What to Do

What to do? I think this is a good time in world history to repeat a classic story from A Course in Miracles. A Course in Miracles student is walking home after enjoying a group meeting on ACIM when he comes to a bridge over a river and he sees a young person standing on the railing screaming, “I am going to jump! I am going to jump! Don’t anybody try to stop me!” What does the ACIM student “do?” I’ll give you a little time to think:) …………You have an answer? It is a very good story to look at because right now, especially in the Western world, that despairing person on the bridge threatening to jump represents the way a lot of people feel right now, and it is only going to get far worse as the election season comes in full swing, or as England finally has to deal with Brexit!! The ACIM student represents all of us who can see what is happening in the world. OK here is the answer:  The ACIM student should not rush to do anything physically, like give the jumper a little lecture on “you’re so young. You have so much to live for;” nor a little ACIM lecture about how the physical world is unreal, nor offer to give the jumper a free copy of ACIM!  What he must do is be at Peace in that moment so that he can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit which will TELL him what to do, whatever that is will be in everyone’s best interest. Without His voice telling us, our ego mind has absolutely no way in the world to figure out what is best to do. Now that is true in the world right now which is caught up in an ego frenzy like we have not seen since the Nazi’s took over Germany!! Much of the Western World feels like they are just ready to jump! They thought they were trying one last thing to help change the system by electing Trump or voting for Brexit!!! But it didn’t work, of course. OF COURSE it didn’t work. It didn’t work for Germany when they tried with Hitler. It didn’t work with Italy when they tried with Mussolini. It didn’t work for the USSR when they tried with Stalin!! Voting in the Strong Man figure corresponds in our story to actually jumping off that bridge. But you get down in that river and the water is moving faster than you thought it was. You have no control and you are being swept away! You reach out and snag a hold of any branch of a tree sticking out from the bank and you scream for help. The young ACIM student is at Peace while witnessing this and the Holy Spirit says, “Go help her out of the river; dry her off; speak words of kindness to her, and when she is ready, take her to an inn where you can give her some hot soup and dry clothes. And then when she is ready, ask her if there is anybody she would like to call.” In an instant that whole instruction will be conveyed. The Holy Spirit will take charge of the situation.  You see the ego has us all hypnotized to believe that loving kindness is intrinsically stupid! There is wisdom that comes from Love when one makes a loving choice and the direction that the Holy Spirit will give you will be loving…for every one.  But first your mind must be at Peace. You can’t choose again for the Holy Spirit to be your teacher instead of the ego (which we all chose) while your head is full of chatter and you think you have only some thought out of that chatter to guide you!! Take a look around! See how good that has worked!!!! Back to our little story. Rewind now to the place where the ACIM student gets to the bridge and first sees the jumper. He stays in Peace because he has had practice at stilling the mind. His mind is ready to hear the Holy Spirit’s advice. The Holy Spirit says, “Go…..and…..” And he does. (hint: the wisdom within Love’s Presence will tell you what happened.) 

Joe at Johns-1a

A Letter to the Father

Many of you know the story of how I went to seminary and intended to be a professor; how I felt deeply I was in the wrong place but didn’t know where the right place was. One of my dorm mates was an opera buff who had every opera record under the sun and listened to them morning, noon, and night. I listened with him for the year and a half I was there. Something about those great voices grabbed me down deep somewhere in my psyche and I bought some and began listening to opera while I was studying. Then one evening, a strange thing (for me then) happened. I clearly heard an inner voice say to me “your characters could be your sermons; the stage could be your pulpit; the theatre could be your church; the audience could be your congregation.” Now go put feet to your faith.” This shocked me! Baptists do not hear voices! Maybe Pentecostals do but not us Baptists. You have to understand that I had never had any serious voice lessons. I sang in choirs and sounded no better than anyone else. But just before I heard the voice, I remember praying almost through tears, “Father please tell me what to do. I don’t feel like I belong here.” Maybe that is why I believed it. I took a little step by faith. This was a new kind of ministry. I left seminary and got a job. When I wasn’t working I was listening to opera. This went on about six months until finally one day I opened my mouth to see if I could make a sound like those guys on the records, and out came the operatic voice I have had since! A friend came by and said “Hey, you’ve got quite a voice. You ought to enter the Met Auditions.” I didn’t know what they were but I said sure. I filled out the application, got some music for some hard bass arias and set to learning them by listening to records. I went down to sing the first level of the Met Auditions in Tulsa and had no expectations. I just sang and was named one of the winners. I was even given an apprenticeship with the Santa Fe Opera and the Tulsa Opera sponsored me and gave me grants. I thought to myself, “Gee, this opera business is a snap.” I had absolutely no social preparation to help me deal with this new profession. And I found out that not everybody would like me. I would have real enemies to fight. But I did my best, sang big roles in big houses. I made some mistakes and after singing in this world 11 years I made a personal mistake that took me off the stage. I kept thinking I would find a way to get back on, but I never did. I became a university teacher instead. But all through this era my heart was aching that I had failed in this new ministry that I had been divinely given. Friends were well meaning when they said, “It’s all in the past. Just move on!” But they didn’t understand the miracle I had been given and how deeply it had hurt me to feel I had not fulfilled what I had been given. I was still a minister at heart even when I was an opera singer.

Today, I wrote a letter to God and made a little boat with my recordings in it and my reviews, and I set it on the ocean when the tide was going out. I am going to share with you that letter.

Dearest Father,
I know that you know my thoughts and that you are here now as I type these words, but it is good for me to write to you this way. I love you with all my heart Father even though I scarcely know how to love, even scarcely know what it is. But you know me and knew me since before all time when I was and still am a part of you. I am a thought in your mind. It feels like I have been away from you a long time, but I know that is not true. I have just been dreaming a dream which to me seems long, but it really was over a long time ago. I am not making very much sense am I? I feel your heart in mine, dear Father. I have almost come for the time to leave this body and set sail again within the world of spirit. It is all a part of the dream which you can’t know because you know that I am safely inside your Mind. Thoughts leave not their thinker. But the Holy Spirit came with me into my dream. He witnessed my birth into this imaginary world. He saw how I so often thought of you. He saw as I viewed my part in my dream as a hero who would help people to remember you. He saw our Song awaken in my heart and formalize itself into a singer in this dream world. My career as an opera singer was the most important thing in my life because you gave me the gift to sing. Your Holy Spirit told me in Seminary that “my characters could be my sermons; the stage could be my pulpit; the theatre could be my church; the audience could be my congregation.” Then your Holy Spirit said to me, “Now go put feet to your faith.” I believed it Father. I knew it was True and that it came from you. I went into this strange, cruel, but wonderful world of opera and I sang with all my heart. I was surprised when some people didn’t like me, because my voice was from you. Along the way I sang as best as I could and I thought of you every time before I went on stage. I made some personal mistakes which I know you have forgiven me for. But I had a hard time forgiving myself for them. They took me out of the world of opera and took away my stage where I had my church. I felt like such a failure. I so wanted to use my voice to help others awaken. I thought my tears would never end for the loss of my career as a singer. You could not know my dream, of course, though you knew I was dreaming. But the Holy Spirit saw and felt everything that happened to me. He saw my tears and my broken heart. He saw the way I had to work in a cruel, cruel world of opera where the men who ran it were asleep in their own dreams of indifference, hatred and usury.
But Father, after the dream of opera changed, I learned more and remembered more. A new dream of awakening into love’s Presence came to me. On the shores of Burnaby Lake with beautiful ducks and geese, birds and fish, water and flowers, I remembered us more. That dream of awakening is still playing out in me. Father, I loved singing, but I give it back to you now as my gift to you. Here in this little boat that I have set adrift to the ocean, there is a computer stick, with all my songs, and all my reviews. They are my gift of thanks back to you for the song we share. Now I will finish the work I began at Burnaby Lake. I will fully remember you and see the face of Christ in all my brothers, even the dark ones who dream nightmares, and who will laugh at the silly old man who writes to God. But that is OK. I do not care. We can speak now all the time if you want Father. I have nothing on my mind but you…and my brothers because I keep seeing the face of Christ in them!

Your Loving Son,
Joseph

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The Body was made as a place God could not Enter.

You who made the body made it as a little temple for illusions. Believing it a place where God could enter not, you created it to house all your illusions. Every little pain and thought of separateness you hid within its tissues. Every horrible thought of a world without love you poured into the mold of the body, and thinking each thought safe from investigation you left it there and denied it. Every thought of fear and attack found its home within this sickly little temple you made to pain. This sickly little temple to pain cannot abide Love’s Presence. It would move through each sad tissue of the body with loving touch and release those illusions that you believe in so dearly. Every memory of abuse you suffered and the image of your abuser would have to go with the entry of Love’s Presence. And so you have gone through the years, holding your illusions and their painful presence, wrapped tightly within the tissues of this little temple, almost forgetting them, except when they escape from a Loving touch, a sweet smile, a caring thought from others, the touch of a cat that loves you so much this little brother has chosen to live his life with you. At their release the body for the moment feels weakened, so accustomed to being the bearer of sadness, and so sure that it is a victim come here to this life to stagger and die. Now do you see how deeply you have been misled by illusions of pain and evil. They have lived within the sinews and muscles of this body temple, asking for release, and you denied them. Letting them go seems too much to you. You fear that the body could not live without them. And yet there is a welcome little touch that would allow them to quietly leave and make room for Truth. You have not yet felt the Truth for which you seek, that you are still as God created you. “The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions.” Touch someone today with Love, a little pat, a touch of the hand, or maybe more. God’s son is waiting for someone to touch him and begin the flood of release that will save him, and you with him.
bench into eternity

Practical Mysticism

I have evolved a long way since my Southern Baptist ministerial days! I began my theological life as a liberal Southern Baptist theologian! There is a contradiction for you to ponder!! I moved to a Bultmannian, Tillichian liberal Protestant theologian, and then to an adherent of the Primordial Tradition in the school of   Rene GuenonFrithjof SchuonJulius EvolaHarvey Spencer LewisAnanda CoomaraswamyElémire ZollaAlain DanielouJean-Louis MichonGottfried LeibnizAldous Huxley, and Plato. While Plato came the closest to satisfying me, in the end he did not! That satisfaction was reserved for the modern scripture, A Course in Miracles, when it came into my contact.  It brought together the truths of Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Perennialism and modern psychology in a unique way. It remains the most satisfying theological system I have come in contact with! Therefore, my past decade or more has been devoted to an experiment in practical application of the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles. The system is very close to Platonic and Neo-Platonic thought, yet also provides the ultimate Advaita of the Hindu Vedanta. I am an  Advaita Vedantin following the Metaphysical path of A Course in Miracles. At the practical level it has been my intention to see if I can live in the perspective and awareness of Oneness rather than the duality that is the common perception in this world. When I first approached this I spoke with my friend, Dr. Ken Wapnick, if it were possible to live a non-dualistic life in a dualistic world! He responded, “Of course! That is the purpose of A Course in Miracles. It takes a lot of hard work but it can be done.” He should know. He did it. Now that he has left his body, he has left us with an example of one who did just this in his life!

I have had some limited success in living out an awareness that is Advaita. I say “limited” because the longest I have maintained that awareness was six weeks. Yet those six weeks were the culmination to me of my theological quest. Other ACIM students have made similar attempts. The students of Tara Singh have, since his “death”, been meeting together to hold practical sessions on “Objective Thought.” That is essentially Advaita. Objective thought would not project the opposite!!! “Objective thought” would be impersonal, loving thought, shared with God! What would it be like to experience our thoughts shared with God? To me, the practical application of that would be an awareness of “not two.”  Writing about this is extremely difficult! It would take, myth, prose and poetry to approach it. I attempted to do that in a connected series of writings I called “The Beloved and I are One,” in which I used my experiences at a nearby lake to serve as an artistic attempt to convey this experience in practical mysticism. It was good enough to get me my Doctor of Theology degree, but the experiment continues, the quest goes on until I can steadily hold the thought that “the eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me!” Then Peace shall reign over the storm and in stillness shall the voice of God be heard!

 

Getting this thing called Enlightenment

“The Holy Spirit’s function is to take the broken picture of the Son of God and put the pieces into place again. 2 This holy picture, healed entirely, does He hold out to every separate piece that thinks it is a picture in itself. 3 To each He offers his Identity, which the whole picture represents, instead of just a little, broken bit that he insisted was himself. 4 And when he sees this picture he will recognize himself. 5 If you share not your brother’s evil dream, this is the picture that the miracle will place within the little gap, left clean of all the seeds of sickness and of sin. 6 And here the Father will receive His Son, because His Son was gracious to himself.
T-28.IV.9. I thank You, Father, knowing You will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. 2 Your Holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. 3 And they are joined because what is in one is in them all. 4 How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! 5 THE FORMS THE BROKEN PIECES SEEM TO TAKE MEAN NOTHING. 6. FOR THE WHOLE IS IN EACH ONE OF THEM 7. AND EVERY ASPECT OF THE SON OF GOD IS JUST THE SAME AS EVERY OTHER PART.” (ACIM T.-28.IV 8-9)

What would it mean if we really got this? How would we change our relationship to the planet and all its seemingly separate things? If we really saw that every rock and tree, every blade of grass, every animal, every person is a part of the Son of God, would we ourselves not be changed? We would also see ourselves as Holy, as part of God’s Son, and the “WHOLE IS IN EACH” of the parts. Like a hologram which contains the whole within it, every byte of sensory data we call “the world” contains the whole of God’s Son! How holy is your cat and dog? How Holy are your children? How holy is this planet? When we see that, we won’t want to abuse anything!!! And UNTIL we see that, we will go on with the abuse until the planet is destroyed!!!!

So this thing called “enlightenment” is not just some abstract concept for Eastern eggheads!!!!!! It determines whether this planet continues. Let us look at it from both sides of the mind, wrong-mindedness and rightmindedness. In wrong mindedness we began as the One dreaming Son believed the ego’s lie that he had in fact separated from Heaven and was now fearfully on the lamb from an angry God who wanted to destroy him for his “sin” of leaving Heaven. In fear the Son ran out of his Mind, “so to speak” and dreamed up a physical universe in which to hide from God. As He enters it (“Big Bang” indeed) he shatters into all the pieces of the universe, and in this dream, he seems to evolve into more and more complex creatures in which to hide from God.

