Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness

Friday, April 15, 2016

Testify to Love








 
For as long as I shall live,
I will testify to love.
I'll be a witness in the silences
When words are not enough.
With every breath I take,
I will give thanks to God above.
For as long as I shall live,
I will testify to love.

Art by Alex Grey


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Monday, April 11, 2016

A revolution of the HEART



Perhaps you have felt it. Maybe it was almost indistinguishable at first--incredibly, fantastically subtle. Maybe you questioned if it was real or if you were simply letting your imagination get the better of you. And then again maybe it came upon you so quickly and with such force that it literally knocked you to your knees or onto your back and simultaneously out of your head as well. For irregardless of what you have been taught, this experience is truly the experience of being "out of ones mind."

 These are just a few of the endless ways one can experience the breaking open of the human heart. It is a return to love. For it is from this place of utter open-heartedness that each of us came here from. It is our birthright. It may also be what you came here to teach others how to reconnect with. For in every age there has been a pervasive forgetfulness that has seemed to permeate the masses. And so in every age there has simultaneously been a call for this remembering, a longing for the heart to make its permanent residence inside of your consciousness and inside of mine too. And so, if this opening of the heart has come to you, good. And. Welcome Home!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Why "bad" things happen to good people




Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a question that has been asked by all kinds of people for time immemorial. Well guess what? I'm going to answer the question. Yes, that's right! I'm first going to give a very general answer and then I am going to give an answer much more tailored to a very specific type of person--which I will identify.
First, the very general answer. The general answer has its roots in the fact that human beings have free will. With this free will comes the ability for all kinds and forms of chaos and madness to be unleashed and that impacts all kinds of people, including people that, at the most basic level, had absolutely nothing to do with one person's actions of free will that may have occurred hundreds or even thousands of years ago. So there's that.

Now I want to give the answer that is specifically for men and women of faith--men and women of faith who have some very specific and very important work to do in this life. Pay close attention. You just might be such a person without even knowing it. Perhaps reading the words here themselves will clue you into the fact that you are such a person. Once again, free will is at the root.

OK? Here we go. 

 
Some of us people of faith are called to be prophets, certain types of healers, and other specific types of people of faith. Because of the nature of our assignments or calling (which we agreed to before we were born) we must undergo certain trials. In the human experience such trials are often called, "bad things." We have to go through these trials because the work we have to do on this earth requires that we choose this work very seriously and very carefully and even, if necessary, after we have undergone many things that are labeled, "bad things." This is one of the ways we begin to understand just how incredibly deeply our work must, must, must be grounded in LOVE. After undergoing these trials, because of free will, we can choose to break that agreement we made before we were born. And no penalties are assessed. However, if we undergo these trials and our faith is eventually strengthened and our hearts are broken open and we are filled even more with LOVE, then we are fit and ready to carry on with that agreement that we made before we were born. It is extremely important to understand that God/Goddess/Universal Consciousness nor no one or nothing else is "testing you. You are testing yourself.

Thanks Be To...LOVE (which some people sometimes call God). But that post is for another day. I Love you!


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Testify.



In some church's people do what is called "testifying." Some people believe they are too educated or too well-bred or too something or other to testify. Thank God, I am not one of those people.

So I am going to testify...just a little bit here.

Psalm 23 verse 4 says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

I want to tell you something. I have known this bible verse *by heart* since I was 5 or 6 years old. By heart, baby. Yes. I'm telling you the truth. And I want to tell you something else. Between January 2014 and June 2015 I was walking through that valley of the shadow of death. And I was walking and walking and walking. But you know what I forgot? I forgot the "I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me," part. Yes. You see, I forgot that part. So I just kept believing that I was meant to be walking through that damned valley of the shadow of death, wearing out pair after pair of shoes, with no end in sight. I intuitively knew there would somewhere be an end to it. But I didn't think about comfort or someone who could provide comfort being there with me through it all.

And then in one unplanned moment of grace last June my heart was opened up just enough and just long enough for Yeshua to come to me and remind me of the "I will fear no evil, for you are with me," part. Just enough and just long enough for that message to come through loud and clear. And even more miraculously---I believed it. Logic gave me no reason to believe it. Science gave me no reason to believe it. I am still a man of both logic and science. However, on that day it was a voice that spoke through the void, through the mystery of it all that got through to my heart. It was not a voice of science nor a voice of logic. And I believed it, even though logic and science gave me no reason to believe it.

Hallelujah!

