Category: Spirituality

More Validation for Near-Death Experience in UK Study

As someone who has had what I call a Resurrection Experience and what most of the world calls a Near-Death Experience (NDE), I am deeply interested in the subject. So this study out of the UK that concluded that “There may be a small amount of life after death” is yet another proof of the validity of the experience.

In the study, researchers found that, “nearly 40% of those who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted,” a period that was often as long as three minutes. This is particularly interesting because numerous studies conducted over many decades have generally concluded that somewhere closer to 5% of people have such experiences and recall them later.

One of the researchers observed, “A higher proportion of people may have vivid death experiences, but do not recall them due to the effects of brain injury or sedative drugs on memory circuits.

 

Those in the study who reported this post-death awareness had some experiences in common, including an unusual sense of peacefulness, time slowing down or speeding up, bright light, and physical separation.

(By the way, the reason I choose a different term from most is that for me “dead” is a binary condition: you are or you’re not. You’re not “near” death, at least not as a measurable or detectable state except in the sense that “near” means “approaching.”

Do We Live in a Culture of Outrage?

LA Times Columnist Meghan Daum, in a piece reminiscing about the late Joan Rivers, suggests that we are living in a “culture of outrage.” She’s not the first person to level that charge and I’m sure she won’t be the last.

But is it true? Is our culture no longer civil? Or is it just that the fringes, which may have grown slightly in the fertilizer of political partisanship that rules the day in DC, are a bit more vocal and confrontational than in the past? Is the vast middle of our nation — or, for that matter, our world — a culture of outrage?

outrageI don’t think so. I don’t believe, e.g., that the majority of Americans are really outraged at the way Corporatist America is treating them at every turn. If they were truly outraged they’d rage out; in short, they’d do something. But they don’t. In fact, most of them seem to have lost the capacity even to complain very loudly. Perhaps the Corporate State has so oppressed us with its rampant greed, its uncaring social policy and its coddling of the wealthiest Americans that we no longer have the energy to protest or the hope that doing so would change one tiny thing in our circumstances.

I almost wish we were a culture of outrage. Perhaps then we’d be taking to the streets instead of burying ourselves in self-medication and isolation. Perhaps then we’d care enough to get involved in politics and force both political parties to pay more attention to our plight; hell, we might even get up enough concern that more than a small majority of us would even bother to vote.

My fear is not that we have created a culture of outrage but that we have created one of apathy and resignation. That we have collectively given up all hope of a positive future, certainly for ourselves but even for our children and grandchildren.

I am optimistic. I truly believe that we can and will reach a tipping point of enlightened souls who will wake up together and discover a better, more loving and cooperative and supportive way to live together. That we can and will create a culture of sharing, giving and cooperation. That I will live to see the day when greed is overcome by generosity and the greedy are shamed by the meek. Perhaps we won’t need outrage, won’t need people to take to the streets in protest, won’t need a revolution in our streets.

At least, I pray daily that this is so and I hold a space for it to become our common Truth.

 

What Does it Mean to ‘Take Up Your Cross’?

One of the many online groups to which I belong that are of a spiritual nature featured a post by a fellow member recently on the question of “taking up your cross”, a well-known and fairly powerful metaphor in Christian circles. I grew up in those circles but from my new and evolving perspective of an intertaith/interspiritual teacher and student, I had a somewhat different take on the subject.

You can read my full response on my spiritual site, the One Mind Fellowship.

 

BBC News Columnist Misses Point About Spiritual But Not Religious People

spiritual_but_not_religiousBBC columnist Tom Shakespeare penned a piece on BBC.com yesterday in which he made a bad assumption about people who classify themselves on surveys a Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR), and then launched a long-winded assessment of the meaning of that term that completely missed the point. I’ll let you read his piece for yourself, but I couldn’t resist posting a response, which I’m reproducing below on the assumption you probably wouldn’t just stumble across it as you roam the spacious reaches of the Web.

While making some interesting observations, the author makes a terribly wrong base assumption that shreds his entire argument on closer inspection.
SBNRs are not necessarily pursuing their own individual path to the exclusion of community. Nor are they therefore disinterested in justice or charity. Millions of people who would characterize themselves as SBNR belong to spiritual communities of various flavors. Some of these would even resemble churches rather closely in terms of organization and intent.
The difference lies not in the individualism per se but rather in the understanding and recognition that spirituality is always an individual pursuit, whether it is followed in the context of a larger social organization or in solitude. It lies in the absence of formal credal confession, which by intent and definition restricts the individual’s right to pursue his or her own path to Truth.
In fact, the only meaningful difference between churches as such and spiritual communities such as New Thought and Unity, lies in the requirement of broad agreement on theological principles and rules of conduct.
In its earliest form, even Christianity was seen as an individual path. Only with the organization of human structure embodying authority and control did the question of consensus of belief get raised.
SBNR is a legitimate category for describing one of the many varieties of religious experience. To demote it to a lonely, isolated and self-centered approach to life is to over-simplify it to the point of rendering it meaningless.
I’m grateful to Mr. Shakespeare for his piece. If I hadn’t read it and chosen to comment on it, I wouldn’t have found the Web site devoted to the topic which seems to have some very interesting content!

Awesome Video Clip on Homo Evolutus

I picked up this clip from Upworthy this morning. Wow. Visually mind-boggling and the ideas underneath are just as stimulating and exciting.

We have indeed reached a point where we have upstaged and overridden physical evolution. It is now up to us how we evolve spiritually and intellectually and psychically. We must reach a tipping point in this New Evolution if we are to survive as a species and it has always been necessity of survival that has driven evolutionary change and accelerated it.

Five Incredible Things This Christian Curriculum Teaches About “Science”

I am no friend of Scientism. But any teaching that counters the findings of science had better be based at least in part on equally good factual evidence, whether it meets the rigorous test of repeatable scientific experiment or not.

So I was amused and slightly appalled but not in the least surprised to read this piece on Salon.com today presenting just five incredibly bizarre science teachings from one of the most widely used school curricula among Christian schools and home non-teachers.

The five arguments made in the curriculum, first published in 1986 and most recently “updated” in 2002, are:

  1. This photo is used by anti-Evoutionists to "prove" that dinosaurs are contemporaneous with humans. Only this was proven not to be a dinosaur carcass at all but a decaying shark.That was 36 years ago. Yeesh.

    This photo is used by anti-Evoutionists to “prove” that dinosaurs are contemporaneous with humans. Only this was proven not to be a dinosaur carcass at all but a decaying shark.That was 36 years ago. Yeesh.

    The Loch Ness Monster is real and disproves evolution.

  2. Solar fusion is a myth. The Sun is shrinking because it’s burning its fuel. Millions of years ago it was so big it would have engulfed Earth. So, you know, Creationism.
  3. A Japanese whaling boat found a dinosaur carcass in 1977, so evolution can’t be right.
  4. Evolution has been badly discredited repeatedly by scientific evidence.
  5. Human footprints have been found fossilized next to dinosaur footprints in a Texas River so, you know, Creationism.

I don’t really have a problem with people teaching their own version of whatever as long as they do it in a way that… Nope, that’s bullpucky. I do have a huge problem with people and organizations that put young people with this kind of horrendous mis-education into the world to vote, hold public office and otherwise muck up life for the sane and rational.

One of the biggest mistakes ever made in this country was to allow local control of schools and education to continue into the 20th Century. That problem should have been fixed 75 years ago. Texas is not entitled to its own set of facts that are different from those in New York or California. National standards and no exemptions for private schools. The rest of us have to live with the consequences of this ridiculous system and we are now beginning to see the tip of the iceberg of those consequences. It ain’t pretty.

 

My Book, The Power of I AM, Second Edition, is Now Available!

i_am_front_2d_edI just wanted to let you know that the second, enlarged and revised edition of my first spiritual book, The Power of I AM: Claiming your inherent power to consciously create a life of purpose, meaning, and joy, is now available in print and electronic editions.

Wander over to the book’s Web site where you can order the book or:

  • watch a video about it
  • read a sample chapter from it
  • read what readers are saying about it

 

Forgiveness Is the Only Way to Break the Cycle of Violence

The Associated Press yesterday carried an absorbing story about the mother of a mass murderer who learned from the forgiveness of her son’s victims’ families how to reach the powerful love deep within her and to do her part in breaking the cycle of violence that threatens humanity’s survival.

Terri Roberts attending to the needs of a young victim of her own son's violence.

Terri Roberts attending to the needs of a young victim of her own son’s violence.

Terri Roberts’ son Carl barricaded himself in an Amish school seven years ago and killed five young girls and wounded five others before turning his weapon on himself. The Amish community, living out their beliefs, responded with forgiveness, attended Carl’s funeral, and showed no bitterness toward Terri or anyone else.

Impressed with the healing such deep forgiveness could bring, Terri began a weekly ritual of spending time with one of the wounded girls. The girl is wheelchair-bound, unable to do the most basic things for herself. I encourage you to read the entire AP story.

But, as with so many such stories, the message it holds at its core is universal. It is also essential to humanity. Terri says it best.

“I realized if I didn’t forgive him, I would have the same hole in my heart that he had. And a root of bitterness never brings peace to anyone,” Roberts said. “We are called to forgive.”

We are indeed called to forgive. Forgiveness is at the core of every spiritual tradition and religious path. The Divine at the center of such teachings is inevitably a forgiving Being. The Golden Rule admonishes us to treat others as we’d like to be treated. And all of us have things — perhaps many things — for which we earnestly seek and believe we need — forgiveness.

What we know is that God is Love is God. And God is All There Is, so Love is All There Is. If you can identify anyone in your experience or awareness you can’t forgive, you can be sure that is a call to forgiveness. You must forgive that person 70 times 7 times if it takes that many times before you can forgive them. Then and only then can you give unconditional love. And only in giving unconditional Love can we begin to reunite humanity in the common goals of peace, harmony and life abundant.