Transforming Consciousness through Meditation and Prayer
There is now proof that your brain changes when you meditate:
Our monthly Global Meditation-Prayer Focus is a special opportunity to serve those in need and help build a more unified, compassionate, and loving world. Energy transmissions are sent on a daily basis and the more people who join us in this focus, the greater will be the power of our attunement and the energy available for transmission.
2018 MEDITATION/PRAYER FOCI
with DENNIS KWIATKOWSKI
I’d like to share with you the story of an orange tabby cat who lived outdoors in my neighborhood. No one seemed to know where this cat came from or how old it was but he appeared old, feral and scrappy. One of the neighbors told me “He’s been here the whole time I’ve lived here and I’ve lived here well over ten years before you moved here and he was really old then! And he’s a mean one!” Another neighbor also responded to an inquiry about this cat with the reply “Oh, that one! He’s a nasty one!”
This cat would come around looking for food but he had a strange way of asking for it. He would meow charmingly followed by an immediate hiss so that you got a mixed signal and didn’t know what it meant as if he wanted to have it both ways. If you put food down for him you had to back away immediately as he would hiss and swipe at you if you kept your hand on the plate for even a micro-second and he had very sharp claws. It was as if he feared the food would be taken away and was not being offered for real. This led us to believe (my roommates as well as two women friends who lived in the other half of my duplex) that he had been abused by others in the past and was a survivor who couldn’t easily trust humans.
All of us in our duplex put out food for this cat regularly (if cautiously) and he ate it all appreciatively with a meow and a hiss. We called him The Orange Cat since no one knew if he ever had a name. There was something plaintive about him and it was impossible to resist feeding him. Because no one dared touch him we lamented he would never know the warmth of human touch. All of our other cats didn’t like him.
After many months of his visits, or even a couple years, we gave him a name: Charlie. I don’t remember how we came up with this name but it was better than The Orange Cat and now he had a personal identity. One day shortly afterward, one of us and then another brushed up against him or actually accidentally touched him and he didn’t recoil or retaliate and we were able to pet him. After this Charlie was a changed kitty. He would come inside the house when visiting, he knew how to use a litter box and he befriended the other kitties.
But Charlie remained a feral cat and would get into scrapes or manage to come by with a wound on his side (and as I mentioned he was very old). But he responded well to metaphysical healing both contact and absent treatments and he would continually bounce back and recover from his injuries. We gave him high quality food as he didn’t have the advantage or indoor protection of our own well-attended kitties and because of his injuries.
Charlie knew how to get the best food from us, quality meat (sometimes raw) or other healing foods. He also used that old trick—ask for food, turn up your nose to what is being offered as if to say ‘is that all you have?’ until another option is offered. Then when there are enough options you can appreciatively sample each of them. Cats have known this trick for centuries—they can be considered to be the true inventors of the smorgasbord. Then again the look of pure ‘anticipation’ when a cat patiently waiting for a ground turkey burger you are steaming especially for him or her is reward I itself. Even when we resolved that ‘enough Is enough’ and that we would not fuss over him, one look at his pleading face when he came by for food was enough to dissolve that resolution.
Charlie soon became the most loving of kitties. Though still an outdoor cat, he was offered a warm room on the coldest winter nights and understood and accepted the newspapers laid out on the floor or a couch in case he had an accident. He got along well with the other cats who now accepted him. I can well remember the pleased countenances of all the cats (Charlie included) sprawled together on the patio on a warm lazy day or sitting together on the driveway taking in the early evening summer air. Even one of the tame squirrels in the yard would come up to Charlie and bump noses with him. It was almost impossible to believe this was the reviled neighborhood cat of years hence.
Finally, age, infirmity and injury caught up to him. He was visiting me one day and cried as he inadvertently wet the area he was traversing. The cry may have been in much in pain as in the fact he was mindful of the irregularity. He then jumped onto a chair on which he had seen all the other cats frequently lounge since they were part of a family, but it was a chair Charlie had never been on, and he sat down for few seconds, then jumped down and left. That was the last time any of us saw him.
A couple days later, we found his body in the crawlspace under the house. Something inside me had told me to look there. Charlie had crawled to the place directly beneath the common wall of the duplex and the two doorways of the two households which contained the people who looked after him. He consciously chose the spot. He passed away in peace – at home – listening to the sounds, activities and voices of the people he loved. All of us felt enriched in knowing him.
As is often the case with animals, people – the challenging as well as the easy – are in our lives for a reason. Sometimes we know the reason, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it is simply an opportunity, sometimes it is karmic. Always it is a call to bring out the best in us, to inspire our integrity and our stand for what is right, and to enkindle our compassion.
For our October Focus may we see compassion, connectedness and the fellowship of all life and of all people manifesting its special beauty and miraculous effect in inspiring and uplifting the entire world.
Wayne Dyer once noted: If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Those people who have pets or interact with wildlife have observed one manifestation of this principle, to wit: if you notice them, they notice you.
I often feed the squirrels and the birds in the yard. At first, my cats thought this was completely crazy (i.e. “You’re feeding them?”). But even the cats accepted this eventually as being normal (for crazy humans) and cats and squirrels now get along—there are times when the back yard resembles a scene from Bambi and the cats will even let me know when the squirrels or birds (and sometimes opossums, raccoons, or visiting cats) are expecting some food if I haven’t given it my attention.
Once animals begin to trust you some of their barriers come down. The sparrows, finches and chickadees will alight on the fence where I put birdseed and get extremely close to me if they want me to put food out. The crows will actually peck on the closed door of the outside back room of my house if I am inside and haven’t fed them (and it is good to keep in mind that a crow can remember and identify a human face for five years or longer). Both squirrels and birds will come up to the regular screen door of the house and peer inside to communicate. Of course if you gain an animal’s trust you must respect that trust (and it helps to give them the natural food they would eat, raw peanuts, as one example).
Animals easily pick up one’s intent. I remember hearing a squirrel in a tree but I was having trouble seeing it. I wanted to give it a nut but just couldn’t find it. (If a squirrel is tame enough to accept a nut from you it is necessary to always hold the nut by its end extended away from your fingers for safety reasons as a finger can look like a peanut shell.) The squirrel knew my intent. It came out to the end of the branch dangled by its hind legs and reached out with its paws as if to say “I know you are looking for me. Here I am, and I want that nut!”
With my cats, when they use the litter boxes, I clean them right away when possible so they always have fresh boxes. The cats took note of this and now they immediately seek me out to let me know whenever they use a box. So I have them trained (or they have me trained, whichever it is). The point is communication works with animals and they will also communicate with you.
The themes included in this Focus: attention, awareness, intention and communication are particularly important in these times that we find ourselves in. To these we can also add compassion. But that is a subject for next month’s Focus.
For our September Focus may we see people everywhere realizing their oneness with all life, with each other and with Divine Source and responding accordingly resulting in the upliftment and evolution of our society and benefiting all people throughout the world.
I have let the July 2018 Monthly Meditation Focus speak for itself for most of the month of August, and it would be well for you to reread that Focus as the political events it referenced have continued to unfold. Much is yet to be revealed in coming months and years, and humanity may be said to be at a crossroads with important choices to make.
If the times seem to be very weird and unsettling at present, that is normal. And they will get even weirder for a while. As astrologer Robert Wilkinson points out (and if I may particularly notate and/or paraphrase many of the points he has brought to our attention regarding the astrological aspects in play), if things don’t seem to make sense at times, they don’t have to. But it is very important not to be thrown by this– to not get distracted by what is going on. By keeping your head, even if others are losing theirs, you will help matters and come out of it all feeling good.
The August 26th Full Moon we’ve just experienced will also help us in coming weeks to see what works and what doesn’t and what we need to do to be more effective. It will help us find more authentic and compassionate ways to interact as well as to realize the fellowship we share with others.
We are in a time when unfairness, inequality and exaggerated vanities are becoming all the more obvious and Wilkinson further advises to beware of dishonest comparisons, false equivalents, falsely juxtaposing things that have no relationship to each other and dishonest people who may be preventing certain natural results from taking their course. We are also advised to focus on the heart of the matters that come to our attention, to stay on point and ignore the rationalizations and superficial distractions floating about.
