Showing posts with label Fourth principle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fourth principle. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Moving our attention from the things of the ego to the peace of God.

Allegiance to the denial of God is the ego’s religion. The god of sickness obviously demands the denial of health, because health is in direct opposition to its own survival. But consider what this means to you. Unless you are sick you cannot keep the gods you made, for only in sickness could you possibly want them. Blasphemy, then, is self-destructive, not God-destructive. It means that you are willing not to know yourself in order to be sick. This is the offering your god demands because, having made him out of your insanity, he is an insane idea. He has many forms, but although he may seem to be many different things he is but one idea;–the denial of God. T-10.V.3:1-8

Schucman, Dr. Helen. A Course in Miracles (p. 349). Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition. 

The ego has a stake in denying the non dual Oneness of God for becoming aware of the non dual awareness of God of which we are a part the ego would no longer exist. The ego has a big incentive in continuing to seduce us with the things it offers enticing us with the hope that those things will make us happy. Not only do the things the ego offers us fail to make us happy, but they keep us from realizing the one thing that will: giving up the things of the ego and becoming one with the non dual Oneness, our Transcendent Source.

In Unitarian Universalism some of us join together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning and this search takes us inward in search of the peace of God not outward in search of happiness offered by the things of the ego.

This search occurs in meditation and mindfulness. We can take time every day to withdraw our attention from the things of the ego and focus it on the peace of God. This can occur for a prolonged period of time or momentarily several times per day.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

What is truth?


The fourth principle of Unitarian Universalism is to join together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Pilate wasn't interested. He would not have been a good UU.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Do we choose what to think?

Question:  As I recall,  Course seems to think it’s up to you what you perceive, that you have a choice. No choice in facts and knowledge but choice in perception. 

Answer: Yes the Course does teach a system of mind control.

The first step of the system is to become aware that you do have a choice in what you think. 

The Course teaches that we have been conditioned to not know this and even if we become aware of the fact that we have a choice to disregard it or if we don't disregard it to choose the world of the ego over the world of Love. Jesus said the way to the kingdom is "to love as I have loved." Most people have no idea what this means in daily life. It is a choice and it is a practice. 

Peace Pilgrim said "I look for the Divine Spark in each person and focus on that." If one does this it changes their reality and brings great peace and joy. This idea is part of the perennial philosophy and it is found in all the major religions. Now it shows up in consciousness research. What about that?

In Unitarian Universalism some of us join together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. One of the results of the application of this principle is to become aware of the fact that we have a choice what we think.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

What do we owe others?


Question 1. What Do You Owe to Others? … In other words, what is the best way to treat the people who are in your life, and the groups you’re most concerned about?









McIntosh, Developmental Politics, p.183


All of the virtues are important and I endeavor to treat people with all these seven virtues in mind. If I had to pick a basic virtue, it would be honesty. People are not free if they are lied to.

Unitarian Universalists join together to affirm and promote, justice, equity, and compassion in human relations and in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Support Wikipedia

 I support Wikipedia by making an annual donation. I just donated $52.00. It's not a lot but it's what I have to donate. Did the same thing last year. I get more than $52.00 use out of the site.

Do you donate to support Wikipedia? Only 2% of users do. I ask that you consider it and if you can, donate something. (I have no connection to Wikipedia other than as a user and I enjoy supporting things that I consider add value to the world.)

UUs covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. What better way to practice this principle than to nurture and support a universally available conduit of knowledge?

Thanks for considering this. 

David Markham

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Quote of the day - Has post modernism gone to far with "microaggressions" requiring "trigger warnings"?

 "Nowadays there is a new vocabulary which has emerged stifling free speech and expression of ideas under the umbrella of "microaggressions" which require "trigger warnings" to spare people hurt feelings and the complaint of not feeling safe."

David Markham, Notes on the Gadfly Papers.

Editor's note: It is interesting how in post modern times everybody has become a victim of hurt feelings by things other people say even if the feelings are hurt unintentionally and inadvertently. Speakers, teachers, must apologize and warn people of what they are about to say because only certain things are acceptable and unacceptable. 1984 has arrived with the thought police becoming ubiquitous. UUs, who tend to be more progressive are particularly good at this game which is antithetical to their professed principle of the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The story of an Amish Atheist - A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

If you would like to see what the fourth principle, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, means in everyday life watch The Seeker about a man who was Amish who became an atheist and yet maintained his Amish life style. The video is about 18 minutes. For more click here. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

UUs forth principle, free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and fake news.

