Did You Know?

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief ~ from the Walters Art Museum.

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC – 1st century AD) depicting the Twelve Olympian gods; from left to right, Hestia, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares, Demeter, Hephaestus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Zeus, Artemis, Apollo ~ from the Walters Art Museum.

Many gods were worshiped in ancient times because it was believed that the highest god was unknowable and unreachable. This god was beyond comprehension, beyond the minds of humans, unable to be reached by consciousness. Therefore many lower gods were sought to intercede between humans and this ultimate god. Each lower god had a particular skill or purpose such as a god for rain, crops, fertility, good fortune etc. This has carried over into our times with the idea that saints can intercede for us. For example, St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals, and St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.

For the early Christians, “the Father” God was that highest, unknowable and unreachable God. Therefore there was much meaning for them in the message of John 14:6 where Jesus is quoted as saying that, “I am the *way*, the truth, and the *life*. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” For them it meant that there was now a direct connection between them and the highest God.

When we think of consciousness as *life* force and the medium through which we gain perception of our world, we can also understand that our world view has continued to expand over time because consciousness is expanding. When our view of God the Father is seen as the unconscious part of ourselves (the Kingdom of God within us), where infinite possibility exists but is not yet created, then we can get an idea of the *Way* in which Jesus, through a perfectly harmonized human consciousness of Love, brought consciousness into the unconscious Source that was previously inaccessible. In this way, Jesus made God accessible to humans so that each of us, through a consciousness of perfect Love, could become one with the infinite Father God. This is the meaning of enlightenment, realization, and the Biblical passage:

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father.” (John 14:8-12)

The Meaning of Christmas

HolyFamily The meaning of this advent season – the birth of the child Jesus who became the Christ – cannot be explained except through the experience of each individual within their own life; for knowing about an event is very different from the wisdom presented by that event. You may believe what you hear, but your actions will rarely show that belief unless you have experienced that God so loved the world as to give His Son so we may know there is an advocate with the Father.

We have been told about that event in Bethlehem ages ago when Mary, that channel, had so dedicated herself to the service of God as to become the Mother of Love incarnate. Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit because she had fulfilled all things that God had required of her by perfectly balancing the spiritual, mental and physical. Through her the world was shown that this was possible in the experience of any and all who also would make themselves channels through which the Holy Spirit of God (the Christ Consciousness as Love) might manifest. Know this had no beginning in the 2000 years ago, but it happens again, and again, and again!
There never was a time when there was not a Christ and not a Christ-mass, for to have a beginning, there must be an end. There is the possibility in every human birth of that entrance again of a god-man into the earth. The Christ may be born, not as a physical birth, but into the consciousness of a human being. The Christ Consciousness is a Universal Consciousness of the Father Spirit that is found by the opening of those channels within the physical body through which the energies of the Infinite are attuned, as in deep meditation. Those who draw nearer to the Universal Consciousness of the Christ come closer to the perfect relationship to the Creative Forces, or God the Father. This is what the man Jesus attained when he gave of himself to the World. Since the entrance of Jesus into the world, and his making it possible for man to find his way back to God, there has been and will continue to be, an increase of those who will follow him successfully. He will come again and again in the hearts, the minds, the experiences of those that love his coming. But those who think of him and become fearful because they know what his presence would mean, he passes by.
For God seeks all to be one with Him. And as all things were made by Him, that which is the Creative Influence is in every mineral, vegetable, and every individual activity, and is that same force called “God” – and It seeks expression! Just as when God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. This was not as an activity from the sun, or light as shed from any radial influence, but it was the ability of consciousness coming into growth from the First Cause. The light became the light of men – mind made aware of conscious existence. That light came among us, showing us the way to find that same consciousness within self – for the kingdom is within, and when self is made one with those spiritual forces there may come the at-one-ment with God. For in truth, we live and move and have our being in Him.
What then is the purpose of everyone’s activity in the consciousness of mind, matter, and spirit in the present? That each may know itself to be itself while part of the Whole; not the Whole, but one with the Whole and still retaining its individuality; knowing itself to be itself, yet one with the purposes of the First Cause that called each of us into being, into the awareness, into the consciousness of itself. That is the purpose; that is the cause of being – and that is the purpose of Christmas. ~ Adapted from several Edgar Cayce Readings

The uniqueness of the Christ as Jesus was that God became conscious as an individual. This is why you are in the earth – not to become conscious of God, for you were that before entering the earth – but that God would become conscious as man, that God would become an individual. This is a transformation, an amelioration, the purpose for which Jesus entered the earth – to manifest the atonement (at-one-ment) with the Father. We have the hope that all minds and all souls will strive to be channels of God, that God may be manifested as an individual in each one of us. ~ (taken from the book, The Spirit unto the Churches)

God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. ~ (1John 4:15)

Christmas is about allowing God, as Love, to manifest in us.

HAVE AN ESPECIALLY BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR!

See also: The Significance of the Man Called Jesus
The Significance of Mary, Mother of Jesus
The Meaning of Easter

About Bullying

This is a subject that has been getting a lot of press lately, and for good reasons. It is a subject that needs to be understood in order to be properly addressed. There are several dynamics at work, so to begin let me say that, since everything in creation is composed of energy, it is basically the negative energy of bullying that has to be neutralized with positive energy. Let me illustrate with my own first experience of the way this works.

A neighbor’s child was having difficulty relating to his peers so his mother, angered by her son’s treatment, arrived at my friend’s home with a list of complaints. When she finished shouting, I calmly said to her, “You’re right,” and then continued to agree with some of her arguments. I was surprised, back then, that this immediately had a calming effect on the irate parent and we were able to discuss solutions to the problem. What I didn’t understand at that time was that, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”(Proverbs 15:1) Since then I have found many instances when this is true.

So how does this relate to bullying? First of all consider the bully who is the source of the negative energy. This may come from anger, jealousy, intolerance, egotism, or possibly wanting to be liked by peers. These all stem from an inner need, whatever it happens to be, and is negative energy that will be acted out in a negative way to satisfy that need. It is the manifestation of a soul whose energy is not in harmonious balance and requires change. But that change can only come from inside that person. Nothing outside that person can make that change. That person has to recognize the need to change and implement it on their own. They can be encouraged to do good, shown good example, taught to use different manners of behavior, or even punished, but unless they are willing to change themselves, change will not be forthcoming.

So what are we left with? The only thing we can change is ourselves. I’ll say it again – the only thing we can change is ourselves. If we are not willing to do that, we’re back at square one and the negative energy has won. It will grow into more hurt feelings, more anger, more conflict, and more acting out – possibly even leading to destructive actions because negative energy feeds on more negative energy and grows stronger.

What is the answer? The answer is always LOVE – – but it is a little complicated.

I’ll relate a story about the Buddha which has appeared in different forms but essentially has the points that I want to make. The story goes something like this: there was a highly educated man who saw the Buddha and began to hurl insults at him. The Buddha sat calmly and didn’t reply. When the man asked how he could stay so calm without answering his taunts the Buddha asked him a question – “If food is presented to a person and that person refuses the food, to whom does the food belong?” The obvious answer given by the educated man was that the food belonged to the giver. He then understood that the insults he had hurled at the Buddha belonged only to himself because they had not been accepted by the Buddha.

This story illustrates the following dynamics:
First – we can only give what we have. The educated man had only animosity and pride to give. The Buddha had understanding , compassion, tolerance, and love to give.
Second – we have the ability to make choices, not only about what we give but also about what we receive. The Buddha had no need for the negative energy so he chose not to receive it. In this way the negative energy was not supported and it could no longer continue.
Third – the Buddha understood that the educated man felt diminished in the presence of the Buddha and required a way to feel more powerful, but the Buddha possessed self-love and had no karmic need for the “food” that was being offered.

How do we make this lesson useful for ourselves?

Let’s first consider the person being bullied. It has been said that if we could see the actions that brought on such circumstances, we would not be so upset by them. This is because karma is playing out in order to balance an unbalanced energy. Whatever has been sown – regardless of the time frame – will be reaped. The only way karma can be balanced is through grace – the use of energetically positive virtues such as tolerance, patience, humility, love etc. Those who are bullied, but do not have the awareness of a Buddha, probably have encountered a situation in which they have been given the opportunity to learn a needed lesson. They can choose an action which will satisfy that karma and bring grace, or one that will create another encounter of the same sort. By expressing additional negative energy toward the bully, thereby “feeding” the negative energy, the negative energy will become stronger and escalate the tension leading to additional confrontations. But by understanding that the bully is in need of compassion, tolerance and love, the person who is being bullied can release their karma by offering a hand of friendship, or by responding in a way to let the bully know his remarks have no effect, or by calmly walking away.

It is necessary to understand that negative energy feeds on more negative energy and cannot survive without it. To stop a bully’s taunts it is wise not to react in an unconscious manner by absorbing the energy into self. It is better to consciously respond, rather than to unconsciously react with more negative words and/or actions. A kind response shows that the negative energy is not doing its job because it has not been accepted.

If the bully gets physical it requires some action, but only after a conscious response is given such as, “I understand you want to fight but I think it would be a lot nicer to be friends.” If this doesn’t work it may require intervention by proper authorities such as teachers, parents or police. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” the stick being the strength within, in the form of self-worth, or the strength without, in the form of a higher authority.

Most importantly, it is necessary to understand that we are all beings of light, children of God, regardless of outer appearances or actions. When we are able to connect fully with that idea it is easier to love ourselves and to love others in the same way. Self-love is a feeling of self-worth and has nothing to do with ego or self-aggrandizement. It is recognizing, in all humility and love, that we are temples of God who is our innate spiritual being. Once this is achieved it becomes a power within us – the rod and staff that supports us, the strength that protects us.

These ideas may not come easily in the beginning, but the effort to use love instead of fear is well worth the time and trouble. Peace of mind is possible only when it is found inside one’s heart and then given to all who need it. These are lessons from the Masters down through the ages – love your neighbor – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.