Sunday, December 20, 2015

Birthing the Divine

Jim Curtis, "Chant"

In advent we journey toward peace through hope, with love and joy. We sink into the quiet of our hearts and minds, as nature, in the northern hemisphere, slows her pace and earth cools in the shortest days of sunlight. The season calls us inward, toward the deep truth of who we are, toward the reconciling of our mind and heart. "Be still!" declares the Holy Darkness, "and wait for the light to come."

Wait. Watch. The coming of the light is inevitable. Pay attention! this is your story.

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Pay attention now to where the birth of Jesus has taken place. This eternal birth takes place in the soul totally in the way it takes place in eternity, neither less nor more. Whatever perfection is to enter the soul, be it divine, unique light or grace or happiness, all of it must come into the soul of a necessity through this birth of divine awareness and in no other way. Wait only for the birth of Christ within yourself, And you will discover all blessing and all consolation, all bliss, all being, and all truth.

~ Meister Eckhart

There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart.

~ Chandogya Upanishad
Art: Jim Curtis

Be aware. You are made in the image of God. Bring that forward. Be the Love and Beauty that you are made to be in the Image of the Creator, to whom you are eternally connected.

May the peace of the Eternal Christ, the Word of  Divine Light be born in your heart this beautiful season.

_/\_Peggy at ECUMENICUS

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Advent by Thomas Merton

Charm with your stainlessness these winter nights,
Sergei Gapon, AFP/Getty Image
Skies, and be perfect!
Fly vivider in the fiery dark, you quiet meteors,
And disappear.
You moon, be slow to go down,
This is your full!

The four white roads make off in silence
Towards the four parts of the starry universe.
Time falls like manna at the corners of the wintry earth.
We have become more humble than the rocks,
More wakeful than the patient hills.

Charm with your stainlessness these nights in Advent,
holy spheres,
While minds, as meek as beasts,
Stay close at home in the sweet hay;
And intellects are quieter than the flocks that feed by starlight.

Oh pour your darkness and your brightness over all our
solemn valleys,
You skies: and travel like the gentle Virgin,
Toward the planets' stately setting,
Oh white full moon as quiet as Bethlehem!

Read this poem slowly. Read it, perhaps two or three times so you can feel into the words and rest deeply into the place from which Merton describes the scene of Advent unfolding. Read and rest with the words until you step out of time and feel yourself  "more humble than the rocks, more wakeful than the patient hills." Smell the sweetness of hay and hear the lowing of the beasts in the barn. And on the vast open mountainside, the sheep graze in a silent starry night. Let the words of the poem, like the coming of the New, pour over you slowly, slowly and gently lift you into the flow of the journey to Bethlehem.

May the serenity of the season surround you ~ Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Friday, November 20, 2015

Intimacy. Identity. Life is Sacred Relationship - Love Yourself In Order to Love Others

Lee Kerttu
More thoughts on the Daily Meditation from Fr Rohr today, on the 12-Step program. 

Father Rohr's meditation refers to this step:

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

Having had experience with addiction, I can say with all certainty: addiction is always related to an unmet need for love - not from others, from yourself. Remember, when we say "love" we refer in a deep, emotional way, to RELATIONSHIP. 

Addicts, whether blatant substance abuse, sex, gambling, etc., or more subtle, critical, negative, judgmental, distracted, anxious, or otherwise at the mercy of the ego and emotions, all fall seriously into the first category of "Why we suffer" per Buddhist reasoning:

We do not know who we are.

We cannot give our self what we need if we do not know who we are. BEING balanced and peaceful within, being in "union with God," is primary to DOING balanced and peaceful or unitive. I cannot stress how subtle and continuous this work is!

Rohr makes 2 statements in his meditation today that I find ultimately important:

"...addiction emerges out of a lack of inner experience of intimacy with oneself, with God, with life, and with the moment."

"If something is really working for you, then less and less will be required to satisfy you."

Knowing who you are is more than taking a moral inventory. Its making the realization that YOU ARE/HAVE ALL YOU THINK YOU NEED and living into that truth. 

You may like the notion that you are partnered with a Higher Power in this case. It certainly helps to believe so. In fact, it is this relationship that is the foundation for all others. This trust, this confidence, this forgiveness, this compassion - self love lays the groundwork for all our outward expressions of love. So, as Mother Teresa's beautiful prayer says, "In the end, its between you and God." Its always only between you and God. The real, true, authentic you (not the one you are hiding or denying) and God. If you get that part right, everything else seems to fall into place, just as Rohr implies in the second quote above.

Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The first statement in Matthew's quote is about loving yourself or, in others words, loving yourself through a deep, continuously cultivated spiritual relationship with your higher power, whatever name that goes by.