There are many problems with media today. Here are a couple:

 Journalists' jobs should be to elucidate the truth, not simply provide "coverage," obtain audience share, provide false equivalency.

If Donald Trump said the world is flat and not round how would the major news networks handle this? What would his base think? Would Trump's base support this false idea? Would Trump's polling go up or down?

 The role of satire is to punch holes in pomposity and disengenuous nonsense, commonly named "bull shit."

Comedians, unlike most news pundits,  take bullshit seriously and don't talk down to or attempt to spin their audiences while major news pundits do these very things.

 Satirists are good at pointing out the irrational, false, absurd and making fun of it. Just to laugh at the absurdity and incongruity of what satirists are pointing out, though, is not enough. We need to take what satirical comedians are saying and use our laughter to discern the truth, and further reflect on and share that.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Roman Catholic Unitarian Universalism - If the body is chained, what about the mind?

2 Timothy 2:8-15

 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David--that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 
Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
This is today's epistle in the lectionary. It is a letter from Paul to Timothy. Paul writes some interesting things that deserve further consideration beyond a cursory reading.
First, Paul tells Timothy that the body can be chained but the mind is not chained. We can always chose how we will think and feel about external circumstances. Paul is telling Timothy not to think like a victim. He is not a victim, but a child of God and a brother with Jesus.
Second, Paul tells Timothy that in addition to having a mind of his own and not thinking and feeling like a victim, he is attempting to demonstrate this ability so that others may learn what he knows: his power to decide how he understands and sees himself.
Third, Paul tells Timothy that if he gives up the path of the ego and embarks on the path of the spirit he can enjoy the peace that Jesus has enjoyed. If we persist on the path of the spirit we will join with Jesus, and if we deny the opporunity to walk with Jesus on the path of the spirit, Jesus still does not abandon us but waits patiently for as long as it takes for us to realize the falsity of the ego and the Truth of the Spirit.
Fourth, Paul tells Timothy what the Unitarian pioneer Francis David said 1500 years later, to "avoid wrangling over words" or as David said, "We need not think alike to love alike."
Overall this section of Paul's letter to Timothy is encouraging and educational pointing out that peace and well being is not depdendent on the body but on the mind. The body can be chained, but the mind is free. We can choose what we want to attend to and focus on. Jesus showed us a way pointing out that the path of the spirit is more fulfilling than the path of the ego. This is a foundational principle in Unitarian Universalism when we covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Paul tells Timothy that truth and meaning is not to found in the chained body but in the free and beautiful mind.

How does this distinction between the mind and the body apply in your life? To what extent do you feel victimized by external circumstances over which you have little or no control? What do you think of Paul's idea that we can follow Jesus' example that the mind is more powerful than the body and that we can always choose another way? To what extent has the UU principle of the free and responsible search for truth and meaning helped you embark on a spiritual path and turn from the tricks and ways of the ego?

To what extent do you find the application of Christian scripture to the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism helpful?

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Current Republican anti-choice agenda violates Unitarian Universalism's fourth principle

One of Unitarian Universalism's  premier  principles is the person's right to self determination. Republicans do not abide by this prinicple when it comes to a woman's right to choose her own reproductive health care.

These laws are being passed at a time when the birth replacement in the United States is below maintenance of current population. 

Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale is not so far fetched after all. Republican men are enslaving women to be breeders even if they are impregnated by incest and rape. Perhaps this explains the resonance of the popular culture with Atwood's dystopian novel.

Once again we see that elections do make a difference, if not in the short run, in the long term. We as Unitarian Universalists are called upon to lift up our values and advocate for the person's right to self-determination. After all, this right to self-determination is one of the main definitions of freedom. What does the "free and responsible search for truth and meaning" mean if it does not apply to the right to choose about what happens to one's own body.

As a self governing people we have not only the right but the obligation to change our government when it does not serve the people well. This current effort to curb women's right to choose should give everyone a moment to seriously consider the consequences of supporting Republican candidates not only at the Federal, but at the State and local levels as well.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Stoic Philosophy - Seneca - The life of the philosopher

The articles on stoic philosophy are a regular feature of the UU A Way Of Life blog which appear on Saturdays.

