Friends as a Life Theme

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Many life mappers identify Friends as a primary Life Theme that brings positive inspiration and encouragement into their lives.  Friends are for many of us as significant as Family, especially in our contemporary society where so often we need to live away from our natal family to work or go to school away from our original homes. So this month’s Better Endings topic is the Life Theme of Friends. (To discover your own primary Life Themes, purchase or find my book at a local library: Your Life Path, which provides a complete Life Path Mapping Toolkit!)

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Friends have always been core to me. The sharing and unconditional reciprocity of a true, lasting friendship anchors my sense of purpose and brings great joy. I love the constancy of a true friend. Even though we may have our ups and downs or may be nearer or more distant geographically over time, a Friend is always Here, in our hearts.

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images are from pixabay.com

To begin this month’s set of posts about Friends, I turn to Khalil Gibran, whose essay on Friendship I remember since I first read it forty-five or so years ago.  I especially remember from Gibran’s essay how important it is to share the positive as well as your fears or frustrations with your Friend.

Celebrate the joy of your deep connection with your Friend.  This reminds me also of Rumi’s spiritual teacher and guide whom he refers to as The Friend, Shams-I- Tabriz. For a Friend is a Teacher of love and respect, one with whom we share unconditional, even an Eternal spiritual connection.

So for your reading pleasure, here below is Gibran on Friendship:

On Friendship
 Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Winter Solstice: Death and the Resurgence of Possibilities

 

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It is appropriate how in the Western hemisphere we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year during the depth of Winter, around the time of the Winter solstice. Hope and love are born or rekindled in a season of relative darkness and cold, like a ray of light peeking through the stormy clouds or an ember sparking a warm fire, reminding us that the freeze will thaw and warmth and new potentials will emerge.

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Cross-culturally the Winter solstice and New Year are often aligned and celebrated as a time of death and rebirth, not only of the annual cycle of growth and decay but of fresh opportunities. The Zuni Pueblo Sha’lak’o kachina ceremonies, for instance, always occur at the end of November or first weekend of December. New houses for families needing room to expand, built by kiva group societies throughout the past year, are visited by the six 12 foot tall Sha’lak’o  messenger kachinas. The Sha’lak’os walk to these houses at Zuni from the six directions (East/South/West/North/Zenith/Nadir) to bless these homes and metaphorically to bring balance and renewal of growth potentials to the entire world and cosmos through their sacred prayers and ceremonial dancing.

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Out with the Old, In with the New.  A new cycle within the larger cycles of your Life Chapters and Life Story is a golden opportunity to reflect, to shed that which no longer serves you in its present form.  Take a breath of the pristine dawn of a New Day over the Holidays season!

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR comments and Story!

 

 

 

APOTHEOSIS / Fulfillment of the Quest

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Fulfillment of one’s quest promotes “apotheosis” in Joseph Campbell’s terms pertaining to the Hero Cycle. That is our topic for September. In The Hero With 1000 Faces, Campbell presents apotheosis as an initiation stage by which duality is dissolved into unity.

The merging of opposites: masculine + feminine, positive + negative, physical + Divine; such fulfillment transcends merely apparent paradoxes.  Neutrality is achieved, being neither for nor against. Equanimity allows us to resolve differences and internal as well as external conflicts. Stasis occurs at the eye of the storm. From here one attains Higher Consciousness.

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Freedom is born; a new, heightened sense of freedom from any attachments. Now one is free to move on to new adventures, no longer trammeled by whatever tension of opposites might have brought him/her to overcome obstacles and navigate stormy seas to arrive here.

In life we are constantly asking ourselves—if we are at all reflexive about our progress, or Being—who am I? And then again, who am I, Now? This ‘I’ that we are asking after, this Higher Self, resides always in the Apotheosis state.

I think of Rumi, who must certainly have many a poem about apotheosis. Here’s a verse:

“Through your love

existence and nonexistence merge.

All opposites unite.

All that is profane

becomes sacred again.”

