Hope

Hope

Emily Dickinson imagined “Hope” as “the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”

Hope is one of our most commonly used phrases. We say, I hope it won’t rain, I hope I can make that train, I hope I’ll pass the test; our expressions of things we “hope” for is endless. But what does hope really mean?  John F. Kennedy’s quote springs to mind, he said, “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.”

We really do not understand hope until we find ourselves without it. When we are hopeless even for a short time our world becomes dark.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow must have understood this. He said, “The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone.”

I love taking pictures of sunsets and sunrises. It intrigues me that sunrises and sunsets appear very similar. Looking at pictures I took a long time ago, I am the only one who is certain whether the picture is of a sunset or sunrise.  Friends may guess but only I know whether it was beginning or the end of the day.  Sometimes, hope is like  like that, we can’t be sure in what guise it will return. When the glow of sunset turns to darkness, we hope for the sunrise.

sunset6-1-05c

No biblical story illustrates better a state of utter desolation and hopelessness than that of Sarah’s maid[GC1]  Hagar in Genesis 21 (KJ21). She was sent into the desert with her son Ishmael for mocking her childless mistress illustrates utter hopelessness. Hagar had every reason to fear her son would die of thirst. We, who live in the desert understand better than most the consequences of being without water and shelter in the desert.  Her wailing was interrupted by the angel’s greeting, “Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the child where he is”. Once fear dissipates,  “hope is at hand” .

“Fear not,” is often announced by angelic beings to human beings in desperate times.Their message always offers hope. When fear is taken away, hope is born; For Hagar, hope of life came when her eyes were opened to see the spring nearby. Hope is there for us when we perceive things in a new way.  The darkness of hopelessness gives way to light when we see our situation in a new light. The message of hope may come to us in many guises. Hopelessness may be lifted by prayer, meditation, witnessing a beautiful sunset or sunrise, a flower, may bring hope and comforting in our time of distress.

Meister Eckhart‘s poem gets to the heart of the matter. We become hopeless and fear the most when something we love appears lost to us.

The Hope of Loving

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?

I think it is the hope of loving,

or being loved.

I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey

to find its source, and how the moon wept

without her lover’s

warm gaze.

We weep when light does not reach our hearts. We wither

like fields if someone close

does not rain their

kindness

upon

us.

 

Patiently we must wait for the darkness to give way to the glow of day, reach out for the hand offered in kindness. open our eyes to new possibilities.

Inspiration and Prayer for 7/28/13, offered by Rev. Judith Vadergrift posted each week on the On-line Swedenborgian Community

Your inspiration this week is to find a place where you can be alone in silence and listen for the voice of God. Take your journal with you, and any books for inspiration you like. Write, pray, listen, Love Enjoy! ” Dear Lord teach me to take your Love deeply inside my being. Teach me to keep my focus on you. Let me be the observer only, of this world. Thank you for my soul’s rest and renewal each day. Gratitude fills my heart for all I have been given both good and bad. The good uplifts me and the bad strengthens me. My heart fills with love for all beings. Let me walk in deep peace with you knowing your love fills me completely. AMEN.” With Love, Rev. Judith

 

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Vessels

I recall several lectures at the Pacific School of Religion focusing on the work of the versatile scholar, geologist, theologian and Biblical archaeologist   William Fredrick Bade. He carried out excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh  in Palestine. Much of the artifacts are housed in the Bade Museum, located on the Pacific School of Religion campus. There, we learned about vessels, pottery shards, coins of antiquity that  confirmed biblical accounts. Much has been learned about the lives of the people of ancient times from the pieces, shapes, colors textures of vessels and the environment in which they were found. Ancient potteries were containers and vessels for holding some type of liquid, grain or manuscripts. Recall the Dead Sea Scrolls found in jars?

Pottery in which dead sea scrolls were found

Those jars were most likely used to hold many other things before they became the repository of ancient’s texts hidden form the uninitiated. No one could have guessed the contents until it was opened.

