John Wilson's blog jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&rss John Wilson's blog en-us Sat, 21 Oct 2017 03:31:31 PDT Sat, 21 Oct 2017 03:31:31 PDT What is Relationship? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=E03844AF59D05F7AE040010AAB016124 Relationship is more than an ongoing connection between you and me, lovers, or friends; it is the way the universe works. In Unity, we often talk about Order, which is one of The Twelve Powers of Man (Charles Fillmore). Many Unity students translate this into “things happen for a reason.” Is this what “Order” actually means, though?  Is there actually a predetermined reason or purpose for everything that happens? Is an outside entity (God) controlling, predetermining, and purposing outcomes? Is every “effect” (event) in life, including our personal relationships, subject to a particular, prescriptive “cause” (reason)? In Unity, that notion may fall into the category of “error belief.” Order does not depend on a dictator deity controlling everything. Rather, it affirms that each individual is progressively creating Order by manifesting the divine idea (potential) of Order in body, mind, and spirit. Unity refers to Order in terms of our personal development toward the highest and best. Fillmore affirmed, “I am working all things together for my good.” (Heart-Centered Metaphysics, Hasselbeck, p. 267) Divine ideas become thoughts, which become manifestations and each of us is intricately involved in influencing our own life events, situations, and circumstances. When we affirm “Divine Order,” we assert that the universe (all that is) and each individual (you and me) are intimately involved in an ongoing, interactive relationship. Everyone and everything interacts with everyone else and everything else. "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." (John Muir) Those relationships influence the Good we experience in life. Our body (health), mind (thoughts) and spirit (essential being, Self) are interrelated. Our personalities, interactions, and social involvements evolve from the sum total of our relationships. First, our essential nature and our physical being are two aspects of existence that “emerge” from an ultimate Unity, the mystery of mysteries. (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1, Lin translation) The principle of relationship is basic to existence: Yin and Yang, spiritual and physical, darkness and light, etc. What we are (spirit) is intimately involved with who we are (person). There are two sides to each of us, just as there are two sides to a coin, two hemispheres in a brain, or two viewpoints in a discussion. Our experience in the world results from the interaction of our “essential“ nature and our “manifest” sensory experience. Second, one’s being (vibration) effects and is affected by every other being(vibration). Our thoughts, attitudes, and actions influence changes in the thoughts, attitudes, and actions of others. Likewise, the thoughts, attitudes and actions of others influence each of us. Our personalities change as a result of our involvement in interpersonal relationships, experiences in the past, current events in our lives, and even incidents that have occurred elsewhere in the universe. Our being (self, life, identity, ego, etc.) plays out in the context of relationships. Third, each relationship interacts with and can enhance our Self-awareness. We perceive our own essence (I am, divinity, or Good, etc.), in response to our relationships. If we determine that every relationship is controlled by an all-powerful deity, then we perceive ourselves as victims. If we view relationships as merely the result of cause and effect, then we perceive ourselves as automatons. However, if we acknowledge each relationship as insight into our own awareness, then we may perceive ourselves as architects of Order: “I am working all things together for my good.” Each of us experiences Order as we progressively manifest that divine idea in body, mind, and spirit. Order is the process that facilitates personal development toward our highest and best. We create Order (or not) in response to our relationships with other people and events.  Often, in spiritual circles, we are admonished to wake up:  awake from the error belief that God is pulling strings and causing things to happen “for a reason;” awake from the idea that circumstances are predetermined by something in the past; awake from fatalism and causality. Wake up to a new awareness of divine order; we “create our own reality” and our vast network of relationships is an integral part of the process.    Wonder and Wander 2014-04-07 04:00:24 What is the Bible? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=E038452173027A42E040010AAB016120 The Holy Bible, likely the most widely distributed and translated book in history, is revered by believers, disregarded by non-believers, and deemed variously useful by everyone in between. What is this book, which is controversial to many, yet passionately adored by millions? Is it the inspired "Word of God," as literalists claim? Is it a collection of myths, stories, and creative writings, as historians and critics contend? Is it evidence of extra-terrestrial alien "gods" as ancient astronaut theorists propose? Whatever it is, it lies at the center of religion and faith. One's view of the Bible can determine the direction of individual lives, nations, and even the entire world.  