For more Elysium's Passage Blog Posts, go to
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/ep-blog-posts to access post links or
https://digitalbloggers.com/articles/elysiumspassage for the host blogsite.
June 28, 2020
Auguste Rodin, the French sculpturer, is quoted in this very profound statement describing art is contemplation. This seems true in the sense that it is not possible to appreciate art without contemplation. This is especially obvious, as he suggests when we contemplate nature and divine “the spirit of which nature herself is animated.”
It may also be said that true contemplation is an art. On to itself, contemplation is much different than the chatter (and clatter) in our minds where the ‘voices’ have little to say except to express annoying, ego-driven fears and desires.
True, inward contemplation, however, is about going inward to find the still waters of our soul’s most inward being.
James, the hero/protagonist of the Elysium’s Passage novel series is a thinker and intellect but has never learned to fully engage with his heart in quiet contemplation. In the first book of the series, The Ascent, he discovers how to peacefully contemplate life, rather than just figure it out. While doing this he senses a Presence within he was never aware of before, but has yet to come to terms with what this is.
To see the full blog post go to THE ART OF CONTEMPLATION
June 22, 2020
RISING ABOVE JUDGEMENT
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged
Matthew 7:1,2 (KJV)
I’m not sure if this admonishment from 2,000 years ago has done much in preventing us from judging others. Unfortunately, we seem to be hopelessly entrenched in this human condition. But at least this quote gives a bit of heads-up on what happens when we fall into judgementalism... and it’s not good.
The verse plainly states that we don't get by unscathed when judging others. If we don't wish to be judged, then we shouldn’t judge. After all, how often do we know everything about others and their circumstances? We don’t. Many of our judgements are lies and distortions of the facts, based jealousy, envy or cultural prejudice. Has anyone listened to the mainstream media recently?
As G.I. Gurdjieff once stated: Don't judge a man by the tales of others.
Once we get into the habit of judging everything in sight, we become judgemental towards ourselves. That’s because it's an act that brings us into a state of low consciousness. If we pay attention to how we feel when we judge, we sense how we fall into self-loathing. All in all… it's not a happy gig.
As Lao Tzu stated eight thousand years ago, what you judge in others, you judge in yourself. When a powerful leader (not saying who), evokes hatred in some, what does that say about those who hate? To paraphrase Lao Tzu: He is not who you say he is, you are what you say he is. This might take some honest introspection, but we'll find that what we loath in others, we loath in ourselves.
Further to this, the New Testament states: "For on whatever grounds you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things." Roman 2:1 (KJV)
My observation is that those who judge most harshly, are often the most disempowered. They think they need to lash against others who disagree with their beliefs or values since their confidence and self-esteem aren’t strong enough to tolerate contrary opinions.
And so, when their overly sensitized ego is threatened, they attack all who don't agree or respect their perspectives. That's always evidence of the ego's presence. And since violence begets violence, attack turns into a vicious cycle of vengeance and no one wins.
However, for those rare beings who remain confident and secure in themselves, there is no desire to attack anyone. Even when their enemies judge them, they remain unmoved. They know who and what they are. They remain strong and empowered even when unjustly persecuted, and can say to their accusers, as Jesus did: Father forgive them; they know not what they do.’(Luke 23:34).
Conscious beings are aware of their own consciousness, just as they remain aware of how unconsciousness are those who ‘know not what they do.’ Because they are conscious, they don’t judge, they love.
Of course, being the imperfect mortals we are, things are never just one way. Sometimes we win and sometimes our ego phantom wins, but when it wins, we lose. But at least we get to decide which realm of consciousness to spend our time – the domain of the ego-self or the domain of the divine Self. And yet the consequences of our choice soon becomes evident.
If we go around judging everyone, we become weak, fearful and unhappy. As the saying goes; ‘would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy? If we rise above the petty hubris of our ego, we won’t need to win the argument because we remain open-minded, secure in who we are.
