When someone starts a
message with the words, "I believe..", we can respond in several ways. We can
leave the area, try to change the subject, or only appear to listen. This is our own
prerogative. We can also learn to listen. Just because someone reveals his or
her own beliefs, we
are under no obligation to change our own. Simply taking in another's perspective, and
impartially examining it without jumping to conclusions, stereotyping, or forming critical
judgments allows us to understand other's beliefs and possibly broaden our own. Too often we
draw lines of exclusion and let our own beliefs alienate us from others. Until a matter is
known, all of us are dependent on beliefs and assumptions which offer us provisional
frameworks upon which to approach life. It is not usually helpful to try to deprive others of
their own beliefs. If you are open to hearing others beliefs, and sharing your own, please
use this monitored forum.
POST your own contribution to the "I Believe..." Discussion group.
February 12, 2000
My belief is that there are too many different religions in the world today and I refuse to choose one that may restrict any of my personal beliefs or attitudes. I do believe in there being a greater being and I have respect for that entity but I do not think it was their intention to create a world where people would spend their time worshipping them. Instead I remain respectful of that entity by doing my best to live as a decent human being without causing harm to any other being. Samantha
February 7. 2000
I've been raised believing that men live and die believing in different Gods. Everyone worships "his" god, believing he holds The Truth and The Real Answer to the difficult question: "Why do we live? What or Who put us on Earth? What's the purpose of are lives? and so on ...
I don't believe there is a God, since I was raised in an atheist family in which people believe a lot more in mankind, I guess.
So all your stories sound wonderfully to me: I can't even think of myself believing the way you seem to.
I had no idea so many people had faith.
That faith seems so powerful and strong (and alien as far as I'm concerned) it helps you go on with your lives whenever you face troubles of any kind.
I wish you keep that precious thing you have inside yourself, whether it's faith, love, or anything else. Emmanuelle
Words are what come out of one that tries to express or explain the infinite or
eternal which they have experienced. To place a definition on finite or time
(such as an
hour) that makes any sense is not possible, so how is it that humans like to believe that
we can pin down concepts from words that were merely an attempt to satiate questioners
from another milieu or society. We don't even follow the complexities from their daily
lives that give rise to the symbols that are used to portray the archetypes or myths that
the 'enlightened ones' are trying to use to stimulate the gnosis of surrender. That the
human conceptual mind has not the ability to perceive THE REAL TRUTH in other than
experience is an absurd proposition at best. That people do not try to remember what they
already know is not futile in my belief - just difficult unless the/a 'teacher' or the
perceiver is not already aware of this.
December 29. 1999
Karma Mechanic, THE_FOCI@hotmail.com
Faith moves mountains
Sorry i got carried away,PEACE, TED
September 29, 1999
More Than Meets the Eye
Jerry B. firstname.lastname@example.org
At a time when I was beginning to wonder about the nature of this concrete, cause and effect world, the following event occurred that left a strong impression on me:
Towards the end of my college days, I participated in a work-study program, and was assigned to a diagnostic-treatment center for Court referred children in Port Townsend, Washington. I spent many evenings that summer with a fellow student, Gail, walking the Straights of Juan DeFuca beaches and discussing a wide range of topics as we were both wont to do at that age. In the Fall, she returned to the University of Washington in Seattle, and I decided to stay on through the winter at the juvenile center working as a vacation-relief cottage-parent for the "delinquent" kids, some just a few years younger than my own age at the time. One of the grave-yard shift staff that I relieved, Pete, came into the cottage and talked with me as we sat up through the nights of his vacation. He was a former Westinghouse scholarship recipient that had dropped out of Cal Tech and instead traveled extensively, and would have been considered "Beat" in those days, before "Hip" was vogue. He had read, on his own volition, all the original works I had only read brief synopsis or descriptions of, in school, and I could only listen to his world views, aghast at his intellectual powers and the conclusions he had reached. I realized I had yet to do my own thinking and exploration.
