Tag: Religion and Spirituality

Anam cara

Love as seen through the Celtic spiritual belief of bonding souls.

Who hasn’t lifted their eyes to the skies above and become lost in themselves?  Whether the drama of a turbulent daytime sky or the deep mystery of an endless, clear night, sky?  Doesn’t matter who we are or where we have or haven’t been in our lives, experiencing that shift from ‘reality’ to a place of souls is familiar to all.

Right at the front of Richard Bach’s lovestory book The Bridge Across Forever, there’s this quotation from E.E. Cummings:

 – how fortunate are you and I, whose home

is timelessness: we who have wandered down

from fragrant mountains of eternal now

to frolic in such mysteries as birth

and death a day (or maybe even less)

Then on page 9, Richard Bach writes as part of his introduction:

We think, sometimes, there’s not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile.

We think sometimes that ours is an age past frontiers, past adventures.  Destiny, it’s way over the horizon; glowing shadows galloped past long ago, and gone.

What a pleasure to be wrong.  Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure …. not only are they here-and-now, they’re all that ever lived on earth!

Our century, they’ve changed clothes, of course.  Dragons wear government-costumes, today, and failure-suits and disaster-outfits.  Society’s demons screech, whirl down on us should we lift our eyes from the ground, dare we turn right at corners we’ve been told to turn left.  So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden from themselves.

Yet masters of reality still meet us in dreams to tell us that we’ve never lost the shield we need against dragons, that blue fire voltage arcs through us now to change our world as we wish.  Intuition whispers true: We’re not dust, we’re magic!

Copyright (1984) Richard Bach.

Richard Bach’s hugely popular lovestory is widely summarised, thus:

‘Did you ever feel that you were missing someone you had never met?’.

Haunted by the ghost of the wise, mystical, lovely lady who lives just around the corner in time, Richard Bach begins his quest to find her, to learn of love and immortality not in the here-after, but in the here and now. Yet caught in storms of wealth and success, disaster and betrayal, he abandons the search, and the walls he builds for protection become his prison. Then he meets the one brilliant and beautiful woman who can set him free, and with her begins a transforming journey, a magical discovery of love and joy.

Just pause and listen. Hear your intuition whispering to you: You are not dust, you are magic!


Now let’s turn to another author: John O’Donohue.  WikiPedia has an entry that starts:

John O’Donohue (1 January 1956 – 4 January 2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality.

His death in January 2008 just a few days past his 52nd birthday was a huge and tragic loss.  Not just to his family and all who knew him, but to all those in the world who dream the spiritual bonding with another person.

John O’Donohue’s book is no better appreciated than by hugging the meaning of that Celtic phrase anam cara, assuming you aren’t a Celtic speaker!  A quick web search finds an explanation typically like this:

In the Celtic Spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates all about the physical body.  What some refer to as an aura. When you connect and become completely open and trusting with another person, your two souls begin to flow together. The forming of that deep bond is described as having found your anam cara or soul friend.

Your anam cara always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light. Inevitably, to appreciate this relationship, you must first recognize your own inner light and beauty. This is not always easy to do! The Celts believed that forming an anam cara friendship would help you awaken to your own inner light and beauty, as a pathway to experiencing the joys of others.

According to John O’Donahue, an accomplished Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic priest, “…You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home.

Do you sense how the writings of Richard Bach and John O’Donohue are two hues from the same rainbow?

Take a few minutes and explore the John O’Donohue website that has much to remember about this wonderful man.  Embrace such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:

  • Light is generous
  • The human heart is never completely born
  • Love as ancient recognition
  • The body is the angel of the soul
  • Solitude is luminous
  • Beauty likes neglected places
  • The passionate heart never ages
  • To be natural is to be holy
  • Silence is the sister of the divine
  • Death as an invitation to freedom

I’m going to offer two videos.  They are both of John O’Donohue.  One is 51 minutes and one is 5 minutes.  Do watch them both but if for whatever reason you cannot do that, then please watch the shorter one.


Now read this quotation from the book.

Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.

and recognising this post is day three of writing about love, here’s another quotation:

If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.


Are Jean and I touched by the spirit of anam cara?  Leave you, dear reader, to judge that.  In fact, leave you with the sign that is on our front gate!


