Category Archives: The Way of Peace

The wandering will

Cartesian space
A vector in a three-dimensional space.

I envision the emotional or spiritual world as a ten-dimensional space, in which a vector (arrow) beginning at the origin (the center of the space) depicts a person’s emotional state at any point in time.  The vector’s length indicates the intensity of one’s emotions at a given moment, while its direction indicates what kinds of feelings those are — equal parts joy and sadness, for example, or some anger and much love.

These are the energies one is emanating at that moment, the kinds of light or darkness one creates.
Continue reading The wandering will

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Major changes coming.

The last five chapters of The Way of Peace (TWOP) are finished and will be released on consecutive days beginning 11/10/18.  Thereafter, in order to get all chapters of TWOP together in one place, I will change the dates of the existing previous chapters to make them contiguous with the new ones.

The text of TWOP makes reference to perhaps two dozen other regular posts.  To be determined: whether or not to redate those posts as well to make them contiguous with the main body of TWOP.  That may necessitate, in turn, redating some already published Monday, Thursday and Saturday posts.

So there may be a big shakeup.

Co-creators with God

From “Learning to pray:”  “[T]he most common mistake I observe in other folks’ prayers [is] an assumption that God is distant and apart from human beings.”

My belief is at the opposite extreme.

On the one hand, God’s omnipresence means that God is fully present to every cubic centimeter of empty space, to every atom and electron of your being.

If, as I believe, God is All — which must be so, if God is infinite, since if God is truly infinite there cannot be any thing that is not part of God — then every speck of matter that exists is actually part of God.
Continue reading Co-creators with God

The Life Force: Use and abuse

Emmet Fox’s “Your Heart’s Desire” begins:

“An old adage says, ‘God has a plan for every man, and He has one for you,’ and this is absolutely correct.  Your real problem, therefore, in fact the only problem that you ever have, is to find your true place in life.  Find that, and everything else will follow almost automatically.  You will be perfectly happy; and upon happiness, health will follow.  You will be really prosperous.  You will have all the supply that you require to meet your needs, and this means that you will have perfect freedom; for poverty and freedom cannot go together. Until you do find your true place in life, however, you never will be really happy, no matter how much money or distinction you may acquire; and until you are happy, you will be neither healthy nor free.”

This scenario of health, happiness and prosperity is similar enough to the discussion of self-esteem in “Courage to Walk Unarmed” and to previous discussions here of emotional intelligence or wisdom.

Later in Fox’s piece comes what I regard as the premiere text about right and wrong use of the life force:

“There is only one Fundamental Energy in the universe, but this energy may be applied by us either constructively or destructively, because God has given us Free Will.  When we use it constructively, we are acting in harmony with the Will of God, and we are improving ourselves and our lives in every possible respect, and we are helping the world in general, too.  When we use it destructively, we damage ourselves, retard our progress, and waste an opportunity of helping mankind at large.

“We use our energy destructively whenever we think or talk fear and limitation; whenever we grumble, or give way to self-pity, or indulge in useless regrets, or, in fact, in any form of negative thinking.  Most of all do we use our God given energy destructively when we hold thoughts of criticism and condemnation of others.  All bitterness, resentment, spiritual pride, and self-righteousness, are peculiarly disastrous methods of misusing the Great Power, and that is why such thinking causes the terrible havoc that it does in people’s lives.

“When we are in a condition of fear, anger, or worry, our Divine Energy, instead of flowing, in some positive, creative work, becomes dammed up within ourselves, like the water in the garden hose, and produces all sorts of trouble in soul and body.  Meanwhile, our true work in life is either missed altogether, or, starved of the supply of Life Force which it should receive, it languishes accordingly, and we get mediocrity, poverty, and failure.”

One’s “true work in life” refers to what Fox calls “your heart’s desire:” the unique way you and you alone can “let your light so shine” as to maximize benefit to yourself and others.

Mis-use of the life force creates poverty.

Wealth doesn’t create happiness; happiness creates wealth.

We will explore this more in subsequent posts.

———— ♦ ————

This is the second in a series of five posts:
“Just how bad do you think you’ve got it?” – September 27, 2018
The Life Force: Use and abuse – Today
Co-creators with God – October 11, 2014
The wandering will – October 18, 2014
The path of presence – October 25, 2018

(Originally posted 05/17/14.)

“Just how bad do you think you’ve got it?”

