Sunday, December 26, 2010

Anticipating Christmas by Emily VanLaeys

Sifting through my mental memory box, I find two images collected during my gradual discovery that Santa Claus is merely a myth.

The first image involves finding the box in the attic that went with the Revlon doll I'd received on Christmas morning when I was five. The doll had not been in the box when I found her under the tree, and I realized she came from a store. The following Christmas, I said to my mother, "I'm not sure I believe in Santa Claus anymore."

"Don't say that, Emily!" she pleaded, holding me close on her lap. "Of course there's a Santa Claus. He's the spirit of Christmas!" After that, Santa Claus was no longer a jolly, magical man in a red suit trimmed in white. He was an unseen spirit, like Jesus and God.

The other image is a vivid, treasured memory of what it was like to really and truly believe in Santa Claus. My brother Steve and I were going to sleep together in the same bed on Christmas Eve, so that we could share the excitement of that special night. I suppose he was four and I was three. The air was thick with magic. "I think I hear sleigh bells on the roof," Steve whispered. We were not lying down, but kneeling at the bottom of the bed, leaning over the foot board, straining to see out the door into the dimly lit hallway. We knew he was coming.

I have waited many years to recapture the thrill of such a sure knowing about the miraculous. I was a 40-year-old mother when I listened to the story of a friend of mine who had been close to death in a hospital. As she lay in her bed, immersed in a pool of pain, Jesus came to her, just as real as you or I. "He was like pure love looking at me," she said. She left her body and He led her down a path toward a river where people beckoned from the far bank. The colors were more vibrant than those we see in our everyday lives. She told Jesus that she couldn't go any further with Him--she had five children to care for. So He brought her back, to her pain and gradual recovery.

Before that time, I had read stories in books and magazines, written by people who had met Jesus, or an angel, or experienced a miracle of healing. But reading stories written by strangers is not the same as hearing such a miraculous tale from the lips of a trusted friend--an ordinary mother, just like me. Tears welled up in my eyes. The Hallelujah Chorus crescendoed inside me. The air was thick with magic. My friend had met Jesus. He had come to her when she needed Him most. Now I knew that He would come to me, too.

I felt again like a small child on Christmas Eve. Back then, I knew that Santa was coming. Now I knew that Jesus was coming. Jesus, who did come as a baby on the first Christmas Eve, comes again to everyone who looks for Him. First, as a blessing in our hearts and souls. Then, as a friend, to light our way in the darkness when we are lost, or sick, or dying. When will I see Him? I don't know when it will happen, but I know that it will. Whenever I think about it, the air is thick with magic.

He is coming!

Building Bridges at Wellspring Hill

The Highest Purpose of Wellspring Hill: “This land is a wellspring or fountain of very clear pure energy. It comes from the stream-bed energetically; that is where there is a special spiritual balance of energies that resonates both with Earth and with humans; and a special connection deep into the Earth. The wellspring energy of this land can be a healing balm and comfort for people. Positive energy, joy, hope, purity and peace flow from it naturally. The image is of the wellspring bringing this pure energy up from the Earth and through humans and thence upward to the heavens. The highest use of this energy is to empower and uplift humans who come and visit in order to receive tangible or intangible things there at the land."

Excerpt from Earth Wisdom Reading by Sarah Root, Nature Intuitive (See: Earth Wisdom: Aligning Heart and Spirit with Nature.)


                                                    Wellspring Hill, Maryland, New York

In ancient times people engaged in ritual and ceremony as a way to build a bridge between their mundane life and the spiritual world. As stated by Jade Wah’oo Grigori, a shaman and ceremonialist from Sedona Arizona: “Through the creation of ceremony, we allow the free movement of our soul into the mundane and of our consciousness in the realm of soul. It’s a two-way bridge.’” (Sacred Ceremony by Steven Farmer, pp. xvi-xvii)

Today, life-cycle celebrants offer creative, meaningful, and healing ceremonies to sanctify life-changing passages. Ceremonies can celebrate birth, coming-of-age, graduation, marriage, job changes, retirement, menopause, death, and any other event that marks an important steppingstone on our life journey. Celebrating important events with ceremony is a way of re-introducing the ancient use of ritual to connect our mortal lives with the eternal. 

Earth-based religions of the past and present, including Druidism, Native American spirituality, Wiccanism, and Paganism (among others), incorporate ceremonies to celebrate the cycles of Nature in their practices.  Mother Earth rejoices that these ancient rituals are resurfacing to strengthen the long-neglected bridge between humankind and the rest of Creation.  However, these seasonal ceremonies are conducted according to very specific guidelines, just as a church baptism or communion celebration is defined by prescribed ritual. As the interest in reconnecting with Nature grows, people from outside of these religions are looking for ways to commune with her through ceremony. 

The ceremonies that life-cycle celebrants create are not restricted by the dictates of any one institution. Celebrants are trained to create original ceremonies by using elements from a variety of cultures and faiths, and by allowing their imaginations to take part in the process.  The goal of the ceremonies that Emily will perform at Wellspring Hill, or another spot of your choosing, is to be inclusive for all people who respect the writings, prayers, and symbolism of others as valid ways to build bridges between ourselves and all of Creation. 

                                                    Stream at Wellspring Hill                                                 

From the Earth Wisdom Reading for Wellspring Hill:One is to hold celebrations there - sacred or spiritual celebrations - for small groups. This would draw the land's joyful energy forth and help pour its healing clarity through those who come, connecting them to spirit and nature and oneness. It is an especially wonderful-feeling location for such ritual celebrations. . . .
It would be a perfect place to offer a new unique kind of celebration for people - one that garners the blessings of Mother Earth within the ceremony . . .. In other words, the nature spirits are going to be delighted to help you! They are going to pour their good energies through everyone there! There is great joy and excitement in the idea of creating celebrations for the "new age" which humans are moving into -- an age of reconnecting with Earth and ritual and higher consciousness.”
Emily and I have worked together on several powerful Release and Renewal Ceremonies. She is very creative, and designs original, unique and meaningful ceremonies that help people celebrate life milestones in a respectful and memorable way. She is committed, understanding, compassionate, and "detail oriented." She has a beautiful ability to connect with Divine Light and Divine Intuition, which draw in and attract powerful energies for healing and renewal.
                                                                         ~Diana Friedell, Intuitive Counselor

