Remembering Infinity

Spirituality | Metaphysics | Consciousness | Life


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Remembering Infinity: The Compassion of 9-11


When I think of 9-11, I’m humbled and amazed by the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

When I think of 9-11, I’m humbled and amazed by the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

It’s hard for me to imagine that fifteen years have already passed since the New York skyline was streaming with smoke and two gleaming symbols of American might were torn asunder. In many ways, the destruction the world witnessed on September 11, 2001 spelled the end of humanity’s innocence. Millions of people all around the world watched in abject horror as shattered glass, building debris, and the bodies of living human beings rained down on the panic-choked streets of Manhattan.

Although I was thousands of miles away at the time, I’ll never forget how it felt that day. Unable to tear my eyes away from the television as the tragic scenes from New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. played out on the screen, I felt intense and unrelenting waves of disbelief, anger, and grief. On that one fateful day, nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children lost their lives because of the hate, intolerance, and arrogance of a very few. What struck me as being especially bitter, however, was the death of over 400 of our finest first responders, our fire fighters and police officers. It was they who made the greatest sacrifice—for they were ones who rushed into the fray for the sole purpose of saving the lives of others.

In my community, the fire department honors the loss of these responders every September 11th by placing a small flag with a biographical profile for each on the firehouse lawn. Impressed by the display on our way by last night, my son and I stopped for a few moments to pay our respects. As I made my way slowly through the hundreds of flags, I thought about these fine men and women, their surviving colleagues, friends, and families. I could scarcely imagine the horrors they experienced that day and my heart was filled to overflowing with compassion for all of them.

When I awakened to a perfect, brilliantly blue sky this morning and thought about how I felt, the word “cathartic” immediately came to mind. It’s not a word I usually use and, to be quite honest, I had to look it up to be sure what it meant. The dictionary generally defines “cathartic” as a purging or releasing of emotional tensions. The Greek root meaning for this word is something on the order of “cleansing”. I’m not exactly sure why, but I felt the word was perfect for the way I felt. For some reason, I felt a strange and profound sense of peace over the events that occurred fifteen years ago today.

As I sometimes do on this day, I sat down to watch the movie, “World Trade Center”, starring Nicholas Cage and Michael Peña. It’s the true story of New York Port Authority Police Sergeant John McLoughlan and Officer Will Jimeno, both of whom became trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers fell. Both survived and were rescued, rather miraculously it seems, by two former U.S. Marines who were unofficial volunteers at the site. As I watched the movie again, this time I was able to see it through a slightly different viewpoint than I ever have before. Today, I saw it through the eyes of one who has been spiritually healed.

I suddenly realized that, for me, the cause of this tragedy didn’t matter nearly so much as the fact that millions of people from across the globe came together as one family—all of them filled with Love and Compassion for so many others who were suffering.

At the end of the movie, Sergeant McLoughlan (played by Nicholas Cage) narrates over scenes of a reunion party that was held two years after his rescue. As he and Officer Jimeno are welcomed by their guests and loved ones at the reunion, Sergeant McLoughlan says, “Nine-eleven showed us what human beings are capable of.  The evil? Yeah, sure. But it also brought out the goodness we forgot could exist. People taking care of each other; for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It’s important for us to talk about that good. To remember. ‘Cause I saw a lot of good that day.”

To this day, I’m humbled and amazed at the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I’m held in utter awe by the selfless courage and compassion of those who risked and lost everything for the sake of people they didn’t even know. That is the face and future of humanity. That is the hope for a new world—and it’s one where such cruelty and such heroism need never be repeated. As compassionate human beings, we can rise above the differences that separate us.

We are one people, one spirit, one family.  And it’s long past time we started acting that way.

With Love,

stargazericon

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Remembering Infinity: All Lives Matter


All are loved beyond measure--even the tiniest house finch.

All are loved beyond measure–even the tiniest house finch.

Several days ago, I had the privilege of rescuing a tiny young house finch whose feet and legs had become tightly bound together by several strands from her own nest. She had been flapping her wings in a desperate attempt to escape for quite some time and was hopelessly trapped, a dozen or so feet above the ground, under some solar panels where I work.

