Saturday, October 29, 2016

I’ve Never Regretted Something I Didn’t Say Or Do

Old timers in Alcoholics Anonymous have simply wonderful one-liners. One of them is a quote from the Big Book: “Always practice restraint of pen and tongue.” (This idea, of course, was stated long before email, Facebook, or Twitter existed.) Now, we might have to say “… of keyboard, texting, or tongue.” Of course this thought extends, as well, to acting without restraint.
A member of the AA fellowship, Michael Z, recently published in his message []:
Restraint of pen and tongue was a foreign concept to me when I arrived in the rooms.  Before recovery I was quick to speak my mind even when my mind wasn’t made up – it didn’t matter.  I was quick to retaliate for perceived wrongs, quick to take your inventory when I was feeling less than, and quick to tear you down to make myself feel better.  And if I had been drinking, the insults, judgments and condemnations flowed even more.  Afterwards, regret was heavy and the familiar feelings of shame would descend forcing me to retreat into the bottle once again.
When I got sober I heard the saying that feelings weren’t facts.  As such, I was told that I didn’t have to act on every feeling I had, instead I could write about it, pray about it, and share them with other people.  I could restrain from acting on them and wait until I had a clear direction as to how to react.  What I found was that nine times out of ten the feelings would pass, and I was glad I hadn’t acted on them.  I was also relieved that I had less regrets because I hadn’t said hurtful things.
Now that I’m sober a while I still have to be constantly vigilant about acting on or saying things that I might regret later.
I have shared with you before that I have great conversations with myself as I mow the yard or rake leaves – any well-defined task that doesn’t require a great deal of constant thought. These conversations are especially true when I’m “talking” to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell,, concerning how to make Congress work for all of the USA rather than just for Conservative Principles. They always hang on my every word that comes out of my mouth. I’m invariably pleased to have been so extremely helpful!
But my AA Program, bolstered in recent years by my growing understanding from A Course in Miracles (ACIM), has taught me that I don’t have to believe everything I say. Even when “talking” to these fantasized political figures, my concentration and focus will wander and I find myself off on some other subject entirely. For instance, in the middle of my pontification with Paul Ryan, I find myself suddenly talking about problems I’ve had removing the cutting blade on my mower. Now where did that come from? Did I think that maybe Paul Ryan might know the perfect way to remove, sharpen and replace the blade? That he might care? Or is it possible that my thoughts are that undisciplined?
If my thoughts really do come from nowhere only to be replaced by other thoughts, also coming from nowhere, then why oh why would I prefer they also come straight out of my mouth with no filters: no editing; no common sense; no reservations? Now, I always try to insert a brief pause between my thought and my voice or between my thought and my action. I cannot count all the times I have had a thought I believed was extraordinarily important to state – only waiting for the opportunity to state it. Finally, the opportunity presents itself for me to say something, but I couldn’t remember what this great thought was. It was simply gone!
Duh! How unbelievably important could that thought have been?
I can conclude this discussion as Michael concluded his remarks: Today I really feel the truth in the words: “I’ve never regretted something I didn’t say…” or do.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening to me and getting to know me – warts and all. As always, feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#4 Oct 2016
Copyright 2016
PS: Please register and vote!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fix My Perception Not My Reality

