Nature – by Dan Fischer

Nature!           

By Dan Fischer

I know the NOW is the total extent of your gifts to me NOW.

The NOW is the unchangeable result of the unchangeable past.

I can rejoice for what is or regret what is not.

But no rejoicing will destroy what is;   

no regretting will create what is not.

Part of the NOW is my view of the FUTURE,   

of my FUTURE.

I know that what I do now will influence the FUTURE.

I accept my responsibility for creating the FUTURE.

I rejoice in my responsibility and opportunity NOW

  to improve future NOWs.

Yet I do not regret anything I have done,   

anything I have not done.

or anything I cannot change.

I praise and worship the perfection of NOW…

NOW is infinitely more perfect than the PAST or FUTURE

 because NOW IS.

The PAST and FUTURE are not.

 

Nature!

I am a part of you.

You are all of me.

I am proud to be a part of you.

I am humbled by your magnificence.

I am humbled by your mountains and valleys,

by your stars and moons,

by your seas and rivers,

by your plants and flowers,

by your animals and insects.

I am exalted by your consciousness,

by my consciousness.

Through consciousness I can touch all of You

And know that Nature is,

I am,

Nature is I,

I am Nature,

WE ARE GOD!

 

Dan Fischer lives in Ashland. He occasionally teaches at OLLI at SOU. His blog is www.danielcfischer.com or google “The Crazy Mud Caper.”

 

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What are you afraid of?

Below is a link to Jon Jorgenson, reciting his poem “What are you Afraid of?”

It is a little over three minutes and he so beautifully reminds us to let go of

fear and see Love everywhere.

Merry Christmas

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZIr85Rxln0

 

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I Trust You by Jim Meissner

The “I trust you video” of Karim Sulayman by Jim Meissner

Recently going around the internet is a video of an Arab-American man standing in front of the Trump International Hotel with a blindfold on and with a huge hand-written sign

(google: “Karim Sulayman on vimeo”) or paste in your browser: https://vimeo.com/193125533

“Hello, my name is Karim and I am an Arab-American. Like many people who are Black, Brown, women, LGBTQIA, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, immigrants and other, I am very scared. We are anxious and uneasy in our own country and it’s difficult to see what lies ahead for us. But I have hope that I am safe with you. Together we can build a community of caring rather than one of fear. You can trust me to care for you no matter who you are, what you look like or where you are from. Will you embrace me as willingly as I embrace you?”

“Will you shake my hand and/or hug me

and or take a photo of me and post it

as a sign that I am safe here with you?”

“I TRUST YOU”

Most people who are drawn to see that video or to read this peace article will be moved by the message and by the exchange of love shown in the video of people hugging Karim. The message and love resonates someplace very deep in us. We realize that we would rather have love than fear, peace rather than conflict, unity rather than division. We are all in this together. Underneath the colors and forms, we are all the same. We all want to be loved and appreciated and respected.

The choice is simple. In every situation, do we strive for unity, peace, and love; or do we make the choice for divisions, conflict, and fear? Yes, I understand that many people think the choice is more complicated than that. Is it? In any situation where I feel conflicted, I hope I will remember Karim’s message. I hope fear will not make me forget my intention for peace and love.

Jim Meissner lives in Ashland

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Creating a Peaceful World by Charles “Al” Huth

Creating a Peaceful World

By Charles “Al” Huth

Creating a peaceful world begins with each of us. To enhance this idea requires knowledge of one’s True Self and one’s natural contribution towards world peace. Socrates express the idea that an unexamined life is not worth living. Each of us view ourselves, community and world through our personal lenses. These lenses were developed over time, with stories to support them regardless of their validity. However, we internalize them as factual without a deeper examination of their origin. Some of these inaccuracies were developed harmlessly and other false assumptions have created great harm to oneself and others. As a child, my father liked Chevrolets and did not care for Fords, a perspective that I adopted. I became a mechanic and discovered that there was much to like about Fords and Chevrolets.

