The Shadows that Betray: Choosing Love in Times of Evil

From a Sermon given Summer Equinox Worship Service  on March 21, 2021

It is springtime, the point in the natural cycle of Mother Earth of regeneration and renewal.  Further it is spring of 2021, a time when many people are breathing a sigh of relief as things, at least in the United States, have an air of emergence from the dark days of winter and the darkness of the past year. Most of us in this community seem to understand that we have been given temporary reprieve from the challenges set before us; and that there are more to come. For now, however, we can rejoice in our successful perseverance, give thanks for the bountiful assistance we have received along the way, and recommit to the Creator-of-Us-All in weathering the days ahead.

This morning I want to talk a lot about dichotomies, and working with them successfully.  I was asked to speak about evil which certainly is a relevant topic given how it seems to be lurking at every turn in the road these days.  In these apocalyptic times the heat has been turned up and the creepy crawlies have come scurrying out of their corners, and creepy they are indeed! 

Many segments of the world may have come together rather quickly to take on the COVID-19 virus, but we are only beginning to even look at, much less address the energies that made its entrance into our collective lives necessary. Essentially we have ripped off the bandage that was covering the wounding of our shared world. There is going to be a period of bleeding, hopefully followed by some genuine healing of the underlying disturbances that caused the injuries in the first place. The lack of balance, the inability to negotiate dichotomies can be seen as the source of the injuries. So let’s talk about evil and its place in that imbalance.

The evil in the world has been so plentiful and profound, that many have chosen to shut down their own world in a vain attempt to avoid the pain it causes them to view it. Limiting one’s perspective in order to avoid working through what is triggered by viewing the truth may work in the short term. . .but it typically causes even more damage in the long term. This image of suitcases taken from Nazi concentration camp victims in Poland is used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

What is evil? I could easily offer an entire sermon just trying to define this term.  Given that it is a hotbed of thoughts and feelings comprised of a seemingly endless myriad of social programming there are probably as many meanings to this word as there are people on Earth. All words are symbols to some degree or another, and words that have been used to contain the cognition, affect and behavior of those that use them over centuries, words that are used to convey religious concepts, words that reflect deep fears and other debilitating sensations are particularly chock full of energetic bits that snag and ensnare the matching pictures with which humans communicate.

On these fronts, the word “evil” checks all the boxes. Just about anything a human being says, does or is can be and has been labeled by another human being as “evil”. 

Perhaps a commonly-held meaning upon which many could agree is what it is not.  Evil. . .is not good.  The concept of “evil” is often captured by its juxtaposition on the opposite end of the dichotomy of good and evil. 

For some people, the word “evil” is reserved for something they see as profoundly not good, i.e. people and events that live out their experience on the extreme edge of the good-evil continuum.  You will hear me on occasion talk about evil as someone who is so disconnected from themselves, so ungrounded as to cause greater suffering; or someone who is so lost that they attempt to force others to their will by violence or other horrific means.  I try to bring as much neutrality and compassion as I can muster to the discussion of even these extreme attempted transgressions against God’s created order, but my analyzer sometimes has me tripping awkwardly when I am trying to talk about those playing out the extreme end of the evil side of good and evil.  At those times I try to step back a bit, or maybe I should say, step up in my viewpoint.

 So what exactly is “evil” from a spiritual perspective?

In the Bible, which is the foundational document for the Abrahamic religions followed by approximately four billion people on this planet there is the tale of the creation of the natural world. The Book of Genesis says our ancestors were told by the Creator that they could eat any of the abundant fruits of paradise with the exception of that which grew on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They were informed that if they ate from that particular tree, they would experience Death. And of course, you know what happened then.

Pay attention to the message there. Like any sacred text, the Bible is symbolic yet purposeful.  We are being taught about one of the most, if not the most primary dichotomies with which we struggle on Planet Earth.  Good and evil have been right there with us from day one. What is more, human animals were given the choice from the very start about whether or not we wanted to play out this dichotomy.  Apparently we decided to go for it. We could have made a different choice. We did not. We choose to experience dichotomies.

Also take note the use of the word “knowledge” of Good and Evil.  God was not advising us that there would be no good and evil if we did not partake of feasting from the Tree bearing its name. He was telling us that the choice was between “knowing” about good and evil and presumably not knowing about it.  What I hear from this is that the choice was about what we were going to undergo in our lived experience, in other words in our embodied form. Because we choose the option that included experiencing good and evil with our physical bodies, subsequently we signed up to experience death. 

Most organized religions and spiritual traditions recognize death as an illusion, an artifact of the physical body which has little to do with real life, aka as eternal life. This image of Life and Death by Liliflor Arte is used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

So here we are in the springtime of 2021 having just experienced a global pandemic that killed thousands. with many more to come. We are living currently in a world dying of “natural causes” so to speak, as the environment around us crashes and burns.  Death is everywhere, as is life. The stories of individuals and groups of individuals rapidly coming together against all apparent odds to support each other during these times of crises are as plentiful as the stories of disaster, betrayal, and loss. Full-blown evil is clearly staring us in the face, but I would argue so is full-blown good.

We are playing out the dichotomy of good and evil accompanied by death, as we have chosen to do.

What is in store for us now? Are we stuck on a dying planet? It might feel like that at times, but that can’t be the outcome for the planet as a whole.  God created the world as a whole and only God can destroy it as a whole.  We can destroy pieces of it, including our own individual and collective lives, our happiness, etc. but the world in its entirety doesn’t belong to us. So what now?  To answer this question I refer you back to the invocation used to start this service, a famous but pretty much universally misunderstood passage from John, Chapter 14, Verse 27.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.    

I believe the Christ here is talking about a kind of peacefulness that has heretofore been absent on the planet in the lived experience of human animals.  He is NOT talking about the absence of conflict, which is how most people think of peace. He IS talking about having transcended dichotomies.

He surrendered his entire being to the All-That-Is, the Father, the Mother, Allah, God/Goddess, the source, the divine, however you want to call it.  As an individual soul, he made the individual choice of his own free will that allowed him to transcend the need for dividing the world into body and spirit, good and evil, or any other seeming opposites.  There is a different kind of peace that awaits those who transcend dichotomies.  He experienced this different kind of peace. The rest of us have yet to explore that territory.

Rumi is talking here about a very subtle but profound shift of consciousness. When spirit in body lives this Truth in every fiber of its being, there is no longer any separation from anything on Planet Earth. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles

As we work through the pictures that divide us from our true nature as spirit, as we work to deenergetize the projections onto others of these pictures, we find ourselves drawn closely and closer to the sweet spot in the center of the dichotomy.  As we do so, the extreme edges, those that reflect the transgressions almost all of us would be tempted to label as evil, fall away of their own accord. But also as we do so, we have to confront the shadows.  We shine our light as brightly as we know how to do at any particular point in time and space, and because we are not yet a part of the All-That-Is, our light creates a shadow of sorts.  The irony is, the larger our light, the larger the shadow. 

Remember though, that darkness and light is itself is an illusion, a dichotomy which our brains use to maintain domination. We are still floundering in a landscape that we cannot yet see. So we continue to project what we cannot see in ourselves onto others as a means to heal as we stand in our own way.  The healing often become easier on our bodies as we retreat from the extreme edges, but our myopic vision remains until we no longer choose it.

Light and darkness is just another dichotomy, a trick of our human animal brains to try to make sense of our world by prioritizing the physical body’s viewpoint. Spirit knows no such bounds. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Is there a reason for hope? Absolutely! The Christ and others have shown the way.  As one continues to work through the pictures that divide us from our true nature as spirit, the sweet spot increases and eventually the “sides” between good and evil shrink until eventually they disappear entirely. Then there is only wholeness. This is the transcendence of dichotomies.  It is herein lies our peace. Therein lies our salvation. It is here that Heaven-on-Earth awaits us.

I’d like to start wrapping up my sermon this morning by talking about the message about good and evil embedded in the Lord’s Prayer.

I want to read you from the version of the Lord’s Prayer translated by scholar and Sufi mystic Neil Douglas-Klotz from the original Aramaic text.  This is the line that in the King James Version of the Bible is read as “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  I’m going to focus here on the “deliver us from evil” part, which in the Aramaic is “Ela patzan min bisha.”

Don’t let surface things delude us; but free us from what holds us back (from our true purpose).

Don’t let us enter forgetfulness, the temptation of false appearances.

Rather, break the hold of unripeness that prevents good fruit.

From the evil of injustice—the green fruit and the rotten—grant us liberty.

Deceived neither by the outer nor the inner—free us to walk your path with joy.

Keep us from hoarding false wealth, and from the inner shame of help not given in time.

What I hear here is something completely missing in the KJV of these important words.  I hear Jesus talking about time. According to most abrahamic versions of Genesis, when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they committed an evil act and are “sinners,” perhaps particularly so on Eve’s part.  This false belief system has resulted in untold pain and suffering not only for human animals but for nonhuman animals. In this translation I hear rather that the introduction of good and evil into our physical world has resulted in humans forgetting where and who we are. 

From a spiritual, perspective, time is an illusion. From a body perspective it is a potent reality. Simultaneously holding both of these perspectives as truth is the work of God. . .often requiring tuning into energetic sources of information through meditation or symbolic representations. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

The solution?  Heartfelt desire to get beyond the delusions . . .and time.     

Remember if you would, that spirit exists outside of time and space but our bodies understand only the present moment. By talking about the importance of acting neither too soon nor too late, Jesus is talking about the embodied spirit on Mother Earth. The Christ is telling us that we are prone to deluding ourselves; and teaching us that the trick to finding wholeness again is in the knowing that we are going to be groping around in the dark for awhile, but also having the faith that we will get there entirely when we are ready to be there.

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

In other words, this time around, we have to take our bodies with us into salvation.  We have to make all the parts of us conscious, even the ugly ones, until they are no longer needed. We have to learn to love our own shadow, as well as those who bless us by reflecting back to us the pictures about which we have remained unconscious, no matter where they are on the “bad” part of the spectrum.  That’s what we signed up for when we ate that damn apple!     

Do you want to know how to overcome evil?  One growth period at a time.

Copyright 2021 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

Justice, Mercy, Kindness and Karma in the Days of Reckoning, Part II

From a Sermon given Autumn Equinox Worship Service  on September 27, 2020

Last time we met as a community for our quarterly worship service to honor the Creator-of-Us-All I was drawn to talking about Justice, a topic that has exploded onto our cultural scene.  Of course the subject of Justice is not a new one for folks. It’s pretty much been a central topic of discussion in human society from day one on Planet Earth.  The new element is the Universe has chimed in on the debate, telling we humans as the dominant species on Earth that if we don’t get on the right page now, another set of caretakers will be found.  In my last sermon I talked about it now being the days of reckoning, the days when people are often required to deal with very unpleasant situations that they have heretofore avoided, in order to settle old accounts.

Now, as Mother Nature moves from the season of harvesting what we have sown in the past. . .into the wintertime of rest and recreation, I want to do more of a deep dive into the topic of Justice.  I want us to rise above the petty squabbles of individuals and groups fighting with each other over dominance; attempting to force their energy on others.  I want us to take the next steps towards looking at life from a spiritual perspective, one that acknowledges thoughts and feelings; but does not stop there.

To do that, to find that place that brings all individuals and groups together in the incredibly beautiful, intricate field of unity that is our God-given heritage, what is required is for us to try to free our imaginations from the bounds of time and space. 

The people in this church know a lot about space. We’ve all been meditating, grounding, centering, learning what is us and what belongs to others, employing the basic techniques that help us operate from our own energy field rather than trying to control others, in many cases for several years. In this discussion today let’s focus more on transcending time.

As you know, spirit is eternal and operates outside of the time-space continuum.  Our physical bodies on the other hand, very much live in the world of time and space.  That is all they understand. 

As people develop spiritually, we learn the very tricky skill of walking the tightrope between knowing that on a soul level everything in the universe is happening simultaneously. . .but that our physical form requires us to divide our experience into segments that allows the ability to heal within the framework of matter. Tricky indeed. . .and if you do not yet “get this,” give yourself time! Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

This basic dichotomy, this difference in perspective between who you really are, and what your body wants and needs, is a source of tremendous tension for most people.  When an individual is not working from within their own unique physical space, they often will not take into consideration and indeed, may not even notice their body’s needs.  On a soul level, they will remain unfulfilled in a certain kind of way. This conflict, this disconnect, this lack of balancing between spirit and matter can lead to a great deal of suffering, disease, and outright warfare–an imbalance that then gets projected onto everything and everyone around us.

We all do this at least occasionally. To various degrees, at various junctures, we all get thrown off balance. We all are seeking to come into harmony with ourselves, to find and live in that sweet spot, that internal state of harmony between body and spirit, whether or not we are aware of it. We’re all here on Planet Earth to learn to create as spirit through physical matter and our physical body is where the action gets played out. 

Some of us are a little farther along in the learning process than others of us. That’s not a statement of inequality.  It’s only recognition of the fact that what you pay attention to becomes more of an issue in the unfolding of your life.  So if you have been paying more attention to working from within your own space, and taking the body’s orientation towards present time more under advisement, you will be doing more of that harmony thing, that living-from-a-place-of-balance thing.    

When we talk about reckoning of accounts, the old ledgers that require a balancing act right now are the things to which you have not been paying attention, if only because you have been paying attention to other areas.  Maybe some of those other areas are worthy pursuits. Maybe some have been distractions, detours, and a waste of precious time.  It does not matter to the universe. Contrary to our personal beliefs based on that incredibly HUGE amount of programming we have absorbed from our friends and relatives, schools and churches, neighborhoods and communities and countries, you are not being judged by the universe. What DOES matter at this juncture in our collective story, is that you pay your dues.  Some people have a LONG way to go before they will achieve an ongoing sense of internal balance.  Others have been working on themselves for longer, so the reckoning process for them right now is less treacherous.     

This is the time of the Great Balancing. Image from Dr. Seuss is used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

So let’s talk about karma. 

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Funny thing is that when I realized that Justice was the topic on our minds and that to pursue this topic, we would need to talk about karma, I was not a happy camper. Personally, I don’t like to talk about karma.  For one thing, an authentic discussion about karma requires people to accept the reality of reincarnation.  I know what I had to go through to release programming that had me rejecting the concept of reincarnation.  I’ve never particularly wanted to ask anyone else to make that difficult journey.  I’ve always opted to follow the lead of one of my early spiritual teachers. That individual found himself being cross-examined in a court of law regarding his belief in reincarnation, as a means of trying to discredit another part of his testimony.  With a great deal of patience, amusement and neutrality he said to the people in the courtroom something to the effect of “It doesn’t matter what you currently believe about reincarnation. You’ll find out about it when you pass.” 

The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.  And I’m usually interested in leaving it at that.

Young ones are often aware that this is not their first time on the Planet, but are typically subjected to considerable pressure to see things in a more socially acceptable light. Cartoon by Dave Coverly used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

The other part of the problem with talking about karma is that the word itself has gotten corrupted by the need of human beings to judge themselves and each other.  Even in parts of the world like India where karma is a widely accepted idea, the meaning behind it has gotten distorted.

So let me say this really loudly for those in the back.  KARMA IS NOT ABOUT THE UNIVERSE GETTING BACK AT US for our transgressions, for our stupidities, if you will. Karma IS about a simple cause and effect movement to energy.  Like a boomerang, what you put out in the world inevitably comes back to you.    

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles

Nearly all spiritual traditions acknowledge this circular movement. In Western culture karma is often labeled the “Golden Rule.”  The title is no coincidence, given that gold is the color associated clairvoyantly with the divine.

In the Christian tradition Jesus of Nazareth talked about the path cause and effect energy takes with his usual simple, profound language.  Many have not been able to hear his real message through their own judgment of self/others.  They assume Jesus was talking about God giving us a commandment, then condemning us if we do not follow it.  What they do not understand is that he was talking about the essence of Justice and Wisdom; and simply advising us that if we do not choose to act wisely in accordance with the natural flow of energy, we will be worse for the wear, all Hell could break out, so to speak.

Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 12 of the Christian Bible:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Straightforward, that. What you get is what you sow.  Period.  End of story.  It’s not more complicated than that.

The only “complication” per se, is that from a spiritual perspective there is no set time frame to factor in.  I remind you that spirit is not defined by time. You can choose to act in a certain way, and the effect of that action can practically be simultaneous.  For example if a person in a heated encounter shoots a gun towards someone else who is also holding a weapon pointed at them, there is an obvious possible immediate cause-effect sequence. 

Then again, you can shoot a weapon and kill someone that no one witnesses and no one finds out about in this lifetime, other than the deceased person.  That encounter is magnetized and sent into the ethereal plane; and that person or someone who is similar in some key way to them, someone who is in possession what we call around here “matching pictures,” can kill you or harm you or impact you in some other related manner a hundred years or a century later. 

It’s not a matter of judgment.  It’s not a matter of who is right or wrong. . .or somebody being a bad person and other individual being a good person. It’s also not about being in the wrong place at a particular time, and it certainly is not an accident.  It’s not even about victimizer and victim despite the fact that in any isolated event, there is typically one or more of each. It just is.  What you put out into the universe with your God-given free will comes back to you. 

So. . .when you read in social media that some pastor who has rallied his parishioners against wearing face masks is now in the hospital deathly ill from Covid; or a senator in Oregon who left the state in order to block passage of a bill on climate change just had his home burned down by wildfires, you can label this karma if you want. You can even be thankful that those individuals are likely distracted enough by their personal suffering to not inflict further damage and suffering on their communities. But please refrain from the I-told-you-sos, or the snarky glee at someone else’s misery, regardless of how much misery others may have generated in your world to date. And for heaven’s sake, don’t choose to respond in a revengeful manner from a place of hatred.

