Dear God -
Should I grow myself and learn more about who I am?
Do you believe I should be my absolute best self and uncover anything limiting me?
Or do you believe I should stay exactly how I am and believe in perceived limitations of this world? Does this sound absurd?
It does to me. Because I believe that God will always answer YES! if we ask God, should I grow, discover more about the infinite within me and remove my perceived limitations? What is the only answer that God will give? YES. Whether you are a student of the Bible, the Qur'an, the Talmud, Kabbalistic teachings, the Book of Mormon, or Science and Health and the works of Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science -- the answer is the same. Grow. Discover the majesty that I created within you. Unblock whatever is in the way of you having the beauty, peace and love that I created for you.
So here is my BIG BUTTON: I get beyond frustrated when people are contemplating participating in transformational work and they say that they need to pray about it. That in, and of itself is beautiful. Here is the breakdown -- when those people then tell their friend or family member that 'God told me not to do the trainings.' Again, I do not believe, given the many beautiful teachings outlined above, that God tells us NO to growth. To killing, lying, stealing -- I understand a resolute NO from God. But to growth? That goes against everything laid out so beautifully in any religious or spiritual teaching. So how do I acknowledge my own fear or concerns and separate it from the voice of God? I say I am one step closer to God and the teachings of the Bible, Qu'ran etc. when I can acknowledge ny own fear rather than insist God has said NO to my dreams.
So that's my first beef. If you are afraid or hesitant or I am afraid or hesitant -- OWN it rather than put it on God.
"If you love others, and affection is not returned, look into your love. If you rule others, and they are unruly, look into your wisdom. If you treat others politely and they do not return your politeness, look into your respect. If your desires are not fulfilled, turn inward and examine yourself." Confucianism "First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Christianity "The faults of others we see easily; our own are very difficult to see. Our neighbor's faults we winnow eagerly, as chaff from grain; our own we hide away as a cheat hides a losing roll of the dice." Buddhism "He who knows others is discerning; he who knows himself is wise." Taoism "They who quarrel with others, instead of quarreling with their own hearts, waste their lives." Sikhism
God and the Trainings
Over the years I have received emails, read letters and spoken with people who claim that the trainings are "not of God." What does this mean? Well, from what I have heard when people are afraid, because the trainings are not conducted in a church or as part of a church group -- because they are not linked (overtly or consistently) to Bible passages etc. -- then this is not "of God." Meaning -- where to find God is at church or in a temple. But in the New Testiment, Jesus was not in the Temple and the priests were a little upset about that. They were insisting that Jesus wasn't "of God" because he was with the tax collectors and the prostitutes -- among the people. What's more, how can something NOT be of God -- given that God is "the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning, the end -- everything and nothing." Is there anything then that is NOT of God?
Unfortunately, if people believe that God can only exist at their church, they are quite often at the church -- not participating in the world. What would Jesus do? Or Buddha? Or Muhammad? Good questions. My guess is that they would not be hanging out only in the church (those are what the teaching show) but rather in the world, giving, loving and serving as an example of God's love. Turn on the television news or open a newspaper and it becomes quite clear that there is quite a bit of work to be done.
The Trainings and Religion
Sometimes people want to link the trainings to a particular religion or thinking. Some people believe the trainings are linked to Buddhism, or to Far Eastern Religions and use this an excuse not to participate. Not true. Some years ago, I enrolled in the Institute for Transpersonal Studies and went back and got a Certificate in Transpersonal Studies -- or the study of human being's questing towards spirit -- and the many forms that it takes. I studied every religion, teaching and questing and I found it beautiful. i was amazed by the many forms and expressions of that quest towards spirit and continue to be passionate about the common links between any great teaching and other teachings. The trainings are not meant to be exclusionary, but rather inclusionary. The distinctions offered in the trianings are meant to be an exploration, not a definitive 'truth' or something that people are asked to believe in. They are not meant to conflict with religious or spiritual beliefs, and the vast majority of participants actually have a deeper understanding and appreciation for their own faith upon completing the Introductory Course, the Experience and the Leadership Practice. The underpinnings of the distinctions that are offered in the trainings is philosophy, some psychology and spirituality -- not religion. The philosophical underpinnings can be traced to existentialism, but are not limited to one school of thinking.