Love is??

Reflections on the meaning of love.

Yesterday, I explored love across the species; back to that first encounter between wolf and early man.

Today, I want to revisit what we mean when we use the word ‘love‘ and feel the emotion.  I say revisit because it’s not the first time I have dipped my toes into this particular pool.  Last August, I wrote a piece What is love?  It opened thus:

How the relationship that we have with domesticated animals taught us the meaning of love.

This exploration into the most fundamental emotion of all, love, was stimulated by me just finishing Pat Shipman’s book The Animal Connection.  Sturdy followers of Learning from Dogs (what a hardy lot you are!) will recall that about 5 weeks ago I wrote a post entitled The Woof at the Door which included an essay from Pat, republished with her permission, that set out how “Dogs may have been man’s best friend for thousands of years longer than we realized“.

The following day, I wrote a further piece introducing the book and then commenced reading it myself.  Please go there and read about the praise that the book has received.

What I want to do is to take a personal journey through love.  I should add immediately that I have no specialist or professional background with regard to ‘love’ just, like millions of others, a collection of experiences that have tapped me on the shoulder these last 67 years.

The challenge for us humans is that while we instinctively understand what emotions represent: love, fear, anger, joy, grief, sadness, happiness, et al, we really have no way of knowing precisely what another person is feeling and how that feeling compares to our own awareness and experience of that emotion.

Stay with me as I explore how others offer a meaning of love.

As it happens, this week’s Sabbath Moment from Terry Hershey was much about love.

If you judge people you have not time to love them. Mother Teresa

Where there is great love there are always miracles. Willa Cather

Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness… the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world man will have discovered fire. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Then some further reflections:

Here’s my take: Life is complicated and at times, very, very challenging. And sometimes, overwhelming.  Bad things can happen to good people. Decisions can be thorny and disconcerting. However. Even in the midst … where there is great love, there are always miracles.


Here’s the deal:

  • Love is not always where I predict it will be.
  • Love can grow and blossom even in the face of striving and anguish.
  • If we judge we cannot love. Just because I see something one way, doesn’t mean that I am right and you are wrong.
  • When we do love, we are present. When we are present, there is always a thread.  The good news is that we are in this together. One day you may be that thread for me. And one day, I may be that thread for you.

Powerful words! Words that will have many nodding.  Yet still nothing absolute that offers a definition of love that would be universally understood.  Because there can be no universal definition.  That is the magic of all emotions – they defy the ‘science of life’.  So let’s just treasure that magic.

A few days ago, Sue over at Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary wrote a post under the title of Cosmic Seeds of Thought.  With Sue’s kind permission, I republish that in full.

Last night I wrote this poem, its been a while since I posted one, so as my pen flew across the page I was inspired with these words.. Maybe due to the recent Solar flares, but my ears have been ringing ever louder as the energies have intensified.. The Silence space within is a place to reflect and absorb the peacefulness of Oneness with the Universe…. A place I often go, where we can just close our eyes to the constant noise as the Planet cries with yet more pain…  Meditation helps centre our minds. If you would like to follow a meditation I often do… You can find it Here on a post I did back in 2008 .


Silence booms in an explosion of sound

Splintering static high pitched and loud

Morse Coded downloads in intermittent bursts

The Cosmos is talking-Do you hear its verse?


I escape to the mountains and I run to the sea

But its chatter surrounds me as I long to be free

I hear cries of children, laments from the old

Each on a journey their stories to be told


The Elephants and Dolphin their cries go unheard

Yet I hear their low rumbles and clicks how absurd

Each voice in the matrix – every thought in the mix

A Planet in Crisis – will it ever be fixed?


So I turn down the volume as I shut the outer door

As I meditate inward finding higher-self law

Here I seek Peace in the stillness I find

The Key to the Cosmos we turn in the mind


All things are great and all things are small

The Mind gives them power and shall overcome all

The Universal Plan- I am part and unique

Each one is searching to fit the pieces they seek


And the answer is simple- but we make is so hard

With the choices we choose as we shuffle life’s cards

It seems we chose greed, possession is King

Forgetting how to love our fellow Human Being


But it’s never too late for we each have a heart

To alter our ways – To care is a start

So clear out your Anger, your hatred and greed

Listen to your heartbeat –Start sowing Love Seeds

© Sue Dreamwalker – 2013 All rights reserved.

Start sowing love seeds!  Wonderful.

How to close it for today?  Frankly, I’m not sure.  So I’m going to ‘cheat’. By which I mean republish something else from last August. A guest essay about the loss of love.  Because it seems to me that one way (the only way?) to experience what love truly means is when we lose it. As Eleanore MacDonald describes below in the most heart-rending and beautiful fashion.


one of the seven great dogs

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Anatole France

Djuna Cupcake, my heart of hearts,
photo by Breelyn MacDonald

A great squall came upon us here on our farmlet a week ago. I saw it first from a distance, in that dawning of the morning when Djuna usually announced the coming day with his gentle, breathy ‘woooof’, his polite plea to join us on the bed. Mysteriously disturbing, it surely was a sign of things to come, but we didn’t know how dangerous it really was until it was upon us.

And when it was suddenly there, a Great Joy was sucked from our world and an overwhelming sadness took its place … a raging stillness, hot and stifling, no breath, no heartbeat.

My springs of Joy are dry … (a sentiment stolen in part from that great old song, Long Time Traveler)

Djuna Cupcake was one of the Seven Great Dogs. If you’ve seen the film ‘Dean Spanley’, you will know what I mean. If you have loved and been loved by a dog of pure heart … one who was a great teacher of presence, of patience, one who was the dispenser of unconditional love and the blessings of an incomparable joy … one who was a great listener, guardian, and the embodiment of Buddha, Coyote, the Goddesses Eleos and Kuan Yin all in one soft coated body … one who was your loving shadow because he or she felt that it was their job to see you safe at all times … you will know what I mean.

He died quite suddenly. Like that squall, his death came with no warning and for days after Paul and I were sucked deep into that great black hole of grief. The dread attacked us at every turn, where we would always see him but now only a glaring emptiness stood. I felt as though my heart and soul had a raw, oozing, gaping, searingly painful wound where he had been torn away from me. Stolen. We cried a lot.

Some people will never understand. I try to feel compassion for them, rather than issuing the big ‘EFF YOU”, but I am only human. What is this BS about a ‘three day’ rule? What? Because he was ‘just a dog’ we should be over it all in 3 days? Djuna was surely a better person than most Humans and I will never stop missing him. I feel so deeply sorry for those people who have overlooked having such grace and beauty bless their lives –– the companionship of a great dog (or cat or horse, or human person) –– so that, when the monumental end comes and they’ve come through the great fires of sorrow, and have been washed by the flush of a million tears, they come through to the other side where they are able to see the remarkable love, joys and lessons they’d been gifted by that companionship. I can only hope now to ‘be’ the person Djuna thought me to be.

3 days and 3 more and 3 million more and even then more just won’t do it.

Paul and I were with Djuna on our bedroom floor when he died. I lay with him next to my heart, whispering love, my arm draped over his neck … and as he was leaving us, I saw him standing just beyond Paul. Alert, ears akimbo, head cocked, eyes bright, a wad of socks in mouth, standing in his particularly great exuberance, as he did each morning when the time for chores presented itself – “Come on! It’s time to go! Get with it you silly humans! There’s work to be done, there’s a barn to clean and a day to sniff, there’s delight to be found!” And then he left.

My ‘joyometer’, my daily dispenser of mirth, and my constant reminder of the importance of presence, has gone missing – his lessons of ‘Be Here Now’ measured in doses of ’Oh, sense the beauty in the music of the wind!’, ‘Let’s just run in circles and laugh’, ‘I love, love, love you!’ … gone. It is wholly up to me now to remember to stay in each moment, to just be a nice person, cry whenever I must, to laugh as much as possible and dance for the sheer joy of it. And when the cacophony of the deafening silence has quieted and the colors of sorrow have muted and gone transparent and I’ve had some time to let the Aegean clean up those bloodied wounds in my heart and soul, there will be room again here for another one of the Seven Great Dogs. And the cycles will continue on.

