Seeking the Divine…..

Most of my adult life I have studied scripture, attended Bible studies, listened, pondered, asked questions, taught, and spent a lot of time in prayer. All worthy endeavors, but in the past year I made a major shift in philosophy and belief. None of it has been easy. I have struggled to sort through the mire of religious orthodoxy, opened my mind to new ways of thinking, studied some more, and I found ‘me’ in the process.

For a while I tried to stay within the boundaries of organized religion from outside the walls of church however, the questions and contradictions persisted, everything still sounded rote, and I tried, in vain, to quell thoughts that I was still separated from a true relationship with God. I didn’t have issue with others who found fulfillment in  organized religion, and I still don’t. There is a path for everyone, in my mind, but organized religion with all the trimmings wasn’t my path, and never would be. A journey of self-discovery and relationship with the Divine was born.

Our understanding of God and the journey we walk are individual; there is no “one size fits all”. And why wouldn’t it be? We are not all alike. Yet, those who find themselves outside the accepted mindset of organized religion are subject to the unspoken truth of many in the church today; any who don’t conform to the doctrinal beliefs are wolves in sheep’s clothing, suspect of blasphemy, are woefully misguided, or declared “anti-Christ”. What if we are none of the above? What if we are just sojourners on a path to relationship with the Divine and a journey of self-discovery? Is there a place for us? I believe there is, and at this point I don’t find the study of awakened spirituality and the teachings of Jesus in opposition. Much of what Jesus said and did as recorded in scripture, and found within texts not included in the Bible, lend credence to beliefs and teachings widely accepted in the study and practice of awakened spirituality. Organized religion and awakened spirituality however, needn’t be at odds with one another. There is room for all who seek to know God.

Many are realizing organized religion doesn’t always make sense. The fire and brimstone of yesteryear repackaged in the more acceptable contemporary church service is no longer enough. It has become painfully obvious in the past few years that church leaders and congregants are subject to the same flaws as the rest of humanity and many either deny allegations, offer flimsy excuses, or just plain ignore the misstep completely as if it never happened. Too many within the walls have set themselves above those of us outside the walls. If we have wronged others it just makes good sense to admit fault, ask forgiveness of those we hurt, and move on That’s not so easy for anyone who believes themselves above the imperfections of man.

A trend within the past several years has not gone unnoticed. People are leaving organized religion.  One of our local stations had a special piece on the ten o’clock news one night about this very subject. I tuned in out of curiosity. None of the information was new to me, I have seen and felt the shift coming for a few years now. Empty pews are plentiful in every congregation across the nation.  Few new families are joining or attending churches like in past years when people wanted to give their children a “foundation”.  There are staunch adherents on both sides of the fence. Many new parents say they want their children to decide for themselves, not force them to join in on church-life alongside their parents. Some people state outright the  unruliness of children in this age is a direct result of not attending church, not receiving the “foundation” they did as youngsters. My children were “raised in the church”, immersed in church-life, and all 3 have chosen journeys outside of organized religion as young adults. Sorting through organized religious indoctrination, an unhealthy dose of spiritual abuse compliments of their father, and life in general, has taught them traditional church attendance is not fulfilling, doesn’t answer the tough questions, and exposes them to more hypocrisy than most find in the world outside the church walls. And I can’t say I disagree.

There is spiritual hunger out there in the world. In the course of everyday life people at work, or in my private life, are asking questions, and often the conversations take on a serious tone. Many have been to churches trying to find where they fit in, some have been burned by churches they had joined, and some were raised in the church, but the story is always similar. People want a relationship with God, but they don’t want the hypocrisy of organized religion. At the risk of sounding like an evangelist, we have a God-sized space in us that will only be filled with relationship. We came from Spirit, we will return to Spirit, and our spirits are searching for meaning, for direction, for acceptance and for love. Maybe we cannot accept the whole heaven concept; do good on earth and the pearly gates will open wide. Yet, innate knowledge tells us that life on earth is not all there is. We succeed, we suffer, we get sick, we get better, we work every day to pay our bills and provide for our families, and then we die. Is that it? I believe it is not, but I don’t believe the answers lie within the church.

