The Golden Mean

Golden-Mean-1

So how does one go about judging perspective?  Is it even appropriate, especially given that we all walk in our own pair of shoes, is there any kind of measurement that we can use to create some kind of standard? Empathy for our fellow humans can only take us so far.  Is there a human blueprint or archetype that we can use as a starting point?  When I observe the men in my house, a great deal of the time I truly believe that I’m the only sane person in crazy town.  Therein lies the rub…is it possible to truly understand perspective when all you have is your own…is there any substantive to point to judge what is truly illusory and crazy?  I know there are a million self-help books out there, and I’ve actually read a few…but I’m looking for something more subtle.  Is there an underlying beat, deeply embedded in our DNA, that we humans march too?  Let’s talk about the Golden Mean.

The Golden Mean, or Golden Proportion is a particular construct I’ve used to help me give shape and form to a concept that is usually so illusive.   Some of you who read this may be already familiar with this concept and for those of you who aren’t, I’ll explain it to the best of my ability (or you can always look it up in Wikipedia).

The Golden proportion is a special proportion deeply rooted in nature, art, math and philosophy that represents harmony and balance.  According to ancient history, the Greek mathematician and astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus (c.370 B.C.), noted that when he asked his associates to find the most pleasing placement of a crossbar, they naturally did so according to this proportion, 1 to .618.  Here is a diagram (great thing, the internet).

golden proportion

The golden mean is also called PHI (pronounced “fee”, not to be confused with PI) in the language of mathematics.  PHI was derived from a sequence of numbers created by a thirteenth century mathematician named Leonardo Fibonacci.  The sequence is a progression in which each term is equal to the sum of the two preceding numbers: 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21, and the quotients of the adjacent terms possessed the property of achieving the number 1.618, which is PHI, or the golden proportion.  PHI is found throughout some of the best architecture in history, including the Great Pyramid and the Parthenon.  You’ll see it in art, (a classic Greek urn, da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man) nature, (the spiral of a sea shell) biology, (the proportion of male to female bees in a honeybee community) and music (organizational structures in music or the shape of a violin).

What was insightful to me was not that we conceptually understand all the implications of the golden proportion, or mean, but that we, somehow by nature, abide by its rhythm.  Somehow we intuitively know this balance point.  Up there out in the world, there is a consistent melody that life moves to.  There is supposed to be a connection to something larger and I think that we stopped listening to that melody a long time ago.  In the human scale, our hearts lie right at the golden proportion point, so it isn’t surprising to me that the heart, not the head is the archetype where true wisdom and love is found.

The lack of reliance on intuition, that internal melody evidenced historically by how dominant pure reason became.  Reason, historically a male characteristic, has been considered superior to intuition.  Think of it, it’s common to tell someone to be reasonable but have you ever heard someone ask you to be intuitive?  The general tenor of history has taught that intuition, because it is vague and illusive, is also something that can’t be relied on and is something that should be evolved from, replaced by science and reason, again, probably rooted in that whole “sinful human nature” thing.  There is also plenty of examples in history when it was even vilified—note, burning “witches” at the stake.  In working to regain a better sense of balance in this world, hence a better perspective, there is nothing to lose by looking at the possibility that “reason” may have shown us just one side of the coin. Visiting the other side of the coin, via my intuition, certainly added clarity and a new dimension to my world.   And adding that dimension was as pivotal as learning the world was no longer flat.

Although intuition is intensely personal, outside resources were helpful in learning to tap into it, understanding the golden mean only being one of them.  We all receive plenty of guidance from outside sources, mine happened to be from scripture, scholars, educational programs and all sorts of other mediums and everyday people like my parents.  Most often I listened to these sources not because of a command but as the result of a conscious choice, they hit a harmonious chord deep within.  Like the story of the Garden of Eden, there is a point when we all have to learn to rely on ourselves when making choices.  Ultimately, I am the direct beneficiary of all my personal choices, even if the choice is only limited to whom or what I’m seeking direction. The greatest challenge is to have the courage to let go of the control of the rational world and allow ones self to move according to the rhythm of the universe.  In this age of rigid rules and control it feels overwhelming to trust what’s “out there.”   It has, for me, been the only way that I have stumbled across the answers to many of my life’s questions.  That isn’t to say reason wasn’t essential as a check when something sounded too good to be true.  It has always been the balance of both my innate sense and rational mind that has kept me pretty balanced (unless you ask the men in my house…)

