Religion again

Once upon a time the notion of hell was common in the western world. It’s seen a decline in popularity as well. Neal Donald Walsch’ s channelled material states categorically there is no such place. That there is an in-between place where one could go for a time to figure things out is possible, certainly, but not a permanent place of never-ending suffering, no.

A friend of mine who was brought up with and was seriously frightened by the idea of hell, dreamt that she was falling, falling, towards hell. But when she landed she found herself lying on just a bed of straw- unharmed, and no flames in sight. Evidently sent to quiet her mind on the topic.

Another woman I met at a music conference told the others in her dorm room that she’d recently divorced her husband – which in her religion was not allowed. As a result she was being shunned by her family and others in their group and told she’d be going to hell. This must have laid heavy on her conscience for she had the following dream:

I was flying above the earth and beside me was another person, like an angel, flying beside me and a little behind. Between us and the earth were flying several ancient flying dinosaur birds, pterodactyls. Curious, I asked my guide/ angel, pointing to one close by: what’s that? Oh that? That’s the United Church. And that one over there? Oh, that’s the Catholic Church…… (etc)

i.e. She herself was actually flying at a higher spiritual level, and had no reason to be in fear of what narrow minded people from (outdated) older religious thinking threatened her with.

This notion of hell can be a huge burden to carry around. Another huge stick with which to beat children who aren’t behaving as you want them to. A few years ago I was teaching in a grade 5 class in the elementary system in Toronto, and among the many other questions I fielded was one from a very serious looking boy who asked me if hell was real? The only thing I could think to answer was that the only hell he’ll ever see is the hell we create for each other here on this planet. He seemed visibly relieved – evidently he’d been threatened with this by someone he trusted. As if we didn’t have enough actual dangers and threats to look out for! Wielded by someone who wants to have not only his own power to wield but wants hell and damnation to be in his control as well – to sound like he’s got it from the highest authority.

Why don’t we better concentrate on creating the best life we can while we’re here. John Wooden, the famous coach was known to have firmly believed what his father had told him growing up: “Make every day magnificent!” For yourself and for as many others as you can. Now there’s something to look forward to, something to sleep on – without the fears or the worry!

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Religion

It’s becoming more and more common to report on one’s religious affiliation as being “Spiritual, but not religious”. Fewer and fewer people are putting down that they belong to a specific religion anymore. Variety of factors at play here – high mobility rate, more and more multi-racial societies, fewer and fewer people growing up where they were raised in their traditional cultures , in their traditional religions. It’s much more common to live in an atmosphere where multiple religions interact – and religions are often compared, for better or worse. And to believe in the religion that you were raised in, unquestionably, is less and less common now.

I can’t speak for all religions, of course – my experience has been mostly with the Roman Catholic faith. And what I see isn’t pretty. Unquestioning, complete faith in any one institution doesn’t seem to be a good idea at the best of times – these are after all human inventions, no matter how inspired they claim to be – formed partly out of high motives, partly out of worldly motives, partly out of the necessities of sustaining the institutions they became.

Remember standing with my elementary school class at a Mass that was specific for the Catholic school, in the church beside where the school stood. As an early teen I stood in awe and wonderment at the ceremony before me and thought: “What an amazing coincidence, being born in the right religion”. “What luck! What if I’d been born anything else?” At that stage I must have heard that there are, indeed, other religions in the world, but certainly had no guidance on how to see all the possible religions in context. Learn about other religions in a Catholic school? Unheard of! Unthinkable!

Not exactly how to promote world unity and understanding, is it? So religious hatred continues to be bred. Us versus them thinking.

30 years later, long after I no longer considered myself a Catholic (in my Theology program we used to joke that we were all “recovering Catholics”,) I was participating in a minimum way in my family’s parish. And was reprimanded in a dream for leading other people to believe that because I, who had a theology degree – participated here -it lent support to the legitimacy of the institution. The dream was pretty scathing:

“I was serving up a big platter of mummy food, in a place like a church basement-walking around in a light atmosphere, among chatting people.”

