Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bearing Your Cross: Suffering and Wisdom

Bearing Your Cross: Suffering and Wisdom

Every person on earth comes to this place in order to take various tests, exams-- to test her mental, emotional, and spiritual strengths. More often than not, a real "test" involves something challenging or even "scary"-- something the fear-filled ego would rather avoid altogether.

In very early Christianity, the "Cross" of Jesus became the universal archetype (symbol) of all suffering. For the "passion" (suffering) of Jesus became a model of how to handle all pain and suffering. We are to turn it over to God (Love), relax into the "pain" with the confidence that the Holy Spirit of Love can lesson our pain. Meditation, for example, might not get rid of all pain all the time; but several studies have shown that it can lessen pain-- physical or mental-- by up to eighty

Going into even deeper meditation, as Jesus did, can eradicate even more pain, as the human mind begins actual mergence, melding, or fusion with the Mind of the One, deep in the Unconscious.

I know hundreds of [people, some with a fair degree of intimacy. Every one of them is facing some challenge-- usually a major one-- in this life. Souls do not come to earth for "vacation." (There are higher universes for that.) Earth is not a play-world (although many do exist). Earth is a "school-world," and no one is really here to have fun! Souls come to earth to learn, and only to learn. So, we have opportunities to learn from every minute of every day, and from friends, family, enemies, and strangers. They are all the "teachers" of the person on the Way.

That is one reason why the cosmos often looks "hard" or "unfeeling" or even "uncaring" to us. For it simply does not matter that we enjoy our lives here. All that matters is that we are learning; but, still, one of the things that we learn is how to have more fun! We are blessed, in fact, to find bliss!:)

Each must "bear her Cross," that is, take her tests and exams. We are asked to do so with patience and understanding, not kicking and screaming like toddlers. How a person faces suffering is a faithful barometer of her spiritual wisdom, indicating even her spiritual "age" (maturity).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007



I have experienced Christian healing-rituals, prayers, and the "laying on of hands" about twenty times during this career. It has been an active part of this spiritual career to explore personally every spiritual path available. So, yes, my friend, I have experienced Pentecostal, Assembly of God, Catholic, Lutheran, Science of Mind, Unity, general charismatic, and several unclassifiable fundamentalist "brands" of Christianity in their healing methods.

Some involved shouting the name of Jesus, others were totally silent. Some involved long prayers, others the simple laying on of hands. Some involved "holy water" and Communion, others did not. I have exposed the donkey (body) to, and have experienced, a wide variety of healing methods. With most, sad to say, there were no subjective or objective changes in the donkey.

Healing is a valid and intrinsic part of many spiritual paths, including that of Jesus. So, I do believe in it. I believe that, through stemcells and other mechanisms, the body has an almost miraculous power to heal itself. Sometimes, this Power is unlocked and manifested through prayers, healing rituals, and related activities. And, at other times, even truly miraculous (supernormal) Power is possibly involved.

Not all conditions can be healed. There were some, the Scriptures say, that even Jesus could not heal. If, for example, a condition is karmic (selected or chosen by the Soul) for some learning-purpose, to "heal" it would be counterproductive. But a condition that appears only to test one's faith, or to challenge one, can be healed.

This has been a subject of most intense interest in this life, partly because the donkey can use all the healing that he can get.:) And it is a subject of continuing interest, study, and exploration.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Taking Selflove Seriously: Your Donkey


Eating "comfort foods" is a very common way to "nutritionally self-medicate." But it is a poor way to support Love for your body, as they actually create harmful biochemical changes while "hiding" under "good" tastes. The senses, in this case, are very unreliable, and are serving the lower nature (the humanimal biomind), not the interests of the self or the higher Self.

You need to adjust the portions in your meals. Try to make them smaller, but still tasty and attractive. Suddenly to rip away all unhealthy foods might be a shock to the system, and might sabotage your efforts in the long run. (You might have very strong cravings for them.) So, keep one or two in your diet; but make it an infrequent (weekly) treat; you will look forward to it, and enjoy it so much more than ever before!

There is no such thing as the illusion of "lean" meat. All meat contains dangerous fats and highly perilous toxins. Some meats contain up to 2300 of these toxins, which can affect metabolism while setting up a toxicity-response in the body. Still, you need to get about 45 grams of protein daily. Try to derive this from milk, eggs, some nuts, cheeses, and a wide plethora of very yummy soy-products (including several types of burger, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, etc.) This makes great eating very easy!

