Posts Tagged ‘God’

Philip Goldberg Explains “Spiritual But Not Religious”

May 25, 2015

Phil Goldberg

Phil Goldberg




This brilliant commentary on the growing numbers of people who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” was written for Huffington Post by Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda, which explores how India’s spiritual wisdom seeped into America’s cultural bloodstream.




SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS:
MISUNDERSTOOD AND HERE TO STAY

A great deal has been written about that ever-expanding group of Americans who check “none” when asked about their religious affiliations. The segment of nones who call themselves “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) now constitute at least 20 percent of the population, and 30 percent of those under 30 years of age. I have interviewed hundreds of this important cohort for my books, and I find that the media commentary about them is riddled by misconceptions.

One problem concerns why people disconnect from the religious tradition of their birth. The most prevalent explanation is the one favored by scholars Robert Putnam and David Campbell, authors of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. They attribute disaffiliation mainly to the perceived link between religion and conservative politics—a turnoff to liberal-minded youth in particular.

I don’t buy it. There is no doubt that the judgmental moralizing of right-wing preachers has alienated a great many Christians, but that doesn’t explain SBNR. Believers who disdain fundamentalism have plenty of left-leaning denominations and apolitical congregations to turn to. I see it as more of a spiritual issue than a political one. The “S” in SBNR means something. In varying degrees, SBNRs are serious about their spiritual development, and they wish to pursue it wherever it leads them. The search itself is (more…)

Seriously, Why Wait One More Minute?

March 16, 2015

return-from-tomorrow-george-ritchie-book-cover





In Return from Tomorrow, George Ritchie’s detailed and inspiring account of his near-death experience as a nineteen-year-old soldier, he writes:









I was not sure when the light in the room began to change; suddenly I was aware that it was brighter, a lot brighter, than it had been. I whirled to look at the night-light on the bedside table. Surely a single 15-watt bulb could not turn out that much light?

I stared in astonishment as the brightness increased, coming from nowhere, seeming to shine everywhere at once. All the light bulbs in the ward could not give off that much light. All the bulbs in the world could not! It was impossibly bright: it was like a million welders’ lamps all blazing at once. And right in the middle of my amazement came a prosaic thought, probably born of (more…)

Is There Life After Delivery?

February 26, 2015

pregnant-woman


Those who do not believe in God because they do not see evidence of God’s existence in the surface events of life would do well to consider these wise words from Charles Webster Leadbeater:

It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.





I do not know who wrote the following allegory, but it is certainly delivers Leadbetter’s message loud and clear.



IS THERE LIFE AFTER DELIVERY?

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other, “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than (more…)

Turn Off Your Phones!

February 15, 2015

woman-holding-phones-cords-wrappedin church today, the minister offered a nice analogy. He said that if you ask a friend to call you but you’re always on the phone with others, your friend won’t be able to reach you.

So it is with God. If your five “sense telephones” are ceaselessly relaying information and perceptions about (more…)

Larry Reavis: From Fundamentalism Through Atheism Toward Self-Realization

September 9, 2014

Larry Reavis

Larry Reavis


I moved to Encinitas on November 29, 2010, but it is my great misfortune that I was not able to meet fellow Encinitas resident and Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) devotee Larry Reavis before he passed away on December 31, 2011 at the age of seventy-five. (SRF was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.)

However, I was still able to get to know Larry through this impressive video biography he left behind. With amazing visual effects and frequent scriptural, literary and religious references, it details his lifelong spiritual journey, from encountering Paramahansa Yogananda in 1947 through his fundamentalism and atheism phases to his ultimate quest for self-realization.

Click here to read Larry’s extensive writings about his life and spiritual journey.

Like Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Larry’s magnum opus will entertain and edify, yet remain incomplete. He was planning to write and record more episodes when death came calling.

With the permission of Larry’s wife, Joie, who I was privileged to meet and interact with in Encinitas, I am happy to present Larry’s twenty-one-part video series here. It is sure to engage, entertain and enlighten you!

Per the wishes of Self-Realization Fellowship, Larry does not reveal any specifics of the meditation techniques he discusses. For more information on those techniques, visit the SRF website.