It is like that with us. We, like vessels hold many things; but we are not the vessel itself; we are not our bodies, not our thoughts and we are not our feelings. Life-energy pours into the sacred spaces of our being and from the outside into our minds, and bodies.  Like ancient pottery, our minds and bodies hold secrets. Shouldn’t we examine what we contain, what we hold in our minds, bodies and spirits? Like the pottery in our homes, ancient pottery was designed for all kinds of uses. Archaeologists study the form/color/material, but only guess  what the vessel may have held because the contents changed. Basically, we create our reality when we become aware of our changing thoughts, feelings. What we do, say and think changes us. After all  isn’t that learning? Our awareness of what is happening changes us.

Every cell in our bodies and  minds is in constant motion and therefore constantly changing. Think about how you are affected and changed by what you have seen and heard about the tornadoes in Oklahoma and its aftermath. You may have already donated or are planning to help survivors and communities affected by the tornado. You may have relatives living in the areas, your thoughts and feelings are deeply affected. We respond to events and circumstances.

 

Tornado cleanup
Tornado cleanup
Tornado Damage
Tornado Damage

Shattered homes, broken pieces, damaged goods may not ever be be mended but people may be healed. Unlike the smashed pottery of ancient times and the trashed tornado sites of today, people can mend and heal. Our loving thoughts and actions can help bind-up broken lives. We can be like the The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37  who helped the wounded traveler.

Compassionate caring response does not originate or end with us. It flows in and around us to others creating a new reality. We decide to help others and we are changed from within.  Max Planck, one of the most important German physicists, winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918; considered to be the founder of quantum theory delved into the innermost secrets of the life, His famous statement, “all matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force  which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume’ , asserts Plank, that ‘behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”  Not being a scientist I interpret to mean that the inflow of creative energy is not accidental, the love we sense when we respond with compassionate care is the intended purpose of creation. The inflow of love is unceasing constant and eternal though the vessel itself, our bodies are temporary. When the body and spirit suffer all is not lost. We recover slowly but surely in the outpouring of compassionate care. Life itself, is becoming always renewing from within.

A few websites for donating:

Samaritan’s Purse

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/oklahoma-tornado-response/?utm_source=Ggl&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=m_YGOT-013V_GGLOT&gclid=CMnvkbaTsrcCFeU5QgodXSwAgw

Billy Graham Crisis Response:

http://www.billygraham.org/CrisisResponse/?QR=168&BA=2704&SOURCE=BY130DPGG&gclid=COyQttaTsrcCFWXZQgod1REAuA

The American Red Cross:

https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&scode=RSG00000E017&itemId=prod10001&subcode=grantdonations&gclid=CL7FqpGVsrcCFUQ6QgodCQMArw

A hug changes everything for a survivor
A hug changes everything for a survivor

In Heaven, so upon the Earth

Earth Day 2013 celebrations are past but the responsibility to cherish, as in do no harm, sustain and protect our environment continues to draw us to re-conceive our notions about what it might mean to care for our earth. As I meditate on what God intends for us while we make our home on this earth the Lord’s Prayer comes to mind.  “When ye pray, say: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. (Luke 11:2 KJ21) The phrase “as in heaven” conjures up manicured gardens, beautiful fragrant flowers, birds singing and butterflies sporting in the air, a river meandering through the garden.

heavenly garden

 

Every gardener  knows it takes planning, planting and enormous amount of effort and attention to maintain a garden. A few days of carelessness will most likely have consequences. On the other hand, appropriate attention will revive the garden. I believe we are called to co-create heaven on earth not just in our physical environment, the earth itself but also our spiritual environment, our minds. Heaven inflows into our very beings.  Swedenborg speaks of  this inflow coming “into our souls because the soul is the inmost and highest part of us. The inflow  from God reaches that part first and then comes down into the things below and enlivens them, depending on our openness to what flows in.” (In the 21st Century translations of Swedenborg’s True Christina Religion, “inflow” replaced “influx.”

Many Native American cultures believed in the sacredness of the earth and in responsibilities for caring for all things created.  We must be mindful of creation pronounced by God as “very good” surely we must bear responsibility for maintaining its goodness and beauty as co-creators of heaven on earth. Genesis 1:31

William Blake's Earth Answer

 

Earth’s Answer by William Blake from Songs of Experience 1794

Prayers for Mother Earth

Five Senses

Under the blooming Jasmine and gardenia, I found the empty broken shell of a baby bird. Our small potted garden sits underneath the flowering bush that serves as cafeteria for goldfinches, house sparrows and cardinals. The birds happily fly in and out of the feeders hung in the bush and refresh themselves in the birdbath and water fountain a few feet away from the bush.  The delicate shell held traces of blood still fresh. Holding the shell I was captivated by the awe-inspiring lesson in my hand.

The shell of a newly hatched bird
The shell of a newly hatched bird

The shell served its purpose, when it became a hindrance to a new life, the bird began to struggle and free itself from its prison that once held life for it. The baby bird chipped away its shell and struggled out of its shell to gain freedom and life.

Beyond the greening and flowering spring offers lessons about transformation in every living thing. The lessons about life-changes are often inspire lessons about our own life events; the end of one state of being and into new emerging. Most of us are blessed with five senses. We can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Yet for Helen Keller  awareness of the awesome beauty  in every living thing did not depend on her five senses. She experienced life in an internal way. One of my favorite Helen Keller quotes, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Here, she speaks of heart vision not vision through the eyes. Her perception of beauty and understanding of life came from an internal vision. I believe if Helen Keller would have felt the egg shell she would have sensed the lesson about the true nature of life. Like the baby bird, once she learned from her teacher Anne Sullivan, who assisted her to break free of the shell she lived in up until that point in her life, a new life opened up for Helen Keller.

I wondered, holding the baby bird’s left behind home what shell holds me back from experiencing life in a new way. Slowly, I made connection. I must recognize where I am in spirit and that this is not where I want to be. Like the baby bird, “we must want to get out and must ourselves make an effort from what seems to be our own strength” (Read more on this in Emanuel Swedenborg’s Divine Providence #278.6)

Fear of the unknown or imagined can keep us trapped in our shells, though safe it is too restricted to support life. Fearful of the struggle to break free, distrustful providential care, unbelieving and distrustful of what the eye cannot see, the life of the heart and spirit is thwarted.

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Man and myth

Myths grow up around men and women who stand out from the crowd. Not surprisingly, Saint Patrick stood out among missionaries and evangelizers. Myths were circulating about him during his life time but over the centuries a mantle of the miracles spread about him.Our second child was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Naturally, I became fascinated with the myths surrounding St Patrick. Happily I shared them with our children. I was in good company on St. Patrick’s Day, then and now, we celebrate our son’s birthday with the traditional corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread.

The man emerged from the legends while I studied   The History of Christian Spirituality  at Earlham School of Religion. A revival of  all things Celtic particularly music and art though popular everywhere does not shed light on the man or separate him from the myth.

The myths shrouding the man Patrick fell away to uncover an audacious bold evangelist who Christianized Ireland.  Patrick, I learned is the rock star among Celtic Saints, set the course for Celtic Spirituality. St Patrick, born in England in the late 4th century A.D., was captured by pirates as a child and brought to Ireland. During his enslavement, he was called in a vision to Christianity and escaped his captors after six years. He returned to Ireland as a missionary, and in his teachings, combined Irish pagan beliefs with Christian sacrament, devising the Celtic cross. Celtic crosses prominent in Ireland’s cemeteries testify of the ancient blending of Christian and Celtic motifs.

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

He was a hero for Christ. Patrick modeled the Apostle Paul in his travels across Ireland. Patrick overcame the cruel violent Celtic Gods with Christ’s love.

We can know something of the trust and confidence Patrick placed in divine leading from his beautiful prayer known as ‘St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate,’ a poem that reveals a man seeking divine aid against the enemies of Christ. It is believed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over paganism.  Here is one of my favorite translations.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgement hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles
against the heart’s idolatry,
against the wizard’s evil craft,
against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave and poisoned shaft,
protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

 

Patrick’s prayer inspires us to “bind ourselves to God” each day, trusting Christ within to overcome our 21st Century “gods” that enslave us; greed, hatred, fear, disillusionment, revenge, loneliness just to name a few. They are not brazen as the gods of old, but rather like weeds in a garden,  growing insidiously; choking our happiness, trust, joy and confidence in God’s power.

