Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Temple of God

Remember that the heart, not the head, is the temple of God.  Spiritual and religious ideas are matters of the heart - not the head.  If our hearts are filled with the presence of God, then our minds will also find enlightenment.  Our physical eyes are useless, unless the light of day illuminates the world around us.  Similarly, our minds and the eyes of our understanding are useless without the spiritual light of truth.  The wisdom and understanding of the mind can easily be turned to clever instruments of evil if they are not subjected to the light of spiritual truth.
The Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem.  But when they reached Bethlehem, they no longer needed the star, for they had found the Master, the sun of righteousness.  When the sun rises, stars lose their radiance.  In India we have many genuine truth seekers who faithfully follow their star, but it is only starlight that guides them.  In the Master we have the glory of the sun.

                                                From the Teachings of Sundar Singh (1889-1929)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Once Upon a Time

In the mists of time, in a far country, there was a small community that lived in peace and harmony with each other and with nature; all family groups shared according to need.  No one went without.  Disease was unknown, no crimes were committed and death was a natural event.  Crops grew, food was adequate and each family abode was comfortable, dry and well protected from the occasional exceptional weather.  The villagers met each morning, raised their voices in thanks and praise to Theone, then allotted work according to ability and skill, working each for the other.  In that country, in that time, distances between communities was considerable, travel was on foot; this particular community rarely saw visitors and so lived very much dependent upon each other and their own resources.  The odd traveller passing through was always greeted courteously and sent happily on their way feeling that they had experienced something special.

This state of affairs continued for many generation until one day a group of travellers arrived on horseback, strangely dressed and carrying strange tools.  In reality these were weapons but this community had never seen such things and had never had occasion to need them.  This naturally caused some disquiet.  The travellers intended no harm, they were just passing through.  Some of the young people were intrigued by the strangers and questioned them about their lives and their world, as a result when the group left some of the younger members of the community went along too.  It was inevitable that some eventually returned with stories of the wider world they had seen.  They spoke of the people, clothes, ideas, customs and buildings, etc..  Of course they were no longer content with their previously idyllic lifestyle but wanted more of everything.  Better clothes, better houses, more possessions, a greater share of the community wealth and so on.  Desire for the material brought discontent, jealousy and theft, this led to more physical crime, disrespect for others, for the rules of the community and for the beauty of their surroundings.

The formally ideal community disintegrated; somehow it seemed that nothing went right, crops failed, dis-ease bred disease, distrust and lack of consideration for others.  The ugly side of human nature prevailed.  Common stewardship of property became ownership by the strongest and the most determined.  Communion with Theone continued secretly by a few, old knowledge was guarded to be passed only to those who were dedicated to community, peace and freedom.

Over time the big fish in this small pool swam on to larger pools, they had depleted the community and thought they had the right to even greater gains.  The pool became calm and quiet again.

Many years passed and the community once again became a quiet backwater virtually unknown to the greater world; the old values resurfaced, old knowledge re-emerged, communion with Theone was openly restored.  Peace and love prevailed, nature and man were in balance, harmony was the watchword.  The desire for prestige,  power, possessions, authority over man and dominance over nature was subverted.  Unfortunately seeds had been sown and things were no longer quite the same, a few decided that the ancient knowledge was also a kind of power; so they acquired what they thought was useful and formed an elite.  They chose to see themselves as the sole guardians of what had previously been common to all, they surrounded it with pomp and ceremony known only to the initiated.  Once again the pool was small, the fish swam out to larger pools to convert the masses to their philosophy.  A new power was abroad in the world seeking control and authority.

This tale could unfold continuously in this vein.  Does this all sound rather familiar?  Is this the way of the world in all cultures even today?  Is this how it will always be?  Possibly, if we don't change it, but change starts with the little people, no not the leprechauns, but with you and me.  In this world we may be small in power and authority but we have numbers on our side, and time.

Let us take the lessons of this tale.  There are many forms of power, military, political, religious, right down to groups, families and couples.  The forms that are taken may vary but it's all about control, dominance, mastery, rule and authority so that groups or individuals are held in thrall.  Contrariwise there is also the positive power that is supportive, wholesome and individually empowering.

We all know the saying, "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".  That is so true but the opposite is positive power and freedom.  We can be free in so many ways.  To me the greatest freedoms are to think, to be able to follow the philosophy or religion of my choice, to witness all creation and to pray, praise and commune with Spirit at will.  Hopefully this leads to the wish to allow others their freedom too.  For me to endeavour to think no ill, speak no ill, to do no ill in the love of Spirit and at all times try to express that in thought, speech and deed is most important.