Like I said, this is a post of testimony. It is not an evangelizing post. It is not a post of proselytizing. It is not really even a post about Yeshua even though Yeshua is mentioned several times and a photo of Yeshua accompanies the post. Find your own way. Find your own ecstasy. My way in no way needs to be your way. I know there are endless ways and endless routes to get there from. I hope you find it brothers and sisters. I hope you find it. I want everyone throughout the earth to experience the joy I am now experiencing. I hope you find joy. I hope you find peace. I hope you continue to work for justice. I hope your life is guided by the drive to birth endless forms and expressions of Loving Kindness onto the planet and out into the universes...AMEN.

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Who is it?


Trigger Warning: Sexual exploitation, sexual violence, violence, and looking at our own possibly disowned and unacknowledged hatred, bigotry, and emotional directed hatred and violence

Who do we believe it is OK for us to marginalize, disenfranchise, dehumanize or hate? Is it convicted pedophiles, convicted rapists, transgender people, gay or lesbian people, women, the far right, murderers, serial killers, white supremacists, atheists, immigrants, refugees, sex workers, people who work in the porn industry, people involved in human trafficking of all imaginable kinds and expressions, women who have abortions, black people, various other people of color, rich, white, heterosexual men, members of the so called 1%, billionaires, corporate executives whose companies are destroying the earth and exploiting millions perhaps billions of people, people who oppose marriage equality, leaders of organized religion, Christians, Muslims, Christian extremists, Muslim extremists, Jews, Palestinians, homeless people, people on public assistance, anyone who is actively and seriously religious in any way, lawyers, bankers, phone solicitors, Mormons, Democrats, people who owe us money, people who have sexually exploited us in some way, people who are responsible for the deaths of people we knew and loved, your parents, family members other than parents, creditors, Satan, devil worshipers, pagans, drag queens, addicts, people with intellectual limitations, people who cut us off on the road, people who discriminate against us. Who is it? Who?

Do we truly believe this is consistent with our professed Buddhist practice? Do we truly believe this is consistent with our professed Christian practice? Do we truly believe this is consistent with our Muslim or Sufi practice? Do we truly believe being a professed atheist gives us a pass on this?

My current facebook cover photo contains a quote by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. It says, “We are here to awaken from our illusion of seperateness.” I believe addressing these type questions is consistent with that awakening. Thich Nhat Hanh has also written a poem entitled, “Call Me by My True Names,” sometimes presented as, “Please Call Me by My True Names.” This poem also addresses this to some degree though not perfectly, of course. It is very easily found on the internet.

Finally, my goal with this status update is absolutely not to guilt or shame anyone. The other day I read an article about an adult male celebrity who was sentenced many years ago for having sex with a young girl. There was no evidence it was consensual and he also tried to blackmail the girl. As I was reading the article I could feel a sickness slowly developing in my stomach and I began to notice that I started looking at the photo of the celebrity that accompanied the article with something very closely resembling disgust. I was shocked that this was occurring to me. But, BAM! There you go. As my Dharma Brother Seiho Morris is fond of saying, “We All Share the Same Sky." I love you.


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Monday, March 28, 2016

My Beautiful Life with Christ Yeshua: The Circle is Completed, Part VI


As I mentioned in an earlier installment of this series, forty years ago, when I was sixteen years old, I had what would end up being a life changing experience.

At age sixteen I had the first powerful and memorable spiritual awakening/kensho/samadhi/mystical experience of my life, at least that I am consciously aware of. This ended up being only the first of several such experiences I would end up having throughout my life. As I have also mentioned earlier, each experience, including this first one, contained several of the standard elements many people in certain spiritual circles have now become very familiar with. These include an unexplained experience that seemingly comes completely out of nowhere (now here), a total feeling of oneness with everything in the large and expanding cosmos, the complete disappearance of a sense of separation with all of creation of any kind, including the disappearance of a sense of there being a separate “self.” There was also the sense of a seamless oneness with everything and everyone, and a complete sense of inner and outer peace, loss of time, etc. It was also my first experience of what I would call complete and total bliss.

There was also an aspect of this experience that involved the fully human yet fully Divine Yeshua (Jesus) as well as an intense connection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that has never, ever left me.

At the time of the experience I believed that Yeshua had in fact come to me in physical form. In the ensuing years I have come to believe instead that during the experience I must have fallen asleep and that it was in a dream state that I experienced Yeshua. This does not make the experience any less real nor any less powerful for me in the slightest. It simply helps me understand it more clearly and I believe more accurately. 

During this presumed dream, that was a part of the overall experience I had, Yeshua placed his right hand on his chest, over his heart area. He then extended his left hand and touched my chest, over my heart area, and then said, “We are of one heart.” This aspect of the overall experience, without question, was the most powerful, most moving, and most impactful aspect of the entire thing for me. This aspect placed me on a lifelong quest for mystical union with the divine, cemented in my heart connection with Yeshua that I received in that vision/dream I had during that first consciously aware mystical experience in this life.

