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Civilization's Cornerstone: Kindness
by Alistair McAlpine, Kate Dixey
Kindness is the fuel of civilization, politeness and courtesy its etiquette, its formalities, and dignity its aim. Civilization is about responsibility for your own actions, and it is about tolerating other people’s actions. One person trying to accept another’s habits is the essence of civilization. Kindness typically reserved for the home and loved ones can be an attitude encompassing your entire life.Kindness is a gentle, thoughtful, peaceful thing, most effective in its simplicity. Most humans have a tendency towards altruism -- it has been proven in all parts of the world that part of the recovery process of disaster victims is altruistic behavior. Lord Byron, the famous nineteenth-century English romantic poet, wrote beautifully of kindness, “The drying up a single tear has more of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.” There is a gentleness to kindness that is noble. Kindness gives you not only strength, but also an inner beauty. The American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote, “There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.”Kindness, however, is not just the stuff of poetry and poets; it is also the stuff of sound business sense. You never know to whom you are being kind. Kindness to an unfortunate may result in, and indeed often has turned out, to be repaid 100 times. The twentieth-century French writer, André Gide, had a view of kindness, “True kindness presupposes the faculty of imagining as one’s own the suffering and joys of others.” What Gide refers to here is, in fact, sensitivity. If you are to succeed in business, you need sensitivity, and sensitivity can be developed. In fact, “Kindness can become its own motive.”It should be easy to express kindness at work as opportunity abounds with typically large groups of people around you. People who show kindness demonstrate strength of character; it is admired and it is contagious. Importantly, kindness to your colleagues shows that you have confidence in your own ability, and shows that you have strength of character. Those around you will notice both of these and admire them. Both of these characteristics, strength of character and confidence, are qualifications for promotion. Admiration is totally different from popularity in the workplace. Bosses prefer to promote those who people admire and are often suspicious of those who are merely popular. Often it is believed that there is an emotional expense in giving kindness. People often avoid giving kindness in the belief that it makes them feel emotionally drained. These people are mistaken. The truth is, as we have to learn everything else in life, we must learn about giving kindness. Giving in a truly profound way is wonderful. If you really give profoundly, you will feel it in your heart and you will see it reflected in the people around you.“We are made kind by being kind,” wrote Eric Hoffer, the American social philosopher in the 1950s. And in the first century A.D., Publius Syrus, a Roman slave and mime, knew what some biologists and social scientists claim now to have proven, “You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot do by force.” Kindness requires patience, an appreciation of the importance of others, a certain diplomacy. Compassion and kindness may sound sentimental but they actually lead to a deeper connection and rapport that create trust, a friendly atmosphere, compassion, and most importantly for business, an enjoyable synchronicity and harmony in the working environment. The people who are able to create such an environment and display these qualities are people who others trust to become a leader in the business world and the community.Leadership evolves out of expertise, ambition and luck, but true inspiration comes with a willingness to connect your own vulnerability with somebody else’s. So do not pass up the opportunity to remain silent and caring if the need arises. This so-called “soft” management approach is the ability to make yourself open and sensitive to others’ feelings. It takes courage to be quiet and listen to someone else’s discomfort. This can feel strange within a working framework, but actually it forms a greater professional respect. The art of kindness is not just approaching a market challenge, but meeting the needs of each individual to find a resolution.Kindness to those around you is important, but perhaps more important is kindness to yourself, the most difficult form of kindness to practice. Reward not only your success but also your effort. Kindness to yourself helps deal with rejection. You may get disheartened, and self-kindness alleviates frustration brought on by an initial lack of success. Often, other people do not want you to succeed, so self-kindness is not only important, it is necessary. You cannot get it from others. Kindness to those who fail wins appreciation. Kindness to those who win when you fail brings respect. Kindness is a building block of a happy life. Kindness is born in consideration and love. Teach yourself to be considerate, mostly in small matters, and consideration for others in big matters will become second nature.In relationships of all natures, it is well worth remembering that your perspective of other people will change with the differing situations in which you find yourself. The memory of a life is made up of many small incidents. Even large incidents are made up of small incidents, some details well remembered, some half remembered; some, in the nature of folklore, are distorted fact and embellished fantasy -- details invented that for you have become facts. These incidents, as the dots that comprise a photograph, are the picture of your life and become a complete memory. When the circumstances of your life change, the pre-eminencies of these small dots rearrange themselves and the picture of your life alters. Your attitude and perception change to issues and people. In extreme cases, heroes become villains and vice versa. In truth, however, they have not changed; merely how you see them has changed.Kindness must always be meaningful. When you are pivoting in your life, it is easy to be confused about meaningful kindness. Just being lovely to everyone is no solution. Rather, as always, kindness must be carefully considered, directed with as full knowledge of the facts as possible. Haphazard kindness, as exemplified by the comedy routine of the boy scout who took an unwilling old lady far out of her way across a busy road to earn “a good deed for the day,” can only cause confusion and distress. As Thomas Fuller, an African slave and mathematician, wrote in 1732, “Unreasonable kindness gets no thanks.”Kindness has its own rewards, for those who have succeeded in developing their instincts and sensitivity can physically experience the sensation of their own kindness around the area of their heart. The sensation is so memorable that it is astonishing. Yet we fear and resist that sensation, perhaps because we simply think that it will feel so good and then disappear, leaving us sad and disappointed, unhappy that this memorable feeling could come and go so easily.As a sensation, kindness may frighten people. They are scared because they do not trust kindness in themselves or others. These people believe that there must be a catch in being kind. For them kindness is associated with weakness and brutal honesty, which they regard as an admirable quality but is actually unkindness. Often these people see themselves as “saying what they think.” More often, they do not take the simple precaution of thinking before their victims hear what they have to say. These types of people believe that you are being kind to them only because you want something from them. They are sad people trapped in a sad suspicious world incapable of coming to terms with even the first building block in the construction of happiness.Conversely, kindness quite often comes from a totally unexpected source, a person who you do not know well, and certainly did