Posted in Philosophy

Paganism promotes respect for Nature and women

Come to think of it, paganism as an ancient belief system can be considered more evolved than the Abrahamic religions, because it is founded on egalitarianism and respect for Nature. I tend to subscribe to their belief that God is present everywhere, including Nature itself.
“nature-based”: Pagan religions have a concept of the divinity of Nature, which they view as a manifestation of the divine, not as the “fallen” creation found in Dualistic cosmology.
“sacred feminine”: Pagan religions recognize “the female divine principle”, identified as “the Goddess” (as opposed to individual goddesses) besides or in place of the male divine principle as expressed in the Abrahamic God.

And yes, paganism teaches people to respect women and see them as equal as well, which is good. I think it’s interesting to learn more about paganism as we know that it has much influence on our modern society today. Indeed, we all can learn something from everyone because God is bigger than any theology or doctrine.

Women’s spirituality is one of the richest and most dynamic forces in modern Paganism. Women are respected in all Pagan traditions and have enriched Paganism with a powerful vision of the Goddess – the long-ignored feminine aspect of the Divine. In Paganism, women are Priestesses in their own right, strong and proud, with their own vision.

I think paganism can play an important role in our world today as the world is badly in need of healing in terms of environmental crisis and unfair treatment of women in many places. As the website says, “Women’s traditions have an especially powerful vision of the Earth as the Goddess and are deeply involved with caring for the Earth and protecting her from the rape of modern civilization. They are concerned with the healing of the Earth and with the healing of the image of women.” It is about time for women to reclaim their true identity as goddesses and let their spiritual light shine in imparting wisdom and healing, even as humanity is awakening to our oneness and interconnectedness with one another.

It reminds me of a similar article I came across in a blog recently about the power, beauty and divinity of women.
“The purpose of this post is to shed light on our power, our beauty, and our divinity. We are not vessels of sin. We are not unclean. We are not lesser. We are not cursed. We are not weak. We are the direct opposite of all of these things. Embrace YOU. Love YOU. Appreciate the divinity and uniqueness of divine womanhood. “

Posted in Psychology

Meditation and categorisation

Howard C. Cutler, an American psychiatrist who co-wrote “The Art of Happiness in a troubled world” with Dalai Lama, wrote the following observation:

“The process of dividing people into two groups, Us and Them, is one example of categorisation. The brain really likes to categorise everything it can into groups – categorising objects, concepts, and people. Why? We live in a very complex world, and the brain’s ability to process information is limited. Categorisation is one of the brain’s favourite strategies to help simplify the torrential flood of sensory information that we’re inundated with every moment.

The most important type of categorisation in our daily life is the way that we categorise people: social categorisation. This involves identifying that person as belonging to a particular racial, ethnic, gender, or other type of group, and then classifying the individual as belonging to Us or Them.”

Yes, it is part of our human nature to categorise people due to our brain’s tendency to take mental shortcuts to make sense of complex information received in our mind. When we deal or interact with a person, and we perceive the person to belong to a certain category, we tend to generalise that the person is just like all the other people within that category.

For example, when we receive a cold call from an insurance agent or financial advisor, we may tend to think they are all the same, trying to pester us to buy insurance or investment policies from them. A friend whom I met yesterday related to me how he received angry responses from some people when he made cold calls as part of his job to introduce insurance policies to potential clients. Perhaps they think he is one of those persistent salespeople or telemarketers. I know my friend well enough to know that he is a person of integrity and does not pester other people.

Similarly, when we see someone describing oneself as a christian, our mental defense shield goes up, thinking that person is like most other christians who are fundamentalists or religious imperialists. But not all christians are the same. Just as not all financial advisors are out to amass profit for themselves at the clients’ expense, so not all christians are out to condemn others. But it is our human tendency to paint them with the same brush due to memory shortcuts and reflex actions for the sake of protecting our own well-being.

Another example is that we may tend to see Germany as the “evil side” during World War II. But not all Germans are pro-Nazi or battle-hungry. Many Germans were peace-loving. In fact, those who attempted to assassinate the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, during the war were Germans themselves, who wanted to stop their country from continuing the war.

How do we overcome the human tendency to categorise, while maintaining the balance of protecting our own well-being? My answer is meditation. When we take time to be still and meditate, we begin to see the whole picture, and see each individual as they are, and not what they appear to be from the outside.