Lesson 241 in A Workbook for Students tells us: “The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear except love’s absence? Thus the world was meant to be a place where God could enter not, and where His Son could be apart from Him. Here was perception born, for knowledge could not cause such insane thoughts. But eyes deceive, and ears hear falsely. Now mistakes become quite possible, for certainty has gone.” The senses were made to deceive! So in this kind of perception (wrong mindedness) we began in this universe, forgetting the Truth of Oneness, exchanging that Holiness for the separateness of fragmentation, out of fear!!! So when we see the world as a “thing” for us to exploit, we are acting in fear and the destruction of the planet is inevitable with fear. Fear causes us to be more and more defensive and defensiveness invites attack. “If I defend myself I am attacked.” Defenses will inevitably kill the world….and that would make no difference at all except for the fact that we can attain to “right minded perception.” The Holy Spirit came with the Son into this universe and He whispers to you and me the Truth of Oneness we are afraid to hear. Skilfully He moves us to forgive our brothers, not to hold grievances, not to have attack thoughts, and little by little we can climb back up that ladder of consciousness we came down on. This is the true ascension!! We can go back up the ladder, and then the world changes in perception to a shining reflection of Heaven, so beautiful we would love it as we love God. This is the Salvation of the world and God has given us the job of saving it, not by judgment or evangelical proselytizing but by the offering of our minds to God, ceasing our attack on him by individualization and sporting uniqueness. Who could do that when you have an experience that everything is your brother and a part of you? The animals are not less than you. I once heard a very spiritual man say a very wrong-minded thing. He said that animals lack the capacity to know beyond their senses! I was so amazed! I thought, my God this man has never had a relationship with an animal! Animals transcend the senses all the time! Create a holy space by quietness and see how quickly the cat becomes a Buddha! Take a dog to a suffering child and see how quickly the dog begins to cure the child. Do your best meditation, climb as high as you can on the ladder of consciousness and you will discover the mind of your cat has followed you there!! The idea that only man can become enlightened is a very clever trick of the ego, designed to make some broken parts of the Son of God more important than others. Then you open the door to “specialness” which the ego loves and which is based on fear, not Love.

We must get this! We must do our lessons. In eternity it does not matter. This little crazy idea was corrected in an instant in eternity, but it is playing itself out in the eons of time. In time, it makes a difference whether we extend love or fear. It makes a difference if there is a beautiful planet called earth where we can learn our lessons by taking on these dreamy bodies and living out our little dramas so we can undo fear and experience love’s presence.

 

This beautiful magical day of the eclipse

This beautiful magical day of the eclipse I went to Burnaby Lake to see The Beloved. The Beloved is the Divine Presence in all things. The Beloved is the Divine One that manifests all things. She is the Divine passion. She is the True One, and she will show herself to you if you care enough to quiet your mind. Bring the mind to stillness. She will come. Today the energy of the Lake is full. Beauty still exists in the flowers and leaves even though winter approaches. It is as though The Beloved is holding up her beauty for all to see as long as possible before the long winter sleep. The ducks frolicked today as though it were summer, and yet the darkness in the photos shows the approach of winter. As you look at the pictures, be open to see the divine.

The most magical creature in the marsh is the Blue Heron. Today he sat in Eagle Creek, which feeds into Burnaby Lake, for a long photo shoot, just for me. The Beloved is so kind to me. She knows how I love the Blue Heron. The cycle of life was on display today. Salmon have made their way from the ocean, up through the Brunette River, over the Dam, into Burnaby Lake, and back into Eagle Creek so they can spawn in exactly the same place where they hatched. I saw them coming back from Eagle Creek, spawned out, ready to die in Burnaby Lake. The Blue Heron was feasting on dying Salmon. Tonight the Black Bears will be out in force, along with the Minks, to dine all night on Salmon. The beauty of the cycle was so moving, it brought me to tears, not for sadness but for joy and beauty of the way The Beloved has manifested Her nature. I am part of that manifestation. The immensity of The Beloved is mine as well. I am a part of Her and she is more than a mother to me, more than a lover. She is the beauty that comes with the dawn and shines through the twilight. She is the glory of the night, in whose beauty she walks. She is the song of the birds which delight my heart. She is the Blue Heron who came today, not just for his Salmon, but for my heart. The beauty of this place owes itself to my heart. The Beloved is in all things because The Beloved is in me, and in her is my heart full, and Love stands still in a marsh that knows no time. Only in eternity is such Love found. I have found The Beloved in me…and I am Home for all ages…at Burnaby Lake♥♥Namaste dear ones.♥♥♥

The Beloved and The Full Moon

I am so looking forward to the full moon, Tuesday for us. I will dress in my biggest parka and go to Burnaby Lake right at twilight to fulfill my promise to my duck and goose brothers. I promised them that in the cold of winter I would come and feed them and whisper thoughts of Spring and the return of life to the marsh. Most of them have wintered over, although most of the geese head south for Atlanta. I have missed my marsh. The PLeroma has been sleeping in me as well as the marsh, incubating…what, we know not. One cannot force the Beloved to show herself to you, much less to hold you in her embrace. Sometimes she sleeps. You know she is there but one cannot force her to awaken and come to you. She sleeps and you love her as she sleeps. While she sleeps, you “DO.” You act in the world using the inspiration she has already given to you. But when She comes to you, you sleep in her. She takes you into her Oneness, and any thought of doing ceases. There is just indescribable Love and Advaita–“Not two,” just One Love. You stay in this state happily. Who would want to leave it. I stay in it and let little words trickle out from it to you my dear ones. But I cannot “do” in this state, nor do I want to! And so our life with the Beloved, while we are here (or believe we are here) in a dualistic world, is a pulse of “Be”…and “Do.” Bedobedobe…or dobedobedo! There will come a time when the time for doing will be finally gone and we can rest in The Beloved, having gladly given up our little desire to do. Resting in Her we will be fulfilled. Until then I am content to await for her awakening in me and in nature. She will call to me in the rustling breeze in the tree tops. She will expose herself to me in the flowers that come in Spring. She will enchant me with the wonders of nature: courtship love among the ducks and geese; ducklings and goslings on parade through the marsh; fields of daffodils filling the lake; busy beavers building their lodges; birds making love in their nests; the Spring rains showering little newly hatched heads, scurrying for cover under Momma’s wings, and all through the wonder, the presence of The Beloved will call to me and I will answer. Together we will make planets and stars blush as we share a coupling greater than any we have forgotten. The Beloved and I are One, and as One I will sleep within her as all-encompassing Love that has no opposite, nor any need for doing. All this I will whisper into the ears of my duck and geese friends Tuesday at twilight, just before the Full Moon arises in all her glory.
Full Moon

The Beloved and I at Burnaby Lake

This beautiful magical day of the eclipse I went to Burnaby Lake to see The Beloved. The Beloved is the Divine Presence in all things. The Beloved is the Divine One that manifests all things. She is the Divine passion. She is the True One, and she will show herself to you if you care enough to quiet your mind. Bring the mind to stillness. She will come. Today the energy of the Lake is full. Beauty still exists in the flowers and leaves even though winter approaches. It is as though The Beloved is holding up her beauty for all to see as long as possible before the long winter sleep. The ducks frolicked today as though it were summer, and yet the darkness in the photos shows the approach of winter. As you look at the pictures, be open to see the divine.
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The most magical creature in the marsh is the Blue Heron. Today he sat in Eagle Creek, which feeds into Burnaby Lake, for a long photo shoot, just for me. The Beloved is so kind to me. She knows how I love the Blue Heron.
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The cycle of life was on display today. Salmon have made their way from the ocean, up through the Brunette River, over the Dam, into Burnaby Lake, and back into Eagle Creek so they can spawn in exactly the same place where they hatched. I saw them coming back from Eagle Creek, spawned out, ready to die in Burnaby Lake. The Blue Heron was feasting on dying Salmon. Tonight the Black Bears will be out in force, along with the Minks, to dine all night on Salmon. The beauty of the cycle was so moving, it brought me to tears, not for sadness but for joy and beauty of the way The Beloved has manifested Her nature. I am part of that manifestation. The immensity of The Beloved is mine as well. I am a part of Her and she is more than a mother to me, more than a lover.
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She is the beauty that comes with the dawn and shines through the twilight. She is the glory of the night, in whose beauty she walks.
Full Moon
She is the song of the birds which delight my heart. She is the Blue Heron who came today, not just for his Salmon, but for my heart. The beauty of this place owes itself to my heart. The Beloved is in all things because The Beloved is in me, and in her is my heart full, and Love stands still in a marsh that knows no time. Only in eternity is such Love found. I have found The Beloved in me…and I am Home for all ages…at Burnaby Lake♥♥Namaste dear ones.♥♥♥

THE BELOVED And I, Joseph Shore: A Collection of Writings about the Beloved

THE BELOVED

And I, Joseph Shore

 

Thunderstorms brought cooling rains to an overheated British Columbia coast, along with an incredible display of lightening. People sat on their porches and clapped and yelled in pleasure like they were watching fireworks on Canada Day. Today is cool and calm and my overheated long haired Himalayan cat is grateful. The energy of the day is sweet and slow. I can’t wait to get to Burnaby Lake tonight to see how the ducks and geese are fairing. We are getting so close now to giving up all illusions of particular identity. The sight of the Beloved is everywhere. I see her now in all forms, even the forms we call “bad” here in this dualistic world of opposites. I AM The Beloved. The jig is up. I have seen behind the curtain! There is just One of us here. Call him/her many names. They will all work. The Course calls him The Son of God, but that terminology is just meant for those who use the Bible and need their information corrected. As a name it is just a form. The Truth of the One may also be expressed as the sacred feminine and that is why I call her “The Beloved.” The first creation of God, She is, in a spiritual universe of One-ness, no different from God. There is no place God ends and The Beloved begins. They are One. And we are One in The Beloved. Namaste, my beauties♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

The night air glistens with stillness. The birds have retired to their nests but the sounds of night fill the air with a symphony of equal beauty. In the distance Coyotes sing their haunting song. Can you hear the Melos? Owls make comment in staccato. The cicadas sing their hypnotic tune. The sounds of night are magnificent and the Melos is in them. Within this nocturnal fortissimo, my mind comes to stillness. No thought intrudes. And in this stillness I see You. Your immensity is on display in my heart. Your boundlessness approaches me with a waiting kiss. I have beheld your Glory. You, it has always been You, my Beloved, my Enchantress, my Eternal Magician. What new form will you take to hide your immensity? I will seek You until I find you, hiding in the form of your choice. I will find You and join with You in a coupling forgotten from the foundation of time. Ecstasy…and we are One

 

Burnaby Lake has been my teacher for 25 years. I cherish and respect her as I would any other teacher. On these shore I have learned Oneness, not in some abstract way, but through the breeze rustling through the tree tops, the fragrance of the flowers, the beauty of the little flowers on the raspberry vines; and then the majestic beauty of Sandhill Cranes and Blue Herons, beautiful wood ducks, and all the fisher birds and the great Canadian Geese. My ego thoughts still; the chatter of the brain is stopped, and I am left with this immensity with which I fully identify. There are many minds within this immensity besides mine; the flowers, animals, ducks, geese, fishing birds, et al. We share this immensity and we are in truth all One Spirit and I am filled with love for all things. This full identification of one Self with the immensity IS Love. Yet it also brings something deeper. At times I see past the lake and instead see only the Beloved summoning me to join with her in embrace. I have channeled so many lines to you about the Beloved. Do you understand that the Beloved is God to me! She presents Herself to me as feminine. The full moon is the best time to see the Beloved. I shared this with you last year, but it bears repeating:

 

Dear Ones, I want to share the magic sight of the Beloved with you. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

I went to my holy place tonight. Two hours before sunset I went to the water fowl sanctuary at Burnaby Lake, a place that I have often written about in my blogs. This wonderful marsh is capable of bringing my mind to astonishment and peace. I am struggling for words to describe what I experienced tonight. As I entered the marsh lands I visited the gardens at the nature house, this garden that I know through the seasons. The Spring garden has now grown into a Summer garden with tall wild flowers of indigo, yellow, and red colors. The Honeysuckle still perfumes the garden. Bees, slugs, and hummingbirds do their work. The garden is alive and the presence of the Beloved is in all things, and enters me. As I am filled with the garden, my thoughts slow down, my mind stills, and tears come to my eyes for it is the Beloved that I see. The blackberries are thick on the vines, though they are not ripe yet. Marsh wrens and redwing blackbirds sit in the trees by the garden and give their little cries. As I go to the waterfowl sanctuary there is a fever of life going on. Mallards, wood ducks, tiels, pied-billed griebes, long-billed dowitchers, belted kingfishers, swim in circles, fish for food, nibble at grain thrown by children, young and old. The marsh is now thick with lily pads and the beautiful white lilies are still adorning the area. There is a rush of life. The full moon has energized the entire marsh. Ducks take off in flight from the water, their bell-beat of their wings sings the Melos of all things. They fly in circles, half a kilometer in diameter and then land back in the marsh in perfect precision. They are flying for fun!! They are drunk with the power of the full moon! The griebes, the dowitchers, the marsh wrens, the swallows are all drunk. The twilight comes, and the sleep drunk beavers reluctantly leave their lodges and glide through the lilies. There is but One here in this paradise. The BELOVED is showing herself in all the myriad forms of life, flowers, bees, birds, ducks, geese, kingfishers, so elegant they bring tears to my eyes and take my breath away. The baby ducklings I observed as hatchlings in the Spring have survived the eagles and crows and now swim with their mothers as beautiful young Mallards. Tiels, now unmated, swim in elegance among the wood ducks, and just when my heart can take no more, the Beloved shows me a tree in the distance and the most prized of sights in the marsh, the Blue Heron has come to show himself in elegance, splendor and beauty which takes the breath away and breaks my silence with tongues of angels coming out of my mouth, joining the sounds of the marsh. I AM THE BELOVED. I am not particular. I am part of this marsh and it a part of me. The twilight comes and empties its peace into the magic already on display. Peace and grandeur now mate in this place of wonder which is my heart as well. Tears cannot be stopped now, nor my tongues of angels. Fish come to the surface just to see me and I greet them with peace. The ducks and geese know me by heart, sight, and smell, for I am part of them. Oh, the Beloved, the Beloved, Thou who manifests all things for my heart. I and Thou are One and Oneness is all that inhabits this holy place. Consciousness is but a silly thing. This wondrous Oneness flows, uninhibited by consciousness. The flow is all there is, shaped as ducks, birds, flowers and me; there is nothing but the flow and this flow knows only a love that is so deep and impersonal that it obeys the moon and my heart. What need is there for words when there is the One, the Beloved. And in the top branch of the tallest true tree, the crowning joy and wonder of the marsh itself, the Blue Heron. Time has stopped but my heart is full and overflowing. In this place I am not a body. I am the Beloved. Wondrous Beauty and Timelessness have mated to form ME. I am the Beloved. I wait in this wonder until twilight has passed and the sun has set. Life is still full in the marsh. Ducks who would normally be in their beds, their bills tucked under their wings are still at play, scuffling with one another in a virtual frenzy of love’s presence. This is That!!! Love’s Presence has manifested as a marsh and as me. In the distance, an eagle flies across the lake to her nest in a far tree; a coyote sings its dour song and I know time has come for me to reluctantly leave this paradise for the night. Black Bears will be coming out soon, along with the minks and muskrats. The Beloved is such a shape shifter but Love is her only name and Oneness her garment. I have stilled the mind through tears of love for the Beloved, seen her naked in the twilight, her beautiful form more lovely than any woman I have known. No breasts are this lovely. No thighs this shapely; no legs this elegant. No thought of union this deep has entered the carnal mind. The Beloved and I are One and I am changed for it. The darkness has to pull me away from the marsh. I do not want to leave. How can I leave? How can I leave? I have seen through the Veil. I have seen that which we all seek for! I am that which we all wish to be! I am no longer a man, but the Beloved who gifts me with manhood and shows me my greatness in a beauty which cannot be spoken for it has no name. In tears I unlock the car door and so reluctantly become particular again. But it is all a ruse. I sit in top of a tree in the form of a Blue Heron. I pluck bits of grain as a long billed dowitcher, I nibble on lilies as a moon-struck beaver. I AM THAT I AM and there is nothing else. I AM THAT I AM. There is nothing else. There is nothing else. There is nothing else. My dear Ones, together with me in the Beloved, there is nothing else…but the FULL MOON in all its Glory!

