Consciousness & Unconsciousness in Uncertain Times

From a Sermon given Autumn Equinox Worship Service  on September 26, 2021

This morning I want to talk a bit about consciousness, and nurturing the kind of consciousness this community would benefit from in the days ahead. We’ve been talking about living in the end times for a quite awhile. Now let’s shift the focus to what we need in order to live in the beginning times.

I continue to be amazed about how many people in our society want to perpetuate the narrative that we must “return to normal.” It is SO unhelpful to think along these lines, because it is SO untrue. Human societies are not just going through a different frame of the same story. Rather, we’re going through a doorway into a different reality. There is no “new normal.”

Sunflower door, Prague. The sun is recognized in many spiritual traditions as the domain of the All-Mighty. It is no “coincidence” that the current crisis on Mother Earth fueling our present evolutionary leap is adjustments to the balance between Sun and Earth screwed up by human animals, aka global heating, climate change or global warming. Photo used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

In psychological terms we are going through a paradigm shift, a massive change in the way human animals think and feel and experience the world.  We are undergoing a revolution if you want to use political terms; or a transformation if you prefer a more holistic perspective.  If we want to talk about this change from a spiritual perspective using metaphysical language, we would be and are going to be talking about a change in consciousness.  

Everything in our physical world changes over time. El Olam, (the name for God used in Psalms to describe God’s unchanging nature as the God of All Eternity) alone does not change. Everything in our human universe is in flux, whether we are talking about rapid changes like those we can see taking place in front of our naked eyes such a butterfly emerging from a cocoon; or changes in matter that we can barely comprehend like a mountain being ground into dust over millions of years. Energy is always in motion.

Included in the changes that shape our species is how human animals think about our world, and therefore how we interact with it and help co create it. This includes how we imagine and experience our relationship with the divine and the embodied divine known as Mother Earth. God never changes, but we do. As such our ability to create has us shaping the natural world in different ways, some helpful, some not so much.

Certain massive shifts in the worldview of our species were woven into the fabric of the Created Order. As such that patterning is encoded in the very genetic material of our physical bodies.  These are the changes with which we are dealing in 2021. 

These fundamental and gargantuan shifts are often labeled by science as the “evolution” of a species.  Unlike other life forms however, human animals have free will so if we so choose we can ignore and work contrary to how we need our lives and the very physical form that we inhabit to change. The danger is that when we work in opposition to the change process embedded in our design, the vehicles in which we are living cannot keep pace with externalized environmental shifts, making possible what in science would be called “an extinction event.”

Human Extinction by Stefan Roth. An accurate description of our present day challenges. Used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

We are undergoing an evolutionary leap. Whether it ends up being an extinction event for human animals largely remains to be seen. As part of our role as cocreators we can shift the current Created Order. However this requires a tremendous “leap of faith,” the core of which necessitates an evolution of human consciousness. 

It could be argued that the last time human beings went through an evolutionary shift of the magnitude we are currently undergoing was around the late 15th and 16th century when Western society came to terms with the idea that the Earth is not the center of the universe, the Sun is. The hubris of human ego broke down our collective societies until we could move towards a more divinely-oriented direction. It was major chaos for several generations until we shifted egotistical thinking to permit a more accurate perspective on our place in the universe. Eventually this led to the cultural milieu we now label the “Age of Enlightenment” with all its various gifts made possible by the more expansive viewpoint.

We are now at a similar crossroad involving an evolutionary jump.  Once again our ego is taking a massive hit as we are forced to surrender our view that humans are in complete charge and can control everything on Earth. However, because the vibration of Planet Earth itself continues to go up, the upcoming transition will be more rapid, potentially involving months, years and lifetimes; rather than centuries.

Intuitive people have seen this jump coming, and have been preparing for a long time to take on its challenges, particularly folks from indigenous societies and marginalized cultures. One such person that I have been appreciating lately is Wangari Maathai.  Wangari was a biologist and zoologist from Kenya who in 2004 became the first environmentalist and first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her work towards democracy, unity of purpose and peace, in part through her contributions to reforesting Africa through the Green Belt Movement.

It is all about shedding fear and bringing hope to bear. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

What do those of us who want to help this evolutionary shift happen as seamlessly as possible in our own lives and in the lives of those around us need to keep in mind?  Many of the elements of this unfolding story have yet to be decided and therefore are unknowable at this point in time and space. Some factors are knowable; and we can actively prepare for them. One of the latter is changing the way we think, changing our individual mental life

So let’s start by discussing consciousness. About what do we need to be conscious? And more importantly, what is consciousness anyway? What is it not?   

Primarily this morning I want you to learn to better distinguish your mental energy as spirit, and your physicality. Consciousness is a spiritual event. Most people are under the delusion that their consciousness is all about their brain. In actuality your consciousness, sometimes known as your awareness, is not housed by your brain nor is it a creation of your brain. Humans tend to validate the physical side of our world and invalidate everything spiritually based. We have built whole civilizations, particularly since Rome and Hellenistic Greece on a false belief system that idolizes the brain and its functioning.

The brain is a tool.  It’s an important one but only a tool. It’s an organ like your lungs or your liver.  The brain is a majestic tool with wondrous capabilities that never cease. It is said that with its estimated 100 billion neurons the brain has a network that rivals the stars in the Milky Way.  If your brain doesn’t function well it can cause no end of misery, like most people with epilepsy or mental illness or dementia can teach you. But it is only a tool.  It is not the end in itself. 

Neurons firing as viewed through an electron microscope. Those amazing bits of life are communicating with each other via the use of chemicals and electromagnetic pulses. Photo by Heiti Paves used in accordance with Fair Use principles.

I can’t tell you how many spiritual seekers I have met over the years that have lost their way because they have mistaken their brain for what gives them life. They are like people who spend a fortune on a gorgeous shiny new Tesla car that they program to drive itself, as they themselves go to sleep.  Sometimes they crash and burn; and sometimes they just miss the scenary along the road.  One of the quickest ways to a spiritual impasse is to get “lost in your analyzer.” When you do that, the tool becomes in charge of your life, and you treat everything like a nail, thinking you are simply a hammer.

