Remembering Infinity

Spirituality | Metaphysics | Consciousness | Life


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The Christmas Truce (1914)


angel

Let there be Peace on Earth!

For many, it is difficult to imagine the unspeakable horrors of war.  The bitter stench of cordite, explosive rending of earth, air, and sea; and indiscriminate destruction of all that would stand in the way of victory are just the beginning.  There is the inconsolable and heart-wrenching ache of homesickness.   There are the inescapable miseries of Spartan living and the tempestuous wrath of nature.  There is an arrogant fury, fueled by an illusory sense of righteousness that drives combatants to commit unspeakable acts.  There are the lies, manipulations, and raw determination of the brutal and ruthless powers on both sides of the conflict.  Finally, there is the bare and abject fear that shivers through the veins of all who witness its atrocities.  While the horrors of war are experienced to some extent by all, they are disproportionately reflected in the blank faces of the young–for it is most often they who must bear the burden of orders to fight and kill, suffer, or die.

While the costs of war are many, there is little doubt that its highest wages are paid through the wholesale slaughter of humanity.  Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors; all, regardless of guilt or innocence, are ground under the wheels of martial advancement.  Many lose their homes and livelihoods.  Many must live the remainder of their lives with debilitating injuries of mind, body, and soul.  And many will die.  But in the end, all suffer horribly.  It is this carnage, the wanton waste of human blood, muscle, organ, and bone–indeed, the callous disregard of Life itself, that is the greatest transgression of war.

In our modern world of instant communication and artificial imagery, it is difficult to imagine how thousands of young men must have felt, just over 100 years ago in 1914.  At that time, what was thought to be “The War to End All Wars” (World War I) was being waged on the front lines between France and Germany.  While most of the world lay warm in their beds on that Christmas Eve, two determined armies huddled miserably in muddy trenches, facing one another across a dark and battered stretch of no-man’s land.  Much as pawns in a violent game of chess, these men were trapped between a wet and bitterly cold winter and the relentless grinding of their countries’ military machines.  But in a moment of silence, just when the hour must have seemed darkest, a Christmas Miracle occurred.  Despite incredible odds and the stubborn efforts of the leaders on both sides to stop it, The Spirit of Peace prevailed.

According to most accounts, the uncertain cease-fire began with a song.  German soldiers, apparently overcome by homesickness, began singing Christmas carols.  Allied soldiers on the other side of the lines, fearing a trick of some kind, listened and watched with surprise and suspicion.  Before too long however, someone on their side joined in.   Others soon followed and it wasn’t long before voices rose on both sides of the trenches.  One can scarcely imagine the surreal nature of that moment, for here were two bitterly opposed armies that had been wounding and killing each other for months.  Now, instead of destroying each other in the cold darkness, each side was singing the same song in its own language.  Somehow, and in some miraculous way, these men were connecting to a sense of something–something that was quickly bridging the gap created by the broken bodies of their fallen comrades, the torn earth, and the rigid doctrines that seemed to separate them.

As the night progressed and Christmas dawned the next day, both sides of the conflict came together in a strange new way.  Enemies looked directly into each others’ faces, shook hands, and respected one another as equals.  Each came to understood that his enemy was a human being, much the same as he was–and that each had his own hopes and dreams, a home, and family.  These men, wearing different uniforms, speaking different languages, and representing violently opposing views, found a way to lay down their arms and share something that transcended their differences.  For at least a few hours it seems, humanity returned to the front lines.  All that day, after burying and honoring the dead on both sides, the men shared stories, food, and photos of home. They played soccer and traded keepsakes.  They laughed.  They sang.  Together, in the midst of a war, they found a way to celebrate the season that reminds us that Love and Peace are among the most cherished of all things to blessed with in this life.

Unfortunately, as Christmas passed and the glowing spirit of this spontaneous armistice faded away, the ugliness of war returned.  The peaceful space that had briefly existed between to armies was torn asunder.  It wasn’t long before the crack of small arms fire, thud of artillery, and screams of the dying drowned out the echoes of songs and joyful laughter–but the fact that, for a time at least, songs and laughter could be heard at all among the trenches on that cold, dark Christmas Eve was clearly a miracle.  And it’s one that should always be remembered.