Another way of looking at karma without using that “loaded” phrase is through the lens provided by Swiss depth psychologist Carl Jung. He discussed the unsuccessful balance of dichotomies within individuals that occurs when the individual rejects the parts of themselves of which they are not aware. Quoted in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

For your own well being, choose your reaction wisely. Acknowledge and be careful about how you are processing any emotional reactions. Live your life from the center of your head where you can be in neutral about all that you see within and around you, and thereby not project into the airwaves that which you do not yourself want to experience. Because you will. What I am giving you here is practical advice, not a moral reckoning.  

The funny thing about karma is it is correlated with intention.  You can feel whatever you feel including hatred and anger and other maladaptive emotions. Left unchecked they will certainly be corrosive to your body but they will not necessarily generate “bad karma” for you. You can hold whatever opinions you want, including prejudices and delusions. Again, these can be very harmful to your well being, your relationships and your inner and outer life, but they may not kick you in the teeth in a future incarnation. However the minute you combine negative emotion and maladaptive thinking into a desire for others to be hurt strong enough to become concrete, whether or not the other person seems to “deserve it,” eventually that harm will find its way to your doorstep. What counts here are words and actions based on your intent.

All human animals feel so-called “negative emotions” at times, although many have learned to heavily repress what they are experiencing. What matters is not what you feel. . .but what you choose to do with the feeling. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

I guarantee you that all of us have done far more selfish and stupid things in our learning process here on Planet Earth.You will not find it comfortable to have the universe have to strike you down with a deadly disease, take away your residence, or destroy some other aspect of your creativity in order to try to remind you of that fact.  

Right now, in the twenty-first century, we are balancing the books. We are reconciling all those unresolved karmic balance sheets, the ones with debits as well as the ones with assets.  Why? Because we need a clean sheet for a new world.  As a whole, human beings have made enough self-serving bad choices that Mother Earth itself is endangered.  That is not acceptable to the universe and it will not be allowed to continue.  Our brightest path forward involves the cultivation of mercy.

Angel of Mercy, Photo by Robin Hill. Used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Mercy is created when someone chooses compassion and/or forgiveness towards someone else who has wronged them, even when the person wronged has the power to do harm.  This breaks the cycle of karma. It is one of the highest uses of the gift of free will from our creator.

Mercy is a statement of profound strength.  Our society often tries to convince us it is a weakness but it is far from that.  Do you think that when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified he died because he was weak?  As the anointed one, the son of God, he could have leveled all around him, indeed all of Israel, with a single breath.  Rather he chose to not fight with the ugliness around him and in doing so, quite literally embodied mercy towards all of humanity. 

The crucification of The Christ may be one of the biggest mysteries and least understood events in human history. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Without mercy there is no freedom for human animals from continuing to experience ages old karmic cycles that lead nowhere useful.  Before The Christ, in the collective consciousness people only understood the Old Testament tribal thinking of an-eye-for-an-eye.  After Jesus, a new foundational energy as reflected in the gospels was given form for human animals: love for all, irrespective of our sins.  The Christ did not dismiss sin as nonconsequential. From a place of non judgment he eschewed it. Neither did he allow his crucifixion in order to do our work for us by having our transgressions go away magically based on belief in ideology.  He simply showed us under the most horrific possible circumstances that we can transcend the cycle of retribution by living fully in the energy of mercy.   

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More than ever right now we need to choose the path laid before us by Jesus of Nazareth and other saints and spiritual leaders. We need to actively and consciously cultivate mercy.  Jesus showed us the way forward, but only we can take it. Without mercy there can be no real justice.  Any choices that answer wrongful actions with further wrongful actions are simply retribution. Revenge/retribution keeps us stuck on the unending carousel of karma which as I have mentioned is really not an option much longer. 

Many people are leaving the Planet right now because they don’t know how to bring mercy to the table they have set before themselves. Many, many more will be doing so before we get through our transition period.  In your world, allow the compassion of The Christ to infuse your life and your choices as fully as you can. 

Have compassion for African-Americans and other individuals from ethnic minority communities, indigenous cultures, etc that have suffered horrible systemic racism, including some of whom are temporarily lost to their wounding by going after those they consider to have harmed them. Do this even as you take all the tangible actions to end racism that you can imagine. Follow the lead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all time leading scorer and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom who recently remarked:  “What I want to see is not a rush to judgment but a rush to justice.”

Shine mercy upon both those that support and those who oppose the tyrants, dictators, lobbyists, corrupt politicians and other political figures around the world who are actively destroying the natural world in pursuit of money and power, even as you report, speak out, vote, organize counter measures and take any definitive steps to honor Mother Earth that you can. 

“The Throne Within,” poster by Ricardo Levins Morales with quote from Khalil Gibran used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Forgive the trespasses of individuals involved with civil unrest in our cities, whether they are protestors, agitators, vandals, law enforcement, or whomever else you see as contributing to the mess, at the same time you do whatever it is you can personally think to do to stop the violence and bring forth peaceful resolutions. 

Correct the horrible injustice of our economic system when it shows up in your environment and choose the righteous path of nonjudgmental action towards those at the top who would steal what belongs to those below them. For example, bear strong witness against the three multi-billionaires who for no particularly valid reason own more resources than one half of all other Americans but pray for their salvation. Educate others about inhumane financial injustices like the fact that in the last forty years, compensation for the heads of corporations in the United States has increased in many cases one thousand percent in comparison to the other people who are a part of those companies. Advocate and provide for those without adequate shelter or food and confront those who would exploit or abuse workers. Do what you morally can to confront this egregious inequality without adding further to the evil forces in play here.

Above all, be kind to yourself.  I’m not talking about self-indulgence. I’m certainly not talking about that weird set of rules that pass as making one a member of “polite society.”  I’m talking about real kindness.  Mercy towards yourself, so to speak.  To whatever extent you can, acknowledge your flaws, your ignorance, all those multiple times in this lifetime and others where you have actively hurt others as well as those times you have chosen unawareness because it was more comfortable or convenient than the truth. 

This statue of the Buddha contemplating a lotus blossom–the universal symbol of spirit in the Eastern part of the world–appears to reflect the peacefulness that can be achieved when one brings balance to life. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

See yourself as you really are, and choose to love yourself anyway.  Forgive yourself even if you are impatient and judgmental towards yourself and not yet good at forgiveness.  Maybe you don’t even yet know what I’m talking about when I talk of mercy towards yourself.  You don’t have to understand me with your mind, only with your heart. Embrace mercy towards yourself and others because that will pay some karmic debts and open the right doors for your salvation.

Julian of Norwich was an English mystic born in 1342 CE who understood that Justice is another name for God. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

As we are reminded in Isaiah, Verse 30, Chapter 18:    

The Lord longs to be gracious to you, and exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of Justice.

Blessed are those who wait for him.

Copyright 2020 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

Justice, Mercy, Kindness and Karma, Part I

From a Sermon given Summer Solstice Worship Service  on June 22, 2020

Hello.  I’m glad to see you all at the 2020 Summer Solstice Service of the Church of the Harvest.  My job as Presiding Minister of this spiritual community is to tune into the energy of the group, and do whatever I can to bring it to the next higher level.  I offer my personal perspective as a way of doing that, hoping to awaken the truth that is contained within your heart and your mind.  Today my topic is broad-ranging.  Please know that each of you absolutely has my blessing to use any of these words that resonate with you, and discard the rest.  Above all in this Church we believe in free will.  By that I don’t mean freedom to act however you want to act towards others around you.  What I specifically mean is freedom to feel whatever you want to feel, believe whatever you want to believe; and act in accordance with other people in a manner that also honors their essential freedom. 

It is always a challenge for me to write and deliver these sermons.  Spiritual reality is never fully explored through the medium of words, but under the best of circumstances we can dance with words in a way that allows dancers to sense the melodies within their eardrums and feel the rhythms in their bones.  So please forgive me if I dance around our topic. . . because it is too big and too rich to be fully captured by words.  You are invited in as I try to encapsulate what I believe is true about the spiritual journey upon which we are engaged in the present moment.

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Let me start by talking about why I am framing this sermon as occurring in the “days of reckoning.”  Most of you present today know that I have speaking for many months, several years even, about the end times, and as well as the apocalyptic times.  If you heard me, you will also likely remember that I do not believe the end times necessarily mean the end of the physical world, only that the world as human beings have known it is ending.  The word apocalypse comes from the Greek. It translates simply as the unfolding of things not previously known.

For most people, there is a lot of scary energy on the phrase “the end times” as well as on the word “apocalypse.”  Likewise, there is a great deal of fear for many people when they hear the phrase “the days of reckoning.”  That is because for most people these three concepts are all firmly associated with religious dogma, mostly in regards to the abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  As such, these phrases are fraught with the assumption that we are sinful, about to be judged and most of us found horribly wanting, soon to be condemned to deep, endless amounts of suffering.  

In my meditations I have spent considerable time stripping away religious programming from my energy system.   For me, these ideas are no longer a source of anxiety. I am happy that the Creator-of-Us-All is dissolving our illusions through the apocalypse.  I was never very good at living the lies with which most people seem to be content. The end times for me personally seem to be bringing an end to my suffering, the completion of a journey of many lifetimes of brokenness in which my sense of living in the hell-of-my-own-choosing far outpaced those few moments of heaven-on-earth that I could manage to create for myself. 

In the world of energy there is no time. We are all going to the same place but our individual journey towards that place depends on the choices we make along the way, including our sequencing and timetable. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles

As to the days of reckoning, let me just say that it is very clear to me that our God is a loving God that does need to judge.  We humans do a more than adequate job of that all on our own.   

What happens when you put all these ideas together?  What are the days of reckoning. . .if they are not the time after death as Muslims and Christians are told in which one has to account for one’s actions before God in order to determine whether you go to heaven or hell?  Stripped of religious programming, a reckoning is simply a time when people are forced to deal with unpleasant situations which they have avoided until that day.  A reckoning is a settling of accounts.

 

 

 

 

When are the days of reckoning? Typically they occur when an entire people are forced to deal with that which previously they as a group have avoided confronting.  You know. . .like what is currently happening with a lot of white people who were previously not really required to notice that they had certain resources and opportunities largely unavailable to people of color. Or what is happening for the more economically privileged around the globe who previously could pretend that destruction and exploitation of the environment was a problem for other people until the entire climate of the planet began to crash and effect them as well.  This is the apocalypse at work, the dying of illusions.  These are the true end times, the end of centuries-long chapters of human evolution.

I want to jump now to another concept, one that is currently consuming the national conversation and saturating the energetic airwaves.  Let’s talk about justice.  If you watch any news broadcast, participate in any social media, interact with the public in almost any context, you are going to be having conversations about justice.  Suddenly everything seems to be about social justice.       

One of the things that interests me about these conversations that people are having on the streets and in the media is how closely the concept of justice is being paired with the idea of people speaking up.  Over and over you will hear people say how vital it is, how important for people to speak up.  Many times folks don’t really even know what they want to say. . .as they busily extoll each other to speak their minds. We are searching for our collective voice, even when we don’t know what we want to do with it. 

The emphasis here is on the collective part. Previously some individuals have been vocal.  Whether or not they were truly heard is another matter but they had the opportunity and/or the desire to express themselves.  But as a collective body human beings have usually only come together as a group to express themselves in opposition to another tribe. The human brain has always overwhelmingly done an us-versus-them kind of thing when expressing group norms.

This is what we are changing. What is new here and now is our coming together to express unity rather than division.  We may not know what true unity really looks like as of yet, and we’re not very good at it so far, but we’re doing our damndest to try to figure it out. The implications for this shift are enormous. The result of this task will be to create a new world order. 

Justice, aka a place in society for all. is always inclusionary. One can see from the heated debate going on in the United States right now that what is or is not every person’s right is a topic upon which we still significantly lack agreement. Our collective political, religious and other systems need to “catch up” with the “golden rule” aspect that is fundamental in all world religions. Image by Mary Engelbreit used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Those present today will understand some of the ramifications of what I mean when I say that human beings all around the globe as a group, are attempting to bring into their physical bodies the highest vibration of energy which is founded on all of us being connected.  Last year the consensus reality, that is to say all of us on a spiritual level, made the decision to rewire the world into one based on love. Right now we are taking the first real step in bringing that commitment into the physical world, right down through our emboded individual energy systems as we talk to ourselves and each other about what that real unity will take, what that will look like.     

In recent history we had the first major wave of this new commitment to collective expression when gay men and lesbians were given the political green light to come out of the closet, the oppressive cloak of invisibility they had endured for centuries. More recently the #MeTooMovement encouraged women to explore their truth and men were told to take a back seat, listen and learn.  Those conversations involved communication. . . but they weren’t yet contextualized in the intention of unity. The latest cultural shift, this spotlighting the stories of black people and other people of color is a double whammy.  It is shifting both the message and the medium.  

Huge assemblies of people are marching together through our urban centers, often without clarity about why they are marching.  They walk under the banner of “Black Lives Matter” and articulate that they want justice in the form of an end to racism, but it is clear that there is so much more to their message. 

There is accompanying conversation about the police which is framed using a variety of filters such as police tactics, accountability, reform, brutality, etc. The police are the boots-on-the-ground highly visible reminder of the justice system.  Law enforcement serve as the tangible symbol of law and order, an order that is seen by most as overdue for an update. The interactions between police and protestors vary widely as a result not only of the personal experience of the individuals and communities involved but also the meaning those individuals and communities read into the symbol. 

Which brings us to the other aspect that fascinates me about the vibrant national dialogue we are having in the United States these days centering around justice. Journalists and other witnesses have commented upon, but I have not seen them really able to interpret the significance of the fact that the public protests are largely leaderless.  These events typically have initial organizers of sorts and periodic visible key players pop up and often disappear again but the groups are essentially coming together and going about their business with a degree of spontaneity and fluidity between huge, divergent elements not usually seen in protest movements. 

Mass movement without direction from a handful of individuals is consistent with the top-down shift of energy I’ve been talking about for awhile.  I’ve been watching the energy move downward, closer to Earth, not only in the protestors but now in the police. Even a year ago it would have been unthinkable for police officers to publicly disagree with each other. The code of silence subscribed to by those in that line of work was rock solid as a result of the perception that such group solidarity was necessary for the welfare of all, to protect members of the profession from a challenging and dangerous job.  Suddenly all over the country, individual and small local groups of police are “breaking ranks” to take differing and sometimes contradictory positions in the discussion about justice.  

The energetic shift from power being welded from the top levels to the lower levels, specifically from national and international forces to state and local forces, is the tidal wave of the future. It is consistent with and necessary for the huge shift of consciousness going on currently for human animals.  The universe is moving us from being dominated by tribal thinking to each of us finding our own individual truth as individuals within collective society. 

Many people are emotionally and cognitively devastated by this change. The anxiety and outright paranoia is enormous as people discover they can no longer rely on the religious, political and social figures and organizations they have always used to tell them what’s up. We have to break down our reliance on others to tell us what to think and feel and do. . .so we can develop the skills and abilities to manifest our own individual creativity. . .and join it with the creativity of others for common goals required to meet our present world-wide challenges.   It has been and will continue to be a really rough ride for those individuals to make sense of the changing world who do not have the experience and lack basic skills on finding their own truth.

But if you think confronting and ending systemic racism is an overwhelming task, wait until you see in the days ahead what we have to do in order to end systemic economic injustice; and what is going to be required to keep the planet from continuing to slide into a terminal tailspin.  

In human society justice is truly a concept whose time has come due. People around the world are calling for it in increasingly passionate voice. This image of Justice used in accordance with Fair Use Principles is from Palestinian artist Malak Mattar who is currently a refugee. She first started painting at age 13, during the 51-day Israeli military assault on on her homeland in Gaza in 2014.

The protests around the country are often described as “passionate” and I hear a lot of participants talking in rather vague but deeply-held language about desiring change. As a people we are trying out new abilities to speak in one voice from different life experiences.  The universe is speaking within us and through us even as few understand as of yet what is being channeled.  What is uniting those on the streets and those participating by their witnessing right now is not message or even motive as much as something much more profound and fundamental.  

To focus on what I believe is the energetic core to these demonstrations; I’d like to return to invocation used at the start of this service. Let me repeat it. This is the statement from the Christ speaking about the end times in which we are living. This is from Verse 10 of the Gospel of Thomas:

            “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.”

Elsewhere in both Luke and Matthew of the Christian Bible, Jesus talks about a time of turbulence that would bring division to households, between father and son, mother and daughter, etc.  Jesus was all about applying the love of his father to everyone, no exceptions. He understood that this would take a burning away of social norms. He was always the social revolutionary when it came to modeling for others and urging them to follow him as he challenged tribal thinking that held tightly to the domination of the many by the few.  As he blazed a trail for us, he made clear that it would be a fiery one.  So here we are, folks. Welcome to the reckoning.     

I like the Thomas citation because to me, it also speaks to the emotional passion of the protests. Our world is on fire right now, both literally with periodic wildfires breaking out all around the natural world. . .and metaphorically.  Individuals and our society as a whole are experiencing the bonfire of the vanities, a holy fire, if you will. 

Image by Elise Huther used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

We are burning away the essential impurities that must be released it we are to survive.  The passion of these crowds that are protesting around the globe in the name of justice is a kind of collective rage built upon a foundation masking deep, deep sorrow. We have a lot of thoughts and feelings to process, an ocean of rage against the world we have created as a species.  This is the same righteous anger that had the Christ overturning the tables of the moneylenders in the temple.  We tend to think it’s about others but at its core, this anger is the natural consequence of having defiled the sacred with our profane need to exploit each other.  

For some of the protestors and many of the politicians and others commenting on them, this fire quickly loses its essential heat and illumination, and devolves into the petty squabbles of the blame-game.  Lots of folks are getting stuck on an old testament vib of guilt and shame and punishment.  At its spiritual essence though, this righteous anger is paving the way for everyone to have a seat at the table, not just the powerful, the elite, the privileged. 