not expect to be kind to you. Even a total stranger can make an act of kindness to you spontaneously, just because they felt like giving more than was required. How wonderful you feel when a total stranger is kind to you; conversely, how wonderful you feel when you are kind to a total stranger. It is an amazing moment, sparked perhaps by an action that can be so small as to pass for good manners. The scale of the kindness does not matter. Kindness has a disproportionate effect on the well being of both the giver and the recipient. Samuel Johnson, the eighteenth-century English writer and thinker, is quoted in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson in 1781 as speaking well of spontaneous kindness. “Always set a high value on spontaneous kindness. He whose inclination prompts him to cultivate your friendship of his own accord will love you more than one whom you have been at pains to attach to you.”Learn to enjoy receiving kindness, learn to enjoy being thanked. It will make the giver of the thanks glow and it may produce a second or two of shyness, so intimate that it will touch the other person deep down inside. Enjoy the acts of giving and receiving, for they are moments of true beauty. The least expected these moments are, the greater their beauty. How strange it is that we so often receive kindness from the most unexpected sources and unkindness from those who we would most expect to be kind. Kindness over time, however, accumulates into a pile in our psyche and helps us come to terms with times when people are rude or unkind.Kindness is fundamentally different from a desire to please, which is a deferential activity. Kindness is an instinct, mutual to two people. An instinct evolved in one returned by another in equal measure. Kindness is without doubt at least a layer of building blocks in the construction of happiness. Kindness and how you deal with others are closely intertwined. Do not make that smart remark that is devastating to the ego of others, forget it, put it out of your mind. Even to think of hurtful remarks colors your attitude to others and leaves a stain on your own spirit. Put aside the jibe that leaves even the smallest scar on your relationship with others. Avoid that verbal passage of arms, as the argument that often leads to sensuality is not to be confused with the path to happiness.Needless to say, it is a lot easier to be kind to someone who is kind to you than to a person who is unkind to you. Kindness is not an abstract quality. To promise kindness and not to fulfill that promise is one of the surest ways to damage a relationship. Trust is suspended by such an action; you are left with a question mark over you in the mind of other people. Misused kindness, such as giving to take, is again an action that will break down trust, which is a basis for a satisfactory relationship. As Juvenal, a Roman satirist, wrote around the year 100, “Nature, in giving tears to man, confessed that he had a tender heart; this is our noblest quality.” There are no dangers in kindness. People say to each other that you can be too kind, but this is untrue. There is no downside to kindness; you cannot lose through practicing kindness.By being kind you show strength and attract people. People will want to work with you. They will think of you as being fair and confident. Other people will know that because you are kind you are not likely to make judgments based on petty biases and the prejudices of other people. Other people who you work with will know that you are your own person and in their confidence you will find encouragement and feel better about yourself. Even if your kindness is rebuffed and not reciprocated, however shabby the treatment you receive in return, your own kindness will fortify your spirit, enhance your life, and lead you towards happiness. You can never be too kind. Kindness is not a sign of weakness. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a radio address on October 13, 1940, “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”
A Survey for Finding Your Dominant and Subdominant Spiritual Temperament(s)
© Copyright 2000/2007 by Timothy Conway, PhD
Discovering one's spiritual temperament(s) can better promote self-understanding and mutual understanding, as well as empathy and sensitivity with others, and real freedom for oneself.
Without saying too much too soon about the different spiritual temperaments that can characterize individuals (after all, we don't want to bias the results), let's dive right in and proceed with the following survey. This will help you find out for yourself--and for any of your loved ones and acquaintances who take this poll--which spiritual temperament(s) most characterize your personality as it is currently constituted.
For the following survey, please indicate, to the left of each of the statements below whether you:
--Strongly Agree (write “1”)
--Agree (write “2”)
--Aren’t Sure or Doesn’t Apply (“write “3”)
--Disagree (write “4”)
--Strongly Disagree (write “5”)
You can simply print out this survey for yourself (or for your family, friends, students and/or fellow members of a particular religious-spiritual group), and then just fill in the blanks to the left of each numbered statement with your different responses-- "1," "2," "3," "4" or "5."
Please notice that, because of people's differing spiritual temperaments, and because different items in the following survey are designed to resonate with different temperaments, some of the following survey-items may seem much more interesting than others! It will take the average person about 15-20 minutes to complete and analyze the following survey responses and thus discover their spiritual temperament.
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Spiritual Temperament Survey
_____ 1) It is not enough to be a religiously “faithful” person, one must have a good understanding of the theological basis of one’s faith.
_____ 2) Pondering the precise nature of Truth is an activity to which I am often drawn.
_____ 3) A sound philosophy is crucial, lest one fall into fuzzy, inconsistent, or deranged thinking.
_____ 4) People say that one should “come from one’s heart” but it is just as important (if not more so) that one operate with a clear mind, that is, an “illumined head.”
_____ 5) A competent spiritual teacher should be able to enunciate or articulate his or her principles in an orderly, sensible, logical system.
_____ 6) I would rather debate theological/philosophical issues with someone than accept the misleading idea that “we are all one” and let our theological or philosophical differences go unexamined.
_____ 7) There are right and wrong ways of believing and practicing religion.
_____ 8) In my opinion, not all scriptures are equally valid. Clearly, one scripture is true, the others are not.
_____ 9) When it comes to matters of faith, only the Divinely-revealed Truth is important, certainly not one’s own subjective views or intuitions about spirituality.
_____ 10) For the sake of their final destiny, it is important to tell other people about the true way to God, even if they would rather not listen.
_____ 11) There is spiritual danger in associating too often with those who don’t believe in (or refuse to believe in) the one true way of religion.
_____ 12) God has created (or allowed) a condition of everlasting perdition, darkness, or hell to punish unbelievers.
_____ 13) It is unlikely that members of the untrue religions will be saved in the final judgment or ultimate destiny.
_____ 14) Innovations in the practice and beliefs of a religion are something one should carefully guard against.
_____ 15) I need to move and feel energy flowing in and around me; I would not be content to be a part of a spiritual group that had its members spending lots of time sitting in prayer, meditation, or listening to a speaker.
_____ 16) Fairly often I feel the need to transcend my normal sense of self through ecstatic states of consciousness, which I prefer to bring on through things like sacred dancing, free movement, highly spirited chanting, and/or shamanic drumming.