As another example, my mother (when a very young child) grew up under extremely difficult circumstances. Her only protection was to try and make adults feel guilty. She learned to use guilt as a way to get what she wanted or needed. “My son, if you loved me you would not have done…” Deep into my adulthood I discovered why I had a deep sense of guilt about many things I did – it had felt like my natural way to be. At a subconscious level I was tormented, I was trying to understand what was wrong with me. I tried to hide this discontentment from the world. Through my journey of searching for answers, I was able to see how devastating this perspective was and how this perspective generated negative reactions within the conduct of my life: I created a lot of disharmony in my relationships. At times, I have not been able to totally dismiss my guilty perspective; however, I understand what is driving it and I do not let it interfere with my life. I guess I could be called a recovering guilt-driven addict.

Through my experiences, I developed concepts and daily practices to live in harmony with myself, my relationships and the universe. Although the concepts and practices that I promote are simple, they require each individual to engage oneself at a deeper level with a personal commitment to become a conscious co-creator of their life, in harmony with their True Self.

In January, I will be teaching a class at OLLI – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The course number and title is: PERS210, Creating an Extraordinary Life. OLLI’s contact information is: e-mail olli@sou.ed; phone 541.552.6048.

My class will be an interactive experience where teacher and students learn from each other. The course content will be based on the three books that I have published. The books are: Living an Extraordinary Life – The Magic of Oneness, Essentials for a Changing World – Living Harmoniously with Yourself and Others, and The Evolving Higher Self: A Directed Guide to Fulfillment. These books can be purchased through Amazon.com.

This is an opportunity to become a conscious co-creator of your life as your True Self. Recognize our false concepts of self and others can help facilitate this goal. We will explore the benefits of personal journaling that reveal self-knowledge at our deeper, core level. Our interactions with others will be greatly enhanced when internalized with our True Self. Humans have their own unique guidance system that adds to our intellectual knowledge. We will explore processes and techniques to establish an internal connection and trust in your internal guidance. Knowing who we are, the passions of our soul, and our purpose in life are not easy to understand, but vitally important.

—————————————————

Al Huth is a retired public school teacher with a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Education. He taught psychology and motivational classes in high schools and in adult education programs, such as the Learning Light Foundation in Anaheim, California. This fascination with the body-mind connection led him into the various disciplines of spiritual and human empowerment. In his spare time, he is a magician. He can be contacted at 541.973.2362 or www.joyal.org.

 

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The Energy of the Election by Jim Hatton

The Energy of the Election

 I think everyone can agree that the Presidential Election of 2016 was like no other. It has been debated Ad nauseam, over analyzed, over polled, and over played in the media.  Did I leave any anything out?

I personally am glad it’s over.  But the unique energy behind it continues and has polarized many people. There is big disappointment, anger, hopefulness, smugness, and even despair.  And certainly, uncertainty, pun indented.

I did not vote for either major candidate so please don’t put me in a box of judgement, at least not yet. A lot of people were saddened and disgusted with the viability, credibility, and ability of each major candidate.

Alright the county has voted and by our current system we have a president elect.  I’m all for being open and seeing where this all goes.

But I have talked to a lot of people and seen people interviewed that are angry, extremely disappointed, and saddened, and continue to be so much that it is controlling their lives. I know one young bride-to-be who had un-invited her best friend from the wedding because she voted for Trump. I know several people who became physically ill after and because of the election (including some “macho” men).  Many other people are carrying around the hatred they saw in candidate Trump.  Many have made one of the candidates their hero, their savior, their redeemer and by doing this have given their power away to someone else.  Why else would they be physically sick from the election results?

Our power lies within.   When we give it all away to someone else, (in this case our candidates) in hopes that they will make our lives better, we become power-less.  If we can realize or better yet remember that we create our own lives through our own thoughts and actions, our whole world would be a better place.

Many commentators have pointed out how deeply the country is divided and blame the election and the candidates.

