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One Most High God – One Way

Road to the Temple of Peace

There is only one Absolute Reality.
There is only one source of all that is.
There is only one Most High God.

There appear to be many ways.
Yet in their essence they are all one.

Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

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Our life is shaped by our mind

Dhammapada Chaper 1 verse 1

Dhammapada Chaper 1 verse 1

One of the wisdom books that I like to read is The Dhammapada, a collection of the sayings of the Buddha. The translation that I have is by Eknath Easwaran.

The first chapter of sayings is entitled “Twin Verses.” The first verse reads,

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.”

The following twin verse reads,

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.”

Keeping One's Eye On the Ball

Why did the Buddhist monks who compiled the Dhammapada (which means the path of the Dharma) put these two twin verses at the beginning?

What is mind? What is life? What is your mind? What is your life?

You have your mind. You live your life. Do you think that this is true for you?

Is your life shaped by your mind?

Do you become what you think?

Actually the translation of the verse uses the all inclusive first person plural.

Our life is shaped by our mind.”

What is the relationship between my mind, your mind, and our mind?

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

Is there a collective mind?

Do only individuals have minds? Do groups, families, tribes, nations, religions, cultures, etc. have some kind of common mind?

“Our life is shaped by our mind.”

How does our life shape our mind?

What does it mean to shape one’s life?

Is the converse also true? Does our life shape our mind?

It seems to me that the mind, while it reacts to life, is stronger, more causal. What do you think?

“We become what we think?”

What is thought?

A thought

A thought

What is a thought?

Where do thoughts come from?

How do thoughts effect us?

What is the relationship between thought, emotion, feeling, and action, and result?

How do we become what we are?

What is becoming?

“We become what we think.”

Are you ready to accept responsivity for your thoughts?

Can you choose your thoughts?

Can you control what you think?

“Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.”
“Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.”

Almost Moksha


What is a positive thought?

What is a negative or evil thought?

What kind of a world am I shaping?

What kind of a world are you shaping?

What kind of a world are we shaping?

Do we want suffering or joy?

“Our life is shaped by our mind.”


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Thy Kingdom Come

Zion by Jeff Haynie

Zion by Jeff Haynie

Back to the Lord’s Prayer. After “Our Father who are in Heaven, hallowed be thy name,” we come to

Thy Kingdom Come

Wow! This is more that just a request or a prayer.

I am addressing Our Father, the ultimate source of all existence. I am addressing God with the familiar, informal, intimate pronoun “thy.”

I am not asking, nor do I feel that I am commanding.

I am inviting, just like when someone is at the door and I say, “Come on in!”

Revelation 3:20 says, ” Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Let God Arise

Let God Arise

When we say, “Thy kingdom come,” to God we are opening the door.

What is the Kingdom of God?

To live in oneness with the loving creator of all existence. To be in communion with Divine Holiness. To be living in the direct dominion of God.

For years I always thought of this part of the prayer as relating to the future. Today, I see that it relates to the present. If one thinks of the kingdom of God as a future event, then one will always be waiting.


The Lord's Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

If I say in faith to God, “Thy Kingdom come,” Then presto! God is here with me and I am a part of the Kingdom of God.”

“The Kingdom of God is within you.”

Ask and you will receive.

The same applies to “Thy will be  done.”

If God is in you and you are in God, then God will act with you and through you and God’s Will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

It’s that easy. Give it a try. Your world will be transformed.


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Last week I started writing about “Our Father who Art in Heaven.” I only got as far as “Our Father…” Now I’m going to try to explore the rest “…who art in Heaven.”

In the last piece I looked at translations implying that Jesus was addressing The Lord’s Prayer to a loving parental being who was the source of all that is and breathes life into all being. The completion of this phrase indicates that this being is in Heaven.

So what is heaven and where is heaven? For the past few weeks I have asked a number of people where they think Heaven is. I haven’t gotten a lot of answers.