_____ 17) Generally speaking, I prefer music with a strong beat that makes me want to move rather than more serene, “refined” music.
_____ 18) I would rather attend one of the new Christian rock-n-roll “Rave” Masses than a traditional solemn church service.
_____19) I basically consider myself more of an uninhibited, unrestrained Dionysian personality than a restrained, disciplined Apollonian personality.
_____ 20) Intense stimulation of various kinds does not bother me; rather, I feel that it helps liberate my consciousness.
_____ 21) It feels very supportive to be part of a religious or spiritual community with other like-minded individuals.
_____ 22) I don’t mind losing my sense of identity in the larger sense of identity that comes from being a member of a spiritual group.
_____ 23) I would rather be a member of a religious or spiritual community with a somewhat regimented schedule (which brings a certain streamlined ease and lack of stress) than be on my own in a less structured, more undefined situation.
_____ 24) My religious or spiritual community feels much more like my “family” than my own biological relatives.
_____ 25) In the past I have spent a fair amount of time participating in a communal or monastic situation.
_____ 26) All things considered, I would prefer to help a dozen people serve food in a soup kitchen than to sit in meditation or read an inspiring work on a spiritual topic.
_____ 27) I feel that most religious groups do not devote enough time in helpful charitable action toward the needy.
_____ 28) In all candidness, I spend far more of my prayer periods thinking of the well-being of others, not focused on my own aims or wishes.
_____ 29) I would find it perfectly acceptable if religious gatherings devoted a greater portion of their meetings in some kind of service project rather than in ceremonies, sermons, or prayers.
_____ 30) I would gladly, through a God-directed process of “redemptive suffering” or vicarious atonement, take onto myself some amount of others’ pain to spare them from having to go through it, even if this meant that I had to experience some bodily pain or worldly setback.
_____ 31) To go deeply into spirituality, I need to have lots of quality time by myself, physically apart from the company of others.
_____ 32) I would rather listen to “the still small voice within” than listen to another human being speaking about spirituality or God.
_____ 33) If I had to make the choice between one or the other, I would rather spend two days in a remote, comfortable meditation site than two days in a communal religious sing-along gathering.
_____ 34) If I joined a spiritual community, I would need to have substantial amounts of time by myself to commune with Spirit in solitude.
_____ 35) I sometimes find that certain people are rather boring, but I am almost never bored by my self.
_____ 36) It is fascinating to play and experiment with the mind to find out what other states of consciousness are possible beyond the “normal” waking state of consciousness.
_____ 37) I would rather spend long periods in deep, silent “prayerfulness” than reciting litanies of prayers.
_____ 38) Sometimes, to get a deeper sense of reality, I just sit meditatively and try to see how long I can focus on a particular thing—an external or internal image, a thought, a mantra, a Name of God, a bodily sensation (like breathing sensations), or ongoing sound (like a ceremonial gong or repetitive music pattern or an ambient background noise).
_____ 39) It is important to minimize the kinds of circumstances, conversation, music, food, reading and entertainment that leave one feeling distracted or scattered, and, instead, associate with those things and people that help one to stay very centered.
_____ 40) I have spent a fair amount of time trying or practicing one or more of the following activities: out-of-the-body travel; remote viewing; past-life regression; deep hypnosis; “brain machine” programs that alter brain-waves.
_____ 41) I feel I have temporarily lost something good when my period of concentrative meditation is interrupted by anything or anyone.
_____ 42) If there were an utterly safe hallucinogenic substance that allowed anyone the chance to experience for an hour a profoundly different, non-ordinary state of consciousness, I would be in favor of its legalization and distribution (so long as it was not abused in a way that would endanger others, for instance, while driving a motor vehicle).
_____ 43) It is crucial that key developmental stages such as birth, puberty, marriage and death be marked and honored with special rituals—rites of passage, either informal or, preferably, formal.
_____ 44) When engaging in religious ceremonies, I am certain that God’s creation is somehow significantly affected and changed, even if this change is not immediately noticeable from the human perspective.
_____ 45) I would not be very interested in attending a religious/spiritual meeting if it only involved, say, meditative sitting, scriptural reading, or singing, and did not include some kind of distinct ritual.
_____ 46) I feel more complete and fulfilled inwardly when I perform certain outward symbolic actions.
_____ 47) Some physical objects have an unusually influential spiritual “force” and need to be treated with special care.
_____ 48) It is important to become more attuned to the Divine Cosmic Order by engaging in special rituals that reconcile us to the realm of Spirit.
_____ 49) Whereas some people want a very scaled-down, “minimalist” form of religious expression, I like to experience a good amount of pageantry or aesthetic, artistic expression in religious gatherings.
_____ 50) It is important to make oneself a passive instrument so that the Holy Spirit or guiding spirits can possess one’s own personality to express something on the earth plane for the greater spiritual good of all.
_____ 51) I would not mind being occasionally, temporarily “taken over” by a Higher Power of Good in order that a profound revelation might be given to humanity.
_____ 52) I sometimes feel possessed by another intelligence that speaks or acts through me.
_____ 53) In the past, I have spent some time learning to trance-channel.
_____ 54) It would serve us well to find out, through mediumistic communication, what our departed ancestors and guardian angels want for us, rather than just proceed on our own thinking and impulses.
_____ 55) I tend to be suspicious of all dogmas and grand schemas.
_____ 56) It’s better to just let the mind or attention float untethered in a state of inner freedom than get attached to some fixed mental position or belief.
_____ 57) I would rather live on alms and risk hunger and thirst than depend on physical security that comes from compromise with corrupt systems.
_____ 58) One does well to challenge many forms of authority and “speak truth to power,” even if it means rocking the boat, creating a scene, or having one’s reputation tarnished in the eyes of certain folks.
_____ 59) Family ties aren’t nearly as important as one’s connection with all humanity and all living beings.
_____ 60) I would prefer to encounter as many of my fellow beings as possible by sitting in the marketplace or wandering about the streets and parks instead of spending most of my time operating comfortably in some insulated home, office, spiritual group or monastery.
_____ 61) It is not enough to engage in charitable service to the needy; one must work to radically change social-economic-political-religious systems that promote terrible disparities in wealth and opportunity.
