Listening to the Mountains; Honoring Mother Earth

From a Sermon given Spring Equinox Worship Service  March 22, 2020

In Greek mythology there is a story about how the seasons came to be created that is worth retelling this morning.  According to early Greek culture, Demeter, the Goddess of Harmony and Fertility, had a child with Zeus, God of the Sky, King of all the Gods.  Their daughter Persephone was a beautiful young woman, if somewhat naïve.  Demeter was overprotective and usually kept her daughter very close.

One of the other Gods, Hades, who ruled the underworld, fell in love with Persephone.  Zeus had promised Hades that he could wed one of Zeus’s daughters but Hades knew that Demeter would never allow the marriage. . .so one day when Persephone was in a field picking flowers by herself, Hades showed up, kidnapped her and took her to his kingdom beneath the earth.

Demeter didn’t know what had happened to her daughter and was extremely distraught. She spent all her time weeping and searching endlessly.  As the months went on, all the plants and animals on Earth withered and died because Demeter completely neglected her duty to tend to them.  In order to save humanity who depended on the plants and animals Zeus realized he had to intervene so he brokered a deal between Hades and Demeter.

In this classic 1891 painting from Frederic Leighton entitled “The Return of Persephone,” the Goddess is returned by Hades to the arms of her mother so that spring and new life can come again to the Earth. Painting used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

From then on Persephone lived with her mother six months out of the year which is when the Earth experiences spring and summer; and with the husband she eventually fell in love the other six months, which is when we experience fall and winter.

Origin stories are always rich conveyers of spiritual truth, using symbols to remind humans of what we need to understand to act as spirit in the material world.  Greek and Roman mythological tales are particularly important to those of us in the United States since they reflect the thought forms upon which Western civilization was founded.

There are many important messages imbedded in the story of Demeter and Persephone but the one I want to direct your attention to this morning is the theme of the Earth dying; and being resurrected again when fertility in the form of the Goddess of Spring returns after a period underground.

We are indeed loved by thousands. Not only do we “stand on their shoulders” in regards to any movement we make forward, we also have them always with us and accessible to us if we know how to tune into the spiritual world. Spirit knows no time or place. Image used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

Persephone spent time in Hades but Hades was not an evil place like we Westerners might assume. To the Greeks, Hades was simply a resting place for the dead.  Death itself was not resisted and rejected in the same way we approach it in the “New World.” Hades was a place for the ancestors and also for the unseen.  From a psychological perspective, one might say that Hades was the residence of the collective unconscious, a place where thoughts and feelings reside until they can be acknowledged and brought back into the light.

 

 

 

 

So here we are on Planet Earth.  In the calendar year 2020 we have just entered springtime. This isn’t the usual springtime of daffodils and baby bunnies, though, because in this calendar year we are also beginning a new phase of human consciousness.

Many are still in Hades, struggling to find their way out of the depth of unconsciousness represented by that formidable location.  Those who have been working to become aware of and heal uncomfortable aspects that in our guilt and shame we previously buried, have a heads start on emerging from the underworld into the fertility that is Gaia.

Many of us have even been focused on our healing long enough that we are beginning to effectively work more consciously with the ancestors, angels, saints and other non-embodied spiritual presences that have always lived alongside of us, been available and been waiting for our invitation to join us in the abundance that is Mother Earth. Some of us are even on the threshold of learning to bend time, a necessity for the human race to persevere.

One of the ways I find myself thinking about the world right now is that our illusions are being forcefully stripped away so we can find our way back to Mother Earth if we so choose. For many this is a violent and painful process, in part because their individual foundation for changes of the magnitude of this kind is not yet in place.

Many people are finding it very emotionally difficult to shelter-in-place, a key component of physical safety right now. It has been a wake-up call for them to discover how much they have depended on busyness to distract them. Loneliness is one of the most painful kinds of intrapsychic pain. The good news though, is that it is also one of the biggest lies on Planet Earth. You are never alone, even if you live by yourself. Loneliness is one the illusions that is being stripped from those who have been avoiding turning within.

