Friday, May 3, 2013

Epilogue


“An eternity of wisdom and life lies waiting for discovery by those who are willing to embark on the mystical adventure.  All of our resources are within us.  All we need is our heart, our mind and the will to be something better than we are.”
-- Kim Chestney, The Psychic Workshop: A Complete Program for Fulfilling Your Spiritual Potential

I failed to finish the A to Z Challenge of 2013 on time, so I blogged the last five letters today.  This was my first Challenge, so maybe that is a reasonable excuse.  However, I must admit that working on my garage last week sapped my time and energy, and I put priority on finishing it before the blog.  I like the result:


But about the blog: I learned so much, and i took the opportunity to listen to my inner self a bit while working on it.  Words.  So many words!  Sometimes I wonder, if I were a monkey at a typewriter, would I create a written masterpiece in a million years of existence?  

But then, the awareness of my soul calls me back to the reality of my delving into mysteries, and I realize my human potential.  I am awed by the wonder and excitement of this journey.  I remember with fondness the people I have met and served.  I bask in the awareness of the present moment, all of life in movement around me, life pulsating within me, and all I have learned. 

moyomamora.com
Your soul calls, too.  Will you take your journey?

-- Pete


Zebra


“I asked the Zebra,
are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on and on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes...again.”
-- Shel Silverstein

Picture a great fire sweeping across a savannah in Africa.  Thousands of animals run from the wall of flames in terror as fast as they are able.  More often than not, the animals tire and the fire catches up with them and consumes them.  All except the zebra, a rather ornery and strong-willed animal.

Unlike the other animals, the zebra runs toward the fire.  He runs at it in a valiant attempt to run through the fire and escape his demise.  Often, he succeeds.

skysayer.deviantart.com

This is an important metaphor for our awakening.  You must run toward the fire of your “work”, allowing your awareness to grow.  You must immerse yourself in the heat of the hero’s journey, whatever form that takes for you.  To transform your life, you must awaken to how you live, react, and think.

Challenge yourself to give up worn out and useless ways of approaching life, letting the fire of self-discovery burn away the dross in your life.  You must face extinction, the end of your old self and mode of living, and welcome a new way, a new path, a new world.  Seek your soul’s mission, reorder your values, and seek divinity within yourself and others. 

Become the zebra and run through the fire!

-- Pete


Yearning


“Man is characterized by a hunger for the infinite, for an eternity of life, love and joy which, whether he knows it or not, can be nothing other than God.  Assuming that God exists, it will follow that God is man's true end, for the appetite of a living organism shows its function.  The stomach hungers for food because it's function is to digest food.  As physical taste and hunger may often be mistaken as to their true object, desiring nothing but caviar instead of a balanced diet, man is often mistaken as to the goal of his life, desiring wealth, power, or physical pleasure instead of God.  But his real appetite continues to be God, for which these lesser goals are always unsatisfactory substitutes.  Those who set their hearts on finite goals are always discontented; they must always have more and more and more of what they desire, and failing this are frustrated and miserable.  Profound contentment is only enjoyed by animals and primitives, in which infinite hunger has not been awakened, and by the saints and mystics who have realized union with God.”
-- Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit

blog.adw.org
I have nothing to add to this quote, except that the great yearning for the Divine is present in each of us.  It is the soul’s desire.  As we become aware of it, we must embrace its messages as well as its gifts.

-- Pete

X-factors


“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen.  There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.”
― Patrick Overton, The leaning tree: [poems]


In algebra, ”X” represents the unknown quantity.  So many things are hidden from us in this plane of existence, yet it is worth our striving to find the formulae for our lives that unlock the unknowns, the mysteries, which can offer greater guidance on our journey.  It is through our work toward awareness, a consciousness of the mysteries and a delving into their meanings, which can bring greater understanding and fulfillment to our lives.  Simply contemplating an x-factor can bring insight and wisdom.