From the teeth to the acidity of saliva, to the stomach-acid and intestinal tract, the human body is designed exactly like the bodies of other herbivores. In these important digestive areas, it bears no resemblance to the systems of carnivores. That is why fat, largely from cows and pigs, is so deadly to the cardiovascular system.

If we fed human beings with all the grain grown in this country, starvation would disappear! But instead, a full 90% of all American grains go to feed cows and pigs, so that we can have our burgers and bacon!

You can best love your donkey (body) buy feeding it the wonderful smorgasbords of delicious fruits, vegetables, and grains that nature provides in such abundance. No one needs meat to live; if anyone says that she does, she reveals only an abysmal nutritional ignorance.

Some meats literally rot in the stomach, and might take three to four days fully to rot. There is a reason that we find this picture repellant!

So, the cosmos is now offering you the greatest opportunity, one that might never again come your way: Do the very best thing that you can do for Sister Donkey, give her the best gift, by becoming a veggie! You will be glad, for the rest of a longer life, that you did!

Also, keep exercise moderate, in the beginning. Do not push or pull your muscles; and do not force them to strain. Do more reps on lighter weights, rather than fewer on heavier ones. You want to "up" the heartbeat moderately. Work out until your donkey says "enough." Stop then, and do not push yourself. Push yourself perhaps to the point of deep breathing, maybe light panting, but try not to do too much on your first visits. For if you overdo it on the first visit, there might not be a second. You will grow, in time, to love working out! It makes you feel great!

Please keep me posted re your progress.

"A Course in Miracles"


I read acim several times, and have given it many years of concentrated thought and quality-time. So, ideas about the book are not superficial or knee-jerk responses.

The book is fine. It has much common sense. It reminds irresistibly of a Twelve Step meeting. In some psychological "pop" jargon, it gives good advice that is workable.

The book, not surprisingly, was written by a couple of psychologists. That in itself is neither a plus nor a minus! But most psychologists do have a fairly good grasp on the normal, healthy functions of the human mind; so, they can help others.

Still, as the absurdities of the Freudian era so convincingly demonstrate, psychology is never perfect. So, I do have several questions about the book:

First, it is clearly over-named. The book says nothing about "miracles" as that term is generally understood in religious history or spiritual psychology. It was given this captivating name to grab attention, and it did. But it definitely needs a title that promises less, for it does not deliver anything promised by this attention-grabbing title. It does not
"teach miracles."

Second, the good book has become the recent center of a cult. There are several "true believers" who see the book as the "new Bible." If acim says it, it must be true; if acim does not say it, it probably does not matter! This cuts true believers off from all future growth. For no one can live her life most effectively by "living by the book," following only one book-- even one as fine and eloquent as the Bible.

We always need to be open to other resources, other sources of truth.

True believers think themselves "enlightened" over all others. I went through this spiritual disease, called "superiorism," while in the cult. It is a very dangerous mindset, for it tells you that you are getting better as you become sicker.

Is the book good reading? Yes! But was it written by Jesus Christ, channeled? No, it was, like all other books, written by human beings. The book can be wise, but it is not infallible. It has good, but not great, ideas. It is well-written, but probably does not contain a single original thought.

Read it, enjoy it, take notes and learn from it. But please try to exercise common sense and avoid the cultism that has accreted aroundcertain groups.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Purgatory" and "Hell"


I believe that, in the history of religion, both "hell" and "purgatory" were symbolic terms concerning eternal life after death. Both concerned states or conditions experienced here on earth.

To simplify the complex literature, both "hell" and "purgatory" contain suffering. In fact, both conditions might contain the exact same suffering. But "purgatory" originates with a word that means "purification." So, in the condition of "purgatory," you are making real progress, both mental and spiritual. Purgatory improves people.

"Hell" does not necessarily improve a person. It is recognized as suffering due to negative karma. The person suffers, but does not know why. She knows why only after enlightenment. When a person knows why she is suffering, this transforms her state from one of "hell" to one of "purgatory."

For only when we understand why we suffer does suffering have a purifying effect on our Souls. So, hell and purgatory might be exactly the same conditions; the difference lies in the one suffering, in her awareness, knowledge, understanding, or wisdom.

An enlightened being is never so careless as to end up in hell. But purgatorial states are common on earth for both enlightened and some unenlightened people.

The very old tradition teaches that a Soul can be "prayed out" of purgatory. This superstition evolved from the awareness that total escape from purgatory was possible by discovering Union through communication with God (interior Love). For Love ultimately liberates us all from all suffering-- including all "hell" states and "purgatory" states.

We all suffer on earth. The wise are called upon to understand why suffering exists, to understand karma and universal justice, for Godmind is always just and never unjust. This realization alone, deeply felt, can liberate from hell and move a person into purgatory. With further study, work, Love, and yielding to the divine will, a person is moved, in time, from "purgatory" into "heaven" (bliss, joy, or ecstasy). This is, in the final analysis, an act of God (Love), and not anything that we "do." This is "salvation," and originates with only grace, although we can make our lives more beautiful by cooperating with the calling of Love.

This movement in Mind, from purgatory to heaven, is enlightenment. It is also called "liberation" and "salvation."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007



After his betrayal of Jesus Christ, turning him over to the monstrous Romans, Judas felt a nightmarish and horrible pang of deep regret. This created karma for centuries. Judas was not a "completely" evil man; if he were, Jesus would not have selected him to be one of the twelve apostles.

A part of Judas loved Jesus very deeply. Since he was a scorpio, his passions ran more deeply than those of his brothers. And his betrayal of Jesus was not so that Jesus would be murdered. Instead, Judas thought, it would force Jesus to reveal supernatural Power, to deliver himself.

Judas likely suffered from some rather extreme and severe mental illness. This was stated, in the ancient symbolic record, in the colorful language of the time: "Satan entered into him," and precipitated his madness.

Still, the indication is, despite all this, that Judas was essentially striving to be a good man. He loved Jesus deeply. So, his conscience got the better of this gentle, extremely sensitive man. His Soul wanted to pursue the Soul of Jesus into the galaxy, and there was only one way to do this: So, he pursued his Lord into death, confident that the two would survive death and be together again.

Since his incarnation as a man named "Judas," over two thousand years ago, this Soul has learned many beautiful lessons and has found forgiveness and peace. He is now a being of Light, and is free.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Love, Universal Salvation, and Grace


Grace is the matrix-teaching of all Christianity. It is the clear teaching that we are saved only because God loves us. That should be repeated: We are saved from ignorance and the lower nature, from illusion, only because of the Love of God.

That needs repeating again and again, because we keep falling into the dangerous illusion-- lie or falsehood-- that our salvation arises because we are "good people" or because of our activities, because we are "better" than others, because we "believe" the "right" things, belong to the "right" church, etc.

This lie is known, in Christian history, as the "works" doctrine. It teaches that some are "better" than others, because they "work harder." It is true that some do work harder than others, and that some live better moral and ethical lives.

But that is irrelevant to the issue of salvation. Jesus stated the principle of grace this way, to the proudly religious and respectable Bible-scholars of his day: "Prostitutes, alcoholics, and thieves will go ahead of you into the Kingdom of God."

What could he possibly have meant by such a shocking statement? Salvation does not arise from "perfection," for we are all sinners, light-years from perfection. So, salvation must come from the state of being cleansed or purified of sin. This state comes from forgiveness, which in turn, blossoms from Love. It is Love plus nothing else that lifts the human Soul into purity and salvation.

Some Jewish kabbalists went so far as to say that a person who had sinned and been forgiven was better off than a person who had never sinned! And it is so, for she has had the experience of life and Love that have taught her valuable lessons.

The "problem" that selfrighteous people have with grace is that it must be unlimited, if God's Love is unlimited. (And all must admit that it is.)

This teaching, taken to its only logical conclusion, must imply that most terrifying of great truths-- universal salvation. For no sin can ever be greater than God's bottomless, endless, infinite Love.

The Conscious Mind and the Body


Life has taught us to live virtually free of all expectations. Because of taking this philosophy seriously, all disappointments are minimized and very low-powered. They are more and more scarce, and weaker and weaker.

Nightmares due to neurochemistry do not depend on, or arise from, the "kinds of thoughts" that you think. Neither do most conditions in the world of cells and molecules.

There are a few "fairy-tale" people who insist on blaming the content of the conscious mind for every illness. These people, claiming to be "metaphysical," or even "spiritual," are lost in hopeless ego-fantasy. Experience has taught that these people are simply terrified of life. They force themselves to believe that their conscious minds (egos) control the molecular and cellular universes, because the idea of relaxing into faith and trust horrifies them. Thus, they feel ghastly guilt whenever anything goes wrong in their lives. (This is selfcreated hell.) They are "anti-Taoists," pushing hard against the cosmos, in insisting that their conscious minds are God-- thus, misunderstanding almost everything at a very basic level.