For some the resistance to change is too entrenched, and/or the pain is too great and the choice is being made to leave the Planet altogether, in hopes for a new beginning at another time.

People who are waiting to be rescued by others are learning they must find the creativity within themselves and their immediate surrounding community to withstand the ongoing forces of hurricanes and tornadoes, fires and floods and famine and the like.  Some folks like those of us in the Pacific Northwest who have been privileged to avoid the worst of climate change are discovering that we don’t get to fail to connect the dots to other people and retreat into “life as usual” mode when things get overwhelming. We might not yet have the same level of extreme weather events, but we are increasingly impacted by what the rest of the world’s population is going through.

The “new normal” is that nowhere is there normality. Nor is there going to be when the coronavirus crisis is handled. Our old way of life is toast. Our new way of life involves a vastly different lifestyle.

People like the professionals in our health care system who are used to casting themselves in the role of rescuer are learning that to survive, we must all dig deeper into our soul to find those parts of our psyche and prioritize rescuing ourselves so we may re balance in a new place.  Additionally we must learn to serve others under the direction of the divine, rather than ego.

I guarantee you as we move forward into this year nothing substantive in our physical world is going to ever look the same again.  The corona virus pandemic is giving many a taste of what is further to come.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for vaccines or whatever to eliminate it; and then expect your world to return to the way it was previously.

Human history has had multiple times in which viruses and other smaller forms of life break down our man-made defenses when we become seriously out of balance with Nature. The Bubonic Plague that killed 200 million people in the 1300s, smallpox that disseminated 56 million in the 1500s and the Spanish flu that killed close to 50 million in 1918-1919 are just a few such episodes. These figures of “Plague Doctors” were done by Susan Reisner and are used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

This “novel” form of a biologically-based organism that has been around for years is only the tip of the iceberg. Technically it may have been named after its shape as a virus but it is no coincidence that energetically it reflects a “new crown” chakra tying together all of humanity, which in some people is attacking the part of their physicality most closely aligned with their fourth chakra—the energy center that at its best, connects us with ourselves, each other, and the God/Goddess within each of us.

Even as the virus currently isolates us, so too is it going to demand that we abandon our ways of working in isolation from each other and from the environment. Humans are no longer going to be allowed to live cut off from ourselves, from each other, from other life forms and from Mother Earth itself.

Earth is ever the planet of dichotomies and paradox. The ironical dichotomy here is that response to the pandemic is requiring us to separate ourselves from others aka “social distancing” and at the same time is bringing us into the awareness that “we are all in this together.” In the external material world we are working through a seeming conflict between the fact that we are all of one spirit and at the same time we each have a physical body that separates us from all other spirit. As embodied spirits evolve, we come to realize that these are not incompatible truths for the All-That-Is. Image by Jennifer Wagner is used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

Get real about this. The universe has just given us a cosmic slap down, a means to slow down, look around us, and smell the roses.  Use your time wisely. The corona virus will be contained eventually, but the main impact of the economic tsunami associated with it will be arriving shortly; and there are lots of other challenges laying in wait for human animals, including some much more dangerous ones in the long term, should we continue to try to bury our awareness in Hades as we have been doing for such a long time.

 

What does “use your time wisely” look like? Of course it will be different for each of us. Here are a few “practice tips” to help you brainstorm what that might look like in your life:

 

1. Ground. Persephone aka in Greek as Kore, she who became the Goddess of the Underworld, was sometimes referred to as the Goddess of Rooted Things.

Persephone is sometimes referred to as the Goddess of Rooted Things. This nomenclature not only reinforces the mythological storyline but also reflects the underlying spiritual truth of Mother Earth being a safer haven for life when we connect the spiritual and material dimensions. Image used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

Grounding to Mother Earth itself allows you as spirit to manifest yourself in the physical realm as safely as possible; and as a bonus round, gives you a relatively painless means to release what you need to release right now.  If you do know how to ground your energy system from your first chakra, do so with awareness several times a day.  If you don’t know how to ground from your first chakra, find someone who can teach you how.  If you can’t find someone, go sit among big trees and ask the universe to help you match them.