Nietzche and God
For many people, when they hear existentialism, they think Nietzche. And many people believe that Nietzche wrote, "God is dead." But that isn't all that Nietzche wrote -- the line after "God is dead...and we have killed Him." Somehow, quite often, that line gets left off. There is oft discussion that Nietzche did not believe in God or was the leader of agnostics -- but for those who love philosophy, it is clear that Nietzche was offering a philosophical bind. After all, how can you say God is dead, because if you did not believe in a God, there would be nothing to be dead. And God being dead, must also mean God was living. "We have killed him" was a commentary on what was occurring during his times with society's preoccupation with industry and a moving away from religion.
Also, thankfully, people can offer up some pretty nifty ideas and inquiies without our needing to become proponents of every aspect of their character. So you can toss out Nietzche entirely, or learn from some of his teaching. You can eliminate Fraud as a crackpot because he used Cocaine. Martin Heidegger was a Nazi sympathizer. You can dismiss Ghandi because he wasn't so nice to his wife. On and on. As human beings, we are not perfect. But there are some amazing lessons to be learned by sifting through some philosophers and then you deciding for yourself what bears merit for your own life. That is the opportunity of the trainings. If you realize that life is short and we are all going to die at some point, so you might as well live it and interpret your life in a way that empowers you -- you have, in part, Nietzche and existentialists to thank for it.
God and Responsibility
The other place that people sometimes get tangled up in a religious condundrum in in the distinction of responsibility. In the Intro, when people have an opportunity to interpret that they have a hand in creating their life and how their world unfolds, some people believe that this cannot be true because God creates everything. First, where is God? For the majority of religions on this planet, certainly the ones I have referred to in this email, God is in everything. God is the nothing and everything. Next question, who and what does that include? Again, for the vast majority of religions on our planet, that answer includes you and me. What must that mean? That creative power is within us. ("Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? - Christianity) Now I do not mean that the small, petty 'ego' me is creating. It doesn't mean that the personality I am is creating. It also doesn't mean that I have a small portable God within me. Or that I can will things to happen, using my 'ego' and the universe like some big pinball machine. No, it simply speaks to the pure space of infinite possibility that exists within all of us and aligning my 'egoic' self with that limitless Self -- there can be miracles. Miracles pointed to in every religious teaching. It doesn't mean "co-creating" because 'co' implies two or more, and that would mean that there is me and God or a separation must exist. Which is a tad narcissitic and not what the trainings are advocating or saying.
For you Quantum Physics lovers...yes, I could have delightfully taken a big tangent with creation as listed above, but I am resisting the urge and it will need to be another blog. Suffice it to say, in terms of religion, Quantum Physics and the science that is a backdrop to transformation, is the only science that can authenticate the Bible -- or any other reliigious teaching for that matter.
Love and God
So I'll end it on love. How is it that when people believe that the trainings are not "of God" they can hurl insults, be cruel and cut off all inquiry? Is this of God? Is this the kind of God that is worshiped in their church or faith? I don't think so. The examples of God's love are pretty consistent and clear. Kindness. Love. The Golden Rule. The trainings take these out of concept and put them into reality -- living it, giving and being in service to others and humanity. Millions of dollars in cash donations, gifts in kind and voluneteer hours for charities in the Orange County area. Graduates going out of their way for so-called strangers. Healed families. These are all clear examples of what the distinctions of any great teaching -- religious or secular -- are all about.
And just from my personal soapbox -- my biggest annoyance and greatest button -- STOP USING GOD TO PLAY A SMALL GAME IN LIFE. Use God to play a BIG GAME for you and for humanity.
Love to all -