Monday, January 30, 2012

UNCOVER YOUR DIVINITY - Where to Search for God?

Man’s search for the Divine and his longing for meaning and oneness have been expressed in both civil as well as spiritual life.  In many ways we cannot separate one from the other, even though some people mandate the separation of church and state.  Whole cultures have been built around spiritual founders who have influenced all aspects of life. 
The general definition for Divinity is the study of religion or the quality of being divine. 

“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.”
~ Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

There are many religions and infinite belief systems among the world population.  Traditionally, religions were the vehicle for people to gather around to worship God.  The meaning of religion is, according to the Webster’s New World Dictionary:
Latin - relegio – reverence for the gods, holiness;
Latin - religare – to bind together or to reconnect. 
Most religions have a belief in the divine as a superhuman power to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator and ruler of the universe; or any specific system of belief, worship, or conduct.

Let’s take a look at some of the major religions:
Christianity – is a monotheistic faith formed on the basis of the life and teachings of Jesus.  His teachings have been accounted for in the New Testament of the bible.  After only 3 years of public ministry, he was able to lay a foundation of spiritual salvation through his sacrifice on the cross.
Judaism – is a teaching which has been handed down through the Old Testament based on the traditions of Abraham and his tribes.  Isaac who was one of Abraham’s sons, had a son name Jacob who became the father of the Israelites. Followers of Judaism believe in one God and follow the Ten Commandments.

“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them to discover it within themselves.”
GalileoGalilei (1564-1642),  Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher.

Islam – The belief of Islam is found in the Koran which tells us that there is one God, Allah, and that his prophet is Mohammed who is the founder of their faith.  The roots of Islam come from Ishmael who was a son of Abraham.
Confucianism – is a teaching based on the philosophy of Confucius who lived in China during 6th century before Christ.  It includes principles of morality and cultural values.   

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Buddhism – originated with Buddha in India during the 6th century BC.  Buddha taught self-discovery and to overcome suffering (the four noble truth).   Buddhists don’t believe in a personal God.
Hinduism - Hindus believe in one creative Force, Brahma, and many smaller deities.  Their main belief is reincarnation, which is to carry out karma.

In our search of divinity, looking into different religions may not be enough.  I like to share a short story which has its origin in a Hindu legend:

There is a Hindu legend about a time when all humans were gods, but they abused that divinity. They so abused it that Brahma, the chief god, decided to take it away from them and hide it where they would never find it again.
Where to hide it, became the big question. The lesser gods were called into council to consider this question: “Where shall we hide humanity’s divinity?” The council said, “We will bury humanity’s divinity deep in the earth,” but Brahma said, “No that will not do; one day they will dig down deep into the earth and will find it.”
Then they said, “We will sink their divinity into the deepest ocean.” Again Brahma replied, “No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the deepest waters, and search the ocean bed and find it.”
Then the lesser gods said, “We will take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” But again Brahma replied, “No, for eventually humans will climb every high mountain on earth; they will be sure some day to find it and take it up again.”
Then the lesser gods gave up and concluded, “We do not know where to hide it, for it seems there is no place on the earth or in the sea that humans will not eventually reach.” Then Brahma said, “Here is what we will do with humanity’s divinity. “We will hide it deep down in humans themselves; they will never think to look for it there.”
Ever since then, the legend concludes, humans have been going to and fro throughout the earth, climbing, digging, diving, exploring, and searching for something already within themselves. The divinity within humanity is still the best-kept secret of the ages.
I like this story because it shows us that we have what we are looking for already within us.  From my understanding the definition of divinity is the capacity to give and receive love.  Divinity describes our original true nature and our God-given potential for fulfillment and happiness.

I used to think that life is a journey with the destination of being “perfect.”  I understand now that it is in journey itself where we experience life and in the “being-ness” which is the present moment; kind of like “acting as if.” It is in the process of everyday experiences that we realize our DIVINITY.  We don’t have to look for it, rather we have to unearth our true original heart and mind by emulating the one God has send during this time. 

"Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the byproduct of one's surrender to a person other than oneself."
~ Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) 

Religions have provided a framework and community for the practices of loving and serving others.  The religions which have emulated God’s principles and practiced a sacrificial life have survived for thousands of years.

The common questions all people are asking:

Who am I?

Why am I here?

How can I be happy?

How can I understand and fulfill my full potential?

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”

~ Matthew 13:44

In our desire to uncover our divinity we cannot stop until we feel and experience the love of God in everyday life.  The power of love video gives you a glimpse of how to discover it:

God is our Heavenly parent, the father and mother who has only our best interest in mind.  They created us in their own image, male and female they created us (Gen. 1:26).  Throughout history (God’s story), God has been searching for a man and a woman who can represent them here on earth.  All of the major faiths have been started by a single man.  What we need is the example of parents, the representation of a father and a mother here on earth.  Could it be that the predictions of the coming of a Messiah, return of Christ, Avatar, or modern day prophet which the above mentioned religions are waiting for, appear in form of parents, truly representing God’s masculinity and femininity here on earth?  That sounds to me like a good reason to start a “NEW Age” and the blueprint for a great family. 

