Level 7 Member
Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 2:34 AM
Looking for answers is often a matter of persistence, imagination, and a great deal of patience. Then too, you must be willing to accept failure and set-backs.
The Buddha studied and experienced many different paths. No one path had all the answers he sought. Forty years of study and training lead to contemplation while sitting under a tree. Would he have been ready without the years of study?
Modern science and western thinking has found that continual pushing and experimentation leads to many failed attempts before success is attained. Then too, sometimes success is not attained till you sleep and find the answer you seek in a dream.
Saturday, November 30, 2013, 2:32 AM
You may call me what you will.
I know there is a God. I have experienced this and have no doubts about God's existence. Each day I see his handiwork and meet people he works through. I see his teachings in many forms whether you call them nature, art, music, philosophy, literature, or sacred texts.
I know that God is One and humanity worships this One in many different ways and forms. I do know that everyone who is striving to do good for humanity is doing God's work whether they believe there is a God or not.
Can I explain the fullness of what God is? The answer must be 'no.' The closest I can come is to say that this One encompasses everyone and everything, the seen and the unseen, and much much more.
Monday, November 25, 2013, 12:29 PM
I am sure that many of you have seen things happen that cannot be explained by the natural laws that we know. We declare them to be miraculous events but are unable to duplicate or explain them.
Many will say there is a force or spirit at work that uses a different set of laws. The boxes we use and the rules we know are inadequate to explain what is happening. Even some very ordinary individuals will, from time to time, demonstrate what we call miraculous powers. An increasing number of people and events are becoming known to us. What is happening cannot be, according to our common sense and all we have been taught to believe. This force or spirit is trying to awaken us and push us forward in our quest for understanding, knowledge, and truth.
The survival of humanity is in the balance. We can ignore the signs. Nothing in this world happens by chance. There is a purpose that we may not understand at the present time. We should know that there is meaning in each event for us to find. Life becomes much more exciting when we approach it in this way. We should choose to take each opportunity to learn and grow.
Think of life as an incomplete circle that continually spirals to higher and lower levels. We are only aware of this moment in time, or point upon the circle. The rest of life and our purpose here are hidden from view. We declare that there are a multitude of dimensions but they are part of the spiral of the life that is hidden from our conscious awareness at this time.
This may be an important safety valve for us. We have to live in this world as we experience life each day and not be overwhelmed by the past or future events. The spiral of life seems to be designed to nurture our spiritual and emotional growth. We have an unconscious knowing that things are as they should be; that we will have the ability to handle situations as they are presented to us. We also have a feeling that we have an over soul or guardian that is here to protect us. When we leave, or begin to leave, the proper path something happens to guide us back to where we should be. At times we wake up and wonder how we got to the place we find ourselves in.
Believe me -- these are not idle thoughts or speculations. These are indications of what is going on around us each day without our conscious input or knowledge. You may think these are fanciful words, but in time, you will know how blessed you have been to make it to this point in the journey of life. Maybe one day you will appreciate the wisdom in these words.
Friday, November 22, 2013, 2:55 AM
When the Buddha was asked if there was a God - he remained silent. When he was asked if there was an afterlife - he remained silent. When he was asked if he would stay and accept lodging for the night - he remained silent. They took his silence to mean -- Yes. They prepared a place for him to stay.
Later another disciple asked why he did not answer these questions or explain about God and the afterlife -- The Buddha's reply was that the ones who asked the questions were unable to deal with their problems and suffering in this world and that is where their focus should be. Talking about God and the afterlife would only distract them from what they need to do in dealing with the problems they face in this world.
Remaining silent is the best answer to deal with this, for them, in their situation. When they can properly deal with the problems faced in this world, that will be proper time to explain more.
There are many sects and schools of Buddhism just like there are many denominations within the Christian Religion. Each gives a different interpretation and places different emphasis on the many teachings shared. Most forms of Buddhism are compatible with and can be blended in practice with other religions and doctrines.
The prime focus is about living and dealing with the problems encountered as we walk and work in this world.
Thursday, November 21, 2013, 2:33 PM
A key element to the growth of the church is the warmth and closeness of its members. We slowly build relationships with all who come for guidance and aid. Once a change has begun, it is visible to those in and out of the church. The whole world will be viewed in a different way.
Individuals who are observing will wonder what happened to the church. A good answer might be that we outgrew the old way and embraced the new.
When the members work together there will be consistency in what is done. The attitude will be love and service to humanity. Starting with our community, what began with little enthusiasm will blossom into a beautiful flower. The church will be reborn in love of God and service to humanity.
There are those who are reading this that do not want to look at alternatives or allow any type of change. The most important thing we do is serve God and our community. If we remember this, all things become possible. We will make public our belief in God. We will not make a secret of our desire to care for those who are suffering or have special needs. Our love will radiate like a beacon light in the darkness that surrounds us. Our words and actions will hit their mark. Everything we truly love will be gained.
You know the routine. Many will say this is impossible. It is outside of our control and cannot be done. History, however, indicates that the answer is simple; love and serve God love and serve humanity. Honor your mother and father, then what is willed will be done. Our actions will cause our beliefs to become our reality; life will return to the church, and the community will be more satisfying, and we will be productive in our work.