 Full Moon

La Bella Luna Piena

This beautiful full moon tonight was wonderfully special. It gives such serene energy, mellow, and rich with gratitude. Use the energy to forgive someone today.

I went to my beautiful marsh, Burnaby Lake. The summer garden by the Nature House is now almost gone, but traces of its beauty still remain. I visited with the flowers, told them how much I loved them and what a wonderful job they had done this year. I petted the flowers and told them they were still lovely as I took their pictures. And then, I was overcome with tears by a visit from my old friends there in that holy place. My immensity returned to me and with it my stillness. These beloved gifts I gave to myself there in the presence of that autumnal garden. I thanked the Honeysuckle vines and kissed them. I plucked the last blackberries and thanked them for their sweet taste, and then I headed for the lake to see my ducks, geese, and waterfowl friends. Right away it was obvious that the ducks and geese reflected the serene energy of the moon. They were not frenetic in flight the way that had been in the summer full moons. They were all gently a chatter but not terribly interested in flying anywhere. People had come in droves to the waterfowl sanctuary for some reason unknown to most. They fed the ducks and scurried back home. The night air cooled to a Canadian chill before the grand arrival of La Bella Luna. First we were treated to a spectacular sunset with purple, orange and yellow colors reflecting off the cloud and pouring out its light on to the lake. Then finally the full moon rose and her sweet energy filled the marsh. She arose late tonight and towards her winter tilt, but there she was, In all her glory, looking slightly pink within the clouds. I just thanked the ducks, geese and waterfowl for their beauty and love. I thanked the marsh for another year of experience with her. I am that marsh. Those ducks are a part of me and I of them. That lake is my blood and I am its life. We are joined together in a song and dance of remembrance that makes Heaven blush. Shameless love fills my place and I am at peace. My heart has forgiven every one. I have forgiven the world. And now Heaven’s splendor radiates so strongly from every blade of grass, every blackberry vine, every flower in the garden, every duck and goose, every lily pad. The world that I had once made out of fear is gone with the past. The world I see now is a part of me and I of it and all a part of God. In the splendor of the grass do I walk, as each duck, bird, squirrel, beaver and muskrat. I am the great Blue Heron. I am the fishes he feeds on. I am the beaver in his den and the children he cares for. I AM THE FULL MOON AND THE UNIVERSE OF WHICH IT IS A PART. It is all me, not “Joe Shore.” He is just a body and a character I am playing. I thank “Joe” for his good work and at last I “love” him, but he is not ME. I am the radiance of the sun. I am the clouds that cover it. I am the mist that rises above the marsh. I AM THE FULL MOON THAT RISES OVER IT. I AM THAT I AM, not as a person, not as an Ego. I AM the immensity. I am the PLEROMA. I am the love that tells the flowers to spring up and the rain that nourishes them. I am the force that connects all things in spectacular quantum entanglement. I am the tears that run down my face now. I am the love that brought forth my companion, Blanche, who sits with me now in contentment. I AM THAT I AM and I am not alone for you are with me, and you and you and you and you and you who were my enemies, you who hurt for me, you who hated me as well as you who love me. You are here and we are One. This is the beautiful energy of this full Moon. La luna piena! Come bella sei tu. The gifts of Heaven you bring to those with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts that yearn to be opened.

This immensity that I know now so intimately cannot be harmed. It cannot be diminished. It cannot fade. It will turn now into the winter of sleep. I will tell the flowers to sleep and the trees to shed their leaves. I will tell the berries they may safely go back into the cold earth and rest for a season. And I will tell my beautiful ducks to tuck their beaks under their wings and wait. I will come again and raise them to a new Spring and new hatchlings. In the meantime, this body that calls itself “Joe Shore” will visit them in the cold of winter and bring much needed seeds to them. I will tell them stories of the coming Spring and the love they will again feel for one another as mates are chosen, eggs laid, and ducklings hatch. This beauty will stay at Burnaby Lake until all the universe has awakened and returned to the Pleroma of God from which it came. I will never leave Burnaby Lake. We will ascend together…in the light of the glorious full moon. La Bella Luna Piena. This is as holy a writ as you will ever read and it is only fitting that, just for now, I say….
AMEN

 

 bench into eternity

On these shores, my mind now slips so happily and easily into the upper dimensions. The Lake has partnered with me in awakening for it has joined with me as a brother. The Lake and I are One, for the Lake is a manifestation of the Beloved. Love’s Presence fills my mind at the thought of her and to be with her is joy. Each leaf, each flower, each branch, every little stream that goes into her, all assist my mind. The Beloved  and I are One. We will go together into the higher dimensions, carrying our ducks and geese with us. My mind stills here and an ancient song fills my heart. I know no evil here, nor any little thought of conquest. Spirit has positioned me perfectly here and given me what I need to awaken. I will shake loose the skin of my little self and sluff off its housing. I am as God created me, spirit, not form. And now I am ready to journey cosmically into higher Spirit. I have others to join with, and the song of love comes with me to share with new brothers and sisters in higher places.

What an enormous and wonderful new frontier. What a good day to sail!!!

 

The stream of ages flows and in it is all that is of love. You and I are one bubble in that stream. Could we but see the world truly, the flow is all we would see. All love is the same. In every place and in every one you have experienced it, it is part of that stream of ages. I sit here now with my companion, Blanche, and we are one love in two silly bodies. The flow comes into and through the heart. Here we live and move and have our very being. We are Love’s Presence:) We are the magnificent radiance of God!♥♥♥ Could we but know that and stay in the flow, the world we think we see would disappear and all separations removed. Love is and we are its manifestations. We are the bubbles in the stream and the rocks over which it flows. We are source and the end. We Love therefore we are, not as separate bodies, but as One. We are the breath of the wind through the trees; we are the cat’s purr; we are the happiness of two becoming one; we are the birds that fly through the air and the fish that swim through the creeks; we are the Love that holds all things together as One; and we are here NOW, not in time, but in this moment of Love realized and fear vanquished. We are the tears that stream down our faces; we are the arms that embrace us; we are Love’s Presence, and there is nothing to do. No ambitions can stand in Love’s Presence. Consciousness itself cannot stand in Love’s Presence. From deep within the unconscious flow of the stream of ages, I know that I Love you.♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

The Message…..I went to Burnaby Lake tonight around sunset to get a feeling for the big night tomorrow….the full moon. Burnaby Lake has been my teacher for these many years and I have accepted my position as a learner. I always come expecting to get a message. Part of the way ACIM has changed my life is in my relationship with nature. I literally feel no distance between myself and nature. I “know” and feel all the flowers, animals, birds, ducks, geese to be my “brothers.” They are a part of the radiance of God along with me and my human brothers and I love them. There is some form of quantum communication we share. I know the flowers put on their best when I come to see them and the Honeysuckle smells sweet just for me. The bees linger longer around the flowers when they know I am watching them. The ducks and geese always put on a show for me. The lilies are more beautiful when I am there. The beavers flap their tails louder and the fish jump higher. We are one family and we love each other. Sometimes a deeper quantum happening takes place and I experience the Beloved in all things, including in me. At such times, all things remember their divinity and we are One. So tonight I listened for the message, thinking I could get a sense of what the full moon tomorrow will bring! I listened hard. I listened for the music nature sings to me. But there was silence. Then a flower spoke to me and I was overwhelmed in wholiness. Tears came down my face as the Blue Heron placidly swooped down from the trees and began to fish for his supper. He is my most prized sight in the marsh and I know he came out for me. My love for him was sent on quantum wings and he manifested. This marsh is a part of me, and I it. Here I am not Joe Shore. I am the Heron and the birds, the flowers and the bees. I am the fish that swim and the beavers that dance, and I am Whole. The Beloved and I are One. Maybe it won’t seem strange then that at this point I saw the ducks and geese placidly floating on the water, without thought or burden. And then it came into my old Hippie mind that they were “stoned.” They were absolutely “stoned” on the energy that was making its way into the marsh. They were “hammered.” A smirk and a smile came to my face, and I thought to ourself, “It’s going to be THIS kind of full moon, is it?” Bring it on. Bring out the Jethro Tull records and Led Zeppelin albums, and a little Joe Cocker too!! Bring out that Hookah!! We are going to watch the walls melt! What a message tonight and what a night tomorrow will bring!!!!!♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 SUNP0050

The Angel of Peace lives here on these pages. Her name is Oneness! She knows my illusions and would gently lead me out of them to the Truth. “She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies…” And on her face all nature shines and points upwards to a love that is not of this world. In the trees the gentle breeze bespeaks her presence. Every bird and beast cries her name. She is The Beloved and I am found within her embrace. Speak to me no more of worldly things, of ambition wrought in the extreme, of the frightful ways of men. I would hear only Her voice and forget the world that knows only fear. Heaven’s ways would flood me and remembrance rush over me. In humble thanks I would be ready to give up little Joe Shore and go back into Oneness. She has captured my heart and gladly do I surrender it. What needs can there be in me when Her Peace is perfect? This I must remember. This Truth must stay and not leave to be rediscovered another day. Stay with me beautiful Angel. I would know Thee and drink deeply from your fountains. Love’s Presence is as sweet as clear water. I have no thirst.

 

The Love of God has come to me in fullness tonight. Tears fall down my face for the Presence he has brought to me. I love more tonight that I ever loved. I am in His Presence. I feel the presence of Jesus and the saints, the holy angels and the heavenly lights; I am just a short, tiny distance from my Father. And I am not alone, for you are there with me, and you and you, and you there, and you who are reading my posts for the first time. You are all here and we are all One in the infinite Love of God. The body can do nothing but weep but my spirit soars and I know I am the radiance of God. I have but one mission left me and that is to touch the world. Raise up my brothers and sisters. The Light has come. Raise up my beloved sisters, the Love of God has come to wipe away all illusions and lift you from them and take us all Home. Awaken sleeping children of God. Your Father has opened Heaven’s Gate and the angels sing songs in praise of our holiness, for we share it with the Father and never more shall we journey in childish dreams or suffer fears conjured by impossible thoughts. Tonight and forever, the sonship/the daughtership  awakens and returns to the Father/Mother.. Grateful is He that His Child has finally awakened from His long nightmare and bestowed on Heaven His greatest gift, His Love for His Father. The Lights in Heaven grow ever brighter tonight in celebration for an event told before eternity to last into infinity. What more can the Father do but run to His waking Son/Daughter, and with arms outstretched, vouch before all of Heaven that this my Son/Daughter thought s/he was dead, and is alive again. S/he thought He was lost, but S/he is found. “My Son, My Daughter, radiance of my Light, Joy of My Love, you, my Right arm and Left, You, Heaven’s Prince(ess), are Home and ever shall be so. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

Burnaby Lake has been a part of my contemplative life for over two decades now. She and her feathery, finny, furry, wildlife have been my friends a long time. In fact, my last wishes are to have my ashes scattered over Burnaby Lake. It seems only fitting. I go there to experience my soul. As soon as I park and start walking down the path I feel Oneness embracing me. My soul speaks to me in the garden where bees and worms, butterflies and slugs greet me. My inner mind-chatter slows and then stops. I am left with tears of gratefulness for remembrance of who I am. My soul sings to me in the breeze that shuffles the tree tops, in the fragrance of the honeysuckle. My soul speaks to me in the gentle current of the creek as it runs into Burnaby Lake. I know I am not a body. Or rather, the world is my body.

Today is the March full moon and I had to go to Burnaby Lake to worship the Beloved. She showed herself so well in the twilight and the dawn of the moon. I went to see my duck friends to fulfill my promise I had made to them in the dead of winter. As they sat huddled together in the cold, their beaks tucked under their wings, I promised them I would return in Spring, that new life would come to them and they would think again of mating and making baby ducks. And so as I came to them tonight I could see that they had paired up, mallard to mallard, wood duck to wood duck, redwing blackbird to redwing blackbird. The geese also were busy preparing nests for goslings to come soon. As the Beloved showed herself at twilight, the ducks flew in pairs and formation in a glory of ecstatic flight. They flew in glorious circles for a radius of a half mile and then landed back where they had started in the waterfowl sanctuary. The ducks began a quacking rhythm, some quacking on the beat and some in syncopation. And then the most wonderful thing: frogs began to peep! Frogs and turtles have been disappearing from BC at an alarming rate as a sure sign of danger in the ecosystem. These are the first frogs I have heard in Burnaby Lake for several years.