Seneca's little book, On The Shortness Of Life, has the ability to stimulate thoughts about the purpose and meaning of life, UU's fourth principle which is the affimation and promotion of the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Seneca is encouraging this search to take us into the realm of philosophy which leads us to the most fundamental question of "What is the good life and how to live it."

Socrates tells us that "The unexamined life is not worth living." It is in the examination of our experiences in life that we deepen and enrich our interior spiritual life and become more aware of our innate holiness.

The point made in A Course In Miracles is that we can walk the path of the ego, or the path of God. The Universalists have taught us that the path of God is the awareness of, and extension, of Unconditional Love. The path of the ego is the way of conditional love which brings grievance, resentment, fear, and sorrow. The only essential question in life is "Which path do we choose to walk, the path of the ego or the path of God."

Seneca's quote today reminds us that the life of the philosopher is not bound by the illusions and idols found on the path of the ego. "He alone is freed from the limitations of the human race." The life of the philosopher has taken him/her on the path of God into the realm of the nondualistic Oneness to which the perennial philosphy points us. It is this perennial philosophy accumlated from "all ages" as Seneca writes, "which serve him as if a god."

Unitarian Univeralism calls itself a "living tradition" which draws from many sources or which six are named but in summary make up what is called the perennial philosophy and Seneca calls "the wide range."

The quote above is very pithy and succinct and when deconstructed deepens our understanding of what can make life richer and more meaningful and deepen our spiritual lives.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Today's lesson - Why have we been so silly thinking that we knew better?

Today's lesson, number 71 in A Course In Miracles, is "Only God's plan for salvation will work."

Which path do you choose to follow: the path of the ego or the path of God?

A Course in Miracles calls the first path wrong minded and the second right minded and the third kind of mind is the decision making mind which chooses.

The path of the ego promises all kinds of illusions and idols which will make us happy and our life worth living. We are disappointed over and over and over again. We are filled with frustration, greivance, resentment, depression, and finally, when we hit bottom, it dawns on us that there must be a better way.

In this dawning there is the beginning of the search which is affirmed and promoted in Unitarian Univeralism in its fourth principle, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This search takes us onto the path of God where we ask the Holy Spirit, the Muse, our Higher Power, the Spirit of Life what we should do, where we should go, what we should say, with whom we should interact. We turn it over as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is in the third step of AA, "Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God." that we have hope for "Ony God's plan for salvation will work." God knows that our attempts on the path of the ego have failed and often failed miserably.

So we have a simple decision to make: do things our way or God's way? Today's lesson gently reminds us with a gentle smile and laugh, "Only God's plan for salvation will work." Why have we been so silly?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Is everything going to be all right?

How does quiet overcome noise?
How does soft overcome hard?
How does yielding overcome force?
How does rest overcome effort?

Two steps forward and two steps back. We have gone no where.

Balance is always there, behind the scenes, working to rectify the extremes.

In Unitarian Universalism we know about the interdependent web of existence.
In Unitarian Univeralism we engage in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
In Unitarian Univeralism we acknowledge the inherent worth and dignity of each person.

What more could one want?
What more could be done?

UUs rise above the machinations of the ego recognizing that Tao is the Ground Of Our Being and everything is all right in spite of our fears.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Are you in right relationship with reality?

The Rev. Dr. Marlan Lavanhar gave a wonderful sermon on 08/26/18 entitled, Love and Evolution which is well worth watching. You can access it by clicking here.

Here is a snippet of how it starts with a definition of "reality." The fourth principle of Unitarian Univeralism is to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This is not post modern "truth," meaning that it can be whatever people in power says it is. "Truth" is based in reality. It is incumbent on us as a religious loving people to be in right relationship with reality.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

What does Unitarian Universalism teach about science and faith?

In our contemporary times there is a clash between religion and science. This comes up especially when considering the origin of the world in the discussion of evolution  and creationism. Does God magically create things in a mysterious way unknown to the human mind or can human beings decipher the workings of Nature and understand the world around them in which they live?

Unitarian Universalists are smart people. They are educated, sophisticated, and tend to support the scientific approach to the accumulation of knowledge about the workings of the world. Unitarian Univeralists certainly don't believe in magic, superstition, and Divine intervention in physical affairs of the Universe.

At what point does the use and appreciation of the scientific method turn into scientism?

Scientism is the belief that the scientific method is the only path to Truth. The belief in the scientific method becomes an ideology which precludes other ways of knowing. Scientism as an exclusive epistemology which does damage to aesthetic and spiritual understandings.

In the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching it is written, "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things. Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring, one can see manifestations. The two spring from the same source, but differ in name: this appears as darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery."

What does science know of the eternal Tao? If the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, what about understanding the nature of the whole, the Oneness, the nondualistic nature of existence?

Science only gets us part way to the Truth, capital T. Science is made up of many truths, small ts. There is Truth which the scientific method cannot help us find and understand. The pursuit of Truth is the work of faith. The pursuit of truths is the work of science. They can be complimentary and work in harmony. They need not be antagonistic and in conflict. Perhaps God did create the world as described in Genesis and did it through the mechanism of evolution. A "day" in Genesis is actually millions of years.

Unitarian Univeralism unlike fundamental Christianity appreciates the metaphoric, the symbolic, the poetic as a path to the truth. The Unitarian Universalist faith is very compatible both with science and with the spiritual.

The fourth principle of Unitarian Univeralism proclaims that UUs covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This search involves a harmonious inquiry using both science and aesthetics into the realm of Truth. Unitarian Univeralists, like all spiritual seekers, desire an experience of cosmic consciousness, of going home again to the whole of which we are but a part.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Do we have an authority problem?

Unitarian Universalists don't like authority. They not only don't like it, they rebel against it every chance they get. In my whole life I have never found such a large group of passive aggressive people. It's in their blood and DNA.

UUs justify their passive aggressivity under their principles of free and responsible searches for truth and meaning, and their love of what they call democratic process, but behind this facade is a fear and hate for authority and their intention to serve themselves and their own desires.

In the great Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, the primary line, repeated as the warden was beating him, was, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

In A Course In Miracles, it is stated as clear as day that what we humans have is an "authority problem." It is written referring to symptoms of distress, "I have spoken of different symptoms, and at that level there is almost endless variation, There is, however, only one cause for all the them: the authority problem. This is the "root of all evil."" T-3.VI.7:1-3

Just as Cool hand Luke had a communication problem, we have an authority problem.

We humans think, and we have been told, that we have created ourselves. As 2 years old we say , "No! You're not the boss of me!"

And we insist as adults that God is not the boss of us and even that there is no God only myself to count on.

We can be silly, silly people. "Ridiculous!" as my 13 year old nephew, Caleb, tells me.

Indeed, ridiculousness abounds.

At our death, if not before, we will have to submit to a force far greater than ourselves from which we emerged and unto which we return.

In the meantime, we can continue to entertain our illusions.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

UUs fourth principle can be misleading and the path to hell rather to heaven

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning and, while on the surface this appears to be tolerant and generous, at a spiritual level it is misleading because at a spiritual level there is not a different truth for different people. The belief in these differences divide us, they do not unite us. The reinforcement of illusions is not the path to heaven but the path to hell. Setting these illusions aside and seeking the divine within brings us to the Love that is the ground of our being and what we all have in common. This awareness of Love's presence, which we all share in, is the truth that leads us to heaven.

There is a model of spiritual development which is based on James Fowler's work describing the stages of faith development. While, in a conceptual sense, this model is helpful, in the spiritual realm it is not accurate and may even mislead the spiritual seeker. It is misleading because in the last analysis, as human beings, we are provided a simple choice: love or illusions?

In A Course In Miralces, in the section entitled "The Laws of Chaos," the first law is that truth is different for everyone. The course teaches that this is not true. Illusions may be different for everyone, but Love is the same.

Illusions are individualistic and separate us. Illusions can turn us into enemies and adversaries. The more attached we are to our illusions the more hateful and attacking we can become. Chaos ensues and when we back off and try to develop some perspective, we realize that the belief in the illusions that separate us have led us to the insanity of hell. It is written in ACIM in the section on Principles in Miracles that the first principle is "There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal."

It is true that we can believe in Love which involves an awareness of our Oneness with the divine, or we can believe in illusions which separate and divide us. It is really that simple. This truth is not different for different people. It is maximal for everybody. People don't have to choose it. They can continue with their attachments to their illusions which they may do until they realize they have been mistaken. They have missed the point of their lives because as the Beatles told us, Love is all there is. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Principle 4 leads to principle 1

Seeking truth and meaning leads one to the awareness of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. How long will it take for human beings to learn this lesson?