Emily VanLaeys' guided meditations are a heart-warming experience. Her voice is soothing and gentle as she guides the listener through a landscape of feeling and imagery wrought with a sincerity and devotion which is evident to all who share in the experience.
                                                                         ~ Chester Bassett

Ceremonies Build Bridges to Nature

        A celebration of nature ceremony will begin with a contemplative walk through the Wellspring meadow and down the hill. This walk symbolizes our departure from the everyday life, where we leave our cars and all signs of civilization: the road, the shed, and the house next to Wellspring Hill. As we descend the hill and enter the woods, we shed the fetters that anchor us in the outer world. Entering the hush of the unspoiled pristine forest we feel lighter and more alert to the messages of Mother Earth who speaks to us in the wordless images of Nature.
 As we draw closer to the stream, we are
uplifted by the sound of clear water rippling over rocks and tree roots.The first thing you will do is place any sacred objects you have brought for the ceremony near the cairn that was built on the streambank to honor the presence of the wellspring, which the Earth Wisdom Reading says "is mighty and special and pure." Invite the energy of the wellspring to infuse your object so that you can take it home with you. Then you will choose a spot to sit and place your folded tarp or sit-upon among the ferns and mosses.

       The ritual part of the ceremony will  begin with prayer, which will vary according to the purpose of the ceremony. It may be to draw forth the land's joyful energy and direct its healing clarity through us, to connect our spirits to Nature and the Oneness of Creation. It may be to release the ties that bind us to old ways of thinking and renew ourselves with higher, more creative energies. Or it may be the celebration of a new beginning in life: a new job, a new goal, a new relationship; any venture that will benefit from a blessing from Mother Earth and the nature spirits.

      Whether it's a wedding, funeral, or other type of celebration, every ceremony symbolizes a transition from one stage of life to another. The elements that make up a nature celebration can include guided and/or silent meditation, carefully chosen readings and/or a call and response, and a time for each participant to share relevant thoughts or prayers. Usually there is a ritual; for example, each person tossing a stone into the stream while naming the negative energy they are releasing, or planting a bulb or a wildflower seed, to symbolize their faith in renewal.

The formal part of the ceremony will close with participants standing in a circle to sing a song of celebration and gratitude. Afterward, participants may spend some time quietly sitting or exploring. Some may discover a direct connection with the spirits of the woods and stream. Maybe you'll find some sprites living in the recesses formed by the roots of the trees that hang over the streambank.

The ceremony will close with a joyful walk back up through the meadow, as our newly energized selves return to the outer world. We will then enjoy some refreshments, to symbolize our grounding back into the everyday life of humanity.

Now the question is: When will the first ceremony take place? Who would like to participate in a nature celebration ceremony at Wellspring Hill in Maryland, New York, led by life-cycle celebrant, Emily VanLaeys? Will you be willing to pay $45 for this experience, to help with the cost of the land, the liability insurance, and the time and effort that goes into preparing a ceremony?

A maximum of six people can be included in each ceremony. Ceremonies can take place on week-ends or evenings when daylight lingers long enough. The woods gets dark faster than the outside world!

If you are interested in participating in a nature celebration ceremony, please contact Emily at, and state your preference for a day of the week and time, and the type of ceremony you would prefer. A minimum of three participants will be required for a ceremony to be conducted.

Quotes about Sacred Land and Ceremony

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Season of Light by Emily VanLaeys

I don't think it is a coincidence that during this season of short, dark days, candles and lights are important elements in winter celebrations around the world.  The earliest winter solstice ceremonies involved the use of fire because people in ancient times feared that the failing light would not return unless humans intervened with ceremony and celebration. As new religions were introduced to humanity, fire continued to be an important part of many of their holidays.  
Today, Muslim Iranians still celebrate Yalda, the Persian Winter Solstice celebration that originated with the ancient religion of Mithraism.  The Mithraists believed that the winter solstice was the night that Mithra, Persian god of light and truth, was born to a virgin mother. After this longest night of the year, the daily increase in sunlight symbolized the triumph of the sun god over the powers of darkness.
The celebration of Hanukah commemorates the Maccabees' victory over the Greeks and the rededication of the temple at Jerusalem. Hanukah is called the Festival of Lights, which Jewish families celebrate by lighting a candle for each of the eight days that comprise the Hanukkah celebration.
The advent of Christmas is observed by many Christians by lighting a candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. These candles symbolize hope, love, faith, and joy. The white candle in the center of the circle is lit on Christmas Eve to symbolize the birth of the Christ Child. The wise men, astrologers from Persia, found the baby Jesus by following the light of a great star.
Of all the symbols and metaphors attributed to the Divine, Light is the one found most frequently throughout the religious scriptures and spiritual beliefs of humanity. Anyone who is familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures knows that they are full of references to Light and Fire, starting at the very beginning:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4)
Light is the very first thing that God created from the “formless void” of the heavens and the earth. The author of Genesis does not specify the sun as the source of this light. The sun and the stars were not created until the fourth day! This discrepancy may just be the understanding of the author’s primitive mind. Or is it possible that light actually exists in the universe apart from the sun, the moon, and the stars?
I learned from reading The Akashic Light: Religion’s Common Thread by T. Lee Baumann, M.D., that British physicist James Clerk Maxwell demonstrated in the 1800’s that “visible light was merely one small portion of the vast electromagnetic spectrum.” In 1888, Heinrich Hertz discovered the existence of radio waves, and since then scientists have discovered X-rays, microwaves, infra-red, ultraviolet and gamma rays — all invisible forms of electromagnetic radiation. Baumann says: “. . . even in the deepest, darkest vacuum of space, there are over 400 million photons of non-visible light per cubic meter.” This non-visible light may or may not be the original light that the author of Genesis was referring to. But then, our Creator God is invisible to the human eye, just as are these various forms of light.
And the angel of the Lord appeared to him (Moses) in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, and yet it was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)
Moses is an exception to the “rule” that human beings cannot see Divine Light. Notice that it was not God, but an angel of the Lord who appeared in the burning bush. But in Exodus 3:4 we read:
“. . . the LORD saw that he had gone over to look,” and “God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’”
Moses lived in constant communion with God, obedient to God’s will. I am guessing that he spent a lot of time in quiet contemplation in order to maintain this relationship. After all, God says: “Be still and know that I am God.” Moses must have known how to still the chatter in his own mind so that he could hear God’s voice. Perhaps the years spent in meditation had nurtured his clairvoyant abilities so that he could see the light of God that is invisible to other people.
These are just two of the many references to Divine Light in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Bhagavad Gita, holy book of Hinduism, also contains many references to Divine Light. One of the most beautiful passages is as follows:

