Friday, February 6, 2009
On The Path to Truth
By: Ken La Rive 040798
Joy and Peace
It was a hot day. The desert wind was dry, like the breath of a lion. I was thirsty from my travels and dipped my leather canteen deep into the clear oasis spring. As I brought the container to my lips I noticed in the distance a large group of figures marching across the dancing heat waves toward us. Sitting comfortably in the cool shade, my entourage and I watched them advance with curiosity, and maybe a little bit of empathy. All are rag-tag and exhausted. Beads of sweat and blood glistened on their sun baked bodies, and mixed only with a cake of fine gray dust to cover their nakedness. Chain links rang like tiny bells as they drug them with all their might across the sand and gravel. I was told in a hesitant whisper from one of my aids that these are the new slaves captured from a great southern city that would not bend to the emperor’s yoke. Yes, I remembered the story told to me weeks before; captured in battle, these pitiful hundred warriors remained, striped of everything they were and knew, and with only a slaves bleak and painful future to look forward to.
They filed past, stooped over and stumbling with haggard exhaustion. But I saw there, beside the rest, one man who stood out. It was evident that he was just as physically tired, just as mistreated as the rest, but something in his manner suggested that he was not broken. He stood more erect, with a determination, an inner strength that projected him a head above the rest. I laughed. It was a sour laugh, and I regretted it the moment it was uttered, because in actuality he was much shorter and weaker in statue then the rest, and yet he held his head up in a different manner. He saw me, just as he seemed to see everything in a glance. His eyes glittered with flickers of intelligent light, and I could not take my eyes off of him. He drug his sand polished chains slowly in a last surge of strength, standing behind the huddled crowd of these one hundred beaten men. With the overseer’s signal they fell to the mud at the edge of the pool, drinking and splashing the cool water into their parched faces, but that one man stood back and waited until every last one had had their fill. I gazed in wonder. “Incredible!” I whisper out loud. “Who is that man?” I turned to the colorful group of friends who were joking with merriment in the shade’s cool breeze. They turned and looked at me with a blank stair. They hadn’t seen him! I turned to the slave-warriors and the man with the flicker of light in his eyes, but they were already being herded over the dunes by the men on camel and horseback. I could hardly see them from the dust.
I mention this story to emphasize that no matter what your circumstances, there will always remain within you that element that no one can touch. Men were never meant to be slaves, and will bend only because there is no choice. With just one chance for freedom, a man will risk it all, even his life. Freedom is man’s nature.
I want to go to many places. I want to explore the world and my own heart, and my life to be of value. I want to ask the right questions so that I will realize the answers when I see them. Where should I begin? I choose to start here…
What is religion? Is it a spiritual path? Some say it is. Some say it is the guardian of spirituality. Some say it is the strength and guidance that have redeemed them, and yet more wars have been fought with, in, and for the name of God then any other violent motivation. Not just random acts of violence but world wars! Religion and its morality have been used as the justification for these violent acts, and with the promise of everlasting joy and peace in return. On a closer look, be it known that wars are not really fought for morality at all, but for the acquisition of money and power. Morality is only the excuse, the justification for these violent acts. Men are religion’s volition. Is religion, in itself wrong, or bad? Of course not... It is men who have used religion as a means to control and dominate that is accountable. Many of these religions will offer what they consider the ONLY way to these goals, joy and peace, and the ultimate experience of God. No matter what the normal day brings to an individual in society, weather it is playing 18 holes on a Saturday afternoon, working late at the office, or driving home in heavy traffic, the hope for joy and peace is between every line. It is not religion, but how it is used that determines its value and worth. Beware of those, be it an institution, or self proclaimed evangelists, who say that theirs is the only way. If you want to read the bible, don’t read interpretations, post-scripts, or another’s notes. Do your own homework! But lo! Some people are weak, and slavery is where they choose to be. Too afraid, too lazy, too myopic, to even try... I feel so sorry for the lot them. They have no idea what they are missing.
You are what you think you Are!
What is joy and peace, if not emotion? Our thoughts and the actions these thoughts promote is what make you who you are. If you believe that to be successful in life is finding joy and peace with a million dollars in tangible assets as the path to that goal, you will not succeed until you acquire the money. If you find problems in their fulfillment, perhaps based on other emotions such as fear or the self sabotage of doubt, for whatever reason, your dream of a million dollar acquisition goes unfulfilled because of it. Peace and joy is, and will always remain out of your grasp. Life will pass you by in bitterness, and you will sit, old, burned out and rocking, wishing you had tried life differently. “If only I wudda, if only I cudda!” There is a way. There is a better way.
You can be afraid. The unknown is frightful when you have nothing in you to give you purpose and strength. Sure, standing on your own two feet takes guts. It’s like my daughter Laura said when we were exploring a cave once. “What do you mean? I’ve got guts! I’ve got scared guts!” And she went through the passage first! She took control of her fear. She used it as a tool to control what was trying to control her.
Most religions want to control who and what you are, how you behave and what you will think. When questions arise inside, some seek answers that another, seemingly more enlightened one will give, instead of trying to find that answer themselves. Freedom, that is, free will, is your ability to practice this God given gift. Grasp the responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. Take control of your own life!
If you took control for your own actions, there would be no need for justifications, you know? It’s that lack of responsibility that so plagues the world today. We put the blame on anything but ourselves. One needs only to look inside for the answers we seek. Some call this meditation, but whatever you call it, this examination of the self, based on what you hold is right, promotes a visualization of the cause that hold them at arms length from their dreams of, joy and peace. Isn’t that what you are really after, the joys of life and peace of mind?
Have you ever taken the time to examine the many voices of beliefs that swirl like a vortex through our heads? There is a core, a root cause that holds us back from true fulfillment, like the heavy chains of slavery. We are slaves to these thoughts. Slaves to the voices of many thousands of mostly well meaning and loving people in our life, but who in fact are slaves themselves... Others, whose sole purpose is to dominate and control us, also fly around in our heads like old newspapers in a deserted street that goes nowhere. It is the person who controls these thoughts, based on the clarification of self examination, self reflection, which will find the balance and harmony in these gifts. It’s the person who asks the right questions, who will get the right answers.
