Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Where Are You Looking From?

 I want to start out with two questions:

What does living a life of curiosity every day look like whether things are going smoothly or not?

How do you differentiate between your personal biased agenda and that of Spirit?

Centers for Spiritual Living's Global Vision states:

We see a world in which every person lives in alignment with their highest spiritual principle, emphasizing unity with God and connection with each other; a world in which individually and collectively we are called to a higher state of consciousness and action.

Where do we see that world from, though? Well, it all depends on where you are looking from ....or is it through?

Is it from the five senses?

Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch? Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or skin?

Our brain?

The seat of the intellect, language, cognition, consciousness, creativity, logic, and knowledge? Where the electrochemical workings of 86 billion neurons and their synapses fire, and recognize, give meaning, and create narratives?

Most have the brain/head thing down, pronouncing to the world things like:

"I think...”

        “I understand...”

“I declare this in my life!”

“I reveal that in my life!”

Maybe the answers are in our hearts? 

That's the first organ that reveals itself in the body's development. It's not merely a muscle to pump blood, it has a complex intrinsic nervous system of over 40,000 sensory neurites firing off independently from those in the brain. The heart has been labeled by researchers in neurocardiology (defined by BH Nattelson as "the study of the neurophysiological, neuro- logical, and neuroanatomical aspects of cardiology, including especially the neurological origins of cardiac disorders") as a functional “brain.” This "brain" can learn independently, have its own memories, and feel and sense information. It also creates an energetic field to tell our brains whether we feel safe or not and acts as a regulator of our perceptions. 

We can think, pray or speak words until we are blue in the face and not a thing will manifest, at least not in the clearest way, unless we have feeling behind it. While we admire the intellect, we must realize that the intellect is not the creative factor in the Universe. Rather, it is feeling that is creative.   ~Ernest Homes 

As Neville wrote in his book, Feeling is the Secret:

Ideas are impressed on the subconscious through the medium of feeling. No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt –be it good, bad or indifferent- it must be expressed. Feeling is the one and only medium through which ideas are conveyed to the subconscious.

Well, now we have got the heart-brain connecting. Is that the ticket on where we are looking from?

Maybe the answers are actually in our gut?

The enteric nervous system (ENS) consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of our gut. From the esophagus to the anus, the gut contains some 100 million neurons, more than in the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.  It uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and carries 95% of the body's serotonin and other hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate mood, appetite, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. The vagus nerve carries information from the gut to the brain - mostly one way....up. But, as smart as it might sound, the ENS can’t balance your checkbook or compose a symphony, it mostly controls digestion from swallowing to the release of enzymes to break down food to the control of blood flow for nutrient absorption to elimination. However, the gut also controls self-preservation and mobilization and responds to challenges, opposition, and danger. It also helps determine our core sense of self through its reactions to our thoughts. The seat of inspiration seems to speak from there. Notice how in life we use phrases like:

“It takes guts to...” 

                         “My gut tells me...”

Some have the gut stuff/intuition thing going. The thoughts, feelings, and intuitive messages analyzed by the gut awaken us to a direct infusion of Divine Wisdom. But which one is fueling the life of curiosity from day-to-day, understanding, analyzing, and solving whether things are going smoothly? Which one is discerning between your biases, perceptions, and opinions and that of the wisdom of Spirit? What is driving your desires, revelations, and communing with the Universe? Is it ego or Spirit? 

When we Edge God Out, our ego’s desires can come from a place of scarcity, lack or fear, and the insatiable desire for more (which is a hint to a belief in scarcity), or to prove a sense of self-worth. When we are Entertaining God Only, Spirit’s call is one of Wholeness, Oneness, Infinite possibilities, Creativity, Freedom, and Truth. We are taking cues from the Infinite Wisdom of the Universe, beyond time and space. The spiritual practices of visioning, affirmative prayer (Spiritual Mind Treatment), and meditation assist us in letting go of those personal agendas which ultimately just get in our way or slow us down, and align with Divine Intelligence to experience a life of flow and ease, and manifesting our desires for ourselves and the world. That includes manifesting ideas, solutions, intuitions, as well as stuff.

