Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Law and Love - The Long and Winding Road

There are a whole lot of roads to travel in a lifetime as well as many attitudes we can carry along the way. Fortunate for all, even when we screw up miserably, there always seems to be a way out, an escape hatch, or a phone friend to lend a hand. 

These three outs have other names which will help to develop the premise of this post On the Road Again. 

Believe it or not, Life is directed under the rule of Law. Every thing and every being is under close attention and care through this Law. Actually, many laws direct the flow of the Universe as they join together to satisfy the Great Law. Every jot and tittle must be fulfilled. What we sow, we must reap. Justice must be served. Karma must be met. 

If you are either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the word Karma, replace it with a more western one like Cause and Effect, Divine Justice, Providence, Fate, Destiny. We all have to “pay the piper,” one way or another to arrive at the finish line - Heaven, Nirvana, Devachan.

Let’s be clear. The finish line for practically the whole of the human race is a long way off. Eons. These few years as John Doe or Joan Smith are just a link in the chain, a drop in the bucket, a step upon an almost endless journey. Even if we believe ourselves to be “saved.”

I am reminded of a good friend named Rose Wise, an artist and do-gooder, who passed to the other side several years ago. Rose carried heavy loads in her life. Which she managed outwardly through her talents and energies, love and concerns.   

On one occasion, she bemoaned the burdens she carried. Rose went on to remark that she believed she had fulfilled her obligations and would not need to reincarnate again. I had to throw in. “Now, Rose. I don’t like to spoil the party. But, you said the same thing last time around. You will surely be back. Your work is not done. There is no end in sight and much work left to do.”

There is work to be done for ourselves and also to the fulfill the Law. God – the Creator – the Universal Force – has provided three over-arching means for all of us who need help to get to that finish line. Do remember, that destination is the same for us as for those who have “become perfect as the Father in Heaven.” We will all get there eventually, however advanced the goal may be.

Fortunately, we can look to Grace which balances and fulfills the Great Law of Love. Grace is achieved by three wonderful means for us to right wrongs, clear highways in the desert, and prepare the way. Our part in Grace varies from one means to the other. 

George Michael sings The Beatles' The Long and Winding Road


• Grace through Giving.

Giving and Forgiving build good Karma. They represent the Law of Love which can do so much day-to-day in this dark world. Remembering that “God is Love,” we should realize that Love is all-inclusive and works in extraordinary ways. When we act through true Love, as exemplified in the Great Ones, we at the same time do ourselves favors. 

Since we are part of a Great Self, doing unto others amounts to doing unto our own self. Good deeds help to neutralize, overcome many of the faults, misdeeds and “sins” we have done in our few decades walking the Earth. The more treasures we share, the more we lighten the weight even of karma created in past lives.

When we share Love, especially to those who would misuse us, we are fulfilling the Greatest Commandment of all. To Love One Another. What wonders the world will express when we all express that simple but exalted state. 

In the meantime, each of us can at least try to live up to the Golden Rule. Let us be assured that when we do make such effort we will receive aid here and there and everywhere.

• Grace through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.

Even though every human being is capable at times of giving that kind of Love, its source is beyond our little selves. In those moments, we seem to tune in to Things Greater Than Ourselves. We become channels for the ever-present Goodness seeking expression in the outer world. 

That experience can be made more frequent and magnified through conscious attempts to attune to God, the Higher Self, the Light Within. In other words, meditation.

Meditation is listening to God. Prayer to be talking to God. Would that we spend more time listening and less time making noise. We pass so much time in doing and experiencing, thinking and feeling, that most of us give little more than an hour a week on Sunday for aught else. Some, not even that much time.

I am reminded of an experience from my days long ago when I pastored two small country churches in South Dakota. Early in my job, the chairman of the churches’ board called me aside. He said something like, “Robert, everybody is very pleased with your work and attitude, your preaching and visitations. But, one concern has arisen. That is the length of the Moments of Silence. Could you minimize them? The people don’t know what to do with themselves.” Silence seems to be relatively unknown and unwelcome in the modern age. Even in a church.   

