The Hardest Part (TRUST) …

The hardest part

is simply waiting …

wondering what will be

and knowing that to do

anything

alters the landscape of your life

forever.

~

That’s what it is really,

TRUST,

it’s all about waiting:

mind-numbing, scream-at-the-ceiling,

clench-your-fist-’til-your-palm-bleeds

waiting.

~

What is the point?

~

Well, here’s the thing …

only God knows what is best for our lives,

and only God knows when, where, and how

that will all unfold.

So your heart may be breaking for loving too much,

or someone you love is suffering unbearably,

or you’ve lost everything you ever owned …

the trials of Job.

~

But …

if you take things into your own hands;

try to make everything be

what you want it to be?

Then you will never get

to where God wants you to be.

Every proverbial flailing arm

sends you falling

farther than you ever would have fallen

if you had just waited …

and trusted.

~

THAT

is the hardest part.

~~~~~~~

“The Hardest Part” is a song by Coldplay.

~~~~~~~

Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California,Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

re-blogged from The Hardest Part (TRUST) …

Become The Sky – Rumi

duality6

Here are my words to meditate upon today:

“Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape.”

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

“All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun’s light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it’s still one light.”

– Rumi

~~~~~~~

Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

Consequence of Sin

Chris:

A nice poem to revisit …

Originally posted on Religion4All:

meditating Jesus

Consequence of Sin

By: Religion4All

So much to do

to undo

the deeds

already done.

So many words

to unsay

or wish

it could be that way.

I’m a zen-like

trancing monk

who lets you

pierce my shield.

Opening

that fragile bloom

you always wish

you knew.

Here’s my body

please partake

with an ounce of blood

your thirst slake.

Here’s my soul

ephemeral

a mixed elixir

and now your full.

My arms are open wide.

My heart just sits there throbbing.

My crown unfurls anew;

a sacral fountain bubbling …

… and no matter what you take

I’m filled again within.

Resting on this cloud-like stasis

assuming consequence of sin.

My cheeks are flushed and full

I’m turning back and forth for

your blows.

But no matter what you send

I will not let my heart

close.

Peace be with you.

I love you,

and that is all

I…

View original 305 more words

I LOVE YOU

Amanda Sage

Here is a poem I wrote this past month while struggling and grappling with issues that came up from living life. Interestingly, this poem has changed my WHOLE way of meditating each day. Now, after doing my breathing, stretching, grounding, connecting to God and establishing boundaries … I spend time allowing whatever is causing me stress or anxiety in my life to come up. I feel it to its fullest … and then I simply say “I love you.” … just as in this poem. I am very grateful to have received this inspiration as it has improved my well being and life immensely this past month:

I love you.

~

Rising swells

all flecked with fury.

~

I love you.

~

Judgement’s eyes

cast weight on the scales

of my heart.

~

I love you.

~

Friend or foe;

uncertainty’s advance.

~

I love you.

~

Ancient wounds prodded

provoking past mistakes.

~

I love you.

~

Dreamscape carnage

littered with pieces and parts

of who I was

and what I’ve done.

~

I love you.

~

A shuttered heart

defending inner sanctum.

~

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

~

Namaste.

~~~~~~~

  • poem written by the author of Religion4All, art by Amanda Sage.

~~~~~~~

Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

The 11th Commandment

shutterstock_head-in-sand2541043

My words for meditation in the wake of much research and questions whirling around in my brain (said research and questioning was behind my two prior posts, “Questioning Can Bring You Closer To God” and “Questioning Can Bring You Closer To God – continued“). I find though that when I feel myself slipping it is also when I turn to God that much more … this is why, for me, asking questions will always be something that brings me closer to God. The religious institution I grew up in did not encourage asking questions … but I believe our brains were created for a reason.

~~~~~~~

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

***

“You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.”

– Franz Kafka

***

“Religion’s eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt not question.”