To explain, among those who were among the first to open the Egyptian pyramids and disturb the coffins, many of them died of what was then deemed “the curse of the mummies” – the very dust was later found to be quite poisonous. i.e I was giving credence to a poison being fed to the believing Catholics. And yes, I believe that now to be true – that there are certain concepts that are promoted in that faith which are poison for all of us: we’re all sinners, born in sin, badly in need of redemption. Sex is bad. Masturbation is evil. The body is sinful. Poor people are holier than rich people…

So Religions have their place in the world and in peoples’ growing understanding of their spiritual selves, but I don’t think any one of them has the corner on truth. We should all feel free to explore spiritual concepts on our own, and find our own way, no matter which religion we were brought up in.

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Hatred Hurts

In the same way that it can be shown that prayer works – hate also works. Prayer works to help. Hatred works to hurt.

In Prayer – it’s less who you’re appealing to and more how you’re asking. You need to be sincere, and be well-intentioned, and bring your emotional body into it. Feel it ( see The Feeling is the Secret on You Tube). Whether you pray to God or Jesus, or Buddha, or Padre Pio, or St. Anthony, or St. Germaine or Mother Mary or Kwan Yin or any of the ascended masters – as long as you’re reaching above yourself- your guardian angel, even your own higher self – you will still get a response.

On CBC radio a few years ago I heard the story of a journalist from Toronto traveling in Montreal and noticed a family pull up with their van and open up their doors to fed all the homeless in this area. He was impressed and found out their story. The mother was a prostitute, the father a petty thief and they had five children. They had recently been through a bad period where they were at the end of their rope. They’d decided to kill the children and themselves the next day, figuring they were out of options. Before she went to bed, the mother passed through the living room and looked up at the ceiling and sighed and said: “Look, if anyone’s up there we could use a hand.” The next morning comes a knock on the door: we have work for you, programs for the kids – we’ll help you any way we can. Everything changed and they got back up on their feet again. Feeding the hungry was their way of giving back – which they did regularly.

Help is always there if we need it but we need to ASK.

Another story comes from a Minister from the Eastern townships in Ontario. He’d been preaching against a local gang of bikers. They heard of this and were determined to take revenge. So one Sunday when everyone had left after the service and the minister was locking up, he noticed through the window that the bikers were parked out front waiting for him. He was alone, what to do? He began to pray. When he left the building and walked to his car – they didn’t budge, just watched. Months later he ran into the gang leader in some other setting on a social occasion. The minister asked him point blank – “what happened? I saw you waiting outside the church that day – thought you might want to talk to me?” “You kidding”, the other replied?” With that huge big black dude following behind you ?– I wouldn’t have touched you with a 10 ft. Pole!”

Evidently an angel had been dispatched to cover him. (Ask and ye shall receive)

And for the hate story: Once upon a time, I was with a family and neighbour group having a Sunday afternoon brunch at a local hotel, and one of the women was telling a story of how she had this tile person do some work on her bathroom – and he’d made such a mess- I mean such a mess! That she’d had to clean up after him for hours and hours! The story went on and on and on and emotion level was through the roof – this had evidently played on her mind for hours on end. As a throw away line and at end of the story she mentioned that he’d died of a heart attack shortly after that.

I haven’t the slightest doubt that she killed him with her hatred and high level of emotion.

Thoughts are things – you can bless with your thinking or you can curse. Your call.

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Drink the Kool-aid

Drink the Kool-aid

Interesting story: Back in the days when people still commonly bought kool-aid for their kids, a friend of mine living in the country with her 3 children ended up storing a case of Kool-Aid up in her attic – some end-of-the-stock find, no doubt. Some time later she excitedly told me that she’d found several dead rats scattered here and there all over her attic! They evidently had actually been into the case of kool-aid and died as a result! Ouch!