But, silence and meditation – which are almost synonymous – are key to opening the gates to the Higher Self, the Inner World, the Kingdom. And to the wider world of Truth and Love. When we learn to quiet our own human beast, we can call forth the gift/s of the Spirit for the betterment of all – as well as for our selves.

• Grace through reincarnation.

The third means to Grace is the great and wondrous gift of reincarnation. However short we fall from the goal, there is always another round. God gives us more opportunities than we may deserve. But, Forgiveness is one of Divinity’s greatest gifts and one of our most precious benefits.

An old friend used to remind me that, “It’s all Practice.” Fortunately, we have endless chances to get things right. If we succeed in any moment, we can practice humility. If we fail, we get to try, try again. 

We are told to forgive our brother “seventy times seven,” which is surely a means to practice love. Just think how many times we have received that gift from Above. That seems to fit nicely with the idea that most of us require hundreds of lifetimes to achieve. 

Let’s be cheered to realize that the way is open to all, regardless of our track records. We will all make it to the finish line. However long it takes.

• As we practice the Law of Love: “We are put on earth for a little space to learn to bear the beams of love.” (William Blake)

• As we learn to be silent, meditate and listen for the still small voice: “Seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be added.”

• As we struggle along the pathways of life, there are always more opportunities: “In patience possess ye your soul.”

Share comments below or send to theportableschool at gmail dot com.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

On the Road Again with Richard Dreyfuss and You

We all travel varied roads in our lifetimes. Some we enjoy, others we dread. Hopefully, we learn from them all.

This writer has had the good fortune to cover thousands of miles on roads on foot during Cross Country Walks in recent history. Then he took a year off to walk Silently. He is still learning from the latter experience, in particular, and maybe more valuable lessons than his times Walking and Talking.

For sundry reasons, he has decided to focus future posts on even more subtle ways to be On the Road Again. While thinking in that direction, he ran across an article originally published in RealClearPolitics.com about the actor Richard Dreyfuss. 

By the 1980s, Dreyfuss has had numerous successes in his career. But, success also brought him painful experiences. The actor was playing in real life the part of a “crazy man” and at times “low-down dirty dog” in the midst a bipolar life. Then, he flipped his Mercedes convertible while high on drugs. He believes that he survived the wreck thanks to a safety belt that he did not remember buckling.

Dreyfuss woke up in the hospital with the image of a young girl in his head. A year later, his daughter Emily was born. It was the child of the dream. He came to consider the whole extended episode as a “mystical experience.”

Now closing on the age of 70, Dreyfuss admits to warming to the idea of reincarnation. “Isn’t it funny that God takes you and puts your through the unendurable, and then at the moment you have just begun to understand it and have some wisdom, it ends? I have this inner life which is vast and as large a the universe. I really like me. I hope I have another life. I hope I get another shot.”

I want to assure Richard Dreyfuss and others that we “all get another shot.” I cannot prove my contention. For, I know next to nothing. But if there is anything of which I am convinced, that I KNOW, it is that I have been here before. Much of this lifetime has been “deja vu all over again.” The same for you, I suspect.

It is very hard to put such things into words. Maybe it is a bit like writing an obituary for someone. How can we synopsize a person’s lifetime in a few sentences? Even the best of obituaries are pale and paltry compared to the wonders of a human’s life. 

So too, to bring LIFETIMES to mind, to put them into words – intelligible to others – is quite a task. That I believe is because we humans, however advanced and intellectual we believe ourselves to be, have rather small brains, limited memories, and circumscribed minds. We often, very often, only see what we want to see. But, how great is the Universe? How large is our God?

Then, dare we to open to other lifetimes? Past and future? 

I have encountered people who fear the idea fiercely. Well, that could be the subject of a whole post.

But for the moment, let us just settle on the evident Truth that all of life is cyclic: day and night, dark and light, good and ill, peace and turmoil, triumph and loss, coming and going. Ah, and coming again. 

