Just So…

Purple Rain Drops from naldzgraphics.net

P Purple Rain Drops
from naldzgraphics.net

What is this heavenly radiance I see before me with such uncanny beauty?
It is like a sky full of stars, but it is morning.

The light emitted is bright, beautiful, wondrous, and other worldly,
so much so that I find myself trying to catch my breath.
I cannot take my eyes off the dazzling display
of what looks to be sparkling diamonds
and precious gems of all kinds
with fire like I have never seen before.

Hundreds of water droplets clinging to a screen
have caught the early morning light, just so…
resulting in refraction of the light, just so…

Each droplet sparkles and pulsates with its own unique color.
All shades and hues of a panoply of colors can be seen
more vivid and vibrant than I could have ever imagined.

Is this how the universe of stars would look
if the dust and light years between us were removed?
Or is this the quality of light seen in the heavenly realms?

But alas, the gentle morning sunbeams that gave light, just so…
impinging on ordinary droplets of water at an angle, just so…
giving birth to such incredible beauty…
must now give way to a rising sun
and I am quickly transported back to earth.

Exhilarated by what I have just seen,
I realize that there is so much more
beyond ordinary perception.
Another world of unimaginable wonders.
A revelation that was given, just so…

Copyright 2016 by Blair Atherton

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Destination Ahead Copyright 2016 by Blair Atherton

Destination Ahead
Copyright 2016 by Blair Atherton

If you have chosen to move away from organized religion or you were not brought up in a home where religion was a part of life, you are not a spiritual person simply by default. When asked about your religious affiliation, replying that you are “spiritual” does not make it so. Neither does thinking of yourself as such.

In order to truly be spiritual, a few things are needed from you. First, you need to be aware that you have a spirit; that your spirit is what gives you life. It is behind your life force and it can guide and influence your thoughts and actions if you let it.

Having made this realization, then one is usually compelled to explore and understand the fundamental nature of spirituality. This is essential because being spiritual is a way of living and a way of viewing the universe, the world, our place in them, and the meaning of life. Spirituality can arise and thrive within or without structured religion.

Once you come to truly understand that you are a spiritual being, everything changes. One of the changes is that you move away from the material aspects of life to the nonmaterial qualities of existence. Your focus shifts away from things and self-serving behaviors and thoughts to unselfish concern for the wellbeing of all living things. This is a major paradigm shift in world view for most people, especially in the years leading up to midlife.

Once one acknowledges the presence of their spirit-self, the journey to discover what it means to be spiritual and to live the life of spirit begins. My hope and prayer is that it will come early in life for as many as possible so that the joy, happiness, and fulfillment it brings can be enjoyed for many years ahead.

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A Letter to God

_DSC1503 Dear God

Dear God,

I am writing to ask that through your grace and the efforts of your Holy Spirits that the dark minds of the wicked and selfish be turned toward the light of goodness, love, and compassion. I ask that you give us world leaders and governments that are driven by a strong desire for the happiness, health, and well-being of their people and by a strong desire for a peaceful world.

I realize that transformation is a very slow process and that sometimes it is only through great suffering that change takes place; that sometimes it is only through great injustice that justice can finally be achieved; that sometimes it is only through darkness that the search for light and truth begins.

It appears that you have set into motion circumstances to motivate us to change as individuals and as a civilization. You have pointed the way, but I understand that it is up to each of us to contribute to the creation of a better world for ourselves.

I pray with all my heart that the majority of us will hear your call and respond to adversity, not with anger, aggression, or grasping, but rather with equanimity and a strong desire to help one another get through the trials and tribulations we face, and to find lasting happiness through continuing acts of love and compassion.

I am and forever will be your devoted servant.

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The Qur’an Through the Eyes of a Non-Muslim

Religious Trilogy

As part of my study of other religions and what each has to offer concerning an expanded spirituality, I recently finished reading the Qur’an. There are many books about the Qur’an and some seek to distill it down or interpret it for the reader. I wanted to read the full text myself and form my own impressions about its meaning and significance. The following discussion reflects my personal understanding of the main thrust of the Qur’an through the eyes of a non-Muslim.

I think reading the original and forming one’s own opinions about it is especially important in today’s environment of fear and distrust of Muslims stemming from the horrific actions of so-called Islamic extremists. This is in many ways a misnomer because the actions of these extremists are neither called for nor condoned by the Qur’an. Therefore, their self-described devotion to Islam is belied by their actions.

So what are the main teachings of the Qur’an as seen through the eyes of this non-Muslim? First, it is made clear that the Qur’an was sent to reaffirm the earlier teachings of the Torah and New Testament concerning how to live a spiritual life. The Qur’an places Muslims among the descendents of Abraham and frequently cites stories from the Old Testament about Abraham, Noah, and others to illustrate points of teaching.

I found the Qur’an to be very repetitive with regard to its main messages. In my view, the primary message is that there is only one God who made heaven and earth, who is all-knowing, all powerful, merciful, and has dominion over all things. Other recurring precepts are that there will be a resurrection of souls, and a final Day of Judgement. Those who lived a life of goodness will receive rewards in the hereafter, and those who refused to believe the above will find nothing but torment in the fires of hell. The foregoing doctrines are found in virtually every sura of the Qur’an.

The Qur’an describes itself as good news for the believers, and a strong warning for the disbelievers. It makes it clear that it is not our place to punish the disbelievers; that is God’s right alone. Further, the reference to disbelievers does not refer to non-Muslims; it refers to all who do not believe in the one true God, resurrection, and the Day of Judgement. The Qur’an originated at a time in history when much of the Arabic population followed polytheist beliefs.

