Spirituality * Culture * Self-Expression

Month: April 2013

What I Learned before I was Born

TheGuffThis is only a story – but some stories can be true.


I moved into the Great Hall and noticed the millions of other souls who, like me, were preparing for another incarnation. We moved to the edge of the precipice that separates the Earth plane from the rest of the universe and waited. A Celestial Voice summarized for us all the things we learned about taking on a new material form.


“Most of you will get a name. But there is no guarantee of this. What you are called may not be to your liking and it may not reflect your true nature in any way. Fret not – you are free to call yourself anything you choose.

“You will get a body. You probably won’t like it. Aside from the multitude of physical ailments and disabilities that might go along with it, you will probably also suffer from the anxiety of comparing your body to that of others. This is not a good idea. It might make you vain and bitter. There will always be someone with a better form or better abilities than your own. The same is true of material goods you might choose to acquire and cling to – someone else will always have something better. Life is not necessarily fair when it comes to these things. Better not to think about it. Learn to be happy with what you have and what you create for yourself. Strive to be the best you can be.

“The world is full of challenges and opportunities. How you choose to respond to them will teach you much about yourself – if you are willing to learn the lessons. If you aren’t willing to learn, then all you will experience is suffering. The people of the world are mostly concerned about themselves. Your self-esteem is your own affair. Work on building your sense of self-worth on what you ARE rather than on what you DO or what you HAVE.

“Most of you will not come into the world possessing much more than a body and a name. That’s OK.  You have the ability to experience happiness if you choose to see the world as a place of wonder where you can learn and grow. However humble your circumstances, there are always opportunities available if you will only seek them out and accept them. You are, after all, a spirit experiencing a material existence – you are far more than just a body and a collection of bric-a-brac. However, if you choose to believe that the material world you find yourself in is all that there is – you are likely to suffer. If you are one of those who are born into material wealth – be very careful.  You will be expected to do a great deal more with your earthly experience than those who are born with nothing.

“However you choose to view the world and your life, you will be presented with lessons and opportunities to learn. Growth is a process and you will continue to face the same lessons in various forms until you understand them. Then you can move on to new lessons. You will probably make mistakes. Get used to it. Do not blame others for your errors. Your parents, your teachers, your employers, your friends – everyone is there for their own development. You must take responsibility for your own success or failures. The lessons of life do not end. As long as you are on Earth you will be tested and expected to learn.

“Wherever you should find yourself is the best place for you to be – it is the best starting point for your journey in life. Don’t get stuck. Take action and get moving. Wherever you are is just the beginning of a journey; it is not the end.

“Everyone you meet can teach you something, even those that might appear dull or ignorant. Learn from them. Look past first impressions. Accept people as the teachers you need right now.

“Life is about choices. Choose to be happy, choose to grow, and choose to find your destiny.

“The important things that you will need to achieve your greatest self are all within you. Don’t look outside for happiness or contentment. Don’t seek success in things or other people. You contain all the answers to all the mysteries within you.  As the poet said, ‘You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.’

“And finally, you will forget all of this before you take your first breath. Nevertheless, work on finding your true self, be careful and strive to be happy.”


After hearing all this, we flew off the precipice and dived into the world.beautiful-world-earth

A Universal Religion

ReligiousSymbolsIn this time of almost constant tensions between people of various faiths and beliefs, it is important to remember that we actually can find common spiritual ground if we choose to.  Those of us on the path, seeking the Light, should especially bear this in mind and be careful not to disparage others because of their spiritual views.

There are many religions in the world. It may be true that not all of them have been inspired by Divine Spirit – but those that have been are part of a primal human tradition, they are emanations of a universal impulse to harmony and joy. The truly inspired religions are an expression of Divine Wisdom; however, that doesn’t mean they contain Absolute Truth. Also, most of them have become distorted over the centuries, and have moved far from their original mission and purpose. Still, they serve as a spiritual guide for billions of people around the world and are, therefore, deserving of respect.Coerxist

Now, we might think that many of these religions just do not represent the current needs of humanity anymore and are possibly even detrimental to social evolution. Nevertheless, as followers of the path, we should not outright condemn them. Instead we should try to find within them that certain something that continues to help people rise up toward a higher plane of awareness.religious-harmony1

Mystically speaking, all the inspired religions of the past and present are destined to eventually manifest a Universal Religion that will be a synthesis of their most beautiful principles. As seekers of Light, we can play a primary role in making this happen by serving as examples of harmony and tolerance when we speak of our own spirituality.

A useful exercise for all of us is to learn as much as possible about the messages proclaimed by spiritual masters such as Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Krishna and Muhammad, and be aware of their legacy to the world. The light these people and others like them have brought to humanity must be preserved in its purer state and conveyed to future generations. Their lives and works are examples for all of us who seek knowledge and enlightenment. Their words and actions are a great source of true wisdom.Religious_Harmony_II_by_zeushadesposeidon

One of the greatest causes of conflict among people has always been religious intolerance. Consider world history: How many wars have been fought for the glory of the Divine? And, how many crimes and atrocities have been committed in the name of one God or another? These wars and crimes generally originate in fanaticism – that is, a conviction that one’s own religion is the only True religion, the only path to salvation, and is superior to all others. Of course, this is nonsense – no religion represents Absolute Truth, and such a conviction, whether acted upon or not, generates particularly negative karma for those who teach or defend it. As seekers of Light, we must release ourselves from such beliefs and strive to be tolerant in your mystical quest.  That doesn’t mean we have to embrace, accept or support all the various beliefs and religions, but we should remember that in the eyes of the Divine Spirit all people are brothers and sisters and all are evolving toward the same goal: the perfection of their soul.religious-harmony


change-the-worldFrom time to time we’ve all probably thought about the idea of changing the world. Typically, we want to change it so that it conforms more to our own way of thinking. This is not a new wish. The following words are said to have been found on the tomb of a 12th century Anglo-Saxon Bishop in the crypt of Westminster Abbey:

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But, it too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.change-the-world-sign

As Tolstoy observed, “We all think of changing the world, and none of us thinks of changing ourselves.”