When I consider the mystery of life, I become aware that my life has purpose and meaning, not only for others, but also in the edification of my soul.  That mere revelation is enough an answer to understanding the essence of life.  If I contemplate the immensity and mysteries of the universe, I begin to awaken to my values of humility, and I awaken to the idea of God.

www.tumblr.com
If I think about the mystery of the soul, I come to a deep feeling of gratitude for the image of divinity within me.  This mystery directs my comings and goings on this planet as I listen to its stirrings and quiet voice.

X-factors are not meant to cause consternation or frustration.  Although we may never fathom them, we can be aware of their effects on our lives and draw meaning and motivation from them.

-- Pete

Wisdom


“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity.  Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness.  It's not complex or elaborate.  The real knowledge is free.  It's encoded in your DNA.  All you need is within you.  Great teachers have said that from the beginning.  Find your heart, and you will find your way.”
― Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq'ij of the Eagle Clan

Wisdom is the birthright of every person, for its essence exists within the soul.  It lies within us, waiting to be tapped as we awaken and grow in awareness.  We often are awestruck by those who utter wisdom.  We call them sages, wise men, or prophets. 

dublab.com
Nevertheless, the wisdom of humanity and divinity lie with each person.  You can open the fount of your own wisdom by growing still and seeking connection with it.  Perhaps you imagine it taking a form, having a face, or embodying light of a force of knowing.  The important thing is to listen to its gentle stirring within your self and open up to its guidance.

When wisdom comes, speak about your insight with your guides and check out your interpretations.  Wisdom comes from them, too, to help you on your journey.  Indeed, wisdom comes from many sources of the divine.  I have experienced great wisdom from my four-year-old granddaughter, from a mentally challenged friend, and from a gentle breeze on a sunny day.

ohmygod-rajeev.blogspot.com
Learn from your wisdom, and keep its lessons and promptings ever in your awareness, so that you may continue on your good journey!

-- Pete

Values


“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts.  Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values



A major shift in awareness occurs when we consider and question our values, those virtues we embrace and allow to permeate our lives.  I never questioned the values taught by my family and church, for they were the “traits of God”: judgment, intolerance, anger, retribution, capriciousness, a command for perfection, and so on. 

thelatterdays.blogspot.com
I associated those traits with a god and a mother who judged my every deed and motive.  I learned to live in fear, then anger, then deep sadness at the life given to me by this god, a life of gnashing of teeth and wailing in tears.  Furthermore, I adopted those values as my own so I could be more God-like, or so I supposed.

thelatterdays.blogspot.com
When we begin our journey toward awareness, we must question our concept of the divine, or, at the very least, the “values that we value”.  Hopefully, we trade intolerance for acceptance, judgment for discernment tempered with compassion, perfectionism for gentleness and kindness.  Hopefully, we exchange our negative values for the positive, grounded in the primary energy of unconditional love.

Perhaps you need to change your ideas about the god of your childhood.  Maybe you have to rip the face of your mother or father off your image of God.  Can you envision and learn to accept a different form of God, one who works in your life to bring forth peace, empathy, a sense of service, and whatever values your soul holds dear?

www.milliken.com
As you think about values that can guide you, consider aligning them with the affirmative values of spirit, of God.  Throw out those that do not work.  Absorb new, positive values to guide you on your path to transformation.  Consider how they fit your concept of the divine and how they fit your ideals.  Then, use all of them in all you do in this life.

-- Pete

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Unity


“Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one”
― John Lennon, Imagine

In our rush through this life, we seldom take time to consider what unity means and how far it extends from their own being.  I believe in the unity of all.  That is why it is called a UNIverse – all one.  In our humanity, we fragment our selves, separate our being, and rarely realize our unity with each other and God.  We focus on compartmentalizing our lives, our feelings, and our beliefs.  We separate from each other, from nature, from God.  Indeed, our psyches are broken into bits and pieces.


One way to look at unity is through the value of integrity.  When you act in a unified (integral) way, you approach and behave in all parts of your life according to one set of values, beliefs, and ways of acting.  Your actions, beliefs, and your words match.  Your being, the “me” within, encompasses all parts of your self in an integrated whole and consistent manner. 

