The Truth About Time

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In our spiritual studies, we encounter the paradox of time verses the eternal nature of the now moment. It doesn’t take much thought to realize we can only live in this now moment. But then there’s that hair appointment at three o’clock on Thursday. We schedule our lives in a framework of time that, in reality, doesn’t exist. How do we reconcile this fact in any kind of useful way?

We begin by realizing it’s the body-based self-image, not the soul, that runs by the clock. Time is a very useful tool, but it can also become an unmerciful taskmaster. It’s a cultural habit to tie our entire existence to a timeline that so often becomes a peace-robbing source of stress. Our timing is off, time is running out, time is passing us by because time waits for no one.

The soul is not subject to the constraints of time, for it neither ages nor matures. This doesn’t mean that we ignore our time-related responsibilities. Jesus said we are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. When we find our rendering unto Caesar is stressing us out, it’s probably because we’re not rendering unto God what is God’s. We need to step back, take a breath, relax, and know that nothing has the power to disturb the calm peace of our eternal soul.

With time, all things have a beginning and an end. Your timeless soul has neither beginning nor end. This means you always pass successfully through the most tumultuous of situations. It also means that the peace and assurance you crave is not found at the end of some event, but is present now.

Your soul is not diminished by unsavory situations in time and space. Pull back from time-based appearances and re-center your mind in the truth of your eternal, timeless nature. In honoring your commitments in time, do not neglect to also honor your commitment to God. When it feels as if time is passing you by, let it go and reground yourself in the healing truth of your soul’s timelessness.


The Truth About Omnipresence

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A major drawback to the use of dogmatic, theological concepts, is that they are easy to recite and even easier to relegate to our list of memorized terms that have little meaning in our daily life. The omnipresence of God can easily become such a term. It may seem a grand idea that describes a quality of God but offers little comfort in our time of need.

Understanding the omnipresence of God is one of the most powerful truths we can entertain. Most of us have been raised to believe there are two powers – good and evil – at work in our lives. While we may have graduated from the thought of a devil working with his army of angels to tempt us at every turn, we may still hold onto the belief that negative forces are at work. We look over the landscape of our life and see contrasts between day and night, blue skies and cloudy days, sunlight and shadows. Good and evil may not seem that much of a stretch.

Early in the fifteenth century, German philosopher and theologian, Nicholas of Cusa, made a statement that gives us a helpful handle on the notion of omnipresence. He wrote,

God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

You and I are “centers” of God. To understand this, think of yourself as an orb of light shining out into your world. No matter what direction you look, you see only light, for you are a center of perpetual light. When a light source is in the distance, the sun for example, it casts shadows. But if you are the center of light, you will never see a shadow. The simple fact of your presence dispels all darkness.

It is true that wherever you are, God is. Hold this powerful thought through your day, especially when you begin seeing shadows of negativity. You are a center of God. Let your light shine and watch the shadows disappear.

The Truth About Prayer

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“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

An important dynamic in our spiritual approach to life involves the power of choice. This modern translation of Jesus’ statement provides a good illustration. While not all situations seem to offer such a black and white choice, we are actually saying either yes or no to every proposition put before us. We can be saying yes to fear and no to peace, or no to opportunity and yes to the certainty of failure. Prayer, seen in light of the complete soul, is the conscious act of releasing (saying no) and affirming (saying yes) to a desired outcome.

Our former approach to prayer probably treated God as a caring parent who, in His wisdom, may or may not give us the things we ask for in prayer. Despite Jesus’ assurance that God does not give stones when we ask for bread or serpents when we ask for fish, our prayer still may be laced with doubt or feelings of unworthiness.

In our new approach to prayer, we do not seek to overcome God’s reluctance. Rather, we start with the acknowledgment that there is but one presence and one power of absolute good working through us at this very moment. We’re setting the bar. We’re not praying to God. We’re praying from the consciousness of God. We agree to say yes to this powerful realization and all it’s implications, and no to any thought or feeling that would say otherwise.

Established in the principle that the highest and best is working through us now, we say no, or release any doubts that arise as we move through our experience. We continue to say yes to the truth that the highest good is unfolding, even when things take an unexpected turn in what appears to be the wrong direction. We say no to fear, no to anger, no to impatience, and no to any thought of lack and limitation whatsoever.

Prayer, in this context, is a stream of choices that support the highest and best outcome for whatever our need. Set your course and hold fast to it. God is your unfailing support.

The Truth About Love

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 “Love, like the positive and negative poles of a magnet, draws our highest good and repels that which is no longer needed.”  J Douglas Bottorff

As I sit here writing this piece, I look out my window and see manifestations of the four fundamentals of God. I see evidence of life, love, power, and intelligence. Of these four, love, as we normally think of it, is the least obvious.

Life is in the trees, the grass, the passing birds, and the neighbor who just drove in from work. Power is expressed in all the many things that are growing; the roses beneath my window, the sun lighting the landscape, and the energy that powers the flight of the bird. I see intelligence in the shape and purpose of a leaf. It’s in the very balance of the environment that allows me and my fellow living beings to exist and to witness all these things.