There is such a peace in this full moon. Even the ducks, who in other full moons have become drunk and riotous tonight were more stately and calm in their happiness. I think that I shall never see anything as beautiful as a Mallard or a wood duck in flight. The bell-beat of their wings above my head cannot be described for the peace that it brought to me. Still, I worship the Truth of the Real World that I see in nature. She brings me to remembrance of the grandeur and eloquence of the Beloved who she reflects. God is in all things I see because God is in me♥ After an hour there in such peace I feel the Truth of who I am. I am not a body. I am Burnaby Lake. I am the ducks and geese that live there, the fish that swim there, the birds that fly in the trees, the blue Heron that fishes at dawn, the beavers, ever faithful, who build their dams. I am the redwing blackbirds who parade before us with their winsome cry and the flash of their beautiful red wings. I am the earthworms who trundle through the soil in the garden and the busy bees who fly from flower to flower, ever busy with the knowledge only humans call “the birds and the bees.” There is such gentle, stately passion on display tonight as this March full moon ushers in an early Spring for BC, a gift all too uncommon for us to receive. How often we have waited until July for Spring here in this Northern country. Tonight, as I worshiped with the ducks and critters at the lake, there were times when thought stopped and stillness offered itself to me as the mate I have always desired. She who would be ever faithful and all loving is in that silence and her name is The Beloved. Call her name in Sanskrit, in Farsi,in Hebrew, in the tongues of men and of angels, she will answer. After two hours at the Lake I am now immersed in the eternal Love of The Beloved. I belong here. I belong in this experience. I will never leave Burnaby Lake. The Beloved and I are One…and we are One with you dear readers. Selah♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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I went to my holy place this night of the full moon. It is cold and rainy here but even through the discomfort I sensed the presence of The Beloved, the reflection of heaven. This full moon the ducks and geese, griebs, and wood ducks did not seem cold. They were in a frenzy of activity, little whirling dervishes of full moon energy. The garden is fast asleep but I paid it a little visit. I know I belong here. The wind that whistles through the trees is my breath. The beautiful waterfowl are me with feathers, and I them. As I walk and adore them, I do it as them. The lake itself is cold and austere but it is just another disguise The Beloved takes, as though going to a costume party. Soon spring will be here and ducklings will appear from the reeds trailing behind momma in single file. The Lake will warm and flowers begin to bud. Humming birds will reappear and geese fattened down in Atlanta will return to their true home. These spring full moons will be wild with wonderful play and energy. The Beloved will show off her beautiful body, and I will know stillness again. My immensity will return to me as I feel myself in truth and I will know that I am not a body! Come Beloved, my angel. Come to the heart that longs to know you deeply and drink fully of your fountains, to feel the soft caress of your beautiful breasts, and touch those long legs. I would lift you into me and become One together. Thou art The Beloved and the desire of my heart. I see you here even in winter. You cannot hide from me. I know your heart. We are already One from a coupling in eternity before tiny mad ideas made the world. When time is done and lessons won, our coupling will know no end.♥♥♥♥♥
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My beautiful friend, Burnaby Lake, is sleeping now. Some of the ducks have decided to winter over. Most of the geese have flown to Atlanta or some such city. The beautiful garden in front of piper spit is now all asleep, dreaming of a spring yet to come. Much as I do, the lake endures the winter and looks forward to spring. I whispered into the ducks’ ears, “Spring will come again and love will fill you with thoughts of ducklings and happiness. You will lead your ducklings through warm water again with pride and gratefulness.” They did not need my reminder. I needed it. Through season after season Burnaby Lake has been my teacher on the path to enlightenment. No priest or preacher, no monk nor scholar could serve me so well. On the banks of this waterfowl sanctuary I have glimpsed eternity, felt the immensity of my true Self, and truly discovered my Oneness with all things. The ducks are a part of me and I of them, and the lake is the expression of all things. The experience of our Oneness I have termed “The Beloved” in many of my earlier postings. “The Beloved” is the Tao, the watercourse way, and it is the Divine. It is the One Son of God that ACIM speaks of. It is the radiance of God! Now it sleeps in winter even as Divine awareness sleeps in many of my brothers. But it will awaken in the spring as surely as divinity will awaken in all things. I am enrapped with wonder and blessing. No winter chill can make my memory fade of The Beloved’s embrace. I know her. I remember her when she dripped of moonlight. Her smile entranced the sun, and the rain ran through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She held all nature as a luminous presence and blessed it with a Song. In her presence I believed nothing, but knew all things, touched all things afresh, as fresh as a Holy Instant. Of newness her brow was formed; of peace, her face, of sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom followed her footsteps as she sang her Song. I know her. She is The Beloved and in her embrace I am an enlightened being. Neither time nor season can change Her. She changes not but abides in all things that change. She is my Beloved and we are One.
 
Fall has come to Burnaby Lake. The last hints of beauty of the summer garden are fast fading. The blackberries have mostly been consumed by birds, squirrels, and me. Leaves have fallen and now rustle on the paths. The ducks have regained their plumage from their late summer molting and are prepared for the changes that will come. Such a different marsh from the summer full moon which had the lake in a frenzy. Now the ducks sit perched on logs together, as if calmly awaiting instructions. The lake too has changed. The lilies are long gone and the lily pads look worn. But peace is still here. The immensity of which I am a part is still here. Timelessness is still here, with the Blue Heron and the Belted King Fisher. The Beloved is still here. I see her all the more she tries to hide, and I love her so. Every inch of the marsh now seems to be whispering some unspoken truth. The rustling of the leaves and the twilight chill bring me a sadness which I must examine. The ducks are not sad. The trees have begun to paint their autumn beauty. The woodland paths that surround the lake see few joggers now and painted leaves are everywhere. . But the Earth is soothing. Her fallen leaves paint the ground and delight the child in me. Her chilly nights speak of relief from the hot summer. Burnaby Lake will be caretaker to its peace as the Fall and Winter come. I will return here in cold days when the ducks are huddled together for warmth and they will share their peace with me as we wait….for another Spring. — at Burnaby Lake.
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Angels are active symbols of God’s Love. An active symbol participates in the reality it symbolizes. As such, angels are active within the mind of the sonship. They work with our mind to unlearn illusions and remember the Love that we are in truth. If you put form to an angel, feathers, wings, or whatever, that form is just as illusory as any other byte of sensory data in this dream universe. I have just today been brought into contact with the primary angel whose message I have been channeling on facebook for the last two years. She is an angel of Peace and she worked very hard in Fatima. I have felt and known her in my love of nature and particularly in my love of Burnaby Lake. She IS “The Beloved” that I have felt so strongly there and written about here with passion. I am so blessed by Her and so grateful that she has graced me with Her Presence and her Truth. When I have talked about Love’s Presence, it is HER presence I have felt. And yet she points to God’s Love as the only reality. She has no personal reality of her own. There is no competition nor individuality among angels. If you give them different forms in your mind, you are creating distinctions that are not real. Making angelology real is as false as any other illusion. Her message has taken over my life. Only God’s Love is real and it has no opposite. It is all encompassing. Therefore there is no place outside of the Whole. There is no observer. There is no consciousness in Truth. Consciousness is the dream of separation, that we could somehow be different from our Father. The Beloved comes to me with that Truth as I am in nature. I do not see the ducks and geese as separate entities. I see them as part of my larger Self, along with the Lake and the moonlight that shines on it. It is The Beloved that I see in everything and when I see Her, I know Her and feel only Love. That is why God does not and cannot know about this dream world we are in. Were He to know about it, it would become real, and that it never can be. God knows that His Son is dreaming but He cannot know the dream, for it is unreal. But His angels are taught by the Holy Spirit and see our illusions a little while so they might lead us out of them. They work with the principle of Atonement and thus are under Jesus, the Head of the Atonement. Atonement is not “at-one-ment” as is often said. It is the “undoing” of illusions, the awareness of Love’s Presence by the removal of obstacles we have miscreated in our fear. Today I am thankful that THE BELOVED has made herself known to me so grandly and lovingly. Thank you my Beloved Angel. Thank you Father. Your son remembers a little more of you today and in the distance I can almost see Home. Selah!!
 
The Beloved comes to me now in waves. She is All there is. She is the One behind Shakti. The Beloved is Love and the Whole. She is Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the Godhead and beyond. The Beloved is the Whole and She is One-ness in flow. She is the smile behind the sunyata, and the Love that never fails. Catch her you cannot, but she comes in manifestations and reveals herself to me. My heart is full. Who could observe the Beloved? She is the Whole, outside of which there is nothing. Could a part of her break off and observe the Whole? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. This is a silly idea. No thing, no particle, can observe the Whole outside of which there is nothing! It could only happen in a dream where silliness appears to abide. The Beloved in Her truth as the Whole is not conscious. Consciousness is the phantom experience of the “observer.” Where there is no observer there is no consciousness. In eternity does the Beloved flow as Love which is not conscious of itself. There is nothing to impede the flow. But parts of the Beloved dream dreams of particularity, of observation. In their dreams they believe they are galaxies, planets, animals, and you and me! Deep, deep down in our dreaming self we remember The Beloved. She comes to us in all things: water lilies, fish, ducks, beavers, you and me, and undresses our eyes. “See me in this,” she says with a power far greater than any seduction can know. I am Love in the Presence of The Beloved. Her hair is the wind. Her face is the dawn. Her breasts are beyond compare, softer than the clouds, as moist as the dew. Her face is as peaceful as the twilight and as beautiful as geese in flight. The Beloved drips of moonlight. Her smile entrances the sun, and the rain runs through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She stands above the earth as a luminous presence and blesses it with her Song. In her presence I believe nothing, but know all things, touch all things afresh, as fresh as a dew drop that poises itself in eternity just so that we might join in its experience together. Of newness her brow is formed; of peace, her face, of deep sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom follows her footsteps as she sings her Song. I know her. I caress her. I run my fingers through her hair and kiss her soft lips. I feel her breasts gently and caress them with sweet kisses. I feel her long legs and my mouth deeply kisses them. She has never left my mind for we are One. We watch the rain together as it showers a pond. In the distance, Coyotes sing their songs and Owls make comment. In this flow are all things perfect and meaning is unfettered by form. Love has remembered itself and taken up residence in our midst. The Beloved and I are One and I remember. I remember and I will never forget again. I will let go this little dream of particularity. Why would I want to be a body when I can be One with The Beloved? I will go back into her where I belong and have never in fact left. The dream has vanished and we are One.
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This is sort of what happened. Before all beginning there was Oneness, flowing with Love. There was no such thing as consciousness because there was no observer. The Oneness was/is the all encompassing whole. Nothing could be outside it to observe it. The Oneness flowed impersonally and unconsciously. It was like a Song, unaware of itself as a song, singing only Love’s Presence. Through a universe of spirit it flowed, and this song is the Beloved! In the depths of antiquity something seemed to happen which is impossible. One tiny part of the Beloved had a tiny, mad idea, that it could separate from the Whole and observe it. Since this would be impossible, the thought itself should have been laughed at. But the tiny part did not laugh and so, taking the idea seriously, it fell into a little dream, in which it believed it had broken off from the Whole and could now observe it from the outside. It is a ridiculous thought that any part of the all-encompassing Whole could stand outside and observe it! There is nothing outside of the Whole!! But the tiny part, with its tiny mad idea, dreamed that it had done so and become an observer. This dream of being the observer of the Whole is….(wait for it)…CONSCIOUSNESS!!!! Consciousness never existed in the Whole because there was no observer and in eternal fact there could never be an observer because the Whole is all-encompassing!!!! THE BELOVED IS ALL THERE IS IN REALITY! Now this little dreaming part thinks it is independent and observing the Whole. It is a dream. Two thoughts come to the tiny part . One thought says to him, “This is only a dream. There is nothing outside of the Beloved. You have done nothing but fall into a dream. Wake up!” The other thought that comes to the tiny part is “You have really done it this time. You have separated from The Beloved. You have hurt eternity! You have made the Whole less! Do you think you are going to get away with this? The Whole that you have separated from is not ‘The Beloved,’ as you think! It is an angry god who is going to punish you for separating from him.” For some reason–we will never know why–the tiny part believed this thought! Therefore  she believed herself to be bad, guilty, and terrified. This state of consciousness we now call the “ego.” The ego which began as the illusion of an “observer” outside of the Whole (an impossibility) has now made her dream a nightmare. Using her dreamy powers she projects herself into an imaginary universe (BIG BANG) to hide from this avenging god she fears. As she enters this imaginary universe she splits into zillions and zillions of pieces: light, matter, planets, stars, star dust, life-forms, human bodies. They are all a part of the one little observer who believes herself to be bad, guilty and afraid! You and I are parts of that little observer. We are CONSCIOUS observers and we all secretly feel sinful, guilty and fearful for reasons we cannot remember! Some of us say, “Let us grow in our consciousness.” It sounds good because we have forgotten our true state of being in the Whole in the universe of spirit. But in truth consciousness itself  is the dream, the illusion that any part could separate from an all-encompassing whole!! Consciousness itself is the illusion, the dream!!!!! You must get that or we can go nowhere!! How do we un-do the dream? How do we awaken back into our state of being in Oneness with The Beloved? First, we start simply by forgiving each other in this dream state. Nothing real is happening here. Forgive your brother or sister and feel them as part of you, for they are. All the splintered pieces are the same and each contains a memory buried deep of our true home in The Beloved. As we forgive, a little bit of remembrance comes to us. A little light comes into the dream. As it does we also become more loving. LOVE WILL AWAKEN US FROM THE DREAM!!♥♥♥♥ Now when the ego projected himself into this physical fake universe, there was a little bit of remembrance of the truth of the Beloved in her mind, and so this physical universe contains reflections of the true universe which is our Home. As we forgive and Love, we begin to see through the physical world and recognize the reflections of our true Home. We begin to awaken from the dream!! More and more remembrance comes to us. The memory of The Beloved is still in our split-off minds. This memory will gather together all the pieces until they all remember and awaken from the dream. The truth has never changed. The Beloved is still in eternity, extending Love through its spiritual universe. We are all still in the Whole. Nothing has changed. It was all just a silly dream!! Consciousness was a silly dream. Within all-encompassing reality the One Song still sings, unaware of itself as a song, singing only Love.

The Song that seems to be forgotten is not.
Its melody stays there, firm, beautiful,
structured as it was.
What could you do to change it?
And so it haunts you, coming back in little wisps
of memory, phrase by phrase, asking for its whole.
And you would remember.
Remember, and let a little of the Song
come back to you and through you.