Some of the energies in play constitute major friction that is not easy to deal with. Wilkinson further notes that the theme of integrity continues to be prominent for the world in this time of transformation—a time to stay balanced and in touch with your integrity. It is a perfect time to go deeper into our feelings and to learn to trust the God Within. The good news is that invisible help will come when needed.
And to all of his thoughts I would only add: We are all one, interconnected–we are all in this together. I can’t emphasize enough the fact that you are very important at this time. You make a crucial difference. For our monthly focus may we continue to see all people truly centered in soul awareness and responding in ways that are uplifting and helpful to all people as we play our part in creating a magnificent world for all of humanity.
It was pointed out previously that astrologically there is a lot going on right now. Astrological aspects for this summer and the coming years suggest that there will be much to reflect upon and much that will be revealed. One area where we are seeing this is in recent political events. With an eclipse earlier this month (July), another in several days and yet another in August, as well as various planets in retrograde and other multitudinous aspects covering a broad swath of the zodiac, everyone is being affected by what is going on (or perceiving the effects). This is one reason why so many people seem on edge and why you yourself may feel out of sorts or off kilter at times.
Don’t let this throw you, however. It is important that you not be distracted by unfolding events. Notice the intensity but come back to your center. Remain centered. This will be of help not only to yourself and those around you, but may even neutralize or improve the situation which follows from those people losing it because they are having a hard time handling things. In this respect, a bit of kindness now and then may go a long way toward providing uplift to people and situations in these turbulent times. Let your intuition be your guide in this regard.
We had also previously mentioned how certain astrological aspects were last in play during the rise of fascism and totalitarianism in the 1930s. This is echoed today in the authoritarian tendencies being expressed in some people and it is important to be alert to these tendencies wherever you see them. This is all coming up so it can be cast off. It is like the dying gasps of dinosaurs who want power to lord it over others, however long or short it takes for this to play out. Like other desires to control it comes from a place of fear, not love. Coinciding with this is the rising awareness and consciousness among people to see through all the nonsense and desperation.
Humanity is at a crossroads during the next several years with major choices to make. We are moving slowly and surely from one Age into another. Simply by being aware and noticing what is going on in others as well as what is going on and coming up within yourself will do more good that you imagine–resulting in much better and more effective ways of doing and accomplishing things. Those who sincerely desire and endeavor to make the world a better place will, due to cosmic influences in effect, receive invisible help at times when needed. Each of us has a part to play as this new Age unfolds bit by bit and it is worth reflecting on and meditating on what specifically that role is that each of us are especially equipped and inspired to play as we all move forward together.
For our July Focus may we see all people truly centered in soul awareness and responding in ways that are uplifting and helpful to all people as we play our part in creating a magnificent world for all of humanity.
One of the reasons I referenced Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey in last month’s Focus is that, simply by Kubrick asking his inner self the question “How does mankind, how does humanity relate to the universe?” he drew in inspiration from a soul level. Over the next four years the director, his co-author and the hundreds of people who were a part of, and who worked on the film strove to bring that inspiration into artistic realization. So consuming and exacting was this process for all involved that the film drew on every bit of skill and energy that they had and was only just barely completed at the time of its 1968 premiere (with the director trimming some footage just after the premiere to produce the film masterwork that is known today).
Kubrick’s vast intelligence, talent and moments of attunement with forces larger than himself coupled with uncompromised artistic integrity resulted in a work of art that, 50 years later, is still resonating, reverberating and revealing its secrets and providing insights. This is because that realm from which all creativity and artistic inspiration springs is infinite, timeless and eternal—archetypal and inexhaustible in the inspiration and insight it can provide. This is the same realm, level, state, and field of all possibilities that we access when we meditate. It is our real nature.
It is important that we regularly attune ourselves with this level of our being, that we maintain our integrity and centeredness so we may contribute to the good that may be accomplished in the coming years. The turbulence of the late 1960s is not unlike the turbulence of our own times. Astrological aspects for this summer and the coming years suggest that there will be much to reflect upon and much that will be revealed. What are your highest ideals? What do you stand for? How are you to play your part?
For our June Focus may we see a flow of metaphysical energy to all people who truly believe in the equality of all people; who have compassion for all people; who are inspired by the highest ideals and the highest promptings of soul and strive to manifest these into the world; who truly want to help make the world a better place; who treasure unity out of diversity–out of the many –one, and out of the one, many—who believe in and stand up for the ethics, values, principles and ideals that will meet the needs of all citizens and inform one’s actions and interactions with other people, cultures and countries in order to build a global community of mutual love; where working together, it is possible to transform the planet and create a heaven on earth where all people realize their oneness with each other, with all of life and with Divine Source and thus respond accordingly.
In past Meditation Focus articles I have occasionally referenced Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This film is so intelligent, powerful and profound that aspects of it can be used to illustrate any number of important metaphysical points. In fact, when 2001 premiered in Cinerama theatres in 1968, it was as though a shock wave, a lightning bolt had reverberated throughout the world of cinema. Nothing quite like the film had ever been seen before. It was hugely influential on filmmakers (and in other ways) and continues to be right up to the present day.
This year, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey. You may have heard about this anniversary in the news (a 70mm, 6-track-stereo print of the film was shown a few days ago at the Cannes Film Festival to great acclaim) and you may continue to hear about the film the rest of the year as several 70mm prints are theatrically distributed in a number of cities throughout the world and the film is released on video in the Fall in a special new high-definition blue ray transfer.
Then as now, the film requires viewers to leave their expectations at the door and to be open to the experience of the film, with the resultantly rich reward that follows. Even the title numbers are symbolic—2+0+0+1 = 3, the number of perfect manifestation. There are four numbers in the title—4 is the number of foundation or structure, the physical universe. Four and three add up to the number 7—the number of mysticism. 2001 is about humanity’s relationship to the universe—to the infinite. It is about the transfiguration and transformation which comes from receptivity to the divine influx—it is ultimately an uplifting and truly spiritual work of film art which can help transform the viewer.
It is no surprise that after 50 years it has come around again–astrologically, the planetoid Chiron is back in the same sign and degree that it was when 2001 played in theaters in 1968. Chiron is the “Wounded Healer” and is symbolic of many things (insight, evolution, healing, teaching, the forces of nature, and many others) that resonate with 2001. Other cycles in return from the 1960s resonate as well—the revolutionary protests of those times, standing up for human dignity and a better world for all, desiring to heal our societal (chironic) wounds are echoed in today’s worldwide protests and demonstrations of people standing up for (again) human rights, human dignity and that which is right—only now with fresh insightful and youthful voices and the possibility of taking it all to the next level in the coming years.
The Cosmic forces implied in the film 2001 are in abundance today astrologically and it is a perfect time to find one’s role to play in the coming years (as we all each have a role to play) to find one’s place, as astrologer Robert Wilkinson puts it, “in the Cosmic Choir” to determine when to add our voice in harmony with the unfolding that is going on. It is a time when much help will be given on a cosmic level, despite the madness that seems to surround us today, to all those who wish to contribute in their own way from the depths of their soul to making the world a better place.
For our May Focus may we see all people responding to the influx of the Divine Within, of Source, to inspire their actions to assist in the unfolding of our society’s highest aspirations and the transformation of our planet.
A short time back, on Facebook, I came across a post that gave some helpful tips for living life effectively. The post read as follows:
- Live beneath your means
- Return everything you borrow
- Stop blaming other people
- Admit it when you make a mistake
- Give clothes not worn to charity
- Do something nice and try not to get caught
- Listen more, talk less
- Every day take a 30 minute walk
- Strive for excellence, not perfection
- Be on time, don’t make excuses
- Don’t argue, get organized
- Be kind to unkind people
- Let someone ahead of you in line
- Take time to be alone
- Cultivate good manners
- Be humble
- Realize and accept life isn’t fair
- Know when to keep your mouth shut
- Go an entire day without criticizing anyone
- Learn from the past, plan for the future
- Live in the present
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- It’s all small stuff
Notice something about these suggestions (some of which are real gems): All of them deal with awareness. When we are more aware, we are more focused. More present. More in the now. We can often make better decisions.