As a result of remaining fairly ignorant about the power of intuition, I wonder how often we second guess ourselves.  The sense of knowing what choice is the right one comes to me by gut instinct far more often than I may realize or accept.  The result of weakening the credibility of our inner voice is that it becomes a whole lot easier for the world outside to dictate how we live.  As you already may realize, the outside world perpetuates a lot of illusions guaranteed to obstruct clear sight.  Without a strong inner voice, it’s easy to succumb to those illusions.  Perhaps living from the outside-in is less effective than to root how we live in the world from the inside-out.  So, from this point onward, try letting your intuition be your guide in what is presented as only one woman’s take on what lies on the other side of the coin.

How we observe the world is essential, but let me go into detail about that later. It was my intuition that added a whole different dimension to the power and accuracy of my observations.  But it isn’t always easy listening to my inner voice.  First, because it means shutting off my own babble long enough to listen and second, by its very nature it tends to be elusive.   In this day and age, it is even more difficult to listen to the voice within sometimes because of the noise of everyday life, from everything we’re wired into, to the noise of modern life outside.   We are all bombarded by sounds from practically the moment we wake up in the morning, and it takes a conscious effort to turn them off.  It is possible, however, to learn how to tune them out.  When things get really crazy and loud in my life, I remember a line from one of the Psalms that says “Be still and know that I am God.”

Because of the mysterious and intangible quality of intuition, it is the perfect place from which God can speak most clearly.  There is a great story in the Old Testament about the prophet Elijah.  As a result of being a zealous advocate for God, Elijah is a hunted man.  He hides in a cave and the Lord speaks to him and tells him to go outside the cave and to wait for him to pass.  Elijah witnesses strong enough storms to shake the mountains and cause rocks to fall, yet the Lord was not in the storm.  Afterwards there was an earthquake and then fire and the Lord was not present in these powerful acts of nature either.  Then Elijah heard a tiny whispering sound in the wind, and it was in the whispering where God was present, and it was from the whispering where he received direction.  Please don’t think I’m representing myself as a prophet: I’m not.  I have, however, taken the MMPI , busted my hump academically, read thousands of books and danced under the full moon naked—okay scratch that last example.  But like Elijah, I do believe God exists in the whispering, from deep down within me.   I am confident in this statement because I’ve learned to get out of my comfort zone and test the wisdom I receive from within and then watch the results.  At least at this point in my life I choose to listen to the presence and direction of God in the whispering—when I shut up long enough to listen

I’m Stuck

missing boobsAll crap aside, I have tried in the last couple of days to 1) figure out what exactly drives me as an observer and 2) figure out how to improve and change what drives me as an observer.  Truthfully, I am stuck.  I’m stuck because there is a part of me, perhaps the part that is rooted in common sense, that absolutely can’t change how I view that portion of the world that is so rooted in illusion that they are convinced it is the rest of the world that is completely insane….I KNOW!  THAT VERY EXAMPLE FITS ME BOTH AS AN OBSERVER AND THOSE THAT I OBSERVE!!!  It is a bit of a conundrum.  So, I have begun to disassemble the illusory elements in my life…which also stands as proof that my willingness to accept that I may just be as crazy as those I’ve been judging, is a sign that I am in fact, not the crazy on in this observer/observed relationship.  Also, the fact that I would never go out in public with my boobs tucked into my pants because I misplaced my bra and shirt is a point on my side as well.

As far as what drives me as an observer, I would say first and foremost it is my faith as a Christian….I KNOW! MOST OF THE CRAZY PEOPLE I’VE OBSERVED ALSO INCLUDE CHRISTIANITY AS THEIR BIGGEST DRIVING FORCE!  That includes, and is not limited to those horrible spirited people who protest funerals, those that think that a woman’s body has special powers to keep from being impregnated when she is “legitimately” raped, and any or all of the “Real Housewives of Orange County.”  So, what happened?  Did we get it wrong?  I, personally, think we did.  This then, is where I will start.  Read this verse John 13: 34 & 35 and answer this question…is this how you understand your faith?  Actually read the whole chapter, it is the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  A wonderful portrayal of what is expected of authority.

