God Once Again (And not likely not the last)

There is one God the good, all power—omnipotence, everywhere present—omnipresence, and all knowing—omniscience. This is the first of the five basic principles of Unity, from which the others flow. And this declaration is also the basic apparent contradiction that makes most people, believers and not, doubt. For if all is God, and God is Good, we have to stretch our reasoning into variations of a pretzel to explain all the pain, suffering and evil in the world.

I cannot enumerate let alone explain all the rationalizations that folks come up with to work around this issue. The main one usually comes down to there being a force for Bad that somehow exists in opposition to the Good, even though the Good still is all powerful. Frankly, while I am glad that some find comfort in such reasoning, I do not.

Unity Metaphysics, as I understand it, primarily views bible passages as metaphors for states of mind and spirit. Whether or not people believe in the Bible (the Christian Bible inclusive of the Hebrew Bible) in a more literal sense, the Fillmores (Unity’s founders) used the passages to better understand how we develop our awareness of God and Being and Self, a more practical approach to spirituality. Their teaching and healing practices incorporated much from there.

So how do I believe in God if I see the reasoning for God as mostly rationalization? I do so because I have sensed God all my life, at various times, in various ways that have little to do with either mental reasoning or physical perceptions. In practicing Buddhist meditation, I was able to sidestep the question of God while learning to experience life more directly. In exploring Unity and it’s teachings, I finally was able to accept God as I experienced It, rather than through others definitions.

Religious writings and teachings describe God and It’s teachings based on other people’s understanding carried forward over centuries. The writers built upon what was written before. To see and call such works the literal word of God is idolatry at core. Good teachers and teachings can help you find God, but you yourself have to experience the Divine or at best, all you have is an idea of God.

As for the conflict between God being all Good, and the suffering and evil in the world, that is the core ongoing struggle. We all need to own both the goodness and badness or confusion within us if we are to have a chance in understanding the bigger picture. Societies also need to do so if we are ever to have real peace.

I get glimpses of a deeper answer at times. It reassures me. The more I choose to find ways to turn myself and others away from acting on fear and doing harm—regardless of reasoning—the more God becomes real in my life. Choosing to be compassionate and loving, respecting others’ struggles while not doing harm, nor abetting harm done by others is the best I have come up with so far.

Posted in Buddhism, Compassion, God, Love, Religion, Spirituality, suffering, Uncategorized, Unity | 3 Comments

LIVING MY VALUES

Hate and fear cannot be stopped by more hate and fear. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and Jesus (that Jew from Nazareth) preached this message. We lose before we start when we forget it. Yet following this teaching is not so easy.

The current US Presidential election has brought out so much dark energy, anger, fear and hate. I don’t know if it is mirror neurons in the brain, but we seem to instinctively react in similar ways to such attacks unless or until we pause and think “Is this who and how I want to be? Are these the values I want to be living?”

To simplify it—while for the moment putting aside corporate and foreign exploitation of both sides—Liberals (including me) and the Left are appalled at the hate, violence and blame against those who are different and vulnerable. The Trump campaign, rather than “Making America Great Again,” was actually “Making America Hate Again.” Truth and Love seemed to be ignored. And half the country’s voters supported it, whether actually endorsing these values or so angry at the status quo they didn’t care.

Again keeping this simple, many on the Right were tired of having their feelings, view points and interests marginalized. They saw Clinton as untrustworthy, representing Government over-reach, and putting ‘special interest groups’ (read women and minorities) ahead of their needs. “Liberals” were taking away their jobs and country and giving it to the Others. The phrase “bucket of deplorables” codified their sense of rejection whether they were economically deprived or secure.

Years ago I heard the following, useful saying: “The trouble with wrestling with a pig is that, while you both get dirty, the pig enjoys it.” The Obamas’ have been quoted saying, “When they go low, we go high.” The only way we cannot “get dirty” is to follow this advice. We are all humans and, in in the USA, all Americans. If any of us is harmed or prevented from living their potential, we are all less for it.

The election is over. It is my intention to continue to work toward the type of country and world I know we can co-create. It is one where no one is left behind even though each of us is on a separate journey. I will continue to reject and call out degrading and abusive language and behaviors regardless of their source. The Left has as much group think as the Right. We must not let the exploiters, whether corporate, ‘religious’ or other ideological, continue to turn us against one another for their own, short-term gain. We can and must rise to this or we all lose.

