Recovering Your Self in 2012

During the last year or two I lost sight of my inner self.  

Not the self I call "I" --the entity that wants 'things' like computers, money, recognition and praise-- but the deeper self I feel to be there --the entity that wants to just Be, to exist.  But to exist in Love.

Rumi described that Love as God, and living in that state of Love as being God.  

Heresy you say? That would make Ralph Also Emerson also a heretic, and maybe he was.  But I like him anyway.  In his poem Gnothi Seauton (Greek for Know Thyself, click here to read the whole poem) he wrote in part:

God dwells in thee.

It is no metaphor nor parable,

It is unknown to thousands, and to thee;

Yet there is God.

One of my favorite prophets, Zarathustra, said that to live a good, happy, productive life means to

"think good thoughts, say good words, and do good deeds."

The founder of Reike, Mikao Usui, prescribed happiness  as being achievable in a similar manner, one day at a time:

At least for today:

         Do not be angry,

      Do not worry,

    Be grateful,

            Work with diligence,

           Be kind to people.

Let's do it, every day, together, in 2012, and make our true selves happy as we are kind and productive and grateful!

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TWO SPECIAL ITEMS FOR 2012:

I.  A remembrance of my younger brother Alex who passed away on October 8 of this year.  It awaits development of some of his photos from slides. (Also see somewhat related items 21, 22, and 23, below)

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II.  A requiem for Sitting Bull Falls as it is pictured here. SO VERY, VERY SAD! FOUND OUT THIS JUNE THAT BECAUSE THE 2010 FIRE KILLED VIRTUALLY ALL TREES IN THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE, IT WILL NOT HAVE MATURE TREES  AGAIN FOR SEVERAL HUMAN GENERATIONS!

But some of the Texas madrone trees will, apparently, come back contrary to what I was told when visiting the falls on 16 June 2012:

From the Lincoln National Forest website: "Many of the Texas Madrone trees died from the fire, and some are resprouting from the roots indicating the wildland fire was not as severe down by the water’s edge.  Only one Texas Madrone tree has re-sprouted from the trunk and branches which just might make it the ‘grandfather tree” in the area one day."

1

Carlsbad Caverns: a special tour of the "Scenic Rooms:" the King's Palace, the Papoose Room, the Queen's Chamber, and the Green Lake Room.  Speleothems up close and personal!

The same scenic rooms cave photos can also be seen as a slide-show set to music, by downloading it here. It is less than 11 minutes long.

2

Impressions on reading  Anne Rice's Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana.  An overall positive review that starts with a discussion of Rice's walking away from her church, and my own somewhat similarly motivated self-unchurching some time ago.

3

Impressions on reading Beyond Fundamentalism, Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization by Reza Aslan (Random House 2010, originally published as How to Win a Cosmic War). I found this book to be filled with a hope that I can't connect with, not at this time.

4

Love Burning in the Soul; The Story of the Christian Mystics, from Saint Paul to Thomas Merton, by James Harpur (New Seeds, 2005).  This book gave me a chance to revisit some of my favorite mystics and their messages.

5

A book review turned into an endorsement: Eric Zuesse's Christ's Ventriloquists turns Biblical inerrancy completely on its head by showing quite convincingly that Paul's new religion was a fraudulent misappropriation of a Jesus who was born Jewish, lived Jewish, and died Jewish.  Note that Eric's last name is Zuesse, not Zeusse.  [Also see item 12, below.]

6

Heaven, Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife, by Lisa Miller is the most perfect reflection of my own beliefs, at this time, that I have yet come across.  In fact, it so perfectly reflects my own feelings that I may just stop looking at this subject for a while. To me this book was like a great mutli-course meal, and I am satisfied, even satiated. (Some additions made on 2/12/12)

7

Next: a walk in a park: up a drainage and down a trail in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  Expect it in late March.

8

There is nothing quite like a new Elaine Pagels book to bring cheer to a new year.   Her latest is Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation and it is full of wonderful insghts, that in one instance compare very well with Eric Zuesse's views (same link as item 5, above) on the very strained relations between Jewish-Christians, like the John that wrote Revelations, and Paul's Christians.

9

A short Winter 2012 visit to a place on the Colorado River where the ashes of three Van Luiks have been scattered.

10

A walk through burned out desert in Carlsbad Caverns National Park: in two parts, one walk in February 2012, the other in March, 2012, to see progress being made in re-growth of vegetation.

11

A witchcraft outbreak in the Aquiu Pueblo of New Mexico in the 18th century, compared with witchcraft outbreaks in Salem, Massachussetts and elsewhere and based on the 2006 book: The WITCHES of ABIQUIU, THE GOVERNOR, THE PRIEST, THE GENIZARO INDIANS, AND THE DEVIL by Malcolm Ebright and Rick Hendricks.

12

Paul, Jewish Christians, and Islam, a review of several books in the context of Eric Zuesse's book linked under item 5, above. [Augmented after its first posting to respond to an email from Eric Zuesse.]

13

Two short hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. (1) The Devil's Hall, and (2) the Frijole Ranch's two nearby springs: (a) Manzanita Spring and (b) Smith Spring.

15

A break-through or a break-down?  Why I stopped striving for a denouement between two sides of my self and simply accepted how I am, divided.  With copious references to mystical works by Marguerite Porete and Jan van Ruisbroec regarding the Dark Night of the Soul and the Divine Unity experience that comes after.

16

One long hike, for me, in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, to see The Bowl and to look down from Hunter's Peak.  (August 10.)

17

And a week later, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park's Bowl again, but this time ascending up Bear Canyon, a wonderfully scenic canyon, in places.  I ought to do it again in Fall.  (August 18.)  

18

A map of Guadalupe Mountains National Park showing the various hikes taken in that park over the last few years.

19

One more hike in the Guadalupe Mountains, from Dog Canyon to the McKittrick Canyon Trail

20

A final (for this year, no doubt) hike in the Guadalupe Mountains, hiking along McKittrick Ridge  to close a map-gap (see Item 18's sub-item 3)

21

A link to the Winter 2012 issue of the "Focus on Carlsbad" magazine which has a story about our parents, my father mainly, that my younger brother Alex was looking forward to seeing since he provided some of the photos. Alas, he did not live to see it.

22

A discussion of the religious roots of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (PDF file), sparked by retelling the story of our parents's wartime experiences for the "Focus on Carlsbad" article linked above.

23

 What I make of the story of Bernadette of Lourdes and her visions.  [Pages 3 and 4 were updated on 9 December.]

Photos of Nevers, where she died (visited in October 2012),

and of Lourdes, where she grew up (planned visit in October 2013).  (Obviously the Lourdes part will be completed in late 2013).

24

An ambivalent discussion on religious coercion,  related to the Bernadette story.

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