The Great Work

The Great Work

Friday, May 25, 2018

Slowing Down for Enlightenment


I have decided to slow down.  I have decided to take the steps to process everything I experience, feel, and claim to know, eat and live into.  My beliefs are too quickly accepted and my speed for dismissing anything even faster.   I’d like to share with you how my slowing down has helped me to improve my memory, appreciation for nature and for relationships. 
As a minister and schoolteacher, I often entertain conversations with people complaining about too much information and too little time.  Anxiety is the consequence of such a difficult bind.  In my own pursuits to minimize stress, worry and unrealistic expectations about myself and others, I found the slow and authentic engagement with what I am doing here-and-now, to provide fulfilment and satisfaction in my life.
Did I experience a greater amount of anxiety when I intentionally took things slower? It would seem that I would’ve.  Interestingly enough, I didn’t.  I actually found my taking things slowly and being genuinely involved in anything I chose or needed to do, to fill my day and lessen my feelings of inadequacy or poor planning. Another effective strategy was to plan my day and work my plan in such a manner as to emphasize what I can do to resolve or make a difference and to focus on those goals.  When something begins to seem to be more than I can handle, I remind myself that I have been responsible to address what I can do, rather than what others what me to or what my unrealistic expectations challenge me to do. 
One additional matter that is required for slowing down is to make honest assessments about myself.  Too often I rush and make my day cumbersome because I confuse what I need to do with my value as a person.  In other words, I may say to myself, “I can do this because I’m smart,” I am actually making a mistake.  My ability to accomplish a particular task doesn’t have anything to do with my brilliance or value as a person.  Many circumstances can influence my ability to do something or to complete a task on time.  So, if traffic or someone else’s role in completing a task has been instrumental in delaying the achievement of a particular goal, than it doesn’t have anything to do with me. 
I can choose to see things as judgment on my person or simply as things that need to get done.  As long as I don’t procrastinate or refuse to ask for help or resources, then I do all I can and I take time in doing the best I can. Why do I make a point about personal assessment of self?  The path of enlightenment must not only come through practicing the presence of self in all we do, but in valuing the participation of one’s self in the practice.  Otherwise there is dissonance.
I recommend to start “slowing down”, by taking small tasks under this new method of doing life.  Practice being present in the moment, enjoy the task and think of the health that affords you the ability to do it, the mind you have that affords the processing and resolution of it and the life you have that makes it possible to address it in the first place.  From there you can tackle larger and more complex goals.  When the challenges of life such as death or illness have come my way, the slow movement approach has been essential to my mental health, bereavement, health plan of care and self-care, too. 
Taking life slowly doesn’t make it easier.  It makes it meaningful and makes each moment count.  I believe it has done me a great deal of good.  In light of the fast food, instantaneous gratification society we all live in, it is refreshing and powerful to not expect things before their time and to enjoy each moment along the way.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Cause of Cause