_____ 62) If I had to choose one or the other, I would rather be in a close friendship with a person who was a member of an ostracized minority than with an extremely famous, popular celebrity.
_____ 63) In the spiritual life, the Personal Deity with a form and name holds great appeal for me; I am not very interested in the formless Divine.
_____ 64) Remembering, praising and/or thanking the Divine Spirit is an activity which often engages me.
_____ 65) The Divine Spirit, for me, is very much my “nearest and dearest,” more like the Beloved Father, Mother, Lover, or Friend than some remote, non-personal principle.
_____ 66) Feeling the tender love for and from the Divine One is much more appealing than thinking abstractly about God.
_____ 67) Deep, heartfelt devotion to God (or the primordial Buddha or Tao) is the most important element in my life.
_____ 68) I often experience vivid emotional pangs during my spiritual life.
_____ 69) My relationship to the Divine feels more like child to Parent or servant to Master than “co-creator” with God. God is the supreme Power, and we are dependent on that great Power.
_____ 70) Spirituality is ultimately about discovering the One changeless Reality underlying the many changing forms.
_____ 71) I strongly intuit that behind the appearance of many selves or souls shines the one Spirit (Awareness, God, Tao, Buddha-nature) as their real Self.
_____ 72) In the spiritual life, the Formless, Transpersonal Spirit or Awareness holds great appeal for me; this Awareness is more important than any specific contents or objects of awareness.
_____ 73) I intuit that Divine Awareness or Absolute Reality is always already present, not a state or condition to be somehow attained in the future.
_____ 74) There is only the Eternal Here and Now; the space-time idea of “there” and “then” is only an illusion.
_____ 75) Being is the true, authentic context for doing. When one is authentically established in Spirit, appropriate actions spontaneously flow forth without much need for deliberation or analysis.
_____ 76) The different forms and names of God found in the different religions are all ultimately referring, clearly or obscurely, to the Single Divine Spirit or Absolute Reality.
_____ 77) My mind does not recoil from paradoxes, despite their apparent illogic, such as the statement: “God is both beyond all and within all.”
Discovering Your Spiritual Temperament(s)
Here’s how you can determine which temperament most strongly characterize your style of spirituality (and for more on each temperament, read the essay linked at the end of this page):
For the Intellectual temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 1 through 6, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Dogmatic Believer temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 7 through 14, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Sensual Ecstatic temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 15 through 20, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Monastic-Communalist temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 21 through 25, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Compassionate Server temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 26 through 30, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Hermit temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 31 through 35, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Yogi / Psychic-experimenter temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 36 through 42, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Ritualist-Ceremonialist temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 43 through 49, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Prophet / Trance-Channel temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 50 through 54, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Cynic / Freedom-Seeker temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 55 through 62, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Devotee temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 63 through 69, and indicate that total number here: ______
For the Intuitive Mystic-Sage temperament, add up the numbers you have written next to Statements 70 through 77, and indicate that total number here: ______
--Now, look at the totaled numbers given above, and the lowest number corresponds to your strongest or most dominant spiritual temperament. The next lowest number corresponds to your next strongest or subdominant temperament. The next lowest number corresponds to another subdominant temperament. And so on. Those temperaments accompanied by the highest totaled numbers are ones not currently characteristic of your spiritual style.
It can be useful to list your dominant spiritual temperament, followed by the next strongest temperaments in the order of strength, from one (strongest) through twelve (least dominant):
1. ______________________ (strongest temperament)
12. ______________________ (least dominant temperament)
The 12 Spiritual Temperaments--A New Model of Religion
The world religions have been analyzed in terms of their unique history, leaders, beliefs, scriptures, art, prayers, rituals, organizational structure, demographics, and so on, and then scholars have tried to articulate the differences and overlaps between/among the major world religions. But in so doing they tend to treat each world religion as one, homogenous entity (“Christianity,” “Buddhism,” “Judaism,” etc.).
However, the members of each of the sacred traditions are individual human beings possessing different psychological and spiritual temperaments. Because of these different types of human being, one particular religion will actually include a number of different types of “religion” within itself, according to the differing spiritual temperaments of its members. Thus, it makes far more sense to speak of “Buddhisms,” “Christianities,” “Hinduisms” (etc.) as John Hick has suggested, or of “Buddhist tradition” and “Christian tradition” (etc.), as many scholars now do, following the late Wilfred Cantwell Smith.
In this essay, based on over 40 years of participant-observer experience with different religious traditions, and a literature review of a few thousand works (especially the biographical and autobiographical literature on/by eminent spiritual leaders), I have briefly profiled twelve different spiritual temperaments that appear quite distinct, although they often overlap in a single individual. Each temperament can be seen to engender its own kind of “religion.”
These twelve spiritual temperaments are: 1) the Compassionate Server, 2) the Devotee, 3) the Intuitive Mystic-Sage, 4) the Intellectual, 5) the Dogmatic Believer, 6) the Monastic-Communalist, 7) the Hermit, 8) the Cynic or Freedom-Seeker, 9) the Ritualist-Ceremonialist, 10) the Yogi or Psychic-Experimenter, 11) the Prophet or Trance-Channel, 12) the Sensual Ecstatic.
The student of comparative sacred traditions and interfaith dialogue will find that two human beings of different religions yet characterized by the same spiritual temperament will usually have much more in common (though they may not recognize their kinship) than will two human beings of different temperaments who claim to belong to the same religion.
For instance, the fundamentalist “Dogmatic Believer” temperament is, psychologically speaking, rather uniform, characterized by the authoritarian personality cluster of traits; this temperament is uniform regardless of whether people possessing it are found in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or other religions. Their beliefs and practices certainly differ, but the way their psyches work seem quite similar. (The Dogmatic Believer temperament obviously is to be found, too, in the political realm, the corporate world, sports, and other walks of life.)
Likewise, the “Intuitive Mystic-Sage” individual can also be recognized within each of the major sacred traditions, and such individuals have more in common with each other and a greater sense of “kinship” than they do with members of the exoteric religion within which they have been raised. (Note, too, that Mystic-Sages from different religions, since they intuitively recognize the nondual ground of Being, more easily recognize their oneness than do, say, the Dogmatic Believers from different religions, who, traditionally, have tended to wage bitter propaganda campaigns, even brutal wars, against each other.)