– Sigmund Freud

~~~~~~~

Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

Questioning Can Bring You Closer To God – continued

mary-magdalene-in-meditation

I have been doing further research on the theme of my last posting “Questioning Can Bring You Closer To God” where I wrote about researching Emperor Constantine’s role in creating his own version of Christianity.

In general I strive to have this blog be a place where people of all faiths can find inspiration and hopefully connectivity with God. I am focusing on Christianity here not to exclude people of other faiths, but rather to point out how politics and history have influenced the religious institutions we know today.

I was inspired to do this research by a recent trip to Italy … my intention is to ask questions that will hopefully bring people to a closer, deeply personal connection to God.

Along this historical journey I looked into some of the gospels that were not selected to be included in The Bible.

I found inspiration in reading the Gospel of Mary. Mary Magdalene was well known in the early Christian church; someone who actually knew Jesus and worked to share what he had taught her. Unlike modern Christianity, where women are not allowed to preach or lead in most churches, Mary had a respected voice at the time. Her gospel had been translated into multiple languages, meaning that it was fairly widespread.

The Gospel of Mary is a non-canonical gospel, meaning it was not chosen by the Bishops at Constantine’s Council of Nicea to be a part of The Bible. There are all sorts of questions and rabbit holes one could go down around which gospels were chosen as well as many conspiracy theories around Constantine’s role in the process for what was selected.

However, in reading the Gospel of Mary one line stuck out to me like a sore thumb … and made all of these other questions and conspiracy theories simply disappear. The quote is this,

“Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect man and acquire him for ourselves as He commanded us, and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Saviour said.”

The most important bit that stuck out to me there was,

“… not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Saviour said.”

This is confirmed in the gospels that were chosen to be a part of the Bible. In Mathew it is written,

“… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

In Mark it is written,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

The difference to me is the wording, although they are saying the same thing … but in Mary it is specifically indicated that no rule or law OTHER than what Jesus said should be taught or laid down.

So, are there writings in the New Testament that establish new teachings, laws or rules beyond what Jesus said? Yes, and most notably by Paul, whose writings make up the largest bulk of the New Testament of any other author (roughly one third of the New Testament was written by Paul).

If the command of Jesus was clear, which it seems that it was, that there was not supposed to be anything taught other than what Jesus had told them … then Paul’s writings should never have even been included in The New Testament. He never knew Jesus while he was living AND he was teaching things other than what Jesus taught during his life.

Paul for instance introduced the idea that we are saved by faith, not by works … but if you simply look at the parable of the Sheep and the Goats you can see that this is not what Jesus says. Jesus very clearly details the difference between the Sheep and the Goats … and it is ALL about what they did or did not do.

There are other teachings by Paul that differ or add to what Jesus taught as well. Paul was a Pharisee before his conversion and as such was well versed in theology and philosophy. It is not so much that his writings are horrible teachings, but simply that they can cloud the picture and at times even create a different picture that what is JUST the teachings of Jesus.

An example … I have written many spiritual songs and I believe that some of those songs were inspired by God. Even if they were proven to have been inspired by God, it does not mean they should be in The New Testament or any other religious book. If every writing of every person who had been inspired by God was in The New Testament … the clarity of the message that Jesus brought would be diluted. What should have been in The New Testament was only the gospel that Jesus had given.

So how does Paul end up being the primary source for modern Christianity? That is where Constantine and the bishops of that time (more than 300 years after the death of Jesus) come in … in creating a version of Christianity to their liking and then persecuting anyone who believed differently I question whether Christianity was forever changed and remains changed by those events to this day.

So what does all this mean? What is the point of these questions? Doesn’t this just confuse people and create headaches? I would contend that confusing people has been what has been going on for almost two thousand years now, and probably has been the case as long as human brains have had self-awareness.

The most important commandments laid down by Jesus were TO LOVE … plain and simple. I think that those commandments would be fairly compatible with a lot of other religious teachings as well … perhaps bringing people together instead of driving them apart?

Let’s consider what the Church through all of these centuries might look like if ONLY the actions, life and teachings of Jesus were all that was being taught (this is of course hypothetical but seems logical to me based on what I have learned of the life and teachings of Jesus):

  • The Crusades, and every other war where Christianity was used as the reason, would never have happened. If only the teachings of Jesus were taught and followed Christianity would never have been used as a way to dominate others. Jesus was a pacifist and very clearly stated that our actions mean something in terms of our connection to God and salvation. Hundreds of thousands, even millions of lives would not have been taken. Christians would not be bringers of war, but rather peace and healing.
  • The Church would have spent their time feeding the hungry, helping the helpless, clothing the naked and generally spreading LOVE, as Jesus did and taught, instead of amassing wealth and power. Granted, we would not have some lovely cathedrals to admire and worship in … but I think helping the poor and needy would have created a better society.
  • Women would have a significant role in the leadership of the Church … women had a very large role in the early church and in Jesus’s life. This changed with the creation of Constantine’s church that embraced male figures and most likely carried on the traditions of Mithraism (Constantine’s former religion and the religion of the Roman Legion at the time) that only men could lead.

I am not claiming anything to “the truth” … I am simply asking questions. I believe in a God who is powerful enough for questions to be asked and for truth to hopefully be discovered … a God that is deeply and personally connected to us … and that our actions in life will flow from that connection if we seek after and maintain it.

  • as a disclaimer I would like to say that this is not meant to be an attack on Catholics or Christians. I consider myself to be an open-minded Christian and enjoy attending Catholic services. Yes, I believe that the Church misled many people of faith throughout history. This deception has gone on for so long now that I don’t think many of the leaders of churches even realize they are misleading their congregants … this does not mean that there are not beautiful and wonderful people of faith and full of Love within the Church. I am privileged to know many of them and am grateful to see and share Love with them.

Picture credit: Mary Magdalene In Meditation, by Le Nain brothers.

~~~~~~~

Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

Questioning Can Bring You Closer To God

11813347_10153492282709719_8523174700553648787_n

Recently I returned from almost a month in Italy. I performed in an opera there and then had the wonderful opportunity to travel around Tuscany, finally winding up in Rome.