For the past 39 years I have been studying and living according to the teaching of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Hak Ja Han Moon.  In their teaching I have found my own divinity and how to build a wonderful, healthy family.

“Why do we seek justification by faith, justification by works, and justification through attendance? Without being justified you cannot distinguish between good and evil. The evil world and the world of goodness would not be separated. What is the standard of righteousness? It is God. What God believes, how He works and attends is the standard. Why is that so? Satan cannot accuse righteous people who resemble God. If you create an environment in which God's faith, works, and standard of attendance lives through you, then Satan cannot intervene. Even if you are within the satanic realm, if a righteous standard is created that enables you to be with God in such an environment, Satan will withdraw from there.”
 ~ Rev. Sun Myung Moon sermon from 2-15-1987

Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome to the Year of the Black Water Dragon

According to the Chinese Zodiac we just entered into the Year of the Black Water Dragon (January 23, 2012).  The Black Water Dragon brings happiness, fertility and success.  It is also favorable for the establishment of a family.  Historically, Chinese hoped to have children during Dragon years.  The Dragon personality is similar to the Lion character, considered to be smart and bold.  Although dragons are strong and decisive, they are not manipulative or sly.  Dragons don’t compromise and set a high standard for themselves.  They enjoy being in command.  Sounds to me, we will have a group of excellent leaders in another twenty years or so. 
Dragons are the symbols of protection and decorate ancient monuments and buildings.
What’s the meaning of the black water dragon?
The year of the dragon comes every twelve years, but the water dragon only returns every 60 years.  There are five elements: earth, fire, metal, water and wood.  Each element rules for one lunar year:
·         02/19/1904 to 02/03/1905, ruled by wood 
·         02/03/1916 to 01/22/1917, ruled by fire
·         01/23/1928 to 02/09/1929, ruled by earth
·         02/08/1940 to 01/26/1941, ruled by metal
·         01/27/1952 to 02/13/1953, ruled by water
·         02/13/1964 to 02/01/1965, ruled by wood
·         01/31/1976 to 02/17/1977, ruled by fire
·         02/17/1988 to 02/05/1989, ruled by earth
·         02/05/2000 to 01/23/2001, ruled by metal
·         01/23/2012 to 02/09/2013, ruled by water
To make sense of their surroundings and seasonal changes people have been using counting systems or epochs.  Some followed the moon, some counted the days of the sun; others went by the rainy season or their culture events.  That was all good when the cultures and countries were isolated and uneducated.
In our modern times the Gregorian calendar serves as an international standard for civil use.  The Gregorian calendar was first adapted by Pope Gregory XIII on February 24, 1582.  It took about 400 years until it was world-wide accepted.  Even though this calendar has been accepted for commercial purposes most of Asia is still following the lunar calendar.
Adoption of the Christian Calendar
The ChristianCalendar follows mostly the Gregorian calendar.  The Gregorian calendar developed out of the Julian calendar where the differences were mainly in the discrepancy of the length of the tropical year (the length of time the sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of season, as seen from the earth) and their rules for calculating Easter.  Another purpose for the Gregorian calendar is that it is ecclesiastical.  It regulates the ceremonial cycles of the Catholic and Protestant churches.
Only history will show which calendar will be more suitable for mankind in the future.  2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus the Christ walked the earth.  After his appearance here on earth mankind calculated the ages BC (before Christ) and AC (after Christ), disregarding of which calendar they used.  What kind of being was Jesus that he had such an incredible influence on history?  Biblical history has recorded parallels which symbolically reach as far back as Adam and Eve.  The bible calculates 2,000 years from Adam and Eve to Abraham, who was the father of three main religions today: Christians, Jews and Islamists.  There was another 2,000 years from Abraham to Jesus.  From Jesus until today is another 2,000 years.  Many religions, including the Eastern faiths are waiting for their Messiah, Christ, Mohammed return, Avatar, during the years of eschatology.   
One thing for sure, the Second Advent will occur for all people.  The Lord will decide which calendars to use and which traditions to follow.
In the light of the Year of the Water Dragon, 2012 is a critical year for humanity.  The changes are not just happening on the world stage, with economic upheavals, political unrests, natural disasters, or astronomical realignments.  The greater changes are taking place in peoples’ minds.  We are entering a spiritual age and everyone will eventually experience the SHIFT and enjoy the new aliveness.  The Chinese calendar predicts the spiritual end of “this world.”  During the year of the dragon we can discover our true self, explore our true potential and practice our psychic powers.  As an astrological cycle, the black water dragon indicates change, but with a measure of calm, sensibility and prudence.  The black dragon year began today, January 23, 2012 and will end February 9, 2013. 
The water dragon will cool down any potential global crisis and we all can experience true transformation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

I always loved coconut, especially for the holidays I like to make macaroons. Lately, I also started using coconut milk for cooking and coconut oil for cooking and baking. Then, I started to investigate the health benefits of coconut and was very amazed to discover so many other benefits for coconut oil.

