Leo Tolstoy on God

LEO TOLSTOY ON GOD: "When you look inside yourself, you see what is called 'your own self' or your soul. You cannot touch it or see it or understand it, but you know it is there. And this part of yourself--that which you cannot understand--is what is called God. God is both around us and inside of us--in our souls.

The more you understand that you are at one with God, the more you will understand that you are at one with all His worldly manifestations."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In Defense of EGO: The Power of LIFE

"Once there's life, there's hope," Physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything."* 
Photo Credit: Rosa Cruz Azurea. Light is able to shine through flowers as naturally as day turns into night: there's no obstacle placed in its way.

Life is. Life simply is.        

                                        Life, if left to unfold naturally, can be and is beautiful. PhotoCredit Liu dMila

We don't know for sure from whence it came. (In October, Pope Francis settled the question on evolution vs. creationism) 

We don't know where it's going. 

Yet, from beginning to end, we get ourselves relentlessly tangled up in it. 
Breathe. Be Still.

The rose in its many splendors calls out for us to STOP.

"Look at me. I grew, yet I did not strive to grow."
Photo Credit: Mentors' Channel

Peace. Be Still. With life and all our of striving.

"Life is not going anywhere; there is no goal to it, no destination. Life is non-purposive, it simply is. Unless this understanding penetrates your heart, you cannot slow down. Slowing down is not a question of any “how”; it is not a question of technique, method… Change your basic philosophy: that of an achiever. Relax into your being." Osho, Contemplative Mystic, via Mentors' Channel, 21-Day Meditation

We glorify activities in life because they give our life purpose. Whatever we do in life, we do it with a sense of urgency. We must get it done...and now!

Without this sense of urgency, what is the point...of even waking up tomorrow?

We must get it done...and NOW!
Photo Credit: Camille Pissarro
   Is life with all its hustle and bustle today,
any more joyous or happy than in earlier times? 

As hurriedly as we move, life is not going anywhere but in a giant circle.

We see this circle with new babies coming into the world and needing care, and on the other end, with older people preparing to leave the world and needing care. Yet, we hurry.

Photo Credit: Musetouch Visual Arts Magazine. We can  pause and create wherever we are and  with whatever gifts we've been given to be part of the equation of life, bringing joy to others.

We must accomplish and achieve. And it must be done...yes, yesterday.

As we're hurrying along to accomplish so much, we're missing ...life.
(See this piece about what we do when we pay attention to the world around us: "Can I Borrow Your Bucket For a Bit?"

Lillian Weber: doing what she loves each day...sewing.
We're missing the critical ingredients that are required for cooking up a life. At 99 years old, this woman is doing all she can by continuing to contribute to life. (Ninety-nine-year-old Iowa woman sews a dress a day for children she will never meet.) Is she living to give or giving to live? Only Lillian Weber knows what drives her. But at the end of each day, she knows she did more than think about being old and dying. Indeed, we die each moment we choose not to participate in life. 
Photo Credit: Berussa

We're missing the cues that come from human interaction...the cues we gain by
connecting one on one with people from all places and spheres in life.

That's why travel becomes so important. We see much and we learn much. 
Photo Credit: Dr. Farrah Gray

When we travel, we're able to see...no matter how far and wide we go...people operating on different levels, who view life from a different perspective than we do. As Poet/Writer Oscar Wilde said, "Travel ennobles the spirit and does away with our prejudices."

Indeed we learn, people don't come in only one form. The creativity of cosmic consciousness is at work in many ways...mixing us up!

Photo Credit: Marca Peru

The world is wide, and so, yes, there are many differences for us to absorb.
Some of us try to immunize ourselves from acknowledging these differences by making our way and our walk in life the desirable and only way through the universe. We make laws to acknowledge that our way and our views are supreme on Earth. But in the end...to the place where we're going...does it matter?

Muslims and Jews. Jews and Muslims and Christians. Muslims and Hindus. Hindus and Sikhs and Buddhists. Catholics and Protestants. Methodists and Lutherans. Lutherans and Jehovah Witnesses. Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah Witnesses.  Then there is Mormonism and Scientology, each established solely on the beliefs and teachings of one individual.

Actress Angelina Jolie proudly displays
her Buddhism. This sets the tone for others
to follow.

Where does your group belong? 

If I were to ask you, I'd bet anything you'd have great arguments for why your group and your way makes the most sense, wouldn't you?

Even with all our scheming and planning and trying to trick life, though, with our religions and our rules and our views on the "ought to's" and the "should be's," life has a way to reckon with us.

We age.

Yes. We AGE! 

In defense of EGO, this is when it starts to take a backseat, having urged us on for so long in our early years. Ego begins to go into "retirement" as we age. It finally realizes that it cannot do all.

Aging and the process of Life, itself, forces us to slow down. When we do, we see and we ask:
"Where was I going in such a hurry?" "Why did I miss so many important cues along the way?" "Why was I so blinded?" "Why was I so stupid?" "Why and how didn't I know?"
Don't  panic, if we discover we've been traveling
down the wrong road to self discovery

As we age, life has a way of replaying for us all the little...and big ...slips we made along the way.

Somewhere in the middle of our lives, we think we've got it all figured out: 

"Okay, yes. I've lived; I've learned. No person, place or thing can trick me now."

Life continues.

We're tricked...again.

Now, what?

Plot and plan some more?

If we're still walking through life with blinders on, with EGO leading the way, we may try to  plot and scheme  our way through life again. Doing so, though, we'd end up in the same circle.

If we were conscious of life only as taught through religion, we may cling to it some more, fervently going to church to squeeze whatever "tricks" we may think we have missed along the way:

Am I praying right? Am I saying the rosary right? Am I giving enough to causes? Am I good enough? 

Fervently we hold on...and will keep holding on. We've even passed down these techniques, much earlier in life, to our kids. This assures that the next generation continues the tradition of walking exactly the same way through life that we learned from our parents and generations before.
Photo Credit: Jean-Philippe Deterville

I'm of the opinion that we're here to become a better version of ourselves, evolving from where we came into the world.  So our lives are 'personal' and unique to our Soul's journey.The collective journey is when we each get bettter at life and can contribute at a higher level to the greater whole.  
Credit: Mentors' Channel
The way I see it, looking back with regrets on things we did when we did not have the consciousness to know better is an absolute waste of time. Keep moving forward to a new level of consciousness, hopeful that you'll keep doing better as you grow.
Credit: Mentors' Channel

 The greatest thing we can do for our lives is to make the best of each day; try to live it as if it's your last! This means being an instrument of love and caring for those around you. Giving the best of yourself to the tasks at hand. Leaving your handprints on all you do, and great footprints for others to follow.   
If we have even a half-way consciousness of the spirit within us, we'd whisper, "Lead Me, Guide Me."  

Even with this half-way consciousness, we would have learned that despite our way of walking in the world, which may have worked for us, there simply are other ways; we'd let go of trying to change or convert people to our view.

We'd learned, there's much we don't know about life...much to learn about and from animals. 
Photo Credit: Spirit Science
We'd have the first inkling that a consciousness can only do what it is awake to doing.

We would be able to trace back all of our steps and see that no matter how much we tried, there was an inexorably presence leading us on.
Credit: Mentors' Channel/follow on Facebook


If we're fully AWAKE and aware of the Consciousness that is our lives, we will learn to just be. Then we can make the choice: BE HAPPY!

We'd learn that this consciousness is us, and we can only cultivate our relationship with it by being present with it in each and every moment.
"Within me is the potential for meaningful, creative, and dynamic living. I am worthy and free to demonstrate life, wisdom, understanding, strength, and order—attributes of my divine inheritance." Daily Word, July 31, 2014

We'd slow down.

We'd find we must slow down in order to connect and create.

We'd slow down.

We'd know that the relentless walk ...going here and there... is a futile step to really going... nowhere.

We'd slow down and just be....with the moment.
After all, we'd figure, this IS Life and it can be lived...
yes, only in the moment.
Slowing down and savoring each moment of life brings joy and happiness, as we witness with this loving mother and her son.
To savor it...we'd slow down.
We'd simply breathe in and breathe out...enjoying LIFE.
"Creativity has nothing to do with any activity in particular – with painting, poetry, dancing, singing. It has nothing to do with anything in particular. Anything can be creative – you bring that quality to the activity. Activity itself is neither creative nor uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative way; you can sing in an uncreative way. You can clean the floor in a creative way; you can cook in a creative way. Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things
Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing it is not purely economical, then it is creative. If you have something growing out of it within you, if it gives you growth, it is spiritual, it is creative, it is divine. Love what you do. Be meditative while you are doing it, whatsoever it is – irrelevant of the fact of what it is." Osho, Contemplative Mystic, via Mentors' Channel 21-Day Meditation.
Remember: If light shines through a flower or a tree, it also always is seeking a way to shine through you.  
One of the key things to learn from life is that no one has the answers to life: we may learn a lot from association with others, but the key to our happiness and our success is within us. Remember, too, no one can love you more than you: self care is critical. 
Like mountains: With the right consciousness, 
we'd stand through the test of time. 

      Like mountains:  With the right consciousness,
 We'd stand through the test of time. 

Most of all hold on to faith and love, gain true understanding and wisdom, by giving up your human will. Find the real strength that lies within you and, even as you do, realize there is an "order" to your life and to all of life. So live yours with zeal and enthusiasm, letting go (eliminating) the things that are not just, right and true. Create from the essence of your being (imagination) and find your power, as you enjoy all the gifts that Life offers to us all. 
(See Unity's Twelve Powers chart on this blog.)

Osha also offers that trying to escape the life of Zorba--eating, drinking and being happy--is not the way to fulfillment either.
"Zorba, the Greek, is the very foundation for Zorba, the Buddha," he says. 

Those people who try to avoid life's normalcy by trying to become monks, are immature in Osho's eyes. "Before a lotus can become a lotus it must go through the mud. The mud is the world," Osho says. Monks are afraid of the mud, he says. 

Essentially, Osho urges us to live life in its fullest and only then can we appreciate our Buddha transformation.  
Photo Credit: Mentor's Channel
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11

Happy Holidays. Make it the Best one yet!


 *NOTE: I strongly recommend this movie about Stephen Hawking's life. Even though Hawking currently repudiates GOD and his impact in our world, the movie provides a great insight into the physicist/scientist's thinking and clearly demonstrates for those of us who believe in God his very activity in Hawking's life!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

In Defense of EGO: The Power of Zeal

Without any agenda of looking good and appearing happy and free, animals can be the best models
of ZEAL we can find among us.
I searched and searched  for pictures of zealous individuals for this month's post on "The Power of Zeal."  But the only ones I found, all looked staged.

So it made me wonder: Do we, humans, always have the "valley of the shadow" of darkness looming somewhere in the background of our happy faces, so that if we use X-Ray eyes we can see through the facade?

Maybe, I was just being cynical, thus overly critical. Maybe, I'd watched one too many ID shows, where perfectly happy couples, families and friends winded up taking down each other for money...for fame...for greed.

Perhaps that's the reason, hard as I looked, I could not help but see, with my X-Ray eyes, just poses. So, I used the above photo of horses...looking untamed and running wild. Even if those, too, are staged, at least you know for sure the horses are wildly happy!

Starting with this platform as a base, i.e. humans do not really express Zeal, they just act that way, we begin to examine, in truth, the Power of Zeal.    

So what is this elusive power, Zeal?

Following Henry Ford's definition of enthusiasm, Zeal then should not be so hard for us to find.
We all approach our work, our careers, our lives, trying to walk through our days with enthusiasm. What then are we not communicating in our ways and our walk? Or, more specifically, what is blocking the total view of this unencumbered walk through life?

Fear of judgment.
Fear of failure.
Fear of not being quite enough.

We can build up as much enthusiasm and joy in our hearts for the project we have at hand. Anticipation of perfect and only perfect results, yet...when alone with our thoughts...

Walk into the beauty of nature, see the birds,  presented here by LaBioguia,
to enter into an untroubled life. 
We need to take a walk or ride through nature...enjoy a view of the birds. We need to go out and ...relax. Breathe and let go. Enjoy the flowers of life.

All these are great techniques for releasing stress and trying to overcome our apprehensions of not completely succeeding to the end.

Great techniques. But why do we need them?

We're not focusing on the moment at hand.

When we to enter fully into our work...our projects, getting totally lost in them, do we have time to worry? Absolutely NOT.

The moments of greatest joy all of us can point to are those where we were "lost" to ourselves.

So, we have to get lost to find joy!?

This is the crux of the challenge to our feeling complete joy and enthusiasm throughout life: we are unable to live fully in the moment, allowing the Spirit within us to guide us through moment by moment the work that is ours to do.

The ego always is at work...as is our mind. Working. Churning. Doubting. Fearing.

"Be Still and Know," The lord of our being invites us. Don't fight with your mind, as Osho, the mystic says in a 21-Day Meditation program offered by Mentors' Channel earlier this year (Access the program here: 21-Day meditation program via Mentors' Channel)
"Mind exists with your cooperation or your conflict…When you fight with the mind, you are giving energy to it…So whether you cooperate or you conflict, in both the cases the mind becomes stronger and stronger. Just watch. Just be a witness. And, by and by, you will see gaps arising. "
We're often also advised: "Whatever you do, do so with enthusiasm." 
Few, though,  urge us to stay in the moment of all that we do.

This is the true secret to expressing the Power of Zeal.
"I fairly sizzle with Zeal and Enthusiasm, springing forth with a mighty leap to do the things that ought to be done by me." said Charles Fillmore, founder of Unity, while in his 90s.
To be in our 90's and fairly sizzling with zeal and enthusiasm for life. What a goal!?

How to live life fearlessly?

Begin where you are.
(Here's also a link to Silent Unity's Fearless Living 30-day program that began on Nov. 1.)

*First, Gratitude for all there is currently in your life.

Be grateful for all things, even those that may not, on the surface, seem to be working in the best ways for us at this time:

Let Thankfulness become a way of life...not just something you do when something good happens.  Change your consciousness and awareness to realize that everything that happens in your life is working for your good....yes, even the seemingly "bad things." 
"We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat.... There's opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that's what life is."
David Steindl-Rast, founder, Gratefulness.org
Give Thanks for All.

Next, remember, you're the co-creator of your life. You are steering its direction in every moment....with your thoughts.

So, think pure thoughts. Think positive thoughts. Think righteous thoughts. Think holy thoughts.

Remember, too, "thoughts are things," so they are creating your reality.

Let go, then sink into your task of the moment...and trust.
Don't give your ego a foothold in your life...other than to urge you to keep going.

Know which master you serve: the Spirit within you.

You are the vessel...the Spirit...your Soul is the doer, the master. [As much as we talk about the Soul being IN us, do you know WE are IN the Soul...the Universal Soul?]

Let it through.
Photo Credit: 1,000,000 Pictures. (As are two below)

"Just by walking into the unknown you create the path. The path is not already there; just by walking, you create it." 
Osho, 21-Day Meditation, Mentors' Channel
This may sound uncannily negative but is sound advice, especially were you test it for yourself: Do not share your plans or goals with those who have no vested interest in your success. Go into your secret chamber and pray when you have an extra moment. People, when they are steeped in their own unhappiness or sense of failure, do not want to see happy people around them. Your joy reminds them of what they lack, Osho says.

"Misery makes you special," Osho says. "People will find it difficult to be happy."

"That's when friends come to visit and console you." Those are the same friends, he says, who will be jealous of you when you're happy. "No one likes a happy person because it hurts the egos of others."

Photo Credit: Yehuda Edri
Even though happiness is a universal phenomenon and a habit of all other animals and species, Osho says, humans find it extremely difficult to be happy...as they must then walk alone.

"Intelligence gives you the courage to be alone, and intelligence gives you the vision to be creative. A great urge, a great hunger arises to be creative. And only then, as a consequence, you can be happy, you can be blissful."-Osho

Are you ready to be happy? Are you ready to truly enter into life, using your Power of Zeal?

Maybe, the next time I'm looking for a truly happy "human" picture of Zeal... I'll find yours...without the shadows lurking behind?

Happy Thanksgiving!

*NOTE: If you have not yet read it, I strongly recommend
"Thank You Power," the 2007 book by TV Personality Deborah Norville. Make it a MUST READ for your Thanksgiving 2014 holiday.


Personal Authenticity: "To Thine Own Self Be True"...

"To Thine Own Self Be True and it must follow as the night, the day, Thou canst not then be false to ANY man."
William Shakespeare.