Friday, September 30, 2011

Hearing The Phone Ring

"He didn't believe in anything real. He only believed in what he saw."

I don't know who that message is for I just know that I am supposed to post it here. Someone was being cryptic today and blurted that out when I was on the edge of sleep. If it's for you then I hope it helps you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Procrastination And Living With Blinders On

Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy's book The Laughing Jesus talks about 'living lucidly' in chapter ten. I equate this task with removing the blinders and getting up off our spiritual butts. It's very difficult to stay disciplined with the way ordinary life slips in, demanding our immediate attention. The authors had interesting things to say about procrastination concerning gnosis:
"Life is a game of awakening and the way we win is remarkably simple. We live or ordinary life, just as we have always done, but we choose to live consciously. We recognize that even the most seemingly trivial events are opportunities to enjoy the moment and love others. We embrace the stranger who serves us at the local shop with big love, because we no longer see them as just a cashier, we know they are also the mystery made manifest. And when we love others we may help them wake up and become more loving. In this way we can send out ripples of kindness wherever we go.

We wake up by approaching our everyday existence as an ongoing spiritual exercise. Not in some overly serious way, but like a game we enjoy playing. Yet it does also have a serious aspect. Life will naturally present us with the challenges we need to become more conscious, some of which can be hard to face, and the best way to avoid being pushed is to keep moving.

We tend to think that it is when we feel bad that we need to wake up and when we feel good everything is fine as it is. But actually it is often when we are enjoying life that we become most unconscious. When life is bad we are impelled to do something about it and we may take a step forward on our journey of awakening. But when we feel good it is tempting to settle into a comfortable unconsciousness. We need to pay attention to waking up all of the time, not just when we are pushed into it because we felt bad.

Once we understand that the game of life is about waking up and that what we really want is to love this moment, we will cease distracting ourselves with the relentless quest for transitory satisfaction, through accumulating material possessions, acquiring social status and attaining personal power. We will stop numbing the pain of separateness with TV and trivia. Instead we will give our precious attention to the process of awakening. We will stop seeing lucid living as an attractive idea and make it a reality. We will stop procrastinating and go for it."

As I write this my ten year old son is sitting out at the dining room table sobbing his little heart out because he procrastinated all day long on school work and now here it is only a few minutes before Daddy gets home and he swears he's going to be killed. It's always just before Daddy gets home that the kid looks at the clock and freaks out.

I've given him pep talks ten times a day. I've taken away all his toys, electronics privileges, had him write papers concerning procrastinating, and even had him write essays forcing him to give HIMSELF a pep talk to stop procrastinating; listing all the reasons it's not such a good idea and specifically what he loses by doing it. But we still haven't broken through that barrier in his mind.

As the two good authors say, "you have to want to wake up more than you want to stay asleep."

And as I've asked my youngest time and time again, "why are you stopping yourself?"

Children teach us patience in surprising ways. I look at him and at times think, 'why can't he do this?! It's easy! If he gets done then he gets free time. What's the issue? I got done with my school work in a reasonable amount of time when I was a kid. What's the big deal?'

But to him it is a big deal. So I get to watch him overcome this demon and in the process learn more about him and myself. Can I be patient enough to not scream at him every time I see him staring off into space or 'accidentally' dropping his eraser on the floor for the thousandth time? Can I be compassionate enough to let him learn from his mistakes? Can I be strict enough to enforce that no work will carry over to the next day and watch him sit, miserable, at the table until 11pm? It's no fun for me or my husband. We don't get anything out of it. This is a roadblock of our son's making and his life is his own journey. But our journeys sure do intersect an awful lot!! And that's where loving others with Big Love comes in handy. I can give John a big loud kiss on the cheek, hug him tightly, tell him that I love him with all my heart... but afterward I still have to nudge him toward the table to get his school work done.

We're only human

"Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for."

Earl Warren

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Keep looking for those 'answers'

Einstein said, "the important thing is to not stop questioning."

But does the Right Answer exist? .... I don't think so. I think it's all subjective to our own mindset and circumstances. In most cases there's going to be someone who feels they were Wrong and the Right person is just a jackass. Or vice versa.

I don't want to be in a coma, metaphysically or physically. Or religiously. But the past few months I've been questioning things that are more mundane and it leaves me truly befuddled how disillusioned we can become (and continue to be!!) just to continue to 'not rock the boat.'

I am speaking of relationships, obviously; one I can't change easily. Like I tell my two stepsons, "you can't change people, you can only nudge them or influence them." I wish I could take my own advice sometimes. I feel like I've got a big fat granite boulder sitting on top of my neck instead of a real cranium with a brain contained therein.

So now the question evolved into, "what am I going to do?" I can't change this person. I can nudge, influence, shout and scream, but at the end of the day nothing will change this person's behavior because they don't see the danger in it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


A few months ago I found a Christian site devoted to rooting out the 'scourge' that is Gnosticism. Great read! I really enjoyed it. It's always nice to know what ten layers of hell people are wishing on you. Or just how confused they are about gnosis. This was their home: ( This is the only link I have. It's dead now. The whole site is gone.