As we look forward to spending this Holiday Season with our own friends and loved ones, perhaps we may find a moment to reflect on this event and look within.  Perhaps we may find a way to overcome some of our own prejudices, the ones that make us feel so different and separate from other human beings.  Instead of seeing only differences and gaps to be bridged between us, perhaps we may begin to see and embrace our commonalities–that is, the things that we share, and begin to accept all fellow beings as our brothers and sisters.  While we may have been taught to see unfamiliar beliefs, geo-political borders, and cultural traditions as differences to resolve or challenges to be overcome, are they not simply opportunities to learn fresh, new ways of experiencing our beautiful world?  And what if we were to begin learning to accept them as such?

If human beings were always able to seek common ground and respect one another as individuals, perhaps conflicts like those surrounding the Christmas Armistice of 1914 would never again be necessary.  I, for one, know that it can be done.  After all, if the power of a Season and a song stopped a war once, it can certainly do so again!

May all the Joy, Wonder, and Peace of the Holiday Season be yours–not just today, but always. 

With Love,

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Remembering Infinity: April Foolishness


Laughter is all “fun and games”—until somebody gets hurt!

Laughter is all “fun and games”—until somebody gets hurt!

I used to love April Fool’s Day.  It was the perfect time to play a few pranks, tell a few jokes, or just clown around.  It was all “fun and games” until somebody (namely me) got hurt.  I know.  Much has been said about the value of laughter.  Indeed, it is often said that laughter is the best medicine.  But is laughter really all it’s cracked up to be?  When was the last time you saw “Laughter: 20 mg daily” on a prescription bottle?

Laughter hurts.  Seriously.

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve laughed so hard my sides hurt.  And have you ever laughed so hard you choked on a malted milk egg?  I have.  It’s not a fun time.  Then there was the time (at the tender age of eleven) when I had to undergo emergency surgery following an accident.  When my family came to visit me in the hospital after, I was so happy to see them, I couldn’t stop laughing.  I was literally and figuratively in stitches.  It hurt so bad they had to leave!  Oh, the agony.

But laughter isn’t just painful, it’s often embarrassing.  Have you ever burst out laughing over a whispered, private comment or a sudden, humorous thought at a socially awkward or inappropriate time, such as a funeral, solemn religious ceremony, or a job interview?  Polite, nervous laughter is one thing, but when a startlingly loud donkey snort slips out, it’s enough to make one want to crawl into a hole and die from disgrace.

And, where inopportune glee is a concern, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the issue of laundry.  What does laughter have to do with laundry, you ask?  Apparently quite a great deal—if you’re over 50 or your mirthful exercises temporarily overrides your body’s ability to retain its solid or liquid waste products.  If you’re at work or school and nowhere near a washing machine, a department store, or otherwise unable to swap out your undergarments for a clean pair, laughter can make for an awfully uncomfortable afternoon!

Finally, what about those times when something strikes you as being just hilarious—and no one else in the room “gets it”?  Despite any half-hearted and fruitless attempts to explain your genius, all you get in return are lots of raised eyebrows, sideways looks, and the imagined sound of crickets echoing in the silence.  Heck, in some of the more serious laughing episodes I’ve experienced, someone thought I laughed at them, took offense, and nearly punched me in the nose!

No, laughter isn’t the cure-all some will say it is.  It’s a fickle, mean-spirited creature that will endear you with its joy one moment, then make you “shart” and mortify you in another.  Unless you’re willing to pay the consequences, take my advice—don’t engage in any form of hilarity whatsoever.  It’s all just too dangerous.

It’s nothing but April Foolishness!

Respectfully,

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Remembering Infinity: Oak Island Treasure


What is the treasure that was so well-hidden and protected on Oak Island?

What is the treasure that was so well-hidden and protected on Oak Island?

When I was a young boy, I remember curling up cozily on a spare bed in an upstairs storage area at my grandmother’s house.  I spent many a dreary, foggy afternoon there, reading.  To me, it actually seemed more a library than a storage area—for it had shelves and bookcases filled with books of all kinds and a large wooden drafting desk in the middle of the room.  There were stacks of dusty old magazines, several kinds of encyclopedia sets, and a large collection of Reader’s Digest magazines.