The rhythms of life are endless. And we are all part and parcel of them. Nothing is wasted in those cycles. The Universe is the Greatest Recycler of all. And, the GRU brings us back and back and back toward some Awesome Aim. I swear to it. It is one of the few things upon which I would bet my life.

As Groucho Marx used to say, “You bet your life.” You can bet mine too. Here today, gone tomorrow, and back again down the road. 

You and me and Richard Dreyfuss.

I invite you to return from time to time - On the Road Again - for brief vignettes on the second most wonderful gift of the Creator. That of Reincarnation. The first being Life itself.

Direct comments to theportableschool at gmail dot com.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Life is Like a River

Last post, I mentioned a couple ways to look at our existence. Ways which had been brought home to me by spending time rollin’ on the river. This time, the post is especially entwined with the rivers and oceans of the world and of life. 

But to recap from last go round:

• We humans are part of something greater than ourselves. The planet, the solar system, and greater. We are, know it or not, cells living within unimaginably greater beings. Gaia – The Earth and the Solar system for which we have no name and beyond.

• Then, we have our own system of which we are “god” to trillions of cells and atoms. These cells and atoms are living beings, like ourselves at another turn of the spiral of life. 

If we dare imagine, every thing – all things – are alive. That may be a stretch for some. It is paradoxical since we have been so ingrained with the either/or of life and death.

Trying to put our worlds into perspective, I have come up with another way to look at things. I have borrowed the angle in part from modern physics.

You see, the physicists have been debating for decades whether light is a wave or a particle. I don’t think they have come to a conclusion. Because sometimes light acts as a wave and other times as particle.

Well, Robert has concluded that human beings are similar. Sometimes, we act and appear as particles. And other times, as waves.

This idea grew in my thinking while watching the Musselshell River roll by last summer as I sat on its banks most every day. 

We can think of the river, any river, or an ocean as a collection of drops or a flow of waves. Humans are like those drops and humanity like those waves. 

And within our form nature, we have all sorts of drops and particles and cells. And, they move in wave upon wave to maintain our existence.

At the deepest level of our beingness, those particles and cells are simply energy. While all these appear like matter to our eyes, all of us – atoms to cells to tissues to humans to planets and beyond – are really simply energy. Einstein and the quantum physicists established or re-established that truth decades ago.

If we could see the worlds as the Great Ones do, we would be thrilled to experience the intricacy, wonder and beauty of this universe in which we live. Even when we are standing still, we are – to those with eyes to see –  living, moving and changing constantly. Waves and particles of light within greater and greater ones.

If only we had the Eyes to See. Well, in the meantime, let us just draw on our imagination, the Inner Eye.

Then, we can all the wonder of it all to other great experiences On the Road Again and Again. Go God!

Leave comments below or send to theportableschool at gmail dot com.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rollin' on the River

During my Year of Silence, some of my best company was supplied at the banks of the Musselshell River. When weather permitted, I walked daily to the stream to sit at the foot of nearby trees. Thence, I watched the river run through. When it was warm enough, I even sat in the current and enjoyed the soak.

Previously, my cross-country walks taught me that access to water in most any form can be a real luxury. Furthermore, the breadth of nature began to unfold before me. We are sometimes amazed with man-made feats, but the wonders of nature can leave us speechless.

A natural wonder I would like to comment on today is simply that we humans are vital parts of vast universes. For the moment, I will just suggest two universes now for your consideration drawing upon the benefit of analogies in line with the ancient dictum of As Above, So Below. 

• There is the one in which we are particles of much greater beings. Little do we recognize it as we separate and compartmentalize things, often distancing our selves - in daily focus - from those greater beings. It has been said that we are "Cells in the body of God." How true.

We often think our selves alone and unconnected simply because of our limited vision. If we only had better "eye sight," we would be both reassured and astonished at how we are united through light (subtle energies) with the whole of creation

• Then, there are the worlds in which we are the greater beings. That to our own cells, tissues and organs. To the cells in our little fingers, we are like gods.

Unfortunately, we often don't even recognize such a relationship. Thus, we mistreat and abuse our own subjects of which we are the royal overlord.