We often have stories we want to share.   They are good stories.  They’re insights about ourselves occurring when we’re on some high, on top of our game, going strong and in control.  Loved ones are healthy, finances are fine and life is worth living.  It’s hard to imagine that we’ll be facing the death of loved ones, divorce, financial burdens and reassessments as to the meaning and significance of the life we felt – perhaps just a few months or days ago – was worth living.
Recently, I was sitting across a former colleague who shared with my wife and me, a brutal personal hardship.  Eight years ago, I shared with this very same colleague an almost identical narrative that I was going through – and to a certain extent – I still am.  While she related her story, I was transported to a state of uncanny awareness of synchronicity which doesn’t occur often in life.  When it does, though, the epiphany is staggering and humbling. I believe the ramifications for reflection are abundant.  This is why I want to share this reflection with you.
Carl Gustav Jung
We usually do not embrace the notion that we are really interconnected and related.  If we really think about it though, we are.   With the invisible bonds which we all share in common, there are vibrations caused by the polarities within and between us.  These unleash spiritually charged forces which impact every one of us - somehow.  Surroundings and circumstances do affect us exerting their influence beyond the noticeable familiarity of our everyday lives.  There is a hidden “third rail”, a power source, which nourishes us in the midst of the place we find ourselves in.  This power is for good.  But our assessment of our experiences fashions the manner in which we deduce whether our lives are good or not.  This is also the reason why we compare ourselves to others and make certain judgements as to our quality of life.  This is quite unhealthy.  It stumps our ability to evolve spiritually. 
 Another point of consideration is that of cause.  This is the usual source of the “why” that we ask incessantly.  Jung argued that causes do not necessarily have to be related in terms of direct lines of effect.  It is rather foolish to seek a motive or meaning for something in its immediate aftermath.  Sometimes it takes days – sometimes years.  This isn’t to say we refrain from prayer, wonder, curiosity and reflection.  But it may just be meaning will elude us for a season or two… or three.  Meaning can far transcend the steps that lead up to something we’re experiencing.  It may only make sense after we compare notes with someone who had a similar experience.  Community is required for us to identify an existential purpose.      
We are connected.  We are witnesses of each other’s pain as well as to potential and aspirations.  Have you ever thought how close you are to undergo the same or similar situation?  When we are passive bystanders to someone else’s life, we are in a grace state, a kind of immunity.  Those similar conditions, which we are about to experience within, we see from afar.  This is a threshold of time grace affords us to reflect on how would we live if given the very same conditions.  This is a time of mercy for us to prepare and to plumb the depths of our resolve, faith and nature.  It also challenges our notions of personal empathy.  We will hope others are empathetic with us, are we with them?  We are witnesses to each other’s setbacks and accomplishments – past, present and future.  With slight variations, just like composers who add their personal twist to the pieces which have made singular, irrevocable imprints in their lives, what happens to me can indeed, happen to you.  It’s a variation on the theme of the human condition.   
I must interject herein and submit that causality, in my humble opinion, isn’t a linear process of cause and effect.  Rather, it’s more like a web; a concentric, interconnected circulation of life.  The circadian rhythm of life transcends to the invisible outposts of mind, consciousness and the soul.  Accordingly, how we may avoid certain ends is greatly determined by interpersonal and intrapersonal factors we are willing to alter in the present.  Most of these are the remnants of our past.  


These difficult reconfigurations require patient, personal attention to our past.  And they cannot be changed due to a preconceived notion or plan to what we’re seeking to do in the future.  That sabotages any real change and subjugates the process to intended ends rather than to emancipate ourselves from any set goals (which could also be the ghost of the past in disguise).  How can we alter the future?  The options are available to those whose discernment is quickened and empowered by the Spirit.  If we humbly realize that what we desire may not be what we need and the total sum of the future will be determined not just by a goal, but by a comprehensive transformation of our self – in mind, body and Spirit, above all else, then the future is open to what God desires for us to be for him. 
Our present clouds our judgment as to what will happen tomorrow – as well as later in the day.  Indeed, we should sustain positive thoughts about the morrow, but aware of the fragile matrix that sustains those wishes and prayers.  Many things can happen.  And many things do.  Many events alter individuals in ways which leave the person a shadow of who they were before.  We have a distorted view of “karma” and unhealthy opinion of prosperity.  We are shackled by superstition and sustain a malnourished spirituality. For much of the balance we claim to seek, our spirituality is far from calibrated and hence, reliable.
Even as I wonder when my next wave of slings and arrows are going to be unleashed, break my balance and cause me to drown in uncertainty, doubt and pain, I often recall my training as a martial artist.  If I resist the power of a wave, I can lose my balance just as much as when I’m facing it.  But if I follow the course of the current, swim along and let its strength become my means of propelling me across the sea, I arrive at the shore mostly through the forbearance of the thrust that initially was my foe.  This is the wisdom of spiritual aikido… and of humility.