If based on what is found to be right, as a gift from God, no matter what direction of the path chosen, joy and peace will be the outcome. It is not the path you choose, but how you choose to walk it that will determine what you will achieve. Joy and peace is a result of living a loving life. Love, the ultimate expression, is unselfish, and your guiding light on your path to God. One can not experience joy and peace without love in their hearts. The closer you are to this purity of unselfish love, the higher your level of joy and peace.
There are factors other then religious control, and the mindless voices of the past that control our destiny. Environmental factors influence us, and surroundings and circumstances seemingly out of our control drive our processes of emotion and thought. Genetic abnormalities such as a hormonal chemical imbalance, can predispose some to a life of drastic emotional turmoil, and are thus out of control and can not be held accountable. For the vast majority however, our emotional state is a matter of personal choice. If happiness is something you desire. If peace and joy is the goal you find worthy on your life’s quest. Surely, you will find it. The key is to question everything. Turn every rock over. Demand an answer to every question you pose, no matter how complicated, or trivial. Never rely on what is termed, “blind faith” for a temporary fix. All answers are yours to find. It is your right. It may take a moment, or years to find it, but it will belong to you, and not to a dominating force that seeks to own your very soul! Faith, yes! It is the faith for your righteous quest. The strength to keep on going that lights the way, not a veil thrown over something because it may seem too complicated or time consuming. What faith did early Christians have, that they could take their families to a violent death for the conviction, singing God’s phrase? Pain, loss, was overshadowed by the greatness of faith. How could Asian monks set themselves on fire in protest of a thought? What strength of will to prevail in a Nazi concentration camp where your own life meant nothing to those in control. A “leap of faith” can move the world, and the volition of your life will be stronger then anything else. No-one and nothing in this world could ever hurt you again.
Joy and Peace is a result of finding Truth. Yes, it is the belief that you have found Truth. If you, in your heart, in your soul, in your self-reflective meditation, find that your only means of getting to heaven is The Christ, and that without Him you will be damned to eternal hell, then peace and joy will come to you in your resulting “salvation.” The key is your faith’s belief. Allah leads some to God’s paradise, Zen’s balances others to Nirvana, and the solar-power illumination of Amen Ra, can all encompass the emotions of joy and peace. You are what you think you are! What a concept! Your reality is your belief!
Is there a flaw here? Do you see one? Does not the Christian who dies by Roman Lions practice blind faith? Perhaps it seems that way because we can’t see through their eyes, of feel what they feel, or know what is in their hearts. Can we judge the actions of others without this information? No, we can not. Then why do we feel superior to others who by their own volition take a separate path? It’s ego, my friend. Plain and simple... Your inabilities compel you to attempt to set yourself higher. It makes you feel special. You are! But you don’t have to put someone else down to build yourself up! Setting yourself above others separates you, isolates you,
dominates you in critical myopia. You sit back on your laurels and judge because you suffer from the illusion that you have arrived. This is the lie that religion, most religions profess.
Whether you or your neighbor realizes it or not, we are all fellow travelers. The reason for being is to learn. To learn what? Everything! We are a part of everything, and everything is a part of us. You are what you think you are in the middle of unbelievable diversity, and knowledge is gained simply by trying.
If a father had a child that could not walk... When would he stop trying to teach? When would he give up hope? If the child was also trying, what profound purpose would the father have? Would God ever stop trying, even if you had? Never! Why? Because He is selfless, and has the ultimate profound purpose, hope? The ultimate profound volition, love.
Every person on this earth is different. Some are better at aspects of life, while others slip back in blindness. How can we empathize with a person who shoots an innocent person in a convenience store hold up? By understanding. If you understand your enemy, see his reasoning, no matter how twisted or flawed, then you will not be able to hate him. Empathy destroys hate. God created every cell in your body, and the essence of your immortal soul as well. Doesn’t he understand the mechanics of how you act and react? Doesn’t God love even the man who, under the influence of drugs, in desperate need of chemical addictive substances, uses a gun? His reaction to an empty register is to put two bullets in the heart of the cashier? Did he have his right mind? If later, after drying up in rehab, he regrets the twisted horror of what he has done, sees it for the waist of a human life and his own, is there hope? But there are some who have little hope, as the medicines of men have no control over. There are some poor souls who are plagued with insanity, and yet, even they have hope. They have God’s hope.
So long as a person’s path does not impair your own. Live and let live. Judge not! React with vigor to any one or thing that tries to pull you off your path. They have something they want from you, and it’s usually in your back pocket. It’s not for your good, but what they perceive as their own.
I was taught that I was born at the top of the food chain. I was nine or ten when I began to realize that things just weren’t what they seemed. I was forced to sit in a classroom and listen up, but there were windows in the room and I dreamed of noon recess, the bell ringing at 3:30, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, Sunday’s sun, the real world, my world, my reality, my life, my path. I once made room for St. Michael in my chair, long after the many people in my life, for a darn good reason, had tried to make me, (to adjust me)(to mold me)(to guide me), …just like they wanted me to be. It was not to be like they were, no… I was to be better:
· Born in the 20th Century, the time of technological break-throughs and the age of enlightenment.
· Born a man. The adventurer.
· Born a white man. Supreme ruler of earth.
· Born a Catholic. The one true Church.
· Born to upper-middle class. The majority rules.
· Born an American. The richest, most powerful country in the world.
· Born in the City. Where culture predominates.
· Born under the wings of my Guardian Angel, St. Michael. The good warrior archangel, and my totem. Might for right.
· Born first. The first male child.
No one ever told me these things. It was something so evident to me that it was in the lining of everything I said and did. It was how people treated me. It was me, and yet I knew there was something wrong, something that wasn’t being told ...something that few people knew. I wanted to know it. I asked questions, but got a different answer from everyone. Each answer made sense in its own way, but the confusion was the ambiguity of my life. It was only after many long and painful years of searching, that I found a person to answer my questions. Me. I knew what right and wrong was. It was in me to know all along. I have learned to believe that this is a gift from God. A tiny yet thundering voice that whispers and shouts in the inside of my chest, my heart, my soul. It is the element of life that was breathed into my original father who stood tall for the first time and realized himself. “I am!” It is the rock that I build my life. The foundation that no man can demolish... It is the starting point for my journey through life as a free man, a responsible man. It is the ability to open my own doors with God’s creative strength. It was the moment when fear was pushed aside in the excitement of an adventure so profound that life started new and fresh, and replenishes with every moment. It is knowing where to turn in the confusion, and a beacon of hope that is plainly visible. It is the wind under my wings that takes me beyond what I ever hoped for. It is the clarity of my thoughts, and the solace of my minds eye. It is my path to Truth, and God’s volition as mine. It is the love that sings in my heart. My reason for being...
