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Archive for April, 2012

What do You Know For Sure


Used with Permission from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

The other day I was flipping through the channels, and I came across some sort of special involving Oprah. It was an extremely interesting segment, where Oprah was really opening up regarding her background, her spiritual path, etc. One thing that really struck me was when she asked the interviewer (and the audience at large) a very simple, yet profound question, “What do you know for sure?”

This seemingly simple question really got me to think about my own life, background, and spiritual path. It also made me ask myself several questions. First, have I really progressed, even after many years of seeking and practice? Second, have I really come to any greater understanding of myself or the universe than I had a decade ago? Third, is there anything that I can definitively say for sure?

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am in the process of editing a book that I have been working on since 2004, where I really explore the teachings of the eight major world religions, and discuss how I have used those teachings in my own path. The editing process has been extremely interesting, because I can literally see how my views and thoughts have changed, sometimes drastically, regarding God, the spiritual path, and even who I really am. There have been portions that even at eight years old still remain relevant and accurate to me, while there are sections that are less than a year old, that I have heavily revised and updated. Read more…

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Staying Positive When the Universe Tests You


  “Always look at what you have left.  Never look at what you have lost.” – Robert H. Schuller

Alright, I’ll just say it… today sucked. Bad. Last night I was up most of the night with a bad stomach bug, which involved nausea, stomach cramps, fever, and other “issues”. Even though I felt horrible, I was determined to push through and go into work today, because I am finally getting caught up. Well, the universe had other plans. On my way into work my car overheated, and it appears there will be a hefty repair bill in order.

Several hours at the dealership, and dealing with various technicians regarding what would, and what would not, be covered under warranty, made for a long and taxing morning/afternoon. Although, I had plenty of reasons to get bent out of shape and angry, I was determined to stay as upbeat as possible.

I am a huge believer in staying positive, even when the universe seems to test your moxie. After all, getting angry and upset at the stomach virus, or my car, would not improve my situation, I just needed to roll with the punches. While some events and situations from today might have stunk, it doesn’t mean that my attitude has to, nor does it mean that my life is bad. Instead of focusing on the negative, I focused on the many good things in my life, especially my wonderful family. Read more…

Chosen Family

April 15, 2012 3 comments

Chosen Family.

Please check out this great story that my wife posted on her blog (www.sweetnscrappy.com).

Since my wife and I both work, ever since our son was born we have had a young Mennonite girl watch our son during the day. Unfortunately Ms. Megan is leaving us for Iowa. She and her family have been a huge part of our lives, and we are extremely thankful for their love and the wonderful impact that they have made on our son. Luckily, Ms. Megan’s mother, Anita, has agreed to continue watching our son, but Ms. Megan will be missed very much!
It is amazing how people who were once strangers can become so intertwined in our lives, that they become family to us, and impact our lives in ways that we could never have expected.

Not to be too cliche, but when we have a village, our lives are all the richer!

Sweet-N-Scrappy: Chosen Family

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Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

The Power of Spring Through It’s Festivals

April 12, 2012 2 comments

Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is”– Jessica Harrelson

I love springtime. I love the cool rainy weather, and how all of the various plants literally spring back to life with vivid shades of color. Spring is also a time for birth and renewal, and because of this every culture and spiritual tradition has celebrated spring with various festivals, rituals, observances, and rites of passage. The festivals of the world celebrate the transition from winter, a time of scarcity and harshness, to spring which is a time of plenty as well as physical and spiritual renewal. The power of spring is best illustrated by the various religious festivals, celebrations, and holidays. Read more…

Discovering Wisdom Through Practice


Guthrie SR Atrium – Photo by Matthew D. Anthony (c) 2012

We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness, which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we must come at last to regard the world.” – Marcel Proust

During this past weekend I had the supreme pleasure of enjoying a four day Scottish Rite Reunion in Guthrie, Oklahoma. For those that aren’t familiar with the Scottish Rite, it is a Masonic organization that confers the 4th through the 33rd degrees of the Masonic system. The degrees of the Scottish Rite basically provide a collegiate level course on comparative religion, philosophical and moral thought, ethics, and most importantly (for me at least) inner development.

I am supremely fortunate to be a member of the Guthrie Valley, which not only boasts one of the world’s most beautiful buildings (in my opinion, and in the opinion of many who have been fortunate to visit it), but it is composed of members who truly care about not only their own spiritual path, but facilitating the spiritual paths of others. During the Reunions there are group meditation and education courses, as well as ample opportunities to spend one-on-one time with individual seekers, teachers, and facilitators from almost every spiritual tradition ranging from mainstream Christianity, Gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Islam-Sufism, Neo-Paganism, etc., so it is truly a spiritual melting pot that provides a smorgasbord for the spiritual seeker. It also provides people from all spiritual backgrounds, and levels of interest or development with a platform to advance and learn from one another, which unfortunately is a very rare opportunity.

The above quote by Marcel Proust has been stuck in my head for the last month or so, and during this last weekend it really hit home; because, one of the central teachings of the Rite is that its members should actively go out in the world and practice what they have learned in order to take up the struggle against tyranny, oppression, ignorance, and human suffering of all kinds.

Too often people are merely content with “receiving” wisdom, which is  passive, and merely becomes an intellectual exercise, or people are constantly searching for just the right place of worship, teacher, or practice, so they easily fall into a rut, which prevents any real progress. While I firmly believe that every spiritual tradition provides the keys (knowledge) to living a happy and fulfilled life in this realm, and in the next, we must make an effort to discover true wisdom, which can only be had by journeying down the path towards it. The journey towards wisdom not only requires learning (knowledge), but it requires real effort, and actually putting your knowledge into practice. Read more…

Versatile Blogger Nomination


Well, after four days of fun, fellowship, education, and spiritual growth with my Scottish Rite brethren, I decided to get caught up on my blog reading. Much to my surprise, two of my favorite blogs nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! This is a real treat for me because I absolutely love both of the blogs that nominated me.

I was nominated by:

A Second Cup– This is a wonderfully refreshing blog, where the author mixes various musings and insights into eclectic and humorous posts about life spiritual practices. I really enjoy reading this blog over my first (and sometimes second, or third, or fourth…) cup of coffee, and it never fails to make me smile and/or provide me with material to reflect upon.

Zen Being– This is a great blog which applies Buddhist teachings and practices to every day life. I always enjoy reading this blog, and I find the author’s insights to be extremely helpful and meaningful. This blog has continually helped me to continue striving to live in the now, and simply “be”.

Part of the nomination involves naming 7 blogs that I enjoy, other than the ones that recommended me, thus nominating them for this award: Read more…

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