anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for
he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom
he has not seen." –
1 John 4:20
the beginning of his religious life [Brother Lawrence] he tried to put
out the thoughts he did not want and by this method he found he was
occupied with his sense world all the time. He realized he was
using a negative method, but when he began to think of the thing he
wanted he ceased spending his energies putting things out, he simply put
one idea in, and as the word GOD connoted the sum total of all life's
needs in wisdom and supply, "He fastened his whole mind on this one
word GOD. It acted like a sword of the spirit, it cut him loose
from everything undesirable."
- H. Rhodes Wallace, How To
Enter The Silence
I was reading the words about Brother Lawrence, it came to my mind that
the era in which he lived, compared to the world in which we live today,
was very simple and harmonious. In our modern world we are always
being confronted with the noise and nonsense of the world; from our
televisions, our radios, from the Internet, and from many of those
around us. There is so much in our political and religious
discourse that seeks to divide us and separate us from each other.
In the past few months both politicians and the religious have
"preached" to us about morality, sexuality, the rights of
women to make free choices about their bodies, and the rights of gays
and lesbians to choose who they enter into marital bliss with.
Politics is an interesting "business" ... all too often it is
people selling their souls to gain a political office ... and the end
rarely justifies the means.
The Pope stated this week that marriage was the
only place "worthy" for conception. Only last week it
was reported that 40% of children born in the United States are born to
single mothers. Does this make these conceptions unworthy?
This reminded me of the laws in many states [some states still?] that if
a child were born to unwed parents the word "illegitimate" was
stamped on their birth certificate. I wonder if the Pope realizes
the emotional consequences of his words and how harsh these words are,
and doesn't he think we have enough hate in the world without giving
people more justification for it? I cannot imagine that these would be
the words of the beautiful Jesus. He was focused on the love of
G-d, not the "opinions" of the world. Personally, I think it
is "illegitimate" for men who have never married and
experienced the reality of marriage and family life, to give us their
advice on the things they have no experience with.
The words of Jesus that I am quoting this week,
may seem harsh to some people, especially those who feel they have a
"justification" to not love someone. The spiritual
teacher, Wayne Dyer stated: "I don't think that Jesus was
teaching Christianity, Jesus was teaching kindness, love, concern, and
peace. What I tell people is don't be Christian, be Christ-like.
Don't be Buddhist, be Buddha-like." I don't really see
religion in this way, with all due respect to Wayne Dyer, and I don't
think we should be "like" anyone, instead I think we can learn
from Jesus, from the Buddha, from Krishna, and hundreds of others that
we are to be our self. G-d doesn't Xerox and I can't imagine this
Infinite Intelligence creating us and giving us life, to be
"copies" of anyone. We are here to find and discover G-d
within us, within our own heart, mind and soul ... and to seek to
express this life in our own individual way.
There is nothing wrong with religion ... as
long as we don't make a god of it. The Spirit, through infinite
Intelligence, has given us a sound mind and the intelligence to choose
and discern ... not to look to others to make our decisions for us.
As Emerson so wisely stated, "imitation is suicide" ... and
this is true even if we are imitating Jesus, the Buddha, Krishna or
anyone else, because through "imitation" we lose our own
individuality. We are individuals ... infinite individualizations
of the One Life which is G-d with the G-d given freedom to choose the
way in which we experience this life and no one, not those who judge us
negatively or those who love, love, love us ... is here to make choices
for us. It is no mistake that we all have unique fingerprints ...
none are alike. I believe this is the Infinite's way of telling us
we are unique, not copies or imitations ... and this is the way in which
we are to experience our lives.
Jesus taught that we are to "love one
another" ... no exceptions. And we have an infinite
capacity to express love and to feel love for one another. It is a
choice ... a choice that will give us the greatest gifts of the Spirit
that we can imagine for ourselves; it will cause the healing of every
dis-ease imaginable. It is in those precious
moments when we feel G-d expressing through us as unconditional love
that we realize heaven right where we are. "Where is the
Love?" ... it is within you and within everyone ... waiting to be
released from within us in our own unique way as a blessing to all those
who come into our experience of life.
SO IT IS!
Dr. Henry Lee Bates
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the Way to a Wonderful Life
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