Author: Roberta Grimes

The Happy Process of Natural Death

Death is a universal part of life, so the level of misinformation and fear that still surrounds it in the twenty-first century is horrifying! So much of what we are told by those we venerate as authorities is scary, silly, and entirely wrong. The scientific community still insists that the death of our bodies will be the death of our minds, while Christian clergymen assure us that after death we might end up in a fiery hell, in a tortuous purgatory, sitting around in a boring throne room, or sleeping until we hear an end-times trumpet. When the information about what actually happens at and after death is so abundant now, and when so much of it has been readily available to us for more than a century, there is no excuse for all this depressing misinformation and plain nonsense!

We plan for our eventual deaths as part of the life-planning process. All the important events of our lives are planned, and we also plan two or three exit points that our higher consciousness can choose to take if it determines that for what ever reason it is time for us to leave this lifetime. Death at any time other than a planned exit point is possible, but it is rare. Almost never do we know at a conscious level that our greater minds have chosen to take an upcoming exit point, but often after people have died their loved ones will look back and notice that the decedent had spent the months before death wrapping up details, reconciling with people, finishing projects, settling debts, and in general trying to make things a little neater for those left behind.

The day of your death is meant to be the happiest, most beautiful day of your life. It’s the day when you are reunited with loved ones you may have thought you never would see again, the day you get to see and hug the guides who have helped you make the most of this lifetime, and the blessed day when you leave this illusion and return to the joy of your true home. For most people, death is just that wonderful! But I have lately come to accept the fact that our willful cultural ignorance about death still means that far too many people are botching their well-planned deaths and taking temporary detours to nowhere. We’ll be talking about some of their travails next week. First, though, let’s talk about what actually happens in the sort of well-planned death that most of us can look forward to enjoying.

I have written extensively about the death process, but now as we talk about the need to help our children better deal with death we ought to say a bit more about it. Not only do we all need to be prepared to help the children in our lives better deal with the possible deaths of loved ones, but also every one of us will before long be making the trip ourselves. And unless we know what to expect, and also how to guard against the many things that might go wrong, it can be hard for even the more knowledgeable among us to transition happily when our time comes. Five years ago I gave you a standard overview of the death process here, and now I will be building on that so I hope you will read that post again before you tackle the rest of this one.

You will need to keep an open mind! If you can approach your death knowing just in general terms that the process is going to be easy and happy, and that you will at every moment be cared for and supported by loved ones – if that is all that fills your mind at your death – then you will manage it just fine. You may be one of the fortunate ones who simply fall asleep here and wake up there, but most of us are awake during at least some part of the death process. And some of what happens during your death is likely to feel odd or confusing to you and to your survivors, so it can help if you know what to expect:

  • You will begin the process of separating from your body sometime in the hours before your death. We don’t know exactly when this begins, and it may be variable and personal to you, but for many, the first sign of this separation will be what seems to be a partial recovery. People who had been in comas might wake up, and perhaps even sit up and speak normally. Those with dementia who might not have been coherent for years might converse with those around them. From your perspective as the person who is dying, it seems that in general both pain and fear are almost or altogether gone, and you feel better and pretty much matter-of-fact about your dying now. The cause of all these changes is apparently the partial separation of your energy body – your mind, or perhaps your “soul” if you prefer – from the physical body that is about to die.
  • In the hours before death there will be deathbed visitors. The timing of this is variable. One or two of these people that we used to think were dead will sometimes appear to the dying person as much as a couple of weeks before the death; but more commonly, these visitors will first begin to appear in the last day or two. From your perspective as the dying person, this is an astonishing experience! You are in the midst of actively dying, not uncomfortable and not really worried but still unsure about what comes next; and then suddenly, Dad appears in an upper corner of the room, looking solid and in the prime of life. He starts speaking with you in your mind, and you respond to him mentally. He might come down into the room, or he might stay partially visible in an upper corner; he might be joined by other dead loved ones, all looking great, or even by dead pets. For nearly everyone, this sudden appearance of happy loved ones long after their own deaths is so thrilling that we will mostly stop interacting with our living visitors. On occasion, too, some of those in the room will also see these deathbed visitors, and they even might accompany the dying person at the start of the post-death journey. Dr. Raymond Moody’s Glimpses of Eternity details this interesting phenomenon of shared-death experiences.
  • Actively dying is a gradual process. From the moment when you see your first deathbed visitor, you know that you are going to be fine, so what happens next can be a lot of fun for those who are awake throughout. You might think of your earth-body as something like nested dolls. The outer layer or two will be dying now – the one composed of matter, and also perhaps the energy aura that defended you against negative entities while you were alive (we aren’t sure about that). But the internal energy bodies that hold your earth-mind will survive your death, so your nested bodies must separate. People who have been awake while this was happening have said it begins in the fingers and toes and progresses toward the torso, and it feels as if lots of tiny threads are breaking inside your body. I think of it as un-velcroing! The energy part of you that is leaving is un-velcroing from your physical body, and it gathers in your chest. It then leaves through the chest wall or through the top of the head, and it rises in the air above your body. People at the bedside can sometimes see it as a vague gray mist. Now that it is free of matter, its vibratory rate rises rapidly, so very soon the living can no longer see it. That mist is you! It contains your awareness and your perspective, and by some accounts, just that process of leaving the body feels intensely pleasurable. In the air above your body, beyond the view of nearly everyone living, you re-form into a solid-seeming person still attached to your body by a glowing umbilicus called a silver cord. You happily hug your deathbed visitors. All of you are solid, young, and beautiful.
  • Your actual death moment is the breaking of the silver cord. It is that attachment to your energy-self that has kept the material body living, so as soon as it breaks, your body’s heart stops. And you feel terrific, young and vigorous and thrilled to be free of that old boat-anchor of a body; but living people you love may be around your bed and very aware that your body has just died. This is the single most dangerous moment of your entire existence! What you do now is going to be critical, as you will better understand next week.
  • It is essential that you follow your deathbed visitors. We are as clueless when we emerge from our dying bodies as we were when we emerged from the birth-canal, and this seems to be the reason why our planned deaths include deathbed visitors. Our visitors try to keep our attention, and they coax us to accompany them right away, since for us to remain with our mourners for long puts us at risk of becoming earthbound.

The next stage exists right where we are now, but just at a higher vibration. If you will think of your mind as a television set, and your death as simply changing channels, this will make a lot more sense to you. After your silver cord has broken, it will feel as if you are physically moving, but in reality you and those who accompany you are raising your personal vibrations from what we might call the physical channel to the slightly higher afterlife channel. This process does not involve a tunnel and a light! That commonplace from near-death experiences seems instead to be just a rescue device for people unexpectedly out of their bodies.

The way most people experience the transition is as something like entering a brief fog. The formerly solid room where you died becomes vague and vapory and then disappears, while in front of you the fog is lifting to reveal a gorgeous and intensely colored but solid and amazingly earthlike new world. There are a few afterlife channels below it, and many more above it, all existing pretty much where we are now; and the Summerland where our families congregate to welcome us back home is gorgeous and enormous beyond our ability to adequately imagine or describe it. From your perspective, having just dropped your body and been reunited with loved ones you thought you had lost, you now find yourself suddenly young and beautiful and standing on solid ground in earth-like surroundings more gorgeous by far than anything that exists on earth. What may be most surprising is the fact that there is nothing but love and joy in the very air you breathe! And the pure white light that illumines this place so completely that there are no shadows feels like love beyond your ability even to adequately encompass it. You truly are in heaven now! And for most new arrivals, the shock of joy that comes with this realization can make us need to simply sit down for awhile and look around as we take it all in.

Your death was planned before you were born to be an easy and joyous return to your genuine eternal life. Knowing this makes more tragic the fact that because our culture is so ignorant and fearful, dying today carries many risks of which you will need to be aware so you can better guard against them. Stay tuned….


Grave Marker photo credit: Tjflex2 <a href=”″>Robert Dunsmuir</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Military cemetery photo credit: MudflapDC <a href=”″>Funeral Service</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Heavenly autumn photo credit: chasedekker <a href=”″>Explosion of Autumn</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Explaining Death to a Child

When I first understood that death is a minor transition in someone’s eternal life, I stopped thinking much about the prevailing view of death as something negative. My foremost failing has become the fact that my first thought now on hearing about a death is actually happiness for the decedent. What else can you expect of someone who once wrote a book called The Fun of Dying?

After a few embarrassments, I have learned to keep my joy for new decedents to myself. Now I focus on empathizing with the survivors. I will say, “I’m so sorry.” If the one with whom I am commiserating is someone I think could be receptive to more, I might remark that the loved one who has transitioned is now healthy and happy and waiting for us in our beautiful homeland where love never ends. At this point, I am hearing from grieving people nearly every day, and the fact that they are so distraught has become a sore point for me. When the truth about death is so wonderful, the fact that both mainstream science and mainstream religions still make such an effort to keep it from becoming more widely known is inexcusable!

I should add that many of the grieving people who contact me have lost a companion animal. In February of 2015, I wrote a blog post called “Pets in the Afterlife,” and just over a year later Google picked it up. At one point it was a first-page suggestion for people who asked about an afterlife for pets, so by now it has hundreds of comments and I still hear often from people for whom the loss of their pet is a fresh, raw wound. It’s a lucky thing indeed that the post-death news about our furry companions is actually even better than is the news about our human loved ones!

What brings up the topic of death right now is the fact that I have lately had a Seek Reality guest who talked about aspects of the period soon after death that I have never wanted to think about, but that you deserve to be forewarned about. I’ll have more to say about this in coming weeks. And then Michael Tymn, a friend who is one of the world’s leading experts on the afterlife, wrote a blog post in which he talked about how we might explain the death of a parent to a young child. His post was great, and it reminded me rather forcefully that my original calling was to study and teach about the afterlife. By now, you and I have ranged far afield! So, might it be time to get back to our knitting? Many children below the age of reason, which is generally seen as six to eight years old, are going to experience the death of someone close, most likely a grandparent or a pet. And since a parent’s first instinct is to comfort and protect, helping young children deal with death and loss can be hard for parents who may be grieving, too.

Michael Tymn says in his post, “I can still remember the anxieties and fears I experienced 76 years ago when my step-grandfather died. My parents didn’t know what to tell me, and I, just six at the time, didn’t know what questions to ask.  It was all hush-hush. The trepidation multiplied 100-fold when we visited the crematorium and I struggled with grasping that what was left of my grandfather was now contained in a little metal box, one surrounded by hundreds of other little metal boxes with ‘people’ in them.” It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that Michael’s years of afterlife studies which have so greatly benefited humankind might have had their origins in the mind of that confused and frightened six-year-old boy.

If you have a young child in your life, it is important that you prepare to help that child to better understand what death is and how to process a loved one’s death, or even the approach of that child’s own death. Remember that you will be fighting the ghastly misinformation about death that is pervasive in our culture!

  • Western religions teach falsehoods that can frighten children. In Christianity, for example, God is a scary judge who punishes people and even sends them to hell. The Christian heaven is generally a throne room where we will sing and play a harp forevermore, which notion is unlikely to appeal to children any better than it appeals to us. In Christianity, too, animals don’t go to heaven, so if the dead loved one is the family pet there generally is not much comfort to be offered in a strictly Christian home.
  • And mainstream science teaches that death is extinction. For scientists, our personalities are artifacts of the meat between our ears, so when our brains stop functioning, each of us will simply blink out like a light. There is no possibility that any aspect of us might live on.

Each of these notions is altogether wrong! There is no element of truth in either the strictly Christian view of death, or the mainstream scientific view of it, but since children learn these lies in school and in church, you and I must be prepared to confront them directly. Here is what I suggest that you do:

  • Learn the truth for yourself. It will be difficult to help a child you love become comfortable with death if you are still uncertain and fearful yourself. At this point, there is plentiful information available, and it is entirely consistent! In only a year or two of effort, you can become as certain about death and the afterlife as I was after I had spent four decades of research and putting the truth together on my own.
  • Prepare your child in casual ways to feel comfortable with the afterlife basics. My grandchildren knew by the time they could read that Grandma had written The Fun of Dying, and they were encouraged to ask questions whenever questions might occur to them. As a result, the deaths of pets along the way have been occasions for less sadness than you might think, and more of a sense that we will see them again. Perhaps I should add, too, that my second children’s book, due out this fall, will deal with the survival of a beloved pet.
  • Especially encourage questions about whatever the child finds troubling. Each child is a unique individual in terms of sensitivities, and they all have different experiences. It is impossible to tell what might trouble a child, so it is essential that you keep the door wide open and never express impatience or disgust, no matter what the child might say.
  • Don’t give children too much information at once. Remember that we are talking here about ages eight and under! If I were doing it, I might say something like, “I’m very sad that Grandpa (or Fido, or Fluffy) had to leave us for a little while, but there is no such thing as death so they are healthy and happy now, living where we all will go when our time on earth is done. We will for sure be with them again!” For some children, that will be plenty. For others, they might think about it for a while and then come back with a question or two. It’s fine to let children see your sadness! If you maintain a strong conviction about the fact that our loved ones do live on, the children you love will learn that sadness over the separation is normal, but that ultimately death is not a tragedy. It is just a brief and natural separation.

When a young child is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, the same general suggestions apply, but with some caveats. Many counselors suggest that you not bring up the subject of death to young children, since that discussion might frighten them; but when a child is hospitalized and his health is failing, the child may be even more frightened if there is a conspiracy of silence around him. If I had a very young loved one who was dying, I would offer to answer questions. If no questions were forthcoming, I would wait a while and then make the offer again. Some children don’t want to be told straight out what their ultimate fate might be, but over time you may be able to impart information in ways that feel less personal to the child. For example, when you and the child’s uncle are visiting the child together, you might briefly mention in an aside to Uncle Dave what a wonderful pet his cat was, and how happy you are that she is now healthy and happy again in a wonderful place. Or you might mention to Uncle Dave that Grandpa is clearly happy where he is now, since he sent you a butterfly just this morning. But that’s it! Sub-adults are especially well attended when they actually transition, so it is less important that they know what to expect than it is in the case of adults.

Another point to consider is the fact that very young children might retain some memories of where they came from, and they also may be receiving visits from dead loved ones. My oldest granddaughter had frequent visits from one of her great-grandmothers for several years; and when I was small, I briefly retained some pre-birth memories. If your beloved child seems to have any awareness of what came before, or awareness that the dead survive, it can be easy to add a little more information to that core understanding.

Death is meant to be an easy and joyous process, but there are things that can go wrong. And it is finally time for us to talk about that! But first, next week let’s summarize how things can go superbly right….


Flowers photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik <a href=”″>Flowers For Uncle Jack</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Cross with Red Tree photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 44 Million views) <a href=”″>The Cross and the Tree</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>


Being of Service in the Modern World

What does it mean for you and me to altogether live the teachings of Jesus? It means a lot more than we might imagine ever could be asked of us. Let’s ask the greatest American of the Twentieth Century what it means to him. He often wrote and spoke variants of these words:

“To our most bitter opponents we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.’” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his essay, Loving Your Enemies

Many people seem now to know that following Jesus requires that we learn to live in forgiveness and in love. When His disciple Peter asked Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (MT 18:21-23). And He said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (MK 12:31). More and more of us at last are trying to forgive completely and love perfectly! But it turns out that forgiving and loving this way is only spiritual kindergarten. If we intend to follow Jesus with sufficient zeal to help to bring the kingdom of God on earth, we must make these next Gospel passages, too, the center of the way that we work and live:

But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41).

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36).

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (JN 15:12-13).

Until we can say what Dr. King says above, and mean it, and accept whatever comes from it, we cannot call ourselves entirely committed followers of the Son of the Living God. But when we can do that – when we can sing Dr. King’s words and live them, no matter what the cost – then after our few minutes on earth are done, you and I can have the joy of hearing Jesus say, Well done, good and faithful servant” (MT 25:21).

Of course, few of us expect to be called to make the ultimate sacrifice. But when you read about the lives of Dr. Bonhoeffer and Dr. King, you can see that the notion that they were fighting the most monumental evils of their time armed only with radical love and kindness, and these struggles might easily cost them their lives, seems seldom to have occurred to them, either. Or if they thought about it, whatever fear they felt was dwarfed by their perfect love for everyone, including their tormentors, and by their finding it unbearable to stay away when there was work they felt called to do. It is this need these young men felt to serve, no matter what the personal cost, that should most puzzle us.