I did a search for some of the following quotes from a particularly enlightening article but found pieces of it all over the place. Narrowing it down I discovered that it was part of a sermon called "Understanding the New Gnosticism" by Don Clasen. It is now listed in its entirety on the site here: The portion I am quoting below is found about ten paragraphs from the bottom in the full length sermon.

Mr. Clasen's sermon is cringe-worthy. He jumps all over the place between the literal interpretation of holy scripture and what he thinks gnostics believe. You have to be really careful about how you read it or you'll get lost in the maze of his rationale. (I think I found our modern Irenaeus, btw.) He says:

"It's interesting to note that after Adam and Eve ate of the tree, the first thing they noticed was that they were naked and they hid themselves. The implication is that until then they had the glory of God clothing them, the very presence of God. That removal of Himself from them was when they spiritually died, as it ruptured their walk with Him.

But it also had another consequence. They now were stuck with an undue self-consciousness, a consciousness of their own selves. Before this, they were conscious of themselves but the presence of God was an even stronger consciousness. And to this day, people partake of an endless quest to "get back to the Garden". They will take drugs, meditate, dance, chant--do lots of repetitious things, in order to enter into an "altered state of consciousness".

Why? Because they want relief from the tyranny of self-consciousness for a while. Perhaps it's because we instinctively know we're unworthy, and that there's Someone or something out there worth plugging into."


Unworthy?!! RELIEF from the TYRANNY of self-consciousness?!! You mean relief from responsibility. That's what this ultimately boils down to. If you don't have to THINK then you can't be held responsible for your sheep-like actions.

That's it. You've convinced me and converted me. I'm throwing all my sins on Jesus and leaving my brain behind. I am 'washed in his blood' and am now sinless. I draw the line at voting Republican, though, just because that's what my church says I should. My ballot is between me and the Lord.

The fact that Mr. Clasen believes gnostics are to be vilified because, "They're always seeking for some newer and deeper revelation of God and His Kingdom" says a bit about what he believes a relationship with God should be like: one sided and boring as hell.

He also says: "Gnostics generally tended then to one of two extremes in dealing with life. Either they became ascetics, in an attempt to starve the flesh to death so to speak. Or they became libertines because since the flesh was evil, it is not part of the "real you" which is spiritual because it's been "enlightened" by Gnostic "revelation".

And that, my dear readers, is a line straight from the infamous Irenaeus himself.

From a masochist to a hedonist? ...Yes. I have to agree with him on this point. It's all about finding a balance. We do tend to veer off to extremes at times. And so do the Literalists. The Franciscan order is quite comfortable with the concept of ritualized self-flagellation and I haven't seen any skeletal looking clergy in quite a while; most are pleasantly plump. Pot/kettle, much?

Picasso's Vision

Pablo Picasso said, "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."

On that I feel I must agree to a certain extent. As a sporadic painter I most often feel driven to pick up a brush when I am at my most sensitive and vulnerable. Most of the time I am not quite sure what I want to express until after it's already out there and on the paper/canvas/board. And as this quote of Picasso's jumped out at me from the tag on a bag of tea this afternoon(Good Earth brand, Black Tea "Tropical Peach" YUM!) it has stayed in my heart the rest of the evening.

As I dug through my files of art I tripped across this old painting and I wanted to share it with you. I think it would be closest to what Picasso is talking about, at least for me personally.

When I was a toddler I drowned in a pool. I lay there on the bottom staring up at the sky. This is what I saw(click on it for a better view):

This watercolor painting/collage on board was done in 2007. I don't have the original any more. Once I was done with it I scanned it and then destroyed the actual painting. I felt free. So here you go. Here's a page out of my 'diary.'

Monday, September 5, 2011

Islamic Words of Wisdom

"What is the best type of Jihad [struggle]?" He answered: "Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler."
This contradicts the following scriptures in such a stark way that it seems impossible the same person(or group of people) wrote the Qur'an.

  1. "Whoever desires a religion other than Islam in the next world he shall be among the losers."
  2. "One may be negligent toward God but one must be respectful toward Muhammad."
Megalomania has no place in gnosis and warmongering prophets are always suspect. Especially when promises of several baker's dozen virgins are dangled in front of a sinful man as if he were in a bakery and not about to blow himself up to fight 'the infidel.' What happened to 'speaking truth'? It has been replaced with totalitarian sparked violence and this is truly distressing. Literalists pitted against literalists. There are no winners here- no matter what sect of religion you profess faith in.

Universal love is invisible, it seems. Like 'magic' ink it disappears on paper and if it's not visible then it can't possible exist. But if it's written on the heart it is eternally visible.

And so seekers of gnosis are left picking piecemeal bits of wisdom from the Qur'an just like any other spiritually inspired text.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Heavy Words of Gnostic Wisdom From Socrates

"There is a doctrine uttered in secret that man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away."

"Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth; and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service."