The Blessed One said: . . .
I am light in the moon and sun . . .
And brilliance in fire am I,
Life in all beings,
And austerity in ascetics am I. (Bhagavad Gita: VII:8-9)
And then:
Of a thousand suns in the sky
if suddenly should burst forth
The light, it would be like
unto the light of that exalted one . . .
A mass of radiance, glowing on all sides,
I see Thee, hard to look at, on every side
With the glory of flaming fire and sun, immeasurable.
I see Thee, whose face is flaming fire,
Burning this whole universe with Thy radiance. (Bhagavad Gita: XI:12-19)

Surely the author of these scriptures had personally experienced the radiant light of God, just as Moses had. In a meditative state, he could have seen the radiance of the non-visible photons that fill the universe.
The Buddhists of ancient times knew about the Divine Light that we meet when we leave our physical bodies; the one that is encountered by veterans of the Near-Death Experience. A Tibetan Buddhist lama reads from The Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead to a dying or recently deceased person. This is a section of that reading:
Now thou art experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure Reality. Recognize it.
Thine own intellect, which is now voidness, yet not to be regarded as of the voidness of nothingness, but as being the intellect itself, unobstructed, shining, thrilling, and blissful, is the very consciousness, the All-good Buddha.
Zoroastrianism was founded in Persia sometime between 1500 and 600 B.C.E. Zoroastrians believe in a single god: Ahura Mazda, the “Spirit of Light and Good.” The religious rituals of Zoroastrianism are performed before sacred fires, which represent God. The wise men who followed the light of a bright star to find the child Jesus, are widely believed to have been Zoroastrian priests and astronomers.
The child Jesus grew up to be Jesus the Christ, who said to his followers: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34)
Jesus also said: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-17)
We are now in the midst of a cold, dark winter – the season when we are in the most need of warmth and light! In the dark of winter, we like to light candles and decorate with strings of electric lights, to brighten the early evenings. And the long winter nights provide more opportunities to spend time going within to seek the inner light. When seen with our spiritual eyes, this inner light will shine so brightly that our bodies will be full of light. Let us radiate our light out into the world, to bring peace and goodwill to all of Creation.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Trees: Nature's Gift by Emily VanLaeys

One of Our Baby Trees

Last summer Mark and I attended the annual Summer Farm Tour and Meeting of the Christmas Tree Farm Association of New York. The convention was held at the Stokoe Farm in Scottsville near Rochester. Never before had I seen so many acres of Christmas trees of different sizes and varieties! My husband and I attended this meeting and the January CTFANY convention because we bought a small parcel of land last December, with the intention of designating a section to the growing of Christmas trees. This was Mark's idea for a retirement plan in lieu of the pension plan we don't have. Last spring we planted our first 250 trees, of which about 130 remain. After having dealt with freeze-burn, root-rot, drought, deer, and predator insects, we have a newly gained respect for the farmers who have provided us with beautiful trees every Christmas of our lives.

The CTFANY meetings have taught us that Christmas tree farmers are, on the whole, a wonderful group of people who support each other in their endeavors. They share a common goal to successfully grow and sell fresh Christmas trees, and to keep alive the tradition of cutting and decorating real trees. They are eager to help new growers get started, and to make sure we know all of the ins and outs of the business.

When you go out to buy a tree this month, you probably have no idea how much care was involved in the production of this best-loved Christmas tradition. The perfect cone-shaped tree does not happen naturally. Each tree is sheared to create that particular Christmas tree shape we want to see in our living rooms, decorated with our favorite ornaments. Each tree requires the right amount of moisture so it doesn't die from root rot or drought. It requires proper fertilization, weed and insect control, and protection from predators. We heard stories of farmers losing $10,000 worth of trees to the deer in a single winter.

Knowing this, why would you want to purchase a made-in-China plastic tree? Not only do you support a hard-working farmer when you buy a real tree, but you contribute to the environment in a positive way. The 400 million Christmas trees that are continuously growing on US farms provide over 500,000 acres of wildlife habitat, renewed air, and green space.

For every Christmas tree harvested, one to three trees are planted the following spring. Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and may contain metal toxins such as lead. If you're allergic to fir trees, a Concolor Fir should work well for you.

This year Christmas tree enthusiasts are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first decorated tree used in the celebration of Christmas in Latvia and Estonia. So if you haven't put up a fresh tree before, this is the year to participate in this ancient custom! You can start a family tradition of going to a "Choose and Cut" farm, squabble over which one is the best tree for your home, throw snowballs at each other, and have a cup of cocoa after tying your tree of choice on the top of your car. My daughter, turning 25 this month, says that our annual trip to a local tree farm is one of her happiest growing-up memories. In about 8 or 10 years the seedlings at "Mark and Em's Tree Farm" will be ready for cutting and you can make memories with a trip to visit us on the top of Dog Hill Road in Maryland, New York.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Anticipating Christmas

Sifting through my mental memory box, I find two images collected during my gradual discovery that Santa Claus is merely a myth.

The first image involves finding the box in the attic that went with the Revlon doll I'd received on Christmas morning when I was five. The doll had not been in the box when I found her under the tree, and I realized she came from a store. The following Christmas, I said to my mother, "I'm not sure I believe in Santa Claus anymore."

"Don't say that, Emily!" she pleaded, holding me close on her lap. "Of course there's a Santa Claus. He's the spirit of Christmas!" After that, Santa Claus was no longer a jolly, magical man in a red suit trimmed in white. He was an unseen spirit, like Jesus and God.

The other image is a vivid, treasured memory of what it was like to really and truly believe in Santa Claus. My brother Steve and I were going to sleep together in the same bed on Christmas Eve, so that we could share the excitement of that special night. I suppose he was four and I was three. The air was thick with magic. "I think I hear sleigh bells on the roof," Steve whispered. We were not lying down, but kneeling at the bottom of the bed, leaning over the foot board, straining to see out the door into the dimly lit hallway. We knew he was coming.