The unity of body, mind, and soul lies at the next level.  Here the physical world, our thoughts and feelings, and our soul meld into a whole that allows us to grow and pursue the soul’s desires.  We can listen to the stirrings of our soul and bring its light into every aspect of our living.

Our connection with other humans, other living things, and the external world constitute the next tier of awareness.  Look deeply into your friend’s eyes and drink in the wonder of union.  Walk in nature on a beautiful day and feel a joy and oneness with the earth and its bounty.  We can extend this to a feeling of awe and harmony with the stars in the sky, indeed, the whole universe.  “It isn’t hard to do.”

thepeacefulyogini.wordpress.com
Finally, our connection with the spirit within, an integration of our soul with God, fulfills our purpose in this life.  We discover a new way of living filled with love, peace, and divine presence.  Imagine if everyone lived this way.  The world would be as one!

-- Pete

Monday, April 29, 2013

Transforming


I am in catch-up mode on the A to Z Challenge, due to a major transformation of my garage last week.  These pictures show “before” and “after”:





The garage transformation took three weeks of sweat, tears, and a bit of blood!  However, transformation for humans is a continuous process of becoming, journeying through life, changing, and growing. 

We begin this process by awakening of our consciousness, stepping back from our 10,000 things and focusing on our reactions and their origin, starting our “work”.  The work is the hero’s (or heroine’s) journey through the accumulated detritus of our childhood and teenaged development, traumas, patterns of family dysfunction, incidents of neglect and abandonment, and our held feelings of sadness, fright, and deep anger.  All our negativity and disbelief is the result of human development.  It is up to you to sort through the refuse of your psyche, walk the junkyard of your life, and start to clean it up.

hdwp.net
Your awareness of pain and your manifold wounds is necessary for growth and healing.  You must slog through the sewers of lost loves and lost opportunities, of hopes and dreams unfulfilled, of your resentments and hatred and grandiosity and addictions, of death rattles and endings, and in the end, you must let them all go.  You must persevere in your work; sometimes it takes years to undo a single moment of past trauma.  You must feel it, confront it, accept it, and then release it to the Universe.  Your release must be like the release of breathing out stale air and waiting to inhale.  You must then turn away from your swamp of misunderstanding, arise from the your slumber, and move toward the light born of your growing awareness.

As we do the work, we are able turn to a newness of life and an ever-increasing awareness of our true self.  We allow ourselves to embrace the great values of humanity and recognize divinity in all people.  The promise of a new way of living will be fulfilled.  The old energies of chaos and tension will transform into guided purpose and steady passion for good. 

www.excellentia.se
Our awareness will turn away from the past so we live fully, present and alive, and allow our evolution and unfolding.  Our gold will come forth to manifest love, peace, and a steadfast presence borne from our soul.  Ultimately, our work is a seeking and questioning of the mind of God within us.

-- Pete


Monday, April 22, 2013

Serenity


"God,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference."
 -- Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr

The soul seeks respite from the dissonance of our lives on this plane, from the mad dashing about, the ever-present anxiety we carry that destroys our bodies, and our constant striving for achievement, success, and obsession.  So it is that most addiction recovery programs use the Serenity Prayer as their mantra.  The prayer centers on awareness of our limitations, our presence in the moment, and our expansion, all at the same time.

It is right to strive to achieve some modicum of success in this life, however you define it.  However, most of us have a stirring deep within us that looks forward to stopping, resting, and taking a vacation from it all.  How we look forward to time away from the work-a-day world!  Some of us continue our frenetic pace during vacation; others simply sit and observe.  Some find their escape at a beach or lake, a spa, or the mountains, others at a quiet cafĂ© sipping a cappuccino.

hopesrising.com
Enjoy those moments of calm peacefulness.  When you sit still, perhaps in meditation, contemplation, or prayer, your inner self can bring forth a wondrous serenity and awareness.  In this serene quietness of spirit, awareness grows, to the point where it can permeate every fiber of our being.  