Benjamin Franklin, that iconoclastic rascal of an American founding father talked about the importance of passion igniting true change  Let the outrage play out its part.

Welcome these fires of transformation, and let them burn through your life.

The world is in a 5th chakra growth period. It does not matter that most do not really understand the nitty-gritty of what they are protesting.

Spirit communicates through images. Learning to add words to the mix is an acquired taste that takes skill development. This is true both for individuals and groups of individuals. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles

The first stages to owning the upper three chakras in our collective energy system has to be with opening them, and letting whatever they contain spill out. It doesn’t matter that we don’t yet know what we want to change into. We can figure that out as we go. It’s enough for now that we are open-hearted as the universe moves us, like crucial chess pieces, into the right positions to be available for its mercy.  

 

 

 

I want to remind the people here today as well as those tuning in at a later time, that we each have a part to play here.  There are no coincidences. The protests are showing up in your life because you also have fifth chakra movement to make.  Take inventory of your communication ability and find out where you need to grow.  If you are one who has spent time in the language of emotion, help others learn to regulate theirs.  Model for others as you identify your own emotions, separate what is yours from what belongs to others, express your genuine emotions without using them to attack, and maybe even help people learn that the emotional system is simply a means of communication between the individual soul and its physical body.  On an spiritual level it is not really about other people.

Speaking One’s Truth by Myron Dyal, used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

If you are one who is cautious with your words, typically expressing your true thoughts and feelings only to a few or only to those who will agree with you, take a few calculated risks and expand your repertoire of experience. 

 

 

 

 

One of the most powerful means for healing yourself and others requires no words. The witness is an underappreciated, often incredibly profound agent of change. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

If you have no trouble speaking up, maybe you need to learn to listen more or more effectively with people from a different cultural experiences than your own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And pretty much all of us need to learn to be more gentle, more kind. . .even as we hold feet to the fire for ourselves and any of our brethren who are resisting a more just society.        

Used in accordance with Fair Use Principles

In 1968 Martin Luther King spoke to an elite section of Detroit about nearby riots going on in the city.  He was nearly drowned out by the heckling when he dared to put into words the fact that the economic and social plight of African Americans had worsened in the previous years and promises of justice from a white culture were not being met. He told the crowd that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” He was assassinated three weeks later.  We are listening now, Martin.

As spirit we move through the natural world that includes time and space.  Our bodies, which are a physical manifestation of the natural world require time and space.  The universe has grown weary of our tendency to kill each other when we disagree with one another even if the battle being fought needs to happen.  We are being called right now to both address injustices and to do so in a way that honors life. 

For many thousands of years, human animals have equated survival with domination over other groups of humans. It is time to update our thinking. Cartoon by Man Martin used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

That is the essence of leaving behind tribal thinking in which one group tries to overpower another group. Getting to a higher plane is going to take many new experiences starting with new levels of interactive communication.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all saying that we stop at the communications level.  Just speaking up about racism and other forms of social injustice is a good start but is entirely insufficient by itself.  It is no more appropriate to just mouth apologies and epiphanies about systemic racism then it is to offer thoughts as prayers as a solution to gun violence. Having the necessary discussions is just the first part. Translating thoughts and feelings into action is the end game and it can’t come soon enough.

The world is in a great deal of turmoil in part because human animals keep trying to use our limited brain capacity to negotiate an increasingly complicated path. To survive we area going to need to learn new ways of processing issues, develop new epistemological strategies and cultivate humility. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

We need to fix the obvious and immediate problems as quickly as we can; but not rush to judgment about complex actions and policies that require careful dissection and extensive public discussion.  Knee-jerk reactions are not helpful.

Now is the time for a new kind of diversity, not just one of basic role equality and opportunity but diversity of thoughts and feelings.  But be careful . . .because true change does not arise from a place of judgment. The medium has to match the message.  Otherwise you are just swapping one illusion for another. If you are demanding justice, it is likely not justice you are seeking. It is revenge.    

In this assembly we will talk at a later date about developing our other collective upper chakras including folding in mercy and kindness and stepping off the carousel of karma.  But for now, let us join people all around the world in the direction gracefully captured by these words from the great poet Maya Angelou: 

If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host.  So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”      

Copyright 2020 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

 

 

Will the Real Reality Please Stand Up? Shifting Perceptions/Changing Consciousness

From a Sermon given Winter Solstice Worship Service  December 22, 2019

Years ago, when I was learning my craft as a Mental Health Professional—working with psychotic felons at our largest state hospital and going to graduate school at nights to become a licensed psychotherapist—one of my teachers taught me something that has guided my life ever since.

At the time I was struggling to find a way to reach my patients through the heavy layers of delusional thinking that surrounded them, and the rock-solid denial in which they lived to order to avoid looking at the horrible suffering they had endured and that they had carelessly passed on to others in the world.  My teacher made one of those simple statements, those statements that come from a spiritual perspective, the ones that involve few words but embody an endless supply of ramifications.  He said simply: “Resa, everything your patients tell you is true. Your job is to figure out what it is true about.”

These days I reflect on his words of wisdom frequently.  As I watch our political systems degrade into a morass of vicious squabbling; as I listen to the national conversation charged with animosity with half of the country screaming at the other half of the country about what idiots the others are, what horrible people they are for thinking the way they think; as I watch the suffering increase exponentially for those who lack the resources or refuse to participate in the cultural wars that are being played out, I am reminded of what I learned from my patients.

Those who are committed to the spiritual path of manifesting their creativity in the physical world often understand that reality is a fluid construct. Each individual has a unique consciousness and each of us creates our own unique reality based on the imagination we bring to the world. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Everything being discussed right now is true, in part. Every position taken by the Republicans and the Democrats and the socialists and the capitalists and the anarchists and the liberals and the conservatives etc. has a kernel of truth in it.  For the healers in this room, it becomes our job to figure out what it is true about.

There are so many ways we could approach the subject we need to talk about during this absolutely critical time on Planet Earth.  You all know me, though so you probably know that I usually go for broke, at least when I am in an audience where people are listening, when what I have to say has a chance of being heard.  So let’s talk about the big picture here.

Let’s start from the premise that only God can know the whole truth.  That God IS the Truth. That the Truth actually is a synonym for the divine.  We are not the totality of God, but we are as aspect of it.  So right off the bat that tells us we need to cultivate humility, know that we cannot know it all, and bend to the Truth as it repeatedly tells us  what we do not yet know, in our pursuit of its glory.  Or, as my mother would frequently remind my egotistical childhood self, you can recognize the wise man because they are the person who knows that they do not yet know.

“The Truth Coming Out of the Well” is a 1896 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme reportedly based on the philosopher Democritus’s aphorism that “Of truth we know nothing, for truth is in a well.” This is a visual reminder that we are naked in our understanding of the Truth. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

That we are not in touch with the sum total of Truth,  also tells us about that which my graduate school teacher reminded me.  Each one of us, even the most damaged or broken, has at least seeds of the Truth within waiting to be discovered, validated, and explored.  When one commits to cultivating that truth, that spark of the divinity, it sets out to burn away all impurities, perhaps slowly at first, but one way or the other, it eventually erupts into a blinding light that calls out all the shadows around us.

Depending on our individual choices, according to our free will and our own internal timetable, we can callibrate our energetic system to a slow burn step by step for many lifetimes or more actively nurture it until it is brought to a raging fire, seemingly overnight.  We can even ignore that spark within us until it fades away and is extinguished by the coldness of our heart.

Those among us whose minds are dark and hearts have gone cold–to use the words from today’s invocation from St. Paul–still have some kernels of the Truth for us to discover. . . however small, however buried under the weight of their ignorance and maladaptive choices.  And we risk adding to our own ignorance if we do not try and discern what part of their life is based upon Truth, not their truth or even our truth, but the Truth that is God.

Right now, the Truth-seeking that many in our society are doing is complicated for many reasons and it is terrifying for us.  Right now many people are living in the “vanity of their mind”–alienated from the divine by their lack of knowledge and the closed nature of their hearts.

Many or most of our political, economic, religious and other leaders have effectively “lost their minds” to the physical pull of the Planet, to ego in the form of desire for power and wealth. These are the people we see every day on the news that brag about how smart they are and are quick to label others as stupid and/or present themselves as holy messengers of God and portray those who disagree with them as sinners.

The spiritual darkness in which they dwell is hellish, a hell they are interested in projecting onto others.  They are caught in an endless vortex. In their fear and commitment to ignorance they condemn others and reject any other perspective than their own, thereby effectively cutting themselves off from gaining ground.  The more they reject others, the more they create a environment of rejection by others and strengthen the energy around them of isolation and hatred .

We’ve all been there. We’ve all, at various times and to various degrees gotten stuck in the games our ego plays on us. In other lifetimes or maybe even this one,  many of us might have just chosen to physically walk away from individuals who have closed their mind and hardened their hearts to an extreme degree. That is no longer an option for us. It’s the digital age; as well as the apocalyptic time foretold from the dawn of our human history in which all will be revealed. There is no physical place we can go to get away from toxic influences for very long. Our salvation lies only along the pathway of following the God of our individual hearts into an unfamiliar spiritual place that transcends the negativity, a place that has humans energetically rising above the tribal level we have operated from thus far.  We get to grow up. Praise be to God.

In the invocation we used in this service St. Paul advises us to “put on the new man” created by God in righteousness and true holiness.

In his letter to the Ephesians St. Paul advises us to “live not as others who live in the vanity of their mind. . . who are alienated from the life of God because they have no knowledge, and because of the blindness of their hearts.” Rather, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And put on the new man who is created by God in righteousness and true holiness.” Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

What does that mean?  What I hear in these words is validation for the idea that now is the time for a shift of consciousness.

Consciousness is not a concept that is easily understood. Another famous quotation from spiritual leader Ram Dass who just passed from his phsycial body this week provides perhaps a good clue: “We are all just walking each other home.” Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Those of us who wish to leave behind the “vanity of our minds” must adopt a different worldview.  I hear the notion that the required shift in consciousness, in how we think about and act in the world is so profound that adopting it will make us into an entirely new type of human being.

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps we’ll talk about what this will look like at our services next year.  For now I’d like to say a few words about some things that might help this community prepare cognitively and emotionally in the immediate time ahead as we deal with the unfolding chaos around us.  Because trust me, the chaos will not be going away anytime soon.  The death of the old systems will leave a gap for some time to come, before any new systems can be built.

 

Those of us healers who have been systematically going through one gnarly growth period after another after another after another will be called upon to share with others how to persevere in the world-wide growth period presently underway.  Each of us is going to need to recognize and work with as much of our own truth as possible.  Somewhat ironically, that will include looking for the bread crumbs of truth the universe sends us by way of the mirrors of who shows up in our life, not only those brilliant souls we enjoy but also those who have darkened their minds and let their hearts go cold.

So here are my “practice tips” on how to stay alive in a dying world, spiritually and physically.

Embrace the big picture. Learn as much as you can from and about others. Psychology has determined that there are five major aspects of what makes up our worldview. One of the most important is “openness.” An open-minded person seeks new experiences and enjoys meeting people from different backgrounds. This creates new neuronal pathways in our brains, makes empathy aka love more possible and allows us to learn from and enjoy life to a greater degree.  Most importantly to this group of listeners, it also raises your overall vibrational level and invites in a new level of consciousness.

This meme came through Facebook from a stranger on the other side of the country, just as finishing touches were happening to prepare this sermon for publication. Coincidence? Broad band telepathy is a skill to which all human animals have access but not all use with awareness. It can be very useful in connecting with people all over the globe; and is the basis for the joke we often make that “great minds think alike.” That said, if you are not in control of this ability, it can control you. Many people express ideas and emotions that are not consistent with their own experience. It behooves all of us to expand our horizons so we can find our own truths and recognize when we are acting on the basis of programming from others.

Unfortunately, many religions, societies and cultures are stuck on fear-based pictures that have them believing their worldview is more “perfect” or “pure” if their members are not exposed to alternative points of view. Don’t buy it. In apocalyptic times it no longer works that way. If you suffer from any programming that invites you to stay safe in your own small world, get rid of it. Don’t think for a moment that you can hide any longer.

"Listening is Golden" by Ilona Lantos Gold is one of the highest vibrations available to us, a source of much healing. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

“Listening is Golden” by Ilona Lantos.  Gold is one of the highest vibrations available to us, a source of much healing. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals .

LISTEN as much as you can, as deeply as you can, particularly to those with a point of view different for your own, as long as it makes sense.

 

Recognize that everyone has some of the Truth and is in your life to teach you. They might be expressing 99% bs and 1% truth, but if they are showing up in your life, you can bet that that 1% is pretty vital for you to learn.

 

 

 

On the other side of the dichotomy . . you don’t need to listen to anyone if it is a futile exercise.  When people are talking at you rather than with you or at the very least to you, it’s not about anyone learning anything.  It may be that the game is just about power and control.  In those situations it benefits noone for you to get drawn into the drama. Give them a healing by walking away; and heal yourself remotely by looking in your meditations for what they are bringing forth in you, and search out the pattern of who else with a similar message keeps showing up in your life.

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals

If you determine that certain individuals around you are lost but are still seeking the Truth, engage with them when possible. Share those pieces of truth that are already in your possession,  firmly if you must, but do so with much kindness aka neutrality as you can.

By the way, it often helps to cultivate patience.  Be mindful of their timing and sparse with your words, as helping others up to the next level needs to be something based their needs as well as your own. If you find your body is angry or grief stricken as you observe the process, own it, run it and pay attention to these valuable clues of what in your energy system still requires healing.  Let off emotional steam in private with your friends if needs be, but don’t act on your frustration by allowing it to overwhelm and thereby embitter you; or voice slander or malice towards the other, thereby hardening your own heart.

If the person is promoting evil, call it out. This is the righteousness Paul talks about that is a requirement of the “new man.” There is a world of difference–quite literally—between those who with their words or actions express disdain for the sacredness of God’s created order because they cannot recognize it; and those who recognize the Truth but have turned their back.

The former was the case with my psychiatric patients who had perpetrated great suffering because they had never experienced love.  Their ability to cast further demons into the world as they struggled with theirs, had to be absolutely stopped in its tracks, while gently coaxing them into a higher reality.

“Melancolie” by sculpture Albert Gyorgy is a statement of the emptiness of life without soul. Image used in accorance with Fair Use Principals.

There are many in the world right now, including many among our national leadership who sincerely wish to know Truth and live in Truth but have little or no actual experience with the divine’s presence.  In most cases, the healing of these individuals is best left to the heavenly forces. . .and the election box.

On the other hand, don’t let people who know better get away with glorifying ignorance and channeling hatred because that is an affront to God.  When someone knows the truth and is not just “spinning it” because their mind is not open enough to contain the whole of it. . .but is rather consciously rejecting it in order to gain power over others or wealth, we all have to stop them any legal and moral way we can.

There is evil occuring in our world that cannot be tolerated; and must be dealt with not just by spiritual forces. It requires the action of embodied souls who must act in accordance with the indwelling divine. That said, because we cannot see into another’s heart, it is sometimes very difficult to tell what is truly motivating the actions of another person. One important foundation of effectively countering evil has to do with emotions. It takes a great deal of mastery over emotional systems before evil can be laid to rest since that level of sin can only be truly laid to rest from a place of love. Image by Horst Haitzinger used consistent with Fair Use Principals.

When individuals and groups actively work to destroy truth seeking, such as encouraging violence towards those with differing opinions; using deceit intentionally; shutting down truth-exploration  systems like higher education and rigorous science; subverting communication systems like the internet and the media; destorying watchdog agencies that exist specifically is to counterbalance the various systemic biases to which human brains are currently prone, and pathways meant to bring justice into the world; etc. it is on all of us to notice these transgressions against the Truth; and stand up to them.  Otherwise, your silence becomes a part of the rejection of the divine.  There are karmic/heavenly consequences for that you are not going to want to experience.

“Our Calling” by Ricardo Lewins Morales School for Social Justice, Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

And finally, Go for the heavens.   What I want you to hear this morning is what I understand about the tao, nirvana, the creative blueprint, God’s plan for us, evolution, the master plan, whatever you want to call it. The times we are living in, these times for which many of us have waited our entire existence on Planet Earth, are all about creating Heaven on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the time to bring the spiritual fully into the physical. It’s a real possibility, folks.  It’s actually our destiny. . .but like any destiny, we still have to consciously choose to live it out, in order for it to manifest.

A shift of consciousness is about working from within. It requires a deep committment that few individuals have had to date. Many forces are at play in the present time frame to motivate us, support us and otherwise make possible such a tranformatival level of change. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Recognize you can have an ever-deepening version of Heaven-on-Earth now.  In all the political debates have you noticed how two people can be in the same environment exposed to the exact same information and bring to the discussion two completely different points of view about what is going on?  Have you watched a person who defines themselves as pro-Trump and a person who defines themselves as anti-Trump talk about the Mueller report, the impeachment debate or the latest tweet but arrive at two diametrically-opposite seemingly-incompatible conclusions?

It has always been possible on Planet Earth for one individual to create a completely different reality than another individual. It’s just that right now with the light shining down on all the shadowy corners of the globe and the digital age giving all these different corners an opportunity to argue with each other in real time, we can and do live in and debate contradictory versions of our world. It is consciousness that has the last say in what we create in our reality.  You can choose to bring to your corner of the world whatever level of consciousness through which you would like to live.

Do you want to live in the peace and prosperity and love that is God’s gift to all of us? Go for it!  Don’t wait for your neighbor(s).  Give them a step up as much as you can because among other things, this helps you get more rapidly to where you are going–to the peace and love that offered to all of us. Show them the way, as the way has been shown to us by various individual souls who have tread the sacred soil beneath us,  including that humble carpenter from Nazareth who is with us on this winter occasion, as always.