Dr. King, especially, had so much to lose, but still he never wavered! When he had barely turned 27, at the height of the Montgomery bus boycott, he was giving a speech before two thousand people at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, when someone bombed his house. Dr. King rushed home to make sure his wife and infant daughter were okay as a boisterous crowd assembled outside. These people were infuriated, some were armed, and all of them were bent on revenge. Dr. King stepped out onto his bomb-ravaged porch, and the angry mob quieted to hear him. As quoted by some who were there, this is part of what he said:

“We believe in law and order. Don’t get panicky. Don’t do anything panicky at all. Don’t get your weapons. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what God said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know you love them. I did not start this boycott. I was asked by you to serve as your spokesman. I want it to be known the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped, this movement will not stop. If I am stopped, our work will not stop. For what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just. And God is with us… Be calm, as I and my family are. We are not hurt, and remember that if anything happens to me, there will be others to take my place.”

These words were spoken by a man barely out of his teens who was educated through the Ph.D. level. He had no duty to be in Montgomery, nor to answer the call to lead this boycott that really was no part of his own. He didn’t even have to live in the South: he could have staying in Boston and ignored it all. But out of love for the desperate downtrodden who were at that moment mobbing his porch, and also out of love for their oppressors, he had put himself and his family at the mercy of haters who just had come scarily close to murdering his wife and child.

Just who was this amazing new man? How, in a world full of self-involved people, does someone so young think first of all in such a desperate situation about loving and protecting his tormentors? What is it in Dr. King and Dr. Bonhoeffer and the few other people like them that makes this impulse toward perfect love and forgiveness not something they have to strive for, but the very core of who they are?

I have been wrestling with our present urgent need to elevate sufficient people spiritually that we can raise the consciousness vibration of this planet and thereby bring the kingdom of God on earth. We have known for years what needs to happen, and I am trying to help you do it for yourself, but there has been a crucial missing piece. I can teach you how to raise your consciousness vibration, and I can tell you why doing that is so important; I even can begin to tell you, based upon a few people I know whose spiritual vibration already is high, how people living with an elevated consciousness vibration are likely to feel and to act. But all of that still feels vague and rudderless, and it is only now that I can see why. What we have needed was a concrete goal, and in the beautiful lives of Dr. King and Dr. Bonhoeffer, at last we have precisely that!

What these modern saints demonstrate for us is the result of their having entirely internalized the Gospel teachings of Jesus. We can see that they aren’t only trying their best. They don’t have to think about struggling to forgive the cruelties being inflicted on them, nor puzzle over what would be the most loving thing to do in each situation, but rather their ability to forgive completely and to love universally springs in abundance from the core of who they are. When it comes to fighting Nazi evil or the cruelties of the Jim Crow South, there are no participation trophies. No, what we see in Dr. Bonhoeffer and Dr. King is confirmation that the Gospel teachings of Jesus can actually, literally, and completely transform us into a new creation!

These two lives are the proof we have needed that if we will learn to live the teachings of Jesus, and if we will teach others to live those teachings, then first one by one and then hundreds by thousands we can begin to make for all of humankind an altogether new beginning. One based in perfect kindness this time, where more and more each person’s impulse, springing from every deepest heart, is to empathize even with those who hate us, to earnestly seek and then to do not what will be best for ourselves and our families, but what seems to be best for all. Dr. King didn’t love his family less than any of us loves our own families. But rather, what he said from his bombed porch that day came from the fact that his being so steeped in the Gospel teachings had elevated his spiritual vibration sufficiently that the love he would naturally feel for his family had become for him a universal love.

And I begin to know how that feels. Years ago, as I was first applying the exercises given in The Fun of Growing Forever, I began to think that perhaps my love for my family was cooling. I no longer saw them as quite so special in the panoply of humankind. It took me awhile to realize that I wasn’t loving my husband and children and my beautiful grandchildren any less, but rather I was loving millions of strangers much more than I ever had before. I can see now that each of these modern saints was living at such an elevated spiritual level that they were loving every stranger around them with such a mighty love that they would have given their lives for anyone passing on the street without a second thought. As Jesus said, To the extent that you do something to one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you do it to Me” (MT 25:40). That truth is the height of spiritual growth. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (MK 12:31).

Whether you are going to go all-in on being of service to God and to humankind is a matter between you and your guides alone. Each of us is on a different journey. But no matter who you are, no matter what you want to do or how you feel called to serve or not to serve, it is essential that you now make a point of raising your personal consciousness vibration! You needn’t give your life for others to know the joy of living with nothing but love and kindness in your heart. You can serve without doing anything more than so internalizing the Gospel teachings that you are contributing your own elevation of consciousness to the universal human consciousness, and thereby you are helping the Lord to at last bring the kingdom of God on earth.


King bust photo credit: Pictoscribe <a href=”″>Make America Dream Again</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
King drawing on yellow photo credit: medium as muse <a href=”″>Martin Luther King Jr.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Pencil Dr.King photo credit: Wasfi Akab <a href=”″>I have a dream</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Silence is betrayal photo credit: Daquella manera <a href=”″>Un momento cuando el silencio es traición</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Swan heart photo credit: Pamela P. Stroud <a href=”″>On the Fifth Day, Life of Varied and Diverse Forms Exhibits the Authority of the Creator in Different Ways</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Being the Light

Many earnest Americans believe they can fight evil with angry chanting, venomous signs, and even physical attacks on others. And our social media has become a literal breeding-ground of self-righteous rage, where if you disagree with those shouting the loudest, you risk being obliterated altogether! Yet, even with all these well-meant efforts being made by many to right great wrongs, it can be argued that there is more bitterness and rage in this nation now than there ever has been in the worst moments of our history, including in the depths of the Civil War. And apparently even the vitriol of that darkest of times is now being recycled! It has just been announced that The New York Times is going to work to make slavery the permanent center of this nation’s view of its own founding. I have studied and written about America’s founding, and also about the roots of our racial problems; and based on my research, I can tell you that The New York Times’s 1619 Project, how ever well-intended it might be, can only create even more pointless rage while it does nothing good for any living soul.

The immutable laws of spiritual physics ensure that any attempt to further sharpen America’s racial divisions will just be the source of more anger and pain. As we have said here at length, both the work of physicists and the witness of those that we used to think were dead agree that what we experience as human consciousness is the base creative force. It was the great quantum physicist and Nobel laureate Max Planck who made this discovery, and no other explanation of reality has anything like so much supporting evidence; so the jury is still out, but its verdict seems sure. And the base consciousness that generates reality is an energy-like potentiality that exists in a range of vibrations, from the lowest, which is fear and anger, to the highest, which is perfect love. So, far from being just personal and private, what you and I experience as emotion turns out to be the fundamental force for greater evil or for more perfect good that powers all of reality! Therefore, anything that promotes more fear or anger is going to make every social problem that burdens this nation and the world still worse.

It is this fact that lies at the core of the teachings of Jesus, and also at the root of every successful nonviolence movement worldwide. All our efforts to battle evil have only made things a great deal worse, so Americans have no choice now but to espouse what can be demonstrated to ease our divisions while we all work to foster greater working harmony. And fortunately, there are encouraging signs that this sort of positive easing is happening. Americans are weary of political fighting! And proactive groups which are designed to bring peace to our political process are beginning to make some headway. Even the scientific community is paying attention to aspects of our need to sow love and kindness, as is evidenced by the fact that of late Scientific American has been exploring such emotions-based issues as how we might use social media to increase our level of kindness, and even the thorny but fundamental question of how we can better learn to love our enemies.

All of this is hopeful. But it doesn’t go far enough!