Sitting next to a rollin' river can provide time and opportunity to help put such things in perspective.

Next time, we can consider the greater River of Life.

Best regards to you. 

Comments welcomed here or to theportableschool at gmail dot com.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Robert the Robot

In my last post, I commented about experiences with people following on my Year of Silence. I found them doing and saying the same things as they were many months, even years past. As if they were singing the same old song.

On further reflection, I have to admit that I have found Robert “singing” the same old song. I have told myself repeatedly, “You didn’t learn your lesson.”

Not long ago, I had made a vow to “Argue no more forever,” and find that I have in a few months broken it at least three times, depending on ...

Still, I will persist at trying to learn my lessons and some day be fully able to sing a new song.

Another reflection upon myself and others brings me to this point: I firmly believe that over the course of this lifetime - and also as the result of others - we create our own robots. They are our very selves. Our bodies, our actions, our feelings, and our thoughts have been programmed according to our past behaviors and involvements. We have been the programmers. Sometimes with the input of others - like family, friends, teachers, media, etc.

We act like computers and robots during much of our existence. We run on automatic far too often. At least, Robert the Robot does. 

Stimulus applied. Response sent out. 

Deprogramming and reprogramming are difficult tasks. It is hard to change the patterns we have set. Not impossible, but quite difficult.

I have been teaching myself to play the piano for over thirty years. A slow learner there, to be sure. But, I have found that very slowly, my practice has programmed into my body and being the ability to produce music. Sometimes quite sonorously.

The same sort of process, I believe, is involved in reprogramming our actions, feelings and thoughts. "Slow but sure wins the race."

Robert may be a Robot. But one day, he will be and express himself more clearly, cordially, and correctly. For his own good and for the betterment of all. I wish you the same in your days and lifetimes ahead.

Comments are always welcome. Leave below or send to theportableschool@gmail.com

Friday, January 5, 2018

Old Dogs, New Tricks, and Lots of Cats

Years ago, I had the good fortune to act for nearly a year as interim pastor for two Congregational churches north of my hometown of Mitchell, SD. During that period, my companion was a dog named Henry on loan from my younger brother. Henry had gotten in trouble with the dogcatcher in Mitchell and I bailed the two out by bringing Henry to Letcher.

The dog and I became good friends and were seen regularly navigating in and around the small town. Inevitably, I decided that Henry needed to learn a few things my brother had never taken the time to teach the aging fellow. He was nearing 13 at the time. So, I the perennial teacher set to work on a regular basis to give Henry some lessons. At the same time, he taught me a few. 

Although it was not an easy task, my canine friend succeeded in learning to shake, crawl, and roll over with inducements of food and treats. His triumphs inclined me to consider a special sermon and bring Henry to church one Sunday and demonstrate that "Old dogs can learn new tricks."

For various reasons, the sermon never eventuated. But, I can definitely confirm that old dogs can learn. My Year of Silence reminded me of that experience. At the same time, it showed me that learning can be a chore at any age. But, I believe, we ought to be learning until our very last embodied days. Waste not, want not. There should be plenty of time to rest and recuperate on the other side.

Since taking up speaking again, a number of things have come to my attention of which I will now mention two. Firstly, when I have a conversation, I watch myself talking too much. Which will hopefully push me all the more to attend my words. Secondly, I have decided that people are saying the same things as they were a year or two or three ago. I admit I have done some of that myself.

That has suggested to me that we may be too often involved with old stories and "old tricks." One fellow I visited with in the grocery store is still dealing with a problem from 2 1/2 years past. He claims to be trying to find homes for the cats which belonged to his woman friend and neighbor. He is having little success, it seems. He now has around 60 cats. Surely, there were not that many when she died.

I think we should be dealing with new problems and opportunities, new tricks and new possibilities. As much as possible. Though we age, we do have some choices and options. Why not spend our time growing into the new instead of worrying about the old?

A later blog will continue in this vein in coming weeks. Hopefully sharing new ideas. 

Happy New Year.