As mentioned, an individual may have several of these temperaments overlapping. Thus, a single person may have a strong mystic-sage temperament along with strong server, devotee, and monastic orientations. Through the use of a questionnaire one can easily ascertain which of these twelve temperaments most strongly characterize an individual (along a Likert scale gradient of, say, 1 to 5), yielding a dominant temperament or two, and two or three sub-dominant temperaments; one could then display all this with a bar graph to yield an overall “profile” of a person’s spiritual “aptitude.” As to whether these spiritual temperaments are innate or learned, I would say that they definitely can be learned and developed, through role-modeling on significant others (either in person or via reading); through peer-group influence; through one’s own endeavor; or through “God’s Grace.” Yet there does seem to be an innate component, which some regression therapists (and sages of Eastern religions) would claim comes from past-life habit patterns (Sanskrit: samskâras or vâsanâs). Thus, for example, a person who had spent many lifetimes living in Catholic and Buddhist monasteries might be expected to show a very strong “monastic-communalist” temperament in this lifetime. (Note: in an important article for a peer-reviewed journal, “Recent Responses to Survival Research,” in the J. of Scientific Exploration [Spring, 1997, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 495ff.], academic philosopher Robert Almeder, at that time Editor of the prestigious American Philosophical Quarterly, says the empirical evidence for reincarnation is so good that the onus is now on the naysaying materialist skeptics to disprove it. Click here to read more on reincarnation)
Some of these temperaments are obviously more or less conducive toward spiritual realization than others. Following the important distinction by transpersonal psychology theorist Ken Wilber, whereas all these temperaments are “legitimate,” not all of them are equally “authentic,” i.e., capable of promoting deep virtue and complete spiritual liberation, sanctification, awakening, or God-Realization.
Here then are the twelve different religious or spiritual temperaments:
1) The Compassionate Server, found in all religions, is concerned with action, specifically in the form of helping other beings. This person is usually not so interested in belief systems, rituals, etc., but rather seeks to be of assistance to the needy. This Server temperament can be rather simplistic or it can include the highest type of ego-free compassion. The chief variable here is whether the individual is free of the egocentric sense of being the “doer” and is “unattached to the fruit of the action,” as the Hindus say. So the downside here would be if such a person began to see himself as the “do-gooder,” the “rescuer” or “savior” of others, seeing and treating others merely as objects of his beneficence. The Server may also engage in a kind of inner action on behalf of others—for instance, through spiritual healing prayer or even redemptive suffering, inviting affliction so as to “take on the sins (or karma)” of sentient beings. The Server may overlap with other temperaments, such as that of the Devotee or the Mystic-Sage.
2) The Devotee is devoted to and loves the Divine Father or Mother, Adonai, Allah, Christ Jesus, Amitabha Buddha, Siva, Vishnu (as Rama, Krishna), Great Spirit, Beloved Guide or Guru. Classic, typical virtues which Devotees cultivate through self-effort or receive through grace are a) gratitude for God’s benevolence, b) shared joy and agape/love with the community of devotees, c) humility and simplicity (self-emptying), d) loyalty and obedience to the conscience (the voice within) and dedication to whatever this voice suggests, and e) awe-full wonder over the mystery of God’s transcendence and the power of God’s immanence in fellow sentient beings and as nature. The Devotee temperament is found in all major religions, including non-theistic Buddhism (for instance, in Pure Land and Tantric Buddhism).
In less mature form, the Devotee is prone to excessive emotionalism or obsession with “progress” in becoming closer to God. In the more mature form of devotion, these faults are corrected by sublimation of childish emotionalism and a nondual devotion wherein the deepest, essential Self of both God and Devotee are realized as the same. “God and I are one, and yet it feels natural and appropriate just to spontaneously worship the Beloved.” The nondually-oriented Devotee simply feels at Home, at one with Divine Being. A sublime nondual devotion is found among great adepts in Hindu Advaita Vedanta, Muslim Sufism, forms of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in China, Korea, Japan and Tibet, and among some advanced Christian and Jewish mystics (e.g., Meister Eckhart, Catherine of Genoa, John of the Cross, Moshe Cordovero).
3) The Intuitive Mystic-Sage, also found within all sacred traditions, especially those in the East, aims to wake up to a realization of an Absolute, unconditioned Reality, the Divine Being that is always already the case, before/beyond personal and societal delusions and hallucinations. The Mystic Sage intuitively ponders the God-Self Source as the transcendent Pure Spirit, Absolute Being-Awareness-Bliss-Love fully immanent in/as all creation. Thee sage may utilize self-enquiry, deep relaxation, or opening up to the Grace of the inherent God-Self or Buddha-Nature. S/he acts out of an effortless effort. Downside: the would-be mystic-sage becomes lazy and content merely with an intellectual realization of certain timeless truths. At the highest level, the mystic sage employs an exquisitely refined, subtle intuition, a kind of “wise unknowing Understanding” which dissolves egocentrism and allows for a simple, unpretentious abiding as Pure Awareness or Pure Spirit. This liberating wisdom is variously called gnosis (in contemplative Christianity), jñâna/vidyâ (Hindu Vedanta), paññâ/prajñâ (Buddhism), ma'rifa (Sufism), ming/ta chueh (Taoism), and so forth. The Mystic Sage may formulate into words the awakening wisdom and the profound Realization it engenders, but s/he is not at all attached to such words, and may even use them playfully, poetically, and paradoxically to induce an identical “wise unknowing Understanding” in any listeners. The Mystic Sage feels no need to proselytize or impose doctrines.
Note that the realization of the Mystic-Sage may sometimes suffer from an overly pristine or dry quality if it does not include the Heart; thus most Sages spontaneously adopt the kind of motiveless, nondual devotion toward some aspect of the Beloved, or service to the needy, simply to “sweeten” experience, especially for the sake of inspiring those souls studying with the Mystic-Sage.