The world is on a path and evolves as it will. Most things are beyond our manipulation. But we can change how we see the world and what our role in it can be. We can become more active in the world’s evolution.

If you really want the world to change, start by making changes within yourself. Change the way you see the world and the way you behave within it.  Specifically, work on waking yourself up. Wake up by whatever means you can discover. Wake yourself up and then wake up everyone else. In this way the world can become the truly wondrous place we all want it to be.change1

Another Birthday

birth-dayToday is my birthday – and although I would prefer to take the whole day off, I promised myself I would do a new blog post every week. This seemed like a good topic.

Most people, including mystics, like the idea of living life in cycles. There are daily cycles, weekly cycles, monthly cycles and yearly cycles. We eat at the same time every day, take the weekends off work, observe regular holidays and celebrate the New Year and anniversaries all at the same time. Some people also observe 7-year cycles; they consider certain years auspicious – eg. 21st birthdays; they celebrate 100-year and even 1000-year events like the dates really mean something.

Maybe it’s because we evolved on a planet that orbits a star in a fairly regular pattern; and because the seasons appear to occur in a fixed pattern. This is only appearance. To paraphrase the great philosopher Heraclitus, “you can’t pass through the same section of space twice.” Things change all the time.splash-planets

I prefer a more linear (or lateral) path. The past is gone, the present is the only thing we can be confident in and the future doesn’t exist until we create it. But I admit I do like to celebrate a couple of annual occurrences. I like the Spring Equinox, the Winter Solstice and my own birthday.

If you like observing the world as a cycle, you might consider the following special dates upon which just about every religious and civic holiday is based.

First, one of my favorites – the Spring Equinox. It occurs between the 19th and 21st of March. It is the time of year when the hours of night and day are equal and, more importantly, the days begin to get longer – the Light is growing stronger.

Six weeks after this, there is a celebration of the fruition of Spring. Known by various names the time between April 30th and May 1st is has been revered since ancient times throughout the world.

Six weeks after that comes the Summer Solstice – very important as it is the longest day of the year – the Light in its most powerful state. This occurs around June 21st and 22nd.

About six weeks after that – around August 2nd – is another date commemorating the fruition of the Solstice.

Next, comes the Fall Equinox between the 20th and 22nd of September. This is the time when the day and night is again equal but the Light is now in decline.

About six weeks after that is the fruition of the Equinox – October 31st and November 1st.

This is followed by my other favorite day the Winter Solstice – around the 21st of December. Although it is the shortest day of the year, the Light is about to be reborn and all the days will now get longer and longer.

Six weeks after this around February 2nd is the fruition of the Solstice.

If you look at a calendar you will notice that just about every religious and secular holiday or commemoration of a special event occurs within a week or two of these 8 days. Consider St. Patrick’s Day, Passover and Easter, Yom HaShoah; Earth Day, Arbor Day, Walpurgisnacht, May Day, Cinco De Mayo; Pentecost, Isra and Mi’raj, National Aboriginal Day, St. Jean Baptiste Day, Lailat ul Barat; Canada Day, Independence Day, Ramadan, Bastile Day; August Bank Holiday, Simco Day, End of Ramadan; Labor Day, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot; Thanksgiving (Canada),Halloween, Diwali, Islamic New Year; Remembrance Day, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving (U.S.); Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Epiphany, Orthodox Christmas; Prophet’s Birthday, Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day.

But if we’re being honest, everyone’s favorite day is their own birthday. Some of us may not have been wanted or planned and we may be living in humble circumstances or even worse – yet, if we think about it we should be glad to be here, even if no one else is. I like to treat myself especially nice on my birthday, I reflect on the things I’ve done and look forward to the future I will be creating.

So, Happy Birthday to me.

And Happy Birthday to all of you, whenever you have your special day.

Celebrate and be glad you have the chance to be you.celebration-of-light-by-jon-dejong

The Difference You Make

PonderingCan we really make a difference in the world? Do the things we do matter?

When I think about the work I’ve taken on and the actions I perform to carry it out, I wonder if anyone is even aware of it – let alone concerned with it. I wonder if there’s any point to my efforts.

Then I remember a story I learned a long time ago.  It goes something like this:

A young man was on vacation on a tropical island. After a night of partying, he found himself walking along the beach at dawn. He noticed, up ahead, an old man slowly moving along the shore. The old man would stop, pick something up and throw it into the sea, and then move on. The young man watched him do this over and over and was curious about the action. He caught up with the old man and asked him what he was doing.

The old man looked up along the beach and said, “You see all these starfish?”Starfish on Beach 1

The young man noticed thousands of starfish lying on the sand.

The old man said, “If I don’t throw them back into the ocean they’ll die.”

The young man said, “But there are thousands of them, and miles of beach. You can’t save them all. What difference does it make if you toss a few back?”

The old man picked up a starfish, looked at it and then threw it into the ocean. He turned to the young man and said, “It made a difference to that one.”Throwing Starfish

The old man moved on. The young man stared at the starfish on the beach and then gazed out over the water. After a few moments, he picked up a starfish and tossed it into the sea.Starfish on Beach

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