Easter from a Spiritual Perspective: The Resurrection Connection

A six year old girl decides to draw a picture of God as her class exercise for Easter.

Easter picture of God“I’m drawing a picture of God,” she proudly announces to her teacher.
“Oh, honey. No one knows what God looks like,” replies the teacher.
“They will when I’m finished!” the youngster asserts.

What clarity. What wisdom. What insight young people have. “They will when I’m finished,” she said confidently. “They will when I’m finished.”

So, what does God look like?

The world is filled with God expressing Godness as us. We are all expressions of the allness of God expressing Its Divine Nature in the eachness of us.

So, does God ‘look’ like all of us? Yes and No! It depends! It depends on how each of us expresses or represses our innate divinity. It depends on how Christ-like (Buddha-like, Allah-like, Krishna-like, Great Spirit-like) we are. It depends on whether we realize that there is no anthropomorphic god in the sky who is to be feared and worshipped at the same time. It depends on our ‘Resurrection Connection.’

The Cross, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection,
from a Metaphysical Perspective

spiritual Easter crossThe central theme of the cross, the crucifixion, and the resurrection have been largely lost outside of a spiritual perspective. The true meaning of the cross and crucifixion, the entire New Testament for that matter, rests on four words uttered by the Christ as Jesus from a wooden cross over 2,000 years ago. They are words that have been mistranslated, either accidentally or intentionally. But mistranslated nevertheless.

The continued use of that errant translation perpetuates the myth of our sinful nature and unworthiness, and implies that God (the Eternal Presence, the Infinite Isness, Universal Consciousness, the Timeless Presence that underwrites all that is) is a separate cosmic entity from us. The truth is there is no separation between us and our God Nature, only a consciousness of separation!

Here is the mistranslation that needs to be corrected: “Eli, Eli, l’mana Sabachtani”  (translated as) “My God. My God. Why hast Thou forsaken me?”

This dogmatic, errant translation intentionally puts distance between us and God. It tries to conceal who we really are. It is not the message the Christ as Jesus spoke from the cross. A Christed Being like Jesus would never have said those words! Why? Because when He became consciously aware of His innate divinity – and the divinity in everyone He met – and fully actualized His own Divine Nature in the thirty-three years, or so, He spent on the planet, He would not have questioned His indivisible oneness with the Eternal Presence.

The Eternal Presence, God, does not forsake us because God is our Core Essence! It is us that forsakes our Divine Nature! By nature, we are the human expressions of the presence of God in the material universe. If there’s any disconnect, it’s caused by our lack of awareness of our divine status. Our Higher Self is the Eternal Presence expressing Itself as us!

The truth is the words the Christ as Jesus spoke in the original Aramaic from the cross were:
“Eli, Eli, l’mana Shabakthani” (translation) “My God. My God. It is for this purpose I have come.”

What a huge difference the Truth makes! The true translation  resonates so clearly: “It is for this purpose I have come.” And that purpose is also our purpose. Your purpose. Everyone’s purpose. We are all here to recognize, develop, and actualize our innate divinity – in our current skin school experience, if possible! Like Jesus, we have come to be the best Christ we can be!

We have the power to live lives that are filled with health, wealth, happiness, and abundance. We can create the life we want! We can make this planet a safer, healthier, happier place for everyone. Our work is to fulfill our divine purpose – to become consciously and faithfully one with our innate divinity.

And part of that work means understanding the true message of Easter. It means understanding the difference between Jesus, Jesus the Christ, and Christ. It means understanding what the cross and crucifixion mean spiritually. We’re going to toss a few metaphysical truths at you. So fasten your seat belt.

Understanding Jesus

Laughing JesusJesus was a man who became consciously aware of His Christ Nature a little over 2000 years ago. He represents that quality within us that knows we are individual expressions of the Universal Presence. Jesus happens to be the Great Exception only because He unfolded fully into His Divine Nature. He is really the Great Example, our Way Shower, because He told us we can do the same thing He did. He assured us we can accomplish our Christhood because He showed us the way!

Christ is the Only Begotten ‘Son’ (Life Principle) of God in physicality, God’s I-Am- ness manifested as the Indwelling Christ in each of us.

Jesus Christ, or more appropriately Jesus the Christ, is the fulfillment of that Divine potential in human form. He was able to consciously align His human self with His Christ Self.

Understanding the Cross

Spiritual Easter-crossThe Cross we bear is our physical body. The cross bar, our cruciform nature, represents human consciousness, what we call coma consciousness. The vertical bar represents Spirit’s descent into matter. From a dogmatic perspective the cross is a gruesome religious symbol which retails guilt, sin, shame, blood, suffering, and condemnation. From a spiritual perspective, the mud, blood, and burden of the cross misses the most important point of the Easter experience: metaphysically, the crucifixion lifts the Easter story to its highest spiritual octave because the crucifixion represents the crossing out of error from our consciousness. Every time we eliminate error thoughts, words and actions from our human experience we are saved!

