Spiritual Teachings #39 Christian

Brother Lawrence “The Practice of the Presence of God”

Love Embracing the Beloved

“All things are possible to him who believes,

they are less difficult to him who hopes,

they are easier to him who loves,

and still more easy to him who practices

and perseveres in these three virtues…

Believe me,

count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.”

Brother Lawrence

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of

God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This article contains the Spiritual Maxims of one Nicholas Herman of Lorraine, a lowly born and unlearned man; who, after having been a soldier and a footman, was admitted a lay brother among the Carmelites Deschausses (bare-footed) at Paris in 1666, where he served in the kitchen of the community. He was afterwards known by the name of Brother Lawrence. He died in February 1691, at the advanced age of eighty, after a life the true saintliness of which can be well realized from his words of guidance.

“Herein you will not find set out a devotion which is merely speculative, or which can only be practiced in a cloister. No, there is an obligation laid on every man to worship God and to love Him, and we cannot carry out this solemn duty as we ought, unless our heart is knit in love to God, and our communion is so close as to constrain us to run to Him at every moment, just like little children, who cannot stand upright without their mother’s arms of love.”

Not only did Brother Lawrence perceive God as present in his soul by faith, but also in all events of life, whensoever they befell, instantly he could arise and seek the Presence of God. Yet he confessed that it was hard at first, that many a time he had been unmindful of this practice, but that, after humble prayer and confession to God of his failure, he had betaken himself to it again without trouble.

Of his life within God, his failures and attainments, he left a legacy of direction for those who would likewise seek “The Way, the Truth, and the Life in the Presence of God.” Thus his declaration most central to this undertaking was: “That the Presence of God can be reached rather by the heart and by love than by understanding. In the way of God thoughts count for little, love is everything.”

His one method of going to God and abiding in His Presence was to do all for the love of Him.

When we enter upon spiritual life, we ought to consider thoroughly what we are, probing to the very depth. Though creatures made for God, we are prone to all manner of maladies and subject to countless infirmities, which distress us and impair the soul’s health, rendering us wavering and unstable in our humors and dispositions. We must believe steadfastly, never once doubting, that all such is from God and for our good; that it is God’s will to visit us therein.

“Good when He gives, supremely good; Nor less when He denies. Afflictions, from His sovereign hand, are blessings in disguise.”

Brother Lawrence entreats us that we: “Must do all things thoughtfully and soberly, without impetuosity or precipitancy, with denotes a mind undisciplined. We must go about our labors quietly, calmly, and lovingly, entreating Him to prosper the works of our hands; thus keeping heart and mind fixed on God.

“That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to be diligent to reject them as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter at hand, or to our salvation; and return to our communion with God. When we are busied, as well as while meditating on spiritual things, even in our time of set devotion, whilst our voice is rising in prayer, we ought to cease for one brief moment, as often as we can, to worship God in the depths of our being, to taste Him though it be in passing, to touch Him though as it were by stealth. Since you cannot but know that God is with you in all you undertake, that He is at the very depth and center of your soul, why should you not thus pause an instant from time to time in your outward business, and even in the act of prayer, to worship Him with your soul, to praise Him, to entreat His aid, to offer Him the service of your heart, and give Him thanks for all His loving-kindness and tender-mercies?”

The Spiritual Maxims of Brother Lawrence systematically guides us through the means for attaining unto the Presence of God:

     1.     The first is a great purity of life; in guarding ourselves with care lest we should do or say or think on anything, which might be displeasing to God.

     2.     Second is a great faithfulness in the practice of His Presence, and in keeping the soul’s gaze fixed on God in faith, calmly, humbly, lovingly, without allowing an entrance to anxious cares and disquietude.

     3.     Make it your study, before taking up any task to look to God, be it only for a moment, as also when you are engaged thereon, and lastly when you have performed the same. And forasmuch as without time and patience this practice cannot be attained, be not disheartened at your many falls; truly this habit can only be formed with difficulty, yet when it is so formed, how great will be your joy therein.

     4.     Let us mark well, however, that this intercourse with God is held in the depth of our being; there it is that the soul speaks to God, heart to heart, and over the soul thus holding converse there steals a great and profound peace. All that passes without concerns the soul no more than a fire of straw, which the more it flares, the sooner burns itself out; and rarely indeed do the cares of the world ever intrude to trouble the peace that is within.

     5.     It is here therefore, in the heart, that we ought to strive to make a habit of this gaze on God; but that which is needful to bring the heart to this obedience we must do, as has been said, quite simply, without strain or study.

