Monday Meditation

Monday Meditation
Today I remember that
we are all children of God, help
none deserving death
at the hands of another.
Today I remember
the heinous way we treat each other;
the discarded lives of
those called to service
as a reminder that
war is never the answer.

Today I remember that
I have a choice to make:
I can serve the war machine
of my government
and its corporate overlords, advice
or I can serve God
and choose peaceful resistance.
I can pretend there is an enemy,
or I can hold my neighbor in my arms
and shower them with love.
Today I remember
my grandparents
who died fighting against
an enemy their parents created.
I remember my brothers and sisters
fighting against an enemy
our parents created.
I remember the endless cycle
of enemy creation, war,
defeat, repeat,
and I renew my vow
as a follower of Jesus the pacifist,
to oppose the cycle of vengeance
and grind it to a halt forever
by refusing to participate in its
systemic evils.

Today I remember
that enemies only exist
when we lie to each other;
steal from each other;
cheat each other out of
our fair share
of the planet’s resources.
I remember that
this world’s bounty
were never meant to belong
to one person or one country,
but instead was given by God
to all of us,
to be cared for,
and shared equally.
Today I remember
that war will cease
when it is no longer profitable;
that hatred will liquefy into nothingness
when fear is vanquished;
that love will transform the world
when hearts,
instead of pocketbooks,
are opened.
Today I remember
a world that is yet to come,
a tomorrow that yearns to be discovered,
a dream of hope, peace, and love
too great for any military machine to destroy.
For it is God’s great dream,
alive in all of us who remember,
that no matter the oppressor,
God sets us free, not war.
Love sets us free, not revenge.
Today I remember
that in God, we are one,
and as one, we are God.
May it be so.

Intersect 5-16-16

Monday Meditation
Gentle Spirit of gracious love, stuff
fill us with your presence.
We open our hearts
to receive your infinite love.
We open our minds to
learn your timeless wisdom.
We give you our bodies
as holy temples,
the place we discover
with you,
our precious God
who dwells
with and within us,
mind, body and soul.
[pause to feel at-one-ment with God]

We ask to be filled

with strength and courage
because walking the spiritual path
is treacherous.
As we walk toward the light
that lights us from within,
we meet resistance.

New ideas,
inspired by you
and about your presence
in the world
are met with violent fear.

Often, the inspirations
we are given
are discounted.
We are called heretics and liars,
our faith and the Bible
are thrown in our faces.
Our love for you
is refuted by religions
for too long
in the vacuum
of their own dogma.

Our new understandings of you
are called into question
because they require
new ways of thinking—
new ways of thinking
that are, ironically,
exactly the way Jesus
has taught us to think
from the beginning.
We are all one:
with each other,
and with you,
our ever-present God
of unconditional and infinite love.
[pause to feel at-one-ment with God]
Fill us with
the fiery presence
of your loving spirit.
Warm our cold hearts
and make us see
past our fears and prejudices.
Help us recognize
there are neither strangers
nor enemies in this world,
but that we make it so.
Give us an understanding
beyond intellect.
Give us holy understanding
to see into each other’s souls
and transcend
our physical prejudices
as we ascend into
universal consciousness.
Support us
as we work together,
all the diverse people
of this gloriously gorgeous world.
[pause to feel at-one-ment with God]
God of peace,
calm us throughout
our busy days.
Give us pause
to stop and smell
the ocean breeze;
to feel the crisp winds
on the mountains;
to stare in awe at the
endless expanse of a desert.
Compel us to share our ideas,
our wealth,
and our compassion
with every human being on the planet,
so that inspired constantly
by our eternal and intimate
connection with you,
we might one day
live in Shangri-La
here and now,
a world of peace,
love, and understanding.
Through each of us
make it so.

Intersect 5-11-16

Experiencing Spiritual “A-Ha!” Moments
Have you ever been in a meditation so deep that you lost a sense of time? You sort of “pop” back into reality and realize you’ve had a profound experience, an “a-ha!” moment that has connected you more deeply with a conscious awareness of the presence of God?

I clearly remember an evening in college sitting on my couch, reading Joel Goldsmith’s Realization of Oneness. It was the first book I ever read that talked about Christ Consciousness. Rather than presenting Jesus as a human sacrifice, Joel—way ahead of his time, saw Jesus as a teacher attempting to awaken a more connected sense of wholeness and unity with God within all of us.

At some point, I became aware that I was no longer reading, but experiencing what Joel was writing about: I was having a very deep and profound Christ moment; a realization of oneness, of the spirit of the Christ welling up deep inside me. The next thing I knew, I “popped!” back into reality (whatever that is), and an hour had passed; an hour that felt to me like just a couple of minutes. To say that experience was a transformative “a-ha!” moment is an understatement.

This is what we see and are meant to understand in the post-resurrection stories about Jesus and the appearance of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Through prayer, meditation, service to others, reading, study, and the other practices that make us feel more connected to God, we can have many moments throughout our lives that awaken us, that help us transcend the ways of this world in order to ascend into a higher state of conscious union with God.

After the resurrection, Jesus sort of, “pops” in and out of reality. He hangs out with his disciples over 40 days. He eats some fish, let’s Thomas poke fingers in his wounds, has communion, and gives them his final teachings on realization of oneness with God—on ascension to spiritual unity with God, Christ—the entire living universe.

We normally read these stories and think about the fact Jesus was hanging around after the resurrection. But, these post-resurrection stories are not only about Jesus overcoming death—in fact, that’s somewhat beside the point. It’s not about Jesus. It was never supposed to be about Jesus. It’s about what these stories have to teach us about regaining our full human being.

Jesus’ post-resurrection visitations are allegories meant to show that the disciples were awakening. They were having a-ha! moments as they finally began to understand what Jesus meant when he said things like “I and the Father are one,” or “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

It is only after Jesus appears to the disciples as spirit that they begin to understand what he was trying to teach them while he was alive. As Joel Goldsmith wrote, “All that is of God is of you and of me because the I of you and of me and the I of God are one and the same I.”

Now I know Christianity, and especially Catholicism, makes much of the fact that the resurrection must have been physical—that’s the whole point of the doubting Thomas story, they say. But reading these stories literally is a Gentile heresy, as Bishop John Spong writes in his new book. The original Jewish audiences would have NEVER read these stories literally, so neither should we.

The post-resurrection stories are not about Jesus returning as a physical being. They are Jewish myth about our human state of being as more than physical. To read the resurrection stories as Jesus’ physical visitations completely negates the power those stories are meant to convey, which is that we are all more than physical. This physicality is but one, small aspect of the totality of our being.

The stories that finally end in the ascension of Jesus into the heavens are stories about OUR ascension as we become more consciously aware of our connection to God’s presence within. The correct translation of Luke 17.21 is the kingdom of God is within.

The disciples who have experiences with Jesus after the resurrection are finally starting to wake up. “A-ha!” they proclaim. “Now I get it!” After they witness Jesus ascend into the heavens, they too begin to achieve higher and higher levels of consciousness.

Every single one of the post-resurrection stories are about the awakening of the people Jesus visits: the two Mary’s who come to the tomb (Jesus meets them as they are running to tell the other disciples that Christ has risen in Matthew 28:9); the disciples on the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16); on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13); to the disciples after Emmaus (Luke 24:36).

In the Gospel of John, Jesus appears to Mary of Magdala, who doesn’t recognize him until her name is spoken, which is a powerful metaphor about spiritual awakening that is present in every tradition on the planet, from Judaism through Buddhism and Hinduism. Having a god-figure speak your name is symbolic of an awakening to a higher level of God-consciousness.

Jesus appears to the disciples (except Thomas) later that same day, a week later to the disciples including Thomas, and to Simon Peter, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons by Lake Tiberias, and the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” The Book of Acts and Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians record other appearances in which the presence of the resurrected Jesus awaken people to a new reality of being.

ALL of these appearances have a transformative effect on the people who witness them. Notice, too, that the subjects of these stories awaken to the presence of the Christ when he is breaking bread with them or calling their names. These are stories of intense spiritual experiences, and they are meant to show us that every single one of us is called to ascend to the presence of God, just like Jesus. Like them, it is simply a matter of changing our awareness, of awakening or being awakened to the presence of the Christ within. Most importantly, these stories are meant to show us that we can ascend right here, right now, dying metaphorically to the things that prevent us from experiencing God.

These are not stories about the afterlife. None of the people Jesus appears to are dead. Jesus himself isn’t even dead, although he’s transcended his physical nature! These are stories about spiritual transformation in the present, not after death.

Transcendence is about enlightenment. It is not, nor was it ever meant to be, exclusive to Jesus. The ascension of Jesus is a literary metaphor for the journey we are all on and our ultimate return to the consciousness from whence we came: God.

Remember too that Jesus is not the only character in the Bible who ascends. The idea that we live beyond the life span of these physical bodies is a common thread throughout the Bible (and other spiritual texts). Both Enoch and Elijah ascend at the end of their lives. Moses, Ezra, Baruch, Phinehas, and Melchizedek are also believed to have ascended. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Jesus of the Gospels (who by the time the Gospels are written is more a literary than a historical figure) is drawn upon the ancient heritage of the Jewish people and used as a symbol of divine ascendance.

The ascension of Jesus is more than a story about something that happened to Jesus. It is an extremely powerful revelation about our true selves, our enlightened nature.

Like the plumbing in our homes, the water only flows when we turn the faucet on. Through prayer, meditation, communion, working together, reading, writing, drawing, painting, singing—whatever it is that turns on our spiritual faucet, we must turn on the faucet and allow the Spirit of God to pour into us and fill our souls with the living water of a living God who nudges all humankind to wake up and ascend.

So I ask, are you ready to turn on that spiritual faucet? Are you ready to wake up? Are you ready to ascend?

Meditation: I am ready. Fill me up and lift me up.

Monday Meditation

I believe in a God
who doesn’t need to manipulate, find
who does not look like me,
who demands not wrath but love.

I believe in a God
who offers salvation
by empowering every human being
to simply act like a decent human being.

I believe in a God
who requires we sacrifice ourselves
not by spilling our own—
and especially not by spilling other peoples—
but by giving up the things
that make us falsely believe
we are set apart
from each other
and from God.
I believe in a God of unity.

I believe in a God
who demands justice and equality,
and inspires us to demand the same
from our earthly leaders.

I believe in a God
who leads us out of the wilderness
of our addictions,
our selfish actions,
our shame and
sense of worthlessness,
not by dying
on an ancient instrument of torture,
but by living
through each of us,
changing how we think and feel
by filling our emptiness
with mind-blowing love.

I believe in a God who exalts us
to a higher awareness
of the interconnectedness of all things
rather than demanding we exalt him
to a place of honor
at the head of our table.

I believe in a God
who humbles herself
for the sake of others,
who demands not worship,
who gives freely of God’s self
to create and sustain
universe upon universe—
realities too numerous to count,
and love too unbearable to resist.

I believe in a God
who loves us all,
regardless of skin color,
gender identification,
or nationality.

I believe in a God who
obliterates walls
by pulsing love
through our veins,
inspiring us to end poverty and homelessness;
income inequality, sexism and racism.

I believe in a God
who compels us to love,
and who, through love,
changes us,
and our world,

May it be so.

Intersect 5-4-16

Quantum Entanglement
I find science—and in particular quantum mechanics—a powerful way to ponder the nature and being of God. Using science as a rational baseline for our religious/spiritual philosophies helps us develop faiths that are well-reasoned, even while by definition, faith requires us to take some imaginative leaps. It is faith after all.

By studying what is known of the natural world and applying it to what we believe about God, the universe, and everything, we follow the traditions of all the inspired people and authors of the world’s ancient holy books. These brilliant and philosophical people formed an image of God and created religious/spiritual systems based on what they saw and understood of their natural world. Today we find their idea that many gods (or even one Mega-God) were in control of things like your luck, thunder, and lightning quaint. But as their religious ideas developed, a crucial concept began to take root, one which finds support in the modern science of quantum mechanics: Everything is connected.

The theory of quantum entanglement states that whenever systems interact—whether those systems are sub-molecular like quarks, or macro like people, “the interaction creates correlations between them.” [1] Human beings inherently understand this concept, although we keep trying to pretend we don’t need each other. In fact, we are so entangled—so connected, that the stories of people sensing each other’s presence or sharing experiences even while separated by thousands of miles fill volumes. This isn’t some sort of psychic phenomenon. Quantum entanglement is the way of the universe. It’s why our hearts rejoice when we see people doing beautiful things for one another. It’s why our hearts break when we see—too often, people abusing each other. It’s why the tiniest of particles seem to “know” what’s happening so that their measured states always match even when they’re separated by enormous distances. Check out this article at Huffington Post for some stuff that will blow your mind.

I think there are many spiritual parallels to the idea that we are entangled with each other and God. For example, when Jesus says, “I and the father are one,” (John 10:30) he’s making a statement about quantum entanglement. Jesus, an enlightened being, inherently knew that all things are connected, and that God is the connector. There is no such thing as independence. In fact, and Jesus states this over and over again as well, as did his rabbinical contemporaries—we are completely and utterly dependent upon not only God but also each other. This isn’t a helpless dependence. It is, rather, an interdependence that opens our minds to a much broader perspective on “reality.” It is an awakening that makes us compassionate and selfless because we see and feel some aspect of ourselves in every other person. Once we understand we are all entangled, then we also begin to realize that God is not out there or up there, but is right here, within us, in our DNA, the very molecules that form us. God is the tiny dots in a painting by Georges Seurat. From a distance everything looks well-formed and “normal.” Upon closer inspection, everything is just quantum dots.

Jesus knew this. He understood that that the very being of God was intrinsic not only to his nature but to all nature; human and plant, insect, fish, bird, etc. All things are connected by and through God. And as we are all made up of bunches of quantum dots, so too are we the quantum dots that create the physicality of God. We are powerfully entangled creatures.

We are entangled by, through, and with supreme consciousness—not a conscious actor, that’s the puppet master of our ancestors. Rather, the underlying consciousness of all physical reality—God, simply creates and experiences without judgment. I know some of you might find that hard to believe. After all, most of us were raised with the understanding that after we die, we will be judged, and judged harshly. I understand coming to that conclusion 5000 years ago. But our modern understanding of the natural world indicates that judgment is more the domain of human beings than God.

Some of the earliest texts in existence are about interdependence and what we now call quantum entanglement. They are stories about people relying on each other.

Around 2600 BCE, the ancient Sumerians were writing what we commonly refer to as wisdom literature. This style of writing teaches piety, virtue, and—importantly, community standards intended to teach members of a society the importance of supporting each other for the common good. Even in our most ancient history we understood the idea of entanglement subconsciously. Entanglement happens at a quantum level, and we are products of quantum mechanics. We walk around because trillions and trillions of atoms assembled into us, cooperating with each other so we can walk, talk, eat, and think. It is our molecular interdependence and entanglement that allow us to be human. On a molecular level, we are intimately connected to each other and to everything that exists in the universe. We are truly one.

Now, if only we could find the faith to believe that and act accordingly.

Meditation: I appreciate this precious, beautiful, sometimes frustrating, often breathtaking, entangled life. I promise to recognize God the Eternal Entangler in everyone I see and treat others with compassion, respect, and agape love.

1. O’Brien, James. Your Simple (Yes, Simple) Guide to Quantum Entanglement. 05 01, 2016.

Intersect 5-2-16

Monday Meditation
Dear and loving God, ailment
thank you for the gift of mystery.
If we are honest, viagra
we have no idea
what you are
or how you work.

If we are faithful,
we come to realize
that neither of those things matter.
All that matters is
to sense your gentle touch,
your loving breath,
and your warm embrace,
all around us;
coursing through our veins,
the very lifeblood of our being.

[pause to sense the presence of God]

We confess that
it is all too easy
to become enraptured by
and trapped in
this soulless world.
We get caught up in crass commercialism.
Our hearts become hardened to
the needs of our brothers and sisters.
Fear of lack, limitation, and otherness
causes us to act rashly
and without reason.
We readily and foolishly
elect to follow hawks
rather than doves.

Send us the dove of peace,
the prince of love,
the Christ who opens our minds
and unbinds our hearts
from fear.
Unchain our souls
and free us to love
and be loved
in your image.

[pause to sense the presence of God]

It is as beings
made in your image
that we offer prayers for healing.
We humbly ask that
comfort and grace
be showered upon
all those in the world
who are suffering
due to disease, violence,
natural disaster, oppression,
and slavery of all kinds.

[pause to sense the presence of God]

You are the creative essence
of everything that exists,
our Holy God of all being.
You are everything we imagine;
all things seen and unseen.
Help us settle ourselves
into your comforting presence.
Compel us to understand that
recognition of you
in everyone we see,
in all of this bountiful
and beautiful
natural world,
is the only thing
that breaks these ties that bind.

In you fear is dissolved,
hatred is vanquished,
and love, pure and perfect,
takes root and flowers
in a mind-blowing variety
of colors, shapes,
thoughts, and dreams.

May all the people
on this little blue speck of a planet,
in a galaxy unfathomably large,
in a universe whose size
is beyond comprehension,
finally come to understand
just how precious, inspiring,
and freeing
this diversity of life truly is.
In your many names, we pray.