Shadows and Light

I wrote yesterday about my dream and conversation with a friend and promised today to write more about my dream and what it means. Today’s post is entitled Shadows and Light because yesterday, when I awoke, the lingering words in my head were:

Remember to position things in the best possible light and to always look at things from every angle. Changing the light changes the shadows and creates a whole new picture.

After my dream scene where we were in a classroom trying to position objects in the best possible light so we could shade the shadows and such, my dream shifted to a new scene where my husband was wearing a trench coat. He opened up his trench coat to reveal myriad pockets sewn on the inside full of wares. He reminded me of some bootleg seller on the streets of NY.  I wrote theses words in my dream journal:

Things are not always as they appear. You have to open up and look inside–look at things in a different light.

My dream scene shifts again to me in my garage gym doing sit-ups. The following thoughts course through my mind:

Fast and efficient or slow and controlled?  Which is better?

I write that there is a time, reason, season and purpose for both approaches.

My next scene is my husband cutting his thumb with my big black buck knife. He’s checking his blood just like a diabetic would do. Then there is a lady pointing to her arm where you draw blood and she is telling me to get over there and get my blood drawn. I know what this means. My primary care doctor says my thyroid is off and I need to get my blood checked. I made an appt today to get a comprehensive blood exam with Dr. Knight. I was planning to have my cancer doctor do it when I go in for my check up next month, but the lady said to me, “You must arrange blood work months in advance. You can’t wait until the day of.” This makes me laugh because that was my plan. I was just going to show up and have Dr. Colona do it.

I want to remember the following ideas from last night’s dream:

Remember the different approaches to life–fast and efficient vs. slow and controlled–and when/how to use them.

Always cast things in the best possible light and remember the role of light in casting shadows. Perspective and angles change everything.

There was another dream scene that tied both of these together. We were at a political event. My uncle was up for re-election and his wife was casting the other candidates in not the best light. I really didn’t want to vote the way she was directing us, but since she was family and friend, I took one for the team and cast my vote accordingly. Which also made a lot of sense considering the dream scene before this one. I was in a baseball game and it was my turn to bat. My coach wanted me to bunt, but I knew I could get a good hit. I had done a great hit the last time I was up to bat. I decided I’d better listen to the coach and take one for the team.

I would love to walk away from KickFire sometimes now that Tyler is gone, but I know he needs me to hold it all together now more than ever. I have decided to take one for the team. I don’t really wanna. . . but I will hold down the fort and I will position the situation in the best possible light. 🙂

Spiritual Paths

Two paths diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled by….

and that has made all the difference ~Robert Frost

Every person is unique and so is their spiritual path. I was listening to a lecture by a prominent sociologist wherein he discussed the effect expanding educational opportunities has on civilizations. The takeaway was that as children gained access to education, their vocational opportunities expanded. Sons born to carpenters didn’t have to become carpenters. Farmers’ son could become something other than a farmer, etc. Prior to these times, no man-child ever had the thought growing up, “what should I become?” The decision was already made.

I couldn’t help but recognize this same phenomenon regarding religion. Technology has created a global economy and community. Easy access to information has allowed Westerners to study the wonders of Eastern spiritualism, and conversely, has enabled Easterners to research the marvels of Western religion.  Seekers of truth can take the best from every organization and form their own spiritual paths.

I personally have loved studying all the world religions. I am enjoying picking and choosing the teachings that resonate with me. I take what rings true and I leave what doesn’t. My spiritual path is unfolding one glorious step at a time. I’m loving the journey. It’s definitely a path unique to me for I believe everyone must travel their own spiritual path. My path will be different from yours and yours will be different than mine. Bushwacking your own spiritual path might not appeal to all, but for me, it is making all the difference.

 

Never Too Late

I’m living proof that it’s never too late. It’s almost 8 (pm) and I just showered. 🙂 You may wonder why I would bother when the day is almost over, but for me, something about going to bed without having showered just didn’t feel right. So I decided to do what’s right despite the late hour. Heck, I even decided to fix my hair, which may seem rather silly, but at least I’ll look decent as the day winds down.

Plus, who am I kidding? I’m gonna be up for at least another 3 hours so I might as well look my finest. Best of all, I don’t have to wash my face and do my evening skin care routine for I just now did it! And lest you think my skin care routine consists of something exotic, allow me to disabuse you of that notion. I subscribe to the same morning and evening procedure as most adolescents across America . . . drumroll please. . . Proactiv! 🙂

So there you have it! It’s never too late to do what feels right. For if it’s anything like a late evening shower, you’ll not only feel cleaner, you’ll also sleep sounder.

Apostasy and Revelation

We had an interesting lesson in Gospel Doctrine on Sunday. It was all about apostasy and revelation. I found the comments to the teacher’s question quite amusing despite the amazing ignorance.

The teacher queried:

Why do people apostacize from the church? Or what causes people to leave the church.

The answers included:

  • They’ve been offended
  • They were never fully in the church to begin with
  • They can’t live the commandments–basically, they have some secret sin(s)
  • They stop doing what they should be doing
  • It’s a sign of the times–even the very elect will be led astray
  • They’ve been deceived
  • They are proud
  • They refuse to repent
  • They can’t forgive
  • They are lazy–being a member of the church requires a lot of hard work

There were more answers, and while surely some of them may be true, I felt it was a judgmental, hypocritical, and shallow list at best. I refrained from sharing my thoughts till the very end. I guess I was secretly hoping someone else would speak up so I wouldn’t have to. Actually, I was wondering if anyone else was feeling what I was–which was embarrassment. I felt sad that no one else realized–or at least felt courageous enough to give voice to–what I think may be the number one reason people leave the church (or any native faith culture for that matter) and that is simply “they found something else that suits them better.”

Why do we have to make up sad stories about why people leave their original faith culture? Why does it have to be about sin, deception, pride, or prophecy? Why can’t it be about individuals seeking for answers and greater understanding? Why can’t it be about individuals awakening to a new spiritual path?

Why don’t we tell the story about children who inherited their parents’ beliefs and who as they grow begin to discover additional truths that serve them better? Many don’t want to leave their faith culture (it’s their culture, hello!), but their feelings of separateness intensify as they sit through lessons where they are reminded that they don’t believe as their fellow members do. And to borrow Elder Holland’s parable of the choir, perhaps after trying to sing the songs of redeeming love when the words on the sheet music supplied no longer ring true, they realize it’s time to find another choir in which to sing as they still desire to raise their voice in praises to their King.

And so raise my hand and voice did I –and boldly did I cry (haha I’m just being a dork with all my rhyming):

I think some people leave simply because they find something else that’s a better fit.

And it is–and was–just that simple. Wouldn’t it truly be wonderful if we all could love a little more and be a whole lot less judgmental? Indeed, sticking to your beliefs takes gumption, and courage, ’tis noble and commendable–but condemning and judging others for following theirs is annoyingly hypocritical.

The Gender of God

What is the gender of God? I’ve recently wondered how best to refer to God when I’m writing because it seems uncouth to always refer to God as “Him.” I think I do so out of habit and because it still feels awkward to say “Her.” I believe in a loving Heavenly Father. But if I have a loving Heavenly Father, then certainly I have a loving Heavenly Mother too. And why, when referring to God, wouldn’t I want to refer to “Her” equally as much as I refer to “Him?”

What a great dis-service we have done women by removing all references to our Heavenly Mother. If we are all divine beings in process of becoming Gods, then why would we strip half the human race of the privilege of acknowledging their godhood? The rationale taught by my faith culture is hollow at best. We are told that God desires to protect His wife from blasphemous lips. I’m not sure I like to picture my Heavenly Mother so delicate and in need of protection from her husband. In fact, the more I think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes.

Regardless of Mormon theology, I personally like to believe in councils of Gods, and that we all, as divine beings, participated in the grand councils of Heaven and made decisions concerning our earth life and eternal progression. It just feels right to me. So from here on out, I’m going to make a concerted effort to refer to my Heavenly Mother as much as I refer to my Heavenly Father. AND, I’m going to make a conscious effort to use the pronouns “her” and “she” as much as I use “him” and “he.”

That’s where I stand on the gender of God.

 

The God Spot

I’ve recently become fascinated with The God Spot. It all began with a book I started reading called “Where God Lives” by Melvin Morse, M.D.  Essentially, scientists and medical doctors have identified the right temporal lobe as the part of the brain responsible for processing spiritual experiences. They’ve also discovered that one can create “God” or “Spiritual” experiences by electronically stimulating this part of the brain.

Many find the notion that God is all in our heads to be heresy, but not me. I find it to be quite perfect and practical that the Universal Creator would fashion our brain to be highly attuned with Him.*  I even like this lady’s thoughts about the book Where God Lives:

One of the best spiritual books out there, even for the science-minded. I gave this book to my son for his 32nd birthday, even though he’s a rational, pragmatic thinker (atheist). My belief is, there comes a time in everyone’s life where things cannot be explained except but for the presence of God. Knowing that we might have a transmitter in our brains that connects us to the spirit world, or God, helps to understand we might be wired to communicate on a higher level by birth, and that it’s OK to believe and have faith in the unbelievable sometimes.

Additionally, the concept that we are all hardwired for spiritual experiences excites me as it shows that we all possess the ability to commune with the divine and experience the “spiritual” regularly. We can even increase the likelihood and frequency with which we experience the divine by simply understanding and obeying the laws and principles that govern spiritual experiences. In effect, we can become more “spiritually-minded.”

So what are some of the principles and laws that govern spiritual experiences?Studies consistently demonstrate the importance of meditation, prayer, stillness, receptivity, inspiring music, contemplation, pondering, study, solitude, unity with others, and more. Isn’t it awesome how closely the scientific research aligns with theology!

What does all of this mean for me? Personally, I find a scientific explanation of how the brain perceives, interprets, and makes meaning of external stimuli very helpful in understanding my own spiritual experiences. Knowing how it all works helps me understand what I’m experiencing, it helps me know how to cultivate an environment favorable to the unfolding of the divine. I can strengthen my right temporal lobe by creating spiritual experiences and my spiritual experiences in turn heighten the sensitivity of my brain. It’s one eternal round.

That’s why those who see visions, see more visions. And those who become aware of ghosts and spirits, start seeing them everywhere. Once your eyes have been opened you can see everything as it truly is. You’d have to choose to stop seeing, but I’m not really sure anything can ever be unseen. Your memory of the event will dim over time, but can you really become unaware of something you once were aware? That’s another post for another day.

I’m rambling now so I will close by sharing how much I enjoyed reading the studies conducted by Persinger and several other articles concerning The God Spot. If you are interested in pursuing this topic further, here you go:

The Spiritual Brain

This is Your Brain on God

Are Spiritual Encounters All in Your Head

*I wrote a post about the gender of God here.

 

Auras

I started reading auras today. Dead serious. It was really cool. As previously mentioned in this post, Spirited, I have been studying more about spirits, souls, and energy from non-LDS perspectives. It’s not news to me that some people possess higher energy frequencies than others. Individuals who are more refined–spiritually evolved–have stronger auras. And these can be detected by the human eye.

In fact, I was sitting in church today and my eyes became keenly aware of orbs. I use to think my eyes were jacked up because I see lights. . . almost like I’m about to get a migraine. Additionally, my eyes are highly sensitive to light. Ask anyone who lives with me. I can’t talk to someone if they are standing in front of a light. I’m constantly shielding my eyes from lights (bright or dim), or turning off the lights. Even Dr. Knight will attest that every week when I go into his office, the first thing he does for me is turn of his lights.

Again, Rebecca Rosen says that spirits are all around us and can be seen by the highly attuned human eye as orbs and auras. I was sitting in church today and was seeing all kinds of swirling lights and light circles when I remembered what I had been reading. I thought, “Dude, what if you are seeing spirit energy?” I decided to see if I could also see people’s auras. So I stared at the peeps on the stand and then I shut my eyes and on certain individuals I could see incredible outlines of their body. Some of the people had bright auras while others had none at all or very faint. It was FASCINATING!

I played around with this for about 30 minutes and then decided to stop because 1) my 3rd eye or forehead started getting fatigued, and 2) I felt like I was judging people, even though I was not–I was simply making observations. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that knowing someone had no aura or a very faint one, didn’t lead me to wonder what was up with them?

I’m totally going to explore this ability more and read more about reading auras and developing the gift of spiritual discernment. I feel like it could be a very valuable, if not totally fun, tool. I am excited to see what other spiritual skills I can learn about and further develop.

Leashless

I LOVE summer mornings! The children get to sleep in and I get to go for morning walks with my book. And now, since we have Thor, I get to take him with.

It has been difficult to try to walk the dog while reading my book. Primarily because I find it hard to both hold the leash and turn the pages when I’m walking. I’ve done it many times, but it’s annoying. So the past few days I’ve allowed Thor to walk leashless alongside me. We both LOVE it!

I love the way he playfully explores. He loves to smell flowers, fire hydrants, splash through puddles, sprinklers and greet everyone we pass on the streets. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see him so happy. And how happy his happiness makes me, and how happy I am that we are both on a walk enjoying ourselves. Walking leashless also allows me to easily read. The freedom is made possible by our mutual trust in each other and his heeding my instructions.

I wondered how this post compares to my former post concerning the need for a leash that I wrote about here. It seems that learning to walk with a leash was a necessary  step in Thor’s progression to now be able to walk alongside me leashless. He understands and can hearken to basic commands such as “leave it,” “stay”, “uh-uh,” “come,” etc.

Is this how it is with God? Is there a preparatory period where we must learn to heed the leash so that we can one day walk leashless. Is that the ultimate goal? Because leashless walking is so much more enjoyable for both parties. I feel like Thor’s true personality unfolds when he isn’t tied down and I’m free to express my love rather than my control.

Whether the leash or not is a necessary preparatory step, I cannot for sure say, but this I do know. I was on it and I finally feel leashless. I’m loving the latter. I’ve never felt so alive, fulfilled, happy and free! Each day is a new adventure and I’m loving my leashless life!

Alan Watts

I have been listening to the Essential Collection of Alan Watts. The dude has a brilliant mind in that he can condense Eastern Mysticism into bite size, consumable content well suited for any Western mind. And while I don’t agree with everything he has to say, or some of his personal behavior, I do love hearing him preach on our universal connection. Alan is passionate about helping humans realize how we are all interconnected. In fact, Mr. Watts believes that the ultimate purpose of duality is unity.  The Ying and the Yang, the man and the woman, the front and the back side of a coin . . . are all opposites, yet connected. We, like them, cannot separate ourselves from each other.

Again, I agree that we are all interconnected and one. Which makes me wonder why so many religious conservatives–who also claim to believe in the universal oneness of mankind–typically abhor environmentalists, feminists, gay rights activists, anti-war proponents, animal rights supporters, and more? Do not these causes all stem from a knowing that we are all interconnected and one?

I’m only asking because as someone who was raised as a conservative Christian, I’ve absorbed the prevailing notion that all of the aforementioned are less than desirable positions and causes. But truth be told, I am a fan of protecting the Earth. I believe we must be good stewards, and I believe we should love all people no matter their sex or sexual preferences. I certainly abhor the idea of anyone harming animals, just as I abhor the practice of harming anything or anyone. Could it be that the more interconnected we realize we are, the more we embrace peace, tolerance and love? If this truly is the case, then isn’t this the message we should most be sharing? Or will it lead us to the proverbial Sodom and Gomorrah, Woodstock, free love, social decay, and drugs?

Honestly, I don’t feel like exploring this train of thought any further today. I’m really just thinking out loud. Which is what I do on this blog of mine.

I do, however, want to close with this second incredible thought by Mr. Alan Watts.

Anybody who tells you that he has some way of leading you to spiritual enlightenment is like somebody who picks your pocket and sells you your own watch. 

I love the idea that we are all our own best leaders to enlightenment, and that as possessors of the Divine seed, we have truth planted within. Looking without will not generate the answers we seek for they truly lie inside. God gave us all the gift of enlightenment. Some call it the Light of Christ, others the Holy Spirit. Call it what you will, but to think someone else can lead you to salvation. . . well that is just the silliest sort of thinking. Why wouldn’t God want you to experience Him and truth directly? Why would he want you to drink downstream when you can come to Him– the source of living water to quench your thirst?

Why oh why do we so lemming-like run headlong with the herd off illusory cliffs of certitude?

I’m grateful God gave me my own watch so that I wouldn’t need to rely on anyone else to tell me the time.

And I’m grateful divine synchronicity led me to the teachings of Mr. Alan Watts! I’m only 3 lectures in to his Essential Collection and he’s already reinforced some incredible beliefs.

Bring Your Shoes to the Rendezvous

I opened my duffle bag to reveal my brown Chaco flip flops. And then I woke up from my dream with these words echoing through my mind, “I don’t care what path you choose, just bring your shoes to the rendezvous.” 

It was so profound. I knew I had to write it down.

So I grabbed my dream journal that I always keep right by my bed and quickly scribbled it for safe keeping for I knew that shoes–in dream interpretation– typically represent our soul. And I knew this dream was an answer from my Father concerning some very specific questions. I could hardly wait to drift back off to sleep to see if God wanted to reveal more.

He did. I dreamt I was holding onto a rope that was tied to a hot air balloon. I was trying to keep the huge hot air balloon from floating away. It was exhausting. I was digging my heels into the sand and holding with all my might. My forearms were burning and I remember thinking, “Why am I even trying to hold this hot air balloon down?” I woke up with the song from Frozen coursing through my mind, “Let it Go, Let it Go. . . “

The message from both dreams was not lost on me. I knew exactly what meaning they held for me. In fact, I dreamt these corresponding dreams the early morning hours of the day I planned to hike high into the mountains to be with God and seek further understanding. I wrote about that experience yesterday in my Sacred Spot post you can read here.

Just as I wrote in that previous post, I woke up early and went on my Kingsbury Loop hike high in the Sierra Nevadas. I discovered my Sacred Spot and my dreams made even more sense after that experience. I know what God meant when he said, “It doesn’t matter which path you choose just bring your shoes to the rendezvous.” My shoes were my flip-flops which we are told we “shouldn’t wear to our sacrament meetings.” My Chaco Flip-flops are my favorite shoes and ones I have been wearing for over ten years. They are incredible shoes. I also thought of my hot air balloon and I understood that it was okay and time to let go of my old beliefs that were exhausting to hold on to. I understood everything with perfect clarity and many other dreams I have dreamed lately came perfectly together for me too.

Later that day, as I lay reading a book on a picnic table at the Lake—warm sun on my skin, reading a great book, guy playing James Taylor, and the children enjoying the cool water—I was overcome with joy. I had just read a passage in my book about how we are all Divine and that God will lead us to truth and we must be willing to walk the path we feel Him directing us down. I felt that it was a second affirmation of what He confirmed to me in my sacred spot high in the Sierra Nevadas. It was another tender mercy and I felt that everything was as it should be (another line that comes directly from one of my recurring dreams about truth).

When we returned to the condo, I took a nap. I drifted off to sleep and I dreamt  I was back on my hike conversing with God. He again confirmed, “Everything is as it should be.” I knew what that meant instantly, and I was then reminded that, “The answers lie within,”and, “To follow my heart.”

It was a tender mercy further witnessing to me that the feelings and impressions from my hike were true and of Divine origin, and that my growing desire to seek out others who share my similar beliefs was A-okay. I want to find more people who believe what I believe. In fact, here is what I wrote about my realizations I had while reading on a picnic table at Lake Tahoe.

Afternoon Lake Reflections

Since my awareness is growing stronger each day and my convictions are firmer and firmer in my newfound beliefs, I am feeling a great desire to unite myself with others that share my beliefs. I want to study what they study. Worship how they worship. Donate my tithes and offerings to support causes I feel will lift and bless others. I do love the Mormon people as much as I love any other group of wonderful people. They are good people. I am happy to have my children grow up in their faith and I will worship with them when I want, but I’d really like to explore a bit and see what others have to offer.

I may wait to pursue this till my children are all grown as I do enjoy being with my family on Sunday, but I don’t believe I will be able to hold callings for much longer as I don’t support all of the doctrine. I don’t believe ordinances are necessary for salvation. I don’t believe we need to do temple work. I don’t believe we need to try to convert others to our faith. I do believe we must love others. I do believe we must serve others. I do believe we must share our abundance with others. In short, I believe we must be like God. Again, I have no desire to make anyone pursue my spiritual path as I feel strongly that everyone must walk their own. I just want more time and freedom to pursue my Divine path.

I have been learning and growing so much since I commenced my truth quest. The universe has continued to supply me with knowledge just as fast as I have been ready to receive. Watching the Divine Unfolding has been 100% awe inspiring and rewarding.  The perfect sequencing or “synchronicity” is AMAZING! (I promise to write more about synchronicity later). For now, it’s time to wrap up this post. I’ve got an appointment with God. A divine rendezvous. He wants me to bring my whole soul and let go of my old beliefs that no longer serve me, or perhaps what the balloon really represented was me trying to hold my new beliefs down so as to not cause family rifts and displeasure from others, but He wants me to jump into the balloon and ride high in the skies and enjoy the astonishing views. Holy cow, how did I not see that interpretation before?!

So excuse me, I’ve got to grab my chacos. I’ve got an important appointment to keep and I’ve got to remember to bring my shoes to the rendezvous!