So, what is it? It is a book. It is a collection of stories, treatises, ecclesiastical records, and creative writings. It is literally a document, which was written, assembled, edited and published by human beings. That is a fact, which cannot be denied. There is no evidence that the Bible arrived in any other way: no miraculous appearance in toto, no special delivery by heavenly hosts, and no discovery in any archeological dig. In essence, the Bible "evolved." The compilation of ancient Old Testament texts started 1-3 centuries BCE and the New Testament compilation was added 1-3 centuries CE. The Bible had no "chapter and verse" until about 700 years ago. Indeed, the Bible that we know in the 21st century is a relatively recent development and many new versions have emerged since the famous "King James" version of 1611. It is said that God inspired the Bible; it is exactly what He wanted it to be; right? That is true, if you say so. Views and opinions about the Bible depend on which person you ask. Each of us approaches the Bible with certain assumptions and predispositions. Those who learned from an early age that the Bible is "holy" and beyond reproach are likely to believe every word is absolutely true and without error. Those who convinced that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” may be skeptical of assertions of infallibility and authority regarding the Bible. Each person literally chooses whether to believe the Bible totally, disregard it altogether, or adopt some position in between. In other words, Bible belief is "in the eye of the beholder."  What is the Bible, then? In practical terms, it is whatever you think it is. Since the Bible has (nor claims) no miraculous, instantaneous arrival "out of the blue" and since it obviously developed through many centuries with various influences, the Bible constitutes both a compilation and a dispersion. It presents a collection of religious opinions that fosters an endless array of religious opinions. Believers, detractors, and those in between choose their own "beliefs" about the veracity of the Bible and what it "says." Arguments about the Bible are naturally circular: one believes the Bible, based on what one has chosen to believe about the Bible. Believe as you will, but understand that each of us determines "What is the Bible?" before we ever read a word.   Visit the Mystic Mountain home page: www.jrwilson.ws   2013-10-22 04:14:59 What is Religion? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=D865CBA40C3F835CE040010AAB015FFF Religion is all about perception.  Have you noticed that almost every one of us, no matter who we are, fervently believes that the religion we presently follow is the most credible one? We may have “seen the light,”  “got religion,” or simply “believed;” no matter how we came to affiliate with our current religious tradition, we did so because it seemed to make sense to us. Talk to anyone and he or she will likely identify their current belief system as the correct one. There are many religions vying for the top spot; how do we actually know which is the right one? Which one of these ways really is the “Way”? How is it that so many religions claim divine inspiration and absolute truth? All of these followers sincerely believe they are on the right path.  Apparently, every person believes that the religion that actually “saves” is the one THEY themselves believe in. Which is the “right” religion depends on the person you ask and the diversity of opinion actually reveals a credible answer: all religions contain the potential for Truth. Individual perspective explains the divergent and conflicting beliefs that people profess. Ultimate Reality (Divinity, Universal Principle, God) “Is” and can be discovered, but each of us unveils it in our own way, in our own time, and through our own experience. That is the basis for so many world religions, divisions, denominations, sects, groups, organizations, cults and pathways. Each of us understands the Essence of Life or the Divine from his or her personal point of view and aligns with religions, groups, and paths that share a similar viewpoint. Sooner or later, it dawns on many of us, “Truth is not confined to any one religion but embraces them all.” The right Way is not a particular religion, belief or path; it is the journey itself. Our preferred religion seems true to us because we have chosen to believe in a particular God-man, to believe particular things about the scriptures, or to believe in a particular faith tradition. Our present set of beliefs constitutes our viewpoint for the time being, in the here and now. It represents an understanding that “this is my path; this is the way I must follow.” Most of us believe this about our own religious point of view. The Truth that unfolds before our very eyes is that everyone is orchestrating their own journey toward freedom and wholeness. Truth involves the understanding that we opted for our religious views in the past, we select and maintain our present beliefs, and we choose the direction of our future spiritual focus. True religion is not about submitting to a particular God, scripture, doctrine, church, minister, or teacher. True religion is about liberation; it affirms your freedom to be . . . YOU. Likely, you already know that, perceive it, and are aware of it on some level. Truth Will Set You Free and nothing else is required. (The book, Truth Will Set You Free, is available at www.booklocker.com/7011 , Amazon, and other online book sellers) 2013-09-23 02:34:28 What is God? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=D865CB9DCFC9835CE040010AAB015FFF God is what you think it is and more. Each of us views God from our own point of view, but our personal view of God is not the whole picture. As human beings, we are limited. There are birds that have eyesight so powerful that they can see a mouse or a fish from hundreds of feet in the air. There are cats with agility and speed far beyond our own capacities. There are dogs whose sense of smell and hearing ranges far beyond ours. Most animals can run, swim, fly, and dig much faster, deeper, higher, and more efficiently than we can. We humans do have our limits. One of these limits is our awareness of reality. Despite centuries of faith and science, we still wonder about how we arrived on the planet, what we are doing here, and where we are going. Religion and philosophy seem to address the reason for our existence and science tends to address the mechanics and physics of it all. Both views of reality seem to address the "God" question. Does God exist and who/what is God? Religion relies on revelation from ancient scriptures and science relies on the scientific method and observation. From the point of view of religion, God is the Supreme Being and from the point of view of science, no such being has been found. That is the dilemma in which individuals, societies, and the peoples of the world community find themselves. We live in a science vs. religion duality that has persisted for thousands of years. Shall we abandon religion and only view God from the scientific point of view? Shall we ignore science and rely exclusively on the "inspiration" of ancient texts. This either-or dichotomy leaves us with no real answer. So, what is the answer; what is God? God simply "Is." God may be the context of existence, the "Ground" of our being (Tillich), the principle of relationship, the entirety of the universe, or the reservoir of potentiality. God may exist as the tension between love and fear, good and evil, or wholeness and nothingness. God is ultimately a mystery to religion, to science, and to each of us. What is God? Our best clue may be you and me: we "are" and God "Is." Within your own heart and soul a definition of God awaits your discovery. What does your inner Light tell you about "What is God?" There you will find your answer.     2013-09-21 05:31:19 What is "Jesus"? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=D865CB2EDFCD835CE040010AAB015FFF "Jesus" is an English translation of a Greek name (Iesous). The Greek name is a translation of an Aramaic name (Yeshua). The Aramaic name is a translation of a Hebrew name (Joshua). The Hebrew name is a derivative of yet another name (Yehoshuah). Jesus reportedly said, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:14 KJV).However, when televangelists, priests, and ministers pray, baptize, or cast out demons "in the name of Jesus" they may be using the wrong name! Since Yeshua apparently spoke Aramaic, then the "name" one is to ask "in" would be Yeshua, not "Jesus." What is the actual meaning of "in my name," though? It seems unlikely that the name "Jesus" is a magical word, like "presto" or "voila'." More likely, it is simply an appeal for a personal favor. A paraphrase of the above passage might be: "If you ask anything of me, I will do it." This makes total sense when viewed in the context of a teacher/disciple relationship: "I am at your disposal," "ask me anything," "I am at your service." This also fits with the teaching that the greatest is the servant of all or the one who serves. The meaning of the "name" of (Yehoshuah, Joshua, Yeshua, Iesous, and Jesus) may not refer not so much to a particular person, but to the principle of reliance on Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, for salvation (help, assistance, rescue, etc.). This way, "in my name" makes even more sense: "When you need something, ask me and I will help you." Yeshua was probably not offering his followers an incantation to be used as a form of "hocus pocus." It is much more reasonable to assume that the "Good Rabbi" was merely serving his followers appropriately. The term "Yahweh" refers to "I am that I am." That is, it references our very Being, the Substance (Eric Butterworth) of all of Life. This Essence, or Divinity, extends and expresses as "us" as individuals. It is "you" and it is "me" and it was Yeshua as well. In our very being, we express an essential unity of spirit that is intuitive. This is a valuable resource in living our lives, equally as valuable as our rational, analytical abilities. From our essential, spiritual nature, we understand the significance of love, compassion and service.  To do anything "in the name of Jesus" is to offer ourselves in service, as Yeshua did. A popular sing reminds us, "I am the heart. I am the hands. I am the voice of Spirit on Earth." It is true. If we are to do anything "in Jesus" name," perhaps it would behoove us to forego the magic words and actually serve those who ask. To pray "in Jesus' name" is not likely about invoking magic; it is about living the same way and exhibiting the same spiritual awareness as Yeshua. To truly follow Jesus is not to parrot his words, but to live his "Way," the way of selfless service.     2013-08-22 04:09:37 What is Spirituality? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=D8659B0237C1B250E040010AAB015CD6 The term "spirituality" is thrown around casually these days, but what is it?  It depends on who you ask. If you ask me, spirituality relates to our very nature as human beings. We live and move in the context of "Spirit." In some religious circles, spirituality means conforming to a particular religious path, especially one that dictates the follower's behavior, faith and practice. This definition seems too narrow when one considers the vast number of such paths. Spirituality can not be adequately limited to any one of those paths. Therefore a broader definition is needed: Spirituality is simply a greater awareness of Spirit. "Spirit," then, requires its own definition. What is Spirit? To me, Spirit is ultimate Reality; the context of Life, the essence of Love, and as Paul Tillich (Theologian) put it, the "Ground of Being." People of various religious persuasions interpret this as "God," "Tao," Brahman," etc. It is That which "Is," the explanation for our very existence. I am, you are, we are, and everything else is. All of us us exist in "Spirit." Knowing this, how do we become more spiritual? We do not actually become more spiritual; we become more aware of the Spirit that we are. Every path that facilitates our awareness is a "spiritual path." There are religions, beliefs, and practices that do the exact opposite. Some traditions, doctrines and dogmas actually cloud our awareness or understanding of our very nature. They distract us with superficial issues and meaningless rituals that become religious trappings, rather than ways of enlightenment. Who knows best which spiritual path an individual can take to further spiritual understanding? You do! You are the one who can best guide your own course of spiritual unfolding. In fact, you have been doing it all along. There is no minister, priest, scripture, or temple that knows better than you the path you should take. You may choose one, more than one, or many of them. The bottom line is that you are the final authority in spiritual matters. You "know" what is right for you. The Truth does not change when we change our path or point of view. The only thing that changes is our understanding. That understanding is"Spirituality."      2013-05-29 04:22:07 Why Does Anything Exist? http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=94AB432EBF2F4932E040A8C0AC001F58 Philosophers throughout the ages have pondered this question. "Why does anything exist?" The most common answer to the question has been theological, "God" or "gods." In other words, the usual response is that someone or something outside of creation created it, a creator, a "first cause." However, this does not really answer the riddle because it begs the question, "Who or what created God?" Like mirrors facing each other, the answer reflects the question and repeats itself over and over again, infinitely. The process is like a dog chasing its tail and we, too, find ourselves always running after the answer, but never reaching it. Asking "Why does anything exist" implies that there is a cause, reason or purpose (a "why?") that lies outside of what is (anything/everything that exists). It argues that this cause, reason or purpose exists beyond or outside of existence. Is this possible? If simple logic and common sense apply, then the answer is no. A does not equal B; nothing exists outside of existence; "exist" is a sub-set of "existence." Even "nothing" exists, because nothing is something (another philosophical discussion for another time). Nothing that already exists can be its own cause, purpose, or reason. The challenge is that asking "why?" or seeking a first cause assumes that existence is based on the principle of Cause and Effect. This assumption insists that every effect has a cause and there must be an ultimate, or first cause (such as God or the gods). However, this theory contradicts itself on its face. If every effect (anything) has a cause, then even the "first cause" is an effect (exists) and requires a cause. There can be no cause that is not also an effect of some other cause. There can be no answer to "Why does anything exist?" because it assumes the Cause and Effect principle. The solution to the dilemma is not in finding the answer to the question, but in asking the right question to begin with. Rather than ask "Why?" one can ask "How?" Asking "How does anything exist?" makes much more sense. How does one travel to New York City? One can walk, take a train, ride a bus, fly in a plane, drive a car or a combination of these - one engages in the process of travel. Likewise, anything (everything) that exists arrives through a similar process. Innumerable variables contribute to the existence of every "thing" that is. Each "thing" is related to every other "thing" past, present and future. Thus, the basic assumption about existence is likely Relationship, rather than cause and effect Relationship means that everything exists as a process, rather than as an "effect." The person that is "me" is not the same today as it was yesterday, or even a minute ago. Life is in flux, constantly changing, so there is no moment that can be considered an effect and therefore no entity that can be considered a cause. I am "me," relative to 3-4 Billion other people, millions of years of change, countless interactions and infinite possibilities. I am involved in a creative process that is ever ongoing and at the same time, here and now. I am intimately related to a universal "Divine Order," "Christ Consciousness," "God" or "How" of existence. I can not be apart from it! Therefore I am "perfect" and "whole" just the way I am. There is nothing to get, nothing lacking, and no further perfection to attain. I am indeed on a journey, which is its own destination. As Virginia Satir profoundly wrote, "I am me and I am okay!" How does anything exist? Everything exists in Relation to everything else. Relax - no more tail-chasing!     