November, 2017

As we find ourselves in the last month of the year, I notice myself wanting to place before the house a discussion I have had here before. Indeed, as recently as August 30. I’m going to dive into it again now because, for me, it’s a perfect way to bring this year’s experience to an end, and prepare myself to embark on the New Year with reenergized spiritual vigor.

The topic has to do with our individual sense of Who We Are in the overall scheme of things. I apologize to those of you who have seen this material before, but there is always a chance that someone new may have found their way here since last summer. And for the rest of us, I hope you are like me in never tiring of revisiting the core, or central, issues of life. And this certainly is one. It is, perhaps, THE core issue of our entire life.

The subject is: How do you see yourself, how you conceive of yourself, how you construct your idea of who you are. And to me is seems as if you, and all of us, have two choices regarding this. Maybe I’m oversimplifying this, but to me these choices look like this:

Choice #1: You could conceive of yourself as nothing more than a chemical creature, a “logical biological incident.” That is, the logical outcome of a biological process engaged in by two older biological processes called your mother and your father.

If you see yourself as a nothing more than a chemical creature, you would see yourself as having no more connection to the larger processes of life than any other chemical or biological life form.

Like all the others, you would be impacted by life, but could have very little impact on life. You certainly couldn’t create events, except in the most remote, indirect sense. You could create more life (all chemical creatures carry the biological capacity to recreate more of themselves), but you could not create what life does, or how it “shows up” in any given moment.

Further, as nothing more than a chemical creature you would see yourself as having very limited ability to create an intentioned response to the events and conditions of life. You would see yourself as a creature of habit and instinct, with only those resources that your biology offers you.

You would see yourself as having more resources than a turtle, because your biology has gifted you with more. You would see yourself as having more resources than a butterfly, because your biology has gifted you with more. Yet what your biology offers you is all you would see yourself as having in terms of resources.

You would see yourself as having to deal with life day-by-day pretty much as it comes, with perhaps a tiny bit of what seems like “control” based on advance planning, etc., but you would know that at any minute anything could go wrong— and often does.

Choice #2: You could conceive of yourself as a spiritual being having what is called a “body.” (And, as well, a “mind.”)

If you saw yourself as a spiritual being, you would see yourself as having powers and abilities far beyond those of a simple chemical creature; powers that extend beyond basic physicality and its laws.

You would understand that these powers and abilities give you collaborative control over the exterior elements of your individual and collective life, and complete control over the interior elements—which means that you have the total ability to create your own reality, because your reality has nothing to do with producing the exterior elements of your life, and everything to do with how you respond to the elements that have been produced.

Also, as a spiritual being, you would know that you are here (on Earth, that is) for a spiritual reason. This is a highly focused purpose and has little to do directly with your occupation or career, your income or possessions, your achievements or place in society, or any of the exterior conditions or circumstances of your life.

You would know that your purpose has to do with your interior life—and that how well you do in achieving your purpose may very often have an effect on your exterior life.

(For the interior life of each individual cumulatively produces the exterior life of the collective. That is, those people around you, and those people who are around those people who are around you. It is in this way that you, as a spiritual being, participate in the evolution of your species.)

My own answer: I’ve decided that I am a spiritual being, a three-part entity made up of Body, Mind, and Soul. Each part of my tri-part being has a function and a purpose. As I come to understand each of those functions, Who I Am begins to more efficiently manifest in my experience, as the Totality of Who I Am serves its purpose in and through my life.

I have decided that I am an Individuation of Divinity, an expression of God, a singularization of the singularity. There is no separation between me and God, nor is there any difference, except as to proportion. Put simply, God and I are one.

The analogy I like to use to help me understand and embrace this is the relationship between an ocean wave and the Ocean Itself. I believe that I am, to God, as a wave is to the Ocean. The wave is in no way separate from the Ocean, nor is it other than the Ocean. Rather (and quite simply), it is a singular aspect of the Ocean…an individual expression arising and emerging as a product of its Source. And when the expression of the wave is complete, it recedes back into the Ocean, whence it came.

