Category Archives: spiritual but not religious

Utopian Hope

The thing that seems to be in most need today is a hopeful view of the future. If you browse any book store and see the type of fiction that fills the teen shelves, you will notice that many of the bestselling stories are very dystopian. If the children are our future, then what we are filling them with is scary. The phrase “Happily, ever after” is another indicator when compared to the beliefs of many this phrase has been relegated to fairy-tale and myth status.

More important is the outlook that some of the owners of today’s future tech companies hold. As Artificial Intelligence technology begins its ascent many of these owners feel free to communicate their fears of a coming dystopian future that they are steering us toward. In the cases of the teen books and the outlook of some tech firm owners, maybe the reason we hear such fearful predictions in the media is because that is what sells as news today.

So how do we change our personal outlook from this looming fear to a future that resembles heaven on earth? One simple solution would have us use the tools of love and gratitude. Love can be defined as the removal of separation between people. Gratitude is an attitude of thankfulness. Fear is the opposite of love, and we can first be thankful that our fear has not totally overwhelmed the reality of this present moment.

Too start, all we need to do is take a simple inventory of the blessings in our life at this current moment. For example if you are reading this posting you are alive. The next thing to notice is that you will probably take several pairs of in and out breaths within the next few minutes. From there quickly exclude of your relationship status, political affiliation, and personal financial status and inventory anything else you like and it will be a blessing.

Hebrews 6:16-20 (NLT) Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Oh, bird of my soul, fly away now; For I possess a hundred fortified towers. ~ Rumi

 Most of us at times allow thoughts of fear for the future to fly into our minds and obscure our view of the reality at this present moment. In this moment there is abundant life, for the 7.5 billion humans on this planet. Though our definition of utopia may differ vastly, we are all at this moment alive. The portion of the human race that experiences immediate death or extermination is vastly diminished when compared to just 20 years ago.

Historical Crude Death Rate (DR)

Years CDR Years CDR
1950–1955 19.1 1985–1990 9.4
1955–1960 17.3 1990–1995 9.1
1960–1965 16.2 1995–2000 8.8
1965–1970 12.9 2000–2005 8.4
1970–1975 11.6 2005–2010 8.1
1975–1980 10.6 2010–2015 8.1
1980–1985 10

Source: World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision | United Nations Population Division

Secondary to death, fear that our liberty may be restricted, or that we will not have the resources to exercise freedom of choice, presents another looming set of fears. In this present moment humans on this planet are experiencing technological and social advancements and yet many fear that they will not be able to participate in future developments. This fear overshadows our current reality and produces an outlook so dark that death becomes a viable option. Life is changing for the better every day and yet many hold beliefs that society has lost its way and civilization is out of control and everyone is doomed. One such advancement is the awakening of the human global consciousness, aided by communication technology it provides greater awareness about the lives of many people with details on a personal level, and for many this is ‘too much information’ (TMI). The acquisition of any new technology always presents new challenges, but instead of embracing these advantages many tend to dwell on the glass half empty.

Today most humans perform jobs that make life better for all of humanity. Like bees in a hive we actively participate in laying the groundwork for a future society that will be capable of sustaining a greater human population and yet far too many see only, and fear what can go wrong. At this very moment we each love someone or something. We also posses the ability to pray and meditate for their health and well being. Hope has never been at a higher level in human history and more people possess the spiritual tools to make their lives better. At the same time we are fickle individuals who like slowing down and looking at a car wreck and consuming the fear of being hurt and ignoring the fact that just seconds before and after viewing the accident, we were probably exceeding the speed limit as we zipped through life.

My encouragement today, is for us to take time to inventory and then dwell on the good that is our life. Stay present when we are with those we love. Be thankful for every breath and put the fear of not having a next breath in proper perspective. Life may be difficult but compared to the human population 1000 years ago, we are living the utopian dream. Hope is always relative to the time measured for its manifestation. During this infinite moment of now, love is in your heart and breath is in your nostrils and human society is more supportive of our next breath than ever before. At this moment in human history hope and fear are like two wild beast living in the hearts and minds of every human. There is a Cherokee proverb that simply asks which animal will you feed?  Feed love and feed hope that today life will be well with you.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”  ~ Dalai Lama XIV

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Spirit or Religion, One Difference Is Love

2017-02colors-1383652The big problem we humans face in the world today is our inability to love one another. Of all the institutions in the world that can solve this problem, humanity puts it hope in the religious institutions. Why? Secular institutions made attempts with ethics but it was corrupted by corporate interest. The goal of ethics has been reduced to determining what can be done legally in the pursuit of making a profit.

Yes, the golden rule may be defined as do unto others as you would have done unto you. Thus, the ethical response is like a chess move, let me gain the upper position over you, before you can gain the position over me. Love on the other hand is putting others before self. Jesus states the minimum requirements (love other’s as equal to self) but demonstrated what love really looks like in action (put others before self).

John 10:14-15 (NKJV)  I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Daniel 7:14 (NKJV) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

In many ways, religion has become a tool of identity politics and communities that once gathered for spiritual reasons have been reduced to grass roots recruiting grounds for political constituencies. All the while, Jesus remains at the task of building a kingdom from every nation on earth. Unfortunately many religious groups are going through the motions by choosing winners and losers based on religious affiliation. More importantly national political policy is being crafted around religious affiliations.

Jesus came to break down those distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, and male and female. Even the Prophet Mohamed placed all the religious relics of the warring tribes into a single tent in order to unite the worship of many nomadic peoples. The arc of humanity is on a trend towards removing that, which separates.

We can also define love as the removal of distance between people, and beauty as the removal of distance between people and objects. When in nature one comes to a clearing or a view that makes you feel that you are one with all that you see. Even the lobbies of some purposely design buildings create this feeling of oneness. Many times, what is mistaken for sexual attraction is a sense of oneness between two people.

Many of our great travel experiences are when we leave our usual cultural setting and immerse ourselves into another culture. The sense of oneness, the welcoming feeling and embrace we experience is hard to put into words. And when we return to our usual cultural norms, we quickly notice how our culture requires us to identify and shed all identity from outside cultures.

I encourage you to be agents of change within your religious cultures helping them to embrace the outsider or your neighbor or the Samaritan. The OT and NT uses the Samaritan as the one group that should be embraced but are always rejected.  The Samaritan’s accepted Jewish religious traditions while sharing captivity with the Jews. They were abandon when the wall was rebuilt and religion was returned inside the walls of Jerusalem. The star in one of Jesus’ parables, the women at the well and the object of the disciple’s wrath when they want to ask God to rain down fire from heaven. The Samaritan’s are equivalent to African descendants in western culture today.

If Jesus and Mohammad could see their spiritual communities that were originally designed to love and reduce the separation, they both would be disappoints with their respective religions today. Membership and group identity have replaced the actions of love. Disciples of both of these religions have become devotees to the culture, ignoring the words and actions of their founders.

Each of these religious cultures is in need of a reformation to regroup to the original goals set forth by their founders. What the world needs is love, which is the spirit not the law of these cultures. More important is that there are many in these groups that see the need for change and their voices are being drown out. Helping a religious culture keep its spiritual sensitivities is a noble task today. It is the hope of humanity.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37 (NKJV) and behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Love and Material Reality

2016-12-31_cascading-water-1183847-1278x855God is love and God is Spirit.  Each member of the human family is also created in this image or pattern.  Turning water to wine, multiplying food, and healing the sick are all results demonstrated by Jesus of Nazareth while a member of our human family.  Likewise, any person with a deep spiritual understanding also has the capacity to make material reality subject to spiritual law.

Love for example is a spiritual law that is simple enough for any human to exercise, experience, and experiment with. In the same way, that the laws of flight overcome the laws of gravity, love is a law that over comes most laws of material reality. This is the reason Jesus demonstrated and taught the spiritual truth of love as the basic way of living. Jesus used the condition of blindness as both a literal and a metaphorical teaching object. The material reality of blindness is powerless when confronted with the spiritual understanding of the power of the law of love.

Spiritual understanding is simply conscious awareness of an existence beyond this material world. Faith in the possibility of spiritual truth is a start, but it is not until one has a conscious experience with spiritual truth does this material world begin to yield and reveal its weakness. During the holiday season of Christmas there is an atmosphere of love, if one can become consciousness of it. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the spirit of the season any impediments to our peace and happiness that was erected in the material realm, seem to dissolve. However, most people dismiss such disillusions as Christmas magic.

Because very few of us humans have attained the understanding or awareness of the spiritual realm, we settle for the peace and happiness that the illusions of material wealth and health give. If those that claim to be disciples of Jesus obtain even a little success in the mastery over this material reality, a joy unspeakable would reverberate within their being. To be able to pass on an inkling of this consciousness to their children would be an inheritance fit for a king. Imagine a generation of humans having beliefs beyond what passes as normal religious faith.

Jesus said, “Love others as self”

Yet, He always demonstrated,

“Love others before self”.

So the question becomes how can, any human operate a love that transcends this material reality. First, we must awaken to this simple insight. Jesus said, “Love others as self” yet, He always demonstrated “Love others before self”. Secondly, one must make an effort and assault the common notion that love is a two-way street. Holding that belief as truth will make it impossible to walk on water, disappear through a crowd, or walk through walls. When love flows from God, through you, toward others it is an indescribable feeling. In that moment, we need nothing from material reality, and there for we are no longer subject to its laws.

Galatians 5:23 (NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

We hold beliefs that God is infinite and that we are created in His image or pattern. Yet most religious and scriptural interpretation does little more than give an infinite God the human attributes of a face, arms, and legs. Very few if any appropriate the infinite qualities of God like an infinite conscious, one that does not slumber or sleep, or infinite presence. We lay down to rest the body and our consciousness soars as it returns to the greater realms of what we misname as the realms of dreams and deep sleep.  When we return to the smallest realm of the material reality, we say we are awake, all awhile we are blind and dismiss the greater realms we just left.  We must let go of the belief that the “I” of our being shares the limits of our material body

Psalm 82:6-8 (NKJV) I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.

Luke 6:40 (NKJV)  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

We humans were created for so much more, yet we are stuck in our traditions. A box of no escape may be good for building an earthly organizations and protecting its membership, but it will never get humanity to see itself as sons and daughters of God.

Escape velocity is a term of violent revolution for earthlings that have not achieved travel at the speed of light.  Likewise, we humans holding a set of beliefs that exalt the laws of material reality need a violent revolution of love as demonstrated by Jesus in order to become transformed.  We need to redefine the common definition of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. My suggestion:

A Disciple of Jesus is a believer, motivated by the belief that within a single human lifespan, any human could be trained to replicate any of the works of Jesus, and live as the child of God they were created to be. Upon graduation the child of God lives out the remainder of their days in the office of Ambassador to God’s Kingdom.

If humanity is to complete its evolutionary journey and reach its full potential, we need a constant update of our beliefs, as we consistently become more conscious of spiritual reality. Love is the doorway out of a belief system that material reality reigns supreme.

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