What are we to do with this answer or view? We should be dedicated to seeking the truth. We should ask questions and verify what we're told to believe or do. Many want us to change and throw out all that is old and replace it with the new. This is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater instead of retaining all that is good. We tend to want to destroy all that is different or ways that have caused us pain in the past. It is essential to our spiritual growth that we add to the good that has been handed down to us from the past for the one God has guided humanity since the beginning of time, through the various teachers who have taught us about this world and the universe. It is our task to separate the true from the false. We must leave our comfort zone behind and take the next step on this journey that we share. As we grow, our knowledge will expand and hopefully we will gain the wisdom to proceed in a proper way.
There is no one single religion or teacher who has all the answers. We must seek out the truth wherever it can be found and constantly refine what we believe and do. This is not always a simple task. Many will try to block or obscure the way. We must have the vision and a commitment to carry on with this task. We must continue to plant the seeds of truth and good that will bear their fruit for future generations. It may be a paradox that we as individuals are forgotten in time, but the teachings we have shared will live on in the hearts and minds of numerous men and women.
The light of knowledge will drive away the darkness of ignorance. It will lead the people to speak the same language; that language being love, harmony, and peace for everyone in the world. It is a language that will draw us all together as a family. In time religion and science will again be unite and we will discover the many dimensions and meanings of life. Hearts and minds will be united in doing what is good for all. We will see the blending of the natural and spiritual laws as we see them today. We will learn that they work together in harmony as a whole. We will see that spirit and energy are the same; just different names for what is currently beyond our ability to explain.
Many today are beginning to realize that our small self is an important part of a greater whole. Our spirit is connected to a greater spiritual matrix that contains and interconnects all things. Our soul is like a single point within a vast web of life. Our perception of the interdependence and interconnectedness is currently very limited at best. In time, we will know and begin to understand the reality of the world in which we truly live.
I cannot give you simple answers to very complex questions. There are many hard questions that no one is yet willing to ask. As our concepts and knowledge expands, things will become clear to those who are willing to learn and grow.
The only way we can fail in accomplishing what we are attempting to do is for us to quit trying. As long as we keep going one step at a time, our journey will unfold in the proper time and way.
Monday, November 18, 2013, 1:48 AM
What you have been and done in the past has made you who you are today. This past is fixed and cannot be changed so there is no need for regrets. Just accept it and move on.
What you do today will plant the seeds of all that happens in the future. There is no need for hope when you plant the seeds today. Your actions will bear the appropriate fruit in time.
Many of us spend a great deal of time looking at the past or planning for the future, so much time in fact, that we miss the opportunities that we have presented to us today.
You could say the future will never come -- for it will always be today. Do the best you can with the opportunities presented to you today - that is all that can truly be done.
Peace and happiness come when you know that you have done your best with the opportunities presented to you at this moment in time. This is why we focus on today.
Saturday, November 16, 2013, 4:55 PM
Each one of us has a religion. We have grown in discipline, love, and life experiences. Our understanding of the world and our place in it has naturally developed through time. We claim to know and understand what life is about. This understanding is our religion.
Each individual's world view is their religion. It may be limited or wide in scope. It may reflect great wisdom or have primitive and inaccurate views. Still, we must recognize that this view is that person’s religion.
We tend to define religion within very narrow ways. We often equate it to worship groups or rituals that we do. We will often claim others have no religion, for they walk a path that is different from the one we conceive. We like to put labels on people to divide them into different sects. We want a way to classify or dismiss those who have differing views.
No two individuals, despite the labels we use, have the exact same worldview. Each individual has a unique set of ideas and beliefs that others do not share. Still, we insist on using labels to place them within different groups. Many of us even place labels upon ourselves to have a sense of belonging to a unique group. Sooner or later, we must face the fact that our religion is unique to us. We cannot force that view on others, but can freely share why we believe as we do. We can understand that others have similar but different views. We can realize that many are not fully conscious of the multitude of differences.
Most people claim to belong to the dominant religion of the culture. They are born and raised in the faith of their family and assume that everyone shares the same beliefs. We tend to go with the group and say we will believe what others believe. We tend to accept as truth what these people tell us without much independent thought. This continues on until we are exposed to different views and ways of life. Only then, do we begin to question all that is been taught to us since our childhood days.
As we experience new things, our worldview naturally grows and evolves. We look at everything in a new way. The labels we have used no longer seem to fit, but still, we are reluctant to face this. We cling to the labels like a security blanket. In effect, we deny what we truly are.
To develop a religion or worldview that is realistic and relevant we must constantly revise and extend our understanding to include the new knowledge and experience we have gained. We need take a look at the reality of the universe and our role in it as best as we can. We must constantly enlarge our frame of reference. We do not want to have an incomplete or defective view.
Most of us operate from a more limited view than what we are capable of achieving. We are afraid to transcend the limits placed upon us by our culture and family. We hide our new understandings so that we may fit into the box. We deny what we truly believe. We deny the very essence of who we are.