I have waited many years to recapture the thrill of such a sure knowing about the miraculous. I was a 40-year-old mother when I listened to the story of a friend of mine who had been close to death in a hospital. As she lay in her bed, immersed in a pool of pain, Jesus came to her, just as real as you or I. "He was like pure love looking at me," she said. She left her body and He led her down a path toward a river where people beckoned from the far bank. The colors were more vibrant than those we see in our everyday lives. She told Jesus that she couldn't go any further with Him--she had five children to care for. So He brought her back, to her pain and gradual recovery.

Before that time, I had read stories in books and magazines, written by people who had met Jesus, or an angel, or experienced a miracle of healing. But reading stories written by strangers is not the same as hearing such a miraculous tale from the lips of a trusted friend--an ordinary mother, just like me. Tears welled up in my eyes. The Hallelujah Chorus crescendoed inside me. The air was thick with magic. My friend had met Jesus. He had come to her when she needed Him most. Now I knew that He would come to me, too.

I felt again like a small child on Christmas Eve. Back then, I knew that Santa was coming. Now I knew that Jesus was coming. Jesus, who did come as a baby on the first Christmas Eve, comes again to everyone who looks for Him. First, as a blessing in our hearts and souls. Then, as a friend, to light our way in the darkness when we are lost, or sick, or dying. When will I see Him? I don't know when it will happen, but I know that it will. Whenever I think about it, the air is thick with magic.

He is coming!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Burning the Bridge to Hell by Emily VanLaeys

Escape from Hell - by Peter van Laeys

                Well-meaning Christians have tried to scare me into accepting their exclusive brand of faith by assuring me that an eternity in hell awaits me if I don’t agree with their theology. There is one part of their doctrine I agree with: that Jesus is my savior. Jesus taught that the truth sets us free. The Truth that he taught includes the admonishment to love and forgive others, as God loves and forgives us.

              When the Pharisees asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew  22)

These are the commandments that tell me I am safe in Divine Love: Jesus has saved me because he is the one from whom I learned this. Some people learn the law from other messengers of Love. It is the same message no matter who it comes from.  Jesus also told the Pharisees to obey the spirit of the law; not the letter. The spirit of the law is Love and Love does not damn souls. However, if one believes that God is a vengeful being who punishes his wayward children; she or he may experience hell until the walls of fear melt from around that person’s heart, and the scales fall from his or her eyes. Then the love and light of God, which was always there, will be known.

It is my opinion that no description of Satan’s Hell can surpass the horrors that we see in the news of this world. The evils of war, the torture of one person by another, the abuse of children, the rape of women, the destruction of the earth, the wanton greed that smothers the human spirit: these are the things that separate humanity from their Divine Creator and from each other. These are the images of Hell on Earth. This is the Hell from which I want to be saved!

How can there be so much evil on this planet, created by God of Love and Light? How did we come to separate ourselves so completely from our Divine Creator? Some people blame all of this evil on Satan or Lucifer - who may or may not be the same being. There is a lot of confusion concerning who these entities are, and according to a very informative article by the Theosophical Society, they are not at all the same. As delineated in this article:, there is no scriptural basis for the widely-accepted legend of Lucifer/Satan: “It appears that the whole story of Lucifer as Satan, the fallen rebellious angel, is based entirely on non-canonical sources: the so-called Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.”

Maybe we can’t blame the evil we see on some non-human entity. Perhaps the evils of greed and selfishness are just the result of humanity’s separation from our divine source, the embodiment of love. It will take a huge leap of imagination for some to consider the possibility that the very religious forefathers who set the doctrines and creeds for people to live by for two millenia are the ones who are responsible for the mistaken belief that humanity must remain separate from God. They told us that Jesus is the ONLY son of God, and no, God does not have a daughter – what a blasphemous idea! They told us that anyone who does not accept this decree, and anyone who does not profess Jesus to be the ONLY way to God, will be damned forever. They told us that we are sinful worms, undeserving of God’s love if we don’t believe that Jesus sacrificed himself to pay our debts. They did their best to take the message of Love out of the Scriptures and instill fear and unbelief in the hearts of God’s children. This fear and lack of belief in our own divine power has greatly contributed to the hellish environment in which we live.

However, the early church fathers did not manage to twist or hide all of the encouragement Jesus blessed us with.  One way he encouraged us was to say: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14) He also said: “Truly, I tell all of you with certainty, the one who believes in me will also do what I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.” (John 14:12)

Jesus also promised this: "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you!” (Luke 17:6) and then: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

And so I contend: When enough people recognize their oneness with God, as Jesus did when he said: I and the Father are One” (John 10:30), our faith, and love, and wisdom will rid the world of the hell we have created here. Evil will be no more. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Rev. 21:4). But those who want to keep the old order so they can wage war against one another can remain in the hell they have created for as long as they wish!

This is my interpretation of damnation: that choosing hatred, violence, greed, and separation from Love will allow those who enjoy the power they get from these qualities to stay in hell. Those who recognize their Oneness with God, Love, and Divine Light will find themselves in the kingdom of heaven which Jesus said has been within us all along. (Luke 17:21) So it will be: that the refining fire of divine love will burn the man-made bridge to hell.

Sounds True, Inc.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Every Day
by Emily VanLaeys

Painting by Peter van Laeys

               On Thanksgiving Day we are reminded that we have many blessings for which to be grateful – just in case we aren’t naturally grateful every other day of the year!  Some people, however, have started to refer to this holiday as “Turkey Day,” as if eating turkey is the main reason for celebration. 

               I have shared Thanksgiving dinner with one family who says “Happy Turkey Day” when they see you  on the fourth Thursday of November. Nobody offered grace before our dinner, and nobody even talked about what they were grateful for.

                That is one sad extreme on the gratefulness scale; an extreme that has become all too common in today’s society. The other extreme – the one that I heartily advocate – is to offer thanks every day. Whether you offer a prayer of thanks to the Creator of all things, or thank another person for something done for or given to you, or write a list of everything you’re grateful for that day, being in a state of gratefulness is a spiritual blessing that enriches your life and the lives of others.

                We have all lived through times when we have felt there was nothing at all to be grateful for. Whenever I have gone through a period of depression I have forced myself to record at least one good thing that happened to me each day. Gradually I would find more things to be grateful for and my lists would grow.

