StevenC's blog

Guest Author: 
Dr. Bruce Tallman

 

God does not have to “intervene” in human affairs, as if God was swooping in from the outside, because God is everywhere and always has been. If anything, we humans are the interlopers, not God. As psychologist Carl Jung engraved in stone above his home’s entrance, “Summoned or not, God will be there.”

When Moses asked God what God’s name was, God said “I Am.” In other words, God is pure being, or “Being-Itself.” But God is also “Becoming-Itself.” God’s love is moving the whole evolutionary process forward toward God’s reign of wisdom, joy, justice, peace, and love.

This is evidenced by the fact that evolution has consistently moved in a spiritual direction: from rocks and water to plants and animals to humans and further to the spread of major religions around the world. So the direction is: matter to life to thought to spirit.

As a thought-experiment, let’s consider that possibly Jesus wanted to take things a further step, to a religion beyond religion — a meta-religion for everyone (“meta” means “beyond”).

His first major teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, starts with the Beatitudes, in which he outlines true happiness. In short: “Happy are the humble, the just, the pure in heart, and the peaceful.” He undoubtedly meant this for all human beings, not just his Jewish listeners.

We can resist his vision and the whole evolutionary process of course, and religious people have sometimes been the biggest resisters. The root of religion is “ligio” which means “to join” (same root as ligament), but religion can be used to hate and divide. Non-religious people can hate and divide people too, so the real problem is the human heart, rather than religion or atheism.

 “Are you becoming a wise and compassionate human being?”

I am not sure if it matters to God if you call yourself Christian, Jewish, Hindu, agnostic, or atheist if you are unkind. God’s key question is probably “Are you becoming a wise and compassionate human being?”

Along these lines, Aldous Huxley wrote The Perennial Philosophy in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, in which he noted that world peace should be possible because the same themes occur perennially in all religions: charity, peace, and kindness. All that is required is for believers to practise these values.

Brother Wayne Teasdale, a Catholic monk, more recently said the same thing in Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions (1999). All the major religions in fact have more in common than our differences.

Christians regularly say that God is love, but maybe we could go beyond this and affirm that God is also wisdom, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. These are values everyone can agree on, whether they are religious or not.

Thus there may be a universal spirituality, not just for religious people, but for all human beings. If anyone, atheist or believer, experiences wisdom, joy, love, and peace, they are experiencing God working within them, urging them on to become fuller, more evolved human beings.

This is happening all the time because God is in all our lives, not only in those who are religious but also in the “spiritual but not religious,” and even in those who claim they are not spiritual. All of us want more happiness in our lives, so everyone is in fact spiritual and experiences God, whether they admit it or not.

This meta-religion of universal spirituality, this religion beyond religion, may be similar to what Jesus, Huxley, and Teasdale proposed. Hopefully, it is something we could all agree and work together on. The goal of all education, religious or otherwise, should be to produce more wise and compassionate human beings.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Marcia Smith-Wood

     

 

 

“Look at the bug,” my friend says.

I turn my head and suddenly see not a bug

but a large dragonfly - resting flat against the back of the chair near me

its four huge translucent black and white striped wings spread wide and motionless

in the sunlight,

total stillness,

quiet,

and yet more.

 

In wordless wonder my soul silently asks,

Are you daring me to see you?

I know the answer before I hear it inside me:

      “Yes.”

 

You’re a messenger, aren’t you, daring me to accept a much resisted but holy invitation?

Daring me to stop the distracting busyness of my life?

      “Yes.”

Daring me to learn to rest like you in the sunlight

to finally spread my soul’s wings in quietness and wonder,

totally still and totally vulnerable ...

open, finally listening deeply to the light-filled, life-transforming love of the Divine One?

      “Yes.”

 

Huge round unblinking black eyes.

Narrow long light blue body.

Four huge translucent wings

totally still and totally vulnerable in the life-giving sunlight.

 

I remember that it takes two years after hatching

two years of growing as a vulnerable, fragile nymph

before the nymph’’s final metamorphosis into a dragonfly

Two long years surviving in this beautiful but often brutal world

Two long years before the dragonfly finally is ready to be who it was created to be.

 

“Yes. You are seeing the truth. I am a living invitation, which some call a metaphor.

     If I can do it, so can you.

     What you have been through has taught you much; has grown you much.

     But now this stage is over.

     It’s time. Let go of earlier stages. Let it all go.

    What are you afraid of?

    Have you forgotten the words of the Holy Oneness,

    with which you comfort everyone else?

    - “Fear not, I am with you.” -

 

“Yes. That’s it. Breathe. BREATHE!

      Relax your fear-based fighting muscles.

      Relax your fear-based, please-everyone-else muscles.

      Let go of what other people think.

      Let go of those who tell you, with the best of intentions,

      what they think you ought to be.

 

“ ‘Look at the bug,’ your friend said when he saw me, but never really saw me.

     You saw me.

     You know the truth.

     Dare to be who you were created to be! Dare to see who you really are.

     Dare to become who you were born to be ... even if no one else understands.

     Now! Have courage! Have joy!

     It’s time. Fear not!”

 

"Spread your soul’s wings wide; rest in God’s Presence and be transformed.

     It’s time.

     It’s time to love yourself. It’s time to be your Self in this world."

Guest Author: 
Carissa A. Kane

                                                          

 

It serves us well to remember that while the sun greets each day and the moon bids it farewell, each day is not the same. Though the hours in a day remain the same, each day offers countless possibilities and opportunities. In order to pursue or partake of them, though, often requires one to make a change.While we do need some things to be consistent and to have some structure, it is often good to re-evaluate our routines. Are there ways in which I have become closed off to that which is new or different? Is there room for change?

Guest Author: 
Aprille Jordan

My first experience with Spiritual Direction took me by surprise. I was going through grief and in the midst of transition. During this time, I was invited by a not-so-close friend to meet weekly for conversation and prayer. I accepted her invitation and discovered that although she wasn’t an accredited spiritual director, she was a naturally gifted one. She provided for me what I then came to expect from Spiritual Direction: a focused listening ear.

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

                      

Guest Author: 
Anil Singh-Molares

 

Editor's note: The executive director of Spirtual Directors International, Anil Singh-Molares, wrote a version of this piece for the SDI newsletter "Listen"  earlier this year. The response from our membership was so positive and strong we wanted to share it here in hopes of widening the discussion and hearing more from the community. Please let us know what your answer is below in the comments. (And for context on the above quote -- check out the cool 4-minute video with Rev. Vaccariello.

Guest Author: 
Tessi Muskrat Rickabaugh
 

 

My mom and brother both got married this summer. A second marriage for my mom, in the beautiful mountains of Colorado; a lovely outdoor ceremony for my brother, with just a touch of the melodrama required of a couple who met and bonded over a mutual interest in science fiction epics and theatre. Sharing two weddings with my sprawling and increasingly diverse family has given me a richness of time to sit with the question of what it is that keeps us together, and why it works.

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