I have described several instances where, smelling and observing the myriad life in the muck of my wet-weather creek, I found myself making sense of me in light of the commonness of this thing called “Life.” I simply had this feeling of knowing what the indigenous peoples have known and trusted: Life is universal and non-discriminatory. Native Americans, as well as Australian Aborigines and others, understood that all things have life or spirit: animals, birds, fishes, reptiles, trees, springs, rocks, winds, storms, and – of course – humankind. But they also understood there was no hierarchy. No one form of life was superior to another.
When I truly sense that reality, I become immediately calm. My little spark – called biological life – is no different (nor better than) any other form of biological life. I’ll watch an ant. I don’t think he’s saying to himself: “I’m tired of this. Why couldn’t I have been born a soldier ant instead of a worker ant? Why couldn’t I have been born a butterfly – or a hummingbird?”
Then I’ll talk to him, asking,  “Are you even vaguely aware of how upset I am?” “No? Don’t you care?” “No? Okay, maybe I shouldn’t either. Thanks for listening.”
Maybe I’m just a little off my rocker. But I feel calm. I feel peace. I feel at ease. And I have grown to love those small, little moments. If only people could be as non-judgmental as ants. Oops! That means I am seeing others as judgmental, which means I am looking at them through my own judging eyes. “Mr. Ant! Where are you?”
I recently read a passage in a book called “A New World If You Can Take It,” by Rev. Michael J. Carter [Grave Distractions Publications, 2014]. He is a pastor of a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Western North Carolina. In it he discusses a redefinition of the word God. He begins to equate the word Change and the word Life as synonyms for the word God.
Carter writes (p. 51):  In short, the words Life and God are interchangeable. Life will not punish or reward you. Life is the process of change and growth and some would argue so is God. If our life is a process of change, the words God, Change, and Life are all the same thing.
If these concepts of God and life seem too impersonal, you are correct. Life is not concerned with us individually, but we can use the energy of life at any time. In this way, life becomes our greatest friend. You and I are life itself. We can use this energy. How? Simply by using our thoughts intentionally. Remember now that thoughts are things. What we focus on, we also create. Thought is just another form of energy. We use the energy of life when we are thinking and feeling. These thoughts and feelings can be applied in certain situations as knowledge. This knowledge applied can be wisdom. We use this energy in the form of prayer, contemplation, and meditation … by reading, witnessing and creating art … by philosophy … by observing and spending time in nature. More importantly, we tap into this energy by keeping our hearts, as well as our minds, open to what comes our way by risking being vulnerable and saying “YES!” to life ... You see, we are life/God itself.”
To really believe that about ourselves will lead us also to believe that about all others we meet. To believe that about all we meet leads us to begin believing that about all of humanity. To begin believing that about all of humanity means we have begun morphing into a State of Oneness, which, as A Course in Miracles (ACIM) states, is being in a state of acceptance through proper perception to fulfill our Function here on Earth – seeing all of us in all our actions as either performing acts of Love or calls for Love. That is precisely how the Holy Spirit perceives each of us all the time. There is no “Sin.” Only error. Ask for help from Spirit to change your perception of people, situations or events – and be willing to change your mind! – and then begin again.
Ask and be willing. That is the key. So many times I have asked Spirit for help and nothing happened. When I became truly honest with myself, I understood what was really going on.
I was asking but I was not willing.
I was asking for Spirit to fix my reality to fit my preconceived perceptions. I was not asking Spirit to fix my preconceived perceptions in order to see Reality truly.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening to me and getting to know me – warts and all. As always, feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#3 Oct 2016
Copyright 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Our Responsibility To Vote

Lee’s email was titled: “Old Souls Need To Vote.” In it he discusses the old and new energies that are competing for us. He writes of Kryon’s channeling: “… Old souls are going to have a tendency not to vote in this election because you’re going to see old energy on both sides. And you’re going to look at it and you’re going to say, ‘Neither one really is what we want. Kryon, where’s the new energy? This is old stuff. They’re fighting, they’re angry, they’re calling each other names. You take a look at their meetings and all they do is shout and get angry and red faced.’
Kryon goes on the admonish us to vote and to vote for whomever we believe will be the more transformative. He concludes: “Now dear ones, it’s important that you vote. Because if you simply say I don’t like what’s happening, you won’t be able to vote for what’s transformational. And you have this privilege and this right. The next time around it’s going to be different and the time after that is going to be startling.
“I am not an island unto myself. I am just a small thread in the fabric of society. My work is to dedicate myself to improve the whole social structure. Much of that work requires me to subjugate myself to the health of the whole. My freedom comes, not when I become my own little island, but when my society grows and thrives. I work to make that happen, just as I work to make AA and ACIM a reality.”
Certainly Donald Trump is unfit and unprepared to don the mantle of global leadership required by the Office of the President of the United States of America. As well, Hillary Clinton has a lot to be desired on a personal level – although much of this is based on 20 years of Alt-Right conspiracy theorists who have made of wonderful living from keeping these rumors alive. So, I’ve concluded for me the issue of the personhood of these two candidates is not the basis on which to cast my vote. I will vote for the transformational (to quote Kryon) issues available to us.
The conservatives are proposing to restore the economic/social policies of the George W. Bush administration – lower taxes for the wealthy and the corporations, strengthening of the military (through more war or through more structuring), reducing regulations and the budgets of regulatory agencies, and hoping the business community will come to our collective rescue. Those policies, enacted by a Republican controlled House and Senate (for 6 or Bush’s 8 years) added almost $3 Trillion to our deficit, added only 5 million private sector jobs, almost bankrupted our nation, and plunged us into a horribly severe recession that became global. Why they want to go back and do more of that is beyond me.
The Democrat policies are more progressive and in line with what is emerging as the interconnected global economy in this Information Age. So, I will be voting for this agenda. It was begun with President Obama and has done significant things to improve our overall social structure in terms of inclusiveness, growth, and economic diversity. Fifteen million private sector jobs have been added, the stock market has doubled, we have reduced our wartime footprint, and we have resolved severe international crises with diplomacy rather than military might. And he has accomplished this – not with Congressional help – but in spite of the most obstructionist Congress (under Republican leadership) in history.
Kryon concludes his message by stating: What I have been saying “… are potentials, not fortune telling. The ripples of what is coming are being felt. And I say it again. That there is precedent on other planets that have gone through this and you’re right on schedule. Because what is happening here has happened there. It’s about light and dark. It’s about energy reacting to energy, and what happens and how it happens. It’s benevolent physics.
As I’ve stated before, “I have to understand, on a visceral level, who the “Me” or “I” really is when I am speaking or thinking. The “I” that says to myself, “I really need a newer, more reliable car” is a different “I” than the one that says to my Holy Spirit, “I can’t do this anymore; help me perceive things the way You see them.”
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening to me and getting to know me – warts and all. As always, feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#2 Oct 2016
Copyright 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Tolerance and Serenity of India

