Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Obligate Mutualism

On several occasions, I have been asked about my view regarding technology.  I originally was concerned my views would be categorized as both unconventional as well as bordering on madness.  Interestingly enough, the reception of the approach to the coexistence of humanity with AI has been embraced as possible.  Quite possible, indeed. 

I would like to ensure my readers that I do see the use of certain technologies as advantageous for daily life applications.  For instance, a cellphone used on occasions where there's a flat tire or one is lost.  I get it.  However, the use of cellphones, now smartphones, has led to the obligate mutualism of humanity to technology.  In fact, many individuals would honestly say they can't live without their phones within their immediate reach. 

This is the first of many signs of the inevitable downfall of the human race resulting from the rise and the eventual takeover by technology - namely Artificial Intelligence - of our world, civilizations and freedom.  Medical procedures, government functions, personal data, airports, electrical grids and even metropolitan transit systems, are computerized to such an extent that any failure on the part of the machines will led to total shutdown of daily human life activity.  This is truly a frightening prospect.  I'm sure most of my readers have experienced calling a bank and being told that their access to their money is not possible at the present time because the system is down.  So, this means your money isn't yours to do whatever you want with it whenever you want to as the machines are down.  No access to accounts, no transfer of funds, ATMs down, etc.  The list is an infinite illustration of just how the current situation is jeopardizing our human way of life.  

Machines, robots, all forms of technology were produced to help humanity.  But humanity remained in control.  It is increasingly clear that the current and future generations of computer engineers and those dedicated to Frankenstein-esque work on human artificial intelligence robots, do not consider the moral implications of their work.  Coexistence will lead to a robot-based civil rights movement.  Eventually the word, “robot”, will be consider equitable to the use of the N----r or to calling homosexuals F—s.   Then hate crime legislation will be contemplated because robot lives matter.  

We’ll have the first human and robot wedding redefining marriage across the planet.  Surely we’ll be in the presence of the first robot Senator in the decades to come.  This is of course, if humanity survives the first robotic civil war.

The conscience of the machines will only be as pure as that of its producer.   

This leads to the question about the soul and if the very nature of the robot’s presence and reality as a tool makes it a being with a metaphysical constitution.  Hammers and automobiles do not have souls.  Neither do dogs.  But, what if a machine begins to think for itself and considers its reality subjectively.  No longer as part of an instinctive group or pack, but as an individual with a sense of purpose and transcendence.  Could this be programmed?  And if so, would it suffice to now render the machine eligible for a soul?  Is a soul something one can aim or strive to possess or is it the sole property of the life forms created by God and not produced by humans?  The whole of nature is part of the Over-soul.  This is to say that all of nature is imbued with a special form of natural revelation and holiness.  Despite its destruction by humanity, the whole of the natural order and the universe is holy and therefore transcends the need for a soul.  Therefore a soul has an end.  It is a teleological and existential reality.  It is born of wonder and tempered by suffering.  It is almost a certain statement that AI offspring will be problem solvers to the point of such excellence, that suffering will be virtually eradicated.  In essence, erasing any possibility of being human. 

A programmed consciousness cannot be an organic, metaphysical reality.  It is counterfeit.  Despite its access to knowledge in nanoseconds or eventually in zeptoseconds, will still be the result of programming and not of authentic spiritual introspection.  It will address data provided and not experienced.  Experience is the privilege of the living and not of the ones turned on by a power switch.  No matter how elaborate or how celebrated the science may be, the outcome is one of counterfeit approximations to the greatest exercise in idolatry since the Tower of Babel. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Live Into Peace

My life is thought.  I live into, wrestle with and imagine this life, my life, with joy, sorrow and anticipation of what it should be.  I practice mindfulness although I am often mindful of not being so.  So, there is a desired place I seek to be living into and a reality I find may be at odds with how I think of myself and of others, too. 

When I consider what peace is, I find that how my thoughts happen to align with my actions, my breathing and my place in present time – the here and now, serves as the best indicator.  I cannot be at peace with others, the environment and with divinity, if I am not seeking to find the biopsychosocial & spiritual equilibrium within me.  Leon Festinger spoke of cognitive dissonance as being a key dysfunction in the interior life of human beings.  I believe that spiritual dissonance is just as true.  
How I think is how I live.  I believe this is what causes spiritual dissonance if there isn’t flow between the two.  If I do not experience peace; it is because my thoughts are at odds with my nature. 
Suggesting a place to begin to struggle with this isn’t an easy task.  Personally, I have made clear and vulnerable inventories of my thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Having a spiritual director is a good thing to have while I do this.  A therapist or a guru can also be of great assistance.  As life is a koan in so many different ways, I don’t expect any immediate answers.  I do find that this process is about experiencing peace as I live with the questions.

