Tag Archive for Spirituality

Why Are We Surprised When We Change Things With Thought?

I was having a conversation with a very good friend recently and he raised an interesting question. “I see it in my life fairly often that what I think changes, or seems to change, events, circumstances and objects in my surroundings. I cannot deny this reality, but I wonder what is the mechanism that brings about such seemingly spooky changes? How is it that what I think changes not just what I experience but the actuality of the world around me?”

Here is how I answered him.

The lines of distinction between consciousness and the physical sciences are being blurred all the time, both by experiment and by experience. It seems to me that the cosmological implications of Einstein’s work have been peeking gradually into view for some decades now and are still not yet fully realized by all but a tiny fraction of physical scientists.

Energy flowing between human hands

If, as Einstein asserted and others have demonstrated, there is only one substantive thing in the Universe and if that one thing must be either matter or energy, then it seems to me to be unarguably true that everything is energy. I say this because it is clearly in the nature of things to evolve toward complexity, at least until they reach some level of complexity where the very intertwingled nature of things causes them to begin to experience entropy. All forms of energy of which we are aware are comparatively simple in their non-structure (wavicles) even though their behavior can be quite intricate. So it seems to me we start with energy which then becomes sensible energy (what we humans then choose to label “matter”).

One thing we are certain about is that when energies encounter one another they can combine or undergo a mutual transformation. Of course they can also have no effect on one another. In fact, if we posit that at the beginning there was only energy (and indeed perhaps only photons in the view of many), the only way for new forms of energy to arise is by the combination of existing forms. This is then not proof but a strong indication that energies influence and change other energies.

Given that, it should come as no large surprise that we can use our energies to transform the energies of things around us. In fact, we do so automatically and unconsciously all the time. When we breathe air, we change its composition. When we pass through a space, we disrupt the energies there — temperature, pressure, wind motion and many others — in largely measurable ways.

It follows, for me, that if everything is energy and if energies have the capacity of modifying other energies when they encounter them, it would be most unusual if we were not able to use thought energy to change energetic entities.

And as if that logical flow weren’t convincing enough for me, my own personal experience — and yours, as you say — demonstrates repeatedly the ability to make conscious choices that change the energies around me. I was once surprised by this. Now I am intrigued by it.

All of this of course sidesteps the question of consciousness, which is also a form of energy and may be the vehicle or the medium through which these energetic transformations flow. But that’s a subject for a different article.

So I think, anyway.

My Speaking Schedule

For those of you who live in the Monterey area, you might want to know that I'll be speaking at local events in the coming few weeks. 

  • Wednesday, Sept. 19 - "Self-Knowledge", 7-9 p.m. at Unity of Monterey Bay. Lecture and discussion.
  • Sunday, Sept. 24 – "Nurturing Heart-Centered Politics", 10 a.m. at Unity of Monterey Bay. Sunday lesson and informal discussion following the service.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26 – "Grace and Free Will",  7-9 p.m. at Unity of Monterey Bay. Lecture and discussion.
  • Friday, Oct. 5 – "Be A Peacemaker: Oneness and World Peace". Monterey S.O.B.'s (Spiritually Oriented Businesses) 12-1:30 p.m. at Tarpy's Roadhouse. Reservations required. Details at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SOBsMonterey/events/.
The two Wednesday classes are part of an ongoing series entitled "The Mystic's Journey" I'm co-facilitating with Rev. Vicky Elder. Suggested love offering is $15 per class but nobody is turned away for inability to pay or a desire to pay more than $15!

Working on Oneness Requires Focus on the World

Spiritual leaders and seekers must switch their focus from inner spiritual development to work in the world around them to give Oneness any chance of success, according to Sufi teacher and writer Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

I just posted a somewhat lengthy entry on my Spiritual Path Coach blog that you will find interesting if you're following my spiritual thoughts and teachings. I didn't want to post it to my main blog because of its length but I wanted to be sure that if you don't subscribe to that blog, and you are interested in such subjects, you wouldn't miss it.

I'm always eager to hear from you.

Great Gandhi Rap Video

This is a very well done and thoughtful rap on the life and mission of Mahatma Gandhi. It came to me today via Moveon.org's Daily Share. Moving and uplifting at the same time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qd-fAnHjPg?wmode=transparent]

Americans’ Confidence in Congress is Lowest on List, But Churches Are in Decline

The latest Gallup poll of Americans' confidence in 16 institutions shows a couple of noteworthy outcomes.

  • Confidence in organized religion and churches reached an all-time low of 44%, continuing a two-decade slide.
  • Congress ranked lowest of the 16 institutions at 13%, six points lower than its nearest competitor, HMOs.
  • The top-ranked institutions that finished ahead of religion were military (75%), small business (63%) and police (56%)

The summary of the poll results is quite illuminating.

Interfaith Cities in U.S. Ranked

Huffington Post today has a slide show showing the top 52 cities in the United States ranked by the degree of interfaith diversity.

I was intrigued to find Detroit ranked #1 on the list. San Francisco was #5. Sacramento #6, Los Angeles #15 and San Jose #29, coming in even behind Salt Lake City.

The cities are ranked according to the Simpson's Diversity Index (which I trust is not created by the TV show). For each city, the survey lists the number of Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, "Other Christians" and, interestingly enough, Mormons in their own category.

Hmmmmmmmm.

Ludicrous Charge That Liberals Are Destroying Christianity

The WEEK posted an incredibly stupid article today in which it attributed the loss of religious commitment on the part of American teens to three causes. One of those causes was a perceived liberal attack on religion.

"Christianity is 'the one religion left that can be hated without running afoul of political correctness,'" The WEEK says, quoting Drew Belsky at The American Thinker. 

Poppycock. Speaking as a Christian who is also a Liberal I can tell you the problem lies not with liberal "attacks", which are in reality nothing but alternative and often Scripturally substantiated approaches to teachings, but with the prime cause also identified by The WEEK: Christian churches are turning off young people with their unChristian teachings against diversity and populism.

But the article is just dumb. In fact, I'm finding that almost any time you find an article that starts with a number, like "21 Ways to Cleanse Your System" or "21 Days to Master JavaScript," you're looking at a particularly stupid, dumbed-down attempt to tackle a complex project as if it were a series of small issues. Sometimes it is, but more often, it's not.

Flash! New Mayan Calendar Discovery Doesn’t End in 2012!

A recent discovery in Central America strongly suggests that all the hype and hoopla surrounding the "end" of the Mayan calendar this December was exactly that: hype and hoopla.

Archeologists have uncovered a small room that appears to have been the study of a Mayan scribe. It contains notations and numeric sequences that suggest that, at least in one view, the Mayans didn't foresee an end of time (end of the world or radical world transformation) in 2012. In fact, this particular calendar finding some of the dates extend to 3500 and perhaps even billions of years beyond that date.

Given the recency of the discovery and the preliminary nature of any conclusions drawn from it, I'm not sure that we shouldn't still find significance of some sort in the hundreds of examples of Mayan calendars found in Central and South America in the past decades, all of which appeared to end in 2012. It may be that the end of time doesn't happen this year (for those who were taking that extreme of the many available positions) but it still could point to a transformational event or experience.

The really important message here is simpler than any of that analysis, though. Transformation happens. For us to survive as a species, transformation of consciousness must continue. Spiritual evolution is not just important, it is essential. Whether there's something magic, mystical or important about December 2012 is less important than that we continue to be aware of the need for us to participate in the ever-progressing upward movement of life and consciousness.
 

A Clear Piece on Romney’s Mormonism and Its Impact on Election

This piece on Salon.com today does an excellent job (with only rare forays into sarcasm) of discussing the parts of Mitt Romney's Mormon religion that ought to be of interest to voters and therefore fair game for journalistic inquiry.

As a former (excommunicated by request) Mormon Elder myself, I can attest to the veracity of everything Sarah Posner says about the LDS Church, its polity and its politics, its leadership and its stance on social issues. I would add that another troubling aspect of Mormonism for me is its teaching of the doctrine of blood atonement which leads to the conclusion that only an execution can atone for certain offenses. Back in the late 1970's when I was an active member of the LDS Church and living in Salt Lake City, I ran afoul of its rules by refusing to picket a local X-Rated theater as ordered by my priesthood leader and by participating in vigils protesting the pending execution of Gary Mark Gilmore. Those incidents led to my request to be removed from the Church rolls, which proved to be a long, drawn-out process during which church leaders continued to try to "minister" to my family.

I do not believe that Romney's Mormonism ought to disqualify him from holding office, of course. But I do think that given the uniqueness of Mormonism and the degree to which it governs — or attempts to govern — the thoughts, positions and behaviors of its members, the subject of his role in the church and his response to anti-feminist, racist and other public policy statements made by the church leadership ought not be off limits.