We have lately discussed two martyred heroes of the worldwide nonviolence movement, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr. And as we’ve talked about them here, we have come to see how similar they were to one another, both in their terrible historical moments and in their radically love-based approach. Not only did they renounce the notion that violence in words or deeds could be helpful to their causes; but far beyond that, each of them used the Gospel teachings in which their lives were grounded to demonstrate a radical love for humankind that seems almost inconceivable to us now. Dr. Bonhoeffer was battling the Nazi effort to eradicate millions of innocent people, while Dr. King was striving to help his country transcend its appalling racial past. But neither of them actually fought at all! Instead, they worked to ease people’s suffering without head-on tackling the evil that produced it, since they knew that those who fought the evil were only further inflaming it. Instead, each used the quiet power of the love-based message of Jesus and their own beautifully loving examples as the levers by which they worked to move the world. This is an essential lesson that we must internalize as deeply as they did, or we will never be able to accomplish anything of lasting value.

Dr. Bonhoeffer and Dr. King lived and died by the words of Jesus, and it was because they did that so well that their work lives on! The Lord said, But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41). And He said, Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36). They never showed rage or hatred, not even in the face of their own martyrdom. In this, also, they closely followed the Lord!

Jesus was anxious to ensure that the fools who were pounding nails into His flesh would not be blamed. As it was happening, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (LK 23:24).

In the same vein, Dr. King said on the night before His assassination, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land! I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

And Dr. Bonhoeffer said cheerfully to his fellow prisoners from the gallows, “This is the end. For me, the beginning of life.”

It feels hard to say this, but the basis of human society worldwide seems now to be dominance and rage, to the point where even the language we use to plead with one another to be more peaceful is grounded in the problem, and not in the solution. This sadly occurred to me as I was doing additional research before writing this piece. Everything I could find to read talked about promoting “nonviolence” as the goal, as if “violence” were the human normal so that was where our efforts at improvement must begin. But violence is emphatically not the human normal! Every human mind is inextricably part of the Godhead, the base creative force. And in order for us to ever make a difference in the world, we first must ground ourselves in that certainty, and in the Gospel teachings of Jesus as Dr. King and Dr. Bonhoeffer  both did so well. We must love everyone, without reservation!

As Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (MT 5:43-45). And we must be peacemakers. As the Lord said, Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the sons and daughters of God (MT 5:9).

Our work must not be defined as simply a lack of violence! Instead, it must be proactively grounded in nothing but perfect, eternal love. Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (MT 5:13-16).

Dr. King and Dr. Bonhoeffer can make our need to learn to live the Lord’s love-based truth much easier than it could have been! They can be our spiritual leaders now, our lodestones, our beautifully true examples. Next week we will look at how you and I and all the kindred spirits around us can learn from them how to be the light that this nation and the world now so desperately need….


Sparklers photo credit: verchmarco <a href=”″>Nahaufnahme von zwei Wunderkerzen in Frauenhänden, die leuchtende Funken sprühen</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
MLK Stencil photo credit: Perfectance <a href=”″>MLK Stencil</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Metallic Candle photo credit: cordeliasmom2012 <a href=”″>A Single Candle to Light the Night</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Crowd with Candles photo credit: etanliam2019 <a href=”″>46</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

A Saint For Today

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in recent years has been the number of people I hear from now who are feeling a call to serve Spirit. Often they don’t understand this urge, this inchoate itch they feel compelled to scratch, nor even are most of them certain that it really is an itch at all. Are they imagining things? Do other people ever feel this way? I haven’t much mentioned this development here because the ways people have been describing their histories and their calls to serve have been so varied, and because even a year or two ago there were just occasional requests for advice about how best to begin. It is only in recent months that I realize that these requests are coming more often! As I write this, I have before me a wonderful plea from someone very young who tells me that it is my work that has inspired her to seek to spend her life serving God… and hers is the second such email I have received this morning. It is dawning on me now that these messages are not random, even despite the fact that all these people’s backstories are so different. This is not random. And it likely is telling us that something profoundly important is happening at the level of human hearts.

If you also are feeling called as apparently so many others are being called now to do God’s work in today’s immensely troubled world, I would like to introduce to you a modern saint whose words can guide your path much better than mine ever could! Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor who radically opposed the Nazi movement, worked to help Jews escape extermination, and was martyred at Flossenburg, a Nazi death-camp, at the age of thirty-nine. His was such an epic life lived in radical submission not to any religion, but rather to the living God, that if he had been born a Catholic, he would long since have been declared a saint. He died just a year before I was born, so he was better remembered when I was young than he is remembered now; but I am coming to realize that Dr. Bonhoeffer’s ideas have shaped me so profoundly that reading his words again feels like coming home.

The only way to genuinely follow Jesus is to step outside all conventional religions and meet God in the words that Jesus actually spoke to us long ago. You and I have been working at doing this together over the past year. And I realize now that Dietrich Bonhoeffer likely has been my inspiration! Many German clergymen welcomed the rise of Adolf Hitler. For Dr. Bonhoeffer, though, the antisemitism of Nazism was such anathema that he opposed Hitler almost from the beginning. He soon therefore also opposed the complacent theological ideas that made supporting Hitler even possible for Christians; and his became a radical new theology that required that Christians must stand resolutely righteous in a world gone wrong.

I can give you just a flavor of Dr. Bonhoeffer’s wisdom here. Much of his most brilliant writing was done from prison and smuggled out as letters that he may not have imagined might ever be published. But like Martin Luther King, Jr., who also was martyred at the age of thirty-nine, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man shaped by his times and by the radical teachings of Jesus into a greatness that transcends time. And like Dr. King, Dr. Bonhoeffer is one of the few who are best fit to teach and lead us as we seek to better serve the Lord today. Let’s spend a few moments sitting at his feet as he shares with us the kind of wisdom that comes only from a life deeply grounded in Jesus and lived in radical service to God in the face of human evil.

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” 

“We live by responding to the word of God… since this word is addressed to our entire life, the response, too, can only be an entire one; it must be given with our entire life as it is realized in all our several actions.­”

“How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge… We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.”

“I should like to speak of God not on the boundaries but at the center, not in weaknesses but in strength; and therefore not in death and guilt but in life and goodness… God is the beyond in the midst of our life. The church stands, not at the boundaries where human powers give out, but in the middle of the village.”

“It was the error of Israel to put the Law in God’s place, to make the law their God and their God a law.”

“God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility… this is for God the ground of unfathomable love.”

“‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted’…  By ‘mourning’ Jesus, of course, means doing without what the world calls peace and prosperity: He means refusing to be in tune with the world or to accommodate oneself to its standards. Such men mourn for the world, for its guilt, its fate, and its fortune.”

Christian love draws no distinction between one enemy and another, except that the more bitter our enemy’s hatred, the greater his need of love. Be his enmity political or religious, he has nothing to expect from a follower of Jesus but unqualified love. In such love there is no inner discord between private person and official capacity. In both we are disciples of Christ, or we are not Christians at all… The disciples realized that they too were his enemies, and that he had overcome them by his love. It is this that opens the disciple’s eyes, and enables him to see his enemy as a brother.”

“The extraordinary never merges into the personal. That was the fatal mistake of the false Protestant ethic which diluted Christian love into patriotism, loyalty to friends, and industriousness, which in short, perverted the better righteousness into mere civility.”

“When we judge other people we confront them in a spirit of detachment, observing and reflecting as it were from the outside. But love has neither time nor opportunity for this. If we love, we can never observe the other person with detachment, for he is always and at every moment a living claim to our love and service.”

“Love for the sinner is ominously close to love of the sin. But the love of Christ for the sinner in itself is the condemnation of sin.”

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“If when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil, we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. But if we are on the look-out for evil in others, our real motive is obviously to justify ourselves.”

“The Church is the Church only when it exists for others… not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.”  

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?”

“It remains an experience of incomparable value that we have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed and reviled, in short, from the perspective of the suffering.”

“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” 

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”   

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a young man full of promise who was called by the Lord as many people are now being called, to live the deepest Gospel truths in radical service to God. He submitted with grace to a death that came for him just as the fullness of his life was beginning! To read the best of his private words is to commune with the likes of Dr. King, with kindred non-Christians like Mahatma Gandhi, and in particular with the Lord Himself. We are being called now to use the Gospel teachings as these modern saints are leading us to use them, by putting them into practice in this world gone wrong so we might together become the heart and conscience of a better world yet to be born. Next week we will begin to look at how you and I might build upon their pioneering work. Now is when it begins….