Ancient Celtic Cross
Ancient Celtic Cross

 

Fear as the Teacher

Fear as the Teacher

For some of us, these are times of deep change and transition. While we may have good intentions regarding new practices for reflection, exercise and meditation, everyday stresses can derail our best plans. Tuning into our innermost yearnings in challenging times can be greatly enhanced with a deeper understanding our unconscious patterns of thinking. Foremost it means identifying  fears  and barriers that keep us from moving forward towards new behaviors and more loving relationships. Fears limit our ability to respond to situations creatively. “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.”   Khwajeh Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi, 14th Century Persian Poet understood fear may be our best teacher. However, fear’s lessons can be deceptive. Often it appears to teach us to avoid the object or actions we fear. Misunderstanding fear’s message may cause us to miss opportunities for healing and growth. Consider fear’s real message, ‘There has been pain here before, this is difficult and scary, so I must be cautious and alert. Here is a learning opportunity for a different perspective and different action. Fear, it seems to me, is a lack of understanding the real nature of the event, person or thing. Fear then is the caution light, there is danger here, look, listen learn before you proceed. Recognizing fears is the “first room” in Carolyn Myss ‘s Entering the Castle: an Inner Path to God and Your Soul. My lesson in that first room was “the fear of humiliation controls” me more often than I ever imagined.

Startling as it may seem, there are only only five basic fears;  all others are derived from these five: Extinction – fear of annihilation, Mutilation – fear of losing any part of our precious bodily structure, Loss of Autonomy – fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, restricted, this one is a biggie, it encompasses most of our fears, Separation – fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of connectedness – of becoming a non-person, Ego-death – fear of humiliation, shame, or any other mechanism of profound self-disapproval that threatens the loss of integrity of the Self. I found myself hovering over this one. Working my way through the rooms of the castle  I noted the things that scared me and with noticing they ceased to paralyze me.

In his travels through the heavens and hells, Swedenborg saw the hells ruled by means of their fears. Now that’s a scary thought. Could it be that in the physical plane, our fears rule over us? Swedenborg asserts,  No one is reformed in a state of fear, because fear takes away freedom and reason, or liberty and rationality; for love opens the interiors of the mind but fear closes them; ”

I see a clear choice between acting out of one fear or another or acting out “dignity, direction and purpose”. I see a clear choice between acting out of one fear or another or acting out “dignity, direction and purpose”.  According Dannion Brinkely, three time Near Death Expereincer,  we must exercise our free will to live with joy rather than fear.

Circle Community begins an exploration of “fears” in the upcoming meeting February 10, 2013 at our new location at Denny’s Restaurant at 6484 E. Broadway, Tucson, 85710

A rock window sculpted by wind on Mt. Lemmon

 

 

Celebrating Swedenborg’s birthday

A little early but just in time, today, January 27, we are celebrating  Emanuel Swedenborg’s  birthday. Countless number of books have been written about Swedenborg, a scientist, philosopher, public servant to the King, inventor, astronomer engineer and most of all a mystic, who explored higher levels of consciousness. The most remarkable thing about Swedenborg is that he invites us into that world. Jonathan Rose and co-editors Stuart Shortwell and Mary Lou Bertucci called him the, Scribe of Heaven in a recently published work. Today our community will reflect on Swedenborg and his influence on the great minds of Western civilization and most importantly, for us, how his writings inspired us.  I could not fit all the books on the table. Here I show a small sampling of his books and a few written about him  and a small sampling of books written by people who profess to have experienced an awakening  as a result of exploring Swedenborg’s writings. It is worth noting renowned authors and artists such as Emerson, Balzac, Blake  were  influenced by Swedenborg.

Sampling of books by and about Swedenborg

Circle Community a sharing, praying studying community come together to support each other along life’s journey. Swedenborg’s journey into the spiritual world has profound implication for the way we live our life right now. We’ll show a show portion of movie Splendors of the Spirit  to get us in the mood for deeper reflections about own experience of living our religion.

My father found Heaven and Hell translated into Hungarian, a miracle in itself, during the aftermath of a bombing raid in Budapest in WW2. Our family did not know about a church based on his theology.  His writings became for me a guide to discover internal states of heaven and hell. Church affiliation and formal study of theology came decades later. The passion for exploring hidden treasures in his writings sharing those insights in non-theological wrappings is my life’s work. Vaishali in her 09/16/11  Huffington’s post writes of Swedenborg as “the quintessential one-stop shopping for “afterlife” wisdom.” See more of her article here, You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Died: Emanuel Swedenborg and “the Afterlife”. Much more can be found in researchers’ findings and Near Death of Experiencers discoveries of the parallels  to their experiences in Swedenborg writings.