What’s wrong With This Picture?
Nothing is wrong with God, it is man’s view of God (I keep using Him when referring to God, some unconscious thoughts die hard), that lacks. There are three primary views of religious route I have noted. (1) God is viewed as unimaginable, all-knowing, perfect, and immanent. This mainstream view is that God is separated from us by our sinfulness. When each person is born, a nature is born also. Also called (the flesh) men are cursed by it, as all of our ancestors have been, passing it down in legacy, generation by generation, as innately a part of us. Just as the rich man asked for but could not be given a drop of water on his tongue, so too is man
separated from God by a great barrier... This can be bridged only by the acceptance of God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. (2) God is thought of to be male by western theological view. Art depicts God with great masculine arms, a long flowing white beard (to represent age, and thus wisdom), and a bright glowing halo behind his head (a symbol used for Ra in Egypt long before the Old Testament was written). The world has been male dominated, and represents God according to what is the acceptable norm of the time. (3) Also, that God can aid and assist men, getting involved in his life, punishing to guide, blessing to phrase, providing insight and wisdom, reveals lessons and unknowns as divine intervention, answers prayers for the faithful, and performs transcendent miracles.
For a moment, let us try and view God through another perspective. If there is in fact an error in any or all of these views, can reflection from what is known as right and wrong, good and bad, be used to find an alternative? A more enlightened view? Can there be, in fact, a better way of viewing God? Views that will strengthen our spirit, helping us to grow and expand, liberate and heal?
The view of predominant western thought is that we are separated from God by our sinfulness. The religious answer is that we can only be saved, and be righeous in God’s eyes is we relay on the church (as is the view of Jesus Christ), so that they, that is Jesus and the one true church, can be the mediators between God and man.
Such a view undermines the reality that our soul is indeed perfect, and is but yet realized. We originate from the divine as an act. Would a God of perfect love create an imperfect being? Would God manifest in us an evil incarnate, and the distance as well? It would seem that if we would reflect on this paradox with what is right as primary in mind, and not of the ego, we would see that we are always connected, always one with The Almighty. This resulting guilt and shame of the metaphorical fig leaf trying to hide the metaphorical private parts follows that way of separateness. What is there to fear from a God who loves us? What can we hide from a God who created us?
Dependence on another for insight and understanding makes us weak, lazy, and without pride. Do your own homework! Live your own life! Making your own mistakes, and learns from them! What a concept!
What a beautiful story it is of Christ, born both God and man, dying on the cross, and rising again, and thus bridging the gap between God and man. What gap is that except man’s inability to understand God’s nature, as within the confines of its plot there lays elements that taint its purity, and Truth. Along with Christ came man’s projection of God’s ego, based on his own. What does man use to understand the ways of God but his own faulted perspectives? What need does God have for
adoration? Why would God go through so much care to create a free willed being, but to manipulate him with threats of everlasting torment, pain, and unspeakable agony, simply because he made the wrong choice? Based on what you have of love in your heart, I ask you: Is something wrong with this picture? Why are there as many interpretations of what is preached and written as there are people? …because there are as many paths’ to God as there are people, and each path is uniquely special in its own way...
Okay, who is God? ¥DO
In the Bible it is written that God is nether male of female but whose nature is of the spirit. Even though God is viewed by the great majority of theologians as having no gender, most religions depict God to be masculine. This stems from the times when women were considered of a lower class and intellect then men. Woman still can not hold high places of authority (such as being a priest), within most Christian Churches, and even her place as and equal is slow in coming. The idea that we are all created equal is a misused concept. Equal rights as free men, yes! We are not created equal, only different. Can you compare an orange to a fig? What is better? They are both, after all, a matter of opinion.
There is a difference between Divine Revelation and Divine Intervention. Does God give assistance, even occasionally, by the use of miracles, guidance, and healing? It is taught in the mainstream Western view that God has been revealed in scripture, i.e., the Torah (part of the Old Testament), and the New Testament. These works are thought to be infallible. Written by human beings that were inspired by His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and thereby able to write down the same essence of God’s thoughts, His desires and their meaning in words. This guidance, from God’s divine wisdom and insightful knowledge is referred to as Divine Revelation.
The problem found in the view of Divine Revelation is that it creates separatism and prejudice. There are other books who also claim to be inspirational works that are thought to be heresy. This may occur because religion has evolved into a business, who’s primary concerns is to “corner the market”, you might say. Judging another path is arrogance, and based on ego, and tends to dwell on the negative differences between people instead of the positive similarities. Note* Only if another path infringes on your right to express and seek your own way should you become concerned. Live, and let live! It also stimulates ignorance because any other though is dismissed, closing minds and hearts to growth and potential. Mankind is enslaved, and new challenges of understanding are stifled.
Yes there are answers to be had out there. There are books and lectures and well meaning and loving people who can help and give new ideas and insight. Nothing
takes the place of sitting quietly in self reflective meditation, with the primary volition of what is right to keep us focused and directed. The ambiguity in the world holds us back from finding the Truth, just as our prejudice predisposes us toward myopic realities.
Divine Intervention, as I understand it, deals with God’s intervention of what can be termed the natural order. That is, as we pray, God answers us in the form of healing, as a miracle. Unexplainable healing does indeed happen and these have been documented by reliable sources. Again, it is thought by the mainstream Western view that not every prayer is answered, or if granted, it may take a completely different form for the long term good of the individual. The view is taken a bit farther by indicating that indeed they are all answered, but the answer may take a form not evident at the time, but again for the long term good.
Does God play favorites for reasons we can not fathom? Is God promoting a specific point of view by healing, and answering the prayers of those who conform? Does he promote suffering for those who do not conform, as some Christians believe that bad things happen to bad people, like aids in the gay community?
There is indeed a power that exists, a God given power that comes from our will. It comes from the loving energy that is God’s gift in every person, even to those who for their own reasons do not even believe in God. Everyone has the means to focus this power, with volition, for whatever use, and not by some patriarchal and sympathetic God who interrupts the natural order and His own universal laws because He was persuaded to do so. Then if one may asks the question: Why would God help one person to win the Lottery and not hear another being abused by their father? If we can in fact give God credit for helping, can we not blame God for not? I tell you this, God can not be bought!