One friend of mine told me that he believes Heaven is an actual physical planet somewhere in the universe. Other than that, no one I asked had a definite answer.

So I decided to look it up in Wikipedia. The article is quite interesting and talks not only about the Jewish and Christian views, but other religions and even has the opinions of neuroscientists about more recent near-death experience.

The impression that I come away with is that Heaven is experienced as a place but not necessarily a physical place. As Saint Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago– whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows– such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

And I know how such a man– whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows–

was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

So Paul attested as a fact that there is a heaven and it has at least 3 levels. It appears that this idea of multiple heavens is held in common amongst various religions. Often those who say they have had some like experience have done so “out of body.”

This challenges the present day materialistic view of reality. If these experiences are true, it suggests that there are dimensions of experience usually referred to as “spiritual.” There are beings, including ancestors and  angels, who inhabit these realms. The higher realms are referred to as paradise or heaven and the highest heaven is the realm of the Most High God.

So when we open The Lord’s Prayer we are addressing our prayer to the central being or source of being who dwells in the highest realm of love, truth, and unity that is the creative center of all realities. We are beginning our prayer with the expectation that we can enter into personal communication with God.

I find that very reassuring.

I encourage people to take time and reflect on the words, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” I also encourage people to talk with others and research the meaning of these words.

Sometimes when I start The Lord’s Prayer, I don’t get beyond the first line, thinking about God and thinking about heaven.


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Our Father who art in Heaven

the Lord's prayer in English and Aramaic

the Lord’s prayer in English and Aramaic (Click to view larger)

I love The Lord’s Prayer. I say it in my mind almost everyday. I find that it connects me to some higher realm of spirit and provides strength and solace. Saying it deepens my faith, motivates me to serve others, alleviates my anxiety, liberates me from guilt, makes me more forgiving, helps me to end unhealthy behaviors, engenders a sense of gratitude, and opens me up to new possibilities and opportunities every day.

This short prayer provides an inexhaustible well of contemplative thought and meditation. I am fascinated by each phrase.

For instance, the opening phrase, “Our Father who art in Heaven” raises many questions.

Jesus instructs his  followers to begin their prayer by addressing a personal male being who lives in Heaven. I must pause here to remind myself that Jesus did not speak English. Most probably, speaking to the common people of the time he spoke Aramaic.

If you would like to hear The Lord’s Prayer as it may have sounded here’s a recording along with transcription.

The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic

As far as I know, there is no historical record of The Lord’s Prayer as Jesus spoke it. The Lord’s Prayer first appears in the gospels, once in Luke and once in Matthew. It was also recorded in the Peshitta in Syriac, which is similar to the Aramaic of Palestine during the Roman period. Scholars think, however, that it was translated into Syriac from the Greek.

For those interested, here is the Lord’s Prayer in the original Greek.

I am not a Biblical scholar or an authority on ancient languages so I am not going to delve into biblical and historical criticism.

The point is that Jesus did not say, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” The Lord’s Prayer was first written in Greek and then translated into Latin and other languages. Centuries later it was translated into English, of which there are several different versions.

If and when Jesus spoke The Lord’s Prayer he probably opened it with something like “Avvon d-bish-maiya,” that may translate into English as “Our Father who art in Heaven.”

Often as I recited The Lord’s Prayer, I would hastily go over the Our Father. But over time, as my spirit nursed more deeply on the prayer, I had to stop.

Why “Our Father?” My first reaction is that it reveals a deep personal relationship with a divine parental being. But it also identifies that parental being as masculine. It indicates that God is male.

Throughout all that exists there is a differentiation of male and female. Genesis 1:27 says

God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them

This statement in Genesis appears to say that God is male and female. When I looked at some of the modern translations of the Aramaic, several rendered “Abwûn” in a number of ways: one who breathes life into all being, the mother/father creator, etc. Here are some examples from The Lords Prayer – The Nazarene Way.