I know that Jesus didn’t just grab a random person off the streets and command them to love like he did and wash their feet.  He loved these disciples.  He had journeyed with them, spent three years with them…he had tamed them.  Because he had tamed them, he knew that they would understand his command.  The ties that bound them on earth were so important when it came to building and continuing his church, and he was no longer physically with him.  They were responsible to each other, just like the Little Prince taught (see post on Taming).  I think is the most important part…I asked myself the same question: How am I responsible to Him?.  I didn’t get tamed by Jesus personally…only spiritually, and it was through a disciple that I came to understand what he was all about.  It is what made me different from any of the others that have made the same claim.  It has put me on a path of not focusing on being better than or being right…but one of being better and responsible to this phrase:  “They will know you are my disciple by how you love one another.”  The break down of illusion starts there.

Why being Ordinary can carry Extraordinary Implications

observationA priest once told me that the movie in my head was much better than real life and I was just setting myself up for disappointment.  I actually felt sorry for him…and, hopefully, now that he is not restricted by human limitations any longer, he sees things differently.  I don’t know if it a blessing or a curse, but I do believe the movie in my head is fantastic…because it’s inspired by God and God has an even better imagination than I do.  I do admit, though, that priest’s words have challenged me throughout my life to understand the importance that perspective ( the movie in our heads) has on shaping reality.   While the theological essence of perspective has been my choice of study…I wanted to enlarge my focus to include a scientific perspective as well.  As a non scientist, though, it’s been an exciting challenge to understand the process of observation within the context of quantum physics.  but I do so because it opened my eyes (pun intended) to the important position of being an observer, and my personal impact on the world.   The first part may seem unbearably dry, but bear with me, it’s essential in understanding how important observation is in bringing the movie in our heads to fruition.  Just as important, in a time where fame and infamy give credibility and notoriety to a select and often undeserving few, I think a pitch for the ordinary Joe or Josephine is crucial.

It is tragic that in my study of theology, we never looked at science to broaden our understanding of God.  Reflecting back on my own experience with science, it always made me uncomfortable.  There was always an unspoken understanding that science was diametrically opposed to religion (just look at the controversy between evolution and creationism, or “divine intelligence” as its now called).  Somehow, since God transcended the material world and couldn’t be proved by extrinsic evidence, science existed in some subterranean dimension.   Many scientists and theologians appear to lie in wait to challenge, as fallible, the fundamental suppositions of either discipline (although there are plenty of religious leaders who believe there is plenty of extrinsic evidence that proves the existence of God, the majority of scientists I’ve met generally, keep faith and science separate).

During my early studies, the discovery that religion hadn’t necessarily represented my role as a woman in the world fair or accurately, led logically to understanding that perhaps that the conclusions they made about other things were flawed as well.  History has many sad moments when the church harshly closed a door on a scientific discovery.  It didn’t seem like an in-congruent step, then, as a result of all the historical animosity that scientists were not giving religious truth a fair shot either.  It appears to me, anyway, that many on both sides would be perfectly happy to cancel the other out.  Nothing like throwing out the baby with the bath water, don’t you think?  Let us hope that cooler heads prevail and we learn to utilize the language of the empirical and language of the spiritual to create a broader understanding of reality: where theology can nurture the observer, and science the observed.

In my own experience, I recall a conversation with a scientist about my belief that science and religion, like light, are the same thing, just observed differently.  By his reaction, not only was he offended that I would reduce quantum physics in such cheap layperson’s terms, as a theology teacher, I obviously didn’t have the level of intelligence necessary to further the discussion.  Unfortunately, his snub left me speechless.  While hiding in a bathroom stall to hide my watering eyes and embarrassment, I began to wonder if, in terms of science anyway, his observations would always be superior to mine.  My embarrassment turned out to be a good thing, however, because it also made me angry enough to begin yet another search for truth (OK, it also included the desire to prove him wrong—regardless of my motivation though, I did learn a thing or two).

It is sad that most people, like my conversation with the scientist, never get to fully understand how someone arrives at a certain perspective.  Not everyone just pulls things out of thin air.  I had spent countless hours studying and preparing for a class with the physics teacher at the high school where I taught: an investigation of theology from a scientific perspective and science from a theological perspective. What happened was something I could have predicted.  From the onset it appeared as if the idea had its own agenda. When my colleague and I entered into the world of quantum physics (I still get a tingle up my spine thinking of that moment), I knew my life would never appear the same again.