back to top I Am Me    2011-05-15 04:49:33 Divine Order http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=94AB4135181F55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A At times, life seems confusing and people share conflicting views about God, or the Divine. One one hand, people credit an anthropomorphic (in the image of man) God for intervening in human affairs. God is invoked to change the course of history so that a particular sports team wins, rain falls when needed, one army is victorious over another or key personal events "happen" at the appropriate time. On the other hand, God is seldom blamed when a tsunami engulfs Indonesia, a hurricane slams New Orleans or an earthquake rocks Haiti. God is seen as not involved in these events. Which is it - involved or not? It all depends on one's definition of God. If God is perceived as a supreme being, a super-person or a benevolent dictator, then God is usually asked to intervene, often after-the-fact, to make lemonade out of lemons. However, where was God before the disease was contracted, before the child was run over and killed or before the house was burned to the ground? Perhaps God was actually a distant creator with little or no involvement, the universal watchmaker who designed the watch, wound it up and let it tick. Is God involved or not? With this either/or scenario, one can not have one's cake and eat it too. However, what if God is neither Supreme Being or the First Cause/Creator? Perhaps God is not a do-er at all. Alternatively, God can be defined as Spirit ( "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" - John 4:24 NIV). Spirit (not "a spirit") is defined as the "vital principle" or "animating force" within living beings or incorporeal "consciousness" (The Free Dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spirit). In other words, God may not be so much a being or creator as the very principle, force and consciousness within which being and creation occur. God is likely the context of all the content of existence. God is probably the Formless from which form appears. God is more likely the Infinite of which the finite expresses. Moreover, God is most likely the All. The context (God) contains the content (Universe) and the two are one. From this perspective, God may a fan of both competing teams, may "bring" both rain and drought, might belong to both arimes and could "happen" both the blessed events and the tragedies. It seems somewhat useless to define God in terms of involved or not involved; Defining God as the Principle of Divine Order seems more useful.  How can such a principle be described? I can imagine characteristics like these: Everything that exists is self affirming. Being implies "purpose." Everything relates to every other thing. All things interact; "no man is an island." Every event depends on, is subject to, countless other events. Life is unfolding as it should (Desiderada)   In other words, all is in Divine Order. There is no apparent super-person or authoritarian to credit or blame in life. It all just "is." My dad had a saying that seems to sum it all up. In the event of something painful or difficult to understand, he would say, "that's just one of those things." I think my dad may have been wiser than I gave him credit for. 2011-03-10 20:06:56 Yin & Yang http://jrwilson.ws/WonderandWander&p=94AB41D383144932E040A8C0AC001F58 For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to the Yin and Yang symbol, the Taijitu (literally "diagram of the supreme ultimate") diagram [Wiki]. To me, it expresses the Truth, Reality and Mystery of existence, an ultimate Unity from which the duality of life emerges. "The unity is said to be the mystery; Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders." (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1, Derek Lin Translation) Yin and Yang are apparent opposites that seem to indicate an either/or dimension to life. However, rather than conflict, the two aspects actually seem to support each other. Indeed, neither could exist without the other: "Thus being and non-being produce each other; Difficult and easy bring about each other; Long and short reveal each other; High and low support each other . . ." (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2, Lin) Human beings  live in a dualistic world. Our minds operate in terms of either/or, this/that, is/is not, etc. We distinguish black vs. white, good vs. evil, night vs. day (and on and on). Truly, though, nothing is likely that sharply defined. In addition to the seemingly opposite concepts there are continuums of in-betweens. We know of various shades of gray colors, different levels of goodness and a progression from night to dawn to day to dusk. Life does not really consist of either/or dichotomies. If not "one or the other," then what is the nature of our everyday reality? It seems enough like a clash of opposites. What else could it be? Yin and Yang demonstrate that life happens through relationship and interaction. Life is relative; every "thing" relates to every other "thing." It is said that the beating of a butterfly's wing is felt by the farthest star. That certainly seems to be the way it is. Colors are produced when a single beam of white light interacts with a prism. Perception occurs when something in the world stimulates sensory receivers in an observor. One law of Physics says that energy is transformed in a reaction, but neither gained nor lost. That seems like an accurate description of Reality. "Gain/loss" could be considered opposites, but "transformed" suggests relationship and interaction. This may be the essential message of Yin and Yang. Life expresses as this and that, good and evil, black and white and everything in between! Yin and Yang invite us to embrace all of life, to avoid the temptation of polarities and to acknowledge the Unity behind it all. In the Taijitu symbol, Yin and Yang actually define each other.They each also blend themselves into the other and they each contain a portion of the other. They speak to us of harmony, cooperation, support and creativity. Yin and Yang are not exact opposites. Each is a changing facet of Life living in a dynamic relationship with another. It takes no further contemplation to realize that Yin and Yang also symbolize you and me! 2011-02-24 17:58:37