Bad News

Read the newspaper every day if you want to feel bad, helpless, confused. Read a compendium of the top daily news stories over a long period of time, The Chronicles of the 20th Century, 1900-1987–and you cannot help become aware that newspapers have a very narrow focus of reality.

  • War (international, civil, racial).
  • Natural Disasters (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires, etc.).
  • Wrecks (esp. of boats, planes and busloads of children).
  • Scandal (political, business, civic officials, and celebrity).
  • Famous Deaths (murder or suicide or accidents).

This is the basic steady diet we partake of in the daily newspapers. There has always been plenty of bad news.

However, you might ask yourself, how many of these sad situations do you experience in your personal life on a regular basis? Are you very often involved in war, disaster, wrecks, scandal or death? Of what does your daily life consist?

Reading the paper: “keeping informed; staying up with the issues.” Also one of our founding American tenets, since earlier historical periods limited information or even suppressed the news if it reflected poorly on those in power. Also we like to discuss current events over the coffee pot. We do need to know how we should vote.

But what if all of this bad news is making you feel bad, helpless, sad, confused and depressed. Can you personally stop war-disaster-wrecks-scandal-death? By thinking about it? Worrying about it? Arguing about it? Blaming about it?

What not take a break from the bad news?

Enjoy some flowers or a good book. The bad news (just like a soap opera)will still be there when you get back. Much will have happened and nothing will be better. The bad news never gets better–it’s always the same–bad.

What would happen if you decided to pray for ten minutes a day for those directly in the spotlight of the bad news? And then focus on the good news of your own life? Making your own ‘little world’ a better place? Would that be worth a try? Can you limit yourself to ten minutes of bad news a day? Or is it possible you like being sad? Just things to think about each brand new beautiful day.       Phil

 

Creator 1-A

What is the first lesson of being a creator? The Bible says, “So God created human beings, making them to be like himself.” (Genesis 1:27) Make that the first lesson to learn in your heart: I was made just like God, by God the creator, and since God is a creator, I am a creator.

I’m behind on my rent; my car needs new tires; the boss yells at me. So where’s all this creativity? Maybe it’s time we talked about lesson number two: I create perfectly, divinely and exactly what I believe in my heart and mind.

We’ve all seen a little boy with a hammer and nails and a few scraps of wood who sets out to build a house. After working industriously for a while what he ends up with is a few bent nails, many big dents in the wood and not much else. Depending on the little boy he may be angry or he may be thrilled. Later in life he may become a designer and builder of beautiful homes. The point is that what the child creates is not an indication of what the mature human being will create. Therefore, lesson three: I am a divine creator child learning to create my world.

No matter what you create, no matter how awful it may seem–you always create divinely and perfectly. No matter how messy your little creation, take time to praise yourself for the divine glory of being a creator being whose creative future is guaranteed to be brilliant.

What you absolutely must stop doing to yourself is saying, thinking, believing negative things about yourself. “I’m no good. I have no talent. I’ll never be good enough to amount to anything. I’m trapped in these circumstances and there’s nothing I can do about it.” As young creators, when we say these things to ourselves with passion (usually anger or despair) we send these beliefs to our perfect-creating-processor and self-create these negative images into reality.

Your creative processor works like an old 35mm camera. Whatever you focus and click the shutter on goes right through the lens, onto the film–and develops an exact image that reproduces whatever you pointed at. So what are you pointing your powerful creative processing mind at?

Are you focusing on old sorrows and getting new sorrows? Focusing on “I can’t do that” (and sure enough) you can’t? Stop doing this to yourself as soon as possible. You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re simply dwelling in a very early creative stage and you can move from the cloudiness of doubt into the light of belief as soon as you’re ready.

Most creator children stay within the stormy, messy stage for quite a while–until the creator child learns he is creating his own messes. Once the child gets the “Aha! I am making my own messes!” then the orderly, exciting, joyous, grateful creating begins.

Watch your thoughts and watch your emotions. They are extremely powerful. You are God’s beloved child. You are a perfect and magnificent creator. As God has always intended for you, your future is very bright indeed.       Phil

Divine Order?