The brain likes to convince us that it is the most important organ.  It wants us to believe that as the premier organ it is your source of consciousness and therefore decision-making.  I almost never recommend people who are seeking to develop their spirituality read books on the subject until I think they have a fighting chance of developing seniority over their analyzer. 

The brain is also why many people have such a hard time learning to meditate on their own. Most westerners have been far too programmed to confuse the firing of the synapses in their brain with real knowledge.  We actually have a whole educational system in this country that is largely dedicated to stuffing as many bits of data into the brain as we can, thinking that quantity of data is what makes people smart. That’s like believing that your computer or your television is a God because things routinely appear on the monitor.  From that vantage point, somewhere somehow some other animating force has done the keystrokes or manipulated the remote to get those images to appear. If you envision the firing of synapses as the endgame, and take no responsibility for what you input, you end up with an insanely busy brain that won’t shut up.

Many people experience their thoughts as heavy, which they can be in when the brain is in competition rather than in affinity with the rest of your physical and spiritual structures. This piece entitled “The Weight of Thought” is by sculptor Thomas Leroy and is used in accordance with Fair Use principles.

Again, don’t get me wrong. Your brain is a truly miraculous machine. Taking care of it is every bit as important as taking care of any other part of your physical anatomy. Here I mean caretaking not just through things like good nutrition and sleep but also exercise in the form of the right kind of stimulation. It is estimated that it takes about 400 repetitions to build one synopsis.  To use your brain in the service of your goals, you must learn how to input data by exercising it appropriately and with discernment.

Beyond the basic caretaking tasks involved with the physical aspect of the brain, we also must learn how to work with it by developing what in psychology we call “metacognition.”  This is where we go from allowing our brain to dictate our reality to simply using it as a tool. We, the real owners of that marvelous machine we call a body, need to learn to step back, observe what is going on, and make appropriate adjustments.  Regular meditation is a tried and true process for doing exactly that.

Have you wondered why there is such a debate in this country about critical thinking? There are a lot of ego-based individuals who have given up responsibility for the functioning of their thinking to others and feel threatened by those who are committed to learning to think for themselves.

In this country and in most others we are in a world of hurt in large part because we lack even the most basic skills in terms of metacognition, aka learning to work with data.  Many American don’t even know the difference between a fact and an opinion.  Most Americans can’t reliably distinguish between an emotion and a thought, much less which emotions and which thoughts are their own versus which ones have come from other people which they have adopted without examination as their own.

Best case scenario is when an individual allows many glimpses into the big picture, many of which are seen in passing, and then doubles down to focus on what one seeks to create in one’s own life. This way you see both the pattern or cosmic framework within which you function, as well as the best place to grow your individual contribution. “For Granted” by Gabriel Andreas with art by Matthew Andreas used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

Highly educated people and those with great political power are not at all immune from this systematic ignorance. Many have not learned to use epistemological processes different than their own and sometimes even their own. We have a society which largely thinks faith and science-based belief systems are contradictory, rather than that both are flawed parts of a greater truth.  It is scary to me to watch national policy makers sometimes talk about the pandemic as if the scientific process was either a competing religion or an established set of objective facts.  Both perspectives lead to suffering and death.

Folks with other advanced cognitive skills who lack that commitment to step back and examine their own belief systems also miss the mark. Metacognition requires that thoughts need to be regularly examined and culled as needed, not just debated by a few similar-thinking colleagues.

Bottom line: Consciousness naturally evolves. Brain functioning does not, at least not on its own initiative. An evolving brain needs to be seeded with new data and purged of the old in order to have the ineffective and/or obsolete give way to a more holistic viewpoint, much like a computer needs to be cleansed of old files and out-of-present-time applications. Without regular updates, improvements and repairs, a neglected computer will slow down and eventually fail altogether. Left to their own devices the brain’s neuronal pathways do eventually wither when they are not used. However, if these changes are not intentional but rather just a result of disuse, it’s like a muscle in the body that simply loses its effectiveness and becomes flab. In many cases the spirit who owns that body simply loses access to it.     

Unchecked the brain can take on a life of its own, including housing the energies from many other people and disembodied spirit. Image of “My Brain and Beings Within” by Myron Dyal

Metacognition requires learning to recognize the data to which we are exposing ourselves and making decisions about it. When you get good at observing your thinking processes you can be in charge about what information to bring into your system, what to do with it and when to destroy it when you outgrow it.  This applies both to belief in religious concepts like the nature of the God, as well as to scientifically-based ideas.  Anything that has your brain maintaining control will ultimately limit you and allow other energies to use you like a doormat. If you do not want to just be a hammer, take charge of your brain. 

So, if our brain is only a tool, what is it a tool for?  Short answer:  you, of course. For you as spirit. The real you–the eternal being, the individual and ever-changing aspect of the All-That-Is.

The brain is a brilliant command center for our physical structure that allows each one of us as an eternal being to create through physical matter. The brain contains some amazing energetic components like our analyzer, that helps translate back and forth between body and spirit visa vie your brain, central nervous system and beyond. But you as spirit need to be in charge of the translation projects.

And what of unconsciousness? How does it play a part?

As spirit you have a consciousness, some of which is contained within your body, the VAST, VAST majority of which is not.  The totality of you is so much more than you could possibly even begin to bring into that brain of yours and the rest of your body, no matter how grounded you are and how many growth periods you have undergone.  Grounding allows you to be in much greater charge of the learning experiment that we call life.  Growth periods help you and your body work towards a mutually beneficial partnership to experience what you are here to experience.  However, until you are ready to return to your Maker for all eternity, you will never have access to the totality of your consciousness at any one particular point in time.

Have you heard about spontaneous human combustion? It is a phenomenon that occurs when someone tries to bring more of their energy or a higher vibration of their energy into their body than their body can handle.  The body can literally burn up. Be patient with yourself even at those times when you are chomping at the bit because you sense you are unaware of something vital. You do not want to burn yourself out. Seek greater consciousness but give yourself time to get there.    

To the ultimate question at hand. For those of us with boots on the ground, how do we best prepare our evolving consciousness to meet the challenges before us?  Here are my cliff notes:

1. Get really good at discernment. By this I mean both figuring out to which information you want to expose yourself, and with which people you want to have the experiences that allow you to process it. 

The trick here is to make sure that the choices you are making are expanding your universe rather than making it smaller.