As I rummage through the good, the bad and the ugly, I intend to find where my actions reflect these thoughts.  I ask myself how my thoughts could be altered not for others, but for my own sense of value and purpose.  This is most essential part of the exercise.  Sometimes this requires inner strength.  I have found in others the affirmation to proceed into this area of vulnerability but not seeking judgment, but the companionship of wounded healers. 

In the world of conflict analysis, it is crucial to find the source, roots or antecedents of hostility.  Why is there tension in me?  What are the triggers that cause me to lose my sense of presence in the now and mindfulness is turned into emotional disorientation?  Do I have tools that affirm my journey and assist me in self direction?  As I work and walk through this life, these are the questions I ask.  I ask them often.  I am repetitive as they are mantras that keep me centered and keep me present.

Peace is static, peace is an ongoing process.  I must work on being the peace I desire to see in this world.  I cannot only think about it or remain trapped by the “Bermuda Triangle”, of regret: should’ve, could’ve or would’ve.  I can do this, I should do this and I will do this, are the antidotes that release me from tension so I can experience peace.  Right now. 

Daniel Medina

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Slowing Down for Enlightenment

I have decided to slow down.  I have decided to take the steps to process everything I experience, feel, and claim to know, eat and live into.  My beliefs are too quickly accepted and my speed for dismissing anything even faster.   I’d like to share with you how my slowing down has helped me to improve my memory, appreciation for nature and for relationships. 
As a minister and schoolteacher, I often entertain conversations with people complaining about too much information and too little time.  Anxiety is the consequence of such a difficult bind.  In my own pursuits to minimize stress, worry and unrealistic expectations about myself and others, I found the slow and authentic engagement with what I am doing here-and-now, to provide fulfilment and satisfaction in my life.
Did I experience a greater amount of anxiety when I intentionally took things slower? It would seem that I would’ve.  Interestingly enough, I didn’t.  I actually found my taking things slowly and being genuinely involved in anything I chose or needed to do, to fill my day and lessen my feelings of inadequacy or poor planning. Another effective strategy was to plan my day and work my plan in such a manner as to emphasize what I can do to resolve or make a difference and to focus on those goals.  When something begins to seem to be more than I can handle, I remind myself that I have been responsible to address what I can do, rather than what others what me to or what my unrealistic expectations challenge me to do. 
One additional matter that is required for slowing down is to make honest assessments about myself.  Too often I rush and make my day cumbersome because I confuse what I need to do with my value as a person.  In other words, I may say to myself, “I can do this because I’m smart,” I am actually making a mistake.  My ability to accomplish a particular task doesn’t have anything to do with my brilliance or value as a person.  Many circumstances can influence my ability to do something or to complete a task on time.  So, if traffic or someone else’s role in completing a task has been instrumental in delaying the achievement of a particular goal, than it doesn’t have anything to do with me. 
I can choose to see things as judgment on my person or simply as things that need to get done.  As long as I don’t procrastinate or refuse to ask for help or resources, then I do all I can and I take time in doing the best I can. Why do I make a point about personal assessment of self?  The path of enlightenment must not only come through practicing the presence of self in all we do, but in valuing the participation of one’s self in the practice.  Otherwise there is dissonance.
I recommend to start “slowing down”, by taking small tasks under this new method of doing life.  Practice being present in the moment, enjoy the task and think of the health that affords you the ability to do it, the mind you have that affords the processing and resolution of it and the life you have that makes it possible to address it in the first place.  From there you can tackle larger and more complex goals.  When the challenges of life such as death or illness have come my way, the slow movement approach has been essential to my mental health, bereavement, health plan of care and self-care, too. 
Taking life slowly doesn’t make it easier.  It makes it meaningful and makes each moment count.  I believe it has done me a great deal of good.  In light of the fast food, instantaneous gratification society we all live in, it is refreshing and powerful to not expect things before their time and to enjoy each moment along the way.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Spiritual Psychology

I am convinced of the spiritual nature of our successes and failures.  In fact, I believe fulfillment is the spiritual response to material success.  I also believe peace is the spiritual response to failure.  When I make repetitive mistakes after having apologized or reviewed lessons learned at my workplace, for instance, I ask myself, what am I evaluating?  Am I making an authentic attempt to improve my skills and knowledge or attitude, or am I drawing conclusions about me – as a person?

