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

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

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