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Back in the dark ages of high school, we were a tight group of friends that met and hung out at church. Although that might imply a pious group, we spent as much time pushing boundaries as we did praying. We played poker in the church office before services (of course for money – what would be the point if no money were involved??), smuggled vodka into overnight retreats, played charades in the choir loft during sermons, and explored our sexuality in the basement classrooms. We believed in God and knew Jesus – we just also believed in ourselves and the joys of exploring the physical world. We loved to laugh.
At some point a new young woman joined our church and became one of our youth counselors, as we called them. The youth counselors watched over us (haha) on retreats, work camps, and canoe trips. They helped us organize bake sales and car washes. They were ostensibly the Youth Pastor’s assistants, although they just as often acted as our allies – buying our liquor, listening to our secrets, kissing us, leading us into temptation …
This new member of our group, whom I’ll call Martha, brought with her a child-like enthusiasm for life. She was passionate and intense. Somewhere along the line she’d learned and experimented with affirmations, and immediately set out to teach us what she knew.
We first learned a rote set of affirmations:
God loves me, therefore I love myself.
I see God in everyone, therefore … hm. I’ll remember these in the middle of the night tonight, I’m sure …
We decided that if this worked, we should be able to manifest things in the physical world, not just in our hearts and minds. We set out to prove the premise. Three of us got together one day and batted around ideas: what should we manifest? We decided that it should be a simple thing, common but not happening often. It should be something that would be obvious to us when it happened.
On Sunday afternoons we all met at a field next to the church to play soccer – the youth counselors, friends of their age, and most of the members of our group. We decided that we would affirm that someone would offer a pack of gum around the group during or after the soccer game. This had never happened, and in fact we didn’t really remember anyone in the soccer gang ever chewing gum at all.
We crafted our affirmation carefully, suspecting that vague words or a fuzzy idea would create a vague or fuzzy outcome. I don’t remember the affirmation as we stated it – thirty five years and a hard knock to the head, who would remember? But I’ll recreate a similar affirmation:
“A person will offer sticks of gum to each person present at the soccer game at (location) on (date).”
We began the affirmation on a Monday or Tuesday, as I remember. Once a day we each spent five minutes with eyes closed, repeating the affirmation silently to ourselves, and imagining someone handing out sticks of gum.
Sunday rolled around and the soccer game got underway after lunch. Frankly, I was so involved with the game, I had forgotten all about our experiment. The other two affirmers admitted the same thing: none of us were looking for an outcome.
Then Andy pulled a pack of gum out of his pocket and started wandering around offering everyone a piece out of the pack.
I think the three of us probably looked like landed fish, mouths hanging open and blank looks on our faces.
It worked. Our affirmation was affirmed. Which set off further explorations. We played with manifestation and creation, forever changing our expectations and assumptions about reality.
Some of our experiments didn’t work, some worked beautifully, some manifested with unexpected results as we’d left out details or forgot to include repercussions of the manifestation. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why some things worked and others didn’t. I even became wary of creating, as the creations could seem to manifest unexpected consequences.
Over the years I’ve discovered and remembered some reasons for some of those glitches. Probably not all of them, but I’ll pass along what I know:
1. Wording is critical. The energy is literal.
2. Instill the words and intent with emotion. The energy responds to passion.
3. Examine your beliefs: if you affirm money yet believe money is evil or corrupts people, you won’t get the money.
4. Admit your reservations: if you think this won’t work, say “I don’t think this will work, but I’m willing to learn that it does.”
5. The more people affirming it, the more likely it is to manifest. When energy focus is joined with others, the power of the energy is exponential.
6. Let go of the outcome. I’ll say that again: Let go of the outcome.
Try it for yourself … give yourself permission to create miracles.
I grew up in the Presbyterian church. It was a liberal congregation, with an unusually open-minded, curious and lively pastoral staff. It was, however, Christian. Good and evil, predestination (Presbyterians – what can I say), saved and unsaved, rules of behavior, dogma of thought …
While I valued very highly the community of the church, and the silences available in the space of the church (physically and spiritually), I kept secrets from the church. I valued the laughter, singing, solemnity, grief, and humanity of the community. I still miss those graceful beauties. But the beliefs of the church did not accomodate what I knew to be true.
I knew that Jesus was an example of what each of us is capable of, not a sacrificial lamb to be worshiped as something unreachably beyond human. I knew that hell was a fantasy fear. I knew that Satan was a sad myth. I knew that I could touch God because I had, and longed to again. I knew that mystics were not of the past, but of the ever-present. I knew that I was one. (I also knew to keep my mouth shut about that.)
I read the Upanishads when I was in high school, curiously drawn. I read about Buddhism and AmerIndian religions. I briefly practiced Zen meditation, and poked around in the Moslem religion. I practiced affirmations, creating miracles. I read the Bible through cover to cover. In each of these explorations I found the same core, the same prime number: one. We are all one, and God is in us, of us, through us, one with us.
I became more and more grumpy about sermons, beliefs, dogmas, and self-righteousness in the Christian tradition, feeling rising derision and scorn for the misinterpretations and strange assumptions that were propogated or sustained. I resented that God was assumed to be male, that God was assumed to be a being separate from each of us, that God was assumed to punish. Punish! Punish?? I was furious that Christians would split the One, enraged that fear was too often used like a bludgeon over love, and disgusted with the lie that unconditional love was a quirk of God that we’d have to die to experience.
I was frustrated.
In college I continued to struggle to reconcile or re-imagine the (my) patriarchal idea of God, and the ideas and beliefs of the church. I attended daily services for the silence, the focus, and the beautiful music. Ignoring the words, I rested in the beautiful space of what I now know as a meditative state of grace. I used the setting, ignoring as much as possible the – as I thought of it – foolishness and sadly misguided blindnesses.
One night walking alone in the silky darkness of a midwestern night, full moon lighting up the quiet trees, I said aloud, “There is no God.”
It just came right out of my mouth, surprising the crap out of me. It also felt as if it came to me, not out of me. So I decided that I would agree to that premise and explore from there. If it turned out to be false, I knew that God would bring me back.
Thirty years have passed. I can’t give a reasonable recount of those thirty years, nor would I care to do so (boring!). I’ll sum it up: Christianity continued to irritate me, even as I tried to ignore its persistent little remnants echoing and knocking around deep inside. The things that we learn as children are deeply seated, often comfortably settled in the subconscious or unconscious as base assumptions. Those little pieces and parts kept surfacing at odd moments, reminding me that they ought to be addressed and resolved.
How could I resolve all the little pieces? I couldn’t – I couldn’t even catch them all. I knew that if I could start at the beginning, at the One, perhaps I could describe in detail how Christianity had transmogrified the Christ message. If I could write it all out, articulating what I knew in my soul, I suspected that I could expose all the little pieces in myself and put them to rest.
But hey, I didn’t have time, or didn’t have the energy or skill that I was sure that would take. Really I didn’t have the will, and probably not the courage. I couldn’t find my voice.
Recently I read a book by Paul Rademacher that has done much of that work for me: A Spiritual Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.
Paul was a Presbyterian minister for fifteen years, functioning in that capacity while knowing he was living in dissonance with his soul. He had known rapture, experienced God, and wanted to again. He believed that we were each capable of the acts of Jesus, and that the Christian church had misinterpreted his life and message.
Paul is a mystic, and an articulate and thoughtful one at that. In A Spiritual Hitchhiker’s Guide, he re-imagines the Bible and the Christ message with intelligence, humor, and deep insight.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Paul has written or proposed in this entertaining book – that’s not necessary. He begins at the beginning that we all know instinctively – the prime of all being: One. Beyond the One, his re-imagining of the message of Christianity leaves room for me to revisit and ponder my own understanding of the Gospels and their role in my early life. His obvious curiosity, irreverent humor, and the disarming honesty with which he uses his personal life to illustrate and illumine are all evidence of his grace. They have invited me to allow old angers and resentments to be revealed, then fall away; and to remember to cloak my explorations in that same sort of curiosity, humor, and honesty.