Stained-Glass Bonhoeffer photo credit: sludgegulper <a href=”″>Dietrict Bonhoeffer Stained Glass,St Johannes Basilikum, Berlin SW29</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Flossenburg Memorial photo credit: Hawk Eyes <a href=”″>Flossenburg Concentration Camp</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Religious Nazis photo credit: Nick in exsilio <a href=”″>Reich Church in Wittenberg</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Uniform photo credit: Inventorchris <a href=”″>Jewis concentration camps uniform</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Bonhoeffer photo credit: depone <a href=”″>Details Büro</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

When Our Faith Betrays Us

Jesus has some wonderfully positive things to say about faith! He sees it as the engine that empowers our minds. For example, when His disciples have trouble driving out a possessing spirit, they ask Him why they are unable to do it. And He says, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (MT 17:20). The dictionary definition of “faith” is “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” The reason why Jesus can tell us that our having even the smallest speck of confidence will enable us to move a mountain is the fact that our minds actually are that powerful. Having faith in what is true is a reliable way for each of us to maximize the power of our vast, eternal minds, and thereby to supercharge our lives!

But having faith in something that is not true is worse than useless. A false faith that is eventually betrayed can bring on such deep disillusionment that it can put its victims off ever again having faith in anything. We are seeing this problem play out now in modern Christianity. For centuries, Christians have been taught to have faith in a host of things that are not grounded in the Gospel teachings of Jesus, but instead are just the fear-based theological whimsies of the religion’s prior adherents. Thanks to the fact that in recent years we have been able to judge these Christian dogmas against the truths we have begun to learn from those that we used to think were dead, we now can objectively determine that most of what modern Christians believe is not true. Here, from my forthcoming book, The Fun of Loving Jesus, are a few beliefs held by most modern Christians that we can now demonstrate are false:

  • God is a human-like individual who judges us.
  • Satan is a powerful evil entity.
  • God might condemn you to a fiery hell.
  • Only Christians can get into heaven.
  • Jesus will return to wage an end-times war.
  • Jesus died to atone to God for humanity’s sins.
  • The whole Christian Bible is the Inspired Word of God.
  • Jesus established the Christian religion as it is practiced today.

As you can see, a lot of what Christians believe is sadly from man and not from God.

We have spoken at length about some of the reasons why the forty thousand modern versions of Christianity are failing all together now, but the bottom-line reason is the simple fact that having faith in something that is not true leads to disillusionment. More and more, Christians worldwide are finding their faith in Christianity’s human-made dogmas so badly shaken that thousands of churches are closing each year in the United States alone. By contrast, of course, those of us who reject modern Christianity in favor of sitting at the Lord’s feet as He speaks to us two thousand years ago have no trouble establishing the kind of faith that Jesus urges upon us, since what Jesus tells us in the Gospels is abundantly confirmed to be true by so many of those who are not now in bodies, but in wonderful fact are not dead at all!

So the cure for the worldwide crisis of faith that is disheartening so many Christians now will be the rise of the genuine teachings of Jesus in the public mind. While Christianity has declined in popularity, Jesus retains an approval rating above ninety percent in the United States, and He is known and loved worldwide. So the only restriction that exists on how quickly the crisis of faith in Christianity can be addressed will be the speed at which those whose faith lies only in the genuine teachings of Jesus can manage to share the Lord’s truths with the world. Our Christian crisis of faith is maturing to the point where soon it can be resolved.

Our scientific crisis of faith, however, remains a stubborn and destructive problem.

The greatest scientific challenge of the twenty-first century is no longer the search for a theory of everything. That naïve old twentieth-century notion had held that surely it must be possible for physicists to unify quantum mechanics, general relativity, and all the other well-established theories into a single overarching theory in physics that would let them explain everything. The search for a theory of everything was doomed to fail in any event, because modern science as it was being developed during the early twentieth century had foolishly transformed itself into just another faith-based belief-system. The bogus faith that now has governed mainstream scientific inquiry for a century is materialism. And as was true of the old, false versions of Christianity that held sway for centuries, this false version of science that is based in a whimsical human dogma eventually must die. The only question is how much more damage it will do before its adherents give it up!

We are seeing the first encouraging signs of a weakening of faith in their materialist dogma in the working scientific community. Some wonder whether we have come to the end of physics, while others hopefully seek to redefine science – or at least the study of the mind – as the art of not knowing. Contributing to this loss of faith in science is the fact that a key scientific tenet is the proposition that reported and peer-reviewed experiments can be repeated to yield the same results; but it turns out now this is not true at all, so those who adhere to the materialist faith are seeking a way to fix this problem by rethinking experimental research altogether.

In their growing despair, the most faithful believers in science’s failed materialist dogma are in the process of attempting something that would be the equivalent of diehard Christians using the Shroud of Turin to reconstitute a living Jesus. For their faith in materialism to be right, scientists will have to discover a mechanism by which the human brain generates consciousness. So the search for a theory of everything seems to many to be less important now, as more and more researchers undertake an ambitious new effort that also is doomed to fail. No one has come up with a reasonable theory of how matter could give rise to consciousness, so some consciousness researchers have lately decided to just go ahead and declare victory anyway.

A mind-bogglingly clueless article was published in the July, 2019 issue of Scientific American with the title How Matter Becomes Mind.” Since nowhere do the authors do more than to drill down on the brain’s complexity and hint that consciousness must come out of that somehow, the article’s title has been backed down a bit in the magazine’s online archives; but still, it reeks of un-seriousness. To give you a flavor of this faith-deluded nonsense, here is the article’s third paragraph:

“What has been missing from this account of human brain function is how all these distinct regions interact to give rise to who we are. Our laboratory and others have borrowed a language from a branch of mathematics called graph theory that allows us to parse, probe and predict complex interactions of the brain that bridge the seemingly vast gap between frenzied neural electrical activity and an array of cognitive tasks—sensing, remembering, making decisions, learning a new skill and initiating movement. This new field of network neuroscience builds on and reinforces the idea that certain regions of the brain carry out defined activities. In the most fundamental sense, what the brain is—and thus who we are as conscious beings—is, in fact, defined by a sprawling network of 100 billion neurons with at least 100 trillion connecting points, or synapses.”

(Quick translation for non-scientists: This is really extremely complicated! But we are true scientists. Our faith sustains us.)

Meanwhile, the fundamental truth that the great quantum physicist Max Planck first outlined for us a century ago – the fact that what we experience as consciousness is primary, and it pre-exists matter – continues to be abundantly validated. For example, afterlife researchers have known for decades that as death approaches and our minds begin to detach from our bodies, many people whose brains have been destroyed will briefly become lucid and mentally normal. Working scientists don’t yet feel free to talk about the materialist-faith-destroying implications of terminal lucidity, but at least they are finally noticing it! And we who are watching can have renewed hope that perhaps the scientific community’s liberation from its century-old false materialist dogma might not be much longer in coming….


Jesus with globe photo credit: Andras Fulop <a href=”″>Christ with the Globe from Tizian Workshop 068a</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Brain circuits photo credit: Genista <a href=”″>signaling (animated)</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Light-head photo credit: atercorv <a href=”″>lighthead2018</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

The Better Angels of Our Nature

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” (From Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address)

The United States is more divided now than it has been since the start of the Civil War. And in the mid-1800s there were at least good reasons for Americans to battle one another! The Founders knew when our Constitution was written that the issue of slavery would have to be addressed; but if they had tried to enforce abolition then they could not have created a union. So they cobbled together a temporary patch, knowing that slavery was going to have to be abolished at some future point. And as is the way with politicians, the right moment to do something so politically difficult as ending slavery never came, so the issue festered for another three-quarters of a century before it was settled in blood. Historians argue over whether slavery was the reason for the Civil War, or whether the issue was whether or not states that had entered the Union had the right to leave it. Let’s embrace the healing power of “and”! The issue was whether states that preferred slavery over remaining in the Union still had the right to make that choice. These were two thorny, complex, and highly emotional issues that could not be easily resolved.