And so for the last forty years I have formally and informally studied, practiced, and immersed myself in as many wisdom traditions of the world that my heart and mind could handle.

From there the world became my religious, spiritual, and wisdom oyster, as it were. I delved deeply into Judaism, went deeper into Hinduism by studying Advaita Vedanta, studied Sufism, Native American spirituality and many other earth based spiritual traditions and practices, and I also studied Buddhism, and established a Buddhist practice, first beginning with a Vajrayana practice and then moving onto a serious Zen practice.

Early on it became very clear that I had a very prominent appetite and very natural inclination toward mystical traditions of every stripe. Meanwhile, in the catholic seminary while studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood, I studied both the Old and the New Testament very deeply as well as Catholic Church history and the lives of the saints in the Catholic Church. I became an amateur hagiographer in the process and still am to this day.

Somewhere along the line, while not completely losing my Christian faith, it somehow definitely got placed somewhere on the back burner. In the 1990s, for example, in America, Christianity, at least the fundamental expression of it, became deeply enmeshed with very conservative politics. For me this seemed very much like a marriage made in Hades. For much of those same 1990s I also lived in a conservative southern American state—Kentucky—and so this made it doubly worse for me. And so it became very natural for me to distance myself from the prevailing expression of Christianity in the USA and the prevailing consciousness I was living in at that time.

I however, didn’t shun the Christian faith completely. I found my way to Unity and Universalist Unitarian churches for my Christian fixes and they kept me connected to Yeshua in ways that were quiet yet fairly fulfilling. Other practices and other wisdom traditions were always more at the forefront though; always more receiving of my attention and my heart.

This more or less remained the state of affairs with me with regard to my Christian faith until that fateful day last June when I walked into St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bremerton, WA. I cannot stress enough the importance of this day. Perhaps I have even mentioned it in every single part of this series. That is because that day and what was rekindled on that day is the bridge that connects my sixteen year old self, forty years ago, to my fifty-six year old self today.
 

Forty years ago Yeshua came to me and symbolically connected his heart to mine. Forty years later he came to me again, this time in a church, and said to me—“I have not forgotten you my beloved brother and I know you have not forgotten me either. Unburden yourself. Come to me, and I shall give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me. For I am meek and humble of heart. And you’ll find rest for your soul. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Forty years. Two messages of love and connection from and with Yeshua. A universe of experiences of both fear and love separating the two points. A fierce and fiery return to Love.

It took me several months after the revelations I received on that first day at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bremerton to accept that Yeshua had come back into my life in such a powerful and meaningful way—that our heart connection was still there, real, alive, and not just something created in my very active imagination. It took me that long to believe words like…”and he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand.”

So many of us sing and proclaim words like those so much in Christian life. Yet, most of us do not believe we are at all worthy of these words being true, at least not as applied to ourselves. I was no different. I too fought this truth with every ounce of my strength. And finally, finally during this recent Holy Week, while in prayer, the overwhelming love of Yeshua was made so clear and so pure and so present to me, I simply could no longer deny it. I could not deny that it was and is making itself available to me freely and generously and completely. Alleluia!

And something else has been revealed to me that may be very shocking and unbelievable to many Christians. Yeshua is not the only eternal savior who has walked the earth who has this unfathomable amount of love for all creation that is available to all humankind. Additionally, the word salvation itself has very different meanings throughout the world, all of which are correct. Yeshua however, is the one who has connected with me deeply for reasons that are not entirely clear to me at this time. I will perhaps say much more about all of this much later as more is revealed to me should it feel like information that needs to be revealed, information that will increase the probability of healing and transformation, should they be revealed.

With Yeshua at my side and The Holy Spirit as my guide, much has been revealed to me in the last several months. I now know what my true vocation is in this life. I understand the things that I must do in order to live my life in the way that has been ordained. I now understand that everything that has occurred in my life has been a preparation for what I will do from this point forward. There have been no mistakes. I have no time to waste now. I have a lot to do. Much of it is crystal clear to me. Some remains mystery. None of this makes me special. During a moment of grace (while at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church) I had a moment of openness. It only took a moment. If it had taken longer I might not have been able to remain open. However, it only took a moment. Hallelujah!

Humility and Love must now become my two most enduring and foundational traits. It has taken me forty years and two exquisite moments of grace for my heart to be broken open—to go from being broken to being broken open. Praise God! It has taken me fifty six years to discover what my true vocation in this life is. Many people come to understand such things much earlier in life. I am not special. And yet again we all are because we are all filled with the Light of God which is to say we are all filled with LOVE!