Many people in our society right now are lost because they are attempting to protect themselves by shutting down the new information, new experiences, new people with whom they can explore new pathways.  That never worked very well and it is kind of deadly in the current time frame.  In the digital age we can’t hide anymore from information that disturbs us by shaking up the status quo.   

The evolution of human consciousness is requiring us to seek Truth in a different fashion than pretending it doesn’t exist, or asking someone else to define it for us.  Read and view and discuss with others as much as you can tolerate of perspectives that differ from and especially those that are contradictory to your own. If you are trying to stem the incoming tsunami of new data by throwing up dams, all you are going to get is flooding on a destructive level. The flood waters are just going to rapidly overtake the banks anyway, and the world of other solutions will simply wash away to nothingness. Alternately if you make judicious decisions about which tides to navigate, when to float and when to paddle–you get my drift–your swimming skills will steadily improve.

Keep in mind that only you can choose what comes to the aid of your learning in what order.  If you find yourself uncomfortable with what you are viewing or discussing, then pull back and look at what is going on for you. Time to go within. 

Calvin and Hobbes have been a major cultural force in the national conversation for many, although this particular strip may be beyond the understanding of even some of its most die hard fans. It depicts how uncomfortable it can be for individuals to struggle against competing data when their brain is stuck in old patterns Here, rather than dealing with his own discomfort Calvin simply shuts down emotionally and projects onto his dad his emotional distress and his own fear of stupidity. In scientific terms we might label this “cognitive dissonance.” Bill Watterson’s work here is used in accordance with Fair Use Principles.

When you are being triggered, it may be that the new data to which you are exposing yourself is exactly what you need and is just bringing up for clearing the old stuck places.

It may be that the information is wrong for you or even toxic to you.

It may be you are exploring an important subject using the wrong process.

This is where going within is critical. To whatever extent and in whatever way you know how, work through the feelings, the obsolete belief systems, the pain pictures, etc. Get out of your analyzer and into the center of your head. From there look at what you are stirring up, what is REALLY going on, and MOVE that energy out. 

2. Open yourself up not only to new information but to new ways of acquiring and processing it.  Cognitive processing is a skill set. It must be practiced.  It can and should be practiced from various angles but it cannot just be acquired through superficial exposure. i.e. rational thought, despite what your brain may tell you. You can’t just think. You have to do something.

  

If you know how to read energy clairvoyantly, do a LOT of reading of others so you can expand your universe by releasing matching pictures. That is a great way to purge maladaptive data of which you are not yet conscious.  

If you have been exposed to the social psychology literature, you can have fun catching your brain in the act of distortion as it tries to trick you into seeing the world from a limited place of bias. 

If you know how to find the center of your head, clean it out in your meditations several times a week and operate from there on a daily basis as much as possible which will increase its reach. 

Read magazines with which you are unfamiliar or study a new language. Learn to do something you do not normally do like dancing or singing, or playing an instrument. Develop a relationship with an unfamiliar species of animal, hang out with kids or old people, folks with a major mental illness, culturally diverse groups or anyone with whom you do not normally interact. Watch television shows that make you cringe a little, talk to “strangers,” or even drive down different streets than you normally would. 

And then identify what brings you the most joy, and do that A LOT. 

3. Recognize that consciousness is the goal and recognize the goal will be largely unobtainable.

Awareness is a great thing. 

So, at times, is unawareness.  

I can’t tell you how often if I had known what I was getting myself into I would have stopped myself.  That is to say my ego would have stopped me as spirit, go down certain roads that it was absolutely critical that I explore. 

It is also true that I have caused myself a lot of unnecessary suffering because I did not let myself know what the likely outcome of my choices was going to be. As one’s ability to discern grows, the suffering and self sabotage decrease.

For now just realize that both consciousness and unconsciousness are important at different times.  Leave the perfection to God.

And on that note, my major piece of advice to this community is this:

The Holy Spirit, that aspect of the divine that is possibly the most mysterious and impossible to understand through rational brain processes, is available to all human animals irrespective of gender or sexuality. Art by Megan Wagner entitled “Awakened” used in conjunction with Fair Use principles.

4. Be ready to receive the Holy Spirit. Her wisdom is coming to those of us who survive the next period.

This is the evolutionary shift at play.  This is the kingdom and the power and the glory that awaits us when we are ready.  You do not have to know what I mean.  Get out of your analyzer. Just set your intention to receive what has been promised.

Copyright 2021 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2019 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

 

Welcoming Scarcity in the New World

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2019 by Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

Turning the Other Cheek in A Time of Unremitting Violence

From a Sermon given Spring Equinox Worship Service  March 24, 2019

Last year—2018—was truly a transformational point in time for all of us on Planet Earth.  As spirit we human animals  who share the physical world stage and who have been endowed by our Creator as the species with the right to set the energy for all life on this planet, made a MAJOR fundamental shift in our collective mind.

There are many ways to talk about the new spiritual agreement that we put into place in the consensus reality, that agreement that has dramatically shifted the consciousness of many folks almost overnight.

Hatred is a learned behavior. It is not “natural” to humans but it is common. It can and must be unlearned.

One way of talking about it is that we have decided to base our world on love, not hate, as asked of us, indeed required of us, by our Creator.

 

 

 

 

 

Another way of saying it is that we have decided to embrace inclusiveness, not exclusivity.   Or we can talk about Truth.  A “tipping point” of people decided once and for all that we are going to base our life on the Truth that all life is connected, all that is Created by God, is an aspect of God and is God and therefore worthy of respect.

One example of the emerging new way of thinking.

However you label it, in order to turn the tide, enough people in enough places all around the globe said, it ends now.  I refuse to knowingly trespass against other people just because I can and because I am part of a group that thinks of people outside of our immediate selves as “the other.”

Humans have perpetrated great horror on each other as a result of our ability and willingness to divide the world into “our” social group and the “others.” The divine knows no such separation. This picture is of Australian aborigines “owned” by their enslaver under the “Flora and Fauna Act” which was finally repealed in the 1960s.

Energetically, we globalized. We made the commitment to get over the tribal thinking that has stifled us for decades. Ultimately, nothing will be the same in our world.

