Makers and Creators of Beauty

 

Everyone is born with a fire within, a divine imperative, to create something to leave behind as a statement that we have been here.  Even though that fire is intrinsic, it’s often hidden until something sets it alight.  That something might be a pain, loss, an experience that leaves its mark, or an inspiration, an act of kindness or falling in love.   Our creative fire is ignited by rubbing up against things of the world.

the-blossoming-of-creative-fire-white-flower-and-flameI’ve often contemplated the story about the Jewish children in concentration camps during the holocaust drawing birds, trees, and butterflies on the walls of their prison; and how the human spirit seeks to restore itself to hope in the midst of destruction.  We reach for a future that will be bright and beautiful even when the facts refuse to support our dream of a positive outcome.  But one of the paradoxes of human existence is our ability to either illuminate our spiritual nature or obscure it in the name of reality.

It was the creative fire of love that imagined the Taj Mahal, the creative fire of wonder that created preservation of exquisite places of the natural world in parks and preserves, and it was the fire of anger and fear that also produced the atom bomb and weapons of mass destruction.  Always, sometimes even daily, we have a choice of using our inner fire to warm, preserve, and enhance life or encompass our own destruction and that of others through despair, isolation, self-rejection, violence, and even suicide.

Perhaps, the lesson in the above statement is a call to study and gain skills in how we think and what we think about, how we talk and the effect it has on those around us, and equally important is the creation of actions that result in beauty rather than destruction.

The energies that require the use of creative fire are often left to chance through a learn by mistakes approach to living.  Yet, they are the very stuff of a thriving life- how to live with respect for all life on Earth, how to make and keep a lasting commitments in a loving relationships, how to raise loving, generous, and kind children, how to show respect for our elders, and how to make a meaningful contribution to the communities in which we belong. 6.-compassion

As I was growing up, I tried to make a note of all the energies the adults around me shared with one another, with my siblings and myself, especially the ones that hurt physically and emotionally.  It was my absolute intention to not be like my mother, my father, and other authority figures whose anger spilt over onto everyone around them.  And yet, I yelled at my children and attempted to control my significant relationships by making myself indispensable and necessary while denying my own needs.

So now, I’ve reached the age of seventy-two having dissolved two marriages and pissed off several people who have disappeared from my life.  All I wanted was to be a maker and shaper of beauty in the world, and so I attempted to ignite the fire of creation by rubbing against others instead of igniting my inner divine fire by trusting the Indwelling Presence of the Divine Spirit.  I’ve also learned that finding The Presence within is a journey that everyone must take in order to fulfil the demand and the promise of being a creator and maker of beauty in the world.

Almost all spiritual pathways have given directions on how not to destroy ourselves and others with the creative fire.  One of these is called the golden rule, and there is some form of this statement in most sacred texts.  Do and give to others only what you are willing to receive yourself. 

Another common statement that puts a safety net of stones around that inner burning is- Love God with your whole heart and mind, and all others as God loves you.  However, even with these two lofty and exalted admonitions, humans keep rubbing ourselves against the world, the expectations of the world, and the expectations of what we want, where we want to be, and how we want others to see us.  Sadly, despite all the obstacles and disappointments we still expect these imaginings to come true.

Perhaps, part of our stubbornness in this regard comes from a belief from the western world that we have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The reality of life, however, is that sometimes we are going to thrive and sometimes we are going to be wounded or wound others.  This is difficult to accept.

Does it mean that I must embrace the parts of me that yelled at my kids, failed at my marriages, and pissed off people I cared about?  Yes, actually, that is exactly what it means.  Embracing all that has happened, all that I have felt, seen, heard, and participated in allows me to see my life as an act of creation, a work in progress, as it were.  That is an old cliché, but it is true.