Understanding Easter

SpiritualEaster-LilyThe central message of Easter is that we can achieve that same unity with our Higher Self, that same conscious Christhood. His mortal body was transformed into an immortal body BEFORE the crucifixion. At the crucifixion, He proved that the human body can triumph over what we call physical death which is the transition from our flesh and bloodness to our ethereal spiritual body. He proved that our physical bodies, once fully spiritualized, are not subject to physical limitations.

That’s the message of Easter. It is the story of our divine birthright, our mastery over the human experience! So, we invite you to roll away the stone of any thought of your own insignificance …

  • Spiritual Easter - Garden TombRoll away the stone of perceived limitations,
  • Roll away the stone of the belief in the necessity of illness,
  • Roll away the stone which says you will never find your soulmate,
  • Roll away the stone that says you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or thin enough, or healthy enough, or talented enough, or worthy enough.

Make the next step you take be toward building transformative spiritual practices into your life. Let every step you take be toward your health, your wholeness, your happiness, your abundance, your alignment with your Higher Self, the Extraordinary You!

It is for this purpose you have come!

Easter-Lilies

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A Spiritual Practice for Healing: Your ‘Self to Cell’ Journey

What Does It Mean to Take a Spiritual Journey from Self to Cell?

Spiritual person in universe

You are truly stardust!

Did you know . . .You are composed of communes, colonies, cities and continents of trillions of cells in action. Your body is filled with cellular life. You are composed of hydrogen atoms and subatomic particles like quarks, leptons, and gluons that were present at the Big Bang. We’re not kidding. Quantum physicists tell us that we are literally stardust as physical beings.

Subatomic parts of you are 15 billion years old. Other parts of you are a billionth of a second old. At a molecular and cellular level you are a universe that is designed as a physical container for housing your particular level of consciousness and spirituality. And because you are a physical being there is a constant need for healing and wholing the physical vehicle in which you find yourself. The more you see healing as wholing from a spiritual perspective, the more you will come to know that your living cells contain more than biologists and geneticists are willing to admit.

Person and sunset

Written into the biography of your cells are the mysteries of life and consciousness, involution and evolution, time and space, the universe and the Multiverse!

You will see that to simply describe your network of cells as only biological containers comprised of a nucleus, membrane, receptors, tubes, fluid, and genetic markers is to miss the point of your biological footprint. You will discover that your cells are highly intelligent beings with an innate divinity all their own. Written into the biography of your cells are the mysteries of life and consciousness, involution and evolution, time and space, the universe and the Multiverse!

In her book, Secrets of Your Cells, Sandra Barrett reminds us that “at every moment of everyday, our cells orchestrate millions of molecular symphonies, guided by cellular intelligence in a delicately designed system of checks and balances, push and pull, collaboration and communication.” The sheer genius of the trillions of molecular embraces that are central to our biochemical functioning bridge both your biochemistry and your spirituality. Your cells are the biological expressions of your natural sacredness and spiritualness as a spiritual being having a human experience.

The extent of your spirituality and/or materiality influences each of your cell’s life experience. Your cells respond to your thoughts, intentions, words, feelings and actions.

When you worry and are fearful, your internal pharmacy bombards your cells with stress hormones that, if activated too often, can harm your cells and move your entire being toward dis-ease. On the other hand, when you are joyful and loving, your cells are flooded with pleasure-inducing endorphins that elevate your immune system and fortify your cells, moving you toward wholeness.

TakeActionAs a standard spiritual practice, take ‘Self to Cell’ journeys often. Set aside some uninterrupted time to go into the Silence, and:

  • See your physical body as a cellular sanctuary.
  • Imagine your cells working harmoniously together to ensure your complete healing and wholing.
  • Envision your trillions of cells as tiny cauldrons of life-giving and life-sustaining energy.

Carl Sagan had no doubt as to your cells’ superior resourcefulness and ‘medical’ knowledge. He reminds us that, “The blueprints, detailed instructions, and job orders for building you from scratch would fill about 1,000 encyclopedia volumes if written in English. Yet, every cell in your body has a set of these encyclopedias.”

You have the pharmacy of pharmacies built into your DNA – and you have the intelligence of the universe distributed throughout your body within the diversity of the cells that constitute your biomake-up. So, it just makes sense to communicate ‘Self to Cell’ in order to keep the wholeness that you are intact.

Partner with your cells. Maintain a loving, mutually-satisfying, symbiotic relationship. Cell-ebrate your cell power. Within your cellular genealogy is your wholing genie-ology! Experience the awesome wholeness and wholesomeness that come from the reciprocity between ‘Self to Cell’ and ‘Cell to Self.’

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A Spiritual Interpretation: The Biblical Noah and the Noah in Us All

noah_movie_poster_1Noah, the controversial biblical epic starring Russell Crowe, has sailed into theatres worldwide and is causing a flood of both criticism and praise. Some have called it the ‘least Biblical Biblical film ever made.’ Others, like us, simply delight in the movie’s superb cinematography and interesting interpretation of an archetypical human event. And Darren Aronofsky’s computer generated animals and depiction of the flood itself are incredibly awesome technological achievements.