There are no such major issues now. The Constitution the Founders approved 231 years ago, even despite its birth defect, has been the most successful attempt ever made in human history to guarantee to as many citizens as possible reasonable freedom, security, stability, and the opportunity to advance economically. And broad surveys show no present issue that is even remotely as divisive as either slavery or the right of a state to secede! A recent poll suggests that the current most important issue to Americans, with 21% putting it first, is illegal immigration. The second most important issue is healthcare, which was chosen first by only 7% of those who were polled. And both of these problems could be readily resolved! Our politicians could enact a way to manage illegal immigration if they did not prefer to maintain it as a political issue for the next election; and 85% of Americans are covered by either Medicare or private insurance, so closing that gap for the remaining 15% would be a simple matter. Yet shockingly, such trivial issues have contributed to creating what is arguably a greater division among Americans today than what resulted from even the highly contentious issues that precipitated our Civil War.

I am reluctant to suggest it here, but as I have done the research for this post I have come to think that the most significant issue that divides us now is the simple fact that many Americans wish the 2016 Presidential election had come out differently. There was some worry before the election that Donald Trump would refuse to accept the will of the people. This concern was perhaps best expressed in The Atlantic in October of 2016, in an article that is disconcerting to read now. To the surprise of many, Mr. Trump actually won the 2016 Presidential election; and it is not candidate Clinton, but rather it is some who had been her backers who have amazingly spent most of the past three years trying to unseat a sitting President. The party out of power is meant to serve as the loyal opposition, acting as a useful check on the party then holding the Presidency while respecting both the office and the one who holds it. That sort of orderly interface between our two main political parties simply is not happening now, but rather elements of the Democratic party have spent the past nearly three years attempting to impeach and destroy the sitting President. My dear younger friends, Americans of your parents’ generation or older will tell you that nothing about this is normal. As is suggested in a surprisingly blunt opinion piece on the carefully balanced website Real Clear Politics, what is going on now is appalling!

And all this vicious destructiveness is happening when, by objective measures, the start of Mr. Trump’s administration has been more economically successful for most Americans than have been the starts of the administrations of any of his more recent predecessors. African-Americans, especially, have enjoyed historically low unemployment and significant increases in earnings over the past few years.

It is time for all Americans of good will to step back from what looks to be an increasingly dangerous and counterproductive brink!

In case you wonder why I even would be bringing all of this up now, please know that the current turmoil in American politics is a terrible spiritual problem. We cannot unite spiritually when so many of us are so viciously divided politically, and our ambient rage is making it more difficult for us to ever practice real kindness and love. If we cannot empathize with all our neighbors, we can make no spiritual progress at all! And tragically, our terrible political and social climate is increasingly harming our next generation. In fact, some recent mass shootings seem to have been largely the result of our polarized culture’s inadvertent radicalization of a few lonely and troubled young men.

This way lies madness! If we don’t like the current President, then as has been true for 231 years and counting, our solution is to campaign against him and remove him at the ballot box. We know by now that no chief executive can harm the United States so much that a later incumbent won’t be able to fix it; but the same cannot be said of those who still continue to attack President Trump so viciously that they are even using the prestige of their nation as a political weapon. The United States has sunk to an unprecedented level of internal chaos, so I am relieved to tell you that a few Americans have begun to work in various ways to heal what seems to have become so broken in this nation’s civic life.

David Brooks is a New York Times columnist who has long seemed to this observer to be nothing more than a pampered aristocrat disassociated from the daily realities that most people face. So I was heartened to see his recent Ted talk, and to find him setting a larger-spirited tone. I urge you to watch it! Here is a very successful man discovering rather late in life some of the same essential truths that you and I talk about each week. The organization he mentions, the Weavers, is making an effort to repair communities under the auspices of the nonpartisan Aspen Institute.

And this spring I joined a new organization called Better Angels, a name that hearkens back to the words of Abraham Lincoln that begin this message. The idea behind Better Angels is that Americans actually have much more in common than whatever might separate us, and once we learn to discuss even difficult issues without political rancor, we will be able to work together to truly heal and prosper our nation.

I have attended three Better Angels events in the past few months. The organization is only two years old, so it is still determining how best to carry out its mission; and the chapter in my city is barely a year old, which means that all of us are learners. Everything Better Angels does includes “red” and “blue” members in roughly equal numbers, and the rules are designed to encourage meaningful discussions without anger or disrespect. So far we have tackled both illegal immigration and gun control, so we haven’t shied away from the most divisive topics! And here is some of what I have learned in my first few months with Better Angels:

  • People of good will from every part of the political spectrum seem to agree on goals to an astonishing degree. First realizing this has been a revelation.
  • The red and blue teams had for the most part learned two different sets of “facts.” Sorting out what is true and what isn’t true has been a big part of what we all are doing.
  • Each participant first approaches these discussions with false beliefs about the other team. Simply educating one another about what we actually do want and believe has been an enjoyable task!

There are Better Angels chapters now forming nationwide. If you are an American and you can find a chapter in your area, I urge you to give it a try! As we work to help one another grow spiritually, let us also begin the essential work of healing and better prospering first this nation and then the world.

Lincoln photo credit: oneredsf1 <a href=”″>Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1865</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Washington photo credit: cliff1066™ <a href=”″>George Washington</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Franklin photo credit: jepsculpture <a href=”″>Keys To Community: Ben Franklin in morning light</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
American flags photo credit: Chancy Rendezvous <a href=”″>Some Flag-Waving</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

Choosing Kindness

Among my earliest memories is the fun of helping my grandmother gather eggs. I was at eye-level with her geese, and they would chase me if they were out so she would shut them in the barn, where they would honk and complain. I was a little bigger than the chickens, so while Grandma collected their eggs I would distract the mommies by chasing them.

It was there in my grandmother’s chicken-yard that I got my first lesson in cruelty. A few of her hens had big, full tails. Some had skimpy tails, some had no tails at all, and one or two had been pecked so much that their whole hind-ends were bare. Occasionally my grandmother would do the most hen-pecked of her hens a favor by making her into a Sunday dinner, but she told me there was nothing else she could do. Chickens have a pecking-order. That is just the way it is.

Of course, chickens know no better. Chickens don’t enter their lifetimes on earth with a specific intention to learn and grow spiritually. They have no great teachers, no ideals or aspirations, no capacity to feel compassion, really nothing at all to balance that instinctive need to cruelly dominate others. For you and me, of course, it is another matter! And the fact that so many people really have not grown beyond the chicken-yard in their capacity to live with other people is a big reason why the consciousness vibratory rate of humankind has fallen so low. This planet is in crisis now. Unless we will fairly rapidly work to raise the consciousness vibration of humankind away from fear and hatred and toward ever more perfect love, we are told by those that we used to think were dead that before long there will be nothing left of this species that once dominated the earth beyond remnants battling on a ruined planet.

Pecking orders are just as usual for people as they are for hens. I recall that this nonsense happened in every grade of school, so by the third grade I was ignoring my schoolmates. I refused to join either the bullies or the bullied, and I couldn’t stop what they were doing so it carried on without me. My high school experience was better, perhaps because there were cliques that largely kept to themselves: I wasn’t athlete-cheerleader or ethnic townie, but I fit with the college-bound just fine. I pursued my own interests in college and law school, making friends among like-minded people, and by early adulthood I was sure that witnessing barnyard-level cruelty was happily just a part of my past.

But sadly, as you know, the advent of the Internet has brought human cruelty to hideous new levels! It affects both children and adults, to the point where the government has become involved. And our civic and political life is a battlefield! Most modern politicians even would rather make vicious personal attacks on one another than engage in substantive debates. What especially gets me is the glee with which so many of these battlers will put down, humiliate, beat up, and try to destroy other people who just have different opinions. Thanks largely to heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the racial issues that fifty years ago were tearing this nation apart are mercifully becoming a thing of the past; but apparently even that improvement is a problem for a lot of people! Many are so eager to continue battling over race just for the sake of battling that today more than two-thirds of reported racial hate crimes turn out to be hoaxes. Next week I will share with you some early signs that perhaps our civic life can be improved, but for now there is rampant cruelty nationwide over what are just political disagreements on a scale that my younger self could not have imagined. The United States has become little more than my grandmother’s chicken-yard writ large!

Helping our society to rise above living at the social level of laying hens is a deeply urgent matter now.