Whether we’re right or wrong, it doesn't matter. If we're wrong, we remain content in learning something new. If we're right, it doesn't matter if others recognize how right we are. Our happiness is not dependent on their acceptance.
But that’s not the way of the ego. In its miserable state of fear and separation, it continues to judge everyone, especially its host. Unless we become conscious of what it's up to, it will have its way with us. Though we might embrace its judgementalism, none of these makes us feel happy, peaceful, or grateful. Rather, we feel the opposite, just as the ego would have it.
Yet, it seems we are conditioned to judge everything. Whether we know what they're talking about or not, we do it. We allow our minds to become prejudiced by the media's explicit judgements. Added to this, we become polarized with extreme ‘them and us’ judgementalism from our political and religious systems. Perhaps that’s why, even at an early age, we become unconsciously judgemental.
So, what can we do to heal ourselves from this unfortunate psychosis that judges others? Once we give our power over to it, it becomes much bigger than us.
It seems there's little incentive to become more charitable in our attitudes towards others unless we become aware of how unhappy judging makes us feel. It might gratify our ego-mind, but not us; the real us. If we wish to do something about our situation, we must distance ourselves from this temptation. It might not be easy at first, but once we learn to ‘choose again,’ (as stated in A Course in Miracles), we find we have the freedom to love rather than to judge. It’s our call; it’s our choice.
Fortunately, with our divine (Christ) Self, love is not only possible… it's all there is. That's our salvation over fear and judgementalism. By going within, where our divine essence resides, we are empowered with what resources we require to heal and become whole. But first, we need to stop our ego from indulging itself by taking control of our words and actions. Then we can view life with gratitude, love and peace through the eyes of our divine Self, rather than with the ego's judgement
In closing, I wish to clarify that the above is meant to be a brief discussion on the personal qualities of judgmentalism rather than considering the merits of political dissent. I don’t dispute that social inequity and injustice need to be addressed and condemned. Yet, in such situations, if we are to achieve our ends, we must respond by critiquing with wisdom, rather than reacting with anger and hatred
The question is if we can protest and agitate for change without becoming compromised by the scathing bitterness that festers within? I think most would agree that’s not always easy, especially when victimized. Still, we have countless examples of role modes throughout history such as Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandala and Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus who did just this.
Each had the wisdom to take the high road when addressing right over wrong. Often, they suffered and some even lost their lives. Without wallowing in hate, they brought revolutionary change to their societies by empowering the oppressed. I’m not sure how many could have done this.
For the full post on this article, go to https://digitalbloggers.com/preview/who-are-you-to-judge
June 15, 2020
Seeds of Gratitude -- Harvest of Happiness
As Rhonda Byre states above: "Your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant."
So then, how do we reap the abundant harvest we wish to have in our lives?
One word: Gratitude!
Thoughts of gratitude are the seeds of happiness.
This post's featured painting reminds me of the beauty and bounty of the earth for which we may feel gratitude and appreciation. Perhaps the women in the painting sense that they are part of the earth, rain and sun as they harvest what they've sowed. Even in their labours, they may feel grateful. (But maybe not... looks like hard work.)
In any case, I believe gratitude is what determines our happiness. Each thought of gratitude is like a seed planted to yield happiness. Over time the seeds of gratitude will grow into a garden of peace and happiness as we reap what we've sown through life. Look at the people you know who are the happiest. Are any of them ungrateful? I doubt it. Rather, they are the happiest.
Gratitude is foundational to our happiness and everyone else’s. Our well-being and the well-being of others depends on how we feel within. We are broadcasting stations that constantly broadcast our state of conscious whether we’re aware of it or not. What we transmit to others is transmitted to the world.
If we’re happy we broadcast happiness. But if we're unhappy we broadcast unhappiness. By being grateful, the world is uplifted one person at a time. It loves gratitude, perhaps because we see so little of it. We uplift others when we express gratitude.