Today, we celebrate with gratitude not just Swedenborg the mastodon of science and mysticism but the mystery of our own life.

Come and join us this afternoon at 4:30 if you are in town. The location of our get-together is posted in Meetup.

Receiving and Giving

Receiving and Giving

You probably heard the phrase, “Christmas is about giving” in TV shows and movies in the Christmas season. When we see the delight on the face of someone opening a gift we remember that Jesus himself said: ‘It is “More blessed to give” than to receive,’ in Acts 20:35. While this is true, we are continuously on the receiving end, receiving life and in turn we have the ability to give to others. Life is receiving and giving. In the ,The Nativity Story,  we see Mary receiving the divine seed  culminating in the birth of the child Jesus.  Every woman who has given birth understands that gestation and birth evolves in stages and birth itself involves the most intense labor, the body making way for the gift of life. (See more about  Stages of labor)

Nowadays, birth is sanitized. Babies are born in a sterile environment, but the work of the body has not changed. After the birth, work of another kind begins for the mother. Christmas is the call to new beginnings, the nurturing of the infant.  Swedenborg writes of travailing a term meaning labor rarely heard these days, is faith in producing. See more about the significance of   travailing in the  Arcana Coelestia number 4919.

Our work begins when we accept the gift of life. What we do with the gift of life is our choice. What do we give? How do we give expression to our faith? Howard Thurman suggests work that should begin after the celebration of the “birth” of Jesus  in

Work of Christmas Begins

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

And to radiate the Light of Christ,

Every day, in every way, in all athat we do

and in all that we say.

Then the work of Christmas begins.

Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) nativity scene lacks the sentimentality of many artists’ depiction.albrechtdurer_nativity

 

I felt drawn to the ordinariness of the scene. There is no attempt to reproduce the Bethlehem stable, instead, Durer places the couple and infant in a Medieval house that has seen better days. Joseph is drawing water, while Mary is leaning over the baby Jesus, seemingly overshadowed by the building in disrepair. There is a sense reality about this scene. There is work ahead for the couple and for us.

Circle Community is moving to a temporary home on Dec. 30, 2012. The topic of our discussion and sharing is “Service”.  Please join us Dec. 30 at 4:30 in our temporary home. We will have refreshments following the meeting. Please RSVP in the reply section,  by Dec. 29, 2012.

 

 

Remebering Mikulas Day or St Nicholas Day

Remembering Mikulas Day

December 6, brings up memories of St. Nicholas’s visit in our home in Budapest Hungary. You may never have heard of the Saint Nicholas, but in Hungary, but for many Hungarian children it is a special day. December 6 th is the day when Hungary ’s Santa makes his rounds, traditionally, by a horse drawn sleigh. He is said to be accompanied by two helpers, a good angel who gives out presents to good children and a krampusz, a mean goblin who punishes bad children.

Santa is Szent Mikulás (Saint Nicholas) and 6 th December is Mikulás Nap (St. Nicholas day). He is similar to the Western Santa except that instead of a Santa Clause costume he wears the red robes of a bishop, a red miter on his head and carries a staff in one hand.

On the evening of December 5 we children polished our shoes and put them on the window ledge. By morning, if I had been good, judged my parents, Mikulás filled my shiny shoes with candy, tangerines, walnuts, apples, and chocolate Mikulás figures. I remember back then, the Mikulas candy was the figure of the saintly Nicholas who gave of his fortune to poor family’s children.  See more about  St Nicholas legends

Though many legends floated throughout Eastern Europe most relate back to Nicholas born to a wealthy family in Patara, Lycia (modern day Turkey). His parents died, and he inherited a considerable sum of money, but he kept none of it. In the most famous story is about Nicholas  throwing  bags of gold through the windows of three girls about to be forced into lives of prostitution as (as a child we heard the girls had no dowry and could not be married and would have been sold as slaves). This sounds more real to me than any other legend, It is not so different today, human trafficking is common is many parts of the world. Human trafficking, is the dark shadow of our culture, sadly,  it is among us, often unseen. See more about this Human trafficking, the dark shadow upon our culture

Getting back to my memories of one Mikulas Daywhen my family was invited to a Mikulas Day celebration. We were gathered at a friend’s house waiting for his arrival. We heard loud thumping outside the door, suddenly I was a bit frightened, just not sure what to expect. The door opened and he walked in tall, impressive in his bishop’s robe, mitered hat carrying a big bag in one hand and holding unto his tall golden shepherd’s staff. Behind him lurked the dreaded krampusz, with red horns in dark devilish red. I was spared the twigs and received a bag of candy and nuts.  Mikulas was stern, he warned us to be obedient to our parents and be good to each other. The memory of that one night remains vivid though I never knew who played the part Mikulas and Krampusz.  The night remain very real feelings of fear mixed with expectation of goodies. None of us moved to open our goody bags until Mikulas had thumped out of the room. At home, If I had been bad, my shoes would not have goodies, instead just a bundle of twigs usually with a krampusz-figure attached, indicating a beating is in order. Thankfully, I never got only twigs. I still recall fearing the morning of Dec. 6. Since I was never all good or all bad, I usually got a bundle of white twigs sprinkled with glitter and the goodies. Memories of Mikulas Day celebrations were fearful and wonderful.

Memories of holidays, celebrations and special occasions form the fabric of who we are. Our world view is shaped by these memories.  Psychologists call memories etched into the fabric of our being,  Episodic Memory. According to Swedenborg, memory is multi layered; we recall events in the exterior memory, but the most interior memory is shaped by God’s presence, where the very fabric of our being is maintained.  See more about this in Swedenborg’s, A C n. 2490. More startling are reports of many Near Death Experiencers’ (NDErs) reports about Life Reviews during intense Near Death States. People experiencing panoramic simultaneous recall of their life-events and the feelings associated with them are truly amazing phenomena that has life altering effects on those undergoing  life-reviews. Here is just one example of an NDEr’s  Life Review.

Sharing our holiday memories is fun, join us for a festive occasion on Sunday December 16 at 4:30 at 698 E. Wetmore Rd. suite 200B, Tucson AZ, a sharing of holiday memories.

St Nicholas or Mikulas

 

Forgiveness

November 20, 2012

Forgiveness

“I am sorry, please forgive me”, often, we say it lightly and without much thought. Sometimes, these words give us an advantage, we are perceived differently. Asking to be forgiven and forgiving someone is powerful enough to move us to a different place in our hearts and minds. Suddenly, we feel lighter and more compassionate toward the one to whom the apology is addressed. It changes us and it changes them. Forgiving is like the crocus breaking through the frozen ground. Forgiving is life affirming. While an apology may be quick with an instant reward forgiving is much harder work. Forgiving is spiritual work.

What is forgiving? When you forgive someone who has deeply hurt you, you let go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge, no matter how deserving of these things the wrongdoer may be. You give the great gifts of acceptance, generosity and love. Forgiving, however, is not about forgetting the injustice, condoning or excusing the wrongdoer; it means you no longer condemn or hold the person(s) in contempt. If you forgive only superficially and continue to hold the person(s) in contempt the work of forgiving is incomplete because you consider yourself morally superior. Forgiving from a moral superiority is not transformative and not life affirming. The frozen ground remains too hard for the flower to push upward into the warming sunlight.

 

See more on Forgiveness hereBreaking through

Dr. Robert Enright devotes his life to researching and teaching forgiveness. Undoubtedly his work is “groundbreaking. Dr. Enright offers a new understanding of forgiveness as an act of love that profoundly affects not just the person forgiving but also the community. We will use Dr. Enright’s model of Forgiveness.  In the Forgiveness Workshop we will work through Dr. Enright’s a model of the forgiving process. According to Dr. Enright, forgiveness is more than a onetime act; it is a way of life.

I begin with an apology for cancelling the Forgiveness Workshop scheduled for November 18. Dr. Enright’s interview is a good way to begin the workshop, Dr. Robert Enright Interview

The new date, is December 2, 4:30 PM, in our new home at  698 E. Wetmore Rd, Suite 200, Tucson, AZ 85705.