Here is Fr Rohr's second meditation on the 12 Step Program and Intimacy: Experiencing Intimacy

May you realize now that you are a perfect child of the Sacred Universe. "no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here." (Desiderata) May you know yourself as LOVE, the most sacred relationship of life - whole and wisely balanced within, giving expression to whole and wisely balanced without. This is the example of Jesus the Christ, the enlightened one. This is the example of Buddha, the awakened one...and all the wise ones who impart their stories to us so that we may grow into possibility and potential. So that we may "Go placidly amid the noise and haste..." (Desiderata)
Anna Valle

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Emotional Maturity….The Practical Kingdom of God Within Us

This blog is a response to the excellent Daily Meditation on Emotional Sobriety

and the 12-Step Program offered today by Fr Richard Rohr. He refers to the 11th step.

Step 11
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

Emotional maturity needs to be learned. I am not talking about having a bit of restraint, I am talking about quieting that inner critic, letting go of the niggling fear and anxiety about stuff, changing the perception from a glass half empty to a glass half full, moving beyond the need to control everything and everyone in your life, reducing your reactivity to cultivated responsiveness. Do you know that psychologists use meditation in therapy? Some use spiritual direction also as a nonjudgmental method of reflecting you to yourself. Here is why.

Religion is all about re-ligare, “binding back” to your highest (best) self we call “God.” Religion uses ritual and liturgy and practice of prayer to encourage you to be aware of the Spirit of Love that integrates the Mind- body on the very levels (see programs for happiness) that Fr Rohr describes below. Before there was psychology, there was religious practice. But the goals are the same: a healthy, balanced, integrated mind body; a subtly aware, emotionally mature individual, who is balanced and fair to herself and to others.  This is Union with God. This is the Kingdom of God within you.  We cannot help someone else be any more emotionally mature than we are, in the same way we can’t teach concepts that we don’t know our self. We must be the change we want to see in the world (Gandhi). This is where it begins….with “me.”

The 11th step on the 12 step program is important for all of us! We are all “addicted” to our entitlement to be negative and judgmental, to our pain and anxiety, to our “suffering” as Buddha would say. We are blindly addicted to our immature emotionality. And it takes a long gentle process of waking up and being with our self to heal. We would often rather suffer, leaving things as they are (certain and predictable), than change! That’s addiction.

The way we feel and act follows the evolution of the human brain. So here is Rohr’s explanation from a scientific/evolutionary perspective, simplified: Our reactions result from our primitive needs for: 1. survival/safety (oldest part of the brain – reptilian) 2. power and control (next oldest part of brain – limbic-frontal cortex) 3. esteem/ affection (Frontal cortex – limbic). Check out the graphic of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This developmental process not only takes place across humanity, but it is the way we each develop as individuals. The body responds with sympathetic flight/fright first (vagal tone), then the emotions follow reactively, and finally, our mind becomes aware of the situation and either reacts or holds. The rational mind is the last to kick in! This is why we need to cultivate a delay and a more subtle awareness between the mind and body. The body physiology “remembers” responses we needed when we were more primitive and the mind – capable of objectivity – must mature into a capable, skillful master of compassion. That is emotional maturity. Not denying or repressing your emotions, but learning to be gentle with them so that you can also be gentle toward others’.

Meditative prayer is the time-tested way to hold space – indeed, it anatomically and physiologically changes the brain wiring and neurotransmitting to downplay emotional and egoic reactivity and stimulate skillful rationale. The answer has been right in front of us all this time. We must learn to BE with ourselves. We must learn to be Mary and not so much Martha. We must learn to Be Still and Know that we are. What are we? Made in the image of God, vessels of the Kingdom, Love incarnate. We can only know who we are if we are quiet enough to listen to our selves.

For the excellent blog that spurred my thoughts read Fr Richard Rohr's November 19, 2015 Daily Meditation Emotional Sobriety by Fr Richard Rohr  

I leave you with the message in this meme - I cannot state it any better than that!! Love and peace to all of you!!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Energy of Prayer and Mindsight

Sometimes when prayers are not answered we hear, “It’s the will of God.” In Buddhism, the “will of God” is identical to the “retribution of karma.” Cause and effect is real, but sometimes the effect doesn’t seem to reflect the cause. If prayer cannot change these apparently wrong circumstances, then why pray?

Let’s consider what we think of as reality. Our physical reality is impermanent. All religions, and science as well, attest to the fragile and fleeting, temporary nature of the physical universe. Matter, and everything concerning matter, from carefully constructed mental plans to the lives of the stars, is constantly changing from its current energy state to another; from what our eye construes as solid to dissipated energy. The physicists notion of atomic particles is just a representation of a particular behavior of energy. The only thing that is the same, changing and unchanging simultaneously, is energy, always. So what if we deal with prayer on an energetic level? How does that look?

The mind is not the same as the brain. The mind (subject) is a regulator for the flow of energy and information (energy with meaning). (1) The brain (object), including all nervous systems, autonomic and central, is like a transistor. The brain is also essentially energy, but we can see it, unlike the mind. The brain is system of cells and pathways that carry, amplify and integrate the minds attention. Psychiatrist, neuro-researcher, and author of the Mindsight concept books, Dan Siegle defines mind as, “an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” (1) The mind is in dynamic relationship with the brain. What the mind focuses attention on literally changes the neural pathways of the brain. So, as we look at a person or object or have a thought, our embodied energy and information regulator (mind) is in dynamic relationship with the flow of universal energy (all energies we produce and encounter) in each and every moment. The way we train our attention to our relationship with,

1. our own thoughts and emotions and,
2. their relationship with worldly energies

determines the way we wire and rewire our neural pathways.

The process of prayer, or mindful meditation, or contemplation (the deep and repeated observance of an object) directs energies in ways that create and embed neural circuitry directed toward the attributes of the object. The object our mind creates. If we pray to God, our brain wires toward the attributes we ascribe to Godliness. But we don’t have to pray TO anyone, because what we are really asking for is to embody and express the attributes of such Divinity. And, truly, we are already Divine. Divinity is, like an atomic particle, a representation that we give to a particular notion of information (energy with meaning). We are "made in the image of God." Full of Godly possibility! So, always keep an open mind. As we allow this mental regulator of the flow of energy and information to be aware without attachment and bias, unity becomes the organic nature of our perception.

The relationship between the one who creates and the created are one and the same, the subject (mind) creates the object (God) and the object (God) creates the subject (mind). Stated another way, the artist creates the art, but the art creates the artist. The creator and the created are in dynamic relationship. Each is changed toward a new expression of what they are by the other. In reality, there is no separation. The only reality is in both subject and object.

This is clearly stated in the following scripture:
John 17:20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, The Energy of Prayer, states, “We and God are not two separate existences; therefore the will of God is also our own will. If we want to change, then God will not stop us from changing…. The energy of mindfulness is a real energy, and whenever energy is applied there is a change.

When we sit down to practice unifying our body and mind [through prayer], and we bring our energy of love to our grandmother, to an elder sister, or a younger brother, then we are producing a new energy. That energy immediately opens our heart. When we have the nectar of compassion and have established communication between the one who is praying and the one being prayed to, then the distance between us does not have any meaning. This connection can’t be estimated or described in words; time and space cannot present any obstacles.

In prayer, the electric current [energy] is love, mindfulness and right concentration. Mindfulness is the real presence of our body and our mind, directed toward one point, the present moment. When you have this, you have concentration that leads to prajna, Sanskrit for insight and transcendent wisdom. Without that, our prayer is just superstition.” (2)

The benefits of prayer/meditation are well-documented over many years of study. With the advent of neuroimaging and advanced EEG technologies, we are able to locate activity associated with certain behaviors in the brain and measure subtle changes in activity resulting from external stimuli. Most importantly, we are learning that interdisciplinary collaboration and study massively increases our understanding of the human mind-body experience.

May your mind-body experience be expanded and enhanced by the reading of this article. May your prayer open your mind to the beautiful Divinity of Life and lead you forward with wisdom and compassion for the world.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus


  1. Dan Siegle, Practicing Mindsight, (Sounds True, Boulder, 2015).
  2. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Energy of Prayer, (Parallax Press, Berkley, 2006)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Unified Field Theory and Oneness

Physicists and Oneness~

Have I piqued your interest with the sexy words, "Unified Field Theory?" Good! Then lets talk about the way things are, and have been for a long, long time...and all our sacred texts tell us about it! The key to "getting it" is changing your perception.

Let me re-emphasize this at the get-go: this is not new. This is not secret. The seeming convergence of quantum physics and spiritual subjectivity only allows us to realize what has been said in different ways by different human cultures, many, many times before. Listen with open mind and heart. "Let those who hear, let them hear," says Jesus repeatedly in the Gospels. Even the Old Testament the prophet Isaiah (6:9-10) writes: 

"You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears."

In fact, these will be the words of any prophet you read/hear, because a prophet (or intuitively-biased person) can perceive many meanings in one idea/circumstance. This is "seeing" with the third eye - the ajna chakra, the mind of Christ, enlightened, nondual perceiving. All humans use this inner intuition daily, but most are unaware of it. On the Myers-Briggs Personality Types Inventory, only 27% of the population is biased toward intuition, which means only 27% of us use intuition as our primary perceiving mechanism. Seventy-three percent of us use our outward sensing capabilities (these include sight, hearing etc., and logical, analytical thinking) in a more primary way than our intuition.

So moving on, with this quote from physicist, Lothar Schafer's  in mind (from the video below)...

"Unified field theory proves everything is interdependent. If you harm another, you harm yourself." Lothar Schafer

Photosynthesis and O2 respiration are an example of co-dependence. We dont really have to understand nonlocal particle physics to know it, although the notion that there would be no form (particles) without the reality of formlessness (waves/potential) is well-understood through quantum understanding.
What we should know, however, is this: Co-dependence of life on ALL levels has been understood (perhaps not quantified) from ancient times. All religions speak about our interdependence and Oneness.
The concept of Trinity celebrates this paradigm. Buddhists have been talking about co-dependent arising for millenia. Many Eastern religions practice ahimsa - cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings - including all animals - according to Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism.
Yet, in the materiaiistic West, we have been encultured right out of touch with this way of thinking. This is a sociololgical fact. The advent of discrete disciplines: science, philosophy, theology, linguisitics etc during the late 18thC encouraged our mechanistic and separationist worldveiw.
However, it is still within us, this ancient is the way humans used to use the mind. A former, more holistic awareness of our subjective AND objective experience. And, as Dr Schafer states here, when I know you and I are one and the same, morality is common sense: what I do to you, I do to myself. That is the [ancient] golden rule.

Treat others as you would treat yourself. Learn to treat yourself with honesty and compassion and you will express that in the world. Ancient wisdom. Science, philosophy, religion....all understand this and have for a very long time.
But each of us hears, sees, learns, understands, believes what we want to believe, see, hear, understand. Perception is everything! Open your filters. Listen to others, but dont believe everything you hear. If it expands your ideas or is outside of your box - allow it, but hold it. If it diminishes your ideas or feels like a box, let it GO! Stay open, stay supple, stay flexible with your mind. Be what you want to see in the world...if its more love, then be more loving, if its more peace, then be more peaceful. You will have to make sacrifices - of pride, of time, of power, of control, of takes work to be humble but maintain integrity. Ask the trees about that this time of year.
Anyway, as Ghandi said, "Be the Change."
Change what you want to love and unity. Change how you roll to generosity and compassion. Change who you think you are to humility and patience and tolerance and mercy. Change your need to be right to a bigger need to be kind. Unity is about similarities, not differences. Differences are so beautiful when they are expressions of unity, but they can cause mighty conflict when we oppose them and give them power by status.
We are one. Our pain, our gain, our lives....ONE, sacred LIFE. Treat each other the way you want to be treated. And work on treating yourself well first.

With love, _/\_Peggy @ @ecumenicus

Friday, November 6, 2015

Metanoia, Mindfulness and The Universe in a Table

COOL Lake Design

The Latin translation of the Greek, metanoeō/μετανοέω (metanoia) to poenitentiam agite.(repentance) during the 2nd century lent an unfortunate tone of remorse or contrition to the word, vastly misinterpreting its original intent. In fact, the Greek, metanoia, metá, meaning "beyond" or "after" and noeō,” meaning "perception" or "understanding" or "mind," is a change of holistic perception.

In biblical Greek, metanoeō/μετανοέω and metanoia/μετάνοια signify a "change of Mind, a change in the trend and action of the whole inner nature, intellectual, affectional and moral." This meaning of metanoia as a "transmutation" of consciousness is even in contrast to classical Greek in which the word expressed a superficial change of mind. (1) It was in its use in the New Testament and in writings grounded in the New Testament that the depth of metanoia increased until it came "to express that mighty change in mind, heart, and life wrought by the Spirit of God." (2)

This kind of perception change, or expanding awareness, can be most readily attained through contemplation, the lingering observation of an object or action that allows for all subjective possibility to inform objective discernment. It is important to remember that perception is always changing, consciousness is fluid, with ideas and thoughts full of meaning and understanding emerging and fading constantly. Experiencing this is encountering the nondual and interdependent nature of reality as yang and yin, as material and energetic, as formed and formless, as active and receptive...simultaneously.

Laura Spector Rustic Designs
From Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness (3) ~

Recall a simple and ancient truth: the subject of knowledge cannot exist independently from the object of knowledge. To see is to see something. To hear is to hear something.

The practitioner meditates on mind and, by so doing, is able to see the interdependence of the subject of knowledge and the object of knowledge. When we practice mindfulness of breath, then the knowledge of breath is mind. When we practice mindfulness of the body, then the knowledge of body is mind. When we practice mindfulness of objects outside ourselves, then the knowledge of these objects is also mind. Therefore the contemplation of the nature of interdependence of all objects is also the contemplation of the mind. Every object of the mind is itself mind. In Buddhism, we call the objects of mind the dharmas. Dharmas are usually grouped into five categories:

1. bodily and physical forms
2. feelings
3. perceptions
4. mental functionings
5. consciousness

These five categories are called the five aggregates. The fifth category, consciousness, however, contains all the other categories and is the basis of their existence. Contemplation on interdependence is a deep looking into all dharmas in order to pierce through to their real nature, in order to see them as part of the great body of reality and in order to see that the great body of reality is indivisible. It cannot be cut into pieces with separate existences of their own.

The first object of contemplation is our own person, the assembly of the five aggregates in ourselves. You contemplate right here and now on the five aggregates which make up yourself.

You are conscious of the presence of bodily form, feeling, perception, mental functionings, and consciousness. You observe these "objects" until you see that each of them has intimate connection with the world outside yourself: if the world did not exist then the assembly of the five aggregates could not exist either. Consider the example of a table. The table's existence is possible due to the existence of things which we might call "the non-table world": the forest where the wood grew and was cut, the carpenter, the iron ore which became the nails and screws, and countless other things which have relation to the table, the parents and ancestors of the carpenter, the sun and rain which made it possible for the trees to grow.

If you grasp the table's reality then you see that in the table itself are present all those things which we normally think of as the nontable world. If you took away any of those nontable elements and returned them to their sources-the nails back to the iron ore, the wood to the forest, the carpenter to his parents-the table would no longer exist.

Michael Dreeben

A person who looks at the table and can see the universe is a person who can see the way. You meditate on the assembly of the five aggregates in yourself in the same manner. You meditate on them until you are able to see the presence of the reality of one-ness in your own self, and can see that your own life and the life of the universe are one. If the five aggregates return to their sources, the self no longer exists. Each second, the world nourishes the five aggregates. The self is no different from the assembly of the five aggregates themselves. The assembly of the five aggregates plays, as well, a crucial role in the formation, creation, and destruction of all things in the universe.

Be Still and Know that I Am.  Be Still and Know. Be Still. Be.   This is the Way.

Blessings on the journey, Peggy @ Ecumenicus

1. Treadwell Walden, The Great Meaning of the Word Metanoia: Lost in the Old Version, Unrecovered in the New. (Thomas Whittaker, 1896) 4, 9.
2. Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Macmillan, 1880, 9th edition) 255-261.
3. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Trans. Mobi Ho (Beacon Press, 1975) 45-54.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Suffering is Not Knowing Who You Are

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
― Nisargadatta Maharaj

I bought a book today, The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well Lived, by psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Peter Whybrow. Peter says our culture is unstable as a result of our thinking from the small mind of the ego – habituated to the quick fix, the rapid reward. He studied why we, ALL of US, think we can live on credit and avoid economic collapse, as we had in 2008. He says 3 year olds know more about brands than they do nature and common sense.

 And that our fundamental problem is,

Hmmmm, that’s familiar. It is the great fundamental spiritual reason for suffering in all traditions and for all time –

The Buddhists say we suffer because we do not know who we are.  Or, in better keeping with the idea of "no self," would probably like this worded in reverse: We do not know who we are not.

The Christians and Muslims say our suffering is a reflection of our relationship with God, and the illusion that we are separate from God. The Christian scriptures repeated say, Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? (Jeremiah 6, Mark 8, Matthew 13, Psalm 135, Isaiah 6 and 32…..). I would ask you to reflect deeply, inwardly, on, “Who do you think God is?” and “How are you in relationship with God?”

The Hindu Sanskrit teachings point to ignorance as the cause of suffering. And that ignorance is of one single thing, lack of knowledge of Self, our True Self, the one who Knows God and doesn't claim differently. It is said "Who knows himself, knows his Lord." It is also said, "One knows God only to the extent one knows oneself."
Our personal and social out of balance with self, with each other, with our economy, and critically, ecology are all based on this ignorance. We do not know who we are.

Religion is designed to point us in the direction of this truth. The Latin roots of “religion” – re – ligare – mean, to bind back; to return our minds from the illusion that we are separate physical entities to the reality that we are connected as ONE spiritually.

Whybrow says we still allow our primitive neural survival mechanisms to take precedence over the more recently evolved functions of the neocortex. This too, the research on meditation and the scriptures have been telling us for years. In fact, this is the Garden of Eden Story – the illusion of the separation from God. We allow our ego defense mechanisms to override what our mind and heart know is true and right, fair and equitable, sustaining for the greater good rather than serving ME (often at someone else’s expense).

So here’s the thing: All religion is essentially about psychology. Religion is about YOU, the person and YOUR relationships. Some religions use a philosophical language that appears very straight forward. Others use metaphor and story and we have to place our self into the story as ALL of the characters in order to observe the whole spectrum of personal and social implications regarding WHO WE ARE and HOW WE ARE IN RELATIONSHIP with our Higher Power/God and with the world – people and planet – economy and ecology. We are not “hearing” or “seeing” the meaning of the story without imagining our self in the roles of the characters in the story – the good AND THE BAD. You are “us” and you are “them.”

 If we think someone else will live this life for us, will save us from the suffering of the world, we are mistaken. That is OUR job. And our primary assignment to complete the job is TO KNOW

We are nothing and we are everything. We are spirit and we are enfleshed. We are energy and we are matter. We are a receiver, poised at the intersection of time and space and we are able to know this.

Be Still and Know that I AM. and YOU ARE, WE ARE ONE. One Spirit. One humanity. One planet. One Life. One miracle.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Advaita - Nonduality and the Tension of Opposites

Truth always seeks unity. Truth does not tolerate contradiction. Understanding the truth is a dynamic operation of thought that requires the "tension of opposites" to unfold. Hegel's thesis - antithesis = synthesis describes this, as does Gurdjieff's affirmation - negation = reconciliation. The nature of duality is paradox. Truth is the acceptance of both extremes of paradox. It is an insight gained from the reconciliation of point + counterpoint.

We live in a tension of opposites, spirit and flesh, energy and matter. We "think" in a tension of opposites, objective rationale and subjective intuiting/feeling. Even our objectified opinions create a tension of opposites. (also called coincidence of opposites - Heraclitus (5th c BC), Nicholas of Cusa, De Docta Ignorantia (15th c CE) and also Kabbalistic sources)

Ultimately, truth is nondual (Advaita). It never picks one side over the other. It always reconciles both. Nondual awareness is enlightenment. All mystics are aware that they think this way, both objectively and subjectively, rationally and with intuition/feeling. God of the mystical heart and mind is the absolute nondual reality of Ultimate Awareness. "Ultimate awareness, the vast and unlimited consciousness of the divine, is also the nature of mature enlightenment."

~Wayne Teasdale, generously adapted.
Art from

Be Still.

_/\_Peggy @ ecumenicus

Monday, August 24, 2015


APN Photography School
“The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.”
~Tao Te Ching, 5th Century BCE

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
~ Socrates, 469/470-399 BCE

He (God) exists in a superessential mode and is known beyond all understanding only in so far as he is utterly unknown and does not exist at all. And it is that perfect unknowing, taken in the best sense of the word, that constitutes the true knowing of him who transcends all knowing.
~Dionysius the Areopagite, Letter I to Gaius (PG3,1o6s) 5th-6th century CE

“I tell you the truth, any object you have in your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost Truth.”
~ Meister Eckhart, 1260 – c. 1328

This knowledge by unknowing
Is such a soaring force
That scholars argue long
But never leave the ground.
Their reason always fails the source:
To understand unknowing,
All reason now transcended.
~ St John of the Cross, excerpt: I Entered Where I Did Not Know, 1542 – 1591

“The intuitive mind (the mind that experiences the "unknown") is a sacred gift and the rational mind (the mind of knowing) is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”   ~Einstein paraphrased by Bob Samples

_/\_peggy @ ECUMENICUS

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hildegard of Bingen - Man in Sapphire Blue or The Trinity: A Study in Compassion.

In a very general, cultural (patriarchal) sense, male and female consciousness express themselves respectively as active and receptive, yang and yin, objective/logic and subjective/relational. While these biases commonly express in social roles along gender lines, it is important to note that all men and all women have BOTH styles of consciousness and they compliment each other. 

The mystical or contemplative perspective is essentially nondual in its expression of active and receptive consciousness, but with a culturally heavy emphasis on active rational consciousness, the mystical-contemplative is characterized by substantial development of receptive consciousness; that is, intuitive-empathic perceiving and judging capabilities; and again, these compliment and deepen more active sensing and thinking. 

This mystical-intuitive perspective is found in the writings and visions of Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, visionary, healer, administrator and, as of October 2012, Dr of the Roman Catholic Church.

In Hildegard's time, it was traditional in women’s religious orders, to describe Divinity as a circle or a circle in motion, as a spiral. Hildegard writes: “A wheel was shown to me, wonderful to behold…Divinity is in its omniscience and omnipotence like a wheel, a circle, a whole that can neither be understood, nor divided, no begun, nor ended”  She continues, “Just as a circle embraces all that is within it, so does the Godhead embrace all.” The circular imagery is deeply maternal. “Godhead” is feminine in both German and Latin, and is an all-embracing name for divinity.

Man in Sapphire Blue or The Trinity: A Study in Compassion. 
The Man in Sapphire Blue is from the book Scivias (1151)
Hildegard was 42 years old in 1142, when this, her first 
book of illuminations, was started.

Hildegard describes: “A most quiet light and in it burning with flashing fire the form of a man in sapphire blue.”  The blue colors and the manner in which the man holds out his hands, extended toward the world, denote compassion and healing. Hildegard describes the Trinity as “One light, three persons, One God. The Father is brightness and the brightness has a flashing forth and in the flashing forth is fire and these three are one.” The Father is a living light, the Son, a flash of light and the Spirit is fire.. The fire of the Holy spirit binds all things together, illustrated as an energy field surrounding the man. Symbolized as the golden cord of the universe, the Holy Spirit streams through eternity creating a web of interconnectivity of all being and of divinity with creation and humanity (reminiscent of an East Indian cosmology using cord and thread imagery).

Hildegard’s theology of Trinity is about divine compassion entering the world. Jesus the Christ is the revelation of the compassion of God, the incarnation of divine compassion. The Hebrew word for Womb is compassion. But we do not merely look at a mandala (ancient circular image of the universe) – we are transformed by it. This mandala draws us into the energy of divine compassion, it connects us with the Christ, the Blue Man, such that we realize our own identity in Him who is the compassion for the universe.  If we don't hold our healing capacity in unity, the entire rope (universe) unravels. The aperture on the man's head is likened to the 7th Chakra, the crown chakra, that connects individual awareness with universal awareness.

May the words and visions of Hildegard speak to your sense of divine receptivity. And may you wonder with reverence at the precious gift of this amazing, sacred cosmos and our Oneness with all of Life.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, Bear and Co. Rochester VT, 1985, 2002.
Renate Craine, Hildegard, Prophet of the Cosmic Christ.  Crossroad Publishing, NY, 1997.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Other

Psychologists call it self-actualization,
Christians call it Union with God,
Buddhists call it Nirvana,
Hindus call it Moksha or Union with God (of the Atman with Brahman)

...all of these refer to the ability to merge relative with absolute...all "things," all concepts with no thing and no concept. Particles with waves.

Of course we cannot forget concepts and things, we live in that objective reality; our mind has evolved to perceive particles/things/concepts. Our language snatches them out of endless possibility and offers them up for everyone to consider.

But the greater reality is that which precedes objectification, the Kairos...the eternity of the subjective, the possibility of that which cannot be named without limiting. Unknown is always greater than Known.

G_d, the breath of Yahweh...Allah...these are spoken symbols of the sound of our breathing, not objectified designators of some mental concept. These are the sound of Spirit - the sacred no thing and everything. Breath of Life.

Where do we find this no thing? Look within and everything without will be understood.

“The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end - you don't come to an achievement, you don't come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.”

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti



_/\_Peggy at Ecumenicus

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Three Doors of Refuge

Meditation or contemplative practice, such as centering prayer, is a practice of receptivity. To enter the space of pure being, we must change (for the time of meditation) our fundamental relationship with the outer world from one of action and expression to one of receptivity and openness. We shift perception to "What Is" as it is. "Not mine, but Thy will be done." is the Christian language for this posture of mind. 

In Christian thought, to enter into the flow of divine grace, one must assume a mental posture of humility, meaning that one must relinquish both external identity attachments and the false sense of control they give us, and be with circumstances as they are, trusting God to carry us. This posture of receptivity is referred to as kenosis, self emptying. It is releasing the illusions imparted by ego: separation, attachment, neediness for power and control, for affection and esteem, in favor of trust, truth and authenticity. When we can learn to make this change of mind in  meditation, from active control to passive receptivity,  we are better able to bring our peaceful presence to times of active engagement with the outer world. This is the objective of meditation or contemplation: to exercise the mind in the way of receptivity so that as we live in the world, it is engaged in receptivity in a balance with its engagement in activity.

This description of meditation by Bon Tibetan Buddhist lama, Tinzen Wangyal Rinpoche describes the contemplative process.

"There is no better protection than the refuge of unbounded sacred space, infinite awareness, and genuine warmth. With the inner refuge, you are not depending on someone or something outside you to make you feel secure. Any external source of refuge is ultimately unreliable. 

OPEN. The first refuge, unbounded sacred space, is a true support because it is unchanging, indestructible, beyond birth and death, and eternal. Whatever difficulties you face, the first refuge supports you in allowing your experiences and hosting them fully.

AWARENESS. The second inner refuge, the light of awareness, can never be diminished or extinguished by any cause or condition. Inner light is unceasing—forever luminous and clear. Even in the darkest of circumstances, you can trust that it is always there.

PURE BEING.  You can also trust that the warmth of the third refuge is within you. It spontaneously arises from the union of openness and awareness. There may be moments when you feel emotionally cold and dark, when it seems that all the light has gone from your life. But your experience and inner truth are not in sync—the light is always there. At these moments, access to the inner refuge may seem distant, but a sense of trust may bring you a glimmer of the inner refuge that can lead to a shift in the darkness of your experience. Trust is a necessary companion on the path.
There is no situation so bad that you can't turn toward the three doors. As you become more familiar with entering and abiding in the inner refuge, you will begin to trust in its healing presence.

Being aware of the three doors is not work. In fact, the more effort you put into connecting with stillness, silence, and spaciousness, the more elusive the inner refuge seems. Connecting with the inner refuge is simply a matter of shifting your attention. If you are already still, be aware of stillness. When you are silent, hear the silence that is already there. Notice the spaciousness at the very center of your being. As you rest in awareness, you connect with your authentic self. The effort of seeking dissipates, and you are unbounded sacred space, infinite awareness, and genuine warmth—you are the inner refuge. The inner sacred space is so simple and close that if we search for it, we cannot find it. But it is always there for you, the source of all the elemental qualities you need. As the inner refuge, you are whole and complete in each moment."
~Tenzin Wangyal
Adapted from Tricycle .  Originally From The True Source of Healing, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (July 7, 2015). Reprinted with permission of Hay House.

Christian contemplative theology informs us that the first endeavor on the path to union with God is purgation. This is the process of opening, the removal of ego-defenses that keep us from a state of humble, loving acceptance; the psychological barriers to truth and grace. The second phase of the spiritual path is illumination, the same as awareness, described above as a light that is always on. Finally, union with God is akin to Pure Being, an experience of Oneness with the Divine finds us in the light of our own Pure Being.

May you be refined by the solitude of the open waters of grace, breathed through by the Spirit of light and love, and expanded into the open arms of Pure Oneness. It is from this Space that you can bring the highest healing to the world.

_/\_Peggy @ ecumenicus

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

“Interim Time,” Dark Night or Living in Ambiguity

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

This poem describes what some might call a dark night of the soul. It is a time of feeling resistance to progress, or the absence of fulfillment. Times like this are inherent in a constantly changing reality. For change to take place, an abundance of one thing must meet opposition, often it feels like resistance, forcing something new to emerge. This time of lost direction or struggle signals impending newness: new ways of seeing, new ways of being, new life! "New dawn."
Life in paradoxical relationship is constantly flowing from one expression to another, from forward to backward, feast to famine, into one thing/phase and out of another. In Jewish Kabbalah this is called Tzim Tzum - the contraction and expansion of God or Reality. Scientists might call it particles and waves or matter and energy, both the same, but in different states of being.

We can also think of this ebb and flow as the play between Light and Darkness, in fact it has often been described as such in the ancient literature.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   John 1:5

"Every gift of divine awareness benefits our receptivity for a new and greater gift. Every divine gift increases our openness and longing to receive what is higher and greater. To the extent that God is boundless in His giving, our souls are equally boundless in their capacity to receive."
~Meister Eckhart (1260 – c. 1327),  German theologian, philosopher and mystic.

Eckhart refers to metanoia - a new way of seeing things. Awareness. And all it takes is willingness to make the change, to "look again." "Receptivity for a greater gift" is willingness to live again, to see things differently, and allow the "new dawn." Then listen to what Eckhart says, "To the extent that God is boundless in God's giving, our souls are equally boundless in their capacity to receive." Let me paraphrase: To the extent that you are willing to open yourself to a new way of seeing and being, Reality (capital "R") is ready to give it through you. Reality will grow you through your experience in light or darkness. The light will always come into the world through you, through your willingness to BE Light and your understanding that through you, even in darkness, all possibility exists. On the other side of "what is" is "anything is possible."

The color, black absorbs all colors….what we perceive as white reflects all colors. Black, or Darkness, is not void it is pure possibility.

Living in the Dark Night of the Soul, the transitional state of ambiguity, is always prequel to a new dawn. It is transformative. 

"...hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown."

All will be well, and all manner of things will be well." Julian of Norwich
Live in the questions. Rest in the chaos. Keep confidence and trust the ebb and flow of Sacred Life to work through you. You are the Light of the World. Anything is Possible.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Monday, July 13, 2015

KEEPING QUIET by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus