Prayer and Action by Jim Hatton

Prayer and Action by Jim Hatton

 

As we see and experience yet another large scale act of violence in the world, the question we all ask is “What can I/we do to help promote Peace and spread Love?”

 

Spiritual leaders will always say “Pray for Peace”.  Indeed, this is necessary to change the consciousness of our world so that we may all get along and express our power to manifest in more creative and productive ways.  Another powerful tool to change consciousness is visualization. 

 

Shifting consciousness, first in ourselves and the world, is always first and foremost to call forth a different experience.  Nothing changes until consciousness changes.

 

As we practice our affirmative prayer, meditation, visualization, etc. to shift our own consciousness, we are often motivated to take some sort of action.   But what sort of action will be in alignment with Spiritual Principles. Let’s keep in mind that the Law of Attraction is inclusive rather than exclusive.  So any intention or action against something will bring more of the very thing we don’t want. Examples:  Anti-War, hatred, condemnation, more laws to prohibit certain actions, etc.  All are against the very things we want and the Law of Attraction will bring us more of the same.

 

So to effect the change we desire, we must turn our attention, intention, and inspired action to what we want.  In light of recent events such actions may include:

 

  • Express acts of inclusion to any minority or group of people who may be experiencing oppression. (racial, sexual, religious minorities)
  • Performing unexpected acts of kindness to someone.
  • Giving unexpected gifts to someone new; a flower, a smile, food, even money or donations.
  • Giving a hug.
  • Telling someone that you love them, or telling someone that they are loved.

 

If we all set our intention to do one at least one act of love today, to people we know and to people who we are may not close to, our intentions will spread and our prayers will be answered.

 

“We must become the very thing we want to experience”

 

So today, I will do my prayer work, I will intend to change my consciousness, and then allow myself to be inspired to express Love to people I met today.  I invite you to do the same.

 

 

In Love and Peace,

 

Jim Hatton 

 

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Navigating Alzheimers by Herb Long

On Navigating Life’s Journey with Alzheimers by Herb Long

Hearing the Alzheimer’s diagnosis was a shock – one I’m still trying to assimilate.  It’s like living under the sword of Damocles, not knowing how long it will be before, or when my memory will fade away. And it’s not just a matter of fading memory, making plans for anything has also become difficult and anxiety evoking.  Biologically this refers to the brain’s executive function and mine seems to be increasingly out to lunch! 

For example getting ready for a trip to Portland I needed the encouragement of my partner, Marcia, to relax and not worry so much – get on with the packing already.  Trying to write this is also accompanied by anxiety.  I’m writing it because I hope I can at least give an account of what’s happening. And in the moment, tears are close to the surface. They’re tears expressing regret, fear, and loss – all of which, for me, accompany the diagnosis. And worst of all, I’m concerned for the wellbeing of Marcia when the last thing I want to do is put her in the role of care-giver.

The first issue I have to address is the simple acceptance of the fact that I have a disease that’s neither curable nor reversible. I’m taking a medication that may slow its progress but there’s no guarantee that will actually happen. It’s not easy to accept something that seems so out of control that anything I think or do has little chance of making much of a difference.

Thinking about acceptance is also anger-evoking – it pisses me off that I have to address the multitude of issues arising as a result of having Alzheimers. Then there’s the stigma around it and the question whether or not to be “out” with it.  At least I’ve answered this question for myself and the fact that I’m actually writing this is my attempt to open a dialogue about the implications of living with this damn disease. There’s also the part of me that asks whether there’s a gift element in having Alzheimer’s.

To begin with, I have a deep awareness that I live in the midst of mystery – that mystery is actually the context out of which I’m living my life.  So, for example, I can go to considerable length in describing something – an object, a person or an event. But if driven to say what anything “IS”, I immediately encounter mystery. Still, it’s also been my experience that the very essence of mystery itself is love – that everything is connected, that we are part of an evolutionary process whose ultimate end is a continual unfolding and manifesting of the Beloved.  And Alzheimer’s? It’s a letting go into mystery, into love, into friendship.  Those moments when I can let go are sheer gift, an opening into a fuller, richer and ever deepening life.

  Herb holds a BA from Stanford, a B.D. from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a Th.D. from Harvard University and is a Diplomate in Process Oriented Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland and Portland, OR. He has served as: Dean of Students and Peabody Lecturer in Theology at Harvard University Divinity School; Associate Professor of Religion, U. of Hawaii; Senior Fellow, East West Center, Honolulu; Vice President, Labo International Exchange Foundation, Tokyo, Japan; co-founder, faculty member and chairman of the Board, Process Work Institute, Portland, OR; faculty member, Marylhurst University; and Process Work therapist in private practice. Herb moved to Ashland in 2008 and is now semi-retired.