What do you picture when you think of Divine Order? Yellow brick roads overstretched with shining rainbows? Your family healthy and well-care for? Peace on earth, good will towards men? Yes, all of this sounds like Divine Order. Yes. And good smooth roads, smooth sailing, comfortable homes, and shopping carts full of fresh, beautiful food. We accept all of this as Divine Order and we are thankful and recognize these things as Divine Order. We say, “Thank You God!”

But what about those other things that happen to us that we are not quite so thrilled about? A car breakdown on the desert. A big income tax bill to pay. A loss in the stock markets. Physical injury from a fall. Personal injury from an insult. Then do we say, “Thank You, God!” If you do–count yourself as a truly enlightened human being! Here is an illuminating story.

It is written that when Buddha was on a journey, a man stepped out, slapped him and insulted him. Buddha said, “Thank you! That was my last piece of karma in this world, and now I am free.” Buddha recognized Divine Order.

All of our hurts and difficulties are challenges that grow us spiritually. We wish at times we could sit on a cushion eating bonbons all day. But what would you learn? Why didn’t Buddha or Jesus float on a pink cloud instead of walking, while doing the hard work of teaching thick-headed, hard-hearted men? Read the lives of great men and women and read a record of extraordinary difficulties overcome. Divine Order.

Think of the most painful experiences you ever had. Truth is, none of these experiences were accidents. If you could perceive the whole truth of your life without the barrier of short-sightedness and limited thinking, you would dis-cover a stunning scene. You would see your Self in the Pre-World (insert whatever word you wish for the place or condition where we exist before coming into Earth). See yourself planning and plotting this very life with a Divine Life Agent (an angel?) and maybe even joking about it. Are you sure you want that Path? That’s a tough one. Oh yes–I do–give me a double load of trouble! Because that will make me twice as strong twice as fast! Divine Order.

The Bible story of Job makes a very clear story of Divine Order. The story is not about riches or good works: it about the condition of Job’s heart. His attitude towards God–and trouble. Satan (trouble) says to God, “Take away everything he has, he will curse you to your face.” Job is the richest man in the East (and so are you when you recognize the incredible creative powers God has given you). God allows trouble to destroy Job’s family and wealth and Job is covered with painful sores. Job doesn’t curse God–he condemns himself. Why was I ever born to face such misery? Job asks the age old question: Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

What really happens is that you attract by your passions the spiritual lessons you need to grow as a spiritual being. Passion is the most magnetic substance in the universe. Hence, ‘bad things’ happen so we can learn ‘good things’. If you are passionately afraid your house will burn down, it will burn down. Divine Order. If you passionately believe your home is divinely protected, no harm will ever come. Divine Order.

What really happens is that you decide whether Divine Order will appear in a negative or positive face. You are a miniature creator, the child of God. God’s child, can you understand you have never failed to create what you believe? Whatever you believe, you will create.

All is Divine Order. All is good. All is perfect. All is well. All is God. Thank You, God!       Phil

Does God Grant War?

War is very much on our mind these days because of world events. We call ourselves civilized who only wish for opportunity to prosper and support our families in a peaceful coexistence with our neighbors. Reports of bombs falling and bullets flying are horrifying and depressing. How can war be such an evident feature of our world’s past and present? Why waste so much material, energy, and human flesh on warfare?

Isn’t war like burning a forest down to get heat? If we grant that God’s system of teaching humankind is through a series of lessons and challenges through which individuals and groups learn, adapt, and progress on vigorous and extremely demanding paths–with an infinite supply of learning materials–it is possible to suppose that war is quite simply a school for learning how to survive badly. War teaches dread of war. Survivors of war usually do not care to repeat or prolong the experience of war once it is over. Those who pursue war are generally destroyed by war.

Considering that millions and millions of human beings have experienced war in the history of this world, how is it possible there are more people who have not experienced war and are willing to try it?

The proposed answer will call for several assumptions–any one of which may be inaccurate–and therefore render the whole model inaccurate.

1. God creates in the beginning with darkness and formless chaos. Genesis 1:1-2. This is taken as ignorance and lack of experience, without knowledge.

2. God creates light and is pleased by light. Genesis 1:3-4. God’s purpose is to begin with an ignorant, innocent substance and add experience or light to it. This is called enlightenment.

