Searching For God

road walking cute young
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Deep within, there is something profoundly known, not consciously, but subconsciously. A quiet truth, that is not a version of something, but an original knowing. What this, absolute, truth [identity] is may be none of our business…but it is there, guiding us along the path of greater becoming; a true awareness. It is so self-sustaining that our recognition of it is not required. We are offspring’s of such a powerfully divine force – Creator of all things known and unknown.”
― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence”

When my grandchildren were younger I used to read them a story book about a child playing hide and seek with God. Is God in the toy chest? I would then open the flap on a picture of the toy chest which revealed a teddy bear. No. God’s not in the toy chest just a teddy bear. Where is God, let’s try to find God. Is God under the bed? I would again lift the insert on the picture of the bed and a pair of socks would be revealed. No. God’s not under the bed, just a pair of socks. Where is God, where can God be? And so the book would continue this game of hide and seek. On the last page was the portrait of a child and on opening the insert a heart would be revealed. So that’s where God is hiding, deep within you.

The Beatles, in the sixties, searched for God through transcendental meditation, as practiced by Maharishi Mahesh. Richard Gere, the actor, is searching for God through the Dalai Lama and practice of Buddhism. My searching for God was within the parameters of the Roman Catholic Church. Then, ten years ago, the sexual abuse of priests and the subsequent cover up by bishops hit the news and I left the institutional church in disgust. But I have never lost my belief in God, and since that time have been trying to puzzle out what loyalty I owe as a Christian believer to the institutional Catholic Church. I have been trying to separate the moral teachings of the church from the institutional, administrative and human oversight function of the Catholic church.

person holding compass in forest
Photo by Tobias Aeppli on Pexels.com

“If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it – keep going, keep going come what may.”
― Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

We are all searching for God in different ways.

Some seek God in ancient books, Tao Te Ching, Vedas, Buddhist Sutras, Torah, Bible, and the Quran.

Others seek God through prayer and meditation.

Some people find God in nature.

Some people find God in beautiful works of art.

I find God in people.

The Bible states that we are made in the image of God. In my simplistic way, I see this as meaning that God gifted to us the power of creation. This power gifted to us has to be nurtured and worked on over time, for even God took six days in the creation process.  I am absolutely left amazed at the great works of science, architecture, art, music, literature and poetry that have been created by us humans, both in the past and the present. We all have these creative gifts, to a lesser and greater degree. We humans should constantly try to create for the greater good, rather than aim to destroy. It’s an evolutionary and transformative process we have to learn for our survival.

 

 

We Are All Connected.

close up view of plasma
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“This world isn’t a battlefield. Someday you will realise how your success depends on a bunch of other people and that day you will be wiser. You will know how connected we all are.
Either we all make it or none of us does.”
― Jasleen Kaur Gumber

I stare at my computer in despair, my mind is empty, I want to type words that come straight from my soul, but there is only emptiness. I feel nothing. I stare into space ,concentrating, slap the side of my head with the heel of my palm trying to stir some thought. All in vain. I give up and decide to read some blogs that I follow on WordPress. I become absorbed in other peoples thoughts and feelings and my soul begins to stir. The emptiness of my soul is filled with new patterns , a new way of looking at things and I am suddenly inspired. I go back to my blog and begin to type, the words flowing freely again, inspiration flowing through my brain. I am not an island entire of myself, I am a part of the main and I am involved in mankind. We are all connected and  need to learn from each other, inspire each other and reach out to each other.

person holding string lights photo
Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

“Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor by product of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here.”     Paul Davies

At some point in the evolutionary process, the creator decided to add awareness to the universe. On our planet the creator chose a two legged primate and breathed awareness into it, transferring it into a self aware being. This self awareness was not part of the material substance of this transformed being but existed in unsubstantiated form within the being. This self awareness is known as mind, consciousness or soul. Ever since self awareness entered the body the soul has been trying to calm the evolutionary survival instincts of the body.

The soul feels the inner workings of its body, knows its limitations and evolutionary desires and tries to guide it towards transformation. The body only knows it wants to feed its senses and ready itself to respond to perceived dangers. The soul in turn wants to guide its body, to be its instrument in helping other souls to become more mindful, so that all the souls on this planet can live in harmony with each other and their creator. For a soul is never happy until it finds rest in its creator.

When you meet another person don’t judge them by their body for it is only the vessel that carries their soul. Rather look into the other persons soul and rejoice in its existence for we are all created in Gods image.

Oh, living flame of love
That tenderly wounds my soul in its deepest centre,
Since thou art no longer oppressive, perfect me now if it be thy will,
Break the web of this sweet encounter.

St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

Close Your Eyes. What Do You See?

time lapse photo of stars on night
Photo by Jakub Novacek on Pexels.com

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
― Rachel Carson

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, relax and form an image of this planet spinning on its axis in space. I concentrate more and project my mind past this planet deep into the cosmos….and I start travelling, watching and feeling the universe engulf me. I sense its magnitude, it just keeps going on and on, surrounding me, wrapping me in its embrace. My body starts to exult in the wonder of it all and ecstasy racks my soul and my whole being screams THERE IS A GOD. And wrapped in Gods embrace I indulge my senses and allow this to continue for a few moments……and then I come back down to earth and try to analyze the feeling. What was that? Is that the same feeling I get listening to my iPod Playlist. I wasn’t praying so where the heck did God come into it. Was it just conditioning from my Catholic background. I feel a sense of peace despite my analytical mind.

I’ve always imagined our planet as being in the eye of the storm of the universe. An oasis existing amidst the turbulence and energy of the cosmos. ( The “observable universe,” has a radius of 13.7 billion light-years and a diameter of about 93 billion light-years.)

adult ancient art asia
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

“You exist in time, but you belong to
eternity- You are a penetration of eternity into the world of time-You are
deathless, living in a body of death- Your consciousness knows no death, no
birth- It is only your body that is born and dies-But you are not aware of
your consciousness-You are not conscious of your consciousness-And that is the whole art of meditation;Becoming conscious of consciousness itself.”
― Osho

I closed my eyes, in my youth, and sexual fantasies would invade my dreams as my favourite film stars would enter from stage left and act out my wishes.

I closed my eyes a while later and my mind became filled with dreams of winning the lottery and bestowing on me the power that comes from the riches of avarice.

I closed my eyes in middle age and lingered on the regrets of lost opportunity to do the right thing, to say the kind word that needed to be spoken, the charitable act that needed to be performed.

And then I closed my eyes and said I need to do better, I need to be kinder, more attentive, more aware, I need to change.

I close my eyes and envision myself as being in the eye of the storm that rages around me in this world and I try to stay within the eye and not be swept into the storm.

CLOSE YOUR EYES. WHAT DO YOU SEE?

 

 

 

Own The Body You Were Born With

man and woman walks beside green sea
Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on Pexels.com

“The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord.”
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. “Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.”
― Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals

In the early sixties, at the conclusion of soccer practice, a group of us would head for the café and order a coke each along with a pot of tea for the group. After downing a bottle of coke to quench our immediate thirst one of us would invariably say ” shall I be mother” and after receiving an affirmative chant, would then pour tea for the group.  We were unaware of displaying any feminine side in this simple action and were just performing a simple task. For men do have a feminine side just as women have a masculine side. As a matter of fact we all, male and female, should be comfortable within our own bodies and treat our bodies with respect as the vessel that holds our soul. So why do some men and women these days feel so uncomfortable with their biological sexuality that they feel the need to transform their gender.

Medical science has steadily advanced since the first human heart transplant was performed in 1967, the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997 and the mapping of the complete genome in 2003. These advances continued with the introduction of hormone replacement therapy as a means to protect women from the discomforts of aging,  and puberty blockers to treat the onset of early puberty in young children, usually triggered by a disease. So like the revelation in the movie Field of Dreams, “build it and they will come”  as progress in medical science advances medical specialists are advertising their ability to reshape the human body.

man tattooed praying
Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

“If people are honest with themselves when they choose a tattoo, the art will represent them better than anything that will ever come out of their mouth. The things that are most important to me are represented in the art that covers my body. My God, my family, my friends, my job, my social and historical beliefs and the aggressive or even violent nature with which I will protect all of them…..basically in that order of importance. Is it scarey or repulsive to some people? Yes. Does it change who I am? No. ”
― Troy Holloway

Since the dawn of time people have found ways to disguise their bodies. In ancient times it was through covering their bodies in clay and paint and in more modern times with tattoos and make up. We are never satisfied with the bodies we live in. With the advance of medical science we can now reshape our bodies to  conform to some mental image of who we should be. The first act of wetting our toe in these waters was with cosmetic surgery, a lifted chin, a different angled nose or a needle of botox to firm the face. This has progressed to medical science now being able to change the sex of a person. Woman who see themselves as men perform mastectomies and receive testosterone injections, while men who perceive themselves as women undergo castration and receive hormone replacement therapy. I cry for these people who are so uncomfortable with their bodies that they find this need for drastic change. And having made that change I would guess they are still not comfortable with their new body as evidenced by the high suicide rate among transgender people…… and this all began with some influential members of society shouting that male and female is a social rather than a biological construct……. and the medical profession will do its best to make this social experiment happen and reap the financial rewards.