They are utterly lost in confusion, always reading and blah-blahing about "positive thinking" and related subjects. (For the record, positive thinking is very good and powerfully therapeutic, but has many limitations.) But these bold but trembling talkers are all talk. They cannot change the color of a single hair upon their own heads, as the master Jesus said.

So, forget about controlling the whole world, and forget about controlling even the whole mind. Our tiny little conscious minds were never created for, or given the power-level necessary for, controlling. (Their function is simple experience, not control.)

Instead, sink down into a deep, bottomless, bright cloud of Love. Rest into It, and let It carry you. Immerse yourself in total saturation of this Love, and let it soak into everypore, every cell, of your body and brain. As far as possible, think only thoughts of Love. Learn to love, and be grateful for, even the hell-images of nightmare, which are here to warn (about certain drugs, for example) and to educate; they are also Love, at their Core.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The "Virgin Birth"


Historically, both the Buddha and Jesus share the legend of the "virgin" birth. The allegorical meaning of both is that they were not affected by the lower nature. (Sexual sharing between a man and woman was seen to replicate the sexual sharing between males and females of other species, and so, was relegated to the "lower nature," or "animal" nature.")

So, it became the absolute and ultimate representation of non-animal (total spiritual) "purity" to ascribe the birth of the greatest sages to a kind of "spiritual intercourse."

The word translated as "virgin" in the ancient Hebrew texts can also be correctly translated "young maiden." So, the earliest record of the event is questionable, from an etymological (word-study) perspective.

As followers of Jesus, we need not deny the virgin birth. But neither is it necessary to insist on its historical or literal truth. If this miracle happened, wonderful!:) Anything is possible with God! But if Jesus was truly human, this implies that he might have enjoyed a normal human mother and father.

A few historical notes, such as we have them (not reliable) imply that Mary might have been as young as twelve, and Joseph as old as forty, when the two were reluctantly married. Some ancient traditions imply that Joseph never really got "on board," or "with the program," and married Mary only reluctantly after she was found pregnant, as the Scriptures imply.

Joseph is an interesting character. By then, he seems to have been a settled, seasoned merchant, with a reputation to protect, and so, Mary was an embarrassment. (Joseph was famously a carpenter; Jesus never was.) Mary, in her regret, sadness, or embarrassment, might have been the source of the "virgin birth" story. Both received messages in dreams-- not always the most reliable sources.

We can accept Jesus as the greatest teacher in history, we can accept him as "master," we can accept him as the "Son of God" even if we do not accept the virgin birth. Many early, non-traditional, Christians did not accept this. The Gospel of Phillip calls it a "superstition." So, within a century or two, many Christians, many believers, questioned this shaky dogma.

The orthodox later Church (Catholic) insisted that this dogma made Jesus special and supernatural. But we know that he was extraordinarily special, and extraordinarily supernatural, no matter who his earthly father might have been. It's irrelevant anyway, for we know that his real "Father" was God.

The same, by the way, applies to us his followers. For he commanded, "Call no man on earth your 'father," for One is your Father, the heavenly One." (Mt. 23:10-12). The fact that Christians regularly disobey, or ignore, this command does not change the fact that this is what Jesus actually said. So, exactly like him, we of enlightenment recognize no earthly "father."

A person's salvation is not at stake, depending on whether she believes in the virgin birth. As noted, many early Christians did not believe in it. Our salvation, like our relationship with our Father, does not depend on intellectual beliefs. It depends on a warm Love shared from God towards us (grace) and our response of that same Love. Salvation originates entirely with grace. And that is the best "good news"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some Translation Errors in the King James Bible

Taken from tripdub

Here is only a very tiny and incomplete partial listing of King James Version translation errors, demonstrating that this translation of the Bible is imperfect:

Genesis 1:2 should read "And the earth became without form . . . ." The word translated "was" is hayah, and denotes a condition different than a former condition, as in Genesis 19:26.

Genesis 10:9 should read " . . . Nimrod the mighty hunter in place of [in opposition to] the LORD." The word "before" is incorrect and gives the connotation that Nimrod was a good guy, which is false.

Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 in the KJV is "scapegoat" which today has the connotation of someone who is unjustly blamed for other's sins. The Hebrew is Azazel, which means "one removed or separated." The Azazel goal represents Satan, who is no scapegoat. He is guilty of his part in our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:1, "then let him" should be "and he." As the Savior explained in Matthew 19, Moses did not command divorcement. This statute is regulating the permission of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.

2 Kings 2:23, should be "young men", not "little children."

Isaiah 65:17 should be "I am creating [am about to create] new heavens and new earth . . . ."