It is the purpose of this model to argue that God’s good purpose is to create innocent, ignorant human animals in their individual beginnings and to take them from this beginning darkness and chaos–after countless lives–turning them into loving, selfless, caring human beings. From warriors to saints, an incredible task.

Yet what other explanation (there been thousands) pinpoint what is really going on down here on this Earth? And if any of these proposed assumptions are reasonably accurate then another big question can be posed and answered.

How long will wars be allowed to continue on Earth?

Answer: As long as God keeps sending inexperienced beginner souls to Earth–there will continue the dark spells of war. God is in charge of who is born on Earth, therefore God is in charge of war if this model is correct.

On the other hand, what if God gave birth to an entire generation of deeply experienced souls, loving men and women? War would be completely finished. And might that be our future–and very soon?

Heart Laws

When Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY…I AM THE TRUTH…I AM THE LIFE–” He was not speaking metaphorically–he was pronouncing a profound, incredible fact. Perhaps one way to understand what Jesus meant is to begin by imagining a great sculptor at work. Within the sculptor’s eye is a beautiful figure he wishes to reproduce. First he carefully selects the perfect stone that potentially contains the perfect figure. Then he begins.

Each stroke of the chisel and hammer shears away solid stone. Each masterful blow is telling, each surely delivered stroke is true. The master makes no mistakes, and takes no shortcuts. After a while the beautiful figure that existed only in the sculptor’s mind, now stands perfectly reproduced in the master’s studio.

Likewise, Jesus was a master of confident living–of right moral relationship and conduct. His acts of kindness and generosity, His demonstrations of how humans should act in the face of confusion and conflict, were his masterpiece. The Bible says, “He was not like the other teachers of the Law; he taught with authority.” (Matthew 7:29).

We are apprentices of this Great Teacher, but what He exhorted us to do, we do only imperfectly. But once we have finished committing our mistakes, we do not continue to suffer from them. We are forgiven, and begin to perform beautifully. Jesus said, “No pupil is greater than his teacher; but every pupil, when he has completed his training, will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40).

The rules and laws of any art exist outside of us (like a set of books) until we practice the art. Then slowly, after much work, much practice, many trials and failures, the art becomes part of us. We become incapable of breaking the rules and laws of the art because we know through our own painful experience that only by following the rules will we produce beauty. Breaking them produces rubble. Thereby, they become rules of the heart.

That is why Jesus pronounced: I AM THE TRUTH. The difference being that Jesus was not attempting to learn the Law. He was the Law. (Why He was perfect, why He made no mistakes.) And the equally profound pronouncement: I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE further proclaiming that the Law came fro God the Father–and Jesus was at the same time proclaiming and performing the Law. And even more astonishingly: GO AND DO LIKEWISE. And thus become sons of the Father.

It is these heart laws we have come here to learn. How can people ask, What is the purpose of life? Jesus repeated over and over that becoming rich or powerful or famous was not the meaning of life, that such attainments were meaningless in Heaven.

What are the signs we are learning our apprentice lessons of heart laws? Perhaps it is conscience–the small voice inside that whispers, that won’t leave us alone–when we know we have done wrong–when we have broken a heart law. Then we know the Law has entered our heart. That conscience relentlessly upbraids us until we seek peace and compensation with the ones we have wronged. By a strong conscience you will know that the Law is no longer merely words in a book of laws–but the Law has entered your heart.       Phil

The Eagle’s Room

There is an old story about a baby eagle raised by chickens. The eagle didn’t look like a chicken, didn’t peck or scratch the ground like a chicken, and so was ignored by the chickens, and sometimes even attacked. Then one day the eagle spread its growing wings, jumped from the ground and soared into the sky. The eagle didn’t have a mirror, so he didn’t know he was an eagle until he flew.

So we sometimes wonder–Am I an eagle, or a chicken?

Many of us peck the ground and hope for the best. We hope our good thoughts have wings. We hope our dreams will fly. We pray for good things and hope they will come true. But in this world, often we see our results aren’t as good as our dreams.

But what if this seeming failure of results isn’t quite true? What if there is a mirror we are not looking at? Let’s say a mirror world in which all of our heartfelt dreams come true–a mirror world we are not often allowed to see? (Hint: Thoughts held in mind, create in kind.)