The balance comes from traveling a higher path. Stand back and observe, look inside for the answers you deserve. For every question you ask, answers will come to you along your path to Truth. Seek and you will find!
Of course we should thank God for creation, as indeed all that we are, all that we experience, everything there is to know and learn comes from Him. These wonderful and beautiful things come from God, but our volition to love, the joy we experience, our will to learn, our hope to understand, comes from inside. We are creators, made in the image of God’s spirit, God’s creative spirit. This spirit flows through every person. Some have grown to realize it, and some have not yet realized. God is worthy of so much more, and so are we! Seek Him and you will find Him already in you. He was there all along, you were just too blind, to caught up in the disillusionment that comes from following someone else’s path to hear, Again, I can only reemphasize, do your own homework, take control of our own life, give
your responsibilities to no one or thing, have faith in yourself, and follow your own path. Remember, from where you stand, God can see you trying. Your journey will
be rich and rewarding, and possibilities will present themselves to you that would otherwise be hidden. Do what is right…
A Fresh Chapter
By: Ken La Rive 111697
Elements have been used for man-made pain,
Born by perverted lusts of power and gold.
History is sold in dogmatic flame,
For wings of blood-lust blackness to unfold.
Suffering is the common way of man,
Cold-fired by his iron will to bend.
Joy falls through his hands like hot desert sand,
For the horror of his ancestor’s sin.
But there are wonders left on earth’s carved face,
Where precious dreams of hope can still be found.
As empty hearts transcend both time and space,
The spirit’s path is balanced safe and sound.
The gift of hope stirs deep in every soul,
Beauty of Truth is there for each to find.
A fresh chapter starts, and the story’s told,
Of new-found hope that shines for all mankind.
There’s still time for a glory song to sing,
Where the sweet voice of innocence will see….
That strength of purpose flies on righteous wing,
As basic Truth is freedom, to just be.
Keep your spirit true to your own heart,
Responsible to self with steady hand.
Volition is the path your conscious starts,
To know full well the measure of a man.
Stand your ground with a warrior’s moral path,
Of purpose found in what you’ve found as right.
Your life will give you joy in what you have,
And light your way throughout the darkest night.
Remember that your purpose is to learn,
That nothing in this life belongs to man.
As in your heart free spirit wills to burn,
It’s all on loan to help you understand.
Take whatever hand this life can offer,
Though pain of loss seems more then you can bear.
Find that good and bad have equal measure,
And possibilities will multiply there.
My primary objective for writing about these thoughts, other then to attempt to clarify them in my mind, is to express my realization of a universal interfaith ethic. I have explored this avenue to formulate a viable alternative to the fear, hate, and criticism I find in religion, and further my own spiritual journey as well. I seek to smell, to touch, to taste the many varieties of spiritual fulfillment that flourishes not only in the world, but within the framework of my own consciousness. Growth is natural. Evolution of the mind and spirit is fed by experience and the will to learn from them. Religions that exclude other forms of thought, just as good, just as right, just as beautiful, is destined to fail. They will choke on their own arrogance, and die a natural death. It will not be an easy death, for in its throws many good and innocent people will be hurt. However, this is but the process of nature, and God’s creation. It is inevitable that the human spirit will survive and grow. Life is a process of ups and downs, like a sine wave on a monitor. For each there is a season and so, when a tree stops growing, it dies.
The way to spiritual growth lies in doing your own homework. This includes having “light” faith, based on the Light of Truth, (not blind faith). Growth on a path to God is done by doing what your conscious tells you is right. Self reflective meditation, is one process. It is the slowing down, the observation, and the contemplation of concepts from life’s experiences. It is the learning of life’s lessons. It is the evolution of the spirit, the growth, where volition is the propulsion to advance and explore these new concepts. It is tangible Truths manifested by intangible spirit. It is faith incarnate to chart one’s own journey.
You will grow spiritually when you tune your energy for the good of others. It is a commitment to contribute to the quality, not only of your life, but to the lives of others and future generations. Aim protect the natural resources of God’s creation, to promote nonviolent resolutions, based on love, and with the balancing harmony of understanding both sides of the coin. Only then can you freely choose. For instance, to truly understand love one must also have a basic concept of hate. This does not mean that one should even attempt to practice hate, but to understand it is to control it. The more advanced one is spiritually the more control one has over emotional attachments, control of your own thinking, and has control over your own life. Take an active part in positive change by promoting good will and good example, i.e., practice what you preach. Strive to not be critical of those you do not understand, as the diversity in and of people is God’s plan. Take responsibility for your own life and actions. Never limit your path by denying the path of someone else. Stay true to yourself, but remember that change is the natural order of God’s creation.
On the path you will meet others who are of an evil nature. Deal with these individuals with a loving spirit. This life is a learning experience, and belongs to you. This life is your responsibility, and it is your responsibility to safeguard it. Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, there are some people who are not well, and in some respects are so damaged, (for whatever reason), that they will have to be stopped in self defense for yourself, those in your care, the weak, and your family. It is a difficult concept to address when ones primary volition, by choice, is to take a loving stance. However, when dealing with senseless violence, from an individual, or an institution, do whatever is necessary to stop it. A person who has nothing he would die for, has nothing he would live for.
You will find the meaning of life in everything you see, as it is anything you want it to be. It is what you focus on that will determine what you will see. If you look for the good and the beauty in the world, you will notice them in the simplest ways. The lights reflecting through the rain on your car window, your child bent over a book in study for tomorrow’s test, a kind word from a stranger, will become a part of your world where otherwise it would have gone unnoticed.
What do you want?
Figure out what it is you want! You may think, for instance, that your primary reason for being is to be happy, and you go for it. Along your path you may decide that an apple red high performance sports car would make you happy, and you work toward that goal. Note: Everything in life has a price, except God’s gifts. However, along the way you come to realize that it isn’t the car you want and need after all,
but the looks you will get in the car, and the beautiful girl you will get because of it. You may then come to realize how shallow and myopic your original dream was, as what woman worth much would date you because you had an expensive car? Would a woman like that bring happiness? It may seem so at first, but shortly you would see it (the relationship) for what it really was. Then the looks that people give you, I ask, is it worth the long hours of work to get? Wouldn’t you be living your life for the admiration, false that it is, of others? Wouldn’t you in actuality be giving your life to them? For what? A glance at a stoplight on you way back from overtime hours to pay for it? Then you may come to realize what further possibilities there may be. Something more, beyond happiness, where meditation brings you a new concept… joy. On your path you may come to realize it in a most unexpected way.