 – Rumi

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Have you experienced times in your life when cycles have shifted and you have felt a special calm after fulfilling some deep quest? Sometimes when I have worked on a difficult project and have completed that successfully, either alone or with others in service, I know, as Frederico Lorca expressed so poetically:

“Something has come

to an end here,

It has been

accomplished.”

I feel the ending of a cycle as an equinox in my life. It has often seemed to me in such a moment that I could willingly die then, translating my life experience into new forms in another dimension. But then, so far anyways in this life, the next project or adventure appears on the horizon, so I am off again to meet it.

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images are from pixabay.com

The attainment of Fulfillment for any one Quest brings strength and understanding we can apply evermore.

Do you have a story to share?  I invite and welcome your comments and stories.

Rumi and Shams

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One of the greatest true stories about the appearance of a Helper whose relationship with an ardent aspirant transforms not only that ‘student’ but through him, also the world, is that of Shams-y-Tabriz (one of several spellings) and the gifted poet, Rumi.

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Shams Tabrizi is often claimed as a Sufi or Muslim although more accurately he could be described as a “wandering mendicant” who associated with many religious backgrounds but not only one.  Shams found in Rumi a spiritually thirsty, deeply honest Soul who was able to also put aside a single faith tradition in order to experience Spirit in a most direct manner that Shams taught him to embrace.

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Shams may have been murdered by associates of Rumi who thought of Shams as heretical. After his Master’s death, Rumi’s grief and burning love of Spirit Itself as he had learned to experience IT through his Teacher, was so intense that Rumi developed the whirling dervish technique of spinning to leave his bodily consciousness . He also began composing a large body of some of the greatest spiritual poetry known to humanity, including the Song of the Reed.

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Below is one of Rumi’s poems about his beloved Helper, translated from Coleman Barks.

I swear, since seeing Your face,

the whole world is fraud and fantasy

The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf

or blossom. The distracted birds

can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

 

A house of love with no limits,

a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,

a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

The Divani Shamsi Tabriz XV http://www.khamush.com/love_poems.html#Love is the Water of Life

 

Contemplative Hopping (Internal Threshold Crossing)

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Story 1:  Yogic Flying

Sometime in the late 1970’s, a group of Transcendental Meditation practitioners first stunned the world with their release of video (before the Web even!) demonstrating “yogic flying” or “hopping” while in a deep meditation state of consciousness. They would levitate and shift position on their mats apparently as an exercise of Mind over Body.

Yogic Fliers reveal that we are capable of controlling the body directly through thought or Mind. What else can we take away from their example?

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Story 2:  Conscious vs. “Unconscious” States of Consciousness

For a graduate school assignment in linguistic semantics one week, our professor asked us to compose better semantic accounts than standard dictionary references for a related set of terms.  I chose CONSCIOUS and UNCONSCIOUS and compiled a wide range of definitions in order to sort these out and arrive at a holistic semantic analysis. What I discovered was that any state of consciousness that is not “conscious” or a “waking state” perception or experience people tend to lump together under the very large umbrella of “unconscious” in American English parlance.

Included under the far-reaching semantic domain of “unconscious”: unconscious, subconscious, dream state, daydreams, ‘other side’, Mind, (unconscious) thought, brain synapses, Self, soul, precognition, memory, lack of awareness. What I noticed about this wide range of concepts is that, simply put, Americans comprehend on the whole very little about anything they cannot directly See, Hear, Taste, Smell or Touch. All the rest, which in my view is the whole-enchilada iceberg under that tiny tip of “conscious” sense awareness, is lumped together as “unconscious.”

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As one who has engaged in daily, active contemplation and dreamwork for at least 44 years, I have discovered that the “Inner” is much more vast and is much more open to exploration and freedom of experience than the “Outer” realm of matter and conscious awareness.  There are many (perhaps infinite) levels of consciousness beyond the outer physical senses and body, and you are free to explore this diverse multiplicity of states and levels of consciousness through various modes of meditation, contemplation, active imagination, dreamwork, prayer, paranormal investigation and/or mindfulness techniques.

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That which is BEYOND the physical body states is neither defined by the mind nor contained or controlled by the Brain.

Implications for Contemplative Hopping—Internal Threshold Crossing

Using Jung’s approach of active imagination, a mode of contemplative envisioning and inner action, I encourage you to try your beyond-the-physical wings!  You do have them, at least figuratively speaking.  Dreams of flying (with or without wings as they are usually not needed!) are a very common early mode of inner travel or shifting of attention inwardly.  Explore an inner landscape, for instance, of an outer place you will soon be visiting “out here.”  Or actively contemplate the results or consequences of some anticipated move or action by yourself or others.

When I  was to make a big move from Buffalo (East) to Arizona (‘Out West”)  some 38 years ago, every night I asked to be shown something about the life I was about to embark upon plus I asked questions to trouble shoot this grand adventure. I was shown four people I would later meet (independently of one another) along with some glimpse of their role in my upcoming life.  I was also shown that  the experience would not be without its hardships but they would be necessary (karmic, let’s say), and when I later experienced what was foretold in these dreams very directly, I had been forewarned so was better prepared to meet the challenges.

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images are from pixabay.com

Let’s call your active inner explorations (past, present or future) to be forms of inner Threshold Crossing. I like to say, you don’t have to die or nearly die in order to explore the Heavens as well as really anything/ any state your Heart desires. Sages like the poet Rumi, actually, encourage us to “die daily.” This means you have the spiritual freedom to explore and investigate beyond the limited reaches of brain-mind or body.

See? I welcome your comments and stories!

Sing Hu, a Healing Song of Divine Love

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This past two weeks I have been sharing well-known prayer poems as words from the HEALER archetype energy…whether you think of that as your own inner archetypal Healer part of Self, or Spirit Itself, or the centering Order of the Universe, or God as the Creator and Healer, or a spiritual Teacher or Master who brings Healing to your Heart.  Spirituality in any form brings healing energies and allows us also to be a Vehicle of divine or impersonal, detached love which can be a healing balm for others who are open to receive that love.

I will share two more prayer poems today and Sunday (or Tuesday) to wind up this month of alchemical pairings of the HEALER Archetype with the Life Metaphor Life Is (or, can be!)Better Endings.

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Eckankar Worship Service

Sunday, Jul 8, 2012, 11:00 AM

Marin Eckankar Center
840 B Street San Rafael, CA

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Join us for an ECK Worship Service to share your spiritual insights and experiences with others like you. Discover spiritual tools to meet life’s challenges. Awaken to the divine guidance always within you. Open your heart to give and receive more divine love. Experience how the Light and Sound of God can help you lead a happier life.  The theme fo…

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Sing Hu, an ancient, sacred Name for the Creator

For myself, I take quite seriously Ghandi’s words shared in Tuesday’s post about the value of ALL religions or spirituality and including secular philosophical systems of belief or faith that are each of unfathomable significance and truth to the practicing Believer. My own spiritual practice for over forty years (would you have asked) is that of Eckankar, a modern-day religion with ancient roots, sometimes known as the Religion of the Light and Sound of God.

In Eckankar, we recognize and sing religiously as a love song to God an age-old prayer poem; it is a mantra that we may practice daily, even 24/7 in the background of our thoughts or consciousness. This ancient Word, sung simply on the outgoing breath as the one syllable HU (or, Huuuuuuuuuuuu), is found in many faith traditions. It is found in Allah+HU+Jah(weh) (Allelujah!) in declaration of names of the Divine, and it meant God or the Breath of God in ancient Egypt. It is in the Hawaiian Kahuna (a healing energy or Healer persona), and Hututu is the leader of all of the pantheon of Hopi Spirit-bearing kachinas.

The most popular poet of our modern age is Jalal-ad-DIN-Rumi, whose spiritual Teacher/ Master was Shams, or Shamus-i-Tabriz. Rumi (1207-1273 AD) wrote his “ecstatic” (from Gk. ekstasis: ‘standing apart from the body’) poetry in the mid 13th Century in a region of what is now northwestern Turkey. Below allow me to share some of Rumi’s poems that include reference to this love song to God or Name of God or the Breath of the Creator: HU.