The ramifications of this newfound commitment to universal life is profound.  The actual unfolding of our new reality though will likely take years or decades to fully manifest, if we have that kind of time.

Unfortunately, while white supremacy and other hate-mongering may be going the way of the dinosaurs, all us dinosaurs are still at risk from a meteorite strike to end it all.  But now at least we have a fighting chance.

There have always been occasional individuals among us willing to reach across the divide that human political and religious structures have imposed. Graves of a Catholic woman and protestant husband, Holland, 1888. Now is the time for collective awareness

We are finally on the right road; and we ought to celebrate that fact.The truly great news is that this new human commitment to creating in the physical world from a place of Love is no longer just the pipe dream of a new advanced souls, an occasional side trip of a brave person here or there, or the intellectually-based statements of people who are willing to talk the talk but not walk the walk.  It is the intent within our hearts and an intrinsic piece of the group mind that connects us with our God.

At the same time we cannot be complacent because we’re not out of woods yet. For one thing, in the immediate next period of time there will be ongoing massive amounts of suffering.  The meditators in this room will recognize that periods of rapid spiritual growth can be confusing in a VERY uncomfortable way for individuals.  Between the old ways that are no longer functional and the new ways that have yet to manifest there can be an ocean of chaos, disharmony, and even danger.  Multiple this dynamic a hundred thousand fold and you might recognize our current society.

For another thing, there is this other little issue that has to be resolved immediately if human animals are going to survive on the Planet, if we are indeed going to avoid a meteorite, nuclear war, shifting of the poles, whatever.

Now the real work begins: Growing beyond our physically-based senses to embrace the All-That-Is

Now that the consensus is we must base our relationships on Love, we have to decide whether those Love-infused relationships extend not only to other humans but to non human animals, to plants and our waterways, and to Mother Earth itself. In some ways, this is the greater challenge in the sense that it requires the most insight and the greatest behavioral changes.

So here it is spring of 2019. The beginning of a new cycle. What can we expect from a world-wide growth period?  Also, what can we do as individuals and as a community to facilitate a graceful resolution of our upcoming battles centering on the natural  world.  This morning I want to talk about how we might use our time effectively as we shelter in place, so to speak, as we wait for various parts of the world to catch up with the new consensus reality.  And I also want to drop a few hints for this body of experienced spiritual seekers as to what we might expect in terms of the next growth cycle.  (More on that at our Summer Solstice gathering.)

Let me start by talking about where we are coming from, our shared history.

Art by Dave Granlund.  Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

You may or may not have noticed a recent increase in the attention being paid to history.  By nature human beings are story-tellers and so we often construct narratives about our past to help us make decisions about our present and our future. Individuals keep family photo albums and diaries; schools display trophies won by their sports teams and offer history classes about our culture; organizations have archives, cities have their statues and historical sites, churches have their relics, and so on.

Poem and illustration by Rupi Kaur. Shown in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

In the United States in the last few months there has been an ever-growing retelling of our history taking into account other perspectives than have previously been brought into view.  I’m not talking about those who are resisting the change process of our world by trying to rewrite the existing history books in order to impose their distorted perspective, “whitewash” our collective narrative (pun intended). These are the people who say the holocaust was no big deal, the founding fathers enshrined the Christian version of God in our political structures, slaves actually liked slavery, that kind of nonsense.  I’m talking about the larger majority of us who are trying to flow with the changes and expand our awareness of a greater Truth than previously contained in history books.

In the sixties, when I studied the history of African-Americans in the United States and the history of women around the world, the resources for these stories were few and far between.  There were only a handful of books on the subjects, almost no sources of information in mass media.  Most people would give me a blank stare when I would even mention that there was something called women’s or Chicano or African-American history. Even my most ardent friends usually believed I was being weird and eccentric in thinking it was important  to know more about history from the perspective of marginalized groups.

In these digital days in the United States we just finished an entire Black History Month and in a few days will complete an entire Women’s History Month in which commercial breaks for nightly mass media programming on our screens have been awash in images of the women and ethnic minorities whose contributions to our culture were heretofore minimized or overlooked, who are now  being celebrated as pioneers and heroes and reclaimed by our collective story.

For spirit we know that time is an illusion.  The body, however, operates in time as well as space.  So why is there this increased spotlight on history? Why now and why to this extent?  And what has this got to do with spiritual growth?

My take is that in order to create a world based on love as we have decided to do, we have to bring up the energy of not-love in order to let it go.  We can do this by creating more situations where we feel/think/act in a hateful manner towards ourselves and each other.                                   We can suffer through many more experiences of what doesn’t really work and we don’t really want.  I am certain many in the United States will continue to indulge in that type of painful way of healing.  However, many of us are pretty sick of using this method to change the energy.  So we have turned to an alternative method of healing ourselves.

When we tell each other that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, we are reminding ourselves that by viewing the past using the perspective of Truth we can break the karmic chains and grow beyond an outdated version of ourselves.  As a society we can increasingly have love be the “new normal” by looking with new eyes at the experiences we have already created individually and collectively; and use those trips down memory lane to forgive ourselves for our trespasses, and forgive others who have trespassed against us.

Looking at human history however, can be tricky and potentially very disturbing unless your goal is changing rather than perpetuating problems.

Like everything else in the human experience, our brains like to dichotomize our experience.  We fill our stories with heroes and villains and repeat a lot of myths that are very far from the Truth.

                            To use history as a source of healing, you have to look at the times we have been cruel and unjust, as much as the times we have been kind and brave.  We have to tell the stories about our family or country or other group who have been mean and spiteful and stolen things as well as the times we have been generous and kind and produced great artists and interesting civic leaders for the benefit of our communities.

The Osage murders are said to be the FBI’s first big case. This picture is of tribal leaders, FBI staff and President Calvin Coolidge. It is from the Bettmann Archives and used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Recently there has been a rash of stories coming into the light on social media that have helped the healing of our national soul.   One such is of the Osage Indians who originally were forced from their ancestral  homelands in Kansas to a rocky, presumably worthless piece of land in NE Oklahoma.

When oil reserves were discovered in Oklahoma, the Osage became some of the wealthiest people in the country. Some 50 years later about 60 or so of the Osage were then systematically robbed and murdered so that their riches could be stolen from them again, this time their personal wealth rather than their real estate holdings.