I will let you draw your own conclusions. I recommend whatever most effectively opens the door for you to a personal relationship with the One. When you feel this connection in mind, soul, and heart you can ask the One directly to guide you into the truth.

There is another very important issue that arises in the words, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” The saying implies that we are the Children of God.

This is a main sticking point between Christianity and Islam. The Quran does not say that people can not have a personal relationship with God. On the contrary, it tells us that God is Al Rahman, the Compassionate and Beneficent, Al Raheem, the Merciful, Al Mujeeb, the One Who Hears All Prayers. There are many more Names that imply a loving God who seeks an intimate relationship with us. Mohammed said that Allah (God) is closer to us than our jugular veins. The Sufis encourage us to be not only servants and slaves of God but also to be Allah’s friends and lovers.

However, the Quran and Islam adamantly deny that God has children. In my understanding this is because the central affirmation of Islam is that there is no God but Allah.

This is a difficult problem. I believe that it is a reaction to the Trinitarian doctrine that there are Three Gods in One – God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – and that Jesus is both fully man and fully God. This doctrine of orthodox Christianity, which was arrived at only after hundreds of years of theological turmoil within early Christianity is indeed a stumbling block.

There are many aspects to the theological conflict between Islam and Christianity. Too many to explore in a blog of this nature.

Personally, I believe that it is possible to have an intimate relationship with the divine One. I believe that God has a parental heart and loves all his creation. Allah loves us as a parent loves his children. He also loves each and every animal, every plant, every atom, every ray of creation, because love is essential to reality.

That does not mean that I am the One – although in some sense I am. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains in his commentary  on the Bhagavad Gita that every person has a divine spark in his heart. That spark, the soul, is divine and comes from God. Jesus said, “Do you not know that you are gods?”

Prabhupada uses the analogy of the sun and its rays. Every ray of sunlight is connected to the sun and carries its energy, but it is not the sun itself.


These are all metaphors not worth arguing over. The important thing is for people who have lost the life-giving connection to the source of the universe “Abwûn” to regain that connection.

As I said in the beginning, The Lord’s Prayer is a profound source of inspiration, contemplation, and meditation. My experience is that it is really much more than that. I encourage you to experience it for yourself.

I have only shared a few brief thoughts on “Our Father.” I haven’t even gotten yet to “who art in Heaven.” That’s a fertile field too.

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Give us this day our daily bread

Still Waters

Still Waters

The Lord’s Prayer is a beautiful and powerful prayer. Most Christians pray it every Sunday in Church.

In this blog I just want to focus on “Give us this day our daily bread.”

The first thing I would suggest is that it would be helpful to pray this prayer every day, not just once a week.

Why? Because if you take it literally, you area are asking for bread for “this day.”

I suppose if you want bread for a whole week or a whole lifetime, you could say, “Give me all the bread I need this week, or give me bread every day for the rest of my life.”

Then again, Jesus said, “Think not on the morrow for the morrow will take care of itself. Sufficient unto the day are the troubles thereof.”

Thinking about the future causes anxiety.

Reaching in for the flower

Reaching in for the flower

Give me this day my daily bread. That’s enough. Pray it every day.

So what is daily bread?

For simplicity let’s say food. Or beyond that the sustenance that I need to maintain my existence, function, and grow.

But is it only physical sustenance that is being talked about?

We need several types of bread. We need to feed ourselves physically, yes!

But we also need to feed ourselves emotionally and intelectually.

We need emotional bread. Love. The love of friends, the love of family. Most important, the love of God. We need to feel loved and to love ourselves. Only when one is nurtured in love can one love others as one loves oneself.

So we need the daily bread of love.



We also need intellectual bread. Ideas which help the mind to grow. Gradually mastering new concepts and  gaining new insights, which as we put them into practice lead to wisdom.

We need the daily bread of truth.

Each day we need to feed our body, our emotions, and our minds.

There is one more kind of bread we need. In the Unification Church we called this vitality elements.

When we are physically nourished we act.

When we feel love we want to give love.