From the point of view of a Muslim, what I have derived from the Qur’an may be seen as an over simplification. I hope nothing I have said will be in any way be offensive to anyone. It is just one man’s condensed view of a religion rich in tradition and devotion.

Muslims, Christians, and Jews share common roots and in fact have a spiritual kinship. I think the main teachings of Islam shared by these religions of Abrahamic origin, will always remain salient, timeless, and universal. I do not believe that there is only one true/correct religion; rather, I believe there is only one true God who wishes to guide us all to the path of goodness, virtue, and everlasting life.

Reference

Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel., trans., The Qur’an. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. First published 2004.

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Prayers for Harmony

Copyright 2014 by Blair Atherton

Copyright 2014 by Blair Atherton

In the spirit of hope and renewal associated with the Christian holy day of Easter I offer the following prayers for harmony. I hope that many of you will join me in saying these prayers on a daily basis. There is so much evil in the world today and so many misguided and lost souls that need our prayers. Thank you.

Prayer for World Harmony

My dear Lord,

I pray for peace, harmony, security, equality, and freedom for all of the children of Earth.

We long for the time when goodness and light will once again prevail over the evil and darkness which have ruled the earth for far too long.

I pray that your sacred light will continually grow ever brighter and purge the earth of all shadows and darkness where evil abides.

May we come to understand that our salvation will not come through blind adherence to the doctrines and edicts of our religious faith.

But rather, simply by loving you and living a life of unselfish goodness and virtue.

May harmony between spirit, mind, and body found by the one extend to the many and
result in peace among nations and a spiritual renewal and awakening of the people of the world.

Lord hear my prayer!

 

The foregoing expresses aspirations for all people. The following prayer seeks harmony within us as individuals.

Prayer for Harmony

Dear God,

I strive to make myself whole, and by doing so come closer to you.

I wish to find the sacred harmony between spirit, mind, and body.

My only desire is to serve and honor you by expression of my spirit
through acts of love and compassion.

I pray that my spirit may one day become attuned with, and radiate your divine love for all things.

Amen

Author’s note

My second prayer is an excerpt from a previous article “Harmony Between Spirit, Mind, and Body.”

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The Quintessence of Life

Radiations of Divine Love Copyright 2014 by Blair Atherton

Radiations of Divine Love
Copyright 2014 by Blair Atherton

What is the quintessence of life—that magical elixir from which all life arose and which fills it with jubilation? What is the highest, most noble element that is pervasive throughout the heavenly realms?

I believe that love is the fundamental component of all planes of existence. Love is an uncreated spiritual quality that is a healing, nurturing, fulfilling, and guiding force. It is the primordial element from which we arose and to which we shall return.

Divine love comes from without (from God and the holy spirits that serve Him) and it comes from within (from the divinity of our spirit-selves). It is all encompassing and encompassed by all.

Love is the greatest of all commandments. The purpose of our journeys through the millennia is, in large part, to come to understand that we are capable of unconditional love for all things, and once realized, to radiate that love through expression of our spirit-selves.

After many lifetimes our spirit will emerge to full expression and our love for all things truly will have no bounds or conditions. When that happens, our earth journeys may well end returning our spirit to its most basic existence—one that simply radiates divine love forever and ever.

Love transcends matter, space, and time. It is foremost among the spiritual mysteries, and a treasured gift from God that is meant to be shared with all.

From a recent posting, “On the Nature of God”

[…and God said,] “I am Love which is testimony to my existence!”

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The Spiritual Experience of Knowing

Altered States of Consciousness

Altered States of Consciousness

What is the spiritual experience of Knowing and how does it differ from religious faith or belief? I will try to answer these questions based on my own spiritual experiences. It is an event that may be difficult to grasp through description, and for some difficult to believe without experiencing it themselves.

The spiritual type of knowing discussed here does not refer to factual knowledge, languages, or memory. Rather, as used here, it refers to an inexplicable revelation of spiritual truths of which one suddenly somehow knows with absolute certainty.

The Knowing may take place in a brief, spontaneous altered state of consciousness,  or simply by an abrupt, strong flood of thought. Either mode is sure to get one’s attention and there will be no doubt that something extraordinary has occurred. The knowledge given in this manner may be previously unknown to the recipient, or it may involve something of which the recipient had prior knowledge, but which had not taken deep root in their spiritual awareness.

A characteristic aspect of this type of knowing is that it is  unexpected, and sometimes powerful and overwhelming. It is a spiritual experience unlike anything you may have witnessed before. This is in contrast to faith and belief which are somewhat abstract, intentional commitments that one makes regarding religious and spiritual matters. That is not to say that spiritual experience cannot arise from foundations of faith, but rather faith and belief are not experiences in and of themselves.

For example, one may have faith and believe that there is a God, accepting His existence as a concept. Whereas, a Knowing would be to palpably experience His presence and qualities in an altered state of awareness.

In my book, I describe some of my spiritual experiences of Knowing. Each one was transformative and together they have changed the way I live, think, and view the world. They provided much of the impetus for this website.

The experience of Knowing is not something that one can willfully create. One must be spiritually ready to receive the knowledge it brings. A Knowing is a spontaneous event for which the factors or circumstances needed for its occurrence are largely unknown. It is my belief that if one has an open mind concerning spirituality, a genuine desire for spiritual truth, and strives for purity of heart that they may become fertile ground for the spiritual experience of Knowing.

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