LARRY’S BIO: Larry Reavis, Ph.D., studied engineering before getting a doctorate (Ohio State, 1967) in Social Psychology. As a professor, he began doing home inspections when he and the Director of Southern Methodist University’s Institute of Urban Studies signed a contract with the Dallas Department of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation to survey 10,000 homes. As a master electrician, plumber, class-A building contractor, renovator, home inspector, public speaker, author and video producer, he founded his own company, Homexam, Inc. in 1986.


LARRY’S 1947 ENCOUNTER WITH PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA
(2 VIDEOS IN THIS SECTION)

LARRY REAVIS (1 OF 21)


LARRY REAVIS (2 OF (more…)

A Voice in the NIght

September 6, 2014

This story by Patricia Joseph-Lyle of Detroit, Michigan, from the August 2014 issue of Guideposts called to mind this earlier Guideposts story about the urgent need to listen to your inner voice at all costs. That’s not an exaggeration. Fail to heed that voice and it could cost you everything you hold dear.

A VOICE IN THE NIGHT
Something was telling her to call her younger sister at 3 a.m., but she had no idea why. What would she tell her sibling?

woman-with-cell-phone-in-bed

Call Karyn. Those words startled me from a sound sleep. I sat straight up, rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock: just after three in the morning.



My younger sister Karyn was a senior at Eastern Michigan University and was used to pulling long hours studying in her tiny on-campus apartment… but she had to be asleep by now.

My alarm wasn’t set to go off for another two and a half hours. There was so much to do tomorrow.

Get my two little girls to school, work a 10-hour day at the office, take the girls to violin and piano practice, cook dinner, check homework and iron school uniforms.

I needed every hour of rest I could get.

I’ll call her in the morning, I thought. I lay back down and closed my eyes.

Call her, Pattie. A voice (more…)

World Premiere of the “Through God’s Eyes” Video Trailer!

May 20, 2014



I am pleased to present the brand-new video trailer for Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.

As I mention in the video, I’d be happy to send you a free c (more…)

The Secret to a Balanced Life

May 14, 2014

balanced-life-rocks
In a talk at the Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation entitled Bringing Our Lives Into Balance, Brother Achalananda blended faith and logic to articulate a compelling prescription for finding balance in our daily lives:


The more complex our lives become, the more we need to realize that there is only one reliable point of balance—and that is (more…)

A Day in the Spiritual Life

April 23, 2014

praying-man-silouhetter
Staying centered, balanced and attuned to divine will is an ongoing quest that demands daily discipline. Enlightenment is not a cumulative goal; it is as fragile as a snowflake because one careless act can melt it away.


As far as the Buddha Nature is concerned, there is no difference between sinner and sage . . . One enlightened thought and one is a Buddha, one foolish thought and one is again an ordinary person.
Hui Neng

With the hope that it may inspire you and give you some ideas on how you can better practice the presence of God, here is what my daily spiritual practice looks like:


FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

HERE’S WHAT I DO: I start each morning by practicing the presence as soon as I wake up. Lying in bed, I recite:

I encase Divine Mother in my bosom.
I am radiant health, I em eternal youth, I am inexhaustible energy.

autobiography-of-a-yogi-book-cover

HERE’S WHY I DO IT: The first affirmation, which helps me instantly connect to Divine Source, is from the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.

Please note that I use the word “God” throughout for the sake of consistency and convenience, fully recognizing that there are probably as many interpretations of God as there are people reading this post. Many people view God as the source of all existence, many others as existence itself. Whether you view God as a being, a universal intelligence, a force, or any other type of form or formless entity, I trust that you will substitute the name, term, or reference for “God” that you are most comfortable with each time you come across the word.

I phrase the next affirmations as I do because a powerful way to begin an affirmation is with the words, “I (more…)

The Perfect Joy of Surrender

April 19, 2014

black-and-white-surrender-to-godThis well-known story from The Little Flowers of St. Francis often elicits the reaction, “Whoa. Harsh!” Indeed, at first blush this narrative may seem counterintuitive and even nonsensical. But after some thought, profound insights often emerge.

St. Francis may be focused on Christ in this story, but I take a broader view that transcends any particular religious path or figure. I see it as an extreme but powerful lesson in the value of surrender. In the peace and beauty of unconditional surrender, suffering ceases to be suffering and instead becomes a gateway to transcendence.