This analogy brings up an interesting question. Am I rightly accused of heresy? Are people who believe that they are Divine nothing but raving lunatics? Are they, worse yet, apostates?

I wondered. So I did a little research. I wanted to find out what religious and spiritual sources had to say on the subject. Here’s some of what I found . . . .

Isaiah 41:23—Shew the things that are to come hereaf­ter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold together.

Psalm 82:6—I have said, ‘Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High—all of you.

John 10:34—Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, “I said, Ye are gods?”

The Indian philosopher Adi Shankara (788 CE – 820 CE), the one largely responsible for the initial expounding and consolidation of Advaita Vedanta, wrote in his famous work, Vivekachudamani: “Brahman is the only Truth, the spatio-temporal world is an illusion, and there is ultimately Brahman and individual self.”

Sri Swami Krishnananda Saraswati Maharaj (April 25, 1922 – November 23, 2001), a Hindu saint: “God exists; there is only one God; the essence of man is God.”

According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a Self that is independent from the rest of the universe (the doctrine of anatta) – any more than there is a wave that is independent of the Ocean.

Also, if I understand certain Buddhist schools of thought correctly, humans return to the earth in subsequent lifetimes in one of six forms, the last of which are called Devas . . . which is variously translated as Gods or Deities.

Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese discipline of Taoism speaks of embodiment and pragmatism, engaging practice to actualize the Natural Order within themselves. Taoists believe that man is a microcosm for the universe.

Hermeticism is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs or gnosis based primarily upon the Hellenistic Egyptian pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism teaches that there is a transcendent God, The All, or one “Cause,” of which we, and the entire universe, participate.

The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the famous words: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.”

And in Sufism, an esoteric form of Islam, the teaching, There is no God but God was long ago changed to, There is nothing but God. Which would make me . . . well . . . God.

Enough? Do you wish or need more? You might find it instructive and fascinating to go to Wikipedia, the source to which I owe my appreciation for much of the above information.

As well, read the remarkable books of Huston Smith, a globally honored professor of religion. Among titles of his that I most often recommend: The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions (1958, revised edition 1991, HarperOne), and Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions (1976, reprint edition 1992, HarperOne).

So . . . that is my response to the invitation that life is presenting me, and all of us, regarding the making of a choice about Who I Am. I am an out-picturing of The Divine. I am God in human form. As are we all.

Let’s look again, as this year ends, at your response. And if you’re new here, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on all of this.

(The above article is adapted from an excerpt of the book God’s Message to the World: You’ve got me all wrong, by Neale Donald WalschRainbow Ridge Books, 2014)

Is this what we’re doing now? High school girls twirling rifles?

Did anybody notice? Does anybody care?

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It was the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I’ve watched it on television every year since I was a child. It’s been kind of a Thanksgiving morning tradition. All the floats. The appearance of celebrities. The marching bands from high schools all over America, with their drum majorettes fastastically tossing and twirling, and miraculously catching, batons.

Only this time they weren’t batons. They were facsimile rifles.

That’s right, rifles.

What is that about???, I asked myself when I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Not just one high school marching band, but several, with their teenage drum majorettes marching along with them in flashy outfits. Let me offer you the definition of “drum majorette” found in most dictionaries:

“drum majorette — noun: the female leader of a marching band. * a girl or woman who twirls a baton, typically with a marching band or drum corps.”

Well, in America as of Thanksgiving 2017 (and perhaps before…I hadn’t noticed until now), we have to change that definition to “a girl or woman who twirls a facsimile rifle, typically looking like a military weapon, with a marching band or drum corps.”

Did you see it with me? Did your jaw drop with mine? The high school majorettes were twirling white objects, but not batons. Apparently made of wood or plastic (or who knows what), these items were cut in the exact shape of a military rifle, with its stock, trigger housing, magazine, barrel and sight.