" are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned." A Course in Miracles, Manual For Teachers, 2.3:6-8

As a psychotherapist, and in examining my own life, I observe that people do the same damn things over and over again until they learn it's not working and try a different, hopefully, a better way.

Gurdjieff said the difference between winners and losers is not that they both don't suffer. Winners and losers suffer the same. The difference is that winners learn from their suffering and losers don't learn a damn thing. In other words we don't get to chose the curriculum of life only when we want to learn from it.

Socrates said an unexamined life is not worth living. How many people do you know who live examined lives? I am blessed to know some. I live one.

Carl told me that he was sitting at a stop light and noticed the other drivers sitting in cars around him. It dawned on him that they all had stories he knew nothing about. It seemed overwhelming to him for a moment and he asked me if I thought he was going crazy? On the contrary, I responded, it seemed like he was maturing. "You are breaking out of your narcissistic bubble and becoming empathic."

"You mean it's a good thing," he asked skeptically.

"Absolutely," I replied. "Your wondering and caring about your fellow human beings is an important step onto your spiritual path."

Carl seemed content and went on to talk about other things.

In A Course In Miracles this looking on our brother with love and seeing him as part of the whole of which we are also a part is what ACIM calls faith, It is written in ACIM, "To have faith is to heal. It is the sign that you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, and would therefore share it." T-19.I.9:1-2

UUs are here to share their awareness of the goodness of humanity. This faith is counter cultural. We are one of the lights in the darkness.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Truth and meaning is based more on what I do than what I say

The fourth principle of Unitarian Universalism is to covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. If you wonder what the truth is and what it means watch what people do; watch what I do. What kind of choices do I make? What kinds of actions do I engage in?

If you are spiritually mature, you understand that you are a teacher of God by your example, the life you have created, the values you act on, the opinions, interpretations, and meanings you make and share. Actions speak louder than words and actions come from our beliefs about what it is we think we want to have happen.

The pupils of the life course we teach have been assigned to us often by circumstances that we can't account for. They come into our lives because there is something they can learn from us and us from them.

A person asked Mother Teresa, "Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is to love as I have loved and I wonder whom should I love?" Mother Teresa replied, "Love whomever Life puts in your path."

Stephen Gaskin said one time that in the end all we have to offer another human being is our own state of existence. So what condition is your condition in? We need to be attentive to our own well being if we are to be of any help to anyone else. People should follow the airplane rule and put their own oxygen mask on first, then attend to the needs of others.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

What is the "truth and meaning" we are looking for?

The fourth principle of Unitarian Universalism is the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. A possible answer to the question "what is this truth and meaning" we are looking for is Love.

At one level I think it is easy to understand that what we all are looking for is love. And yet we are confused about what love is. I was taught that there are at least 5 kinds of love: agape, charitable love; philia, brotherly love; platonic love; eros, romantic love; and storge, parental love. It seems that these distinctions, while meaningful, still hide the deeper understanding that these different kinds of love are just parts of a larger, grander, more abiding love which is the ground of our being, what some people have called the godhead. Some people, like Jesus, simply say that God is love.

A woman asked me in a pointed way one time whether I believed in God. I answered, "It depends on what God you are asking about?" She was a fundamentalist Christian whose God was very judgmental and consigning people to either heaven or hell. If this is the God she is talking about, her God, no I don't believe in it.

Some people say, "I don't believe in God," and I ask them, "What God is it that you don't believe in?"

Some people's gods are more mature than others. In considering the concept of spiritual development an indicator of the stage of spiritual development might be the kind of God the person does or doesn't believe in.

An indicator of a higher stage of spiritual development is the understanding that God is a verb not a noun. God might be thought of as "the force" which Luke Skywalker in Star Wars described.

"Becoming one with the all" gets mocked as New Age psychobabble and yet this desire of going home, joining the cosmic consciousness is a higher level stage of spiritual development.

If we considered the stages of spiritual development on a continuum from thinking of God like Santa Claus who rewards or punishes good and bad boys and girls to becoming one with the all as in each person being a drop in the ocean who is stressed by being separated from the source of its being until it can meld back into the whole from whence it came, where are you in your spiritual development?

The UUA has an interesting handout on stages of faith development based on Fowler's model which you can access by clicking here.
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