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky
Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
― Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy

If we are to survive as a species we have to put more effort into transforming our hearts and mind, and to use the body as an instrument to carry out this transformation. Learn to be comfortable with the body you were born into. Nurture it, understand it, do not abuse or disfigure it and learn to get along with it as a trusted friend. Be mindful and aware of life, of nature, of people and learn to reach out and help someone close by.

We in Western Civilization have evolved exponentially over time. We have abundant food, an enhanced life span and infrastructure and technology to ensure a comfortable life. But we have no purpose, we are bored and adrift on the sea of life. We need to focus our minds on a destination. We have to change our behaviour.  We have to evolve and decide what comes next….. and please do own the body you were born with.

 

I love Mother Nature and Gaia

alone buildings city cityscape
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

London had suffered since the 13th century from poor air quality which worsened in the 1600s, but the Great Smog is known to be the worst air-pollution event in the history of the United Kingdom, and the most significant in terms of its effect on environmental research, government regulation, and public awareness of the relationship between air quality and health. It led to several changes in practices and regulations, including the Clean Air Act 1956.

Living in the east end of London was a very bleak existence in the 1950’s. I remember a smog alert when weather conditions and the coal fumes erupting from chimneys caused a health crisis. I was sent to St John’s Open Air School, in the country, because I was anaemic and the doctor recommended I escape the city for a while. It was there I developed my love for mother nature and that love has never diminished.  In my teens I would mount my five speed bike and cycle from the slums of London to the open air of Epping Forest. I would take off my shoes and ground my feet to the soil feeling at one with nature and Mother Earth. On other occasions I hiked the Pilgrims Way, camping overnight,  earning my hikers badge with the boy scouts.

In the mid seventies I discovered the Gaia Principle.  This principle, first espoused by a physicist James Lovelock, suggested that the earth was a living organism where humans along with all the other separate systems relied on each other. This theory found favour with philosophers, writers, poets and environmentalists but not scientists. It also found favour with me and I envisioned the earth and all its inhabitants as one. We were a symbiosis and dependant on each other for survival. What a grand utopian dream, us a single tribe of human beings, caring for and nurturing mother earth , who in turn would ensure our survival by nourishing us with its abundance. After all we would be stupid to bite the hand that feeds us. Right.  It was nice to dream for a while.

abundance agricultural agriculture arm
Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

“I am Mother Nature. All of creation bows before me. When people leave their cities and learn of me—walk in my woods, bathe in my rivers, eat of my harvest—they will find healing to their souls. But stray from me and return to the supposed wisdom of men, and they will find themselves in chains once more.”
― Seth Adam Smith, Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern

The latest feel good craze started by politicians/environmentalists is the banning of plastics straws. I would suggest a more comprehensive look at how we package all goods for consumption would further our issue with plastic and other disposables more than a token feel good talking point. But that’s the thing. Politics, economics, life style and other life issues get in the way of a comprehensive determined plan of action to do what is best for our planet.

And what is best for our planet?

Can we have our civilized cake and eat it to the detriment of sustaining our planet?

Where do we find the balance?

Is biodiversity necessary or is its disappearance part of evolution?

How much do human beings contribute to climate change versus natural events?

Can technology play a greater part in this process?

Am I personally doing all that I can to improve the well being of  my planet?

We have made progress. There is no longer smog over London due to electricity replacing coal. We are cleaning up rivers. The future of automobiles is electric rather than gas/diesel. We are legislating green belts encompassing our cities and hopefully this will be preserved and continued. We are planting more trees. There is still a lot to be done but there is also a greater awareness of these issues and hopefully over time more and more people will respond. With part of our energies focussed on saving our planet perhaps we can also spend some time to focus on preserving ourselves to enjoy its abundance. Peace.

 

 

 

 

Life is Sacred (except for wasps)

silhouette of man at daytime
Photo by Prasanth Inturi on Pexels.com

“Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right?”
― Bill Hicks

In my early thirties I signed up for a two year course training to become a yoga instructor. I remember a discussion with a fellow student, in the Bhagavad  Gita class, who espoused the theory that homo sapiens had gone through many incarnations and had always managed to destroy itself. He refused to believe that humans had only walked the planet for thousands of years when the earth was billions of years old. His theory was not a shock to me as we certainly do have a knack for anger, hate, self destruction and dancing to the tune of politicians who steer us to war.  If Social Media was programmed to eliminate hateful users  there would be very few survivors.  (Latest scientific theory is that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we, the current species of homo sapiens have populated it for 200,000 years).