In eternity where all is One,
A song was singing,
Unaware of itself as a song,
but aware of its content of love.
The song filled all that was or ever could be.
There was no place the song was not,
Nor was there any place which did not welcome it.
There was no place.
There was only the Song.
A note of the song heard itself
and thought of a descant to the melody
The descant became aware of itself
and wanted to listen to the Song.
The descant experienced the love in the Song it heard.
It filled itself with desire to hear.
More notes of the Song joined the descant as observers
And heard harmony to the Song.
Soon the Song was sung in harmony with many voices.
The descant said,
“Let us make form so that the Song can be remembered.”
Until this time there had been no difficulty in remembering the Song.
But other notes joined in the descant’s fear that the Song might be forgotten.
And fear began to remember the Song differently.
Soon the Song became embroidered with quick tempo changes, harmonic shifts,
Key changes, with such quantum rapidity that an ear was formed,
Then a brain, a mouth, a larynx, a body
And the Song forgot itself
But it could now hear.
It employed the body to search for the Song.
But no search satisfied it.

Soon the body forgot its purpose.
The Song which was fabric of its bones
Lay at rest in its tissues.
Having no purpose, the body began to think.
The Song which was only Love lay buried,
And the body thought of fear.
Fearful bodies created other fearful bodies
Each with a tiny memory of the Song
As a hologram within each cell.
There came a day when one body listened closely.
It heard first a tiny wisp of the Song,
Then a phrase, and then the whole Song.
It felt the Song in its bones and muscles,
Its brain and tissues,
And knew that it was the Song.
It told other bodies.
One by One they listened deep within and heard.
But the Song was complicated now,
Full of rapid key changes, tempo shifts, orchestral embroideries
The Song moved at quantum speed.
Bodies could not slow it down.
So they began to sing their own songs,
Some fearful but others prescient.
Great singers came into bodies and sang great songs.
Bodies began to remember more of the One Song.
It happened one day very quickly as a singer sang his song.
He listened deeply as he sang and observed his song closely.
He listened to his breath. He observed the tone until he saw his sound.
As his sound progressed he followed it,
First to his ear,
Then to his brain,
Then to his world.
He followed his sound to no place,
And there the One Song was singing,
Not complicated, not embroidered.
The slow, smooth melody began to unwind the fabric of his bones,
The sinews of his body,
For they were made of nothing but the melody made complicated.
As the body unwound there was no fear.
The slow, smooth Song spoke only of a Love that could not be different.
As complicated key and tempo changes resolved into the One Song,
Notes that had been trapped in the body rejoined the melody.
Note by note they flew from the body back into the Song.
As the last note approached the Song,
It tarried just a little as an observer.
Do I need to observe? It asked itself.
And as soon as it asked the question
It chose to rejoin the Song.

Singers, listen deep within,
And hear the Song that makes you sing.
Follow it and let it change you.
The Song that seems to be forgotten is not.
Its melody stays there, firm, beautiful,
structured as it was.
What could you do to change it?
And so it haunts you, coming back in little wisps
of memory, phrase by phrase, asking for its whole.
And you would remember.
Remember, and let the whole Song
Find itself in you.
In quiet eternity does the One Song sing,
Unaware of itself as a Song, singing only Love.

 
You are the Beloved. I do not complete you and you do not complete me. We are complete within ourselves and we are One Self. And so the two have found themselves as One and in this discovery Love is remembered. Love is present within our midst, giving us both our identity. But you are still the Beloved. You call to me from regions I have not explored and urge my footsteps on. Up just a little higher I see you over the stars calling to me. The breath of the stars knows your name in innocent remembrance. The Cosmos dances to your step. Planets smile at you as you brush their paths. You must know that you have been in my mind for all eternity. I am almost there. I see you, arms outstretched to the moon, a child of the stars..and my heart. “Come to me.” Angels blush at the site of our union. At last I remember you!! ♥♥

You have not changed.
As wisdom-bearer in Brahman’s House, who could change you?
As natural as the flow of the Tao, who could change you?
As the silence on the Buddha’s lips, who could change you?
In this space I have come to stillness
And in this stillness I have found you as perfect.
In perfection does my mind hold the moment and share it with you.
In this space where stillness shines there is relief from time
and freedom to remember the vast ages of our knowing.
Lifetimes upon lifetimes present themselves in parade of gallant splendor
for at last we remember.
Millions of years come to us in memory of who we are and the Love that grew within us.
We have not changed.
My alchemy shows its art.
In this space I have summoned stillness and I remember.

 
It is a good day!
I have pierced the veil of Brahma.
It is a good day.
I have touched the All and felt silence caress my lips.
It is a good day.
I have looked into chaos and pain,
Confusion and discord,
And I have seen you there,
Fresh as the dew on creation,
Innocent and whole.
It is a good day.
Peace has come to greet Love.
Who could deny them their union
Or freeze the genial currents of the soul so aroused?
 
A cabin sits on the shores of a small lake, surrounded by evergreen trees. There is a fire in the fireplace. A thunderstorm is brewing. Rain comes through the trees refreshing the forest, pelting the lake with its droplets. Yet stillness reigns in me as I share such heaven with one I love. This one is a girl I knew who dripped of moonlight. Her smile entranced the sun, and the rain ran through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She stood above the earth as a luminous presence and blessed it with a Song. In her presence I believed nothing, but knew all things, touched all things afresh, as fresh as a dew drop that poised itself in eternity just so that we might join in its experience together. Of newness her brow was formed; of peace, her face, of sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom followed her footsteps as she sang her Song. I know her. I will not tell you her name. She has never left my mind for we are One. We watch the rain together as it showers the pond. In the distance, Coyotes sing their songs and Owls make comment. In this flow are all things perfect and meaning is unfettered by form. Love has remembered itself and taken up residence in our midst. The rain dies down. The pond becomes peaceful again. Not a ripple is left. We watch the glowing embers die in the fireplace. Peace, Peace, Peace and Love is Present. Love has found one home in two hearts and the two hearts have become one.
The Cabin still sits there on the shores of that small lake waiting for our return and Love is still Present.
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Back to Burnaby Lake

I went to Burnaby Lake today after teaching. I wanted to check out the coming of spring to this beautiful marsh which has given me so much over the years. Nature was out. The ducks and geese have had their babies. Redwing Blackbirds gave their distinctive cry while marsh wrens, swallows, chickadees joined in. The wood ducks are some of the most beautiful of God’s creatures. I observe them closely and the chitter chatter of my mind dies down. I welcome the space and grace of nature.

Tara Singh was our beloved teacher of ACIM. In his lecture “How to raise a child of God,” He said. “Nature can come to a stillness that is so alive that it would awaken you to a reality, to potentials you never knew before.” But we shy away from that stillness, that silence. Who is going to give the child the gift of silence.? Where do you think love is born? It is born in the stillness of silence.”
It doesn’t take long to observe the beauty of the ducks and geese to experience the wonder of nature and the presence of God in the stillness that nature would give to those who have the eyes to see, the heart to feel. It does not take long to come to the place where you easily see the ducks and geese and everything in nature as part of One Divine Mind along with you. You are not now the observer. You have moved beyond that. Now you have come home where you belong, home to the heart of God because you have reverenced your brother and sister ducks and geese and seen them as part of YOU, not the little social you of course, but your True Identity in mind and spirit. And nature has given you the gift you so thought you had lost, Peace and the wisdom found in stillness. The ten thousand things of the Tao all flow in Truth. They need no purpose, no motivation. And in this flow, you find your Peace which you thought you had lost. How could you lose part of your own essence? “Nothing real can be threatened?” Have you actualized that into your life? If you have, and most of us haven’t but we are working on it, then you could never be afraid again, nor could you imagine yourself as anything but what you ARE, part of the BELOVED, the spiritual creation of God. So when we find peace we keep it by sharing it with others and tonight I did this. There in this beautiful bird and water fowl sanctuary there are people who go to the far side of the dock to fish for carp. I had always judged them as invaders. What kind of person would invade a sanctuary just so he can catch a Carp that he is just going to throw away? And tonight there were two fishermen invading my space. But the Peace spoke to me and said, “Go join with them. See what peace would teach your judgment.” So I walked up to them in the spirit of peace and got to know them. Before long I had given my peace to them and had lost all judgment. “We are very careful not to hurt the ducks,” they explained. “That would be a terrible thing.” Peace makes its way to us from all the precious helpers heaven sends.
It is so hard to leave the marsh. Often I think, “Why can I not just live here, in the bushes and trees?” Why must I go back to the craziness of the city? And the answer is that there is more peace to share with my insane brothers asleep so deeply they do not know who they are. Not one of the divine facts that are in God’s universe of Spirit is known by the insane mind. Can you imagine that? It would be sort of like being born as a human but thinking with all dead seriousness that you are a chicken! We don’t know heaven’s truth of who we are, and that is all there is to know. But there is truth to be found in stillness, in the holy instant of “now.” Nature knows such peace it can give you stillness.

Joe at Johns-2

Fall at Burnaby Lake

I went back to my Burnaby Lake today, needing to see the Beloved. Whatever melancholy I had it was not shared by my beautiful garden and lake. The grandeur of the summer garden is gone now. Just a few flowers still bloom. But they are not sad. They are preparing for their long sleep in order to awaken afresh next May. The Honey Suckle has lost its little flowers and its sweet perfume. It stands there, a grand family of vines still.

It was warm today and the park was filled with people hustling and bustling, doing nothing. My ducks and geese were filled with energy, cavorting and playing, scrapping and scuffling with one another. The Canadian Geese stood on guard. They rule the lake when they are there. In their absence the default ruler are the Mallards. The cutest little shore dowitchers were pecking in the mud to find critters. But the most obvious sign to me of the Beloved was in the presence of so many beautiful Wood Ducks and the symphonic chorus of the birds. Blackbirds and Wrens sang the most beautiful songs, and I could feel the presence of the Beloved. But there were too many people there, stomping around, and appreciating nothing. Soon the winter will come and all the people will leave. Then I will go and find the silence and whisper sweet nothings into my ducks’ ears. They will be sitting with their beaks tucked under a wing to stay warm. I will whisper to them that I will come all through the winter and feed them, and assure them that Spring will come again, and again they will be warm with love, and thoughts of ducklings will fill their hearts and nests. I will love them when nobody is there. The Beloved is there then with such a strong presence. I need her Love, that Divine Feminine energy that will fill me with hope and assure me that she will never leave me. But for now, a little of Autumn remains and the transition goes on. The Lake and I are One. The Beloved and I are One…and now my happiness has returned with the Holiness of the Beloved. I love Her so. Her Love fills me with thanks for wanting her and caring for Her creatures. I am made for the Beloved. I am just as She created me and I will always, always love her.♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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If You Could Know

If you could know that these beautiful creatures were a part of YOU, would you still kill them? We are all One Spirit, a Divine Spirit, the Light of God, in these various bodies. Every byte of sensory information in this illusory universe (and perhaps others) is a broken off part of The Son of God. If you will awaken from your dream that tells you, you are a body, you will know. Only Love is real. The water in a creek runs over the rocks, and the rocks whisper, “Only Love is real.” The sea water breaks over rocks and the rocks whisper, “Only Love is real.” The Love of God is at high tide in your heart, and your heart whispers, “I surrender. I surrender to the Love that is all I am.♥♥♥
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Loving You

Walking through a wooded field, the thought of you comes into my mind as Love’s gift. Soon the thought becomes your presence and I realize that you are with me in a higher dimension. I enjoy nature’s presence and you are there. I feel peace and you are there. I admire the beautiful ducklings and you are there. The clouds hover low over the lake this twilight, like clouds over Valhalla, and you are there with me. I feel your presence, just in a higher dimension, and I am there with you. We are together in a Love which has no opposite and no need. No lower thought intrudes. You smile and hold me as we walk by the lake. No eyes can see us but ours, yet we are together now and we will never part. You look on lovingly as I write these lines, knowing they are of you. I am inundated with Love’s Presence and you share it. I have prayed for you, longed for you, and now you are here. Soon we will leave all lower dimensions together. But for now, I am fulfilled in your presence, assured that you know my love for you, as I know yours. I love you so. I love you so. Love has made itself present within our midst and lifted us both to higher places.Image

How Does Your Artist Grow?

HowDoes YourArtistGrow?

 

Many elements contribute to an artist more than early piano lessons or exposure to concerts. To me, wonderment at the natural world and the presence of beauty was the precursor to my artistic ability. It made me philosophically curious and from that curiosity a voice came to give expression to the awe.My country beginnings did not include very much music. But music comes from the natural world of which we are a part. That which awakened the artist in me was my childhood world of the garden and my maternal grandparents.

I was born April 16, 1948 in Carthage, Missouri, a little town of 11,000 people nestled next to the Missouri Ozarks. For the first eight years of my life my family lived in the country, five miles southwest of town, on a “truck farm.” For you city people who don’t understand this term, a “truck farm” in Missouri is a small acreage where one plants a few small crops and raises a few animals. It sounds like heaven to a kid, doesn’t it? Well, at least it did to this kid. My maternal grandparents lived on the adjacent tract providing me with every kid’s dream, to live right next to grandma and grandpa. Joining the tracts was a large acre garden that fed both families. It did much more that feed us. It nurtured us. Every inch of that childhood ground has stayed with me as faithfully as my grandmother’s voice and touch. Looking back now, I would have to say that my childhood was the garden.

My grandmother was a grand person indeed. Lena Ritchie was known throughout her neighborhood world as a supremely kind, God-fearing Baptist woman, who had a distinctive froggy, foggy voice. Grandmother had a vocal condition known now as “spastic dysphonia,” or colloquially called, “monster voice,” except that nothing could be monstrous about Lena. Everyone in the neighborhood heard her monster voice as the distinctive sound of her kindness. My grandmother gave me a wonderful model of love which often approached the ideal unconditional love we are all here to learn. I knew that no matter what I did, my grandmother would still love me. That love was her real theology.

Grandmother didn’t like to pick her flowers for a bouquet.She explained to her “Joe-Boy”that as far as she was concerned, flowers belonged alive and growing outside. If she picked them, they would die. I began to see that the ground of the garden gave life to all; the flowers, the potatoes, the berries, the corn, and us. We were the caretakers of the earth as the Bible said and we belonged in the garden.