To read all the essays in this series simply follow the label at the bottom that says, My Beautiful Life with Yeshua (series) 

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Monday, March 21, 2016

My Beautiful Life with Christ Yeshua, Part V


Various human frailties and limitations were on display throughout that experience with the spiritual community in the San Francisco Bay Area that is mentioned in Part IV of this series. These human frailties and limitations were on display in both members of that community and in myself as well. It felt necessary for me to compose Part IV in this series because the information contained in it, despite potentially being difficult or awkward for some to read, plays a vital role in the totality of this series. The power of these frailties and limitations eventually began to wane, at least for me. I cannot speak for anyone else. I became the slightest bit aware of this on that June 14th Sunday of 2015 when I walked into St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for the first time.

I must admit to not knowing everything that happened to me when I walked into that church on that Sunday and even further, by participating in the service on that day.  I have received some information about this both through what I am going to call divine revelation and also through my own intuition. However, I do not know the whole of it and I may never know the whole of it. If that is the case, that is perfectly OK with me. What I do know is that an intense fire was rekindled in me that day. It is a fire that seems to have started in the center of my chest and then radiated throughout my entire body and eventually even beyond my physical body. I am calling this fire--the love of Christ.

I don’t know why the fire needed to be rekindled in me. I don’t know why that particular day was the day the fire needed to be rekindled. I don’t know exactly what the impetus for the rekindling was nor is.

What I do know is that I have received a great deal of clarity about the purpose of my life and what I am to do with the remainder of it as a result of the re-igniting of this fire in me. I have never had quite this level of clarity about such things before.

I am a very worldly man in some clear senses. I am also a man of science. I am a man of faith as well. However, my faith has not traditionally been that which completely ruled my life and it is not in any way limited to my Christian faith—not in the least. I have studied Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and various First Nation spiritual practices quite deeply and know much of the important teachings and philosophical underpinnings of them all. I have gained much from each of them. 

I have the knowledge and the wherewithal to attribute what I am feeling inside of me to any number of entities, cosmic energies and forces, ideas, Gods, Goddesses, spiritual guides, avatars, saints, and psychological or mental states, or to nothing at all. Yet I know that it is Yeshua; it is the love of Yeshua, it is the Sacred Heart of Yeshua, and it is the peace of Yeshua that has ignited this fire inside of me. I can feel this truth inside of me. And I also know this was done in the presence of The Father/Mother and with the guidance of The Holy Spirit. I do not know how I know all of this. And yet I know it just like I know I am breathing in and breathing out and that the sun has risen today and will likely set later in the day. This knowledge pervades my very being; it takes up every moment of my waking and non-waking life, it envelopes every emotion I experience, it underscores every thought I have. I am filled with the love of Christ. Sometimes I feel I am going to explode as a result of this reservoir of love. And even though I am filled with the love of Christ I am still fully human and so I am extremely aware of my flaws and imperfections. Still, it seems I am in a perpetual state of appreciation and grace as a result of this knowledge and from the re-ignition of this fire.

I am currently intensely aware of this fire that seems to have started in my chest and I am also intensely aware that it is unquestionably connected to Yeshua. I trust it. I know it is good. And at the same time I periodically wonder just a little bit if I am going mad or if there is something I am not dealing with emotionally and am using this expression of spiritualism as a way of bypassing some important emotional work I should be doing instead. But then I very quickly realize that I am addressing more complicated, complex, and uncomfortable emotions as a direct result of this experience than I have in a very long time. So it simply does not make sense that this is some kind of spiritual bypassing experience. Or if it is, it is a very, very poor excuse for one since it is accomplishing exactly the opposite of what any real spiritual bypassing experience worth its salt is supposed to accomplish.

I am not running away from emotional nor psychological difficulty or challenge in my life. If anything, I am running toward them, infused with the love and blessed assurance of Yeshua. I have had more “difficult” conversations with people in the last several months than I can ever remember having in any other several month span of time. And there is also more of a present sense of forgiveness and reconciliation in my consciousness. And my personal boundaries with people have also gotten much clearer. I am much more aware of what is not OK with me in terms of behaviors and projections and just plain ole bullshit from other people. None of this seems to support the spiritual bypassing proposition.

I have come to understand that it is not my job to question this experience of the love of Christ manifesting so brilliantly in my life. I believe it is my job to listen, to be humble, to run with this and praise God and be humble in response to it all and to be of service to the earth and all its inhabitants and to respond with loving kindness as a result.

Amen.

Part IV is HERE
Part III is HERE