Guest Writer: Sara Wales -
Author of " A Little Dose of Sunshine With Some Rays of Thought to Ponder" Find Sara on Facebook: "On The Brighter Side"
Have you ever wanted to do something but your FEAR got in the way? Have you thought about a new endeavor but wondered what people would say or think?
One of the biggest things that hold us back from so many opportunities is FEAR. We FEAR the unknown, what might happen or what people will think. FEAR is something we must overcome in order to move forward and do what we want to do so that we don’t have regrets. We have one life to live and it is our job to live it to the fullest.
Think of some of the things you are afraid of and ask yourself why?? Look at what you are afraid of with a different perception. Think of the positive outcomes that could happen if you do what you are afraid of?? What then?? Remember getting out of your comfort zone and doing things you fear helps you grow as a person and soon your fear is gone. I can remember be little and afraid to sleep in my room at night because I was scared of the dark. My parents assured me I was safe and there was nothing to fear. Night after night they continued to make me sleep in my room until soon I wasn't feeling scared anymore. As children our parents made us face our fears so that we would overcome them. We must push ourselves as adults to do the same thing. We just have to move forward and endure until there is nothing to fear. Find the positive and think how proud you will feel once you have faced your FEAR.
That is my STAY POSITIVE
thought for the week
"A Little Dose of Sunshine with Some Rays of Thought to Ponder"
The Internet is a funny place.
It can be used for good and evil. Right at our fingertips we are presented with the ability to reach out and connect with people we would never, in a million years, have had the opportunity to meet. I can be sitting in my pajamas in my own living room, sipping coffee, and chatting with someone on the other side of the world. Everyone is so addicted to Facebook and some think it's a bad thing, or a waste of time. Personally I think it it's a wonderful tool that is misused by many. Social media presents humanity with an endless avenue to do good. To spread love and hope; to help each other and lift each other up.
We develop friendships, real friendships, with the outside world. Many of which, for me, have become true sisters and brothers. Some will never meet face to face and others will if they are lucky. The point is that we are all searching for something deeper, it's our soul tap, tap, tapping on the inside of our skull, guiding us to seek out that which it requires. Sure, in the meantime we're posting funny status updates about wine and chocolate, pics of cats and dogs with goofy quotes, but the bigger picture includes finding those connections that we need to further our own journey and help others along on their own.
I have been able to establish a core group of dear friends that I've met online. People from all walks of life, and all over the planet. Everyone searching for and finding those highly sought after connections. From my living room in Ohio, I can laugh with a friend in a third world country and support her along her own journey. In each other we find a piece of our own puzzle, glean wisdom on each other’s faith, beliefs, and an understanding of culture is fostered and appreciated.
We innately gravitate to others online just like we do in person, the only difference is we do so blindly at first. We follow that "pull" sight unseen many times, without the deterrents of real life such as physical attributes or annoying habits. We can log on and off and spend time with those we truly care about, while keeping others at bay. Sure there are going to be some bad apples, just like in real life, and over time they will get weeded out.
So I say to you, in your online life, you have been given a beautiful avenue to reach out. Don't waste the opportunity by dulling your mind with the endless passing along of nastiness and meaningless dribble. Please use it to do something good in the world. Seek out the things that will strengthen your own personal and spiritual alignment. Of course, have fun along the way but the Internet is so much bigger - so far reaching! Someone across the globe may need your advice or your smile. In turn you might make those life long connections you have been seeking, if you just open your heart to receiving them.
The majority of us do not have the means financially to travel on a regular basis. We are geographically challenged. When we have that problem it's difficult to imagine circumstances other than our own. We become fixated in our own world and fail to appreciate the world outside. We can expand our mind to understand the plight of so many, from a child battling cancer to world hunger. We can actively participate in causes such as paying it forward, or supporting autism, or the rights of others. It's all in what we, as the human race, deem worthy of sharing with the world. Some of us have fan pages where we share this information; some just have personal FB pages. It doesn't matter how big your audience is, it's simply about what we are putting out there into the world - for what you put out there will come right back to you.
It's how the universe works.
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Guest Writer: Bernadette Rose Smith
Author of “Bernadette's Pages: An Intimate Crossroad”
When I was a little girl, I had a Raggedy Ann doll. She went everywhere with me. No doubt the fact that she went everywhere with me is why my Grandmother convinced me to let her take Raggedy Ann to the doll hospital so she could be made “good as new,” with the promise that Raggedy would return on my birthday.
I still remember opening the box with the big red bow, excited to be reunited with my friend, only to find a stranger looking back at me. This was not MY Raggedy! The adults in the room showed me her special Raggedy heart and assured me she was. (Hey, I was four but I wasn’t stupid.) I cried and cried and begged to have MY Raggedy back. My head was spinning. I was heartbroken.
I shared this story with a dear friend, recently, as the first memorable contribution to my sideswiped stories. The telling had just the right touch of drama, or so I thought, when I heard my friend take a deep breath on the other end of the line. (I knew that breath.) “Here it comes,” I thought, as my friend kindly shared their “take” on the adults who loved that little girl enough to replace what was probably a toxic germ-infested doll with a new one. Adults who had no way of knowing that the little girl would know the difference – or that she would use that event as fodder for future “you can’t trust life” sideswiped stories.
Fast forward to now; as the sun sets on the day that would have marked thirty-seven years of marriage. I watch it set, a recently divorced woman.
For the past couple days I have felt grief.
But not for the marriage. I mean, after the first 18 years (with time out for a separation and another woman; Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad) and the second 18 years of reconciliation, in the form of forgiveness and accepting the things we cannot change, there is nothing to grieve but a lot to be grateful for in the amicable nature expressed through this second separation and divorce process.
And not for my ex-husband. We are still in each other’s lives. Just now in a more honest form as we look forward to living our separate lives.
I find I am grieving a metaphorical 36-year-old woman who lived within the body of experience called a 36-year marriage. She is my Raggedy Ann. There are pieces of her I still love and want to take with me. But there are also pieces of her that are toxic and dirty. Pieces that want to whisper of sideswiped stories and reasons not to trust life. Pieces that do not need to go with me as I enter this next chapter of my life. So, now I stand between those adults who recognized the need to help that little girl let go but weren’t quite clear on how to do it and the little girl who saw what there was still to love in that Raggedy Ann.
What to do? There is no doll hospital for this one but this much I know; if she gets replaced, I will “upcycle” her myself. And if she remains with me – well, she will have to stop telling me those stories or get used to me hitting the mute button.
Anyone else with a Raggedy Ann?
A Must Have!
Bernadette's Amazing Book on Amazon
Today is YOUR day. Today is the day that you will forgive yourself for anything and everything you've ever been hard on yourself about. Today is the day that you let go of things that are holding you back. Today is the day that you decide nothing in the past has to determine your future. Today is the day you answer to that nagging feeling you've had at you your whole life. Today is the day you wake up to your life!
Stop right where you are. I know exactly what you’re doing. Those uncomfortable feelings just came up inside of you trying to give you reasons to not do this. Trying to stop you from moving forward in your life. Don’t push them aside though. Pay close attention to them, for they are the ones that are stopping you along your journey to self awareness, self love and simply happiness! They are the ones that are telling you you’re not worth it. Or it won’t work out. Or you’ll be disappointed. Or you’re not good enough. Enough. Your time has come. Right now you will allow yourself to feel good. Your life is calling. Answer that phone!
I’m writing this for you. I’m writing this because I probably believe in you a lot more than you believe in yourself. I’m writing this because I don’t care about what you did yesterday, or what your mom might have said to you when you were ten or what your last boss told you or how your ex betrayed you. I believe in you because you are so much more than any of that stuff. You’re so much more than what anyone else says or thinks. You’re amazing simply because you’re YOU. Now it’s time for you to believe the same.
The call comes in for everybody. Not a soul is left out. It might be after some tragedy happens to someone else that brings you awareness to how fragile life is or it might be after you, yourself, has hit rock bottom and has no choice but to make a life choice. It can happen at any time and at any place. It could be right now as you are reading this. It shows up in many ways and usually as a soft nudge that something in your life is just not feeling “right”. I like to think of this as life’s whispers. Your life is always whispering at you. Trying to nudge you to make certain choices, do certain things, or simply stop doing certain things. When we ignore those whispers, they usually become slaps and when we ignore those, they usually become 2x4’s knocking us upside the head. The point is, your life is always speaking to you on multiple levels, you just have to take your blinders off and not only see it, but take action as well. It does no good if you hear the phone, but you just send it to voice mail. I know it’s scary. Trust me. I know it’s scary to face your life and actually pay attention to all of your soul’s callings and desires. However, ignoring them is so much worse. Ignoring your spirit and what it truly desires will have you chasing something, that you never fully understand, your whole life. It will pop up at the most random times just when you think that your life is going okay. Just when you think that you've got the great job, the great love, the great car, the great fill in the blank. It will always show up because it is your hearts deepest desire. It will always show up because you are deserving of a beautiful and fulfilling life. It will always show up because your life is supposed to be feel good. It will always show up because you are meant for greatness. It will always show up because it knows it should and it will always show up because at some point, you will start to believe all of this. It all just depends on when you decide to. I hope that some point is right NOW.
Today is YOUR day! Be great to yourself!
All my Love,
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Guest Writer: Doe Zantamata, Author of- Karma Volume I and Love to YouFind Doe on Facebook: Happiness In Your Life
Karma: Law 5, The Law of Mirrors:
If they can see it in you and label it, but you can't see it, it's not in you.
If you can see it in them and label it, but they can't see it, it's not in them.
If you both can see and label it, it's in both of you...good or bad
The Fifth Law of Karma is the Law of Mirrors. It has two distinct parts. Overall, it’s the Law of Personal Responsibility.
The first part of this Law is that:
If we can label a quality in another person, then it means that quality is also within us.
This can be good or bad news!
Think of the people you know, and think of or make a list of the qualities you would say they have. Be honest. This is just an exercise for you.
Some people, you may describe as kind, generous, thoughtful, or others you may say are arrogant, self-centered, or inconsiderate. All of the qualities on your list are also in you. This is at first difficult to believe, as when we’re calling someone arrogant, we certainly don’t think we are, too.
Whatever you believe about someone, they probably also believe about you.
Have you ever been told you were so thoughtful by someone who you believe is very thoughtful? Have you ever been called controlling by someone who you believe is controlling? Or insecure by someone you think is insecure?
In all of those cases, you’re both right.
This isn’t an article intending to insult anyone or make anyone go on the defensive. This is an amazing shift in awareness that allows you to see the truth about yourself, as well as free you from other people’s perceptions that you cannot change. It’s a tool to help you make improvements where necessary, and also see what great qualities you have that you may not even realize.
A mirror will not show your beautiful hair if you do not have beautiful hair. It will not show your large feet if you do not have large feet. It will not show any negative qualities that you yourself do not have, and will not show any positive qualities that you do not have, either.
This Law, when fully understood, also can also really help you understand why some people act the way they do.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, a person you just met or even an old friend or family member, and you seem to be speaking two different languages? Maybe they suddenly get angry or accuse you of something or insult you, and you’re totally taken off guard and shocked.
This is what happens when two mirrors do not reflect the same things. If they have within them something that you do not have, they see it in you even though it’s just not there.
If you truly do not have it, you do not see it in them, yourself, or anyone else, because it doesn’t exist in you.
When this attack happens, it’s a really jarring experience. You may try to even clarify what you meant by something, but they still can only see what’s being reflected back to them.
You may then ask another friend what they think of what’s happened, in an attempt to try to figure it out for yourself. If that friend immediately says, “Oh, she’s so…” but if that friend recognized it, it means he or she also has that negative quality.
You may still not see it, and say, “I don’t think so…” no matter how certain they are.
Now, if that friend were also really confused as to why the first one blew up, then it means he or she does not have that quality either.
There is a danger in being close to someone who has negative qualities that you do not possess. The danger lies in your taking their blow ups personally and feeling awful as a result. When we’re faced with something confusing like that from someone we love, it really hurts, and we sometimes internalize that pain. You don’t know why they’re so upset or angry, as you cannot see what they see, but you don’t want them to continue to be upset.
What you need to realize is that there is nothing YOU can do to remove that negative quality from them. You can’t even see it. It will be up to them to remove it from themselves. This may or may not happen in their entire lifetime.
If this is something that happens regularly, then you are setting yourself up for verbal abuse as long as you stay close to them. You can choose to put some distance between yourself and them, or if it happens weekly or even daily, you may even consider letting them go from your life.
By staying close to them and continually getting accused of negative qualities in your attempt to help them to not be upset, you may try so hard to understand and see what they are talking about, that you end up picking up some of those qualities. Then you would be able to clearly see those qualities everywhere you go, but it would also unfortunately mean that they’ve developed in you. This is not a good solution, and will decrease your overall happiness, and the happiness of everyone you contact.
Suddenly, you may see negative things in other people that they do not possess, but the qualities have become part of you, so you just see them everywhere.
Anger and confusion are actually your friends here. They indicate when there is a difference in mirrors.
For example, if you are always doing thoughtful things for someone, and they never do a thoughtful thing for you, you may not understand why and get a little angry about it. It means that consideration is just not in them.
If someone gets angry with you and you just don’t understand why, it means that whatever they are angry with you about is not the truth. It’s what they see in the world, so it’s true for them, but it’s just not in you.
Examples of this are:
- when someone is shy but gets accused of being arrogant
- when someone is outgoing but gets accused of being obnoxious
- when someone is kind but gets accused of “only” doing nice things for ulterior or selfish motives
If you can label it, it’s in you. If they can label it, it’s in them. If you both can label it, it’s in both of you, good and bad.
Remember, too, that we’re all walking our own path. While you may be tempted to convince someone that your acts were truly just thoughtful or kind, or you may be really hurt when they accuse you of something negative, you just can’t convince them that your motives were pure. It’s like two people speaking entirely different languages attempting to understand each other, or like a person who has sight getting frustrated with a person who is blind because they cannot see what they see.
Once you learn this Law, it really clarifies a lot of people’s seemingly odd behavior. It suddenly shows that their behavior makes total and perfect sense.
This is an excerpt from the book: Happiness in Your Life - Book One: Karma
Find these books and more by author Doe Zantamata on Amazon.
Guest Writer: Stacey Phillips, Creator of Fresh Minds Matter
There are times in life (sadly for some of us) too often, that we get hurt by the actions and behaviors of others.
'Oh yes I know that only too well' I hear you say.
Well here's the 'Fresh' rub on it: -
Now you are gonna have to really think about this and I mean really!
So let’s say someone you care about has said or done ( or is doing) something that hurt you, that makes you feel wounded inside, you can’t stop going back to it in your mind. The little hurt person inside of you keeps on saying 'why?' . Well first of all let’s look at that, every time you relive it, question it, visit it, you are fueling that hurt, like scratching the scab off and not letting it heal~ ' Yeah I know that, but it can’t stop!' you say. Let me tell you something you can and some of you WILL.
It really is this simple.
You can visit the situation once more but this time we are going to take the adult, grown up with us to visit. If and only if, the adult part of you can HONESTLY and truly say, MY ACTIONS, MY WORDS were and are all out of love, good intent and INTEGRITY then quite simple the others person’s response is SIMPLY THEIR STUFF, their responsibility and their issues. Now I’m not saying this means you cannot take responsibility for your own actions. But truly when you can say I DID NOTHING WRONG, I DID NOTHING TO DESERVE THIS then the actions causing you pain really do belong to SOMEONE ELSE. So now we can say, hey, their journey their stuff, I can stay or I can go, I can disconnect from any further pain as I KNOW it really is about them NOT ME!!!
We CAN remove those anchors that keep us imbedding the hurt in the little child in us. So feeding him or her it’s time for her to grow up too, to understand that not every action we receive is actually about us! Give that little child in you the power to grow up now! You CAN DO THIS! Your Adult person knows this and just like any child sometimes you just have to keep telling the same thing over and over again and showing them by example the right way to behave. Tell that child, ' Now you know you did nothing wrong, you know you are good and kind and giving and loving, this stuff is about them not you, now forget it and go play with someone else who is fun to be with'
After all most children don’t continue to play with the bullies forever they - they learn to go play with people who are good.
Anchors Away my friends, set them free to play nicely now, let those with troubles, keep their troubles to themselves and MOST OF ALL DON’T GIVE THEM ROOM TO MOVE THEIR TROUBLES INTO YOUR HEAD!!
Visit Stacey at Fresh Minds on Facebook.
I am silent.
Why don’t I speak?
Why don’t I share?
Why don’t I express my needs?
A little voice inside
my needs don’t matter
my cares aren’t valid
my desires are selfish
I should just keep them to myself.
But that’s a lie.
another voice creeps in
This one tells me
others should ask me
about my needs
about my cares
If I am valuable,
they should want to ask
But that is also a lie.
My needs are valid
My cares are important
My opinions do matter
when I don’t share
my thoughts and feelings
when I expect others
to just know my desires
to know I am waiting to be asked
While I wait
I give away the power over my life.
And as I wait
for someone else
to determine my path
The lies get louder
The hurt seeps in
All because of MY silence.
And I can fix it.
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“Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.”~ Carlos Casteneda
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
You can’t control people.
But you can control the environment and you can control yourself.
A few nights ago, over dinner, our youngest son was telling us how his children would turn out and what he would have them do. We said, “Good luck with that!” He replied, “Don’t tell me how to control my children’s lives.” We all laughed but I thought how true it is! We can’t control our children’s lives.A couple of years ago I was going crazy!
Crazy because I wasn’t sure my son was going to graduate from high school. He had a severe case of “senioritis”. He kept telling me, “You’re so pessimistic. Of course I’ll graduate.” He’d been a great student to start with during his high school years. But Junior and Senior year were the worst. With the grades he had in his 2nd semester of Senior Year (including swimming!!), not graduating was a possibility. I was so angry. I was such a nag. I couldn’t sleep at night. Finally, I realized I couldn’t live like this anymore. I couldn’t change him. I couldn’t make him get the grades he needed. So, after doing everything I could, I let go. (And I wrote a book, HOW TO BE A ZEN MAMA,
during the nights I was up.)
I finally told him (not meaning it of course!), “Well, that’s ok if you don’t graduate. You can still live at home and attend community college. We’d love to have you!” I let him go, knowing that he needed to decide his own outcome.That’s about the time he decided to change.
He pulled everything together. He did graduate. And he loves college! He’s a junior now, going to Ft. Lewis College in the mountain town of Durango, Colorado. He’s majoring in French and Spanish and he continues to enjoy the music he loves. In fact, he just bought an accordion last summer.
Did he change so much that he had all straight A’s. No. Is he happy? Yes! I think he’s never been happier. I changed my reaction to him. I see him as a musician, a hard worker, and a student of life with great common sense.
“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”
~ Harry S. TrumanHere’s what I found out while raising kids:• You cannot change other people
. Humanity has tried to do this through the ages. Girlfriends and wives have tried to change their men. Parents have tried to control their children. It doesn’t work! It never has. There is always some problem when you try to change and control another person.• You can’t change your children,
but you can change the environment you’re bringing them up in. Don’t like the video games your children are playing? Get rid of them. Don’t want your young children touching your special possessions? Pack them away until they are older. Don’t like the junk food they eat? Don’t buy it.• We can only change ourselves.
When we don’t like something, we need to change our reaction to the people we love. They are on their own path. They are individuals. And when you see them as an individual, you can accept them and get along much better. You are also an individual and the adult and you can teach them a lot by transforming yourself!
Five Ways to Transform Yourself Without Changing Your Children:1. Start by listening
– You automatically say, “I respect you” when you listen.2. Observe
– Watch your child, without judgment. Maybe you’re wrong about why he/she needs to change.3. Let go of expectations
– Let go of your expectations and find out what the person in your life wants out of their life.4. Accept
– Accept what the person in your life wants to do with their life.5. Help
– As a parent you are a guide. Help your children get where they need to be to accomplish their dreams (not yours for them).
One last thing… Sometimes people think that if you change yourself you are letting go of responsibility or that you’re giving up. Not at all! You are letting go of your emotional attachment to the outcome and control of a person. Good luck! It’s hard work!!
“Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
~ John Maxwell
Visit author Betsy McKee Henry on Facebook: Zen Mama
"How To Be A Zen Mama and
"Zen Mama's Book of Quotes"
So the other day I was sitting on my front steps enjoying a mildly warm end of the afternoon. I sat gazing at the young couple across the street. They were out with their little one who is just learning to walk. They were laughing and playing, their dog barking, the baby taking a few steps and then flopping down on her butt… and then back up again 50x over. Mom and dad were pointing things out to the baby and encouraging her to touch a leaf, watch the deer nearby, and look up at the sky.
I sat there smiling remembering a time not all that long ago when my own kids were wee ones. They were 12, 10, and 8 when we moved here, and there was an elderly couple in that very house across the street. The lady’s name was Emma. We talked quite a bit and many a day she sat on her own stoop, or stood in the window with the curtain slightly drawn back, watching us play with our children in the front yard. We were always out there whether it was Frisbee, baseball, football, kick-the-can, freeze tag, or whatever the game of choice was that day. Filled with giggling, laughter, red, sweaty faces… and the neighborhood kids came to play too. (In fact one lady down the street thought we had 6 or 7 kids and was shocked to hear only 3 were actually ours).
One day Emma and I were talking by our mailboxes and she said with a smile on her face, “Oh how I love watching the children play, it reminds me of long ago when mine were little. That was such a long time ago, but I so enjoy watching them now. You are such good parents – always taking time to enjoy your family. That’s important.” She began to both smile and tear up as I walked her back to her porch from the end of the driveway.
I realized as I sat this day on my front stoop: I am now Emma. I am now the one pulling those memories from the recesses of my mind, memories I have tucked away. I see them in a different light now all these years later. Back then I was tired and heard the bickering over everything. I heard the “I’m hot”, “I’m tired”, “I’m bored”. I didn’t see it like Emma did from the window with the curtain pulled slightly back. But now, as I sit watching from across the street, I see my memories as Emma saw them. I see the good times, I hear the laughter, and I remember days of old differently. Perhaps in the way I should have seen them in the first place.
I wonder 20 years from now what I will see when I draw back the curtain.
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By way of introduction, a potted history of my own changing beliefs and views on the Universe. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God; when I was very little I often dreamed of flying around the skies with God; when I was a young teenager it was my mother’s wish in particular that my brother and I complete a year’s study at our Anglican diocese to be ‘confirmed’ in the Church; my brother and I later served at the altar of our very old, large and beautiful Church; later still my brother became involved with the Baptist Church – never looking back – on a path that also led him to Bible College and a Bachelor of Divinities.
That wasn’t for me though, although I had even briefly contemplated the priesthood as a teenager. At this time also, my mother was dying, and she passed on just after my 20th birthday. I had a desperate need to know where she was, to understand this notion of heaven, and indeed what on earth we were here for. I read thoroughly on all the major Faiths, Buddhism, Judaism, various forms of Protestantism and of Catholicism, less on Hinduism and Islam although I read all of the Koran and the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. And my lengthy reading list included all manner of other texts from “The Tao of Physics” by Fritjof Capra to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig (still a great read!)
At 22 I came to view that ALL the great Faiths are one – certainly I believed all people were ONE – and I also understood the ‘idea’ of the oneness of all matter, although I’d had no experience of such. Whilst I might have said at the time that there were experiences that gave me great joy, or even bliss – some experiences in nature for instance, or the camaraderie of friends – those were in truth emotions – feelings – and it wasn't until I learned Transcendental Meditation in my mid-twenties that I really and truly “experienced” oneness.
And to briefly wind up this background check, I’ll add the ongoing engagement with people of all the major Faiths and many cultures; a particular involvement with a Chinese-based philosophy and meditation-type practice; and a formal university education that included Religious Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, International Law and International Relations, which I guess I mention since I do think my university education has given me a better brain and one able to look at things from many angles, albeit that a higher education seems often to close many minds to the spiritual.ere to edit.
I want to (try to) explain my view of what God is. Since for me I can only really talk about meditation and oneness by talking about God.
I don’t have the kind of ‘personal’ view of God that perhaps many others have – God is not an old man with a long white bear sitting on a cloud. Nor does God exist for me only in the person of Jesus, or some other such prophet. Indeed, to imagine God as such is to imagine God as very limited and small indeed – which is also not to say that Christ is small; not by any means. God is by definition, omnipotent – all powerful, and omnipresent – everywhere. Most of us cannot begin to conceive the size of the Universe – not even the word ‘size’ is useful – but God is bigger than that and indeed underlies all that the Universe is. And whilst one may also imagine the quantum, the atomic level – in reality we cannot conceive of its smallness, and in its smallness the extraordinary distances between the sub-atomic. This also is God; a squillion, bazillion, katrillion, gertrudian times over… And not even that largeness and smallness is all that God is.
It often bothers me that so many people not only can’t believe in God, but don’t want to, or they prefer to believe in something they call a Higher Power, or Nature, or simply Love. Mostly I tend to think ‘Poor God’; other times it seems limiting. Surprisingly I find most people who believe in nothing Divine at all, to frequently be even more vociferous and exclusive in their expounding of it than even the most fundamentalist of religionists, Usually such folk easily blame religion for so much that’s wrong in the world, missing the point that the current reality of hate and hurt is more the result of the inability to accept difference, than any actual difference is. Enough about that…
For me, the reality that is God and the Divine (not gender-exclusive either btw, but fully gender-encompassing) is that which underlies all creation, that lies in the space between all things, that is the Creator and animating force of all things, that is intelligent and All-Bountiful, that at its highest humanly-understood manifestation is Pure Love, that can be both beseeched and praised for all that It/He/She/They can and do provide for us all, and that is the Regulator of Divine Justice; or Karma if you prefer. (btw, I don’t mind referring to God as He for simplicity’s sake; sadly we don’t have a gender-neutral pronoun in English, aside from ‘It’, which always seems just a little derogatory somehow.)
And perhaps I should also say here that I do not believe in a devil, or in hell. Darkness is not a force – it is merely the absence of, or distance from, the Light. We experience a living hell when we are far from the Light, and some explanation of this is important. One of course may be a devout believer but be experiencing a living hell, perhaps via depression, physical illness, circumstances surrounding relationships, finances or life in general. For some reason, the Judeo-Christian God that most of us have grown up with hasn’t always been so bountiful as I believe God truly is. We have seen illness and hard times as tests from God, not to mention an abundance of very Judeo-Catholic guilt. And so we have borne them, often almost with pride! I do not believe these things come from God at all, and I consider it a massive misunderstanding of God to think this, and so despite one’s devotion it is very much our distance from the Light that causes such darkness. Our bodies, for example, are a gift – they are loaned to us for this lifetime – and we are duty-bound to take care of them. Our inability to do so, with proper exercise and diet as two main physical components of care, combined with our addiction to negative emotion of all kinds, leads to disease. (How to explain then the horrendous illnesses that may afflict the very young and apparently innocent? That may be for another time, but it is, sadly, explainable.) When we understand that our physical bodies are indeed our Temple, we can understand that ill-health of all kinds is due entirely to some significant negligence in maintaining our proximity to the Light of God.
I suppose I might add that I do understand that many may consider my non-belief in a devil a convenience for my own sake. For me, to believe some creature or power exists that can match the power of God does not fit with my belief in God as omnipotent. And to remove God’s omnipotence is to deny God is God. And since my view is that God is bigger than we can even begin to imagine, it is entirely impossible for a devil to fit into that view.
And now, I have spent so long on the foundations of Meditation, that I will have to make this Part I, and promise to deliver Part II rapidly on its heels.
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