As stories are invested in us, these narratives describe trial and perseverance.  They may include resolution, but all transmit wisdom for those who can discern.  In our daily preoccupation with the quotidian, it is easy to overlook these tools of discernment.  Much of the situations we find ourselves in are predominantly the result of our interior state of being.  Our spiritual health.  In the prologue to his excellent book on Jung and the Gnostic gospels, Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, wrote the following admonishment we should all heed: “Many speak and write of world peace and the envisioned “one world” with recognizing that such ideals can never be realized on the external plane until enough individuals have come to wholeness within themselves.”   Let us begin the great work within.  Let us work for peace.  

American Public Education (Anti-panegyric)

The greatest threat to any free society is the unraveling of its public schools.  Public schools are directly contributing to their very own demise. Their refusal to address the academic standards of teachers, exert disciplinary expectations on students, follow through with consequences and cater to every whim and caprice of students and parents, has caused many community and nationwide stakeholders in public education to seek alternative educational programs for children. Mass testing campaigns across the nation have limited the ability for educators to teach content within their respective disciplines with freedom and depth.
Most educators are forced to reconfigure their lesson plans to reflect teaching solely what is anticipated to appear on a statewide examination months in advance. Therefore, the majority of the schoolyear is not spent in engaging and in-depth exploration of subjects – cornerstones of authentic learning, but rather on drilling students ad nauseam, on skills, concepts, operations and vocabulary, for a test that only measures minimum standards sufficient for passing a course, not achieving the fullness of any students’ potential. The goal is mediocrity and dronism, not emancipation of the mind and discovery on the inner self.
The means of addressing these threats to the patrimony of our land and nature is to make unequivocal decision to take national education needs as national security priorities.  No economic, legislative, diplomatic or military efforts will ever be fully realized or successful if the individuals behind said plans are functioning along lines of mediocre comprehension and analysis.  Additionally, the gap between the privileged classes and those steadily falling behind the paces of others with financial resources to attend the most prestigious, safest and more than adequately resourced schools in America, will have generational ramifications for the entire nation.
Fundamental to the pathos plaguing American education is the lack of spirituality.  The moral compass is corrupt and the implications of an uneducated society go unmentioned.  Locked away in some forgotten closet, the spiritual identity of this land and of its greatest thinkers, writers and poets, are emasculated leaving only non-offensive snippets of the greatest literature the country and a greater part of the world has ever seen erased from the curriculum of students. 
Technology has replaced teacher competence and in-depth knowledge of their subject matter.  By the use of facilitator, the responsibility of educator can be absolved and any tech savvy individual can be a state-certified, “credible” educator. Discipline is dispelled as a destructive agent of by gone “dark ages” when imagination was stifled by expectations.  Obedience is code for abuse. 
As a public school educator, my daily meditation is on the future of America.  The halls are no longer solemn paths to discovery.  They are holding grounds for drug exchanges, fights, skipping classes, inappropriate sexual encounters and airing out the pent up frustration of teachers who feel alone, unsupported and adrift in a vocation most Americans do not care for or appreciate the value of. 
I am called to be a teacher.  It’s my vocation.  As a man of the cloth, it is even more of a ministry than anything else.  The devaluation of education is a national crisis and an issue of national security.  It is the foundation of a free society and it is being forfeited by leaps and bounds every time a new testing company provides a quantitative tool for assessing learning.   The instruments collect data, but our kids read less and less and have no connections to nature, Shakespeare or Emerson.
Through this program, I pray the urgency of the state of bankrupt public educational system will be taken up by students desiring to be agents of transformation inside and outside the public classrooms of our country.  To create real spaces of academic inquiry where ALL points of view are treated with equitable respect and consideration.  Where reason determines value and quality, not political agendas and hyper emotional tirades which cause violence, silence democracy and spread fear. 

We will encourage discourse, reflection and imagination.  The spiritual dimensions of education will be central to the conversation as are the needs for bring back Reason to fore and to temper conversation with candor, cordiality and collegiality.  To the extent that we can encourage students to look within and discover the divinity inside - this will be the only genuine exercise to distance ourselves from inevitable spiritual, social, economic, political and global catastrophe.  As Jesus taught love, nonviolence, peace and resistance to evil, we shall explore these very same methods of the Spirit in word and deed.  Pray for students, pray for schools.  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

About Forgiveness


What is an apology?