-- Pete

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reason


“Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it.  But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.”
-- Dean Koontz

Reason holds many answers but not all the questions.  The intelligence of mind allows us to achieve success in this life.  It elevates us in our capabilities and expands possibilities in our lives if we exercise it.  However, intelligence cannot be the final authority in all the ways we live because we also have emotions that must be dealt with, parts of our psyche that are hidden from awareness, and internal promptings from what I call soul.  Our spirit has innate qualities that include wisdom, intuition, morality, and consciousness itself that exist in a realm far beyond logic, qualities that we must pay attention to so that we may become wholly human.

www.hplusmagazine.com
The soul brings forth many traits that reason or emotion alone cannot.  We are complex beings, encompassing humanness and spirituality.  When we expand our awareness, we find a greater depth than we had imagined in a sense of connectedness with others, awe, courage, warmth of friendship, self-esteem, self-expression, creativity, compassion, and unconditional love.  We discover a sense of the greatness of the universe, a shining soul within us, and a greater power upon which we can rely.  These have their genesis in the soul as the reflection of God.

www.timeoutofmind.com
It is not enough to simply reason your way through life, for then life would be barren.  We would miss the sparks of serendipity, inspiration, and creation.  The soul creates your meaning.  When you become aware of it and pay attention to its stirrings, your life becomes rich and fulfilling.  A sense of purpose emanates from within you.  The universe whispers its grand mysteries, and your soul listens in anticipation and excitement, seeking to grow and expand.

Reason is the way you make sense of these voices and place order into your world.  It allows you to manifest all that you are and all you want to be in the choices you make, the thoughts you think, and the life you create.  Reason is the conduit of your effect on others and your legacy.  It brings action that ripples outward to the earth and to the universe through you.

www.mindandspirit.org.uk
Use your reason as the way to make good choices and have good effect, but play it first against your inner self.  Ask the deeper questions and listen to your guides and your soul for direction.  Contemplate the mysteries first, seeking revelation and enlightenment, and then let your reason conduct you on your journey.

-- Pete

Friday, April 19, 2013

Questioning


"Asking the proper questions is the central action of transformation.  Questions are the key that causes the secret doors of the psyche to swing open."
-- Clarissa Pinkola Estes

It is in our questioning that awareness has its genesis.   Delving into the meaning of life sets the stage for our awakening.  In the curious task of asking profound questions, we stir from our slumber of forgetfulness and begin to understand who we are and why we are here.

Our questions awaken intuition, wisdom, and the guidance of our soul’s desire.  They drive us toward the existential, the nebulous, and the mysteries about us.  We turn within to the inner self, and without, to our guides and mentors, and, finally, to the essence of the universe for answers.  Our thirst is the thirst of humanity searching for the drenching rain of soul understanding that so often eludes us on this plane of existence.

library.sasaustin.org
What questions might you ask?  Questioning the direction of your career, what foods you want to eat, what you should buy, how to raise your children, what church you might attend, all seem important in the moment.  You probably have a hundred questions running through your mind right now.  However, what about the most important questions, those that relate to your values, your spirituality, your relationships, how you show up in this life, and your eternity?  Perhaps you ignored these in the cacophony of your perpetual busyness, your victimhood, your anger, or your addictions.

Your soul whispers to you to ask the deeper questions, to look beyond this material world and the shallowness of your striving, to study the great writers, mystics, and philosophers for their questions and musings, and to create your own interrogations of the universe, of God, of your spirit within.  Ask your questions of your guides and consider carefully their responses.  Seek your gut feeling, your soul’s aspirations, and your enactment of life as you consider the alternatives.  Go deeper, so deep you become lost in the mysteries that churn within you.  Let your awareness grow of both the concrete and the nebulous as you pose and contemplate your questions.

question-mark-nebula - www.flickr.com
Most importantly, seek the mind of God, whatever your perception, concept or belief about God may be.  The Universe holds the answers!