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God In the Thunder by Shirley Patton

God in the Thunder by Shirley Patton

 Twenty years ago my husband Bill, my mother and I were on vacation in Kauai.  We had visited Princeville before and were always delighted with this small, beautiful island town.  We loved the softness of the air, the scent of tropical flowers, the foliage, the beauty of the people, the cliffs and of course the sea.

 One afternoon while Mother was engrossed in her novel, Bill and I decided to go swim in Hanalei Bay.  We’d been swimming laps for years, five days a week, at the college pool. Vacations, however, gave us a change of scene.  Swimming in the surf was fun!

 It was overcast that day and windy.  It looked like rain, but it was warm.  Who cares if it rains when you’re going swimming?  You’ll be wet anyway!

 After we got to the Bay and found some rocks to hold down our towels, we noticed we had the beach to ourselves.  Thinking nothing of it, we rushed toward the water and dove in and started swimming parallel to the shore.  I’d go a certain distance and then turn around and go in the other direction.  The water was choppy and as I stood to adjust my goggles, I heard Bill call, “Come back!” in that sharp tone reserved for times he didn’t think I was taking care of myself.  I began to swim back to him, but in a few strokes I realized I was making no forward progress.  “Come back!” he yelled again.  Couldn’t he see that’s exactly what I was trying to do?  But I was being pulled out further and  further.  My feet couldn’t find the sand.  I think I called “Get help!” but it may have been only a thought, for by then I was struggling to find times to breathe amidst the churning waves.  I kept trying to go toward the shore but quickly tired.  I knew I didn’t have the strength to succeed.

 My efforts were useless.  I would have to surrender to the strength of the sea.  My best bet was to float for as long as I could.   I turned onto my back, grabbing quick bits of breath when I could.   And I thought how easy it would be to be a brief notice in the Garden Island newspaper: “Tourist drowns off Hanalei Bay.”  No.  Make that “Stupid, Non-Observant Tourist drowns off Hanalei Bay.”  Out there, buffeted by the waves, trying to relax and conserve my energy, I thought of the people who mean so much to me and how deeply I would miss them and the lives we shared.

 About this time I felt a warm contact against my side.  I flipped over and it wasn’t a dolphin.  It was Bill.  He had our little boogie board and pushed it toward me as he shouted,  “Hang on!”  I started to cry.  “I can’t kick,” I gulped. “Just hang on,” he repeated over the noise of the churning water.  Then a large wave swelled beneath us.  Buoyed up we were rushing to the shore on its crest.  The wave retreated and we were left on the sand.  Weak in the knees, we couldn’t stand up.  We crawled up the beach to where our towels lay under those solid rocks.  We held each other and cried in the rain on the empty beach.

 God was there.  God is always there.  And here.  If the story hadn’t had a happy ending God would still have been there.  Welcoming me, a foolish woman who didn’t realize there was something wrong with the picture of a popular beach with no people, no life-guards.  God would also have been there to comfort those who would miss me.

 I believe it was my sense of God that kept me from panicking in the surf.  I was in trouble, lacking strength and skills, but my assessment was calm in a turbulent place. I think it was God who told me to float, to stop the struggle and rest on the sea.  And when I did, my salvation came that day in the person of Bill.

 And when I asked him, “Why didn’t you go for help?”  He answered “I’d never leave you.”  And that’s an echo of Jesus, isn’t it?  “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:10)

 This experience sharpened how I look at nature.  I have a keen respect for the oceans of the world, and earth’s lakes, and rivers—particularly in times of high water.  I realize that large rocks may dislodge and come plummeting down into fields or onto highways, sink holes may open up and avalanches cascade down mountainsides.  Volcanoes send molten lava down their slopes or high into the air. There is an awesome beauty to these acts of nature and an implicit danger as well—-a danger present equally to the just and the unjust.

 I am humbled at the wonder of God revealed in nature, in the beauty and complexity of all creation.  And I am also in wonder and awe of the part of creation that was revealed to us through the life of Jesus.  Foremost Jesus taught us to love God wholeheartedly and to love and care for each other.   He showed us how to take down barriers and invite others to the table.  Whether God speaks to us in the thunder or the wild surf or the still small voice, may we open our hearts and minds and ears to hear the voice of peace. 