When I’m cutting out pieces for a quilt and sewing them together it’s always my intention that it will come out perfect, smooth, and without blemish.  Somehow, there is always seems to be a piece of two that don’t want to lay flat or don’t turn out exactly square.  The same happens with beadwork, there’s always a bead of the wrong colour or size that doesn’t fit the pattern but finds its way into the work somehow.  I don’t always have the patience to take things apart and fix the problem, so I adopted the Japanese idea that imperfect things are beautiful.

downloadI read recently that James Thurber once sat by his window watching a bulldozer clear a field of elm trees to build an asylum intended for those driven insane by the cutting down of elm trees.  It’s irrational to be guilty, shrivelled, and to cut ourselves down because we have been burned by the creative fires of life and that we were not who we wanted to be, where we wanted to be, and who others expected us to be.  Creation cannot happen without mistakes.  Life cannot happen without wounding.

The most important skill we can develop as we continue to make and create beauty or inadvertent ugliness is to remember that nothing can change as long as we are still rehearsing the history that brought us to where we are today.  Life happened.  Our mistakes and successes are a part of ourselves.

However, we are not yet ashes buried with the ancestors, therefore, let the past be past.  Plan a new image of self, gather the creative fire, the colours, the brushes, wisdom, and courage.  From that place, we can be excited about what we will create next!

 

Evolution or Entropy?

galaxy_universe-normalDivine Spirit is ever expanding, growing, and changing.  We know this because the universe is ever expanding, growing, and changing. However, in most cultural constructs the Divine Being is still portrayed as existing in a state of perfected beingness unattainable by mere human creatures, although everyone is expected to attempt this impossibility anyway.  If there is an all-knowing, all-seeing, absolutely perfect entity out there somewhere it means entropy has set in and god is dead!

As humans we appear to desire safety above all else.  We go to great lengths to be safe from loss, sickness, old age, and death.  We seek to eradicate illness, discover the fountain of youth through pills, creams, surgery, and research.  Most of us feel personally affronted and even betrayed by death. We want to find a perfect place, a perfect solution, a perfect life, a perfect family, and a perfect world.  Evolution is messy and often fails.  Statistics tell us that 13% of all species are evolving and out of those 90% will fail.  This means we are not safe.

know-your-enemy3It seems that throughout time, humans have felt compelled to create safety through the destruction of anything that is a threat to the status quo.  These threats can take the form of a neighbor, germs, immigrants, other nations, other faith groups, and even the self.  Language expresses these concepts of fear- demonic, heresy, abomination, anathema, bitch, bastard, ass-hole, etc.  And for many it is all justified in the name of a god who demands judgment, punishment, and retribution, now, or in some horrific hereafter.

What if Divine Spirit is not a perfect entity somewhere?  What if Divine Spirit is the indwelling force of compassion, forgiveness, understanding, and loving-kindness within all beings?  What if Divine Spirit is an ever expanding, evolutionary, and cosmic force that cannot be confined on a mountain top, within a temple, a church, or a book? Countless saints, from multitudinous religions, have confronted this great truth and called it the Divine Mystery or the Cloud of Unknowing.

c01a1693dfe1c8b5056996af742a754aWe are living in evolutionary times; in revolutionary times.  And yet, all around us we see people clinging to the old days, the old times, the mythical golden age of family, faith and country.  Was it really?  On closer look we see children abandoned, beaten, and starving.  We see animals tortured, experimented on, and killed to decorate someone’s wall.  Wars fought to bring change and leaving only poverty, disease, and destruction in there wake.  Women being raped, beaten, and sold into slavery…just like now.

Perhaps we need to look beyond the things that divide us.  Perhaps we need to look past gender identity, religious identity, national identity, and ideological identity.  We are being called to evolve into a people who identify with compassion, forgiveness, kindness, and generosity.  We are being called to live the Divine Mystery!

We don’t need someone with all the answers.  We need people to ask the right questions- People who know the earth as our sacred home- People who care enough to eradicate hunger, homelessness, and hopelessness!  We need young people to share their vision, to allow them to fire our passion and make a difference.  We need elders who are not content to be comfortable but are willing to lead us in a new spiritual consciousness of Love in Action!GalaticAlignEye

Evolution or Entropy?  Life or Death?  The choice is yours!