In Delhi we were able to see the familiar sites of Mahatma Gandhi’s home and site of his assassination, The War Memorial (India Gate) and the President’s house, as well as the Baha’i Lotus Temple. In Agra we visited, of course, the Taj Mahal. In Jaipur we visited the Amber Fort and rode elephants to the top, we rode rickshaws through the old “pink” city – including the Palace of Winds, watched a demonstration of Oriental rug dyeing and weaving, and visited a gem shop where we saw a demonstration of gem cutting and polishing. Throughout it all we were able to eat the most wonderful food in the world! The worst we had in the most depressing of eateries was absolutely superb. We couldn’t have been more pleased and sated.
However, because of the populations we encountered we also witnessed the extremes of poverty there. There were people living in hovels and shanties not much better off than the roaming animals living around them – cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs and cats. I asked our Guide about them – living in abject poverty in the middle of bustling cities. He told me that India (over a billion people) was really two countries – urban and rural.
The urban India consists of about half of the population. It is moving forward while fighting all the typical “modern” calamities – smog, zoning, traffic and infrastructure issues that plague growing metropolitan areas. Rural India is backward, has resisted change, is culturally stuck 75 years ago, is untrusting of education and health care initiatives, and wants to remain existing as their forefathers did. But it isn’t working anymore. They cannot make a living. They no longer can totally exist in a rural barter economy. Their children will be less prosperous and sufficient than they. So, they are moving to the cities. Some have sold their meager farms to developers and, believing they are rich, move to the city to live a “life of luxury.” But they have absolutely no life skills for urban living. They spend most of their money on a down payment for a small house or condo with no idea that they have to make monthly mortgage payments. When those payments come due, they are bewildered and lose all they have recently acquired. Hence, the hovels and shanties we saw, as well as the begging and attempts to sell trinkets.
It was awful; it was fascinating. It was a living crucible of urban versus rural adaptation to a globalized economy in the Information Age. Although it was more stark and severe, it was a fuzzy, in-your-face mirror of the urban/rural divide we are seeing emerge here in the U.S.
However, many, if not most, of these impoverished displaced rural folks were also vendors plying their wares at every opportunity. Around the more famous tourist sites we saw permanent “gypsy” villages of clapboard shacks and shanties. They were attempting to be as clean as possible but they were relentless in their desire to have me part with a few coins in exchange for their trinkets. Some of the times I felt exactly as a piece of rotting meat must feel watching the flies begin to gather around.
Quite often there would be larger, more robust vendors who would push their way to the front to hawk their goods. I noticed, however, that the other vendors would simply move out of the way to wait their “turn” to get in front of me. Where was the anger? Where was the: “Hey, you, I was here first. What are you doing?” I tried to imagine this in New York, Boston, Chicago or Saint Louis. I couldn’t. There would be fistfights, shouting, shoving. A melee. Police would get involved. People would get hurt.
But not in the India I saw. Why?
They are a serene, gentle and accepting people. I think it is their heritage of Buddhism and Hinduism. They accept – they are aware without fear – without guilt for their circumstance. There was no evidence, as there is here, of a seething underbelly of hate, anger, resentment and fear. Their gentle acceptance was palpably evident – even amidst the throngs of vendors. I could “feel” it. I was impressed.
Last week in A Course In Miracles (ACIM) a Japanese lady who has recently joined our group mentioned that she was told, when she asked “What is ACIM?” that it was a course in Buddhist and Hindu principles couched in Christian language. That description really resonated with me – in light of what I had just experienced in India.
These observations and explanations helped me. I hope it is helpful to you as well.

#1 Oct 2016

Copyright 2016