4) The Intellectual is concerned with understanding God, cosmos, human nature, spiritual truth and so on via abstract reasoning. The Intellectual spiritual temperament is concerned with theologizing and philosophizing. Classification, criticism, comparison and/or dialectical synthesis of ideas and propositions are the Intellectual’s forté. Most intellectuals feel constrained by a particular logic, whether the Aristotelian “either-or” logic of the excluded middle or else a more paradoxical logic such as Nagarjuna’s 4-fold Madhyamika Buddhist logic (“A,” “not-A,” “both A and not-A,” “neither A nor not-A”). One downside of the Intellectual is atrophy of the affective nature, the “heart,” in an obsession with mental processes. Likewise, the modes of rarified psychic sensitivity and spiritual intuition are often suppressed when intellect dominates. Whereas the mind is a powerful tool that should be honed, especially through studying sacred texts and wise discerning (Sanskrit: viveka) between the Real and passing phenomena, an exclusive fixation on discursive reasoning is viewed by spiritual masters as a pitfall.
5) The Dogmatic Believer feels the need to identify with a religious doctrine (ideas, creeds, myths) and benefits from this with great surety, confidence, security and emotional closure. However, the Believer is prone to being overly attached to a conceptual or mythic “story-line” mentality and can lose touch with authentic, direct, first-hand experiencing. Also prone to authoritarian narrow-mindedness (“I’m right, you’re wrong”), “us vs. them” thinking, rigidity, cognitive dissonance, and a need to proselytize. The Dogmatic Believer syndrome may be seen in especially great numbers and with different shades of strength among fundamentalist Christians, ultra-Orthodox Catholics, ultra-Orthodox Jews, fanatic Islamic groups, conservative Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “Moonies,” the American branch of ISKCON (the “Hare Krishna” movement), Soka Gakkai (of the Nichiren brand of Buddhism), Aryan Supremist Christian groups, certain UFO “Space Brother” cults, etc. (Some members of these groups may occasionally display more mature types of spiritual temperament.)
6) The Monastic-Communalist values solidarity with a human community (brotherhood, sisterhood, spiritual family) and wants an ordered, regimented life away from a society or family systems perceived as meaningless, disordered, and/or needlessly complicated and stressful. Downside: possible unhealthy dependency on the group or overly naive childishness. On the positive side, the monastic-communalists may promote among themselves and visitors a tremendous agape love, emotional support, financial/economic security, shared humor and fun, and collective insight (“many minds are better than one”).
7) The Hermit wants considerable amounts of time in solitude to access profound spiritual depths. Some hermits will belong to a monastery or community and move back and forth between periods of isolation and companionship in a given day, week or month. Other hermits set up for themselves an almost completely eremitic lifestyle of solitude. Downside: the Hermit temperament may become so content in spiritual practice and certain rarified states of consciousness that s/he no longer needs or wants to interact with human beings. Also, if the original motive for retreat involved any form of sociopathic aversion to human company, a spiritually and psychologically unhealthy syndrome can develop. Ideally, the Hermit temperament involves a sense of solidarity with all sentient beings, and culminates in the person coming back to society to share the spiritual fruits of solitude (joy, tranquility, loving-kindness, and other gifts of the Spirit). In this case, the person with Hermit temperament may still continue to spend significant time as an anchorite, but this is combined with social interaction.
8) The Cynic / Freedom-Seeker, for the sake of true freedom, detaches from what are perceived to be binding social conventions, family ties, material possessions, physical comforts, egoic ambitions and affectations. The authentic Cynic temperament values naturalness; self-effacement; austere simplicity; unfettered itinerancy or else residence at the marketplace or crossroads; unconditional contentment and happiness regardless of external circumstances; social reform to promote the welfare of all beings—especially victims of injustice (with whom the Cynic feels tremendous solidarity); humble attunement to that Higher Power which transcends human artifice and self-serving models of religion; and totally care-free reliance on this Higher Power. The outspoken Cynic does not mind “making a scene,” castigating mediocrity and corruption, wherever s/he sees them (especially in high stations of power and authority), even when this entails great personal risk. The Cynic subverts grand philosophical and political schemas, explodes dogmas, and promotes a Zen-like “non-dwelling” attention, freed from rigid positionality. Downside: the immature person with Cynic temperament is filled with “mere cynicism,” pessimism, a contrarian personality (always needing to mis-match others), sneering antipathy toward those perceived as bound, stubborn individualism, and an egoically-driven pseudo-shamelessness and impudence. The Cynic / Freedom Seeker temperament is found, of course, among those Cynics of the Hellenistic world, from Diogenes to Epictetus and Peregrinus; Socrates would also be honored as a member of this camp; some scholars suggest that Jesus’ persona was, at least in part, a Jewish version of the Cynic temperament. The Christian liberation theologians, in their solidarity with the poor and strong critique of injustice, express the Cynic temperament. Nagarjuna and the Madhyamika Buddhists and some of the Ch’an, Zen and Vajrayana masters could be seen as Cynics in the better sense of the word (they can also be categorized as “Intuitive Mystic Sages”). Kabir and many of the Sants of India clearly were cynics castigating and challenging the caste system and religious power structure. Many wandering renunciates within several of the major traditions, as well as the more “sober” among the “holy fools” of India (e.g., avadhutas), China (yü-jen), Europe (saloi and yurodivye), and Muslim lands (majdhubs) manifest the Cynic temperament.
9) The Ritualist-Ceremonialist uses and manipulates outer elements and sometimes certain inner thoughts, images and feelings in order to experience atonement with and empowerment from the Divine Source of the universe. These rituals may be exquisitely refined, benevolently invoking maximum blessings for all beings, or crude and selfishly motivated forms of "gray (or black) magic." They may be performed in a flowing, spontaneous manner, with innovations, or rigidly repeated, with no tolerance for innovations. Ritualists’ ceremonies may be short or lengthy in performance, simple or complicated, plain or aesthetically rich, and utilizing natural or artificial (manmade) objects.
Rituals and holy or unholy magic are found in every religious tradition, but the Ritualist is especially drawn to become a practitioner or participant in such especially liturgical, ritual- and ceremony-oriented religions as Roman Catholicism, High Anglicanism, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity; Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana, Shingon, Tendai) and Nichiren Buddhism; Brahmanical Hinduism; Tantric Hinduism; Judaism; Magic or Wicca/Neo-Paganism; Voudou; and, in the least mature and most selfish and aberrant form, Satanism.