The Tulsa Riot fire-bombings were also said to have been the fruit of years of resentment by whites towards the area nicknamed the “Black Wall Street.” Jim Crow laws and segregation resulted in African-Americans in this area amassing a great deal of wealth in a manner that strengthened their community bonds.

Another resurrected part of the American saga that of late is finally being talked about is the Tulsa Riot of 1921.  After blacks tried to ensure that one of their community members would not be lynched, a 35 square block of an all-black-occupied section of Tulsa was actually fire bombed by private airplanes owned by white folks worried that they were seeing a “black rebellion.”  Somewhere between 300 and 3000 blacks were killed, and at least 1500 homes were destroyed leaving thousands homeless, in what is now being acknowledged as the worst riot in American history. We do not know the actual body count with any precision because this event was systematically covered up by white authority figures and did not make it into the history books we use in American schools.

It bears emphasizing that this method of healing the present and future by reexamining the past is effective only if we look at stories from a place of neutrality with acceptance for all involved who played a part.

Your power to change your reality is in the present moment. View the past as needed, but do not let yourself get lost to it.

“Perfect pictures” is a term for a certain type of very common programming that we have accepted into our consciousness, often originally for very good reasons. Perfect pictures can be quite deadly as they can act like a invisible Plexiglass ceiling that interferes with our evolving spiritual growth. They are a rigid view of how the world around us is supposed to be. Since we and the world seldom measure up to these expectations, they become a source of ongoing invalidation and suffering.

You have to get beyond the false dichotomies with which we view the world, those troublesome perfect pictures to which we are so addicted.

In actuality all human society is pretty damn flawed.  Evil is everywhere in our collective narrative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think most of us can all agree that the actions taken by National Socialism in Germany, i.e. the Nazis, during the last World War were evil.  It is to our great credit in the United States that we were a big part of stopping that horror.   But can we let ourselves know that we also had a role in setting up that history lesson?  Why are we not talking about the fact that the Nazis recruited IBM to design the new punch-card system that allowed them to track Jewish lineages?  Truth be told, the numbers tattooed on concentration camp residents were an extension of American technology.

How convenient that we have forgotten that when US soldiers invaded Europe in 1944 not only were they using tanks and jeeps produced by American Motors, they were battling an enemy also driving tanks and trucks produced by 100-percent GM-owned subsidies.  The cozy relationship between US business interests and the Nazis was acknowledged by Hitler maintaining a portrait of Henry Ford on his office wall in Munich.  Ford and the senior executive for the GM factories in Germany were awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagles for “distinguished service to the Reich.” It is well accepted that Hitler would not invaded Poland and killed approximately six million people without the new synthetic fuel technology provided by GM.

You have all heard the saying that history is written by the victors.  What you may not have heard is that many historians think that this saying which is usually attributed to Winston Churchill, was actually coined by Hermann Goering, one of the greatest criminals of Nazi Germany. If the Nazis and their allies had won the war, our history books would be accounts of their supposed glorious and righteous achievements.

Right now in 2019, you are seeing a lot of folks trying to reexamine the past, but too often from a place of judgment that keeps them stuck in their sense of entitlement or victimization, depending on what role they have most recently been playing.  It heals nothing; it does no good to perpetrator(s) or victim(s) to continue to see their experience as one-sided.  You HAVE to be in the center of your head, you HAVE to be coming from a place of detachment to benefit from healing through a historical review.

This is a humorous depiction of an all-too-familiar confusion in the religious thinking of many. We are here on Earth to learn to co-create with God. It is neither entirely up to us as some believe in their egocentric way. . .nor is it entirely up to the divine who honors our freedom to screw up as much as we need or want to learn our place in the universe.

None of us are perfect. Only God is perfect. All we can do is commit to bridling our own maladaptive impulses and approaching the world with the clarity of love, as best we understand it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This message is conveyed in Mark, Chapter 10, Verse 18 as well as in Luke, Chapter 18, Verse 19 of the Christian Bible.  A man approaches Jesus of Nazareth to ask him how to obtain eternal life, and in his approach the man addresses Jesus as “good master.” Before even answering his question, Jesus rebukes him by saying:

“Why do you call me good? Only God alone is good!”

 So here we have the Christ, the embodiment of the divine on Earth, reminding us to get over our perfect pictures about human life, because the only wholeness is the All-that-This.

Sometimes one can find Truth in the most unlikely of places. Here comic artist Dan Piraro captures both the prevalence of humans dividing our world into good-and-evil; and its place in our learning curve as we seek return to the divine. Image used in accordance with Fair Use Principals.

Finally, I want to talk a bit about violence. This has to do with the road ahead, the next growth period, the next issue about which the consensus reality must come to terms.

Violence is a particularly harsh form of trespassing against life, one that promotes a great deal of suffering. Violence has always been on the planet.

We have MUCH work to do to stem the tide of violence against holy Mother Earth. In this image a man seeks to honor the Hindu god Ganesha through the incredibly polluted waters of the river Yamuna in New Delhi, India, Many of the life-giving qualities of our waters in the United States have also been destroyed by humans.

There are many forms of violence including what we are currently doing to other life on Earth, but let’s focus right now on killing and over forms of overt harm done to each other.

Human beings learn by doing for the most part, and so we have been at war in a multitudinous fashion for thousands of years. Being prone to violence is really almost a part of our DNA.  Currently, the United States is the major source of direct violence around the globe, in part because of the role we assumed after World War 2 of being the peacekeepers of the world.  According to a new report by Brown University since 9/11 the US has spent nearly $ 6 Trillion dollars in 76 countries or about 39% of all nations, resulting in the death of around 500,000 people.  This does not include the nearly 500,000 people killed in Syria.  In many regards those of us ins the United States have the most to do, the most we must change.

Because guess what? This need to kill and hurt others is going to change.  It has to! Violence is not consistent with a world based on Love.  Either we are going to be moving violence out of our human repertoire . . .or we are going to be moving on.  The decision about which trajectory we will be using will likely be made this year by all of us on a spiritual level. Therefore, I want to mention another great teaching from the Christ.  Some might argue this is greatest of Christ’s teachings, but one that is routinely misunderstood:  Turning the other cheek.