The thing about movies like this that are based on scanty historical content is that directors of those movies can take plenty of liberties with the content. So, it’s natural for purists and critics alike to have their say. In this movie Aronofsky tells a great tale. And, so, we thought we’d tell our tale to go along with his!

Ours is a spiritual, not religious tale, with a sprinkling of metaphysics added to represent our taking a few liberties of our own. We hope you’ll like it.

Spiritual Bible Interpretation of FloodFlood myths abound in world scriptures. They are symbolic deluge stories that depict a great flood being sent by a vengeful deity in order to destroy a sinful civilization as a act of divine retribution. Flood myth motifs generally tell the same story and are filled with enough poetic license to, well, flood the world’s literature with a deluge of spectacular intrigue.

A few of the most well-known flood motifs are: the Mesopotamian flood stories (Atrahasis; Gilgamesh; and Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah), the Deucalion in Greek mythology where the ‘ark’ finally landed on Mt. Parnassus, the Hindu avatar Vishnu warning Manu of an impending flood in the Satapatha Brahmana, the Mayan flood story, the Muisca Bocchica of South American deluge, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Native American flood myth, the Gun-Yu flood myth of China, the Finnish flood myth in the Kalevala rune, the Australian Tiddalik deluge, and the Polynesian Nu’u flood.

There are many more flood myths, but we know you get the point that the flood myths are archetypes of something very fundamental in humankind’s evolution toward becoming consciously aware of our collective spiritual unfoldment.

Everything that we’ve written, spiritually and secularly; all of our scientific discoveries, from biology and quantum physics to nanobots and the Internet; the best of our philosophical and metaphysical thinking; the diversity of our engineering and the unlimited creativity of our performing arts are all attempts to increase our human understanding of who we are and what we can accomplish as spiritual beings who are having a human experience!

So, let’s look at Aronofsky’s Noah-ing from a slightly different perspective in order to ‘Noah ourselves.’

A Metaphysical (Spiritual) Interpretation of the Noah Story

Noah's Ark silhouetteFrom a highly spiritual perspective a metaphysical interpretation of ANYTHING means seeing people, places, things, and events that happen ‘out there’ as human and spiritual qualities, talents, and abilities – as well as faults – within us. So, the Noah’s flood story can be interpreted as symbolizing what is going on inside of us. The people, animals, events, and the ark itself in the Biblical flood myth can be seen as qualities and traits within us.

For example, in the Biblical account:

  • Noah represents our elevated intellectual awareness that we are the human expression of the Christ Presence in material form.
  • Noah’s wife symbolizes our intuitive awareness that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
  • Noah’s three sons and their wives represent the higher thoughts that characterize the union between an enlightened intellect and the wisdom of the heart.
  • Two of every kind of animal symbolizes the symbiotic relationship between our lower, more base instincts and their higher spiritual essences (also, the two hemispheres of our brain and the polarities of brain functions they represent).
  • Ark represents our Christ Consciousness which protects us from the limitations and attachments of sensory experience.
  • Flood symbolizes the tsunamic sensory overload of self-negating thoughts, inclinations, choices, habits and behaviors that can destroy us with their divinity-denying nature that refuses to accept our status as human expressions of the Eternal Presence.
  • Forty days and forty nights represent a time of completion.
  • Dove symbolizes the peace that passeth all misunderstanding. The three flights of the dove represent divinely ordering our experience regardless of outer appearances.
  • Raven represents understanding the illusionary nature of duality.
  • Altar symbolizes our spiritual practice.
  • People who drowned represent our error thoughts which succumb to our materialistic addictions by imploding on their own soulless nature.

We believe that when we live at the speed of our Christ Consciousness
(Noah and the family in the ark) we can divinely order our good
(the dove’s three flights) through our disciplined spiritual practice,
no matter how tsunamic (the flood) the challenges,
supposed limitations, and setbacks are that threaten us.

This is our interpretation of the significance of the flood myth as it relates to humankind’s spiritual unfoldment. We’ve told it without cinematography and without sin-ematography!  And yes, we’ve taken some metaphysical liberties to ‘flood’ your consciousness with a highly spiritual perspective of the Noah myth. We hope our interpretation resonates with you.

If you haven’t seen Aronofsky’s Noah—and if you’re inclined to see it—we invite you to watch it from the perspective we’ve shared in this blogcast. You’ll find it makes perfect sense from the ‘inside-out.’ Because it’s about you! It’s about what’s happening inside your consciousness as you strive to soar above all of the self-defeating thoughts running through your human nature by elevating your thinking, being and doing to the flagship of your spiritual nature: your Christ Consciousness.

rainbow-4

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Experiencing God Moments: Lapis Stones and the Metaphysical Interpretation of the Parable of the Sower

Spirituality-LapisStoneThe lapis philosophorum is a legendary substance, supposedly capable of turning base metals into gold. It is believed to be the elixir of life, responsible for rejuvenation, enlightenment, and even immortality.

It is better known as the Philosopher’s Stone. For close to a 1,000 years, it was the most sought-after prize in Western alchemy.

According to legend, the 13th-century Dominican bishop, scientist, and philosopher Albertus Magnus is said to have discovered the alchemical Philosopher’s Stone. He is considered to be one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages.

The Philosopher’s Stone was believed to turn corruptible base metals into incorruptible gold. (Sounds a little materialistic, don’t you think?) On a more spiritual note, it was believed that the ‘stone’ could transform human beings from mortal (corruptible) beings into immortal (incorruptible) beings.

The 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus wrote a ‘how to’ manual on the Philosopher’s Stone entitled the Archidoxa. Paracelsus was believed to be the greatest alchemist of his time.

The Philosopher’s Stone appears in the Grail stories of King Arthur, and in thousands of other immortality stories all over the world. Most recently it has appeared in the Harry Potter series of books.

We believe the Philosopher’s Stone, like the Holy Grail legends, externalizes an interior power called our Divine Nature which we all have in common.

We believe the Philosopher’s Stone, like the Holy Grail, is not something material at all. It is not a physical rock, gem, jewel, or cup. It is not something we can use for selfish gain or material wealth.

We believe the Philosopher’s Stone is the Christ Presence (Higher Self) within each of us. It is the ‘Self’ neuroscientists call our Deeper Self, psychologists call our Authentic Self, and spiritual teachers call our Divine Self that expresses Itself in, as, and through us.

It is the Gold Standard at the core of our being. It is the Divine Presence within us that allows us to harvest God Moments.

It has been easier for humankind to look ‘out there’ for some supernatural being, super hero, or mysterious force to save us. We believe an ‘out there’ directionality is an unfortunate perspective. Our salvation is an inside-out process! That means we are responsible for our own spiritual growth and enlightenment.SpiritualPractice-Heart

Place your hand over your heart. Feel your heartbeat. (Ba-bump, ba-bump) Every heartbeat says: “Become one with/ your Indwelling Christ/ and you will/ turn the lead/ of lack and/ limitation/ into the gold/ of prosperity/and inner peace.” (Ba-bump, ba-bump).

    • Look within instead of without  – and you will experience God moments.
    • Step out on faith instead of fear — and you will experience God moments.
    • Focus on giving instead of receiving — and you will experience God moments.
    • Forgive instead of holding grudges or resentments — and you will experience God moments.
    • Pray for others instead of preying on others — and you will experience God moments
    • Re-create yourself as God’s image instead of assigning God human qualities — and you will experience God moments.
    • Choose love instead of hate — and you will experience God moments.

When you realize that the Philosopher’s Stone is the Christ Presence within you, you can turn base, materialistic human attitudes into their higher spiritual essences.

Books like As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and As a Woman Thinketh by Dorothy Hulst are based on Proverbs 23:7, “As (we) think in our hearts, so are we.”

People find it curious that the languaging of Proverbs 23:7 seems so metaphysical. “As we ‘think in our hearts’ the writer of Proverbs reminds us. Think in our hearts? How can we think in our hearts?

HeartInCrystalIt may come as a surprise, but that’s where your higher understanding comes. The heart is the wisdom center. It is the center of your intuitive intelligence. It contains the key to experiencing God moments because it is the stargate to the Christ  Presence within you.

What you plant in your heart helps you experience the gold of your Divine Nature. What you sow in your heart, you reap in consciousness. The choices you must ask yourself are:

  • Do I want to sow error and reap sorrow – or do I want to sow truth andexperience God moments?
  • Do I want to keep up a pretense, or be genuine?

The ‘reap what you sow’ analogy reminds us of a story about a N.C. farmer and a Texas farmer who were sharing information about their respective properties, each trying to impress the other with the magnificence of what they owned. Each farmer was sowing ‘one-upmanship.’At one point, the Texas farmer got a little carried away, and said, “You OldTruck-ca39200976know, my property is so expansive, so spread out, that I can get in my truck first thing early in the morning, and by the time the sun sets, I still haven’t covered all the land I own!” The N.C. farmer just paused a moment, sighed, and said, “Yep! I understand. I had a truck like that once!”

Experiencing God moments is all about being able to see things and hear things through your Spiritual eyes and ears, and reaping the highest and best regardless of the outer appearances of the moment. Experiencing God moments happens in the absence of pretense. Reaping what you sow is a very powerful metaphor for your spiritual growth, because the same steps you use in sowing apply to what you harvest on your Truth walk. Think about it.

We realize we’re simplifying here, but the basic steps to ensure a good lifestyle harvest are:

    • Prepare the soil
    • Plant the seeds at the proper time (and of course, you must be sure you are planting seeds for what you expect to harvest!)
    • Nurture the plantings: Weeding, watering, fertilizing
    • Finally, you gather in the harvest: this is not something you can rush, or totally control. You work with the system; nature; timing – pay attention, and when the time is right, you harvest the goods.

The Parable of the Sower — from a Metaphysical Perspective

Do you see the analogy for harvesting God moments? Jesus as the Christ actually saw this same metaphor, and used the ‘reaping what your sow’ idea as one of his parables. It is shared in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – all pretty much the same versions. Let’s see what practical message it gives us for harvesting our good!

The parable is about a farmer who sows his seed (he’s kind of sloppy) – and some seeds fall along the path and are eaten by birds; other seeds fall on rocky ground, with very little soil – so while they sprout quickly (we call them volunteers), the sun scorches them and they wither because they don’t have strong roots. Other seeds fall among thorns, and get choked out. But the ones that fall on good soil grow and produce a bountiful crop. And Jesus ends by saying His infamous words: “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

So let’s look at this on a deeper spiritual level: The seeds represent your thoughts. It all starts with a Divine Idea, which you bring into expression. As soon as you become aware of a thought, you are actually sowing the idea it represents in some way. Some of your thoughts may sound good, they may even be expressions of Truth — but you never follow through on them. They are like the seeds that fall along the path, eaten by birds: they remain superficial intentions that never reap a benefit.

Other thoughts may get acted upon – you get excited about Truth principles and jump in – but don’t follow through with the nurturing of the principles. You don’t commit to the daily spiritual practice so your roots aren’t deep – and as soon as life throws you a curve (the sun), you may give up and say, “This stuff doesn’t work!”

Still other thoughts may be grounded in error thinking (fear, jealousy, anger, disappointment), and the thorns of these error thoughts choke out your growth.

SpiritualPractice-HarvestGodMomentsAll this stuff happens to all of us! But here’s the good news: seeds sown from your higher consciousness and nourished through study, meditation, prayer, and practice will bring you God moments! And plenty of them.

We think the hardest part of this ‘reaping what you sow’ process is the waiting and the nourishing that go with it. Planting annuals each spring is a great example. One of the annuals we love is petunias. They have such vivid colors, and grow so quickly. But then comes the maintenance. You’ve got to prune them or the plants will get leggy and die without the proper on-going care.

The same is true with your spiritual development! You must make a regular practice of:

TakeAction

  • weeding out error thoughts and self-defeating habits;
  • nurturing Truth principles with regular spiritual practices of meditation, prayer, living in the present moment, practicing acts of kindness, etc.;
  • fertilizing with study and exploration and practice —
  • and never, ever give up in the face of the world of appearance. Because the world of negative outer appearances will rob you of your harvest.

If you can remember the truth of who you are, stand firm in that faith, and plant the seeds of Spirit in everything you think, say and do, you will always reap far more than you sow! A few seeds can produce a bumper crop of God moments … as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!

 

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Lent from a Spiritual Not Religious Perspective: Fasting and Feasting

OakTree-acorn-ca9769811There are two ways to get to the top of an oak tree. You can climb it, or you can sit on an acorn! Both are perfectly viable ways, although one takes the patience of Job. There are also two ways to move through the Lenten Season: fasting and feasting. Both are legitimate expressions of spiritual growth. As a matter of fact, from a spiritual perspective, both are necessary.

Ash Wednesday is traditionally the first day of Lent. And traditionally during Lent, we are asked to give up things like chocolate, ice cream, soft drinks, high fat foods, doughnuts, potato chips, and so on. The phrase “deny yourself” is equated with “deprive yourself of pleasure.” And the focus is generally giving up certain types of foods even some luxuries like eating out in restaurants, reducing TV time, turning off house lights and using candles, and so on, throughout the Lenten season.

A Traditional Perspective

The traditional religious objective seeks to deprive us of pleasures and bring some sort of voluntary suffering into our lives in order to make them better. And since it comes just before Jesus’ violent death, it uses His suffering and crucifixion to justify our own suffering and penance.

AshWednesday37189069Ash Wednesday, in particular, is a practice which uses the symbolism of putting ashes on our foreheads as a reminder of our unworthiness, sinfulness, and need for redemption. In Old Testament times, putting ashes on the foreheads, fasting, and wearing sackcloth were signs of true repentance.

The prophet Jeremiah called Israel to “wallow in ashes” (Jer. 6:26) and Abraham spoke of being unworthy because he was nothing but “dust and ashes” (Gen. 2:7). In 1099, Pope Urban II is responsible for calling the first day of Lent Ash Wednesday. He imposed the ritual only for those who committed grave sins. They were asked to do public penance until they were reconciled through confessions and penitence to the church.

The practice was initiated to quarantine ‘sinners’ from the rest of the community. The word ‘quarantine’ has the same root word as ‘forty.’ And, thus, we have the forty days of Lent. What we have just described is the traditional Christian view of the Lenten season. A view that focuses on sinfulness, sorrow, sacrifice, unworthiness, and repentance.

A Spiritual Perspective

Here is a spiritual perspective of Lent, which differs in tone and direction. In his classic book, Keep a True Lent, Charles Fillmore says:

It is commonly believed that the Lenten period has to do with the events of the forty days preceding the Resurrection of Christ. This is an erroneous idea. Lent is a church institution, and there is no authorization for it anywhere in the New Testament. The idea, however, has a sound spiritual basis. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Himself set precedents for it. Each observed a forty-day period of prayer and fasting as a preparation for spiritual work.

Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai after he fasted. Elijah talked with God after his forty day fast. Jesus began His great spiritual ministry after He fasted for forty days in the wilderness. In each of these cases the number 40 had nothing to do with the forty days of Lent. Metaphysically, the number 40 stands for completeness or a completed preparation for some important spiritual work.

From a spiritual perspective, Lent stands for a voluntary retreat from the world to prepare for our resurrection from false beliefs, error thinking, and the denial of our innate divinity.

NoBadHabitsSpiritually speaking, there is only one kind of fasting: abstaining from error thoughts, choices, and actions that dampen the awareness of our oneness with Spirit. The dieting we advocate during Lent is dieting from doubts, fasting from fear, abstaining from believing we are unworthy, and eliminating the thinking that we are sinful by nature.

And, yes, if there are foods that are harmful to your physical body you may want to fast from them as well – not just during Lent, but as a lifestyle decision. The important thing to remember is that Lent is not a fad. It is a lifelong spiritual discipline.

TakeActionWe encourage you to fast from the belief that you are here just to learn lessons. You have lessons, and sometimes they are harsh lessons, but your lessons are the consequences of your error thoughts and actions. They are effects, not causes. You  are here to become one with and fulfill your Christ Nature – just like Jesus did when He became one with His Christ Nature. Feast on your oneness with Spirit.

Fast from the belief that there are incurable illnesses. You have the pattern of perfection within you. It is called the Christ pattern or ‘I Am’ consciousness. It is your Core Nature, the truth of who you are. Because you are whole at the level of Spirit, feast on becoming whole on the human level by connecting with your Core Nature.

Fast from the belief that life has to be filled with suffering. Although the belief that we are meant to suffer is a belief some people wear like a badge of honor, it is not one of the teachings of the Christ as Jesus. Jesus did not say in John 10:10 – “I came that you might have suffering and have it more abundantly.” He said – “I came that you might have LIFE and have it more abundantly.” So feast on living life more fully.

The Christ as Jesus says in Matthew11:28-30, “Come to me all of you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you (Come into the same understanding as I) and learn from me; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy (For the truth has set me free) and my burden is light.”

You’ve probably heard of the the well-known phrase “Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate.” Spiritually speaking, Pilate stands for muddy water, and one of the well-known symbols of Christ is a fish. So fish suffering under muddy water is an apt metaphor.

From a spiritual perspective Pontius Pilate stands for our emotionally-charged sense appetites and carnal will. Jesus represents the recognition of our Christ potential. Our Christ potential, our innate wholeness, suffers (is neglected) because we allow our over-consumptive material appetites to rule.

Separating ourselves from our Christ Nature is what causes all of our suffering. Whenever we allow our ego (the Pontius Pilate in us)
to usurp our spiritual growth, we suffer.

From a spiritual perspective Lent goes well beyond Easter. Lent is a spiritual “retreat forward,” a time of preparation, cleansing, and completion as we fast from error thoughts and feast on our relationship with the Christ within.

True Lent is a lifetime of fasting from anything and everything that we allow to separate us from our Christ Nature. When you think about it, a Lent-Free Life is a life of suffering. So make Lent a life-long practice: Fast from fear and doubt. Fast from worry and thinking you don’t measure up.

mountaintop-victory-ca37900401You are put here to enjoy life. Use this Lenten season to discover the Kingdom of Heaven, the spiritual muscle, the right-ness, the depth of compassion, the profound bandwidth of loving kindness that are yours by right of consciousness.

You can do it because it’s in your spiritual DNA.

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Meditation Is Medication: The Medicinal Benefits of Disciplined Meditation

Meditation-Collage-smallFor millennia, disciplined meditation and mental awareness techniques have been a daily practice for those who want to take charge of their lives. We have been meditators for over 40 years and can say from personal experience that meditation is the super-highway to inner peace, health, happiness, and an enlightened perspective.

We call meditation medication! And if you’ve meditated for any length of time, you know the medicinal benefits of a regular meditation practice.

By quieting the mind and relaxing the body, disciplined meditators experience deep states of mental clarity, relaxation, and higher states of awareness. Meditation allows you to access your higher mental faculties that connect you with what neuroscientists call the “Deeper Self” and what we refer to as the Extraordinary You.

As disciplined Inner Focus (that’s what we like to call meditation) has become more well-known in the West, scientists have begun to quantify its physical, mental, and emotional benefits in thousands of studies. Researchers have discovered that it’s not just one particular meditation method that is the definitive practice in and of itself. Benefits have been shown in a wide variety of focused awareness techniques.