It is your child’s fifth birthday. She loves balloons, and you buy her $35.00 dollars worth at a local grocery store. You have something else to bring to the party, but this huge display of colored balloons creates great exclamations (of happiness), when you walk in. There are eight other children at the party, and as the party ends you ask your child if she would consider giving one balloon to each child as they leave for home. At first she hesitates, but sees that she has so much, just a few will hardly show at all. She gives each one in turn and sees the happiness they bring to her friends as they grab hold of the little ribbons. Happiness is truly contagious! You see this; you react to this, because it is what your volition is focusing on, so an idea occurs to you. “What do you say,” you ask, “if we take these balloons to the old folks home down the street and give them a few? You don’t have to give them all, if you don’t want to, just a couple.” She agrees, and together you walk the block holding her little hand, and she holding on to the precious colorful cluster of balloons with the other. As you walk in the automatic glass doors, the old folk’s reaction is quite animated. “Oh look at that pretty little girl! Is it you birthday darling? How old are you? Oh, what beautiful balloons…!” “Would you like one?” she says with a lovely smile, and without hesitation begins to give them out to each and every one until there is none left. The room was full, of color, of life, and happy faces. As you say your goodbyes you walk empty handed down the sidewalk and glancing at each other with smiles, and you realize God’s free gift. You have shared this gift with your child! Do you see it! There was a moment of happiness in receiving those balloons, but the joy in giving them away will last forever! Sometimes, some of the simplest things are the most profound.
The world is changing with every moment, and so should you. This evolutionary process that the universe is constantly expanding at a measurable rate is called by scientists, the Hubble Constant. Dr. Deb Whithouse wrote of the spiritual process of growth and expansion in what is termed, Process Theology. She writes: There is here where contemporary science gets into the act, for we learn from quantum physics that the universe is not static, but dynamic, not substance to be shaped, but
bursts of energy, called quanta. In such a universe, God is taking in all that we become, growing as we grow. In this process we enrich God. We are cocreators with God. The utterly dependable, loving, wise character of God does not change, but we have the joy and privilege of adding to God.
This view called Process Theology is being written by contemporary writers such as Al Anderson, Charles Hartshorne, James Redfield, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Larry Dossey, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Beborah Whitehouse, and many others as well. They give three aspects of Process Theologe that is worthy to note. The first is that God is viewed as a conscious loving intelligent entity that is in all things, i.e., is manifested in all things. He is one with creation. Not above or separated from it, but as much a part of you as the air you breathe. God’s is in all things.
Secondly, the process expands to encompass humans and the human experience. People are manifestations of God, and each is of his spirit, and divine. This is not derived from the ego, they say, as this is the joyful acceptance of the permissive nature of God and our oneness with God, i.e., both the microcosm and the microcosm, as the individual spiritual being is the microcosm, and you are linked to and connected to the Divine macrocosm. That is, you are the whole, and part of the whole at the same time, i.e., like a broken hologram that images the entire picture in every sliver. We are all one and the same, but individuals.
Thirdly, as observable science (called the Hubble Constant) finds that all matter is expanding at a measurable rate, so too is our path to Truth. We have learned from quantum physics that the universe is not static, but indeed dynamic. Gross matter can not be shaped, but are bursts of energy, called quanta. Deepak Chopra explains it well, “Consciousness in motion expresses itself as objects of the universe in the eternal dance of life.”
Humanity’s Nature, Love ©
It may be difficult for some to understand the concept of forward-moving, manifesting, and expanding dynamic universes, and such. What does it all mean? Love! It is about a God, a conscious God that is love, and who is manifested in all there is in creation. It is in matter and the concepts of matter such as beauty, energy, life, joy, hope, faith. At the core of every major religion (before man’s perversion), the most essential nature of God is Love. Semantics... Words like God, Almighty, Universal Mind, Divine, all means the same thing, and is the same expression of Love, and is always and always seeking to express this Love in a creative sense. Opportunities to Love more, even more then the moment before, is the reason for creation, and our reason for being. Everything that we perceive in this world is an expression of this Love. Our journey, our path, is an expression of this creative Love. We try to emulate this “agape” Love, the perfectly selfless expression of creativity that is God.
How can we not stand in awe at the beauty of it? What you are, what you perceive, what you see, feel, and do, so to does God. As we grow, so too does God grow. Is this a new concept? That God could actually be growing just as we are growing? What in our observable universe doesn’t grow? Why not God?
Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote:
You have the same force running through you that allows the planets to move, the earth to orbit, the seeds to sprout, and the flowers to open. There is not a separate God for each person. There is one universal intelligence flowing through all of us. In the sacred space within us we are all one and the same. We know that we are spiritual beings trying to learn how to be human. We know the best within us is love, kindness and compassion.
Yet our egos, both individually and collectively, have campaigned long and hard to promote a false idea. How sane is it for people to be killing each other over disputes that ancient egos created long before we arrived? How sane is it for us to believe that some of us deserve to eat the food that God provides and that others do not deserve it by virtue of their geographic location?
When you center yourself and find your quiet inner space, you know the loving presence that does not discriminate. You know that specialness is not something bestowed on some and not on others. You know that it is absurd to believe that a Muslim baby will burn in hell because of not having Buddhist or Christian beliefs. You know that Australian aborigines are equal in importance to royalty. Your sacred self tells you this.
As you self-reflect, open your heart. Embrace the peace and joy this life can offer. You contribute to this expansive movement of creation, and you are one with it. Enjoy the here and now. Look for beauty in all its simplicity. Calm yourself. Be quiet. Appreciate the day and rejoice in the journey that is both sacred and eternal. Drop the excess baggage that holds you to the yoke of prejudice and criticism for what is different. Embrace life! Love life, your fellow man, and yourself!