Bodhisattva

CompassionEL-WordleThe purpose of the spiritual path is to understand Spirit’s story.  The Divine Story is greater than individual truth.  Our life story is the myth we tell ourselves to explain how things got to be the way they are now.  Divine Spirit’s story is about creating a life of love, joy, peace, and abundant life.  Until we dwell in Divine Spirit’s story, we dwell in samsara.  Samsara is the process of making choices from aversion or attraction, desire, obsession, and selfishness.

All spiritual masters and teachers have given the commandment to love one another and to love Divine Spirit above all else.  But, because there is a need to justify our involvement in samsara- students change Spirit’s story to a justification for anger, sexual misconduct, abuse of alcohol and drugs, and being authentic and honest while spewing cruel remarks onto others.  Thus we find those who claim to love Spirit but believe that war, vengeance, and violence is necessary.  Divine Spirit has no enemies.  Spirit’s mercy says, “I do not remember that you have ever offended me.” The true path of Spirit does not massage the ego nor does it make excuses for self-indulgent behavior that causes harm in the life of other beings.

Vows of the Bodhisattva

Bodhisattva means one who chooses the Light.  It is the consciousness of evolving ourselves in a Great Being.  In soul we hold the possibilities of perfect love, peace, and joy.  The vows of the Bodhisattva are our promise to bring more of these possibilities to the world.

130I vow to liberate myself and all beings from suffering.
I vow to destroy all evil passions and seek only the good.
I vow to know the truth, manifest the truth, and become the truth.
I vow to live a life of forgiveness, atonement, compassion, and sacrifice.

I vow to destroy all evil passions and seek only the good.

Evil is deliberately creating harm to ourselves or another.  Once we know a particular energy causes pain and we continue clinging to that energy we are deliberately creating evil.  All of us do this with our favorite hell story.  We claim the emotions involved are something over which we have no control.  We know it hurts us and others but we repeat it anyway.

What if we replace our pain-filled thoughts with other energy.  When the pain story arises, stop; distract yourself.  Focus on your gifts, on what you like about yourself.  Use the tools you have to rid yourself of obsession.

I vow to liberate myself and all beings from suffering.

compassionLiberating ourselves may seem endless because liberation is a process.  We always have a choice between anger, fear, pain, and grief and love, joy, peace, life, and light.  We need to create habituated liberation.  Which means we free ourselves into kindness, generosity, and determination over, and over, and over again.

Bodhisattvas incarnate until all beings are liberated from suffering.  Children born with diseases and disabilities are all bodhisattvas who chose to incarnate to take on the suffering of others.  What are you here to do?  The vows of the Bodhisattva are an aspiration.  The best way to help others is to liberate ourselves from our need to be a savior.  We need to grow into what we want to give away.  We become like water- being available for all to drink.  If we are water some people will want to drink and others won’t.  We cannot make them drink.  Our job is to be like water.

I vow to live a life of forgiveness, atonement, compassion, and sacrifice.

  1. So what? When we fail to live up to our aspirations, we can feel guilty, angry and ashamed or we can think- so what? And get on with life.  Don’t make a hell story to liberate the self from mistakes.
  2. It’s not about me. The world is not waiting for us to make a demonstration of Great Spirit’s story.  We are not that important.  Whatever anyone else says about us- it really is never about us- it is only about the justification of their life story.
  3. What would I do if this didn’t matter? If we were not busy being upset what would we be thinking about?  If we were not obsessed with perfection we might be happy.  Everything we think is not true.  So, why are we thinking about things that create pain and challenge?

bodhisattva_by_meddlerinc-d5kb6njI vow to know the truth, manifest the truth, and become the truth.

Spirit Truth is love, joy, peace, life, and light.  Nothing else is the truth, though lots of  nasty stuff seems very real.  The absolute truth is becoming a cause for joy, sharing kindness, being generous, staying determined to be liberated, and becoming fearless in living life.

How Can We Have Love?

