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The Man Who Dreamed


There was once a man who was on a quest to know more about himself and his place in the universe. As part of his journey, he asked God to show him four things. He asked to see himself as he truly was, and to see an angel, God and the devil as they truly were. He wanted to know if everything he knew about life was real. What was man made? What stories he heard growing up were real? He asked to see these things in a way that made sense to him, and he asked in the only way he knew how. He prayed. He asked that he could see, hear and understand all that he was meant to see, hear and understand, no more and no less.

Over several years, this man’s prayers were answered. One day while meditating, the man asked if he could see an angel as it truly was. He asked that he be shown an angel, not as he had been taught as a child and later believed as an adult, but as it truly was. As he lay there in a dark room without any lights praying/meditating, the room began to fill with light. It was a blue light. It didn’t seem to emanate from any one place. Instead, the light filled the room. It took no form, no shape. What stood out more than the light itself was the feeling that came with it. It was a feeling of peace and of love. As the light became brighter and the room was illuminated, the feelings of love and acceptance were intensified. But just as the light came, it slowly dimmed. The room became dark again.

Years later the man would pray again. He asked this time that he could see himself. He wanted to know himself as he truly was, and not as the physical form, which he knew this life to be. Again he prayed before he slept. Later that night he dreamed of himself in a cabin. At first this cabin was empty. Slowly it filled, first with a table, then a chair. The smell of coffee filled the room. A book then appeared on the table. The sound of birds could suddenly be heard outside. As the man stared out of the cabin, he could see the trees that surrounded him, and feel the warmth of the sun in the sky. As the man began to feel all the things that he saw, he woke. As the man woke, he questioned how what he saw was him. He did not recognize the book, or the table, or the cabin. He did not know of this place, or recognize the song the birds were singing. As the man questioned more, he began to realize, each piece of the dream was him. It was all him. Everything inside and outside of the cabin was him. The memory and feeling of all that he saw was him. The peace of the moment, and the frustration of trying to understand was all him.
Feeling as though he understood himself more, the man asked God that He show Himself as He truly was. He did not know what he would see, or whether he would be too frightened or not prepared to understand. He asked anyway. As the man lay there praying before bed, his vision disappeared. Everything became black. The ambient light of the room seemed to disappear. He could see nothing. He could hear nothing. It was as if everything around him had disappeared. As the man stared into nothingness, he saw a green light. It was in the distance. The man was baffled. He did not know if he was staring from inside a tunnel or staring into a light. As the man questioned, his sight and hearing returned.

The man was no closer to understanding. It did not deter him. Years later, the man would recall his dream about the cabin. He decided to ask God again if he could be shown his true self. He wanted to know what would happen when he would hopefully one day grow old and die. What would become of his soul, or his spirit? As the man sat there with his family, his sight began to fade. His hearing started to disappear. He could see nothing. He could hear nothing. Just as his surroundings began to fade, he saw a white light. It was not a single point. Instead it enveloped him. As he began to recognize this light, he no longer identified as “I”. His memories were there, but it was as if they were external to him. They existed, but not as a part of him. Fearing he would be lost, the man called himself back. Slowly he could see again, and slowly he could hear again.

Scared, but undeterred, and again in prayer, the man decided to ask God about the devil. He wondered again about the things he learned as a child. Later that night he dreamed. In his dream he saw the devil. He looked like a normal man. He did not have any horns or look like a monster. He looked like a normal man. As the man saw the devil, a white light shown upon the devil as he stood in a doorway. The devil could not move. It was as if the light has frozen him in his place. The man then asked the devil, “Why are you the way you are?” The devil responded, “I have forgotten. I forgot the love that created me.” In that moment, the man felt sorry for the devil. He realized that the devil was no different than him.

The man woke. In recalling his dream of the devil, he realized that he too had forgotten love. He realized that throughout time, the devil has been blamed for all the misdeeds of man. In seeing the devil he knew the error of his ways. In asking God to show him his true self, and to show him an angel, God and the devil as they truly were, he was asking the same thing.

Love is always there. It is everything and emanates from everything. When we forget, we become nothing. When we seek to separate ourselves, we again become nothing.

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Love is Like an Acorn


Acorns on the GroundLove is like an acorn. Many acorns drop to the ground from high up above. Some are buried. Some are taken by squirrels and other critters as sustenance. Others still fall onto infertile soil.

Every once in a while a great fire comes and ravages the entire forest. Nothing is quite the same. Charred tree tops and a blackened expanse are left in its wake. There is devastation. But under all that smoldering, and in the midst of all that seems hopeless, what was destructive has actually brought life and rejuvenation.

The fire in all its destruction has allowed some acorns to crack open and for seeds to be planted. And from these seeds, mighty oaks will grow. Into the sky like majestic reminders, they breathe life, and restore the beauty that was always there, the beauty that was never lost.

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Inspiration


When we read or see inspirational pieces of work, whether it’s a painting, sculpture or piece of writing, it’s easy to make the assumption that the person at the other end is somehow more knowledgeable, special or infallible in some way. From where must this inspiration come, many may ask. Does it come from a life of perfect bliss, an idealized reality or is it the result of living some pious and godly lifestyle?

It’s easy to think we are not worthy of some connection to our Creator, that what we’ve done in this life pales in comparison to what others may have done before us or what others seemingly do everyday. None of us are out of reach of the divine. We often see ourselves as separate and in many ways undeserving, but it is this imperfection that shows us the better side of who we can be and who we are.