Temporal gratification might make us feel happy at the moment, but if we don’t maintain an attitude of gratitude after the experience, there is no reason to remain happy. For example, I just had a freshly baked blueberry and cranberry muffin which made me happy at the moment. It was delicious, but now it's gone. Not the happiness… the muffin. And yet my happiness lingers as I remain grateful for having had it. What underlies happiness is sustained gratitude, not money, fame, or power.(Take that Hollywood!)
It’s easy to dwell on things that cause us more grief than gratitude, such as when we get our mail and see all the bills that need to be paid. That can be a real downer unless we change our attitude by remembering to be grateful for having sufficient funds to pay these bills.
It is our responsibility to take care of our emotional health by being aware that it’s always in our best interests to remain happy by practising gratitude. If we are not in the habit of feeling gratitude, we’re probably not going to be that happy in life. This might sound like common sense, but if it is, why do we so easily fall into the trap of being miserable. This habit can easily become our default position.
That’s why it’s necessary for us to acknowledge all the reasons we should feel thankful. Not just once, but over and over until it becomes a habit that replaces old patterns of negative thought. This required retraining our mind to perceive abundance rather than lack. After all, how can we be grateful for lack?
If we practise gratitude enough, it will become our new reality. That’s the goal! That’s much better than the ego's reality of misery and lack.
So, how can the happy gratitude become our reality?
Simple: make it a habit.
And how do we do this – how do we discipline ourselves so make gratitude our default attitude such that it becomes our constant state of reality?
I suggest making it a little ritual of it the beginning of each day.
Here’s what I do: I get out of bed, go down the stairs and make a cup of coffee, sometimes with a light breakfast. With that taken care of, I’m ready to enter into my new zone of happy reality. I sit at my table, pick up my pen and begin to write on my notepad all that I can think of for which I’m grateful.
To begin, maybe all I'm aware of is the coffee I’m drinking. But as I focus on it, I become conscious of how good a freshly brewed cup of coffee can taste.
Then I might look out the window from where I sit and see the morning sun shining beautifully on the trees and grass. Or maybe it’s the freshness of the rain pouring down. That’s beautiful too. I might even go out on my deck and enjoy another cup of coffee and breath in the fresh air. Yes, if I'm mindful, I can even become aware of these revitalizing ions in the morning rain and be grateful. Or the overcast clouds... not gloomy, just peaceful. What’s not to like? I can write that one down too.
Hmm, no aches or pains in my body this morning… that’s something to be grateful for.
I look around my home. I like my home. I’m grateful for how it makes me feel. Comfortable and peaceful. I’ll think about the vacuuming later.
I like that plant in the corner… haven’t noticed it in a long while, except to water it. It belongs. I’m grateful to have such a nice plant there.
So, what’s there to be grateful for this day… a root canal? We can always be grateful for dentists who do that sort of thing… and so much less painful these days. (Okay, that one was a bit of a stretch.)
Do we have friends and relatives? Not everyone does, or not many. Can we be grateful for having them in our lives? Mostly... I presume. Write down everyone’s names you are grateful for and itemize all their charming qualities (if possible.) If you like being single, you might wish to make note of that too, (perhaps with a big star.)
How about ordinary things? For example, when was the last time we felt grateful for your washer and dryer? That might seem trite, but what it would be like to live without these? If we can imagine that, we might feel more grateful next time we put in a load.
Am I grateful for social media? Of course, or I wouldn’t be sharing this. Personally, I just need to remember to avoid Twitter and to tune out all the negativity that robs me of gratitude. I'm even grateful that I preserved my sanity by unsubscribing from cable TV.
Also, we should not neglect the big things in life such as the sun and earth. Can we be grateful for photosynthesis and all the food that it miraculously grows for us, along with blossoms, flowers, and fragrances that delight our senses? How about pets, or the last time we rode a horse? How did that feel?
Okay, you get the idea. Its always about the joy of gratitude when we pay attention to things, be they great or small. It makes little difference; gratitude is gratitude and it always makes us feel good.
