Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the ability to compassionately understand ourselves, our desires, and our needs.  It’s the ability to realize that no matter how awkwardly I’ve attempted to meet those needs, and no matter how many mistakes I make in the process, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me. broken-heart-broken-hearts-6853604We are well served to be suspicious of any voice, inside or outside, that says there is something wrong with us.  For example- it’s possible to realize I have been unkind toward someone and then feel sad about that.  It’s not that I’m a bad person who will get into trouble- it’s just that I don’t want to be unkind because it hurts my heart.

Forgiveness is allowing.  Allowing ourselves, or another, to confess a mistake, take responsibility for whatever harm may have been created by that mistake and to move on into trusting that something new can happen.  Forgiveness is letting go, permitting something to pass, and allowing something in.  With true forgiveness we agree to forget the past in order to authorize trust for the future.

If we hold ourselves or others in a place of remembering preceding incidents, emotional outbursts, and former mistakes 3.-BURMA-US-congress-Lalitwe are keeping them a prisoner in our mind; they have been judged, sentenced, and jailed.  And we will continue living a life of suspicion, doubt, and mistrust of those whose mistakes we find upsetting, shocking, or appalling.

Consider– we cling to mistrust in order to be safe and self-protective.

What if, instead of falling into judgment, we allow in the possibility of a life initiation?
Initiation means making a beginning, opening an investigation, or launching a new possibility.  Initiation also implies hard work, striving to learn a new skill, and sufficient motivation to introduce a transformed, difficult, and disciplined response to our accustomed discontented and calamitous emotions.  Both those who judge and those who make errors are in need of such an initiation.

The initiation being offered is the knowledge necessary to build an intimate relationship with spirit, the self, and others.  Such a relationship is built by reviewing and restating our values, beliefs, and past stories so that they are consistent with our current understanding, goals, and aspirations.  relaxOur relationship with self is also fostered by distinguishing the adult-voice from the child-voice, the self-hate voice from beneficial caring advice.  It means cultivating and developing genuine emotional intelligence.  A mature, adult, spiritual relationship is cultivated through disciplined thought, silent meditation, contemplative prayer, and the counsel of a sagacious spiritual director.

As we practice and create trust all our relationships begin to have an indivisible sense of unity.  Each member of our community becomes like a cell in our body.  The group needs the me, and I need the group.  To be truly human means understanding that we need each other.  Only in this way can we express and experience the love and caring for which we long.

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Do you trust yourself?

If so, what do you trust yourself to do, say, or give to others?
Can you meet your own needs
or do you expect others to know what you want
and give it to you?
What demonstration do you wish the people around you
to make so you can trust them?
Are you willing to make this demonstration
so that others can trust you?
Do you believe others are well-intentioned
even when they are ungraceful in their behavior or words?

Reality or Truth?

Reality is the story we tell ourselves about daily life, personal encounters, and why we are the way we are.  Most people believe in a past where certain things happened or didn’t happen and what happened or didn’t happen creates their ability to have a happy life or not.  But what if our belief in reality is inaccurate?  What if someone else who was present at that time, engaged in the same set of events, has a different interpretation of reality?

The people of the United States are among the most litigious individuals in the world running a close second to the Athenians of the 3rd century BCE.  courtroom-drama-1When others do not concur with our interpretation of events we sue them in a court of law, hoping to find others to agree with our position and justify our story and pay a penalty for being wrong.  While this might all be fine and admirable in certain circumstances this attitude will only cause trouble for the spiritual seeker.

A Great Being once said, “Most people would rather be justified than healed or enlightened.”

So what is “Spirit Truth”?  How can we know if a religion or spiritual teacher is revealing the “real” deal?  taktshang2The most tried and true method of discovery is seeing how those teachings, those religious truths change one’s life for the better.  Now, I don’t mean do you have more money, friends, sex, or influence.   I mean do you forgive more, love more; have less fear, less anxiety, and greater kindness, tolerance, and compassion toward yourself and the world? Can you let go of the stories of your past in order to create new stories that bring joy and peace?  Are you motivated to do something to help make a difference for those less fortunate than yourself?  Do you wake up in the morning and give thanks for a new day of blessings?