As individualized expressions of the One Universal Energy, we have access to the infinite wisdom and intelligence of all space and time. It flows through us, as us, and for us as an individualized expression of this energy. However, it only does so to the degree that we set our previous ideas aside and tune in to its frequency, awakening to the impress of Universal Spirit. This direct revelation is available to us through our intuition, intelligence, and feelings working together; which places us smack in the middle of Heaven - the state of awareness of our True Nature.

Though we experience our True Nature to the degree we become conscious of it, we can use our built-in toolbox, the Divine Matrix, to be where we are looking from. The Divine Matrix is a structure that combines the simultaneous use of the Cephalic (head), cardiac (heart), and enteric (gut) systems. When we are looking from The Divine Matrix, the head, heart, and gut brains are communicating with each other, sussing up the situation as a unit, and coming up with the solutions as an integrated system of our consciousness, values, and beliefs. The Mind is an ever-expansive individualized essence of Universal Energy. This is how we experience life to the fullest.  And in doing so, we habitually, and as second-nature (though actually, it's our original-nature) we answer all instances, experiences, conditions, happenings, etc. with:

What is Spirit's Highest Idea of Itself in this moment?

Yes, the question and the answer in one sentence: What is Spirit’s Highest Idea of Itself in this moment, this situation? Living in this question invites us to listen to and from a different place, beyond the egoistic mind to that connection with the Universal Presence Mind, which is seeking to express in, as, and through us. 

Sometimes we require adjustments and repairs to our systems. Maybe our state of mind/being or belief is off-kilter and the following are not showing up:

  • love for life
  • joy for existence
  • motivation to be alive
  • state of gratitude

In essence, then, we are not in the groove of our Godness.

So, what do we do?

Ask questions to our most inner self. Questions open us to something new. Questions invite curiosity as a way of being. Questions break us away from what we think we know and desire and invites something greater within to guide us. It's time to re-awaken our heart intelligence and connect it to our brain intelligence, and simultaneously be open and ready for intuitive intelligence. As Ramana Maharshi (Hindu sage, early-mid 20thC) reminds us: 

...when the mind stays in the Heart, the ‘I’ which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. 

There is a Cherokee word - ‘shante ishta’.  It means "the single eye of the heart," the single eye that sees what’s true, without judgment. Here's a spiritual practice that will put you on a direct path to heart-brain harmony, celebrating the shante ishta and awakening the intuited wisdom:

1. Close your eyes

It brings your awareness within

2. Put your hand on your heart!

  The heart is at the center of the body, the center chakra or energy point in your body. It is the gateway to an Intelligence both harmonious and holistic. And the touch brings a powerful awareness to this gateway.

3. Now be aware of your breathing and allow it to slow down

  Count 5 secs in through your nose and 5 secs out from your mouth. Do this a few times to get used to that rhythm. Allow it to take root in the cadence of your breath. This signals to the body that you are safe, freeing you from any stresses and opening the body and brain to healing.

4. Think or imagine someone or something that you care about, appreciate, or have gratitude or compassion for.

     Allow yourself to feel it. It could be for any person, this community, your puppy, something you received, or an insight you had.

Care, Appreciation, Gratitude, or Compassion!

This spiritual practice connects all three brains - the intuition from the gut, the feelings and intelligence of the heart, and the logic and knowledge of the brain. It harmonizes them for optimal decision making, creative discovery, learning, transcending, and manifesting. It gives one resilience in this ever-changing and too often turbulent world, inspiring one from the chaotic to the cosmos, and releasing one from the unformed destructive whirling dervishes to the lovingly controlled constructive creation. This practice also releases 1300 biochemical reactions that promote immunity and anti-aging.

Another way to bring the Divine Matrix in line is with what I call an Affirmative Incantation. An A. I. is similar to an affirmation, but is more thorough and goes deeper. Taking a logical and heartfelt path to your best self, it is a formula for consciously transcending success. It is alchemistic versus the repeated one or two-sentence affirmation which too often becomes a mish-mash of words that lose their power and begin to sound like the teacher from the Charlie Brown comics - "wah-wah-wah-wah-waaaah."

Here is an affirmative incantation for you to use right now: 

In this moment, I recognize that my life is the embodiment of Spirit’s highest idea of Itself as me. I see my Highest Self as my daily self, embodying every thought, feeling, and belief with the inspiration, love, and intelligence of the Universal Presence.