Science and religion have not been the best of friends, probably since the beginning of time, but within the past several years a meeting of minds has taken shape. Quantum physics has stepped in to say that the concept of “God” may not be so far off; a concept the spiritually aware have known for eons. I believe Jesus taught the basic principles of quantum physics by demonstrating thought becoming matter, and what it means to live from the Divine spirit. The very last thing I would ever attempt is to explain quantum physics to anyone! Math and I are not from the same neighborhood, and likely exist on different planets altogether, but the most basic foundational truth is that all things are energy and consist of wavelengths, frequencies, atoms, particles, and so on. I will gladly leave that entire discussion to Stephen Hawking!

The belief is that the formation of matter is the result of brainwaves; thoughts equal energy; energy equals matter; thoughts equal matter. Communication with the Universal Source, God, to many of us, is done through thought; specifically the frequency of thoughts. Does religion not teach us to pray and “meditate upon the Word”? Prayer and meditation are often done through thought – communication with the Universal Source, or God. We project our thoughts through brainwaves, and these brainwaves represent our consciousness. Brainwaves can be measured, and as a nurse this makes total sense. medical science declares patients brain dead when there is an absence of brainwave activity.

Our consciousness in communication with God tells God what we need, what we want, which in turn creates our reality. Our words and thoughts are often in opposition to one another. Which does God listen and respond to? The thoughts, the language of the universe. God answers our thoughts, our brainwaves, by sending back exactly what we ask for. There is no judgment involved, simply an answer to a need or desire. A gap between science and spirituality still exists, but the chasm is narrowing. At least for many in the scientific field there is now an explanation for what many of us have believed by faith; there is a God in whatever way best fits your definition.

People are searching, and for many the answers organized religion has offered no longer resonate with us. Didn’t Jesus say, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 The Complete Jewish Bible) The Universal Source, God, answers our thoughts…..

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Jesus – Perfected Spirit Man (Part 2)

Seeing Yeshua (Jesus) from a spiritual versus religious standpoint gives us a very different picture than the one organized religion paints. He embodied all of the Divine; Yeshua lived and breathed and moved within the Divine. Throughout the Bible we see the evidence of those who had met the Creator, the Divine, the Source, God, and moved within that knowledge. Yeshua and the stories of the New Testament are the culmination of the knowledge individuals had tapped into at various points in Biblical history.

I find it much more plausible and encouraging to see Yeshua as fully human, living out the human experience, while at the same time living from the fullness of the Divine. It was always difficult for me to understand how we were to be “like Jesus”, since by all accounts He was perfected man. How can any of us live as a perfected human subject to the imperfections of human life? We cannot, and so we wake up everyday knowing no matter how hard we try we will never measure up; the stick and the carrot become the promise of perfection in heaven. In the meantime, we live within the endless cycle of sin and forgiveness.

Living from the Divine spirit however, is possible, and Yeshua’s life as a human living the human experience demonstrated the possibilities. To view Jesus and the Bible from this perspective allows us the opportunity to learn and grow every day of our human lives, not having to wait until we are welcomed through the pearly gates. Instead of an endless cycle of sin and forgiveness, we are able to move forward in the process of learning to live from the spirit man. And isn’t that what life should be about? We are here to learn about ourselves, about others, and how we can live together within the Divine spirit of love.

For those who understood Yeshua, lives were transformed. The “prostitute” was able to forgive herself and leave the shackles of living out others opinions of her; the “woman with the issue of blood” understood that her belief, a shift in her concept of reality, brought healing to her infirm body, not Jesus; He had only shown her how when He said “daughter your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:48 Good News Translation) Story after story is told within the pages of scripture of the human Jesus demonstrating living from the reality He created. There is nothing magical or mystical about it. Thoughts and words are powerful. Later in the book of James 3:5, it is said life and death are in the power of the tongue.