Sometimes we may find ourselves finetuning our categorisation. For example, we may say mainstream or evangelical christians are close-minded, but in comparison, progressive christians are more open-minded. So now instead of painting christians with a broad brush, we have used a fine brush to paint and differentiate them by their varying shades and tones. Even so, there will always be exceptions that stand out from the norm. Hence, we need meditation to tell the difference.

Posted in Identity

Spiritual meat for the soul

Jacob Israel: ‎”It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing” = God’s glory is to hide something. Christ (the truth) comes (literally means “reaveled”) in the hidden thing. We have this TREASURE HIDDEN in our EARTHEN vessel. What did God conceal? “Isaiah 45:15 Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour”…. No longer I (ego) that lives. Because you give away all you have (all you think you are) to obtain the TREASURE that is HIDDEN in YOU

Joe Danna: Is=Mother Ra=Father El=God

I remember Paul wrote that the meat is for those who are skilful in the word of righteousness, those who delve into spiritual interpretation and application of the Word concerning our true identity in Christ, in whom is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The lions in the natural may hunt and eat meat which sustain them for days and will go hungry again, but we who hunt for spiritual meat in the Word will be sustained for days and weeks and maybe even years, and we may never go hungry again, as we meditate and ruminate on the truth of the gospel.

It is our glory to search out a matter concerning our divine union with Christ or God. I like the revelation that we are the spiritual Israel, the prince of God, the mother and father and God are all one in us. I believe God, who is our Mother and Father, is our highest consciousness with whom we have been reconciled through our true self (Christ).

Posted in Freedom, Peace

Create your day

“Create your day the way you want it to be.
Fill each moment with hope and excitement for the things you’ll hear and see.
Put arguments to their end,
forgive and love, make new friends.
Don’t let anything stand in the way
of enjoying the life God has given you today.
Smile at those who frown,
laugh instead of being down.
Don’t listen to the negative garbage all around.
Instead rejoice in the new life you’ve found”
Jacob Israel

I love how the poem/prose rhymes, both literally and spiritually. Yes, we are in the world but not of the world system of performance-based living based on good and evil. The thief (or our ego or false identity) came to steal our peace, kill our joy and destroy our sense of wellbeing and identity, but Jesus our true self came that we might have life more abundantly.

We can create our world free from worry, stress or fear, by remember who we are and staying in peace. Peace is the way to know and experience communion with God our true self.

Posted in Origin, Truth

Home is where the heart is

Actually, all paths lead away from the truth…how’s that?
All paths.
There’s no such thing as a path to the truth.
The truth’s already here, where are you going?”

That’s an interesting way to see the truth. We are already home because home is where the heart is. Someone said discovery is made when one travels around the world and comes back to the same place and sees it with new eyes. The prodigal son goes far away in search of happiness and returns home to find true happiness where the unconditional love and abundance is.

Sometimes it is better to journey on various paths and return to see our original state of innocence and perfection because the older son didn’t travel at all and simply worked in the field to try to earn favour and prove himself, and didn’t gain any revelation of his true self and unconditional love and acceptance. Therefore, we who have travelled on some paths are blessed, for we return to see our original home with new eyes, cherishing the treasure in our heart all the more.

Posted in Identity, Love, Origin

The source of love

I have read a thought-provoking blog contemplating on love, which I find philosophical, as do many of the musings on love by other writers in the past, such as Diane Ackerman (who wrote “A natural history of love”) and William Shakespeare (who wrote “If music be the food of love, play on” as spoken by one of his characters in the play “Twelfth Night”).

“Where does love come from anyway? Who or what is dishing it out to the world’s inhabitants and why does that source appear to be so elusive?”

As for the question on the elusive source of love, I think it may remain a mystery (in a sense it is mystical), just like the idea of “Christ in us, the hope of glory” remains “the mystery of Christ”. I would say that love originates from our heart. Our heart is where the love of God is – and to me, the love of God is simply unconditional love from our highest self. Many in the religious circles see God as separate from them, but we have learnt that God is one with us, and therefore, God’s love originates from our highest consciousness.

When people remember they are Love, they will love themselves and others. This may sound simplistic, but that’s how I understand it for now. 🙂 Love is kindness. Love is caring for others. As the saying goes, “all love is self-love.” When people love and accept themselves, they will also love and accept others, whether near or afar.

Love is. We are… Love.

Posted in Grace, Identity, Unity and harmony

Grace (unconditional love) and karma (conditional love)

From what I learnt in buddhist studies in secondary school, the goal of a buddhist appears to be doing as many good or beneficial deeds as possible, so as to gain merits and accumulate “positive karma”, and hopefully one day the “positive karma” will outweigh the “negative karma” and he/she will enter “Nirvana” (a state of non-existence, so to speak, being free from the endless cycle of birth and death).

I think that while buddhism can be beneficial as a way of living, in terms of helping people to take responsibility for their own actions (instead of blaming it on the devil or the “original sin”, like what mainstream christianity does), it doesn’t really take into account the unconditional love and grace that is present in the universe. Buddhism is great for cultivating mindfulness and realising our oneness with others and nurturing love and kindness. Other than that, I have come to see that the concept of karma (law of cause and effect) can be limiting (in the sense some people may want to do good to others because they want to deserve good in return, not so much because they love others unconditionally), but nevertheless it is not dogmatic, in the sense it doesn’t use threats in the name of God to condemn people for not conforming to a particular belief system.

I recently was reflecting on the scenario when Jesus healed a blind man to demonstrate that grace (unconditional love) is greater than karma (conditional love based on the deserving system, or the natural law of cause and effect) because He seems to be saying to His disciples that the blindness isn’t caused by the man’s past (sins or mistakes) or his parents’ past (thus refuting the theory of original sin). In a way, Jesus was probably demonstrating that when the blind man awakens to who he is, the blindness is healed (spiritually and physically). That’s my understanding for now (as I am ever on a journey). 🙂

In retrospect, the universe works like a mirror of ourselves. When we love ourselves, the universe responds in love, and at the same time we respond in love to the universe by loving others. “All love is self-love”, as my beloved has shared with me before. So people will take responsibility for everything in their life when they become self-aware. I like Abraham Hick’s message about the importance of feeling good about ourselves.  When we awaken to who we really are, and know how wonderfully made and beautiful we are, we can’t help falling in love with our true self and the natural progression of this unconditional, divine love will overflow to others. Thus, I realise unconditional love is a by-product of knowing our true identity – we are a workmanship created in love, and love is our true essence.

Posted in Identity, Origin

Some thoughts on why the universe is expanding

I think scientists have observed that the universe is expanding. I remember theorising recently that since we are the universe (going by the similarity of the universe to an atom in our body), and our world population is ever increasing, each human being born into this world simultaneously gives birth to a new galaxy. And so the universe keeps expanding. That’s just my theory.

Recently, while meditating on Abraham Hicks’ message about how we were more than we ever imagined, my beloved shared with me this food for thought: “Things happened because the Universe makes it happen. The universe loves it when you’re happy and on higher vibration. If people knew this they would spend less energy to achieve.” So I googled the above words and came across an interesting website about the laws of the universe.

Some believe that to understand what is happening outside, we can find the answer inside. It is said that the outer reality of the universe is a reflection of our inner reality. Maybe we can ask ourselves: “Is our consciousness expanding? Is our self-awareness growing?” Then, perhaps that explains the expansion of the universe.

Come to think of it, maybe the universe is also a living organism like ourselves, and responds to our vibrational frequencies. For example, like what the quote above says, whenever we are happy, the universe loves it and is on higher vibration, and so it expands. Just like when a couple in love is enjoying each other’s company, their positive vibrational energy expands and may even manifest in a physical expansion of themselves (their selves), that is, they give birth to a baby. And so also does the universe that continues to expand whenever we all send forth positive vibrational energy. Just a thought to ponder.

Posted in Identity

Communing with our true self

Someone wrote in Yahoo Answers:

“Spirituality is communication with your higher self, which can also be considered as your subconscious. Within everyone lies all the answers to everything! But these answers can only be found by clearing the mind through meditation.”

I think it is a good summary of what spirituality is all about, primarily communicating or staying in communion with our higher self, also known as subconscious, also known as God. Thus, to be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to our higher self and realise our wholeness, completeness, innocence, righteousness and abundance. I have also come to a place where all the answers dwell within us and indeed meditation helps us reconnect to our higher self. So does music therapy, if I may add. I remember a saying goes something like this: “In the stillness and silence of our soul, we awaken to our true essence.” That is the message of the poem Awake too.

