Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Love Story Of Our Times

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

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Up, up, up the winding mountain road to enter the gates to sacred space and swallows flitting across the charged azure blue sky. She meditates on a grassy terrace.  He does Tai Chi.  She does Qigong.  He writes of how Spirit brought them together, even years before their wedding, and how Spirit has kept them together and brought them to this amazing panoramic power spot – marking their commitment to each other and to Spirit.

Quietly together they wander through this stepped city of ancient stone, wings flying high over the deep verdant valleys below. Stairs are climbed. Portals are passed through and a grassy place to sit upon is found, out of the flow of the masses that courses through the main paths. A retreat in the midst of Machu Picchu is gladly accepted by her, in her pink, and him, in his gray.

She colors the scene with her pencils and he writes. They reveal their sacred stones that accompany them on this pilgrimage, some to be left as offerings. She brought rose quartz angels. He brought a star rose quartz. Nothing needs to be spoken between hearts that speak without words. She shows him her rose quartz sphere and their stones touch in a moment of communion.

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Sacred space is opened and they sit with their mesa stones on high, overlooking a plaza of green, framed by gray rock that has a story to tell. She and he are in “their” spot, a spot that was waiting patiently for them, where their souls and the soul of this place touch, where the work and the travel and the daily tasks of living have fallen away. She and he and their stones and this place are their world.

She rolls the rose quartz sphere far into a crack at the base of the ancient wall they sit next to. He sends his rose quartz in after hers where, together, they will continue the communion of this great life, like the soul mates who left them there.

(Written 22 June 2014 at Machu Picchu, Peru, on the 30th wedding anniversary of Lisa Evonne and James Kenneth Papp. Photo of the happy couple by Eugenio Ferrero, other photos by JP.)

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All Is Right

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Blessed sunrise on sacred mountain warms the soul with gladness

Light the candle and lay out stones at lakeside in honor of communion

This place an altar of earth and sun and spirit

Brings the heart into its temple

And all is right

:-)

(photo by James K. Papp at Garnet Lake in the California High Sierras)

Books to Prisoners encourages knowledge and self-improvement.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Books To Prisoners (BTP) is a Seattle-based, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that sends books to prisoners in the United States.  BTP believes that books are tools for learning and opening minds to new ideas and possibilities. By sending books to prisoners, BTP hopes to foster a love of reading and encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.

Founded in the early 1970s and sponsored by Left Bank Books, BTP receives 1,200 to 1,300 requests for books each month. Volunteers work two evenings a week opening letters, finding books in the BTP collection that correspond to the request, and wrapping and mailing parcels.  Because of continuing backlog of requests, prisoners sometimes wait up to six months to receive their books.

Prisoners request a variety of books.  Most prisons accept paperback books only.  The most popular requests are dictionaries, thesauruses, African American history and fiction, Native American studies, legal material, GED materials, and languages (particularly Spanish.)  Other common requests include fiction, vocational-technical manuals, politics, anthropology, art and drawing, psychology, and health and fitness.

BTP has three associate organizations – Portland Books To Prisoners, Books To Prisoners Olympia, and Bellingham Books To Prisoners. These sister groups assist in answering letters, mailing packages, and soliciting book donations.

As one of the largest prison book projects in the country, BTP works in conjunction with other agencies that support prisoner literacy and promote social justice.

Last year, Seattle BTP, along with chapters in Portland, Olympia, and Bellingham answered a combined 14,900 letters.  Bellingham BTP sent out over 10,000 books.

We are pleased to donate copies of Inquire Within – A Guide to Living in Spirit to Bellingham BTP. A young friend once asked why we donate our books to prisoners. We answered that many prisoners will one day be released from prison and it would be nice to know that they had been working to improve themselves. We know that we have helped at least one person. Jim has had regular written correspondence from a man who received a copy of Inquire Within while he was in prison. He appreciated our book’s gentle guidance and resource section listing many other spiritual and self-help books. He has since been released from prison and is doing very well with his family and in his community.

If you are in the Seattle, Portland, Olympia, or Bellingham areas, and would like to donate new or used books, particularly paperbacks, BTP would be happy to accept your donations. You can also choose to volunteer your time wrapping packages or make a cash donation to cover postage. Learn more here:  Books to Prisoners.

Letter from a prisoner to BTP:

I became aware of your organization and its vital work recently when a fellow prisoner let me use his big, beautiful dictionary.  When I complimented him on having such an obviously fine, advanced book, he told me about his own quest in which you sent him his Random House/Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary more than a year ago.  It is his most prized possession here where such a wonderful reference work is rare, indeed.  I am a reformed black man earning his GED and trying to improve himself, his life, and his prospects after prison.  If you will consider sending me a dictionary, I will use it often and well.  And with your blessings, I will tell other inmates about your company and its compassionate work.  Thank you very much.

 

Three Days of Love Pledge – December 20-22, 2012

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

We have signed the THREE DAYS OF LOVE Pledge created by the Shift Network and Birth2012.com.

The Pledge says “I commit to share words and actions of love on December 20, 21, and 22, 2012.”

Will you join us and please share with others?

>>Update June 2013 – I plan to suggest to Birth2012 folks that they change the wording and continue on with the Love Pledge. “We/I commit to share words and action of love everyday.”, perhaps? Their page is still up and the link below works.  ~ Lisa

From Birth2012.com – Hearts - original painting by Jim Papp

“We are delighted to be launching an exciting global initiative with Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Barbara Marx Hubbard, don Miguel Ruiz, Michael Beckwith, Shiva Rea, and many other luminaries today.

It’s an experiment in creating a global movement of the heart to begin a new era with love, generosity, and kindness.

We invite you to join this “love movement” by personally committing to sharing words and actions of love for three days, from December 20 – 22. 

Imagine what will happen if people around the world commit to this: amazing acts of friendship, random gifts, hugs from strangers – we can remember ourselves as one human family!

So if you’ve been wondering what one thing you can do to make a difference, this is a potent and fun one.

Get details and sign your name to the pledge here: Three Days of Love”

Thanks for signing and sharing!

~ Love, Jim and Lisa

~ Art: “Two Hearts Beat As One” by Jim Papp

 

Change Begins with Just One Person. The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Hearts - original painting by Jim Papp

We found this quote from The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne and we love it! We all have the power to affect change and it starts with creating peace, love, and harmony within ourselves.

“Change in a country begins with one person. Each country reflects the inner peace or turmoil of its mass population, and so as one person changes they affect the rest of the population. One person has the power within them to bring massive change to their country through immense love and peace within themselves. But we cannot bring about peace and well-being to our country unless we have conquered that in our own life. Do you see? You cannot give what you do not have.

Each person’s job is to bring utter harmony into their own life, and then they will become the greatest human gift for their country and the world.”

http://thesecret.tv

Do you agree?

What if there is nothing wrong with the world?

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

What if there is nothing wrong with the world?  What if there is nothing “out there” that needs to be fixed?  What if all is already in a state of perfection?

Such questions epitomize the apex of ridiculousness―naively insensitive and insanely idealistic―if we base our views on what is in the news, what we are told in school, and on the values propagated by what we can call consensual reality.

In the cultural process of our domestication, we are taught that we are separate beings who live in a “survival of the fittest, us and them” world and, that unfortunately, there is not enough of anything to go around.

Now this vast generalization and over-simplification is easily cast in the light of lunacy, paranoia, and conspiracy, if not at first considered agitating and unwholesome.

Yet it is equally easy, when we try, to open our minds to the possibility that we are inherently, energetically connected with each other in the so-called web of life and that there is no “us” and there is no “them.”

But, how unpatriotic!  How heretical!  The notion of oneness implies that we and our enemies, in all their forms, are related―that we are all tied together somehow in this thing called life.  We can’t have that!  Or can we?

