Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spiritual Heroes

Every super hero has unparalleled strengths in some areas but is weak and vulnerable in some others. Achilles was told to be nearly invincible in the Trojan War, but died when an arrow penetrated his heel. Superman has strengths beyond this world but melts like butter in the presence of kryptonite.

We are the children of GOD, yet our bodies are fragile and vulnerable to aging and diseases. We learn that there is no room for grandiosity along a spiritual path, yet there is also nothing to be afraid of. Life encourages us to accept our weak spot while putting our mark in the area that we are good at. 

Life supports our mission and helps us in the areas where we need support. The stories of the superheroes and Greek myths are merely here to remind us of our potential. Let's remember to keep our feet on the ground as we gaze into the stars.  What is your mission?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Choices along the WAY

There are times when our step towards GOD requires all of our will-power, and it is an uphill struggle as if we have to slay seven-head dragons in order to proceed. Yet, it isn't so much that GOD's KINGDOM depends on our battle, but the world simply offers us an opportunity to straighten things out for our SELF.

There are times when we can turn the other cheek in the company of scoundrels, just as Jesus once encouraged us to. It is not because we need to be pacifists or that we are too afraid to stand up for ourself, but just to show to everyone, ourself included, that it simply doesn't matter. 

And then there are times when we rest at the center of the circle, without involvement, without a care in the world and without being known to others. 

You might ask how do we know which path to take. It is easy, just follow the WAY.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Collecting Travel Notes

William James collected metaphysical abilities of different spiritual travelers in "The Varieties of Spiritual Experiences". Some recalled satori moments, others described a spiritual world that no-one else seemed to perceive. One traveler for example saw mysterious strings attached to everyone that reach into heaven; another saw spirits ascending into the sky after a mass tragedy. Like the story of the blind men and the elephant, everyone of us spiritual travelers sees and perceives a little of the metaphysical reality that lies Beyond. As William James did a century ago, perhaps we can pool our insights and write them up for the travelers who come after us, to make their vision of GOD a little more complete. What do you think?

It was six men of Hindustan,
to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant,
though all of them were blind.
That each by observation
might satisfy the mind.

The first approached the elephant,
and happening to fall
against his broad and sturdy side,
at once began to bawl;
"God bless me, but the elephant 
is very like a wall."

The second, feeling of the tusk,
cried, "Ho, what have we here, 
so very round and smooth and sharp?
To me it's mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant
is very like a spear!"

The third approached the animal,
and, happening to take
the squirming trunk within his hands,
thus boldly up and spake,
"I see", quoth he, the elephant 
is very like a snake!"

The fourth reached out his eager hand,
and felt about the knee;
"What most wondrous beast is like 
is mighty plain", quoth he;
"It's clear enough the elephant 
is very like a tree."

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
said: "And the blindest man 
can tell what this resembles most;
deny the fact who can,
this marvel of an elephant
is very likes fan."

The sixth no sooner had begun
about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail
that fell within his scope,
"I see", quoth he, "the elephant
is very like a rope!"

And so the men of Hindustan
disputed loud and long.
Each in his own opinion 
exceeding stiff and strong.
Though each was partly in the right
and all were in the wrong.
(John Godfrey Saxe)  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Life Artist

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set Him free.

I have no idea how exactly Neale Walsch made his Conversations with God work. How cool would that be if we could sit down at the kitchen table and GOD answers every question we might have. But no questions asked, the books he wrote speak for themselves.

We have divinity in our bones just as we carry the not so pleasant stuff around. All of us are here to find a way to create something beautiful. And we spiritual travelers, just like Neale Walsch did in his book series, find an idiosyncratic way to get in touch with the divine in us. 

There are musicians who hear music in their head and all they have to do is to write it down. There are novelists who see beautiful plots in day-to-day interactions that others consider mundane. And there are artists who see beauty and perfection where others only see a lump of stone.

I consider myself a life artist. I experience diamonds forming under the pressure of life's ups and downs, and all I have to do is to collect them. Yet it took me the longest time to understand that to be who I am requires the day to day challenges just as much as the presents. Without the yin and yang of life this Conversation with God would simply not take place, at least not for me.

Find your WAY and tell us about it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Three Paths Merge into One

The Blue Lord may approach us on life's battle field and tell us that good or bad, right or wrong, we have a job to do and can't shirk our responsibilities. The Christ may appear in the presence of evil and encourage us to turn the other cheek as well. Traveling the Dao we are enabled to experience the yin and yang of life without being attached to it.