In an abundance of affluence:

I seek and I find.

I sow and I reap.

I discover and I engage.

I reveal and I utilize.

I Am experiencing my life through the best ideas in health, wealth, relationships, and creativity to bust through, soar, and zoom into a fabulous day.

Let us remember that there is only One Power and Presence, the One Source back of all things. And knowing there is only One Life, this Life must be who I am; who you are. Therefore each of us has the ability to allow the Infinite Wisdom of this Power and Presence to express through them, by living in the question: “What is Spirit’s highest vision of Itself as me in this moment?”

Living from a place of curiosity, and remaining open and willing to receive Spirit’s highest vision of Itself expressing through any situation in our lives, allows us to live and act from a place of Divine Guidance in order to create our Heaven, right here and now. 

  • Are you willing to be surprised by what you discover about yourself?
  • Everything is for our learning and growth, are you open? 
  • Are you willing to be more interested in your spiritual growth than advocating for your limitations? 

We learn through curiosity. Remaining open to experience a shift of perspective, a new awareness, and a heightened experience of life is the key to an abundance of prosperity in all parts of our life.

Are you willing?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Resistance is Futile


Our theme for January was "Love It."  February brought us:

  • Black History Month and part of the Season of Non-Violence
  • Groundhog Day, Tater Tot, and Ukelele Day is also in February
  • So is Washington, Lincoln, Bob Marley, and Frederick Douglass' Birthdays
  • The Periodic Table has a day in February and so does doggy bones and toothaches
  • The Chinese New Year was on the 12th – of the Ox
  • The Jewish holiday, Purim was on the 26th, commemorating the victory of Queen Esther of Persia in saving the Jewish people from execution by Haman, the advisor to the king
  • And Lent began on the 17th, reminding Christians of Yeshua's 40-day sacrifice in the desert

Lives to remember, foods to enjoy, events to commemorate, rituals in which to partake, ideas to contemplate, and of course, love to celebrate - so much in 28 days. But all of that is man-made. I say so not to lessen its significance, but to show its exquisiteness and uniqueness. A uniqueness only possible through the loving expression of God.

In going within, we do not turn to our own spirituality or our own goodness or our own strength or our own knowledge; but we go within to unleash the Infinite Invisible.  ~Joel S. Goldsmith, The Art of Meditation 

We are individuations of the One Universal Power & Presence and we each act in this Oneness to unleash that Infinite Invisible from within. We don't have to spend days in the desert or atop a mountain or live in a cave. Each is their own mystics able to live the mystical experience by letting God be God in them and as them.

You are Divine now...it is your birthright. Your uniqueness, talents, and dreams are all waiting for you to WAKE UP and accept your divinity! It is only our resistance to this Truth that gets in our way. When we resist, we strive against or oppose something, the polar opposite of working a resolution. Changing things in our life begins with not wanting to experience this or that anymore; to set up a barrier to reliving that idea. But that is where resistance should quickly end.

One of the most notorious creatures from the Star Trek universe is the Borg. In the 1990 third-season finale of The Next Generation series, the evil Borg sent an audio message to those whom their collective would absorb (imagine ominous robotic voice):  “We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.”

“Wow,” you may think, “Rev. Jay is comparing our Oneness and connection to Spirit to the Borg?” In a way, yes. I don't claim we are all some sort of spiritual cyborgs roaming the earth. But take away your biology and technology and what is left? ...your etiology – your causation and origination ... your most basic self - your Godness!

We are in a collective of sorts, not evil like the Borg, but one that is available through the conscious activity of embodying Spirit; a complete emancipation from discord that no one can truly take away without our permission.