As I visited cathedrals and museums I found myself drawn to asking questions of the things I saw. I was always that kid in Sunday school … the kid that drove the teachers crazy with the,

“But if it was only Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel where did everyone else come from?”  kinds of questions.

I saw some literature where the Catholic church proclaimed the Papal line went all the way back to St. Peter at Christ’s death and I thought,

“What??? I know that’s not true. The official Catholic Church didn’t even exist until Emperor Constantine!” 

In Rome I was walking through the Colosseum, The Forum and Palatine Hill and I noticed a lot of information about Mithraism. I remembered hearing in college that Mithraism was eerily similar to Christianity in different ways … but I never bothered to do any research on it.

This time the inspiration hit me and I began doing a bit of research (I am still in researching mode and so am just putting down some of what I have discovered thus far).

I had always believed that Mithraism was an “Eastern” religion, which is true. However, Mithraism ALSO became the major religion of the Roman Empire before Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of Rome.

The cult of Mithras came to Rome through military conquest … and thus was the primary religion of the military at the time. Mithraism was a religion only for men and the military was comprised of only men so, voila … perfect fit.

I had ALSO heard that Constantine had some major revelation, gotten “saved” and declared Christianity the official religion of Rome. That may be true, but what I did NOT know was that Constantine had been a card carrying member of the cult of Mithras prior to that conversion.

Constantine called for the Council of Nicea, where he hoped to work toward unifying the church under one “Catholic” (all encompassing/universal) church. What I also did not know though was that at this council they decided that “Sun Day” was to be the new official Christian day of worship … not the Sabbath listed in the Bible.

Where did this day of the Sun come about? Well, Mithras was actually a sun god and was the god worshiped by the entire Roman legion (and prior to his conversion, by Constantine). Interesting to note.

Constantine also issued the Edict Against The Heretics where he listed other versions of Christianity at the time and said that anyone not agreeing with his version of Christianity was a heretic and he authorized persecution of them.

See, I thought that Constantine had put an END to Christian persecution … but what he did was decide what version of Christianity HE wanted in order to unite his kingdom, and then authorized persecution of anyone who disagreed with him.

So THAT is the political pot being stirred during the time when the Bible was created … by Bishops (a small minority of the invited Bishops actually showed up to the Council and no wonder since persecution had been authorized of anyone who disagreed with Constantine) who voted on what should comprise the Bible (but were also in lockstep with Constantine, or else).

This answered a lot of questions I had wondered about … like why there weren’t other gospels by people who actually had known Jesus included in the New Testament. Paul never knew Jesus personally, but his writings comprise more of the New Testament than any other author. I will get into this a little bit more in my next post … oh yes, there’s more! ;-)

So why am I writing all of this … am I trying to undermine Christianity? Am I persecuting people who believe in Mithraism? No, I am simply asking questions. I consider myself a Christian … although I have explored other religions as well. I personally have settled into being an open-minded Christian who has blended influences I have come across from other faiths along the way. I don’t have all the answers and try to be loving toward any and all from any religion. My participation these days is mostly daily meditative time with God. My relationship with God is the most important aspect of my life.

So how do all these questions actually bring one closer to God? Couldn’t they cause people to lose faith completely??

Possibly. I personally believe in a God that is powerful enough for the truth to be revealed … lies should not be upheld so that people should not have to question their faith.

The church provides us with structure … it tells us exactly what to do, how to think and how to worship. Without that structure what is there?

A closer, deeply personal relationship with God … that’s what!

Ask questions, pray, seek guidance, spend time in meditation communing with God … all of that is SO much better than socializing at church on Sun Day (not that there is anything horrible about socializing at church). :-)

God IS there, waiting patiently for ALL of us (from any faith or lifestyle) to seek answers to our questions.

~~~~~~~

Religion4All is an idea: that every human being (no matter their race, religion, sexuality, social status, lifestyle, or any other possible factor) is LOVED by God; just … as … they are.

We all are loved by God, and NO religion or person has a monopoly on it. Every single person on this planet is loved equally by God … SO many are cut off from God because they are told they don’t belong. God loves everyone … we ALL are beautiful creations … we don’t need to cringe when we hear the words “God”, or “religion”, or their judgments … God LOVES us all!

There is no requirement to change in order to be LOVED by God, or to LOVE God. God is LOVE, and LOVE is God … period. There is no one who God loves more than anyone else … there are only those who choose to LOVE more … to love God more, and consequently then to love each other more. In doing so, we grow closer to God … and know God.

By opening our hearts, and minds to God (free of boundaries like religion, or social trends); by LOVING God … we are exactly where we are meant to be. If we maintain that openness, never allowing any person or event to make us close our hearts, we will be guided by God to be who we are meant to be.

In that space of openness we can then live a life of LOVE, and be guided to where we are meant to be … forever in LOVE.

Southern California, Northern California, Mission ViejoIrvineLos AngelesSan FranciscoMarinSan JoseSan Juan CapistranoSanta AnaPalm SpringsLong Beach

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 342 other followers