Surrender is like an onion; you can keep peeling away layer after layer even when you think you have reached your goal. It is only when everything has been taken from you—materially, physically, mentally, emotionally—that you truly find out the depth of your surrender to God. If, as in St. Francis’ story, when there is nothing left for you to surrender except your final breath, yet you are able to hold on to the ever-new joy of Divine communion and genuinely express gratitude for whatever God is giving you (or taking away), then will you truly know the ultimate power and purity of surrender.


THE PERFECT JOY OF ST. FRANCIS

"The Stigmata of St. Francis." a painting by Italian artist Giotto di Bondone, painted around 1295-1300 and housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris

“The Stigmata of St. Francis.” a painting by Italian artist Giotto di Bondone, painted around 1295-1300 and housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris.


One winter day St. Francis was coming to St. Mary of the Angels from Perugia with Brother Leo, and the bitter cold made them suffer keenly. St. Francis called to Brother Leo, who was walking a bit ahead of him, and he said: “Brother Leo, even if the Friars Minor in every country give a great example of holiness and integrity and good edification, nevertheless write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that.”

And when he had walked on a bit, St. Francis called him again, saying: “Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor gives sight to the blind, heals the paralyzed, drives out devils, gives hearing back to (more…)

It Makes No Difference to the Sun

April 9, 2014

This is a nice analogy that speaks to the existence and the ubiquity of God. You’ll find it on page 56 of the book, I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

i-am-that-nisargadatta-maharajIt is like entering a dark room. You see nothing—you may touch, but you do not see—no colors, no outlines. The window opens and the room is flooded with light. Colors and shapes come into being. The window is the giver of light, but not the (more…)

Praise Brings Peace

March 22, 2014

silhouette-woman-rejoicing-on-beach-hlding-butterflies


Calmly and joyously welcoming whatever life brings to you requires a major shift in understanding, perception, and attitude.

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
Lao Tzu




Try this exercise: Think of the most difficult situation you have ever had to contend with. From the depths of your being, thank God for (more…)

Is It Logical You Are Orphaned Now?

March 4, 2014

kabir-postage-stamp




The aphorism, “When we lose God, it is not God who is lost,” is expressed beautifully in this short poem by Kabir, a fifteenth-century mystic poet and saint of India.









UNTITLED POEM
by Kabir, translated by Robert Bly

I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit
that loves birds and animals and the ants—
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in your mother’s womb.
Is it logical you would be (more…)

So That Is What’s Possible

December 26, 2013

girl-stars-eyes-illustration
In the 12/27/13 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King ends his review of the book, The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer, with this:


The Interestings addresses one of fiction’s great themes: how we make peace with our own shortcomings and make the best of ordinary lives.

It’s a great theme in real life as well: How do people rearrange and rebuild their lives when dreams die hard?

Like most people, I’ve seen countless friends and acquaintances aim for careers and stardom in creative fields like acting, singing, painting and writing, only to end up frustrated and disillusioned. The cold, hard truth is that most of (more…)

A Beautiful Message About “The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life”

October 27, 2013

logic-of-living-a-spiritual-life-book-cover



I received a wonderful e-mail by a woman overseas who is reading my new eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason. Here are some excerpts from her note:








It was the intercession of God’s Will that a beautiful masterpiece of a book crafted in words had to reach me.

But i know, God is acting right in my life at this point in time and your ebook has been a reckoner for me to be enlightened in the true Will of God.

As i unfold my (more…)

It Is Still Night

October 16, 2013

homeless-man-holding-dogAnyone who considers themselves a spiritual person will affirm sincerely that every person is a child of God and is worthy of respect and reverence. Indeed, the word “namaste,” which is used so casually and ubiquitously, means “The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.”

Intellectual understanding is one thing. Authentically applying that understanding is another. Whenever you treat someone with anything other than love and acceptance, you are only paying lip service to the concept of namaste. This oft-told story nicely captures this truth:

A guru asked his disciples how they could tell when the night had ended and the day begun.

One said, “When you see an animal in the distance and can tell whether it is a cow or a horse.”

“No,” said the guru.

“When you look at a tree in the distance and can tell if it is a fig tree or a mango tree”.

“Wrong again,” said the guru.

“Well then, what is it?” asked the disciples.

The guru replied, “When you look (more…)


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