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, February 12, 2017

Same Plane(t), Same Fate: "I Love You"

From above Planet Earth, i.e. our world, is seen as a unified whole

"We're All in This Together."

That's the thought that struck me as we experienced turbulence on a recent flight. Yes, we were flying in bad weather, but the tumult of the flight certainly got several of us thinking: "We can go down."

As the pilot announced there would be no in-flight beverage service because of the expected turbulence, one of my seat mates said to me: "We'd better bucket up, then, huh?" 

And ...buckle up we did.. But I knew that he, like I, was thinking the same thing.

Fortunately, we made it through the turbulence and landed safely on the ground, each of us going our separate ways ...to our separate lives.

For a moment, though, we were all forced to stop and think of our oneness: "We're All in This Together."

One plane...one fate.

It's so easy to see this oneness when we're thousands of miles up in the air from the busyness of lives.

It's so easy to see our connection to strangers: we're all in this together.

Then, we hit the ground and our connection...our Oneness... evaporates.

Valentine's Day is this week. And on Tuesday when we're celebrating our "love" with our families, lovers, and friends, I want you to conduct an experiment:

Let's imagine that looking into or upon Earth from a "higher plane," with no pun intended, we see the ONENESS of all humanity here on Earth.

Imagine, if we were part of that "higher plane" looking down: would we be able to see the individuality in each family, group or nation?

From this higher plane: Can we identify all people...all groups... all nations... as separate entities, or would we only see one mass...humanity?

Let's see if from this higher plane, we can reach only those we love to segregate them to say, "I Love You," or is it that from this higher plane, we have to absolutely say to all of humanity:

 "I Love You" so that we can reach the individuated souls within that humanity we believe we "love."
So many of us easily say we care for all human beings. So many of us easily say we love our neighbors. Yet again, so many of us easily say we love Canadians and American alike; all Arabs and Egyptians; Muslims and Hindus, Jews and Gentiles. We say we love Parisians and Portuguese alike....
In short, we may say "I love you" to all people throughout the world. Yet...how empty are those words, when others begin to suffer and we do nothing. We may say that we have faith that things will work out for them, but then again:
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can Faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you says unto them, 'Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;' notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; What doth it profit? Even so, faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."-James 2:14-17 
We will not revisit the absence of real love that allowed six million Jewish people to be sent to death in gas chambers in Germany; this was the darkest period of our humanity: The Holocaust.

The way we can honor the sacrifice of those millions of lives is to ensure that we love our shared humanity enough to ensure this type of disaster is never, ever repeated during our time on Earth and in the times of future generations. Right now, we're experiencing similarly trying times. Our faith is being tested.
My question to us all: On which side of love are we going to show up?

What gifts are we going to bring to the table of humanity, during this month of love, to those we say, "I Love You."

I've lit many, many candles over the last several months. Those were the days when I felt a deep sense of helplessness about what was happening in our world. I began thinking, "darkness cannot remain once the candle (hope) continues to burn..." 
I began to light candles every time and everywhere possible when I  began to feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. And whether only in my imagination, rays of hope began to shine through in the dark days and dark ways of others.
Over the weeks, I saw those with special skills and abilities beginning to rekindle the light back into our unified Soul. I began to see the love ...the real love...of those who went beyond their own areas of comfort to share their talents and gifts to those of us only able to watch with helplessness as people around the world were mistreated as they entered US shores. 
 (See these pieces from late January 2017: "An Army of Attorneys At Dulles Airport" 
and "Lawyers Mobilize Across The Nation,")

In my small way of lighting candles and in attorneys' big way of  taking action, we were each trying to chase away the darkness.