At the shelter, we’re required to attend chapel for an hour every night. I normally find it just as edifying as a traffic jam.

The group from “Guilford” presents on the fourth Monday every month. About a dozen of them come. Their leader is J_____ R__.  Different ones preach in different months. When J_____ R__ preaches, the message is always the same.

“Just how bad do you think you’ve got it?”
Continue reading “Just how bad do you think you’ve got it?”

About organized religion

July 1, 2018

The evils of organized religion need no rehearsal here.

People rightly question whether it has any right to exist.

To respond, I can begin with an examination of the life of one single man, John Lee Cowell.

Read this:

BART killing: Divergent paths met tragically on Oakland platform

That this was a white-on-black crime led to a spasm of hysteria.(*)

No heaven or hell is of interest to me except the living heaven or living hell folk create in this life, here and now, for themselves and one another.  Clearly, Cowell has spent his life creating just such a living hell.

But before he ever did that, there is the living hell he was born into.(**)

No theodicy can justify this apart from belief in reincarnation.

The question is how one got into that situation, and how one may get out.

Karma as results

It may be easy, too easy, to imagine how this individual got himself into that situation:  it’s “bad karma” rising from the bad things he’s done in the past.  There may be a less judg-mental way to look at it, an alternative to seeing karma as rewards and punishments.  Indeed, the God I worship and believe in doesn’t deal in either one.

I’m not good at video games.

One I played a few times involved fighter spacecraft engaged in battle.  Again and again, this happened (which is why I gave up on the game): I’d launch an on-target weapons blast that destroyed the enemy craft; but, as the pieces of its wreckage continued on through space along their own paths, I’d ineptly steer my craft into the path of one or more of them, and so be destroyed myself.

Similarly, for better or worse, karma is a matter of one’s meeting the results of one’s own actions.  It is composed of spiritual material that is just as — material — in its own world, as any material object is in ours.  Like those pieces of wreckage careening through space, or like billiard balls rolling across a pool table, each one — with its own momentum and inertia — will continue on its path unless something happens to redirect it or dissolve it.

Expiation of karma

I have lived at times in dread of what bad things I have done in previous lives that may come back to create unforseen, inevitable disaster in my future in this life.  There is no need to do so; no need to explore one’s presumed past lives in search of such information.  For from moment to moment, day to day, one meets one’s karma from this life and the past; as little or much as one can deal with, at the moment.

One who lives as Jesus taught is prone to present one’s best self at all times; the best self one can be at the moment, from moment to moment.  In this way, such a person is not only creating the best possible present for oneself and one’s community, but also sending favorable karma into one’s own future.

By the same token, one who lives as Jesus taught is best equipped from moment to moment to deal positively with life’s difficulties as they occur.  Those difficulties inevitably include the negative karma from one’s past.  Dealing positively with such events expiates that karma, sublimating evil into good, changing darkness into light.

Forgiveness

In recent days, I have been assembling a list of Bible verses to examine in the chapter, “Other Jesus sayings.”  I puzzled over the significance of these:

  • Mark 11:25: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
  • Matthew 18:35: “So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
  • Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18: “[W]hatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

The last one seems to me to be about forgiveness also:  “loosing” a bond refers to forgiving an offense; “binding” refers to not-forgiving.

The way of the world

is to not-forgive, but rather retaliate.  Much of what we see, in the world, is a matter of negativity between persons going back and forth forever, each one alternating in the roles of victim and victimizer, which is why the human state seems so seldom to improve.

All sentient creatures, all creatures that have free will, have the privilege, power and ability to change light into darkness, or darkness into light.  This is a feature of God’s image in each one.  To forgive is to change darkness into light.

As to the bond that is created when one does not forgive:  this is, in effect, a material thing in the spiritual world, like any of the rest of one’s karma, that will careen on its own through space-time potentially forever.  Something has to happen to loose or dissolve that bond, an act of will by some sentient creature.

Their task

The soul who was Nia Wilson, and the soul who is John Lee Cowell, are destined to meet again; in a future life for her, and the present or a future life for him.  When they do, the person she will be is destined to feel a strong, murderous impulse toward him.  If she fails or has failed to forgive; or fails to sublimate or redirect that impulse; she will act on it — possibly again, as we cannot rule out the possibility that he killed her his time in retaliation for an attack she, in some previous life, made on him before.  Either one could have been of the other sex at that time.