Let’s wake up here folks.  Any and all division in the country; the anger; the hatred; or the prejudice was already there, it existed in our collective consciousness before the election.  The candidates and elections just allowed us to call it forward.  There can be no blame here; we must look within ourselves to examine what in exists in our own consciousness. This is where our prayers belong.

The negative energy that exists toward either candidate is only working against our selves.   Let us remember the Law of Attraction and that the Universe is inclusive, not exclusive.  What attention we to give to the anti-candidate, anti-president elect, or whomever or whatever will only create more of what is not wanted. This was the same in the Anti-War movement in the 1960s rather than a pro-peace movement.

A good friend of mine who was born in the 1950’s wisely pointed out:  “We have survived every president since Eisenhower.” In fact we have survived all prior presidents who have been before, popular or not.

We can only change things in our world if we change the consciousness within ourselves.  Change will happen when we are in alignment with our true nature. Anger is not our true nature, Peace and Centeredness is.

Peacefully,

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

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Habitual Peace or Stillness by Jim Hawes

THE GAP: HABITUAL PEACE OR STILLNESS by Jim Hawes

             William James in his essay on habits says quite correctly that our daily habits can be allies or enemies. He elaborates further and says that if we want healthy bodies; then, we must exercise regularly, and eat good, wholesome food. If we do little exercise and consume a low quality eating style; these habits are enemies to us having a healthy vibrant body.

            What is true for our bodies is true in our spiritual quest. For sure, reading or listening to our spiritual teachers, meditations, chanting, journaling or attending seminars are all helpful guideposts.

            One of the most fundamental questions is to how to become more conscious or present in our daily spiritual habits. Recently, I have discovered guideposts of using nature, a more effective meditation technique, and most important becoming more loving each day.

            Early Sunday mornings walking my dog in the park; there is very little car or truck noise. There is an incredible quietness, actually an enveloping stillness where one finds themselves in a brief gap of no thinking.

            Hiking each Wednesday through our incredible southern Oregon wilderness points to nature’s best lessons.  I look up in awe and feel or sense the stillness or silence of these massive, majestic giant Doug Fir, Ponderosa and Madrone trees. It is the same stillness, silence (consciousness) that we are.  Here too, as I looked; there was a short gap where my conditioned mind abruptly stopped its habitual thinking.

            Meditation is another way of becoming more conscious or present. Because I kept falling asleep; I discovered the new technique of keeping my eyes open. During the meditation, I became very attentive in looking at four trees. As I felt a oneness with the trees, I again experienced these short or brief gaps of no thinking.  

            The most important way of creating these conscious gaps is to be more loving each day. An example is worth a 1,000 words. I finally decided it was time to heed my beloved’s suggestion and make good on my promise to actually help more in raising our beautiful 14 year old granddaughter. We studied a recipe, wrote down the ingredients, and shopped together. Rather than the usual suggestion to stir the ingredients; my wife gently guided me through each direction. There were no ego eruptions—just a calm, relaxed conscious cooperation. The dish was delicious and passed the acid test. Our granddaughter loved it.

            This conscious giving and receiving carried over to our house cleaning. Again, no judgmental comments or questions like, “Aren’t you going too fast?” Or, “Did you miss this or that?” We were a cooperating loving team. There was an effortlessness and a gentleness which created extended gaps of no thinking.

            These conscious gaps of stillness or peacefulness are available and can be extended only if you make a habit in expecting and looking for them in your connections with nature, being consistent, but open to varied meditation techniques. Last, and most important in all your relationships, allow this always present consciousness to gently envelope and guide your actions and words to be kind, joyful, and nonjudgmental. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it better than I have, “Get your bloated ego out of the divine circuits.”                                                                                                                       

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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Halloween: Goblin or Angel by Sally McKirgan

 

 

Our Halloween Identity: Goblin, Ghoul or Angel by Sally McKirgan

 At Halloween we can have fun exploring our various inner “creature features” and play let’s pretend for one night.

 any of us wonder at some point during our lives Who we really are.  Some question and search more than others and maybe that’s a curse depending on how you look at it.  But the basic human question is: who am I and why am I here? 