On July 9, 1868, the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. Garrett Epps, Professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, wrote this about the 14th amendment:

Its centerpiece is the idea that citizenship in the United States is universal—that we are one nation, with one class of citizens, and that citizenship extends to everyone born here. Citizens have rights that neither the federal government nor any state can revoke at will; even undocumented immigrants—"persons", in the language of the amendment—have rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

Yet, the road to freedom does not truly lay in amendments to a constitution or any set of man-made laws again, not to lessen the efforts of Federick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Thaddeus Stephens, and other abolitionists or 13th/14th amendment proponents. However, freedom must be made first in the minds and hearts of those whose values and beliefs equaled that pronouncement. It may have started as a resistance to hate, inequality, and unjust actions and ideas, but accepting it first -remember this is not about permission- acceptance allows us to transform those ideas from the resistance of the negative into working for something that is positive and a part of Nature's Laws. Before emancipation could be a fact in the United States, the Truth of our equality and Oneness within the creations of the Universe had to be recognized and accepted to set man free. In other words, our minds had to echo through our communion with the eternal Thing Itself.

The sooner we awaken to Truth and live it holistically, and not just in our heads, the sooner we shall become factually free & happy, no matter the conditions we experience or the laws or amendments to any constitution. Viktor E. Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, and Holocaust survivor - founder of logotherapy, a search for a life meaning as the central human motivational force - wrote:

The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance. ...Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  

Yes, we are obligated to enact laws to codify our understanding of Truth. God does not condone enslaving or mistreating anyone and we cannot be free in our spirit nor free in our mind when we withhold human liberty from another; neither can we be truly free when we kill, maim, cage, strike, spit upon, tear gas or shoot another. We can only be completely free when we respect and honor all of life. Those not participating in the Divine collective of Oneness, peace, and Universal love are bound to suffer the consequences of having a void in their heart filled with more hate, fear, shame helplessness, powerlessness, injustice, and inadequacy....all learned feelings one decides to embrace.

But when you fill that void, no matter the size, with Spirit, you gain a foundation to build upon. You step into a world where kinship with all life connects and prospers in you, guides you with spiritual wisdom...a world that will show up without police brutality, white privilege, or any cultural beliefs of superiority and its inherent arrogance and delusions

I am not telling you to bypass what may be lurking inside - confusing you, irritating you. The resolution, however, must begin with who you are. Looking for approval outside of yourself is futile - it will never fill any void. Remember you are worthy NOW and you're pre-approved for your highest good now, as well.

     Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.  ~Teilhard de Chardin

Are there areas of joy in your life that could support you in remembering that God is always everywhere equally present?

Find them...Nurture them. 

Incorporate them where the joy isn't as strong

It’s foolish and futile, to dedicate your time and attention to resisting what you don’t want. Reapply your energy toward what you do want and plan a prudent spiritual practice, then a wise practical course of action. When we choose to love the awakening to our highest self, we ease the effects of the negative and ease the inclusion of the positive, and we reveal the wisdom of the ages and disclose the best we have to offer to the world and beyond. Believing and loving who you are is a powerful antidote for lack and limitation, depression and distress, dis-harmony and dis-ease.

Allow the Divine's Love and Wisdom into your life

Resistance is futile!

Affirmative Incantation

Divine Love acts through me and the Law of Love frees me to be my best. Today I offer myself to loving this loved life. 

I am dedicated to being my best today, declaring superlative thoughts, revealing my highest ideas, best practices, the deepest empowering beliefs, and the most succulent experiences.

This day is my day and I express it with joy in my heart, a twinkle in my eye, and a spring in my step.

Watch out world, here I Am!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Going With the Flow

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius encouraged people not to waste energy by fighting against society. He called it..."Going with the flow." Now, going with the flow has come to mean having a relaxed attitude, letting life carry you along. After all - “what you resist persists,” right?

I've been described as someone who goes with the flow; easy-going, keeping my neutrality in conflicts. Yet I have found that the practice of going with the flow can also lead to laziness or playing the spiritual bypass game or having a reluctance to taking life seriously or deeply or by the collar, when necessary.

Today, I want to about the power and depth in going with the flow in a spiritually conscious & mindful way by going with the flow on the River of the Divine You. 

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.  ~Lao-Tzu

Going with the flow doesn't have to be a cop-out, accepting life's lemons as the end of the story. You and I create the flow by getting in the Flow on the River of Love and Law. It may not be all peaches and cream and may involve some tough relaxing into the chaos, learning not to stress, and responding versus reacting. The main action behind going with the flow is not just laying back, it's taking hold of the consciousness cord that connects us to the Power of Manifestation where we can get guidance. We cannot practice the love of life in isolation or in a vacuum. Every spiritual path and all the mystics have described that each of us in nature is connected to that single Divine River where the wellspring of infinite possibilities flows. 