Copyright 2019 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

 

Welcoming Scarcity in the New World

 

From a Sermon given Fall Equinox Worship Service  September 29, 2019

Over the years I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to learn many things in my role preparing sermons for this Church community.  Most of the time my words have been appreciated and gracefully received by people coming to the worship services.  I have noticed however, that whenever I venture into talking about money or economics in general people often go into anxiety, resistance and on one occasion even outright hostility.

Rationalization is the norm any time the talk turns to money. Cartoon used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

I can almost see the fear pictures flying through the air for the people with less resources; and the boredom aka resistance pictures for the people with a good amount of resources who don’t want to think about that it might ever be otherwise.

 

 

 

 

So let’s get something straight from the start, shall we?  We are going to talking about the “new economic norm” that has been unfolding in stages and will now rapidly be manifesting in the United States right now.

Countries around the world have suffered from an inadequate amount of resources for day-to-day living for several decades and this inequality is exponentially increasing under climate change. This is an image of Bhatapur, Nepal after a quake. Picture used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

We are no longer living in a time of shrinking resources. The resources have shrunk and many have shriveled up and are starting to be blown away with the same earthquakes and hurricane forces that have been ravaging our landmasses and oceans.

 

 

 

 

People, we are going to be experiencing some really lean times unlike anything we have known in our country in our lifetimes.  Historically we’ve seen it before, like during the Great Depression, but not recently, not in the lived experience of the people in this room. It is going to be challenging for ALL of us, albeit in different ways. This time around, none of us will escape the consequences of our new way of living in the world, not even the rich folks.

There is no part of the planet, no underground bunker or gated community that will protect human animals from the effects of climate change, “Warming” by Shayla Maddox. Art used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Hopefully by the end of the service and in the next few days however, you will find yourself beginning to view this time of austerity as nothing to be feared, something that is necessary and maybe even in certain ways a good thing.

So let’s put on our big boy pants and see if we can raise the level of our awareness from the physical to the spiritual in how we view one of the last and most fear-provoking of the changes our world is undergoing right now.  And when I say world I mean the whole world, but my emphasis this morning is on the United States.  What is happening economically is certainly global in character, but in some ways we in this country have the most to deal with energetically because we have had the most.

After World War 2 the United States moved into the position of being the prominent peace-keeper of the entire world on the surface; as well as the most aggressive war monger out of view through our role as the world’s premier arms dealer.

Every country has its own energy. This depiction from Christian Chinese American artist He Qi depicts the essence of the United States of America as Peace and Freedom. Picture used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

We amassed great financial wealth through participation with conflicts on every continent.  This was our national destiny so to speak, and we played it out well, with the implicit energetic support of people everywhere.  We set the energy but the world created the scenarios with us and followed our lead.

On the physical level the American dollar became “the almighty dollar.”  Our lifestyle was the envy of the world.  Everyone wanted to be a part of the American dream in which those with few resources could rapidly transverse into a higher socioeconomic class. Unfortunately, as we transformed ourselves into a country of great material wealth and political status, as a country we essentially did the collective version of getting lost to our ego, aka our perfect pictures.

In the last few decades people would occasionally engage in intellectual talk about the fact that the United States was consuming 80% of the world’s resources even though we were only 20% of its population; or the fact that we were competing with each other to waste much of this material wealth in lavish display of conspicuous consumption.  There were a few conversations now and then about the fact that this level of consumption and waste was not environmentally sustainable.  For the most part though, most Americans continued to buy stupid stuff and throw it away at the first opportunity for something better; worked very hard at not noticing the far-reaching effects of our individual and collective choices; and continued to ignore the cost of our lavish lifestyle on ourselves, each other, those in other countries and on Mother Earth.

Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

These days one of my favorite synonyms for the Creator-of-Us-All is the “Great Equalizer.”  It is the time of the Great Balancing when all will be called to task.  The United States has been on the highest rung of the economic pedestal of the world for about 70 years now, so our fall back to Earth has the potential for being the most jarring, the most painful.  Like everything else about how we create spiritually through matter however, it is up to us, up to choices we make through our free will.

To talk this morning about how we can cushion our fall and maybe even tumble in a manner that allows us to pop right back up, I’d like to switch it up and focus on spirit, and what we know about economics from a spiritual perspective.  For this I’m going to use the Christian Bible.

To me, one really interesting thing about what Jesus of Nazareth says about money as recorded in the Bible is how much he says.  As I understand it, other than the “Kingdom of God” he talked more about economics than any other subject.  Even taking into consideration the fact that he lived in a time period where almost all human beings were still dealing with basic survival, this is an extraordinary amount of attention paid by a religious leader to economic status.

Keep in mind though, that Jesus knew everything there is to know about how energy works on Planet Earth.  He certainly knew that money is just a symbol, a stand-in for power.  As the master of parables, he talked with everyday folks using stories to which they could relate, stories about food and oil for lighting and heating and other basic necessities to keep one alive. In this way he also taught people about individual and group energy and where and how to focus it.

So let’s review the overarching Truth said by Jesus as quoted in Matthew, Chapter 6, Verses 24-33:

No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. . . your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Since the time of the Christ people have struggled to hear the messages he embedded in his stories; and in typical human fashion have frequently projected onto those words their own wishes, desires and meanings.  In my opinion biblical passages about economic matters are not only among the most prolific in terms of numbers, they are also among the most distorted in terms of interpretations.

Everyone wants to cherry pick the Bible to look for justifications for their own actions.  On the one hand, you have the people who want to dwell on the words of Jesus that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to gain eternal life.  This passage is used by many and particularly I have noticed by people who are struggling with survival or jealousy and competition pictures, to conclude that all wealthy people are wrong and maybe even evil, who need to give away or have taken from them everything they own.

On the opposite side of the dichotomy you have the political and religious folks who want to dwell on Jesus saying the poor will always be among us.  These are the people that say that all wealth is from God and interpret being wealthy is a sign that one has been rewarded or blessed by God.  If they are more political than religious they may talk about wealth coming from hard work, good values or superior family; and demonize poor people as lazy, stupid,  mentally unstable, morally corrupt, etc.

It’s all the same energy. Whether you attempt to use the words of the Christ or more secular language to rationalize economic oppression, it is all about marginalizing people without economic power.  This is the injustice, the imbalance, this is the lack of righteousness that will be disappearing shortly, one way or the other, as a result of the master plan in which we are all living.  This is the time and the place where the Great Equalizer will be doing its magic to help us come to our senses.

What do we need to keep in mind, to help this equalizing process go as smoothly as it can in our individual lives and the lives of those around us?  Let me read this again:

No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. . . your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Please notice two things here.  Please notice that the Christ is not saying you cannot have both God and wealth. He is saying you cannot serve both God and wealth. One will invariably be the master.

Please also notice how similar this passage to what has been called the “greatest commandment,” the teaching of the Christ in Matthew 22, Verses 36-40.

Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.

Image of Scrooge McDuck from Carl Banks, in conjunction with DIsney, used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

The point here is that FIRST you start with finding God, aligning yourself with God, committing yourself to God. And then you have the guidance you need to fully allow the Love that is God to flow outward to others.  You get to have as much money and other resources as you need to fulfill the divine’s purpose; but if money is your master, you are in for a rude awakening .

In the coming days, the economic oppression that was such a major talking point for Jesus of Nazareth will be the focus of a world-wide turnaround as directed by his father.  Everyone from the 1% that own the 30 trillion dollars of financial assets in the United States, as well as the bottom half of Americans who have less than nothing, in other words more debts than they have assets, will have to come to terms with what is the guiding principal in their life:  God or ego.

Money as one physical reflection of energy, needs to flow freely and not become stagnant. An informed reading of the words of the Christ reveal that the real problem for people with economic resources results when people hoard wealth, in other words accumulate wealth beyond what they individually need or need to serve others.

Usually at this point in the sermon I would be starting to talk about the need for grounding, approaching the subject of your private economics neutrally by living in the center of your head and finding your own truth by seeking direction from the God(dess) within you in your meditations.  Do that. Do all of that. But the meditators in this room know how to use these tools so I’m going to move on from here.

Because the topic of money brings up such overwhelming amount of fear and resistance for most of us, I want to share some personal cliff notes I have worked out over the years, in regards to part B, i.e. loving our neighbors as ourselves economically from a spiritual perspective.

  1. If you fear you won’t have enough. . .work on your fear. . .because that is all it has to be. . .unless you empower it with your belief.  Trust me, there is enough.
  1. If your life purpose requires a great deal of resources to accomplish, if it truly is a spiritual-based calling, that is to say that if you truly are co-creating with God, the resources will appear. But then remember that they are not yours, they belong to the divine.

Gratitude by Linnea Tobias. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

                         Give thanks for being one of the                                 few rich people that is privileged                             enough to “get it.” Continue to act                              frugally towards yourself and                                      remember you are simply                                             the caretaker of the remaining                                    wealth.  That means that you will                              be gifting the excess you don’t need                          directly to others or it means you                                will be using the resources to build                            something of more long term                                       benefit to others.  

  1. If you catch yourself using any resources beyond basic levels on yourself, ask if you are threading a camel through the needle. . .and go back to those conversations with the God(dess) within.

                        You don’t have to be a Gandhi living only with a robe, food bowl and a book of                                  sacred writings.  Recent technological advances have made it possible for all of us                         to have a higher standard of living. Sometimes “discretionary” money spent on                                  travel, beautiful objects, art supplies, even good but high-end food is needful for a                          higher purpose such as creating peace, joy, health or beauty; and sometimes it is                             done for escapist or prideful reasons.

                       We all fail prey to our ego at times.                        Only you and your creator will know                        the difference. If you find you have let                       your ego rule, no problem, just do a                         little mid course correction and renew                      your commitment to using collective                       resources for spiritual rather than                              material goals.

  1. If you see others hoarding wealth that should be given to others, speak out and otherwise do whatever you can. By his words and his example, the Christ was quite clear that loving your neighbor as yourself means advocating for the oppressed, the marginalized and the poor. Unfortunately this will put you in the cross-hairs of most of our religious, commercial, governmental and other collective forces. . .but it’s the least you can do.
  1. Understand that in the present time period things are unfolding in the manner that is needed. Do not give in to despair. We had to destroy our castles built on the sand of conditional love, no matter how painful, so that we have the means of rebuilding on the bedrock of unconditional love. 

                         For human animals to continue our experience on this magnificent planet, for us                             to return to the garden, we needed to live the experience of losing our way so we                             had the possibility of choosing a more righteous path that recognizes that all life                              is connected. 

Our bodies are experiencing a great amount of fear right now but if you tune into the spiritual reality you will know we stand to gain riches beyond our wildest imagining.  Making it through the next stage will require that we grow up and leave behind our adolescent striving.

Image by Louisa Cannell, used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

It will require more faith than most of us have ever had. It will require us to learn how to focus all our God-given spirit-driven abilities.  But the journey can be exciting, the creativity awesome, and the resulting world truly humbling in its majesty.   

It is for this reason that I entitled this sermon “Welcoming Scarcity in the New World.”  Thanks be to the Great Equalizer for this marvelous opportunity.

Copyright 2019 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

Transcending Time and Space; An Exploration of Our Possible Future(s)

From a Sermon given Summer Solstice Worship Service  June 23, 2019

Lately when the Church of the Harvest has gotten together as a community for our quarterly services designed to honor the divine and to help us move ever closer in the direction most pleasing to it, many of the services have been about time. Last year’s Summer Solstice Service was about the “Code-switching of Time; Flowing Gracefully Between Past, Present and Future.” The Winter Solstice Service was called “Dreaming of Things to Come.”

This was not intentional but neither was it coincidental.  We are all here to learn how to create as spirit within the time-space continuum of this glorious Mother Earth of ours. Typically individuals who are developing themselves spiritually are first drawn to the lessons involving space.  If we are successful enough with these challenges, we then move on to focusing on lessons involving time.

To understand the true nature of space, essentially we have to clear our individual energy systems from enough of our past experiences on the Planet and enough of the programming and other forms of energy belonging to other people–to our friends and family and community and society–to understand who we really are.

Mother and Child Twins by Gustav Klimt, Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Young ones fresh from the All-That-Is and basking in the spiritual glory of all being connected, come into this world through a physical body belonging to another human being, a mother. Even when we pass through the birth canal, even as we are born into a completely separate physical framework, and even when we take our first independent breath, we are almost completely dependent on many other human beings to maintain that breath, to prolong that life, for many, many years.

Humans are late bloomers. We take nearly twice as long as other primates to grow to physical maturity. As the species endowed by our Creator with the responsibility for life on Planet Earth, it takes a tremendous amount of experience to grow our brains such that they can encapsulate the consciousness required to make it all work. Scientists believe somewhere between 44 and 87% of the energy of our body (as measured by glucose levels) is consumed during infancy and childhood by our brain to bring us to adulthood.

Family by Diana Ong, Picture used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Until we become grown-ups we have to lean on others for our basic survival needs. In our contemporary societies that means we take on energy designed for other people and unfortunately as of yet, are not taught how to clear it when its usefulness is over.

As we grow we have less and less of a need to depend on information and other forms of energy from others, but unfortunately old habits are hard to break, particularly when you are not aware of them. Lots of people never get out of their pattern of depending on others, as opposed to interacting with others from a position of equality.  It may be years, often decades, sometimes many lifetimes before we do.

In these faster-paced days though it is not uncommon for people to figure out that life on Earth only really works if one learns to create one’s life from one’s own space.  When you try to force others onto the path you think they should go, when you attempt to force your will on the choices others make, then life always kicks you in the teeth, if not immediately, then eventually.  It can look like a “good marriage” or a “loving family” or a “prosperous“ country for many years. Having your partner seek dissolution of your bonds, your children move out of reach, or your community no longer function can happen dramatically all at once or quietly over time but it will happen one way or the other.  The song of our soul is one of freedom, and to have authentic relationships with other life we have to give others freedom, and we have to claim it for ourselves.

We have to put the pieces of the puzzle together to form a picture of what some people call our truest self, to understand the deepest desires of our heart. We have to let go of the dreams other people had for us, and even the dreams we had for ourselves that we have outgrown; and we have to acquire the skills to protect the remaining dreams, to nurture them, and begin to bring them to fruition.

Our work can then begin. Those “lucky” few, if you want to see them as such, those privileged few or those sufficiently “blessed,” however you want to frame it, those who have acquired a sense of their spiritual purpose are then free to move into the second part of the challenge of living in time and space, making the time part congruent with your purpose.  For many, learning about time is perhaps even a trickier lesson than learning about space.  It is not uncommon for some to figure out that life on Earth only really works if one learns to create one’s life from one’s own space. It is less common for people to figure out that life on Earth only really works if one understands the real nature of time.

Why? Time takes focus.

You have to find your own energy aka power, and then you have to learn to focus it.  Scattering your energy every which way ultimately just wastes it. I usually refer to this process of focusing as learning to “manipulate time,” but I don’t mean this is in the pejorative sense that one might assume.  In this context “manipulation” just means consciously changing the vibration in situations that are yours to control. When you learn enough from a spiritual perspective about what and how you want to change the vibration of your own energy system/field, then you can concentrate on changing how your system/field interacts with the world around you. You can flow with time.

Time is not the stagnant, never-changing force that our brains as they currently function like to imagine.

Time is not static.

Everything in the universe is in motion, and so also is time.  Time is a subjective illusive quality of experience as lived in a physical human body.

 

 

In Western civilization, Albert Einstein started us thinking in a new way about time fairly recently.  It has only been in the last hundred years or so that the consciousness of most human animals has evolved to the point that it can even tolerate this more advanced understanding of God’s creative order.

Albert Einstein was not afraid to “think outside the box” in many regards. This rare photo from about 1950 shows him in his favorite fuzzy slippers.

In his explanation of relativity theory Einstein told people: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”  (I also have talked about my personal experience of having time “freeze” before my very eyes in order to avoid fatal injury in a major car accident.)

So why is the world needing to learn about time right now. . .and what has this got to do with transcendence?

Throughout history people have been fascinated by time, and specifically by those individuals among us who seem to be capable of seeing through the illusion that it is.  We have called them seers like Nostradamus or the Oracle of Delphi who was celebrated throughout Hellenic civilization, prophets like Moses and  John the Baptist of the Judeo-Christian Bible, saints like Hildegard of Birgen,

Many artists who turn to the collective consciousness for their inspiration are able to see the future, whether or not that is their goal. Morgan Freeman’s book Futility was published 1898 describing an “unsinkable” boat called the Titanic with 24 lifeboats for 3,000 passengers that hits an iceberg on its initial voyage. In 1912, 14 years later on its maiden voyage the Titanic sank with 20 lifeboats for 2,207 passengers.

visionary artists like Leonardo da Vinci or Aldous Huxley, mediums or psychics like Jeanne Dixon or Edgar Cayce,

These individuals excite our imagination and give us hope that the world is bigger than what we can see with our eyes. They also sometimes engender fear or false hopes that the world is predictable or controllable by other people.  The Truth is that each of us create our own individual reality including how it plays out temporally. Together we create a consensus reality that shares a common time framework. It is the latter of which I primarily speak this morning.

Right now the world is perched on a precipice, a cliff of sorts, and the only way forward for human animals remaining on Earth as its God-given caretakers involves a great leap of faith,  Changes to every aspect of our existence are required  including the time-space continuum within which we function.  As the very cosmos above us changes frequency, Mother Earth itself runs more kundalini energy throughout the surface of the Earth and the magnetic field within the Planet itself shifts directionally, so too is the basic fabric of the time-space continuum changing.  As co-creators with the divine, our job is to roll with the punches as much as possible even while we infuse those shifts as much as we can with good intentions for all and Love.