If these things are true than the teachings and teachers are true…regardless of doctrines, dogmas, traditions and creeds.  There is truth everywhere because we are meant to find it!  We are the beloved children of Great Mother, Father, and Weaver.  It is our destiny to free ourselves from a plethora of crazy stories about who did what and why…so that we can absolutely know Spirit’s Truths of Love, Joy, and Peace…not emotionally…but mystically.

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Where there is love,
there I stand with you.
Where there is love,
joy is shining through.
The angels sing.
Spirit’s calling you.
Where there is love,
Spirit’s dream is true.

Where there is love,
Earth and Sky are one.
Where there is love,
Fairies dance and sing.
Sacred people come,
to the magic ring.
The heart fire calls.
Love’s the song we sing.

Spiritual Community?

For thousands of years people of faith have gathered together to form a supportive community to pray, discover a deeper relationship with their Higher Power, study and contemplate consciousness, and to perform acts of service for those less fortunate than themselves.  Iraqi Worshippers Pray For Pope John Paul IISometimes these communities were organized around a rule of life, sometimes they were a more spontaneous gathering of like-minded souls wishing to have support in their journey of seeking a deeper meaning to life.

Today many spiritual seekers appear reluctant to commit to a community stating that the expectations of such a group is likely to cramp their freedom of expression and inhibit their exploration of personal truth.  A feeling of entitlement seems to pervade most technologically advanced nations.  People grow up expecting to have leisure time, early retirement, comfort, and praise for any effort, however small, he or she puts into a project.  Individuals don’t expect to put up with the personality quirks of a partner or a friend, instead there is a demand that these others contribute to their well-being and happiness.  “My needs are not being met!” is the cry of the disaffected, disillusioned populace at large.

Having just returned from China where religion has only recently been tolerated again after being all but eliminated in the last century I noticed a dissatisfaction among the youth who were taught that being a good consumer would truly free them from suffering and lead to happiness.  chinese-christians-prayingThey are hungry for something more…but they don’t want the old traditions of spirituality.  What can we tell them?  What can we say to all of the cynical and disappointed multitudes of our own nation?

Perhaps we can start by recognizing that we have a biological imperative to belong, contribute, and share affection with others.  If we understand that it is our personal need for sanctuary, love, and emotional security that are driving us both into and away from interpersonal relationships we can find the inner values that might allow us to have those experiences.  What we value is the very thing we most need to contribute.    

Current wisdom implies that we don’t need teachers anymore, that everything we need to become is already inside of us.  Everything we need to become is inside of us…but transforming that energy from what we expect to get into what we expect to give is a journey that requires a teacher, a guide.  what-if-there-were-no-teachersWhere are the guides who can demonstrate such a treasure?  If books could liberate us this world would be a paradise for there are tens of thousands of books telling us how to be, think, and live.  If movies and Youtube videos could enlighten us into compassionate spiritual beings our world would be unrecognizable today.

 Instead consider this- Everything we believe and know was taught to us by someone.  What do you want a spiritual community to be?  Can you demonstrate that gift?  Can you learn from those Great Beings who have gone before…and if you are fortunate can you learn something from the Great Beings around you?

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Some Possibilities to Consider

Belonging and sharing we accept and forgive
so we can follow hope and have a meaningful life.

Seeking to live selflessly we work together.

We are a collective of embodied souls who seek to share
the sacred song of life and remember ancient wisdom.

With unity and action we take on the responsibility
to share love and goodness in our world.

With common purpose we leave no one
outside of grace.

We are a people who seek to honor and cherish
the sacredness of all life and all beings.

In the Grace of Great Spirit
may it be so!