Paul’s story has allowed me to love the church again – not for what it stands for, but for what it was for me. Community. Humanity. Of the One, for the all; of the All, for the One. Flawed and perfect; packed with good people who may only be waiting, longing for someone like Paul to say what they know to be true in their hearts; to introduce them to the mystical in themselves – of themselves, touching God.
By articulating what I longed to say, Paul has set a part of me free.
A Spiritual Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe sparked me to grow, and I feel as if Paul sat by quietly cheering me on while I did.
The book is more than a thoughtful treatise on Christianity. It trips lightly through states of expanded awareness, and dips laughing into the muck of physicality. Yet Christianity is the skeletal structure on which Paul drapes all the beauty. He could have used Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or New Age and the wisdom would have been the same. Because they are one.
I believe that denying the existence of God thirty years ago as I walked under the dark trees allowed me to re-imagine God. I had to let go of my ideas of God – all those old pictures of a man waiting to crack someone’s knuckles.
Yahweh. Adonai. Allah. The Force. The Universe. The Mystery. The Mother. The Creative Force of the Universe.
I’ve used all these words, because to communicate we currently use words. We think we need them. But each time I name the unnameable, something in me resists. I’ve touched the All That Is, and been one with the One, and I have the Force within me. I resist the names. By speaking a name, I limit the unlimited. No words exist to describe what I know. By naming the All, I separate myself from the One, which is a lie.
(that last sentence was perfect silence)
Thank you, Paul, for returning a part of me to myself.
Two weeks ago I had a vivid reminder of how easy life can be.
Months ago I began digging foundations for two culvert rainwater collection tanks. I’ll skip the whining about trying to dig in dirt as hard as concrete … I finally finished the digging, then had to figure out pvc pipe plumbing. That took a couple weeks of fear and two days of glueing and installing. One more day to level the foundation pits. One more day to lay and compact the gravel. One more day to set up the rebar, and I was ready to completely freak out about actually installing the tanks.
I had ordered the two 4 ft diameter x 10 ft tall culverts a week before I had the foundations ready. It was due in on Tuesday, which would have been good news had I not been a stress mess worrying about how all this would really come together on the ground.
Stress #1: My neighbor had said he’d help place the culverts, but 4 ft diam culverts are, I was pretty damn sure, too big for two people to lift. Who could I get to help? I don’t know anyone here but my neighbor (I only moved here 6 months ago).
Stress #2: This neighbor knows a lot about mixing and pouring concrete. I know almost nothing – would two of us be able to mix, pour, spread and level the concrete before it bagan to set up, or would we need a third person?
Stress #3: Would the lumber yard deliver the culvert, AND concrete, AND concrete mixer? What would that cost?
Stresses #2 and #3 would be moot if I couldn’t find or hire other people to help lift the culverts.
Enter a miracle.
I have a specific way of creating things, healing things, or inviting miracles. I imagine a rose out in front of me a few feet, making it a color that resonates strongly and favorably with me. It’s “my” color. After creating it, I reach out to it with my spiritual hands and give it a healing. When I do this, the rose inevitably becomes brighter, lighter, sparkly. I then take a picture of whatever it is I’m worried or stressed about, and I put it in that rose. Sometimes I specifically ask for assistance; sometimes I just silently put it in the rose. Sometimes I put a grounding cord on the rose and watch it working to clear my anxieties /frustrations /fears concerning the subject (reasons why it can’t be fixed, or ways I think it should be fixed). Then I let it go. Sometimes I simply put the picture in the rose without the grounding. It flies off into the universe and I let it go, distracting myself by doing other things, taking my mind off that subject. Trusting the energy to work.
(p.s. you can’t include caveats when you release the rose … “I want it solved, but not this way, and not if that’s included in the solution, and I don’t want to have to do xyz …” That doesn’t seem to work! Just let it go.
So I put the culvert rain tank construction in the rose and let it go.
Within 24 hours the following happened:
I received an email from a friend 300 miles away saying that he’d like to come visit on Monday (one day before the culverts arrived!) and that my project sounded interesting – he’d like to help. Stresses #1 and #2 solved!
I ran into my neighbor, and told him the culvert should arrive on Tuesday. He told me that we would have to install it Wednesday because he worked Tuesday and was leaving town Friday. Could I get everything delivered Wednesday morning? Eek!
I wasn’t even sure that the culvert would come in the day I was told it would, much less whether I could get the concrete and mixer delivered – you know how that goes. I promised myself not to freak out. Everything would work out, or it wouldn’t.
No sooner had I decided not to stress out, than the lumber yard called to tell me the culvert had arrived. I zipped down there to talk with them … could they deliver it? Sure. Wednesday morning? Of course. Could they deliver a yard of dry concrete? Sure. And a mixer? “Well … it’s broken.” Some discussion ensued and fix-it men were consulted. I closed my eyes and said, “Yes.” It took them another ten minutes to meet my conclusion, but in the end the owner of the lumber yard (named Angel, by the way 🙂 ) promised “without fail, Seren!” it would all be delivered Wed morning. He would fit it all on one truck, and charge me a pittance to deliver it.
Gary arrived on Monday. The culvert, concrete, and mixer arrived on Wednesday morning. We installed the culverts on Wednesday afternoon.
I suspect that everyone’s idea of a miracle is not the same. My miracle might look paltry and not very miraculous to many. It was shocking, however, to me. Coordinating more than the actions of my lone self, and the arrival or delivery of more than one item is too often in my history a recipe for disaster. I was a project manager in Iraq, and know an infinite variety of impossibly bizarre ways that a project can get fouled up. When everything goes smoothly, I know that I’ve received assistance.
Miracles don’t have a size. The “difficulty” of miracles lies only in our own minds. I often “create” money, shady parking spaces, and fun activities. Why don’t I more often create ease in other areas? It’s my life, and my life is more fun when I’m not struggling, tense, or stressed. Life doesn’t have to be hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is mistaken.
Try a miracle for yourself. Put that subject of stress in a rose and let it go.
Phobic fear of Friday the 13th: friggatriskaidekaphobia
Phobic fear of the number thirteen: triskaidekaphobia
Friday the 13th has generally felt for me like a slit in the seam of time. Since I don’t see an energy reality associated with this, my assumption has been that the power of combined thought composed by a good portion of the world’s population being focused on it being Friday the 13th creates a peculiar potential to slip between particles.
It has most often been a day of amusing oddities for me.
An extreme example: I was walking down a sidewalk in Eugene Oregon with a friend – I’ll call him David. A car of young men drove past us, honking the horn as the kids shouted out the windows. One of the young men threw something.
“Shit!” David spat angrily, “they hit me.”
He patted his torso, trying to figure out what they’d thrown and whether he had some kind of mess on his clothing.
“What the hell … “ he muttered, patting one of the pockets on his jean jacket with his palm. He cussed again while he patted around the outside of the pocket, patted around the inside of the jacket, then he reached into the right-hand inside pocket of the jacket. He pulled out an egg.
Intact. Not even a crack.
He held it out to me on an open palm and we both stared at it. We looked at each other blankly, then burst out laughing.
As an idea gains momentum, so it gains form. As an idea gains form, so it manifests.
If we believe, so we create it. Begin to believe in, welcome, and expect the unexpected and pointless random amusement. Release fear and begin to grow laughter. Enjoy life.
Happy Friday the 13th … may magical moments happen.
A few weeks ago I got back to remote viewing (RV) targets generated at http://www.rvtargets.com/. The first few times that I tried remote viewing (a few years ago), I had spectacular results. This is no longer the case. My hit rate has plummeted.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with RV, I would suggest visiting the Ten Thousand Roads website at http://www.dojopsi.info/tenthousandroads/rvprotocol.shtml. I’d give you a description, but I’m frankly too lazy. The Ten Thousand Roads website does a far better job of it than I would.
A spectacular start and miserable continuation is not unusual in RV. After the first couple “good hits” on targets, I often found myself becoming more goal-oriented than was necessary or useful. As soon as I want a “good” outcome, silent openness is replaced with need, and need puts my mind on a spinning hamster wheel of expectation and second-guessing. That’s the time to go do the dishes, take a walk, take a nap. Let it go and come back later. Letting go of the outcome is absolutely essential to accurate RV.
I also found that my hit rate took a nose dive because I was often unable to hold onto information that I did receive. Although at times I received far more information than I had when I first began doing RV, the information came in such a brief and intense flash that I couldn’t decipher it. The same sort of flash, or complete rote, often happens when I read people, animals or places. I’m accustomed to receiving the flash in that context. I’ve become adept at holding it lightly, picking through it for the information that the client wants me to address. That flash of information has a natural center or aim in the emotion of the client. It occurs to me that I use emotion as a beacon or guide, as energy often lights up or comes to me more intently and clearly when it is charged with emotion.
The RV targets don’t carry emotion in the same way. The emotional content is almost always simply what I might bring to it when finally viewing the target. (Not always – there are at times targets such as battlefields, WWII concentration camps, and similar places that are steeped in their own emotional energies). It’s not impossible to read something lacking in emotional starting points – or “tags” as I call them – it simply requires a reorganization of attention.
Finally, only now do I understand that when I read people, animals, and specific buildings or properties, the identification of the object of my attention – the client – gives me a head start. It tells me which band width to tune into, which radio station to roll the dial toward. In an RV reading, the band width needs to be broadened considerably because the target could be anything in the physical world. I have to back up, learn to sit outside the whole radio, perusing the channels, sensing where the thing that I seek lies.
While I’m not hitting much, then, I am slowly learning about my habits of perception. And as I learn about my habits, I’m able break them down and open them up to encompass and invite a broader perceptive experience.
When I was (actively) learning the Spanish language, I would get hung up for days on specific small details that revealed to me how language shapes perception. In Spanish, your body parts are never yours, they’re “the arm” or “the face.” How might that affect how one thinks of their own body? In Spanish, the future tense is always subjunctive – meaning, for those grammatical illiterates in the audience, that the future is always at least just a little bit questionable. How sane and accurate! I envied the Spanish that profound insight made manifest in language.
We each have our own unique concoction of social and cultural programming, life experience, communal memory or past life experiences, and clarity in spirit communication. Our way of perceiving is necessarily informed by these things, but it needn’t be limited by them. Examine assumptions, ponder absolutes, try new things. Stretching can take you to interesting places, and may prepare you for the unimaginable.
I’m saddened by the reaction of some of my American friends to Osama bin Laden’s death. Boasting and strutting Americans are, in my opinion, Americans at their most mortifying.
The effort to kill bin Laden lasted ten years, underlay two overt wars and countless covert ones, cost billions and billions and billions of dollars, spawned a creepily polarized political spin morass that fed a culture of fear, and cost a lot of soldier’s and civilian’s lives. All this, ostensibly to kill one man.
I wouldn’t call that something to strut about.
And this will not end the terrorist acts that cause Americans to puff up their chests and say, “Not here. Not inAmerica.” Osama bin Laden is not the only extreme fundamentalist, the only terrorist out there. Many people believe that violence is the only way to get what they want, to create what they desire, to force what they think is right. Others will take bin Laden’s place.
We still have not grown up. Our general comic-book mentality of one evil man destroying the world is useless and dysfunctional. We still have not matured enough to reflect on and respect the complexities of a world of vast cultural and political differences. We have not matured enough to understand that freedom means the freedom to choose something other than what Americans value and create. We have not matured enough to realize that our self-interested manipulations and exploitations of other countries politics and economies breed anger, frustration, and resentment in the countries and communities that we manipulate. We still have not matured enough to look at ourselves honestly, and to contemplate the fact that the ideals that we espouse are not often enough carried through in our actions.
The war inAfghanistanis not over. The death of bin Laden does not end the war or heal that country of its violence and tribalism.
The death of bin Laden does not end terrorism, Arab nationalism, or Muslim extremism. It does not spell the end of Al Qaeda. The Americans have killed one man, and think they have brought an end both a powerful organizer and a powerful symbol. But in this death, they have created a martyr to his followers, a potentially more powerful symbol that they may carry for decades, even centuries.
Memories of perceived wrongs are long and deep.America’s youth and cultural myths carry only one watered-down example of this: the Civil War. The South Will Rise Again. The Confederate flag. In the Middle East cultures (as well as other cultures – Albanians come to mind, Northern Ireland as well), perceived wrongs are carried for centuries, talked about as if they occurred yesterday, and acted upon with a passion and violence that belies the passing of time. Time does not necessarily heal. It can fester.
As a wounded war vet, more than once I’ve been asked directly if I’m not overjoyed at the death of Osama bin Laden.
I am not.
I have multiple perspectives from which I view bin Laden’s death, because I walk the world feeling as if I am a bridge precariously touching two shores: the reality of the world that we have taught ourselves is real, and the non-physical or spiritual reality that I have experienced and know is as real as this physical world.
From the physical world reality, I feel neutrally curious about bin Laden’s death. A social disruption has been eliminated, and I wonder what waves and eddies that removal will cause. Be assured that there will be waves and eddies, and that many of them will come as a surprise to most of us.
From the perspective of the bridge, I am saddened that bin Laden believed that the only way to get what he thought he wanted or needed was to impose violence and disruption on others. I am saddened that his spiritual energies were imbalanced, and by the imbalances he spawned in others, including influencing others to use violence and disruption and including exacerbating the imbalance in Americans caused by giving in to feelings of fear, anger, and desires for retribution. I am disappointed that we seem unable to heal people like bin Laden and his followers – better yet, to heal ourselves as individuals and as a nation and as a world community, thereby making people like Osama bin Laden powerless.
From the perspective of spirit, I feel detached yet interested. My curiosity is aroused by the intense passions, difficult lessons, and strange creative paths we each choose for our lives. Watching the energy matrices of the physical and non-physical planes shift with the death of Osama bin Laden, I choose to add my energy and attention to the most beautiful of the possibilities being explored: the most peaceful, the most balanced, the most integrating, the most forgiving.
I believe that it’s worth taking the time to ponder on the positive energies and lessons available in the life of Osama bin Laden and in the ripples that he created across the earth. It’s possible that each individual would find their own lives reflected in some aspect of his extremism, his anger, his frustration, his self-righteousness, and his choices of action in responding to those beliefs and passions. If he indeed chose that path as a spirit, he served us all by offering an extreme example of the sad power of fear and frustration, thereby also offering so many of us an opportunity to rise above it.
“I am more than my physical body. Because I am more than physical matter, I can perceive that which is greater than physical reality. Therefore, I deeply desire to expand, to experience, to control, to use, such greater energy and energy systems as maybe beneficial to me and to those who follow me. Also, I deeply desire the help and cooperation, the assistance and understanding, of those whose wisdom, knowledge, and experience are equal to or greater than my own. I ask for their guidance and assistance, and their protection from any influence or any source that might provide me with less than my stated desires.” (The Monroe Institute – www.monroeinstitute.org)