I am not going to make the mistake here of holding myself out to be the prophet of where these changes will take us in the upcoming days. What I am here to tell you is that we are all prophets, each in our own right, each over our own individual space.  Piercing the veil of illusion is a spiritual ability to which all human beings have access. It might be one of the latter stages for those who are exploring our spiritual nature, one of the more advanced steps on the path back to our Creator, but it is open to all.  Now is the time for you to explore your own abilities to “bend” time.

Yes, we are living in the apocalypse, the period that has long been predicted when all will be revealed.  One of the aspects that will be revealed to those who can receive it is the greater ability to manipulate time.  Yes, we are living in the “end times.” However in my opinion this certainly does not mean the end to all life on Earth; and it likely does not mean the end to human beings as a species of animal. Think rather of this as the end to a very long cycle of how we relate to the space-time continuum.

Some of you may remember 1999 when many people were convinced that our increasingly technological world was going to crash around us because computers could not change their Y2K code to recognize the upcoming new century? Many of you will remember when so many people were freaked out in 2012 about the Mayan calendar coming to an end because they saw this as the fulfillment of a prophecy about the physical world being destroyed? Some of you are aware of the approximately third of Americans who interpret many contemporary events as indication that we are about to experience the Rapture and/or the return of Jesus of Nazareth in his physical form? In each of these cases, there was/is a “kernel of truth” to what people were/are experiencing– hidden behind an ocean of fear. The colander of prophecy can sort the wheat from the chaff, but until people have found their own energy and are largely free from the troubling distortion of fear, partial truths can just contribute to the problem at hand.

As you explore your own version of space and time in your meditations and otherwise, I have three pieces of advice for you.

First of all as always, ground yourself as spirit to this physical planet so that whatever you create you can do so with the maximum amount of self control and safety.  Be sure the light that is you has this built-in lightening rod protection to help you weather whatever changes come your way. And a means to let go of the fear and energy that doesn’t belong to you or is obsolete, so you can be who you really are.

Second of all, continue to work to uncover your truest self.  Do the meditation and whatever other forms of healing you need to grow ever closer to the God(dess) of your own heart. This will strengthen you and help you discern your Truth and step-by-step transform you into a prophet in your own world.  It will also protect you from false prophets, those who claim to speak for God. The only God(dess) you need to listen to is the one that speaks within you.

Third of all, cultivate humility.  I’m not talking here about lack of confidence. I am talking about being slow to draw conclusions and open to the idea that by virtue of living through a body, even the best and brightest of us bring to this world a lot of distortion.

Every human being has the ability to be clairvoyant. It is part and parcel of our spiritual playbook, available to all. Clairvoyance is just a French word meaning “clear seeing.” However, if you have not already developed the skill set to separate your vision from the myriad of other sensations, biases, ego, projections, wishful thinking etc. it is best to be cautious about its usage. . .and be open to others who have enough love to challenge you. Cartoon used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Or as it says in Second Peter, Chapter 20 and 21.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Stay open to feedback from others even as, or especially as, you grow closer to your own Truth. Even as you learn over time to create a fresher more constructive version of reality for yourself, let the Holy Spirit take you to places you currently do not even know exist. In this way you will become a prophet in your own life.

Copyright 2019 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

Dreaming of Things to Come; Bring On the New World in the New Year!

From a Sermon given Winter Solstice Worship Service  December 23, 2018

Almost exactly one year ago today, this meditation community had its Winter Solstice Service here.  We explored the topic of moving towards a world based on Love rather than the corruption of power. I talked about how corruption is a word that not only refers to political processes but at its essence just means something that is changed from its original intended use to something that is used incorrectly, and in doing so, is debased.

I talked about the fact that God is Love; and as the children of God we are meant to create our lives and the world around us through Love. . .but that too many of us had succumbed to the temptations of the material world, and forgotten that all true Power comes from the divine and all energy is meant to be used in the service of the divine.

So here it is a year later.  I think we can all agree that it’s been quite a year.  I imagine we could also agree that the year has been characterized by a society and a world absolutely awash in the vibration of hatred.  In our country and around the world hatred has far too often been the key driver of our interactions with each other.

Many spiritual forces are praying that we get over our need to hate each other.

Hate has always had a big presence on Planet Earth, of course.                                                                                                                                                     But people saying and doing hateful                   things towards each other has never                  been more common.

The difference lately has been that it has taken center stage in the human drama. It was looking like hatred had become acceptable as a social convention, as a way for people to engage with each other.  Acting in a hateful manner towards another person was no longer being seen as a maladjustment for a few aberrant individuals. It was increasingly being accepted as an open and unrepentant option for segments of our society to use in opposition to other segments.

This year women have moved into national leadership in a dramatic way but more importantly, the female energy that every human has, irrespective of the gender of their body has been moving into the foreground.

Fortunately, this year has also seen the rise of influences from other energy streams in human society to counterbalance the hatred, energy streams that are more prone to unification than the kind of disintegration that happens with the vibration of hatred.

Chief among these has been the amazingly rapid shift from the male to female perspective.  Each of us is capable of allowing our sacred female to lead the way, no matter what gender body we hold; and vast numbers of us decided to do so, almost overnight.

We have also seen the phenomenally sudden stepping-up-to-the-plate of younger generations who have grown up in the digital age where diversity and inclusion are more the norm.

For many centuries human animals have labored under a tribal-based paradigm that had one group in competition with and striving for domination over other groups. This corruption of power has been breaking down as the digital age makes it easier for us to understand we are all in this world together. Posted in accordance with fair use principles

Again, children have always led the way energetically.  We tend to forget our spiritual nature as we age so children have always quietly protected our rightful heritage, almost always in an invisible manner.

These children from Thailand reflect their more recent arrival from the spiritual world in many ways, but one of which is their joy in the natural world. Children everywhere are universally attracted to play which they recognize as one of the truest faces of the divine.,

This year, the younger ones among us began to step out of the shadows and told the adults to share the leadership of the material world. I can’t wait to see how this      plays out.

 

 

 

 

So where are we now that 2018 is coming to an end? I know that most of us are still feeling a kind of vertigo as the vibrations continue to transform the air around us, the Earth beneath our feet and the very molecules of our bodies. Many of us are at best uneasy, at worst sick at heart at what is happening to our world. As I have mentioned previously, just in recent memory the planet itself has begun running kundalini energy in increasing amounts to help human animals wake to our true nature.

Lately I’ve been noticing how many people are physically getting sick and experiencing confusing and often painful symptoms in their body, symptoms with which medical professionals are having trouble understanding or addressing, in part because of this massive influx of kundalini.

The powerful healing of kundalini energy has been recognized for centuries, primarily in the Eastern parts of the globe and shamanic traditions. It is often depicted as intertwining snakes, as is seen in the  caduceus symbol for Western medicine. Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to “work at” running kundalini. It runs on it’s own when one’s energy system is working well; and recently has begun to be triggered by the Earth itself as it enters the human body through the feet.

Most of the time people seem to just see their illness processes and discomfort as just their individual situation. A lot of people chalk their symptoms up to some ubiquitous process called “stress.”  Many judge themselves as having made stupid choices about their health status, or being otherwise somehow flawed.

Little do they know that the “growing pains” that they are experiencing is a requirement, a mandatory edict from Mother Earth if you will.  Kundalini energy brings to the surface all that has been contained. It’s not a judgment but it is a very high vibration that is hard for many physical beings to experience if they are not used to vibrating at such a frequency. In other words, it does require action to weather it in a way that minimizes suffering.  It’s part of the kicking-us-on-our-ass that is happening worldwide. The universe is over it, in regards to the human learning curve.  We will either be taking a huge leap forward in our consciousness, or we will be invited to go elsewhere.  We will not be remaining the caretakers of this gorgeous planet unless we can do better by it.

But here’s the rub:  many of us are indeed waking up.  This year-2018—the year I have been calling the Year of Transformation–has done its thing. The energy has indeed transformed.

I’m not talking here about the chaos of our political and economic systems falling apart.  That spectacular amount of destruction is ongoing, with plenty more to come. I’m talking about the underlying energy.  I’m talking about the fact that in just the last few days, a scant few weeks, the energy of what is called the “consensus reality” has shifted dramatically.

The “consensus reality” is not an easy concept to understand, so I thought at this point in the presentation, we should step back and take a moment to review it.

This is the “Universal Mind Lattice” as painted by visionary artist Alex Grey, the organic human aspect of universal consciousness. It is the energetic field where all that is human and all that manifests in the physical connects to itself; and as such, can be changed by any shift created by any human being. The “consensus reality” is this field made manifest in a snapshot of time. Posted in accordance with fair use principles

Each of us as an individual soul creates our own reality. Ultimately we decide everything about our life. On a spiritual level we establish a game plan before we are born, and then we get here and see if we can carry it out.  We learn lessons as we go, and may make adjustments as we need.  This is the precious gift of free will that our Creator gives us.

Sometimes challenges look really interesting to us before we incarnate, and then when we get into the body, things look very different. Sometimes those same challenges don’t look nearly as interesting.  We are like the kid who decides we want to be a doctor, a professional athlete or a famous musician when we grow up.  And then as we grow older, we discover that it actually takes hundreds of hours of tedious study, cramping body parts and boring repetitive scales before our mind or muscles or fingers will produce the desired results.  Creating as spirit in the material world requires much more effort and all-too often  body turmoil than it would seem from a purely spiritual perspective.

When the lessons we are trying to learn require interactions with other humans, as most do, then free will dictates that we have to enter into an agreement with that other person or persons with whom we are trying to create.  This process can be very complicated and take considerable time, particularly if the lessons involve large numbers of individuals. Luckily time does not exist on the spiritual level but some individual souls have to create a number of experiences in the physical world before they can sign on to a larger spiritually based group contract, and that does take time.

In the United States there were lots of individuals who knew right off the bat that we did not want to create a world based on hatred when we were encouraged to do so by certain political and religious leaders.  But there were also lots of individuals who had to create some up-close-and-personal encounters with hatred in their personal life to make a more clear decision that this was not what they wanted to experience. Many knew better “intellectually” than to support the vibration of hatred. . .but old  karmic influences or energy from traumatic childhoods still needed to be cleared before they could definitively opt out of creating a world based on hatred.  Thus, it took nearly two years for the “consensus reality” in the United States to shift to an agreement that we were not going to choose hatred as a way of life.

The good news, the very good news in my mind, is that the energy of the consensual reality has shifted. As a group of humans who have been given seniority by our Creator, or what is called in religious circles dominion over life on Earth, we’ve decided something big.  I’m not sure what it is. . .exactly. But I’m pretty sure it has to do with Love.

So congratulations, folks. Congratulations to all of us. Congratulations to those of us who were here a year ago helping the consensus reality shift by together imagining a world based on Love and not corruption of power. Congratulations to those of you who were not here a year ago but were part of getting the Church of the Harvest to that point previously or are creating a connection now to continue this critical work. (After all, spirit knows no time).

And congratulations to all the millions of other people in the world, particularly in the United States where the battle involving hatred has been at it’s most intense.  Congratulations to the many Americans who may have had sufficient resources but who have nonetheless emotionally gone through a kind of virtual hell on Earth this past couple of years, in order to work through what they had to work through for all of us to make it to this point.

We all contributed to the place we are in now.  We made a decisive, life-affirming choice. Now we just have to figure out what that choice is all about.  And begin to shape it, fine tune it so to speak.

You all are meditators so you have had the experience of going through a particularly gnarly growth period or two.  Growth periods come in all shapes and sizes. In the biggest growth periods though, the ones that involve moving to a higher level of consciousness there is often just confusion. The old ways no longer fit at all who one is, but the new ways have not yet shown up. The fabric of one’s most essential self identity changes and we become unrecognizable.

That is kind of where we’re at right now energetically in this country and in the world.  But even though we don’t really know where we are going in this new direction we are taking, it’s probably a good idea to talk with each other about what we do notice, and share our thoughts and dreams and whatever insights we have as we stumble around in the new landscape.

So along those lines I have a few insights to get the dialogue going, to hopefully help us move towards creating a world based on Love and not corruption of the power God has given us.

First of all, Keep up the dreaming.  If you run across a situation involving injustice, hatred, corruption, by all means take whatever action you can to stop it. But keep in mind that right now it is Winter.  Its the season to prioritize resting our weary bodies.

Its the time for letting our minds wander in whatever direction they happen to go.  Do puzzles. Make art and go see good movies. Build things and craft things and exercise that incredible God-given creativity of yours in everyday life.

The direction we ultimately will need to go is not going to be clear for awhile. In all of human history we’ve never been at this point before.  We will be shown by spiritual forces we cannot even imagine the best path forward when it is time.  Meanwhile, give yourself permission to give your imagination free rein.  Creativity can be like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Enjoy where the dreaming takes you and watch.

Second of all, Welcome in the New World in the New Year!  No matter what it is. Please don’t get lost to any perfect pictures.  Its not going to be clear sailing. The destruction of our world is ongoing.  Horrific pain and suffering abounds and may very well intensify. In 2019 we may feel like we just went from the pan into the fire. If humans survive at all, it will be months or years or decades before things are OK.

Unfortunately as a species, human animals are still largely addicted to suffering. However, until we reach a greater acceptance of divine love, we can draw upon other sources of strength. “The Human Spirit,” Photo by Vladsylav Musiienko. Posted in accordance with fair use principles.

But the worst thing we can do is resist. You get what you resist, in greater measure and with greater suffering. You know why we have been having so much trouble with hatred this year? Hatred is simply a particularly intense form of fear. Fear of change. Fear of death.  The world is changing faster than the present level of human consciousness can process. Fear levels have gone up exponentially, and thus, so has the hatred.  You can make a personal contribution to cutting down the hatred simply by not resisting whatever awful as well as wonderful things come our way.

As individuals and as a society first and foremost we need to learn to lean into the change. Lean into the destruction even.  Ultimately it is far easier than digging in one’s heels about what is going to change whether we want it to or not.

Third of all, along the same lines: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. And pray for those who mistreat you.  Why? Because the energy you put out comes back to you.  Right now we are all needing to learn unconditional love. In the days ahead you’re going to want all the love and the good and the blessings that you can create; and you create them by giving them to others.

However, Fourth of all. Do not go gently into the night. I never really understood Dylan Thomas’s redemptive poem until recently.  I thought it was about resisting death. Its not. Its about celebrating life by leaning into death.  Thomas tells us to burn with life when we are near the end.

“Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light ….I will Never Give Up the Fight for Wholeness” by Myron Dyal. Used with permission of the artist.

We are near the end of human life on this planet. It still remains to be seen whether or not humans as a species will make it through the upcoming days. That part of things the consensus reality has yet to decide. Meanwhile, let us burn brightly as we decide where our Love will take us.  Burning brightly is the way of Love.

So how do we not go gently into the night on a practical level? Astrologists tell us that we just are emerging from a very long cycle dominated by the energy of the Wounded Healer. As individuals and as a society we’ve all just gone through a deep cleaning of toxic energies. We are more poised to turn away from other people who are harmful to us.  Do let’s not dirty ourselves up again with toxic people and situations. Yes, love your enemies but whenever possible from afar.

This meme is a bit on the snotty side obviously, but there is a valid point here. Maybe a few talented “jerk whisperers” can change the perspective of those who hate. . .but most of the time this is not a good use of time and energy for anyone involved

Do good for those who hate you but stop showing up for people who are indifferent about your presence.  Bless those who curse you, but you don’t have to have conversations with people who deny you respect.

 

 

Enjoy the people around you with whom you can share your dreams.  Be a willing vehicle through which the Love of the divine can operate.

Coming Alive, Words by Simon Gawley.  Posted in accordance with fair use principles

Love God and glory in all of it’s manifestations:   in nature, in plants and animals including other humans, in the rivers and oceans and most particularly in the divine dwelling within you, the God of your heart. Happy holidays everyone.

Copyright 2018 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

Making America Great, for the First Time

From a Sermon given Spring Equinox Worship Service  March 25, 2018

Spring is typically the time when the natural world wakes up from a long period of resting and dreaming, and begins to manifest the new life that have been put in place during the fall and winter.  As part of the natural world, human animals do this as well.  I am always intensely curious, eager to see what we have called forth from the depths of our imagination.

Energetically we have toyed with a lot of possibilities on a spiritual level during the past six months and now we get to see what the bulk of our final selections will be for this year,  We get to witness the manifestation of energy we have agreed to as individuals and in our communities.

At our Winter Solstice Worship Service shortly after the 2016 presidential election we talked about the Wintering of America, how to “weather” (pun intended) our new cultural environment in the USA, as our world turned topsy-turvy almost overnight.  I talked about the perfect pictures that we all have of the United States, energetic pieces of programming that have us stuck on an image of our country that is erroneous, and that keeps us from actually moving towards the ideals to which we aspire.  The campaign slogan “America Great Again” is an example of an image of national perfection that is not really warranted historically speaking; and thinking of ourselves that way is holding us back contemporaneously speaking.

Perfect pictures always eventually crash under their own weight.  I talked about how we need to rethink our social, political, religious, economic and other systems as they are at the very least transformed, and in the worse case scenario, altogether demolished,.  We need to rebuild our American way of life on something other than a foundation of sand.

For many or most people in the United States and our fellow citizens on Planet Earth, as well as the other species with which we inhabit this awesome planet, it’s been a very chaotic time since the election; and a long-hard winter these last few months.   Even those of us fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwestern part of the USA, where we have been blessed with a relatively calm and livable environment free or war, famine, drought, tornadoes and the like, have been awash in the same vast ocean of fear, despair, and confusion as everywhere in America and beyond.