     6.     When the mind, for lack of discipline when first engaged in this practice, has contracted bad habits of wandering and dissipation, such habits are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our will, to things of earth. One remedy for this is to humbly offer prayer to God. A multiplicity of words in prayer is not advised; discursive forms of prayer are often an occasion for wandering.

     7.     One way to recall easily the mind in time of prayer, and to preserve it more in rest, is not to let it wander too far at other times.

     8.     This practice of the Presence of God is somewhat hard at the outset, yet, pursued faithfully, it works imperceptibly within the soul most marvelous effects; it draws down God’s grace abundantly, and leads the soul insensibly to the ever-present vision of God, loving and beloved, which is the most spiritual and most real, the most free and most life-giving manner of prayer.

9. Remember that to attain this state, we must control the senses, inasmuch as no soul, which takes delight in earthly things above those in their Creator, can find full joy in the Presence of God; to be with Him we must leave behind the creature.

Thus, Brother Lawrence compassionately entreats us to ‘seek and find’, to ‘knock and the door will be opened unto us’, for his final guidance is:

“All things are possible to him who believes, they are less difficult to him who hopes, they are easier to him who loves,

and still more easy to him who practices and perseveres in these three virtues…

Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.”

Just prior to the final moment when this lover of the Beloved passed away in the embrace of His Lord, a brother asked him if he was at ease and what his mind was busied with? He said: “I am doing what I shall do, through all eternity – blessing God, praising God, adoring God, giving him the love of my whole heart. It is our one business, my brethren, to worship Him and love Him, without thought of anything else.”

The brethren then begged him to entreat of God for them to possess the true spirit of prayer. Brother Lawrence, without pain or struggle, without losing in the slightest the use of any of his faculties, in perfect peace and calm replied:

“There was need of labor on my part also to make myself worthy of such a gift.”

These were his last words.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

The (Real) Meaning of Christmas

 

Quaerite Et Invenietis  “Seek and you will find”

 

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed”

 

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

-Dr. Seuss,  ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’

 

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”

-George Carlin

 

Merry Christmas to all on this most wonderful day of the year! This morning children everywhere will rise early in anticipation of opening their gifts, brought the night before by Santa Clause. Families will be together to share the joy and love of the Christmas Spirit. Christmas is celebrated in different ways all over the globe on or around December 25th.

Here in the U.S., families decorate the outside of their homes with festive lights and displays. Inside, stockings are hung over the fireplace to be filled with goodies and the Christmas tree is adorned with lights and decorations, and surrounded by gifts to be opened on Christmas morning. Later – the family, gathered together from far and wide – have a traditional turkey feast. But how did we come to celebrate Christmas the way we do?

We know that Christmas is an annual festival solemnizing the birth of Jesus Christ (or Jesus the Christ). It’s a religious and cultural celebration observed by billions around the world.

The gospels of Luke and Matthew state that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. The pregnant Mary and her companion Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, Jesus being born there. The Angels then heralded him as a Savior for the world.

Although no date is given in the Bible, early Christians connected Jesus to the Sun with such phrases as “Sun (not Son) of righteousness.” The Romans marked the Winter Solstice on December 25th, consequently, the first recorded Christmas celebration was held in Rome on that date in 336 A.D.

The word Christmas is a shortened form of “Christ’s Mass.” The word is recorded as Christesmaesse in 1038 and Cristes-messe in 1131. Christ is from the Greek Khristos, a translation of Hebrew Masiah or Messiah, meaning “anointed.”

The abbreviation ‘X-mas’ is based on the first letter Chi (x) in Greek Khristos. Christmas has been known by various names throughout history. Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as “Mid-Winter”. In Old English Geola (Yule) referred to the period corresponding to December and January which eventually became Christian Christmas. Noel (or Nowel) entered English in the late 14th century from Old French Nael, ultimately from Latin Natalis, meaning ‘birth’.

Christmas is celebrated in many countries around the world including many non-Christian countries due to periods of colonial rule, for example; Hong Kong. Another reason would have been  because of a countries Christian minorities, Japan is one such country, where Christmas is popular despite a small number of Christians. Many of these countries have adopted Christmas traditions such as gift-giving and decorating Christmas trees.

So that is the History of Christmas, but what about the true meaning of Christmas. I know sometimes here in the U.S. we forget what it is really about. Almost everybody here celebrates; even the atheists. It has become  more of  a commercial holiday, with the television news reporting more on how much Americans spent on the holidays than on stories about the real meaning.