I recall reading an article in one of the digests about one of the longest treasure hunts in history.  It was focused upon the small, wooded Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia in Canada.  The search for treasure there has reportedly been going on for more than 200 years—and it still continues today.  The article told of what was, to some, a lifetime effort to recover what is thought to be a treasure of enormous wealth.  Indications are that a concrete-protected vault exists, buried more than 150 feet in what is now known as the “Money Pit”.  The vault is rumored to contain not just material treasures such as ancient coins, gold artifacts, and precious stones, but perhaps even articles of profound religious and spiritual significance.

Unfortunately for searchers, an ingenious and complex system of obstructions and traps awaited them. During their determined efforts to solve the island’s mystery and recover the treasure, excavated tunnels collapsed or filled with seawater—and six men have thus far lost their lives.

When I first read the article, I was intrigued by the possibilities.  What could have been of such value that it was buried so carefully?  Who could have had the knowledge to develop such an elaborate system of traps and obstacles so far in the past?  Was it pirates or wealthy royal exiles, as the article suggested—or something else entirely? Many nights thereafter, I fell asleep pondering the riddle.  What are the deep, dark secrets that Oak Island has kept concealed for so long and at such a high human cost?

Since then, as do many childhood memories, the mystery of Oak Island simply faded into the shrouded mists of time.  I grew up, made a life for myself, and, rather recently, began refocusing my interest on all things spiritual and metaphysical.  My earnest study led me through a maze of esoteric teachings from a variety of ancient religions, Theosophical philosophies, and the New Age movement.  Throughout my explorations, I’ve found that much of the Gnostic material involves or makes reference to the Rosicrucian Order, Templar Knights, Freemasons, and other “secret” societies.  What I find quite compelling too, are the connections between these organizations and the Founding Fathers of our country, the United States of America.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their inspired experiment in Liberty began at approximately the same time as the Oak Island mystery.

Be that as it may, one can scarcely imagine my surprise when, some four decades later, I stumbled across a television show on the History Channel called “The Curse of Oak Island”.  The show follows the modern-day efforts of two brothers, Rick and Marty Lagina, as they take over the search for Oak Island treasure.  As it turns out, they too discovered the mystery in the Reader’s Digest article when they were boys—just as I had.  Their story, now playing out for the whole world to see, quickly brought back all the intrigue I once felt as I pored through that little magazine so many years ago.

The part of this story that amazes me most is the synchronicity of it all—not just the search or treasure itself, but the possible connections it may have with hidden spiritual knowledge and its timing in relation to my own search for the same.  As I once asked myself, I must now ask the same question.  Is this simply a case of hidden pirate treasure, or is it really something of far greater value?  Some say that there are many repositories of ancient, spiritual knowledge that have been hidden away—purposely left behind so that one day someone might find them and utilize them for the benefit of all Mankind.  I think, perhaps, that Oak Island is one of these.

All I know is that I’m on the edge of my seat—hoping to finally learn the Truth of this centuries-old mystery.  I’d like to applaud the dedication of the Lagina brothers, Dan Blankenship, and the many others who have given so much to the search for what has been hidden for so long beneath Oak Island’s soil.  I can’t help but feel that it may play out to be far more incredible story than anyone could possibly imagine. There’s only one thing that’s certain—only time will tell!

Respectfully,

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Remembering Infinity: Setting Your Intentions


A driver signals his or her intention to drive when he or she puts the car in gear.

A driver signals his or her intention to drive when he or she puts the car in gear.

There’s an old saying that states, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”  I’m not quite sure how to interpret that, other than to consider that some attempts to do well for others aren’t successful or backfire—and as an unintended consequence, do more harm than good.  But seriously, is that quote meant to discourage us from trying to do good things?  Or is it merely trying to make us think twice before we “set” our intentions on something?  I certainly hope it’s the latter.

Intentions are powerful things.  In fact, setting one’s intention is probably the most powerful thing one can do, short of actually taking action.  I liken this to putting one’s car into gear before releasing the brake—it’s a conscious, focused action that lets your car know that you’ve decided to go somewhere and you’re ready to go.  At this point, the only thing that’s stopping you from acting on your desire is you. Once you take your foot off the brake, the intended action is free to take on a life of its own.  Just like our driver, once you set your intentions in motion, it’s usually best to have your hands on the wheel, your foot near the brake, and your wits about you—just in case the situation starts to take you someplace you’d rather not go.