In Luke Chapter 6, Verse 29; and Matthew Chapter 5, Verses 38-42 Jesus states that if someone slaps you on one cheek, you are to offer them your other cheek.  If someone steals your coat, offer them your shirt.  So what is that about?  I’m not going to say much about this crucial piece of information that ironically, has been the subject of thousands of fierce arguments over the centuries and dozens of wars.

On the other hand, I cannot walk away without some commentary on what it means to choose nonviolence in the current time of unremitting violence.  Violence is increasing exponentially in our world of overt hatred towards other groups in the world, compounded by the problem of shrinking resources as we battle over the scraps left available in our dying natural world.  I think we are going to see more wars, uprisings and mass shootings before we see less.  I believe that 2019 will be the year in which the consensus reality decides whether or not there will be nuclear warfare or some other form of extinction event(s) happens for human.   So what Truth do each of us need to understand and build upon in our individual lives to be a part of the solution to the group problem that is violence?

The Christ is quoted as talking about turning one’s cheek and offering more clothing to someone who forcefully disrobes us, in order to not resist evil.  When Jesus himself was disrobed and tortured and crucified he was largely quiet. I believe he did this not to model for us being passive. He was and is God on Earth. He chose to not fight back but he participated fully in the events surrounding him. He could have easily killed his tormentors with a single glance, a singular thought:  Romans, Jews and everyone else. Instead, he chose not to even utter a harsh word. He did remind all present that the scene being played out was done at the will of Almighty God.

This Black Jesus image is from Ethiopia around the 17th or 18th century CE. Ethiopia was the site of one of the earliest and most robust of Christian communities. Jesus of Nazareth was of Mediterranean descent and not the “white guy” often depicted in Western culture.

The Christ did not model for us turning his cheek as some sort of sophisticated form of rebellion, as some religious types have argued. What he demonstrated for us is nonresistance to that which was asked of him by his Creator.  In choosing to surrender to the All-That-Is even at the cost of excruciating, unimaginable pain that would have caused even the kindest of souls to act from hatred, he transcended physical boundaries, and demonstrated a spiritually-based reality that humans had to that point believed was not possible  He refused to return evil with evil.  Rather, he remained loyal to the word of God, which is Love.

Many of us are dealing with our personal crosses right now, and many more will be shortly.  If you find yourself a part of a world awash in a sea of violence, whether you do this by coming to terms with your own past, having ongoing struggles with others in present time, or being the witness for others in various stages of working through or getting stuck in their own narratives, remember the end game is Love.

Whenever possible, view the world from the center of your head, that sweet spot of balance between dichotomies where you have the best chance of living a path of nonresistance and acceptance. Heal the blocks that keep you from knowing your truest self as much as possible.  And above all, follow the ways that allow you to regularly communicate with the God of your Heart, that aspect of the divine that lives within you.  Your answers for all the challenges facing you will be there.

Or as Stevie Wonder tells us in the song to which we are about to listen:  “Believers keep on believing; Sleepers just stop sleeping.  Don’t let nobody bring you down. God is going to show you the higher ground.”

Copyright 2019 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

 

Making America Great, for the First Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lady Liberty 225th Anniversary US Mint coin

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

January 31, 2018 Moon over Lady Liberty

Copyright 2018 by the Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven

 

 

The Wintering of America

From a Sermon given Winter Solstice Worship Service 2016

Winter Solstice is the time we traditionally get together to celebrate the transition that begins at the end of the year and moves us into the beginning of the new year.  Winter is such an underappreciated season, maybe because it forces us to slow down, nudges us into reflection, sets us on the path of integration and changes to come.  It’s like Nature’s growth period, not in the biological sense of things growing, but in the spiritual sense of destroying old cycles with which we have been living; making room for new cycles that are not yet apparent.  It is a time of bareness, of winnowing the exterior world down to basic necessities, so we can look around at a blank canvas and dream about what we want to create.

This year we have the opportunity to do this reinvention not only in our individual lives, but in our collective lives.  I know of many people in America and around the world who are reeling from the shock of the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States.  They say that even most of Trump’s followers were in shock that he actually got elected.  To all who are confused, in anger or fear, or otherwise distressed, I dedicate these words.  This sermon is not about politics.  It is about life on Planet Earth and moving forward when we find ourselves in deep and unfamiliar winter territory.  uncertainty

When I woke up the day after the Election to find we now had a President-Elect Trump, I had many thoughts and feelings, many of which were unpleasant to experience to say the least.  But in the deepest part of me I found a small but very bright and very profound ribbon of gratitude.  I knew exactly what it was about.  I knew in my heart that Donald Trump was not “destined” to be President as of the day before the election.  There are very few times that I know something beyond a “shadow of a doubt.”  But I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the mockup a scant day before the election was that Clinton be elected.  We can blame the media and the pollsters all we want for not preparing us better.  There is certainly no end to the “soul-searching” that the media needs to do about their choices during the election, but they are not to blame for projecting defeat of Trump.   On a spiritual level we had decided that Clinton was going to be the “winner” oflightening-and-lava the election.

And then we changed our collective mind.

The day before, no less.

I mention this almost in passing because perhaps it will bring some solace to individuals who are still lost in the maze of the election energy.  But mainly I mention this because miracles need to be acknowledged, especially ones that are invisible to most people.

It is nothing less than a miracle that an entire nation changed its mind within 24 hours about who to let become President.  The ramifications of this energetic shift are enormous.

 

What it said to me is that there is hope.hope-changes-everythingYou all know that my primary focus and concern these days is on the very real possibility that human beings will not survive on Planet Earth.  In order to “weather” (pun intended) the changes we are bringing to Mother Earth in our arrogance we must make some rapid behavioral shifts in our thinking and behaving.  Further, these changes require a change in human awareness that in my darkest hours has seemed light years away.

If you have any idea of how the consensus reality works, you will recognize that apparently, enough of us have made and/or are making those changes in awareness that a massive shift in the time-space continuum is now possible.  Nothing else explains the fact that one day Trump was not slated to be President and the next day he was.  The fact that collectively so many of us can manifest an energetic shift of that magnitude in that short of a time frame means that we stand a fighting chance of surviving climate change.  And for that, my heart sings with deep gratitude to God and to all of us who are trying to learn to genuinely live consistent with its will.  This was so much bigger and more important than who occupies the Oval Office (or the Trump Tower as it may be).