What got me thinking about this general need that some people feel to be cruel to others was an email I received last week. This website gains new subscribers daily, and of course people also unsubscribe. Our subscribers receive new blog posts attached to an email that begins with the words, “Don’t Miss Roberta’s Latest Post…. ” So one woman who received such an email chose to hit “Reply” and type, “Don’t worry, I won’t. Thank you.”

I try to answer every email. When I came to hers, I said something about the fact that there are many ways to grow spiritually, if she continues to seek I am sure she will find, and I wished her well. Then I put her out of my mind, but insidiously her words kept coming back. In my own life, I try to avoid giving anyone any reason for sadness; and feeling as I do, I struggled to understand that woman’s motivation. What must be in the mind of someone who cannot simply unsubscribe, but who needs to take a swipe on her way out with the hope of ruining a stranger’s day? What made it worse was the fact that she hadn’t seemed to act from anger. No, for her being cruel was what it had been for my grandmother’s hens and for my grade-school classes, and what it is now in our civic arena: it was a weapon of self-aggrandizement. Indeed, what she did seemed less excusable than the cruelty of those high-ranking hens, since at least they lived in a peck-or-be-pecked world! I have since come to see the moment last week when I saw someone try to make a stranger unhappy as a microcosm of what we must battle if we are ever to have any hope of raising the vibration of this planet’s population and thereby saving and transforming the world.

Enjoying being cruel to other people has long been a part of the human condition. It cannot be genetic, hard-wired or innate, because our minds are of the same consciousness as the Godhead; but rather, it seems to be more like the pecking-order that hens establish. It is a byproduct of the stress that results from our living in such close proximity to one another.

Jesus talks about neither cruelty nor kindness in the Gospels, beyond saying variations of Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (LK 6:31). He seems to have seen cruelty as something He didn’t need to address directly, since once sufficient numbers had applied His core teaching that we must love other people as we love ourselves, we would be living at a sufficiently high level of consciousness that cruelty would fade away.

So what I am wondering now is whether our addressing cruelty proactively might be yet another way for us to work to raise the consciousness vibration of this planet?

The opposite of cruelty is kindness. If we work to train ourselves to manifest kindness in every situation, might our doing that act in our lives very much as an active gratitude practice does, and soften our minds, making it easier for us to better learn forgiveness and perfect love?

Always choosing kindness is easy. And it quickly becomes a habit that works beautifully with our efforts to learn forgiveness and love! In every situation we must:

  • Learn to see everyone as a perfect aspect of the Godhead. It’s a simple matter of reinforcing what we already know is true, until we cannot look at any human being without seeing an aspect of the divine. Panhandlers, members of criminal gangs, even people who treat us horribly: all of them are sacred eternal beings. Or as Mother Teresa said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
  • Learn to treat yourself with kindness. We can become so caught up in trying to do more for others that we neglect to nurture our own happiness! What I learned to do early on was to build into each day a few small things that I personally enjoyed. Really small things. Treats. As the beloved Buddhist nun Pema Chodron said, “Compassion for others begins with kindness for ourselves.”
  • Firmly squelch every impulse toward cruelty. And these impulses come up all day long! Especially when someone seems to you to richly deserve bad treatment, you must never gloat at another’s comeuppance. Never say or do anything that will make someone sad, and be especially careful about this when it is your personal view that a little bad treatment might in this case be deserved. Mark Twain said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” I love that thought! Please God, in all things may I be that fragrance.
  • Look for instances where you can be proactively kind. It soon will seem to you that it isn’t enough for you just to avoid being cruel. And coming up with ways to make strangers happy is a wonderful way to rev your kindness engine! I have been at this for so long now that it is automatic: I look for chances to say something sincerely kind to every stranger I encounter, and the more I do that the happier I am.

My dear friends, this is an easy one! It’s like cleaning up your living room. You can develop a habit of kindness in only a few months of modest effort, and you will find that it pairs very well with your attitude of gratitude to make of your mind a much happier and a more deeply peaceful personal haven. It also makes your learning to better forgive and love just a natural progression! When Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (JN 13:34), He was telling us it was time for humanity to stop interacting at the level of the chicken-yard, and at last claim the universal love and joy that always has been our birthright.


Hens photo credit: ekpatterson <a href=”″>the girls</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Chicken photo credit: cseeman <a href=”″>Visit to John Watling’s Distillery on the Essential Nassau Excursion at Nassau (Bahamas) taken during the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas – Tuesday February 19th, 2019</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Spread love photo credit: Javcon117* <a href=”″>Spread Love Everywhere…</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Kissing chicks photo credit: DaPuglet <a href=”″>Stare Down</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

He Who Is Without Sin…

I believe that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be judged in the long course of history to have been the greatest American of the twentieth century. Of course, there were other Americans during the last century who did remarkable things! But in the fifty-one years since Dr. King’s death his stature has risen, and it continues to rise. What he did during his thirty-nine years of life continues to shine ever brighter! And as the years and the centuries roll on from here, the various statesmen, generals, scientists, and inventors who were prominent in the twentieth century will be replaced by later figures who make new conquests and discoveries that better suit their own epochs.

Since Abraham Lincoln, there has not been anyone else with the stature of Dr. King. Just as Lincoln called us back to our founding principles and made the Founders freshly relevant in his day, so Dr. King did that for the twentieth century, and he did it with intellectual and spiritual might. Very few people in history have truly lived lives for the ages! And perhaps since Jesus walked the earth there has been no one who did more for others in fewer than forty years of life than did Dr. King. He is a genuine giant.    

As would have been true of anyone who was working so hard in the nineteen-sixties to end the long tail of slavery and help this nation at last live up to its own ideals in the area of race, Dr. King had powerful enemies. The worst of these was J. Edgar Hoover, then the longtime head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a man who bore Dr. King such animus that he used his position to secretly record a lot of the civil rights leader’s life; then he tried to blackmail Dr. King into killing himself. All of this has long been known. But recently documents were released from the FBI’s archives that were dated only days before Dr. King’s death, and the allegations made in them seem so damaging that in our shamefully judgmental times they even are giving some King scholars pause.

But do we have the right to judge Dr. King? What might Jesus have to say about that? Perhaps you recall this famous passage from the Book of John:

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to (Jesus), ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’  Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either’” (JN 8:3-11).

No matter what is in those FBI documents, who among us has the spiritual rectitude to pick up the first stone and throw it at the titan that is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

And furthermore, it appears that what is in the FBI documents condemning Dr. King is mostly nonsense. A thoughtful article on analyzes both the documents and their place in a turbulent historical period. It then concludes with these paragraphs:

“Part of the reason the FBI was so set on getting rid of King was that they thought he was a communist at a time when communism was seen as the greatest threat to the country. And the documents allege that King was closely tied to communist organizations. But we know now that those ties were made up completely. King himself was no fan of communist regimes. And he made efforts to say so publically but found that his advisors feared alienating supporters who might be communists. ‘There are things I wanted to say renouncing communism in theory,’ King said, ‘but they would not go along with it.’  .  .  .

“If you take the FBI documents at face value, you’d assume King was a staunch supporter of communism, which he absolutely was not. And if that allegation in the documents is false, it changes the tone of the whole report. It makes it seem less like an objective effort to collect facts and more like an effort to discredit King with any rumor they could find. Ultimately, that’s probably all the report is, a collection of rumors meant to make King look bad.

“That’s not to say that King didn’t have personal issues with sexual affairs. Many of King’s friends and associates have stated over the years that they knew he sometimes had emotional and possibly sexual attachments to women. Like all men, King wasn’t perfect. And like anyone, he made mistakes and did things that might challenge the image of him that has been built up over the years. But the more disturbing allegations in the documents are almost definitely exaggerated or even outright lies. And King’s personal issues don’t take away from his legacy as a champion of equality.”

(All the italics are mine.)

There you have it. Dr. King had extramarital affairs, but apparently the rest of the FBI’s case against him was largely baseless. And as would be true if my own husband were to discover he had some wild oats to sow, Dr. King’s sex life was nobody’s business but his own and his wife’s. The nineteen-sixties were years when promiscuity was judged less harshly than it is judged today, and for prominent men it was almost de rigueur.

Dr. King is an intellectual and spiritual giant who transcends time. In days when this nation was perilously close to splitting apart over racial issues, Dr. King set a pitch-perfect tone that has carried on long after his death and still does its healing work today. As we have been doing with Jesus, let’s sit down together at the feet of this extraordinary man and learn from him.