Almost every evening Djuna and I took an evening stroll down our quiet lane. I loved watching him dance his great joy, nose to the ground scenting all of the news of the day or nose to the sky, sensing what was coming on the breeze. On our walks I watched the seasons change, the rising of the full moon, the greening of the new spring and the evening skies, like snowflakes, no one ever alike … I watched the Canadian geese come and go, the Red Tail hawks courting in the air above me, and let the build up of my day fall away as I tread softly with my gentle friend. It took me several days after Djuna’s death for me to realize that here was yet again another gift he had left for me in his wake, and one I should continue to enjoy. The sky was black to the West, we’d had heavy winds and rain all day, but when there was a break I set off on ‘our’ walk. Wrapped tightly in sadness and hardly breathing with the missing of him, I shuffled along about a 1/2 mile and turned for home before the rains started up and the chill wind began to blow, fierce again, from the south. That wind battered and bashed me until it freed the tears from my eyes, and the freezing rain lashed my face until I grew numb. As though suddenly realizing I was about to drown, I surfaced, taking in great gulps of air as though I’d not been breathing for several days, and began to climb free of the suffocating bonds of my sadness.

Part of our family

My Djuna, my Cupcake … My Heart of Hearts who knew my soul, my every thought; great lover of Paul and I, and of Breelyn; great lover of his mare and his pony, of socks and his furry toys and his GWBush chew doll; great lover of his evening walkies and of riding in the car, and feeding the birds; great lover of sofa naps and sleeping in late with us on the bed and chasing BALL and rolling on the grass and of eating horse poop; bountiful bestower of stealthy kisses; joyful jokester, Greek scholar (he knew about 15 words and understood several phrases spoken to him in Greek; something we did only after he’d begun to understand words and phrases *spelled out* in English! ‘Car’, ‘dinner?’, ‘play with the ball?’, ‘feed the birds’, water, pony, get the goat, etc!); Djuna, beloved Honorary Cat, our timekeeper, our guardian angel, our boss, our playfully dignified friend (thanks for that Marija) and family member, and one of the Seven Great Dogs – we will love and miss you forever.

But now – there’s work to be done, there’s a barn to clean and a new day to sniff, there’s delight to be found!

love – photo by Breelyn MacDonald

Copyright (c) 2012 Eleanore MacDonald


Walking Away from Empire; a book review

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Arthur Conan Doyle.

Ten days ago, I finished reading the book Walking Away from Empire: A Personal Journey. It had been sent to me by the author.

Let me explain how this came about.

A few weeks ago, I published an item under the title of Doggedly seeking the truth.  I included the video “The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: Developing Durable Living Arrangements in Light of Climate Change and Energy Decline.“  That video was a presentation by Prof. Guy McPherson.

Subsequently, during an exchange of emails with Prof. McPherson there was an offer to receive a free copy of his book, Walking Away from Empire: A Personal Journey.  Naturally, I accepted.

Having finished reading the book it seemed only fair to write a review.

So far, so good!

I tried to marshal my thoughts for well over a week.   Couldn’t get started.  Strange, because when immersed in the book the messages were crystal clear.

Why the struggle to embrace Guy McPherson’s messages?  Then in a moment of insight I realised that I was struggling to understand why I was struggling!

Published by PublishAmerica, LLLP

Because the blunt truth of the matter is that this book spells out the bleedin’ obvious.  Humanity is between a rock and a hard place!

Look no further than the very first paragraph of the first chapter, Reason,:

At this late juncture in the era of industry, it seems safe to assume we face one of two futures. If we continue to burn fossil fuels, we face imminent environmental collapse. If we cease burning fossil fuels, the industrial economy will collapse. Industrial humans express these futures as a choice between your money or your life, and tell you that, without money, life isn’t worth living. As should be clear by now, industrial humans — or at least our “leaders” — have chosen not door number one (environmental collapse) and not door number two (economic collapse), but both of the above.

Sandy Krolick of Transition Voice wrote a review of Guy McPherson’s book in September, 2011.  His last sentence was, “This is a book you will not put down; and having read it, you’ll no longer be able to ignore its conclusions.

Again, what Sandy Krolick writes is perfectly correct. No argument.  Yet …. something about that sentence from Sandy doesn’t speak to me.  That struggle again.

Then I got it!

