Friday, April 27, 2012


"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."  - John F. Kennedy
Many of you know that my spiritual background is that of a fundamentalist Christian, who literally believed every word of the Bible:  Every story, every event, every person listed in that Good Book.  However, I have undergone many paradigm shifts through the last years, and my beliefs have changed considerably.  

Before going any further, let me just say that I know many religious people who are extremely satisfied with their chosen beliefs, and whose lives exemplify love and service.  They are healthy individuals who eat the meat and spit out the bones of religion, rather than being choked by them.
As for me:
My concept of God has expanded from an anthropomorphic view.  I now see God in everyone, regardless of whether they have “invited” him in.  I believe in a Divine Consciousness; a cosmic, universal oneness.  I believe that those who have gone before us are still available to us, so that we can tap into their collective wisdom.  One of my favorite problem-solving meditations, in fact, has me seated at a table with admired souls from history (including my beloved grandparents), who all make themselves available to help me find a solution!  I believe that certain persons throughout history are true spiritual masters, having evolved to such an extent spiritually that they set the supreme example of love, compassion, and peace for the rest of us.

As for an afterlife, reincarnation makes the most sense to me.  When I read about out-of-body and life-after-death experiences, these seem to confirm reincarnation to me.   I also believe that part of what happens in the afterlife is based on what we expect to happen.  It makes sense to me that souls who have adhered strictly to a certain religion would congregate together in the afterlife.   I no longer believe in a literal hell where one is tormented and tortured eternally, with no hope of relief.  I believe that we view, experience, and judge our own actions once we leave this body, and that if more time is required to learn specific lessons, further events will be experienced until we evolve spiritually.   To me, this is much more in line with a philosophy of love than the notion that people will be eternally cast into a pit of darkness for simply failing to adhere to the “correct” set of beliefs.

My goal is to learn absolutely as much as I can during this lifetime.  I want to study and grow, exchange thoughts and views with other people.  I will never again allow any one person or group to dictate to me how I must live or what I must believe.  If I encounter philosophies in the future that make more sense to me than my current ones, I AM FREE TO CHANGE MY BELIEFS…. AND SO ARE YOU!

There is one person to whom and one person for whom you are completely responsible:  YOU.  What others think is best for you, what others think is "The Truth," and even what others want for you is irrelevant.   Everyone is molded and bound by something; the trick is not to allow anyone else’s baggage to bind YOU!    Have you ever wanted to _______?  Is it your secret passion to ________?  As a child, did you feel driven to ________?  Well today is your lucky day!  Because YOU are the one with the ambition and the power to make ________ a reality! 

I have found that The Big Three can be either incredibly beneficial or unbelievably harmful as we walk our road:  Faith, Family, and Finances.  These can either embolden us to live out our dreams, or trap us into a fearful, unsatisfying life.   
“My faith does not allow _____.”  
“My family would be horrified if I _____.”   
“I could never afford to _____.”   

Once you discover who is REALLY in charge, these excuses no longer hold water.  If your religion keeps you from living your dreams, it is time for a DIVORCE.  If your family’s love for you is dependent upon you believing a prescribed doctrine, you both need some shaking up.  And if your finances are currently too limiting to live your dream all at once, you do it the same way you would eat an elephant:  One bite at a time!  Start today.  There are always small steps you can take on the pathway to living your dream. 

SET YOURSELF FREE!   Drop limiting beliefs and limiting people.  Surround yourself with those who support you.  Only read, watch, and do what absolutely inspires you!  One day you will take your last breath.  Until then, I urge you to squeeze every bit of life from every minute you are given!  Don’t waste your valuable time trying to live up to anyone else’s expectations or beliefs.   Learn what it takes to make your own dreams a reality, and get on with it.  If no one else believes you can do it, I DO.  Send me a postcard when you get there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heresy or Enlightenment?

I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods. - Georg Trakl

Namaste, fellow Soul Pilgrims.  Creation is breathing a sigh of relief, freed from the constraints of winter.  

As I am a big fan of springtime, it felt strange to awaken on Easter Sunday feeling blue. I recognized the feeling, as it was present to a lesser degree around Christmas.  Christmas and Easter are the two "holiest" days of Christendom, when even nominal believers make their way into the pews, usually under pressure of family.  This year I was not in their company, and it made me realize that there is loss that comes with liberation, and vice versa.

I recalled the tangible joy I had previously felt when celebrating Christmas and Easter in the company of others who venerated those days.  Easter was especially significant, and it was a very big deal to greet  the church family with the traditional Christian greeting:  "He (Jesus) is risen!", met with the joyous reply: "He is risen, indeed!" 

Those words were so precious to me throughout my life.  They encapsulated my raison d'etreI lived only to reflect God's glory and to draw others to Him - through my particular religion.  For me and others who shared my religious persuasion, life revolved around attending Sunday services, weekly Bible studies, spending time with Christian friends listening to Christian music, discussing Christian books (purchased from a Christian store, of course).   "Drawing others to Him" meant actively seeking out The Lost to convert from their heathen lifestyles. 

I had read many books on how to "witness" to people who were deluded into thinking that their own religion - the one they had either chosen or been raised with - was actually true.  I sincerely believed that I alone held the truth, and was charged with trying to "enlighten" others to the fact that they were believing a lie.  Forget the fact that they cherished their own religious traditions just as I did, taking solace and comfort from their own beliefs.  

The older I get, the more I realize that no one group or philosophy holds the key.  As Ram Dass, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, has said:  "We're all just walking each other home."  Whether our road is that of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other "ism," we are all living in borrowed vessels on borrowed time, until our return to Spirit - which is our natural state.  The religious or philosophical road we travel during our time here will ultimately lead to the same destination.

I understand if this bugs you and gets under your skin.  Pray for my soul if it pleases you.  However, a mind  expanded can never return to its previous dimensions.  While I do miss the feeling of belonging to a club with a special "members only" greeting, it is not enough for me to resume my seat in the pew as if nothing has changed.   I feel that, over the past few years, EVERYTHING has changed. 

I like the freedom that I now have to listen and think and judge for myself.  I like the openness and grace that I now naturally extend to others - not just to those who hold my own views.  A friend recently pointed out to me the irony that, once I left the Church, I became a lot more like Jesus.  

I celebrate being a part of the Universal Consciousness.  I recognize the many truths that are reflected by all members, and give thanks for the Masters who have gone before to show us True Love.  I acknowledge that we are all Soul Pilgrims, passing through this life, walking each other home.  May love, freedom, and grace be our companions along our chosen roads, and may we gain insight with every step.