How is forgiveness substantially different to an apology?

How is “sorry” a middle ground, but not quite as disarming as forgiveness? 

What is forgiveness?

How is a healthy understanding of these methods of reconciliation life altering and deeply spiritual?

Any offense is an act of abused power.  In some cases, the offense comes from an individual whose life, thoughts or actions, do not hold any influence over me.  In other situations, it isn’t the individual whose actions have offended me as much as how a system has allowed the individual to offend.  Therefore, the power of the institution was somehow ineffective in controlling what I would see as an otherwise insignificant action as offensive.  We see it as a breach of power allowed by some other body entrusted to keep these types of individuals under control.  An example would be a protest.  We’re not necessarily offended by the individuals involved in the action, we’re offended by the notion that the ideas presented are allowed or not discredited.  But when an individual who holds some measure of emotional power over me says or does something that hurts me, that is how I know they have power over me. 

Here is where we need to understand how power is directly related to the nature of apologies, saying one is sorry and ultimately, the humbling act of forgiveness. 
An apology is only legitimate when we possess the power to change the attitude we hold or to modify the behaviors which cause a trespass in the first place.  Otherwise, it is patronizing.  We condescend others when we apologize for something: 

(A) We didn’t do.  In other words, we’re not the cause of the offense; or 

(B) we apologize on behalf of some entity we belong to, but again, we were not the originators of the offense.  

Apologies are legitimate when we possess the ways and means to ensure the cause for the hurt is kept in check and we’re accountable.  Therefore, if I apologize, I should be able to possess the power to ensure the offense doesn’t happen again.  I recognize the upsetting circumstances as something I had control over, but out of oversight or some other shortcoming, I hurt the other party.  I apologize and quickly seek to reconcile with the other. 

Saying I am sorry is a subtle way of recognizing wrongdoing.  In saying I’m sorry, I am willing to accept my error, but I am not willing to give over my power to the other, so that he or she can decide if the relationship is worthy reconciliation or termination.  You see, true healing only comes when power is handed over.  The power I had to offend, I must now surrender to the offended and afford the offended the full freedom of exercising power over me.  This is the reason why so often, I chose to say, “I apologize” or “I’m sorry”, but not “forgive me”.  In the first two cases, I am still in control, I still have power.  But in the last scenario, I am authentically willing to exchange places with the offended to be humbled by what I did and by what I became to the individual I claim to care about – a transgressor.   

But what if an individual who offends me doesn’t ever chose to ask for forgiveness?  Is the situation set in stone and unchangeable?  To answer this question requires acknowledging the hidden power I have, but I wasn’t aware of due to its being cloaked by the pain of an offense by someone I value and consequently, holds power over me. 

Forgiveness doesn’t require forgetting.  It requires remembering.  Too often I hear, “I forgive and I forget.”  Why?  Why would anyone forget an offense unless: (A) It still causes some measure of discomfort or hurt to entertain the thought; or (B) the issues are better left alone somewhere in the past so that one can “forgive”.  But what “forgive” means here is to leave the matter alone and to move on.  Here is the where we tend to place the cliché, “Time heals all things”, or invoke some variation of time serving as the great physician to heal all pain and suffering.

I suggest that we have misunderstood the nature of forgiveness.  For forgiveness to occur, I don’t have to wait for the offender to ask for forgiveness.  If that was the case, then he or she would continue to have power over me.  First, they had enough power over me to hurt me.  Now, they have sufficient power to keep me waiting for the day they decided it’s time to recognize any wrongdoing from their end.  My power to forgive an offender is the power I possess to be set free from the strong coil his or her transgression caused and continues to exert its painful presence over me. 
Forgiveness isn’t rooted in time; it’s rooted in power.  So, if we comprehend the relationship between forgiveness and power, we’ll unlock a cure to pain and suffering unlike anything else recommended or taught. 