We see many examples of increasing awareness in today’s society almost too numerous to mention. I’ve noted how, in recent years, the annual Oscars (Academy Awards ceremony) telecast has taken the high road—amid all the political fracas and social unrest, the show’s participants have highlighted what they stand for instead of tearing others down. We also see increasing movements today of people standing up for that which is good and right.
One of the things that stands in the way of awareness, of presence, of owning one’s own power, of expressing one’s soul, is fear. Often it is the fear of failure. I recently saw a film about the multi-decade movement for gay equality in Australia. In it, a young gay man is bullied and thrown out of the school he was attending. He wants to fight the discrimination but is afraid of losing his case. A famous activist mentor, Lance Gowland, tells him: “I’ve lost nearly every scrap I’ve been in. If we only fought the battles we’re gonna win, there’d be no point getting up in the morning.” Gowland’s activism largely helped result in gay equality in Australia culminating with the recent passage of marriage equality.
The film Darkest Hour was nominated for Best Picture at last month’s Oscars. It dramatizes the choice Winston Churchill faced during World War II immediately after he became Prime Minister in England: does he bow to the pressure of those advising him to negotiate peace with Hitler or does he fight on with the possibility of his country facing a humiliating defeat?
Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln are regarded as two of the greatest individuals in history. Yet each of them faced many, many failures, mistakes and setbacks in their lives. Had either of these individuals allowed previous failures to deter them during their defining moments—Churchill’s inspiring England to resist Hitler even though conditions seemed impossible helped avert the real possibility of the Nazis overtaking the world; Lincoln’s steadfast resolve to preserve the Union during the Civil War and to abolish slavery under similar seemingly impossible conditions speaks for itself and continues to inspire to this day—had either of them faltered in their awareness, the world would be a much worse place.
Today we see a similar danger of authoritarian tendencies among some, yet we also see an even stronger awareness among people, a clarity and awakening of centered soul expression that will slowly and inexorably lead step by step into the Aquarian Age.
For our April Focus, may we see individuals everywhere receptive to the increasing awareness that comes forth from presence of soul so that the resulting soul expression leads to a world that is a better place for all.
As these are turbulent times in which we live, here are just a few things to keep in mind:
There is a lot going on right now: astrologically, cosmically, evolutionarily, politically, and spiritually. If life seems hectic, intense or confusing at times, that is normal.
Many people are going through a lot right now. Since we are all interconnected it is easy to pick up on this. Picking it up and taking it on are two different things. Send out loving and healing thoughts. This will do much good. Don’t take on what isn’t yours.
As astrologer Robert Wilkinson points out: “The source of all personal power comes from within, and not from external props. As you realize your Inner Self, your external world will change accordingly.”
Each of us is individual—unique. Just as no two snowflakes are alike and no two grains of sand are the same, so too, who you are and what you have to offer is unique.
You can’t give up because of setbacks. Don’t underestimate the impact you can have. The two most important things are to be patient and Soul-centered.
In responding to life situations instead of reacting, ask yourself: what is the highest Soul expression I can bring forth?
Knowing when to push forward and when to rest is important. There are times when your body is telling you to rest–Nature will find ways to slow you down if you don’t.
Keep in mind, there is a Bigger Picture. Ask yourself: what is my part in this? What role am I to play?
We can’t really judge others. Each must learn (and has the privilege to learn) in their own way.
We always have the option and the ability to be kind, even when we don’t feel like it.
If people knew the power that they wield and what it opens up and what it attracts when they do not despair, and when they petition from the level of their soul, they would take heart.
“Mankind often becomes what he or she believes themselves to be. If I keep saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end up becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.” –Mahatma Gandhi
For our March Focus may we see individuals throughout the world collectively experiencing soul communion bringing the highest expression of Divine Love into our physical reality, our world, and the universe.
In an address to congress, U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted the example of a soldier who had repeatedly served tours of duty in combat until very badly wounded, but who has since painfully fought his way back to health with the desire to serve even more. It was a touching moment because it was a reminder of soul energy.
We could speak of other examples over the years–of tragic events transformed—Superman actor Christopher Reeve–who through an accident became quadriplegic. Performer Julie Andrews–who lost her unique crystalline singing voice. Film journalist Roger Ebert–who suffered the loss of his jaw and speaking voice.
Yet, like the soldier cited above, they all have inspired others. Christopher Reeve demonstrated the courage of a real Superman. Julie Andrews inspired through other talents and through her presence. Roger Ebert continued to write and communicate and educate with eloquence and insight.
And we could certainly cite the limitations with which Helen Keller came into this world. Or the elephant man, John Merrick. Or Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or many others. All of these personages touch us and move us because it is not just what was admired in their known personality that stirs us deeply, but something greater–the fact that in their lives, even when outer conditions changed or were difficult, they presenced the majesty of soul.
As human beings, we reside in a physical plane of structure and limitation. Yet we have projected to this plane from a condition of infinite potential–so we have, at all times, infinite potential within us.
How often we forget this when we view our cup as half-empty! Half-empty implies lack. Lack breeds fear of further loss of “what little remains”. But the simple realization of a cup half-full starts with what is already there—an existing abundance that can be increased and amplified.
We may, or may not like every situation we experience every day of our lives. But from a cosmic viewpoint, the question isn’t: Was every experience in our lives agreeable or disagreeable to us? From a soul perspective, the question is rather: What did we get out of it? What did we learn from it? What did we do with it?
Since it is so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day concerns, it is not always discernible to us, from our own vantage, just how we may be affecting others—how profoundly we may touch other lives simply by being ourselves and letting our inner nature radiate naturally.
Be yourself. Be who you really are. Share who you are! Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Few things are more destructive than self-pity or self condemnation. We are works in progress. And that is enough. It is only important we stay solidly on the path.
Allow others to be themselves as well—helping them without trying to control them. It is each person’s privilege to evolve their personality in accordance with their soul’s purpose—not our desire or ego. It’s what we presence in life that matters most. Do we primarily presence ego, or do we presence soul?
And when we feel frustrated, it may be well to remember the words of writer Cecil Poole: We must not let the things we can’t do keep us from doing the things we can!
During February meditations, our focus is that the inner light of all beings radiates forth with an abundance of soul energy that profoundly awakens, unifies and heals our planet.
For the third year in a row, a Star Wars film has graced movie theater screens throughout the world during the end of the year holiday season with an uplifting message that mirrors what is occurring in our society. This new film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi carries the additional thrill of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher reprising their iconic roles of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia forty years after the original Star Wars movie!
Director George Lucas was cosmically inspired to make Star Wars back in 1977. It introduced the concept of The Force to the mass consciousness–the mystical energy field underlying and uniting all things—the power wielded by Jedi Knights in harnessing and directing the unlimited potential of the Soul’s energy. The immense popularity of the Star Wars films (they became something iconic like the Beatles) indicates they touched a chord within viewers—The Force is something that resonates on a soul level with viewers—something consciously or unconsciously understood inwardly on a deep level.
Lucas envisaged that first movie as part of a series and he made five more films in the series, each of them making a significant contribution, before selling the Star Wars rights to the Disney company so that newer films could be made for the generations to come.
The new series commenced with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and now Star Wars: The Last Jedi (with the back-story film Rogue One sandwiched in-between). These films feature long overdue strong female lead characters which highlight the unfolding influence of the Divine Feminine in our society. Everyone has within themselves, regardless of gender, the male principle and the female principle. Both are important and are to be kept in balance (just as bringing balance to the Force is a theme central in all the Star Wars movies). But the feminine principle has been lacking in society for some time by an overemphasis on the male principle with the result that certain ideas, radical “solutions” and authoritarian tendencies are being expressed in pockets of the world that more closely resemble the evil galactic empire of Star Wars than that of a civilized society.
Think of the feminine principle as soul energy, intuition, attunement, conscience, divine inspiration and guidance, soul power—the Force. In the new Star Wars movies, the Force is awakening in more and more people. This parallels the fact that more and more people in our society are awakening and responding to their soul urgings and promptings. This is seen in the huge numbers of people throughout the world who are seeing through the deceptions being perpetrated standing up for what is right.
Critics and audiences have responded overwhelmingly positively to The Last Jedi. It has been called the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (which is considered to be the best in the series). There have been some exceptions and they fall into two categories. The first category consists of fans who say the new film departs from Star Wars tradition or have other objections to it. The second category consists of people who actually claim to be sowing discontent and attempting to shout down opposition to their views (not unlike the way that Russian chat bots were used in a negative way on social media in recent elections).
But make no mistake, in my opinion The Last Jedi does right by Lucas and right by the Star Wars series (and features a superior score by John Williams). It goes further and forward with the series in the same way that society will continue moving forward to make for a better world. Lucas subtitled the original Star Wars movie A New Hope. The more recent Rogue One also ends with a message of hope. And hope is certainly the theme of The Last Jedi. A good question to ask as to your own experience of the film is: is your soul moved while watching and experiencing the film?
The Last Jedi has a lot to say about a number of things: the value of failure and struggle in making us wise and strong, the dark night of the soul, unlearning what you have learned so you may be who you really are, the importance of hope and trust (Princess Leia: “Hope is like the Sun. If you only believe it when you see it, you’ll never make it through the night.”), the reliability of the power of our inner nature, the magic of commitment and much more. We live in a time when connection to soul, and responsiveness to its influence, is important in bringing balance to our society and we each have a part to play. Individually and collectively we are confronting the lesser aspects of human nature and helping to heal them.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is required viewing for all mystical students who would use their innate resources to make a positive, uplifting and helpful contribution to the world. In fact, seeing the film and sending out thoughts that it reaches viewers with its positive message will do much to help all the good work that was done during 2017 to continue to manifest and inspire people. And yes, keep in mind one true thing indeed: The Force is with you.
For our January Focus, may we see people everywhere continuing to awaken to their divine potential, realizing they are protected and aided by their soul nature and can move beyond their fears step by step and contribute greatly to the wonderful work that is unfolding within so many people working together for the upliftment, enrichment, and betterment of our planet.
2017 MEDITATION/PRAYER FOCI
with DENNIS KWIATKOWSKI
You might say we live in a time that feels Saturnian. The influence of Saturn in an astrological chart is to encourage discipline, patience and perseverance. Saturn deals with structure and limitations and how to work with and expand through limitations. There is a lot we can do within limitations. We always have freedom within a given situation—we can always choose our response—whether a situation feels burdensome or not.
I was reminded of this the other day when a friend remarked that some people “bring out the worst” in him. For example, in talking to someone who liked to gossip, he found it all too easy to go along and gossip as well. In talking to another person who tended to see things in a negative light, he found it was easy to get caught up in negativity.
My friend realized that just noticing this tendency gave him an opportunity to be more “conscious” in his dealings with others—to question whether what he was saying was what he really wanted to say—whether he was being in integrity or just repeating or perpetuating old negative patterns in himself and others. Of course, speaking consciously and authentically while at the same time being appropriate, understanding and mindful of where another person is coming from can be tricky or challenging but is worth the effort. Sometimes it will result in a parting of ways, but often it can neutralize negativity, break up dysfunctional patterns and cycles and transform relationships.
Many people are feeling overwhelmed by current events, natural disasters, greed, deceit, a stolen presidential election, Russian interference, continuing interference and distractions, violence, corruption, harassment, scandals to mention only a few. At the same time, there has been a tremendous response worldwide of people standing up for what is right. This positive wave is something that will continue. Difficult situations will often bring out the best in us. It is important to have courage. It is a time of testing the soul of a nation and of other nations as divine unfoldment manifests.
Some years back, more than one Meditation Focus made note of individuals such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Victor Frankl, Julie Andrews, Christopher Reeve, and many, many more who overcame great personal hardships, limitations or obstacles in their lives and accomplished great things or inspired others. If these individuals had simply given up when faced with difficulty, our world and culture would be much poorer indeed!
In looking at life’s more Saturnian or challenging moments, we can always ask: what can I do with what I am experiencing, what realization does it hold? How can I grow from it? And even more importantly we can ask: In what ways can I use patience, perseverance, self-discipline, maturity and inspiration to make things better? What response is in harmony with my Highest Self? (Hint: It involves letting go of fear and moving forward with love and compassion.) Such questions will always lead slowly but surely to transmutation and transformation.
For our DECEMBER FOCUS, may we see individuals throughout the world acting from a place of integrity, grace and the highest manifestation of Divine Soul inspiration to effect positive change in the world and encourage the unfoldment of the full potential of humanity.
We are privileged to live in a time where divine energy, illumination and love is flowing and manifesting in such a profound way as to bring truly wonderful changes and transformation to our planet. The pace of these changes has quickened in recent decades, bringing with it a challenge to everyone, to grow and evolve in kind, and to remain centered in soul as a glorious new age unfolds. But for some people, the experience of these energies results in fear, panic and desperation as it is difficult for them to quite grasp what is happening and to realize such change is for the better.
For these people, their entire world (and their world-view) seems to be crashing down around them which leads to ever more frantic attempts to hold on to a ‘comfortable past’ which no longer serves anyone well and which unbeknownst to them is already gone forever. The background static created by this kind of fear and panic is a source of discomfort and considerable turmoil in the world, to say the least–but it is a natural phenomenon that is part of the picture and it is a passing thing–however long that passing may take. Evolution and divine unfoldment will continue to manifest.
It’s like a magnificent piece of music with a wonderful vibrational message is being played on a cosmic radio that is being broadcast to our entire world and in our lives, but there is this annoying background static. The static can interfere with, distort and obscure the beauty and purity of the message of the music. Rather than focus our attention on the static, which will only embolden it, we can help in this situation by intentionally energizing those soul personalities who are helping the new age to manifest. This is like drawing in the radio channel more clearly and powerfully and it emphasizes the manifestation of the solution instead of being stuck on the problem.
Our focus for November is the flow of metaphysical energy to those people throughout the world who truly believe in the equality of all people, who truly have compassion for all people, and who truly want to help make the world a better place. By petitioning divine aid that these people be attuned to their souls, that they externalize their souls and that they be divinely inspired, we can vivify and strengthen the manifestation taking place. By ending our focus with the petition that all people receive what they need in accordance with divine will, our efforts will be as universal and helpful as possible.
This is already happening today–as this influx of divine truth manifests. More and more people are indeed seeing clearly (and seeing through the deceptions that have been perpetrated for far too long). By seeing the world, in our focus, ablaze with divine light–a world in which all are healthier, happier, more creative, more peaceful, prosperous, attuned with, and a reflection of, the divine manifest–we are able to actively participate in this influx to the betterment of ourselves and the unfoldment and upliftment of the entire planet and its peoples.
A previous meditation focus posed the question: What are you doing, or being drawn to, to increase your soul power, to become more of who you truly are: Meditation? Esoteric study and application? Exercise? Yoga? Tai Chi? Chi Gong? Astrology? Being present? Living in the Now? What practices, interests, traditions, symbolic systems or rituals help to remind you of who you are, and of your purpose? Dwelling in their meaning, and in the Now, helps attune us to essential Oneness with All and releases the power of Soul.
Allow me, if you would, to share a few personal thoughts with you. My first name is Dennis and my last name is Kwiatkowski. The name Dennis stems from Dionysus, the Greek god of ecstasy. The name Kwiatkowski means flower, or flowers. My middle name means: a valley. The word ‘valley’ is used at times for the material world, or the material plane we find ourselves living in. So I can interpret my name as indicating that part of my life purpose is to learn to harness the Divine (Dionysian) energy that resides within (and within all), to wisely apply its manifest expression so that it flowers in the valley (produces beneficial results in the material world and among all with whom I come into contact). Along with the many other things I am here to learn and work on, this personally derived interpretation gives me a positive thing to keep in mind. You may be surprised by looking up the meaning of your own name in regard to insight it may provide. Few things in life (given names included) are accidental.
I often meditate at a small simple desk acquired many years ago that, for a very long time, was in the office of Ralph M. Lewis (who headed the Rosicrucian Order for nearly 50 years) adjacent to his desk at which a person transcribed Lewis’ thoughts as he wrote and corresponded. When I worked with Mr. Lewis many years back, I felt a kinship to him (and to his father before him). The desk I referred to is not a talisman, it has no intrinsic quality (though perhaps it is imbued with some good vibes). It is simple, unadorned, even somewhat homely. Yet it reminds me of Lewis’ simplicity, humility, intelligence, dedication and integrity in devoting his life to helping people cultivate their connection with their Inner Being in order to make their lives better and the world a better place. As a symbol it reminds me to elevate my consciousness.
Similarly, the small votive candle LED light I use at times when meditating reminds me, when it is extinguished, that though the light is no longer visible, it burns brightly within ever ready to inspire, and to direct its comfort, warmth and light wisely—and that it is an inner light we all share alike.
My cats like this meditation table as well. (One of the things my own astrology chart indicates is a love for animals and a possible rapport with them which has proved to be the case). Recently one of my cats, old and somewhat ill had trouble traveling the distance to the litter box, especially after consuming water. I invited the cat to stay in my room and I set up a much closer, more private and accessible litter box with the result that it solved the wetting problem. Not only that, but now this cat joins me in my meditation periods, is happy and blissful, has dramatically improved health and also is of help to me.
When I am in an attunement period directing metaphysical aid she simply loves the energy and will lay her head on my navel or solar plexus or heart and purr contentedly. She also likes to look just above my head apparently sensing the energy I can feel swirling there as the result of the attunement. If my mind wanders, or my thoughts become mundane, she picks up the change in energy instantly and will vocally protest to remind me to get back to attuning. This happens unerringly and regularly so in reaching out to help her she is assisting in improving my esoteric attunement sessions.
I also had a cat who was very sensitive to disharmony. Whenever anyone in the household was expressing anger or hostility or meanness (as we humans sometimes do) this cat would protest loudly literally seeming to say ‘you’re hurting me. Please stop.’ Interestingly, if an angry outburst came from something that might naturally produce frustration, a stubbed toe for example or a computer malfunction, she would not react. But if it came from ego or unconscious projection that was negative, she would let us know. She was so innocent, plaintive and clear in her pleading and so consistent (even sensing the discordant energy just before it even manifested) that it produced a profound effect. The result was that everyone in the household became more conscious of their actions, more harmonious and evolved. Animals have much to teach us if we take the time to notice.
So it is definitely worthwhile to ask: What are you drawn to, and what do you respond to from the deepest core of your being? What do you value, and why? These questions will become all the more relevant and important in the coming months and years. For our October Focus may we see all people across the planet receptive to the insights emanating from Soul–the application of which brings blessings and benefits to all of humanity.
An important thing to keep in mind for those of us who participate in the healing work of the IFGT Distant Service Council during this intense time–heat waves, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, violence, news revelations etc.. — is that many times we see the direct positive results of our coming together in healing work while at other times we may be unaware of the good that is accomplished. We may never know how much the energy directed has assisted in rescue, recovery, repair and healing efforts—how it has mitigated what might have been an even worse situation or how it inspires and helps people to deal with a particular situation
We have mentioned previously that this is a very powerful time we are living in—there is a lot going on astrologically (the recent total solar eclipse, the effects of which we will see for quite some time to come, was not an insignificant happening). It is a time when people who are receptive to and aligned with their soul power are standing up for what is right and they will continue to do so as will more and more people. And they will do it in a way that is elegant and diplomatic and caring with heart-centered fire that brings results. It is a time to be patient. It is also a time when more and more people will receive insight and understanding.
Because of the intensity of the energies in play, it is easy to become confused or depressed or to feel hopeless. The ego loves depression and drama and wants to use it try to convince people to give up in its desperate attempt to try to hold onto power. While depression may be a sign to seek further help, there are certain times when depression masks that things are moving forward and that it is all the more important to continue with the work and progress you have set into motion while responding to your highest inner promptings. Only you can know the difference and you should follow what is right for you. This is a time of awakening which will unfold over time.
High quality esoteric training from a valid system or school can assist in metaphysical healing work, though it is also true that anyone with a pure or sincere intent can serve as a channel and help others. This is why meditation and prayer is so effective. It is also why a mother tending to a sick child can often have an effect comparable to a doctor.
The whole point of esoteric study is not to blindly follow a person or teaching. It is to use that teaching, which represents the highest to you as a guide and to build a bridge between the outer and inner selves and connect to the core of your being—to become soul centered. From this perspective (and this is the level that metaphysical aid reaches when directed) all things are possible.
In conclusion, I received the following beautiful meditation from Maryann Miller, the founder of the Institute for Global Transformation. I am reproducing it here for our Focus in September:
Let’s join each other in a meditation/prayer.
Together, let us turn our focus inward and upward toward our higher nature and the Light, Love, and Life that dwells within each of us. Become receptive and aspirational, reaching for that wisdom which brings solutions and healing to humanity and the planet’s many challenges.
Now is the time to actively bring in the Light and Love and Wisdom, which include the energies of humanity’s next step in consciousness.
Let us initiate an effort of service work for the victims and families of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the survivors and families of 9-11. Let us direct spiritual energies to the leadership in all organizations, local and national governments, the heart of all esoteric groups and world servers, and to ourselves, strengthening our alignments with Divine Purpose.
In this growing effort, let the IFGT membership focus inward, upward, and outward invoking the forces of Light, Love, and Wisdom.
Now let us join our Light by reaching out to other Lightworkers all around the globe. See a vast network of radiatory Light forming, infusing our world with the goodness, truth, and beauty of the One Life in which we all live, move, and have our being.
We welcome you most profoundly to this service work.
In Shared Service,
We have previously pointed out that, in reading mystical literature and sacred texts, the Truth is not to be found on the surface. This point became especially clear when I recently attended a Catholic funeral mass where a number of informative biblical readings were presented. It is worthwhile to take a moment to consider two of these readings.
The first may be well known to you as it was adapted into a popular song. It is a biblical text from the Book of Ecclesiastes:
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant,
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek or get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
This depiction of a dualistic manifested universe, of polarity, cycles and cause and effect, helps explain high and low periods in our lives. Each period, whether initiated through us by our actions, or simply the result of natural law, is an opportunity for both growth and understanding.
It may seem surprising that the text includes a time to hate. This is an acknowledgement of a common human emotion. It arises naturally within us at times (which doesn’t mean we have to hold onto it longer than needed). The emotion is instructive for us and it is well worth noting its consequences. I found it interesting that a time to hate was immediately followed by a time of war, implying both the effect hate produces and the war within ourselves when we struggle to regain our equilibrium. It is also not accidental that the last line in the reading refers to a time of peace. This peace is not something fleeting or cyclical but deep and profound and the whole point of the text.
This is clarified (though veiled) in the verses which follow the above text (which have not been reproduced here and vary in different translations). The gist of it is that the question is asked: of what advantage is it to us to know of such cycles and laws? The answer is that the Divine has not only appointed a time for everything in our manifest world, but that in addition, has implanted the time-less into our hearts. That which is timeless is deep in our hearts but most people, from the beginning to the end of their lives, do not know it is there.
A second reading in the service I mentioned above (Colossians 3: 12-17) explained how to make use of the above information. It stated that if you are God’s chosen ones (in other words called to a life of service, religious, humanitarian–or more specifically, simply awakening, feeling and responding to the Divine Essence within you) the way to apply that innate gift in your heart is to “clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another, forgive whatever grievances you have against one another…Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.” This is powerful mystical advice (what Edgar Cayce referred to as the ‘gifts of the spirit’).