This was originally a reflection during worship at First Presbyterian Church as part of a Lenten series “Gifts of the Dark Woods.”   Shirley Patton has lived in Ashland for 58 years.  She is an actor and the voice of JPR’s “As It Was” history series.

The above article was published in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Saturday June 4

 

 

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Common Ground by Charles Al Huth

Be an Activist:

Searching for Common Ground  by Charles Al Huth

Peaceful relationships of any kind can develop based on what we have in common. This holds true whether we are talking about personal relationships or world peace. There is an abundance of common ground between us all. Our false perceptions of ourselves and others have created unnecessary conflicts between many segments of our society. At its core, the polarization between races, cultures, gender, and fundamentalist religions versus atheism are needlessly created by mankind. These false views are a product of cultural indoctrination and a need to be right (which stimulates our personal ego). Rectifying these ingrained perspectives requires our dedicated search for the truth. It requires a personal and focused journey to reconnect with our humanity. To paraphrase Socrates’ famous quotation: A life unexamined is a life not worth living. Our search for truth includes: Who am I? What are my deepest passions in life? What gives me personal meaning? These issues are at the core of each person. The imperative is to deprogram one’s false perceptions of self and others.

As I see it, basically there are two basic aspects to developing human harmony. First, getting connected to the core of one’s humanity – our inner work. Second, developing a practice of noticing how everything is interconnected. Thus, our common ground will become more apparent.

If, for the moment, one could be completely neutral regarding the reality of a God, consider the following: Whether you believe there is an entity called God, or whether you believe there is no such thing, recognize that regardless of your belief system the laws that govern this universe remain the same. It has been estimated that close to one-fifth of our population is either atheist or agnostic. At the core of mainline religious beliefs are principles and values that are shared. In other words, they comprise a basic understanding on how to live a good and noble life. These basic understandings/core principles are not necessarily in conflict with an atheist perspective.

Determining the way to live productively and in harmony with each other, and with the planet, is not an exact physical science. Our thoughts create physiological changes – a shift in our personal chemistry and emotions. Our emotions and chemistry are noticeably different between being happy or sad. We are social beings and cannot rely on pure science to determine the best way to live. However, with precise terminology and a preponderance of properly gathered anecdotal information, a guide to living more harmoniously with others and to embracing all humanity is greatly enhanced.

Our common ground is illuminated with precise terminology.

When we use words that do not have a commonly agreed meaning, a meeting of the minds is not probable. It is necessary to give and/or ask for word definitions where confusion seems likely. When conflicting opinions occur, it is a good time to make sure that common definitions are in play. For example, my definition of spirituality is: a belief that everything is interconnected. When one asks others for their definition, a variety of responses will occur.

Shifting words or ideas to avoid emotional impact is critical. For example, if someone is taking the words personal integrity as an unintended attack, then try using different words that are more universal, for more clarity. As an example, the structure of a building is only as good as its weakest point, and so it is with each person. Individually, we become mentally and physically stronger when all aspects of our lives are in integrity with each other. In other words, being in complete harmony with oneself is an ongoing process. Rattling someone’s cage is ultimately not very effective because it sets up a separation. Therefore, being sensitive to the concerns and perspectives of others would enhance the possibility of fruitful dialogue and provide valuable insight to all participants in the conversation.

Our integrity equates to increased structural sustainability.

 

Charles “Al” Huth is an author, teacher, workshop presenter, and magician.  He has published “Living an Extraordinary Life: The Magic of Oneness” and “Essentials for a Changing World:  Living Harmoniously with Yourself and Others.” He invites you to visit his website at www.joyal.org to participate.

The above appeared in the Ashland Daily Tidings on Saturday May 28, 2016

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Heaven IS a Choice

 

 

“Heaven is the decision I must make.”

This is the title of lesson #138 in the spiritual, psychological, metaphysical book, A Course In Miracles.

We have choices daily – minute by minute – we can be mindful and watch our busy monkey mind and

when we make a decision or a judgment, we can CHANGE it!

Instead of being angry and someone…..CHANGE it – Why not?

That is choosing Heaven.  Heaven is a choice I can make when I refuse to believe every judgment

that crosses my mind!

www.innerpeaceforyou.me

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Listen to Peace

Why we Sing for Peace Part II

A free concert Sunday May 22, 3:00 pm is at First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main Street, Ashland.   www.roguevalleypeacechoir.org   The theme “We Are One” from a song written by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution and arranged by the late Dave Marston, says it all. 

