Morning meditation - Choose joy and love; reject hate and fear

What would it be like to see the world afresh, in a whole new light, not as the world sees but as God sees it? It is easy to get depressed, discouraged, anxious, and even delusional, and yet these disturbing thoughts are created by our mutual minds which, thinking egotistical thoughts, act in destructive and dysfunctional ways based on warped beliefs. Suppose we gave all that up?

The first reaction to giving up our egotisical thinking is one of great fear as we experience it as a tremendous threat to our sense of self and the world, but these thoughts, beliefs, values and practices bring much pain, and little or no joy, so why cling to them? Changing one's mind is one of the most radical and revolutionary things a person can do.

If we were to change our minds from our egotistical preoccupations what would we change our minds to? What would bring us joy? Probably to change our minds to things of love, compassion, understanding, peace, support, and creativity. "Easier said than done," say many people. "Fanciful thinking. Let's get realistic," say others. "What planet are you living on," say the scoffers.

Jesus is quite clear when he says that the way to the Kingdom is to "love as I have loved." In the spiritual life we pursue this program, but this often requires us to give up the ego's program for us. We have to set our ego's aside and pursue another agenda. Millions of people do it everyday and interestingly it is rarely reported in the newspaper, the six o'clock news, the cable TV and radio talk shows. As the bumper sticker says, change is inevitable, progess is optional. I choose joy and love and reject hate and fear.

Morning meditation - None of our egos makes it out of this thing called life alive

As humans we are meaning making animals. We perceive facts and events in our lives and then we make interpretations about them. Are they good or bad, a blessing or a curse, something I wanted or didn't want, agree with or disagree with? These interpretations are projections which we place on the objects or events which heavily influence what we perceive in the first place. If our perceptions are in conflict with our interpretations or beliefs which we have created we attempt to alter the fact or event in a self justifying way to bring the fact or event into agreement with our projections. In this way we create our own realities.

There is, however, a whole other reality which God has made and to which we are often blind or at odds. This conflict between our reality and God's reality creates great fear and anxiety in us. This anxiety we manage by turning to mood altering behaviors and subtances and by attack thoughts and behaviors. The use of mood altering behaviors and substances and engaging in attack thoughts and behaviors only make things worse and further alienate us from God's reality.

In the spiritual life we attempt to set our self justifying projections aside. We work to see things differently not as our ego would see them but as God sees them. This takes awareness, discipline, courage, and faith. As Jesus says, "All are called but few are chosen" which simply means that we all have the potential to reach enlightenment, but few brave souls will persevere and endure to achieve the goal. However, the more that do become enlightened the more souls there will be to help others and it is my faith that humanity will continue to evolve until we all make it. We are all in this thing called life together and none of our egos make it out alive.

Morning meditation - Being incorporated into the mind of God

Self esteem is an odd thing for it implies that we must feed the narcissistic demands of our ego. Our ego is a false self and is not who we really are. As a child of God, a manifestation of the Tao, the spiritual teachers tell us we are immortal, we will live forever, but our ego will die, often kicking and screaming.

The ego must eventually surrender to a Higher Power, but most egos don't do this without a fight. In Alcoholic Anonymous, they teach that the first step of recovery is admitting that there is a problem and then being willing to surrender, to acknowledge that one's ego is not the center of the universe, but that there is a much greater force at work in the world.

In AA there are many slogans like One Day At A Time, Fake It Till You Make It, If You Always Do What You Always Did, You'll Always Get What You Always Got, and my favorite AA slogan is Let Go and Let God or sometimes it is said as You Do Your Best And God Will Do The Rest, and sometimes it is said as simply as Let Go.

It is in surrending the ego that we open ourselves to being incorporated into the Mind of God.

Morning meditation - Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

As human beings we harbor attack thoughts especially when we are threatened or fearful in some way. We put other people down, criticize them, gossip about them, and perhaps even lie and bear false witness in some way hoping to run them down and destroy their credibility. It seems that our political campaigns these days are full of "negative campaigning" and with the obsequiousness of hate talk radio and cable TV it seems like smear campaigns have become the new standard of debate and discussion in our society.

This smearing and attacking of opponents is a toxic poison which pollutes the spiritual and mental environment of our personal and civic life. It creates fear in us at a very basic and primitive level. We live in fear of being targeted ourselves for humiliation, ridicule, shame, and disrespect. As Richard Nixon said one time, "The best defense is a good offense," or as the slogan goes, "Get them before they get you."

This fear of vulnerability is born out of the misperception that we can actually impugn the integrity of a person who is a child of God. We are not our social identity, our reputation, our social status. Deeper down we know that we are the beloved child of God, Mother Nature, Tao, Allah, our Higher Power. Knowing this, we realize that at a spiritual level we are invulnerable. We find a place of strength within which comes from knowing, as St. Paul says, "If God is with you, who can be against you?"

Back in the 60s we used to call an attack a "mind fuck", or we would say that the persecutor was "tripping". Indeed, we are not only victims, but we also "mind fuck" other people and "trip" all the time, but when we realize that the fear, hate, anger, depression, shame, humiliation, rejection, abandonment we experience is only the consequence of the games we play on the earth plane, we learn to rise above it and find our treasure in places not of this world. When we attack others, we our attacking ourselves because we are demonstrating our belief in vulnerability which spiritually is unreal and a misperception. Jesus says as he is being executed, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Jesus was right; they didn't, and the miracle of Jesus' death is that He demonstrated for humanity the power of spiritual resurrection. That same miracle of resurrection, born from forgiveness and awareness, is available to us all.

Morning meditation - Finding our way into heaven

Much has been made over the last few years of the idea of the purpose driven life. Does our life have a purpose, and if so, from what is our purpose derrived?

The purpose of one's life is an existential question. What is the meaning of existence? Are we here to serve only ourselves and the needs of our ego? Most spiritual teachings say "No!" We are here, say the spiritual masters, to commune with God, Tao, Allah, Mother Nature, our Higher Power, the Ground Of Our Being. And why would we want to commune with God? Because it gives God and us great joy, great delight, great peace and contentment.

In order to commune with God we have to check our egos at the door. The ego often misperceives, is judgmental, is self-justifying which separates itself from others and from God. The ego becomes close hearted, exclusionary, and becomes increasingly filled with fear. The path to God is to become open hearted, inclusive, and loving. We live in a world where many people do not yet understand this. However, increasingly, as human beings, we are learning that the way to peace, to joy, to happiness, is to set our egos aside and this dismissal is very perturbing and upsetting to the ego. It appears that in checking the ego at the door, it is much easier and more likely that we can find our way into heaven.

Morning meditation - Witnessing leads to love and humor

We are not our bodies because our bodies are changing throughout our life span. We are not our minds, our thoughts, because we change our thoughts all the time. We are not our feelings because our feelings can be like a roller coaster and they change constantly. We are not our personality because we can change our personalities when we identify traits or characteristics which we don't like. So, as a human being, who am I?

The better part of me is the witness. The witness is the observer, that part of me which watches my body, my thoughts, my feelings, my personality. Some people call the witness the soul. If there is part of us which survives death, it may be the witness.

The witness cares about the kind of persons we are and are becoming. It is this caring which is love. Love is caring about the kind of person you are and taking care of yourself, you want to care for other humans and the world.

In the spiritual life, we cultivate the witness. We become good observers and it is through witnessing that we develop greater experiences of compassionate love, and a good sense of humor.

Morning meditation - Upon God we depend

By the meaning I make of the events in my life I create my own reality. Is the glass half full or half empty? Are the events that occur in my life a blessing or a curse, good or bad, right or wrong? As the Buddhists say "It is what it is," which is a way to acceptance when we want to object, to resist, to undo, and it may be more accurate to say, "it is what I make it out to be."

Indeed, we humans are trapped inside our own thought systems. It is inside this thought system that our sense of reality is formed. Looked at this way, our realities are not real, but products of our own making. Perhaps there is a whole reality beyond our individually, human made reality. Every now and then we get a glimpse of it and we realize that perhaps our interpretations, our meaning making is not right, is off, is the hell which we have created for ourselves.

The mystics tell us to "wake up!" The mystics tell us we are sleep walking in our own trance. The epitome of the spiritual life is enlightenment, realization, awareness. This epiphany comes from surrendering to God, to Tao, to our higher power realizing that we did not create ourselves but that we come from God and upon God we depend.

Morning meditation - Ya never know

It says in A Course In Miracles:

A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have never met, and produce undreamed changes in situations of which you are not even aware.

And we never know, do we, the ripple effects that our acts of kindness and love have? They radiate out and the world is a better place. God's creation experiences joy that there is heaven on earth.

So go about your life with kindness and joy in your heart and even though you may believe it makes little difference our faith tells us that it is very significant, very important. It is first of all important to you because you are fulfilling your true purpose in life, and secondly it is very important to all who experience the postive karma which has been dispatched to people and places not even imagined nor intended.

Keep the faith and be a miracle worker even with no apparent immediate effect. Ya never know!

Morning meditation - Returning to your inner light

How well do any of us know ourselves, really? People are like onions. We have layer upon layer upon layer upon layer until we get right down to the heart of a person. We can think of these layers as circles of privacy and as we move deeper through the layers of the onion we get to levels where there are things about ourselves that even we don't know, are conscious of, yet.

Moving down to the deeper recesses of ourselves can be a frightening experience for people. They have repressed long ago forbidden feelings or experiences that they would very much like to forget because they were so painful or there is a tremendous fear of their causing pain.

Perhaps the biggest fear that we have is shame. We tremble at the realization of our inadequacies, our defects. We live in fear that others might find out or we, ourselves, might come to awareness, that we are defective in some way. To be subjected to ridicule, scorn, criticism, rejection, and abandonment is one of the most painful experiences that humans experience. We avoid it at all cost turning ouselves into somebody we aren't and trying to save face, project a pretense, and create a false self which, over time, leads us to disconnect from our authentic self and loose touch with and forget who we really are.

At our core we are a piece of the Divine spark. We are precious diamonds encrusted in dirt, slag, and shit. This is hard to believe for most of us, but we have to remind ourselves that it must be true because God doesn't make junk.

In the spiritual life we are aware that the path to this divine spark within is forgiveness. It is in forgiving ourselves and others that we chip aware the dirt, slag, and shit, and allow the brilliance to shine through. As the old spiritual says, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." We can let it shine when we once again uncover the spark. Are you aware of your light?

Morning meditation - Looking for the divine spark so we can fan it into flame

The ego, our vanity, interferes with our ability to be right minded. Self justification leads us to perceive and agree with only those things that validate and affirm our current world view and view of ourselves. Everything else arouses fear and anxiety and we become defensive. We close our hearts and become hard hearted.

What would it be like to be open hearted? How can we listen generously, respond compassionately to people and things which threaten us? This is the work of a master and those who aspire to enlightenment.

Enlightenment is not some lofty state of mystical reverie but rather the result of much effort, discipline, and accomplishment in mastering one's own ego, one's own inclination to self justification, and being open, in love, to people and things in the world with which we find distasteful and would not agree. Jesus tells us unbelievably that we must love our enemies. He tells his disciples that the way to the kingdom is to "love as I have loved". This is the spiritual practice to which Jesus calls us but few listen. It says in A Course In Miracles:

I cannot choose for you, but I can help you make your own right choice. "Many are called but few are chosen," should be, "All are called, but few choose to listen." Therefore, they do not choose right. The "chosen ones" are merely those wo choose right sooner. Right minds can do this now, and they will find rest unto their souls. God knows you only in peace, and this is your reality.

In the spiritual life we set the ego aside. In the name of love we give up self justification and we listen for and look for the divine spark in others. Finding the spark we gently blow on it hoping it wil burst into flame.