 Halloween is fun because we can be someone or something else and escape from whatever it is we think we are.  And besides, it is fun so why not.

 Deep down we know love is the essence the core of our conscious being.  We all have a Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde split personality lurking within the ego self we constructed to deal with life to live in the world where we find ourselves.  We can be kind one minute and hateful the next depending on which voice we are heeding.  But that double identity still keeps us from realizing the light the love that is our truth. 

 You are not the double identity your ego would have you believe. The ego is merely a thought in your mind.   It is a false thought system however.  If you let it run your life, controlling every thought and action you will be miserable and wonder why happiness is elusive.  It is not who you are, it is not your friend and it will never make you happy as you continue to seek and never find.   It can make you feel superior or inferior. It does not want peace, love or harmony.   It tells you that you will be happy if you do such and such. It does not want you to be truly happy because that would put it out of business.  The ego is a lie.

 A wise person said “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  We will be happy if we remember that and connect to the Light and the Love that is within us that is far, far beyond any false ego thought.  The mystics tell us we are the light of the World!  We are complete and healed and whole, loved, loving and lovable. We need to let the realization of our true identity sink in and that will happen when we change our thoughts and practice mindfulness.  The calm beauty and grandeur of your true identity will reveal itself gradually.  As you allow the fog to lift, things will bother you less and less.  You gradually train your mind by not believing every little egoic thought that arises.  Eventually the happiness of heaven where loneliness does not exist will dawn upon you.

 You inherited Love.  It is a gift, a present within you that you discover when you become present.   You are the creator of Love but it came with you from the factory.  Love just extends.  No one lives who does not have it.  That would be impossible. Whenever you have a loving thought or extend love to someone, you are shining the light you came with.  Just watch a baby (after their diapers are changed) and remember their sweet love is glowing at you – and connecting with yours.  Mystics say it is God shinning in this world from one mind to another. 

 Whenever you see Love, you are seeing your True Self and your inheritance.  To be happy, extend the Love within you to everyone and every living thing, your friends, enemies and exclude no one.

When you are kind and loving your journey and your classroom will be peaceful and joyful.  Since love is internal and comes from the eternal, it can never run out.   It is like the magic pot of pudding in the child’s story that boils over unceasingly – impossible to halt or stop! 

 Remind yourself of the limitless love that is your true identity everyday by saying: 

 

I am the light of the world.  I am Spirit, I am Love and I am Loved, Therefore I extend Love to all whom I meet.  I walk in Love there is nothing to fear. 

 

Numerous daily repetitions will allow the belief set in your mind.  You may not believe it but that does not mean that it is not true. 

 

So dress up this Halloween – be anything you want but at the same time, KNOW WHO you REALLY ARE!

 

Sally McKirgan facilitates one of several ‘A Course In Miracles’ study groups in the Rogue Valley and the Ashland Daily Tidings inner peace column and community blog.  Contact her at innerpeaceforyou@live.com or visit her blog at www.innerpeaceforyou.com

 

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The Path to Enlightenment can change your life by Jim Hatton

by Jim Hatton

 As a very young man, I remember hearing about “Enlightenment”.   The Buddhists talked about the Buddha being enlightened and that that was the ultimate goal in life.  When you were enlightened you were wise, people wanted your advice, you were peaceful and did not have problems, you remembered past loves, and people wanted to be around you. Once you were enlightened, you made it, that was it and the work was done.  Therefore, I prayed and prayed for God to enlighten me right now, all at once.  After all, I was ready and deserved to be enlightened and not have to be a monk, wear an orange robe, and live in a far off place and eat only vegetables.  Oh, and never take a lover when I grew up. Yes, God, do it to me right now I begged. 

I prayed for this for a long time…and just knew that the light would hit me and all of a sudden, “boom” I was enlightened.  I prayed some more…but It never happened. What did happen was every so often I would have a “Satori” or spiritual insight.  I would realize or understand something that I never knew before.  I loved the feeling of having a spiritual “ah-ha”.