Dr. King was quoting Thomas Jefferson when he said in July of 1965, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ This is a dream. It’s a great dream! The first saying we notice in this dream is an amazing universalism. It doesn’t say, ‘some men’; it says ‘all men.’ It doesn’t say ‘all white men’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes black men. It does not say ‘all Gentiles’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Jews. It doesn’t say ‘all Protestants’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes Catholics. It doesn’t even say ‘all theists and believers’; it says ‘all men,’ which includes humanists and agnostics. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality. The American dream reminds us—and we should think about it anew on this Independence Day—that every man is an heir of the legacy of dignity and worth.”

“Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. “

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’ … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”

“I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

Our viciously judgmental time in history will pass, as have so many other benighted ages before it. The moral midgets trying now to destroy not only this nation’s Founding Fathers but also the modern Founding Father that Dr. King is proving to be will soon die un-lamented. Then as the future years and centuries pass, the miracle that is this nation, happily founded by a Generation of Giants and largely saved two centuries later by that one extraordinary man, will continue to thrive for the lovers of freedom and justice who are their fortunate beneficiaries.

May Americans in the long course of time prove ourselves to be worthy of their gift.


King Monument photo credit: Gage Skidmore <a href=”″>Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Johnson photo credit: Jared Enos <a href=”″>President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
King’s Church photo credit: yooperann <a href=”″>Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
King Vestments photo credit: www78 <a href=”″>Martin Luther King Jr. Pastor Artifacts</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Flags photo credit: -Jeffrey- <a href=”″>Washington Monument</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

I’m Sorry

One of my first legal clients gave me the most important professional advice I have ever received. In fact, it has turned out to be some of the most important advice about life there is! This young salesman was an astonishing ball of energy, so wound up that he couldn’t sit down so he spent our meetings stalking around my office, looking out windows, reading my diplomas, picking up and studying tchotchkes from my desk, and talking stream-of-consciousness.

I don’t remember his name or much else about him, but one moment remains vivid in my mind. He was establishing a manufacturer’s rep that sold some sort of industrial equipment, and as was my custom I asked him to tell me more about the business, his career, and his dreams. He was in the process of doing that when he paused mid-sentence, looked at me, and said, “When I get a new client, I pray something goes wrong. Do you know why?” Of course, I had no clue. He said, “When something goes wrong, I get to apologize. Then I get to rush in and fix it. That hooks them! I’ve got a client for life.”

I was just starting to work with clients at the time, so what he said that day made a big impression. I began to notice who apologized and who didn’t, and I began to work on establishing a habit of always apologizing myself. I was astonished to realize how difficult developing an apology habit actually is! But I kept at it. I wasn’t representing a manufacturer that had goofed up a client’s order, but there were times when I had done less than my best. It doesn’t matter whether people are angry, or whether they even know you’ve slipped up: coming right out and saying you are sorry can be hard to do at first. But the habit became so ingrained in me that it was only after Thomas had given me our topic for this week that I first even thought about it enough to realize that my apology habit seems never to have caused me any problems at all. In fact, it seems to have been a significant contributor to my professional success. I also think now that it helped to lay the groundwork for my later spiritual life.

Developing a strong apology habit is a wonderful spiritual exercise!

Apologizing requires you to confront your ego, and each time you beat it you soften it more until your ego seems almost to give up trying. Here is why:

  • Apologizing makes you feel weak and exposed. If you admit you made a mistake, will your client ditch you? Might your client even sue you? I never had either experience in my more than thirty years of practicing law, but it certainly could have happened. I do think, though, that your being contrite and eager to fix the problem you inadvertently caused helps to soften whatever the consequences might have been otherwise.
  • Apologizing feels like inflicting harm on your own self-image. You’re not as big an expert as you thought you were! Not if you could make such a foolish mistake.
  • Apologizing puts you in a situation you cannot control. A big part of being a professional is being able to manage your clients. But the minute you say, “I’ve got to apologize for doing X when now I feel I should have done Y, and this is how we’ll need to fix it,” then your client’s reaction and any resulting fallout will be beyond your control.

And in your personal life, apologizing feels even riskier! Will your spouse forgive you, or will s/he feel betrayed? Is it better to bury your mistakes so they won’t put your personal relationships at risk?

As is true of developing a gratitude practice, apologizing goes against our ego-based and self-protective grain. And the wonderful thing about that is the fact that our repeatedly beating down our small-minded human tendencies makes it easier for us to eventually vanquish them. Remember, too, that apology is the flip side of forgiveness, and forgiveness is a core teaching of Jesus. It’s the prelude to learning more perfect love! In fact, your apology is a spiritual gift to the person you have wronged, because it then confers the greater opportunity to learn and apply ever better forgiveness.

I am coming to realize that maintaining a strong apology habit may be just as important to our spiritual development as is maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

Here is how you can best begin to make apologizing a central part of your life:

  • Be alert for apology opportunities. Take as your example my young salesman client, who was trying to find something to apologize for in every new client situation! Our instinct has been to try not even to notice what we ourselves have done wrong, but my own experience was that it soon became pretty easy to override that ego-based reluctance to apologize. And the responses from people when I said I was sorry were generally so positive that before long the habit of apologizing turned out to be self-reinforcing.
  • Keep it simple. Our ego-based instinct is to elaborate, to explain, to justify ourselves, and even to lay some blame on others; but saying anything beyond the fact that you are sorry and you will fix the problem is likely to make you seem devious.
  • Apologize even when the person receiving the apology is more at fault than you are. Whenever I do this, people are all over me, eager to assure me that whatever happened wasn’t my fault at all.
  • You might ask for forgiveness, or you might not. My own instinct now is not to ask for forgiveness because whenever I have done that it seemed to bury the apology. But if it is very important to you that a close friend or family member express forgiveness, then go ahead and ask for it in that one case. In reminding the people we love of the necessity for us always to forgive when someone wrongs us, we are helping to reinforce for them the perfect Gospel teachings of Jesus.

What did Jesus say about apologizing? As is true of gratitude, apologizing is not specifically addressed in the Gospel words that have come down to us, but as is true of gratitude it is certainly implied. Indeed, both gratitude and contrition are at the core of everything that Jesus taught. Take, for example, The Lord’s Prayer, which is the way Jesus suggests that we communicate with God. He urges us to say:

“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”
(MT 6:9-13).

I would argue that nearly every word of The Lord’s Prayer is an expression of gratitude based in the trusting certainty that God will continue to supply all our needs. And what is “forgive us our debts”? It’s an apology in all but name. Please note in particular how relationship-based this whole prayer is! Forgive us as we forgive others. Your will be done as our earthly needs are supplied. We ask not just that you avoid tempting us, but also that you let nothing else tempt us. Just as is true of gratitude and apologizing, The Lord’s Prayer is all about building and strengthening this essential relationship.

There is a Gospel passage, too, where the notion of apologizing and thereby being reconciled with others is expressed explicitly. Jesus said,     if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison(MT 5:23-25).

We cannot know what more Jesus might have said that was not remembered and passed down for the couple of generations before His words were first committed to writing. My hunch is that He may well have talked about both expressing gratitude and apologizing, since these attitudes seem to be so foundational to everything He said that has come down to us. It may also be that in the younger times in which He lived, people were less ego-driven than moderns are, and were both more grateful and more careful about healing their relationships than we are now.

Gratitude and apologizing are core relationship elements that assist in the work of breaking down the boundaries between ourselves and other people.

The Gospel teachings of Jesus are a mechanism for rapid spiritual growth, but the fact that they have been largely ignored for the past two thousand years suggests that they are not an easy and automatic machine. Rather, they are more like a seed. And Jesus told us that explicitly! He said of His teachings, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.  Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold” (MK 4:3-8).

Until we have prepared our minds by developing practices of gratitude and apologizing to others – two habits that weaken our egos and strengthen our relationships with other people – we are offering to the seed of the Lord’s perfect teachings mostly stony and unproductive soil.


Salesman photo credit: Bestpicko <a href=”″>Businessman in Suit</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>
Crops photo credit: jack cousin <a href=”″>Rural panorama.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>