Also, I have been recently thinking that the scriptures are actually a depiction of our own soul’s journey rather than stories about what is out there in the world. The battles and conflicts we see taking place in the old and new testaments, for example, are just metaphors of the inner conflicts a person experience when one is not at peace with oneself because the person was having a separation mindset.

The more we delve into the metaphysical or metaphorical aspects of the scriptures, the more we gain an esoteric understanding of their spiritual meaning. Like what the verse says “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”, any literal interpretation of the scriptures will only condemn because the scriptures are not meant to be used as a rule book to tell people dos and don’ts and control people’s lives. Rather, when we choose to meditate on the scriptures and allow our heart to interpret, we will understand the spiritual meaning which will give life, health, peace and wholeness to our being.

This verse came to mind – “The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” (Proverbs 20:27) It seems to coincide with the parable of the woman lighting a lamp (a picture of our spirit, the candle of our higher consciousness) and searching the whole house (a picture of ourselves) to look for the lost silver coin. The coin represents our identity – as Jesus spoke about the face of Caesar on a coin, so also the coin bears our image in the likeness of God. Silver symbolises redemption. I think the ten silver coins may represent the fullness of our true identity. If one silver coin is lost, it may mean we may have forgotten an aspect of our true identity, and Jesus came to redeem that aspect, and the Spirit within us searches all the inwards part of our innermost being – when we meditate, for example – until we recover that lost aspect of our true self. 🙂

So yea, the scriptures to me are about our soul’s journey. I think many of the battles and conflicts we see out there in the world, including World War I and II, arise because people were not at peace with themselves. Unresolved inner conflicts translate into outer conflicts among humans and Nature or the environment. In a way, Jesus came to bring peace in people’s souls, so that when people realise they are all one with Him (or themselves) and one with one another, inner peace will translate into outer peace among humans and the environment, and peace will reign on Earth too, more and more.

Posted in Freedom, Hypocrisy, Religious fundamentalism

Do we value doctrines over human relationships?

In any discussion forum on religion and spirituality, it is not uncommon to see questions asked by religious people with an agenda to influence others to follow their theology or way of thinking. I have been guilty of this too. I thought I was sharing the good news of grace, at least based on what I understood back then. Having chosen to step away from the christian religion recently, I have been mostly sharing foods for thought and personal reflections in my own blog instead of participating in discussion forums, and no one needs to feel obliged to agree with my views in my blog.

Having said that, I am coming to learn that human relationships are more important than having the “right” doctrines. After all, all doctrines are human opinions anyway, and every denomination seems to think they have the “right” set of doctrines and others are misled by the devil, so to speak.

Someone said the following, and I think it is so true:

“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all his children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give….” Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey

It can be disappointing, therefore, when we look at religion from the outside, we see the religiosity still being perpetuated in discussion forums by some people who choose to value their doctrines over human relationships. For example, in a particular discussion forum, someone asked christians to share a difficult experience in their christian life that eventually strengthened their belief in the Lord, showing that He is real and cares for them. This sounds like a sincere question at first glance, and a number of christians gave their honest answers about their struggles. One particular christian openly shared about her struggles with health problems. Yet the person who asked the question later ignored her testimony completely, and did not even say any word of comfort and encouragement to her. Instead, she favoured another christian’s testimony just because it supports her doctrine.

One may say that this is human nature, but here, we see how religion can make people insensitive towards other people’s plights and feelings. Besides, when we look deeper, we notice that the above question was most likely a pointed question to judge those people who are finding freedom from the christian religion and questioning the idea of God. It is a controlling spirit that does not want people to be free to think for themselves. If anything, people who are coming out of the christian religion are not so much rejecting God per se; they are actually rejecting the concept of God that mainstream christianity has been preaching – that egoistical, vengeful and judgmental kind of God who threatens to burn people in hell for not loving Him or worshipping Him. People want to experience the freedom of discovering the kind of God that they have always intuitively known or believed in their heart – God who is unconditional Love and whose Love is inclusive, unending, universal, unchanging and unfailing.

[Post updated on 19 February 2012]