Therefore, I started looking at my thoughts, my actions and re-actions, how I reacted to people and situations.  When I reacted in a strange, rude, or hateful way to people and things, I would ask myself why I respond this way. Is this how an enlightened person, spiritual master, or Buddha would act?  What was my fear?  I then I would set my intention to act or do something different the next time a similar situation or event would present itself.  After a while, I understood that the buttons that people pushed, previously installed by me, disappeared. All I had to do was to become conscious of them and then set my intention.  I thought that after addressing quite a number of “buttons” that pretty soon I would finally be done. Would enlightenment then come?

What I did notice is that the buttons I found were getting smaller and smaller, less significant, and easier to dissolve.  Things in my life started to change.  Energy began to return, there were peaceful people in my life, the various challenges seem more easily solved and my prosperity increased. I became more and more unattached to situations and their outcome.  Was this what the Buddhists talked about “non-attachment”?  I used to think that would be boring and I would have the personality of cardboard.  The discovery was not being attached did not mean that I did not care about people or situations; it meant that more unconditional love was entering my life.  I love things, gave thanks for more in my life, and allowed people to be who they are.  My love was not conditional on how they acted or what the outcome of a situation would turn out.  Ah ha!  Non-Attachment!

I still have “buttons” but now I call them thought structures.  They may not be so blatantly obvious anymore; they hide in the corners of my consciousness.  But as I seek them out discovering more and more about who I am, I find myself becoming more and at peace.  Now, I am at Peace with the world, people in my life, and with myself.  Is this the Path of Enlightenment?

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

 

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Peace, Presence and Relationship by Ed Hirsch

Peace, Presence, and the Relationship  by Ed Hirsch

 

If you are not at peace in your intimate relationship, then your life will not be at peace. To gain some insight here, let’s step back and consider the typical stages of intimate relationships.

                The first stage can be called falling in love, the honeymoon phase, romance, or infatuation. In the midst of it, it can seem like true love. It has elements of fantasy, and especially it is fantasy if you take it for real love pure and simple. But to demean it as mere fantasy, or to reduce it to a chemical cocktail that amounts to being on drugs, is itself to be in fantasy. What is learned on “drugs” can be quite valid and only becomes fantasy if we translate that into “How easy this is! How wonderful I am! How enlightened I am!” And yet even this is a glimpse into truth, for love in itself is essentially easy, we are indeed wonderful, and we are essentially enlightened already. This stage of the process is provided by nature to get us to mate, and to help us to weather the storms of sustained relationship. But beyond that, it can be a glimpse into your own and your partner’s True Nature, and into the nature of True Love.

                You might naively think you have arrived, but then comes the stage called falling out of love, the power struggle. You might think you have gone from Heaven to Hell, or that you were addicted and now have hit rock bottom. You might think you’ve been deluded and now have seen the (awful) truth. You might think that this is now the real thing, simply the way life is. You might make your partner wrong and struggle with them in order to get them back to what they were in the previous stage. Or you might bail out and seek another partner (with the sense that obviously this one can’t be the real deal).

                If you weather this storm, and somehow wake up from the pain so that you can step back from it to a larger perspective, then you might enter into the stage of conscious love, or real love. Here is where there can be an integration of the previous two stages, recognizing that life is a process that includes both love and challenge. You might come to understand that you were a bit naive and culturally conditioned to suppose love is so easy, and that you had found the right partner for this easy love. You might become sober enough to recognize that real love in a long-term relationship requires real work, relational skills, and commitment. And you can recognize that it all serves as a mutual growth opportunity, wherein each partner takes responsibility for their own process.

