation. We have to go in and forgive God for abandoning us, forgive ourselves for thinking that God has abandoned us, and find a way to connect inside to the knowing that God is right here (at the seat of the soul) with us, even in this place of separation.

Continue reading Experiencing God’s Loving

One Path

In the light of recent events in the world, I was delighted to read this passage by Beas,
“It is simple logic that if the Lord is one and He is within every on of us and if we have to seek Him within our body, then the path leading to our destination, to our home, cannot be two. It must be one. So it is impossible even to think that there can be one path leading to the Lord’s house for Christians, another for Hindus, another for Sikhs, and still another for Muslims. There may be a difference in our interpretation or in our understanding, but there cannot be two paths leading to His house. If we seek Him within, we all will find the same path, and that is of Sound and Light. But if we search for Him outside, then everybody has his own path, then it is impossible to come together. It is a spiritual basis that we can dome together and be near to each other. … the nearer we are to the Lord, the nearer we are to one another. “
Light on Saint John by Radha Soami Satsang Beas

rumi7

Awakening Is a Destructive Process by Greg Calise

Make no bones about it, awakening is not a walk in the park. It is a ride through hell. It is the tearing down of all of your cherished beliefs and everything you thought about yourself. There is no way around this. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, they had to enter into the Mirkwood Forest to get to their destination. There was no other way for them. It was not a walk in the park. Likewise, we must enter the shadowlands, and come face to face with our shadows. It is there that our false ideas of who we are are shattered. It is there that all of our false beliefs are destroyed. We must face these false notions and see them for what they are. This is the only way to heal, to become whole again, to live in integrity.

Full article by Greg Calise at Riverbank of Truth

Tolle

“As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.”
– Eckhart Tolle

You must die to live – an article

extracts

Awakening is not a walk in the park. It is a ride through hell. It is the tearing down of all of your cherished beliefs and everything you thought about yourself. There is no way around this. We must come face to face with our shadows. It is there that our false ideas of who we are are shattered. It is there that all of our false beliefs are destroyed. We must face these false notions and see them for what they are. This is the only way to heal, to become whole again, to live in integrity.

It is a complete surrender, a process of brutal self honesty. It is a path of complete acceptance of the truth, no matter how difficult it is to bear. We go through life with so many false notions – of the world, of spirituality and of ourselves. We build up masks and we believe the facades. It’s all a charade. It is all based upon illusions and deceit. We deceive ourselves at every moment, and the world also deceives us at every moment.

To awaken to the truth that you seek, you must tear down the lies. But we are too attached to the lies. We want to hold on to the illusions and to become enlightened at the same time. That is not possible.

It takes a certain individual to break free of the herd. The Siddhartha road is not easy. It is a treacherous road that will shatter every part of your existence. No, it takes a certain type of person to walk that road; a person that is willing to give up everything to find his true Self.

As Eckhart Tolle has stated, you don’t have to wait for the dark night of the soul to dismantle your false notions, your false self, your life story. You can consciously take that road. But it demands courage, discernment, and a brutal honesty of yourself. The mind is a very tricky opponent, and will deceive you at every step, as your awakening is the end of its control over you. But it can be done. Nisargadatta Maharaj did it. You must simply allow Grace to act within you.

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It is a road of destruction and the question is, “How much are you willing to give up? How much can you endure?” Because on this road, you must give up everything. Every piece of you will shatter. Can you endure that? As the great Bhaktivinode Thakur has written, “You must die to live.” So how serious are you? How much do you want it? How much will you pay for it?

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Full article by Greg Calise here at Riverbank of Truth

Enlightenment

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”
― Adyashanti

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Common Sense

Joe Miller said that there are four qualities necessary for spiritual life. The first is common sense, the second is common sense, the third is sense of humor. When he was asked what is the fourth quality, he replied laughing, “Even more common sense!”

Love is a fire/Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (extract)

The shadow side

“…Working on the shadow side takes such commitment and time. Often there seems to be so little change, just the uncovering of even deeper problems, deeper pain, more intense feelings of isolation, rejection, abandonment – whatever are the feelings hidden behind the doors of our unconscious. A friend said that she had heard that their would be struggles on the path, but had never expected them to be so intense, cruelty, jealousy, resentment, bitterness and other shadow qualities that surface often without warning. Seeking greater wholeness we are confronted with the exact opposites of what we think we are. And what we then discover we are. Trying to reconcile these opposites within us we find ourselves caught in conflicts of pain and bitterness. These inner struggles that can be violent and tormenting need to be worked through, and the greater our aspirations and devotion, the quicker the darkness comes up to the surface…”

source – unknown – a friend sent it to me like this.

