Daily Wonder 12-11-14

The Cave, buy viagra Part 3

We will then proceed to argue that the person who rescued us is the one who gives the seasons and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which we and our brothers and sisters have been accustomed to behold. We reason that our savior is the cause of everything, for he has shown us a new reality, and when we first perceive this reality, we’re like newborns again, still blinded by the greatness of our savior and unable to imagine that same greatness lies within us all, now freed of the baggage and illusion of the shadows.

And when we remember our old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and our fellow-prisoners, we begin to congratulate ourselves on our change, and pity those still stuck in the cave.

So some of us who have now seen the light return to the cave, and our eyes are once more filled with darkness. We return to bring the light to our brothers and sisters still imprisoned in the cave, to become saviors ourselves.

But you know what happens? Once back in the cave it takes time for our eyes to adjust again. Compared to those who had never moved out of the cave, our sight is weak and has to become steady. We appear ridiculous. People say of us that up we went and down we came without our eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending. And if any one tried to free another and lead him or her up to the light, the offender should be caught and immediately put to death.

Darkness does not appreciate insurrection.

To be concluded…

Daily Wonder 12-10-14

The Cave, ask Part 2

Now, medical let’s imagine that we the prisoners are released and our error is revealed—someone sets us free and shows us we’ve been seeing only a shadow world. At first, when any of us is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn our neck and walk and look towards the light, we suffer sharp pains. Our eyes ache. Our bodies ache. Our heads feel like nails are being pounded into our skulls, for the light is intense.

The glare will distress us, and we will be unable to see the realities of which in our former state we had seen only the shadows. We’ve been in the dark so long, we can’t even conceive of a different reality. It takes time to adjust.

As we’re adjusting, perhaps after some considerable amount of time has passed, the person releasing us says, “Friend, what you saw before was an illusion, but now, you are free.” And our savior begins pointing to the real objects that had been casting shadows, the shadows we thought were real. For a time, we are completely confused, insisting that the shadows we formerly saw are more real than the objects which are now shown to us. Far more real, in fact.

Yet our rescuer doesn’t give up. We are compelled to look straight at the light, which gives us a pain in our eyes that makes us turn away from it.

Perhaps a little reluctantly at first, we make a steep and rugged ascent, into the presence of the sun itself. This dazzling light irritates us both physically and mentally. When we approach the light our eyes are dazzled, and we are not able to see anything at all of what are now told is reality.

We are blinded by the true light of reality.

Over time though, we grow accustomed to the sight of the world outside the cave. At first we see the shadows best, next the reflections of people and other objects in water, and then the objects themselves. Eventually we gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heavens, and we see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day.

Finally, we be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of it in the water, but we see it in its own proper place, and we contemplate it as it is.

Now that we have seen the light, we can begin to adjust to the new reality it reveals.

To be continued…

Daily Wonder 12-9-14

Plato wrote “The Republic” about 400 years before Jesus was born. 

Plato’s story is about the way intellect and learning help us make wise decisions, order and it was intended as a parable that would create smart leaders who would always work for the good of the entire republic. Plato had government in mind, cialis but his analogy also works as a parable about spiritual awakening and how we each become more Christlike as our minds are opened to a new reality, ailment as our eyes see a deeper truth.

This is my four-part adaptation of Plato’s story, “The Cave”, for Advent.

The Cave, Part 1

Imagine that we live in a cave, and that we’ve lived in this cave since childhood, being held prisoner therein. We’ve never known anything other than this cave, so we don’t even realize we’re captives. Our legs and necks are chained so that we cannot move. We can only see in front of us, being prevented by the chains from turning our heads.

The cave has a mouth open towards the light, which reaches all along the cave. Above and behind us a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and we, the prisoners, there is a raised way.

On that raised way, people pass along carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various other materials. Some of these people are talking, others are silent.

Even though all this activity is taking place, we, the prisoners, see only our own shadows, or the shadows of one another, or the shadows of the objects the people are carrying, projected on the wall of the cave in front of us like a movie.

If we could talk to each other, we would name these shadows as though they were the actual objects projecting them. How could we know any better? We know nothing but the shadows. For us, the projection of objects on the wall is the reality.

Now, suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side. Would we not be sure to presume when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which we heard came from the passing shadow?

For us, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

To be continued…

Daily Wonder 12-8-14

Monday Meditation:
Compassionate God, there
in this time of darkness, pharm
we wait with hope for the One
who will come and show us your light.

As we revel
in the merriment of the season
and the sparkle of decorations, recipe
remind us there are also many
for whom the holiday season
is not one of joy and good cheer.

We pray for those
who cannot see Your light in the darkness.
Show them that hope lays, Holy One,
not in the commercialism of Christmas,
but in the concept of the Christ child.

We pray for those
who grieve this Advent season,
facing the first Christmas after losing a loved one.
Shroud them in Your comfort.
Through the story of the Christ child,
let them touch the eternal.

We pray for those
who struggle to feel joy
because they’re mired in mounting bills,
and in despair for lack of employment.
We pray for the greedy,
that they will loosen their iron-fisted grip
on the world’s resources.
Let both the oppressed and the oppressor
see the light, Lord.
Let us all see the light.

We pray for those
whose family dynamics make holidays
not a time of festive joy,
but instead a time of stress and anger.
We pray that through your grace,
hearts might be softened,
old hurts might be released,
and a door to reconciliation might be opened.

We lift our joys and give our concerns
to your tender care
for those in our congregation,
in our cities,
in nations around the world,
and for people enslaved everywhere.

Burst forth into the now, God,
as you do in the story of Jesus’ birth.
Let your consciousness bloom into our world,
changing our reality forever.
Help us all see beyond the physical.
Help us believe in the metaphysical.

For it’s in the seams
between reality and imagination
that a new consciousness blossoms,
that a new world vision takes root,
that the Light of the World
finally shines brightly on,
in and through
each of us.

Daily Wonder 12-5-14

We must accept finite disappointment, doctor but never lose infinite hope.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thought for the Day: Humans can be extremely disappointing. We’re very often petty, greedy little creatures intent on maintaining our little piece of the pie, rather than daring to give the pie away and bake a new one. For thousands of years, we have lived under the false impression that our resources should be controlled by the powerful few. From the clan leader to the Pharaoh, from the King to the Parliament, we have allowed the Earth’s abundance to be controlled by the wealthy elite. Well, maybe we haven’t allowed it as much as we have had that model forced on us.

Things will only change—and change permanently if we the people take back control of our lives. The peaceful protests happening around the United States are a good start, but if we want to change our world, we have to elect leaders without deep pockets and connections to corporations. The ISIS model of revolution is doomed to fail. The system can only be changed from the inside, and to get people on the inside means finding and supporting candidates who aren’t beholden to the corrupt political system that is endemic to the entire Western World.

The possibilities are infinite. We are taught to believe that our world is finite, but the truth is that our observable universe and the natural resources of this planet are just a single pixel in a multi-dimensional reality. We are infinite beings in an infinite universe. And that means there are infinite possibilities, as long as we never lose hope.

Daily Wonder 12-4-14

Scripture: Hebrews 4:13
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of God, to whom we must give account.

Thought for the Day: Growing up Jewish in the Deep South was no walk in the park. I was often called names, including “Christ killer,” and condemned to an eternity in Hell on a daily basis. Still, I’m a white male, and I’ve largely been able to enjoy the privileges that come from being accidentally born into the planet’s most ruthless and powerful ethnicity and gender. And today, I am more ashamed and angry about that accident of fate than I have ever been in my life.

I have never once had to worry about being shot by the police when I’m walking around late at night with a candy bar in my hands. I’ve never once had to worry that if I sold a cigarette to someone, a cop would strangle me to death. I’ve never had to worry that my son, playing in the park with his Nerf guns would be murdered in cold blood by a police officer. I don’t have to look over my shoulder to see if I’m being followed, pay much attention to the speed limit because I’m worried about being pulled over, or be careful if I get lost and find myself in the wealthiest neighborhood of my city. I’ve never had to worry about justice being served if a loved one is brutally and unfairly slain by those who have sworn to uphold the very justice their actions mock. On camera.

I understand that I can never, ever understand what my brothers and sisters of color—African American, Hispanic American, Asian, Native and Haitian American, go through on a daily basis. But as someone trying to be a merely decent human being, my heart is broken, my spirit is broken, and I wail in agony with everyone whose lives have been destroyed by a racist America with no sense of justice or duty. #blacklivesmatter, #hispaniclivesmatter, #alllivesmatter

Prayer: Lead us out of this dark night of the soul, God who is our only hope.  Amen.

Daily Wonder 12-3-14

Scripture: 1 John 3:1-3
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, healing that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, advice now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Thought for the Day: This passage is not about Jesus’ return at the end of the world. Like everything written in John’s name (likely by an Elder of one of the early churches), this is a deeply mystical, Jewish text. The author correctly understands the hope that lies at the center of Jesus’ message to his people. We are all God’s children—not in some ethereal, unsubstantial way, but literally, at the core of our being, we are created from the stuff of God.

For the early Christians the author was writing to, the world was a very harsh place. People thought followers of Jesus were cultish. A mixture of Jews and Gentiles, they had a difficult time explaining themselves to the Roman Pagans and the orthodox Jews. Early followers of Jesus were expelled from their Synagogues and tortured by Romans—much like Jesus.

They understood, perhaps more than most modern Christians, that Jesus taught and lived a relationship with God nobody before ever imagined possible. Where both Romans and Jews imagined their gods as powerful, external beings, Jesus taught that God is within. He shows us that God is intrinsic to our nature, and that being one with God is, in fact, our true nature. This lesson remains difficult to understand today as can be seen by going into almost any Christian church in the United States. Few pastors preach unity with God; many preach worship of Jesus as an idol.

Jesus preached a message of hope—a message about God who is with us all the time, through the best and worst events of our lives. God for Jesus was not some old man in heaven. Rather, heaven was coming to the realization that God is within us. His is a message of awakening to a higher state of consciousness. The hope in Jesus’ message is not that God acts from somewhere beyond the sky, but that God awakens us to a higher state of being in God’s presence—from within.

Prayer: Wake me from this long, dark night of my soul, God of light, God of hope, God of freedom! Amen.

Daily Wonder 12-2-14

Scripture: Job 5:19
From six calamities he will rescue you;
in seven no harm will touch you.

Thought for the Day: I recently wrote about the importance of the number seven in the ancient world. It symbolized perfection or completion. The Hebrew word for seven, view  shevah, is from the root savah, which means “full” or “satisfied.” Six is associated with humans—created on the sixth day. Six is also the number of labor, and when considered as 4 + 2 or 5+1, six is symbolic of the human world either versus God’s world, or the corruption of God’s world by humans.

When six and seven are paired together though, as they are in this passage from Job, the author intends to contrast what is human from what is spiritual. Eliphaz’s lesson seems to be that when we attempt to do things from a purely human perspective, we’ll mess them up—no matter how altruistic our intentions. The only way to truly be an effective change agent in the world is to let God do the work through us. Six plus one is symbolic of human nature plus the work of God within us, which brings us to perfection.

Throughout Scripture, and indeed in every great spiritual revelation throughout history, we are reminded that we are more than we currently perceive. We are on a journey to Oneness with God. It is a spiritual evolution, a constant pull toward love. And no matter how terrible the world looks, we must always find hope in the fact that God is constantly pulling us closer to God’s own being, turning our imperfect six into a perfect seven.

Prayer: God of all being, make me realize You make me everything I am, and that everything I am is part of everything that is. Amen.