What we say matters, what we think about matters. All spoken words begin with thoughts. In modern day life we hear, “I can never get ahead”, “I am always broke”, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop”, “My family has a history of cancer, so I will probably end up with cancer too”, or “My kids are always brats”. Those words come back to us and bring us exactly what we say. This is the Law of Attraction, and Yeshua’s life and death demonstrated this very concept. Later in Luke 8:52 Jairus’s daughter had died. When Yeshua walked into Jairus’s home Yeshua answered the comments regarding her death with “Don’t cry; the child is not dead—she is only sleeping!” (Good News Translation) Yeshua was laughed at, and that too, is an important point. Living from the spirit self puts us at odds with the world mindset. Those of us who choose a different path are like salmon swimming upstream in a downstream world; conformity is the name of the game, and conformity flies in the face of living from the spirit self.

Following the death of Yeshua, the disciples, men and women, went to the tomb site to prepare the body. Those of us with any church background are well versed in the story of the tomb found empty; only the burial cloths remained. Today, we have the Shroud of Turin with what many believe to be evidence of Yeshua’s resurrection; an image of a man with wounds like those Yeshua was said to have suffered, burned into the cloth. The Shroud is a hotly debated subject from time to time, staunch believers or unbelievers on either side. Whatever individual belief may be, it appears the image was created by a radiation blast of some kind. I find that to be perfectly plausible; we are energy wrapped in human flesh. Yeshua had said He would rise from the dead. If that is true and He did rise from the dead, an image would be left on the cloths. No absolute conclusive evidence exists to my knowledge; it is for each of us to decide. Spoken words with the stated outcome is all we have.

I have come to believe that elaborate stories sprang up around the life of Yeshua to explain the events of His life. Stories that made Yeshua deity, and advocated worship and total dependence upon a God who sat in judgment of His creation, and set impossible standards of behavior, thought and word; a well conceived effort for the few to control the many. Yeshua was and is the ultimate example of living from the spirit self, living within the Divine spirit. Was He the Divine manifest in the flesh of humanity? I believe He was, and yet He lived as we live, subject to the imperfections of this human world. Therein is the challenge; to live from the Divine spirit, from the spirit of ultimate love in a world where few know Divine love. Yeshua showed us the way to live our lives within the Divine, not to devote our lives to religious doctrine and helplessness waiting for our home on the other side. Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing is impossible” (The Complete Jewish Bible) Said another way: To live from the spirit of the Divine, nothing will be impossible. We create our own reality with our thoughts and words. Living within the Divine we will always create a reality of love and peace that will ultimately bring peace in this world. We need not wait until the sweet by and by…..

Jesus – Perfected Spirit Man…..(Part 1)

Was Yeshua (Jesus) a spiritual teacher or a teacher of religion? The answer would appear obvious, but is it? Anyone who has the most basic knowledge and understanding of Jesus would likely agree that Jesus taught from the spirit, or spiritual concepts. But was Jesus religious? Religion defined simply means a belief system involved with the worship of God or gods. A quick read through the Gospels or an hour in any church across the U.S. would lead one to believe Jesus advocated the worship of God. But did He? The Gospels, although massaged by man’s continued attempt to control, still give us a glimpse of a Jesus who lived by the spirit, and the principles He taught are often metaphysical in nature; owing to a reality beyond our immediate perception. In my opinion, the study of metaphysics and spirituality do not stand in opposition to the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus). Sorting through what is likely man’s version versus the reality is the challenge.

I have come to believe that the filthiness of man, sin, in other words, and the need for cleansing in the “blood of the Lamb” is man’s creation. All civilizations have had their own versions of blood sacrifices to appease the gods, to garner God’s favor, and the like. Judaism and Christianity were no different. Christianity took the blood sacrifice of Judaism and sanitized and personalized it in the form of Yeshua; blood need only to be shed once and for all for all mankind. Discipline, too, is a creation of man. All civilizations through the centuries have disciplined others, often basing the need for discipline on some arbitrary set of rules decided upon by those chosen to be in charge. Granted, in order to prevent chaos and maintain civility of a given population there must be rules for the society. The question is who came up with those rules? Did God by divine intervention, or did man, then pass the credit to the Almighty to give weight to the rules? An oft debated subject in Christianity is capital punishment. Vague explanation and confusing and often contradictory references are given when the subject of capital punishment comes up which tells me punishment by death was likely man’s invention.