So we must turn to the positivity of power by the use of influence, ability, talent and aptitude.  An influence for all that is best and good inhuman nature and development.  The key word is influence.  Influence by example, so that others are able to see the effect of living and being close to Spirit as being a more desirable way of life.  Spiritualism is a philosophy that influences us as individual; it is reflected in our way of life, our speech, our actions and out thoughts.  This reflects too in the ways we deal with our lives and all we come into contact with.  We should live the Principles of our belief so that others are drawn to the Light of the Truths we live.

If we look at the lives of the great Spiritual Teachers throughout history we should note that it was the example of their thoughts, words and actions that drew the attention of their followers.  Most of what we know of their teachings was written by others so that their light should continue to shine, the influence came first.

I am not suggesting that we should be so exalted but rather that we should perhaps aim to shine a light in our own small corner of life, a reflection of the light of the exalted ones.  The light that we know we receive from Spirit.  The Light of Love, Peace and Healing.

Our resolution then is to kindness and compassion in our daily lives, to send out our prayers and thoughts and to love all creation as we would wish to be loved.  When we look around the world at all its woes and wonders there is so much to praise but oh so much to pray for.  Let our lives be our prayers.

Thank you.
The Holy Spirit bless you in the Light of Love.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Venerable Bede

                                                                 Bede writing.

Tomorrow, 25th. May, is the Feast Day - Saints Day - of the Venerable Bede, a monk who lived from circa 673 to 735 AD at the monastery of St.Peter's,Wearmouth and also at the monastery of St.Paul's, Jarrow in what was then Northumbria.  In his lifetime he was known all over the Christian world as an author and scholar who translated the Gospels and wrote commentaries and sermons that were widely read.  He is perhaps best known now for his "History of the English Church and People", written in his 59th. year.
His Shrine is in Durham Cathedral where his prayer is spoken every day.

I implore you, good Jesus, that as in your mercy you have given me to drink in with delight the words of your knowledge, so of your loving kindness you will also grant me one day to come to you, the fountain of all wisdom, and to stand for ever before your face.  Amen

                                                   Bede's Shrine in Durham Cathedral

O, Christ our Morning Star,
Splendour of Light Eternal,
Shining with the glory of the rainbow,
Come and waken us from the greyness of our apathy,
And renew in us your gift of Hope.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Farewell Song for the Soul

When the last notes of Summer Symphony steal through the garden, I shall prepare for a journey.  I shall close the book of hours, and set my seal thereupon with unfaltering hand.  I shall take leave of those who loved me, those who have always loved me, their trembling words of farewell I shall cherish forever.  With my hand on the latch, smilingly, I shall look back at them, and give them my blessings.  How shattered the home will be after my going; none shall see me nor hear me depart save those having vision.

The land to which I travel is not distant.  Though I move to a new home we shall still be neighbours.  The hedge which divideth it shall be pierced by arrows of Love.  They shall hear my voice comforting them in the night of their sorrow.  My hand shall clasp them at the helm, when they steer over seas that are perilous. But I shall never forget them.  They are embalmed in the storehouse of memory; their gifts of kindness are preserved in the shrine of the spirit.

I shall need no gold for my journey, only the treasure of Love, the fruit of sacrifice.  Having not these I must depart empty handed.  No creed written on paper shall serve me as my passport, only the law of devotion, right- thinking, right-doing, engraved by the sculptors of life on the scroll of the heart.  Then when the going of the night striketh the Amen to the discourse of time, I shall fling wide open the door and go forth into the dawn.  Singing upon sandals winged with thought shall I travel the roadway.  I shall lift my eyes unto the hills crested with glory.  There at the end of the journey, someone lovelier than a rose, will be waiting for me.  My greeting shall be:- "Is it thou Love?"  In answer to these words only:- "Come, it is I".

Then in silence, after the seeking, the tilling, the sowing, after the watching, the sorrowing, the hoping, into the field of harvest shall we go, hand in hand.

 Copied from the Argus magazine of Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church
indicating only that this reading was given by Albert Best. (late 1970's)

 From 'Astral Projection' by Hugh G Gallaway  (pseudonym Oliver Fox)

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Poet and his Songs

As the birds come in the spring,
We know not from where;
As the stars come at evening
From the depths of the air;

As the rain comes from the cloud,
And the brook from the ground;
As suddenly, low or loud,
Out of silence a sound;

As the grape comes to the vine,
The fruit to the tree;
As the wind comes to the pine,
And the tide to the sea;

As come the white sails of ships
Over the ocean's verge;
As comes the smile to the lips;
The foam to the surge;

So comes to the Poet his songs,
All hither ward blown
From the misty land, that belongs
To the vast unknown.

His, and not his, are the lays
He sings, and their fame
Is his, and not his; and the praise
And the pride of a name,

For voices pursue him by day,
And haunt him by night,
And he listens, and needs must obey,
When the Angel says: "Write!"

                                                   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

A Prayer of Thanks

Thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me, my God.
The blessing of having a soul, that speck of your light;
The blessing of the gift of my guardian angel for eternity, that never leaves me even for one second;
The blessing of the peace and love that dwells in me;
The blessing of the family you have given me;
The blessing of those you send into my life for companionship;
The blessing of living in harmony with those around me;
The blessing of my labour, my work;
The blessings of all the material things I have in my life,big and small;
The blessings of this wonderful world and the nature around me.
Thank you, my God, for all the things I forget to thank you for,
And most of all, thank you, my God, for continuing to bless my life.
              Taken from ' A Message of Hope from the Angels'  by Lorna Byrne

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Intolerance is no excuse.

Skip back 900-odd years and we could tell a story or two.
We could tell about sending pictures from an English village to a far off continent called Australia just by pressing a button marked 'send', and of receiving a reply within minutes.  We could tell of silver discs that played music when put into a special box. And of speaking to people thousands of miles away just by talking into a gadget placed close to our ear.
There would be stories of fireworks that could take men to the moon or blow apart a city, and our tales of machines that flew above the clouds would be simply dumb-founding.
We could brag for hours and hours, while those grubby peasants of the 11th. century sat at our feet and gasped, slack-jawed, at our stories and we smiled back condescendingly at their simplicity.
But hang on.  If we're honest, you and I are probably as ignorant as swans about how most of these things work.  We take them all on trust, a sort of magic, especially when we're told about it by a man in a white coat with a stethoscope or"scientist" pinned to his lapel.  That puts us on pretty much the same intellectual level as the skilled labourer of nine centuries ago.  There's not much difference between someone who believes a divinely appointed king can cure his scrofula at a touch and someone who practically levitates with delight at the prospect of a royal handshake.
That labourer believed in the reality of sciapods, strange creatures who hid from the sun under the shelter of their one huge foot.  His counterpart today is more likely to believe in the reality of "celebrities".
But at least the labourer could build Durham Cathedral.
                                                by Peter Sampson - Saga Magazine October 2010 

   Durham Castle and Cathedral from a 19th.Century print.   Pyrography on Sycamore by R.E.B

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

To Mark the Passing of a Friend

On Sunday May 4th. a friend, Dorothy McGregor, died, just ten days before her 90th. birthday.
All her working life she had been a dedicated Nurse, Midwife and District Nurse.  She may have been small of stature but that frame was packed with a glowing personality that radiated out to all she met: much loved and respected by family, friends and former patients alike.
She was for many, many years an ardent Spiritualist, for her this meant interpreting and seeking the spirituality in herself, in others, in the world, and also exploring the philosophy of spirituality.  The following quotation best describes her approach to her religion.

" Spiritualism may be described as being a deep understanding of the full meaning of Life in it's broadest possible sense.  For Spiritualists are concerned with all aspects of Life, both material and spiritual."

The Seven Principles of Spiritualism  

1.  The Fatherhood of God.
2.  The Brotherhood of Man.
3.  The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels.
4.  The continuous existence of the human soul.
5.  Personal Responsibility.
6.  Compensation and retribution here or hereafter for all good and evil deeds done on earth.
7.  Eternal progress open to every human soul.

Liberty of interpretation is assured to all.

As set down by the Spiritualist Nation Union.  


Saturday, 3 May 2014

Beyond Life

There is no death.  Beyond life, is life.  Whatever suffering and whatever disappointment, whatever joy,whatever bewilderment, there is more time than can be measured to learn and to be comforted.
Blindly to demand, meekly to consent, inwardly to know, these are the stages of existence.  But beyond all knowledge is another, unknown knowledge.  And beyond that unknown knowledge, another.
Progression is endless.  And to be alone is the only truth and the only falsehood.

                                                       Extract from 'The Hunting of Death' by Tanith Lee