Whether we inquire via science, via spirituality, or via what we call common sense, we can observe, intuit, or deduce the reality of our connection―verily the bond―that unifies us in this world we are all undeniably a part of.

When we delve within ourselves we may discover an essence that is the essence of all that is.  We may discover our brotherhood and sisterhood, not only with our fellow human beings, but with the plants and animals and even the rocks and water and air, and the sun and the moon and the stars.  We may examine the more-than-mythical stories of our ancestors over the millennia that tell us of community, of relation to and compassion for all in the web of life.

It turns out that our essence, the essence of all that is―pure Spirit, if you like―has never been compromised and is completely intact underneath the conditioning and cultural domestication we have undergone.

Rather than fixing what is wrong with the world (because it is not broken) we can work at dusting off, refocusing, and polishing our perception to see the gem of our soul which shines eternal.  When we rediscover the infinite, divine reality of our being and of all existence, the illusion of our separateness dissipates.

I.  You.  Us.  Them.  Yours.  Mine.  Scarcity.  Competition.  Haves.  Have nots.  These words and the ways of being they engender are propping up a consensual reality where war―individually and as nations―is a way to get what we think we need to live.  Yet this is not reality for it is not who we really are.

At the frontiers of modern science, quantum physics cannot tell us where one entity or thing ends and another begins.  All is made of energy intermingling in myriad patterns that give the illusion of individuation yet they cannot be truly separated as they are part of the same interdependent whole.

The great yogis speak of each of our souls as a point of light reflected by the sun on the water, and that all of us points of light together are part of the same ocean of oneness which is God itself.  We are nodes of Spirit energy within the greater indivisible field of energy which includes all that is.

If you and I, and us and them, are interrelated in cosmic community, then what we do to another we unerringly do to ourselves.  When we consider and practice and with grace realize that “I am that,” we find we are all flowers in the garden of Heaven on Earth, some of us open, some of us opening, some of us going to seed, and there is no disharmony between different ages and shapes and sizes and colors.

From this place of the awareness of the other in oneself, the hallucination of our separateness slowly yet surely dissolves away.  Our thoughts and words and actions are guided from the perspective of humility, kindness, and respect―from the experience of community.  And this consensual reality we speak of, which is a hologram of our collective hallucination of separateness, shifts, reassembles, and settles into a new reality rooted in a cooperative way of being together.

This is nothing new; we have done this before.  Maybe the circumstances are different, maybe they’re not, but it doesn’t matter.  Our essence is pure, untouched, and its nature is to shine.

There is nothing wrong with the world.  There is nothing “out there” that needs to be fixed.  All is already in a state of perfection.  Our challenge or, if you wish, our great opportunity, is awakening to who we really are and realizing our togetherness as sisters and brothers on this precious planet.

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© 2011 James K. Papp.  A writer and artist, Jim lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife Lisa and their cat, Magic.

How Do You Define Your Value?

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

How do you define your value?  How do you quantify what you are worth?  Be honest – what’s the first answer that came to you?

Is your value how much money you have?  Is your value your social status, your neighborhood, your house, your job, your car?  Is your value your family and how successful they are?  Is your value your big plans in life; your dreams?  Is your value your spouse, your significant other, your partner, your solitude?  Is your value your creativity, your skill, your talent?  Is your value your friends?

It is easy to define our value by our circumstances, our possessions, our financial accumulation.  It is easy to look outside of ourselves to see, to hear, to touch what we consider to be what we are worth.  But what if we look inside?  What if we look at what is in our minds and in our hearts?  What if we look at our essence?

May I humbly and delicately ask you to consider that all you have in life is not what you’re really worth or who you really are.  May I ever so gently nudge you to contemplate the simple, profound, stellar value of You and Your presence in this world.

Without money, without possessions, without action, we are here, just as a flower is here, and in our simply being is a treasure unto itself, a manifestation of Spirit, unique and precious, valuable beyond measure.