What is necessary to have love in our lives?  Is it someone who loves us and who we also love?  Is it true friends, people to trust, and those who are supportive of us?  Is it belonging?  Is it being accepted as we are and who we are?  In order to have love we have to sacrifice something to get it.  In order to have joy we have to sacrifice something.  In order to have peace we have to sacrifice something.  In order to have abundant energy and good health something must be sacrificed.  What needs to be sacrificed is almost always an unhelpful attitude or belief.

192859-I-m-Letting-Go To have love, one must sacrifice the attitude that we are unlovable, unworthy, or challenged in some way.  We let go of the idea that there is something wrong with us, or that everyone is against us.  To have love we must sacrifice those attitudes, stories, and ways of thinking about ourselves and the world around us.  If we come into the place of divine relationship and find love inside of our heart, it isn’t because we’ve found the right person, set of circumstances, group to belong to, or new family associations.  It’s because we have decided true love is within us and can be found all around us if we are open to receive it.

heartbreak-rejection-lost-love-1 We might go to a  church, meditation, or dharma gathering and declare, “I have never found so much love from a group of strangers than I have here.”  And if we don’t feel welcomed, think we don’t belong, or that people are ignoring us- we will tell a story, or form some kind of belief about what’s wrong with that group of people in order to excuse our inability to feel love and compassion.  Love comes from within us- not from the people around us.   This doesn’t mean that sometimes there are not people who don’t like us.  There probably will be.  No matter how wonderful we are, someone won’t like us.  When people don’t like us or we form dislikes of others it’s the lack of love within our heart or their heart that’s the problem.

But if we are expecting love- mostly we will receive love.  If we are expecting to be disapproved of- mostly we will be disapproved of.  If we have a story of unworthiness- mostly we will experience unworthiness.

In order to have love, something has to be sacrificed.  What needs to sacrificed is whatever story we have about why love doesn’t work for us.  How useful is that story?  We want to think about cutting away the past that doesn’t serve us and keeping only the past things that help us go forward in love.  And if we have an experience where someone doesn’t love us or doesn’t like us, walk on.  Leave them behind.  Why are we dragging them along?  If we cut ties to the things of the past that anchor us into victimization, unhappiness, isolation, not belonging-guess what?  Life is filled with opportunity instead of pain, happiness instead of suffering!

hold-handsYes, it’s true.  We think everyone should love us.  But they won’t.  This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us?  It means someone didn’t like us or love us…that is not our problem.  Our challenge is not being able to love everyone just as they are, in not being filled with Divine Compassion for all beings.  If we are not able to look at everyone and love them, does that mean that they are intrinsically unlovable?  Or that we have just not found the place of love and compassion in our own heart so we can see them with love?

The point of sacrifice is to cutaway, liberate, and detach from the things that actually end up causing our suffering.  If we are attached to stress it’s very hard to be at peace.  If we are attached to being overwhelmed and burdened it will be difficult to find peace.  What would we have to give up or sacrifice in order to create a life that didn’t hold burdens and stress?

Liberation is not always permanent.  But if we are liberated for an hour, we had a good hour.  And then everything fills back up and we have to liberate ourselves again.  We could say that the world provides plenty of opportunities to have be upset and stress.  But it is possible to detach ourselves from the stress of the world through meditation, silence, times of prayer, and going somewhere to be in nature.   We detach ourselves so we may come back to a place of joy, peace and love.  That is why there is the phrase- Be Here Now.

Divine Spirit Awakenings LogoMost of what we have to sacrifice is attachment to what happened in the past, five minutes ago or five years ago.  If we detach from those things, sit in the present, be focused, know who we truly are, be who we truly are, mostly we will be happy.  Mostly we will have the space of joy.  Mostly we will have peace.

There is a Great Beings inside of each of us just waiting to be released.  Why are we keeping that Being locked behind a wall of unhappiness, anger, thwarted desires, and struggling?  What if we decide to know our heart of love?  What if we decide to allow ourselves to be happy now?  What if we let go of what upsets us and allow peace to flow into the crevices and corners of our lives?  Anything is possible for Spirit!  We are Spirit and when we know that anything will be possible for us!

 

Spirit’s Manifestations

There are five basic manifestations of the path of spirit: love, joy, peace, abundant life, and light.