2.  Rest/Recharge. We are in a lull between storms of change. The universe answered our prayers and pulled the emergency break.  Thanks be to God.  The corona virus is not something to be battled, shunned, ignored or feared. It is something to be thanked and gently but firmly put back in its proper place in the created order.  Show as much gratitude as you can muster. Consolidate whatever gains you have made in your spiritual awareness to date and prepare for the next round of wake-up calls.  Help those who are ill and/or terrified and rest up for the next challenge. Have as much fun as you can right now not from a place of escapism but from a desire to follow the divine’s lead into the place of joy, peace and abundance that is our birthright, should we choose it.

3. Prepare for a Global Economy. Here I am not talking about prepping.  Prepping is just an extension of the same obsolete thinking that consumerism will fix everything.  It’s hoarding on steroids. What the universe has in mind for humans is not something that can be waited out with a few months or even years of dried food. By all means, stockpile some supplies for those inevitable times when our old infrastructure is not useable for while. But don’t stop there.

I’m talking about making the deep economic transitions that we can expect after a global monetary system that has been dependent on fossil fuels comes to a grinding halt abruptly and permanently, not just because of a temporary health threat.  The illusion there is value based on domination over nature has been destroyed.  The world is currently downsizing to make room for a place where nothing is real unless it is grounded in human kindness.

The “All-American buck” has no intrinsic value. It is simply a symbol of a transactional agreement containing energy from a monetary system heavily based on profits from fossil fuels and the combined experience of many to use said system for greed and domination. Like all symbols its underlying meaning can be changed but not quickly or easily. Energetically, the world-wide economy based on “dirty” energy, i.e. energy that has been so harmful to Mother Earth has been destroyed. Greed and exploitation are also on their way out, but on an individual rather than a collective basis. The most likely scenario at this point is that some paper money will be around for awhile, but in increasingly smaller quantities as societies all around the world return to more life-affirming methods of exchange.

What would you do if overnight all the money that normally comes to you and all the money that normally you pay out to others disappeared? What kinds of goods and services would you still really want to have in your life; and what kinds of activities would you engage in with others?  Figure that out and then make it happen NOW before the choices around the transactional nature of real relationships is made for you.

What I am talking about is MUCH more difficult than just buying a few extra supplies.

One critical component of the world-wide growth period that is going on right now is in regards to action versus contemplation. Many well-intentioned people have been sorely out of balance with this dichotomy. Effectively being spiritual in a material world in the present time frame requires both body and mind. Action without direction from the indwelling divine is busy work. Focusing one’s mental energy on spiritual goals is very important but not sufficient. We are being called to act in conjunction with and at the behest of Mother Earth and our fellow inhabitants. Image by Brian Andreas used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

This is the time for ACTION.  And the action involves changing your entire lifestyle to suit the new economy in which money will be stripped of its illusionary nature. Don’t misunderstand me. There is ENOUGH FOR ALL that engage in real relationships. There is just not enough of frivolous purchases based on ego.  Find out what makes the God of your heart really sing and let go of the other unnecessary temptations offered by your now-out-of-present-time materialistic urges.

4. Listen to the Mountains, the rivers, the oceans, the trees and other plants and nonhuman animals. There is a reason why people have always sought to connect to our Creator by immersing themselves in the natural world; and have often gone to the highest terrain on Mother Earth for our deepest conversations with God.  There are many other sacred areas as well.

Pablo Neruda was a Nobel-prize winning writer and diplomat who is sometimes considered the national poet of Chile. He passed away in 1973. This image used in conjunction with Fair Use principals.

You don’t have to journey to a mountaintop or anywhere else to find your truth. You can just shut your eyes where you are and find everything you need there.  All of Gaia is sacred and your body was designed to be an extension of that sacredness, a finely tuned instrument of access to everything you really need.  Find the places that have absorbed the purest intentions of the human spirit both within you and outside of you.