As a teacher, I know students sometime take an exam and if they scored an “A”, this proves they’re an “A” of a person, if they score a “B”, they’re only a B person all the way to a mark of “F”; suggesting that “I’m a F, as a person… I’m a failure.”  But I also do this.  If there would be a solution, I am certain most everyone would jump on the opportunity to unlearn those behaviors and embrace new patterns of thought and action.  I believe I have a possible solution.

When Sigmund Freud shared his views concerning the unconscious mind and the unresolved conflicts harbored therein, the nature of the crisis was certainly new for all readers of this pioneering thinker.  We understand psychology today to have many more dimensions and with current neurological and consciousness studies, the wonder and sophisticated nature of how we think, and act is far more complex as well. 

Coupled with psychology are spiritual aspects which after Jung became almost undeniable for many psychologists to ignore.  Spiritual psychology, therefore, take s the psyche and the soul as interacting and overlapping areas of force, influence and motivation, over each of us. 

The self as we understand ourselves is a myriad of thoughts, attitudes and memories.  These influence us and determine much of what we think, interpret and accept about reality and others.  But how do these aspects of “me”, affect my spirituality?  Too often what we believe about ourselves is rooted in how we judge what our value as a person is, what level of competence do we possess, are we lovable or not and are we worth your time or not. 

The answers to these questions informs the deepest nature and sense of personhood.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Epiphany's eponymous season

The difficulty of sustaining focus on the miracle and mystery of Epiphany is manifold.  It isn't one thing or another per se.  It's all sorts of things that provide distraction and divided attention.  The measure of endurance is even slighted when so many homes and businesses, family and neighbors, have evidently decided to head toward the day to day.  So, isn't this supposed to be a season of light and one of wonder?  Perhaps the necessity for us to concern ourselves with place is well worth the time.  Light, wonder and mystery, cannot exist independently from daily life.  Otherwise, the nature of the miracle is skewed or is artificial.  It is in the quotidian that one is to venture into the light, see the wonder of God's promise all around and despite the nature of the times, experience the mystery of the Incarnation every day.

I believe therefore the celebration of the Lord's Supper is so necessary for the people of God to reclaim and to bring back into its rightful place in daily worship and prayer.  I would love to see more Nonconformist churches opening their spaces for daily prayer and inviting all to come and see.  This is the nature of the season of Epiphany.  The light cannot be put underneath a mattress or hidden away before it's time.

How do you seek the light?  Do you remain steadfast in wonder and relish the mystery of God’s greatest gift?  Are we intentionally practicing the presence of God each day?  I invite these to be your devotional questions this week?  I encourage bringing them to bible study, prayer meetings and Sunday schools.  Unless we are authentic and intentional, there is no transformation of mind, body and spirit.  The ordinary is where extraordinary things take place and are forever present. This is the nature of God for His creation is outside of time and the myriad of miracles break through incessantly into history. 

I enjoy the challenge and I find that when others are victims of the daily grind, I intentionally play a Carol and read the Christmas narratives.  I make the sustenance of the message part of my prayer, praise and meditation for today.  I invite you to resist moving ahead and enjoin you to rest at the foot of the manger.  There is room for all us to kneel.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A new year - rethinking past ones

Dear readers,

Happy New Year!

I want to thank so many of you who through Twitter, Facebook, email and calls, left me your thoughts and condolences on the occasion of my dad's untimely passing on October 26, 2017.  I took a two month sabbatical from writing because I needed to concentrate on self care and what everything I do would look like after dad's no longer around to provide his covering. 

With my mom's death, he was still here and served as a bridge to her and his voice, stories and presence, keep her close although distance in time and space.  But now, the bonds, the material and tangible ones at least, have been severed against our collective wills and prayers, if I am deadly sincere.

These two months have afforded me with the opportunity to spend time reflecting on what was and now how it is going to be.  It has been a time of surrender and emotional convalescence.  Healing will be indefinite as most things are in regards to the death of one's parents.  But, I've completed my manuscript for my first book and the cover design is as well. 

Some are reviewing the manuscript and as I'm finding a few to endorse it, I'm already developing the concept for my next book - which will be a series of essays on a myriad of subjects. 

We also resume the year with plans on a video series via YouTube (please subscribe!) and further involvement in local ministries of justice and community advocacy.  Please keep us in your prayers.