Those few months could not have been more densely packed with shattering experiences and "coincidences" I won't begin to broach here, but suffice it to say I returned to Oregon with very different goals and perspectives than I'd had before. Pete moved to Tacoma, Washington about the same time I returned to the U of Oregon in Eugene. So... at the time, I am in Oregon, Gail is in Seattle, and Pete is in Tacoma.
One day Gail appeared where I was staying in Oregon. She had dropped out of the U of
Washington, and was undergoing major shifts of her own views and goals, but in an anxious
state of mind. When she left again for Seattle, I was concerned for her. She had
incidentally brought with her a little kaleidoscope with a lens which refracted objects in
the room, novel at the time. I asked her if she would get another one and send it to Pete
in Tacoma. I knew he would appreciate it, and I had always had in mind that they might hit
it off together.
I have vivid memory of my state of concern for her the day she left, and a certain attitude or desire for her well being this initiated within me. This built up during the day, until at one moment, I remember having a comforting feeling that every thing was being taken care of in her regard, and I was now free of worry.
Four days after she returned to Seattle, I received a postcard from Gail. She and Pete were married! They were about to come down through Eugene for a visit on their way to the East Coast. She said they would fill me in on the details later.
Here is what they told me had transpired ....
Upon arriving in Seattle, she purchased the Kaleidoscope and had it wrapped at the gift store. She went from there to the post office. She said it was very busy, and while waiting in line, she overheard an interesting conversation by two men behind her. When she arrived at the window and lifted the small package to the clerk, she heard one of the men exclaim, "My G-d, that's me!" Pete just happened to be in Seattle, just happened to be in line behind her, and just happened to see his address on the small package. After such an introduction, things moved fast. Several months later I rode my Honda back to New York city, stayed there awhile, then traveled south, stopping at Virginia Beach to check out the ARE, the Cayce organization. There I met my own wife to be.
Now I don't know how significant the telling of such a story is to anyone else. Of course, many unlikely happen-stances are bound to occur given the "laws" of chance. The actual probability that such a configuration of events will occur is of course beyond calculation. A materialist with the mindset that only "physical" cause and effect relationships account for everything will not be swayed, and such events happening even in their own lives might be passed over. Knowing the significance it had to me and the others involved, it would not be honest of me to interpret the events as "just coincidence". This and other experiences incline me to believe that there is indeed much more behind our "normal" perception of reality than meets the eye. Jerry B
September 1, 1999
Belief and humanity
We have gone away from our gods, or sent them away from us. The Christian, Islamic and Buddhist faiths, with their cosmic agendas and remote, high gods are Ok for the intellectuals and dreamers. But most of us are little folk, and we miss the little gods.
Here in Britain (once called the Island of the Mighty), the land is full of reminders of the little gods ancient wells and pillars, standing stones, dark woods, still waters and the hollow hills. These gods were close to their followers, knew their needs and did not ask them the impossible. God taketh heed lest a sparrow fall, people say - I can't believe that the King of the Universe cares about any individual being any more than I can about an individual atom.
But the small ancient gods of this small ancient land know us all and care. Let us invite them back. Save the high gods for high days, keep everyday gods for every day.
February 21, 1999
Subject: I Believe...
I believe in an experience of love I had 14 years ago that has never left me. I had just argued with my husband and felt completely degraded and demoralized. I kissed my 6 children goodbye thinking that they were better off without me. I left fully determined to go to another town, get a job, live frugally and send any money I could earn to my children. I drove to a park close to my home where I tried to plan what to do next. For the first time in my life, I truly did not care
what happened to me but only how I could continue to support my children and hurt them as little as possible.
I prayed. During this prayer a feeling of warmth enveloped me from my head to my toes. I knew it was the love of Jesus Christ. In less than a moment insight flooded into my mind and heart. Enough new knowledge came to me that my life was changed from that moment on.
I returned to my family and I relied on this feeling of love during the next several months to get me through any rough times. I have never forgotten it and can never deny that somehow, someway I was given a gift, a gift of knowledge that Jesus Christ loves me.
I know there are people out there who do not believe in Jesus Christ, who would tell me that I manufactured my
own experience to soothe myself. I'm glad that it doesn't matter why or how I had this experience, I'm just grateful that I had it.