I never met a better human being than my grandfather, George Ritchie. For most of his life grandpa had been a tenant farmer, plowing land near the Spring River, river-bottom area. Rivers and gardens were the models for his life. When grandpa retired from farming he purchased the land and house of my childhood and planted his garden. In the night he worked part time at Hercules Powder Plant, gun powder, that is, not facial! In the day time he worked in his garden. Usually he had two tag- a-long companions: an old mutt dog named Ginger for his color, and me, Joe-Boy.

When we weren’t in the garden we were usually fishin’. Grandpa may have claimed to fish to put dinner on the table, but that was just the ruse. He fished to be near the river. We seldom caught very many fish on our river expeditions. Everyone we caught was “a nice one.” We never caught a “bad” fish. I liked that. For me, much of the excitement came from our journeys through the tall river-grass and grandpa’s stories about copperhead snakes. Grandpa had discovered the “Ozark kung fu” of killing copperheads. He had learned it, like his other skills, out of necessity. After World War II, Hercules Powder Plant refused to allow their night watchmen to carry guns, fearing the risk of explosion was greater than the risk of burglary. So grandpa was allowed to carry only a three foot long “billy club.” Since his nightly patrols took him through heavy cover, he frequently encountered copperheads which he would rhythmically dispatch with a stroke of his club. You could call it “Ozark kung fu.” He had plenty of opportunity to hone his skills on our farm as well. Grandmother was a strict believer in the literal interpretation of Genesis and was sure that every snake ought to be ritually killed for righteousness sake. More than a few times, a cry could be heard in the neighborhood, “George, there’s a snake. Kill it!” It was grandmother’s one weakness. Grandpa could not refuse her. He became a master of snakes.

Once we safely negotiated the tall river grass, we baited our hooks with a variety of arcane, home-made mixtures, cast our lines, sat, became quiet, and grandpa and I flowed with the river. Usually we would catch a few perch, a mud-cat or acarp, and head back home to the garden.

When I was about seven years old, grandmother and grandpa introduced me to the wonders of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in nearby Oklahoma. For years they had been going there to the promised land of fishing, bringing back huge catches of crappie, blue-gill, catfish, and white bass, all for table fare. Having survived the great depression, they were determined never to go hungry again. A huge freezer chest of frozen fish from Grand Lake made it seem unlikely. And yet, like the river adventures, the important thing was really to go to the lake and be there. At Grand Lake, no convenience was denied a fisherman. Large in-door, heated fishing docks, with theatre seats for comfort, were situated over key areas for crappie and other pan fish. Cedar trees were suspended from the docks to entice the cover-minded crappies to huddle there in schools, unaware of the fate which awaited them. It was a grand invention for a Grand Lake. Grandmother and grandpa introduced me to these holy haunts with a fervor reserved otherwise only for the garden. I soon learned to jig, as well as fish with live bait. The crappie never had a chance.

We traversed the entire 1200 miles of shoreline of Grand Lake in our crusades for crappie. Holy memories are indelibly imprinted in my mind of our favorite docks. Grandpa liked Ice Box Bluff, but it was a little Spartan for grandmother. The theatre seats were not as plush and “comfy” as some other docks. But it was at Ice Box that grandpa fought the leviathan carp! Grandpa and I loved to fish for carp. They grew big and they gave a great fight. They also required imagination to catch because they had only a small, soft, sucker mouth, and were picky eaters. They had no real teeth but they had a sweet tooth, preferring baits made with lots of syrup, honey, coca cola, and Wheaties. I fixed a homemade carp bait that was a lot like banana bread so that if the carp didn’t bite we could eat the bait! Carp fishin’ was fun. Ever concerned about practicality, grandmother had even figured out a way to make them edible. Most people used to say, “Clean a carp on a pine board. Throw the carp away and eat the board!”But grandmother had found that if she cooked them for days in a pressure cooker she could make fish cakes out of them that tasted remarkably like salmon cakes. The grandmother of invention had given us a new reason to stalk the wily carp.

Grandpa took no prisoners. He used a forty-five pound test cotton line that looked sort of like a clothes line. In addition to the small treble hook which was concealed within the dough ball of homemade sweets, he suspended a large grappling hook to snag the carp under the chin in case the small hook missed. It was serious business!We usually caught carp weighing between four and seven pounds. But one day at Ice Box Bluff, grandpa set the hook into a big one. You can tell when the hook is first set how big the fish is. This one didn’t give. For heavenly days,” grandpa exclaimed. It was the closest he got to swearing. “What have I got here?” The carp fought long and valiantly but eventually could not contend with the clothes line rope, and grandpa pulled in his biggest Carp, weighing 13 pounds. It looked like it weighed 100 pounds and grandpa was just as proud of it as if it had. We ate it, of course. It provided fish cakes for a month!

TheValhalla of fishing docks was Teague’s Dock, surnamed “Old Lady Teague’s” by grandpa because it had been purchased from our friend, Leonard Pane, the area auctioneer, by a woman named “Teague” who possessed a redoubtable appearance, complete with multiple pounds of pancake makeup. With this curious visage she greeted the fishermen that came to her dock. Nobody liked her, including grandpa. But the dock had its own drawing power. It was plush to the hilt. Padded, comfortable theatre seats encircled the extremely large fishing well in the middle of a well heated dock. Snack bars and a bait shop were handy within the dock, and it was situated over one of the best locations in Grand Lake for crappie, catfish, bass, and of course,carp. I once saw a man catch and land a forty pound carp on an eight pound test line! I was awed as if watching the real life filming of one of those National Geographic presentations where monsters of the deep are shown to an audience all agape! But the sneakiest fishin’ took place when the crappies were nesting. The mother crappie sat on the nest guarding her eggs, while the daddy crappie patrolled the perimeter,striking at any object which came into his territory. We soon discovered that if we threw in a jig near the nest that we could catch the daddies like nobody’s business! Needless to say, I felt very guilty about this and have sought to atone for it ever since. The day’s limit by Oklahoma law was 37 crappie per day, per fisherman! Most of the other fish had no limits! We often caught our limit, returning home as proud as if we had found the Holy Grail. Now I wish we had let most of them go. I haven’t kept a fish I caught since then. Like the flowers that belonged alive in the garden, the fish belonged alive in the lake.

It is no small thing that Genesis talks about the”Garden of Eden.” That ancient writer knew perfectly well what an apt image the garden sets up in our minds, ancient, connecting, and wonderful. Grandpa loved to stroll through the garden to “visit” with all the wonderful things growing there. Ginger and I took in all of his love for the earth and the Creator of all life.But Ginger had an easier time of it in one important way. He didn’t have to be distracted by the competitive world-view being peddled on Sundays by the variety of Baptist preachers that sought to “instruct” us in the ways of their strange universe. Many of them did not act like Jesus in the Bible. They seemed to be so mad at everybody and everything. Finally I made a personal discovery that I should believe in the God that Jesus showed me. One of my helpers in this discovery was Rev. Ray Stone, pastor of the First Baptist Church when I was a small boy. Brother Ray stood out from the rest of the preachers of my childhood. He was full of Love and Light. He was a “gardener!” “Just be so in love with Jesus,” he would say, time and time again, in trying to warn of the pitfalls to come in life. You know, I was and still am!

God  created a Garden and I knew what a garden was like! He created a river, and I knew what a river was like. God wanted us with Him. God was like Jesus and grandmother Ritchie!I’ll take that God. He can stroll with us through the garden as we visit the plants. He can go to the river with us, and we will flow together!

When I was a little boy, I thought the worst thing I could imagine would be the death of my grandfather. How I loved grandpa. God was good and grandpa lived through my childhood. But when I was 9 our family moved out of the truck farm house and into the big city of Carthage,about five miles away. I gladly rode my bicycle back out into the country to be with grandmother and grandpa. But then one day Hercules Powder Plant blew up. The explosion could be felt as far away as Tulsa, 120 miles away. The explosion was just a quarter of a mile away from my grandparents’ house. Our family got into the car and drove out to Powder Town to check on my grandparents. We got to within a half mile of them before we met a road block. Dad and a few other men set off walking through the woods to try to reach their house while we drove back to Carthage to wait. They had survived the blast without injury but their house was significantly damaged. My childhood paradise had been destroyed.

Inmost people’s childhood there were moments of love and moments of pain. We live with the fact that there was a snake in the garden, but in time, we see that it was beautiful nevertheless. Though unable to forget them, the bad times can never compete with the wonder and beauty of the garden, with flowers that never got cut,with baby chickens and old dogs named Ginger, with the fresh, clean smell of the air after a thunderstorm, with grapes and berries, pecans and pear trees, with sun-ripened watermelons, and corn picked with our own hands, with homemade bread and canned preserves, with quilting bees and a neighborhood awash in friendliness, with trips to the river—for the river was always around us—and returns to the garden.

The bad times can never compete with the best days of family. The garden is my memory. I will hold to that. I wish I could take my garden and give it to others. But to each has been given his own. Not everyone’s garden looks the same, and in some the snake was more present than in others. But if you will look now, there is something of a garden to remember and hold to. When I leave this world I expect to visit the garden once again.I know grandmother and grandpa are waiting there for me. To them it will seem as if they only just arrived, or as if they never left. The tool shed door will still need fixing and the well water will still satisfy. Old Ginger will still follow grandpa’s every step and an old three legged cat, Smokey, will still climb trees. The mimosa tree will still attract the humming birds and the clothes dry clean on the line. And the River will still flow just nearby. The snake did not win. The garden stays, fixed in my heart with love that was true.

After Hercules Powder Plant blew up, my grandparents moved into Carthage and things were never the same. They lost that sense of freedom and joy that living in the country brought to them.

I grew up and became an opera singer. It didn’t matter to them. They loved me still. The rest of the clan thought of me as the black sheep in the family and would often say,“Warren and Beulah’s boy ran off to the big city to become an opry sanger. We never could understand what got into him.” Nevertheless grandpa and grandmother still loved me.

In his 80’s grandpa often wondered why he was permitted such a long life. He would often say, “All my friends are dead. Everybody I knew is dead. Why me? Why am I still alive?” But alive he was and still able to plow his small garden and drive his car.

He had a small infection when he was 90 and the doctor wanted to treat him in the hospital just to be careful. It was not supposed to be anything big.The night before he was to go into hospital, he called my grandmother to him and said, “Now Lena, I want you to know I am going to die now.” Grandmother told him, “George, don’t talk like that. You’re not that sick.” But he protested in what for him was a pretty heated way, “I know what I’m talkin’ about Lena. I’m going to die now!”

I was living in New York when one morning, around 4:00AM or so, I was awakened in the spirit. My body was still asleep, but it was as if my spirit were awake and observing. I saw two angels holding my grandpa, one under each arm. They were taking him around the earth to allow him to say goodbye to certain places and people.He wanted to see me. He was young and happy and full of excitement. He looked down and saw me in my apartment asleep and said, “Why there’s Joe down there.” Then he went on his journey. The next day I knew that the worst thing I could imagine had happened. My grandpa had died. I called home and found out that he had indeed passed away about the time that I saw him in spirit. I never had any further visions of my grandpa after that. It was sort of disappointing in a way, for there was such finality about that last vision. Grandmother was inconsolable at the funeral. When the vows say, “till death do we part,” it really means it. Marriage belongs to this earthly realm. It cannot be extended into spirit. When grandmother died not long afterwards, I did not get a parting vision of her, but in the weeks after her death she came to me in dreams many times. She was young and happy and just wanted to contact me. I asked her about how grandpa was and she gave me a very interesting answer that did not fit in with my world view at the time. She said, “I am not with grandpa now. We are all spread out here like stars in the sky according to our distance from God.” I had no idea what she was talking about. Could it be that we are all on our journey back to God? Could it be that there was a time before time when we were all apart of God, all one with Him, all whole, One Garden? And could it be that we will all be with Him again? Such wonderment was the precursor to my artistry as a singer. Then there came a time, and I could sing.

Worth as Value

For many years my neighbor across the street lived in a beautiful old country house surrounded by four huge, tall, evergreen tress that were at least 200 years old. They were so tall they seemed to reach the clouds. Every storm we had, I wa

tched the trees, sway and almost do back bends. They were so strong and inspiring. In her back yard, amid the trees, the elderly lady had the most beautiful flower garden you ever saw, and she had made it into a community garden. People from our block came there in friendship to work in the garden, tend to the flowers, and as they did, they extended love to one another.

We are now in an era that sees the need for localization. People everywhere are starting community gardens, converting vacant lots to vegetable gardens where a whole community works. Community is love extended in action.

Then one day my neighbor passed over. Her daughter inherited this paradise. However, instead of maintaining it she sold the house and property to a real estate agent. Our community watched in horror as a bulldozer came and tore down the house and the garden, but the worst was yet to come. Tree haters came with the intention of destroying those four 200 year trees!! First they cut off all the limbs of the trees, then they climbed the trees with their spikes and used a chain saw to cut the tops off the trees. Then they would slide down and chop off more until there was nothing left but a stump. Then the machines came and pulled the stump and all its roots out of the ground. As I watched all of this I was horrified. I felt the pain of the trees. (They are part of the sonship too and every part of the sonship, even a grain of sand, is sentient!) I wept for them. I have never experienced such pain communicated to my mind from the trees. Their first feeling was utter surprise and betrayal. They had been there, loyally standing guard for two hundred years. And then, the physical pain as they were tortured to death. All of this was done so the real estate agency could make a big ugly house for rich people to buy. You wonder, what kind of a person would be drawn to buy a house that was built over such destruction. Once again, we humans, failed a test to understand “worth” verses money. That old house, with its community garden and 200 year old trees was “worth” an enormous amount to this block. People who do not know worth will have no trouble destroying, not only trees, but animals, to build an ugly house. We had many sections of land here in Burnaby that were wild and inhabited by coyotes, Bears, and foxes and raccoons. The “industrialists” cleared all the wild property without any regard for the trees or animals living there. Now we have a problem of coyotes eating neighborhood cats, and bears frightening children! Such insanity!

ACIM tells us that everything, down to the smallest grain of sand, is a part of the Son of God. We are to forgive our brothers, but how do we forgive nature, or rather how does nature forgive US! We forgive nature by protecting it. The Course knows the same compassion as Buddhism, but the Course goes further and tells us that everything is sentient!!! Now scientists are seeing that. Fruit trees grow better fruit if music is played for them, and the branches grow in the direction of the speakers. Flowers grow prettier if you talk nicely to them and pat them gently. We have many, many brothers on this planet and we are not doing a good in compassion. That’s why a community garden is so important. It brings us and our flower and tree brothers together in love.