Indeed, on most days we can do nothing more than pray or light a candle of faith. But there's even some deeper actions...innate actions...that each of us can take to heal these troubled times:

Every day, it seems that we're being guided to learn more from life by examining our own lives and our own actions as we interact with others, i.e.  outside our circle of family, friends and acquaintances. Throughout the course of the day as you go about your day, ask yourself:
1. "Where am I holding resentment, i.e. lack of forgiveness, against another?
"2. "Where am I choosing to withhold support and caring to another, simply because he/she is not 'my concern?'"
3. "Where can I be more and offer more to someone else in distress?"
Even when we can do no more for strangers than offer a smile of support: offer it.
Even when we can do no more for a stranger than offer an eye of concern: offer it.
Even when we can do no more for a stranger than offer a dollar: offer it.
Even when we can do no more for a stranger than spare change: offer it.
Even when we can do no more for a stranger than offer a silent tear of caring: cry it.
Even when we can do no more for a stranger than offer a prayer of blessing: offer it.
We are all in this life together to share our humanity in this space and time.
We tend to forget this...until...
One day, we may be on a plane together and in that small world of the plane,
our collective lives become that of ONE Soul. 

One plane=One Soul. 

"Souls love. That's what souls do. Egos don't, but souls do. Become a soul, look around, and you'll be amazed...all the beings around you are souls. Be one; see one. When many people have this heart connection, then we will know that we are all one, we human beings all over the planet. We will be one. One love. And don't leave out the animals, and trees, and clouds, and galaxies...it's all one. It's one energy." -Ram Dass
Yes, with individuated bodies. But essentially One Soul to which all the individuated bodies and souls will return.

I urge you...if you have not done so already: see the activities being played out on the world stage as that of our ONE Soul. As hard as it is to see and believe, know that our humanity is manifesting only ONE Soul in various stages and places in the world. Don't be fooled by appearances. There's only ONE.

The fate of one of us is the fate of all of us in this humanity we share in the ONE SOUL. Respond to each other... family and strangers alike...with this in your consciousness.
Wake up to real love this Valentine's Day.
As a special Valentine's Day blessing to you, please be sure to watch this video in its entirety:

"Imagine," as sung by Emmanuel Kelly

"I love you."
Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

What Kind Of Cat Are You? Going Beyond Leaders And Living Our Own Truth

Our Greatest Leader Is What Lies Within Us 
 "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles."

Today we celebrate the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honor the man that he was during his short 39 years on Earth.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:  January 15, 1929-April 4, 1964
Dr. King left us with lasting memories of a man who not only aspired to live his dream but also inspired us to live ours. His legacy of hope and aspirations inspired many generations of African-Americans and others, and he will continue to inspire generations more of black, brown, white and other races of children. 

Yet, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was...but a man.

The question we must then ask ourselves when we think of a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: 
Did God created him in a different way than he did any of us? Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. born to be great, or did he aspire to greatness? Or, further as William Shakespeare would ask, in his work Twelfth Night, "Did he have greatness thrust upon him?"
We can forever debate any of those three things, and  yet we would never know the truth of things. The reason is simple:
The truth laid within ...Dr. King himself.
You see, it matters not how we were created. 
What matters is what we believe about ourselves.
Some of us ...many of us...walk through life like little rabbits. (No, not the velveteen kind of rabbits that shine. Those: we can see their light.) 
But we walk through life like little mice, who scurry here and there that even the meek little kittens pictured (Above: left) would frighten them.
We are more than timid. We are mousy. And if someone comments or asks, "Why are you so timid?" believe me, we should not take it as a compliment. What they are essentially saying without using the exact words is this: you're not allowing your light to shine. You are walking through life with a dullness around you.
Wake up to how you're walking in the world. 
Look at the shadow you're casting in and into the world!
Are you walking like a proud, self-centered cat, fueled only by ego, or are you leaving footprints with the boldness of a tiger or lion?

How is your head when you're walking?

Are you slouching as you walk, hands and head hung down, or walking with your shoulders erect, hands and head going boldly forward?

Your "walk" through life tells a lot about you. It also determines how others treat you.

Who would dare to cross the path of a tiger, even if he never roars? His demeanor, even when he's being humble and holding back, always suggests he is capable and able to pounce on you at any time.  

A tiger does not need to roar to be heard. He simply just shows up with his boldness.
A cat, even a beautiful cat, who tries to array himself with boldness and pride...is...still...only a cat. Filled with himself and his "cat" issues.