As soon as I heard about the bird’s predicament, I knew I had to help. I borrowed a tall ladder and soon found myself perched rather shakily at the top, sweating in near 100-degree heat. It was no easy task—trying to free her gently without causing her further injury.  Her little legs were crusted with dried blood and a part of one of her wings was rubbed raw by her struggles, but she fought bravely against her unforgiving bonds and me as well.

Working to free her, I was impressed by her incredible will to survive.  As I felt her frantic heart pounding wildly against my hand, I suddenly felt an intense Love and Compassion for this small, seemingly insignificant creature.  I was instantly and profoundly humbled, for she had reminded me that the gift of life should be cherished—in all its many forms.  It occurred to me that this is an important lesson many human beings must still not understand, for so many of us still continue to harm one another (and so many other of Nature’s creatures too).

While I carefully pulled the nest apart and gazed into this little bird’s frightened black eyes, I thought about the reasons so many humans seem to have such little respect for life. I came to realize that, in many ways, this callous disregard is just a dark shadow from some very old and clearly outdated ways of thinking and reacting. For thousands of years, mankind has somehow come to see itself as being completely separate from everything else. Like this little bird, from our earliest roots the drive to survive has taught us to be suspicious or even hostile to those who are not familiar to us.

In our troubled human history, it hasn’t been unusual at all to see new neighbors fear, compete with, and even kill one another—simply because they perceived themselves as being different from one another. Unfortunately, even those with close familial ties had (and still have) no guarantees. Those who’ve had disabilities, behaved differently, or somehow failed to meet “cultural standards” were often ridiculed, beaten, shunned from society, or even killed. In some situations, this habit of discrimination may have been seen as a way to limit the spread of illness or disease, but in far more cases these primitive fears and their resulting brutality were completely unnecessary and utterly baseless.

As shards of glass will scatter when a window pane is dropped upon a hard surface, humanity itself has become shattered. And, while the human population has grown, so it seems have our differences.  Tribes became clans, clans became villages, villages became cities, and cities became states and nations.  Instead of seeing our differences as beautiful and unique expressions of Creation and accepting them as such, we continued to cling to our old, familiar biases.  Today, people allow themselves to be eternally divided by their own beliefs and allegiances.  When we aren’t divided by national origin, language, or culture, then we’re divided by race, skin color, religious belief, or political philosophy. If these differences aren’t enough, we divide ourselves by age, physical appearance, sexual orientation, and gender.  We’re even judged and segregated by the kind of cars we drive, the brands of clothing we wear, the sports teams and celebrities we worship, and the type of “smart phones” or technology over which we obsess.  And the lists of things that separate us just goes on and on…

To make matters worse, recent tensions between some members of our community and the police have led to even greater divisiveness.  Resulting slogans of “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” seem only to have fanned the flames of conflict, as do claims that the phrase, “All Lives Matter” somehow disrespects or minimizes the feelings of those who are suffering from the violence on both sides of the issue.

Seriously, has it come to that? Have things gotten so bad that even those with the utmost respect for life are now vilified and attacked for their Compassion?

I would suggest that if we are to evolve as a species, we must stop looking at one another through the myopic lenses of ignorance, prejudice, and fear.  At some point we must begin seeing each other as fellow travelers, all sharing a life together on this beautiful Earth home of ours.

It’s now well past time for us to wake up!  It’s time for us to end this insanity! It’s time for us to see that generations of insecurity, competition, and conflict have left us all struggling to find common ground and the understanding that, when it all comes down to it, we are all one race.  Differences are wonderful, of course, for they make us each stand out from one another–just as the individual grains of sand appear different upon a tropical beach. But in the end, we are One Tribe.  One world.   One people.  One Spirit.

It took a chance encounter with a small bird for me to fully understand that all are important.  All are equal.  And all are loved beyond measure—even the tiniest house finch.

So please…let’s learn something from the struggle of this little feathered creature.  Let us remember that all life is precious and irreplaceable, all life is sacred, and all lives truly matter.

With Love,

stargazericon

PS:  In the end, I was finally able to free this little bird and take her to a local wildlife facility for treatment.  Several days later, I was disappointed to learn that she didn’t survive her difficult ordeal. While I am saddened by her loss, I’m profoundly grateful to her for reminding me how wonderful, fleeting, and precious life is. And I’ll continue to honor her gift every each and every day by appreciating the Life Spirit in all things—no matter how great or small they may be.