There is more chaos and fear etc. to come but Spring is here, the time of renewal.  Surprisingly, I find myself increasingly hopeful.

 

 

 

Oscar Wilde was once criticized for being a dreamer.  Oscar Wilde, of course, was the incredibly brilliant and spiritual Irish poet and playwright that at the height of his fame in the mid 1800s was persecuted and jailed for his sexuality.

Many people have dreams of flying, a metaphor for the yearning of the soul to experience itself working through the physical world while maintaining its spiritual nature. “I Dreamed I Could Fly” by Carlos Almara, posted in accordance with fair use principles.

To his critics he replied:  “Yes, I am a dreamer, and a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight; and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world does.”  To Oscar Wilde I would like to say, “yes, but your reward is that you see the dawn before the rest of the world does.”  And to the people in this room, those of you who are in touch enough with spirit to do your own dreaming, I say that we humans are in the fight of our lives for our very lives on Planet Earth.  This is a fight that we needed to undergo.  And now we are in the midst of it.  And it’s springtime!

A colleague of mine who is quite tuned into energy calls 2018 “The Year of Transformation.”  I think she is right.  This is the year when cycles we have completed, some of which started hundreds or even thousands of years ago, are going to blow away in the wind,

When a dandelion flower is at its end, the seeds of the next generation of life are widely disbursed in search of fertile new territory.

like the seeds of the head of a fully opened dandelion.  And there is Grace to that, even though one way to look at it is that everywhere around us things are dying.

 

 

 

I see this in the news every day and every night.  Did you actually think that the national conversation finally becoming obsessed with AR 15s and guns in the schools after years of mass murders, did you think this was really just about gun control?  When you hear the politicians talk about the “opioid crisis,” and the president say that the way to solve it is to bring on the death penalty for drug dealers, did you really think this was only about fentanyl and other pain killers?

Pain is certainly not the only way for humans to make changes happen, but it tends to be the go-to vehicle for many or most who are otherwise unable or unwilling to change their relationship to the physical dimensions.

What I hear is a society coming to terms with the fact that it is in a death spiral, a cycle of destruction that could bring a “premature” ending, particularly for its youngest members.  And I hear a country trying to figure out whether or not to face its pain about what has been created, which it has to do to arrest that downward spiral.

I think that 2018 is the year in the “New World” that we have been trying to create since 1776.  This is the year where it will become so glaringly obvious to WethePeople that we kind of missed our original mark.   For many  spirit in bodies for which there is too much cognitive dissonance going on between perfect pictures and reality, there will be too much suffering.  And consequently, some may choose to go elsewhere.  For those who can accept the “new normal,” who are willing to face their pain and make the necessary changes internally and externally to experience a vastly different way of life, things will be OK if very different. It’s not a question of who deserves life.  It’s a question of who chooses life, eternal life, not life based on an illusion lost to materialism.

And this is where I become hopeful.  Until recently, pretty much all I saw were the signs of the destruction side of the creative/destructive dichotomy.  But recently, just in last few weeks, as  the daffodils and crocuses have been peaking up through the ground of our gardens, there has been a small but intensifying pattern of what I like to think of as the True American Spirit showing up in public places.

Every group of people have their own unique energy, sometimes labeled as “culture” or “worldview.” This is true of countries. Here the Christian artist He Qi depicts the essential energy of the United States as Freedom and Peace. But Freedom struggles with grief, perhaps at not yet being able to fulfill its destiny.  Posted in accordance with fair use principles.

It appears that large numbers of people are waking up, standing up, speaking up, and making choices for connection to the divine through each other.

I’m not talking here about the obvious political protests and huge increase of lawsuits in opposition to congressional and state legislation.  I’m not even talking about individual acts of courage.  There have always been individuals willing to devote all of themselves to the greater good.  I’m talking about the quiet stuff that is frequently missed, the cultural shifts, changes in the way we as a nation full of diverse individuals think about our world.

I’m talking about individuals like the farmers and ranchers who have recently bequeathed or turned over land to which they had legal title which previously had been stolen from Native Americans when their treaty rights were ignored.   I’m talking about corporations like the Gerber company choosing the image of a Down’s Syndrome baby as its 2018 Gerber Baby;

With his obvious infectious joy, Lucas is inspiring thousands to rethink their prejudice against spirit born into different or physically challenged bodies.

and Apple introducing emojis to which people with disabilities can relate.

Lady Liberty 225th Anniversary US Mint coin

 

 

 

 

Then there is Black Lightening taking Hollywood by storm, and the U.S. Mint issuing a 100 dollar coin with the image of a Black  Lady Liberty stamped on it.

 

I’m talking about scientists as their vision expands with the rest of us “discovering” new species of animals that have been there all along but were never previously noticed, like the flying squirrel recently found at Mt Rainier Park; and the US Postal Service passing on a growing understanding of life with its new stamp series on bioluminescent animals as we begin to understand what we’ve done to our oceans.

Most of all I’m talking about a validation of our real individual and collective stories.  Rather than disseminating fear-based conspiracy crap like denying the holocaust, or reinventing history to pretend that slavery is a good thing, an increasing number of people are standing up for authentic stories.

Lt. Wesley Clark Jr. and other veterans kneel in front of Leonard Crow Dog on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Dec. 5, 2016. Vets asked for and received forgiveness from Lakota and Sioux elders for crimes committed against indigenous peoples by the US military.  Words were coupled with actions as nearly 4,000 veterans helped protect Dakota Access pipeline protesters. In less dramatic ways, these times of humility, healing, and honoring spirit are being played out increasingly around the world.

Granted, some are acknowledging past wrongdoings because with the increasing amount of light in the world, it’s harder to get away with the lies any more.  But also–an increasing tide is moving us towards the Truth.

Using DNA, scientists have recently discovered that these Aboriginal men from Australia belong to a tribe of  people who have maintained the oldest continuous human habitat on Earth, going back some 50,000 years to the Old Stone Age.  Rather than being seen as a “rather insignificant” marginalized people of little interest, they now will likely gain significant social status as original human ancestors, rock stars of modern anthropology.

When National Geographic apologized for “decades of racist coverage” I don’t believe it was because they had to, as much as because it is right to take ownership of past wrongdoings so we can learn from them and transcend those limited perspectives.  Granted their admission may ultimately improve sales but still, no one forced them to try to gain more legitimacy that particular way.

When Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn confessed last month that he has come to understand that his belief in the “the prosperity gospel” was an extreme interpretation of scripture that was not “God’s work,” this was a watershed moment for his thousands of followers.   Yes, it remains to be seen what he is going to do with the reported 42 million dollars he has amassed by believing what he wanted to believe but at least he has admitted his transgression and stopped speaking for God in an area where clearly his ego was calling the shots.

Unfortunately, I believe we are far from done with the process of destruction for our way of life in the U.S.  We have had too many decades of picture pictures that we now have to resolve, and a population that still is highly resistant to doing the hard work that it takes to change one’s worldview.

Perfection belongs only to God. For the rest of us, harmony comes only after a true dedication to our spiritual goals. . .while still acknowledging and gaining seniority over our human animal attributes.

Frankly, the worst is probably yet to come. . .as the consequences of our recent choices in regards to the social fabric and particularly  the physical environment become manifest. 

 

 

 

 

 

The worst may yet come. But despite it all, I am hopeful.

As many of you know, for 15 years at the direction of the universe I have been closely following the issue of climate change.  I’ve heard a lot of key scientists and the like, use the phrase “tipping point” to describe the point in time in which human destruction would bring the Earth to the point where it could not sustain life.

As we face a potential human-caused extinction event on Earth, human animals are in an existential crisis of sorts. This 1846 painting by Edward Hicks is called “Who will Save Us This Time.”

God is not going to let us destroy the Earth.  It will let us destroy each other, and in doing so, ourselves if we need that learning experience.  I’m pretty sure the planet’s destiny is to be a Paradise of Love and Life.  If human animals cannot buy into the master plan, then we are free to go the way of the dinosaur, making room for another species to be given dominion to try their hand at creating through matter in an environment reflective of God’s majestic life forms.

What I’ve always been aware of though, as people talk about “tipping point”– when it will occur, if it’s occurred, that sort of thing–is that the dialogue rarely takes God into consideration.

It is no accident that one of the most common words for the divine is the Creator. God is creative beyond our wildest dreams, and as we are made in its image. so too are we.
“God the Creative Spirit” by Alex Grey, posted in accordance with fair use principles.

Human beings are co creating with the divine in this world.  The Supreme Being puts into motion the greater context, and gives us just the one rule about free will, and a whole lot of pointers, and we fill in the details.  In our fear of our physical mortality and seeking our own immortality, we can fill in a lot of those details with stupid adolescent-level death-dying stunts.  Some or many of us may not physically survive the risks we have been taking. . .but God is still our creative partner in this venture.  There is still this little thing called miracles, and there are still means beyond what our puny human brains can comprehend, for the Grace of the Almighty to save us from our stupid selves.

Think 2018 as a sort of energetic “tipping point’ of sorts.  This is the calendar year in which our choices as human beings, we who have the God-given will to freely choose to harness our energy for the Greater Good under the direction of the Supreme Being. . .or not, will make the choice to do so,or turn the tide against our kind continuing to have this gorgeous planet as our playground.

Door of the Shiva Temple at Lakhamandal, Uttarakhand, India. Shiva in the Hindi pantheon is the God of Death and Transformation. Can we allow ourselves to walk through this door to our destiny?

Vast numbers of spirit are just waiting for humans to call them to help with our current Earthly challenges. Because of free will, they cannot be activated without our explicit thoughts and/or prayers. Image is “Angel Thinking” by Dee L. Sprague, posted in accordance with fair use principles.

The good news is that the forces of the heavens have been mobilized to help us in every way they can, to make the choices that will lead us, one way or the other, to our Creator.

 

We can do this.  I know we can.  We can make America Great, for the first time.

 

 

 

 

We can put spirit in charge and restrain and retrain ego.  We can give up our addiction to greed and power.  Individually and collectively we can join the All-That-Is in whatever way it has in Mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s bring forth the American Spirit!    Let’s Make America Great, for the First Time!

January 31, 2018 Moon over Lady Liberty

Copyright 2018 by the Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

 

The Art and Majesty of Co-Creating with God

From a Sermon given Summer Solstice Worship Service  June 2017

Over the years in this meditation community we have had a number of worship services devoted to exploring the dichotomy of creation and destruction.  The vast majority of these sessions have been primarily about the latter, the destruction side of things.  For the longest time, it was important to help each other get over thinking that destruction is a bad thing.  Like every dichotomy that gets played out on Planet Earth, it is simply what it is.  Destruction, as well as creation, is not intrinsically bad or good.  We needed to get more comfortable with the idea of things coming to an end, things dying, if you will.  We needed to get more skilled at helping destruction happen with a minimal of suffering; and get ready for the times in which we now find ourselves.

And here we are.  You can call where we are in the U.S and the world right now the apocalypse if you want.  My preferred term for this time in our history is the Great Balancing. 

Whatever you call it, we are swimming in a sea of destruction of every aspect of our natural and human world, our environment and infrastructure, our way of life, played out in our political, social, economic and religious systems to name a few.

I was very happy after I realized the implications of being drawn to doing a sermon on co-creating with the divine.  Time for us to get on with reestablishing a new world order, so to speak.  This order is not the kind of order that humans build when we get lost to our need for domination and power over each other.  This world order has to do with the kind of order that naturally arises when we surrender ourselves to the indwelling God.  Or as the Christ would say, as quoted in John 14;27:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.

 

As Ghandi reminds us.

In the interest of some of those in this community making  and helping others to make this miraculous transition, I thought we would explore some of the nuts and bolts of what it actually means to go about co-creating with God.    Co-creation is a concept that resonates with many people but few really could put their finger on the message that those words actually contain or how to make it happen.  So let me give it a shot.

We know that God is an awesome, majestic unending Creative force.  Indeed, one of the most common synonyms used by various religious people for God is the Creator; or the Creator-of-Us-All.

God the Creative Spirit by Alex Grey

Most people also believe that humankind reflects the creativity of the divine, that we are made in God’s image and so we are intrinsically creative.  But what does that actually mean. . .and how do we go about creating in conjunction with, as opposed to opposition to the will of the divine?

As I have been preparing this sermon, I have been watching the news about our current rash of extreme weather.   In my opinion, climate change is one of the clearest reflections of how much we have gotten out of sync with the divine.  Sometimes I can find a slight bit of amusement about the irony of someone like fundamentalist Christian Tony Perkins, leader of the highly influential, hate-filled Family Research Council saying that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for homosexuality and then having his own home destroyed by a flood.  More often I am filled only with sorrow, anger and on my better days, compassion.

But here’s the rub.  Our extreme weather events these days are both a consequence of our inability to understand co-creation; and a call to action for us to start getting with the program.  We can no longer sit on the sidelines and blame God, or attribute to God everything that is happening in our world.   Humans have a LOT to do with what happens on Planet Earth. When you look closely at the political discourse around climate change, the question of who is responsible is what you see at the core.  Too many individuals are trying to pretend, increasingly unsuccessfully, that humans have little or nothing to do with climate change.  For decades, humans have mindlessly slaughtered animals, fouled the oceans and waterways, desecrated the Earth through drilling, mining and most recently fracking, et. al.

The North Pacific Gyre is an area of trash twice the size of Texas consisting of 30 feet deep of mostly plastics, floating in the Pacific Ocean. There are many similar human-generated “dead zones” in our waters, including the 2010 death of about 68,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.

Many indigenous cultures acknowledge Nature as God, This is an image of Pachamama, the Inca Earth Mother Goddess by Jose Garcia Chibbaro.

Destroying the Earth was and is not a God-given mandate.  God is Nature and Nature is God.  God cannot destroy itself.

Humans?  That’s another matter.  You have to be really out of touch with God if you do not see that human animals have set the stage for our own annihilation through our treatment of our physical home.

 

 

It’s hard not to get lost in the fear in regards to our extreme weather events. In actuality, they can be seen from a spiritual perspective that the tornado is right on track, forcing us to wake up.

God/Nature is not punishing us through hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, droughts, etc.  It is giving us our (final) warning(s).

We already have been co-creating with the divine from day one.  It’s our basic nature to do so. We have just not been doing so with any degree of awareness or finesse.   God creates the stars, the planets and the entire Heaven; and we decide how to invite them into our life.  We decide whether to base our health care decisions on the movement of Heavenly bodies through astrology or the science of the physical Earth through biology.

The divine’s awesome creativity is everywhere in nature. Anemone Stinkhorn, (aseroe rubra), a truly beautiful fungus.

God sets forth the rivers, and we decide whether to swim them, sail vessels or construct dams on them.  I’m being a bit simplistic in that all human behavior is based in part on spiritual forces so even the invention and application of technologies contain the hand print of the divine, but you get my drift.

 

 

 

We are in partnership with God one way or the other.  Whether we experience a loving and supportive relationship or some kind of toxic soup depends on our choices.

Over the centuries many people affiliated with many religions have lost their sense of God, lost their faith because they have accepted the lie that everything in our World is up to God.  In human history, loud are the periodic questions about why God allows so much suffering and the episodic conclusions that God has forsaken us.  Our Creator never leaves us.  The Creator loves us enough to allow us to create whatever hell or heaven on Earth we wish to experience.  It waits for us to wake up to the responsibility of free will; and participates joyfully in any partnership which we offer.

So, it’s 120 degrees in Phoenix.  Anyone here want to experience that?   Let’s talk about what we need to not make that a reality in Washington State and elsewhere.   This morning I want to talk about two aspects of co-creation and how to think about it, about which we all could stand to make some progress.

First and foremost, we need to figure out where God actually lives; or in the words often used in religious discussions, where God dwells.  This is one of the great mysteries, is it not?  For eons people have tried to make sense out of the idea that God is everything and everywhere.  And still we have evil and ugliness and things of that ilk that seem far from God-like.   People who do not understand dichotomies often try to resolve this confusion by assigning all the evil and ugliness to what I believe is a mythical creature called Satan or the devil.

Harrowing of Hell, image from England, circa 1240 CE

But then, how can you say that God is everything and everywhere?

We are not going to resolve this mystery today.  After all, mysteries are meant to be mysterious.  But  I want to give you a way to think about it and encourage you to start training your mind, if you haven’t already started this process.  Because it is a critical one.  There is a reason why Jesus of Nazareth talked more about the Kingdom of God than any other topic of his ministry.  He did so because this topic is at the center of human confusion.  Christ was VERY CLEAR.  The Kingdom of God is WITHIN.  Within each one of us, without exception.

God is everywhere and everything.  But God cannot be fully experienced unless we seek our Creator within us, unless we choose with our free will, to know the Father, the Mother, however you want to envision that Creative force, to acknowledge it living in our own God-given space.  The Living God, the indwelling God, can only be fully known within each individual.  Where does God dwell most intently?  Within you, waiting for your discovery of it, your communication, your adoration.  In the words of the 46th Psalm:

Be Still and Know that I Am

 

There is a second part to co-creating with the divine that is critical.  When people first learn to turn within, whether they do that through some form of meditation or prayer, religious practice, surrounding themselves with Nature, great works of art or music, or as my atheist Mother learned to do in the latter part of her life, sitting quietly with her own thoughts over a cup of coffee each morning—whatever the process, people generally have to contend with what in Buddhism is referred to as the “chattering monkeys.”

 

Buddhism emphasizes training the mind. The resulting serenity is reflected in its sacred art.

Encountering your inner world, you will probably find the chaos of the external world that you have fallen into the habit of letting have full access to your brain    You may find the voices of parents and teachers and others who have shaped your reality in the absence of you knowing how to shape your own.   You may even see images or run into stored emotion from periods of time long since gone, from your childhood and from other lifetimes.   For most people it is a process that takes a lot of time to find yourself in all that mess of repressed and out-of-date energies.