Within this Infinite Mind, each individual exists. We are not separated from Life, and neither is It separated from us. We are separate entities in It — individualized centers of God Consciousness.  ~Dr. Holmes, The Science of Mind

When we awaken to the Truth, we become open to the impulse & guidance of Spirit, inspired by imagination and wisdom, directed by our values, committed to our core principles, and dedicated to transformation and transcendence - no matter the circumstances. Leo Babauta, in the blog, Zen Habits, says:

No matter how much structure we create in our lives, no matter how many good habits we build, there will always be things that we cannot control — and if we let them, these things can be a huge source of anger, frustration, and stress. 

This conflict or condition has already happened; we can't go back to make it not have happened at least not yet. So what do we do when we step in it when junk shows up in our lives - big or small? I had a kidney stone journey in 2013:

4 days of cramps

4 days of feeling like Sisyphus...invoking powerful names = Jesus, Iron Man ...and phrases I cannot repeat...jumping up and down to rattle the stone around and break it up. I noticed the usual go with the flow idea went out of my mind as quickly as the cursing came out of my mouth. Then I became focused on not resolving the pain but remembering who I was. I had plenty of moments of health worries, possible financial concerns, and just the agonizing pain but it was my consciousness work that brought relief. 

Kamal Ravikant wrote:

Most of our pain, most of our suffering comes

from resistance to what Life is. And when we

resist what life is, we suffer. When you can say

yes to life, surrender to life and say: “Okay, what

should I be now?” That’s where power comes from.

There is a story about a young martial arts student was under the tutelage of a famous master. One day, the master was watching a practice session in the courtyard.

He realized that the presence of the other students was interfering with the young man’s attempts to perfect his technique. The master could sense the young man’s frustration. He went up to the young man and tapped him on his shoulder. “What’s the problem?” he inquired.

“I don’t know,” said the youth with a strained expression. “No matter how much I try, I am unable to execute the moves properly”.

“Before you can master technique, you must understand harmony, my son. Come with me, I will explain,” replied the master.

The teacher and student left the building and walked some distance into the woods until they came upon a stream. The master stood silently on the bank for several moments before he said, “Look at the stream. There are rocks in its way. Does it slam into them out of frustration? Watch it simply flow over and around them and move on! Be like the water and you will know what harmony is.”

Whether its COVID or a broken pipe, don’t dig in your heels, push, shove, and struggle until the veins pop out on your head. Stop saying no. Say yes and accept whatever it is.

Now the act of accepting doesn't mean giving permission ...accepting lets us stop thinking we must swim upstream or wish we could go back in time somehow ...accepting turns the dial to tune into and allow the nourishing Flow of the River of Divine Intelligence to carry us over and around the rocks. Here are a few daily practice tips from Bev Janisch:

1. Learn to distinguish between thoughts and feelings that arise from the condition or event – is it

bringing in your small self or your [highest self]?

2. Ask yourself: What is my heart’s desire? What inspired action arising from my soul am I meant to

take today or in this situation?

3. Create a daily habit of communicating with Source through meditation, prayer or “divine chats.”

Going with the Flow is about creating awareness, space, and practices that enable us to tune in to what Divine wisdom is intuiting and then honoring what we hear.

• Commit to participating in the awakening of your spiritual magnificence and personal power

• Commit to catching the spark of Divine ideas

You may be in pain or in fear of a prognosis or consequence, uncomfortable with making some changes in your habits of thought and action. It may be messy, chaotic, sad, or dirty, but as we understand that any yuckiness is the perfect outcome of the flow of the river of life we decided to float upon, we become open to and ready for the ideas, practices, & solutions to incorporate into our boat. Going with the flow doesn't mean you just sit there, hoping to become dislodged. By going with the Flow using your spiritual tools, you will rise up from the hurricane of discomfort. So go ahead and rage and weep for a few minutes, then take a breath and tap into the River of Divine Wisdom and allow your intuition to inform you of your options and find your best practices from a place of “yes” and acceptance. There is beauty in everything around us if we look at it as perfect.

Go with the flow of your life
Go with the flow of your community
Go with the flow of your health
Go with the flow of this time of COVID
Go with the flow of your relationships

It doesn't mean you don't take action. It means you go with the flow on the River of Divine Intelligence and Love to take action with the wisdom of the ages, the power of the mighty Mississippi, the best advice available from the Universe and Its creations.

Affirmative Incantation

I am stepping into the Circle of Love which surrounds me with ever-expanding energy that vibrates at the speed

of the Divine, awakening me to my best self.

In this Circle of Love, I lift up my mind to the highest thoughts and ideas.

In this Circle of Love, I lift up my heart to the highest frequencies of joy, passion, enthusiasm, and purpose.

In this Circle of Love, I honor that which binds us all together in everlasting Unity. I work the Universal Law to

cause and effect my dreams into an experience.

It is beautiful in this Circle.

It is calm in this Circle.

It is powerful in this Circle.

In this Circle of love, I am living Life to Its most abundant, highest, and prosperous; allowing the best of me to flow.

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A Festival of Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark, 
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man or woman ever loved.

Most think of Shakespeare's SONNET 116 as a tome to romantic love, but when you listen carefully, dig deeply, he speaks as well to the love of living and experiencing life to the fullest, no matter what shows up or what your age may be. He speaks as well to how the Universe, from the Big Bang through eternity, is the energy of creation everlasting – the very essence of love.

Our awakening is a love-fest of depth, passion, enlightenment, Spirit, and...

Philia — Affectionate / Authentic Friendship Love

Pragma — Enduring Love

Storge (storjay) — Unconditional / Familial Love

Eros — Romantic /  Passionate Love

Ludus — Playful / Flirtatious Love

Philautia — Self Love

Agape — Selfless / Universal Love 

Our festival of love shall illuminate them all. 

First is the love of Spirit – AGAPE. As defined by Ernest Holmes, love is the "Self-givingness of Spirit through the desire of Life to express Itself in terms of creation. It is a synonym for God, says Emerson. It is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible."

God is unconditional love. Many confuse that with only the positive things happening in our lives,  however, the unconditional love from the Universe, the Highest of One, the Divine Source, Spirit, whatever you want to call It, knows only giving, not good or bad, positive or negative. There is a “Divine yes” that will never be denied to us. This “yes” may announce Itself through joy and peace, or pain and loss. Yet It awaits our acknowledgment and response. It is a “yes” that leads to joy, love, challenge, growth, and the on-going “yet-to-be” of infinite possibilities. It is that soul’s calling of our “heart‘s desire” which first appears as a curiosity or an interest, a nudge from the Universe growing to be a pull to know more. 

Learning to listen through regular spiritual practice brings trust, hope, awakening, and finally, a vision that we can embrace and embody and envision into our belief and life. Agape Love, Self Love – Divine Love is All Love. The capital 'L' love that shines in our Oneness as humans and all living beings reminds us of who we are...what Self is.

That boundless power, source of every power, manifesting itself as life, entering every heart, living there among the elements, that is Self. ~Upanishads

That is YOU...found in the countenance which is you. Enoch (great grandfather of Noah) recounts: 

I saw the view of the face of the Lord, like iron made burning hot in a fire and brought out, and it emits sparks and is incandescent. Thus even I saw the face of the Lord. 

It is not just a burning bush or the face of Moses or Jesus or Mary or Muhammad or the Buddha, the likeness and image of the Divine is in all those things - the likeness and image is in you. So much is resolved, loosened up, and empowered when we remember this. Take it to heart, live it, embody it, think from it, and be it in mind, body, heart, and soul.

That was an example of Philautia – self-love, a practice of meditation and prayer is the ultimate of self-love, giving you healthy self-esteem, insight into the highest you, a calm, centeredness – an opening for wisdom. Now we shall step into the realm of Eros – romantic love

In Madame Bovary (1856), Gustave Flaubert tells us about Emma Bovary's ideas about romantic love from "the refuse of old lending libraries," which...

