Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Challenge to Be the Change

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. (~John Kenneth Galbraith)

We often look at the world in pain, wondering why there is so much strife, so much struggle, wondering if it is even possible to change it. I am telling you that it is, but the shift will come through those individuals willing to change, starting with their own thoughts and ideas about world around them…their thoughts about themselves and others. Think of what good could happen if we let go of the need to fight to be right or the need to prove that our way of thought is the best way or the only way. It is only when let go of judgment and needing to prove our way that we can grow individually and provide light to the world. We spend so much energy wanting to prove our way to another, and so little time just living it and letting it speak for itself. As I have said before, seeking to follow Christ, we should share light and spread it wherever we go, as Jesus did. By living this change, we change others. It is only our fear that keeps us clinging to our old thought, not allowing new in…it can be our fear of upsetting an angry and resentful God (which is impossible, since God is love). Fear has been implanted in our hearts, overshadowing the goodness and love that was put there at our creation. Love and compassion was showered upon us by God, fear was put there by man…by our own doubts, and by institutions that lost sight of love in seeking to be right, attempting to control others.

Each morning when you embark on a new day, you are making a decision, consciously or subconsciously, as to how you will approach the world. Will you support the old ways, that have supported old ideas, encouraged judgments, picking of sides, and needing to prove that our way is better…or will you support a new way that encourages exploration of thought, that examines other ways that may enhance your spiritual growth, one that allows acceptance of others who are different, or respecting ideas that are not exactly in sync with your own. Will you seek to accept every thought process or belief system that is essentially rooted in love, and discard those that encourage judgment or contempt. Can you recognize the flaws in your own thoughts, acknowledge and release them…making way for something better?

I challenge you to go through a day where you consciously examine every idea, every person, every group that you encounter that you may have previously been “against” or that gives you aggravation, and find one thing that you can agree with about them, or one thing that you admire. Find that single element, let it roll around, let yourself feel a connection to that idea/person/group, knowing that you have commonality on something. Perhaps it is someone who has vastly different political or religious views than you that has caused harsh disagreement or lack of respect, but you choose to step back and create a scenario in which you could understand why that person feels that way…imagining circumstances that have contributed to that thought, understanding that you cannot really know why they feel that way because you have not experienced the same things. Then put yourself in their place…and feel them acknowledging you. Imagine that you are the other person, accepting you exactly as you are, understanding your feelings, your fears, your concerns. Feel compassion in both directions.

This exercise requires nothing directly from the other person…it merely calls for you to open YOUR heart and mind; but by doing so, you will begin to open theirs, even if only a tiny bit. If you choose to be open and expect the miracles of healing, you WILL see changes and differences. For some relationships where there are vast differences, shadowed by anger and resentment, it may take practice, but by being committed to the healing, you will begin the process and see evidence of it, even if gradual. One heart can cause change in another, and another, and another. Make a commitment to change one heart at a time by changing your own, by sending love to another over and over again. You will then be part of changing the world. It does not require grand gestures or extraordinary effort, just small choices that create grand improvement.

If you have studied and followed the teachings of Jesus directly or indirectly, you will know that He taught through love and healed through compassion. That is all it takes to generate the energy for miracles. You can evoke miracles. You were put here to do so, encouraged by Jesus to perform things greater than He did. All it takes is a tiny shift and you will be on your way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Where Is Jesus?

It is Easter morning and a beautiful day. Since Good Friday, I have contemplated what the symbolic meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection might mean to me right now in my own life. Instead of just holding the usual thoughts of "He died for me," I wanted to go beyond, and look deeper into what that death meant symbolically.

Unlike the Christian faith that I was brought up in and still celebrate in many ways, I don't see Jesus' death as punishment for my badness, but rather, as a message and example that as soon as we give up our old ways of judgment and become accepting of one another in love, our old and heavy self will die, allowing new life to unfold. To me, Jesus' death and resurrection demonstrated that the ways of this world are only illusion, that Heaven awaits us at any time. The key factor is judgment, and being willing to let go of that.

Religions teach us to judge (ourselves and others) with the idea that we are not good enough, not whole, and that we have to save everyone from their badness. We indeed are, at many times, lacking wholeness, but it is the judgment that keeps us from that wholeness. It is quite ironic to me that the rules and dictates that tell us we are incomplete without God are also creating many of the obstacles that keep us from realizing our place with God, by telling us we are less. Jesus reminded us that it is through love without judgment that we will instantly be whole. In other words, stop sticking your nose in other people's business and deciding that they are wrong and need saving...simply live in love and that will be all that is needed.

It also occurred to me that Jesus did not need to market or promote his message or draw people in through buildings, temples, lures or gimmicks to get people to see things his way...He simply relied on a message of love and truth. When others judged, he reminded them of their own hypocrisy or shortcomings, but he did not set out to judge others or to make them see things his way....people sought him out because he LIVED his message. He lived in LIGHT, not darkness. He WAS light. Nothing else was needed.

I think of the two Mary's who found the empty tomb and then spotted Jesus, while others could not see him. It made me think, "Where is Jesus now?" We are told that he will come again. In many ways we are seeking him, like the Marys, and in many ways the "tombs" - the churches and places where we expect him to be - are empty, lacking the faith to hold Jesus' great light. We often do not get deep and lasting comfort from visiting those places because they really do not contain Jesus's true light.

And I wonder, "How will Jesus come again?"...I believe that in the same way he was not in the tomb, he will not be in the places that we would conventionally expect him to be in...that we will find him when we are willing to look outside of those places, beyond those thought systems. I am not saying that those who do not look deeper for a greater connection to Jesus do not have him, but I am suggesting that perhaps he is not as present and glorious as he might be. Jesus represents NEW THOUGHT - so I seek to continue in his tradition of thinking in NEW WAYS to find more of him and be more like him. If you choose to look outside the tombs of your mind, opening your thoughts, I believe you might find a greater version of Jesus than you have ever known, and one that will be your own resurrection to your own perfection and true communion with God. I believe Jesus will come again through those individuals who chose to behave more like him and share light and love purely. Will you be one?

Happy Easter...make it your moment to shift into greater light and be more like Jesus...seeking new thoughts of a greater God...embarking on your journey to ONENESS.