Time Marches On

Magictree_nMy dear friend and colleague, Rev. Jeanette Keil, made her transition last week, while I was at the Asilomar conference.  I’d been saying good bye in my heart for while, but I was sad. At the same time, nearly everyone was a little bit sad because this is the last time we will hold our conference on the beautiful Asilomar campgrounds.

 When I was a kid, they ran newsreels about World War Two at the movies. They always began with a man’s deep voice, announcing, “Time Marches On.” Despite that message, the war seemed endless, and Roosevelt was our president until I was eleven years old.  Life felt pretty static.

However, time did march on and I learned that things change all the time. I now understand that moving on is the nature of life. I do not expect to live forever, nor do I expect my friends to live forever. The sun rises and sets. I get that. Even so, sometimes change really hurts. Sometimes it is difficult to let go.

It is natural to feel grief when we let go of something or someone we love. I know that Love never dies. Jeanette’s life was wonderful and she now enters a new experience with God. My grief over Jeanette’s transition  was personal.

There was a collective shadow at the retreat. Religious Science has used the Asilomar campgrounds for more than fifty years and so there was some resistance to that change hovering over our activities and conversations. Not so much doubt about the decision, but nostalgia and foot dragging fantasies to protect our hearts from grief.

In Science of Mind, I have learned that what we call God is the Creative Intelligence of the Universe. It is Spirit and everything is created by this Spirit. What’s more, this Spirit is the Cosmic Energy or Life Force that shifts, recreates, renews, builds up and tears down.

Creating, tearing down and recreating is what Life does. It does this because it is the nature of Life. Our personal consciousness directs the Life Force to some extent, because our minds are connected to the Great Mind. But with or without our direction, change is what God does.

Most of the activity is impersonal. There is no Old Man in the sky who rewards or withholds blessings to good or bad children. These ideas were abandoned long ago.  In New Thought, we envision God as the Creative Energy of the Universe in action.

This Creative Energy is Love working as Spiritual Law in our individual lives. We are living in God and constantly communicating with God because we are God.  Science of Mind teaches us to pray so we can direct the flow of our lives. But try as we might, we cannot change the flowing. Life will continue to create change.

Changing locations for conferences is really a small matter. Several speakers at Asilomar pointed out that the magic is not in the grounds but in our personal consciousness. They said when you visit Asilomar at another time, it doesn’t feel the same at all. I know this is true because I’ve tried it.

We associate the campgrounds with love and joy but we created that experience ourselves. The setting is gorgeous, however it is our consciousness of love that really matters. Our loving consciousness will travel with us so wherever we go. We need not resist change.

Resistance is fear and resistance to change is common. Some people wear their high school hairstyles despite the wrinkles of time.  Some people won’t change their diets after switching to sedentary jobs.  Some of us won’t try new foods or abandon old beliefs. When we hold on and resist, we are confronting the Life Force Itself.

Much recent political activity is simply resistance to the march of time. The Tea Party seems to be all about holding on to an imaginary past.  These right wing politicians who insist on ruling women’s bodies are deeply mired in the 1800’s. I have been quick to call these guys dinosaurs.

This week I got to see my personal resistance in my “good old days” conversations at Asilomar. It was also there in my grief about losing Jeanette. But I’m not stuck. I know I cannot remain in resistance and be happy or healthy. I thank God for the gift to see my foibles and love myself as I move into the new expressions of life.

I cannot defy the nature of life. I can influence my destiny through prayer but whether I want it or not, things will change. What makes me happy is that I know I can guide at least part of that change in my personal life.

I have choices and I have free will. I can choose to be happy and grateful as I live my life. Meister Eckhart, a mystic of the middle ages told us that “Thank You, God” was the prayer we needed.  I believe that with all my heart. I am grateful for every day. My aim is to live in gratitude.

I appreciate the many wonderful years I enjoyed at Asilomar and I look forward to the new places for future conferences. I can appreciate the past and greet the future cheerfully.

I am deeply grateful for Jeanette’s, love, clarity, and support all those years. It was wonderful to serve God and grow together. It was wonderful to be prayer partners. She will live in my heart forever.

I am grateful for many other wonderful people as well. My trip was possible because of love and support from my daughter Kate. I was so proud of my student Lori Mac and her excellent dance workshop. I loved my talks with Dr. Nancy Anderson, Dr. Arlene Bump,and, Dr. David Leonard, There were many others. I appreciate them all.

One of the best parts of my Asilomar trip was driving along the seacoast at sundown of the last day. The familiar scenery of quaint, gaily-colored, Victorian homes were on my right. The gorgeous coastline was on the left. The Monterey Pines twisted in intricate beauty as they were waiting to pose for post cards.