 

Fork | Tobias Müller:

Photo Tobias Müller – source

The meaning of Life

“The spiritual awakening is the most essential thing in man’s life, and it is the sole purpose of being.” Khalil Gibran

“We came not into this life by exile, but we came as innocent creatures of God, to learn how to worship the holy and eternal spirit and seek the hidden secrets within ourselves from the beauty of life.

The true light is that which emanates from within man, and reveals the secrets of the heart to the soul, making it happy and contented with life.

Love is my sole entertainer, singing songs of happiness for me at night and waking me at dawn to reveal the meaning of life and the secrets of nature.”

Source – Kahlil Gibran: LOVE and the Meaning of Life
BY NICOLAE TANASE

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My wicked spirituality

Everything is perfect. When Louise said this, I realized that hearing that phrase is like hearing that everything happens for a reason. It’s a tough message to swallow when faced with tragedy or deep pain of any kind. But, by training ourselves to see the perfection in our most difficult moments—a perspective that, at first, can only be seen in hindsight—we learn to trust Life. We come to understand that, while we might not like a certain outcome, Life may be leading us in a new, more appropriate and beneficial direction. Everything happens for a reason or Everything is perfect are beliefs born from a decision to see life as a schoolroom. When we choose to become a student of life who learns and grows from his or her experience, everything does, in fact, happen for a reason. In this way, we make our most difficult moments mean something by using them to our spiritual advantage.

Full article here

Well, I am here, as ever, to argue my case!

I do not think that life is perfect, and I do not believe that we can learn from everything that happens to us. Like the previous article I shared, sometimes and experience is only there so we uncontrollably sad and to grieve some unrecoverable loss. That is all to it.

What to learn from loss? Maybe, acceptance. However, in my understanding, acceptance comes with age and time. Eventually, we all accept life for what it is and realize that there is no point in fighting because Life does not care about what you want, you’d better go with what life offers.

Successful people, from my perspective, are either big bullies who respect no one and nothing, and have their way nevertheless(these ones are rarely happy, contented or at peace); or they are all accepting and embracing whatever Life throws at them.

So, maybe, this learning business is all about learning to accept whatever it is that Life brings you to live. I am not sure how to use any of it for my spiritual advancement.

So, where I stand is this: Life does not give a them! You are either though and can bare what life throws at you or you break and fall. Either way, you are not happy. This is the majority of humanity.

Some of us, maybe, I’d say, 10% of us (top max) consider himself/herself being some spiritual journey of the Soul, that allows us some self-awareness and choice in the above matter.

Those whose basic disposition is of a calmer and more accepting nature, take life for what it is without much argument or fight. Those of, like myself, who are more of a challenger, carve our way into new heights, displaying individuality in the process and still being inspiring.

My idea of spirituality is not of following the crowd and checking if I am cooperating and flowing smoothly with whatever the mainstream is. I am in for a special journey. I am curious how to live an exceptional life with all the experiences that is uniquely belong to me.

This is MY wicked spirituality.

HEARTBREAK

is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control, of holding in our affections those who inevitably move beyond our line of sight.
Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.
Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.
…If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and even perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, to see it as its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is a deeper introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something or someone who has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the last letting go.

‘HEARTBREAK’ Excerpted From CONSOLATIONS:
The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press 2015
Now Available 
Morning Sky
Photo © David Whyte
Barga, Province of Lucca, Italy
Ocotober 2015

 

Khalil Gibran@Large

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

‘Life is naked’

“Why do you draw bodies always naked?” Haskell is said to have asked him.

Gibran answered: “because life is naked. A nude body is the truest and the noblest symbol of life. If I draw a mountain as heap of human forms, or paint a waterfall in a shape of tumbling human bodies, it is because I see in the mountain heap if living things and in the water falls a participate current life.”

Article

Picture source

Psalm 139

Psalm 139 New International Version (NIV)

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Footnotes:

Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me

Source

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TRUST

“Those who trust in the Lord will be like a tree planted by the water.” (Jer 17:8-NIV)

7″Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. 8″For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.9″The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick;

Source

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M. Robinson: Deeper

“As a person goes deeper inside themself…, they will meet egoic mind in it’s totality. Then, just before the person drops the whole of their identity and beliefs of separateness, boredom will present itself. It is the last argument of the egoic mind… How can I live this life without striving, without reacting from the turbulence of my emotions, without desire and without any security? If I give any of these things up, then my life will be empty and boring. There will no longer be any dramas for me to act out and I will no longer be an individual with something impressive to say or worthwhile to do…
Just because you are just listening within for your inner voice, or just observing your mind with it’s fears and desires, does not mean human life ends. On the contrary, life becomes much more vivid and alive, as each experience now has an added dimension…”

Mike Robinson

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Picture  source – web – Lois Munoz Luque

My Gratitude Protfolio

Gratitude

 

“She beautifies my disillusioned brain. She’s like my fairy godmother. … ‘This is the best day of my life. I’m a genius. I love people and people love me. I never criticize, condemn, or complain. Everyone I meet today is loving and respectful. I love God and God loves me.’” Source