Let me go straight to page 177 of Prof. McPherson’s book and quote this:

It’s no longer just the living planet we should be concerned about. It’s us. The moral question, then: What are you going to do about it?

Then one paragraph later, come this:

There is simply no feeding the hollow spot in my gut and my psyche, as there was when I replaced my invisible, omnipotent friend in the sky with reason. Instead of abandoning the mirage of eternal life, I’m abandoning the mirage of globalization. Instead of giving up an everloving god, I’m giving up a comfortable life spent with my best friend. I’m taking yet another step in the path from make-believe to reality. And, as we all know, reality is a harsh, dispassionate mistress who doesn’t give a damn about the emptiness in my fragile little psyche. Fortunately, I still have the amusing memories of the absurdity of my former life, in which I believed I was saving the world by conducting and publishing mundane research and teaching irrelevant concepts to a largely disinterested audience.

I found the first step to be the most difficult. Simply recognizing the industrial economy as an omnicidal imperial beast forced me to cross a threshold most people find far too formidable to attempt.

Just reflect on those key words, “a threshold most people find far too formidable to attempt.”

Keep those words in mind as I quote the next paragraph from the book.

We’ve never been here as a species, much less as individuals. And every cultural message tells us we’re wrong, that the industrial age will last forever, that justice and goodness will prevail over every enemy (i.e., terrorist), that progress is a one-way street to industrial nirvana, that the harbinger of hope will keep the oil coming and the cars running and the planes flying so we can all soak up the sun on a sandy beach any time we need a break from our tumultuous lives in the cube farms of empire.

This, then, was the result of reading the book.  The realisation of the reality of our existence.  The immensity of the truth of where mankind is.  The here and NOW!

Sorry, let me amend those last sentences.  My realisation of the reality of my existence.  The immensity of the truth of where I am.  My here and NOW!

No wonder I struggled.

So not much of a book review, more a review of yours truly!  That is the power of this book.  Sandy Krolick was right; “This is a book you will not put down; and having read it, you’ll no longer be able to ignore its conclusions.

Be warned.  When you read this book brace yourself for what you see staring out of the mirror back at you. There will be no room left for delusion.

As Carl Sagan said, “It is far  better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

The challenge of change

A personal muse.

Today’s Post was prompted by a recent email, here it is in full,

Dear Brian et al,

I know it’s really tough, but we have to figure out a way to take the message of the Steady State Economy  viral.

We HAVE to.

Every time I look at who has signed the petition at www.steadystate.org,  I am inspired, because the signers come from all over the world. But two or three a day?

Certainly, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. I’ve tried on my own, and when I talk to folks one-on-one, they often enthusiastically sign, but they don’t “pay it forward.”>What can we do together to break through this wall of apathy?

Very best regards,

Carla Rautenberg
Cleveland, Ohio

I was one of the 8 addressees, for reasons that I am not really sure about.  But it doesn’t matter.  Here are my thoughts.

There is no doubt in my mind that the present course of mankind on this planet is not sustainable.  There is much on Learning from Dogs from my ‘pen’ and others that supports that view.  As Carla writes, when one speaks to others, the majority seem to share that view.

So what is it about change that is so difficult?  Well, I’m not competent to give a reliable answer to that but a web search on change delivers yards of material and even more quotations.  Just as a random example, here is a website that offers ‘The 45 Most Inspiring Quotes on Change.‘  But do you know what?  There’s only one which, to my mind, hits at the real heart of change.  It was this one,

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra

Last week I published a short story that ended,

The message from the night, as clear as the rays of this new day’s sun, the message to pass to all those he loved. If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.

‘Chaos’, ‘getting lost’ are expressions of, to use a relatively modern phrase, ‘tipping points’ !  It seems to me that real motivation to change can only come when one’s present world is falling apart in spades.

Then, and only then, those that offer clear ways forward will be held up as saviours.

So there’s my thought for the day!  And if any of you wonderful readers have further thoughts and contributions, please offer them as comments.  Big thank-you.

Another reflection

Thanks to family member Freyja D. for this piece.

I saw this on Freyja’s Facebook account and thought it would be appropriate for a Saturday reflection along with Random Notes 2.  I’m sure many have seen it already but it was new to me!