 

Why we sing for Peace:

 *****

Singing, meeting folks

Showing up for facial joy

Hear the difference

Barbara Settles

***

In 2010, I interviewed for a job in Ashland. When asked if I had any questions, I said, “Yes! Are there any community choirs here?” I was delighted when the answer was, “Lots of them, including the one I belong to.” Singing in a choir offers an immediate connection to a new community and a set of friends with shared passions and values. The Peace Choir sings with joy about things that matter deeply to me.  I live in Ashland, but in many ways the choir is my home.—Kim T. Griswell-Lowry

 *****

When I first heard the Peace Choir sing, I was inspired and enthusiastic and delighted to find it was a non-audition choir so I joined.  Singing for peace brings comfort and healing that is ancient and primal.  The rhythm of many voices raised together is a powerful tool.  If you don’t believe it, look up “The Singing Revolution in Estonia”.   Carolee Buck

 *****

Being a member of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir is satisfying and I feel lucky and proud to raise my voice among a community of singers who, for the most part, feel the same as I do and want to share the message of peace.  I am grateful to be surrounded by compassionate and forgiving individuals who understand that none of us is perfect, but together, singing for just causes with love in our hearts, we somehow make the world a better place and I believe we become better people. When our voices blend together in a rich tapestry of sound, emotion and message, I feel such great joy and I love sharing that joy with others during our concerts.   Cynthia Taylor 

****

 In 2008 I finally took the leap and showed up to check it out, see who was there and thankfully, no auditioning!  When I walked in, Elizabeth B. hugged me. Then I spotted Dave Marston and he said loudly, “Ah, now we have a drummer” and embraced me. I’m not stupid, I know a God shot when I feel one. I’ve been the percussion section leader ever since. The Choir provides a place for creativity, love and what I call the expression of each one’s Genius.  Let us cherish this rich and wonderful opportunity to create something vibrant and needed for our community, ourselves and the world.  Peace out, baby! 

Patty Aulik

****

I believe in the Margaret Mead quote that says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Singing for peace is what I can do to help.   Instead of griping about politics we turn to song and offer it to the world.     There are selfish reasons for me to sing.  The happier and healthier I am, the more light I’m able to cast.  I struggle with health issues, pain and depression.  As a child, I was silenced as many of us are taught not to speak up.  Singing affirms my right to use my own voice.  When I sing with the Choir I move and my heart is free, there is nothing but music and unity.  It is my church.  The people I sing with are tolerant, forgiving, respectful, and responsible.   We are part of a global family.  Music is a universal language of love.  The Peace Choir is a reason to live!  Liza Yates

 

***

When I sing with an organized group of people that performs for others I experience multiple personal benefits.  It encourages wonderful self-discipline.  When done well, the harmonies of the many voices release a unique joy that fulfills me beyond description.  Bringing people of all different backgrounds together for a common goal is so enriching.  And there’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment in bringing a small measure of beauty to life.  I’ve never experienced anything so rewarding and so enjoyable.  Avram Chetron

***

 

 

 

 

 

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Listen to Peace

The Rogue Valley Peace Choir members invite you to free concerts next Friday, May 20, or Sunday, May 22. Below several members share the reasons they sing for peace. For me, peace is stronger than war because it heals rather than destroys. Come, listen and enjoy the sound peace.

Singing

My throat–a clarinet of lumpy keys

My lips–a flute of changing pitch

My chest–a chamber, the hollow of a guitar

My breath–the feelings from inside

Miriam Sundheim

This year’s theme, “We Are One” from a song written by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution and arranged by the late Dave Marston, says it all.  The free concerts are:  Friday May 20th, 7:30 pm, Congregational Church of Christ, 1801 E. Jackson Street, Medford or Sunday May 22, 3:00 pm First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main Street, Ashland.   www.roguevalleypeacechoir.org  

 Read More from choir members at:

http://www.dailytidings.com/article/20160513/NEWS/160519882/0/SEARCH

 

 

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Remembering the One by Jim Hatton

“And give thanks to the One to the One.”  Rod Stewart

All the great traditions in the world are monotheistic – in other words subscribe to one God, one spirit, one power and one source.  In this belief of the One comes other commonalities of what God is:

Omnipotent – All powerful

Omnipotent – All Knowing

Omnipotent – Everywhere present all the time

Loves Unconditionally

Think of the love you have for your children and this would be only a minute resemblance of Infinite and Unconditional Love. So if the Love of God is truly unconditional, and it has to be as a God cannot love conditionally (if It could then It would not truly be a God), then we can release the idea of God being judgmental, revengeful, emotional, evoking punishment, having favoritism, etc. These are all human constructs made up in an effort to separate and elevate oneself from another tribe.  Truly not the actions of (a) God.