I remember the Jonestown suicides being associated with the expression“drink the Kool-Aid” where a whole community were led to drink a poisonous drink on the urging of a charasmatic but misguided leader. But seemingly the Kool-Aid had a lethal effect even before the poison was added possibly because of its many artificial ingredients. Thankfully Kool-Aid no longer graces the shelves of our grocery outlets nor is that type of sweetened sugar water thought to be an appropriate drink to feed our children. That was just a cute lie we bought, along with all the other advertising of artificial foods that had just started to become popular at that time – most of which had lots of added sugar, no doubt as well as artificial flavourings like the deadly MSG and colourings, and preservatives and long lists of unpronouncable additives.

Recently I was shopping for a friend with cancer and was trying to avoid glucose as much as possible. (By the way I was shocked at the amount of added sugars I found in their prepared foods e.g. 18% sugar in a small pkg of prepared seaweed). I’d read that near the end of the war, Hitler had commissioned a Jewish scientist to work on finding a cure for cancer- because he was terrified of the disease. The doctor had found, interestingly enough, that if you remove the glucose from the cancer cell, the cancer dies. Simple. So avoid all suger and have a lower amount of fruit. Also avoid foods like cakes and donuts and bagels that turn immediately into glucose as soon as they get eaten. Now if this was discovered in the 40’s why doesn’t everyone know about it yet? I wonder who could be profiting here? Hm? Who could possibly be impacted by a discovery that could help thousands of cancer patients but at the same time might affect somebody’s bottom line.

Talk about hiding the truth and deliberate deception! And we in North America end up with the highest sugar consumption in the world, along with the highest obesity rates, as well as skyrocketing diabetes rates, cancer rates, along with a lot of other diseases. And we bought it all. We drank the Kool-Aid We depended on our medical profession to tell us the truth. We depended on Big Pharma to give us medicines that would cure us. Whenever someone would offer us some little natural remedy, we’d say, “Oh no, I have to check with my doctor, and see what he says.” We depended on our government to protect us from fraudsters and charlatans. When I was growing up “chiropractor” was a dirty word – schools wouldn’t allow discussions on the subject and Eastern Medicine was not considered legitimate.

Ladies and Gentlemen we need to stop depending on our institutions to give us all the answers, and start thinking for ourselves, and find our own solutions. Stop with the Kool-Aid.

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How to live

“You don’t know how to live, really live! You’re all far too busy and stressed” my dream teacher was told in a dream.

Covid’s done a lot of us a huge favour. It’s forced us to sit back and look around at our lives – maybe for the 1st time ever, we’ve been forced into ourselves. Some people panicked and complained of mental distress. Some people suicided. And some began to look around their lives and ask some hard questions – do I really want this husband ( divorces are way up), this job (chance to try a new direction), this house (moving out of the city is becoming a real option). Options that our “normal” lives would probably not have allowed for. Time to look deep into our options.

It stretched our imaginations, stretched our inner lives, stretched our real selves, stretched us as human beings. Realizing we really were human beings, not just human doings.

In China, my Qi Gong instructor tells me, they see your energy field as the real reality. Whereas in the West, we see only the outer structure of our lives as the real reality. The inner energy field, which we can feel but we can’t see, we regard as “airy-fairy woo-woo”. But we will one day discover that our outer reality is really created by our inner reality.

My dream teacher was walking up her street in Forest Hill some years ago when she heard a young girl further up wailing and crying and carrying on. Rather astonished and annoyed as it went on and on, she was finally told “that’s you”. Oh! Seems she had been upset about something and this girl’s crying was just a manifestation of her own upset in her outer reality. Quite the lesson!

Our inners are the originators of our outers. Our inner lives should be the focus of any change we want to bring into our lives. And it starts with a feeling – what is it you really want to do now with your life – what do your feelings tell you, what really makes you happy. Campbell always said, ”Follow your bliss”. It’s a good start!

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Getting upset more

You start to die. For real. Deepak Chopra doesn’t mince words. When you’re upset, there’s a progressive pattern of organ shutdowns that occurs, which begins as soon as you start to get upset, even a little bit. This is actually a natural consequence of feeling that you’re in danger. People are generally blase about what happens when you get upset, I imagine because getting upset is so common, and being under stress/ in fear is something that’s a usual everyday occurrence.

We all know that when you’re in fight or flight mode, what happens isn’t good. As soon as your adrenals start to work overtime and release adrenaline throughout your body, there is no part of you that isn’t affected. Your heart starts racing and your blood pressure starts to go up and up and up. Your brain functions are limited, lowering your ability to reason clearly. The pre-frontal cortex is starting to shut down, raw emotions take over: acting irrationally is the tendency here. Sweating increases. Blood flows freely to the limbs (ready for fight/flight). Your immune system starts to shut down. (Healing isn’t necessary when you’re about to be eaten). Every function not directly involved in fighting or flighting begins to shut down. Every single organ is directly affected. No wonder Deepak Chopra says that when you get upset you start to die.

I remember standing in the hospital hallway as my thesis director was dying and listening to the recitation of organs shutting down: well, now his liver is gone- ok so now his pancreas is no longer functioning…

This is not meant as an anatomy lesson – it’s meant to reorient you to seeing getting upset as a serious threat to your life. And to get a different perspective on how you behave in a difficult situation.

In our education system, educating the emotions has certainly not been a priority and training children how to cope when they’ve been insulted or hurt or harassed has been slow to be addressed. “Grin and bear it,” was actually the understood advice not so long ago. In the ’50s on the school-grounds, you would often hear: ”sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”. In other words, there were a lot of verbal sticks being thrown around, that were expected to be ignored. not actually dealt with
.
There’s an old Chinese saying on how to react when faced with something upsetting, that goes something like: Consider now, how much harm can this really do? Perhaps his understanding is limited. Perhaps he doesn’t know better….etc.

In this Covid period, we could all now reorient our lives to include serious ”me” time: self-reflection, relaxation that includes creative endeavours – drawing, playing music, building something, nature time, etc. (not more TV time). More inner time, more spiritual possibilities, more inner growth. And starting to learn to rise above those little upsets.

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Getting Upset

Carl Jung called it a complex – when you get upset at something which may seem to others to not be anything out of the ordinary. What’s being activated is something that’s outside your conscious awareness, something within yourself that you have neither noticed, nor made efforts to resolve.

I remember one PTA meeting where the woman who was speaking, was standing, addressing the small assembly, going on and on about something that was wrong with the school system. I don’t remember the issue, the only thing I remember was how upset she was and how uncomfortable everyone was around her, restless and fidgety. Her audience had lost interest in what she was saying and was squirming to get out of this heavily charged emotional atmosphere. Almost as if they were all being subjected to some unseen poison that was invading the room, something that no one wanted to continue enduring.
Upsets are like that, wherever they happen, whoever they’re with, they hurt. They’re not right, they feel wrong. They feel destructive.

Yet we do that all the time. We even feel quite entitled to spew our upsets onto anyone, as if we had a god-given right to do so. Every right. Perfectly normal.

And yet we’re actually talking about ourselves – the destructiveness belongs to the one in the mirror and the target is quite rightly something that needs to leave. Yet we rarely see it.
“Oh I got so upset with him” is a common expression you hear.

My daughter was yelling at my grandson years ago. He was 4 and he’d just mislaid his Gameboy/ some handheld device, which was the latest thing to show off with at school, very expensive. It wasn’t even the child’s negligence or fault, because another adult had asked him to put it there. But it caused a major upset. I didn’t understand at the time, what was really going on. I only knew the child was being hurt unnecessarily. Because she was in fact very angry and critical and blaming. Upset way out of line with a little 4-yr.- old losing a toy. In retrospect, it was probably anxiety/ guilt about having spent so much money on this must-have toy, and actually, unrealistically, expecting the child to worry about losing it.

Same with my husband: he often would go on about lazy people. “Did you see that, the man actually takes a cab to the corner store – how lazy can you be!” Others couldn’t figure out what he was on about. “So?” But to him, it was outrageous, terrible! It was only long after, that it occurred to me that he felt he himself was lazy. So any other lazy person was the catalyst for the upset about something that was not fully realized in himself and needed first of all recognition and secondly correction.

They say one of the purposes of marriage is to have all your buttons pushed i.e. have all the things you haven’t looked at coming to the fore – to be corrected, I imagine, for you to grow up. But then the same would apply to children to some extent as well. To raise them, they trigger all your blind spots by pushing all your buttons.

No wonder we’re treating our children so badly – we haven’t grown up ourselves.

So next time you get upset at your child/ spouse – STOP! And as Thich Nhat Hanh tells us:
Take a deep breath and smile!
Then make a note of it in your journal and it goes on your Chopin Liszt. (your to-do list).

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Feeling

Feeling hasn’t had a particularly good reputation generally speaking. Understanding has always been honored and knowledge, of course. But sensing or feeling? – mmm- somewhat questionable. Something coming from your inner gut, from the far reaches of your mind, something not controlled by anyone but you. Nothing that can be known by anyone else. We’re talking here of both versions of the word – the gut feeling, the sense of intuition, the emotion.

In the YouTube video “The Feeling is the Secret” by Neville Goddard, we see the well-thought-out position stating that the feeling is probably the most important factor in getting what you want. And one to which we pay but scant attention normally. When someone asks you what you want, you could recite it off without any particular feeling tone or you could get into the emotion of having something wonderful that would mean a lot to you. WelL, Goddard maintains it’s the feeling tone and how much you indulge it that gets you where you’re going. Or reversely when you emote feelingly about something awful that happened and indulge in the awful feelings that evoke, you pull more of whatever awful thing occurred closer to you and increase the chances of it happening in your reality. We see it often: the hypochondriac that’s always sick, the woman living alone who’s terrified of getting broken into and assaulted who’s already had 2 break-ins. etc.

They say 7 min. is all it takes – 7 min. visualizing, with feeling, what you really want, to get you where you’re going.

Have you heard any of the Coved dress code jokes: “You don’t have to wear those pajamas all day long, you can just pick up your old clothes off the floor and wear those! No joke our dressing up is changing. Haven’t you noticed? You don’t have the same urge to dress up anymore. You get to put on what you FEEL like wearing, as opposed to what you’re supposed to be wearing. And maybe a little more of doing what you FEEL like doing even.

An odd thing happened to me yesterday, I was supposed to go to my chiropractor on Tues. Fine. I get ready, have breakfast, set on going. But then something happened, I just didn’t FEEL like going. Hm! But an obligation is an obligation, so with no great enthusiasm, I make the final preparations, out the door, on the bus, into the subway. As I’m waiting for the train something comes over me and I remember: what was I thinking about -doing what you feel like doing? Right! I really just do not want to go. So don’t!! ok. I make the phone call – no one’s there, leave a message, can’t come today. Get home. Message on my home phone awaits me: we’re canceling your appointment today. AH!!

Should listened to my feeling the first time!

Then there’s my $500 haircut story. Having just moved back into my mother’s house to help take care of her a few years back, I took the advice of a neighbour as to which hairdresser was good in our area. Fine. Drive there, park on the opposite side of the street, it’s 2:30 or so. Go into the place, get my hair done. Looks fine. Come out 2 hrs.later – look around, hm- no car! Yup! Got towed. Paid the fine on the car, paid $200. to get the car out of the lot it was towed to….you get the idea. The next time someone commented on my nice hair cut and asked“How much did it cost?”– I could honestly say $500. The kicker is that when I saw that same neighbour next, she said: ”You know after I hung up the phone with you that time, I got the strangest FEELING that I should call you back and tell you where to park!” (there was actually a small little parking lot very close to the shop.)

So follow your gut more often. That’s what I’m doing now.

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Rainmaker

Carl Jung used to ask all his students, whenever they were lecturing to a new audience, to always tell the story of the Rainmaker, he considered it so important.

Richard Wilhelm, was a Sinologist – an expert on China. He had the distinction of translating one of the oldest books in China : the I Ching – the book of divination.
He was living in a Chinese village at the time when they were in the midst of a drought. The villagers had tried everything – prayers, sacrifices, chants… nothing. No rain. “Well, they decided, we have no choice, we have to send for the rainmaker.”

And so they did. Now Wilhelm was very curious – what sorts of miracles could he perform, and what would this look like. So he made sure he was there when the man arrived. So up the road comes this cart pulled by a donkey with a little old wizened man inside. When the cart stopped, the old man put his head out, sniffed the air, made a sour face and asked to be put up at the edge of the village. Which they did. No one saw him for 3 days, and on the 3rd day it not only rained, it poured.

Well! Was Wilhelm impressed . He hurried over to see the old man in his hut, saying to him. “That’s wonderful, so how did you make it rain?” “ Make it rain? Me? What nonsense! I just saw, when I arrived that these people were so far out of themselves, that it took me three days to get back into myself. Then of course it rained!”

Jung insisted that this story be told as often as possible to illustrate how much control over our environment we actually have. How much of our lives really depend on our inner life and how settled we are in ourselves. Being calm, centred, and “in” ourselves is incredibly important for our own well being and the well being of the world around us.

One of the most important points I’ll be making when I present before the TDSB and the Provincial government regarding a new elementary school curriculum, is that inner time is just as, if not more important than outer time. To educate children to start to be aware of their inner life, not just be pulled hither and yon in their outer life, with obligations, and rules and demands, should and have-to and even increasingly more and more demands as they age.

There needs to be that balance in every life, the realization that the outer is merely the manifestation of the inner. And to determine to nurture the inner. To be “in themselves”.

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Let’s Quit Remembering

War is hell! You do things in war you’d never think of doing otherwise: rape, steal, murder… it’s a time that brings out the worst in human nature – the worst things that are not only recommended, they’re mandated.

Just like at Hallowe’en with regard to scaring others: “Happy Hallowe’en!” we cheerily say to each other, as if it’s perfectly normal to wish each other a happy frightening time – a time when ghouls, and blood and gore and things that go bump in the night are not only recommended, but mandated.

War is hell! My mother remembers walking out of Latvia following a retreating Russian army near the end of WWII. She had the distinction of following one of the last convoys to leave before the Germans came in- in her high heels no less & very pregnant.
Remembers hearing screaming women being raped in the night, seeing bloody bodies strewn everywhere contorted in horrendous ways.

Remember our glorious dead? Why don’t we rather remember the thousands killed in horrible ways and vow never to do that again.

Video games started when the Americans realized that there is a natural reluctance to killing your own kind. ( Surprisingly the antique guns from previous wars were tested and showed us that most of them had never been fired). They set out to change that by putting troops through killing practice to build their resistance to killing their own kind, via video games, in scenes of simulated killing. They succeeded. And the Vietnamese war that followed was recorded as one of the bloodiest in history. Another result was that now hundreds of thousands of our children are practicing killing in violent video games. Some of the killers that carried out mass shootings the past years have been video gamers. No connection of course.

Donald Trump for all his failings, was one of the few if not the first president who did not initiate any new conflicts during his presidency, but rather ordered many of the troops home, withdrawing from several battle arenas. That never gets mentioned. (Why would it? The latest numbers on the media coverage of the Trump presidency was that by one count 96% of their coverage was negative, by another 92% was all negative -New York Times)

In other words most presidents agreed with sending in thousands of troops to fight the good fight (so we’re told. for our good, worthy, glorious cause). Wars initiated by men (never women), who never had to sacrifice their own lives, thinking of the glory or shame of their own country. Hardly a lofty spiritual ideal. As Kryon put it – we’re still like little kids throwing stones at each other in the school yard. A fight is a fight, no matter how you cut it. As we mature as human beings we can see war for what it is. Stop glorifying those who fought and died in wars, prepping the next generation for the glory of going into battle for our next righteous cause.

I had a dream a few years ago where a well-dressed young man was demonstrating the idea of “war” by mime, to an audience who no longer understood the concept, and had no conception of what war was anymore. Because WAR WAS NO MORE. Passe, a forgotten concept we’d outgrown.

Why don’t we? Let’s try PEACE.
As Deepak Chopra said: take the vow of peace in your own life. Then we can all sing
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.


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