Ezekiel 20:25 should read "Wherefore I permitted them, or gave them over to, [false] statutes that are not good, and judgments whereby they should not live." God's laws are good, perfect and right. This verse shows that since Israel rejected God's laws, He allowed them to hurt themselves by following false man made customs and laws.

Daniel 8:14 is correct in the margin, which substitutes "evening morning" for "days." Too bad William Miller didn't realize this.

Malachi 4:6 should read " . . . lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction." "Curse" doesn't give the proper sense here. Same word used in Zechariah 14:11.

Matthew 5:48 should be "Become ye therefore perfect" rather than "be ye therefore perfect." "Perfect" here means "spiritually mature." Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24:22 needs an additional word to clarify the meaning. It should say "there should no flesh be saved alive."

Matthew 27:49 omits text which was in the original. Moffatt correctly adds it, while the RSV puts it in a footnote: "And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood." The Savior's death came when a soldier pierced His side, Revelation 1:7.

Matthew 28:1, "In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . ." should be translated literally, "Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week . . . ." The Sabbath does not end at dawn but at dusk.

Luke 2:14 should say, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of God's good pleasure or choosing." That is, there will be peace on earth among men who have God's good will in their hearts.

Luke 14:26 has the unfortunate translation of the Greek word miseo, Strong's #3404, as "hate", when it should be rendered "love less by comparison." We are not to hate our parents and family!

John 1:31, 33 should say "baptize" or "baptizing IN water" not with water. Pouring or sprinkling with water is not the scriptural method of baptism, but only thorough immersion in water.

John 1:17 is another instance of a poor preposition. "By" should be "through": "For the law was given by [through] Moses . . . ." Moses did not proclaim his law, but God's Law.

John 13:2 should be "And during supper" (RSV) rather than "And supper being ended" (KJV).

Acts 12:4 has the inaccurate word "Easter" which should be rendered "Passover." The Greek word is pascha which is translated correctly as Passover in Matthew 26:2, etc.

1 Corinthians 1:18 should be: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God", rather than "perish" and "are saved." Likewise, II Thessalonians 2:10 should be "are perishing" rather than "perish."

1 Corinthians 15:29 should be: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?"

2 Corinthians 6:2 should be "a day of salvation", instead of "the day of salvation." This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8, which is correct. The day of salvation is not the same for each individual. The firstfruits have their day of salvation during this life. The rest in the second resurrection.

1 Timothy 4:8 should say, "For bodily exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness in profitable unto all things . . . ."

1 Timothy 6:10 should be, "For the love of money is a [not the] root of all evil . . . ."

Hebrews 4:8 should be "Joshua" rather than "Jesus", although these two words are Hebrew and Greek equivalents.

Hebrews 4:9 should read, "There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God."

Hebrews 9:28 is out of proper order in the King James. It should be: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them without sin that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation."

1 John 5:7-8 contains additional text which was added to the original. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The italicized text was added to the original manuscripts. Most modern translations agree that this was an uninspired addition to the Latin Vulgate to support the unscriptural trinity doctrine.

Revelation 14:4 should be "a firstfruits", because the 144,000 are not all the firstfruits.

Revelation 20:4-5 in the KJV is a little confusing until you realize that the sentence "This is the first resurrection." in verse five refers back to "they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" in verse four.

Revelation 20:10, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [correction: should be 'were cast' because the beast and false prophet were mortal human beings who were burned up in the lake of fire 1,000 years previous to this time,

Revelation 19:20], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." The point is that Satan will be cast into the same lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast a thousand years previously.

Revelation 22:2 should be "health" rather than "healing."

Punctuation Problems

Luke 23:43 has been erroneously used by some to claim that Jesus went straight to heaven at His death. The original Greek did not have punctuation marks as we do today. The KJV states, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." The comma should not be after "thee", but "day." The believing malefactor would be with Christ in the paradise of the redeemed when he was resurrected far into the future.

Mark 16:9 does not say that Jesus was resurrected Sunday morning. There is a missing implied comma between "risen" and "early" and there should be no comma after week as the KJV has it: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . ." Thus, it should say, "Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . ."

Written by: Richard Nickels

"Select Thought" Cognitive Therapy


The quality of happiness in your life often depends on the types of thoughts that you choose to emphasize and allow into your mind. This seems so obvious and selfevident that it almost seems unnecessary to mention.

Nevertheless, much misery is created because we neglect the process of thought-selection. We behave almost as if thoughts have a kind of "will" of their own, that if we begin a negative chain of thought, or thought-train, it has an inertia of its own. One negative thought leads to another, then, to another, and so forth, until we have an entire train or chain of negative thoughts.

But once we become aware of the very beginning of a negative thought-chain, we can arrest it at the start. We can then alter our conscious thought-content from the negative to the positive.

Here's an example: The thought, "No one loves me," leads to, "I'm unlovable," or, "I don't deserve Love," and several other negativities. Before we know it, we can fall into a negative thought-chain; later, this can lead to anxiety, stress, or even depression.

But with "select thought" cognitive therapy, here is what can happen: The inadvertent thought, an inertial and "automatic" one, comes into the mind, "No one loves me." If we are aware, we can immediately correct this thought with a more rational one: For example, "I do have one real friend. This is the best friend in the whole universe, and She loves me deeply, entirely, and unconditionally." This is the Goddess within the heart. She is the best friend in the universe, and is willing and eager, at any time, night or day, to surround you in her warm, sweet Love.

So, instead of allowing a negative thought-train to take off on its own, you "arrest" it as soon as you are aware of it. Take a deep breath, try to relax, try to sink into meditation, and then, replace the negative thought with a positive one. Visualize your body being surrounded and filled with a bright healing light, and visualize this healing light also filling your head. Feel its healing Love.

Here is the simple but often neglected secret of "select thought" cognitive therapy:

If you think about what you do not have, and what you cannot do, you will tend to drain yourself of positive energy, bringing yourself down.

If, on the other hand, you choose to think about the things that you do have, and the things that you can do, you will give yourself a positive boost. This can be astonishingly healing to our feelings and mood.

Even the richest person in the world can choose to think about what she does not have, and bring herself down. Even the poorest person in the world can choose to think about what she does have, and bring her spirits

So, we need to cultivate the good habit of allowing ourselves to think about only what we do have, and what we can do. When you start to feel down, remind yourself of the following: You have a functional if imperfect body; you have a functional if imperfect mind; if you have any moments that are pain-free, feel gratitude for those, and remind yourself of what a blessing each pain-free moment is. If your digestive system works, celebrate the fact. If your nervous system works, celebrate. Do the same re your respiratory, muscular, and other systems.

If you have a place to live, remind yourself. Many, many people on this planet do not. If you have enough food, be grateful; again, many do not.

If there is a food that you especially like, give yourself a little treat, and eat it in moderation. If you enjoy bathing, take your time and bathe at a leisurely pace, again reminding yourself of what a great blessing this is.

If you have friends, remind yourself of what a treasure they are. If you feel betrayed or let down by a friend, do not allow yourself to "recycle," "rerun," or endlessly, exhaustingly to review the event. Instead, push it out of your mind, and replace it with only pleasant thoughts.

You can also treat yourself to aromatherapy. Many find that floral fragrances (hyacinth, rose, lilac, etc.) are mildly euphoric (contributing to a positive mood or feeling). Many use sage specifically for this purpose, including clarey sage.

Count your blessings, literally. If you have a hobby, celebrate it. If you have employment, be thankful for it. This applies to any interests that you might have-- sensual, intellectual, artistic, scientific, spiritual, or other. Consciously, deliberately distract your mind from your problems by focusing all attention on your hobbies, interests, or passions. Never just allow your mind to "drift" into the negative thought-chain.

You can also sing. It matters not at all if you have the world's most "terrible" voice; the act of singing is itself therapeutic, whether you are "good" at it or not.

So, next time you start to feel "down," sit down, take some deep breaths, and remind yourself of all that is good, or positive, in your life. Your mind, in its illness, might even tell you that you have nothing positive. This is simply a symptom of the illness. Ignore this message, and continue to search your mind. Look for positive memories, for these exist in the now, and even if they come from the past, are parts of your life-treasures in the NOW.

Nature, God, our friends, our families, and our own hearts all contain beautiful jewels that can help us to make it through the rough times. Also, feeling "bad" once in a while is not a disease; it is normal and natural, and does not require drug-therapy. So, if you start to feel "down," don't panic. Instead, take a step back from your life, and look for the positive. Insist on thinking only positive thoughts about positive events, situations,and things. Demand this of yourself! Do not compromise, or allow the mind to drift into the negative! Try "select thought" cognitive therapy! You will be glad that you did!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Time and Love


Anyone can say anything about her love, about whom she loves. But it is how a person spends her time that shows what and who she really is. That in which you invest the most of your time is your most important subject, your "religion." For some people, it is worry, regret, fear, and other negative states. For the person of wisdom, her most important investment is Love.