July 12, 1998
Subject: Does anyone here have a clear vision of what their God looks like?
My reply to this question asked on a Homesteading mailing list:
I had an experience many years ago that leaves me with an image when I think of someone who must be pretty high up on the ladder...God? Yes and no. Jesus himself seemed to me to encourage persons not to "worship" him, 95% of present "Christian" teachings notwithstanding. "Why call me good, only your Father which is in heaven is Good. Call no man teacher (rabbi), master etc...." the idea is, to me anyway, to become as our models and fore bearers have become, expressing God in and through our own individuality, not to merely bow down and fawn over our image of who and what some other person or being has become. If we truly admire another person, we want to become like him or her.
One morning I woke up and lay in bed, reflecting about events that had transpired in the preceding couple of months. I had done some things for which I was feeling some degree of shame. I wondered if I'd messed things up to the point I was now permanently out of a state of grace. I now was in neither a depressed, nor elated, state of mind ... quite my normal self, which was something of a bummer, true, compared to the way I had been feeling the last several months.
After maybe twenty minutes, I opened my eyes. At the foot of the bed stood a man wearing a very light blue robe. He had reddish blond hair, in his early thirties and very much alive. He was smiling, right at the point of laughter, looking me in the eye, and I felt his acceptance. "What are you so worried about, everything's okay!" he seemed to be conveying by his manner and appearance.
I thought "Am I having a vision?" He looked every bit as substantial as anything else in the room. I closed my eyes, thinking that if this was merely subjective, I'd still see him, even with my eyes closed. But ... I saw nothing. "Oh no, now, he'll be gone," I expected, opening my eyes again. He was still standing there, laughing at me. He was so relaxed, so totally with it! He never spoke, but his eyes and the expression on his face spoke volumes, telling me not to condemn myself, it was okay to make mis-takes, and that I'd always have a chance to do it better, on the next take. After maybe another minute, he simply was not there. I was still in the same state of mind...not ecstatic, not even surprised. The occurrence seemed totally natural, as if someone had come into the room, given a message, and left.
I wondered of course, how it happened, how to explain the undeniable experience. Since then, I have read that the entity that was Jesus is now capable of appearing materially in an etheric form to whomever, and whenever, he wills ... 30,000 different places at once if he chooses. For me, this is the proper explanation, however, I can not say to anyone else's satisfaction that this was the case. Though this person looked very normal, he had the confidence and knowledge to do whatever he wanted. He was simply the coolest, the freest 'man' I have ever met, whoever he was!
I believe...... anyone that has an earnest desire to know what life is about, and seeks the answers, will have one kind of experience or the other to assure him or her that they are not deluding themselves when they begin to experience tastes of a new life, and a Beingness unknown to them before. There are kinds of knowing and awareness that transcend beliefs, and religiosity; certainly what others think of us. No one can give this to another person, or communicate much about it unless it is a shared experience...like trying to describe a color, if not harder. One must have eyes to see, ears to hear...till then, IT is a world of imagination or conjecture. If IT does exist, it seemingly has little to do with us, and we can go about our business, either believing or not believing in God, the Spirit, Faith, Love, words which point towards the ineffable, but which must be experienced first-hand. Mouthing and repeating what someone else said or believes will do little for ourselves and others, except perhaps make us self-righteous and pretentious, and inoculate us from the real thing.
For those who would really like to know, is there a God, what is He/She/It like, awareness and clarity will come, in the right time and in the right place, in the skein of each person's life. I think in the days ahead, we all are going to experience some pretty unsettling events that will shake, and break, our foundations, and cause us to cry out for help, whatever form that help might be. Being put in helpless situations is sometimes called for so we assume the proper openness to, and recognition of, .... well, Truth? Reality, the Spirit, God, Love? Life? That which we then consciously experience, which is to us, a new power to go on, and which has now changed our viewpoint towards everything, I believe, is the experience of Christ, the awareness and expression of God in and through man. We are called ourselves to become sons of God, the very purpose of being a man. The power that is then touched makes all other forms of power insignificant and paltry ... other joys just a foretaste. One experiences oneself how "miracles" can and do occur, and what seemed so implausible before, or only a belief, is now experienced. One would, in fact, not be being honest with oneself to deny what one sees falling out all around oneself in such undeniable terms, as astonishing as it might be at first. "Faith" is now a power, a force, the very "substance" of things hoped for, not just believing something one really can not see or have reason to believe.