                 Keeping a gratefulness journal forces you to look for blessings in your life. If you have a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat, you can write that down. If a friend calls, or an e-mail comes from a loved one, put that on your list. If you’re unemployed, you can be thankful for those things you haven’t lost. No matter what the circumstances, you can be thankful for the beauty of nature:  the stars overhead, the squirrels leaping from one treetop to another; the birdsong that wakes you up – whatever you experience from where you are.

                Then you can be thankful for the blessings that are yet to come. Some may ask: “How can I be grateful for something that hasn’t happened? What if it doesn’t? I’ll feel pretty silly!” True: if I said, “Thank you for the free trip to Hawaii that I’m about to get,” it would probably not happen. After all, I don’t really believe it will, and I have no idea how it could. Maybe someone with advanced powers of manifestation could make it happen, but I’m not advanced. On the other hand, I can say: “Thank you for the good health my family and I will enjoy this winter,” and feel truly thankful.  I have every reason to believe that we WILL be healthy, and no reason to think otherwise as long as I don’t give in to fear.  Giving thanks for that which you are ABOUT to receive is a demonstration of faith that the source of all abundance provides for your needs. Jesus often told people that it was their faith that made them well. The combination of faith and gratefulness is a very powerful method of prayer.

                I am also grateful for the wonderful things that are going to happen in the coming year, even though I don’t know what they will be. So many people are recognizing the light within themselves and sharing it with the world – positive results are bound to come!  And I am planting seeds each day in meditation, studying and writing about spiritual things, and sharing ideas with other spiritual seekers.

               I feel the divine light growing within; I feel my love for life growing each day; and so I know that good things will be showing up in the outer world, too.

                If you think you can’t be thankful for something that hasn’t happened yet, plant some daffodil bulbs and give thanks for the beauty they will gift you with in the spring. Then look for ways to plant  seeds of love in someone’s life and in your own. Gratefulness will swell up in your heart as you watch and wonder what the seeds will grow to be!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love is All-That-Is

                                                                 Art by Gaelyn Larrick

God said: I am that I am.
This means: I only am. There is only I. I am all there is. 

From myself all of Creation came to be. I created all of you and all that is from myself.
Nothing else exists. 

I breathed you into existence. When you breathe, it is me breathing. 

I loved you into existence. When you love, you experience me and I experience you.

I am light and so you are light. The light shines in the darkness and there is nothing to be afraid of.

I sang you into existence. Each of you is a note in the never-ending cosmic symphony that I compose, conduct, play, and sing through you. 

I gifted you with freedom of will and you willed to be separate and distinct from me. 

When you cut me off from your soul, you stepped out on the path of an unconscious life.

I have come to you as the fully conscious persons of Buddha, Jesus, and others who planted the seeds of Truth in various scriptures, human hearts, and semi-conscious minds. It is up to you to unearth these seeds, to plant them in your own heart, mind, and soul, and nurture them there.  

Jesus said: I and the Father are One.  The fully conscious Jesus knew that he was one with God, with Love, with All-That-Is. He showed you the way to know and experience this same Oneness. 

As we meditate on these things we bring more light and love to the world. We bring the world back to the knowledge of being One with Creation. Where Oneness is self-conscious, conflict can’t exist. 

Oneness is Peace. Oneness is Love. Oneness is Creation. Oneness is God. In Oneness I am that I am.

Discover Your Divinity!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Love is All-That-Is by Emily VanLaeys

Cosmic Heart by Willow Arlenea
Isn’t it amusing to listen to the endless debates about Creation, when whatever happened, happened billions of years beyond the reach of human memory?   How can anyone actually prove that the universe was designed and created by a divine, benevolent intelligence, or that it was just the result of random chance? Many who believe in the Intelligent Design of the universe still do not credit any of the world religion’s images of God with the creation and evolution of everything. Not a surprise, because there is no one religion that can satisfactorily answer every question that an inquiring mind will have. Perhaps this is because each religion was designed to meet the spiritual needs of a particular section of the human population. If there is an omniscient cosmic intelligence, it would recognize that the immense diversity of human capabilities, worldviews, environmental and cultural backgrounds, interests and experiences, would make it impossible to present the whole world with one pathway to understanding creation and the meaning of life.
Every religion, every culture, and nearly every individual in the world, embraces a different image of God -- an image that may be worshiped, adored, revered, feared, claimed to be dead, or to be a fabrication of the human imagination. But there is no single human brain that can possibly fathom the entirety of the infinite cosmic mystery. So each person chooses the portion of truth that he or she can comprehend, and each portion of truth is embellished with details either fabricated by the individual, or by one of the founders or perpetrators of that particular brand of faith. Those who deny the existence of any Divine intelligence frequently do so because they see the fallacies in the religious doctrines they have been exposed to; and then instead of going a step further to explore the possibility of a divine mystery too large to be explained by any theology or philosophy designed by the human mind, they disregard all theism as an invention of the imagination. Some atheists may dismiss the existence of God because of the limitations of the human brain that cannot conceive of an intelligence greater than its own, or the existence of realms that cannot be seen or heard with the human senses.
 In these times of widespread famine, war, and natural disaster, we often hear people ask: “If there was a god, he wouldn’t allow these things to happen. Others say: “How can God allow these things to happen? Where is God when people are suffering?” Or they echo the lament of Jesus as he cried out from the cross: “God, why have you forsaken us?” Many people believe that the current catastrophes signal the inevitable end of the world as predicted in the Bible and by the Mayans and other prophets. Those who proclaim that there is no god say that it is the wishful thinking of childlike minds to believe that any higher power actually cares what happens to our race and our world. Whatever happens to the world is totally up to us. We'd better make some big changes, or it will be all over soon, whether by environmental destruction, nuclear holocaust, the disappearance of the honeybees, or a wayward asteroid – take your pick!
More and more people don't even want to hear the word “God” spoken. They connect “God” with childhood images of a stern old man sporting a long white beard, who tallies their sins, and deals out punishments accordingly. “God” is also the one who instructs certain factions of society to be excluded from grace: homosexuals, atheists, and anyone or any group who differs in belief or lifestyle from those whose image of God is exclusive to them. Some people confuse the meaning of “God” by saying that God is not the same as Allah, Brahma, or the kami of Shintoism, when all of these names refer to different cultural concepts of God.
“God” is just a word. In fact, it is an abused and over-used word, which might be understood better if it was replaced with another one, such as Creator, Divine Light, Omniscient One, Universal Mind, Heavenly Parent, Eternal Spirit. The possibilities are endless! However, the one word that I believe best sums up the essence of the One in whom we “live and move and have our being“. . . is Love.
When God is thought of as pure love, I find it a little easier to separate truth from fabrication in the religious teachings and doctrines of the world’s faiths. Would love intentionally create a world where greed and violence are a natural part of life? Would love allow any of its children to spend eternity in despair? Would love give up and cease to extend lifelines of hope to any wayward ones who have lost their way? Would love reveal the truth about itself to one segment of its family and then leave it up to them to make sure the other family members get it right? Isn't it possible that Love spoke through the hearts of all the divine messengers who brought us the world's religions, and then the scribes who wrote and edited their messages added their unloving thoughts about revenge, jealousy, and superiority? Well, isn't it?

Sounds True, Inc.

Bridge Across the Fourth Dimension by Emily VanLaeys

Symbol Painting by Chris Lissandrello
Without the gifts of intuition, synchronicity, and of course dreams, I could not have written my first book, DREAM WEAVING: Using Dream Guidance to Create Life's Tapestry. Each chapter was based on one or more dreams and the connection between their spiritual symbolism and the events of everyday life - both personal and universal. Dreams come from that same unseen dimension from which arise intuitive thoughts, imaginary creations, and synchronicity. In that dimension, sometimes known as the fourth dimension, or the "inner planes," ideas are conveyed by symbols rather than actualities. In the process of interpreting these symbols we are forced to stretch our creative muscles, and in so doing, become even more creative and intuitive than we were when the dream or synchronistic event occurred. Consequently, in writing a book about my dreams, I found myself becoming more in touch with the deeper, spiritual side of life than I was prior to beginning that work.

Many of the dreams that I worked with in DREAM WEAVING were very old. They had languished in my dream journals for as long as twenty years, and only when I brought them to light for the purpose of enhancing one of my chapters did I realize how these old dreams still contained wisdom for my current life. One such dream had presented me with a bowl of food - a mixture of green pepper slices, candy canes, and some yarn with which a friend wanted me to knit or weave the concoction together into a homogenous dish. When I originally documented the dream, seven or eight years before putting it in my book, I felt that the green peppers symbolized nourishment for my body and the candy canes begged me to spend more time in play. In the writing of DREAM WEAVING, I allowed myself to spend more time working with each dream, looking for connections inside myself, seeking applications from scripture, myth, or literature. I researched the legend of the candy cane as a symbol of Christ. The bent shape represents the Great Shepherd's staff, and the red stripes recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: "...with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) The white stripes symbolize the purity of the Christ Consciousness, which can be ours when we "sup with him." (Revelation 3:20)

These insights gave new meaning to the dream of pepper strips, candy canes, and yarn. I was reminded that I am part of the body of Christ, and that the yarn could be the sinews that connect my body to his. Because I was struggling with the need for balance, both when I had the dream and later when I wrote about it, I connected it to St. Paul's words in Romans 12:4-6: "For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us..." This verse assured me that I can lead a whole and balanced life even though I am only doing a little part of the work Christ calls us to.

As I delved deeper into the meaning of dreams and life events, I discovered a wellspring of creative ideas for my readers and me to ponder. This work with the unseen dimension also seemed to evoke a wealth of synchronistic guidance. While writing the chapter on my relationship with Jesus I got stuck on the meaning of one dream in which Jesus was knocking at my door and I kept saying: "How can I help you?" The third time I spoke out loud, thus waking myself from the dream. At that point in my writing I took a lunch break. Sometimes when our minds have been wrestling with a problem, letting go of it for awhile gives our intuitive powers an opportunity to do some behind-the-scenes work. On this occasion a serendipitous discovery brought an immediate answer to my question. For no particular reason, I chose for my lunchtime reading a copy of "The New Millennium," a journal published until recently by the Association of Research and Enlightenment. I read an article by Judith Stevens Allison in which she had written: "All great religions emphasize that there is power in the spoken word. The [Edgar Cayce] readings suggest asking aloud three times in your morning meditation, 'Lord, what would You have me do today?'"

When I finished eating my lunch, I closed the chapter with the story of this synchronicity. I declared that I would try this exercise and see what happened. Now readers ask me if I am still asking this question aloud every day and I have to confess I am not. I did try it for awhile, but I continued to have trouble discerning what it was Jesus asked of me each day. Sometimes I thought I knew, but I preferred to stick with the plans I'd already made. Readers may be disappointed in me for not following such conclusive advice, but I don't think the key message behind my experience was the necessity of praying that same question aloud every day. More significant was the demonstration of synchronicity - the way that answers come readily when we dig deeply for spiritual lessons and bring them to light, especially in the written word. And perhaps the guidance received was meant to help someone else more than it did me.
Recently I realized that the same technique I used to connect dreams and events can be applied to the synchronicities of conscious life. In the beginning of DREAM WEAVING I imagined angels toasting each other with glasses of holy water as I traveled from the East coast to the Rockies where I would meet my future husband, also from the East, who would just happen to be eating lunch at the Old Faithful Inn "staffeteria" at the same time I arrived there. This was the synchronistic event that set the course of my life. From then on I recognized the significance of such events and have believed that these synchronicities are orchestrated by unseen guides on the same plane where dreams and myths are created. Universal or personal symbols can be drawn from these experiences just as they are from dreams.

In DREAM WEAVING I told about the serendipity that led to my meeting Lesley, director of Hospice, which involved a common interest in life after death and a job opening that Lesley thought was meant for me but wasn't. Since then, she and I have experienced other serendipitous meetings. One of these occurred when we just missed catching each other by phone, then met in the grocery store where I have shopped several times a week for twelve years and never before bumped into Lesley. Her secretary had suggested that she go to P&C to find the fresh corn she was looking for. Because of the corn we met and were able to set up a lunch date. Corn is a common symbol among different cultures. Ancient Romans planted corn on graves to bring the energy and wisdom of their ancestors to everyday life. Corn is also a symbol of death and rebirth, favorite topics of discussion between Lesley and I since she works with the dying on a daily basis, and the loss of her son is always uppermost in our minds when we meet. I think that our synchronistic meetings, such as the one over the grocery store corn bin, are intended to keep alive our ongoing discourse on the meaning of life and death. These encounters are a continual reminder that there was a reason for our meeting which had nothing to do with the job opening at Hospice.

In the unseen dimension where dreams and synchronicities are created, people connect with one another beyond time and space. I refer to this phenomenon in chapter five of DREAM WEAVING: "Retrieving the Past: A Visit to Soul Space," in which I share the joy of visiting distant friends in a dream. Another example of the soul space phenomenon is the prophetic dream. Such dreams can be explained in a variety of ways, but I choose to believe that prophecies manifest from the inner sanctums of soul space, where past events and future possibilities coexist. Among the prophetic dreams recorded in my book was one that I didn't recognize as prophetic until ten months after the book was published in January 2001. I was visiting an AAUW book group where DREAM WEAVING was being discussed. One of the participants was impressed by the dream referred to on page 154 and read it to the group:

I was lying in bed while a woman, a nurse, watched over me. She said it made her sleepy to watch me sleep! I stayed in bed, because it was so dark out that I assumed it was night. Then I looked at my clock and saw that it was 9:00 a.m., so I got up and went outside. They sky was a predawn gray. Someone told me there had been a disaster in New York City that had created a lot of dust that was blocking the sun. My thought was that this was one of the planetary disasters that had been predicted for the new millennium. I got down on my knees, bowed my head to the ground, and prayed.

The book group was meeting one month after the September 11th disaster in New York City, so we all thought of that immediately. I felt chills listening to someone else read my own words to me. The dream had appeared in July of 1999, but the specific references to the time, 9:00 a.m., and the dust blocking the sun, were too close to reality to be anything but prophetic. If I had not written about that dream in my book it probably would have remained forgotten in my dream journal, and I never would have received such a powerful message of my own intuitive connection to the unseen side of life.

Throughout my life I have maintained that I am not very psychic and I have wondered why it is always other people who have memorable experiences with the supernatural. But I have learned that the practice of writing about my seemingly ordinary experiences and dreams has produced greater intuitive abilities than I would acknowledge if there was no written evidence of them. Also, the process of writing, even non-fiction, requires the use of imagination, an activity which leads the writer to dance with the occupants of soul space. From these dances are born creative ideas, intuitive meanings, and serendipitous gifts. Writing births imagination, imagination births intuitiveness and creativity, and these attributes birth meaning for the lives of writers and readers both.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Bridges of Hope by Emily VanLaeys

A dear friend of mine is in deep despair because of all the evil she sees in the world. I have known this woman for many years. She is a warm-hearted, creative, compassionate, and beautiful person. It pains me to see her in so much despair, so I’m trying to come up with words that might give her some hope. It’s hard, because she thinks I’m a “Pollyanna” new age-thinker, and that “the apocalypse is upon us while we cling to our new age notions of positive outcome and souls in joy.” Maybe I can’t boost my friend out of the pit of despair, but perhaps my thoughts will help someone else who is down there with her.

My friend says that she looks around and sees "starvation, weapons sales, drug wars, oil spills, and on and on.” I see these things, too, but only in the news. I don’t think my friend sees many of these things first-hand. The media keeps these horrors in the forefront of the news, making people feel helpless, hopeless, and overwhelmed. These feelings prevent people from trying to make the changes that will tip the scale on the side of goodwill and light.

We have to search for the good because it's quiet, and maybe too busy doing good works to spend time on PR, not to mention the media doesn’t want to bother with them. We can find a lot of good news just by searching for it on the internet. And there are so many organizations of volunteers and non-profit employees that have as their goals: peace and justice, human rights, saving the environment, and on and on. One example that my husband mentioned as he went out the door this morning was the group of German missionaries he met when he was in Ethiopia. The Germans were not evangelizing. They were just trying to educate people to stop the mutilation of women and girls that is part of the culture there. Then there's Heifer Project International, providing people with farm animals and the knowledge to raise them; there are all the microenterprise organizations that help poor people get started in business; there's Amnesty International, working to end human rights abuse, Habitat for Humanity, and many, many more.  The point is that all over the world people are doing things, not just thinking, in positive ways, to transform the world into a better place.

Gift of cows from Heifer Project International
My friend says she doesn’t believe in a god with a magic wand who’s going to make it all come out right in the end, and she doesn’t believe in the power of good thoughts to make things right.  She says it’s up to us to change the world, and I agree – I just don’t think we’re alone in this task.  I don’t believe in a god with a magic wand, but I do believe that our creator is Love and Light; that God has more power than the forces of evil; that there is a divine plan that is not totally clear to people living within the limitations of this physical world; that there is all kinds of activity taking place in those realms not apparent to our physical senses.

My friend has the ability to see, or at least feel and hear, some of the reality of the "invisible" world, but not all. I can’t see them, but I know that the beings and intelligences on those other levels are vibrating at a higher rate than our eyes and ears can detect. We know about the existence of infrared light waves that we can't see, and sound waves that only animals can hear. Scientists keep discovering more and more about the "invisible" world, proving to us that there is so much more going on in the universe than we can experience directly. And my faith tells me that most of it is happening for good.

Scientists are studying the Quantum Theory which states that everything in the universe vibrates. When I talk about being a light in the darkness, I mean that we can vibrate at a higher rate than the physical world around us. I have learned to do this through meditation and focusing on the good, and I like to think that my higher vibrations or light energies affect those around me in a positive way. When we focus on the negativity that saturates our news; when we are depressed, hopeless, despairing; our energy is heavy and low. So we have a choice: do we want to contribute to the dark energies of the world and hide our light under a bushel basket as Jesus implies in Matthew 5:15? Or will we choose to do as he asks: ". . . let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your [creator] in heaven."

While my friend is not a Christian, she says that she agrees with the Christian philosophy that the world is full of evil. I would say this is not a philosophy: it is a fact that the world is full of evil. But it is also full of beauty and life; and there is more than that to the teachings of Jesus, who told us that the meek will inherit the earth and that we must learn to love our neighbors as ourselves, and love our enemies, too! Jesus warned that there would be wars, famines, and earthquakes at the beginning of the earth’s birth pangs – the pangs that herald the birth of a new earth: the one spoken of in Isaiah 2:4 when soldiers “shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” I believe that we are in the time of great tribulation that must precede the coming of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) (Isaiah 65:17).  Regarding this time, Jesus said:  ". . . because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." 

So this is the time to be especially vigilant against the forces of evil. We can be overwhelmed and let our love for the world grow cold. Or we can listen to Jesus who said: "Be ye in the world, but not of it." Yes, we have to live here for now, but we can keep our eyes on the better way, and so be a light on that path.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Can One Religion Fit All? by Emily VanLaeys

I wonder how many religions, denominations, and sects claim to know the only way to God, and promise that all who follow their rules will be among the chosen few who will share the glory of heaven for eternity? It seems that the number of such exclusive faith groups has grown with the passage of time, but thankfully there has also been an increase in the number of people who recognize that a God of Love who created all of us would not be so selective.

Just for discussion's sake, suppose I decide to convert to one particular denomination which warns that I will spend eternity in hell if I don’t do as they preach. I believe I've been born again, and I am baptized by immersion in the church pool. I am so relieved to know with absolute certainty that I will go to heaven when I die! I am absolutely ecstatic until it occurs to me that none of my family or friends share my faith, and some do not believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. How will I enjoy eternity without my loved ones?

As I continue to ponder my salvation, I wonder about the millions of people who have lived in different parts of the world, far away from the place where Jesus lived and died. The Hindus believe that Krishna was an incarnation of God who lived in India thousands of years ago, the Buddhists believe that Gautama Buddha demonstrated the way to enlightenment, and the Muslims believe that Mohammed is a divine messenger and prophet of God. And then there are the other millions of people who believe that God or other divine beings have spoken to them through Nature or other sources. Can I believe that the God who created all of us would have restricted his communications to one little part of the world, for one period of time, through just one person who was granted the sole power to save all of us from an eternity of despair?

Now I have to wonder . . . if God had nothing to do with Krishna, Buddha, and other religious leaders, such as Tao-te-Ching and Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism, from where did these men get their ideas? And if they were so completely off-base, why would God have allowed them to teach their flawed concepts to anyone? Would it have been better for the people of Asia and other parts of the world to be kept in total darkness while awaiting the Christian missionaries who wouldn’t arrive in those countries for many centuries? Or is it possible that God revealed divine truth to different people at different times, in different parts of the world; knowing that religion would not be a “one size fits all” concept for all of the earth’s inhabitants?

I ponder these questions while looking more closely at the core lessons of each religion. Buddha taught that one must develop wisdom and compassion in order to attain enlightenment. Enlightenment, rather than salvation, is the goal of a Buddhist. But the Buddha’s appeal that compassion be put into selfless action by alleviating suffering wherever it appears, is really not different from Jesus’s commands to his disciples to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick.

The Hindus know Krishna as the embodiment of love and divine joy, who destroys all pain and sin, who was born to establish the religion of love. Jesus said: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" and, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27). He also said: "Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).  Christians who believe the prophecy in Revelation 21:4 will see the similarity between their goal and that of Krishna’s followers: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

I can’t read the Bible and not feel its underlying message that God is Love; we are all children of Love; and it is the messages of love that emanate from a divine source, while those passages that encourage judgmental thinking were added, I believe, by oppressors who played on the fears of the masses in order to gain power over them.

I have given examples of love as the central message in just three religions; but the golden rule, that you should do to others as you would have others do to you, is the law of love that has been laid down over and over, in different languages, in various religions, around the world. (See The Golden Rule in Thirteen Sacred Texts.) The Dalai Lama has said: "Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people's suffering. On these lines every religion has more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal."

Now I have a problem with my membership in the church that promised to save me from eternal damnation. After my contemplations, I realize that a God who is Love cannot leave anyone to such a fate. Even those who don’t believe in God are children of Love, just as a child who runs away from home is still loved and welcomed back on her return. No matter how much our children ignore us and disobey us, we will always love them, won’t we?  How could we expect less of God?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time to Wake Up! by Emily VanLaeys

Even in the early days of my life I wondered about the mystery of life. Where had my consciousness been before I was born? Why couldn't I remember anything prior to my near-drowning at the age of two - my first memory - when I saw my mother swimming toward me under the water in Aunt Rose's pool? Where would I have gone if I had drowned? I instinctively knew that a part of me would never cease to exist, but I knew so little about that part!

Later, at about age ten, I remember thinking that my true self was not the same as the persona I projected to my family and friends. One night I stepped outside the front door of our house, composed myself in what I thought was a state closer to the "me" that I really should be, and went back in. Speaking to my parents I said: "Do I sound different to you now than I usually do?" The answer was, "No? Why would you think that?"

Why, indeed? But as the years passed, I read one enlightening book after another, and gradually learned that my intuition had been right all along. This physical life is but a misplaced punctuation mark in the epic story of God's only begotten child - the universal consciousness - which began eons ago. At that time we decided to use our God-given free-will to venture out from our spiritual home in order to experience the carnal delights of the material earth. Originally this incarnation into physical bodies was just a vacation -- a week-end trip to the Garden of Eden where we could smell the fragrance of the flowers, feel the soft breeze ruffle our hair, and the silken skin of our mate's body against ours. We enjoyed listening to bird songs; tasting the fruits of the trees, and the roots of the earth. Then we'd return home, to be nourished again by the light and love of our Creator; to be reminded of our true nature as beings of light.
Return to the Garden

Gradually, we forgot our connection with the divine - we lost our faith in the perfection of our Creator's universal design. We became fearful, and as we began to think more in terms of protecting our physical form, we identified more and more with our physical selves, and less with our higher, divine selves. No longer able to move back and forth with ease from our true home to our vacation home, we began to believe that the material world was the real one - perhaps the only one! We became entrapped in the material world, so that only through death of the physical body can we be reunited with the one divine consciousness.

We have been asleep now for many centuries. But, like Sleeping Beauty's wedding guests, we will awaken when the Prince reveals the truth with a kiss. His truth is that love is the law that unites us, and love is the only law we need, to awaken from the confusion and nightmares of our slumber. For, if we examine ourselves through the eyes of love, don't we see that the wars and other evils of history are only nightmares? Such barbarism can't belong in the real life where we will spend eternity. And we realize that all of the power struggles between us are just silly nonsense because nothing in this world really matters except for our ability to love ourselves and all of Creation.

Those of us who grew up wondering what was wrong with this world, and why we didn't feel at home here, are learning to radiate light, like the fairies who waved their magic wands to guide the Prince to Sleeping Beauty's bed in the castle tower. Soon our light will shine so brightly, that every eye will spring open, our inner beauty will awaken, and we'll find ourselves in the kingdom of love .