...were all about love and lovers, damsels in distress swooning in lonely lodges, postillions slaughtered all along the road, horses ridden to death on every page, gloomy forests, troubles of the heart, vows, sobs, tears, kisses, rowing-boats in the moonlight, nightingales in the grove, gentlemen brave as lions and gentle as lambs, too virtuous to be true, invariably well-dressed, and weeping like fountains.

Is that how you see romantic love?

I am in love! Not just romantic love – though she's here. I am in love with my friends, my job, my ministry, my family, Southern California. I am in love with the taste of peach cobbler w/thick doughy, chewy crust and crumbles topping (gluten-free, of course), french fries, pumpkin pie, dense rich flour-less chocolate cake. I am in love with the smell of cut grass, a blazing fireplace or fire pit...the air after it rains. I am in love with the music of Debussy and the sound of crickets at night.

Eros...romantic love...is celebrated on February 14th. St. Valentines Day has many stories:

One was begun by Pope Gelasius I in the 5th century to combine the honoring of a temple priest who was beheaded by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed and the Roman feast of Lupercalia, a naked, drunken Pagan fertility festival of goat sacrifices, misogyny, and a matchmaking lottery. Other St. Valentine's are celebrated at different times:

St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3

St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7

St. Valentine (Valentina), a virgin martyred in                    Palestine in 308AD on July 25

Now, thanks to the industrious threesome in 1920's Loveland, Colorado of Joyce Clyde Hall (Hallmark Cards, K.C. MO), Mary See (candy maker, L. A.) and John Valentine (FTD), Downer's Grove Ill), who colluded and captured the market for this holiday, it's why we believe that without a combo of candy, card, and flowers - Valentines Day is ruined.

Let's now talk about what the Greeks call Storge - familial love…not just the love of our blood relatives, but our relatives in any and all of the individuation of the Divine. And the type of love called Philia, which describes the friendship and shared goodwill of Oneness. I have a couple of questions for you:

What are the ways we let ourselves be distracted from remembering and living from our worthiness as divine, unique, and radiant creations of Spirit?

How can we “let God be God in us” in our daily lives...
with our family, in our jobs, at the grocery store?

When we have broken our god of tradition and ceased from our god of rhetoric, then may God fire the heart with [Its] presence.   ~Emerson’s Essays: The Over Soul

God as Source is everywhere, equally present, and always fully active. God as Presence is an innate connection full of wondrous creativity, limitless possibility, radiant inspiration, and perfect order, always available to commune with...but we must do our part. Today, I celebrate the glory & divinity of that which I AM and honor my Self, I honor nature, and I dignify the creation and creator that I am. I am the believer, not the belief, and I am in love with and grateful to that Infinite Invisible for which I am a part; the loving energy that soars within me, through me, and around me. To the degree that we are willing, open, and receptive participants and agreeing partners with Divine Love, on this and all other days, our lives can and will correspond to and demonstrate that Divine Love. 
Be a spectator no longer and ask yourself what brings you joy and what rises a feeling of passion and possibility in you. Radiate love, intention, and passion allow It to guide you to your next step and then your next and your next. Though some of the histories around Valentine's Day may not be so pure, I will still be flowering, candying and card writing to my special loved one, but also to myself, in appreciation of the God in me for the love It has for me, the love It gives to me and the love It is in me, as me. 

Plato taught that love aims at beautiful and good things; the possession of which he called happiness. And happiness is an end-in-itself. Of all the good and beautiful things, the best, most fabulous, the richest, and most dependable is the wisdom of Truth which is why Plato called love not a god, but a philosopher. Today, I have the philosophy, the awakening, the perspective, and the good sense to create a happy, prosperous, vibrant life and that is what I celebrate on this Valentine's Day and all the days around it.

…who's joining me?

Affirmative Incantation
Love is what I am and I love ALL that I am!
I am one with the infinite possibilities of the unconditional love of Spirit.

I celebrate my body expressing in health, intimacy, work, and play.
I celebrate the beloveds in my life whether romantic, family, or friends.
I celebrate my talents, my creativity, and that divine way I express my powers and abilities.
I celebrate my bank account, knowing that no matter what numbers it shows this day, I will reveal the better on the next.

With trust, joy, appreciation, and delight, I let God be God in me, through me, for me, and as me.
The ultimate Love supports me right here and right now.

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