Beauty is behind everything, even in the things we consider ordinary. But it is when we can take this beauty and be thankful for it, and show others how they too can have appreciation for what they have in themselves, that the true beauty of any work lies.

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How to Keep a Smile


Expect nothing of others, let alone oneself. Each person, each creature is an individual with their own needs and desires. What may seemingly be right for one may not be right for all, or even for ourselves in another moment in time.

Take each moment as it comes and treat every experience as a new one. Treat each interaction, whether it is with a stranger, someone you love or even with someone with whom you do not normally get along, as if it were the first interaction. Do not become a stranger but rather walk with an open mind and heart that you may always walk away with God’s or the universe’s best intentions realized.

Do not condemn before giving life and others a chance. Do not walk in blindness. Open the eyes of your soul that you may see the light of life in every being and in all that you do.

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Passing Trains


Understanding alone does not lend itself to enlightenment. Knowledge alone does not lend itself to wisdom. Compassion alone does not lend itself to sainthood. Where these three converge is the heart of true understanding, the heart of true wisdom and the heart of true compassion.

Through each of our experiences we create a picture, a picture of the human condition. Each is a unique opportunity for us all to learn from each other. The moment we discard someone’s experiences, someone’s path to understanding, we hinder ourselves from a greater understanding of the truth.

It is boundless, unconstrained by the bindings of a book, a prayer, the written word and the spoken word.  To seek a path closer to the divine, is to understand that each individual’s path is a personal and intimate relationship. It is a relationship with all that is and will be. And so when we seek solace in solitude or solace in our own path, we must remember that just outside, the universe is waiting. The divine is waiting.

Where our paths meet, another begins.

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Let it Burn


The artificial things we hold dear,
Let it burn.

The elegant drapes and expansive windows,
Let it burn.

The facade of success on a plate,
Let it burn.

We strive so hard to keep the picture perfect. We give meaning to the meaningless, and we stand, surrounded by an empty illusion. And though it crumbles before our sight, we do all we can to hoist up the madness. Beneath our feet we are weightless.

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Contradictory Forces


hand redirecting water“Enlightenment” and “want,” or “desire” are two contradictory forces. Whether these desires include the desire for material gains, worldly gains, or whether they include the want for peace, wisdom or knowledge, they distract from that which is. A desire for change is not necessarily bad, though that is often based on judgment dictated by our upbringing and expectations.

The act of wanting something is like a great hand being placed in a river and trying to redirect the flow of the water. The water will continue to flow. Which direction it flows is not by our choice. We may try to change the flow of the water by placing boulders in its path to prevent or redirect it but no matter what we do, it will keep coming. In some cases we are more successful than others, and what we desire comes to fruition.

However, what comes as a result of our actions is not necessarily what is meant to be. We are allowed that choice nonetheless. The water that was once flowing may stop and all that lies beyond may go to waste, or a new path may be created and what was once dead or inconceivable is given life. But what happens when we are gone, or there is more than one person or being who tries to exert their will on this river? Whose choice is the right choice? Whose choice prevails? Our desires may lead us in the same direction, or they may have us at each other’s throats.

Regardless of these desires, the river that is life continues long after we are gone. So although we may want some form of enlightenment and we may think we have a method of achieving this, the very desire that leads us to it, and the inclination that brings it to our attention, are the very things prevent us from understanding it. With each desire we change the very thing we seek.

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Meditation Inside Out


Spiritual understanding and peace are not just found in meditation. They are not just found in churches, mosques and other places of worship. Life itself is a spiritual experience.

Open your eyes from your meditative sleep and see all that is in front of you. There is no duality of body and spirit for all are the same. One need not escape the physical life in order to see and experience a spiritual life. Like two hands clasped together, they are the same, for hand in hand they go.

When we attempt to compartmentalize our spirituality, we defeat the purpose. We separate ourselves and place ourselves into a seemingly protective bubble. Instead of gaining understanding, all we have done is insulate ourselves from the parts that we have yet to accept. When we can learn to have the same peace outside of the bubble as inside of the bubble, then we have begun to understand ourselves.

Only when we bring the inside to the outside, can we fully embrace existence. God is not in a jar. Peace is not in a jar. Unconditional love is not in a jar. When we can share these with others without hiding from ourselves and without forcing another to be someone else, then we have found peace.

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From All Sides


If someone cannot understand you, do not force understanding upon them.
Share yourself.
Share your beliefs and expose your soul.

If someone speaks badly of you, do not try to justify yourself.
Take comfort in being yourself.
Take comfort that they too will find themselves.

If someone disagrees with you, do not try to convince them otherwise.
Speak the truth.
Speak plainly of what lays in your heart.

If someone seeks a confrontation, do not add to the fire.
Seek a peaceful resolution.
Seek understanding from all sides.

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When the Water Flows


water fallWhen the water flows let it be. Let it fall through every crack and crevice. Let it flow over every rock and leaf. When the water flows, let it follow the creeks and rivers. Let it nourish the thirsty. When the water flows, let it trickle down from the highest peak to the lowest valley. Let it bathe and cleanse. Let it refresh and bring life. When the water flows, bring it to the table of those who would drink. When the water flows, save not for tomorrow, but bask in the infinite. When the water flows…

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