Someone else's vision of what their God looks like, to them, probably will do little for us. We each need our own vision or visions. We all experience daily clearly fantastic things by being alive, here on the Earth. Our bodies alone are miracle enough to leave us in absolute awe, still we poison them, misuse them, and ignore their signs of dis-ease. So how could we expect to understand or see God, when we do so poorly with the things closest to us, things we see moment to moment?
Given the most prevalent, popular depiction of what it means to be "spiritual" or religious, it is easier to understand why so many have cast off any association with the the term "Christian" and anything beyond the "normal" or "material". Seeing through and rejecting cultural forms and codification might well be part of an individuals life path before coming face to face with what IS. There are any number of ways to avoid or miss the "Truth", given the number of experiences that mimic and replace the Essential, one being alcohol or other substances, which temporarily give one the qualities of confidence, strength, and backbone which can only permanently result from the exercise of one's own Spirit within one's own being. When we come to rely on some substance (or even bodily produced substances such as adrenaline) we can gradually lose the use of our spiritual muscles by atrophy... losing our true backbone, our I-dentity, our Salt or savor, as it were.
If the force and energy that stands behind immanent creation, whatever it be, can create and sustain all this, then what a Power it must be. There is much more going on here than meets the eye. The power and wisdom required to arrange the fantastic synchronicities beyond physical cause and effect, is beyond the capability of my present minds eye to fathom. At first it was almost too overwhelming, just too incredible! These "coincidences" have themselves become very strong evidence of realities of which most persons do not become consciously aware.
It is well not to see too much too soon. It is probably well that I can't SEE what God looks like for I am sure I would be devoured in the Flame. I am thankful for Jesus and others who have, and do, manifest God in human form and convincingly show me there is a very real point to life, and unimaginable states of being yet to attain. A very interesting question. Jerry B
THE LION AND THE LAMB
A cut from a painting by Glenda Green
February 1, 1998
......that we are each free to believe what ever we wish to believe. If we are sincere in wanting to know the truth about anything, and earnestly search, things and circumstances are arranged that eventually the time comes where we will say, "I see." Each of us has to "see" for oneself. If it is an experience someone else reports, not a guess or an imagining, another's report can encourage us to look, and perhaps shorten the search. "Seek and you shall find." To hear that a search is worth the effort can be very helpful. To declare that there is Something that gives Life, purpose and Illumination to existence can be good news indeed. The living spirit, the power, and the love emanating from one who experiences these realities carries it's own validity in ways intellectual beliefs and religious doctrines and teachings cannot. Even though we might come upon such a person, basking in the Spirit shared, one's own soul patterns must eventually play out, and one's own spiritual individuality and identity unfold. Jesus' admonition, "Call no man teacher, or master, or Rabbi" is derived from this truth that each one must come to the Truth oneself. One must be born again into these realities.
We have to lead our own lives, and most of us make choices which often eventuate in great pain and anguish for ourselves and others. These dark days can bring us to firsthand knowledge of where we are, left on our own. A point may be reached where one's entire being becomes a cry for help, and by Grace, that which comes is the Answer, beyond words and conceptualization. Our religious training, our mental concepts of God and reality can not stand in for these moments, nor can someone one else's experience and beliefs. After direct experience, the words often quoted by religionists, and the words and writings of persons who themselves speak from such a Center, take on an entirely new meaning and significance. Until then, these were matters of belief. Now they become Faith, a powerful knowing, the very substance of things hoped for, actually changing our realities and the events that manifest in reality. A single eye, or "I" begins to form, and when enough persons live through this direction, and into the earth, exigencies and nitty-gritty events that arise through this Spirit, a new world can be formed, here in the physical. "Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven." Jesus' good news was that the Kingdom was now here, in our midst, closer than our very breath. Awaken to it, he cried.