We'll also be writing more regularly - at least twice a month - on this platform.  So, stay in touch, send us your prayer requests and submit your thoughts and subscribe. 

Many blessings for this new year and thank you once again for the outpouring of so much love for my dad and for us.

Truly, the kingdom of God is around us and within us.

Pastor Daniel

Monday, October 16, 2017

My Theology

To remove the obstacles of the Self is to allow the Soul within each one of us – that is God – to flow through thereby realizing the truest nature of our Mind, of our Being.  That is my purpose for serving as a minister of the Gospel.  It is my philosophy of ministry to embody the place of a midwife.  As one in such a place of honor, the provision of care and support, the instruction for the breathing in of the spirit and the encouragement to push out into reality one’s new self, transformed by the union of God with the Self and to nurture the new creation into the fullness of Christ, is the nature of the pastor.
My theology serves as an underpinning for my practice of ministry.  Doing theology is the natural intent of every human being for reaching above and over one’s individual heart and mind to reach God.  By using our collective and individual brokenness as a stepping stool, to embrace God and listen. 
Why and how is this possible?  God is our heavenly parent; mother and father.  Because of the intimate, personal and accepting nature of the Godhead, we have a divine brother, Jesus, who embodies the perfect nature of God in flesh so as to live among us and receive us all – regardless of sex, gender, creed, race, age, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, to dine with him and become one with him.

I believe the Bible is an authentic account of God’s love for the world and for all creation – and not just humanity.  However, the authenticity of Scripture is not to be manhandled or deformed into a dogmatic instrument of oppression, marginalization or disenfranchisement, of any one group or of the environment.  The greatest example of God’s truth and the most profound testimony of God’s revelation to the world is its diversity. 

Scripture is to serve as the guide which affords us with the understanding of the inner self, the Soul, which inhabits each one of us.  As a tool of discovery, it assists in our ability to employ the mind within to access the divine imagination which the soul places at our discretion.  As the soul is in tuned with and is part of the Over Soul, to use Emerson’s term for God, the Bible helps us to plumb and calibrate ourselves for the benefit of channeling the soul through us and thereby become like Christ ourselves.

Christ is the Savior of the world inasmuch as we are all to be saved by the unconditional, loving gift of the Cross, despite our willingness or ability to accept its reality.  That is the nature of love.  It is not contingent on patterns of right action or of correct rituals; it is an intrinsic outpouring of the Universal Soul’s nature.  In essence to commune with Christ is to commune with our nature.  To commune with our nature is to live a life of virtue, love and beauty.

Soul Pilgrim: Nature, Ecology and the Spiritual Vision of Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was a pilgrim.  A soul pilgrim whose saunterings were an intentional spiritual exercise crucial to his understanding of God and his prophetic work as a writer.  Thoreau’s walks were on holy ground.  These pilgrimages across nature from Canada to Cape Cod to New Hampshire and back to his home in Concord, were enacted parables for poetic, imaginative soul work.  This was a spiritual discipline he demanded from himself and encouraged his readers to embark upon in earnest.

Thoreau’s comprehension of Nature as the visible emanation of God was the theological framework which informed his worldview, politics and spirituality.  Hence, it was fundamental to his writings and life as a visionary and prophet.  His work called himself and others to demand simplicity not as renunciation of self, but as living into existential freedom.  He advocated the beauty of nature, not in condescending terms to evoke sentimentality, but to invoke spiritual encounter, “… some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible companion and walk with him.” (Bloom, p.54)

Companionship with God in nature evidences the indisputable holiness of nature.  Nature is holy because it is the incarnation of divinity.  Therefore, nature is elevated and no longer ancillary to human experience.  It is not a commodity for humanity’s self-interest or leisure.  All the contrary, through nature, we discover the nature of our true selves, we are holy.  Thoreau’s green theology was an apologia for communion with God, discovery of true personal identity and the source of his prophetic witness calling humanity to inner reformation.  Although his religion was personal, it was his surrender to the solitude in the woods that brought meaning to his trek on earth.  These walks inspired his imagination to access God in himself as much as he communed with God in cathedrals of flora and fauna.

Thoreau’s writings were, and continue to be, misread by many, including preeminent writers in America.  As nature is crucial to comprehending Eastern philosophical thought, Thoreau’s mind was influenced by the works of the Bhagavad Gita as well as the Bible.  The deserts of the prophets, the rivers of the rishis and huckleberrying of Thoreau, were pivotal expressions of this unique vision of green spirituality.  The invisible truths of divinity were available to all by transcending the maya of reality by sauntering.  Trekking lead to thinking which caused meditation and to the transcendence of body to the true self in the life of the mind.  In short, to sojourn the mind of God.

