Category Archives: Spirituality

Where Is Your Spiritual Identity?


Specific to American politics, the last few years have been very tough on the identities of all Americans. As an African-American, I may perceive that it has been especially tough for people color. However, regardless of our cultural perspective, we all may be feeling like our culture alone is being singled out. It appears that the current political strategy has raised the stakes in a game known as identity politics. Pitting the feelings of one cultural group against another group of humans is a very popular and easy way to win support for anything.  In the same way, the threat level was used to control public sentiment and manipulate perceptions about personal peace and safety after 9/11, the reporting of ethnic slurs float as headlines across our media. And like a group of children in a schoolyard, we continue to fall prey to its tactics watching a bully pick on the innocent all the while fearing that, that kind of attention is never focused in our direction.

So when asking the big and relevant questions concerning identity the key to the answer has to do with where we go for that answer? Many of us turn to an outside source like a mirror, family,  culture, or religion to tells us who we are. Then there are those families, cultures, and religions that we do not belong that also make their opinion of who we are known to us and others. Please notice that these sources appear to come from outside of our being.

As humans, we all have individual traits that separate us from others in our various groupings. However, we all have one thing in common, and that is, we all use the title “I,”  to describe ourself. As technology brings awareness of happenings and opinions from around the world, we develop a global consciousness concerning the opinions of others, and we allow those to shape our identity.

When one’s identity is no longer subject to outside opinion, tactics of identity politics go away. Thus, understanding our essential nature as spiritual beings allows us to see reality in its purest form. If we can grasp the infinite qualities of our existence, then we would understand that we cannot be threatened or harmed. Human consciousness is fundamental, revealing oneness with God and all creation. However, these truths fly in the face of some religious and cultural traditions. But at the root of these same cosmologies, often the peace and unity longed for, is ignored to foster hierarchical systems known as our social order.

As technology brings on global awareness it increases the tensions between the trends that want more equality and those that benefit when human culture continues to organize around economic, gender, and ethnic divisions. So how do we humans rise above these simple tactics of namecalling and other schoolyard strategies? How do we begin to see the truth of our identity and enjoy the immunity from outside threats and opinion?

First, we must be willing to change our personal beliefs about ourselves and others. Ultimately we must be ready to change our world view. Amazingly, we are eager to replace the software in our phones and computers, but we are unwilling to change the software of our being. Who is willing to live without a technology upgrade for the next 10 years? And yet, many of us are holding onto beliefs about ourselves and others that have origins older than 100 years.

Second, is the acknowledgment that human evolution is not complete. Our current social structure rests on the advancements and shortfalls of previous generations. As we spring forth from the unevolved creatures that existed during the days of black and white television and pre-transistor technology, we need to maintain a perspective that we humans are still evolving. 1950 was 70 years ago and the relationships between every human sub-category and social role has advanced. Therefore judging people based on traditional societal roles, rebels against human advancement.

We are fast becoming technologist about to embark on a journey side-by-side with Artificial Intelligence, and many of us are not willing to ask the deep questions concerning human identity.  If the assumption is that traditional religious and cultural authority will continue to be the arbitrator of what is right, then we might as well bring on the apocalypse. Many of the minds in some of these religions and cultures groupings see no future existence on earth outside of the scriptural interpretation or imagination from many centuries gone bye. The sad truth is that many of us today feel lost and we have settled to become better versions of the human creatures of days gone bye. Even the social justice activist of today that fight for new visions of equality still rely on the tactics of 70+ years ago.

Only by understanding the truth of our being can we get off the merry-go-round of identity politics. So, how to do we find out what is fundamental and essential to our being? Using a piece of rope as an analogy, we must see the truth of its reality.  Just realizing that the rope is not the snake does not keep us from mistaking the rope for a stick at a later time. We must see beyond what the rope is not and truly see its nature.

Overcoming a racial slur, gender or ethnic putdown will only happen when the truth of our identity is revealed. As long as we continue to allow others in this material world to define who we are, our lives will remain on the merry-go-round in the schoolyard. The ultimate security of our being rest in the knowledge of what we fundamentally are, and thus making us immune to the opinions of what others might mistake us for.

By the process of self-inquiry the answer of who am I is revealed. If we find that our identity is continually assaulted by reports in the news, then its time we get a hold on who we really are. Investigating more deeply the “I” of our being is not difficult. Here is a hint. About 6000 years ago, it was stated: “I am that I am.” Simply asking ourself and pondering the answer to that statement any human can begin to unlock their true identity and find out what all humans have in common with that statement?

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Is there room in your Inn?

2017-12-31_water-drops-1314990While on our spiritual journey through life, one of the profound discoveries is that we will have many moments of enlightenment. In other words, as we get to a new peak, our overview of the landscape provides us with a new perspective. As humanity continues its climb toward truth and deeper understanding we each notice that certain life events contain the revelation needed to give us that next profound change in perspective which leads us to the flashes of enlightenment. Understanding this pattern is wisdom that sets us up and provides the context for our next experience in life.

At the end of every year we humans enter a worldwide celebration of reflection for the year that is passing and hopefulness for the new year approaching. One of the timeless questions presented to us regardless of culture, asks a simple question. Is there room in your Inn? As spiritual people we take time each day to turn away from the business of the material realm and still ourselves enjoying the peace at the heart of our being listening for the information that gives us insight. Many times, however, we are not willing to make room in our lives to be informed by new messages from our still place.

Some cultures believe that God sends external messengers or avatars to give us information and others believe that internal to our being God or the Universe communicates directly with us. When we recognize the messenger, we accept the message and if the messenger is unfamiliar we usually reject the message. Let’s set aside the reasons for rejecting a message based on tradition or protocol. Let’s for this discussion focus on our capacity and willingness to receive new messages.

Most of us tend to understand ourselves as having a limit on the amount of information we are willing to process or fit into our lives for whatever phase in life we are currently living. If information and outside activities demand our attention, then information from our “spiritual” life must wait until we can schedule time to process it. This, is the reason humans of most cultures slow down toward the end of every year for much needed reflection.

In a world where size is a status symbol one would think having a greater willingness or capacity to process new spiritual information would be a coveted asset. Making room and giving attention to the messages that find their way to our Inn is critical for human well-being in these days. Messages of peace, hope, love, unity, happiness, and joy are powerful, profound, transformative and life changing for us human beings.

Like the babe, who’s birth many celebrate this time of year, new spiritual messages are small, not overwhelming, and mostly overlooked because of its size. However, like the new child, the initial growth of these small packages are tremendous and require attention and nurturing. For this reason, many turn away these true gifts.

We humans are design with infinite capacity like the creator. However, we tend to focus on the limits of our physical capacity and try to manage the influx of additional information through technological means. In the technology driven society with its material global conscious we forget to rely on and develop our spiritual capacity looking only for feedback from the data streams of our material technology. While we focus on the development of Artificial Intelligence we ignore our infinite spiritual capacity.

So, consider this one message reaching out to you through your technical data streams. Make room for the child. Be still and know God. It is the end of another glorious year, and I put this simple question to you. Is there room in your Inn?

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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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