Years of organized religious indoctrination left me with questions and contradictory messages having no explanation except to resort to the tried and true which is to believe by faith, and God would explain on the other side. Many of these supposedly unexplained acts were said to be available to be performed by believers as well, yet I didn’t actually ever see the manifestation of any, with the exception of “speaking in other tongues” and “prophesying”, which in the cases I saw may have been more motivated by a form of religious hysteria rather than a true demonstration of living from the spirit.

To explain Jesus turning water into wine, walking on water and healing the sick, the authors of the books we know as the Bible, deified Jesus, giving Him supernatural powers; again very much like the mythical gods of literature. I’m not taking anything away from Jesus, here. I do believe He was the embodiment of the Divine in the flesh, and many of the gospels not included in the Bible allude to that, yet those transcripts paint a very different picture of Jesus, a more human version. Suffice it to say we have no one picture of Jesus more accurate than another; it is up to each of us to experience, or choose not to experience Him, in whatever way makes sense to us.

I choose to see Yeshua as fully man, fully human, possessing the spirit of the Divine in its totality. We are sparks from the Divine Flame; God, if you will. Yeshua was fully Divine clothed in flesh, experiencing the world as we experience it. The Divine lived as man subject to all the imperfections of man in an imperfect world. His presence as flesh gave man the opportunity to learn from Him, and He from us.

From what we read of Yeshua’s life, the main principle He lived and breathed is a principle belief in the metaphysical, or spiritual world; through thought and word we create our own reality. If you think about it, the concept is solid. Like begets like. Our thoughts and words have creative power, as it were, so what we think and say most often becomes our reality. A steady diet of “I can’t”, “No one like me”, “I will never have” or my personal favorite, “I can’t afford that, I’m always broke” bear negative fruit in our lives. Is it easy to change our thoughts and words? For most of us the task is a challenge as thought patterns and words are deeply embedded in who we are, but it isn’t impossible. I am far too familiar with this process, but I have set my intention for success! Old dogs can learn new tricks! If we think about people we know and pay close attention to their overall attitude and words we will begin to see the evidence. Successful people think, believe and speak words of success; likewise those who think, believe and speak negatively bear negative fruit. Does it work 100% of the time? Does anything? While living our lives on terra firma we are subject to our humanity, so we all struggle from time to time. A close look at our patterns of thought and word however, reveal much about us and soon the picture that emerges will tell the overriding theme or story of our lives.

Everything about Yeshua’s life on earth started with thought and word; every act, every teaching, every encounter with others. From Biblical and historical references it seems He lived authentically, and often challenged the accepted religious mindset. Throughout the Gospels and beyond we see glimpses of the metaphysical Jesus. Organized religion has focused on the results of the reality Jesus created, missing the lesson of the how. Turning the water into wine, walking on water, raising people from the dead, healing, and reading people; “he didn’t need anyone to inform him about a person, because he knew what was in the person’s heart.” (John 2:25 The Complete Jewish Bible)

Jesus was spirit man perfected, not some mystical being endowed with supernatural powers. His purpose, I believe, more than bringing “salvation” to man was to demonstrate the ability to live from the spirit, having put aside interference from the ego. We can do as Jesus did through thought and word, creating reality and experiencing its results. Again, the thoughts and words we think and speak most often create our reality within the world; the universe listens and responds, positively or negatively, depending upon us to direct the response. This cause and effect are not mystical or supernatural. We are created from energy, energy fuels everything in our universe; thought and word are no different. When the majority of the energy we put out there is positive, positive returns to us, and the reverse is true. Jesus showed us the possibilities. Is it not said in the Bible, “Everything is possible to someone who has trust! (believes)” (Mark 9:23 The Complete Jewish Bible) The statement relates to a story about a father asking Yeshua to heal his son of seizures. I’m not on board with the Biblical explanation of “demons” causing seizures, or anything else for that matter, but that was not the point of the story. Yeshua spoke as He thought and believed; that the boy was free of seizures. No need to add creative flare to the encounter.

We believe as we think and speak. What patterns of thought, word and belief have created your reality…..?