In this voyage of self-discovery, it is what comes after finding yourself that is so crucial to the art of co- creating with God.  Once you find yourself, you have to give yourself away.  Not to the world, not to another person, but to your creator.  You have to choose to lay down your resistance.  You have to surrender.

When you think about how many centuries of warfare we have created on Planet Earth, along with its perspective that surrendering is a bad thing, it is amazing that any of us want to or are capable of doing so at all.  But we need to.  We need to learn to give up our ego, which is what surrendering is all about.

Ego is a tricky thing.  Telling someone that they are dealing with their ego is considered an insult.  However, mental health professionals like to talk about “ego strength” as an important part of healthy personalities.  In psychology at least, we acknowledge that ego is not only common but also can come in handy at times.   So here we have another dichotomy.  Ego is neither bad nor good.  It depends on what we do with it.

Ego is the band aids we put over our owies to keep them from getting infected.   It allows us to put pain on hold, repress it until we are more ready to resolve it.  Hurts a little when you rip it off band aids but is really no big deal except for sissies.  Sometimes if the hurt has been huge, ego is like scar tissue, and then it’s a little bigger of a deal to recover from it.  You might even need the help of someone with surgical skills.  The point is, to move forward at some point you are going to need to get better and better at processing hurtful information, as well as resolving earlier repressed pain.

Since the universe is always moving forward, you can do the passive thing and let the universe decide when this point is and let it blindside you.  Or you can ask the universe aka God to set before you that which you need to heal at the time and in the manner that is most pleasing to it.  This is the essence of surrendering.  That is the essence of co-creating with the divine.  You find yourself and you give yourself freely into the hands of the Almighty

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As I write this, I am aware that most of you are primarily focused on the finding-yourself part of spiritual development.  If you want to start practicing the surrendering part of spiritual development, my suggestion is that you make this a part of your daily meditations, however brief.

For several years I ended most of my meditations with a mantra of sorts.  I would maintain a strong focus inward after clearing my space using the techniques you all know how to do; and then I would say slowly and repeatedly, speaking  to the God of my heart, “Make Me an Instrument of Your Love.  Make Me an Instrument of Your Will.”  The first statement was an acknowledgement of my individual path in this life; and my need for help finding it.  The second statement was the surrendering part.   After a couple of years I noticed that much to my chagrin, I was still tripping over my ego on a regular basis.  But I could no longer base major decisions on my ego.  When I would try, I would hit what felt like an invisible brick wall.  As our Muslim brothers and sisters would say:  Allah Akbar, God is greater.   God was answering my prayers and protecting me from the worst of my stupidities.

We all have a lot of learn.

My Creator became a greater participant in creating my life when I, with all of my heart, invited it to play an active role.

If you want to use universal words, surrendering is also a part of the Lord’s Prayer.  Repeat that sacred prayer if it has meaning for you.  Thy Will be Done.  Not My Will or Our Will, Thy Will.

Find your own methodology.  Create your own words but give your energy to the indwelling divine.   The extent to which you do this will dictate the amount of the peace talked about by the Christ you will experience.  As the Tibetan meditation master Ajahn Chah says:  “If you let go a little you a will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.”

So back to it being 120 degrees in Phoenix this week.  Can we really change our descent into global heating enough to take the human species off the endangered species list?  Possibly.  Probably.  I don’t know yet.  But what I do know is that not only is the endpoint at hand, but so is the beginning point.

This I also know as truth:  We can’t do it by ourselves.  We are going to need to use our collective will and enormous creativity to lay our fate in the hands of the divine.

Glory to our Creator for all of the Beauty around us. Now let us do our part!

The solutions are far beyond what human brains can envision on our own.  Join me in asking for the intercession of the universe, as we learn to harness our own God-given creativity in the service of us all.

 

 

Copyright 2017 by the Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

The Illusion of Time

From a Sermon given Summer Solstice Worship Service 2016

This fine morning I want to talk to you about time.  This sermon is a little more advanced than I usually present.  It is not something you are going to understand using your rational brain.  So please feel free to just let my words surround you, and awaken within you whatever is evoked by them and resonates.

At the Church of the Harvest, we try to focus on what makes you more aware of yourself as spirit.  Thus I have entitled my sermon the “illusion of time.”  Time, like everything else in the physical world is ultimately an illusion.  Time is an aspect of what in Indian culture is called the “maya.” Maya is a Sanskrit word.  In early Vedic writings “maya” referred to extraordinary power and wisdom, but as the concept developed over centuries “maya” came to be seen as the world always changing; and changing such that it becomes nearly impossible to see things as they really are.  In other words, “maya” implies the infinite reality of spirit that cannot be fully understood by human beings in terms of being contained by the human brain as it is presently constituted.

time3

Time is an illusion.  For you as spirit there is no time.  When your body passes away, you will leave the space-time continuum that exists on Planet Earth and return to the eternal heart of our Creator.  And when you come back to this Planet, assuming you will, you will again submerge into the time-space continuum that is necessary for the enormous power and wisdom that is you, to slow down enough to function in physical matter.

Time-space continuum.  That’s one of those phrases that people freely use, know there is some kind of truth to it, but don’t really know what it is.  You hear New Agers sometimes talk about the time-space continuum.  Or maybe you’ve heard about the concept from science fiction shows like Star Trek.  Some of the best descriptions of the time-space continuum come from the physical sciences.

einsteinmain

The time-space continuum burst into human consciousness primarily through the work of Albert Einstein, a man who was able to bring spiritual truths through scientific inquiry using mathematics, which he called the language of God.  Einstein taught us that time and space is actually the same thing, they exist on a continuum.  He challenged our views of time as static.  He talked about how an object in motion actually experiences time at a slower rate than an object at rest.

This is the kind of concept that the rational human brain has a hard time wrapping itself around.   Isn’t time always the same?  Well no, actually it’s not.  It changes.

time2

I was given the opportunity to learn about the non-static nature of time, the illusion of time, during the automobile accident in 1998 about which several of you have heard me talk.  I was horribly “late” for an event for which I thought I absolutely could not be late.  I was driving much too fast on a gravelly backcountry road, when I lost control at a sharp turn of the road and flipped the car.

These days nearly 20 years later, I rarely think about the miracle that I survived.  Or the fact that I was taken to the emergency room where the medical staff seemed to think there was something fishy about what the ambulance personnel were reporting after rescuing me from a ditch by the side of the road.  I not only had no broken bones, I didn’t have any lacerations or even any significant bruising.  They could not find anything wrong with me.

These days, what I often think about is the gift I was given that day I learned that time is an illusion.  I was thrown out the car window nearly fifteen feet away–so they tell me.  The car was totaled.  But what I experienced in a very visceral and real way was that time literally froze.  I can recall hovering above my body and spending what seemed to be many, many minutes “minutely” fine-tuning every muscle and curvature of my body so that it would land in EXACTLY the right way.   Apparently as spirit, I had decided it was not time to leave the body permanently or even damage it in order to learn what I set out to learn.  Instead, I raised my vibration level to such a rapid degree that time was unrecognizable so that I could position my body in the manner that would sustain minimal damage.

Time is an illusion. . .but it is a very powerful one, as I also learned that day.  I never allowed myself to drive at an excessive speed again, no matter how important a meeting was for which I was late.  Because time is an illusion only for spirit.  For the body, it is where we live. In the physical, there is only the present moment. And it is very important for the body that we live in present time.  As the science fiction author Ray Cummings has said, “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”  Can you imagine what it would be like if every thought you ever had, every emotion you’ve ever felt, every experience you have gone through all happened at the same time?  If you as spirit are not working within the body’s need for time (and space), all hell can break loose.

All lifeforms require that we work correctly with time.  When an animal is hungry, it needs to find food then, not some indeterminate time in the future.  If it does not, its very life is threatened.  When a plant needs water, it cannot be provided whenever.  The plant will wither and die if it does not receive water at the time when it needs it.  The reason I decided to talk about time today at our Summer Solstice service is because currently on our planet, all hell is breaking loose in large part because there are too many people not paying attention, or the right kind of attention to time.

We need to understand both the illusion of time and the fact that it is a powerful one which we have to take into account if we are going to manifest our essential nature as spirit here on Planet Earth.  We are here to learn about creating as spirit through matter, and there are several challenges that each of us need to meet for that learning to have an optimal outcome.

These days more and more people understand some of the basics about the space aspect of the time-space continuum.  In the United States we’ve been talking about codependency for several years now, which is just another way of people learning to work through their own space and not trying to work through others in the name of “fixing” them somehow.  We’ve been talking more and more about the importance of and what it really means to “consent” to sexual encounters.  And we increasingly dialogue about diversity, meaning that individuals can have a variety of different experiences that we need to respect with their free will within the context of a complex social fabric.

Most recently the entire world has been hot on the trail of trying to understand and diminish violence, whether perpetrated by gun-wielding haters, war mongers, bullies, human traffickers, exploiters of vulnerable others, or even the equipment that we use to protect (or not) the heads of football players.  We’ve been learning about economic, racial, sexual and other forms of inequality and privilege, and having national debates about how best and how much to help people that don’t have enough, without forcing them to live our chosen lifestyles.

These issues are all manifestations of trying to make sense of the dichotomy that as spirit, we are all one; but as a physical presence, we each have a body for which we are independently responsible.  These are not new issues.  Humans have tried to make sense of this paradox from the beginning of our time, but many people are on the verge of balancing these key dichotomies; and the space aspect of our physical existence that makes them so difficult to comprehend.

In my opinion, there has been less progress on the time aspect of the time-space continuum.  There is some interest in concepts like mindfulness, which is at its essence just a way to help people learn to live in the present moment.  But too many people have the vast majority of their energy tied up with the past, or the future; and are not very present in their actual physical body.  time-travel

When you are out of sync with yourself individually, that is to say when spirit is not creating in conjunction with the body’s need for time, at the very least you probably “waste” a lot of time; and at the worst you create pain and loss.  And YES, everything has a purpose, and YES, even the times of losing your way can help you learn. . .but do you really want to learn using pain and not joy as the vehicle for change?    53e6ead70d9c487e90883d8f579bd66f

When individuals are not in sync timewise—or as we say around here, having a body/spirit split—all kinds of disharmony is possible.  You can just waste resources, such as when people hoard a lot of material goods they don’t need  because they are living in past lives when they did not have enough; or trying to prepare for a future they can sense but can’t really see, where their fear says there will probably be less.  Some of the problem with hoarding includes the fact that people tend to be owned by too much stuff rather than owning it; and in the end excessive amounts of stuff usually deteriorates anyway if it is not being used.

Even if you don’t collect things when you are unaware of time, other disharmony is possible.  People can waste opportunities, opportunities that do not easily come again.  Some of the greatest regrets that are verbalized by those who are dying, are that they did not spend their time wisely, did not spend more time with their children or their family, did not travel, make music or art, or pursue some other dream.

In Erik Erikson’s final stage of human development, older individuals either integrate their life. . .or leave it feeling disgust with themselves and despair.  To put this in spiritual language, I can tell you that there is probably nothing more dehabilitating than getting to the endpoint with your body and realizing you have failed to learn what you came here this life to learn, failed to walk your path. . .and need to do it all again at another time.

Rest assured, I really have no fears about that level of disharmony with anyone present today.  You would not be here hearing my words unless you are closer to integrating body and spirit.  But I do have some concerns about our understanding of time as a society and as a world.  When many individuals are out of sync timewise—all kinds of disharmony are possible within our collective society. There are far too many people in key leadership positions, politically, economically, religiously, and throughout almost all of our other institutions that are living in the past or living in the future; and have no real ability to help with the problems of the present. confederate-flag-rally

In regards to the past for example, we have hundreds of people who still think they are fighting the civil war; thousands of Westerners who don’t even believe in past lives acting like they did when they were a part of the Roman Empire with all the world to subjugate; millions of people in other parts of the globe who are willing to wage war in a futile attempt to return their lifestyle to pre-industrial revolution days, etc.

preppers

And don’t get my started about people living in the future.  We can acknowledge the intense fear of preppers who are putting all their energy into a false notion that they alone will be able to meet our collective challenges by hiding away; along with the millions of Americans who believe that God will rapture them away from our sins against the planet.  It is hard to deny that those who are putting their energy into living in a future that will likely be very different from the one they expect are wasting their time.  As we used to say in the sixties, they are part of the problem, not the solution. When you stick your head, i.e. your consciousness in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, you are not helping the very real challenges we face together as a species.  Because the sad truth, my friends, is that the endpoint for human animals on Earth, as well as for many other animals is far too near.

politicans-discussing-global-warming-sculpture-by-issac-cordal-berlin

Politicans Discussing Global Warming. Sculpture by Issac Cordal, Berlin

So what needs to be said to those of us who mostly understand space; and are beginning to understand time from a spiritual perspective?  Time is an illusion, but a powerful one.  Address it head on.  To the extent that you want to continue to operate as spirit on this gorgeous planet called Earth, please honor NOW the Mother Earth as our body-at-large, by increasing your awareness about time.  Be aware of the fact that collectively we are running out of Time. time-busyness

Please do not run my words through the programming so rampant in Western culture that you need to do more.  What I am saying is. . .in your individual life, do Time more wisely. For you, that might mean that you do less. Be in charge of the portion of Time you can control in your own space.  Use the techniques that you know to put spirit in charge of your own life more completely.  Ground for safety sake.  Center to bring you peace of mind and the ability to confront our challenges without getting lost to anger, grief, and/or despair.  Run your energy to clear sources of confusion and disharmony from your space.

Talk to the divine within.  Ask what you are spending your time on that you don’t need to be doing or thinking.  Ask what you are not spending your time doing or thinking that needs to be more of a focus.  Be still enough to listen for the answers.  And know that whatever changes you make as a result of these internal conversations will have a ripple effect, in some cases a major ripple effect, on all the people around you who are not similarly paying attention.

Some of these changes in how you spend your time will be big ones and some small.  Some will involve other people and some will not.  Join the human family with greater awareness, as we all learn more completely to be spirit in human form on Mother Earth.

Copyright 2016 by the Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

God, the Creator

From the sermon given at the Spring Equinox Worship Service, March 23, 2003.

In this, the first of our year’s services devoted to creativity, we will be focusing on the idea of God the Creator.

I thought I would start out by talking a little about what I mean when I use the word creativity.  Usually when people use the word creativity, they apply it to people who are involved with certain occupations or activities, such as musicians or architects, writers or actors.  Creativity conjures up images of gifted individuals, people we think of as “artists,” who create an object of some sort:  a painting, a sculpture, a song or musical piece that can be reduced to a sheet of music.

Too often we think that for someone to be considered creative, they should be an individual with extraordinary talent who contributes something tangible to the world, something that appeals to our senses, something that can be heard, felt, tasted or seen.  Sometimes, we are a bit more charitable and we label as creative an individual who is more of an ordinary person but one who puts their heart and soul into creating an object of admiration.  We might consider the housewife who consistently serves her family gourmet meals, or the hobbyist who produces birdhouses out of old barn wood in his garage as creative people.  But in any case, creativity gets associated with things of the physical.  In our physical world, creativity is a trait that is primarily validated if it results in physical matter.

Creative Energy is a powerful force, whether raw or engineered.

Creative Energy is a powerful force, whether raw or engineered.

In reality, creativity is a spiritual trait that may or may not manifest into physical matter.  Creative energy is the basic building block of the universe.  Scientists tell us that all matter is comprised of small bits or waves that form atoms, particles that we cannot see smell, taste, feel, hear, or see, at least with our naked eyes.  We accept the belief that atoms exist, nonetheless.  So too, all of spiritual reality results from creative energy in some form or fashion.  All of life reflects the infinite possibilities that exist as a result of the variations of vibrations originating from creative energy.  God, the Creator of everything and everyone in our universe, created us in unimaginable variety, and created us in its image.  That is to say that we reflect our origin, and our origin is creative beyond our wildest imagination.  Creativity is our birthright, it is our heritage, it is our natural state of being.  Creativity is not extraordinary.  It is very much ordinary.

When we look around us at the world, at first it does not seem to be a world full of creativity.  It is a harsh world out there, one full of pain and ugliness, fear, and despair, hatred, and other debilitating energies.  It’s easy to understand why we would want to focus only on noticing our creativity when it results in great works of art or music.  Those are usually the bright spots in the otherwise dark reality of the world we have created.  We like to notice our creativity when it results in things we like.  We don’t like to notice it when it results in things we don’t like.

But we have created it all, the bad and the good, the ugly as well as the beautiful, the pain as well as the joy, the war as well as the peace.  God so loved and continues to loves us that our Creator also gave us one of the greatest gifts of all:  free will, or dominion, as it is known in the passage I will read you from Genesis later in this service.  We get to create anything we want, including hell on Earth, if that suits our needs.

We are all spirit and we all have an infinite ability to create our lives.  The single Mom in Topeka, Kansas who struggles to raise five kids on welfare may not feel very creative, but each and every day that she gets through requires tremendous creative energy on her part.  The homeless guy in downtown Olympia whose day is spent in pursuit of a warm place to be in between meals at Bread and Roses and a cot at the Salvation Army is exercising his creativity in the service of his survival.  He may not be producing a work of art that will be present after he leaves this physical plane, but his creativity is no less valid than that of Pablo Picasso; and is certainly more relevant to his own needs.  Each and every individual soul gets to decide what type of life experience he or she wants, and is given enough creative energy in pursuit of that experience.

As I was thinking about what I wanted to create through this sermon, I found my thoughts often wandering to examination of the issue of the one-to-one correspondence of life.  The Bible tells us that we are created in God’s image.  But as a species, we have a tendency to turn that around, and try to force the physical to dominate the spiritual.  In our arrogance, we’d rather think about it as God being created in our image.  And so, the history of religion is the history of people trying to remake God as a reflection of our view of humanity, whatever that view is in that country or culture.