When we are inspired we want to put that inspiration into practice and share it.

I am talking about praxis.

It is beneficial to use one’s physical, emotional, and intellectual energy to serve others.

Doing good deeds creates vitality within oneself that helps the spirit to grow.

Road to the Temple of Peace

Road to the Temple of Peace

God is the answerer of prayer. If we pray every day for God to give us our daily bread, God will provide us with physical, emotional and mental food.

God will provide us with opportunities to help others.

If we do so we grow spiritually each day.

In such a way we can help God’s Kingdom to come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

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Everyday is a new lifetime

Late last winter, after doing a 40-day prayer condition to deal with gambling, I received a kind of double revelation. The first part was “Every day is a new lifetime.” The second was “Don’t be stupid.”

The second, “Don’t be stupid,” has been difficult for me to master. It seems that I have an Shams of Tabrizattachment to doing stupid things.

However, the first little quote has proven to be quite helpful. If I recollect correctly, the thought was not original. I vaguely remember seeing it as a quote on an Internet graphic. I thought it was from a Hindu yogi.

Just now I googled it and found this quote: “Every day is a new life to a wise man,” written by Dale Carnegie in his book, How To Stop Worrying And Start Living.  Wow, sounds like a book I should read.

In any case, the idea that every day is a new lifetime has proven to be very efficacious.

For one thing is an antidote to wallowing in regret and self-accusation that sometimes immobilizes me when I do stupid things. Sure, one regrets doing stupid things and has to bear the consequences. That is inevitable. It’s called karma.

For those who believe in reincarnation, each lifetime carries with it past karma. Past karma defines some of the challenges that we must meet in each lifetime. Yet each lifetime provides the opportunity to rectify past indiscretions.

I will forego wandering off into a discussion of karma and reincarnation. Let me just use it as a parallel to our daily life in one incarnation. Each day carries with it the possibility of rectifying past mistakes. Each day carries with it the possibility of responding differently to

The Quest

The Quest

various temptations and trials. It’s like a game that is played over and over. Each time you begin, you have a fresh start and chance to improve. Or if it is silly game that has no value, you can simply choose not to play and go on to some more meaningful endeavor.

But every day is a new lifetime doesn’t just relate to the past. I have found that such a mindset introduces an element of adventure. If every day is a new lifetime, then we don’t know what to expect. One is open to the new – new opportunities, new perspectives, and new ideas. Somehow, I have discovered a stronger sense of intuition that leads me down unexpected paths.

I have a tendency to set a routine and follow it — wake up, go to the bathroom, transition from dream world to waking thoughts, get a cup of coffee, study languages and religion, meditate and pray, check my email, Facebook, etc.  Then set about getting some work done. In the evening, eat dinner, watch tv, and go to bed.  If my neck isn’t sore, read myself to sleep.  If I only follow this routine, I invariably get wound up, go crazy and do something stupid. There is little adventure in following routine. Life becomes boring and lonely.

However, if I begin the day by reminding myself that this day is a new lifetime, my life becomes magically transformed.

For instance, today I began following my routine. My wife, Linda, needed a ride to the chiropractor. After dropping her off, I went to the casino because I had $10 free play. I won $5.

I ignored the temptation to play further. Going home I was inclined to resume my routine, but I felt the need for social interaction.

Coyote Moon

Coyote Moon

Earlier, I had seen a post by a friend about the upcoming full moon in Taurus. I read it without fully understanding but went to research it a bit further. I still didn’t fully understand. I thought about people in a group I belonged to that sometimes discusses such things. We hadn’t talked for a while. I missed them.

So when I got home I began to call different people in the group. After listening to several answering machines, a person answered. Our conversation was not too long, but it was incredibly profound. I was energized and uplifted.

I decided to write a blog. As I sat down at the computer, the phone rang. One of the friends I had called had seen my number on her caller ID and called back. Once again, our conversation was not long but was very rich. I felt connected.