The reading concluded that Divine Peace (Christ’s peace in the reading) must reign in our hearts, and that whatever we do, it is to be done in the Divine Name or Word (Jesus in the Christian tradition, Yeheshuah in Jewish mysticism, Martinism and Kabbalah, the Lost Word in the Mystery School traditions, etc.). In so applying and directing this energy, we automatically give thanks or gratitude back to the Divine Source and thus keep ourselves in attunement with it.
We all have experienced that whoosh of energy (usually prompted by ego) when we are upset or greatly irritated or feeling insecure which if acted upon, produces destructive results we may later lament. Similarly, we have had the experience of remaining calm in a tense, fearful situation, and accessing the more subtle timeless quality within our hearts, responding to a situation from a place of love (our Real Nature) with the result that all turns out well.
By being who we really are (and cosmic conditions presently operative will help us to do this more and more) we play an important role in the world today in helping to make for a better world situation and assisting in the uplift of ourselves and of humanity.
For our August Focus may we see people throughout the world responding to the timeless essence at the heart of their being thus transmuting and transforming the vicissitudes of life into a positive expression that truly makes a difference and assists in world evolution.
The other day, I made use of a old deck of Angel Cards to gain insight. The deck consists of 52 small cards upon which of each is written a single word such as Love, Communication, Trust, Courage, Faith, Forgiveness, etc. There is even a blank card, upon which you could write your own inspirational word. After petitioning for insight, one places the cards face down and picks up the card one is drawn to. The word on the card, when reflected and meditated upon, provides assistance and helpful insight. It is not unlike picking up a book of wisdom, spirituality, sacred text or other writing, asking for guidance. then opening the book to a random passage to see what message it has for you (or using the I Ching, Runes, Tarot, or similar symbolical systems).
When, loosely holding the angel cards deck, I chose my card, it turned out to be the blank one. I thought about choosing another card when one literally fell out of the deck (as if on cue) and landed face up. The card held the word: Openness. I then realized it wasn’t accidental. The two were meant to be seen together in this case. One informed the other.
To be truly open to insight, clarity, and guidance, you must be blank, without baggage, without all the stories and issues about the past, willing to set all that aside and come from a state of clearance, emptiness. In this state of (uncluttered) emptiness, you can not only receive help, but you can generate. From this state of pure awareness comes considerable power and all things are possible.
We often think of power as overt, dramatic, tangible, hard, even violent. But the Taoists, the mystery school traditions and others maintain that the greatest power is what is known as soft power. The greatest achievements come from soft power, from Wu wei or non-doing. Such non-doing does not mean inaction, but it is action in harmony with the flow of life and considerably different from the kind of power most people attempt to use.
Water is an example of soft power. Water embraces life, generates life and adapts to the situation. Water takes the shape of any container it finds itself in. When water meets an obstacle, it goes under it, around it, or over it. Not constrained by time, water can even overcome an obstacle by erosion. The Grand Canyon carved out by the Colorado River is one such spectacular example. Soft power can overcome any other type of power and, as martial artists will tell you, is intimately engaged in the dance of life. The efficacy of soft power is that its essence, its nature, stems from the basis of the Universe, of Being Itself.
Soft power is the solution to all problems, the answer to even the obnoxious political machinations occurring today. What are you doing, or being drawn to, to increase your soft power, to become more of who you truly are? Meditation? Esoteric study and application? Yoga? Tai Chi? Chi Gong? Being present? Living in the Now? What practices, traditions, symbolic systems or rituals help to remind you of who you are, and of your purpose? Dwelling in their meaning, and in the Now, helps attune us to our Oneness with God and releases the power of Soul.
For our July Focus may we see increasing numbers of people throughout the world realizing the power of their intrinsic nature, their oneness with all and their obligation to use such innate power in service to humanity.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
“To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.”
In his book about discovering one’s soul signature, author Panache Desai recounts a story of a morning run he undertook with a friend. About fifteen blocks from returning home, Desai felt his ankles get heavy and he doubted he could complete the run. His friend reminded him that he had completed the run before and would do so again. This helped Desai push through his resistance and he did indeed make it home.
Desai’s point in telling the story was that he recognized that the heaviness and doubt he was experiencing was fear and a certain type of sadness that visited him whenever he stepped out of his comfort zone. By not giving in to the voice of his doubts (Just who do you think you are? You’re not up to this. You’re a failure.) that voice of self-judgment was not allowed to win. Moreover, by experiencing the fear and sadness Desai was able to dissolve the energy that was locking his fear in place.
The healthy trend in mysticism during the past twenty or more years has emphasized living in the now, being present, inhabiting the body, feeling what we’re experiencing, dissolving the limitations we have reinforced within ourselves and locked in place. Actually, mysticism has always taught this in its essence, but we live in a time where more and more people are finally able to begin embracing and experiencing these truths. (and perhaps the crazy times we live in are doing their part to help as well.)
Have you ever listened to two people arguing (where you could listen objectively and just take things in because your opinion was neither sought nor desired)? I can remember hearing a ‘discussion’ where two people were trying to point out important things to each other. But the form it took was of one person saying a nasty thing to the other, and the other defensively said something nasty back which led to a further nasty comment in response, ad infinitum.
They were trying to communicate—they both wanted to communicate—they actually believed the same things and were on the same page—but because of their conditioning and patterning and defensiveness and resistance to experiencing discomfort, they couldn’t help but to make matters worse and to finally individually conclude that the other person was ‘just impossible’.
When we experience discomfort, it is all too easy to run away from it—to indulge in an addiction, or a distraction, surf the internet, gossip, raid the fridge—whatever. It doesn’t matter what form such avoidance takes, it is a resistance to being present and feeling what is going on.
Imagine a scenario where you decide to have a conversation with someone. You are seeking clarity, or insight, resolution or just useful helpful information. Let’s further imagine the conversation doesn’t go the way you like—that it brings up pain. There are many people who would conclude the conversation failed, that it didn’t result in anything good. But what is good? Was there a pre-set agenda or expectation of the way the conversation was supposed to go? Does the fact that pain, grief, sadness, fear, frustration, anger or other emotions surfaced mean that something was wrong?
As Desai might point out, the emotions may be the result of our patterning. We try to break patterns, but they are there for a reason—to teach us something important. Some things in life really push our buttons. Acting on what arises within us isn’t always the wisest course (we see some outlandish destructive expressions every day in the news). But suppressing the emotion isn’t wise either. The emotions come up in many instances because we suppressed them long ago (perhaps in order to survive). Feeling the emotion—being fully present with what we are feeling is helpful however. Sadness won’t harm us or kill us. Can you be present with sadness when it comes up—just be with it? Not try to fix it or run away from it or resolve it?
When we can be present and feel what it is we are feeling, it begins to free us from the past. By noticing what pushes our buttons, by experiencing the emotions, without judgment, we become more authentic and real. Simply by noticing what is going on within us (again, without judgment) we develop considerable power. We will begin to catch ourselves in advance in the future. By authentically feeling, what Desai and others refer to as authentic vulnerability, we heal ourselves.
It sounds simple, just sitting back and noticing what is going on, but it is effective. If we accept that our health, our habits, our beliefs and attitudes were years in the making and reinforced over time, we will appreciate that each time we become conscious and present, we further tear down the barriers between ourselves and others (and all of life itself) which gets in the way of our experience of oneness.
For our June Focus, may we seeing human beings everywhere letting go of the past, daring to be present, guided by the Divine to experience the true oneness of our Divine Nature and the resulting transformation of our planet.
“If you don’t climb out of your unconscious rut, if you don’t allow yourself to take risks, you will never truly know what blessings life has in store for you.” Panache Desai
“We learn a lot more when our assumptions and patterns are challenged–because then we have to focus on what works. Does this work for me? Does this relationship really work for me? Does this job really work for me? Does this attitude really work for me?” Robert Wilkinson
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Joseph Campbell
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.
Life is but a dream.
How often did we hear this familiar nursery rhyme as children! Sometimes a relatively simple message can convey deeper levels of meaning. If we consider the rhyme metaphorically–as a description of the process of successfully navigating the journey of life–what do we find?
The boat is the vehicle (like our body) in which we travel in the world–in the cosmic stream. The boat is not us—we do not overly identify with it—but we do inhabit it, and we can help to guide it. In what attitude are we to journey? We are told to row “merrily”. Pleasantly, harmoniously, showing happiness, joy, cheer, without a lot of baggage, brisk and lively.
The word “row” is used three times in the rhyme. The number three is the number of perfect manifestation in the world, the law of the triangle in esotericism. The word “merrily” is emphatically used four times. Four is the number of foundation—the physical structure of the world in which we find ourselves. The number of the square—of stability, limitation, containment. We are to endeavor to be “merry” in dealing with each side of the square—that is in meeting all the experiences of life.
The numbers three and four add up to the mystical number seven—the number of Truth, uniting the Heavens and Soul with the Earth and the body. The entire rhyme contains eighteen words. The number eighteen adds up to nine (8 + 1 = 9). Nine is the number of spiritual awakening, completion, the circle, the greatest good of all, fulfillment. The rhyme thus represents the triangle, the square and the circle and the entire reason for our worldly sojourn.
We row down the stream, flowing with the current of life. How are we to row? Gently. The word “gently” is very interesting and powerful. It means kind, tender, light in action, softly, moderate, calming, humane, merciful, peaceful. It also means gradual and in the moment. It means honorable and respectable. It is not harsh or stern. Gently is associated with aristocracy in the highest form of that word relating to our true soul nature: Noble. It relates to knighthood. It means to advance, elevate, kick upstairs, promote, raise and upgrade. It is thus initiatory.
All streams, all rivers lead back to the source—the ocean–to Being—the oneness of all. Here again is the circle. One of the main purposes of life, of learning to respond from our soul in gently navigating the boat down the stream, is to return to the Source while in the here and now, to realize our true nature, what is real and actual—and that it is Soul that is our true source and life that is the dream. By so doing, we assist in the spiritualization of the material world and in its uplift in the most positive and universal, loving sense.
This is what Ralph Waldo Emerson was referring to in Self-Reliance when he said that to believe your own thought—that is to believe what is true for you in your private heart is true for everybody—that, he stated is real genius, because it stems directly from Soul. But we reject our soul promptings, our own deep thoughts, simply because they are our own. And so we continue to look elsewhere rather than trusting the infinite source of wisdom within us that guides us gently. Then, when we experience great works of art, works of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts, what we have thought and felt deeply all along, only now, to our chagrin we are forced to accept our opinion from another who held true to himself or herself and dared to express what they knew within.
So let us hearken to our voice of soul from within and allow it to guide us as we travel down the time-stream in the journey of life so we may have a realization of our true oneness, our Divine Nature–to our own benefit and the benefit of all. For our May Focus may we see humanity, in these turbulent political times, hearing and heeding the voice of soul resulting in a true spiritual elevation of our world.
The technological age we live in has been called the Information Age. The internet and social media has made information available to us in a capacity unprecedented in history resulting in instant communication and sharing with one another on a global scale.
Technology is neutral–like fire–and can be used for good or ill. We can become endlessly distracted by the information or misuse it. But while the sheer volume of information available at our fingertips can be overwhelming at times, the positive overall effect of access to quality information has been the increased awareness and evolution in society. This has made it harder for those people whose sole aim is to try to dominate and control others to get away with it. Access to factual information helps people to more easily see through distortions and deceit.
Another aspect of our Information Age is the enormous universal availability of films and educational material through DVDs and streamed video, substantially-increased library offerings, e-books and podcasts. In the film community alone, digital technology has made it possible to produce a much wider variety of excellent documentary and independent films than previously possible, and computer technology has made Hollywood’s contemporary offerings and its vast array of classics available in restored pristine editions that can reach a larger number of older and newer generations of viewers.
This easy and often free access to informational and entertainment technology means that today a larger percentage of the population can experience the emotional truths that great films convey as well as increase their awareness through educational media. The ready availability and sharing of information, is, in my opinion, expanding the world-view of the average person. An increased world-view leads to increased consciousness. Increased consciousness leads to individuals making better choices that are more in accord with the urgings of soul.
Thus in its own way the Information Age is assisting in the work of mysticism and mystics by helping to elevate consciousness. For our April Focus, may we see all soul personalities expand in consciousness by the knowledge available to them so that the choices made by individuals more nearly reflect the expansiveness of the soul nature within.
The power of art is that it springs from the soul and can capture and often illuminate a universal truth about life. The arts can bring people together. The artistic awards given annually during the Oscars telecast by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences represent a snapshot in time each year where achievements are singled out and honored. This year’s Oscar-cast which occurred two nights ago (February 26, 2017) was of particular interest since, in today’s volatile political climate, the arts have come under attack and criticism.
In the event, the awards ceremony did Hollywood proud. A unity of purpose, sense of humanity and eloquence of expression during the awards voiced by a number of presenters and winners could have sprung from the mouths or pens of mystic philosophers. Empathy, compassion, freedom, inclusion, humor, forgiveness, graciousness, restraint, humility, inspiration, hope and diversity were the themes of the evening.
From the beginning, host Jimmy Kimmel, noting the many millions who were watching the telecast stated: “If every one of you took a minute to reach out to one person you disagree with and have a positive, considerate conversation” it would go far in making the country and the world great, and he concluded by saying “It starts with us”. Presenter and actor Mark Rylance noted that a person can stand for what is right in the best way “by opposing without hatred” and he said women seem to be better at that then men—an unconscious reference perhaps to the soul nature, the divine feminine principle which generates, heals and renews as contrasted to the masculine principle which, if used wrongly, divides, instills fear and is destructive.
The brilliant Viola Davis who won Best Supporting Actress for Fences talked about telling the stories of ordinary people who are unknown—“who dreamed big and never saw their stories come to fruition—people who fell in love and lost.” “I became an actress” she said “because we are the only profession that celebrates what it is to live a life.” Exalt the ordinary people, she urged—movies about people and words and life and forgiveness and grace. Fences is one such film. Another film, also nominated for Best Picture, a true story previously unknown to many which became a surprise hit, Hidden Figures tells the story of three African American women whose work for NASA during the pre-civil rights era was responsible for the success of the space race moon landing. This film is nothing short of an inspirational eye-opening crowd pleaser.
Director Ashar Farhadi, an Iranian filmmaker who won the Best Foreign Film Oscar for The Salesman sent a message to be read at the Oscars explaining that his “absence is out of respect for the people in my country and the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.. Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear–a deceitful justification for aggression and war… Film makers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They can create empathy between ‘us’ and ‘others’, an empathy we need today more than ever.”
Jordan Horowitz, producer of La La Land (nominated for Best Picture) said: “There’s a lot of love in this room. Let’s use it to create and champion bold and diverse work—work that inspires us towards joy, towards hope and towards empathy.” His fellow producer Marc Platt echoed: “Repression is the enemy of civilization, so keep dreaming because the dreams we dream today will provide the love, the compassion and the humanity that will narrate the stories of our lives tomorrow.” The winners of the Best Animated Film, the highly popular Zootopia were grateful that the film’s message, a plea for tolerance over “fear of the other” had been so well received and understood.
The nominees in all categories this year in particular were so strong that many critics had said they wished all of them could win. The films depict the struggles and challenges of the human condition in a world that is politically indifferent (or worse, overtly hostile, to put it mildly), and show the cost of moving society forward and contributing to making the world a better place.
Humility was voiced by winners (especially young ones) who had tremendous respect and admiration for the skills of the other nominees. Director Mel Gibson, who had been criticized for the extreme violence in his earlier The Passion of the Christ (among other things) used his talent for depicting both violence and the religious impulse in his brilliantly directed Hacksaw Ridge to show the madness of war and the power of selfless spiritual conviction. Florence Foster Jenkins (for which Meryl Streep received her 20th Best Actress nomination) poignantly depicts the unusual tenderness of love in difficult circumstances. In choosing Moonlight as Best Picture, a powerful story about the life of a black gay man, the Motion Picture Academy honored bold artistic excellence. Each of the nominated films and performances and categories are well-worth checking out including all the Best Picture and Acting nominees, the documentaries and animated films.
Even the goof-up at the end of the show, where the wrong Best Picture was announced and the gold statuettes had to be turned over to the winners after speeches had been made, was done with graciousness and class.
The point of this focus is that this particular year’s show featured U.S. and global voices, young and old, who spoke as one in externalizing their soul’s expression. In the coming years, as the world situation continues to unfold, each of us has the opportunity and perhaps the obligation to act and respond from our deepest soul level—to connect with our essence, to trust in our center, and to let our soul energy emerge in ways that dispel the limitations of ignorance, divisiveness, greed, fear and superstition that ever seek fertile ground. Let this be our focus for March: that Divine Expression continues to manifest though our shared humanity and that it continues to illuminate, evolve and heal our planet.
In last month’s meditation focus, we shared excerpts from the Creed for Peace by mystic philosopher Ralph M. Lewis which detailed the causes of war. In view of everything that is going on in the world today it is appropriate to share a few more excerpts before moving on:
I am guilty of war when I proudly exercise my intelligence to the disadvantage of my fellow man.
An example of this is the preponderance of fake news disseminated in the media with deliberate intention to mislead, with the consequences being the careful indoctrination of people over time to believe things that are false and destructive. Perhaps it is appropriate that this has come up now for people to deal with, individually and collectively, since the destructive havoc it has caused makes the ultimate elimination of this societal scourge paramount.
I am guilty of war when I covet what another has honestly acquired.
I am guilty of war when I seek to maintain my superiority of position by depriving others of their opportunity of advancement.
These last two points are more self-evident but, like the first one, they played their roles in recent politics. While the Creed of Peace was written many years ago, and reflects the conventions of language at the time, it ends powerfully:
The true articles of peace cannot be legislated but are drawn up in the personal aspirations and conduct of the millions of little people. When all men will frankly perceive their common dependence, an understanding will emerge that will transcend the barriers of time and space, creed and race.
This conclusion is uncomplicated and simply stated (with its echoes of the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films). Nevertheless, it is as true now, as it ever has been.
Right now times are very intense. The national and world situation is like a daily roller coaster and those who are sensitive people may feel overwhelmed. But it is important to realize that our centeredness, our peace of mind, our happiness and calm is not depended on changing outer situations. We can dwell on what’s wrong to a degree that is detrimental, especially those situations we cannot control. The current situation has given birth to an immense outpouring of people standing for and desiring what it right and just (the tremendously successful Women’s Marches, for example). There is a bigger picture behind all of this. Therefore, it is important not to lose patience, remain calm and to continue to endeavor to be receptive to inspiration from within.
There is a lot of ‘ego’ energy circulating throughout the globe. And none of us are immune to the ego’s promptings, especially when one is under stress. When we feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable, it is all too easy to pin the reason for our discomfort on something else. But that is the ego. This distinguishing of what is going on within us is particularly important in the coming months when, astrologically, Venus and Mars are bringing lessons for everyone. Sometimes under such an intense play of energies, an old wound we had thought we had dealt with resurfaces and the ego jumps in to provide a solution which will be disastrous if we listen to it. Remember the injunction, The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. This is a law that will unfold no matter how long the time involved.
A second thing to keep in mind is that we are being called upon to release old baggage in moving forward. This means calling upon the power of forgiveness. The ego dislikes forgiveness. It prefers blame and finger-pointing. But forgiveness sets us free. We all have a part to play in future events. And that will become clearer in our meditations and reflections as time goes on. It is a most wondrous time; we are living with tremendous potential.
If you are particularly bothered by the national situation, the following links may of a benefit. The first is an audio of a class by Michael Benner of the School for Ageless Wisdom. It is a class he conducts weekly. The second link is a short, three-part series of audio links by Abraham-Hicks commenting on the meaning of the recent U.S. Presidential election. Each have valid approaches, but are both helpful in different ways.
For our February Focus may we all keep coming back to our centers—our Soul Natures—which know no order of difficulty. Finally, may we distinguish what our life experiences are teaching us as they reveal the role we are to play in the future.
A year ago our meditation focus highlighted the highly popular film Star Wars: The Force Awakens (the seventh film in the Star Wars series) which had just been released. The main character in the film was female and indicative of the growing influence of the divine feminine principle manifesting in the art, music, literature and films of our culture and influencing the consciousness of individuals in helping to evolve our society.
As was said then, the feminine principle has been lacking in modern society. Every person, regardless of gender, has within them the male and female principle. Both are important. This has naught to do with sex but with polarity. The feminine principle is related to the soul’s power and influence but has been overbalanced by undue emphasis or predominance of the male principle. But like the awakening of the Force in the film, this too is beginning to change as many people are awakening to their inner soul nature and questioning what they have been told to believe and are responding to the soul’s promptings from deep within themselves—the soul’s call to participate in the good that is being done and is manifesting today. This mystical awakening will continue. Evolution will continue. It is not stopped by political, patriarchal speed bumps.
This year, another highly popular and related film has just been released: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Once again the main protagonist is female and the film references an awakening of the Force in combating evil and (in a point further underscored by the recent passing of Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars films) providing hope for humanity.
Resonating with all this during this past year was the ‘disturbance in the Force’ of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the unsettlement and concern nationwide and worldwide which continues to this day just weeks prior to the inauguration. One of the most bizarre elections in modern times, the campaign use of deception, fear, lies, fake news, bullying, computer hacking, computer leaks, chatbots that overwhelmed opposing views, shouting down of opposition, absence of, and prevention of meaningful discourse, the encouraging of violence and many other tactics exceeded previous boundaries and accepted standards.
The additional use of gerrymandering of districts, passage of voter suppression laws, additional suppression on the day of the election, Russian influence to disrupt the election (corroborated by those who have worked with Putin), an almost constant stream of negativity reminiscent of totalitarianism and preposterous premises that were believed by people, all raised concern. In an unusual twist, a candidate who was largely believed to have disqualified himself numerous times during the primaries and campaign (even to most of his own political party) won the election while the candidate who lost actually won the vote count by an unprecedented 3 million votes.
How much of this is politics as usual, and the issue of what is true and not true is still a matter of national and international focus. While the controversies are yet to be fully resolved and things may play out in a number of ways, the fact that people are paying attention and are involved can only be a good thing.
Astrologers had warned of the need to be aware of deception, extremist views and quick fixes during the election in view of astrological influences in effect not seen since 1932-34 which accompanied the rise of fascism. So it may be worthwhile to review some excerpts from the Creed of Peace written long ago by Ralph M. Lewis which detailed causes of war:
I am guilty of war when I distort other’s opinions, which differ from my own.
I am guilty of war when I show disregard for the rights and properties of others.
I am guilty of war when I believe other people must think and live as I do.
I am guilty of war when I make success in life solely dependent upon power, fame, and riches.
I am guilty of war when I think the minds of people should be regulated by force, rather than by reason.
I am guilty of war when I believe the God I conceive is the one others must accept.
One of the slogans voiced during the election campaign was America First. This is reminiscent of the idea of Me First. Casting aside the selfish definition of this term, (the Sun, for example, shines unselfishly on everyone alike—its rays penetrate into the Earth to the benefit of all) the other concept behind Me First is that you have to take care of yourself and be integrated before you can be of help to others. This naturally calls to mind the mystical injunction Know Thyself. To Know Thyself is to ultimately realize who we really are and that we are divine in nature. The idea of the Force in Star Wars taps into this idea when it refers to the mystical energy field underlying and uniting all things.
The essence of America’s intrinsic vibe was summed up in last month’s focus. So if America First means “Out of many, One; Unity out of Diversity and In the Divine aspect of Being uniting all people and manifesting for the benefit of all, we Trust”, then the application of that energy is what would make America (and indeed, any and every country) great.
For our January Focus may we see people across the planet inspired from within by their Soul nature to work toward the highest good for all–ushering in true peace, prosperity and an uplifted world.