Cave Painting, circa 15,000 BC

Cave Painting, circa 15,000 BC

Archeologists tell us that religion and art began during the same time period, in other words, around the time that our physical bodies transitioned from a four-legged species to a two-legged naked ape.  As soon as we became distinctly human, we created.  We created images of the world around us in our cave paintings.  And we created religions, religions that were primarily devoted to nature.  The first images of the divine were an attempt to acknowledge God in the physical world around us.  God was not some gray-haired white dude with a beard sitting in the clouds.  At least not for several thousands of years.  Initially, God was the sun and the moon and the stars, and the wind, and the rain, lakes and rivers and the harvest, and the animals.  And the divine came not only in many forms but did so simultaneously.  There were Gods everywhere, not just a God.  As a group, we were learning to live through physical matter, and validated the creative source around and in us, by acknowledging life everywhere.

Cherokee Corn Mother

Cherokee Corn Mother

As groups of humans began to transition into human civilizations, our images of the divine also began to transition.  The Gods of early cultures were amazingly human.  They were imbibed with human emotion, often consumed with lust, greed, petty rivalries and sexual jealousy.  The Old Testament, the foundation for the Judeo-Christian tradition with which most of us were raised, essentially spoke of several Gods, albeit by talking about several “aspects” of one God.  The God of the Old Testament physically walked and talked with us mere mortals, was demanding, competitive, jealous and seemingly arbitrary, and functioned primarily as a tribal deity.  In this latter capacity, this very human image of God was designed to protect favored groups of people and punish others with a great deal of vindictive violence.  It is no coincidence that we created this God in our image during a time in our history in which there were increasing numbers of humans on Earth, and increasing opportunities for intercultural strife.

Rape of Persephone (by Greek God Hades) by Alessandro Allori (1536-1607)

Rape of Persephone (by Greek God Hades) painted by Alessandro Allori (1536-1607)

As human society further evolved, so did our concepts about the divine.  In the Western part of the world, we made the leap to an image of one God who, at least theoretically, created all of the universe.  The three great monotheistic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–eventually came down strongly on the side of the argument that there is only one God.  Unfortunately, the followers of each religious tradition were not able to imagine this deity as embracing all.  To this day, adherents of these faiths still have largely not let go of the “tribal thinking” part of their earlier belief systems.  The God for each of these religions tends to be held out as one which favors and protects that part of the universe which is inhabited by that particular set of followers, to the detriment of other humans.

I think that the current conflict between Iraq and the United States is due, in large part, to the need of both countries to battle for supremacy of their mutually-exclusive tribal-based belief systems.  It is my sincere hope that out of this war will come the understanding that God favors no one.  God simply is.  Or said another way, God favors everyone.  Hopefully increasing number of people will understand that our salvation comes when we allow God to create through our lives, as opposed to attempting to force a human agenda upon God through our images of the Creator-of-Us-All.  We need to grow up further.  We need to learn to approach the divine from a more realistic, humbled spiritual perspective, rather than a distinctly human ego-based one.

Black Hole

The magical strength, beauty and mystery of a Black Hole as seen by powerful telescope.

In the meantime, if you would like to think of God as a wise old man in the sky, feel free.  If you would prefer to think of a Goddess who is a matriarch with pregnant-like creativity, feel free. If you would like to think of the divine as absent in our reality, like the Sky God of many aborigine tribes, or even as absent as an atheist might consider absence, feel free.  If you would like to think of God as simply nature, so be it.  Here at the Church of the Harvest you can connect and communicate with the creative source of the universe any way you wish as long as you do not interfere with the connection or communication of others.  God bless you and keep you as you exercise your God-given creative energy in pursuit of your own dreams.

Copyright 2003 by Rev. Resa Eileen Raven

Prosperity

From a sermon given June 1999 at the Summer Solstice Worship Service:

Prosperity is a very hot topic these days here on Planet Earth.  Many people seek it, even in these days of dwindling resources when people are increasingly aware that there is a limit to what is provided by the Universe free of charge to those of us playing the game of life.  So I thought I’d spend a few minutes this morning talking about my views on what prosperity is and more importantly, what it is not.  Usually it’s easier to find something when you understand what you are looking for.

Until lately, the topic of prosperity hasn’t interested me much.  Like many of us, I was raised in a family and a community that was built on a foundation of scarcity, despite outward indicators of abundance.  There was always food on the table and money for basic necessities but there was also the unspoken sense that the outward stuff could disappear at any moment.  Both my parents had barely survived the Great Depression in the United States, so they were uneasy with their new-found economic advantages.  But as a kid, I was more focused on their uneasiness than the source of it.  I had many basic questions such as why my father worked so hard he didn’t have any time for his children, even though he clearly loved them; and why my mother didn’t seem to enjoy anything about her life, even though she seemed to have everything moms were said to need.  Although I didn’t have the words for it as a child, I was tuned into the poverty of spirit around me.  In a sense, I have been dealing with prosperity, or its alter ego poverty, all my life.  I just haven’t been very interested in the monetary aspect of it until more recently.

I first began to look more deeply at the concept of prosperity about fifteen years ago when I was going through the seminary.  At that time I belonged to a church full of very insightful, interesting and powerful people who were teaching me the basics of working with energy–my own, other people’s and the energy of the universe.  At some point a workshop on Prosperity was scheduled that I was not planning to attend but about which many of the people around me were excited.  And then, expectantly, it was canceled.  And the word came down through the ranks that the church leadership were not able to handle the energy from the workshop.  Now THAT got my attention.  Here were some of the bravest, most talented people I had ever met who were doing amazing things, performing miracles on a daily basis, but who were saying that they did not have what it took to deal with the topic of prosperity.  It was then that I realized that prosperity is a concept of great depth.

Since that time I have paid attention to how prosperity gets played out in our shared world.  I am here this morning to tell you about three conclusions I have reached in the last fifteen years, three principles if you will, principles that I believe are true.

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First of all, Prosperity is about wealth of the spirit, not wealth of the body.

This is very important to understand.  Perhaps you have run across one of the thousands of courses, classes, workshops, study groups, organizations, or whatever, that exist in the community that purport to teach people how to create monetary wealth.  Sadly, there are even entire “prosperity churches” that are dedicated to this goal.

If you are in need of money, taking a class on such physical aspects as how to play the stock market, set up savings plans, buy real estate or whatever, may be a good idea for you.  Just don’t delude yourself into thinking that what you are doing is increasing your prosperity.  You may be increasing your monetary resources, which may or may not be a good thing for your overall spiritual development.  But this has little or no connection to your real prosperity level.  People can have a lot of money and no prosperity.  Conversely, people have little or no material resources but an abundant and dynamic prosperity.

Prosperity is about inner wealth, a sense of richness in one’s lived experience.

What I call “true prosperity” is having the experiences that you as spirit want to be having in your life to learn what you came here to learn. . .and if it takes money for you to have those experiences, so be it.

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Second of all, Prosperity comes with a price.

We don’t like to hear that.  Indeed, this a message that is almost entirely absent in all those thousands of courses, classes, workshops, study groups, organizations that are often so happy to take your money to teach you how to be prosperous.  We prefer to think of prosperity as a free lunch.  It’s not at all free.  What is the price of prosperity?  Responsibility, of course.

“True” prosperity is a manifestation of energy, like everything else.  If you have a lot of it, you are necessarily gong to be dealing with a lot of energy.  The more you have, the more you must take care of, must work with responsibly. . .or you lose it.  The universe gives freely to those who wish to receive, but it also takes back–eventually if not right away–what is misused, taken by those who cannot handle the gift, or otherwise received ungraciously.

If you can’t handle the responsibility of increased prosperity, you will find that people rush in to take it from you or control you through it.  control

Or you may develop an illness that uses up all those resources, or whatever.  I’m reminded of all the lottery winners who end up dying of a heart attack or something shortly after their win.

It’s not a question that somehow you didn’t “deserve” that increased level of resources.  The universe is much more fair than that.  It’s only a question of the energy flowing to where it ultimately can best be utilized.  Think of true prosperity as a raging river.  You can dam it up or try to divert it to something other than its natural causeway and sometimes, if you’re in sync enough with nature and you’ve taken the time to do the necessary engineering and environmental studies, that may work.  If you haven’t done your work or you’re trying to force something unnatural onto the Earth, the river will overflow its new banks, become stagnant, or otherwise have problems.

In this case, “doing the work” means spending the time getting to know yourself and your spiritual purpose; and if you truly require a large amount of material resources in order to serve that purpose, being prepared to pay the price of living life on a raging river.

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Third of all, All prosperity comes from God, and all true prosperity is in the service of God.

The creator knows no lack.  Nonetheless, that infinite wisdom allows us to create scarcity because of its endless love for us and perhaps its greatest gift to us:  the gift of free will.  People ask me all the time:  isn’t abundance limitless?  God has no limits; but we do.  And sometimes we impose those limits on ourselves for reasons that make sense even to us, if we were honest with ourselves.  And sometimes we impose those limits on ourselves for reasons that we are not yet willing and/or capable of understanding.  And sometimes we impose those limits because we are lost.

It’s all up to us.

We get to be rich in spirit or impoverished, depending on our soul’s desire and that choices we make in trying to bring that desire to fruition.  Not coincidentally, we get to be rich in physical resources or impoverished, depending on what we are trying to learn, want to experience and the choices we make in creating that experience.

Only you can examine your conscience, and discover what your prosperity needs to be to accomplish your purpose in life.

I’d like to end my sermon this morning with the words that I was drawn to last year after praying for several days for insight about the name of this new church that we were about to incorporate.  I woke up one morning knowing the name was in Luke, Chapter 10, Verse 2:

The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.

Pray thee therefore to the Lord of the harvest.

That he would send for the laborers into his harvest.

Copyright 1999  Rev. Resa Eileen Raven

Angels and Devils: The True Nature of Good and Evil

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From a sermon given September 2002 at the Fall Equinox Worship Service

When we originally picked the topic for this service, I had no idea it was such a controversial one. I just thought it would fun to look at one manifestation of a great roadblock that faces individuals and society as a whole who are trying to find peace. That is: the tendency of all of us to divide the world into good and evil.

Planet Earth really is a world of dichotomies; a vast playground full of polarized opposites. It is our job to notice these opposites and learn to choose the middle ground, the high ground so to speak. Other places in the universe do not provide this same challenge of polar opposites. The overarching defining principle of Planet Earth is that we have been gifted with free will. To maximize the learning process upon which we are all engaged, it is helpful for us to be presented with a wide range of opportunities so that we can learn to make choices that are productive and in keeping with divine intention. We are constantly given choices that involve one extreme or another. Thereby we can choose, if we want, to find the balanced perspective in between the extremes. That middle ground is where the peace lies, the inner peace for individuals; and the outward manifestation of it–the peaceful coexistence for groups of individuals.

The tendency for we humans to dichotomize runs so deep that we create situation after situation of “us versus them” in the world at large. As humans, our very brains become accustomed to, and find it most familiar to process the world from an either-or perspective. That same tendency runs deep enough in our basic makeup that we even dichotomize the world of spirit, much as we dichotomize the material world. Thus, in most religious traditions there exists angels, who are the good guys; and devils, who are the bad guys. Sometimes the latter are talked about as fallen angels, acknowledging that they are simply a point in a continuum; and sometimes they are seen as a class of villains by themselves with no particular angelic etiology.

It’s been many years since I looked at the concept of angels and devils. I deal with the spirit world on a daily basis, but I use other filters with which to view that reality. So to prepare for this sermon, and reacquaint myself with how many or most people think about angels and devils, I did what any good researcher would do: I watched a lot of movies.

There is a plethora of messages about the spirit world coming through these days. In this time and place, as the heavens and earth move ever closer together, and the basic fabric of the time-space continuum transforms, our culture is flooded with spiritual images and archetypes to which many people are exposed, often without any real awareness of what it all means. Angels and devils are everywhere in increasing amounts—not just confined to paintings in museums or gargoyles on structures built in medieval times; but on key chains and other knickknacks, and Hallmark cards, and on television, shoes, and rock songs. I am told, angels are mentioned in one out of every ten popular songs. However, movies are one of my favorite ways of tuning into popular culture, so I will start there.

There are some great movies out there that work us over on a subliminal level in a positive direction. I would recommend three in particular:  Michael, in which John Travolta plays a beer-drinking, ball-scratching, bull-fighting babe magnet as the Angel of Destruction. Then there is Devil’s Advocate, in which Al Pacino is a magnificent Lucifer trying to charm an attorney played by Keanu Reeves into fathering the Anti-christ. And my personal favorite is Dogma, a movie that was subjected to a concerted boycott by fundamental Christian groups, always a good sign. Armageddon is the main event in Dogma, with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon playing fallen angels, the talented Alan Rickman as one of the angels on the right hand of God, and George Carlin with a short stint as a Catholic cardinal who doesn’t even get that the battle is raging.

Hollywood movies, as fun as they are and as important as they are at both reflecting and shaping our thought processes, are considered only entertainment. So I also did research into how most people are viewing the subject of devils and angels by reading various serious popular and religious texts. And that’s where the real fun begins. Because, as with most aspects of spirituality, people are all over the map. There is no consensus about the nature of the spiritual beings we call angels and devils.

As it turns out, the Christian Bible, that ultimate source document for many people in the United States, is strangely quiet on this subject. Although there are a number of references to angels, there are very few actual details contained therein. In the accepted scriptures of the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition , there are angels who exist to worship God, and angels who are sent out by him to protect, destroy, or carry messages to mankind. But we do not know much about who these beings are, where they live, or what they typically do in an ordinary angel day. There are only two angels who are actually named in the Bible: Michael, and Gabriel. This is not very much information about beings than are generally considered to be more numerous than the stars. I am told that in the 14th century, the number of angels was calculated by certain segments of Christianity as numbering 301, 655, 722.

Information about devils in the Bible is also largely or wholly missing. Satan is mentioned sporadically. In the Old Testament he is more in the role of a prosecuting attorney in ongoing theological debates than an evil figure. In the New Testament, he is certainly not the tunnel-visioned, stand-alone, cartoon-like figure that is portrayed by many present-day Christians.

For example, in Matthew, Chapter 17, Jesus of Nazareth has a disagreement with Simon Peter. This is directly after Jesus has told Peter that Peter is the rock upon which Jesus’s church will be built, so obviously within the context of Jesus having a great deal of faith in Peter and his abilities. Jesus tells his disciples that he will soon be crucified, and Peter tells Jesus that this isn’t going to happen. Jesus says to Peter, you are thinking from the ways of man, not God; get out of the way, Satan. What I hear from this story is Jesus’s acknowledgment that even the strongest and brightest of us can have energy not aligned with God. I do not hear validation for a separate being which we might simplistically call “the Devil.”

There is actually, a lot of information about angels and devils out there in popular literature and apocryphal or noncanonical literature, but none of the world’s religions seem to have a consistent, coherent stance on the subject. In polytheistic systems of religious belief, there seems to be more mention of but less focus on angels and devils, probably because when you base religions on inward meditation and not outward-based truth-seeking, you have less need for intermediary spirits between an individual soul and the Cosmic Consciousness.

In all the great monotheistic religions, devils and angels galore exist, but also a great deal of controversy about them, even within each church or religious denomination. Even in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and the like, there are many acknowledged spirits or devas that pursue out good or bad ends.

At various times in various ways Jews, Christians, and Muslims have all gone through periods of awakening interest in the functioning of the spirit world; followed by periods of anxiety that acknowledgement and exploration of the spirit world will lead to an undermining or destruction of faith in the teachings of the church; followed by further periods of rediscovering sacred literature about angels and devils; followed by further rejection by church leaders in the populace’s interest in these entities, etc.

For the record, I will tell you that personally, I do believe that there are spirits that will assist us in following God’s will, if we choose to avail ourselves of their assistance, spirits that might accurately be labeled “angels.” In the words of the 91rst Psalm, Verses 10-11:

He will give his angels charge of you,
To guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

I don’t know about you, but I am very prone to dashing my feet against stone, and consequently am quite glad for the assistance of the spirit world, which I receive freely when I remember to call upon them.

I also believe that there are spirits who are more than willing to encourage us in making choices that are detours on our path back to God, many who are simply curious or mischievous; and a few that rise to the level that might be called evil. The former could be called devils and the latter “the Devil,” if you prefer that terminology.

Ultimately, however, it is our choice who we hang out and allow around us, and who we follow–whether they have a body they work through or not. Because we have free will. We demand of the substance abuser that if they claim to be sincere in controlling their drug-seeking behavior, they must surround themselves with those who will support patterns of sobriety and other pro-social behavior. So too, is it up to us to surround ourselves with those who will lead us to the righteous pathway. When we can acknowledge the self-responsibility that derives from our free will from a place of awareness and a place of nonjudgment, than we can make clearer and more productive choices that are the more direct route to the true peace that comes only from connection to our Source.

So what is the True Nature of Good and Evil? You know me. Of course, I’m not going to impose my truth upon you. Feel free to discover your answers in your meditations over time. But I would like to leave you now with an interesting tidbit I ran across in my research. According to Malcolm Godwin, who wrote a book called Angels:  An Endangered Species, among the stories about the war between the angels in heaven in various Christian texts, there was one version that was suppressed by the Catholic Church. In this version of genesis or the apocalypse or whenever this war supposedly takes place, there were three groups of angels, not two. One-third sides with God, one-third with the Devil, and one-third chooses to stay out of the conflict. Reportedly it was this third group of angels, the ones who chose neutrality, the not-very-bad but not-very-good-ones, who later bring the Holy Grail to Earth.

Copyright 2002  Rev. Resa Eileen Raven