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” William James

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

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“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

“If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” Gerald Good

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

“The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles Schwab

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” Henri Frederic Amiel

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson

“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” Naomi Williams

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Gratitude also opens your eyes to the limitless potential of the universe, while dissatisfaction closes your eyes to it.” Stephen Richards

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe

“Gratitude is more of a compliment to yourself than someone else.” Raheel Farooq

“This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou

Source

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Pictures are from the big wide NET

The Lion and the Lamb

Isaiah 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Birthday reminder from a dear friend

My dear!! Be happy as you are! Keep on searching, sharing, expanding, loving, inspiring…

Stay young, free and centered to yourself and balance it with some roots (anywhere I want) to have yourself even more earthy, joyful and wise!

I love you and thank you for staying close!

Have a day of celebration such as you need it!

Love and many hugs,
<3
***

THANK YOU MY FRIEND!
<3

Some thoughts on resisting Life

So, it is the rock bottom, I HOPE! It is all a hell of a confusion, I am completely out of control  and freaked out. Every moment when something crazy or rather unbearable happens, I scream inside; What’s more?? Please, I accept, I accept it all, but please stop bringing on more!

I something have the feeling that it is about making me laugh … and until I manage to laugh at the unbearable lightness of being, He won’t stop. He is already having a laugh! He twists and turn me and my life around me. I am dizzy and scared. I keep on wanting to hold onto something, make some sense of what is happening, but there is nothing left to grab into.

Like the dervishes, I am spinning and spinning into enlightenment … I only hope, or my only hope, rather.

I am willing to accept all the adversities, at the same time I am struggling with deep fear  combined with loss of control, the need to know what is happening and why and whether I am gonna get out of it all alive or not.

I am not sure if I am good at this, however, I do understand that if I ever want to live in peace, if I want to give myself a chance to become all that I can be, I must accept it all just as it is, myself included, just as I am.

Amen!

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Interestingly, with all that confusion, upset, rejection and loss I have been experiencing lately, I feel more alive than ever before. I am very sad, very, very sad, sad to the stomach and still this sadness somehow makes me feel alive. I somehow am less numb, I suspect.

I don’t see the light, I don’t hear God, I don’t hear the sound current, my meditations are simply non-existent … and still, I feel more being than before…how is it possible?

 

And So Will I Wonder…?

 

I lived, but then in living I was feeble in life and
always knew that they would bury me here in the end,
that year piles upon year, clod on clod, stone on stone,
that the body swells and in the cool, maggot-
infested darkness, the naked bone will shiver.
That above, scuttling time is rummaging through my poems
and that I will sink deeper into the ground.
All this I knew. But tell me, the work–did that live on?

by Miklos Radnoti (Hungarian Poet)

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Today is Epiphany

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe breakthrough scientific, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.

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Symbolisms of the Dragonfly (extracts)

Maturity and a Depth of character
The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

Defeat of Self Created Illusions
The dragonfly exhibits iridescence both on its wings as well as on its body. Iridescence is the property of an object to show itself in different colours depending on the angle and polarization of light falling on it.

This property is seen and believed as the end of one’s self created illusions and a clear vision into the realities of life. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity. This again indirectly means self discovery and removal of inhibitions.

Focus on living ‘IN’ the moment
The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis.

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Reminder so to hang in there…

Epiphany (feeling), a sudden realization of great truth

The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine.

For the philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas, epiphany or a manifestation of the divine is seen in another’s face (see face-to-face)

Despite its popular image, epiphany is the result of significant labor on the part of the discoverer, and is only the satisfying result of a long process, usually involving significant periods of labor.The surprising and fulfilling feeling of epiphany is so surprising because one cannot predict when one’s labor will bear fruit, and our subconsciousness can play a significant part in delivering the solution; and is fulfilling because it is a reward for a long period of labor.

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Reminder – Meditation

Though I don’t especially like Osho’s style, I like this bit:

“Slowly slowly, meditation becomes your very life, your very heartbeat.
That day is the most blessed day
when you don’t have to meditate – you are meditation.
Your very being, whatever you are doing or not doing,
is silent, peaceful, loving, alert and aware of its eternity.
This experience is the only sacred experience.
This experience brings back again your childhood,
a pure silent consciousness, rejoicing in everything that it does.
The whole universe becomes a celebration and life is no longer a misery.
Every moment existence is available for you to rejoice,
sing, dance, love, and expand your life energies.
Mind only thinks, meditation lives.
Mind is a very small thing.
Meditation is as vast as the whole universe.
I teach you this vastness, I teach you universality, I teach you eternity.
You are not what you appear in the mirror, you are much more.
You are vast, as vast as the whole universe.”
~ Osho