But intention is much more than simply preparing you to go somewhere.  It also signals the Universe that you’ve made a mindful decision, you’re ready to accept responsibility for that decision, and you’re fully prepared to act upon it.  I’ve found that intention also adds power to a choice.  If one waffles about before making a lukewarm decision to do something, then finally moves forward in a half-hearted attempt to accomplish it, the results are likely to be far less impactful than someone who says, “By God, I’m going to do this—even if it kills me!” I think even you can feel the energy difference between those two approaches, simply by reading the words.

I’ve been learning to use the power of intention more and more each day—even when I’m not planning to take any immediate or specific action.  When I see something that I previously might have considered to be outside my “sphere of influence”, say a bombing in another country that’s halfway across the globe, I’ll mentally set my intention to live in a world of Peace and Harmony.  Or if I see a situation where deceit or corruption is evident, I set my intention to live in a world where Truth and Justice prevail.

At the minimum, by doing these things, I’m making it quite clear to myself and Universe what my Free Will choices are.  I’m also preparing myself spiritually and mentally, so that if I’m ever given an opportunity to act upon these choices, I will—and when I do, I’ll have the full force of my intentions behind me.  And that, in my opinion, is a winning combination!

Respectfully,

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Remembering Infinity: Dreams in Sand


Dreams in Sand

Dreams in Sand

Fleeting, foggy,

lofty, grand.

Humble expressions—

dreams in sand.

 

Building, shaping,

waves rush in.

Smoothed by sea,

we build again.

 

First moats, then walls,

then towers high.

Ever higher,

Earth greets sky.

 

Stronger, taller—

Tide’s gone by.

The dreamer stands,

his castle dry.

 

Steadfast, strong, and

true to form,

dreams—like castles,

defy the storm.

 

So build your dreams,

as castles past—

on higher ground

they’re sure to last.

 

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Remembering Infinity: It’s Alive!


There is growing evidence to support the theory that everything, even the stones beneath our feet, is alive and conscious at some level.

There is growing evidence to support the theory that everything, even the stones beneath our feet, is alive and conscious at some level.

For some, the title of this post may bring to mind a scene from the horror movie classics—one in which a mad scientist is overjoyed in his success at bringing a monster to life in his laboratory.  Usually surrounded by beakers, test tubes, and a high-voltage light show, the scientist watches the once-dead creature slowly rise and shouts, “It’s alive! It’s alive!” But bringing the dead back to life isn’t exactly the topic of the day.  Instead, it’s more about seeing the world around us, even apparently inanimate objects, in a slightly different way.

Most would quickly agree that our environment is teeming with life—from the visible to the not-so-visible.  Of course, we see evidence of life all around us, each and every day.  Trees, animals, and even our fellow human beings are clearly living entities, as are the nearly invisible forms of bacteria, viruses, and the like.  But what about the many other things that also exist in our reality—things like clouds, water, rocks, and even the Earth itself?

Many ancient cultures recognized a life presence and consciousness that filled all things—even the objects many don’t consider to be “alive” today.  This presence was known as “The Great Spirit”—or what many today might simply consider “God”.  The work of a growing number of forward-thinkers (or perhaps “backward-thinkers” might actually be more appropriate), support this belief that all is alive and indeed conscious of itself at some level.

In a large number of cases, for instance, Quantum Hypnosis Healing Therapist (QHHT) pioneer and expert Dolores Cannon has regressed her clients, through deep levels of hypnosis, to describe events from their past lives.  Some of the information gleaned from these sessions has even been verified through subsequent research, thereby supporting its accuracy and the validity of this technique.  In a surprising number of cases, Cannon’s clients reported having conscious life experiences as bodies of water, rock formations, clouds, and even elemental substances.  Geologist and author Gregg Braden’s research supporting the theories of “quantum entanglement” also tends to support the concept that all physical matter is energetically connected and conscious, perhaps even to the point at which most would consider it truly alive.