Also in my yoga days, I became a vegetarian, decided to try AHIMSA and took a vow to do no harm to any life form. When my wife would scream at me to remove a spider from the house I would spend hours trying to capture the spider and remove it unharmed to the outside world. I invariably ended up pulling its legs off and consigning it to the outside world crippled and misshapen, to live the rest of its life in agony. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. My AHIMSA vocation came crashing to a halt because of my allergic reaction to the yellow jacketed wasp. One afternoon while relaxing on the patio, soaking in the sun’s rays, a wasp landed on my arm. I froze and very carefully reached out my hand to flick it away. Feeling irritated I then searched for the fly swatter and went to war with the wasps killing about eight in an hour. It was either them or me, survival at its most primal.  My irritation subsided when a vision of a giant hamburger floated in front of my eyes and I said “that’s it, a sign from God ” . So ended my vegetarian and AHIMSA period. It had lasted three months.

boulders cave creek environment
Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

So how do we survive our innate instincts to lash out and destroy that which we don’t understand or feel threatened by? The conclusion I have come to is to treat human life as sacred. I have a feeling of awe and reverence towards human life. I remind myself of the miracle of conception and the baby taking form within the womb, growing cell by cell possibly evolving into an Einstein or Madame Curie. I meditate on what a unique being I am, a whole micro eco system thriving within my body. I never to cease to wonder at the working of the brain, of being conscious and self-aware.  We should all be self aware, to be the ripple in the pond reaching out trying to improve the conditions of life wherever we go.  This includes acting positively on social media when our instincts want to lash out.

I don’t know if we need new institutions but we certainly need to renew present institutions. Religious institutions needs to evaluate its dogmas and update them in light of modern discoveries instead of being stuck in the past. They need to put its followers before the preservation of the institution. Political ideologies need to tone down their rhetoric and not be so polarizing. We should order our civilizations around ideas that are species preserving, life preserving and life advancing. Nietzsche’s ideas not mine. We have to try because our technological achievements are outstripping our mental capacity to keep pace. If we have evolved over the last 200,000 years, how are we evolving into the future? Have we reached our evolutionary limit? Can we progress and overcome our base natures before we destroy ourselves? I am somewhat optimistic. All I can do is ensure I do my best to evolve in my thinking and actions, and the rest is up to how others behave. I like the concept of building the City of God. But I’m going off topic. I’ll have to save that for another day.

 

“To Thine Own Self Be True”

Last week I left a comment on Sabrina33 blog as follows, ” Great blog Sabrina and so very true. Everyone needs friends they can rely on, who will tell them tWP_20180801_17_11_37_Prohe truth and support them. Keep on telling your truths. ”  I had no sooner pressed the send button when my mind went into overdrive, ‘why did I say that’, ‘do I even know what truth is’, and so have spent the last few days thinking on what do I mean by truth. I came up with a whole bunch of ideas and tried to distinguish truth from opinion from assumption. I eventually collapsed in hopeless confusion. Reviving myself after a few minutes I jumped up,  reached for the bottle of vodka, poured a shot and stared into space for additional inspiration. I then decided on three truths that were very self evident to me, typed them up and placed them on the fridge.

When I commented to Sabrina “speak your truth” I think I was saying be authentic in your speech and writing. Don’t be pretentious but sincere and honest and real. Of course if you want to do this you have to know yourself. You have to have a set of values and you have to incorporate these values into your being. For isn’t truth being in accord with a fact or reality. So if you don’t make your truth the reality of your being then you are just acting upon life’s stage, playing a character other then yourself.

Here’s a quote from Oscar Wilde, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ”

I blogged a while ago on my “Red Pill” moment, when someone I was following on Twitter supposedly a devout Christian, who was taking a doctorate in theology, made fun of someone crying about the human race in a moment of despair. That Twitter person had read a whole lot of assumptions and opinions on being a Christian but hadn’t absorbed the truth of it. But who’s perfect.

Is there a universal truth. I don’t really know though I was fond of asking this question when interrogating priests in my youth. They would just repeat Catholic dogmas…..and perhaps some of these are truths. I do know that certain truths can change over time and things I once held to be true are no longer true. They are no longer true because I put them to the test and they failed the test. So we come back to having to live our truths because if we don’t try them out we don’t know whether they are truths and so we are just playing a role. It’s the same as practicing Lectio Divina. Chewing on a phrase from the bible. Reading the phrase a number of times, meditating on the phrase and taking the meaning into your soul. That’s what we have to do with our truths.

The title of this blog is from Shakespeare:

This above all; to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

This quote is from Polonius in Hamlet. This sounds serious but in the context of the play Polonius was a self absorbed rambler in his speech who gave long winded advice.

I discovered a great three minute cartoon on YouTube today with loads of meaning. I encourage you to check it out ” This Land is Mine” by Nina Paley. I also checked her out on ninapaley.com.

I think my next three blogs will be on my three truths/values described above. I hope this hasn’t been too long winded.