In the world of quantum the observer, or the means by which “something” is observed, means everything.  Its form depends on how it’s observed.  For example, light can exist both as a particle or a wave, depending on how it is observed, which, until quantum physics, was considered impossible.   Physicist Werner Heisenberg, gave even more importance to the observer via the uncertainty principle, which states that the exact position and velocity of a particle cannot both be known at the same time—the more precisely one value is known, the greater the range of possibilities that exist for the other.  Even the act of observing something changes the reality of what is being observed.  In the classical view of the universe, science taught that by eliminating subjective influences nature could be revealed as she really was.  Quantum physics changed that classical viewpoint by exposing a dichotomy between experienced and un-experienced reality.  The idea that the mechanism of observation could actually affect what form matter took forced science into a new paradigm, besides giving great weight to the observer.

The discovery of the wave/particle duality has taken us beyond the limitations of Newtonian physics.  There are two levels of reality which can be said to exist: reality as experienced, or as it exists in relation to the observer; and reality that is un-experienced, or as it exists in the absence of an observer (sort of like the old question does a tree falling in a forest make a sound when no one is there to hear it?).  Un-experienced reality, then, is reality as it exists before or beyond human experience (perhaps in a dimension beyond height, width, weight, depth and time).  Un-experienced reality relates to experiential reality in that it forms the basis or context of experienced reality like an archetype or prototype.  The issue that is of central importance to me is the relationship between what is experienced and what is not.  Naturally, since human beings, as observers, are confined by certain dimensional and subjective limitations, it would seem obvious that the un-experienced dimension has the greater control over what we perceive.  I’m not so sure of that anymore; from my theological background I know the power human beings have to be co-creators of the universe, and therefore color every experience with personal meaning.  What I have begun to worry about in this age of information overload, is the effect that all the negativity and violence has on the observer.  On a microscopic scale, are we turning into that priest that I talked about in the beginning?  Are we killing the movie in our heads and living a life of fear and disappointment?  Stay tuned.

Power Part ll

satan_before_the_lordWho really has authority and power in this world?  While fasting in the desert,  the Devil told Jesus that the authority of this world was his and he could give it to anyone he wished.  All Jesus had to do was subjugate himself and worship Satan.  To this Jesus (at least in Matthew) grows angry and demands he leaves and reminds him that it only the Lord God that we are to worship and he alone shall we serve.  Curiously, I’ve often wondered if Satan really believed he controlled this world, or that it was just a trick, a slight of hand to obstruct Jesus true power.  When I look at dictators throughout history who appeared to have control of their respective kingdoms along with the allegiance and worship of their people, their power was always rooted in fear, was transient, and their people always fickle.  Selling one’s soul to the Devil for the illusion of power will never really make one powerful.  Control over someone isn’t necessarily power over them.  No one can take our power without our permission.  The Devil can’t give away what never belonged to him in the first place: our free will.  Shackles may contain us physically, but the spirit never.  Jesus knew this, which is why he knew he could command the Devil to leave.

When I look back over my life, the thought of having some form of a kingdom never appealed to me.  I don’t really want that.  But there were plenty of times that I felt controlled by someone or some circumstance. In hindsight, I realized that I simply allowed myself to believe the illusion that I was powerless.  I later understood that at any time, I could have simply said no and relied on what Jesus said…we get our power from God and serve him alone.  But hindsight is 20/20.  So, while I can’t change the past, I can change the future.  I need not convince anyone that the power they think they have over me is an illusion.  I’m the only one who needs to know and believe that they don’t.  That is the way to break the bond of power.  When that person realizes they can’t control your spirit after all, like the Devil did, they leave…perhaps not without some damage, but that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right?

People who desire to rule over others, generally choose those who feel powerless to begin with.  Feeling powerless opens the door to being seduced by someone who will promise you anything, all for the exchange of your soul.  A hefty price to pay for an illusion.  When you build a source of inner strength, you stop attracting those kinds of people and situations.  You attract those who will empower you and be empowered by you.