Human survival, both individual and collective, is now in a furious evolutionary dance that requires us to match our inward essential nature with the outward physical manifestation of Nature. This self portrait by Cuban-born surreal artist Jorge Ignacio Nazabal is used in accordance with Fair Use principals. Butterflies are a universal symbol of inner transformation

Choosing the best natural settings helps expedite the optimal outcome.  Go to the mountain or another sacred site nearby either in your physical or your astral form if you are so inclined. And then LISTEN.

Most people need to actually learn what it means to pray; and stop mistaking God for Santa Claus. It is the time to let go of the arrogance of telling God what we want done. Talk/dream if you want, but the real challenge right now is for all of us to up our skills at hearing from the Source as reflected in our gorgeous physical homeland.  Many of the planetary changes that are occurring right now are beyond our imagination.  Let the Cosmic Consciousness show us the way.

The Creator gives us the frame. We fill in the canvas. Any viewpoint that human animals have the only or the final word in the process of creating on Planet Earth is misguided hubris. Image used in accordance with Fair Use principals.

 

 

Gaia is screaming at us right now because we have forgotten how to listen to her. For all of our sakes, heed her call.

Copyright 2020 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

 

The Code-Switching of Time; Flowing Gracefully among Past, Present and Future

 

From a Sermon given Summer Solstice Worship Service  June 24, 2018

Code-Switching is a linguistics term.  It was originally developed to describe what happens for people who speak two or more languages.   As the information age unfolds, the term “code-switching” has increasingly also been applied to the experiences people can have of moving suddenly between different parts of human society, such as what people of color sometimes experience when they go back and forth between their ethnic community and the mainstream world.

This morning I want to talk ultimately about code-switching in a different context. I want to explore switching between different parts of the time-space continuum.  It strikes me as potentially very useful if those of us who are actively developing a spiritual perspective can add to our skill set moving through time with greater awareness.

The time aspect of the time-space continuum weaves throughout all of the created order, treasures to be discovered when we are ready. “Treasures” by Maggie Vandewalle of Maggie Vandewalle Watercolors. Used with permission of the artist.

So let’s start by talking about code-switching linguistically speaking.

Language is not as cut and dried as it might seem at first glance.  Every language in the world is unique, not just in the way each sounds, but in the way each is structured. And what meaning it actually evokes. Each collection of human beings, every culture has its own energy.  Each language arises from a different shared history, an idiosyncratic set of common experiences, what we around here would call a matching set of pictures.  These create a unique set of values that guides how that culture operates in present time, and where it attempts to go in the future.  These values also shape where the group focuses its attention, how and about what the individual members think, and therefore how its members express itself when its members communicate with each other, and with the rest of the world. The very neuronal pathways of our brains adapt to that to which we are paying attention.

 

 

We connect with the physical world primarily by expanding on what we already recognize. Awareness builds in an ever-expanding spiral of experience.

New neuronal networks that are utilized grow and expand, quite literally branching out.  The parts of our brain we don’t use fall away, or to use the scientific language, the neuronal connections are pruned.  We shape our bodies to a large degree with the help of our brains by the decisions we make in attention.  Then often, too often really, our bodies shape us.  On the surface, much of this drama gets played out by language.

When one learns a “foreign” language, it is much more than a process of selecting a word from English, and then simply substituting the equivalent word from the other language.  If you want to tell a member of the Sami people of Scandinavia and Russia that it has begun to snow, you have to select between 170 words for snow.   For these people, understanding the nuances of snow is critical to their survival.  They pay a lot of attention to it.  Consequently, they have one word for ice that lasts year after year, a different word for the layers of crystals that form when the seas first begin to freeze, and another for when the ice is filled with holes like Swiss cheese but is good for polishing sled equipment and so on.