By: Ken La Rive 120297
From God’s own creative spirit…
It flows as…
A glow of color that grows with insight
in a fever of organic fervor
On a plain just within reach
as a washing, a cleansing, a pulling
That rush of adrenaline…
In a surge of energy
where pain and pleasure mix
and joy and horror intertwine
in a helix of spirituality
It is the fulfillment of a destiny
The void filled to overflowing
as is the flow
the brief glimpse
of the eternal
face of God
It is the balance
knowing that nothing
is known, and
the bliss that transcends
The joy of God’s emulation, as
in opening a present that
will be given away
where the fulfillment is
in the giving and
belongs to you
on loan, and
that you and
of one thing…
On the road to God…
Dr. Dyer further wrote:
You as a single individual have a sacred quest. That quest involves coming to know your higher spiritual nature and inviting it to show you the way of the sacred self in your daily life. This means denying the demands of the ego if those demands contradict the guidance of your higher self.
Our world is a collection of individuals urged on by the loving presence within all of us to achieve the sacred quest personally and collectively. The world will become a peaceful, fulfilled, cooperative, loving, truthful, tolerant, and pure environment as the individual parts that make up the collective consciousness
restrain their egos. As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm. The whole behaves precisely as does the individual parts.
The world is encountering a spiritual deficit that reflects our need to consciously get on the path of our sacred quest. As our higher selves begin to triumph over the ego in the daily decision making of our lives, we will truly be making progress on the path of the sacred quest for all of humanity. You must banish all doubt about your ability to facilitate such a quest and begin to know that you are both the microcosm and the macrocosm. The world ego is destined to be restrained as more individuals look within and consult the highest part of themselves. The doubts are vanishing and the spiritual revolution is well under way.
What is the Path to Truth?
The Path to Truth is your particular philosophy or process of thought, based on the volition of righteousness.
The Path to Truth is broadened and more rewarding when the opposite of what you believe is Truth is studied with an open mind. Elements of another philosophy may blend with your own, or possible solutions (answers) may present themselves to an open mind. I see it as the cleaving of a new facet on the diamond of your understanding. Once cleaved a new light shines through... Being objective is very difficult when the vortexes of voices are yelling in your mind. Be calm, and know that the quest for knowledge is the reason for being.
An open mind and heart will uncover new realms of understanding. Your current understanding and suppositions must be constantly challenged and amended if necessary. Growth is change.
Your work will never end.
How to stay on the Road à
What you think is what you are. Think you are beaten; you are. What goes first: Thought makes your attitude, or your attitude makes your thoughts… When pride rules your thinking you may believe, “I am right and most others are wrong.” The actions you take will depend on your thoughts. Conclusions may be different but fundamental beliefs, such as “God loves me, or love you neighbor as yourself”, can heal. Look for the similarities and you will find that most differences are mute points in comparison.
You are not a body with a soul; you are soul with a body!
You are not your children. You may leave them ideas and thoughts that may have been passed down to you, or even created by you, but you are not them. You are not what you have worked for, for all of that will pass with time. Even tombstones made of granite will weather. Only your soul will last. You are evolving. Everything wants you to grow, to learn. It presents itself to you in grand displays of wonder. Grasp it with both hands. Master your self, by taking responsibility for your own life. Truth is the realization of how perfect you really are.
I was told a story just today. It’s about an ancient African king who was captured in battle with his warriors. When the other men were beaten he begged for mercy, but when they beat him not a sound came from his lips. This is how they found out who was king.
Joy and peace are the byproducts of believing you have found Truth.
How far and fast you travel on your path depends on the type of questions you ask. All questions will be answered, no matter the quality of the question. If you wake up in the morning and ask. “Why me? Why do I have to go to work this morning?” Real quick the answer will return to you. “Because you are a turkey, and that’s all you deserve!” Ask empowering questions and you will receive it in like kind. “What can I do to learn more today, to find joy today, to understand today.” See the difference? It may be vague, and somewhat complicated, but as the day wears on, life will present itself to you with these questions in mind. They will be answered. It is your right! Ask, and you shall receive. Note: This concept is well defined by Anthony Robins.
Meditation is something that can be different in every person. For me it is a time of mulling over thoughts and allowing some to fall and others to grow. I can do it while soaking in a bath, driving in my car, falling asleep in my bed, or laying in the hammock getting sun. I use the center of my thoughts to be who I am. Your path to Truth is the journey in your mind, based on the experiences of the day.
Although I don’t usually think about it, meditation is a relaxing technique. I tend to breath deeper and the exhale relaxes me. I visualize a calming scene like flying in the air with dragonflies, or being next to a bubbling stream in the deep woods. I try not to let negative thoughts enter, however they sometimes do. I try to weaken them by watering them down with the opposite point of view, like control of anger, and forgiving your enemies.
I try to remember that mastering your emotions is the path to spiritual maturity and Truth.
Rest assured that God loves you and prepares the way on your Path to Truth.
Enjoying Life’s Problems
It sound quite strange doesn’t it? Enjoy your problems? One could say that if a problem was enjoyed then it wouldn’t be a problem. Wow! Now that’s a concept!
But let’s be realistic. We can not deny what we feel. It shouldn’t be swept under the rug or avoided at all. Problems do present themselves in this life that can shake us literally to the foundation of out faith, and physically to our knees. It is said that time heals all pain, and that a problem is to be treated like a battle. What if? I mean what if there was another way of viewing your life? What if everything that happened, you believed, was a lesson to be learned, and that each carries us closer to our goal. What if you saw that unless you experience the bumps and bruises of life you will not appreciate the good parts when they happen? What if you actually embraced the problem as a means of achieving?
Isn’t it true that a problem and the pain this problem inflicts are due to your estimation of the intensity of it? So, don’t you then have the power to change this thinking, and master the moment? It is, after all, our perception of pain that is the cause. Loosing a job, wrecking the car, and even the death of a loved one… yes, even that can be a source of strength. I felt real bad when my Grandfather died. I wanted him to be around in my adult years. I wanted my family to know him. He was fun to be around and could keep you laughing as long as you kept listening. He was hooked on cigarettes, and for a long time I contributed his not being able to quit smoking with his early death. I wanted him in my life. I cried at his funeral, as I remember it, carrying the casket with five others in black suits, to his cemetery plot. I cried mostly for myself; for my loss. How strange to admit that. Yes I loved him, but I missed him in my life? I blamed him for not being strong enough to quit smoking. My pain was mostly selfish in nature, but as I grew older I came to realized that he indeed had a full life, and it was his life after all. It was his choices to make, and to be critical of them was not really a stain on him but of my memory of him. He was a good and loving man. I wish that he could have lived to see his great grand child. He would have liked her.
Anthony Robins, a man whom I have never met, but feel a kindred spirit with, wrote these profound words:
Learning to ask empowering questions in moments of crisis is a critical skill that has pulled me through some of the toughest times in my life. If you are really sad, there is only one reason: it’s because you’re deleting all the reasons you could be feeling good. If you’re asked, “What’s really great in your life?” and you keep focusing on the answer, you might find yourself feeling excellent immediately. Questions are the laser of human consciousness. The concentrate our focus and determine what we feel and do. The key is to ask consistent questions that empower you.
Anthony has come up with a list of questions that I can not add to. Questions to help us find joy and peace in the midst of our problems….
1. What is great about this problem?
2. What is not perfect yet?
3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
4. What am I willing to no longer do in order to make it the way I want it?
5. How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?
Problems are an integral part of life, but it is how we perceive these problems that will determine what we will get out of them. By asking the right questions we can turn problems into learning experiences that will enhance the quality of our life. They can help us see ourselves as being more patient, kind, loving, caring, and having humility. There is a seed of joy that exists in every problem, which can germinate with the right question.
By: Ken La Rive 021198
Oh my myopia…
My base presuppositions
Of twisted reality…
I grope blindly through the haze
Of passion’s mist by
The smoky eyes of others…
So short my vision, my
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Perceptual validity, my
Dreams and fantasies
Unchecked in my hollow shell…
How foundless in retrospect.
But oh my Venus…
Who perceives her flaws
Through my limited perspectives…
Who lives for my sake
For the moment of a kiss
In the grand view
As a pure cord from an angel’s harp
I am beyond forgiveness
For what I touch.
How can I hold what is
So precious to my heart
Where I see nothing on this earth
To compare with but that simplistic
Complexity of her look
That follows me into the night as
A glowing candle in a window.
That I could betray her with a thought?
What shadows in my heart
Where pain and pleasure mix in
Transitory vacuum, that
No two dimensional image can
Such purity, such
Grace on gossamer wings
That stir within me a longing
Hunger that goes unquenched
In my failings.
Yes, there is pain in every man, “…living their lives in quiet desperation,” as Thoreau wrote in “Walden’s Pond”. Indeed, there is in each of us the means to overcome whatever life throws at us. It is the conviction that there is a reason for everything on the Path to Truth. And yes, “That stir within me a longing hunger
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that goes unquenched in my failings.” What that I could muster the strength to ask the question: “What is it that makes life so poetic?” Could it be that our creative spirit is the wind under gossamer wings on the Path to Truth? What if we could finally conquer our life and our fear of it? Wouldn’t our perceptual “failings” become meaningless in the grand scheme? The pain we produce for ourselves and others would be as a bad dream, and but a memory of an old and primitive time.
Do we want? Do we want? Do we want it all? How often do we stop to consider how valuable just a moment of life is? That conscious moment... That conscious moment we take so much for granted, with the precious few senses that project our consciousness, so delicate, and so profound. The vibratory receptacle of calcium carbonate and protein, the optical apparatuses that focus in 3 dimensions, the fluid movement of balance from a brain that comprehends in dimensionless complexities. Oh, what great love went into their making! What exquisite vision and insight. The balance in imbalance, the symmetry in asymmetry... The energy... The plan...
Thank you very much for making me a part of it. Thanks for letting me become aware of it. Thanks for everything!
The Meaning of Existence
There is something more yet you should know my dear reader. There is an aspect of yourself you may not wish to see. Look away if you must, but you will find it in the mirror. Look into your reflection. Who is that person looking back? Do you know? Do you know your self? What you are capable of? How much of the flesh do we depend? Those beautiful eyes... Your teeth of brushed white... Your practiced smile... Your designer cloths... Your piece of space you spend a lifetime to buy, with sweat and blood, and time. How much of the expansive conceptual complexity do you manifest in this life? Do you know what I’m talking about? I ask you: Do you enjoy life? Do you like yourself? I know you love yourself, that’s evident. One only has to look at you to know that. Do you know what I’m saying? Can you take a hard long look at yourself? Are you pure? Do you feel dirty, even though you have all of those expensive toilet items around the bath tub? All the stuff you strive for? What does it bring?
Okay, now I’ve gone too far. How dare you talk to me like that, you say. Hold on, I’m getting to the point…
Is it possible, that the joy you seek eludes you because you are looking for it in the wrong place? It is there! My friend... My brother... It is there in the mirror. You will never find peace and joy in your life! You are peace and joy! The energy that makes up your being is joy! You can’t find it in stuff; it can’t be bought, or cornered! You may as well try to fill your grandmother’s antique tea cup with the seven seas! No, you can’t get a bigger tea cup! You can’t paint gold around the rim to dress it up, to attract what? God’s good graces...? Joy is not for sale! We quarrel among ourselves as to who is to be called father, who is the carrier of the universal torch, who is the superior race. We write names we want to be called in the sand to be washed away in this changing and transitory world, to be reshaped and polished and cherished and stolen and melted, again and again and again, world without end.
It is a metaphor my dear! Break the tea cup, and throw it to the seven seas! Do you understand? Break the cup and throw it as far as you can! Throw it. Wait! Not your grandmother’s tea cup! That has sentimental value doesn’t it? No, the metaphorical tea cup! Do you know what I mean? Ha!
You know that there is a part of you that transcends that shell you are observing in the mirror. Glance up and take another hard look. These mundane interests that projects from the surface you observe, are they worthy? Are you beautiful? Without the makeup...? Is the physical pleasure we derive from them spiritually rejuvenating? You are, you know you are. It has nothing to do with the configuration of your face, your large pours, that new wrinkle, your pattern baldness. I’m talking about your soul that projects through. Or are we perhaps slaves to some perverse advertiser’s clever approach, new and fresh today and out of date tomorrow? Designer trends to separate you from your money. The hook... The hook that hooks your ego, your lustful side that twists your sensual side, that covers you with that warm fuzzy feeling of belonging… to belong, as part of the group, the in crowd, where your cigarettes are laced and your colored bubbled sugar water with no nutritional value gives that short term kick you need for a late afternoon energy boost, for more ass kissing. Do you wear the uniform of your ego? Do you know what I’m talking about here? Ha!