Agony

agony

I’ve been working on a dramatic piece called “Stations” about Jesus’ final walk to Golgotha for a while now, and it’s had many incarnations.  Lately, though, I keep coming back to the agony Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane before the culmination of his great act of sacrifice.  How deep was the agony he felt that it would cause him to sweat blood, to panic so deeply, that even after all his miracles and raising Lazarus from the dead, he asked his Father to release him at the last-minute?  So, as I often do, I prayed to God for some insight into those few hours underneath the tree…and this is what came to mind.  Music is part of my process, and this piece in particular from Eric Whitacre peeled away much of what I was afraid to see, invoking such grief and deep emotion that I was almost too embarrassed to write this post.  So I add it as a context, while you read that hopefully it will add a dimension to my words.

I see a solitary figure under a tree, with sleeping men laying a short distance away.  His loneliness is palpable and He prays out to His Father for assistance and comfort.  An angel appears and quietly sits beside him, and I draw closer.  The solemnity of the angels’ presence is palpable, his tone somber as he speaks to Jesus.  What transpires between them is an understanding of what is about to happen in the next few days, that agony has begun.  The angel shows Jesus the sinfulness of humanity throughout the ages and his fury grows blinding hot, more than he ever did at the scribes and pharisees, or any other behavior we have witnessed thus far.  In his rage, he turns away and tells the angel that perhaps humanity is beyond saving.  The thought of sacrificing himself for such an abomination is unbearable to him.  The angel than takes his hand and shows him the victims of that sin…the beauty of God’s creation destroyed in the darkest and most heinous fashion and then racked in anger and despair he begs his Father to release him from drinking from this cup.

I try to empathize with Jesus, and though I haven’t seen all that the angel has shown him, I hope I have seen enough evil in my life to maybe create a speck of understanding.  Who would die for them?  The angel then turns to me and brings Jesus attention to where I am standing.  Up until this point I am an unknown presence, a simple voyeur watching a play.  As I am drawn in, fear wells up inside, I am exposed…in all my fallibility it is me that Jesus sees now in his deepest agony.  The angel points to me and says…”It is for her that you must bear this burden, so that she might live.”  Jesus turns to me and immediately the anguish in his face dissipates for a moment and he sees me, purely, flaws and all.  I am no longer an insignificant one of millions who is graced because of something that happened 2000 years ago.  I am removed from that safety of history and stand right before him, weak and pathetic.  Than angel wants me to be the reason that he follows through with what will be the most painful, demoralizing and fearful moments of his life.  Completely shocked and appalled and before I can run away to avoid the guilt of being the reason for his pain he turns to heaven and says “Father, let your will be done.”  He turns to me resolved and with such eyes of love that I fall on the ground weeping.  I scream at him, “Don’t make me the reason, I am not worth going through what you about to go through.”  I fall with the weight of this realization clear in my heart to the ground…the phrase “He died for my sins” blaring into my head, and I am unable in that raw moment to safely intellectualized anything.  My soul in broken, I see that now.

Jesus pulls me up, and the moment I look into his eyes, my burden is lifted and the weight of my sins are gone.  In an instant, I know that it wasn’t only just my face that he saw but every face seen singularly,  yet all at once.  His appearance becomes a bit heavier and darker and I understand the transference of my sins and all whose eyes he gazed upon has begun.  The aura of his purity is blackened…I know now that it will be easy for him to be handed over for crucifixion.  The blackness of our sin becomes like a cloak…hiding his true nature by reflecting back to those that gaze upon him their own sinfulness.  Magnified by a millennium of sin I see now how they can hate him.  Every Good Friday service, at the part in the story when the crowd screams “crucify him!”,  I am certain I would have stood up to the crowd and fought for him.  Now, seeing him with the weight of that darkness, I don’t think I could.  It is so easy to hate the sin worn by others, when we can’t see it in ourselves.

My once broken soul has been made whole by his sacrifice, the cloak of my sin is gone.  The light of his grace can shine unfettered and bring healing to the world.  It can shine through me if I choose to be his instrument of love and peace.  And as often as I may fail, this visit to the garden will inspire me to keep trying…every day until I die.

DOMA

rainbowThis one is hard for me.  Not because I have trouble voicing my opinion…but because this issue is so rooted in fear and hatred of the gay community.  Strip away all the rhetoric and what is left is fear at its weakest and hatred at its strongest, neither of which is an acceptable motivation in my book.  Scripture teaches that the opposite of love is fear, so that is where I stand first and foremost.  Regardless of where anyone of you stand on the issue at this moment, which is a freedom richly fought for and celebrated in this country, level heads must prevail…which is easier said than done.  I know that.   I’m not the one fighting for my self-respect.  What I do know, is that I have many dear and beautiful friends who are gay whom I see as naturally no different from any of the other dear and beautiful heterosexual friends I have.   Sexual orientation isn’t something I even recognize so by extension regarding love, marriage and children I see no difference.  Period.   Except I know that in society there is one.  I know social media is rife with profile picture changes and scripture quotations making a clear unwavering stand for their positions on the issue.  So how do we come together?  We talk, we discuss, we challenge old judgments and work together, and for my part as a Christian…work together as the body of Christ.

When I hear people quote Scripture as an indictment against homosexuality, I wince.  Most often because the words are taken literally out of history and out of context.  For example, I did question someone when they quoted the first chapter of Romans to me about the literal word of God, but balked when I challenged them on their view on gun control.  Jesus did tell us to love our enemies and turn our swords into plowshares after all.  I really wasn’t trying to be a smart ass…really I wasn’t.  I did want to support the notion that it is dangerous when you use scripture to justify a bias literally on one issue and disregard it in the next.  I also challenge all of you who use Romans 1:24-32 to continue reading to the next chapter where Paul admonishes people for judging…you will be judged by the same measure with which you judge others.  Never mind that Paul in the first chapter was talking about the state of Rome under Nero, after the edict of Claudius expelled all Jews and converted Jews out of Rome…that he feared for converted Gentiles who lived there that they were falling into old pagan practices.  Never mind that the wickedness that Paul lays out in verses 29-31 could describe any one of us…so to heap all those horrible qualities on just gay people is ridiculous…period.  I also believe that to take Jesus words in Matthew as an indictment against gay people is just short of blasphemy… yeah, I said it.  Jesus was being tested by the pharisees about divorce as a means to find something to use against him, as they often did.  Jesus spoke to the hardness of the people themselves as a reason for divorce.  He went on to make sacred a union that in his time was often unfair to women, who had no voice, were considered chattel, and who could be dismissed by her husband if the marriage was unsatisfactory.  To use the beauty of a verse that celebrates love into a tool that indicts gay people renders its message void, especially since the verses that follow have Jesus blessing the children,  entering the kingdom of God by loving God and your neighbor as yourself and concluding with how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven.  It’s curious how few take the verse “Go and sell all you have and follow me” literally…not that I would either, I’m just saying.

Jesus spent his whole ministry challenging the notion that we get to pick and choose who we love, and who we should treat with respect.  He spent his time with those whom society rejected and he often berated those that held positions of esteem…because it is wrong to use position and power to keep others out.  He is the corner-stone whom the builders rejected.  He championed our eternal destiny by bearing our flaws.  I can’t help but think, as Easter our most sacred day comes near, that we do him a dishonor when we focus more on judgement than we do championing love.  Love, as I’ve stated before is so much bigger and more powerful than our limited comprehension of it.  When it comes right down to it as Paul goes on to say in Romans…”There will be joy, honor and peace for everyone who does good…there is no partiality with God.”

The Big E

question markI find it a little surreal talking about evil with any real clarity because it is so weighted in stories of fantasy, monsters, fallen angels, hell and brimstone, red demons etc.   So, let me start with this:  Christian Scripture is heavy on the  notion that all things work out for those who love.  Then where does the big “E” come in to play?  I’ve never met the prince of darkness personally, but my first hand experiences of evil through perhaps his minions were good enough to convince me of its existence.  In addition to be donned, the Father of Lies, I think another good moniker for Satan is the consummate actor and tailor: one who tempts us to layer ourselves in costumes and convinces us to portray ourselves as anything but what we truly are.  We then, are confused so deeply that we lose the ability to ask for the right kind of spiritual help.

For example, look at the chaos that gun violence has brought to this country.  There are those who think the government is evil because they believe their second amendment rights are threatened.  There are those who think the guns themselves are evil and that they should be eradicated.  I’m sure God has entertained prayers to abolish both.  Where then, does the true root of evil lie?  I would say the true root lies in the most fantastic misdirection of all.  First that God has not conquered Satan yet (in classic terms) and we think we know exactly what evil looks like and what fuels it.  When Jesus died, and before he rose, we are told of a short trip he made to hell where he basically opened a big ol’ can of whoop ass.  What does this mean?  I think that the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice, essentially is that for those who choose Him, evil cannot infect them…they have a spiritual vaccination, of sorts.  Evil is like an opportunistic virus; it can not survive on its own.  Without the human spirit to infect, it can never thrive.  Think for a moment, what better way to create a foothold in human lives than for evil to skulk around shrouded in disguise in order to infect our perception and cloud our vision.  Evil, then, like a plague that spreads like wildfire, we are paralyzed by fear and become obsessed with how to combat it, even though we’ve had the cure all along.  And we fight it, most often in the name of God and religion.  Aldous Huxley, in The Devils of Loudoun (regarding the crusades) explains it like this:

“Those who crusade not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptively worse than it was before the crusade began.  By thinking primarily of evil, we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself…To be more against the devil than for God is exceedingly dangerous.”

So I say, the best way to combat evil in our lives is first and foremost to practice love, and never let fear take hold of how we live our lives.  Then, and only then, will we develop the acumen to recognize, free from disguise the face of evil…I will save that for another post.

God’s Humor

teethAs it so happens, when I am able to articulate a bit of wisdom, or share a challenge of sorts… others may sit back and breathe a sigh of relief they were able to move a bit down the path of righteousness…I  just close my eyes and wait for the karmic tumble that I know I’m about to take.  Generally, it manifests itself in a couple of ways, 1) In the form of a shit storm, most often metaphorical, where I am barraged by spiritual excrement in the attempt to call  “hypocrite” and make me take back what I said, or 2) In the form of a person who makes it almost impossible to put into practice what I’ve just put out into the vastness of cyberspace.  This time, it was number 2…yes, pun intended.  Mind you, rarely does anyone put my teeth on edge like this particular person…a person who at our clinic in a full waiting room, once showed me a disgusting souvenir that his Philippino “girlfriend” sent him and was just barely able to scream at him to put it away before I vomited in my mouth.  This is a person who after bringing me to the edge of my fragile sanity so many times finally stopped speaking to me because I wouldn’t let him come over to our house and use our pool for “rehabilitation”.  Finally, I was free…of course until I shared my words of wisdom about seeing everyone through the eyes of grace.  HMMMM!  Was it the devil or God who decided to test that notion?  Whatever, it doesn’t matter…because I get it.  Sometimes it’s HARD, so hard that when I picked up the phone with my bright message of, “It’s great day at Edling Chiropractic…”  that horrible, horrible voice, forgiving me for being so inhospitable made my hand involuntarily rise to my temple and start pounding the phone against my head until the phrase, “See him through eyes of grace” popped in there.  Lord of All, I love you with all my soul…but that, my deity, SUCKED BIG TIME!  Ok, I tried.  I was kind.  I kept my boundaries.  I wasn’t mean.  I listened, even though he only called to talk about his bracket for March Madness.  I am humbled, and now I need a shower.

Through the Eyes of Grace

eyes of graceThese days, I write what comes to me in prayer, what moves me in the face of what is happening in the world…even if, to some, it appears that I think I know more than I do.  Really, I don’t.  And yet in the same breath…I do know a lot of things, as do many of the people I come in contact with every day.  I try to learn from people and things that cross my path…  Some times the lesson come easily, and sometimes the lesson begins to fester against my strong will, and when I’m ready, I finally understand.  But when my brain simply can’t make heads or tails of  what a lesson means and I feel blind to the answer, I simply surrender.  I let go not because I’ve given up, on the contrary, it is because I also know that I am guarded by the spirit of grace, a wisdom that my mind can never fully comprehend in my human form…a grace that ultimately saves me every single time I accept my limitations and am unable to see a truth.  Jesus blessed those that weren’t able to see and yet still believed, which I would respectfully say means all of us, even the wisest and holiest.  I accept that with grace I am more than what I can see with my eyes, just as anyone who embraces this free gift can be.   When I look through eyes of grace, all my cracks and fissures are filled in, I am so much more than what I see physically.   Am I just being delusional?…what then, is the point of grace?  Is it just a free ticket to heaven?  Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within, and that we too could do all that he did.  Is it all just folly?  Perhaps, except I am so much better a person when I try to see my imperfections filled in by that divine gift.  Grace will never make me better if I don’t allow it to fill me up.   But the prerequisite is to see ourselves as broken as we truly are first.  Seeing through the eyes of grace demands that we walk differently in the world, even if we may look physically the same as everyone else, our actions should prove to the world that we are so much more.  How well have we done in 2000 years?  That is the challenge of this generation.  Today I pray we all see ourselves and each other through the eyes of grace.

Finalis Lectiones…Francisci propheta esse

pope francisLesson Fifteen: Enjoying the Light

There are times when a prophet must take a moment on the journey and sit quietly and enjoy the warmth that the light brings. Breathe and allow your senses to take in the beauty of that clarity. The world holds an amazing ability to rejuvenate and inspire if you take the time to stop periodically and take it in. Afterwards, take a moment to give thanks express your gratitude. Simple as this gesture is, it is important in building stamina that is necessary to finish the journey.

Lesson Sixteen: You Must be Vigilant

You must continue to learn constantly. Once you become aware of a truth, it cannot end there. The process of uncovering is constant and continuous. What you think you know about a truth today only stands to change in the next moment. Be vigilant in utilizing as many sources as are presented to you. Truth takes on many dimensions that demand just as many perspectives. Never be afraid to see the many different sides of a truth. Pray for discernment to see with clarity and to broaden your understanding.

Lesson Seventeen: The Agony of Silence

There will be a time in your journey as a prophet, usually after a long period of effort, trial and error, and finally success at presenting a truth, when you feel the absence of a higher voice. As you mature in your role, this is necessary. Once a student leaves the classroom, the teacher may be present for a while, but a good one knows when to be silent and let the student make their own way. Embracing the agony of silence is essential in spreading the light of truth, the focus then continues to be on the light of truth as it travels from teacher to student until the student, in turn becomes a teacher. To know when one journey ends and another begins can cause sadness or joy. To choose joy means that you have faith that prophecy never ends.

Lesson Eighteen: We are All Connected

The downfall of most traditional religious systems is that they try to insulate their body of believers from the rest of the world. Inclusion to a group predicated by certain beliefs and axioms will not keep purity in their body of believers. Why? Because we are all of the same fabric. A true prophet is motivated by this simple truth: we are all one. To judge one as dispensable affects the whole. That is why Jesus said that a shepherd guards all the flock, not just those deemed worthy. As long is there is breath and life there is hope for all. A true prophet goes to where truth is in desperate need. What good is it if you preach only to those who have already aligned themselves to God?

Lesson Nineteen: Only so Much

As a true prophet and human being, we are given only as much as we can handle at a time. There is a reason the prophets of the Old Testament were told they would die if they gazed upon the Lord directly. Be sufficient, be content, be fulfilled in the moment. The truth you seek will come in the increment and form that suit you best. Truth is a coat of many colors, designed specifically to serve each person and their purpose. It is never limited to doctrine, but is to expand perception and consciousness. Like layers, or ripples on a pond, the truth builds upon itself.

Lesson Twenty: Just Breathe

Truth, like oxygen, is a vital nutrient for our body and spirit. While oxygen is essential for the integrity of the brain and the health of cells, the truth works in the same way for the integrity of the spirit. Oxygen purifies the blood stream; the truth purifies our stream of consciousness. Without either we die. It is known that mental tensions produce restricted and shallow breathing The same is true when we allow illusion to stress the spirit. Practice deep breathing and focus on the truth and your body and spirit will be sustained.

Lesson Twenty-One: When Visions Collide

Most people won’t have the exact same vision as you do. Remember that there are as numerous ideas as there are grains of sand. You must learn to discern the difference between an idea that is a different facet of your truth, and one that destroys the seeds of truth you sow. It will never be an easy job, given how we naturally gravitate toward sameness. Truth has many dimensions of which you may only see a few. Let light, love and faith in the truth you seek be your guide. Always remember that the process of expansion is uncomfortable and it takes time to broaden your perspective.