When someone offends us, the person has applied his or her influence/control over us to exert pain.  If the same words, actions or some combination of the two came from someone else, we wouldn’t pay it any mine.  Two things must be said presently.  First, the cause of pain doesn’t need to be intentional for the offense to take place.  We’ve all been on the receiving end of that situation.  Second, if the pain was intentional, then the issues requires two further question.  Did I do anything – wittingly or unwittingly – to cause this?  Is there anything I know about the person I know charge as offender that I used to hurt or incite the response toward me?

These introspective questions need to be pursued to ensure the exchange was one requiring my own need to reconcile with the other.  Too often we demand justice when offended, but we are great defense attorneys when the same or similar charge is held against us.  We used the following argument: It’s different in my case…

Now, suppose we’ve gone through this whole process of introspection and we find ourselves in need to face up to the pain caused by the other.  We were without cause to be hurt and we have made sincere efforts to amend and discover the source of the other’s reaction.  We honestly have.  Considering these circumstances, we much proceed to determine whether we want to live with the pain or whether we want to be free from the power the offense will have over us each time we think, talk or see something even remotely like the original situation.  The power certain people have over us will transcend time, place and relationships.  Therefore, it is imperative that we are honest about our pain, it’s source and to determine the root of the hurt to pull the pain from the root.  Otherwise, it will fester within us and contaminate all our others thoughts, actions, opinions and worldview. 

Forgiveness works in when one is authentically open to healing.  Forgiveness only works if an individual humbly accepts their own capacity for wrongdoing and error.  Forgiveness is possible only when the person can recognize the hurt is real and to name it coupled with claiming it’s cause and transgressor.  Once this is done, we can proceed to the next step toward healing. 

Identifying the source of pain brings the person full circle to the question we posed from the beginning.  Am I willing to release the pain from within by acknowledging the power someone else has over me?  And if so, what is the personal cost accompanying such emancipation?  Recognizing I am hurt and accepting my vulnerability before someone else’s power over me requires humility.  Pride will sabotage this process toward freedom from anger.  As soon as I recognize who hurt me and how it is possible to be hurt by said individual puts me in a place of strength, ironically. 

Forgiveness truly happens when I recognize the offender, accept the pain of the offense as real and release the person from continuing to offend me.  How?  To say to the transgressor either face to face, by letter, phone or email, “What you did to me hurt me.  I accept that.  I also recognize that I cannot allow your actions to continue to hurt me for days, weeks, perhaps months and years to come.  I forgive you for having hurt me.  I forgive myself for having allowed you to have the power you did have over me.  I release you from any power over me and I take the responsibility of not allowing you or your actions to dictate how I feel and how I will feel tomorrow anymore.” 

Forgiveness isn’t provided for the other’s sake.  Forgiveness is for you.  It isn’t for others to handle or appreciate.  It is for you to acquire a new sense of being, meaning, strength and freedom from pain.  To no longer have your present and future influenced by the power of past offenses will enable you to enjoy new relationships and life.

But what about memories?  What should you do when you remember the event that caused the offense in the first place?  What happens when the thought of the person invades your present?  Therefore, it is so important to forgive.  When you genuinely forgive; when you authentically release the individual from the power over you and the no longer accept their influence over you, the thought of the offense will no longer hurt you!  You will not fear the thoughts because they will no longer have any power over you.  This is the secret of true forgiveness.  No power, no pain.  The experience will only hold essential life lessons which will empower you over your life, thoughts and destiny. 

And finally, let’s consider the spiritual aspects of forgiveness.  Indeed, many global faith traditions do indeed promote forgiveness as the way to inner peace, enlightenment, communion with God and becoming ever more like God.  Let us suppose we accept these principles in theory.  The real question for spiritually minded folks is how is it translated from theory to practice.  How do I live into the peaceful life I desire?  How do I act with greater wisdom and gain an intimate sense of community with God, the cosmos and/or Nature?  How can I be more like the divine spark I possess within among those I am called to love and live alongside with?  It is ultimately a question of power. 

