24 April 2018      

Good day!
Welcome to the newest week in all of our lives!  We hope that
this new set of days gives you many opportunities to love and to
cherish, to lift up and encourage, to give and to take, to dream
wonderful dreams and to make those dreams reality!

Letting Go of Spiritual Laws of Success
Hugh Prather

The Gift of Change
Marianne Williamson

The Art of Simplicity
Wilferd A. Peterson

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First keep the peace within yourself,
then you can also bring peace to others.

Thomas ŕ Kempis

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying
when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Dale Carnegie

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,
it expects what never was and never will be.

Thomas Jefferson

Letting Go of Spiritual Laws of Success  (an excerpt)
Hugh Prather

As a people, until the 1960s we didn't believe in metaphysical laws or "universal principles" so much as we believed in the one great Game Plan:  If you did "what was right."  If you didn't question "authority," your place in society, or the status quo.  If you didn't lie, swear, cheat, or "drink to excess."  If you worked long hours and saved your money so that some day you could pass it on to your children.  If you were loyal to your country, the company you worked for, the political party of your family, and your alma mater.  If you performed your duties as a housewife or a "provider."  If you attended your house of worship and tithed regularly.  Then "everything would work out" and at some point you would walk into the sunset.

This unquestioned approach to life extended even to one's personal choice in car companies, the dress styles of the day, and one's taste in music and movie stars.  The key was sticking to "the plan," which everyone more or less understood and agreed on.  As a culture, we were surprisingly consistent in our adherence to this approach.  We told each other stories of the rewards of people who "worked hard and lived by the rules."  We cherished examples of what happened to those who didn't.

No one felt a need to uncover the laws of love or success because our society thought it already knew "how to conduct yourself" in ways that allowed one's life to work out.  That it was possible for life to work out and that "everything adds up" was never questioned.

Then along came the Vietnam War and doubt began pouring into our cultural psyche.  Within a remarkably few years, we no longer believed in a single game plan, and at the start of the twenty-first century we have come close to assuming that acting counter to "the way things are done" gives you a better chance at happiness than walking "the path most traveled."  Now devotion can turn you into a "caregiver"; your family can "enable" you to fail; your children can impede "your dreams"; your company, your religion, and the political leaders you last voted for can fail to "meet your needs."  You should feel free to experiment with different "lifestyles" and "exotic" forms of entertainment.  You should be open to switching friends and family members as you are to changing your job, location, or hairstyle.

Although it was inevitable that we would begin to challenge the cherished "strengths" of our society, we have paid a heavy price for going beyond merely questioning our values to obsessively undermining them.  We have focused so strongly on doubting our former approach to life that doubt has become an end in itself.  Most of us find that we can no longer look at anything without anxiety, uncertainty, and cynicism.  The average person can't even sit down and eat a simple meal without conflict.

Understandably, we now long to know what can be counted on, what the basic forces and facts are.  If the old way doesn't get us the life we want, what will?  We hunger to know the rules and we want them spelled out and numbered.

Fortunately, this will never happen.  If it could, we would be locked forever in an unfair and loveless reality.

After thousands of years of looking for them, it should be obvious there are no hidden laws.  The world simply is not governed by a philosophy, doctrine, or set of rules.  No one's life is predictable, solvable, or even reasonable.  Once we acknowledge this, a great and totally unnecessary burden is lifted from our shoulders.

Unquestionably, many writers and teachers claim to have discovered the laws of happiness and success.  But no one agrees on precisely what these are.  It's also curious that in our culture, it is close to being a tradition that our religious and spiritual leaders seldom practice what they preach, which raises the following question:  Do they really believe they have discovered the laws of happiness and success?

Why would we even want such laws?  Isn't it because we think the key to change is to change the people and circumstances around us?  We insanely believe that the key to peace is war.  Yet as soon as we try to control anything, we split our mind and lose our sense of inner comfort.  We can change what we bring to the people and circumstances surrounding us, but we can't dominate them.

Perhaps the only approach that comes remotely close to a rule of life is that when you are relaxed and flexible, you are happy; when you are rigid and controlling, you are unhappy.  Therefore, the key is actually to let go of our urge to get people to behave and events to go our way.

No matter how experienced the psychologist, how learned the theologian, how wise the philosopher, or how holy the saint, none of them can control a two-year-old.  Who among us can even predict the weather?  As someone said to me recently, "The next time you think there is some situation you can control, try doing it when you have diarrhea."

The simple fact is that you and I don't control the tiniest events of our lives.  Despite repeated New Year's resolutions, most members of the human species can't even turn down a donut.  Thus the idea of controlling our partner, teenager, in-laws, or supervisor is ludicrous.

It's interesting that the great spiritual teachers of the past did not control outcomes.  Jesus couldn't even get his disciples to stay awake for an hour--although he tried twice!  What made these teachers great was that they devoted themselves to the people before them wholly and constantly--even though the results were disappointing.  In contrast, you and I have limited patience and "can only do so much."  If the picture doesn't change, we bail out.

Most people think they know the pieces that make up the puzzle of their life.  They believe that they already have a few of them resting quietly in place, and all they have to do is get the rest of them to fit.  However, even the ones that momentarily fit are changing shape and soon will not fit, and to those that float just out of reach, new ones are forever being added.  No one's life, including the lives of the saints ad ascended masters, finally gets ironed out and runs smoothly.

Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa's approach to life is thought by many to have come close to perfection.  If theirs was not a flawless, approach, certainly it was about as good as it gets.  Yet even their lives often did not go well.  If that is true of individuals who by the end of their lives lived impeccably, then nothing you or I do with our minds or bodily habits can force our lives to run well.

more on letting go


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The Gift of Change
Marianne Williamson

Life as we knew it is passing away, and something new is emerging to take its place.

All of us are playing a part in a larger transformative process, as each of us is being forced to confront whatever it is we do, or even think, that keeps love at bay. For as we block love's power to change our own lives, we block its power to change the world.

Humanity is moving forward now, though in some ways we are doing so kicking and screaming. Nature seems to be saying to all of us, "Okay, it's time. No more playing around. Become the person you were meant to be."

We would like to, but it's hard. The problems of the world today seem larger than they have ever been before, making it easy to succumb to cynicism, fear, hopelessness, and despair. Until, that is, we remember who we are.

For who we really are is a power bigger than all our problems, both personal and collective. And when we have remembered who we are, our problems -- which are literally nothing other than manifestations of our forgetfulness -- will disappear.

Well that would be a miracle, you might say. And that is precisely the point.

This book is about learning who we are, that we might become agents of miraculous change. As we release the fear-based thoughts we've been taught to think by a frightened and frightening world, we see God's truth revealed: that who we are at our core is love itself. And miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.

It is said in Alcoholics Anonymous that every problem comes bearing its own solution. And the gift being borne by our current challenges is the opportunity to make a large leap forward in the actualization of our own potential. The only way the world can make a quantum leap, from conflict and fear to peace and love, is if that same quantum leap occurs within us. Then and only then will we become the men and women capable of solving the problems that plague us. As we leap into the zone of our most authentic selves, we enter a realm of infinite possibility.

Until we enter that zone, we are blocked, for God cannot do for us what He cannot do through us. To say He has the solutions to our problems is to say He has a plan for the changes each of us needs to go through in order to become the people through whom He can bring forth those solutions. The most important factor in determining what will happen in our world is what you decide to let happen within you. Every circumstance -- no matter how painful -- is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being. Our task, for our own sakes and for the sake of the entire world, is to do so.

Yet for us to become who we most deeply want to be, we must look at who we are now -- even when what we see doesn't please us. This moment is driving us to face every issue we've ever avoided facing, compelling us to get to some rock-bottom, essential truth about ourselves whether we like what we see there or not.

And until we make that breakthrough in ourselves, there will be no fundamental breakthrough in the world. The world we see reflects the people we've become, and if we do not like what we see in the world, we must face what we don't like within ourselves. Having done so, we will move through our personal darkness to the light that lies beyond. We will embrace the light and extend the light.

And as we change, the world will change with us.

We spend so much time on unimportant things -- things with no ultimate meaning -- yet for reasons no one seems to fully understand, such nonessentials stand at the center of our worldly existence. They have no connection to our souls whatsoever, yet they have attached themselves to our material functioning. Like spiritual parasites, they eat away our life force and deny us our joy. The only way to rid ourselves of their pernicious effects is to walk away ... not from things that need to get done, but from thoughts that need to die.

Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside our minds, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. We're in the habit of thinking fearfully, and it takes spiritual discipline to turn that around in a world where love is more suspect than fear.

To achieve a miraculous experience of life, we must embrace a more spiritual perspective. Otherwise, we will die one day without ever having known the real joy of living. That joy emerges from the experience of our true being -- when we detach from other people's projections onto us, when we allow ourselves permission to dream our greatest dreams, when we're willing to forgive ourselves and others, when we're willing to remember that we were born with one purpose: to love and be loved.

Anyone who looks at the state of the world today is aware that something radically new is called for -- in who we are as a species and in our relationship to each other and our relationship to the earth itself. Yet the psychological fundamentals that hold this dysfunctional world in place are like sacred cows: we are afraid to touch them, for fear something bad will happen to us if we do. In fact, something bad will happen to us if we do not. It is time to change. It is time to do what we know in our hearts we were born to do.

We are here to participate in a glorious subversion of the world's dominant, fear-based thought forms.

There are only two core emotions: love and fear. And love is to fear as light is to darkness: in the presence of one, the other disappears. . . .

more on love


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The true end of education is not only to make the young learned,
but to make them love learning; not only to make them industrious,
but to make them love industry; not only to make them virtuous,
but to make them love virtue; not only to make them just,
but to make them hunger and thirst after justice.

John Ruskin
The Art of Simplicity
Wilferd A. Peterson

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!" wrote Thoreau.  "I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and not as a hundred or a thousand."

The art of simplicity is simply to simplify. . .

Simplicity avoids the superficial, penetrates the complex, goes to the heart of the problem and pinpoints key factors.

Simplicity does not beat around the bush.  It does not take winding detours.  It follows a straight line to the objective.  Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points.

Simplicity does not elucidate the obscure, it emphasizes the obvious.

Simplicity solves problems.  Listen to the testimony of Charles Kettering, a genius of modern research:  "The problem when solved will be simple."

Simplicity discovers great ideas; a swinging cathedral lamp inspired the pendulum, watching a tea kettle led to the steam engine, and a falling apple revealed the law of gravitation.

Simplicity is the mark of greatness.  "To be simple is to be great," wrote Emerson.  Only little people pretend; big people are genuine and sincere.

Simplicity has given all the big things little names:  dawn, day hope, love, home, peace, life, death.

Simplicity is eloquent:  it is the Twenty-third Psalm and the Gettysburg address.

Simplicity uses little words.  It practices the wisdom of Lincoln, who said, "make it so simple a child will understand; then no one will misunderstand."

Simplicity deepens life.  It magnifies the simple virtues on which people's survival depends:  humility, faith, courage, serenity, honesty, patience, justice, tolerance, thrift.

Simplicity is the arrow of the spirit!



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Solitude can become your most
meaningful companion and it can
assist you in being a more giving
person in your spiritual partnerships.  Rather than regarding your partner's
need for time alone as a threat,
see it as a time of renewal that you celebrate.  Make every effort to
help each other have that space.
Treat that space as sacred.

Wayne Dyer


How many of us get up in the morning feeling truly grateful for the day?  Most of us wish we could turn the clock back and keep sleeping.  The truth is, when you are happy to wake up and are grateful for the day, your life does change.
   Each new day is an opportunity to pray for your loved ones and to act in a loving manner towards them.  I start out by saying my prayer of thanks and asking for guidance and help from all available resources.  I find I am always grateful for the new day, no matter how hard it is or will be, because I know I am not ready for my days to end.  After all, the alternative to waking up and facing another difficult day is death.  For all I know, after death the unenlightened may be sent back to wake up to the glory of the new day and its opportunities.
   I want to experience more days and the difficulties and opportunities they will bring.  I want the chance to test myself.  Maybe this makes me a glutton for punishment, but if I can help one living thing get through the day and not hurt anyone else in the process, I go to sleep thankful for the time I have been given and eager to awaken to tomorrow.

Bernie Siegel



You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more
deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person
is not to be found anywhere.  You yourself, as much as anybody
in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

the Buddha




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