Here at the Church of the Harvest we have been talking for several years about the fact that humans have constructed a world on the basis of scarcity and conditional love; and in order to move to a world based on God’s endless bounty of unconditional love many of our social, economic, religious, political, and other institutions will need to be destroyed with some being rebuilt in a far different form.  What we just did in our electoral process is greatly accelerate the timeline in terms of destruction.  I was hoping we would not have to do the destruction phase overnight because I know all too well what a hard time people have with change.  The American people decided otherwise.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that all that we upped the stakes in terms of destruction of our world?  It remains to be seen.  We know that from a spiritual perspective there is no good or bad, just experience.

mayan-dancer-representing-an-owl-symbol-of-death-in-mayan-mythology

Death=Rebirth=Potential Wisdom. Mayan Dancer Representing an Owl, Symbol of Death in Mayan Mythology

We also know that our human brains cannot comprehend the master patterning of our Creator.  History has repeatedly revealed points in which horrible things have happened to individuals and to the world within which they live, in order that even more horrible trends are stopped in their tracks.   Think Pearl Harbor for example, where over 2,400 individual souls made the decision on a spiritual level to sacrifice their life, and another 1,000+ were injured so that the U.S. could wake up to what was happening in Nazi Germany and make a decision to enter the World War 2.

pearl-harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

If Pearl Harbor had not happened, it is very likely that not only all of Europe and Asia but probably our continent as well would be under occupation by National Socialism.   The destruction acceleration we just made possible in the United States can bring those who withstand it closer to each other and to Nature and therefore, to the ultimate preservation of human life.

I have been tracking the destructive trends for many years now, but the aspect of those trends that I feel drawn to discussing this morning is the perfect pictures we all have about the United States.   Most of you have heard me say that the road to Hell is paved with perfect pictures.  Perfect pictures are those insidious little bits of programming on an energy level with which all old spirits struggle, that tell us that things are supposed to be or go a certain way.   being-wrong

They create a great deal of grief in part because the world doesn’t oblige us by conforming to our pictures so we lose our way more readily.  Additionally, they generate a ton of blame, hostility, and intense fear when the world doesn’t live up to said pictures, which actively interferes with the learning that needs to happen to get closer to the ideal.  Blame and hostility:  Thinking about this election, does this sound familiar?

The United States is a place rife with perfect pictures, almost like an orchard of overripe fruit that falls from the tree and makes such a big mess that it’s hard to even walk around without falling.  The idea that this country is a new and better version of any other country on the Planet has been part of our national credo for over two centuries.  “We the People,” our “creation myth” to use a label from anthropology, did indeed reflect a giant step forward in the evolution of humanity.  Our fledgling democracy was a great achievement but contrary to the popular belief it was never a perfect one.  The “New World” as we called it, afforded some of us a chance to move beyond our history, but not all of us.

Initially the constitution of the newly formed United States primarily protected the rights of wealthy white men.  Right off the top, over half of the population could not actively participate by virtue of their sex–women.  And then there were the Africans who were not yet called “African Americans” and who were not even acknowledged as human but rather, were each designated as 3/5s of a person for the purpose of property taxes.  The over 12 million Africans who were forced into slavery by the 1900s primarily for the economic benefit of white people were missing from our national narrative of greatness. Also by the 1900s  immigrants primarily of European ancestry had  destroyed 80-98% of the indigenous Native American population through displacement, war, other forms of violence, a fact that we happily justified by the 19th century doctrine of Manifest Destiny.   In the United States, we have tried very hard to not notice that American dream was very hard on many; and that everybody in our country did not exactly have the same degree of a chance at reaping it’s rewards.

Nonetheless, the idea of America as the land of opportunity for all has been important to the entire world, not just those in the United States.  For both spirit and body, dreaming is VITAL and America has provided a life-affirming destination for everyone.  With our shiny idea of a place for all, the U.S. has provided hope for hundreds of years to people all over the Planet, allowing thousands with torturous lives to believe in something outside the drudgery of their existence. As a political institution, the U.S. may not have always lived up for our ideals, but that does not make our support of them any less important.  Perfect pictures are often created for noble reasons.  Eventually they always crash under their own weight unless one actually walks the walk, as well as talks the talk.

Lest you think that we worked out all our earlier quirks with constitutional amendments and changes to the law, no.  Yes, women got the vote, almost 150 years late but we did get to participate.  Indentured servants and slaves were eventually set free.  But as to the national culture, we never really worked through our perfect pictures, our ego-based sense of importance.  Even the fact that we made some laws more just for segments of our population became just more evidence in our collective mind of our moral superiority.  We just kept adding to the narrative, calling ourselves the most powerful, richest, smartest and therefore, by implication the most deserving country on Earth.

We began to believe that the United States was uniquely qualified to lead the world in every respect, not just some areas.   We carefully tried not to notice that the ways in which we were exercising our leadership was typically disrespectful of other cultures, sometimes aggressive and/or exploitative, and frequently self-serving.  In the United States the lifestyle of not only the rich-and-famous but even the working-class-families-who-routinely-shop-at-Wal-Mart, has greatly benefited from our commitment to American superiority.  In the lifetime of those in this room, United States citizens who are 20% of the world’s population at best have been owning, controlling, and in most cases using 80% of the world’s resources.  We made it to the top of the heap.  But at a price to our soul.

What has this got to do with the elections?   The recent U.S. presidential election was essentially a cultural war between perfect pictures.  That’s a war nobody can win.

change

Obviously, we all have a sense that change is needed.  We just don’t agree on what the problem is or how to go about fixing it.

Trump got a lot of voter support because of his carefully chosen motto:  “Make America Great Again.”  Some folks recognized the cultural arrogance of such a motto; and proposed their own slogans.  I enjoyed the various wordplay in such mottos as “Make America Smart Again,” “Make America Mexico Again,”and my favorite “Make America Kind Again.”  But the reality is that as a whole, America has never been smart, kind, or great.  Not consistently; and not as a whole.  Individuals and small groups of Americans have at times done truly great things, chosen innovative, courageous and selfless words and deeds.

c495d8bc8cbff92155a422231c852bbf

The Navajo code talkers were critical in helping the United States defeat the evil of WW2 Nazi Germany and Japanese imperialism. Twenty nine of these dedicated Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. There are an additional 33 other tribes that have been code talkers using their incredible communication skills at other times when the United States has needed them, acts of generosity and true patriotism given what Native Americans have endured from white society.