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“Motherly” Love


Happy Mother’s Day to all who unselfishly nurture and care for others—just as any mother would.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who unselfishly nurture and care for others—just as any mother would.

On this Mother’s Day, as we think about, acknowledge, and honor all the beautiful souls who have brought life into the world, I’d like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all women—and indeed, the sacred aspects of femininity that exist everywhere!

Whether or not they have physically conceived, carried, or given birth to a child, there have been countless examples of blessed beings (both men and women) who have embraced what many perceive to be expressly feminine or so-called “motherly” traits. These often include such virtues as empathy, compassion, acceptance, and creativity. We see examples of this every day—when people (and even animals) care for, nurture, and share unconditional love with others.

I’m reminded of a pond near my home where a large goose has, for several years now, taken on a role as protector of many young ducklings. The goose, who is clearly not the progenitor of these youngsters, follows them and their mothers around, keeping a wary eye out for would-be predators and fearlessly warding them off. Although the goose is not a mother herself, it has quite unselfishly taken on such a role. To me, this exemplifies the finest qualities of motherhood and unconditional love.

It’s important for us to understand that, although our physical bodies may reflect a certain gender, we humans are most spiritually balanced when we embrace and honor both our Divine Masculine and our Divine Feminine sides. This simply means that we can allow ourselves to freely express whichever aspect is needed and most appropriate for a given situation, regardless of any preconceived notions about gender or any perceived societal role.

For far too many millennia, humankind has denied, persecuted, subjugated, and suppressed the feminine. This has resulted in a patriarchal modern society where women and the Divine Feminine must struggle to find equality in religion, government, industry, community, and even family. Although much progress has been made, particularly in the past few decades, it’s high time for all women—indeed, all human beings, to step forward in their power as Divine, Sovereign Individuals. All must be free to become the highest expression of themselves, regardless of gender.

So on this “Mother’s” Day, I’d like to recognize and honor not just all the moms out there, but the beautiful spirit of “Motherhood” that beats powerfully in the hearts of so many others. Whether you’re a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, or any other caregiver, it doesn’t matter if you are male, female, or someone’s biological mother. If you’re caring for someone as any mother would, you serve as a shining light and nurturing example of all that is right in the world.

Motherly Love. It isn’t just for mothers anymore!

Respectfully,

stargazericon

P.S.: Thanks, Mom!

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Remembering Infinity: “Let It Begin With Me…”


Let there be Peace on Earth.

        Let there be Peace on Earth.

Ever since I was young, I’ve always felt that I was somehow a little different from others my age. I was shy and withdrawn growing up, never quite fitting in with others—and I still have a tendency to be that way, even some decades later as an adult.

By all outward appearances, I was a typical tow-headed, spindly-legged kid. What made me stand out the most however, were the rather obvious facts that my mom cut my hair herself and that I was dressed quite a bit differently than anyone else. While most kids my age were sporting t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, I had to wear more conservative button-down shirts, slacks, and leather dress shoes with brass buckles. Unfortunately, these differences and my quiet nature seemed to make me the perfect target for bullies.

Since both my parents needed to work to make ends meet, I grew up  as a “latch-key kid” in a working-class neighborhood in San Francisco.  Often left to manage on my own, I’d walk the several blocks to and from our 1920’s brick apartment building to school.  Most afternoons after school let out, I’d let myself into our empty apartment using a key my parents had hidden near the back kitchen stairs. Unfortunately, my daily travels took me past a smaller stucco duplex where a classmate named “Raymond” lived. Raymond and I had been friends in kindergarten, but somehow the passage of the next grade or two found us bitter enemies. As the result of some undoubtedly childish disagreement—the details of which completely escape me now, Raymond apparently made it his personal mission to taunt and threaten me any time he could. Most days, I would try to avoid crossing paths with him by racing out of school as quickly as I could or by unpredictably changing my route home.

Sometimes however, these efforts didn’t work—and on those days, Raymond and his friends would follow me home from school, shouting insults and even throwing things at me the entire way. Then, when I was almost home, they would quickly surround me like a pack of snarling wolves. Raymond, who was a full head shorter than me, had small scars on his face from previous altercations with others. He’d ball up his fists and glare contemptuously at me. “Come on, pussy!” He’d shout angrily. “Come on…do something! Fight me! You know you want to!”