On this evening, the sky and sea were silver and the village of Pacific Grove looked like a romantic fairy tale. I found great promise in that silvery sunset drive. Beauty takes many forms and this shimmering scene was so serene, and so full of promise that the world seemed to be born again – totally new and quite lovely.

It reminded me that we are spiritual beings having human experiences. We live in God and we are always surrounded by the Love of God. Wherever we go, whatever we do, God is always waiting to express more Love, Light, and Joy through us. It is always NOW in God’s time and we are always in the arms of Infinite Possibility.

Ask Yourself

What am I holding onto?

What do I choose to release?

What am I grateful for?

How can I express my gratitude today?

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Life Is Not Exactly A Bowl Of Cherries

Some things are more difficult as one ages. The thing that is always there but seldom talked about is how much closer it is until curtain time. One day, not so long ago, I realized that I had more dead friends than live ones.

I sometimes miss my friends but I am not aware of fearing death. I long ago dropped any fear of punishment for my sins beyond their natural outcomes on Planet Earth. I do believe that some sort of consciousness continues after the Spirit leaves the body. I believe this, at least partly, because of my dead friends.

The fascinating thing about my departed friends is that they are still part of my life. Hardly a night goes by that I don’t have a conversation or visit from one or the other in my dreams. The dreams are always pleasant visits and sometimes I get simple messages.

Do I believe in ghosts? Yes, I believe that a spiritual energy of Love continues to operate in loving ways that could be perceived as ghostly – but not scary. For years, I have said in Memorial services, “Love never dies” and I believe that is true.

Whether you believe in life after death or ghostly energy or reincarnation – or all of the above – is not important. What is important is that you know your choice to express love is important long after you are gone from your body. Lives that express love, famous or not, lighten and brighten the world.

Feeling love makes us happy. The more love we circulate, the happier we are. Those are simple truths to grasp and live as deeply as possible. The choice to love or fear is a common choice for all of us. Choose love whenever you can.

If you are reading this, chances are great that you are part of a human chain of love. You are bound to others who seek, express and enjoy love through the law of attraction.  Some of you may feel the need for more love.

The answer to attracting more love into your life is to express what you already have learned more consistently. Be a major link in your chain of love heritage. You learned to love when you were younger from someone who learned when he or she was younger. A chain of love is eternal.

Love passes from one human to another. It is the most beautiful contagion we have. You are a result of the love you have chosen and are now choosing in your life. You have received and chosen love. You are now passing that love on to others. So love never dies.

Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t ever have to reinvent love? It is always waiting, in smiling repose for us to discover, enjoy, use and pass along to others. That phrase, in smiling repose is a quote from my friend, RW Emerson  who visits me in books. His love continues through me and countless other Transcendentalists.

I start teaching the Emerson class next week and he is much on my mind but he has been on my mind in some manner since I first encountered his blessed words in college in the 1960’s.

A writer and philosopher like Emerson is direct and absolute proof that love never dies. He has impacted American thinking since his beginning essay, Nature, was published in 1836. He was a direct influence on my loving mentor, Ernest Holmes, who read him constantly as a young man.  New Thought, in general, is an outgrowth of Emersonian  Mind and Emersonian Love.

Emerson was a great philosopher who wrote abstract ideas. Everywhere he looked, he saw the OverSoul. I am much more apt to find love particularized in communion with loved ones. The beauty of love is that it can be abstract or personal, but it is always the same love.

God is love and the desire to give and receive love is embedded in the original equipment of being human. Love is present in all of us and our task is to reveal it as we travel along life’s journey. It is not a race to be won nor is it a journey to be lost. It is what life is all about at a deep, spiritual level.

We don’t invent love and we can’t hoard it. We simply reveal love to each other, exchanging it without a thought of using it to get a return on our expenditure. Anyone who attempts to use love to get something back is going to be disappointed.

I know about that particular form of disappointment. I didn’t realize it at the time but my love that was used to manipulate was counterfeit in the sense that I attempted to use it as a commodity. Love must be freely given to be real.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that love does not mean that you must let the other person walk all over you. If you want to be loving, you must model self-love and set boundaries.

What do you love right now in your life? Please share you comments on this blog.

Right now, I am loving to be writing this blog. I am loving to have so many wonderful people in my life. I also love that I’ve let go of most ambition and most attachment to material stuff. I’ve definitely learned that cherries require spitting pits out and life is not about bowls full of them but about the free flowing exchange of Love.

Ask Yourself

What do I love most right now?

Who taught me to love?

Who am I teaching to love?