I believe there is much more to existence and life than meets the eyes, and our other senses. Though it may seem that the coincidences that happen are only the result of simple, physical causes and effects, I believe each of us are spirits related in our very nature, to The Great Spirit that lies behind and through all that is. Our very purpose for being is to ourselves manifest that Spirit in the earth in all that we say, do and become. To be human is, or can be, no small thing, and when connected to our roots and open to our evolvement, we each can effect great change.
It seems to me, events, political and personal, all are leading to climactic moments of
history where every person will be faced with momentous crisis's, both inner and outer.
Some will come to revelation and expression of the Spirit which would make everything new,
others ride along with the forces of destruction and death, and the times of change will
occur very rapidly in the immediate years ahead. Some of us will have that Hope, and will
share it in numerous forms and circumstances. What appears calamity will clear the way for
new possibilities. It will be our purpose to lesson the panic and suffering as much as
possible. It is up to us to make it through to the New Day ... I
believe. Jerry B.
December 27, 1999
Science, and Spiritual Knowledge
I have come to see the obvious, that each person has to decide for himself or herself what's what. It seems nothing is vouchsafed. No matter what person, group of persons, organization, or school of thought is making a claim. We can not wait for authorities to tell us what is, or what is not: scientist, doctor, priest or psychic.
The danger is NOT taking what can be gained from each perspective, drawing arbitrary lines too soon. Science, for all the progress attributed to it, is prone to suffer loses due to dogmatism, like an individual will who becomes so enamored of his own perceptiveness that his horizons narrow and he attends to only matters that bolster his own conceptualizations and sense of esteem.
For thirty years I lived next door to the ARE, the Edgar Cayce place in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My wife and I knew Hugh Lynn Cayce, Edgar's son, and I would not deny that the stories he relates happened as he says they did. Hugh Lynn was an educated, scientifically oriented man, a deep thinker as well as an intuitive, himself. When he said that he and his family did not like to play cards with his father because Edgar could most anytime call out every single card in a unviewed deck, or someone else's hand, I had no reason not to believe him. Nor do I conclude that apparently responsible, sincere persons, with great mental acuity, I met at the Association, speaking from their experience, were fabricating, or misinterpreting their experiences. Individuals such as Chief Rolling Thunder, head medicine man for the Shoshone Indian Nation, (who stated that he had continuous memory of three lifetimes and the states in-between lives), or Joan Grant (an English author of several very readable books about past lifetimes) The many persons who weekly contact the organization, looking for some explanation of one or many facts "science" has little to say about, while certainly not all icons of stability or intellect, deserve more than what "Science" can offer, a seat in a laboratory, and an expectation to repeat the "singular" phenomena on their demand. To be met with disdain is not the need of these persons.
What does, or does not exist are not easily settled issues. Even my own experiences, let alone what someone else relates, do not forever rule out doubt and uncertainty, and this is as it should be. There are immeasurable side-tracks, illusions, and outright deceptions, both in the physical and para (next to) physical realms, and a healthy skepticism is definitely one's ally in these areas of study as well.
The greatest of humans, (and scientists) are humbled by what they find, and are opened
to wider realities, not closed off to them. To think that only things exist that can be
measured and sensed with our particular senses, now seems kooky to me. To castigate those
who suggest other "senses" which can perceive realms and non-physical dimensions
that give even this outer shell it's being now seems immature and shallow.
I have known persons who see auras, energies and lights around living things, who can differentiate etheric from astral levels, clearly define them, and give helpful counsel based upon it. From my own experience, and knowing these persons, it is easier, even with my innate skepticism, to believe that these are valid realities, than deny them. I am no longer abashed to say I accept the existence of spiritual worlds, given the chance to describe them as I see them: more real, more proximate, more fundamental, more primary than what we see with our physical senses. In them, we live, move, have our being. What we normally see and hear is just one very very small part of our existence, most helpful to be sure. Miracles do abound.
Our point of existence is not to lose ourselves in some otherworldly existence, but to get things together here well enough to explore all inner and outer universes, while still in the body. At some early point, given the grace and worthiness, one can move into a "place" called the Kingdom where these two, inner and outer, become one, and what we formally saw and heard as concrete and set becomes fluid and mellifluous. No thanks. I decline the offer to ignore these other realities just because they do not deign to manifest in the laboratory on demand. How foolish to forgo my birthright and only final source of satisfaction for the provisional theories and often times out-of-joint solutions of science.
There is also a science of spirit, requiring just as much, or more, objectivity and desire for the truth, than the most astute theorist or technician. To believe that only certain educational credentials or formula following methods can, or have, accessed these truths, is bunk.
There are so many, many things that lie beyond the kin of "natural",
"physical", professional science as we know it today. The phenomena of
Synchronicity, for instance: apparently causally unrelated, chance events happening
co-incidentally with some personal thought or significance. Or fortuitous events
that happen unexpectedly and apparently by chance, or as an apparent answer to prayer. I
suspect most of us have had some experience with these types of events, certainly
non-repeatable in a laboratory. We can write them off as coincidence, and pat ourselves on
the back for being objective. With enough genuine gratitude, we might be surprised how
often such occurrences can happen.
There is NO way that present physical science could explain or describe how things could be so arranged, and carried out in such perfect timing if it were NOT simple coincidence. Could we, or a scientist, even conceive of the power and the absolute mastership of any entity or force that could bring about such events in the physical? I can't. It demands an entirely different living perception of the nature of what is. How easy to say that with all the zillions upon zillions of events occurring moment by moment, extraordinarily bizarre permutations are also bound to occur. But the personal significance, and the effects played out in our lives are not personally addressed by such explanations. "There is much more than meets the eye" works better now, for me.
I am on the East coast, at the moment, with the woman I "chose" to marry, 3,500 miles from my origins because of such a startling "coincidence". A friend of mine attending the University of Washington in Seattle unexpectedly came to Oregon to visit me, having dropped out of school while undergoing paradigm shifts in goals and outlook as I had earlier. We had often discussed these subjects, and I had wished she could meet a fellow named Pete who was then living in Tacoma. I asked her if she would buy another small kaleidoscope toy like the one she had brought with her, and send it to him. I thought he would appreciate the novel effects. After she left again, for home, I was deeply concerned for her anxious state of mind, until a feeling of assurance that all was well came over me. A few days later I got a postcard saying, in effect, "Peter and I are married! We will be by to see you in a couple days, on our way to New York City. We will fill you in on the details then."
They told me this improbable story: When Gail got off the bus in Seattle, she went directly to the shop where she bought the kaleidoscope, had it wrapped, and took it to the post office. There was a long line. Waiting, she could not help but overhear two fellows behind her talking about things that very much caught her interest. When she finally handed the small package to the clerk, she heard "My G*d, that's me!" Pete just happened to be in Seattle, at the post office, behind her in line, and just happened to glance at the address. A day or so later, they married! I traveled East several months later to stay with them for a time, then drove down to Virginia to check out the Cayce place. There I met my wife to be.
To someone else, this may (or may not) be an interesting story. To me it was a MIRACLE, no doubt about it. We each make of whatever happens, what we will. I made it out as a new understanding for me, of prayer, a new understanding of faith ... not making myself believe something I couldn't quite believe, or that had not been tested by science, but instead a certain kind of KNOWING, quite substantial, (in fact the substance of things hoped for) that can happen in touch with numinous realities. We all have it, this faith. What we know, happens. What we see is what we get. To someone who says "nonsense!", to them, it is nonsense. When their day comes to face the Un-Ignorable, they too may have to deal with the anxieties of moving into unexplored territory, the self-doubt of seemingly being the only one to have such thoughts and sights, and the amazement and joy that such things can really be.
My sixty years have led me to believe that the knowledge of how to unleash nuclear forces is only one tiny manifestation of the powers and potential of men and nature. Super-nature contains much we would be foolish to prematurely rule out as impossible. A blind man really has no business arguing that there is no such thing as a rainbow, as much as it might help him accept the colorless world in which he lives. We can sympathize with his plight. Maybe, per-chance (?) someone, or some event, may came along and he will see. Jerry B
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