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July 2007
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Morning meditation - Drop the self justification and listen

There is a difference between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is more substantial and comes from right thinking and right feeling. Perception is often skewed and inaccurate. There is the cynical statement that "perception is reality" but nothing could be further from the truth because reality is often misperceived or not perceived at all.

Another slogan says, "Don't believe everything you think." Our thoughts are often inaccurate and in error. When confronted with information which does not fit with our opinions, our beliefs, our frames of references, we often discount this new information in an attempt to self justify. This self justification becomes the basis for sin. We become alienated from reality and our continued justification of misperceptions and faulty thinking eventually leads to negative consequences. Another word for this is "denial". People engage in denial out of fear. It is their fear which prevents them from making new beliefs and opinions and better judgments. The ego's need "to be right" is more powerful than the person's need for true knowledge.

Another slogan is "My mind is made up; don't bother me with the facts." Any new information must be forced into my existing belief system or I will reject it as nonsense and thus I engage in what the social psychologists call "confirmation bias." This inability to perceive and accept information that would threaten one's existing belief system leaves many people living in a dream world, in a world of unreality, where they feel safe as long as information and beliefs don't threaten their belief system.

In the spiritual life we understand that our perceptions are often inaccurate, skewed, and "unreal". We humbly listen to others and to our inner intuition to what seems to be right. This process of humbly listening is called discernment. We attempt to understand God's will for us and set aside our own will. As we know from our Christian prayer, the Our Father, which Jesus taught is "... Thy kingdom come, Thy will be down on earth as it is in heaven." It is God's will this is important, not my will, and when I can bring my will in to alignment with God's will, God and I are a dynamic duo. As St. Paul says, "If God is with you, who can be against you?"

Drop the self justification and listen.


Quote of the day

"It is a depressing world where we believe that sooner or later bad things are bound to happen to us, and our unhappy experiences from the past will repeat themselves in the future."

Gerald Jampolsky, Goodbye to Guilt: Releasing Fear Through Forgiveness, p. 17


Morning meditation - We are love

As we move through this world we sometimes sense that it is an illusion, a great play in which we are acting. We sense that beyond this superficial drama there is vast meaning which we cannot comprehend. St. Paul says that we look through a dark glass at something we can't quite see.

In the spiritual life, we turn inward as we attempt to see the infinity within. We sense that we are part of something quite larger but our ego objects and cries, "me", "me", "me", but we know better. We know we are part of something which we cannot comprehend and that it is not about "me", "me", "me" but about us all and the whole universe. In the spiritual life we live in mystery. We try to stay connected to the Tao. We search for God. We are looking for love. We start to realize that we are love.


Morning meditation - Holiness supercedes duality

The world of the ego is made up of dualistic thinking. There is the subject and the object, the ying and the yang, the thinker and the thing thought about. However, on deeper reflection we become aware that the subject and the object, the ying and the yang, the thinker and the thing thought about are but parts of one thing, a unity, a whole. When duality disappears wholeness (holiness) appears.

In the spiritual life, we are aware of the holiness that surrounds us, that we are part of, that is the expression of God's love and grace. As the Buddhist monk said to the hot dog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

In meditation, we seek the unity of the universe. We surrender to our Higher Power whatever we conceive our Higher Power to be. As St. Paul says, "If God is with you who can be against you?"


Quote of the day

"The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in a single, solitary, even humble individual. For it is within the soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost."

Henry David Thoreau


Morning meditation - Go in peace

Fear of death is natural. We don't know what to expect after our existence in this life ends. It may be the same as what came before our birth, nothingness. At any rate, death gives our lives finitude. It is the ultimate boundary.

In the spiritual life, we learn to live in the here and now. We learn to appreciate the day and not worry about tomorrow until tomorrow. We take each day as it comes, as a gift. And when our time here is up, we intend to go in peace.


How many dead in Iraq? Is President Bush wrong?

What's up with President Bush's callous attitude toward the number of people killed in Iraq? Here's the story on The Real News  where they interview Les Roberts one of the authors who did the study and wrote the article in Lancet medical journal estimating the number of dead in Iraq which President Bush said was "not credible".

Last year, the medical journal The Lancet published an estimate of 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq based on a demographic study conducted by field workers questioning people in clusters throughout Iraq.

The group Just Foreign Policy has taken that number and projected it using Iraq Body Count, which tallies deaths reported by Western media sources. This leads to a rough estimate that one million Iraqis have now been killed in the conflict since the U.S.'s 2003 invasion and occupation.

When The Lancet published the 650,000 estimate, President George W. Bush said: "600,000 or whatever they guessed at is just, it's not credible."

We speak to Les Roberts, now at Columbia University, who is co-author of The Lancet piece "Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey." Roberts has studied other conflicts, including in Congo, where his estimates have been widely accepted.

To watch a TV interview of one of the researchers click on the link below.

Link: The Real News.


Morning meditation - Composure is knowing that life is as it is meant to be

If life is a manifestation of the divine force, and the divine force is infinite and eternal as far as we know, then individual souls are a variety of manifestations of the same divine force. As observers of the various manifestations of the divine force we watch manifestations come and go and we rejoice at births and grieve at deaths, but know, with composure, that these are only manifestations of the same thing: the oversoul as the transcendalists called it, the "force" as Luke Skywalker speaks of it in the Star Wars movies, and most religions refer to this force as God or Allah.

In the spiritual life, we witness the manifestations and as co-creators with the divine force, we facilitate its manifestations. Hopefully, we do this with awareness, with wisdom, with compassion and love, and with composure knowing that life manifests as it is meant to be.