My thoughts are that if one at all believes in any form of Supreme Being—one that is conscious, intelligent, omnipresent, and omnipotent, then one must accept that this Being doesn’t just create everything or permeate everything, it is everything.  If that is truly the case, then it only stands to reason that everything—all matter, must be alive and conscious at some level.  I’ll agree that some things, such as rocks, clouds, and water may not seem to be at the same level of consciousness as a human being, animal, or plant—but I’m certainly more open to the possibility that sentient life is far more prolific than many might think.

While I won’t be hooking up lightning arrestors or trying to resurrect the dead in my garage any time soon, I’m growing more and more confident that our Native American friends and their ancestors have this one right.  The argument that all matter is alive and conscious does make sense to me—and I do like the thought of consciousness existing in many forms not typically acknowledged by our limited human understanding.

In the end, I guess it’s just one more of those things that makes you go, “Hmmm…”

Respectfully,

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Remembering Infinity: The “Ripple Effect”


Good deeds are like ripples on a pond—each spreads out to inspire and move others into like action.

Good deeds are like ripples on a pond—each spreads out to inspire and move others into like action.

Quite some time ago, perhaps a year or two, I found myself rather frustrated at the apparent state of the world in which we live.  Economic downturns, political bickering, global conflicts, and society’s apparent obsession with celebrity, material wealth, and petty “reality television” drama left me with the feeling that our planet was hopelessly caught in a downward spiral—much like the one that results when the handle is pushed down on a toilet.

It wasn’t too long afterward, however, that a sequence of unexpected events changed my point of view (and that’s a whole other story).  Along with this change in attitude, I began to take ownership in the creation of the kind of future I wished to see.  I decided I would start changing the world—even if I had to do it all by myself!

I know what you must be thinking, because at the time, I was thinking it myself.  How could a regular guy like me possibly change a world that’s populated by more than 7 billion people?

I began to think about others in history who had made a difference.  I thought about Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Graham Bell, and Rosa Parks.  I thought about countless others, like Wilbur and Orville Wright, Mahatma Ghandi, and Mother Theresa.  Weren’t they people too, just like you and me? Of course!  These individuals became famous for their extraordinary impact on our world, but if they could bring about such positive change, why couldn’t I?  Why couldn’t you?  For that matter, why couldn’t anyone?

There’s no question that every little thing we do—no matter how small we may perceive it to be, changes the world in some way.  If we could only put more thought and a little bit of daily effort into making the world a better place, we might be surprised at how quickly things change.  As if struck by lightning, I felt like I suddenly knew the secret.  We just need to start with ourselves and do it—one good deed at a time!*

So let’s think about that for a moment.  Suppose you’re walking down the sidewalk and you pick up and properly dispose of a piece of trash that someone carelessly tossed away.  Several people see this and are inspired to do the same thing later in the day.  Several more people see these people behaving selflessly and they decide to do the same—and so on, and so on, and so on.

A good deed might be as simple as offering a nod and a friendly smile to someone passing by.  It could be a kind word of encouragement or an unexpected compliment to a coworker.  Perhaps it’s a small gesture of respect—like holding a door for someone, turning the car stereo down a notch or two at a stoplight, or letting a harried mother and her infant go ahead of you in line at the grocery store.  Or it might even be something helpful—like helping someone carry groceries or change a flat tire.  We might not realize it, but all these little things have a “ripple effect”—just like the tiny ripples that form and spread when a stone is tossed into still water.  Each good deed touches another human being, who touches another, who touches another, and so on.

Just imagine how much better things would be if everyone did just one nice thing for someone else each day!  Even better, what if everyone made it their habit to do more and more kind, respectful things for others every day?  War, poverty, and hunger might cease to exist, as well as pollution, crime, and all forms of abuse.  Now those are some changes I think we can all appreciate!

So please don’t think for even one single minute that “common”, ordinary people like you or me can’t change the world—because, in fact, we can.  If we all work together, each in his or her own, unique way, perhaps all our “ripples” will build the waves that shape a brilliant, new future.

Who knows?  We may even be able to create an entirely new kind of world—and wouldn’t that be nice?

Respectfully,

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* Some may be interested to note that, after I wrote this sentence in my rough notes, I just “happened” to glance up at the clock.  I wasn’t too surprised to see that it read 11:11 (that kind of thing has been happening more and more to me lately).  I guess it’s just another of those synchronistic events to show us that we’re never truly alone!