Posted in Consciousness, Love, Politics, Religion, Respect, Truth, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marinating in Metaphysics

Marinating in metaphysics describes how I have felt after a summer and fall with overlapping classes in Unity Metaphysics. Don’t misunderstand; I enjoyed the classes. Yet reading, writing and attempting to integrate some of these concepts into my life are the main reasons why I have not published a blog for many months.
I actually started several posts, but none felt right or complete. My focus in blogging is to express what I am learning in life in ordinary language. Being immersed in Unity teachings, I found my writing felt too much like Unity talk.
My studies are a natural extension of my desire to be more conscious, positive, and active in my life. Unity teachings complement what I have learned through Buddhism about being fully present and appreciative of life.
One thing that was missing for me with Buddhism was a way to understand the Presence I have felt over my life. Some call it God. Buddha Nature felt too diffuse. Unity largely focuses on the Divine as an internal presence, our Higher Self or Christ Consciousness. There is a deconstruction of God as this external, bigger than life Being. While closer to what I experience, I still wonder if there is a part missing when we only focus on within. Within and without are at heart one; no separation.
Meanwhile, we continue to live in a culture—or is it cultures—where criticism seems much more easily expressed than praise, and where truth, compassion and community are often neglected. Unity provides some fresh air, helping me to see and acknowledge what goes right. I am learning better how to seek and recognize the good in people and situations without being blind to the suffering and apparent limitations that exists.
Unity’s first principle is that God exists and is good. The second is that we are made in the image of God—from the Bible of course. It naturally flows from this that each of us are also good at core—not originally flawed nor even neutral. This does not mean that whatever we do or however we act is good. But it provides a hopeful perspective to deal with those not-so-nice stuff and behaviors. Recognizing that the ‘enemy’ or opposition is also human, encourages working to find common ground rather than simply trying to win. Racist and misogynist generalizations as well as “baskets of deplorables” may seem at first the easy and even truthful responses. Yet they damage the ability to have a civil society, instead fueling a world based more on fear and hate rather than love and compassion.

New learning takes time and effort to incorporate in life. Cut me off in traffic, do some nasty blame game on me or loved ones, and my learned defenses rise quickly. Growing up in New York, I learned to ‘sharpen my tongue.’ Yet the more I choose not to act or react defensively, not to be run by my fight or flight instincts, the more I can live my principles. I feel empowered and begin to see the truth that, “You Can’t Ruin My Day.”* For you see feeling and expressing compassion for the Other when they are behaving badly, whether or not it encourages them to act more humanely, frees me to be who I want to be.

* You Can’t Ruin My Day is a plug for my husband Allen Klein’s new book, which explores ways to not let external events and people ruin your day. You can buy it on Amazon and elsewhere or order it at his web site http://www.allenklein.com/ruin_day.htm.

Posted in Being Present, Buddhism, Compassion, Consciousness, God, Learning, Spirituality, suffering, Truth, Uncategorized, Unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Praying for the Rogues

For those who pray, it is common to pray for our own needs and desires, as well as in gratitude for all we have in our lives. It is also common to pray for those we know, family, friends, and other community members in need. And finally, people often pray for strangers whom they see suffering, the victims of abuse, natural disasters, accidents, wars, torture and hate. This is good and as it should be. However there is one group who need prayer as the much as the rest of us and, in some ways, perhaps more. These are those I am calling the Rogues.

Who are the Rogues? These include all those who are doing harm, Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, the demagogues, those who pollute our planet, terrorist leaders and actors, as well as the man who beats his wife, the neighbor who stole your roses and the kid playing atrocious music late into the night. These are not only the thoughtless ones who may be so self-focused they either ignore or do not see the harm they do others. I also include those who intentionally do harm, whatever the reason or excuse. ‘It was done to me, so I have the right to do it to you.’ ‘I enjoy watching you squirm in fear.’ ‘I wanted it.’ ‘They are infidels who have brought it upon themselves.’

The first two principles in Unity are 1) God is good; and 2) We are made in the image of God so are also good at core. As expressions of God, all people are good at core. Unity practices affirmative prayer, where we affirm the highest good in everyone in every situation.

This is important regarding the Rogues for several reasons. Praying for the Rogues has the potential to reawaken them to awareness of their buried, innate goodness. With light, the darkness is broken. Seeing and knowing creates the possibility for anyone to change their ways. This would be a far preferable way to stop the violence and harm done than wars.

Yet praying for them is also important for us personally. Rather than the usual way of viewing the Rogues as horrible, non-human monsters, it is important to recognize them as humans who have gone down a really nasty path. They most definitely need to be stopped. Yet we lose something essential if we do not recognize in them our own potential for evil. One of the things I most dislike about the Rogues is they remind me that there, but for the choices I make and the grace of God, go I. Who has never reacted with greed, fear, rage or hate, even if on a much smaller scale?