                This can now seem to complete the stages, but there is another stage, which really can come at any point in the process. This is the opening to what we can call Essential Love (including Essential Compassion), the Loving Presence that is an aspect of your Essential or True Nature. You can learn to access this (supported by other essential aspects of Presence, such as Peace) at any stage. If you do make this your foundation, anchored in your body and heart, then you can apply this at any of the above stages, and transform the journey through every one of the stages. If possible, begin before the first stage, so that you can enter into it consciously, from a place of Presence. In any case, the journey is still not going to be ideal, and human loving is never going to be without challenges. Both partners will still have egoic delusions and shadows. And that’s OK, for now you will be able to relate to those challenges from a place of Presence. You can cultivate the Loving Presence by yourself, and you can cultivate it with your partner. And then you can bring that to any stage of your process and to the process of relationship. Sometimes outside help is needed to support this when you lack perspective.   To cultivate this, become still and open to the Presence that is always Here Now.

 

Ed Hirsch teaches an OLLI course on Presence and conducts a small committed group centered in the practice and process of Presence. He is available for sessions for those who want to explore this for themselves.  Contact him at presenceofone@yahoo.com for information.

 

 

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Inner Peace from Beyond the Grave

Inner Peace Beckons From Beyond the Grave

by Janai ‘Grandma Boom’ Mestrovich

 

 

 Florida captured a part of my heart during childhood when, as a family, we would drive straight

through from Kansas City to Wildwood, Florida, Mom’s childhood home.  Every summer we would venture that way to see Mom’s relatives and other friends she grew up with. They had children we played with. The sandy soil, humidity, lush vegetation, and that southern accent coupled with the hospitality on front porches were the closest thing to southern heaven next to southern cooking.

 We sometimes stayed with the Cochran family and always felt the kids were cousins and their parents, Annette and Son, were like an aunt and uncle. Clear up into adulthood when visiting my parents in Florida, the Cochran’s were an essential part of the visit. Daughter, Teedlee, kept a loving kind of glue connecting everyone with her service minded love, helping my parents during their decline, especially Mom. Needless to say, there was always a closeness that brought warmth and loving care between our families.

 It was 2001 and I was living in central Oregon when I was awakened by the phone at 5:30 a.m. “Hello,” I said sleepily. No one responded, but I heard talking. I said ‘hello’ a couple more times. It sounded like Sheilah and Teedlee, the Cochran sisters, talking. This incident took place just a day or so after the funeral of their mother, Annette. Teedlee lived in Wildwood but Sheilah and family were residents in Oklahoma. Sheilah was in Wildwood for the funeral.

 “Sheilah? Teedlee?” I said, but they kept talking to each other and not me. It was beyond me why they didn’t answer me. Maybe they didn’t realize I had picked up the phone. I understood enough of their conversation to know they were talking about their mom and post funeral goings-on at the house. I couldn’t understand why they wanted me to hear this conversation anyway. It was private family stuff. So I hung up.

 Later that day I called Teedlee and asked why they had called so early. Teedlee said they had not called. I repeated snips of the conversation I had heard. Teedlee was astounded. She told me when they were talking about those things they were walking outside. I told her the call registered on my phone as being from Sheilah. But Teedlee said Sheilah had left her cell phone back at the house.

 This experience defies rational explanation. Sheilah thought it was their mom trying to make contact with them through me. Whatever the case, we all know something extraordinary happened. Some events don’t fit our views of how the world works, and we just have to accept that they happen.

 I had an unsettling inner sensation with my nerves and in my heart area all day after that call came. It felt awkward to hear a personal family conversation that was none of my business. But I trusted that it happened for a reason.

 I was not at peace until I shared with Teedlee and Sheilah what I heard them talking about. They knew their mom was trying to connect with them. I believe Annette was unsettled in her post death journey and needed to give her daughters a message regarding life after death. When this all settled down, a grace came into my heart. I knew it was Annette thanking me for being receptive and giving her girls a message. How it all manifested with no real phone connection but through the phone is beyond me. I simply found inner peace accepting the extraordinary gift from connecting a mother beyond the grave to her daughters. I also knew it brought Annette peace in her journey.

 I am grateful to have been an inner peace emissary between the worlds as the veil that separates the living from the dead lifted for that short period of time. (Parts of this sharing are extracted from Janai’s Self-Help Memoir, The Grandma Boom Chronicles…More Alive at 65!)

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