DanHarris-picMore and more people are experiencing the benefits of meditation. For example, just this week Dan Harris, co-anchor on Good Morning America and Nightline, told the world of his panic attack on the air in 2004. He shared his journey from panic attack to drug use to meditation. Here’s just a snippet of what he reported (Dan Harris: How an On-Air Panic Attack Improved My Life):

“By pure happenstance, and despite my lifelong agnosticism, my boss and mentor, Peter Jennings, had assigned me to cover faith. Thus began a strange little odyssey. Leveraging my position as a reporter, I explored everything from mainstream religion to the bizarre fringes of self-help to the nexus of spirituality and neuroscience. The accidental yet enormously helpful end result of all this poking around: I became a reluctant convert to meditation.”

A 2007 national government survey asking about complementary and alternative medicine use in a sample of 23,393 U.S. adults found that 9.4% of respondents (representing more than 20 million people) had used meditation techniques in the past 12 months—compared with 7.6% of respondents (representing more than 15 million people) in a similar survey conducted in 2002.

Meditation is good for children too!

In that same 2007 survey, a sample of 9,417 children showed the following results: 1% (representing 725,000 children) had used meditation techniques in the past 12 months.

ResearchThe following is a partial list of the significant mental, emotional, and health benefits of disciplined inner focus:

  • In a study of health insurance statistics, meditators had 87% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease, 55% fewer for benign and malignant tumors, 30% fewer for infectious diseases, and 50% fewer doctor visits than those who were not experienced in inner focus techniques. 1
  • Disciplined meditation lowers blood pressure to levels comparable to prescription drugs. 2
  • Routine meditation increases circulation in beginning meditators by 30%, and in experienced meditators by as much as 65%. 3
  • Meditation is endorsed by NIH as an effective intervention for the relief of chronic pain. 4
  • 75% of long-term insomniacs who have been trained in relaxation techniques, inner awareness methods, and simple lifestyle changes have less trouble falling asleep. 5
  • Meditation lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics. 6
  • A group of inner-city residents suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and hypertension trained in meditation techniques experienced a 50% reduction in overall psychiatric symptoms, a 70% decrease in anxiety, and a 44% reduction in medical symptoms.7
  • Brain scans show that focused awareness shifts activity in the prefrontal cortex (behind the forehead) from the right hemisphere to the left. Left-prefrontals are usually more enthusiastic, have more interests, relax more, and tend to be happier. 8
  • Concentration is greater after 40 minutes of inner work than after a 40-minute nap. 9
  • Focused awareness helps chronically depressed patients by reducing their relapse rate by 50%.10
  • Disciplined meditators notice more of their surroundings, but react more calmly than those who have little to no inner awareness experience to emotionally arousing stimuli.11
  • Those with smoking, alcohol, and eating addictions who have been trained in focused awareness techniques break their addictions with significantly lower relapse rates than those receiving standard therapies.12
  • Disciplined inner focus (IF) appears to slow aging. Those disciplined in meditation for twenty years or more were 12 years younger than their chronological age.13

So, medicate yourself on meditation everyday! It’s one of only a few “spiritual prescription drugs” we recommend. And it’s one of the best spiritual practices we know to help you connect with your Real Self, the Extraordinary You … as you master the art of living and walk the spiritual path on practical feet.

References:
1 D. Orme-Johnson, Pschosomatic Medicine 49 (1987): 493-507.
2 Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation (Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1997).
3 Ibid.
4 J. Kabat-Zinn, L. Lipworth, R. Burney, and W. Sellers, “Four year follow-up of a meditation-based program for the self-regulation of chronic pain,” Clinical Journal of Pain 2(1986): 159-173.
5 Gregg Jacobs, Harvard Medical School, Say Goodnight To Insomnia, (Owl Books, 1999).
6 H. Cerpa, “The effects of clinically standardised meditation on type 2 diabetics,” Dissertation Abstracts International 499 (1989): 3432.
7 B. Roth, T. Creaser, “Meditation-based stress reduction: experience with a bilingual inner-city program,” Nurse Practitioner 22(3) (1997): 150-2, 154, 157.
8 R. Davidson, J. Kabat-Zinn, et al, “Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation,” Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (2003): 564-570.
9 Reported in The Boston Globe, November 23, 2005
10 J.D. Teasdale, Z.V. Segal, J.M.G. Williams , V. Ridgeway, M. Lau, & J. Soulsby, “Reducing risk of recurrence of major depression using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68 (2000):  615-23.
11 Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation (Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1997).
12 C.N. Alexander, P. Robinson, M. Rainforth, “Treatment and prevention of drug addiction,” Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11 (1994): 11-84; J. Kristeller and B. Hallett, “An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder,” Journal of Health Psychology Vol 4, (1999): 357-363; P.A. Royer-Bounouar,“A new direction for smoking cessation programs,” Dissertation Abstracts International 50, 8-B (1989): 3428; M. Shafii, R. Lavely, and R. Jaffe,“Meditation and marijuana,” American Journal of Psychiatry 131 (1974): 60-63.
13 R.K. Wallace, M.C. Dillbeck, E. Jacobe, B. Harrington, International Journal of Neuroscience 16 (1982): 53-58.