If we pretend that we don’t have fearful and destructive thoughts and feelings, we leave ourselves open to acting on them in less than conscious ways. Ultimately by being aware of such feelings, we can choose not to act on them. We can discourage them from even arising. And when they do arise, we can choose not to feed them, no matter how self-righteous we may feel at the time.

When a copy of the Koran was torn and flushed by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison years ago, rioters across the world in Indonesia killed 5 Catholic nuns. The soldiers showed disrespect to a copy of others’ holy book. In self-righteous rage the rioters did far more harm to their religion and their own souls than destroying any number of copies of a book could.

So I am working to include the Rogues in my prayers, especially those who arise anger and loathing in me. This in no way limits my condemnation of their behaviors. Instead it helps me to be more compassionate to my own and others’ transgressions, and less likely to respond in similarly destructive ways.

Posted in Affirmation, Compassion, Consciousness, Emotions, God, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality, suffering, Uncategorized, Unity | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Fullness of Time

“I always have enough time.” Right? Or maybe not so much? I find this awkward enough to say let alone believe. Yet lately, when I catch myself saying just the opposite, I remind myself to affirm that I have enough time. It shifts my perspective and state of mind.

I think of time in terms of objective—measurable, quantifiable, and subjective—how it feels to me. Abstract questions of whether or not time is real, a mental construct or a fundamental aspect of nature (the fourth dimension), aren’t as interesting to me as how my thinking about it affects me.

When I realize I am running late to get together with a friend, my first thought is usually “Oh s**t!” I feel bad about breaking a commitment. I feel shame.

In this instance clock (objective) time shows me when I am, and provides the opportunity to choose how to deal with it. I could run or drive trying get there faster. I could call ahead to let the person know I am running late, with or without excuses. Yet when I have been late, it is rarely a crisis. Sometimes I even arrive before the other.

What about subjective time? That same objective ten minutes driving to my date can seem to drag out forever when I am anxiously stuck behind a slow moving car. Interestingly when I am excitedly anticipating something positive—getting together with a friend—time waiting can also feel extra long.

Then when we are together and are enjoying sharing, time seems to fly by. On the other hand, if it were to become boring, time would drag once again.

With subjective time it is easy to recognize that we perceive time according to how we are thinking and feeling. With objective time, we get to see the “facts.” I may not like paying bills on time, but knowing when they are due, gives me the freedom to pay or accept the consequences.

There is also a way of relating to time that has elements of both objectivity and subjectivity, and can be helpful especially when things are looking bleak. The assignment from a class with Rev. Kelly Isola at Unity Village last fall, was to read a passage from Charles Fillmore, Unity’s co-founder, and to watch a YouTube video of a Joanna Macy* (https://tinyurl.com/zty8m7w) talk, regarding the phrase “The Fullness of Time.” We were to write an essay about what we understood from it.

“The fullness of time,” is a biblical phrase. Fillmore writes briefly how it applies to mental healing. Macy’s talk, applies it to the sometimes-overwhelming human and environmental issues we face today. While we only actually live in the present moment, developing a longer, historical view of events adds insights, perspective and hope that can be hard to come by in that moment.

The more I look at history, the more I remember different periods in my own lifetime, the more I realize that the crises of today usually seem far greater in the moment than over time. I have lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as President Kennedy’s assassination to mention two, this-could-be-the-end-of-the-world events.

Macy related a dream which for me brought together both the fears of humanity’s self destruction, as well as the hope for a better outcome despite it all. In her dream she was struggling to communicate lessons from humanity’s self-destructive experiences on Earth, with groups of beings living on different planets. The first, who lived on Mercury, were hard to reach because they lived frenetically fast lives. The second group, who lived on Saturn, lived and communicated at a slow, glacial pace. She despaired that she would not have the time to reach such slow beings on Saturn, but determined to make the effort even if it took the rest of her life.

To visit Saturn she had to go into this massive, very deep subway system. Feeling fright and despair as she descended, she overheard a father talking to his son very calmly about how slow and long lived the Saturn people were. Somehow his calmness also reassured her. She then looked around and realized she was not alone. There were thousands of others coming into this subway, all of them striving like her, despite seemingly insurmountable odds to do what was right.

Her dream showed hope and support, without denying what has gone wrong. It reminded me that I am but one expression of a larger whole. Seeing so, I feel less discouraged. A Zen teacher, Suzuki Roshi once put it as “Hurry slowly.” I act when I know it is time for me to do so, regardless of what might come. Despite fear or seemingly insurmountable odds, I can act even if I may never know the outcome.

People have done so through out the ages. The builders of European cathedrals that would take over a hundred years to complete provide a powerful example. They proceeded knowing they would not live to seem them finished.