Then there is that moment when you see, that precious moment when you transcend the hype, the lies, and that uncommon fulfillment surfaces and overflows your heart. It could happen while watching the sun glinting on the water as it goes down, the unexpected song of a mountain brook, the fire-flies at dusk in your patio, or that simple look of love and admiration an your youngsters eyes. You can go there. You can go to that moment and feel it anytime you want to. It is you. It is your right. There is nothing stopping you but you. You are the joy in your life. Nothing can bring that to you but you.
Where did it come from…that brief moment when you had a glimpse of that deepest part of you, beyond the sparkle in your eye? What great energies we give to find the right shampoo, and so little to find ourselves! Where is that genuine smile you had as a kid? Open and honest... When life was a magical experience, new and fresh... I tell you it can be like that again! Look around man! Hold those you love close to you. Be true to yourself and that face will look back with a bright sparkle. The world will renew itself for you every moment of every day, and joy will be yours. There is no time for the pain. Enjoy every moment, even your work. Even when the day’s toil leaves you physically spent. Isn’t there a satisfaction from toils fatigue? I’ve seen Mexican men on the rigs I’ve worked on singing in 110 degree heat while shoveling drill cuttings down a hole in the deck all day long. Where does that attitude come from? I’ve heard North American “educated” engineers say that the reason is that they just don’t know any better. No, my friend, I don’t think so. It comes from the roots. It comes from a mother and father. A cousin, a brother, someone who knew joy, and who taught them to love life, to embrace life, and be thank-full for all of the seasons in the sun. Singing brings joy to their hearts and strength to their arms. These men are not poor illiterates! They have joy in their hearts! They didn’t need to feel superior to feel good about themselves. Their faith keeps them balanced. I received so much from them, and I felt so sorry for the North Americans who couldn’t grasp it. Their laughing condescending comments when only us superior beings were present, is pitiful indeed. I could cry with the though of what is lost by that attitude. Just what could those Mexicans have taught with an open heart around to listen?
A One World Religion?
I would say not. So long as there is free thinking there will be opinions. With no two opinions being the same, there will always be a wide diversity of religious conclusions. If we could learn not to be critical of the differences in people, we could transcend our own path, broadening our horizons. North Americans, (I only pick on them because I am one), are notorious critical world travelers. When in France they get angry because the waiter doesn’t bring water to the table. In Italy they give advice that hot and cold tap water should come out of one flume. In Mexico, most hotels do not supply wash cloths. I find that there is usually a reason, obscure perhaps, different, but a method in the madness to be sure. Why is acceptance so difficult? Because it is human nature to believe that we are on the right track and anything or anybody who is different is wrong.
Sean Spears described his philosophy that he coined called “Open-Book Spirituality.” He wrote this describing his version of the Path I write about:
Let’s describe it this way. Imagine yourself in a canoe floating down a small gentile stream. Through the woods less than a mile away another person is in a canoe and
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floating down another stream. In time your stream carries you into an exciting fast moving river. As you make your way down the river you notice the other person’s stream of to one side carrying them into the same river. Your canoes meet side-by- side a you journey together down the great river.
In the same way, we can learn how to enjoy our own spiritual path that we have chosen (our separate streams) while simultaneously acknowledging that we are also a part of one great common journey (the great river). Just as the stream continues to remain its own stream even though it joins with the river, so also we can maintain our individuality even though we also embrace an Open-Book spiritual understanding that transcends all boundaries.
I can not finish this little labor of Love up without reviewing it one last time. What I have learned in this life is nothing compared to what awaits me, and every last person on this planet. From every aspect of learning, from theology, religious doctrines and teachings, science of Quantum Physics and Mechanics, and experiences with near death, the power of the spirit, and documentation world wide, all in their own way show the picture to be absolutely amazing and beyond mortal ken. To find the answers one must search inside by the use of Transcendental or self reflective mediations, using the volition of what is found to be right in your heart as guide. Our body is temporary, just as all things of creation. Temporary, in that they constantly change. Our reason for being is to learn, and our reality is based on what we get out of our experiences, and the kinds of questions we ask. All questions will be answered. Life is meant to be experienced through the eyes of a joyful person. We are meant to stand on our own two feet, question everything, no matter how trivial it may seem, taking responsibility for our own life in the process. Our spiritual lessons will teach us to be more tolerant of those who are different and look for the similarities to bridge the gap. Only when a person has let go of his ego can he love all men unconditionally, and know God’s peace and joy in their hearts. Live a life of virtue and righteousness! Your ultimate goal is to grow closer to God. This journey, from our perspective, is an eternal goal. The farther we veer off the path to God the darker our realm of consciousness becomes. Some may refer to this as hell, and yet, God gives up on no one. God wants to rehabilitate, by showing the Light of Truth. Prepared to travel their paths to brighter realms and their ultimate journey home... And remember, you are not a body that has a soul, but a soul who has a body, for now.
Sean’s metaphor is a good example of what I hope and believe to be man’s saving grace. He doesn’t mention a paddle? But I tell you in my metaphorical boat I have a great paddle, solid and strong, that I control. I travel fast or slow and side to side, at my discretion, and try to learn from the experiences along the way.
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I hope with all my heart that we too can travel in the great river together.
And here, a final poem…Standing
By: Ken La Rive 06139715:45
Fantasy got the best of me,
Thought they laughed when I couldn’t see.
Snickering ringing in my brain,
Persuading me I’d gone insane.
Reasons fought in depressive ache,
Was lost in pain I couldn’t fake.
Ominous feelings in my heart,
Threatened to tear my life apart.
Ran the gambit of life’s demands,
Balancing life with clumsy hands.
I thought what was… was what was told,
By hateful children’s breaths… turned cold.
But lo, I’ve found I’m filled with light,
And joy has come into my sight.
The veil of man-made longings fell,
Perverted by an earth-made hell.
I’m free to see, to feel, to taste,
As Love of God falls on my face.
I hear the pipes upon the glade,
And on the field I throw my blade.
Wild flowers growing at my feet,
Calms my mind with His gifts so sweet.
Standing strong in the ways of hope,
With power of purpose I can cope.
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On God’s green fields my path is clear,
On sturdy legs that’s conquered fear.
Death’s claws can never grip my soul,
Institutions have lost their hold.
Apart, I can find my own way,
A path of might for right, I stay.
A righteous man, with Truths so dear,
On faith’s reward, I dry my tears.
Drawn on strength from in myself,
Balanced by, “The Voice,” I delve.
Bold… to begin is but to start,
My own path, I follow my heart.