Excerpted from Freedom from Stress, David and Karen Gamow, Glenbridge Publishing (2006).

Posted in Extraordinary You, Healing, Meditation, Neuroscience, Neurotheology, Personal enrichment, Science and Spirituality, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religious Beliefs versus Spiritual Truth: When Will They Come for Me?

scales of justice knocked over with eraserThose who read us regularly know that we rarely get into the political arena. We prefer to keep our focus on providing inner spiritual enrichment to help you master the art of living as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet. But we heard something this week that cannot be ignored. The Arizona Legislature has passed a controversial bill that allows business owners —  as long as they assert their religious beliefs — to deny service to gay and lesbian customers. The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, now goes before the Governor for her signature or veto.

When we heard that newscast last week, we thought, “Really? Really?! This is 21st century America. Haven’t we outgrown that kind of immoral stain? Are we still fixated on that kind of segregation?”

Then we thought of the court’s ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson, way back in 1896, that upheld laws enforcing segregation in railway car accommodations on the proviso that the facilities were of ‘equal quality.’ This decision became known as the separate but equal principle — the cornerstone of Jim Crow laws.

It’s no surprise to us now that the facilities were usually far from equal. For example, restrooms for people of color were generally unkept and filthy. And entrances to public facilities for people of color were usually, if not always, in the rear of the store or the alley. When motorized buses were introduced in the 1920s, seats for people of color were restricted to the back rows where the stink of exhaust fumes added insult to injury.

By 1915, all Southern states had some form of Jim Crow laws. People of color  could not eat in the same restaurants, drink out of the same water fountains, watch movies in the same theaters, play in the same parks, or go to the same schools as whites. Inhuman, immoral, inhumane, absurd, and unconscionable, to say the least. Don’t you think?

A black man could not shake hands with a white man. And he certainly couldn’t  make eye-contact with a white woman or else he would be accused of a sexual advance. People of color would have to step off the sidewalk to allow a white person to walk past them on the sidewalk. Disrespectful, barbaric, cruel, diabolical, and fiendish are descriptions that come to mind.

If you follow our blogs you know how we feel about any kind of hurtful and heartless behavior between people, especially sexist and racist behavior. We believe people — all people — are the human expressions of the Eternal Presence. Whenever we show disrespect for any person we show disrespect for the Eternal Presence called God.

When we heard about the Arizona ruling, our hearts went out to all of those people throughout many eras of humankind’s volatile history who have been discriminated against, falsely accused, tortured, and killed because of the color of their skin, disability, religious affiliation, lifestyle preference, spiritual orientation, and so on. We thought about how horrifically Native Americans were treated in their homeland; we recalled how unconscionably Japanese Americans were dealt with during World War II.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????We couldn’t help but be reminded of Boston’s Quincy Market. There’s a moving and dramatic holocaust memorial that pulls at your heart strings. It’s constructed of six square pillars, one for each concentration camp.  Each stands 25 feet high. Each pillar is hollow and clear — like a see-through chimney. Each is placed above something that looks like a grate. In cold weather there’s the appearance of steam or smoke rising up and out of the pillars. Inscribed on five of the pillars are stories of the cruelty of the concentration camps.

The sixth pillar presents a story about a little girl named Ilsa, a childhood friend of Guerda Wiesmann Kline. Ilsa, who was 6 years old at the time, found a single raspberry near one of the gates in the compound at Auschwitz one morning.

RaspberryIlse carried it all day long in a protected place in one of her pockets. That evening, with her face beaming, she presented the raspberry on a leaf to her 8-year-old friend Guerda, who wasn’t feeling very well.

Imagine a world,” writes Guerda 50 years later, “in which the only prized possession you have is a single raspberry and then you give it to your friend. I will always remember the sweet look on her face when she gave me the raspberry.”

Imagine what that dear little girl was thinking when she found that raspberry in that godforsaken camp. There was no doubt she hadn’t tasted anything sweet in a long, long time. She probably wondered if she would ever have a chance to taste something sweet again. She had found sweetness in sorrow, a moment of happiness in a world of darkness.

At one end of the plaza there is a large monolith inscribed with the thoughts of a minister, Martin Niemoeller, who speaks for us all, if we honor our divine nature and the divinity in others. The quote serves as a reminder that silence in the face of another’s oppression is not in our own best interests, and invites us to think about our own prejudices:

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

We’ve added another line to Martin’s ‘quote of conscience’ because we cannot be silent:

They came for same sex couples and people of gay and lesbian orientations,
and although we are not in these categories,
we must speak up so the lunacy will stop!

candle-hearts-small-sxc1414107_64674361 copy

We send the energy of Divine Understanding, Wisdom, and Love into the world, affirming a peace that passes all misunderstanding.

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