Let’s give this mirror world a subtitle: The Apprentice Creator’s Practice Work Room. Or simply, The Eagle’s Room. It’s a strange, dusty little room with all kinds of weird, half-finished, half-baked creations–and only you can go there, though you seldom do. All of your childhood dreams are there. You dreamed feverishly of being a great artist, or being a gifted player of games, or someone whose thoughts could bring peace and healing to the world.

All the hopes, all the dreams,, all your prayers came true in this Room. You never ever failed to create what you perceived and believed, as richly or as poorly as you could conceive. Your slightest thoughts created worlds. In God’s wisdom, this Room is a safe room for practice creation. Sometimes you have been angry and envisioned destruction. The destruction took place in that Room.

God the great creator who never fails created you in God’s own image–so how could you ever fail to create what you have imagined?

The truth is you have never failed. But, like the eagle, nobody ever told you that you were the perfect creating being, born to fly, born to create. But the chickens have told you to keep on pecking the dirt. So you doubted you could fly, doubted you could create great things, doubted your dreams and prayers could help the world. Since your creative mind works perfectly and always has, you created chicklets instead of eagles.

Half-baked, half-created things, some of these chickens are running around in your life right now. The most important truth is that you are very powerful. You can create anything through deep belief and deep passion. Wonderful, positive works can be created. Also negative, destructive works. Many of the so-called great figures of history simply used their great creative powers for passionately envisioned conquests.

That is why the first study of the mystic is learning self-control of thoughts and passions. Why? Because thoughts and passions–conceived and held passionately–create realities in this world. And the mystic wishes to create peace and harmony in the world.

So what are you thinking? What are you feeling? Many of your dreams aren’t baked hot enough to appear anywhere but in your Room (where you never fail to create). But what you truly, passionately believe you are creating today. Right now. You are an eagle. You are a perfectly created passionate being of a passionate Creator. Your passionate thoughts are the future of this world. Didn’t anyone tell you?       Phil

Calm the Storm

Somewhere in the future of humankind the weather forecaster warns the people of a great hurricane coming from the sea. But instead of telling them to evacuate and run for their lives, the forecaster urges them to hurry to their God Center. In the future churches are called the God Center because people have finally realized that God is omnipotent, everywhere at once, the center of every thing, the power of every thing.

Hundreds of thousands of people hurry to the many nearby temples. Others remain at home and sit in a room they have dedicated to prayer and peace. But it is not like the old days. These people are unafraid and full of faith. The great multitudes of humankind calm their minds and hearts–and then they pray.

And the great hurricane dissolves itself at sea. The people rejoice, thanking God for giving humankind a way to calm the storm. And then they go back to their many good works. It is not like the old days. Now people are calm and know prayer is powerful and they have great faith in God who is the God of every thing. The people of faith do not believe prayer works, they know prayer works.

One of the great Masters stood up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” The wind died down, and there was a great calm. Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?” But they were terribly afraid and began to say to one another, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

When you calm the storm of fear in your heart, at that time your prayer becomes full of power. May God teach all of us how to pray!       Phil

What Must Love Do?

Two brothers grew up in a tough neighborhood. They had to learn fast–run fast or lose your shoes, hat or coat to the bullies. One of the boys became a bully and drank heavily to escape his anger and bitterness and didn’t live a happy life. The other boy worked hard and became a school teacher and loving father. Why did they turn out so differently?

One of the famous Greek philosophers, Diogenes, had a shameful beginning. He and his father were caught counterfeiting money. Diogenes was so ashamed he ran away to Athens. Later, after he gained fame for his wisdom, he said, “It was through this I came to be a philosopher.”

When I was a boy I didn’t have many possessions and my best friend had a lot of toys and spare change laying around. I stole a bag of pennies and a puppet–and I got caught. I was so ashamed I never stole anything again. It was through this that I came to respect property. Maybe all of us have some difficult childhood experiences (or many) that tempers our actions for the rest of our lives. Most likely, in the teen or preteen years, we make a decision about life. Life is a terrible struggle and I must fight others to get what I want. Or, I must not fight others, but rather improve myself and get what I want.

A trauma causes us to experience an energy inside we must sooner or later resolve or express. Often the first reaction is the childish desire to strike back, throw toys, knock down the castle. This is one of the most difficult things about being a human. This desire to destroy must be resisted until a more peaceful idea gives an outlet for our powerful energy. (And all of us are full of very powerful energy). Then we must act constructively and creatively to release this energy. This doesn’t meant we may not defend ourselves from bullies or predators. But the motivation must be for renewed peace and tranquility–not revenge.

Motivation is an important word in the human experience. What is your motive? (What puts you into motion?) Did you intend harm, or good? We believe God intends only good, and good alone. God allows us to have wonderful experiences and also hard experiences. Yet God’s intention if for us to learn and profit from every experience, no matter how challenging. What is the lesson? What is the message?

Our so-called enemy has a message for us. Not only that, God’s highest intention is for us to respond with love, fairness and forgiveness in every situation. Only the child of a god could ever achieve such all enduring love.

Thus we praise the enlightened men and women who expressed such love, who we now deem saints or avatars (which means God coming to earth in a body). But we must come to understand we are all children of the same God; that God by what-ever name created all of us capable of expressing this greatest love. God sends enlightened ones to show us this greatest love is possible, not just for rare and exalted mortals, but for all human beings. These supreme achievements of love are painted on the darkest panels of human history. Yet we must have our terrible experiences to achieve this greatest love.

God knows all of this will take much time, in this world or the next. So we must accept our experiences as lessons. That is all they are intended to be. None of it is punishment. Much of it is a consequence of our previous behavior. An enlightened one said, “Forgive your enemies.” Now we understand: Forgive your persecutor quickly, for he is really a messenger, a teacher, though that may not be his intention.

As long as we are angry, we have a lesson to learn. As long as we are feeling frightened, distressed, spiteful, intolerant, unforgiving–we have a lesson to learn. God will keep sending messengers. Until we respond every time in every situation with love, as enlightened beings, God will send us more lessons, more experiences, until we learn to love.

No matter what is happening to you there is only one question to ask: What must love do?       Phil

The Hero’s Journey

You mean they forgot to tell you that you are the hero of this story? Nobody explained that you are on a mythic quest for fire? The Elixir of Youth? The Horn of Plenty?

Let’s clear the air on this. No real person flew to the sun and took down a burning branch of fire. Nor went halfway around the world to some strange land where the Fountain of Youth was splashing, or the Horn of Plenty was blowing out fruit and roast beef. How about those fire-breathing dragons and plug-ugly trolls the hero always has to deal with before he gets the goodies? You guessed right. No real person has ever seen any such creatures. They are mythological allegories–just like the fire, the elixir, and the horn. You’re supposed to think about them and see how they relate to you. Trouble is, modern people don’t easily relate to these old stories. Trouble is, these same old stories are re-used over and over again in modern clothes of action-adventure movies and cartoons. We are entertained by them–and then we forget about them. We don’t believe for a minute that we could ever be the hero of such an adventure.

Let’s make this very plain. There really are dragons and trolls. There really is a great adventure. And there really is a fire, an elixir, and a horn to be found. Not only that–every phase of your life has already been written and plotted in the hero’s formula. Most of us are stuck in the phase entitled: ‘Refusal of the Call’. That is, the refusal of the challenge–the Call to Adventure. What is this challenge, this call, this adventure?

To be blunt: It is the challenge to your human belief that life is temporary, brief and brutal; that supplies are short and must be fought over. It is the call to believe that life is eternal, abundant, and that life is an overflowing cornucopia if only we have eyes to see it. The stupendous challenge to believe that everywhere you look is God.

The fiery dragons we must defeat are our angers that make us feel our life has not been fair or easy as it should have been. Dragons are extremely difficult to defeat–but once you don’t believe in them–they disappear. The plug-ugly trolls are our fears that life is not abundant, that we must fear death, that God may bless some, but not us. These are very real fears that also disappear once you don’t believe in them, once you are no longer empowering them.

It has been said that the hero goes on a magic journey to the ends of the earth. You may indeed do so, physically as well as spiritually. For much of our journey we are not heroic: the dragons burn us, the trolls twist us into pretzels. Somehow–maybe it takes a long time–we stop being angry; we stop being afraid. We start believing in God and the Universe and what God really is: Everything. Dragons, trolls, as well as fire, elixir, horn of plenty. God is All. And right there is the greatest challenge to the hero. God is All? Are you sure about that? God is All?