I couldn’t believe it.

What are the children watching this parade—on 34th Street in New York and on TV at home—supposed to think? Is this the imagery we want to embed? What is the message we are sending?

For that matter, what is the energy and imagery that the teenagers in those marching bands and majorette units are absorbing? Are we actually proud that facsimile weapons have replaced shiny, sparkly batons as the item of choice that we’re having our teenagers twirl — just like the real-life military marching units also in the parade, members of which were twirling actual rifles with bayonets?

Have we gone far enough to glorify weapons, to glorify the military, to glorify killing and war? High school drum majorettes twirling rifles?

My God, what have we come to? As a society, what have we come to?

Am I the only one whose heart sank seeing teenage drum majorettes smilingly and flashingly twirling facsimile weapons?

Am I just getting too old? Am I so far out of step with where we as a society now are…and want to be?

Here are my last answers to the series of questions I placed for us back in late September.

Let’s review the final questions in that series first, then I’ll offer you my answers. Those last questions were…

What does it take to make life work? Is it possible that there is something we do not fully understand about God, about life, and about ourselves, the understanding of which would change everything? If so, what do you think it might be?

I have become aware that what it takes to “make life work” is to understand what life is about. I had no idea what it was about until I was 50 years old. Oh, I thought I knew what it was about. There was a whole formula I could recite that described what it was about, and for over 30 of my adult years I was “playing by the rules” and doing what I was “supposed to be doing.”

The Formula: Get the guy, get the girl, get the car, get the job, get the house, get the spouse, get the kids, get the dog, get the better job, get the better car, get the better house, get the better spouse, get the grandkids, get the office in the corner with your name on the door, get the building on the corner with your name on the wall, get the grey hair, get the retirement watch, get the cruise tickets, get the sickness, and get the hell out.

There were slight variations on the theme, but that was basically it: a 20-step process that got you from 18 to 78 (if you made it that far), or even a bit beyond.

And there were some good times…I wouldn’t try to kid you into thinking it was all without joy…but my life seemed to be getting nowhere…and I would up, eventually, living in the weather as a street person, through a series of events too long to go into here. At that point my life was a shambles…and I see now that it was because I didn’t know where I was trying to go, or what I was trying to do. I had no idea in the world what life was really all about.

I wound up writing about this is the book titled The Only Thing That Matters, which leads off with the paragraph, “98% of the world’s people are spending 98% of their time on things that don’t matter.” I was one of those people, for sure.

I now realize, after my Conversations with God experience, that I’m not here for anything having to do with my body or my mind, but that I’m here to serve the Agenda of My Soul. My body and my mind are merely tools with which to complete that agenda while I am in the Realm of Physicality.

And what is the Agenda of My Soul? According to CWG it has nothing to do with anything I am doing, and everything to do with what I am being while I am doing whatever I am doing.

The Agenda of My Soul is to recreate myself anew in every golden moment of Now in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever I held about Who I Am. That is, (to put it neatly in a phrase), to evolve.

And this becomes a real adventure when I hold within me a wonderful vision of Who I Am. And CWG helped me there, too. It invited me to remember that Who I Am is an Individuation of Divinity.

This is what I did not understand, the understanding of which could change everything. Since coming to clarity about this, I have experienced my life in an entirely different way. I have become aware — among other things — that my life is not about me. It is about everyone whose life I touch, and the way in which I touch it. This is, for me, the fastest way and the most effective means by which I can evolve, becoming in my experience what I know myself, conceptually, to be.

To turn Concept to Experience has become the goal of my life. It is the greatest irony of my life that through this process, everything else that I was ever working for has been manifest in my personal reality without effort. All the love, all the joy, all the peace, all the inner serenity and sense of personal fulfillment that I would ever have hoped for occurs almost automatically.

This has been my experience. And I am so happy to be able to share it with you!