As a nation we have often been generous and insightful, but intermittently.

Clinton’s “Stronger Together” motto was much less embraced, not only because of people’s reactions to Clinton but because it is a weaker archetype that did not spark the nation’s imagination.  We don’t need to be stronger, exactly.  We need to be strong in a different way.  We also don’t need a false sense of togetherness.  We need the real thing.

The social fabric that is the United States of America is vast, multilayered, contradictory and imperfect.  We need to acknowledge that, stop trying to insist we have already got it right, and realize how much we have to learn.  We need to atone for our sins/trespasses to date, move with more honesty and whole lot more humility towards the ideals to which we aspire.

perfection-words-by-anna-quindlen

Perfection. Words by Anna Quindlen

The universe just gave us a hand.  It just knocked us flat on our collective ass so that we could go back to the drawing board. No more building houses on foundations of sand.  We have to change the way we think.  As a society, we have to create a new narrative based on Truth.   In this story line I imagine us still pledging ourselves to the justice of democracy for all, while acknowledging that we don’t always achieve our goals.  We have to grow beyond our tribal thinking.  We have to learn to think from a spiritual perspective, one that respects the basic unity of all life and the moral superiority of no one.

That said, the landscape before us at this point is looking pretty dark. At this point when we are all swimming in the ocean of confusion, getting back to the basics may be warranted.  So I have three things to say today about negotiating the Wintering of America.

First and foremost:  Do what you came here to do.  You choose this time.  On a spiritual level you made the decision to bring yourself back to Planet Earth during this time period which may be the most fascinating and crucial years in human civilization, apart perhaps from those brief 30+ years that Jesus of Nazareth walked on Earth.  You are here now for a reason.  Find your path.  Let your light shine brightly in these dark days.  The rest of us need that; and you need that.  Don’t let the chaos, anxiety and confusion of the world stop you from finding yourself.  It’s more important now than ever.  Your interests are of paramount importance to us all.  It’s still all about individual responsibility in a time when thousands of people are wanting to dictate what direction you should take.  Find your own Truth.  The God of your heart will tell you where to go, what to do, and what to be, if you just take the time to listen.

Second and also very important.  Do what you can with other people.  If you are a part of the Church of the Harvest, you are a big giver.  Most of you work with the public through your jobs in social agencies, government, private industry and the like.  You are all highly social people, committed to family and country, generous to a fault.  You already know what you can do FOR other people.  All of you are skilled at that.  Now figure out what you can do WITH other people.

Little known fact is that from a spiritual perspective, human beings are really at the very beginning stages of learning to work collectively in a genuine fashion.  We have not gotten much beyond survival mode.  We have learned to hunt together, necessary to bring down large mammals. We know how to band together to fight wars against other humans not a part of our immediate community whether it’s “playing politics” at a local level or waging conflicts and wars on a massive scale.  Humans have been very good at uniting AGAINST things.  As a species, we are still in elementary school when it comes to genuinely uniting FOR things.

inclusion

This is the time where the world must learn what it really means to be united in spirit while at the same time allowing for, even honoring and celebrating individual differences.  It’s about transcending the dichotomy, living the Truth, understanding that on a soul level you ARE the other; and they ARE you; and we ALL ARE aspects of the same God. . .at the same time that each of us is an individual soul with an individual mandate to follow the dictates of the indwelling God of our individual hearts.

You have a head start with this vital learning; and you can model for others.  If you are part of the Church of the Harvest, through your meditations you are committed to a process of manifesting the unity of spirit within a unique body. Figure out where you want to be giving and helping others and go for it, while never losing sight of your own path.  Work together with others whenever you can do so without undermining your own integrity.  Do what you can think to do but know that you can’t do it all because not everything will be on your path.  Support people who have found a different vantage point for their gifts, as best you can.  Speak up and lead righteously in the areas which have been given to you; and be a great witness, listener and supporter in the areas where others are on the forefront.

The model we all have for transcending the dichotomy of the individual soul living within the unity of all was given to us 2000 years ago by the Master.

mosiac-of-jesus-in-a-church-in-rome-ad530

Mosaic of Jesus from a Church in Rome 530 ACE

Listen to the words of the Christ as he discusses the idea of the individual soul living as a part of all-that-is.  This is from Matthew, Chapter 23, and Verses 36-39.  Remember that when he talks about God he is talking about the Kingdom of God within each of us–not some old white dude in the sky.

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

            Jesus said to him:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart

            And all your soul, and with all your might and with all of your mind.

            This is the greatest and the first commandment.

 

            And the second is like to it,

            Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

My third piece of advice is this:  Don’t be afraid of the wintertime.  We know that from a spiritual perspective there is no bad and good.  But we all have a tendency to fall prey to the perspective that winter is the not-so-good or even bad season.  Nature knows better.  All plant and animal life needs an extended period of rest.  In the Pacific Northwest we know that the very waters that sustain our life come predominantly from the snow that falls in the winter to recharge the aquifers.  Recognize the richness of the wintertime of dreaming up new futures, reflection and prayer.

Yes, some of Nature always dies in the winter, adding its carbon and other minerals back to the Earth so that other species will have room.   And with great regret I will confirm what you all know, a greater amount of life on Earth will be dying during this Winter than ever before, both human animals and nonhuman animals so that we all have a greater chance to find eternal life.  But from the big picture, from the mind of our Creator, it’s all good.  We need to hold that Truth in mind.

Again, words of the Master, from Matthew Chapter 24, Verses 10-13, in which he speaks about the “end times” that we are now experiencing:

Then many will stumble, and they will hate one another and betray

                    one another

And many false prophets will rise and will mislead a great many.

And because of the growth of iniquity the love of many will become cold.

But he who has patience to the end will be saved.

fireplace

Hunker on down.  It’s going to be a long winter.  Let’s keep each other warm.

Copyright 2016 by the Rev. Dr. Resa Eileen Raven