She truly, practically loves others in the only way possible. This is not pretty poetry or claims or statements. It is by spending her time on those whom she loves.

You love most the persons on whom you spend most of your time. If you spend no time with a "loved" person, in what real, practical sense is she being "loved"? Time is the gold of the cosmos. We love most those with whom we share the gold.:)

Jesus' Transfiguration


The "Mount of Transfiguration" was not a phrase used by Jesus, but was a later description used by others. This describes an event in the Gospel accounts of the Life of Jesus. This is perhaps a symbolic or representative account of a radical shift in the mind (consciousness) of Jesus.

In a clearly altered state of consciousness, Jesus was granted a vision one night upon a mountain. In the vision, he was apparently glowing, which is a symbol of the interior Light. He apparently encountered several light-phenomena. In the vision, he saw two beings who were later interpreted to be "Moses" and "Elijah," two of the more famous "prophets" in the Jewish tradition. So, he was obviously in touch with the profound area of the Superconscious Mind (Lovemind, Godmind, Coremind) called the
akasha. This contains the spacetime history of our world.

Although, historically, there is usually a clear distinction between the visionary and the mystic-- and mystics generally do not "see visions"-- this is a rare synergic unity of a visionary and mystical experience in one single event.

"Transfiguration" means major transformation, transmogrification, or spiritual rebirth. So, this was likely one of the major mystical experiences, of which Jesus experienced many.

This type of experience occurs in the lives of mystics, although not to this extent, or this powerfully, all throughout the spiritual history of every enlightened being. As is often the case, Jesus here is an "archetype," or universal model, of the mystically illuminated kind or type of human being. But why would the experience include encounters with the famous Jewish sages?

Probably because most of his disciples, and, in fact, most of the first early Christians, who would learn of the story and make use and application of it, were from a Jewish genetic, cultural, and geographic background. So, this event, like so much in Jesus' life, was not prepared for only Jesus, but for his followers as well. The Jewish historical component was included, not because it was necessary to the spirituality of the event, but because the people of the time could easily relate to the event as deeply "spiritual." For in that situation, culture and history were closely interwoven, in their minds, with spirituality.

It is perhaps historically significant, some literalist scholars point out, that Moses had a breath-taking experience similar to that of Jesus, and so did Elijah. These historians are reasoning from the premise that these accounts represent actual, literal experiences with extraordinary power-- not symbolic events or descriptions. They believe that the same power returned to earth and created the transfigurative experience. This also is a real possibility, but, at this late date in human history, we cannot know the whole story. So, all that we have is speculation.

Our Poor Little Planet


Usually, it is only the "school of hard knocks" that truly educates us, especially in the human arts, such as compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.

We at Love Ministries must share your skepticism re organized religion. We do not find a wealth of goodness or Love within the stricter, more humorless forms of religion. We believe that people do not even need religion. We need spirituality. Ours is a poor planet overflowing with religion, but we have so little spirituality that this earth is all but a spiritual desert.

It is the purpose of Love Ministries, through Lovelight magazine, the "Universal Love Digest," several books, and other channels, to share with all people the message that hope does indeed exist. But it lies in the desire and decision of each of us to surrender to the higher Mind of Love, deep within us all.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Translations of the Bible


Until the mid-twentieth century, the King James Version of the Bible, translated in 1611, was the most widely used and popular translation of the Bible in our language. It is not a "bad" translation. It is simply imperfect, and could stand some wide improvements.

One effort to improve it as a standard Bible was the Revised Standard Version of the early 1950's. Other efforts to improve language, readability, and user-friendliness included the translations of Moffat, Rotherham, Goodspeed, and others. The Twentieth Century New Testament is an example of another version from the early part of the previous century.

Each translation is probably favored by several scholars. There is no "perfect" translation that meets all the needs of all scholars and students, all the time.

A very popular, more modern version is the New International Version, used mostly by Protestant Christians. Catholic Christians often prefer the Jerusalem Bible.

Still others prefer the New English Bible, which is excellent. For sheer readability, some like J.B. Phillips' translation, and some like the very loose Today's English Version.

There are several more versions, renditions, and translations on the modern market today. The language of the twenty-first century is rapidly evolving, and language has always been a changing phenomenon. It does not stay the same from year to year, or decade to decade. The language has changed so much since 1611, both scholars and students can be understood when they want a translation that is more up-to-date, that
speaks their language.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Christianity and Buddhism


Buddhism and Christianity both have great value for the student of religion, or of spiritual psychology.

But a direct comparison between the two is a bit like a comparison of apples and oranges, or tulips and roses. Each system of philosophy, each pattern of behavior, has its place in the enlightened life.

Christianity's great strength is that it emphasizes Love. It super-emphasizes It, for it says, "God is Love." No higher complement to any ideal could ever be made.

Buddhism also highlights maitri ("Love) and karuna ("compassion") as supreme values.

Christianity says that we all contain a Mind of enormous spiritual Power, Love, and wisdom. It is called the "indwelling Holy Spirit," and this is an equivalent term with "Christ," equal to "God."

While Buddhism says nothing about an "outer, anthropomorphic (human-like) God, it does recognize the inner Spirit. This is called your "Buddha-nature." It is our purpose as human beings to cultivate this higher nature of Love, compassion, kindness, and goodness. A famous Buddhist leader said, "Kindness is my religion."

Anyone who sincerely tries to cultivate and express the Christ-spirit or Buddha-nature will become a much improved person.

Buddhism has nothing to say about the "end of the world." But, in the original Bible (the best ancient Greek manuscripts), this phrase is not found even a single time, not even in Revelation.

Buddhism, with its clear teaching of reincarnation, agrees with Christianity that the Soul (mind) survives death. Historians recognize that early Christians also accepted this "controversial" view of the Soul. For example, John the Baptizer was Elijah, and the common people believed that Jesus was "Isaiah or one of the other prophets."

The wise student works hard to remain open to new ideas, to growth and development. She is careful not to let her mind become "set in concrete." (This would make her a "blockhead"!:) Remaining open to wisdom from every and any source, we can study Buddhism and Christianity in tandem, letting them together mutually support and reinforce each other. And they can both sustain a deeper spirituality. For these great systems are not in conflict.

Btw, Buddhists do not "worship" statues of the Buddha. These statues exist only to remind us of our interior nature of gentleness, tenderness, mercy, and forgiveness. If a Buddhist "worships" formally at all, she worships the interior Holy Spirit, Christ-spirit, or Buddha-nature.

Note on "satanism"


"Demon-worship" is not a term used in professional sociology or psychology. It is related to "devil-worship," and is the false belief that God has a real opposite in the form of a superspirit called "satan." This "satan" was originally a common noun, in the ancient documents. It was not a name, and that is why it is spelled here with a lower-case initial letter.

A "satan" was any "resister" of God or God's will. So, a "satan" could be any person of cruelty or insensitivity to Love. But, in time, the word became modified into a proper name. And, in history, this "Satan" became the polar opposite of God.

God is Love, and Love has no real or genuine opposite. But it does have a conceptual (mental) opposite. And this opposite of Love is fear.

But back to the myth of "Satan" as a being: The myth says that he was a kind of superangel named "Lucifer." (This name means "bringer of Light," so it emphasizes how we learn lessons of Light from even "darkness." Since we are pained by the absence of Light, even that can teach us.)

In the myth, this "Satan" convinced a number of "angels" to "follow him in rebellion against God."

The story is a warning against pride, for this was Lucifer's great weakness. The "fallen angels" became "demons." This is a warning that even very powerful and spiritual Mindfactors ("angels") can become the victims of pride.

Some ignorant people, who take this myth for literal history, are especially common among the uneducated and the spiritually naive or unsophisticated. Since they believe that "satan" and "demons" are real and literal creatures or beings, they sometimes "worship" these forces of darkness and ignorance, the energies of fear.

Often, so-called "satanists" are not really serious. Many more modern, or more sophisticated, "satanists" do not even believe in a personal devil. Many are in the cult simply to shock people. They love to poke fun at religion (and they have much historical "ammunition"). So, most are not truly "pro-satan," but simply "anti-God." This was true of the writer of The Satanic Bible, for example, written back in the 1970's. It was almost a work of comedy, and was little more than a dark satire on religion. So, many "satanists" are not at all serious.

They reject, and are often in active rebellion against, the ridiculous idea that "God" is some superbeing, the "ultimate extraterrestrial," a "soldier" in the sky, or that God is a violent, childish, murderous king or law-giver. They laugh at the primitive, often absurd, ideas that God is a torturer, the manager of an everlasting torture-chamber called "hellfire"-- a word never used in the Bible.

But serious, and naive, "satanists" are dead wrong. Those who worship "demons" are on exactly the opposite track of where they should be. They are spiritually backwards and upside-down. Their hatred for an illusory and ludicrous "God" has driven them into spiritual insanity.