Rumors around school were that Raymond and his friends carried pocket knives, so I had no desire whatsoever to be involved with any of them. And, truth be told, I was terrified. Most of the time, they would simply knock my textbooks out of my hands and laugh as they walked away. Sometimes they would push me down and jostle each other roughly as I picked myself and my books up and ran home in tears. And, if things weren’t bad enough, it was even more humiliating when there were other kids (especially girls) around.

I couldn’t understand what I had done to deserve the kind of treatment I received and, to make matters even worse, my own household wasn’t immune to discord either. I remember many nights, lying in my closet-like bedroom with my hands over my ears, crying myself to sleep because my parents were screaming at each other on the other side of our thin apartment walls.

In the end, my parents’ temporary “cease-fire” and the city’s new policies on mandatory interschool busing (where troubled kids were sent to different schools in an effort to curb school violence) forced my parents to move. They bought a comfortable home in the suburbs, where things were much better. I still had trouble fitting in as “the new kid”, but at least the kids in my new school were a bit more tolerant of those who were different—that and the fact that I’d finally had enough of being a victim. When I finally began standing up for myself, the few bruises and black eyes I received thereafter were but a small price to pay for the peace I eventually found in knowing I that would be left alone.

In recent years as I’ve looked back on these experiences, I’ve come to understand and see things a bit differently. One of the things I now recall was that Raymond had come from a troubled home himself. With an abusive father and older brother, he had learned to fight—not just for survival, but for his own self-esteem. And, in being bullied himself, he had learned to become a bully. Another personal revelation was the discovery that these episodes were important catalysts for my eventual growth. While I would not want to relive them, nor would I wish these kinds of situations upon anyone else, I’m nonetheless grateful for their bitter lessons.

Through these and other new understandings, I’ve been able to find forgiveness for Raymond—and indeed, for all the others who seemed to find pleasure in my pain. And I take great satisfaction in knowing that I’ve done everything I can to stop the ripples of conflict, hatred, and retribution that such violence often perpetuates. I’m quite thankful that I’ve been able to let these kinds of behavior stop with me.

It struck me as being rather strange, but as I was writing the last few lines of this post I suddenly remembered a song I learned for a holiday performance in the 4th or 5th grade. The song, written by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller and popular in the early 1970’s, was called, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”. It begins and ends with the words, “Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” These are important words, for if we were all to live them, no more children would have to run home in fear—and no more mothers or fathers would have to bury a child killed in violence or war.

So why don’t we all agree to take a stand for Peace? Right now—and in every new moment, let it begin with us.

With Love,

stargazericon

Note:

I had an unusual dream last night and, while I hadn’t intended to publish this for a week or two, something about the dream prompted me to post it today instead. In my dream, it seemed as if the world had descended into utter chaos. Parts of the city were burning around me and large numbers of people were fighting one another in the streets. Others, terrified, were fleeing the violence and their homes.

In the midst of all this destruction, one person stopped. He stood in the middle of the street and looked about with tears in his eyes. Quietly at first, but with growing strength and compassion for those around him, he began to sing the words of the song mentioned above. Soon, his powerful voice was carried with the wind—and others, touched and inspired by his courage, stopped to join him. The wave of emotion from their heartfelt song drifted through the urban canyons, soared to the heavens, and gently touched the hearts of all could hear.

And then, something wonderful happened.

Those engaged in violent struggle stopped. They dropped their weapons and fists, suddenly overcome by feelings of sadness and shame. Those in headlong flight no longer felt afraid, so they stopped running. In that brief moment, everyone finally understood that what they did to another human being, they ultimately did to themselves. In that brief moment, all their hate, anger and fear faded away. And instead of fighting and hurting one another, they began helping one another. They treated each others’ wounds. They shared food, clothing, and shelter. They helped put out fires and began to rebuild.

In my dream, all it took was one small miracle—in the form of one person and a song, to change the world. And things would never quite be the same again.

For those who don’t know the song, a wonderful version sung by Vince Gill may be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_DxNpW1kHQ

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