What of love? The tree across the street is fully leafed and perfectly healthy. Two ducks fly by and a dove just now lands in the highest branch of the tree and begins his call. I hear a little girl squeal with joy, probably playing a game she’ll remember the rest of her life.

In all of these examples, love is at work. Love draws to every living being that which it needs to be here, and love repels that which would stop this experience before its natural conclusion.

Affirming love is now at work in my life takes courage. Why? Because love may be repelling the very thing you think you need. It may have placed you squarely in the situation you are in to get your attention. Are you willing to let love make the call?
Love knows how to keep the birds alive, the trees and the grass flourishing. Can you trust that love knows what is best for you now?


The Truth About Spiritual Growth

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The Jews marveled at it, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15).

In her book, Lessons in Truth, Emilie Cady discusses two types of learning: intellectual and intuitive. Intellectual learning is the study and memorization of facts presented through things like books, the internet, or teachers. This is the most common and practical approach to developing skills and gaining the type of knowledge necessary for the workplace and for navigating through everyday life, especially in this age of the computer. Intuitive learning is not so straight forward, for it involves a direct, experiential knowing that the fact-hungry intellect finds difficult to trust.

In our quest for spiritual understanding, nearly all of us start with the intellectual approach of gleaning information from external sources. In my own case, it was Cady’s book that opened my spiritual eyes. Or so it seemed. In truth, the ideas contained Cady’s book actually confirmed an internal knowing that had been nudging me beyond the spiritual “facts” I had been given up to that point. She articulated what I knew was true. I simply lacked the intellectual skills to put it into words.

When our soul is aroused by something we read or hear of a spiritual nature, a kind of circuit is completed. We’ve intuitively arrived at a truth that is intellectually confirmed. In other words, you and I know more than we can say. We do not randomly respond positively to certain ideas. We respond to those ideas that we, in the quiet of our being, have already embraced. We may be reluctant to speak of them, for perhaps we do not yet know how to express in words what we know in our heart to be true.

Spiritual growth is not as much about adding new information to your stockpile of facts as it is about remembering what you already know at the deepest level. Your intuition has, in fact, been the guide that has brought you to this present point in your understanding.


The Truth About Judgment


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“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matthew 7:1-2).

Much has been written about judgment, usually casting it in the unfavorable light of a practice we should avoid. Passing judgment on another, we’re told, is a sure way to reap unwanted consequences. But what if we understand that the motive and actions of another are selfish, disruptive, even potentially harmful to ourselves and others? Do we never say no, but stand in harm’s way, and deal with the fallout as if it’s only our soul’s lesson to learn? Does learning to hold our peace while getting trampled earn us points in heaven?

I have devised a question that may help sort through this very common type of situation: Am I protecting a weakness, or am I advancing a strength? Am I afraid to do what I know is right, or can I do what is right and own the consequences?

While we may think of the ministry of Jesus as a great gift to the world, we should also remember that there were many people who did not want him to continue. Had he capitulated to their short-sighted concerns, he would have been protecting a weakness. His fear would have robbed the world of the gifts he brought. As it happened, he stood his spiritual ground and gave from his greatest place of strength.

Are we to suppose that Jesus advocated neutralizing our faculty of judgment, or was he simply calling attention to the fact that we’re actually judged by our own motive? If we are protecting a weakness, we will perpetuate weakness. If we are advancing from a position of strength, we will contribute to stronger, healthier conditions.

Whatever conclusions we draw from this will set the tone for our experience in life. Judgment is one of our executive faculties and should not be denied. Being clear about the motive from which we exercise this faculty will go a long way toward resolving any confusion about it.

The Truth About Grace

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To assist in sorting through those elements of our religious training that may or may not be true, it’s helpful to start with a baseline concerning the nature of God. For example, can our thoughts and actions influence the way God behaves? If we do our best to walk the straight and narrow, will God grant us special blessings?

I recently spoke with a woman whose husband finally got a good-paying job. She said, “I think God has seen how we’ve struggled, that we really try to be good people and do the right thing. This really feels like a God thing.”

This seems perfectly logical, and a lot of people endorse the idea. But then a Jesus comes along and says something like this: “… for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Is he saying God is as willing to help the evil and the unjust as the good and the just? Or is he simply saying, God is changeless?

The notion of grace, in its highest form, is really an acknowledgement of the changeless nature of God. Unfortunately, the general understanding of grace, at least in Christian thinking, is that it is a free and unmerited favor of God. We don’t deserve it, but God loves us and will do the occasional favor for us anyway.

In truth, grace is simply God being God. Whether we live with our mind and heart open to the presence of God has no more bearing on God’s behavior than it would on bringing sunshine or rain.

If you have a situation in your life that needs a resolution, try dropping all thought around the idea that God is trying to teach you something, or that you probably deserve this problem but you would like God’s help anyway. Focus instead on the truth that God is changeless love and light, and that God is now working through you in the most marvelous way to resolve your situation.  Affirm the following:

By grace I am lifted above all fear, all struggle, all doubt that God’s greatest good is now unfolding through me. Thank you God, that this is true!