Maybe we only think of a few things at first, but each day the list keeps growing as we become increasingly aware of all we took for granted. We may also wish to return to whatever makes us feel good. How does your coffee taste this morning? If you enjoy it, why not write that down again and relive the happy energy of gratitude. Whatever works… why not?
This is reprogramming your mind. Even if it seems a bit superficial at first, in time it has a profound impact on how we view the world. As the Nobel Prize Physicist, Max Planck stated early last century: “When you change the way you look at things and the more things you look at change.” Look with gratitude instead of dread and the world will change for the better.
There’s no better way to change than through gratitude. It instantly makes us ‘present’ by delivering us from the pits of the fearful ego, catapulting us back into our divine consciousness where we belong. We don’t even have to work at it once we love our happiness more than our pain and suffering.
Practise gratitude every day and see how quickly you can retrain your mind to be happy. That’s the challenge. Being grateful means engaging our heart to feel good. The mind will accept that because it wants to feel good too. It doesn’t know how to do that on its own and so defaults to the ego every time. When the mind is disengaged with the heart, it is always confused about life. It can have an IQ of 200, but without the heart, it has few if any relational skills.
Even though the mind might be logical and analytical, it can also be really, really, stupid... especially in things that matter such as relationships. The ego-mind knows nothing of gratitude unless it's self-serving. Which is perhaps why the world is as it is… too many smart minds running the show who remain disconnected within… but that’s another subject for another time. As Pascal stated several centuries ago: “The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.”
Our ego-mind has had its way with us for long enough when we allow it to make us feel miserable. Now’s the time to make it our servant, not our master. Where there is loving gratitude, it has no choice but to accept the heart as boss.
Do we wish to make the world a happier place? We can do this by sowing seeds of gratitude. As this catches on, the world will learn to reap the harvest of happiness.
To start the first day of your happy life of gratitude, I recommend beginning a 'Gratitude Journal,' even if it's just a plain notepad like mine. Leave it in plain sight so you see it first thing in the morning. You might wish to be grateful for the good time you had last night at that party or a hike you just took in nature. If that was a good feeling, you can keep going back to it for years and revive its happy memories each time you reread it. Just think of how much happiness might accumulate there.
However you do it, the objective is to raise your frequency so you remain at peace, regardless of whatever hysteria, hate and anger go on around you. Become empowered with gratitude to rise above the ego's vortex of despair. Remember, you're a broadcasting station that's always casting abroad whatever you put out there.
Make it a vibe of gratitude.
If you are interested in reading more posts related to this subject, go to
Union of Heart and Mind https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/let-your-light-shine
Let Your Light Shine. https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/let-your-light-shine
What is Happiness? https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/what-is-happiness
Or see all blog links at https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/ep-blog-posts
They are all written to inspire, inform, challenge and even amuse.
For the full post on this article, go to Sowing Happy Seeds of Gratitude
June 8, 2020
I agree with Maya that the fear of living for many results from the fear of dying, which is no way to go through life. Likewise, to do so is to become timid and spineless.
But underlying the fear of dying, which seems to have recently gripped the world as never before, is the fear of being annihilated. This is a result of believing that we are our body and nothing more, and therefore, our life is limited to the existence of our body. This seems to be the view of most scientists. The plot and dialogues in Elysium's Passage novel series argue just the opposite in making its case for our continual immortality.
But if we are immortal spirits inhabiting a mortal body, then there is no such thing as death when we are constituted of God's divine essence. Of course, all my atheist, agonistic and humanist friends vehemently disagree with me on this since they believe we consist of nothing more than a mortal body. And so, when the body’s gig is up, so is ours.
Such was the opinion of James, the philosopher and protagonist in the Elysium’s Passage series, who had a fall while mountain climbing in the Andes. He then went into a state of deep, unconscious soul sleep for a couple of weeks before awakening. He didn’t realize he was in a spirit body rather than the biological body which had been airlifted out and was now lying in a coma in a hospital back in London. A very intriguing beginning for the series!
I have included a short excerpt of an argument he was having with a couple of men he met on the mountain where he (his spirit body) remained after the fall. Though he knew Mo and Eli before they departed earth, he has no idea who they are now, nor do they tell him; at least not until the fifth novel. The argument was on life after death. Because of losing his parents at an early age, James still fears death even though he is not yet aware of how much it affected him.
From Chapter Five: The Fall
ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT
‘But it’s not only your physical body in London that’s been having a rest,’ he said. ‘You were in a state of deep soul sleep for some time. That often happens after a trauma such as this. Where you awoke in the ravine, was close to where you parted company with your physical body. Your clothes, backpack and its contents manifested according to your belief expectations. That's how things work on this side. And just in case you were wondering, your accident happened over two weeks ago.’
‘Oh really,’ I said, 'amazing how time and the body fly when taking a snooze. In a Learjet, you say? That's superb; I've always wanted to do that. Next time I’ll try to stay awake for the trip so I can tell everyone all about it. But really now, gents, do you expect me to believe your stories? It just keeps getting richer all the time. Is there someone hiding behind a bush videotaping this for some comedy channel? For once, can we get serious? You know, it's not funny to joke about something that could have resulted in death. In this case, mine!’
‘You’re right James,’ Eli said, ‘it's not, and we're not. We agree this was serious and believe us; we're not joking about what could have resulted in your body’s death. But realize we view things from a much different perspective. Let us assure you there is nothing remotely dead about you or your body. It remains very much alive in its earthly plane of existence, albeit in a diminished condition. You'll find it in Room 3017 of your hospital's Critical Care Unit.’
‘The last we heard,’ Mo said, 'though marred and twisted, it remains in a stable condition connected to a life support system. Note, we’ve deliberately said it, not you. Though its lights were knocked out, it's most fortunate to still be alive since you’ll likely need it again. But believe me, as things stand now, you're much better off to be here with us... much less constricting, wouldn't you say?
‘Your brain’s hardware was badly shaken and will need much time to heal before it can fire up its synapses to activate the neural axons and dendrites. Your neurologist says until your neck’s cranial and vagus nervous systems mend, there's not much they can do for you except keep the body alive on their support system.
‘In fact, it could still be a long time before you awaken in it, provided that it survives. If at some point the doctors suspect it’s not going to make it, it will likely be discharged from the system. However, from what our informed sources have told us, your body will most likely recover, although it could still take much longer for you to regain your consciousness in it. In other words, for your soul to re-enter the body you think is you.’
‘You two just won’t let up, will you? Did you just say re-enter the body I think I am? Do you know how weird that sounds? Furthermore, what do you mean “our informed sources”? We're way off-grid and a long, long way from any transmitter service, so you can't possibly be receiving information from any sources unless you have a satellite phone, you're not telling me about.’
‘When you are the grid, you don’t need a phone,’ Eli said chuckling.
‘When you are the grid; what in bloody hell is that supposed to mean?’
‘What I mean is that there is nowhere that Source is not. And since we’re all part of Source…’
‘Save the metaphysics for later, Eli,’ I said, ‘I just want to know what’s real and certain.’
‘There's nothing certain about your fragile mortal body,’ Mo said, ‘and so it's still possible it may not make it. And then how real will it be? Nothing temporal is real, but you're not temporal, only your body is while on the earthside. You haven't learned that yet, but you will.’
'It's obvious there is only one side. Either you're dead or alive, not both. For now, I prefer to be alive, and if you please, in this body.’
‘And so you are.’ he said. ‘It’s true; your mortal body must either be dead or alive. For now, it's alive, but when it’s not, you'll remain alive wherever you are in this body I'm speaking to.’
‘To the contrary, I think the evidence is apparent that once your body is dead, so is your brain, and with it, your conscious awareness since it's obvious it comes from the brain.’
‘To whom is that obvious?’ Mo asked.
This is just the beginning of an ongoing discussion on the topic of life, death and immortality as it reoccurs throughout the series, sometimes profound and sometimes humorous.
June 1, 2020
I had a dream, which was not at all a dream
Lord Byron, English Poet, taken from Darkness (1816)
In these times of rapid change and uncertainty, its more important than ever that we take care that our dreams inspire the kind of future we all wish to achieve with greater peace, harmony, and prosperity.
Whatever, we might mean by the word, be it a vision, goal, hope, or enduring desire, our dreams are how we create our future, as Victor Hugo suggests in his quote above.
But, of course, the inverse is also true. As the proverb states: Where there is no vision, the people perish... (Proverbs 29:18)
In the first book of the series, ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT, there is a discussion on this subject where James, the protagonist, had been greatly influenced by a dream he had, although he was reluctant to acknowledge this since his life’s outlook and orientation was external rather than inward reflection.
In the below excerpt, taken from chapter four, James is told to take seriously the insights he received in his dream, rather than just react to the outward life he has remained focused on.
This following is a short sample of what was discussed on this subject.
‘Listen to what we’re saying, James. It’s most important you understand there’s more to your dream than you seem to be willing to acknowledge. If you're honest, you will admit that you didn't risk life and limb just to climb this remote mountain for no other reason than to challenge yourself to greater extremes of physical achievement and survival. When considering the danger, it would have been ill-advised and even foolhardy to attempt this expedition if there wasn't something thrusting you forward.’
‘You might have a point there,’ I said, ‘since it wasn’t the most judicious plan. But I just felt I had to do it, and so I did even if I was impulsive. That’s why I told hardly anyone of my plan to, as you say, steal off into the night.’
‘Yes, because after your dream you began to understand there was more to life than you were experiencing in the Lowlands, although you weren't sure exactly what that might be. You just knew you couldn't bear to live in the swamps anymore since your life had become too low and shallow for your higher aspirations.
In that sense, James, you never did wake up from the dream; the dream woke you up and slowly changed your life. You just knew you had to follow where you were called. And so you did. This is it; the adventure you're now on.'
'Sounds like you have me all figured out with all these metaphors you’ve borrowed from my dream,' I said with a tinge of sarcasm.
'Mo's is speaking the truth,' Eli said. ‘Your dream was a call to take you beyond the mists of the Lowlands, far beyond what you understood. You still don't understand, but that’s about to change… as is your world.’
‘The Mountain represented your quest for what’s higher, and soon you will find it becomes more than just a metaphor, but your emerging reality. Furthermore, you will find it has a more substantial foundation than the bogs you kept building on before.’
‘You don't say,’ I muttered incredulously.
'Yes, we do say, and a whole lot more. In fact, what we're about to tell you is what’s remained hidden; what you've been waiting to hear, even though you didn't realize it.’
‘Okay, this should be interesting,’ I said incredulously. ‘So, what is it that I’ve been waiting to hear?’
‘Remember the vision you had in your dream? It was a higher-order perspective, even higher than this mountain you find yourself on.’
'That’s splendid, but let's just cut to the chase.’ I said as I sat up in my chair, ready to leave.
‘All that was presented in your spectacularly, vivid dream portended what was to come, and all you still seek to understand was presaged in your dream. Whether you realise it or not, this is becoming your new reality. When you become aware, you will understand.
‘Trust us, James, we're not making any of this up. That's why it's imperative you realise that your dream has merged with all you've experienced here. In recounting your dream, we only wish to remind you of what it was telling you. So do not spurn the gift you gave to yourself.
‘The dream was a revelation from you to you. You earned it, my friend. Therefore, it's all yours: your poetry, your guide to your future. It gave you the vision you needed to find your way here. The directions didn't come from your mind but your heart.'
I had a dream, which was not at all a dream
Lord Byron, English Poet, taken from Darkness (1816)