The HU in Rumi’s Poetry

In sufi circles they say, “There’s prayer, and a step up from that is meditation, and a step up from that is sohbet, or conversation.”
Who is talking to HU! (The pronoun for divine presence.) Lover to beloved, teacher to disciple. The Friendship of Rumi and Shams
became a continuous conversation, in silence and words, presence talking to absence, existence to non-existence, periphery to center.
Rumi’s poetry may be heard as eavesdropping on that exchange.”

Coleman Barks, May 2, 1994
Say I am You – RUMI

Mathnawi, Book VI, 4038-4044http://www.sourcetext.com/hupage/Rumi/rumi0.html

 

[Open Secret – Versions of Rumi
by John Moyne and Coleman Barks]

This is what the Friend can do
when one is in such love. Sensual people use the holy names
often, but they don’t work for them.
The miracle Jesus did by being the name of God,
Zuleika felt in the name of Joseph.

When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that
is to breathe the name HU, empty of self and filled
with love. As the saying goes, The pot drips what is in it.
The saffron spice of connecting, laughter.

The onion-smell of separation, crying.
Others have many things and people they love.
This is not the way of Friend and friend.

 

[One-Handed Basket Weaving – RUMI
by Coleman Barks]

Muhammed is said to have said,
“Whoever belongs to God, God belongs to.”

Our weak, uneven breathings,
these dissolving personalities,
were breathed out by the eternal
Huuuuuuuu, that never changes! 
A drop of water constantly fears
that it may evaporate into the air,
or be absorbed by the ground.

It doesn’t want to be used up
in those ways, but when it lets go
and falls into the ocean it came from,
it finds protection from the other deaths.

Its droplet form is gone,
but its watery essence has become
vast and inviolable.

Listen to me, friends, because you
are a drop, and you can honor yourselves

in this way. What could be luckier

than to have the ocean come
to court the drop?

For God’s sake, don’t postpone your yes!
Give up and become the giver.

******   ******

Anyone can sing HU, either aloud or silently. It does not belong to any one religion or spiritual Way. Simply open your heart to love and allow this ancient, creative and healing current, this primal Word, to flow gently through you. It can help to lift your consciousness to link with your highest nature or with the quiet voice of Life—or love—Itself!

Be the Healing You Seek

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As you—all of us—embody the HEALER Archetype Ally within you, you also may be a healing influence for others.

Allow your Healer to be available not only to you but also through you!

This sort of healing influence that you might naturally bring to a relationship or situation is more often than not indirect and non-directed.  I am not endorsing “laying on of hands” or anything of that nature, as these forms of “healing” can actually be quite invasive or controlling, and I do not support that. Yet being a vehicle of unconditional love or impartial positivity is natural and often may be a helpful agency in itself, even if it is only to lend a shoulder to cry on or in your caring to provide a helpful hand.

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Being a calm, centered, patient and positive presence in any situation or circumstance can lead to healing effects on yourself as well as bringing peace or balance to conditions around you. Non-directive prayers of surrendering a situation to Higher Wisdom or the use of centering and uplifting mantra chanting or mindfulness meditations can help you to achieve and maintain the balance you wish to achieve.

I remember a prayer I learned when I was exploring the Baha’i faith many decades ago. I am not sure if this may be from Rumi originally (though it is perhaps more likely from Bahau’allah as it is a Baha’i prayer); its reference to a hollow reed instrument has always reminded me of Rumi’s Song of the Reed. Recently I have found this prayer coming back to my heart awareness, and I am finding there is a reason for that within my life.

I provide a version here from my memory which is very near to a version you can read at www.bahaiquotes.com  :

Oh Lord, make of me a Hollow Reed

Through which the pith of Self hath been blown,

That I may become a clear channel,

Through which Thy Love may flow to others.

The Learner: A Question Of Afterlife

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Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
About anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.

~ Rumi ~

(picture and poem reposted from Theresa at Soulgatherings, Dec.10, 2014)

This week while focusing on the Teacher archetype, what has come forth for me is a Learner part of Self. I have been asking and asking, what can I learn from some of the more difficult life experiences I am confronted with lately?

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I lost a friend whom I thought very highly of last week. He passed away suddenly after battling an illness for a long time that he never told me about. I should have known, I felt. I should have questioned him when he uncharacteristically issued a swear word in our usually very positive exchange at Words with Friends.  What would my Teacher say?

I will name my inner-self teacher Rumi, after the poet I admire whose poetry I deeply appreciate. Please, teach me, Jalal.

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I envision a desert oasis. I walk around, exploring.  I hear music, the sound of a wooden flute, and I think of Rumi’s “Song of the Reed”, and here he is, sitting across a wooden table from me at a quiet tavern.  The music that fills the air seems to be coming directly from this gentle man with dark hair, otherworldly eyes and olive toned skin, wearing an off-white cotton overshirt, without a turban. A stack of of cloth papers and a quill pen sits on the table before him.

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“Where do we go when we leave this pale plane?  I know we go on forever, in various forms, but do we retain the sense of a unified consciousness?”

“Do you fear your own freedom so much that you would seek to contain its expression after your bird-soul is released?”

“I know that at least in this body-state, for all of its slow progress and limitations, it is solid; this lifetime is predictable, consistent. I go to sleep at night and I awake the next morning in the same body and Mind, day by day by day, for many decades. Without this solid frame, I don’t know where I will be.”

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“Where are you, Now? Who are you, really?”

“I am Soul and not this body; yet there is comfort in the familiarity of my little-self personality and identity.”

“When you dream at night where do you go? Who are you Here?”

“Much of the time I am still me; other times I am personas from within the dream, or something greater.”

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“What happens in these dreams when you feel yourself ‘something greater’ than your little ego form?”

“I am just a perspective, often. Not with a body although it doesn’t feel that way. But I am still me, as a point of view.  Sometimes I can fly; sometimes I ride a Pegasus. But I am not aware of having a body in those experiences.  Yet still, you see, that is my question. These dreams are episodic, not connected to one other. I am here or in another here, but I do not live a connected lifetime. I am afraid of letting go of that thread of continuity.”

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Jalal sighs, a twinkle of laughter in his patient look. He slides the paper he has been writing on across to me on the table. Then he pushes his chair back from the table and gets up. He walks to a wooden platform on the side of the tavern where a man has been playing a stringed instrument like a lyre. Rumi sits tailor fashion on a large silk pillow on the platform stage. He draws out a reed flute from his wrap. He closes his eyes and lifts the flute to his lips and he begins to play.

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I look at the writing on the page in front of me, listening to the delicate music. It is a poem, one I have read before, many times:

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This Disaster

Why am I part of this disaster, this mud hole for donkeys? Is this the place

where Jesus spoke? Surely not. A table has been set, but we have not been served

sweet spring water yet. Evidently we came here to be bound hand and foot. I ask

a flower, “How is it you are so wise so young?” “With the first morning wind and

the first dew, I lost my innocence.” I follow the one who showed me the way. I                 

extend one hand up, and with the other I touch the ground. A great branch leans

down from the sky. How long will I keep talking of up and down? This is not my

home: silence, annihilation, absence! I go back where everything is nothing.

Coleman Barks, The Soul of Rumi

“Beautiful People Here” (parking lot attendant, Denver Coliseum, Mar. 22, 2014)

Feathers

As I sit to write an introductory post for a Better Endings week about Spirituality, I am in a bleacher seat at the Denver Coliseum, attending the Denver March Powwow. One of the largest Native American powwow venues in the country, people from many tribal communities and many other backgrounds come to Powwow, in part, to recharge their spiritual batteries.

Grand Entry. Drumming circles surround the gymnasium that fills with dancers in regalia from all age groups and genders, creating a Spiral, the Sacred Circle of Life. Feathers, colors, blankets, shawls, buckskin, moccasins, beads, VOICES, and RHYTHM: the heartbeat of the Earth, vibrancy of Spirit. Grandmothers enter: “Keepers of Mother Earth”.

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The last time I was here, two years ago, I came with Juanita, who enjoyed telling people, “I am only 92!”  She hadn’t been to the Denver Powwow for many years but in her youth, in 1954 (my birth year), Juanita interviewed all  Native American families in Colorado Springs for a city history book, and she gained many friends. Here at the Powwow Juanita told me she could see and hear the voices of the elders who had passed Beyond, still attending Powwow.

Juanita passed herself, just two weeks after Powwow. Ke:shhi (‘Hello”, in Zuni), Juanita. K’ettsanishhi do’ andewadu (‘May you go happily’).

Spirituality is Universal. No single religion or philosophy has a monopoly on Divine Love or Truth.

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***

As I stand in line now for the one frybread stand (in a line that may take over an hour to arrive there), I invite YOU this week to write or to somehow express what Spirituality means, to you, or about how Spirituality has helped you. I will save all Comments to this effect and post them together on Thursday along with re-blogs on the topic which I also invite you to send.

Spirituality is a Better Ending in and of Itself. In whatever form you “Hook Up” and “Tune In” to Spirit, and whatever you may name It and the Divine, we will celebrate the Pulse of Life, Divine Love and awareness all this week at Better Endings.

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As a lover of Rumi, who lived and breathed the universality of spirituality, I share from his poetic illumination:

WORD FOG

Words, even if they come from the soul, hide the soul,

as fog rising off the sea covers the sea,

the coast, the fish, the pearls.

It is noble work to build coherent philosophical discourses

but they do not block out the sun of truth.

See God’s qualities as an ocean.

The world is foam on the purity of that.

Brush it away and look through the alphabet to essence,

as you do the hair covering your beloved’s eyes.

Here is the mystery:

This intricate, astonishing world is proof

of God’s presence even as it covers the beauty.

One flake from the wall of a gold mine

does not give much idea what it is like

when the sun shines down inside

and turns the air and the workers golden.

 – (Rumi: The Big Red Book, Coleman Barks, transl.:149-150)

Prayer Flags

Where To From Here? So Many Choices…

Neutral interior decoration plan with swatches

Tuesday (instead of Wednesday, starting today) is Prompts Day at Better Endings. I invite you to journal/ write about, talk about, or actively imagine and contemplate about one or more situations in your life–past, present or future–that relate to this week’s topic of “better choices“. Do any of the situations listed below remind you of a time when you chose a better ending instead of a self-limiting perspective or habit? Or maybe you made a “wrong choice” by your own estimation at some point; how did you adjust and grow from that? What sorts of choices have generally helped you or hindered you in the pursuit of your interests or goals?

Some possible situations calling for Better Choices:

  • what job to take or walk away from
  • what career to pursue/ Major in college, etc.
  • where to live?
  • relationships?
  • lifestyle choices
  • social scene
  • foods
  • habits
  • pathways
  • life changing choices
  • circumstances ‘beyond your control’
  • renovations (e.g. what color to paint your house)
  • attitudes
  • cars, material possessions
  • your next words
  • travel opportunities
  • pets
  • friends

Also today, have you noticed the “Better Endings Quote” panel at the bottom of our site? The Rumi poem, “A Voice through the Door”, speaks to me personally about choices. It seems to be saying that better choices come to you from within, rather than from someone or anything external. Follow Your Heart. Which reminds me: I welcome and thank you if you are “Following” (or just stopping by) Better Endings. Happily, it is the principle of Better Endings itself that you are following; I am following that principle with gratitude for my own inner guidance, too!

Please send your Comments below. I welcome your Better Endings story this week about a time when you made a better choice; or, not! Please submit your story (by Saturday night) for inclusion as a Story of the Week.

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