We all know the real meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of a great man whose life was dedicated to spreading a message of love and peace. We should remember that the tradition of gift-giving is about the act of giving,  not receiving.

I love this quote from American author Steve Maraboli:

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

Let’s try to remember what it is all about this holiday season. Try to spread joy and love to those you encounter, and remember, it’s about a man two thousand years ago who just wanted us to all get along. Peace. In the words of Dickens’ Tiny Tim – “God bless us, everyone!

Merry Christmas

Joyeux Noel

Frohe Weinachten

Feliz Navidad

Buon Natale

Feliz Natal

Vrolijk Kerstfeest

Craciun Fericit

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narcdzenia

God Jul

Vesele Vanoce

Heri Ya Krismasi

Sheng Dan Kuai Le

Nollaig Shona Dhuit

Gozhgg Keshmish

*Please forgive any misspelling

 

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

 

Kelly Curtis

 

 

Science and Religion

June 30 2019

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality.”

Carl Sagan

It’s amazing how science and spirituality tie in together. Quantum physics string theory, the law of attraction. Many and more scientists are discovering this truth. The more we learn about the universe, the more spirituality emerges.

I quote Alber Einstein –

“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

I’ve often heard religious zealots argument for creationism dismissing all that science has learned about the universe. They dismiss Darwin’s theory of evolution; natural selection. The pseudo-scientific intelligent design argues against natural selection. They use evidence from two arguments. The first – Irreducible complexity – is the idea that biological systems shouldn’t be able to evolve by a series of small modifications to existing systems through natural selection. The second – Specified complexity – argues that some of the complex patterns seen in nature are unlikely to occur by chance.

We all know about Darwin’s natural selection: That over vast spans of time, small, random mutations change the lifeform. If the change is beneficial, that lifeform has a better chance of survival. If the change is not beneficial, the lifeform has less chance of survival, and the mutation doesn’t catch on so to speak. To these two groups of people there can only be one way. Their way. The religious believe God created it all. The scientists, that the universe and its lifeforms are evolving. Apparently, there are no religious persons with an interest in science, or any scientists that believe in God.

Honestly, has anyone thought beyond their beliefs long enough to realize that perhaps the universal intelligence that is God created the universe to evolve by natural selection? I believe that God created the creatures of this beautiful planet (including humans) to evolve but not haphazardly, relying on random mutations, but by design. If, as Darwin observed at the Galapagos Islands from the deck of the Beagle, certain creatures that were isolated evolved different features that better helped that species survive, wello, that has God written all over it.

We need to think outside the box, think things over. If you do, you might see that things that you were taught in childhood might make sense, or, just maybe, you see that something else makes more sense.

God created these beautiful minds so we could navigate the universe. Let’s not waste them.

May you always be

Healthy, happy

Safe and comfortable

Namaste

Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Essays #50

Morality and Nature in Good Vs. Evil

by Jayaram V

Nature does not seem to care much about what you consider morality or immorality. It aims to make you fit for survival, and arm you with skills and abilities to deal with the challenges you face in your life. It does not care whether you are moral or immoral and how you use those skills.

From Nature’s perspective, honesty, dishonesty, deception, truth, falsehood, love, hatred, violence, peace, cruelty, compassion, greed, lust, love, restraint, aggression, surrender, killing, non-killing, are mere strategies, which are meant to help you to work your way through the maze of life and emerge successfully at the other end without getting hurt or harmed.

Morality or immorality does not exist in Nature’s design. They exist in our thinking and belief only. We impose them upon our perception of the world and upon our behavior because of our beliefs (not truths) regarding life and salvation.

Nature does not care whether you speak truth or untruth, but whether you survive and succeed in life with the knowledge and intelligence give to you and whether it can rely upon your design and constitution to create similar species in future. In the laboratory of Nature, you are just another specimen, an experiment to collect data and adjust its future plans according to that.

Nature is not bound to morality or prejudice. It is an automaton, which works, with mathematical precision, according to the laws of Nature. Hence, its approach and action are free from the burden of morality and guilt.

When you view life from Nature’s perspective, certain facts become obvious, like the following.

  • Morality makes you weak.
  • Honesty makes you vulnerable to attacks.
  • Truth exposes you to innumerable risks.
  • People love sweet-talk but not honest criticism.
  • Tact and manipulation get things done.
  • The most successful people in life are those who habitually break the rules and get away with it.
  • People are more impressed by lies and the embellishment of truth rather than the truth itself.

People are successful to the extent they are in perfect alignment with the strategies. Nature intends them to use in their survival, and fail to the extent they align with their sense of morality and virtue.