Daniel Medina 2015 ©

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What is an apology?

How is forgiveness substantially different to an apology?

How is “sorry” a middle ground, but not quite as disarming as forgiveness? 

What is forgiveness?

How is a healthy understanding of these methods of reconciliation life altering and deeply spiritual?

Any offense is an act of abused power.  In some cases, the offense comes from an individual whose life, thoughts or actions, do not hold any influence over me.  In other situations, it isn’t the individual whose actions have offended me as much as how a system has allowed the individual to offend.  Therefore, the power of the institution was somehow ineffective in controlling what I would see as an otherwise insignificant action as offensive.  We see it as a breach of power allowed by some other body entrusted to keep these types of individuals under control.  An example would be a protest.  We’re not necessarily offended by the individuals involved in the action, we’re offended by the notion that the ideas presented are allowed or not discredited.  But when an individual who holds some measure of emotional power over me says or does something that hurts me, that is how I know they have power over me. 

Here is where we need to understand how power is directly related to the nature of apologies, saying one is sorry and ultimately, the humbling act of forgiveness. 
An apology is only legitimate when we possess the power to change the attitude we hold or to modify the behaviors which cause a trespass in the first place.  Otherwise, it is patronizing.  We condescend others when we apologize for something: 

(A) We didn’t do.  In other words, we’re not the cause of the offense; or 

(B) we apologize on behalf of some entity we belong to, but again, we were not the originators of the offense.  

Apologies are legitimate when we possess the ways and means to ensure the cause for the hurt is kept in check and we’re accountable.  Therefore, if I apologize, I should be able to possess the power to ensure the offense doesn’t happen again.  I recognize the upsetting circumstances as something I had control over, but out of oversight or some other shortcoming, I hurt the other party.  I apologize and quickly seek to reconcile with the other. 

Saying I am sorry is a subtle way of recognizing wrongdoing.  In saying I’m sorry, I am willing to accept my error, but I am not willing to give over my power to the other, so that he or she can decide if the relationship is worthy reconciliation or termination.  You see, true healing only comes when power is handed over.  The power I had to offend, I must now surrender to the offended and afford the offended the full freedom of exercising power over me.  This is the reason why so often, I chose to say, “I apologize” or “I’m sorry”, but not “forgive me”.  In the first two cases, I am still in control, I still have power.  But in the last scenario, I am authentically willing to exchange places with the offended to be humbled by what I did and by what I became to the individual I claim to care about – a transgressor.   

But what if an individual who offends me doesn’t ever chose to ask for forgiveness?  Is the situation set in stone and unchangeable?  To answer this question requires acknowledging the hidden power I have, but I wasn’t aware of due to its being cloaked by the pain of an offense by someone I value and consequently, holds power over me. 

Forgiveness doesn’t require forgetting.  It requires remembering.  Too often I hear, “I forgive and I forget.”  Why?  Why would anyone forget an offense unless: (A) It still causes some measure of discomfort or hurt to entertain the thought; or (B) the issues are better left alone somewhere in the past so that one can “forgive”.  But what “forgive” means here is to leave the matter alone and to move on.  Here is the where we tend to place the cliché, “Time heals all things”, or invoke some variation of time serving as the great physician to heal all pain and suffering.

I suggest that we have misunderstood the nature of forgiveness.  For forgiveness to occur, I don’t have to wait for the offender to ask for forgiveness.  If that was the case, then he or she would continue to have power over me.  First, they had enough power over me to hurt me.  Now, they have sufficient power to keep me waiting for the day they decided it’s time to recognize any wrongdoing from their end.  My power to forgive an offender is the power I possess to be set free from the strong coil his or her transgression caused and continues to exert its painful presence over me. 
Forgiveness isn’t rooted in time; it’s rooted in power.  So, if we comprehend the relationship between forgiveness and power, we’ll unlock a cure to pain and suffering unlike anything else recommended or taught. 

When someone offends us, the person has applied his or her influence/control over us to exert pain.  If the same words, actions or some combination of the two came from someone else, we wouldn’t pay it any mine.  Two things must be said presently.  First, the cause of pain doesn’t need to be intentional for the offense to take place.  We’ve all been on the receiving end of that situation.  Second, if the pain was intentional, then the issues requires two further question.  Did I do anything – wittingly or unwittingly – to cause this?  Is there anything I know about the person I know charge as offender that I used to hurt or incite the response toward me?