Really believing, really knowing God is All–and loving All of God–is truly a tall order for a human being. It’s truly a hero’s challenge. And now you see what is the heart of the hero’s challenge: to gaze out upon the world–and love it All! This could take some time. One sample. God is the soldier; God is the nurse repairing the soldier; God is the minister burying the soldier; God is the person protesting against the soldier. Can you believe it? (One secret clue: Once the ugly frog is kissed it becomes a prince).

And so it is said that the hero–which is you–you return from the ends of the earth only to find that nothing has changed! Except You–You have changed. Your perception of the world has changed. You still see the same old struggle going on. But now you know what you are seeing: your fellow heroes of this world struggling to understand themselves and this world.

When you watch the news of the world today you will see the illusion that the world is not good (and not God). It is a highly maintained illusion and certainly there is nothing ‘new’ about the illusion. Otherwise the hero’s journey would not be so difficult and so real. All of us can testify that the journey is very hard. It really, really is hard to believe all is good and all is God. Anytime you get angry or afraid you are battling the dragon and the troll. You already know how hard it is. You just didn’t know you were a hero.

Do you hear the call? Have you answered the call? You are very capable of this journey. You have the right equipment. You are a hero after all. That doesn’t mean you won’t struggle. But nothing can stop you ever again once you realize you are God’s own beloved child, a child with an infallible destiny: to love all of the world and All of God. Don’t you know you should marvel at yourself when you look at yourself in the mirror? You are the marvel of this world! Don’t you know it yet?       Phil

Time of Anger

We are angry at times, perhaps everyday, perhaps every hour. In our work we see anger flashing. In the world we see anger’s sharp teeth. Is anger the face of evil? What if we see an angry baby or child? Two dogs facing off sometimes express anger. We do not believe they are evil, do we?

Anger is a signal that we do not believe things are going according to or desires and plans. We want things to go easily. We want them to go our way–right now. If we do not get our way we may explode with anger.

What is this part of us that expects things to go so easily according to our desires, if not the immature self, the inner child? At times, anger may be the correct response to a situation. Need to jump across a cliff to survive? A burst of anger will give you an extra lift of energy. More often, anger is a hot energy that wants to destroy rather than to survive or create beauty. Another part of us knows that a person who is master of some art or craft has spent hours practicing, until most of the unwanted motions or mistakes are eliminated or avoided ahead of time. Then art is achieved seemingly effortlessly and without the heat of anger.

So it seems anger is the smoky energy of inexperience, and thus ineffectiveness, that can only be overcome by further experience, which leads to calm mastery. On the other hand, this life provides so many different kinds of experience and drills to be mastered, there seems an infinite opportunity for anger.

Anger must be the emotion of the beginner, the apprentice, with a far longer journey-path towards mastery than expected. The child expects instant gratification. The adult knows practice and repetitions are required.

It is human to feel discouraged, to feel one has failed, to feel the path is endless with no good ending. All of us have felt this way. Hopefully everyone has had the experience of attempting some goal or practice that was at first difficult and then after much experience became splendidly easy and satisfying.

Certainly we all remember trying to tie our shoes that first time. Now it is done almost unconsciously, our fingers knowing just what to do and at high speed! Older now, our tasks and challenges are far more complicated and demand much greater refinement.

If we recognize our feeling of frustration as merely the energy of a beginner then perhaps we can accept anger as a gauge of our progress. We are far beyond getting angry at tying our shoes or hitting a ball. We are now attempting very difficult things. We have much longer apprenticeships.

We are now attempting to become compassionate beings. This is the highest achievement in the universe. To be loving, patient and kind in every moment is far beyond any achievement with a piano, paintbrush or ball. If you experience a puff of anger you can say, “This is just another apprentice moment, but I will keep trying until the art comes to me. It is only a matter of time. I will let the anger go–and try again.” Anger is actually self criticism, or criticism of another person. Let this anger go and get on with your work.

It is pleasing and satisfying to watch a master at work. The master sees difficulties before they arise–and the master is smiling. The calm smile is the face of the master. When you are experiencing the heat of anger, picture the master’s smiling face. That face belongs to you, when you are the master.       Phil