One God, One People

One God, one people.

One people: with a singular origin.

All related by birth

One family: its members’ interconnections inextricable.

Be not estranged from your kin.

Embrace the interdependence among all members of humanity.

Look fondly upon all of your brothers and sisters.

Help those in need.

Show them kindness and compassion.

Express your inherited divinity!

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How Life Works

The short answer is that how our lives unfold depends on our outlook, motivations, intentions, and how we treat others. The effect of these factors on the quality and prevailing course of a person’s life is governed by two interrelated natural or spiritual laws.

The Law of Cause and Effect

This law embodies the biblical saying “You reap what you sow.” It is also related to the popular concept of karma which says that we create our own futures (in this life or the next) by our actions and how we treat others. If we do not stop our wrongdoing and change how we live our lives for the better, then we can expect an ongoing chain of negative effects on us and those around us. However, cause and effect provides the opportunity to break free from past bad behaviors and attitudes, and change our future.

Even as our karma plays out, we can decide what direction our life will take. Will we choose a fulfilling and happy life of goodness, love, and compassion, or a life of bitterness, jealousy, selfishness, greed, and hate devoid of any redeeming factors? Will we surrender to the darkness we have brought upon ourselves, or will we refuse to give up and instead emerge from the muck and blaze a new path toward spiritual awareness?

The Law of Compensation and Retribution

The Law of Compensation and Retribution is inherent in, and a natural consequence of, the Law of Cause and Effect. You will be rewarded for striving to live a life of goodness, and for helping others any way you can. Unselfish acts of loving kindness can compensate for past wrongdoing and transgressions of spiritual laws. However, wrongdoing in the absence of compensatory acts will result in retribution that leads to a life of suffering, unhappiness, and regret.

Thus, through free will and cause and effect, each of us determines the course of our own lives. The outcome cannot be attributed to anyone or anything other than ourselves.

This is a critical principle of spiritual law that once understood makes it possible for us to find true happiness and fulfillment. It means that we have the power to change our lives for the better, and through our love and compassion the lives of others. It provides the opportunity to progress spiritually and fulfill our purpose in this life on Earth.

The laws of cause and effect and compensation and retribution, like the Law of Gravity, once set into motion by our creator require no ongoing oversight. The spiritual laws operate automatically and assure accountability and justice concerning all of our thoughts and actions. I hope that everyone can appreciate what a simple and perfect plan this is. We get exactly what we deserve in terms of punishment or reward. It is the ultimate learning tool.

Author’s Note
The natural or spiritual laws discussed here can be found in various books in the Silver Birch series (e.g., The Teachings of Silver Birch).

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The Divine Virtues

Divine Virtue of Mother Teresa
Photo Credit Unknown

A mind that is free, open and present is the key to achieving harmony between spirit, mind, and body. The mind is the intermediary between the spirit and the body. It is the essential link needed in order for qualities of the spirit to be manifested in the physical world through emotions and actions. By spiritual qualities I mean things like love, compassion, forgiveness, and healing energy. These are the divine virtues that all human spirits have, but for many they remain untapped and overshadowed by physical desires.

Free expression of the divine virtues is characteristic of a truly spiritual life. The mind must make the decision to put aside any fears, insecurities or prejudice and let the divine virtues flow naturally to everyone we encounter in our everyday lives without favoritism.

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The Trilogy of Harmony

Graceful Harmony
by Sara Goodnough

Those interested in spirituality—what it is and how to become a spiritual person—sooner or later come across the notion of harmony between spirit, mind, and body . What exactly does it mean and how do you get there? To get there one has to cultivate each of its three aspects of being. Achievement of this Trilogy of Harmony leads to sustained peace, joy, and equanimity.

A healthy, physically fit body is one of the pillars of attaining harmony between spirit, mind, and body. As an example, if we don’t feel well, or we’re weak, frail, or sick it is difficult to think clearly. Likely we are concerned about our health which takes a further toll on our mind.

In turn our spirit is also affected. We may be unable to experience lasting joy and happiness. Our worries, guilt, and regret prevent us from finding peace and equanimity.

Mental products such as our attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and actions can either feed and elevate the spirit or damage and debilitate it. This is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect. The health of our spirit is determined in large part by the way we treat other people. One should always strive to live a life characterized by honesty, integrity, compassion, and ethical behavior.

We can cultivate the mind by meditation, striving to be wholly present through mindfulness and working to stop the constant train of useless thoughts so many of us experience. It is also important to allow only wholesome thoughts, and to maintain a positive and virtuous outlook.

A cultivated mind and body naturally leads to a greater expression of our spirit in everyday life. Buddha’s Four Immeasurables well illustrate the essence of spiritual expression and the results of the Trilogy of Harmony. The Immeasurables are: love, compassion, equanimity, and empathetic joy. These four are also known as the four sublime or extraordinary states of mind, which to me, illustrate the affect the spirit can have on the mind.