10) The Yogi / Psychic-Experimenter, found in almost all sacred traditions, manipulates the body and inner experience (attention, thoughts, images, emotions) to access Alternate States of Consciousness (ASCs), ever seeking to permanently realize a Highest State of Consciousness (HSC) with Altered Traits of Consciousness (ATCs). The Yogi achieves such different states of consciousness via experimentation with bodily postures and movements, controlled breathing, and special forms of nutrition (frequent fasting, vegetarian diets, lacto-fruitarian diets, etc.). Special emphasis is placed upon experimenting with processes of attention through entrainment; one-pointed concentration on mantras, images, sounds or body sensations; hyper-vigilance and attention to the transition states between waking, sleep, and dreams; and rhythmic patterns. The Yogi tends to be introverted, seeking a purer state of knowing and feeling. Downside: prone to obsession-compulsion, excessive aversion to perceived “distractions,” and tabus concerning impurity. Someone aiming for greater power/energy through Yogic means is the siddha of India and Tibet, or the shaman, whose downside is the sorcerer. A person aiming for more peace through Yogic means is the contemplative, whose downside is the much-maligned “quietist.”
11) The Prophet / Trance-Channel gains inspiration and special knowledge (religious, artistic, medicinal) for self and others via psychic locutions and visions gained in a mediumistic or alter-persona trance state. While attuning to the “subtle realms of light,” such a person may encounter the Divine Father, Mother, gods, goddesses, spirit guides, angels, ancestral souls, nature spirits, et al. Sometimes s/he may have encounters with more demonic or mischievous figures from these subtle realms (e.g., the troubled souls of ancestors) and the successful Prophet/Trance-Channel learns to ward them off or bypass and transcend them. The state of trance may be induced via yogic experimentation or self-hypnosis, or arise spontaneously after emotional or physical health crisis, especially in persons who tend toward dissociative, alter-persona states. The degree of the trance may also vary from a light trance-state to a “full-body” trance-state, the latter often involving a complete suspending of the normal sense of identity, replaced by the completely “other” alter persona identity of the channeled persona/entity/archetype. The latter situation would qualify as a case of spirit-possession. Downside: the person becomes psychologically dependent on the channeled presence of the other personality and perhaps narcissistically self-inflated in identifying with this “other being” who is felt as more powerful, authoritative, and dominant over the rest of one's human community or society. Mediumistic trance-channeling and/or spirit possession is found worldwide, from indigenous peoples of pre-industrial societies to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim prophets and saints, Hindu and Taoist folk religionists, the Tibetan state oracle, Spiritualists, New Agers, and Japanese new religions (shinko shukyo). For example, all three Western monotheist religions appear to have been founded by men who had the Prophet/Trance-Channel temperament as a strong aspect of their overall personality—the Jewish Prophets Isaiah et al., Jesus (this is most apparent in the early Mark Gospel and the John Gospel's "I Am" sayings communicated from the Logos/Divine Word or Wisdom principle through Jesus), and Muhammad (through whom was communicated by angel Gabriel/Jibrail the Qur'an).
12) The Sensual Ecstatic is akin to the ritualist and the yogi in being fascinated with manipulating outer and inner elements of experience to lose the normal ego-sense and attain a different state of consciousness. However, whereas the ritualist and yogi are rather more serious or sublime, i.e., Apollian or Orphic in temperament, the Sensual Ecstatic represents a kind of wilder Dionysian personality. Moreover, the sensual ecstatic is usually more extroverted. There is much more concern to allow a spontaneous movement of vital energy to express. The Ecstatic seems especially interested in losing the ego-sense through chaotification of personality-structures via intense stimulation, wild dancing, rousing chanting, feasting, even drugs and sexuality. Downside: an immoral and antinomian approach may characterize some among the sensual ecstatics. This temperament can be found among hyper-expressive “holy roller” Pentecostalists and other Christian “enthusiasts,” the Bengali Bauls, the more “intoxicated” Muslim Sufis and Jewish Hasidim, Osho/Rajneesh’s “neo-sannyasins,” those Christians attending “Rave Masses” led by Matthew Fox (et al.), Voudou practitioners, the “flower child” Rainbow People of North America, and the more Dionysian among the indigenous shamanic societies.
What is it?
For the last decade dolphin therapy has been largely publicised by the media, who reported several successful case stories. Dolphin therapy was started in the early seventies by Dr Betsy Smith, an educational anthropologist who noticed the therapeutical effects of dolphins on her disabled brother. A few years later dolphin therapy was developed by Dr Nathanson at the Dolphin Human Therapy centre in Florida, America. Dr Nathanson studied the interaction between dolphins and children with Down's syndrome and as he obtained good results more centres opened world wide.
The aim of the therapy is to increase sensory activities, programmes take place in a pool with captive or semi-captive dolphins and therapists who assist the children, children are asked to swim, touch, feed or pat the animals. Therapists work on specific areas such as speech, behaviours and motor skills, they customise programmes to the needs of the children.
Dolphin therapy is not a cure but it can help alleviate some symptoms associated with children conditions by enhancing their healing process. Samples of blood were analysed before and after the therapy, results showed that after swimming with dolphins there is a change of hormones, endorphins and enzymes as well as T-cells, how this is possible is still not well understood. There is ongoing research in universities and dolphin research centres but the evidence that dolphin therapy works remains anecdotal. Several theories have been hypothesised:
Therapy in a pleasant environment:
Encounters with dolphins evoke a deep emotional response and trigger the release of deep feelings and emotions. It is believed that children are more responsive to the therapy because they play in a pleasant environment, they are motivated to complete the tasks, they are happy and therefore they pay greater attention to the therapists' work. It has also been suggested that dolphins can sense areas of disability and physical trauma in the human body, they motivate children to use these parts.