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, ” If I could see the world, I’d marry you”.

One day someone donated eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend. He asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that.  The thought of looking at him for the rest of her life led her to refuse his offer of marriage.  Her boyfriend left her in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying; “Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.”

Having just cut and pasted that from the Facebook page, I thought that I would do a web search on ‘There was a blind girl who hated herself‘ and the first link on the results page was Stories from the Heart from the A View on Buddhism website.  So that was a lovely find and a web site that deserves more browsing.

At the top of the ‘Home Page’ was the following quote:

Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist;
use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Nothing much to argue with there!

May our eyes open our heart.

Clarity of thought

The power of clear visions.

Martin Luther King, (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968)

One of the aspects of modern life that is deeply unsatisfactory is the way that politicians and leaders of democratic societies fudge the truth in the hope that trying to be all things to all men means wider acceptance of their messages.

Think of the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. ”

These words serve as an introduction to some beautiful thoughts from a loyal American living here in Payson.  This is a man who is deeply spiritual, who has fought for his country, and who is soft and gentle to the core.  This is a man who is not afraid to offer a personal vision to the world.  I regard it as a real bonus that Jean and I have his friendship.

Here is the first of two contributions from John H.

The Passion of Enlightenment

Enlightenment includes deep grief and a passion to leave life a bit better than we found it. Enlightenment has little practical value in a growing and constantly consuming cultural demographic. Consumers tend to spiritually disconnect when faced by a need for change or when morality becomes inconvenient.

Is God truth?  What is the opposite of truth?  We’ve lost our way as a species.  Does God tell us to worship money? Does God tell us to ignore our finite earth?  Does God tell us to kill each other?  Does God tell us to ignore human history and the emerging network of scientific understandings?

Human wisdom has been far greater in the past than it is today.  God is not known through empirical knowledge.  Man is as limited as the finite planet which gave life to our species and sustains our existence. Matter and energy are interchangeable as fundamental forces.  God is experienced through our inner being and understood through the wisdom tradition of our species.

Sustainability includes the well-being of our planet and the life it supports.  Sustainability includes serving as caretakers rather than acting as owners.  Sustainability includes surrendering our addictions, our illusions and our delusions. Surrendering includes the courage to speak the truth and walk as we talk.  Surrendering assures our common well-being as a conscious component of God.  We have nothing to fear.

Consider world leadership.  Who are the aggressors?  Who are the oppressed?  Who serves God?  Who serves Mammon?  We each must search our heart, mind and soul to answer these questions honestly.  We need to face our shame and guilt in order to redeem ourselves and make a sustained effort to change.

The roots of wisdom in a constantly changing world are God, nature, history, and science.  We’ve come a long way since we first learned to use tools.  What have we forgotten in the process?  We can’t wait for the truth to become popular.  We each need to help make the truth popular.

an old lamplighter

Powerful words.  Thank you John.

The power of shine!

A delightful presentation by Terry Hershey.

Regular followers of Learning from Dogs will recall that in March we had the pleasure of a visit to St Paul’s Episcopal Church, here in Payson, of the well-known Terry Hershey.  He is a great inspirational speaker, based on deep and sound personal values.  Terry’s website is here.

Well it seemed like a nice idea to offer some more of TH.  Here is his presentation on World Communion Day, October 4th 2009, at the First Community Church, Columbus, Ohio.  Letting the light that is in each one of us shine out.

Part One

Part Two

The Third Eye

A guest post from John Hurlburt.

Our living garden planet.

When we’re in love with God, the cosmos, our living garden planet and the steadily growing conscious interconnection between those who understand and serve, we live in awe and wonder and realize a peaceful natural serenity in the midst of our daily concerns and responsibilities.

As our world, our environment and our culture appear to be unraveling, it becomes increasingly necessary for human beings to slow down to re-energize. It’s clear that our species has recently lost spectacularly to natural forces in the Gulf of Mexico and Japan. It’s no coincidence that it’s our technology which continues to reveal the fundamental weakness of human ego. It’s more than a metaphor that our individual and species arrogance is our Achilles heel.

There are many people who fail to perceive, understand and appreciate parallel realities from a rational, sensory and unified perspective by learning to see through a mystical third eye. Mysticism may be misunderstood as simply thinking outside of the box. Forget about the box. Let go of self-centered fears. Become aware of being unaware. Nurture capabilities to perceive non-locally and act locally. What’s happening worldwide comes with the territory. We are each responsible for our collective destiny

Meditation reflects that imagination and creativity are necessary to invent and utilize tools. Creativity did not begin with humans and is not exclusive to humans. God’s nature precedes emerging technology. Morality derives from our common need for species unity.

The message is that God doesn’t care about money and the sky is no longer a human limit. The fact remains that except for occasional astronauts we all continue to live on the same planet. Those who understand need no explanation.

There is a need for productive use of intelligence and technology at our natural frontiers. We need to refuel world economies with clean energy visions that provide solutions for our present local planetary emergency.

We may choose to implement the changes necessary to avoid impending local ecosphere, cultural and technological meltdowns while preparing for a migration to the stars.

Unification is a common goal. Leaving the nest of our garden planet is a partial unifying solution for the problems of our exponentially expanding species. An alternative is that our obsession with the symbol of money will have the same dire consequences for those who are obsessed as for those whom are oppressed.

Please love God, maintain an even strain, follow your bliss, continue to learn, share and serve our common purpose under God, proceed as the way opens, cross the next bridge as we come to it, enjoy the journey and stay in touch.


From an old lamplighter!

Terry Hershey, Payson Visit Announcement

Obviously only relevant to all those that are within reach of Payson, AZ. Apologies to my other readers.

Terry Hershey

Nationally Known Speaker and Writer will offer Free Seminars on March 14

Terry Hershey will visit Payson on Monday, March 14, to speak at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church beginning at 2:00 p.m. and at the First Church of the Nazarene beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Hershey is an inspirational speaker, humorist and author who has been featured on The Hallmark Channel, CNN, and PBS.  He holds a mirror up to our fast-forward, disconnected lives, and invites us to share the wisdom of taking an intentional moment to help regain our personal and spiritual balance.

Terry lives, writes and teaches with passion, purpose, heart and grace. He captivates his audience with the motto: “Do less, live more”.  He creates an environment where we are given permission to become involved in the world around us, to want what we already have, to be embraced by moments of grace, to allow the child in us to play under a wide sky, to understand that laughter is a type of prayer and to take delight in our friends.

Terry Hershey is the author of ten books. The one that will be the focus of his inspirational presentation in Payson is “Soul Gardening”; winner of a “Book of the Year” award in 2010. Terry’s stories will nurture your soul and renew your sense of what it means to live fully alive.  To hear Terry speak is a life-affirming experience. Everywhere he appears, the feedback has been unanimously positive. For example:

Terry Hershey was truly humorous, enlightening and inspiring to one and all. He gave us permission to be embraced by grace.

He was truly the highlight of our year!

Terry’s lectures and books inspire one to see that happiness is already inside.

Terry Hershey will be speaking as follows:

Monday afternoon, March 14:

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church parish hall, located at 1000 N. Easy Street, in Payson at the corner of Sherwood Drive.  Note that seating and parking at St Paul’s is limited to about 50 people. If you plan to attend the afternoon session, please call 474-3834 to leave a message reserving a space.

Monday evening, March 14:

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene, 200 East Tyler Parkway, located at the northeast corner of Beeline Highway in northern Payson across from the Home Depot.  The parish hall will comfortably accommodate up to 200 people.  Please call 474-5890 to leave a message reserving a space.

These events are open to everyone at no charge.  Refreshments will be available at both sessions. Please plan to bring a friend with you.

Further information may be obtained from:

Paul Handover,  (928) 478 8612

John Hurlburt,   (928) 468 6572

Eckhart Tolle

On Stillness

One of the many lessons that we can learn from dogs is the ability to be still.  On the 2nd November, I wrote a

Eckhart Tolle

piece on Learning from Dogs about the critically important role of silence in our lives.


Eckhart Tolle is a very interesting person.  He had a challenging background but has used his life experiences to gain a much deeper awareness of the world.  Indeed, he measures around 600 on the Hawkin’s scale of consciousness.

Anyway, I reproduce in full an item from Tolle’s November Newsletter.  It is called Eckhart on Manifestation.

Often people ask questions about manifesting and the power of intention, and how that relates to the power of Now.  One person asked me about the difference between the continuous wanting that I write about in A New Earth and intention – the intention to create something.  What is the importance of manifesting things in your life, or creating, or is that counter-productive?

There are many exciting books these days about creating and manifesting: The Secret, the teachings of Abraham, and so on.  Often people ask, how does that relate to Stillness and inner peace?  And acceptance of what is? And surrender to the Present Moment? And living in alignment with Now?  Is there conflict, is one wrong?  Or misleading?

This is an important question for almost everybody.  Your own life is a microcosm of the macrocosm.  If you look at the Universe, the first thing you will see is that it likes to create, and it likes to manifest.  On this planet alone, the Universe is continuously creating and manifesting countless life forms.  And in outer space, we can only assume – we don’t know what exactly is there – but there is a vastness of life out there, and probably many more life forms than we have on this planet.  The life forms, both in the sea, and on land, including humans, they seem to enjoy a dance of coming into being and destruction.  It’s a transformational process.By just looking at life, you can see that the Universe loves to manifest.  Also it seems to be the case that life forms, over periods of time, become more differentiated.  Many more come.  And even human societies become more complex.  We have had ancient civilizations that were very complex, but our present civilization is the most complex.  This of course includes problem-ridden.  That goes with complexity.  Every individual who is part of this civilization has a life that is full of problems.  But complexity cannot go on forever.

The Universe likes to create, to manifest, to experience the play of form.  That’s one movement.  And you can see it in yourself, at some level.  There is something else in humans, you can only really see in yourself, an inner phenomenon.   The Universe wants not only to experience that manifested life, it also wants to experience peace and something that is not touched by the continuously fluctuating forms.  It wants to know itself deeply, directly, in its essence.   That really is the root of spirituality.  The Universe not only wants the outward movement, but it also wants the inward – the return movement to the One.  Every human being also embodies these two movements.  It seems that you are torn sometimes between the outward movement into form, and the inward return movement to the Source where it all started.  The Source that was never really lost, it is always there because it is timeless, and it is within you.  You feel drawn back to that, and that is the pull toward spirituality, peace, Stillness.

Not one or the other is right or wrong.  It’s only perhaps if you totally lose yourself in one or the other – maybe that’s not quite it.  Perhaps this is the challenge of the Universe here on this planet, and perhaps on other planets.  The challenge to reconcile the two movements, rather than to have them be separate.  Is it possible to reconcile the inner movement toward Stillness and Being, and the outer toward action, and doing?  I would say it is, and that is our challenge at this time.

Traditionally, it’s been very unconscious what humans have manifested in this world.  They have been identified with doing, and identified with form.  That has been going on for as long as anyone can remember – since recorded history and beyond.  And we call that ‘ego’.  The One consciousness that underlies everything moves into form, assumes forms, and enjoys the play of form but it’s not enough for the one consciousness to enjoy the play of form, it needs to completely believe in it to make it seem ‘real’.  You need to lose yourself in that dream of form.

Every human believes that they have a life of their own, and that means they are identified with the form of that life.  This particular physical body, this particular psychological life form, the accumulation of thoughts and the emotions that go with these thoughts; it all becomes part of that form-identity.

Consciousness is trapped, or believes itself to be trapped in that.  We could say that in that state, the Universe or Consciousness has entered a “dream-like” state.  It wants to do that, it must enjoy that dream, up to a point.  Consciousness has entered that “dream-like” state where it is completely identified with form.  It doesn’t realize that every other form is an aspect of itself.  Of course, then you are just an isolated entity.  It becomes quite unpleasant after a while.  So you have to get together with other entities and instead of having an “I” form, you have a “We” form, an “Us”.

For a while, the Universe seems to be okay with that, to have Consciousness identified completely with form.  Then the “movie” goes on.  Reading through history, you can see what happens when Consciousness is identified completely with form.  Then it comes time for another stage to arise, when Consciousness is beginning to awaken from complete identification with form.  This is beginning to happen at many stages, this is why human beings are drawn to spiritual teachings.  It is the awakening from the dream of form.

A little more about Eckhart tomorrow.

By Jon Lavin