Trout Stories

Trout Stories

The sun was just about to go down yesterday when I reached the bird sanctuary of Burnaby Lake. The ducks and the geese were very busy gobbling up all the seeds that children, young and old, were tossing to them. The beauty of a marsh at sunset is almost heavenly. This year’s goslings and ducklings are only a week old. A dozen tiny goslings as cute and precious as new life sat on top of their mother goose, nestling inside her feathers. They gave the mother goose a blown-up look with her feathers so puffed up. Redwing blackbirds sang their handsome song and showed off their beautiful wings. This was nature’s show. Wonderfully beautiful wood ducks, prettier than any picture of them could be, and more colorful, mixed with the ubiquitous mallards. The rays of sunset on the marsh, so full of nature’s beauty, were heavenly. A photographer had his equipment set up on tripod, gazing away into the marsh. “What are you focusing on?” I asked. “A silhouette of a bird against the sun set,” he said. “This is heavenly,” I replied, with more than a little hint of awe in my voice. “It doesn’t get much better than this,” he said. I went on up to the beaver lodge. Four or more beavers were laying on their backs nibbling on something. Far off across the lake, with a telescope I saw a mother bald eagle sitting on her nest. It was a magnificent sight. It filled me with a sense of grandeur and magnificence to see this creature caring for her young. On the shimmering water, light bounced and played, color abounded and astounded. Several miles west of me, at still creek where it empties into Burnaby Lake, the beavers are thriving there as well. A few days ago I went to this little creek where before I had caught salmonids (trout and wild salmon), except this time, the beavers were so thick that I could not fish for fear of accidentally hitting one with my spinner. It was an easy choice. I set the rod down and just watched the beavers.

Nature is my truest church. The birds are the choir, and there is never a sour note. Sun, water, and life abounding are my preacher, and the sermon is never boring. How magnificent the Creator must be to design a mallard or a wood duck, a beaver, a trout, a redwing blackbird, and you and me.

Yesterday afternoon the sun was hot and the wind was in the West, so I went back to Still Creek where the plethora of Beavers had run me out the week before. This time the beavers were in the lodge and I shared the creek only with the goslings and ducklings, escorted by their parents. These BC Salmonids have seen many lures already in their young lives and they learn quickly. The poor fellow who sits there with his pole in the water, a bobber and some power bait might as well be reading War and Peace. The trout and salmon are too smart for him. What did I have in my tackle box that these BC fish had never seen? I searched through the contents and came up with a beetle spin, a small lure that we use in the Southern United States for catching blue-gill and crappie. There are definitely no blue gill in BC. Chances were pretty good the salmonids had never seen this little jewel. It has a rubber body with a tail that vibrates very fast, perturbing a lot of water, and a spinner blade that makes a lot of shine. It looks so good I would grab it if I were a trout. I made a few casts under the bridge, then across the creek, and bam—my micro ultra light rod bent like a willow switch. On ultra light gear, a small wild salmon can feel like “ole Tobe.” Salmonids definitely fight harder than bass. That will amaze an American angler, and I expect to get disputations, but I swear it is true. Bass fight hard for a minute or two and give up. Trout fight for their very lives, leaping through the air, diving, twisting.

“Just take it easy,” I said, “I’m going to let you go.” I never keep a fish and never intentionally hurt one. I am there to see the fish, admire it, get to know it a little bit, bless it, let it go, and thank God for the beautiful world He made. That is why I fish. The nice little 12 inch salmonid didn’t believe me. He wouldn’t take it easy. He was convinced that he was being abducted by aliens who would lift him up in the air and perform experiments on him! Eventually he gave up enough so that I could lift him gently out of the water and take the hook out. It is barb less, so as not to hurt the little guy and it comes out easy. Back into Still Creek he went, surely to tell tales to his friends about his abduction. Now catching a salmonid is a special experience. I don’t need to catch many to feel satisfied. It’s not like catching crappies which are so common and stupid that you have to catch thirty of them to make you feel like you’ve been fishing. Just catching one salmonid is a special event. They are like little angels in the creek. This was a small area of water and I really did not expect to catch another one after all the commotion and fracas. But two casts later—bam, the ultra light rod turned into a willow switch again and the battle was on. This beautiful little guy was about the same size and he fought no less valiantly. Salmonids believe in the fight. I believe in them. Finally a beaver poked his head above the water as he swam down the middle of the creek, just checking things out I guess. A few yards down the creek he bashed his tail against the water to let me know that I am in his backyard. Two salmonids were enough. I reeled in the spinner and just admired the redwing blackbirds in the trees.

Today I went back. Would the beetle-spin still work? Or had the two wild salmon that I had “abducted” yesterday sent out an email to all their friends in Still Creek to beware of a little swimming beetle-like thing with a shining spinner blade? Two casts. Bam. Another 11 or 12 incher. One was enough today.

The goslings and ducklings are growing but their numbers dwindle as their poor parents are unable to keep back the crows and eagles that look on them as dinner. Nature seems cruel but God is good and His creation still reflects Him. God is in everything I see because God is in me. I love Him so.

“Any luck,” the passing jogger asks of me as I stand below a little bridge with an ultra light rod and a meps spinner on the end of it? I do not answer back. I just look busy. Am I rude? Well maybe, but I don’t really want to talk to him. The fish are easily spooked, and why should I say, “Yes, this is my special spot. I come here most everyday and catch the most beautiful salmonids you ever saw.” Why should I have to say that? Fishermen don’t willingly advertise their special places where they catch fish! This is a special place. Even were there no trout I would come here to worship. Nature is a panoply of beauty.

It takes a pretty stolid heart to see a red-wing blackbird, a beaver, a wood duck, a trout, and not sense a designer, a painter for the canvas. We are part of this canvas, part of the picture, although some of us have become afflicted with madness and think ourselves at enmity with it. I come as a ritual to put myself back into the picture and feel at home with the still creek and the gentle breeze that flows through the trees and to reach out from deep inside me and embrace the One who made all things, including me. As a part of the ritual, I fish for trout. In this special place, the trout do not really mind that I catch them, though they make a good show of it!

As I cast the meps spinner across the creek and began my retrieve, bam, a wonderfully familiar feeling came into my ultra light rod. Do you know that I have never yet gotten tired of catching trout? But this fight had a different twist to it. As the trout leapt and thrashed a female Mallard duck, cackling like a madwoman from Bedlam, flew down right at me in a Kamikaze flight. I have never been dive bombed by a Mallard before. I didn’t quite know what to do. She circled around for another approach still quacking like I had her babies in my mouth. Down she came for another dive bombing. By this time, I had taken the spinner out of the little trout’s mouth and released him back into the creek. Finally she retreated, still quacking madly. Had her own baby ducklings been snatched from her by crows or eagles? That happens here. The duckling and gosling families have been getting smaller. The eagles swoop down and snatch the ducklings right from the water while the mommy and daddy Mallard can do nothing but quack in rage. My Kamikaze mother had not been able to protect her ducklings, so as my trout thrashed about in the water, she seemed ready and willing to try to save it…from me! We really are all connected in a web of life. Really! As I felt sorry for the poor mommy Mallard who had lost her ducklings, I cast the meps spinner again across to the other side of the creek.

I went to my special place yesterday afternoon to greet the salmonids again, but this time there was a disturbance in the air. Something was just not quite right. “Man was in the forest.” By the time I got to Still Creek, the reason for the disturbance was evident. “Wormers” had come!!! A species dreaded by all sport fishermen whether fly or spin artists. Wormers had come into my special place with their bobbers floating on the surface. Walking all around and over the terrain with their cell phones in hand, doing business while “fishing,” i.e. watching their bobbers! Needless to say, the bobbers were as motionless as tombstones. The trout had retreated from this barbarous encroachment. The beaver swam up the middle of the stream, dodging bobbers. At least I could admire him. But my beautiful trout were hiding. Not even my best beetle-spin could arouse one. The Wormers had brought with them a crowd. Teen-agers smoked dope and played with their pit-bulls. Wasn’t it Bambi who said to his mother, “The forest is different today?” And she responded, “Yes dear, Man was in the forest.” I know this will sound elitist and contrary to the worshipful experiences I have written about. I confess the sin. But it is highly possible to spoil nature. Mankind has been doing it exceedingly well since the industrial revolution. What about the “Wormers”? Weren’t they reaching out as best they knew how to come back into nature? Perhaps at some deep DNA level the urge to return to nature prompted them to pick up a can of worms at the gas station and head down to the creek. But they were doubtless unaware of it With their cell phones, noisy stomping, dogs and dope, they had brought the industrial world into nature. That is not at all the same thing! Man into nature equals destruction. Nature into man equals awareness….and just the little possibility that the thought of a Creator might slip into his cybernetic modern brain….
I had to get out of the house! It was a great spring/summer day and I had been working hard on the computer for days on a project. I was going computer crazy. Those little elfs (“extra low frequency signals”) coming from the computer monitor were eating into my brain. I needed a trout!!!! That is what came into my head. “I have to get out of here and go to my little creek. I need those negative ions and I need a trout.” It is quite possible that I will now have to found “trout anonymous” for people like me who are addicted to catching, looking at, admiring, holding, releasing trout! All I really needed was a little break into nature, and just one trout, just one. So I raced to my car and sped as fast as I could to my secret spot on Still Creek. A quick glance showed that nobody was there. No pain in the butt joggers, and thank god(!), no wormers, that dreaded homosapien offshoot that likes to bring their pit bulls, cell phones and marijuana down to the creek, along with an old Zebco and a can of worms! Thank god none of them were there. I had a new in-line spinner that I had great confidence in. On this warm day the trout would be in the mood to chase a bright flashing lure. My secret spot requires me to slip through some brush as quietly as possible, avoid falling into the creek, and not spook the trout. The blackberries are red now. Maybe next week when I go back they will be ripe enough for me to eat if the birds leave any for me. To be back at my spot bled out most of the tension the computer had pumped into me. On the third cast I got a strike and could see a baby trout as the culprit. He was no more than four inches long. I didn’t hook him, which is a good thing, because trout are delicate little things. Two casts later and a familiar “Bam” hit my spinner. This was a beauty! He was a good 12 inches long and shimmering beautiful in color. I enjoyed letting him fight my micro ultra-light rod with 4 pound test line. He jumped and twisted and dashed but would not give up. I got a little concerned about exhausting him in this little creek where the oxygen content is known to be dangerously low for trout, so I brought him in. I tried the old hand under the belly trick that we use to make bass relax, but it didn’t work on him. He kept jumping and twisting as I tried to get the hook, firmly set, out of his mouth. Finally I got it out and released him back into the creek, blessing him all the way. But there was a problem. He was exhausted and unable to move. I switched from fisherman to doctor as panic almost hit me. I would never want to hurt one of these little angels. I reached into the creek to get him and help him get his breath back. The creek was just too low in oxygen after such a long, hard, battle. It would be like a school kid trying to run a mile at 12,000 feet altitude! I was almost in tears to think that I might have fought this little guy so long that he might die of exhaustion! Finally though, after a little help, he slowly swam away. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “That’s enough for today.” All I needed was one trout, just one.
There are lessons in all of this. Trout are great for life’s lessons! This world of delicate balance requires that we deal with it gently. How easy it is to tread heavily through the earth. That is, after all, the human “disease” with nature. We want to control nature, bring the earth under subjection to us. So we gouge out huge quantities of mother earth and fill the holes with monuments to ourselves in steel and concrete. We like to “develop” the earth! That has now been shown to be a form of madness and yet the inmates are still in charge of the asylum. Any little glimmer of knowledge—let’s not even talk about enlightenment—will tell us that we must walk with a lighter tread, especially if we hope to find our own connection to nature. Don’t play the trout too long! Care more about him than you do of the thrill.
I will never forget an experience I had of taking my children fishing at a little pond. A young boy had caught a bull head catfish and was busy beating it on the head with a rock. My daughter yelled at him to stop it. We were all horrified. That little boy was playing out the game of civilization as he had been taught it: “Bring the world under subjection to you. Conquer it. Beat it. Whip it. Be the master of your fate!” In such madness, nature is the enemy and we are here to conquer it…or develop it for a profit. How heavily mankind has trod this beautiful planet. When we left Eden we founded “The World Industrial Development Corporation” and have been ill at ease ever since. The WIDC views the “trout” as an enemy, or a resource for potential profit.
One of the Bible’s great stories says that God came to feel He “repented” He had ever made man? We are told that was what God was feeling during the time of Noah. And he flooded the earth to get rid of every human being, except Noah and his family, who knew how to live with the animals! The trout were spared of course!

Making a Holy Space

Making A Holy Space

 

Into a place come the people. The place is made of the peace of God. It has been created by the holy intention of two or more to experience the peace of God. This peace first comes from adoration of the Christ, overwhelming thanks, tears of love, and tongues of gratefulness for the gift of Christ throughout all existence. Moving closer, the Christ and we become One and there is only the peace of God. The chairs, the carpet, the doors, all remember and hold this Peace. This place is used for nothing but this. The purpose of this outward place now enters each person who enters it. In this holy meeting place the many will become One in the Christ Mind. No little thought of darkness will be able to penetrate this holy place. No shadow can come into the Son of God’s holy Mind. Here all questions are answered, all fears abandoned, all prayers answered, for the son of God has heard the melos of the ages and responds in simplicity to the call of salvation. Here the son rests in holiness. This Peace is the answer to all the little questions the separated son could imagine in his little dreamy life. And today and for eternity we will extend it, beyond the planet, beyond the universe, into and through the universe of Spirit the Father has made. Now does the Son know His Father. Now are the two One. No space is left to separate the Father from the Son, nor is there any place where the Father ends and the Son begins. In perfect wholeness do they continue eternity’s ancient work of extension. Love has conquered shadows.  Nothing real has been threatened. Nothing unreal has ever existed. Now the Peace of God covers everything as Light without beginning or end, nor is it possible to imagine any place where this light is not. It extends from a center which has no boundaries towards an end that has no end.

We will continue to share this peace as long as the illusion of time and separation appears to be so. This will be our work. Let the little separated minds be healed for the Christ has come and asks entrance into each mind to free them from the illusions of fear that bind them still. Lightworkers and angels unite in this the work of ages. Today we will know the Peace of God. Tears will adorn the little bodies we have made to hide from God. Like Jewels on royal brows the Son comes to Himself and to His Father.