Linda came home as I was finishing the second call, and telling her about the content of the two conversations led us into a deep theological talk.

All of this may sound very superfluous. But none of it was planned or expected and it was just what I needed. Afterwards I was able to go on and do some of the necessary preparations for winter – cleaning the pool pump, shutting off the outside water, etc. The work proceeded smoothly. I also got a squirrel tail today, but that is another story.

Then I sat down to write this blog.

It is difficult to explain, but this one short lifetime of a day has been fulfilling, enjoyable and meaningful.

Each day is different. Yesterday, on a whim, Linda and I went off on a drive, ended up on a

Coyote Moon

Coyote Moon

cliff being blown by 80-mile-an-hour winds and then drove down an unpaved road we’d never traveled before and saw a mountain lion running through the woods. It was the first mountain lion I’d ever seen. Amazing and totally unexpected.

Every day is a new lifetime.


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Me, Myself, and I

Me, Myself, and I.

via Me, Myself, and I.

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via Nothing.

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Today I thought that I would ramble on. Let thoughts come as they may. Rambling is somewhat like wandering.

I knew a Jesuit priest who taught business at Dayton University. He taught management by wandering around. Instead of just sitting in an office reading reports, statistics, and attending meetings, he advised executives and CEO’s to wander the halls of the company and engage inLooking For Deer conversation with the employees. Stop and talk with janitor. See how he was doing, etc. By wandering and rambling around one could experience more truly the emotional and functional reality of the company and thus make valuable adjustments.

In Norse mythology, Odin took things a bit further. He would disguise himself as an undistinguished wanderer and travel through the domain of men without disclosing his true identity. Thus he could discover people as they really were.

The Romans equated Odin with Mercury, the god of communication. Perhaps an association could also be made with Chiron, the wounded healer, for Odin subjected himself to much suffering in order to gain wisdom.

Wednesday, hump day is Woden’s Day or Odin’s day. I see Odin as a god of wisdom, not as a god of war.

Routine and goals are good. But aimless wandering is also good. It frees one to explore – to be like the wind and water and discover the nooks and crannies of existence where new revelations lie.

I have participated in discussions with a group of people named the Oracles. We meet and engage the I Ching or various decks of the Tarot, seeking through randomness to open a window for the guidance of Spirit.

HanumanIn one card from a deck based on the Ramayana, we encountered a card where a man had a monkey on his back. Perhaps there was some association with Hanuman. In any case, the meaning that I got was that at times one must liberate oneself from compulsive routines and “shoulds.” Do something fun, out of the ordinary. Go on a road trip with no destination. Ramble, wander.

I remember back in the early seventies during my hitchhiking days I was headed south on I 5 returning from visiting a friend and attending a wedding in Portland. I intended to go to Salem, Oregon to pick raspberries in order to make a little cash. I got dropped off at an exit south of Portland with little traffic. It was at a juncture of two freeways: I 5 going north-south, and another freeway that went east-west along the Columbia river.

After an extended period of sticking my thumb out with no result, ISissy Hitching up 299 decided to let go of my intention to get a ride to Salem. Instead I would accept a ride from whatever car first stopped and go wherever they were going.

Almost immediately, a car stopped heading east along the Columbia. They took me to the Dalles, and I had four days of adventure. When I first got there I was invited to a Christian revival. I found a cherry orchard where I camped with a bunch of young hippies and spent the night around the campfire discussing eastern religions. Then, I spent the next three days picking cherries which Chicanos.

One elderly man amazed me. He was the king of cherry picking. He had a chauffer who drove him to the orchard in the morning in a Cadillac and he could pick more flats of cherries in a day, in perfect condition, than all the rest of us combined. We all treated him with deference. In the few days I was there, he made over a thousand dollars.

Working as diligently as I could, I made about thirty dollars. But thirty dollars was all that I needed. I was spiritually, emotionally, and physically refreshed; I had money in my pocket. Rambling well rewarded.  And now I have rambled on long enough.

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