These introspective questions need to be pursued to ensure the exchange was one requiring my own need to reconcile with the other.  Too often we demand justice when offended, but we are great defense attorneys when the same or similar charge is held against us.  We used the following argument: It’s different in my case…

Now, suppose we’ve gone through this whole process of introspection and we find ourselves in need to face up to the pain caused by the other.  We were without cause to be hurt and we have made sincere efforts to amend and discover the source of the other’s reaction.  We honestly have.  Considering these circumstances, we much proceed to determine whether we want to live with the pain or whether we want to be free from the power the offense will have over us each time we think, talk or see something even remotely like the original situation.  The power certain people have over us will transcend time, place and relationships.  Therefore, it is imperative that we are honest about our pain, it’s source and to determine the root of the hurt to pull the pain from the root.  Otherwise, it will fester within us and contaminate all our others thoughts, actions, opinions and worldview. 

Forgiveness works in when one is authentically open to healing.  Forgiveness only works if an individual humbly accepts their own capacity for wrongdoing and error.  Forgiveness is possible only when the person can recognize the hurt is real and to name it coupled with claiming it’s cause and transgressor.  Once this is done, we can proceed to the next step toward healing. 

Identifying the source of pain brings the person full circle to the question we posed from the beginning.  Am I willing to release the pain from within by acknowledging the power someone else has over me?  And if so, what is the personal cost accompanying such emancipation?  Recognizing I am hurt and accepting my vulnerability before someone else’s power over me requires humility.  Pride will sabotage this process toward freedom from anger.  As soon as I recognize who hurt me and how it is possible to be hurt by said individual puts me in a place of strength, ironically. 

Forgiveness truly happens when I recognize the offender, accept the pain of the offense as real and release the person from continuing to offend me.  How?  To say to the transgressor either face to face, by letter, phone or email, “What you did to me hurt me.  I accept that.  I also recognize that I cannot allow your actions to continue to hurt me for days, weeks, perhaps months and years to come.  I forgive you for having hurt me.  I forgive myself for having allowed you to have the power you did have over me.  I release you from any power over me and I take the responsibility of not allowing you or your actions to dictate how I feel and how I will feel tomorrow anymore.” 

Forgiveness isn’t provided for the other’s sake.  Forgiveness is for you.  It isn’t for others to handle or appreciate.  It is for you to acquire a new sense of being, meaning, strength and freedom from pain.  To no longer have your present and future influenced by the power of past offenses will enable you to enjoy new relationships and life.

But what about memories?  What should you do when you remember the event that caused the offense in the first place?  What happens when the thought of the person invades your present?  Therefore, it is so important to forgive.  When you genuinely forgive; when you authentically release the individual from the power over you and the no longer accept their influence over you, the thought of the offense will no longer hurt you!  You will not fear the thoughts because they will no longer have any power over you.  This is the secret of true forgiveness.  No power, no pain.  The experience will only hold essential life lessons which will empower you over your life, thoughts and destiny. 

And finally, let’s consider the spiritual aspects of forgiveness.  Indeed, many global faith traditions do indeed promote forgiveness as the way to inner peace, enlightenment, communion with God and becoming ever more like God.  Let us suppose we accept these principles in theory.  The real question for spiritually minded folks is how is it translated from theory to practice.  How do I live into the peaceful life I desire?  How do I act with greater wisdom and gain an intimate sense of community with God, the cosmos and/or Nature?  How can I be more like the divine spark I possess within among those I am called to love and live alongside with?  It is ultimately a question of power. 

Power is a spiritual force within all of us.  A power to produce great art or to break apart a marriage.  A spiritual force which calls from within us a source of love greater than anything we know when we finally learn to love ourselves.  This is how we acquire the ability to forgive someone else.  

When I learn to forgive myself for having taken so long to say I’m no longer under so-and-so’s power.  It brings shame and guilt to know what took me so long?  Why didn’t I get it before?  I have always found in my life that the circumstances that took the longest to heal or resolve have become the greatest sources of inspiration for me.  I have become a teacher and a spiritual leader because of the question of power which took me a very long time to comprehend.  Those thoughts do not have power over me.  I have power over them.  And I now entrust you to do the same – be free, become a teacher and lead others into the path of healing.  

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