Saturday, November 16, 2013, 2:11 PM
In my opinion, 'atheists in the pulpit' is the reason the UUA is a dying organization. There are more Free - Range UUs because of this, who believe in God in some form, but will not attend or be a member a UUA church.
The fastest growing group in the world seems to be those who consider themselves 'Spiritual but not Religious' because of the hypocrisy they see in organized religions where the open discussion of God and Spirituality is not welcomed.
Young people today question all the teachings of the church, especially the churches or faiths they are raised in and want to explore all the faiths in order to understand what is true and what is not, but the one thing they do share is a deep seated belief that there is a God or creator.
The UUA would have been the perfect place for them to explore the religious teachings from around the world but as soon as a minister or church declares there is no God or creator; declares that their view is the only acceptable form of worship; or declares that God talk or Spirituality or alternative views are not welcomed, the young people will walk out the door and never return.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 12:33 PM
God has not abandoned creation. He established rules and laws that govern the workings of the universe. Through those rules and laws all things work together for the good of all people and things, but, most of humanity either pays no attention to them or is living in a state of ignorance.
God has continually sent us messengers and teachers, in the form of other human beings and events, to get us to pay attention and learn. He gave us the freedom to do as we will. He will not intervene in a way that deviates from the rules and laws that he established.
Like a parent, God will guide and correct us as we learn and grow, but he cannot do the learning for us. When we are aware of the material and spiritual laws; how they work together in harmony; and can apply those laws or principles to the way we live on a daily basis, then we begin to see and understand the miracle of life.
Thursday, November 7, 2013, 1:01 PM
Spiritual growth is a journey. When we fight with our neighbors because of differing worldviews each confrontation becomes a holy war. It is a clash of religions, whether on an individual or national scale.
To expand our knowledge and to come to an understanding we must be willing to learn something new. We must be willing to give up the old, outdated knowledge and ways. Spiritual growth is not possible unless there is a willingness to change. We must be willing to question everything we have been taught.
Many people will see this as a rejection of the old. They will see it is rebellion against established religion but in fact it is the growth and evolution of all that has come before us. To be capable of attaining our full potential, we must take advantage of the expanded knowledge and wisdom available to us.
This is not a path for those who want to be satisfied with a hand-me-down religion. It is a personal choice to grow and change to reach our full potential as a child of God. It is using your experiences each day to go forward on your journey. The choice you must make today is very real. You must be willing and prepared to make this choice, or you would not be reading this. Are you ready to take responsibility for your learning and growth? Are you willing to be a way shower and guide for others who are just beginning their spiritual journey through life? Think about all that you have experienced so far and the lessons you have learned. You now have the ability to help others because of your experience in life. Your faith is no longer what it was when you began this spiritual journey.
If you examine yourself, you will see how much you have truly changed. You will find the truth you hold dear have also changed. You Will have a more realistic view of life, not blind belief in something you are told to believe and does not resonate with your heart and mind. You will now want truths that can guide and aid you in what you experience every day of your life. You may have even advance to no longer seeing a separation between the material and spiritual but see them interconnected as parts of one whole view of life.
To advance further on your journey, you must have the courage to question everything. You must have the courage to be a leader within your community doing and promoting what is good for all. Your spiritual growth will take a quantum leap forward when you make a commitment to serve God and humanity. Your views will become more international and universal in scope. People in many lands are seeking for spiritual teachers and leaders who are truly wise. They have become skeptical and want to transcend the religions that demand blind faith.
There are people throughout the world who must hide their views at the present time. If they were caught reading words such as these their life would be in jeopardy. In some places they would be cast out of their society and culture or put to death. Yes, all this still happens in our world today. It is imperative that we began to work with love to unite the human family. We need to put aside dogmatism, religious persecutions, and wars.
Humanity's track record so far is pretty poor. We fight with our brothers and sisters. We cause death and destruction in the name of our religions. We have poisoned the hearts and minds of our children. We have poisoned the rivers and oceans and raped the earth. We seem to prefer ignorance to expanded knowledge and wisdom. Will humanity awaken to see the light of a better way that is available to all? Will individuals begin to question and want to work together to preserve life upon the earth?
Too many individuals and groups think they have an exclusive and only they truly know the mind of God. They do not realize that much of what they believe is wrong. People have given their free will to explore and question away. If we are going to progress together and learn what is true, we must be open to discussion and change. This is difficult for many still hold that no one should question the teachings of the church.
We must go through the process of questioning established teachings. We must question community and cultural values. We can then accept or reject all that has been presented to us. We can establish our own world view and values based upon what works today. We will have the free will to direct our thoughts and actions in a loving and productive way. We will build upon a firm foundation of truth, justice, love, knowledge, and wisdom. The talents, abilities, and experiences of each individual will be respected and utilized in a harmonious way.
Individuals will again begin to believe wholeheartedly in God and the family of humanity. Our religion will be original and personal to each individual. We will work together and assist each other in this spiritual journey. We will begin to truly live in put aside the ways of destruction and death. Our concept of religion will be truly workable and living. No longer will there be conflict between the ancient and the new for there will be a blending of all that is true. The struggle for power and control will give way to love, harmony, and peace.