Have you ever arrived at a field of flowers and thought, oh no, there are too many flowers here?  No.  Is it a problem to apprehend too much beauty all at once?  No, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Each of us is a flower, some opened, some going to open, some going to seed, some geometrically perfect, some not, all of us whole, none of us judged, all of us together in community.

How do you define your value?

© 2011 James K. Papp

A Day of Introspection

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Some days are good days to withdraw from the hustle and bustle of our busy, worldy routines and stay at home.  Taking this time out from the social side of life gives us time to catch our breath, to find stillness and reflect.

It is useful to review the consequences of our actions – whether intentional or unintentional.  As we work to create harmony in life it helps to be aware of what we are doing.  Realizing the consequences of our actions we can forgive ourselves for things we have said or done which have caused stress or hurt to others.

A day of introspection gives us space to courageously, gently, lovingly peer into ourselves.  We can view and appreciate the good we have done and acknowledge and forgive ourselves for any words or actions which do not honor us.    We can light a candle, make an offering, ask for forgiveness, receive forgiveness.

Viewing the consequences of our actions through the lens of forgiveness dissipates discord, giving our natural state of harmony opportunity to reappear.  Our thoughts and intentions (good, bad, and indifferent) emanate into the world around us; what we send to ourselves and others is real and has a real affect.  Taking periodic quiet time to review helps us better serve our lives and the lives of those around us.

Blessed is the Seeker of the Early Light

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Blessed is the Seeker of the Early Light.  Who knows what precious colors may be rendered by sun and sky and cloud and earth, and the one who is up to observe it?  Delicate hues and bold blushes intermingle in a slow motion dance, casting its subtle glow on the mountainsides above.

The early light that heralds the coming sun so gently pulses, and this majestic emanation causes the jaw to drop and an “Ah” to utter.  The outer beauty of the world and the inner beauty of the soul are harmonized – majesty within and without.

Of the early light and the one who has risen from bed, who can say which is the greeter and which is the greeted?  All are merged, for they were never apart.

© 2011 James K. Papp

At the Crossroads of Life: What Can We Do?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Path of the West

Spiritual practice is our individualized way of learning to live in the ever-present now.  And spiritual practice is, as we all know, a very personal matter.  Ultimately it is about whatever works for us individually.

But what about when things are not working so well?  How about when we find ourselves at the place I call “the crossroads,” where we are not sure which way to go or what to do?   When we are at the crossroads, where we don’t have enough information and we are searching for guidance or inspiration to continue on our journey, what can we do and where do we turn?

It is truly a blessing to walk upon one’s self-composed spiritual path.  But when things aren’t working in our life it can get really tiring wielding our machete as we hack a new path through the thick jungle.  And we can lose our vision when this jungle of unprocessed thoughts and feelings seems to have grown in around us.  Thankfully there are also paths of proven practices which we have used for thousands of years here for us, already paved, ready for us to walk upon them with relative ease when we want to do so.

Prayer, Meditation, Gratitude, Kindness, Being With Nature, Building Altars, Making Offerings and Ceremonies – these and other longstanding traditions are already well traveled, are clearly marked and supported, and have a wide berth.  When we don’t have enough energy to do it all on our own, these paths are there for us, along with the accumulated wisdom of all who have walked upon them before us.  Know, especially if you consider yourself quite independent, that utilizing these practices does not commit you to using them for the rest of your life.   You can use them as you need to without any fear that doing something traditional will paint you into a corner.

Remember, you always have the right to change the direction of your sailing craft on the cosmic ocean at any time, as you need to do so.  So don’t be afraid to go ahead and use the technologies and ways of being we have collectively designed and benefited from over the millennia.   They work!  Then, with a thankful resetting of your spiritual gyroscope, you will find your way to enjoying a more balanced and harmony-filled life.  May the Blessings Be with you always!

© 2011 James K. Papp