I hope from this discussion you begin to see the importance of achieving the Trilogy of Harmony for a happy, healthy, rewarding, and productive life, and how the spirit, mind, and body support and interact with each other. If any one of these three pillars of harmony is not in a healthy, positive state, then the trilogy is broken. As we all know, each of the three components can function independently, but without the elevated state of being (especially of the spirit) that the Trilogy of Harmony brings. You cannot give yourself a gift greater than the fulfillment, happiness, joy, and peace that achieving this harmony will create.

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The Gift of Presence

Seeing Deeply
From http://www.1zoom.net

Being present in the moment is a big thing these days, as it should be. It is something with which I struggle on a daily basis. Intellectually we can appreciate the value of being present, but putting it into practice is difficult; old habits of the mind are hard to change. And what can we really expect should we achieve the holy grail of Presence anyway?

But then I recently had a remarkable experience that gave me a taste of just how wonderful and transforming complete, unwavering presence can be. As I walked out of a movie theater I inexplicably stopped dead in my tracks. There before me was the most mundane and superficially insipid scene you could imagine. I was looking out across a large parking lot…but somehow it was so much more than that at this particular moment.

I became totally immersed in the clouds along the horizon and the tall royal palm trees lining the street. The golden hour was approaching making the green and grey of the trees glow with a seemingly heavenly light. I studied the shapes of the clouds and the lines of the tree trunks. My eyes were transfixed on the scene. I felt a deep appreciation and affection for each element of the scene—the trees, the sky, and clouds. I felt exceedingly alive and happy. So much so that I stood there for quite some time scanning the scene. I didn’t want to take even one step and lose these feelings of joy.

As I drove home, my mind continued to seek presence in what I saw along the way, but sadly I was forced to keep my eyes on the road and attend to my driving. I had hoped that I would re-enter the mystical state of awareness I had experienced when I got home but it was not to be—not then, the next day, or the days to follow. I was left disappointed and wondering just what it was that I experienced and how to get back there again.

During that short span of presence I saw the beauty and wonder of simple things around me in great detail. What usually was a mind busy with useless thoughts was totally focused on what was before me. It showed me that when we are truly present in the moment, we see things we didn’t notice before. We see the beauty in things that previously scarcely caught our attention. We see things as they really are.

When present and interacting with others, we perceive beyond the superficiality of appearance and words. As Thich Nhat Hanh has suggested, we hear and see people deeply with greater understanding and compassion.

Achieving presence is well worth the effort because it can lead to an elevated state of being and awareness which in turn will lead to greater happiness and joy. The simplest things can be seen as they really are: beautiful and fascinating. This is the gift of presence.

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I Had a Vision…

Earth Aura
Photo source unknown

I Had a Vision…

I had a vision of what someday will be. I saw a wave of love, compassion, and healing emanating from God spread around the world leaving the earth enveloped in a soft glow of divine energy.  Peace and tranquillity permeated the awareness of all living things. The rotation of the earth seemed to quicken with excitement, just for a moment, in response.

It was a vision of a world in perfect harmony. There was no more suffering. People treated each other with dignity, respect, generosity, and kindness. No one was left cold, hungry, or without shelter.

The planet was vibrant and healthy. The air was clean, fresh, and fragrant. The animals came out in the warm sunlight to play, unafraid.

I am confident that one day these things will come to pass; such is the destiny of humanity and planet Earth. Each of us must do all that we can, here and now, to make that vision a reality. Each of us through our actions, attitudes, and the example we provide can begin to bring about change in the small slice of the world in which we live. Our individual efforts will have a local additive effect which over time will spread geographically and eventually exponentially.

 

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How Does One Sustain a Spiritual Outlook?

Sunrise at Goblin Valley

A friend recently asked me, “How does one sustain their spirituality?” The answer to that question will be somewhat different for each person. Some may say that participation in religious practice and/or community are needed to sustain one’s spirituality. Those things can have role, but what we’re addressing here is a continuity of spirituality throughout everyday of our lives.

For me, spirituality is not only a way of living, but also a state of mind. It is that state of mind or spiritual presence that is the key to sustaining one’s spirituality. In some ways it is like being in a constant state of prayer or contact with God and the spiritual realm.

As we move through our day, we should always be silently expressing our gratitude and thanks for every little thing we see, experience, and receive. We should strive to always be present and to take notice of the many expressions and beauty of God all around us. We should allow feelings of love and compassion to come forth naturally, unfiltered by the intellect or prejudice.

When we do these things; when we allow our spirit to express and commune with God and His holy spirits, we find ourselves in a constant state of grace, happiness, and bliss.