For others, the healing principle is similar to that of sound therapy: rhythm and vibrational sound facilitate an altered mood. According to Dr Cole, Chairman of the Aquathought Foundation, swimming with dolphins can create physiological cell and tissue change in the body, he explains that dolphins have a natural sonar, they emit ultrasound waves to localise things and to communicate, this process is called "echolocation". Sounds emitted by the dolphins are so intense that that they can cause "cavitations": they create holes in the molecular structure of fluids and soft tissues. Cole believes that the dolphins' signal frequencies can have a profound effect on the human brain by modifying the brainwave activity. Results of EEG tests carried out on people who experienced the echolocation showed that the dominant human brain frequency drops from beta to alpha.
It was also noted that both sides of the brain enter into synchronisation which means there is a far better communication between the left and right sides of the brain, this is an uncommon neurological state, which is typically associated with heightened awareness and increased learning ability.
· Strong emotional change
· Children calm down
· Improved communication
· Increased attention span
· Increased confidence and self esteem
· Improved gross or fine motor skills
· Better co-ordination
· Better eye contact, smiling, laughing, touching
· Better immune system.
Conditions that may respond to dolphin therapy
Neurological disorders, autism, Down's syndrome, global developmental delay, ADHD, pain relief for spinal injuries, muscular paralysis, and depression.
Dolphin therapy is expensive and it is important not too expect dramatic results.
CHART OF THE I AM
by Ruben Cedano
The chart of the “I AM” is the physical representation of your Real Being. God in you is the Higher Being where all beings sum up and synthesize. This chart is divided in three parts that represent the human as a trinity: Spirit, Soul and Body.
1. THE SPIRIT is the Superior figure that contains in its body of Light the totality of the chart. This is because it is everything. It is your Higher Self also known as “I AM,” “The Monad,” or “The Father in Heaven”. Its body is made of electronic fire and the Cosmic Law that rules it is the one of synthesis. It synthesizes everything and there is nothing outside its Being. For the Tibetans the Spirit is AVALOKITESWARA, which means “The one who looks.” It is represented with wide and bright eyes because it is the Watcher Being of the Cosmos activity. It lives in the highest plane of manifestation which is the Monadic. The Spirit is also known as ANUPADAKA, which means “self created.” Because the I AM is a Divine auto creation, from its forehead comes the three-fold flame that represents the three primary aspects of God: Will, Wisdom and Love. In its CORONARY Chakra there is a circle with a point that is the symbol of the cosmos which represents the Logos, the word, or the “I AM.” This presence is projected through the Atmic, the Buddhic and the higher Mental planes getting into the Spiritual Triad. This is where Atma is the first expression of the Being “I AM”, Buddhi is the consciousness of “I AM” in all life, and Mind is the Divine consciousness expanding towards humans. This is located in the lower part of the chart that represents the body or personality.
2. THE SOUL is at the center of the chart represented by a Golden Lotus with twelve petals and a three-fold flame in the center. This is the Christ Lotus. All these names are synonymous with Spiritual Soul or Ego, with capital E. The Soul is the intermediary between the “I AM” Presence and the personality. The seven concentric circles surrounding the Christ Lotus represent the Causal Body, this is where Wisdom is recorded and accumulated through all the re-embodiments of a Being. The Christ Lotus as well as the Causal Body resides in the higher mental plane. The Blue and Pink rays that penetrate through the central sides of the chart are the two rays of Light that emanate from the eyes of Amida Buddha. They form the Jewel in the Lotus or “PADMA PANI,” whose name is the mantra “OM MANI PADME HUM,” or “I AM THAT I AM”. It should be pronounced to call up the Christ to action. The triangle that surrounds the Lotus is the symbol of the Christ.
3. The Inferior Being represents the PERSONALITY or the lower tetrad. This is composed of the physical, the etheric, the astral and the inferior mental bodies. These four lower vehicles are in balance and represented by a square forming a Maltese Cross. It is the electronic pattern of the Master Saint Germain and the Era of the Violet Flame. In the center of the cross there is a heart with a three-fold flame that is the reflection of the Christ living in the hearts of every human being. Through the flame are reflected the three aspects of God which are the essence of the “I AM” and the Christ. The ray of light that unites the lower being with the Christ and the “I AM” Presence is the Triple Silver Cord. The life of the personality, the Christ and the “I AM,” communicates with each other during the period of embodiment through this cord. The Violet tube that surrounds the lower body is the Pillar of Violet Fire which should surround all students in the Ascension path for the protection and purification of their lower nature. The Pillar of white light that stands out from the Violet Flame is the Ascension Flame which grants the final victory of the circle of life. This flame is the unification of the lower being with the Inner Christ, and finally with the “I AM” Presence. This luminous unification is known in the Inner Planes as the Ascension for the Earth or the first Cosmic Initiation.
This chart is charged with the radiation, Light, and Love of the Octave of the Ascended Masters; therefore, it can be used for meditation, teachings, and as the center field of spiritual force for homes, as well as instructional centers of the New Age.
- Shade Law
- All Earth's Animals
- And all that need healing
Thank you to all that send much needed healing, it is a great gift you share.
Quote Of The Week
"Is God Real? Since the question came up, let's briefly go into it. When it comes to spiritual realities, the fact that when you are in a meditative state of oneness, a G-spot might light up (or whatever brain correlate is being tracked), says absolutely nothing about the ontological status of the referent in that state. Any G-spot activity in the brain is the correlate of a meditative state, not its content. When I look at an apple, an area in my brain associated with its perception lights up, but we do not therefore assume that the apple exists only in the brain. So why should we assume that God exists only in the brain because the same thing happens?"
What has your experience been with healing, either your own or others? Do you consider yourself a healer? Do you know those who are? What, in your view, needs to be healed? What is the best way to bring about healing in others?
What does healing mean to you?
To believe is to know that every day
is a new beginning.
It is to trust that miracles happen,
and dreams really do come true.
To believe is to see angels dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky
and the wisdom of the man in the moon.
To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child's eyes
and the beauty of an aging hand,
for it is through their teachings we learn to love.
To believe is to find the strength
and courage that lies within us.
When it is time to pick up the pieces and begin again.
To believe is to know we are not alone,
That life is a gift and this is our time to cherish it.
To believe is to know that wonderful surprises
are just waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.
If only we believe.
Hoping you have enjoyed this volume and found the articles of interest.
In Love and Light Always,