Many such facts of life we glean from life itself become self-evident when we examine them closely. We tolerate them in the hope of an eternal life for ourselves and divine justice for all.

Truth triumphs rarely in the violence and commotion of life. This is the harsh reality of our existence upon earth. We have to deal constantly with the conflict between our natural instincts and our sense of righteousness, and between self-interest and our moral commitment.

Sometimes, we recognize the triumph of morality in case of a few people and put them high on the pedestal to remember that morality matters in our lives. People like Rama, Yajnavalkya, the Buddha, Jesus. They were failures in their lifetimes, and went through lot of agony when they lived upon earth.

Yet, we remember them because they help us to believe in the triumph of virtue and righteous living. However, when you remove them from the equation, all that you see is the triumph of nature, victory of expediency, cunningness, falsehood and opportunism over values and morals.

This is a battle in which you seldom know why you need to be good and self-righteous when the world around you moves on with its own agenda of self-promotion and self-preservation. It is a conflict between you and Nature, in which Nature seems to prevail when it replaces you and recycles you with a more adaptable, practical and flexible human being.

This dilemma is going to surface eventually when human beings succeed in creating advanced versions of self-sustaining machines based upon the human model with artificial intelligence. Then may arise a danger, which if we are not paying attention now, will prove to be the nemesis of the humanity.

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Rosicrucian Reflections #94

“True humility is not a sign of passivity. It is not a submission to the forces that oppose the essential needs of life, of self. Neither is humility an indication of personal weakness. The humble person realizes that there is no singleness to life. We are not isolated beings any more than a healthy cell is in a multicellular organism. Intelligent restraint so evident in humbleness is recognition of that Greater Self that must be served. This Greater Self is not an abstract, esoteric concept, or, a mere ideal. If humanity is a living social organism, then each human is a cell in that organism, the Greater Self. Aggression exercised solely for the needs of the Individual Self is a malignancy that can destroy the totality upon which all humanity depends. No aggression can advance us so far personally that we no longer need that sympathy and compassion which humility engenders.”

-Ralph M. Lewis

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Meditations And Blessings #94

Meditation

There is a yearning in me now,

Which follows a season of outbreath.

It is the longing for the seet inbreath

Of my spiritual nature.

And as my physical nature still urges me

To do,

Yet in my heart I know

My path leads me to be.

And I humbly hon or the do-er in me

That makes my world revolve.

But now I prepare to take my inbreath

at the center

Of my self.

The Blessing

You have brought me to the sun

And have filled me with its light.

You have strengthened my Will

And clarified my sight.

And now the eagle must fly

Back to the earth

And make ready to surrender

To the season of rebirth.

-Danaan Parry

*****

Please do what you can to protect our environment,

perhaps by cutting down on plastics.

If you can, get a water filter and stop buying plastic water bottles.

We’re running out of time. God bless all.

Seth Kelly Curtis

Buddha’s Quotes #45

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

You Don’t Need…

May be an illustration

You don’t need coffee; you need sleep

.You don’t need nicotine; you need to walk.

You don’t need to get drunk; you need to laugh out loud.

You don’t need wild sex; you need connection.

You don’t need to scream; you need to express yourself.

You don’t need to tragic; you need to listen.

You don’t need synthetic drugs; you need art.

You don’t need stimulants; you need a hug.

You don’t need TV; you need poetry.

You don’t need to buy; you need Nature.

You don’t need to judge, you need empathy.

You don’t need religions; you need questions.

You don’t need a partner; you need self love.

You need your self.

I need me.

Above everything you need inner peace, which requires harmony between the inside and the outside.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Don’t Just…

Don’t just learn, experience.

Don’t just read, absorb.

Don’t just change, transform.

Don’t just relate, advocate.

Don’t just promise, prove.

Don’t just criticize, encourage.

Don’t just think, ponder.

Don’t just take, give.

Don’t just see, feel.

Don’t just dream, do.

Don’t just hear, listen.

Don’t just talk, act.

Don’t just tell, show.

Don’t just exist, live.

-Roy T Bennett

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Don’t Just…

Don’t just learn, experience.

Don’t just read, absorb.

Don’t just change, transform.

Don’t just relate, advocate.

Don’t just promise, prove.

Don’t just criticize, encourage.

Don’t just think, ponder.

Don’t just take, give.

Don’t just see, feel.

Don’t just dream, do.

Don’t just hear, listen.

Don’t just talk, act.

Don’t just tell, show.

Don’t just exist, live.

-Roy T Bennett