It’s not just nouns that can’t always be exchanged.  If you want to communicate with a native Japanese speaker, you are going to select between many personal pronouns that differ based on the gender, age, relative social status of the speaker and the gender, age and social status of the audience, as well as how formal the setting is where the conversation is happening.  These choices are not surprising for a collectivist society with a large population who has had to learn to live together relatively harmoniously on a relatively small island.  They have learned to pay attention to the subtleties of the social fabric in a manner that we Americans with our history of living on thousands of acres of land and our resulting “Wild West” mentality have not.

And what about nonverbal language?  When someone from India engages in head wobble, how do you know whether they are saying “yes,” “no,” “OK,” or “never mind?”  Do you know how many separate cultures, religions, castes, and other human groupings have found their way to the Indian subcontinent?  Nonverbal language that can be transmitted between people who speak different verbal languages is pretty important in that part of the globe.

Successful code-switching involves understanding energy.  You cannot become truly fluent in a second or third language until you pay attention to what is underneath the surface words.  Linguistic code-switching involves understanding that words are symbols. Words point to possible meanings but you still need to understand the larger context, still need to look at what is under the surface if you want to accurately send or receive a message with another human.  When you are exposed to the basics of the other group or person’s shared pictures your brain will then have what it needs to create enough similar neuronal pathways to become aware of the meanings beneath the words or gestures that other person or group is using.

Because we are talking here about reading energy, we are talking about a cognitive process that is VERY rapid, typically below the surface of one’s awareness.  I like the term code-switching because the switching part is quite descriptive.  It’s as if one is immersed in one worldview one second, and then suddenly a switch is thrown and you are part of an entirely different mental universe.  It’s not just the addition or subtraction of a few facts here or there.  It’s a major shift of consciousness.

God designed our bodies to be able to process a tremendous amount of information but at the present time, only a few individuals have ever mastered enough of their energy system to do what is required to create spiritually through physical matter to the degree necessry to access the broader perspective of which we are all capable.  At this point in human evolution, it is enough that some people are learning to switch back and forth between to what they are generally paying attention and perspectives based on a different set of life experiences.

Typically in order to survive, ethnic minorities in the United States have had to pay attention to the values of the dominant society.  By contrast, white people have not had to pay attention to the culture of other groups.  We can if we want but we have not had to.  Many white people have been very confused by the term “white privilege,” seeing it as some kind of intrinsic judgment.  I don’t believe it is.

Words can have very different meanings depending on life experiences.

Look underneath the surface. Remember that words are just symbols, and the meaning of any symbol can be controversial.  In my mind “white privilege” is just a way of saying that people with European ancestry have the option of not paying attention to the ways our particular history has shaped the national environment.  Folks who do not appear European in ancestry have had a different history resulting in a different perspective that requires paying attention to aspects of our society we whites “take for granted,” i.e. do not even notice.

Once you can code-switch, whether it’s from one language to another, or from one culture that shares roughly the same language to another, you can code-switch in multiple situations.  The essence of successful code-switching is looking beneath the surface at the same time as tracking what is happening in the outer world.

You all do that every time you meditate.  The more time you spend in meditation, the more you hone these essential skills. Code-switching is truly a spiritual journey.  Once you train yourself to be conscious of both the outside and the inside, you are on the way home.  As Jesus of Nazareth said in Saying 22 of the Gospel of Thomas:

“When you make the two one and make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below . . . then you will enter [the kingdom of Heaven].”

 What I am asking you to do now, is consider extending your developing code-switching skills to Time itself.  There is not really much of a difference between switching between your own worldview and that belonging to another person; and switching between your own history, your present and your future.  Really, you are not the person you were in the past, nor are you the person you will become.

It all comes down to making choices about paying attention.  What you seek becomes stronger; and that from which you turn away disappears temporarily or even withers.  When it comes to code-switching the time-space continuum though, there are a couple of tricks to keep in mind.

Humans have been trying to understand time for as long as we have been here on the planet. This astronomical clock from Prague is about 600 years old.

This morning I want to go over two of them.

First of all, recognize that living in the present moment is the goal, the spiritual destination if you will. Many people who speak about spiritual development will stress the importance of learning to be in present time.  There are literally hundreds of books on the topic.  Present time is a foundational teaching in many religions, particularly Buddhism but many others as well.  It is also an important concept in secular circles.  The whole mindfulness thing which has become such a huge component of contemporary mental health counseling and indeed, popular American culture, is another version of this viewpoint.  Some folks even advance the perspective that to be in the present moment is the whole point of living.

There is some truth to that perspective . . . but it’s not the whole truth.  What is vital about the present is that it is where the body lives.  Your body really only understands the present.

To the extent that you can.

Many of you in this room have had the experience that as you ground and work with your energy system, things that belong in the past and the future will often surface that need to be cleared.  It can be very confusing when one runs across intense emotions that have no basis in anything going on around you.

Experienced meditators can also feel stark sometimes excruciating physical pain for which there is no reason other than you have triggered something that has been lying dormant which the body immediately assumes is happening at the moment it is triggered.  The pain can be a trace memory from your past or a piece of energy you as spirit have put in place for future reference.  If it is important enough to surface, one must learn to address the issue in present time in one’s meditations.  One way of doing this is by recognizing that you are out of present time, then reassuring the body that the discomfort that is being felt is not real, i.e. is not really happening; and then using the meditation techniques you all know to clear what has you in the past or future.

The irony is that you have to be in present time enough to do that much. Otherwise you will just store the out-of-present-time experience in your energy system and any pain or emotion attached to it will come up a different time when you think you might be able to address it. We need to be at home with ourselves, present in our bodies, and slow down enough to notice how our physical form functions and moves around Mother Earth.   Grounding is a great tool for helping you be present in your body, as well as giving you a means to release what you have brought up for healing.

There are whole medical diagnoses that fundamentally are about someone as spirit  not being sufficiently in the body in present time, things like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, many types of migraines, and various autoimmune disorders to name a few. These are real conditions with very uncomfortable physical symptoms, but like any underlying chronic illness or disease process they start as energy blocks when spirit is not working enough with its body, such that the body resorts to screaming at us to try and get our attention.  Pretty much all of us have a lifetime or two (or three, or six, etc)  like this.

The soul can crave the creation of “failure” in order to learn where it does not want to go and prepare for what it ultimately does want.

For spirit, it is not always a priority to notice what the body is going through in some lifetimes.  Other adventures  are more pressing. Remember that for spirit there is no time; and remember also that emotions and pain properly belong to the physical world and not the spiritual realm. Therefore, depending on what each spirit is attempting to learn, sometimes it would rather discard the body it has that round, and start with a new one rather than take the time to slow down and work with it.

 

 

I hasten to add no one should be criticized or blamed for having heath challenges and failing to recognize the energy component to them.  Human societies, particularly in the Western world routinely marginalize and persecute those who attempt to cultivate awareness of energy.  The jig is up, though.  The time-space continuum is changing. Awareness of working as spirit through matter is becoming a requirement of maintaining life.  We can’t keep trashing the bodies we are given.  Too many human animals have been doing so compulsively for too long, resulting in an increasingly trashed planet.  If we are to survive, we must all learn to be present in our bodies to a larger degree including bringing up and clearing the levels of energy we have stored in the past or the future, however painful.

This can actually be a fun exercise, if you let it.  As they say in the New Age movement, there is a reason it’s called the present.

Second of all, and this may be the new part for some of you, recognize that living in present time is the goal, but PLEASE, pretty please, don’t make a perfect picture out of it.  You know the drill.  Perfect pictures aka expectations will always slow you down from learning what you need to learn, and get in the way of you going where you actually are trying to go.  As long as you maintain the idea of being in present time as a full-time requirement for yourself, you will be beating yourself up every time you notice your mind is in the past or future, and thereby adding more garbage that eventually you have to clear from your system.

Present time is the destination but to get there, you have to make the journey. We’re not there yet, probably not even very close.  Those that are fully in present time generally don’t need to be here on Planet Earth.  We’d be learning something else in some other part of the universe; or we’re in our final resting place, having fully merged with the heart of God, like the Christ.

If any one of the amazing people in this room had even the majority of their energy in present time, the roof would probably blow off. Literally. Think about it.  Present time is where your power is.  If all that enormous amount of energy you have tied up in the past and in the future, was sitting at rest within your body as you sit there you could literally as the Christ pointed out, move mountains.

When people sleepwalk through life as most everyone does almost all the time, the experiences that you create as spirit are stored somewhere in your energy system until such time as you are able and willing to process those experiences and come to terms with them as the learning events that they are. We don’t get to just leave the past in the past and truly move on.  We can only repress our awareness and pretend to move on until such time as our eyes are open enough to see a path through the learning.

The idea that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it has truth to it for both individuals and groups of people. You can certainly outgrow your history, and at that point, let it fully go.  To do that though, you have to face it squarely, with all its pain and all its emotion, and all its glory.  You have to milk all the experience for the learning that you set out to do when you created it.  Very few people want to do this.  Even fewer know how to do this.

Much of the world that human animals have created on a physical level that is no longer useful to us has simply been abandoned. Some has been reclaimed by Nature but most is just lying in wait for us to clean up at another time.

Most people prefer to repress the parts of their individual or collective history that is painful and/or that they don’t know how to handle and fall prey to the Maya.  Unfortunately then one just recreates the essence of the experience over and over until one is forced to deal with it.

 

 

 

 

 

That is why we have so many ungrounded citizens and political figures right now acting out Imperial Rome at its most brutal, slavery of African-Americans in the early days of the United States, Nazi Germany, etc.

One of the main problems with political as well as religious leaders at this point is that most are quite out of sync with present time. When this occurs Mother Earth and its inhabitants are at great risk. Bizarro comic by Dan Piraro posted in accordance with fair use principles.

These people are caught in a horrific hate-filled purgatory of not having enough presence to actually release the past. Even as we block the spread of their hateful actions, those of us who “know better” need to bring whatever compassion we can muster to these lost souls.

Similarly living in the future can be a trap.  Dreaming about possibilities, setting goals, making plans and all is important, but if you have too much of your energy in the future, those possibilities and goals just move farther out of your reach.

Bottom line:  What’s a person to do?  Be aware of past and future, but honor to the greatest degree the present moment.  Visit the future and the past, but live there as little as you can.  When you need to dream more, plan more or otherwise be in the future, read science fiction books or listen to TED talks from visionaries, go on travel sites that talk about the places you would like to visit, and immerse yourself in the many artists who expand our viewpoint through painting or other works of art.

Great art can reach below the surfaces and awaken spiritual truth but it does this using the physical senses, thereby engaging the body as well.  This piece by Wassily Kandinsky called the “Deepened Impulse” from 1928 is thought by many to represent the Big Bang, the foundational act of creation in our universe as spirit in matter. Posted in accordance with fair use principles.

When you need to raise your vibration to the next step by pulling some energy from the past, look at old diaries or family photo albums, go to high school reunions, watch the history channel or historically-based dramas or listen to musicians that have accompanied you on your journey in life. Code-switch your perspective as much as you need step-by-step but keep in mind the goal is to be more present with yourself, your body and the indwelling God.

Be in charge of the process. You will know the difference between being a visitor and a resident of past or future if you just pay enough attention. Make conscious choices.  If you find your thoughts going to the past or the future when you don’t want them to, get some help.  Schedule a healing or a massage, see a therapist or someone else who can assist you to work through emotion, sing or draw or knit, watch a funny movie with your love or spend more time in Nature.   It is your God-given body and you can learn when to be more fully in it; and when to take a break.  

Do the sometimes-difficult work a little at a time, to find yourself and your place in the awareness of God’s miraculous universe.

Copyright 2018 by Rev. Dr. 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.

prosperity2

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