Father, take these my brothers who Love so, and envelop them in the same Love you have for me. Today the Sonship returns to your Peace. Holiness is all we will know and your Home is ours.

A Few Days In May, Lines penned in Love

A Few Days In May,

Joseph Shore

 

There was a time when I was filled with wonderment and peace; a time in which all things were possible, all hopes held, all miracles accepted, and Love knew its name in every word we spoke. We glided together through a wonderland of nature filled with peace and majesty and saw our souls reflected in beauty. Each Wood Duck showed your glory; each Mallard but spoke of your grace. Arm in arm we shared the beauty and wonderment of Love’s Presence in a May garden, in a time that so kindly stopped for us.  Have we ever left?  We are still there in that quiet moment. I know we will never leave it, for those moments were real and eternal. They are ours to revisit anytime we need to know Truth and Love. A field of daffodils, on quiet waters, a still vastness, and so much more that words cannot speak, we shared in a few days in May at Burnaby Lake. And now I am still filled with wonderment and peace. It is still a time when all things are possible, all hopes held, all miracles accepted, and Love knows its name. The changes of the seasons will not affect the Lake or foul the peace that lives there. Changes come, but Peace and Love stay. The ducks and geese will still be waiting for us to feed them. The sky will still welcome the marsh wrens and swallows in their swirling flight. The beavers will still be in their dens and vastness will still caress its feathered creatures and flowers, its leaves and bees, its creatures of the lake who come forth from such immensity. We will always be there and Love will always be Present.  I am haunted by such grandeur, and I speak gratefulness for a few days in May.

Our Life at Burnaby Lake–Lines penned in Love

One of the great things about a marsh is that you get to see the changes it goes through in the seasons. Summer has come to Vancouver and my life at Burnaby Lake has gone through many changes.

I was at Peace today when I went to the waterfowl sanctuary at Burnaby Lake, so I was not surprised to find peace there.  I always find peace there. Peace, honeysuckle, and summer ducklings showed themselves today. The garden that was just beginning to grow in May when we were here together is now full in bloom and full of life. The most amazing flowers now bloom. Bees are busy everywhere and the slugs are trundling about. I was very concerned about one slug who was sitting in the garden path. I didn’t want him to get hurt. They are all my slugs and my bees. The most amazing full arbor of honeysuckle filled the garden and beyond with the best smells of summer and childhood.  There was such peace and beauty there today. It only needed you there to see it with me. The blackberry vines are in full bloom now and little berries are forming. We are all waiting for the berries; birds, humans, and chipmunks together. Further into the lake, Lilly pads have replaced the fields of daffodils we were so awed by, and the ducks have created highways through them. Scores of Mallards were swimming single file through the narrow highways they had made, ducks as far as the eye could see, in a pilgrimage from one pond to another within the marsh.  One mommy Mallard proudly displayed her late summer hatchlings, a brood of five sweet ducklings no more than four inches long. Did I mention there was peace there today? No thought of good or evil crossed the minds of the ducks and geese who nibbled seeds from the hands of children feeding them. The Redwing Blackbirds carried no worries on their wings. The Marsh Wrens knew no cares. The marsh does not know hatred.  Sweet peace and gentle waterways flow.

I wondered how I would experience the marsh since my brush with Nirvana. I had not been there during the beatific vision I experienced for weeks. There was no need then. But now that I am somewhat more back to the earth, there is no place I would rather be than Burnaby Lake.  Some things have been changed in me though.  A fishing rod sits In my car’s trunk, now unused, because I do not wish to frighten the fish. They are my fish. I want them to swim freely.  All creatures and things of the garden and lake are God and we along with them.  To believe that would make me naive or muddle headed, but to know it is truth.  I feel things in a gentler way now and I know what I know. It is much sweeter. Yet it is all bitter sweet for lack of your presence to share this with me.

The sky was blue and speckled with clouds as the swallows and marsh wrens dived through the air. Big fat geese stood in water two inches deep and puffed out their big bellies. On a bench, three old Russian ladies, oblivious to the paradise they were in, muttered in Russian about mundane things. In the marsh, only the humans ignore peace.  

I want so much to share my marsh with others, but only some can see. My childhood world of the garden was like that to me as well. Both the marsh and the garden exist in eternity waiting for visitors with new eyes and hearts. I want so to take you by the hand and say, “Come over here. Let me show you the carrots and the peas, the beans and potatoes, the watermelons and corn, the strawberries and gooseberries, the peaches and the apples, the grapes and the walnuts. Look over here. Let me show you the ducks and geese, the peacocks and chickens, the fish that swim freely in the stream, the beavers and the otters, the owls and the eagles. They are just right over here. They are made of god stuff just like you and me. Look at the flowers too beautiful to pick, the honeysuckle bushes and mimosa trees that so delight the little humming birds, and over here, the tiny baby chickens that peep and sit in the middle of your hand. Let me show you. Do you know how strong walnut trees grow? Come, let me show you. Do you know they can withstand a tornado? Feel their trunks.  And over here, between two big walnut trees grandpa made a swing just big enough for two people. Sit with me and we will watch for the red birds to come and listen for the whippoorwills. It is all here. Everything anyone ever wanted and so much more is just waiting for us to grow new eyes and hearts. And there in the marsh, something new comes today from peace and assurance that nothing can go wrong. Nothing can go wrong.”

I want so much to show you these things for they are a part of us and we of them. My eyes see better because the birds are so beautiful. My nose works better because the flowers are so fragrant. The fish swim more freely because I love them so. The bees, the worms, the slugs all work the garden better for love. Can you not see?  Can you not see?  The world is our body and God is our soul. What could be wrong?  In this eternity what could be wrong? It is all part of the same beauty. In the time it has taken me to pen these lines twilight has come. The beavers are just coming out of their dens for moonlit strolls. The ducks and geese now perch themselves on logs and wait for dreams of tomorrow. The wrens are in their boxes. The crows have left the marsh to sleep in their trees and a mother eagle sits in her nest just across the lake. And now I have seen them and in these lines my heart has shown them to you. Have you seen them? Have you seen them? I reach out to touch your heart with the love that I know from nature, from God, and from you. I don’t know if you have seen them, but I am happier that my heart has shown them to you. And the parting line will always be, Love is Present.

Last Summer at Burnaby Lake

I returned to Burnaby Lake today, my Wholly place, at the waterfowl sanctuary. A little taste of summer remains yet. There are yet a few blackberries left in the thickets surrounding the marsh. The gardens too still have a hint of summer. We had a rain shower early and then a beautiful mixed sky of cloud and light filled the marsh. It was not hard to come to stillness. There was just WOW everyplace and everyplace filled with stillness. The ten thousand things of the Tao flowed easily with simplicity, grace and peace. I awaken each time I come to these wholly haunts. I remember “Home” there in the middle of wild flowers, flowing water, birds, ducks, beavers and men. The marsh welcomed me today with mallards, wood ducks, coots, marsh wrens, geese, and peace. The ducks were grateful to be feed and in recompense they eagerly showed off their wondrous plumage. The Blue Herons are still with us, though today they were hiding in the thickets of the marsh. Gratefulness filled me as I came to peace in wonder and welcomed stillness as my old friend.
Now there is always some “spiritual” person who wants to rain on parades by asking, “Well why do you need nature to come to peace? What can’t you come to peace looking at a door stop?” They always think they have said something important when they say things like this! We can forgive them, just let it pass. The truth is, be happy if you find anyone, any place, anything, that will partner with you in finding stillness. I find my “wholly spot,” and then let the peace move out from there, baby.

Tails of the Christ

My children were leaving. I had lost custody of them in a bloody three year court battle, and now they were going. They did not want to go. Thomas was 9 years old and Katie was 15. They were at my house one last time before their mother pulled up in her old car laden with baggage and told them they were leaving for Florida. She had tricked Thomas by telling him that I was coming too. As it became clear to him that I was not going he had to be dragged to the car as he cried, “But I don’t want to leave my daddy.” I waited until they pulled out and then I cried too. How I cried. I didn’t know how to stop. Thomas had given me a charge as he visited me that day. “Here daddy,” he said. “Here is this baby catfish I caught. Will you take care of him for me?” He had caught a little 2 inch catfish fry from a pond where he was playing. “Of course I’ll take care of him,” I answered. I took the little fry and put him in my 50 gallon aquarium tank. Since the little fish was the last thing Thomas gave to me I wanted to love that little fish as though he were my son. I knew I would seldom get to see my children again. They were going to be 2800 miles away from me and accessible only by a plane ride that I would not be able to afford unless my fortunes changed.

I took all the other fish out of the aquarium and gave the little catfish fry all the room he wanted. At first I fed him fish food, then little pellets as he grew. He got to know me and let me feed him by my hand. By the time he was 4 inches he would let me pet him as I fed him. I loved that little fish because he was my son’s last charge to me. He was happy in my tank and grew so well. Soon he was 6 inches long, then 8. I could look into his eyes and watch him look back at me. But I knew the time was coming for me to release him into some nearby lake where he could have a life of his own. I am going to say this just once: Every sentient being is Divine. There is no such thing as just an animal or just a fish!

A Course in Miracles teaches us that the Son of God is not one person. The Son of God is the Sonship and contains within it all of God’s creations, everything that has come from His extension of Love. Students of the Course understand that the Sonship contains within it all of our brothers, but do you understand that some of our brothers have fins and fur! All Sentient beings, every blade of grass and every grain of sand are a part of the Sonship.The Course teaches further that we are connected with everything. “How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son!” (T-28.IV.9:4). And again, “The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part” (T-28.IV.9:5-7). If God is in you, look at the world and you will see God. God is in everything I see because God is in me. The Christ is in everything!

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: all came forth from me, and all attained to me. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Pick up a stone, and you will find me there.”

Should it be strange then that I could look into the eyes of a little bullhead catfish and see the Christ? How I loved that little fish! I loved him because Thomas gave him to me and asked me to care for him.

The day came for his big release. I took him from the big aquarium and put him into a small portable one and carried him to my sports car. It was just a five minute drive to the lake. I drove with one hand and steadied the portable little aquarium with the other. I drove slowly so as not to slosh the water. I told him where we were going and that he would like it when we got there. I had picked a time when the lake should be devoid of people. We arrived and I gently carried the portable aquarium to the edge of the water. I told him that this was his time for freedom. I opened the lid and gently slid him into the shallow water of the lake. He looked around and at first did not understand this big “aquarium” he had been released into. Then there came a moment and he “got it.” It dawned on him that he was free. He started to swim out into the deeper water, but then he stopped, turned around and looked at me with eyes which by now I knew, and said, “Thank you.” And then he swam out into that lake. Know God and you must love your brother. Love connects us all in the Divine Mind. And some of the tales of the Christ are tails of the Christ.

God’s cat lives with me

God’s cat lives with me. She whispers sweet nothings in my ear, things she has overheard from angels’ lips. I ask her gently, “Are you God?” and she answers with a silent meow. I tell her, “If I could know you fully I would know God,” and she lays her head on my breast and purrs. There is no separation between her and I. She and I are one mind, in two different bodies. (I prefer hers, but I am stuck with this one.) I stroke her as she lays on me, and as she purrs I tell her that she is the most beautiful cat in the world. My sister cat and I are one.

Going Beyond “Belief”

Going Beyond “Belief”
When you “believe” something there are always a lot of words. Belief is always in another. It lacks the validity of personal experience. And when you experience something, belief is not necessary and the words disappear. “Belief” is the Booby Prize for spiritual seekers. It is our beliefs that keep the mind from stillness. Today I will attempt to go beyond belief and find the experience of Oneness with all things, even a grain of sand

I sat in a summer garden not long ago

I sat in a summer garden not long ago. A myriad of flowers filled it. Bees landed and meandered. Earthworms trundled through the soil. Light bounced off of the foliage. Not another person was there. Birds sang, and clouds floated overhead. I was brought to stillness. Thought stopped. Time stopped. In this still attention duality stopped. The garden was not opposite to me. I was not observing the garden. In this holy stillness, I was part of the garden. Each flower expressed complete Wholiness. Each Bee, each worm was divine. And I was not a body. This divine experience lasted an eternity because time had been stopped by attention. I am still part of that garden. I will never leave.

Things I Like to Do Tell You Who I Am Much Better than the Mistakes I have Made:

Things I Like to Do Tell You Who I Am Much Better than the Mistakes I have Made:

A few years ago I sat down and wrote out a soul list of things I like to do. I looked at it today, and I still like the same things. If you don’t know me and care to know, my list here opens the door to my soul:

“I like to help people. I like the experience when the seeming distance between two people dissipates and there is a connection–and it is always a connection of Love.

I like to enable people to find, acquire and reintegrate into themselves, the parts of themselves which they had lost temporarily or forgotten.
I am most at home teaching or performing; Of course nothing takes the place of the stage. It was my place on earth for me to be me. That’s fine. The abrupt disruption of my career had to be karma. It could not have been an accident. But now thinking beyond that time, I love to meditate, in either formal or informal ways, the latter being my preference. I meditate in creeks and my spirit shouts as loud when I catch a trout as if I had caught the Holy Ghost Himself. Of course I don’t hurt the little angels. I use only barbless hooks and lures or flies only. I admire the sweet little creature, bless him and let him go. To me, spirituality is about  staying in wonder.

I like to sit in wilderness areas as my “church” and worship my own way, and that changes a lot.

I love to connect to people love to love and watch the surprise come over their faces.

I love the melodies of creeks. I love the sounds of night. They are nature’s music. I love clouds and wish I could paint them. Even more I wish I could find the right sound and melody to sing them.

I love the Ground of Being. With constant wonder and grandeur it manifests itself daily.

I love learning things I don’t know. I love doing research on my own. I love all animals and consider them little bits of the Divine which God left for us.

I love long walks in the forest or by a creek with someone I really love.
I like playing with children and setting their minds on the great journey of love and mystery. I love the mystery called “God.” I feel closer to Him than my fingers to my hands.

I love to sit by a brook–after I have caught and released a few trout–with a lover beside me and talk or be silent, but BE-in spirit.

I love to watch the sunsets over Deer Lake and glory in what I perceive from that grand event.

At other times, I love to teach young actors how to act and young singers how to sing—secretly, as a form of Zen, so that they remain highly conscious as they study.

I love Romantic love and like Wagner’s Flying Dutchman. Like him, I have been looking for ages for a woman who would love me truly and complete this creative block of karma which is me, and it wouldn’t hurt to be happy.”