Similar impulses clearly have beset Cowell all his life.  I refer to this phenomenon as “The Itch,” an unsought desire for strife or violence or turmoil.  Its presence in my own experience is very troubling to me, and I am working to purify myself of it.  In other chapters, I set forth “Strategies” and “Tactics”(***) one may use to sublimate or redirect such impulses.

Cowell faces far more work in this regard than you or I.  Much as he may strive in it, he is sure to sometimes fail.

A major aspect is that one must be willing to forgive oneself, which may be what Mark 11:25 and Matthew 18:35 are actually about.

Related: A short route to agony

He will never be free until he discerns the image of God within himself, and loves that, loves himself, enough to forgive himself his life of violence and crime.

Sole source

The evils of organized religion need no rehearsal here.  I obviously have profound disagreements with traditional Christianity in almost any form.  The fact remains that no other institution in the West, even in the world, presumes to seek to understand what Jesus taught.  No other institution in the world even sets forth the proposition of forgiveness.

The church does.

That’s reason enough it should exist.

======================================

(*)Related:
– BART slaying ignites fear among black people — ‘It just feels like they’re coming for us’
– Anne Hathaway calls out white privilege in passionate post about ‘unspeakable’ murder of Nia Wilson
– Critics say the media makes innocent blacks look dangerous. Nia Wilson is their latest example.

(**)One can compare him, in this regard, to Carter Scott, Jamarion Lawhorn or Kendrea Johnson.

(***)These will appear at a later date.

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Take things in stride

A runner’s “stride” has two factors.  First is the distance between steps — from where the toe of one foot hits the ground on one step, to where the toe of the other foot hits the ground on the next step.  The second factor is the number of steps she or he takes per minute.  Ideally, both factors are constant, so that the runner maintains a steady speed.

Sometimes an obstacle or interruption may come up in the runner’s path, that he or she will step in or on unless some adjustments are made.  Could be a hole in the ground or a pile of doo-doo.  In this case, the runner may shorten or lengthen one step in order to avoid stepping on the thing, and correspondingly lengthen or shorten the next step, so that overall her or his speed doesn’t change.  This is “taking things in stride.”  One can do the same with the obstacles or interruptions of life.

The afternoon of Tuesday, June 12, became a comedy of “What else can possibly go wrong?”

My Medicaid had got cut off because they required proof of income, and the only proofs I thought I had weren’t acceptable.  I dreaded accessing their website because it’s impossible to navigate and never gives me enough information.  I dreaded phoning them, because the person’s voice is always so faint on the other end of the line, I can’t hear the person.  I found out that various centers are available where one can get in-person help.  I found one nearby.  They operate by appointment only.

So, to make that phone call, I went in the big plastic grocery bag where I keep about half my things, to the place where I normally keep my phone (off, to save battery).  It wasn’t there.

I had carelessly left it on top of the table earlier in the day, and a specific passerby took it.

So I had to go replace it, in order to make that phone call.

Online I found a T-Mobile store at Lombard and Light Streets, and in due course I went there.  They had a $75 phone on display, but the clerk told me it wasn’t in stock; that one was for display only.  He said the other store, at Harborplace, had it in stock.

Half a mile distant.  So I went there.  The manager said the $75 phone wasn’t in stock, but she could give me a special deal on a different one for $100.  So I took that.

By the time she finished what she had to do, it had become pretty urgent that I get back to the shelter, if I was to get a bottom bunk (preferred) or any bunk whatsoever — and not get turned away and have to shell out for a hotel room for the night.

Something else suddenly became more urgent, however:  I needed to sit down in the bathroom.

So I finished at the store, asked where was the nearest men’s room, go did the necessary there (very messy), and set my sights on a fast trip to the shelter.

When the strap on my plastic bag broke.

Fortunately, I had an identical bag rolled up in my backpack, and was able to put all my things into that.

And, as it happens, wound up getting a bottom bunk.

Hours later, though physically worn out, I found myself in high spirits — because I had taken things in stride.

Related:  Previous post, same title:  Take things in stride

Life with OCD

Everyone’s this way a little bit.
It’s adaptative to check the door two or three times to be sure it’s locked.
It’s not adaptative to check it fifty times.

I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

I talked some about its physiological basis, and treatment, in a previous post.

I will tell more, and about my own experience, now. Continue reading Life with OCD