Does this mean that God loves a terrorist as much as God loves you?  The essence of the terrorist and the essence of you both emanated from the One.  Our actions are a result of the individual’s choice and use of intelligence. God neither ordains nor condemns any actions.  We are all like children learning in this physical world.  Does this mean we permit such terrorists actions in society?  Absolutely not.  However, as we seek to contain those and their actions, we much realize that at the core everyone has the same Consciousness of God.  We would be well served to always remember and look for the divine essence in all.

Please know that God is right where you are, you have done nothing “wrong” or offensive, there is nothing to forgive, and nothing you need do to earn the Love of God.  God loves you unconditionally. Be in Peace.   

      Read the entire article at the Daily Tidings:

http://www.dailytidings.com/article/20160506/NEWS/160509860/0/SEARCH

Jim Hatton, Author: “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at SpiritualMaster.co

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Living Enlightenment by Jim Hawes

How does one instruct another person, especially a loved one to be more conscious or enlightened without getting sucked into an egoic ping pong battle?

            The most important first step is that you must become intensely alert to your own thinking and your habitual tendency to react. You will feel the anger, the need to defend your position. Your ego demands that you react or respond. At this very moment, if you really are focused on this thinking of reacting; you catch yourself and become silent or still. Speak no words, and do not even think that you are more enlightened that your loved one. There is a quiet loving acceptance.

            As you practice this not reacting watchfulness when a loved one, a friend or coworker smacks you with some caustic or critical remark; you find yourself making almost no reactive responses. Yes, you will slip and the ego will pull you in occasionally, but be patient and you are ready for the next step in the process.

            The second step is to gently, but openly explain to your loved one, friend, or coworker that you are working on being more awake or conscious and not reacting and would they like to participate?  If they agree and begin using this practice with you there will be huge decrease in these ego reactions. When these reactions occur and they will; a gently reminder will help them to become aware of them. Because there has been initial agreement to help each other being very alert or conscious; there are fewer negative reactions.

            This is living enlightenment or consciousness. With perseverance, patience, and helping each other resist the ego’s attempts to ensnare you; a peaceful, calm presence pervades these relationships. Peace now. 

(Read the entire Inner Peace article in the Tidings Inner Peace Column published April 30th.) 

            http://www.dailytidings.com/news/20160429/suspending-ego-identification-helps-in-living-enlightenment

 

Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher has published Ageless Child, Balboa Press. Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles and is working on his new book, AGELESS LIVING.


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Lighten Up by Bonnie Greenwell

Ways to Lighten Up

by Bonnie Greenwell

If you are having challenges with a spiritual awakening process or just life in general here are 10 things you can do every day that will help you lighten up.

1.Take a few minutes to make a running list of things you are grateful for in your life.

2. Spend some time outdoors relating to a tree, a rock or a river.

3. Remember to use your senses to be fully present now — instead of entangled in watching and reacting to your thoughts, most of which are not true and just neurons firing. Can you predict what thought will arise next? Then why believe they are based in truth? They mostly spring from long past experiences and habit, or from something someone once told you as if it were true. Look out the window and be with what is real right now.

4. Stretch and breathe into the heart or the belly. Breathe in clarity, Breath out love.

5. Stand up and Swing your arms and body from side to side scooping energy in and flowing it out.

6. Even when setting a boundary you can send out love. Boundaries are not about blocking people, but about doing what is right for you in the moment. You may need to avoid crowded places, and toxic interactions.

7. Avoid intoxicants and mind-altering substances. Eat well.

8. Your true nature came into existence as form to enjoy the experience of this amazing world and the adventure of a journey through it. Facing what we do not like and cannot change is part of the journey. Resistance doesn’t support change — clarity, acceptance and creative action does.

9. Do some small service or something good for a person or the planet each day.

10. Take a backward step into stillness and presence and send affection to the little you that is still sometimes caught in illusion and struggle. When you learn to do this for yourself you will find it easier to do for others.

 

Bonnie Greenwell,  is a non-dual teacher, author  and therapist who offers programs and counseling at Shanti River Center in Ashland.  She is the author of “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide” on Amazon or Kindle. To receive a newsletter monthly from Shanti River Center on internet webinars and other events related to non-duality and spiritual awakening send an email to shantiriver@earthlink.net

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