Saturday, April 29, 2017

Just Wondering Aloud

     I wonder if people who killed would kill if they could feel the pain of their victim.

     I wonder if people who treat others as outsiders, who shun or act with prejudice, would do so if they could feel the others' pain.

     I wonder if people who deny the inherent equality of another's life would do so if they could themselves feel the pain of injustice.

     I wonder if people who abuse, torture, or neglect the defenseless would do so if they could feel the effects of their actions.

     I wonder if people who act as though their earthly home was just a thing to be exploited would do if they felt every pang that our Earth Mother and her children feel.

     I wonder if empaths are the next step in evolution or just remnants of some failing evolutionary line.  I wonder.

(photo courtesy of

Sunday, April 23, 2017


     Perhaps it is because I am a Libra, but I find the issue of balance to be key.  Take last week's rant, for example.  I was describing my belief that while we are spiritual beings having a human (bodily) experience, we can't deny either the spirit's or the body's reality.  Some religions do emphasize one or the other, but I believe that balance is necessary.

     To be more specific, we have a choice in how we live.  We can turn our back on everyday reality, become a hermit and cultivate spiritual perfection.  Or we can roll up our sleeves and fight to make the world better.  Or, we can maintain the delicate balance of keeping our spiritual perspective (that there is an ultimate Reality beyond this present one) while working to ease the pain and injustice in this world. 

     Let's recall Jesus' example.  Yes, he told his listeners to focus on the Kingdom of God within each one of us.  But then he would feed the hungry, heal the sick, and call out the hypocrites.  He balanced a spiritual perspective (Reality) while working to effect positive change in his immediate world (reality).

     Dear Reader, I believe that is our duty, now more than ever. 

     Or as Joseph Campbell said, "Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world." 

(image courtesy of

Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Informative Book, Part 2

     Last week I was discussing Alan Cohen's book A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love, which explains the basic teachings of ACIM in an easy-to-read manner. 

     While reading, I found some good points that I could incorporate in to my life, but also was bothered by some things.  Perhaps it is the result of Cohen's need to pare down the enormous ACIM texts, but I felt it was missing some things.

     Here is a quote where I became most bothered:
End the world today by refusing to contribute to the pool of fear that has kept the world of sorrow in force.  End starvation by feeding your soul.  End war by ceasing the war against yourself.  It is your happiness, not your pain, that will save the world.  Misery has enough company. (p. 193)
     I had to think a long time before I understood why that bothered me.  I had to step back a bit and think about what viewpoints various religions teach.  Some religions stress good works and striving to make one's world a better place.  Others stress the unreality of this world and the reality of an ultimate Universe/One/Spirit.  Still others try to balance the two viewpoints.

     I think that ACIM tends to fall into the second camp, denying worldly reality while emphasizing the ultimate Reality.  Here's where I disagree.  Yes, you can spend your life achieving great spiritual insight and enlightenment, but if your neighbor is treated unjustly or your children's schoolmate goes hungry every night or your political leaders try to demonize ethnic groups or take away your rights, I think it a work of spiritual service to do something about it.  Your enlightenment won't ease their hunger or pain.  Your spiritual insights won't deter political shenanigans.  Maybe it is my empathic nature speaking, but I don't know how you can find peace when your silence allows violence and injustice to continue. 

      It's something to think about.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

An Informative Book

     Perhaps you have heard of A Course in Miracles, a book espousing a system of new thought that was first published in 1976.  I once saw the book in a bookstore and thought it looked overwhelming long and I didn't have time to read through it all.  Still, my curiosity was piqued and I finally found a much shorter book which encapsulated the teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM).  Written engagingly by Alan Cohen, A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Lovesatisfied my curiosity while leaving me with some food for thought.

     While providing information on the background of ACIM, Cohen also goes through the major lessons and philosophical points of ACIM.  Cohen's writing is easy to read and provides relevant examples related to the points he covers.  If you want to understand the basic tenets of ACIM without investing the large amount of time it takes to work through the original texts, Cohen's book is for you. 

     That said, I came away a little flummoxed and it took me a while to figure out why.  More on that next week.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Poem to Share

What We Need

The Emperor,
his bullies
and henchmen,
terrorize the world
every day

which is why
every day

we need

a little poem
of kindness,

a small song
of peace,

a brief moment
of joy.

David Budbill (1940-2016)