Stand by your beliefs and you will be supported

May 1, 2018

Recently I watched a TV evangelist talk at great length about how God promises us that we can be ten times better if we just “believe”. He then went on to give examples of how this can come to be; one of these stories was of Daniel, a well-known central figure in the Bible.

According to Good News Translation/The American Bible Society, the following passage tells the shortened version of the story of a young man who along with others of his day stood by their beliefs and came out not only momentarily victorious, but generally many times stronger.

The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2 The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.

 

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4 They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5 The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6 Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

8 Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9 and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10 Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, “The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don’t look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me.”

11 So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12 “Test us for ten days,” he said. “Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look.”

14 He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15 When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16 So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.

17 God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king’s court. 20 No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.

Daniel

The point of the story is that Daniel and his comrades chose what they believed to be the correct behavior regardless of what others thought. In this case, the heavier food would indeed slow them down while a lighter diet kept their heads clearer and facilitated higher performance. In the end, Daniel rose up through the ranks as he aged and eventually became the leader of the city, while his comrades were also appropriately rewarded for their service.

What does all this mean for you or me? Well, it means that even under duress, if we take the higher ground, we will be supported by the positive forces in nature. Recently, I had 3 nasty things happen to me during a very short period of time. In just one week, a pipe burst flooding the lower level of my home; while the house was being repaired I was very sick with the flu; then at the end of the week when I finally went out my car was hit on the highway during a flash rain storm by an exploding semi-truck tire. It was almost as if it all was meant to happen to show me that I could live through lots of duress. Although each of these things were quite distressing, I kept my perspective and believed that it was all part of the divine plan. In fact, I believed that there was some lesson I was meant to learn. Perhaps that God had saved me – each time. I could have been away when the pipe burst; I could have gotten ill during a vacation rather than a week when I had to be home anyway; and the exploding tire hitting the car could have killed me. So I had lots to be grateful for. I continued to believe and stay positive.

The next month I left for a 2-week vacation and everything went very well… or at least the challenges I experienced were all kept under control. I had a wonderful time. I went on the trip believing that I had had my “three” bad things happen to me so that nothing else would happen this year! It was certainly one way to look at it! I believed and I was supported. We always have the choice to make daily how we will believe, and whether we will take the higher road when under duress.  

 


Blessed or Cursed

February 14, 2018

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare: to come home to a flooded home. From that perspective I was fortunate that the pipe burst in my home 36 hours after I returned home from a two week trip away. I heard water rushing in the lower level and after thinking, “there’s no laundry in the washer, why do I hear water running?”  I rushed downstairs to find water pouring from the ceiling. In disbelief for several seconds as I watched huge amounts of water gushing out of 3 ceiling lights onto the wood floor, I ran for a largwaterfalle bucket to put under one of the larger spots. At first, I thought I had a leak and then soon realized it was a much bigger problem. Very soon the bucket became too heavy for me to lift so I found a smaller bucket to literally bail water from there into the bathroom toilet about 20 feet away. I repeated this maneuver for about 2 hours. At more than middle age, this became very tiring but I just couldn’t stop. The water was relenting. I finally let the water spill over the one bucket long enough for me to turn off every water valve I could find with little result. I figured I had a burst pipe as the weather had turned very cold just days before. The pipe must have frozen and when I came home from my trip and began to run water throughout the house essentially thawing the pipe, it burst from the pressure.

As my wits began to return, I found my cell phone and in between bailing the water I started with the phone calls. First I notified my nail lady that I wasn’t going to make my appointment for my nails. Being the lovely person that she is and the wonderful relationship that we have, she sent her husband over to help me (fortunately, he’d just gotten off from work due to the icy road conditions). Within 30 minutes the two of us were working bailing water and doing our best to move furniture out of the way of the water. It felt like a small Niagara Falls in the lower level which by the way has a 12 foot ceiling so there’s a long way for the water to fall. Next I called the insurance company who said they’d try to find a mediation company to come out to help me; meanwhile they instructed me to call the local county water service to turn the water off at the street main. The county was unusually cooperative, not only responding to my frantic call within 40 minutes or so, but it did help calm the rush of water… yet not entirely. Next I tried to reach plumbers to fix the rest of the problem.

There were so many people with burst pipes in the area and the day was wearing on into late afternoon by this time that I was getting negative answers from the plumbers and water mediation companies that the insurance company provided. I was frantic. Finally I was given the name of a plumber by a company that couldn’t come out so I just called them. These people came out and essentially ripped me off, merely getting the water shut off but not fixing the problem. Next I went upstairs and after searching my files found a prior company I had used years before when a different water problem had occurred. They came out right away and took over. The plumber had gotten the water off, but the room was soaked and a mess. The mediation firm tore the room apart, moved the furniture and began the process of taking out the water-wet walls, taking up the wet floor and getting the room dried out.

This process took close to a week and most of this time I was sick with a very bad cold so I slept through it even with the banging going on downstairs.  When I finally did go out that Friday night, I was very happy to be out of the house. But on my way home, there was a flash rain storm and a huge semi-trailer truck driving by blew a tire and hit my car leaving black marks across two doors and damaging the front driver’s side to the tune of about $2,000 damage. I was pretty shook up by the incident but walked away from it (after driving home as it was still pouring rain). Insurance covered the 10 days for the car to be in the shop, repaired and the loaner car. So, does God hate me with all this or am I blessed? The answer is coming up shortly.

The following week the next company came in to start putting everything back together. They repaired the ceiling, the walls and swept up the floor. Then I started to see the damages. Many of my draperies, and other personal belongings were not handled properly and sort of just thrown aside rather than boxed up or moved to safer areas. If I’d been there and not half dead with the horrible cold I would have made sure where things were put and how they were managed. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Later that week I saw how my new fiberglass door frame had been gouged when one of the guys was pulling up the floor. Luckily I knew of an artisan who could fix fiberglass much like a boat is reshaped after a hole. Then I sent the bill to the company responsible and it was paid. So although it was great aggravation to locate this repair firm again, the damage was fixed. And my things were recovered mainly by my moving them myself after the fact to a safer location upstairs.

I still am trying to find a good vendor for the floor… I’m a bit worried about how things will be managed while the work is being done so I’ve scared off a few vendors. That’s ok. If they don’t want to be careful or responsible then they aren’t the right ones for me, especially after what I’ve been through.

Now here’s the message from all this. If it had to happen it did after I returned from vacation. I was home at the time to save my furniture. None of it got ruined. The bad cold enabled me to sleep through the first week and not know about the damage until I had more energy to deal with it. And the damage was repairable. The car accident was a reminder that none of this is life or death – but the situation with the car could have been.

My verdict: I’m blessed and yes God must really love me to protect me and make sure it all works out ok.


Doing the Right Thing

March 8, 2016

Life can be complicated. Heck, it’s most often complicated. And on top of it there is usually more than one way to get things done. When we look at all the variables and the options to attack our problems, sometimes there are short cuts, ways around the issues, or even methods that may be a bit nefarious. Ah oh! What happens when we choose to cut corners, snip a bit off the end of something to save time or take the low road rather than the high road? This is called taking the easy way out and is not the spiritual way; that is, thinking or doing in this manner will not serve us in the long run. Anything that doesn’t serve us, certainly doesn’t serve our soul growth, so why do it?

This leads us to a better understanding of doing the right thing. It’s obviously not easy to do the right thing when there are other options. If there were only one option, it would be easy. But this isn’t the way the world was built. We are usually given challenges so that we come out of the situation stronger than when we went in. As souls in a body, we’re given a choice – we can move towards the higher path towards the light or take the low road towards the darkness. Without a choice, there would be no challenges and therefore no way to ever overcome difficulties; thus, we would be in a world where we wouldn’t know the difference between the light or the darkness. So when we have issues, understand that these problems are not thorns in your side, but opportunities to grow and become stronger. Without hills to climb our legs would never have a chance to know their limits for example. The same is true of our spiritual and moral bodies. Only by stretching our limits can we grow, become better people and move forward on our spiritual path.

lightdarkIn the end, doing the right thing may be harder, but it is usually more rewarding. This has been my experience. I’ve found that with challenges in my life, moving through the tunnel of difficulty eventually brings me to the light; how wonderful it feels to get there. And, often there are unexpected rewards. It’s also my experience that when we follow the light and do the right thing, goodness follows us also.


Creating our Own Hell

September 23, 2015

morgath_blaze_hell_ifrit_form_by_suppliciumdeatheater-d5cwjog[1]Many of the world’s spiritual traditions have a concept of an afterlife where souls depart after life; not all include both a “good place” as well as a “dark place” based on the type of life one has lived. Assuming one has lived according to the ideals of the stated precepts that each of these traditions lays out, the believers may ascend to a beautiful world or heavenly type place where there is no hurt, pain, or sorrow but only joy and love. Following this line, these traditions then hold if one has not been a good follower of the “Way”, then the soul is lost to a kind of damnation with hell fire and brimstone of various sorts. This dichotomy of good and bad is based on souls having choice or free will to choose a lifestyle that is either according to, or against the various laws of the chosen tradition.

As humans, we naturally move toward what is comfortable and serves us well. If this is true, and seems to be so in my estimation, then why would anyone intentionally want to go to the bad place? Of course they wouldn’t; yet it is also true that people are human in the purest sense and just don’t always behave in their own best interest. This means that although they may know that mean behavior begets a life of trials and tribulation as well as an afterlife of more of the same… oh well… bring it on.

I have to say that the Jewish religion takes a different view of this dichotomy of worldly afterlives. If there’s a “good place” then everyone gets to go there once the prophecy of the Old Testament comes to pass – but we won’t go there right now. For this discussion, it’s what happens to those souls that don’t follow the program so to speak according to what’s really right and wrong – as in really wrong. Even within Judaism there is some disagreement, but according to those believing in Kabbalah or Kabbalists, we create our own hell – our own bad place upon death. Wow, how does this occur? The Kabbalists will tell you that upon death there is a life review; and, when the soul sees the deeds that he or she has committed with missed opportunities to help others/be of service, this is their own personal hell that’s created. So hell is not a place but more of a situation. Don’t create your own hell; do unto others as you’d wish them to do to you! hopefully, then when you have your life review their will be fewer regrets.


Timing is Everything

September 23, 2015

It’s an old adage that we can be successful sometimes and at other times we might do the same thing and we could fail. Translated, this saying is “timing is everything! ” I believe when things fall into place as if it were a script already written, the situation indicates a divine hand at play. I recently had an experience where things fell into place just the way they were meant to so perhaps there was a divine hand helping out as well.

Time1
I was on the fence about travelling and after considerable deliberation, made a final decision against going on this particular trip. No sooner was the plan not to leave the area made but a dear friend became ill. I got a call from her sister informing me that my friend Jessie was in the ICU and that I should visit while there was still time. Getting this call was upsetting to be sure, although some one in her condition could be expected to expire way before this point. In other words, she had lived in a semi-paralyzed state after a stroke for many more years than the doctors had predicted. Still I was disheartened to hear the news. I knew that I would attend to her as best I could during her final time with the living.

The days passed quickly that week as I visited my dear friend in the hospital ICU, taking turns with family members in her room. Fortunately, the timing worked out for me to have blocks of time alone with Jessie to speak to her not just about the everyday common exchanges, but what might be still on her mind. My goal was to be a friend as well as a spiritual counselor during what was known by those close to her as most probably her last hours and days.

On Monday, during my first visit, I asked her if she had any regrets; any business left undone. We talked through a couple of things to the point where I felt she was satisfied that all that was possible to do was done. on Wednesday, I held her hand as she was too weak to speak and only occasionally opened her eyes as I guided her in a meditation through a beautiful meadow where her deceased family would be present to greet her. She seemed to relax during this time as judged by the attached monitors and the flicker of her eyes. I could only hope that she was able to let go of any attachments to this earthly realm and go in peace. I said, “Jessie, if it gets too hard it’s OK to let go” to which she nodded in agreement.

Thursday I got the call that Jessie had gone peacefully, surrounded by her family. I had just been about to leave the house and felt bad that I had missed her passing. Then I realized that I had done my part and wasn’t needed for the rest. Everything has a timing of its own. In this case, the timing was perfect. I was asked to conduct the service by the family and did so on Saturday. While preparing, I thought of Jessie and wondered how she was doing on Friday, when a photo fell off the wall. It was my Reiki plaque that said, “Just for today do not worry”… so I knew it was Jessie telling me not to worry. All was happening according to the divine plan. After all, timing is everything.


What goes around doesn’t always come around

June 24, 2015

terrierEvery once in a while although we try to be nice to those around us, still someone just doesn’t return the kind feelings. And so it went with one of my neighbors. Sadly this negative state of affairs went on for many years. Thinking back, the only instance of interaction that I can even remember is when I chatted with him, more me than him, as two new neighbors having just moved into a neighborhood. At that time, he was washing his car and I was about to head into the park to take a walk. His house is just at the end of the cul-de-sac before the steps to the walkway. Although I interpreted the brief interchange as pretty normal, he must have thought otherwise; since, from that moment onward he never spoke to me again. In fact, when I would pass him going on my walks with his little terrier, he would turn away as if I had developed the plaque. And the same would be true if he was walking with his wife. At first I wondered why he would be so abhorrent towards me and then I just figured he must have thought I had some ulterior motive in speaking to him. Isn’t it a shame that a single woman can’t approach a married man in her neighborhood without being branded a hussy? Well, of course, I’m being sarcastic, but the end result is the same – he just wouldn’t speak to me. Eventually, I accepted the situation and passed it off. Everyone is not meant to be one’s friend.

Now my philosophy is that we are constantly presented with situations that test our moral fiber, as well as opportunities to learn lessons. One of these situations came to pass during Memorial Weekend, when I went for my usual walk in the park. As I approached the bridge just before the plaza, I saw my neighbor’s dog surrounded by people – with his collar but no neighbor at the end of the leash! To confirm my suspicion I asked the lady hovering over the little dog to check his tag and sure enough, the address was my street. “That’s my street and that’s my neighbor’s dog”, I said. “I’ll walk him home”, I continued without giving it another thought or considering that I had a plan to go to an event that would have to be by-passed to complete this new mission. After all, if my pet were lost, I’d want someone to get him home too. But when I tried to take the dog back into the plaza to first look for the owner, the little guy wouldn’t budge. He seemed afraid. So I headed for home and he willingly trotted along. I asked the concerned pet lady to come too since I really wasn’t sure how my having the neighbor’s dog would be received even with my best of intentions.

Once back at the neighbor’s home, his wife was at the garage door, so I called inside, “I have your dog!” She came outside, took the leash out of my hands, barely saying any thank-you with a very surprised look on her face. I felt that I had done my neighborly duty, spiritual responsibility and just plain obligation according to my karmic belief system. I even expressed concern over the owner’s possible safety if he’d allowed the dog to get loose. Was he in poor health himself or possibly had an accident?

I decided I really wanted to finish my walk, so back I went into the park and headed down to the bridge and the plaza. At the same spot where I intercepted the dog, I walked right into the owner – now about 25 minutes later. He too had a very surprised look on his face when I said, “I walked your dog home, and your wife has him”. The neighbor, obviously frustrated from searching for the little dog, was now relieved and gave me a warm-hearted thank-you. And I walked on completing my walk not thinking more about it.

The next day, there was a knock at my door. It was the neighbor with his terrier in toe, and this time he really thanked me with great emotion in his eyes. I doubt that I will ever have an issue with this neighbor again. Even though he had directed negative energy towards me for many years, I chose to do the right thing by him. I took the high road as one would say. Now this could just be a case of coming full circle and feeling good about it. But the story doesn’t end here.

The following weekend I went on a retreat and lots of unexpected good things came my way. So not only did I create positive karma, I also was in abundance and began to reap rewards very quickly! And in the few weeks since then, other good things have come my way. Holding one’s self up to a higher standard may be difficult at times, but in the end, I certainly feel it pays off. Being a good soul has its rewards now as well as later. What goes around doesn’t always come around – sometimes it’s better.


Overcoming Negative Energies

May 6, 2015

Energy

Life would be so easy if we only had to deal with ourselves since it would eliminate not being able to get along with another. But by definition, this cancels out being in relationships, which are one reason that we are in the earth plane. So, no dice! Unless we are hermits, we must deal with other individuals outside of ourselves and in the process learn from them. If we are fortunate, we can overcome the negative energy we encounter buried within these challenges/lessons and open more to the light in the process. So how does this process of overcoming negative energies work?

If we take a look at nature, we can get some clues at how beings are supposed to be together normally. I use the word “normal” to mean when conditions are good, ok, or even average. Take my cat for example. If I’m nice to my cat by providing food, shelter, and morning kisses, he gives me love back; in fact, even if I put nasty medicine in his mouth, since he trusts me, he allows me to do this and still loves me back. Just to show that he has a real personality, if I don’t sit with him at night and watch TV together (which he really enjoys), he won’t come upstairs to sleep on the bed with me (which I really miss). Somehow he knows this. So when I don’t do something that he wants me to do, he doesn’t give me what I want in return. He’s a loving creature and expects love back just like I do. So he’s not stupid. If I ignore him, he will go in the other room and put his back towards me ignoring me. He’s even gone so far as to leave poopy by my bed to indicate that he’s really mad at me. I’m sure you can figure out what this translates to in human language! Anyone that has a pet is probably laughing in agreement with me right now, and for those of you that can hardly believe what I’m writing… well guess you have to be there.

So what’s the take-a-way? If an animal responds to love with love, then why don’t people do the same? The answer is that possibly it’s because we’re more complicated, but it shouldn’t be that way. It should just work like Newton postulated – each action has an equal but opposite reaction – if I love you then you should love me back. Well, why not? Why are people so full of anger, hate, commitment phobias, past hurts and unwillingness to be loved in the first place? It’s really a shame that we can love, nurture, care about, help, be present for others and then not get anywhere near this type of reaction in return.

According to Kabbalah and the more spiritual traditions, the reason that we do not receive love when we give love, is there is some challenge or lesson to learn. That is, there is a negative energy to overcome. In continuing to love even in the face of this negativity, we are maintaining our standing in the light and so furthering our own soul development. We are also helping to heal the person with the negative energy at a soul level. This is not easy to do; that said, once we feel that we have to get out for our own safety, then we are freed from any further obligation to do so, since our own welfare always comes first. In the end, each soul must be allowed to move forward in their own way, and in their own time. We can only hope that their negative energy can be overcome so that they can also move into the light. And so it is!


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