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Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, September 16, 2012 

Listen to the Sunday Morning Radio Broadcast of this Message click here
            "The quiet returned to the night.  My dad lay on the damp straw and peered through the cracks of the dilapidated, old wooden walls and roof of the barn.  Outside, the night was cold and dark, like his hope for survival.  As he started to resign to his spent body, he noticed that the clouds had parted revealing the most glorious star, shining so brightly that it seemed to call to him.  My father sat up invigorated with the magical energy of the universe. ... "Is this my sign?  What does it mean?  How?  Oh my God, you did not forsake me after all."  The tears rushed down his face.  He knew.  He accepted.  He was safe.  At that moment in his mind he was already free.  "God helps those who help themselves," my dad kept repeating the statement like a mantra as he gave way to a demanding sleep." - Irene Danon, Failure Is Not An Option 

During Rosh Hashanah, [ Sept. 16-18, 2012 ] many people will observe those of the Jewish faith celebrating the Jewish New Year without any real understanding of what this celebration is all about. [Chabad.org] "Rosh Hashanah emphasizes the special relationship between G-d and humanity: our dependence upon G-d as our creator and sustainer, and G-d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world."  Every legitimate religion and spiritual philosophy would agree with these words.  Because to believe differently would probably be one of the most illogical ideas anyone could allow themselves to accept as true.

     The underlying purpose of religious and spiritual observances is to bring us closer to G-d in our mind, heart and soul.  It is this underlying purpose that makes all religious and spiritual observances attractive to so many people.  Our world is a better place for everyone when we respect these observances even when they are not something we personally observe.  It is this respect for our differences that creates in us a greater awareness of the image-likeness of G-d within us and the Living Spirit of G-d in everyone. Respect does not mean agreement nor does it mean approval, it means to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  This is simple, but it is profound in that it speaks to the inherent freedom and liberty in which the Spirit has imparted to each of us.

     In my great friend Irene Danon's book, she details her family's flight from the hell of the Nazi occupied Yugoslavia, to her family's entry into the United States as legal citizens.   A running theme of her book is the faith and inner strength that guided her family and so many others as they lived and survived one of the darkest period in the history of the world, one that was very personal to them.  Included in the telling of her story is humor, something unexpected for me.  It reveals the character of the author that even during this horrendous experience she has memories of things that were curious and funny too.  It is unimaginable to me to hate someone based on their religion or any of the labels which the world tags us with, yet this is a continuing poison in the mind of people throughout the world ... but, we can be grateful that it is a very small minority that clings to these things.

     The great mystics, prophets and philosophers of the ages have told us that we are one in the Spirit.  The Master Mind Jesus repeated over and over again his teaching that the spark of the Divine is within each of us and that as we judge each other, so shall we be judged in this universal, immutable Law of G-d.  And within each of us there is power in our faith, even when our faith is directed toward someone or something other than G-d.  The people who followed Hitler had faith in his "us versus them" conclusions and from this simple misguided conclusion erupted the most horrendous of events in the history of the world.  Too many still find justification in similar illogical conclusions as reflected in the activities of both individuals, groups and governments in the world.  And far too much of it is fostered by religion and religious leaders.

     Anything that separates us from each other in the spirit [mind], separates us also from our Creator, for we are all G-d made flesh; the Living Spirit of G-d in form and substance.  As we draw nearer to each other in this realization, we automatically draw nearer to G-d.  From Christian D. Larson's, "Leave It To God" we can read:  "When we draw nearer to the most High, the possibilities of living, knowing and attaining become remarkable.  For, imagine, drawing nearer to the One who knows all things, and who has the power to do all things; drawing nearer to the One who is perfection - glorified perfection; drawing nearer to the One who can answer every prayer instantly - no matter how astounding or colossal the request may be; drawing nearer to the One who does answer the prayers of everyone who comes close enough to the presence of His goodness and love."

     The people of the world have not yet left behind their primitive nature of forming tribes in order to feel safe and comfortable in the world.  Even though the Master Mind Jesus said "if you love only those who love you, what reward is there for you?  Do not even the infidels do the same?" ... and in these words we find him speaking not only to the people of his time, but to those in our modern world who seek the sanctuary of being with those "like them" in mega churches, synagogues and other spiritual and religious gatherings ... and having more faith in their religion, than they do in the Law of the Spirit.  As we seek the guidance of the Spirit in the things that concern us, we must be willing to be open to finding our answers and our inspirations wherever this may lead us.  To think that a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a follower of spiritual philosophy cannot find within the other's religion or philosophy something of value for their own personal life is foolishness.  The gifts of G-d are not constrained by the foolish separations that the human race has made both visible and invisible.  Yet few Christians will visit a synagogue and few Jews will visit a church ... yet there is an abundance of knowledge and awareness of the gifts of the Spirit available in both churches and synagogues that will foster and nurture our quest to realize a closer relationship with our Maker.

     From Joel Goldsmith's, "Consciousness Transformed" we can read:  "Just as people for centuries have listened to sermons on Sundays and sometimes on weekdays, and not found any divine intervention in their affairs, so have people read books, listened to lectures, studied philosophies and metaphysics, and not found their lives too much improved.  Why?  Because they stopped short of that which is necessary - the actual experience of the presence of God.  If you ask "How may I know when the presence of God has been realized?" there is not one answer for everybody.  There are several answers, and any one of which may be the one for you."

     Are we willing to let our faith be the Power that guides us or do we continue to let the constraints of religion and man-made dogma shackle us to the limitations created by the world belief in separation?  The answer to this question will determine our "self realization" as the image-likeness of G-d Power, Spirit and Intelligence in the here and now.  "Besides me there is none other, no thing ... no savior but me," we can read in the Book of Isaiah.  And these words are the truth for all of us, everywhere ... and our faith will equal all the power necessary for us to do that which we desire to do, when we have faith in the immutable, changeless truth of these words.


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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"spiritual ... not religious"

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