By ignoring history and forgetting the wisdom of the past, we have limited our perspectives. Objective time marches on regardless of what we think we want. With history time can feel less oppressive. It provides us a broader perspective through which we can find hope and courage despite any current fears and set backs.

Posted in Affirmation, Being Present, Buddhism, Consciousness, Emotions, Spirituality, TIme, Uncategorized, Unity | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Gifts in Everyday Adversity

With the start of the year, I am focusing once again, on a practice I find difficult to maintain. The practice is reminding myself that things (and people) which anger, distract, upset, or confuse me can also be used as gifts that challenge me to be more conscious, compassionate and centered in God as Love. By God I mean the positive living Presence within and without each being. By Love I mean that caring, joining, joyous aliveness we fundamentally crave, and I believe are here to express.


Life provides me many more opportunities to receive such gifts than I would consciously choose. Someone cuts me off in traffic, oh joy, another opportunity! I drop the food I was trying to put in my mouth, on my new clean clothes, another celebration? Someone screaming obscenities on the street sees me notice him and yells “Faggot,” more practice. Reading the fear and hate filled messages from most of the Republican presidential candidates is another level of challenge.


I find it helpful to recall the following saying: “The problem in wrestling with a pig is that while you both get muddy, only the pig enjoys it.” When another is angry, disrespectful or even intentionally baiting me, how can I respond without “wrestling with the pig?”


This is where the struggle to live spiritual values becomes immediate. I can choose not to be drawn into the mud, no matter how tempting it may feel. A righteous rage is so tempting. I get to feel powerfully angry while feeling in the right. Yet when I go with it, I become other than I want to be. It is like a sugar high; charged up at first, drained and regretful later. This is not to suggest that one deny feelings of hurt, fear, anger or even rage. It is making the choice not to be controlled or run by them.


Sometimes people get confused thinking that if I am an optimist or believes that God is good, then feeling angry or having vengeful thoughts means I am a failure or a hypocrite. Being human each of us is open to the full range of possible feelings, thoughts and reactions. Pretending they don’t existence doesn’t help; actually it can make things worse. Feelings denied to conscious awareness have a tendency to emerge less consciously when an opening arises, too often at the worst possible moments.


Living a spiritual life for me means choosing over and over again to take the high road, to react with honesty and compassion. It does not mean I will always succeed, but it does mean I can and do renew my intention to be the best expression of divine love that it is in me to be. Remembering to seek the good in not-so-good experiences, the gifts from set backs and tragedies, is an important way to reinforce living a more compassionate, spiritual, joyous and grateful life.

Posted in Attitude, Compassion, Consciousness, Emotions, God, Gratitude, joy, Love, Relating, Spirituality, Truth, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let Your Light Shine.

I learned as a young child to muffle the light that would shine from me. I was never actually told, ‘don’t go there.’ It was more the opposite. Yet the very praise at how open, caring and expressive I was, since it was unlike the people praising me, suggested something wrong. Around the same time, I also remember not feeling or expressing myself with the drama that others did. If I did not like tomatoes—I didn’t—it would not occur to me to say I hated them. Others would. Wanting connection, discomforted sensing my differences, I began modifying what I expressed. In doing so, I also modified what I felt and experienced.

Letting one’s light shine is not the same thing as, to put it crudely, ‘blowing it out the other end.’ The inner light is an expression for the Divine (or if you prefer the good will) within you, the knowledge within of love and joy and wholeness. Fears, limitations, judgments of separation and otherness are also part of our experiences but are not expressions of light. For so many of us, expressing the details of our disappointments, suffering and tragedies comes easier than the joys, particularly those of every day life. What we express becomes how we experience our lives.

The phrase, “let your light shine,” comes from Matthew 5:16. ”In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

While I question the “in Heaven” aspect, I see the value of allowing others to see the divine within me despite the discomfort I sometimes still feel doing so. When another acknowledges and expresses their gratitude for the goodness in their lives, I get a glimpse of the Divine. It reminds me that the same Good is also central in me, and my life.

The phrase ‘letting your light’ shine apparently comes from biblical times when several families would share the same dwelling. Those with enough money would have lamps and the oil to light them at night, while the poorer families did not. Most would uncover their lanterns so their neighbors could also see by it, but some would cover it up, so only they could benefit from its light. Letting one’s light shine cost no more yet provided the warmth of community to all.

Aggressive missionaries have abused this concept to push their belief system on others. Remembering this serves as a reminder to me to balance my desire to share the inner knowledge and awareness that brings me such comfort and joy, with being respectful for others own spiritual journeys.

Posted in joy, Respect, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment