Monday, May 28, 2007

We Hold the Key to Healing the World ... Why Not Use It!

Our problems [and the problems of the world] are serious and every educated American knows them because they have been repeated ad-nauseum by every politician, op-ed columnist and commentator on the scene. But what is missing from these descriptions are insights into the Truth—the underlying causes and possible solutions.

I believe you can place all the current critical problems facing our country and the world in a big lump, and if you are willing to dig deep enough you will find the defining thread that ties them all together.

Whether it’s nuclear proliferation, the environment, the competition for dwindling natural resources, the corruption and misuse of political power, religious and racial intolerance, genocide, economic disparity, the all-pervasive lack of spirituality and morality, border issues, or the wide-spread escalation of drugs and violence—fear is the underlying factor.

At the core of every single challenge that faces humanity is a basic fear, and all other fears just build upon that like a house of cards. We are fearful of anyone that is different in speech, looks or action. We are afraid of life and death and everything in between. We are afraid of who we are, so we spend our lives locked within a fa├žade so that we won’t be rejected by others who are doing the same thing.

We live our lives totally unaware and fearful of the incredible life force that is within us and everything in the universe, and focus instead on the external, which is sated with the unfulfilling and crazy-making reality of a fear-based society.

Until we can individually face our own fears and take that journey within to know ourselves, we will never have the understanding to accept others, no matter the differences. Until we can have dominion over ourselves we will continue, individually and as countries, seeking to control others so that we have “enough” of whatever it is we need to make us feel secure—money, power, love, prestige, possessions.

And, until we reconnect with the eternal and sublime spirit-energy that is within us and everything in the universe, we will continue to feel the illusion of separation which keeps us locked in fear.

This is the key, the answer, to all the problems in our lives, in our nation and the world. Once you open to this sanctuary of love, peace, wisdom and support that every heart yearns for, you will know you have discovered the greatest gift Life has to offer. You will become the consciously aware spiritual human being you were born to be. You will no longer desire or need to have power over others. You will honor yourself, all life, and the Earth. You will be open to living from a higher conscious awareness. Your very presence will help to raise the energy level of others, and in the process help to heal the Earth and every human being.

This is the way Life was meant to work. This is why we are here on Earth. Our true destiny is to become fully aware of our inherent spirituality, to learn how to become co-creators with this incredible spirit-energy and to aid in the conscious evolution of ourselves and the Earth.

In this time of global crisis, there is great opportunity, and the solution lies within each of us. If we can move beyond our own fear, we can birth a new cultural paradigm on Earth and help usher in a time of peace, plenty, cooperation and success for all.
_______________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Clash Between the Cross and the Crescent: How Religion Divides Us

In the book A History of God—the 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, author Karen Armstrong explains that as soon as man and woman “became recognizably human,” they sought ways in which to understand their presence on earth and the mysteries that surrounded them: They began creating and worshipping gods.

When the early ideas of god did not work for those who developed them, the concepts were grafted onto other ideas or “unceremoniously dropped” and other new ideas adopted.

This caused me to think about whether we are on the cusp right now of another episodic need for new ideas about God. There is an already violent struggle between two powerful evangelical groups, Christianity and Islam. These two religious factions are locked in an all-too-familiar historical battle seeking to be the One True Religion of humanity.

Being a practical person, I wondered just what kind of new ideas could possibly emerge to improve the situation. The ideas of fear, anger and hatred that fuel intolerance do not work for me. I’m also fairly certain that these ideas are not working for a number of others, including the many that have already been annihilated because of these ideas—or are yet to be.

Those less than desirable ideas are diametrically opposed to the love, order, harmony and balance that should and could be embraced, modeled and lived to uplift humanity. Like many others, I have known for a long time that religion, despite its positive aspects, divides us.

It is spirituality, not religion, which holds the key to the world’s problems. Yet, therein lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say.

Because of the many eons of conflicting religious ideas, we have forgotten that we are inherently spiritual beings. We removed spirituality from the earth and our bodies. We came up with all sorts of beliefs and rituals to remove us from our daily experience thinking this would make us spiritual. Then we made the spiritual so unworldly and unreal that it was totally out of reach. We seek to rise above our ordinary human lives and opt for something we believe is better that is beyond this life. So far we have distanced ourselves from nature and each other, and adopted so many unnatural ideas that we have chosen separateness and lost touch with our innate spirituality.

I offer the following: The eternal and sublime energy-life-love-intelligence that is within us and everything in the universe is timeless and changeless. Yet as humanity evolves to higher levels of consciousness, our perception of this energy-intelligence expands.

What we think we know about this energy-intelligence is based on what the conscious awareness of humanity was in the past. The mystery is still wide open. It is not static or closed. In the past, people felt frightened and out-of-control in the face of this uncertainty.

It is time to accept that humanity is evolving and as such must be open to new ideas of God, Life and the Cosmos. The rush backward to embrace fundamentalism is a knee-jerk reaction to fear. This course is fraught with danger and denies the ongoing flow of life. We can heal our fear by choosing joy and gratitude for the gift of life and the miracle of being the only life form, thus far, that has the awareness to contemplate this experience.

We need all the truly spiritual beings there are to help us understand the mysteries of life, to protect the planet and our desire to continue living and evolving as conscious, aware human beings. We are meant to embrace being fully human, and in the process once again experience our oneness, our connectedness with each other, the Earth and everything that is.

Finally, I don’t believe there is anything “better” than Life. There is only a continuation of life in the next dimension. Our inner selves know Truth, how to live fully and in harmony with each other, the Earth and God, no matter by what name it is called.

Religion that is closed and static denies and limits our understanding of this incredible life force. Spirituality is the solution. We need to remember to open to this inner knowing.
___________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Up-Close and Personal Connection with the Iraq War

I was a child at the onset of World War II, yet I remember many of the sacrifices that families in America had to make to support the war effort. We also had family members involved, and I recall being acutely aware of the war and connected on a mental, emotional and physical level.

Despite any feelings I have had about being for or against this war in Iraq, I was never touched by this conflict at a personal level—until recently.

A friend in St. Louis that I have known since first grade, and have had a letter-writing correspondence with for half a century, wrote and asked permission to give her grandson, James, my name and telephone number. She said he was in the U.S. Air Force, and was on temporary duty at a base near my home. Naturally I agreed, thinking it was highly improbable he would ever contact me. I was wrong.

A week ago he called and wanted to meet me. I was delighted. After several conversations we firmed up plans to meet at a restaurant. At that time, he also asked for my e-mail address, which he subsequently shared with his mother.

The next day I received a lengthy and caring e-mail from his mother, the daughter of my childhood friend, which included an attachment of family photos. We had never met.

As the days passed, I began to feel the unspoken yet palpable emotional expectations of this family, so far removed from their loved one. My focus changed from this being a courtesy gesture to one of much greater import. On my way to meet James, I prayed that our coming together would be everything he and his family needed.

James proved to be a delightful young man that any family would be proud to call their own. He was extremely bright, charming, well-mannered, filled with joy and enthusiasm for life, and passionate about the wonderful training he was receiving in the military. He was also So Very Young.

On leaving the restaurant he took out his cell phone and dialed a number, then handed it to me. He had made a prior arrangement with his grandmother that he would call her. We had a good time exchanging mutual admiration comments about James. His wife, Marie, also called while we were together to tell him goodnight, and say hello to me.

Then James suggested we sit in his truck as he wanted to show me some photos. He proceeded to scroll through almost 200 cell phone photos of his daily duties and his buddies. His current assignment was at a shooting range where jets and helicopters practice shooting live ammunition and bombs into old airplanes, tanks and other vehicles. It was his unit’s job to find and de-fuse or explode any "live" munitions and to clear the resultant debris—a hazardous and yet necessary duty.

After more than three hours together, and being sensitive to his long drive back to the base, I realized it was time to go. As we embraced, I realized I was hugging him for his parents, his grandparents and all his family members, as well as for myself and anyone who has ever had loved ones away from home serving our country.

On the drive home, I felt humbled and grateful to be part of such a precious human love chain. I knew the ripple effect would touch everyone who was living vicariously through our meeting.

The minute I got in the house, I e-mailed his mother with full details of our time together. The next morning I received her e-mail response, in which she said it had been a year since she had seen James. I was moved to tears. She thanked me, and wished me Happy Mother’s Day.
_____________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Is Giving Really Better Than Receiving?

A friend recently brought up an interesting question about whether it is really better to give than to receive. My immediate reaction was that I knew the answer to that. As a child I had followed my parents’ guidance, often under duress, that giving is better than receiving. While the concept was now ingrained in me, I realized that I had never really thought it through.

My friend’s question and the discussion that followed were based on the fact that the Law of Attraction is at work in both giving and receiving. The Law of Attraction means that like attracts like; you plant a carrot seed you get a carrot, or you send out positive thoughts and they are returned to you.

She explained that while most people think of giving as involving material things like money or food, the Law of Attraction is linked with the thought and emotion behind the words or action.

I immediately wondered how this concept would apply to what I recently experienced with a friend. I heard he was in the hospital having quadruple bypass surgery, would be unable to work for months and thus was facing an extreme life situation. I was also told by a friend that he lacked adequate insurance, would never be able to return to his former job, and needed help paying the rent.

Naturally, I didn’t hesitate. I sent a check. I saw a need and answered it in an appropriate way, right? Well, not totally, according to my friend. She said I focused on the sadness I felt for my friend and the lack he was experiencing. This prompted my action of sending money. The thought I was sending to my friend was that he wasn’t capable of taking care of himself. Evidently I was perpetuating his lack by the underlying feelings and thoughts I held at the time.

She said the ideal course of action would have been to get clear on my thoughts and feelings, and to focus on holding positive thoughts for this person’s health and prosperity. Once the positive thoughts were firmly established, then and only then should I offer the individual whatever I was inspired to give or to do.

Also, in the process of holding positive thoughts for health and abundance for the other person, I would be attracting the same energy vibration back into my life. I realized it could not be otherwise, as like attracts like.

Giving and receiving really is a reciprocal activity. It is up to us to decide to give with conscious awareness so that the results are desirable for the recipient and the giver.

This adds a wonderful new dimension to giving, as it confirms what every child has always known—that receiving is as good and desirable as giving.
_______________________________
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from Amazon.com, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.