Seeing Instead of Just Looking

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you SEE.”

This quote reminds me of someone I went to museums with who didn’t really enjoy our trips there. This person often remarked that they’d already seem all the works and there was  just nothing new to see.

And you know this is often how we see life. There’s nothing new! Too routine and just the same old same old. Nothing in my life ever seems to change.

I want to offer that I think this is because we too often just look at life happening around us. It’s like a movie that we are watching without being actively involved. As I have thought about this I see a big difference between looking at life (or anything else for that matter) and really seeing it!

To look at life you just watch the movie going on around you. Watching it happen and unfold without any input on your part. In this way, life seems separate from you and as something happening to you. You look at a piece of art. You eat a meal. You take a breath. All of these things happening automatically with little conscious thought on your part.

But then one day you decide to read the little card beside the painting which draws your attention to some specific items in the picture that you might never have consciously noticed before. Now as you are seeing the painting from this new awareness the items just pops out at you.

Now the painting begins to be more for you have more fully entered into the painting.

Or you might have this experience with a meal.

Maybe there is a meal you have eaten many times in your life. Each time you just cut a piece and shovel it into your mouth never really taking the time to either savor or really taste it.

But then this time you decide to slow down and you begin to experience the various textures and tastes. They begin to come alive in your mouth. Your mind begins to connect the dots between your meal and where it came from — the various people and places involved in making it happen. And now this common meal becomes more — a communion joining together instead of separating apart!

My last example involves breathing, a very common every moment experience.

Even though we all do this countless times during the day yet most of us do it completely unconsciously. We rarely take notice of the air as it enters or leaves our nose and lungs, except those times when we are congested or experiencing other breathing problems or the air around contains unpleasant odors.

But then one day, you decide to take a deep breath — you breathe in deeply feeling the air entering your nose and you feel your abdomen rise. You experience a deep sense of peace come over you. Your racing heart slows and you become conscious, if only for a few moments, of a sense of stillness and calm within.

In each of these instances you go from just looking, eating, breathing and being a part from the experience to a deeper one of seeing and becoming more aware and a part of the experience.

All of these experiences happen to me from time to time but unfortunately I too don’t fully enter into the experiences often enough. But when I do, then all of life becomes different.

I hope the next time you are at a museum or enjoying a meal or just taking a breath you will stop and really enter into the experience. And as you so, see what a difference it makes even for just a moment.

You Are The Image Of God

This is a video I made some time ago. I thought it was a good way to introduce the videos I made for my “Spiritual Striptease” series. I hope the message here blesses and inspires you and that you share it with anyone you know that needs a spiritual boost.

As always, I enjoy hearing your thought and comments on this subject.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Too often people seem to believe that the best is yet to come. Just not right now.

Maybe one day my ship will come in.

Maybe one day there will be peace.

Maybe one day gas will be cheap again.

Just not today.

But I ask, why not today?

Why does everything good have wait to arrive sometime in the future while everything bad (or that does not work or make life better) happens right now?

The 2 disciples of Jesus were alot like us. They were always looking for a better life sometime in the future. They knew the kingdom of God would come but sometime in the future. But Jesus tried to help them (and us) to realize that the kingdom had come.

They, like many of us, thought the realm of God would come with show and fanfare but Jesus told them, and us, that it had already arrives and was within and among them.

He tried to help them see that they just needed to realize it and then to allow themselves to become aware of it. They needed to become aware of that lay right inside and then to draw from that well of spiritual energy that is within.

I am mentioning all of this because along with Charles Fillmore’s book The Twelve Powers I have also been reading a book by Pam Grout — E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.

Reading Fillmore, I notices that he used the 12 disciples to represent the 12 powers that lie within each of us just waiting to be recognized, awakened and called forth for use. But I will get to this thought later.

Grout, in her book, talks about how things are right before our eyes but we still don’t see them. She also says that this is also true with things that lie right inside of us that we have been taught to cover over, hide and never to use or share such as love, creativity and wisdom.

We are carefully taught that life is scary and scarce. Everything is limited such as food, money and love. People are to be feared and judged and not loved and accepted.

These were all messages that the disciples of Jesus knew so well and that controlled their lives. And they also control ours.

You would probably be amazed if you could step back and listen to yourself talk and be aware of the thoughts you unconsciously think. It might cause some alarm.

But Jesus (for Fillmore) and the Field of Potentiality (for Grout) each tell us a different story than our words and thoughts. They see a world of endless possibilities and potentials foe each and every one of us!!!

In her book Grout uses the example of shopping for a different item at Wal-Mart. She found it located on an aisle that she always shopped on but she had never noticed this item there before even though it had always been there. This is how she explains the FP (Field of Potentiality).

I want to share with you two ways that I understand the FP (Field of Potentiality).

The first is that the Field is like a video game. When the programmer is preparing the game, they have to think of all the potential actions and all the potential results of these actions and then program these all onto the disk. If I then do Action A what are all the possible results that could occur? All of these are on the disk as a potential but only occur when I choose a particular one. I choose Action A and am presented with all the results of Action A until I choose one and then all the other results that would lead to Action B fall away unless some action on this path leads me back to Action B. And so on — you get the idea.

Now if this example doesn’t work for you maybe this one will. It comes from my days as a librarian. We had a series of books called “Choose your Own Adventure.” In these books you would be reading alone and something would occur. Then you would be told that if you choose Action A to turn to Page 4 or if you choose Action B to turn to page 20. Depending on the choices you make thing happen. But also because of the choices made there are thing you never know about that could have also happened if you had made a different choice.

Both Fillmore and grout tell us that this is how life is. We made choices from an infinite field of potential possibilities. And depending on the choice, there are lots of potential outcomes that fall away.

But that is not the end of the story.

You see with the video game and the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book as will life. You get the opportunity to play and read and live a whole new adventure anytime you want. All you need to do is start again and decide to make different choices. Every time you do, a whole new adventure is created.

This was also the hope that Jesus offered to the disciples. And this is the same hope that is offered to humanity.

If you have not read Pam Grout’s book E-Squared be sure and get a copy. And you might also want the book The 12 Powers by Charles Fillmore.

Some Musings on This Day

I just want to share a few thoughts today with you about God and our connection with God.

I grew up in a Christian family that went to church regularly. While we never really talked about being cut off from God and never really mentioned going to hell, I got this message from other sources. But the idea of hell never really made sense to me.

I was told that God is omnipresent. This is just a big word that means that God is present everywhere. So that means that if hell exists as a place, then God is also there. And if this is so, then how bad of a place could it possibly be?

Also I read in the Bible that God’s mercy and loving kindness never failed. How could this be true if even one person was outside the protection of God’s love and mercy? Mercy that would erase any offense!

God’s love is also said to be unconditional. That means that God still loves you whether or not you meet the conditions because there are no conditions. No “I love you because you love me” or “I love you because you do everything I want” or “I love you because you play the game by the rules I set up.” 

And another thing that always bothered me about hell was that people in countries where Christian missionaries (of the correct persuasion, whatever that is) had not visited, were condemned to hell out of no fault of their own. It always seemed to me that the Christians who did not do their job of evangelizing should be the ones punished as they had the light and a commission to do which they failed to fulfill.

The idea of hell and how anyone could be cut off from love, which is unconditional is just unimaginable to me. 

A god that acts like this is just a bigger version of us, god made in our image and likeness. And a God like this is not one I want to love or offer my allegiance to.

A Course In Miracles Lesson 2

Lesson 2: I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me. ( Read or listen to the full lesson, click here.)
This lesson continues the idea from lesson 1. As you gaze at the things, events and people around you, you need to apply this idea to each of them and affirm that you gave it all the meaning it has for you.
For example, if you see a fire, you might give it the meaning of warming yourself on a cold evening. Or it might mean a means of cooking food. None of these are the fire but only meanings you give to it.
ACIM says ”try to apply the exercise with equal ease to a body or button, a fly or a floor, an arm or an apple.” James Twyman, in his commentary on this lesson says that Jesus, who is credited as the author of the Course, must have chuckled when he dictated this.
So please share any thoughts you might have as you practice this exercise. And if you haven’t already done so, please sign up to get these posts delivered to your inbox. There are earlier posts that you might enjoy reading also.
Pam Grout’s Post on Lesson 2
James Twyman YouTube on Lesson 2 with Commentary

A Course In Miracles — Intro And Tips On Practicing

I’m going to begin discussing the lessons from The Workbook section of A Course In Miracles (ACIM) again beginning with Lesson 1. But before I do, I want to share a bit about how Jesus, who is the author, says we should practice these lessons and how they can change and rearrange our thinking and then our lives.

It is said that the first 3 lessons should be practiced no more than twice a day, preferably morning and evening and for no more than a minute.

The statement of the day should be applied to whatever your eye lights upon but not everything. But most importantly, nothing is to be specifically excluded. The exercise should be “practiced with great specificity” and you shouldn’t “decide for yourself that there are some people, situations or things to which the ideas are inapplicable.”

The purpose of the workbook lessons is “to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world.”

Pam Grout, in one of her blog posts on The Course says that “everything we see is just a cardboard cutout — a picture of the past frozen in time.” She says that “we decided long ago that life is this certain way and that’s all we can see.” That’s the reason we practice the Workbook lessons, in order to break free from our past perceptions and gain a new way of perceiving ourselves and the world around us.

There are two sections in the workbook, the first “deals with the undoing of the way you see things now” and the second part deals with the “acquisition of true perception.” This is the way The Course will change your thinking and ultimately your life.

There is a very interesting statement in the Introduction to The Workbook: “Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.”

Please feel free to leave any thoughts or questions you might have about A Course In Miracles in the comment section and together we’ll discuss these matters.

I hope you try practicing each lesson before deciding that it doesn’t work. You might find a whole new world opening up for you.

My 2018 Easter Message

It was significant that the first believers placed the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection at the time they had previously celebrated Passover. They saw a connection between the deliverance that God gave when the Hebrews were taken safely through the waters of the Red Sea and the liberation that they experienced as they connected with the risen Christ.

The First Easter Sunday

Let’s look again at the story of that first Easter Sunday and see if we can recover the message from that story of the empty vault.

Sometime early in the morning, on the first day of the week, just as the Sabbath was ending, some women went to see the vault.

We have the women going to the vault when an unexpected event happened — a great earthquake and an angel descends and rolled the stone away from the vault. It was such a sight that it caused the big burley guards to be so shook up that they looked like corpses.

But the angel spoke to the women and told them, “don’t ya’ll be scared one bit.” He knew they were looking for Jesus but he is not there but he has been risen. The angel them gave them a mission to go and tell the disciples about this and to instruct the others to go to Jerusalem where Jesus would meet them.

Well they were so excited that they ran from the vault and started on their way. But as they are going, Jesus suddenly appears to them and says “Howdy.” This excites the women so that they ran and hugged his feet and worshiped him and he tells them, “ya’ll quit being so scared. Run along and tell the others to go over into Jerusalem and they’ll see me there.”

Our Easter Sunday Experience

Many of us grew up hearing this story every year on Easter Sunday. But what does this story really mean for us today in the 21st century? Does it mean that a dead body was put in a vault and by some interventions, it came back to life? That is what we have usually been taught but is that the only way to understand Easter? Well, I think not.

I believe that we need to look at the first Christian’s experience with the risen Christ. You see, for them these stories that they told and retold were not looked upon in the same way that we do stories on the evening news. These were reflections back on how their community of faith had interacted with the presence of the risen Christ.

Paul offers a look at what these first believers thought of resurrection. His writing are some of the oldest in the New Testament, since they were probably written from 10 to 50 years before the first of the gospels.

He asks the question in 1st Corinthians 15 — “With what kind of body are the dead raised?” He then talks about the relationships between the physical body and the spiritual resurrected body. And the answer he gives is that it is sown, or put in the grave, as a physical body but it is raised a spiritual body — not a body of flesh and blood. It is also interesting that even though Paul says that Christ was resurrected from the dead, he does not mention an empty vault.

You see, resurrection does not mean resumption of previous existence but entry into a different kind of existence. It could involve something happening to a corpse but it need not. Resurrection, in fact, is like what happens when a seed is planted or a caterpillar makes a cocoon.

The seed goes into the ground and dies, and from its death, new life comes forth and fruit is produced. The plant bears no resemblance to the seed. The seed becomes the plant but the seed and the plant are radically different.

With a caterpillar, what happens when it makes a cocoon is something marvelous. While it is sealed away from watching eyes, and when it emerges, there is no resemblance to what went into that cocoon. And here again, the caterpillar becomes the butterfly but the butterfly is radically different from the caterpillar.

In the same way, Easter does not necessarily mean that God supernaturally intervened to raise the corpse of Jesus from the dead. Rather, the core meaning of Easter is that Jesus continued to be experienced after his death, but in a radically new way — as a spiritual and divine reality.

He was known in non-ordinary experiences, as well as in the community’s life together. The truth of Easter is grounded in such experiences of the risen Christ as a living presence, not in physically observable events restricted to a particular day or a few weeks in the first century.

Because Christ lives, we too have the assurance of new life — not only after death but everyday we live.

Today, we can be raised from the tombs of fear and hatred that seek to hold us today.

Because Christ lives, we can be experience
— life that transcends every human limit
— love that triumphs over hatred
— being which overcomes nonbeing.

As we each experience the presence of the risen Christ in our own lives we too feel our connection with those first Christians and Christians throughout the centuries.

And we experience the presence of the risen Christ that empowers us to continue the work and ministry begun by Jesus — to bring the message of God’s love, acceptance, and liberation to all people. And as we do, we seek ways to work for justice, not just for a select group but for all of humanity and ultimately for all of creation.

In this way, we experience the liberation from that which enslaves us, that which entombs us. And we find the empowerment to rise from those places of exile and estrangement to places of acceptance and transformation.

This experience of Christ’s presence each and every day of our lives is the core meaning of Easter for us today.

Have a happy and blessed Easter!

A Vision For You

Here is a Vision for You, although it could just as easily be an Intention. Feel free to copy, paste and print it out. Then, all you have to do is say it as often as you like – and be ready for good things to come your way!

I see a world where / I intend that . . .
~ I am happy and glad to be alive;
~ I have friends aplenty;
~ I have found my highest calling in life;
~ I enjoy my work and it helps many;
~ I am healthy and abundant in every way imaginable;
~ I am strong of heart, yet kind and tolerant of others;
~ I am loved by all I meet and loving to all I meet;
~ I know that I am perfect just as I am;
~ I am balanced and bold in the face of my fears;
~ I am free to live my life as I choose;
~ I am caring for the Earth and all her beautiful creations, and She is caring for me in return;
~ I have a place inside where I can go to find comfort when all around me is swirling;
~ I feel my Oneness with God:
~ I know who I truly am;
~ I am blessed beyond measure;
~ I have peace now and for always;
~ I am serene.

Happy New Year 2018

I wanted to say Happy New Year to all of my friends reading my blog. This year I’m focussing on gratitude and thanksgiving. I believe this is a major factor in creating the life we desire. As we look for and give thanks for the good things already present in our lives we make room and attract more things to be thankful for.

Blessings on your life in 2018 and watch for my next post on Wednesday.

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