Power is a spiritual force within all of us.  A power to produce great art or to break apart a marriage.  A spiritual force which calls from within us a source of love greater than anything we know when we finally learn to love ourselves.  This is how we acquire the ability to forgive someone else.  

When I learn to forgive myself for having taken so long to say I’m no longer under so-and-so’s power.  It brings shame and guilt to know what took me so long?  Why didn’t I get it before?  I have always found in my life that the circumstances that took the longest to heal or resolve have become the greatest sources of inspiration for me.  I have become a teacher and a spiritual leader because of the question of power which took me a very long time to comprehend.  Those thoughts do not have power over me.  I have power over them.  And I now entrust you to do the same – be free, become a teacher and lead others into the path of healing.  

Into Nothingness


When I began to meditate, I found frustration rather than peace.  So much distracted me as soon as I closed my eyes, that the idea of nothingness as the desired destination sounded ridiculous, if not altogether impossible to achieve.  I saw the information my mind allowed to enter the speedway of my thoughts as colliding with trip to nowhere.  My five senses, I believed, were going to sabotage whatever I was supposed to encounter within and beyond my consciousness.  These road signs of what I had seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched a few minutes ago or 30 years ago, were working contrary to my work to detach myself from myself.

On one particular evening as I drove through a special area of town for me, I began to look at the trees, houses and neighborhood.  Yet, I also felt at peace to go in the direction I needed to take.  I had knowledge of my ultimate destination, I knew the roads to take and where I could avoid unnecessary traffic, too.  This afforded me the opportunity to look around, take the scenery in, but not be delayed, confused, lose my direction or even slow down, for that matter, as some drivers do when they’re unsure about the road they’re on.  Ever felt that way before?

My drive was a great source of spiritual education for me.  I realized that the thoughts I entertain are signposts when I meditate.  Nothing more.  As one drives on a freeway, one has a destination in mind.  Although the signs may provoke a thought, a memory, curiosity or even stimulate feelings ranging from humor to disgust, the trip still continues toward the ultimate destination.  I see meditation in the same way.  The ultimate end of is to embrace nothingness.  Through the vehicles of rhythmic, focused breathing, we drive towards our goal.  As we move past the events of the day, week, month or life, these signposts will poke, prod and produce responses that are natural and unavoidable.  But we either choose to stop by a road sign, park and get out, remaining miles away from where we need to be – in a meaningless state of uncertainty - without shelter, in potential danger, in the middle of nowhere and growing in unnecessary anxiety, or we pass them by, take them for what they are and proceed to the final destination.

One final thought on the signposts on the shoulders of our meditative road to nothingness.  Power.  These signposts are imbued with power over us only if we afford that power to then.  Like forgiveness where the genuinely forgiven transgression no longer holds any power over us, the same is true about these mental road signs – or mental road blocks.  They will be defined by the power we delegate to them.  Therefore, wither they are ancillary and momentary lapses or impressions which will ultimately inform us our what we hold in our conscious or they will paralyze any authentic effort to move toward the prize of inner work and liberation.

    


Monday, March 20, 2017

All over the place...

Anxiety.

Anxiety does not only have clear emotional connections.  It is the result of an abundant spiritual malaise that has grown far beyond an individual's ability to contain or diminish the power it has acquired over a person.

Anxiety creeps up anyone.  It usually lies low when others are around or when one is in the midst of some activity where it isn't possible to work or reflect.  But when the time is available and conditions would seem to be favorable for good work to be done, paralysis sets in.  Paralysis of one's discipline and focus.  Unrelated thoughts become quite abundant and distracting.  Thoughts related to one's abilities, grasp on knowledge or competence, come before a judge presiding over a mental tribunal where one is found guilty of ineptness and worthlessness.

Anxiety also comes when there is little to no support.  This can be both true or imaginary.

It is the function of writers, poets, preachers and learned folks to be capable, often leading to personal loss and pain, to present the conditions of the present world - both along intrapersonal and interpersonal lines.  But the conclusions drawn and set before readers is not without a substantial amount of personal experience.