All these paths are meant to assist us on our journey HOME. We travel with different missions and soul longings, and even for each individual spiritual traveler, different situations and problems may require different spiritual solutions. Krishna's path allows us to let go of some remaining karma without getting entangled in new one. Jesus' teachings allow us to become aware of our ego, putting us in a position to transcend it. Along the Way we meet the observer and learn to disentangle our Self in the ups and downs of life.

GOD is inside the maya called life, yet SHE operates outside of it. At the same time. We find GOD in the intersection of Krishna, Christ and the Way. When we are HOME, Power meets Peace meets Wholeness Meets Love. But until we reach this blessed state, let's hold HER HAND every step of the WAY.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gluing the Broken Family China Together

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”
― Barbara Bloom

My father died around last Christmas last year. It was a tough period for me personally which perhaps doesn't come as a surprise. What was a surprise to me was to see how much emotional turmoil there was in the entire family as a consequence. On occasions we fought like cats and dogs. 

I normally stay in hotels when I visit my family, but to be closer to my mom during that time I stayed at my sister's place which turned out to be a big mistake given that her husband felt uncomfortable having me there. We suddenly had financial fights during this period as well. I insisted that my mother pays me my share of the inheritance because I wanted a little security blanket her her. She wanted to give it to my siblings instead because she felt they needed it more than she would.

The emotional strain became too much for my mother and she started acting completely out of character. Just to give one strange example, we went to a store together that had repaired her watch. She got the change money and left. Afterwards she told me that the owner had given her two euros too much, so she kept it, whereas I told her that it is her duty to return it. We had another fight about this little incident.

When the funeral ceremony was over I left completely exhausted with all the criticism and fighting. Six months later I visited them again, this time back to my old ways of living in the hotel. My mother claimed that she had no memories of the endless fights we had. One day in particular was full of healing moments. 

My mother, sister and I went shopping, and as we were passing the watch maker's shop I found a two euro coin in my pocket and gave it to my mother. We had a happy breakfast in the same bakery that I left full of anger six months earlier over a fight with my mom. Later the entire family had a dinner at an Italian restaurant where six months early my brother-in-law stormed out mad at all of us. Lastly, thanks to my little financial intervention at that time, we were able to rearrange the finances in a way that made everyone happy.

Leaving my hometown this time around, it was almost as if these tumultuous two weeks didn't exist. The SPIRIT took some super glue and put the family China together, and it is as good as new. Reflecting on the two weeks of pain earlier this year, apparently all the ghosts had to come out from under the bed because of the heavy emotional toll a death in the family takes. But that doesn't mean that you can't open the window the next day and let the sunshine in. 

I hope this note can encourage others to heal some strained family bonds. There is always a WAY.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

We either see a body or somebody

I remember watching a movie in which a policewoman was pursuing a criminal. When she finally tracked him down, he was in a somewhat compromising position. He was peeing against a wall. She pointed her gun at him and called him out, but when he turned around he presented himself without zipping up. For a moment she got distracted; by looking at his manhood she was unable to read his body language. He jumped towards her and managed to disarmed her.

There was in fact wisdom in that curious scene. Did you know that you can look at the lower body of a person or see the face, but that you can't zoom into both at the same time? We are wired to see only what we focus on, and focus is a choice. I find it remarkable that in real life I am unable to see people as sex objects, whereas in my sexual fantasies I can. When I see the faces of people, I always find a story there; I find it unable to get excited about their body at the same time. Of course, I could only zoom into a body and experience lust that way. But since life always gives me a choice in this, I always end up choosing the soul rather over the body. 

Actually, I wouldn't have the same choice in pornographic movies. The same applies to some carefully manufactured body pictures in magazines and websites. It is as if we are led down pleasure lane and the choice is taken away from us. The director of the movie makes the choice and we go willingly along like horny rams. We are presented perspectives that wouldn't materialize in real life situations in quite that way. Similarly, I am sure you could put together a collage that makes the lower body and face of a person visible to the viewer at the same time. But just because something appears real in the virtual space doesn't mean that it is. We don't have to be exposed to these images; it is our choice.

The Course in Miracle insists that we always have the alternative between love and the cry for it. Why don't you test my hypothesis. I claim that it is simply impossible to "lust" after someone when you truly look at her. You can lust after some body, but with every person you meet, there is first the falling in love part, or mere indifference. Actually that's the other interesting observation. Sometimes I read the faces of some otherwise incredibly sexually attractive people and find nothing in it. 

We can never lust after a body without having mad