-- Pete

Perfection


“I am perfectly imperfect, for I am human, and that is good.  I strive not for perfection, but for understanding and love.  I work toward spiritual progress, not perfection.  Our imperfection is what makes us perfect in our own ways and it's what makes us different and special from the others.”
-- Unknown

When I was a teenager, I prided myself on my perfectionism.  I did my homework as perfectly as possible.  I got an "A" in every subject.  In shop class (everyone took “trade” classes in those days), I built perfect birdhouses and such.  I achieved and carried my perfectionism into my workaholism that followed.  I put great pressure on myself.

www.etsy.com
Truth be known, I was not so perfect!  I missed something in my education.  I missed an understanding of my humanness and that of others.  I judged most of my peers as less than I, and those who were stronger or had more stuff as better than I.  I was either a grandiose egocentric or a victim of my own envy and lacking.

We often become mired in either envy or pity for other people.  Our judgments about them and about ourselves create barriers to acceptance, connection, and intimacy.  We strut our stuff in egoism, wallow in self-pity, or flog through life without passion.  We escape our dilemma through excessive work, depression, or addiction.  We fail to deal with our own imperfections and we project our anger and sadness onto others. 

www.telegraph.co.uk
During my recent journey toward awareness, I read the book “The Spirituality of Imperfection” by Ernest Kurtz.  This powerful volume helped me realize that our imperfections constitute our humanity.  It helped me accept my deficiencies and limitations as a human and heed the call to fulfill my soul’s longings.

As you work your way out of the torpor of your past, realize that all people are equal at some level, the soul level.  The material trappings of this world, the physical form we have taken on, and our position in society or career have little meaning at the soul level.  These things only serve to provide the lessons for our personal and spiritual growth.

Pay attention to your imperfections, but only to learn and grow from your new awareness, not to judge yourself.  Use them as a way of growing toward your soul’s imprint in all aspects of your living.  Exchange your judgments of others for openness, compassion, and unity.  Remember too, “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here”[1]… just as you are!

www.openculture.com
Finally, I believe that perfection in this life is available only in our connection with God.  For it is the perfection of God’s spirit that makes our relationship with God perfect.  Your soul yearns for that union and the sense of perfect love and peace it can bring.  All imperfections fade in such light!

-- Pete


[1] Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, 1927.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Opening


“We often think that there is just one way to look at things - the way we always have.  In fact, there are an infinite number of ways to look at most everything.  An open mind allows for a multitude of perspectives from which to choose in any given moment.  That suppleness of mind allows for true choice, and opens us to a whole new realm of possibility.”
― Jeffrey R. Anderson, The Nature of Things - Navigating Everyday Life with Grace

Awareness requires opening.  Like the bud of a rose, its beauty is hidden until it opens and stretches its delicate petals to the sky.  Suddenly, its fragrance comes forth.  It becomes vulnerable to the vicissitudes of weather and random lovers who pluck it from its living.  It is willing to give.

www.theroseman.net
In like manner, you no longer need to remain closed, cloaking the stunning beauty of your soul in your running about, your ego, ambition, addictions, and your many obsessions that sate your life.  When you open your heart to others, becoming vulnerable and genuine, your awakening begins.  When you open your soul to the light, peace can stream forth.  Your awareness can grow that we all are one, that this life, your life, has purpose and meaning, and that serenity and joy are our natural soul-state of being. 

To begin, seek solitude and quiet, both in your world and in your mind.  Learn to meditate/pray, to seek quietly, to center your consciousness on the mysteries of life and the wonder of the universe.  Learn to breath for the first time.  Open your willingness so that you may learn and expand.  Let go of old concepts that no longer serve you and welcome a new awareness of your spirit and its journey.  Allow your new awareness to enter your living, all parts of it, all aspects, and all nuances of who you are.

www.anandamarga.org
Open the questions in your heart and seek the answers within you as well as outside of you.  In your opening, drink in the beauty of your unfolding.  Think about your mission and the values you wish to espouse but so long ago forgot.  Ponder what god you will honor, and live your life in the awareness of that god.  Open the vault of your imagination, intuition, and creativity.  Study the works of humanitarians and spiritual masters.  There are many to guide you!

-- Pete

Post Script:  After rereading this entry several times, I was surprised at its exhortative nature.  After thinking about it, I realized this was a plea from my inner self that I must heed.