Perhaps those that are actively engaged in any spiritual pilgrimage, take stock in themselves as they read or listen to the conditions brought on by the presence of anxiety in one's life.  But so many are passively attentive but keeping more than a comfortable arm's length from the consequences of jumping head first into the process of reprogramming one's life.  It is a lonely and frightening proposition.  One that doesn't guarantee any material benefits or promises to resolve dysfunctional circumstances at home, work or within.

So why walk toward certain fragmentation?

I don't know how one could reject - what to my mind seems to be the only option which DOES ensure spiritual evolution and, consequently, a refreshing and bold approach to comprehending one's purpose, value and sense of personhood.

As I confront my own phantoms and feel the brutal aftermath of emotional and spiritual exhaustion, I believe that I can not live and will not be able to live with dignity and a genuine sense of self-worth without doing so.

Spirituality is applied religion.  One can be religious, but never be a spiritual individual who stands on a precipice of uncertainty and wonder - simultaneously.  Angst and Wonder do walk hand-in-hand.  Conversely, to be spiritual without the religious underpinnings necessary for the purpose of educated application of said beliefs, values, worldview and ethics, leaves the believer at the mercy of a hodgepodge of pseudo science and new age thoughts which are neither true or rational.

I invite you to start the painful process of integrating your life.  As you live in an integral fashion, you will acquire humility, an attitude of thanksgiving and awe for life and for the holy place you hold in this sphere of reality.

I will be here attending to my pain, attend to yours - and as we heal, we will be able to extend a courageous and transformed hand to those unable or unsure of the value and purpose of submitting to the process of self-discovery and reclamation.

This is the true nature of holiness and the evident consequence of wisdom - from ashes rises the perfumed incense of angels to the nostrils of those blessed to be called stewards of this Earth.

Peace,

Fr Daniel

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Theologizing

To remove the obstacles of the Self is to allow the Soul within each one of us – that is God – to flow through thereby realizing the truest nature of our Mind, of our Being.  That is my purpose for serving as a minister of the Gospel.  It is my philosophy of ministry to embody the place of a midwife.  As one in such a place of honor, the provision of care and support, the instruction for the breathing in of the spirit and the encouragement to push out into reality one’s new self, transformed by the union of God with the Self and to nurture the new creation into the fullness of Christ, is the nature of the pastor.
My theology serves as an underpinning for my practice of ministry.  Doing theology is the natural intent of every human being for reaching above and over one’s individual heart and mind to reach God.  By using our collective and individual brokenness as a stepping stool, to embrace God and listen. 
Why and how is this possible?  God is our heavenly parent; mother and father.  Because of the intimate, personal and accepting nature of the Godhead, we have a divine brother, Jesus, who embodies the perfect nature of God in flesh so as to live among us and receive us all – regardless of sex, gender, creed, race, age, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, to dine with him and become one with him.
I believe the Bible is an authentic account of God’s love for the world and for all creation – and not just humanity.  However, the authenticity of Scripture is not to be manhandled or deformed into a dogmatic instrument of oppression, marginalization or disenfranchisement, of any one group or of the environment.  The greatest example of God’s truth and the most profound testimony of God’s revelation to the world is its diversity. 
Scripture is to serve as the guide which affords us with the understanding of the inner self, the Soul, which inhabits each one of us.  As a tool of discovery, it assists in our ability to employ the mind within to access the divine imagination which the soul places at our discretion.  As the soul is in tuned with and is part of the Over Soul, to use Emerson’s term for God, the Bible helps us to plumb and calibrate ourselves for the benefit of channeling the soul through us and thereby become like Christ ourselves.

Christ is the Savior of the world inasmuch as we are all to be saved by the unconditional, loving gift of the Cross, despite our willingness or ability to accept its reality.  That is the nature of love.  It is not contingent on patterns of right action or of correct rituals; it is an intrinsic outpouring of the Universal Soul’s nature.  In essence to commune with Christ is to commune with our nature.  To commune with our nature is to live a life of virtue, love and beauty.