The challenge for us all is to be a tiger, with humility, but to never ever be mistaken as a cat.

As we begin this day in celebration of this great man who lived, think about your life and whether you were born gifted. If you think you were not, or are not aware of your gifts...then are you waiting for someone else to pull out your gifts for you, or are you reaching within to discover that which is unique within you and offering those to the world? Listen to this and
be encouraged:
"I Will Be A Hummingbird."

The sad part about many of us is that we wake up each day expecting someone to lead us through life. The sad part about many of us is that we do not realize there are no leaders, just people who have a terrific opinion about themselves and allow their light to shine...brilliantly.

The sad part about many of us is that we look to those who allow their lights to shine to build our lives around their dreams. So, when their dreams become more of a reality, we don't see it as their dreams...so intertwined are we in their greatness and our littleness.

The sad part about many of us is that we don't realize that any one outside ourselves...great leader, great husband, great wife, great friend...has the potential to disappoint us at any time. The sad part about many of us is that when others disappoint us, we feel this disappointment in our own Souls, and we lose ourselves. Not because we failed. But because we think they failed us. All the while...all they were doing ...was living out their own truths.
"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
"I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
"I have a dream today!
"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of 'interposition' and 'nullification' -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
"I have a dream today!
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; 
and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
Much of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed about did come alive, although there's still much more unpaved roads ahead. And the reasons those dreams came alive is not only because Dr. King dreamed them, but because he helped you and me and so many others to dream ours too. 

The truth is that when we dream cat dreams, we dream for ourselves; our world becomes flat, and it's small. But when we dream the dreams of a tiger, like Martin Luther King, Jr. did, our dreams take hold and are big enough to manifest in the world. 
That is the dream of a true leader: not only that I walk big, but you walk big, or even bigger, as you walk beside me. 

But we must be careful of some leaders: there are *lions walking among us, inspiring fear and having people cower and recoil in their presence and by their essence. Get to know the difference, and become the difference, between these "lion" creatures and tigers. The *"tiger" creatures are among us, inspiring people to do their best and be their best, through emulating their efforts.. 

I encourage you as you go through this 2017,  dare to grow throughout it: Be a tiger! Great leaders aren't going to save us. We must save ourselves. We must each reach in and discover, and drag out, our own power.

Begin to see yourself as a tiger...or a majestic horse... even if you were not born that way. 
Remember this: The mark of a leader, whether born with greatness, achieving it, or having it thrust upon him, is to utter words like these..
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
...and to have those words live on for generations. 
EDITOR'S NOTE: For the purposes of this piece, I've chosen to portray lions as strong, but negative, and tigers as being just as strong, but positive.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How Does A Colorless Rainbow Relate To Christmas?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Those following Namaste' Wholistic, even if only for a short while, should be aware of our non-denominational approach to spirituality. Even when not evident, we also honor the spirit within you and the greater part of you: Namaste'. This month's special post specifically on Christmas does not abandon this tradition. We continue to honor and respect all religions.
A rainbow without color appeared over a Scottish moor in late November, creating worldwide interest.
"Peace I leave you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." --John 14:27
Many who follow symbolism of the rainbow would interpret the colorless rainbow, appearing in the sky above a Scottish moor in late November, as a sign of dismal times ahead. If that's the case, we've still got the Power to  paint this rainbow: beautiful!

We all enter life without one iota of "color" or differences within our souls, but many psychologists point to age three, as the time we begin to acquire meaning to what we see, hear and observe in the world. Our environment, families and life itself dictate the path our life can ultimately follow. Always, though, we've got that Power within us that transcends the circumstances of our lives; we can change the trajectory of our path.

So, the colorless rainbow may signal a period of hardship and trials. And indeed if you've been following the political landscape around the world, recent disruptive outcomes in both England and the United States would suggest that turbulent times surely are ahead.

The suggestion is there...but my question: Whose law do you follow?

Today's Unity message for the Second Sunday in Advent:
"When I see violence or injustice in the world around me,  I may be tempted to think peace is only a pipe dream. But there is an inner peace that cannot be affected by outer circumstances. This is the peace of the Christ that Jesus exemplified, and I have that peace within me."
In exactly three short weeks from today, we will honor the birth of Jesus Christ. If you are a Unity student, honoring both the metaphysical as well as Christian teachings, you already know that Christmas also is a way of honoring the Christ Spirit being born within us...not only in the one man who lived more than 2,000 years ago.

The message Jesus tried to instill in us as he went about manifesting his life's purpose centuries ago was not that we should "honor" him; rather, he proposed, that we should have hope, strength and courage because of the power within us:
       "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them (tribulations), because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4 (KJV)
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." John 14:12 (KJV)
          "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." John 14:10 (KJV)
Yet, many Christians see the day only as a way to honor the man, Jesus.
Having personally come to know and love Jesus in a way I never thought I would,  three weeks from today I will be celebrating in the greatest way: connecting to the spirit within me both in prayer and in every step I take.  Even though he did not require it as some think he did,  I believe strongly that no Christian should ever miss an opportunity to honor the man, Jesus. But I also believe they should go further and honor the second part of his name: The "Christ."

As a Unity student and a Christian, I see Jesus as the way shower and exemplar of the way we should walk in this world: as "the Christ" within us all.

The celebration of the birth of Jesus = the celebration of "The Christ Spirit" being awakened...fully...within us.

Many "Christians" talk about the second "coming" of Jesus Christ. If this were so, many of us will not be alive to be witnesses to this. But what we should be alive to now is the fact that Jesus Christ did walk the earth centuries ago to bring us a message of hope, faith, trust, peace...and especially... love.

We don't have to wait for the second coming...for another age...another generation...to awaken these attributes within us. The Christ Spirit is resident within us...now...and it patiently awaits our own awakening to Truth.

If we were to look at the symbolism of the colorless rainbow as some truth or message, then I offer this perspective:

When Jesus came to Earth so long ago, he also came at a time that the world was seemingly troubled. He came to offer all that we were missing and at a time, too, like now, when the world was being turned upside down and also was divisive.
Could it be that the appearance of a color-less rainbow, instead of being a symbol of hopelessness, is offering us an opportunity to have our own awakening? See also: Meaning of White"  
At a time of strife, we Christians and people of all religions should look within ourselves to see how we can contribute to peace, not war; to love, not hate; to hope, not hopelessness; to strengthening our faith, not losing it; to taking bold and courageous steps in helping one another, as Jesus did, not shrinking back like dying flowers in the world.

The time of the colorless rainbow is a time of letting our colors shine through in the world.The time of the colorless rainbow is a time for letting our Spirit and our Power infuse the world and for us to offer more than of ourselves to others.

I invite you to let your Christ Spirit awaken within you this Christmas season and leave the color of your Spirit brightly shining in your home, your life and your world.
Let's start painting, people! Let's not give up the spirit of courage to defeat and stay as colorless as that rainbow, offering no vibrance, as it appeared in late November. 

Are you ready to start painting? Okay: Let's Go!
"God said, 'This is a sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature with you, for everlasting generations. I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth...and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."Genesis 9:12, 15 (HBFV)

"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for
a token of a covenant ...
...between me and the earth." Genesis 9:13 (KJV)  
I choose yellow-gold and green as my favorite colors this season. What are yours?
The beauty of God is...
The beauty of the Christ is: we're given an unlimited amount of colors to use...whatever our taste.

Merry Christmas 
 A Joyous 2017!

Honoring you this holiday season...
the light...
the truth...
the love...
and the peace that is you... 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Through it All: Give Thanks

Life can be messy, crazy, difficult, stormy, and chaotic....at times.

Through it all: Give thanks!

Try to sort through each bit and piece of crazy stuff that happens within
the course of the day, and you'll wind up with someone
interpreting your behavior like this:

All jokes aside.

Life can be difficult.

In saying that, I'm aware then that my saying "give thanks" through it all sounds like the craziest thing to recommend you do. 

Do it anyway.

The *chaos is working for your good. The *difficulty is working to get you where you need to be.

Don't believe me? Listen to Rabbi Twerski: "Times Of Stress Are Meant For Times Of Growth."

You may not want to believe me nor the rabbi. Then test it.

Look around you and see the folks who are complacent and living life one joyous step after another. For them to be living that way, there are only a few scenarios that can bring such peace:
1.  They were born that way and have not encountered many of life's stressful moments, so they are "like a child."
2.  They have a solid spiritual foundation and nothing can shake their faith.
3. They have grown through adversity and the truth of Romans 8:28:  
                                     "All Things (do) Work Together for Good."

Stress does not go away, simply by wishing it away.

Chaos does not straighten itself, simply by our need for it to disappear.

We have to be an active participant in getting the challenge, issue, or chaos to go away. 

Our part can take several paths: 

*We become frantic.
*We add more chaos to the chaos.
*We become centered, and we pray.
*We stand still and surrender.

The stillness of a beautiful lake or river offers
tranquility to our Soul.

Living with stress is not healthy, and we must not think that cruel gods came up with this mode of living to torment us.

Once we get that we are indeed stressed and isolate the repeated situation (s) that cause it, we must then just as quickly recognize it for what it is: an aspect of ourselves that is begging us to open up to a new way of being and seeing in life.
The last thing you want to do is to panic. It's simply counterproductive.
Panic destroys any level-headed thinking. Beyond this, panic destroys any potential connection to the greater part of yourself (i.e. your soul), patiently waiting to guide you and show you step by step how to navigate through the madness.

Too many of us are still living from the surface of life, where little things throw us into a frantic mode and off balance. This causes negative situations to magnify because we panicked from the beginning.

Calm down.

Life is here for us. Life is working with us.

Life is inviting us to walk with it, not against it.

Whatever is thrown at us is an invitation to rise a little higher, walk a little **farther along the path than we thought we had to walk. We must go to the edge with it, if it's taking us there. But first, we must trust it, i.e. life, and know that its intentions are for good, despite the surface of things. 

The lack of trusting life is the reason we panic.

The fear of change is the reason we respond in very bad ways to change.

Begin to trust life. Begin to know that change is inevitable, so when it comes, we welcome, not fight, it.

Begin to believe that all of life is here to support you and to help you grow and see more wondrous ways of walking through the world. 

All that is here...is here for you...and for me.

All that is here... is here...for the love of us.

There's no other reason they exist with such majesty.

If we are AWAKE: We should never run out of reasons for being awestruck by life, its beauty and creativity.
This creative piece, those below (and many more) were posted
by Trang Vo on Facebook
Nature...life...will find a way to penetrate even the most cynical mind with another shock of its beauty and creativity:
Somewhere. Sometime. Somehow.

Stay open to life.
Breathe in. Give Thanks! 
 This Thanksgiving, my prayer for us all is that we begin to open up to life in new ways.

Instead of focusing on the things that you we're missing in life, I want us to begin to focus on the things that we do have and so often take for granted.

My prayer is that we begin to look around us and see the wonders of life that were created simply for our pleasure and joy.

Look around.

Yes. They're here only for us.

Give Thanks through the good and bad that may

be happening in your life today...and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving.



*NOTE: This type of chaos and difficulty does not negate the fact that there are forces of true evil operating in the world. I do believe that demonic people do exist and can wreak havoc on the world in the places they inhabit. But we must rise above these forces of evil through prayer, and by recognizing and truly believing that the power of Go(o)d is stronger than any evil...any force...any power of darkness directed at us. Folks who harvest envy, jealousy, strife, hatred, egotism can be seen as operating from a dark place, mostly caused by isolation from their "true selves." Through prayer and the power of our intentions "for good," we can overcome these forces, too. 

**Sometimes life can ask us to trust it for many, many barren years. Trust. It's for  your good. Like fine silver: you're being perfected and refined! 

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.