Today, let’s examine the manifestations of love.
The basic nature of humans and most animals is love.

Kindness-cat-and-birdManifestation #1 is Kindness
The first step consists of the golden rule: if you wouldn’t want unpleasant things to happen to you don’t create them for others.  If we don’t want disparaging remarks made about us, then don’t make them about others.  If we don’t want someone responding in irritation and anger, then don’t respond that way.  If we don’t want rejection and betrayal, then don’t reject or betray others.

 

Give away to others only what you are willing to receive for yourself.
This is the practice of holding up all of our actions to examination.  How would I feel if someone said, looked, acted in that way to me?  All of these practices are difficult to establish.  Expect to make mistakes.  As long as we still feel disempowered, unaccepted, unappreciated, belittled, betrayed, angry, or frustrated, we still have that negativity inside of us.  What we feel is ours!  It’s us having the experience.

Once we have accepted that what we feel is ours we can develop the practice of thanking those who allowed us to experience our negative emotions that create suffering.  Once we understand that we are the cause of our suffering we can develop mind habits that free us from suffering.  If we are one with Divine Spirit it doesn’t make any difference what anyone else is doing.

devotionManifestation #2 is Devotion
This is a rule of Love because awakening to passionate admiration for a great being, saint, spiritual teacher, or other representative of Divine Spirit allows one to emulate and model our behavior on someone we respect and hold in high regard. The All Spirit doesn’t require us to adore or worship.  We perform these practices because they awaken love inside of our hearts.  A true spiritual teacher doesn’t need or demand your devotion.  Is Great Spirit diminished because we decide not to pray?  No.  Does it matter to us?  Absolutely.  Devotion changes our relationship to love, kindness, and awakening consciousness.

Thupten_Jinpa_Modern_CompassionManifestation #3 Compassion
Compassion is the willingness to feel and experience the pain of another without needing to fix it, heal it, or do anything about it.  We are the gentle, warm-hearted listener allowing another to express their suffering without benefit of our advice.  Compassion is the practice of seeing a loved one’s face in the face of all other beings.  It’s the ability to truly rejoice in the good that comes to another even as a parent rejoices in the accomplishments of their child without envy or self-interest.  Compassion is the ability to see everyone as worthy.

prayer_t_nvRule #4 Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the willingness to take an active role in relieving suffering.
Here are some ways that might happen:  speak for those whose voices are not heard; give to charities; conduct a clothing or food drive; spend time praying for the benefit of all beings each day; if good things happen for you, dedicate the merit of that good for others.  Walk barefoot and let the pain, shame, and rejection you experience be an energy you carry for those who bear great suffering.  Bless the food you eat that all beings, everywhere, shall be full and content.  When cleaning dedicate that energy so that entities will be freed from their inner pain and feelings of unworthiness.  When in pain, say, As I have and feel this pain, and as it is healed, may it do good for all the people of the world who are in pain.

The practices of love are liberating us through conscious awareness.  To truly practice being love means there is no vacation, and no time off to be human, judgmental, depressed, unworthy, limited, or a gossip. Constant vigilance of our thoughts and behaviors will reap the reward of feeling and knowing love all of the time.  Why would we want to do anything else?

Self & Spirit

Let’s examine three energies of self on the path of spirit.  They are Self-Awareness; Self-Actualization, and Self-Realization.

130922-130551Self-awareness is the way we understand why we do what we do.  Most of the time we tend to live in an unconscious reactive state.  Something happens and we react to it.  Self-awareness allows us to develop an understanding of our reactive states.  Sometimes we might start by using a handy label- we tell ourselves we act in certain ways because we come from a dysfunctional family, we’re an incest survivor, we are recovering from something (alcohol, drugs, abuse, trauma, etc.).  If we discover that we are not a victim we begin to realize we can change our minds about relationships, reactions, and what our past means to us.  As humans we are part of a collective: families, peers/friends, organizations, support groups, cultural or educational identities; as well as a gender, a national, ethnic, or societal group.  If we want to be different we have to understand how these collectives function and what our payoff is by belonging to them. Defining ourselves and then determining, through questioning, if our identity is the one we really want is part of self-awareness.

This is not self-judgment, self-criticism, or self-hatred.  It is a logical assessment of the choices that have led us to where we are and a well thought out assessment of where we might choose to go or who we might choose to be. It’s deciding how we got where we are, and determining what’s next. Self-awareness is fine tuning the energy of our lives.

main-thumbnail1Self-actualization means being able to manifest what we want to manifest.  It’s the ability to motivate ourselves into creating and achieving goals.  We do this through clear visualization and affirmation.  Affirmation is not a wish statement. It’s a clear intention of what we plan to accomplish.  A true affirmation is made with knowledge that the goal is possible.  A wish statement might be: I want my house to sell in two weeks.  An affirmative statement is: I know that my house will sell to the right buyer.  

When we are self-actualized we are not praying, begging, or hoping for divine intervention.  We are aware that a clear, concise plan and the personal energy to manifest that plan will bring the desired results.  And when our original plan doesn’t work we are able to adjust it without fear, guilt, or blame.  Getting our life to be focused, creative, and fulfilling becomes more important than excuses, self-recriminations, and a sense of failure.

thght1260_self_realizationSelf-realization is the knowledge that we are sacred beings, a child of Divine Spirit, and that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with us.  To reach this state of consciousness requires that we have a self-actualized, and self-aware life.  With self-realization or Divine Realization we understand that the only important things in life are to be kind, compassionate, generous, and to offer freely the gifts of grace we have been given.

The Path of Spirit is a do-it-yourself project.  There is no savior, just teachers along the way who can give us formulas or tools to get the job done.  We are the only one’s who can actually do the job of expressing love, joy, and peace within our relationships, our communities, and ourselves.  To come to Spirit-Realization is to become effective, magical, whole, and powerful in the energy of being our sacred self.  This is true self-realization.

 

 

The Power of Prayer

1d1e2bb0541f7fcdfdc747b317477299In dark times, when anxiety overwhelms the humane qualities of compassion and kindness, it becomes necessary to seek inside of ourselves for Divine Connection.  This is the power of prayer.

The world would have us believe that the only way to respond to the pain and injustice around us is by social activism or to rely on various governmental or political authorities to take care of the problem.  Yes, non-profit, humanitarian organizations working for mercy and justice deserve our support.  If possible, we can become actively involved or we can donate money to the cause.  We do whatever we can in these arenas.

83c6ac27d8db06e63eaa32562f654f3fBut there is still more that we can do.  Prayer is an unlimited and often underutilized resource.  Each of us can take the time to develop a consciousness of prayer.  Prayer is turning our mind to Divine Truth- compassion, healing, loving kindness, generosity, and seeing others as ourselves.  Prayer is knowing what could be possible if… If we chose love instead of hate.  If we chose hope instead of despair.  If we believe, with Anne Frank, in the goodness in the hearts of most people.  If we stop allowing media saturation to convince us that the hate-filled, angry, and vocal few that spew their hatred and violence in every news program are the majority.

When we pray it’s important to let go of our fears, depression, and concerns of the world.  Prayer is turning our life over to a Higher Power.  Prayer is resting in the arms of Divine Father and Divine Mother.  It is holding awareness of Spirit Truth and finding a way to manifest that Truth in our thoughts, words, and actions.  The formula for success prayer is:

Rest within the Higher Power
Know the Truth of Spirit- Life, Light, Love, Joy, & Peace
Speak words of Faith from this knowing.
Manifest our words into actions throughout the day.

7b993145dc42d360ba3d7399e55179e4Remember, a mind that is focused on anxiety, fear, anger, and despair knows only these things and sees them everywhere.  A mind that is focused on kindness, hope, and compassion knows only these things and sees them everywhere.

The world is filled with complex, confusing, and contradictory problems.  In addition to supporting social activism through time, money, and action, let us also hold and know- through prayer- that seemingly impossible dreams are often made possible by the focused will of Workers of the Light everywhere.  Let us each Pray and Be that Light in this time of evil and darkness!