There have been many opinions about coconut oil regarding its “saturated fat” status, mainly that the experts say that it is not good for our diet. Recent studies have proven different; there are diverse kinds of saturated fats. The saturated fats that are not good for our bodies are the trans-fats which are made from hydrogenated oils and the long chain fatty acids (LCFA) like animal fats.

So, what’s so special about coconut oil?

Coconut oil is derived from the fruit of the coco palm (Cocos nucifera). The coconut palm produces fruits for up to 80 years and may live as long as 100 years. In its full production periods, each tree can yield 50-200 fruits per year depending on growing conditions.

The uses of coconuts are far-reaching. Along with being useful as food, the oil is being used in the beauty industry for hair and skin products. As a young plant it is used in gardens and public places as ornaments. After the production period, the palm tree gives its wood for furniture and home decorations. In the recent years, scientists have discovered the healing properties of the coconut and its oil.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

• The greatest benefit of coconut oil is that it is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT)  besides containing many minerals and anti-oxidants. MCT are helpful with weight-loss and the control of high cholesterol. MCT also called medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) produce energy while other dietary fats (long chain fatty acid) produce fat. There is MCT in mother’s milk to nourish and protect the young baby.

• Coconut is also rich in saturated fatty acids (about 92%)  such as lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which are all MCTs. These MTCs have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal,  anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties. Since the oil is also absorbed through the skin one can rub it on the affected area. I have been using it on warts and with the help of wart removers, coconut oil helps to heal the skin without scars.

• Coconut oil supports the immune system. By replacing unsaturated vegetable oils with coconut oil we avoid their oxidation process. Many oils like corn or soybean oil oxidate through high heat. Coconut oil can be reheated with no harm to its original structure.

With so many health benefits and a very palatable taste, what do we have to lose? You will also discover that coconut oil will increase the metabolism and support weight loss.  It is beneficial for the heart because of the medium chain triglycerides content.

When you go to the grocery store next time, check out the international or health food aisle and look for the jar with the coconuts on it. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Money, money, money….

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to monitor your spending habits, it might be helpful to understand that there are four basic ways to spend money.  This analogy was put together by MiltonFriedman (1912-2006) of the Chicago School of Economics.

Christmas shopping puts us in many different situations when we buy gifts.  In gifting you probably spent your own money and have to consider price, quality, and purpose.  Has your boss ever given you authority to buy gifts for clients or other associates and charge it to the company?   Let’s take a look at what money is, how it is spend and the power which comes with money.

Think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

What is money?

Money is a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes.

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services  and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context.

Money was created as an exchange for real value back-ups.  Unfortunately, today we often use money which we don’t have (buy on credit).  This has put many individuals in trouble including the government.  In the old days when people who ran out of credit, they often put themselves into slavery.

How is money spent?

According to Milton Friedman there are 4 ways to spend money:

1) Spend your own money on yourself.

2) Spend your own money on somebody else.

3) Spend somebody else’s money on yourself.

4) Spend somebody else’s money on somebody else.

Mr. Friedman explains it best in this short video:

Money is an Energy Form  

Everything is energy.  All forms of energy are bound to the laws of creation.  With this in mind, we have to be aware of how we make money, spend money and invest it. 

Just making money for our own benefit, not caring where it came from and how it affects others, will not bring us fulfillment in the long run.  While energy flow is closely related to the money flow, money itself will not bring us wellness, fulfilling relationships, and other exciting experiences.  By circulating money, contributing to social causes and promoting peace, we will enjoy happiness and health ourselves.  Considering that money is energy, there must be an abundance of it.

I hope that we can all experience the New Year with many blessings of good fortune.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Practicing the Present Moment with Patience

Happy New Year 2012 to all my blog friends!  The beginning of the New Year is always the time for New Year’s resolutions.  We all have good intentions at the start of a new year.  Whatever your tradition is, I like to share with you my thoughts for this historical year 2012.

"We need to work together for peace, and balance with the other side. We need to take care of the Earth that feeds and shelters us. We need to put our entire mind and heart into pursuing unity and unity now, to confront the other side and preserve life."
~ Mayan prophecy

There is a prophecy in the Mayan tradition, predicting that on Dec. 21, 2012 will be “the end of world.”  They also say that the prophecy is not so much about “the end of the world” as about the end of a World Age, a time of transition from one World Age into another.   We also learn that this transition can either be cataclysmic or peaceful depending on the choices we all make.

A few weeks ago I wrote about entering the spiritual age.  The Mayans also believe that this transition will bring a shift to the planetary stewardship of women.  The feminine spirit will not only heal the planet but also bring a more peaceful situation.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Most people don’t think of God as a parent with male and female aspects.  The parent ship of the creator will play a big part in the paradigm shift for the years to come.  The reason our world is so out of balance is that it has been dominated since the beginning of time by too much male energy. 

Therefore, my New Year’s resolution is to live in the present moment to experience God as my parent.  In prayer we talk to God.  That communication should be more than just asking for things for ourselves and others.  Have you ever thought that God might also like to hear what you are doing and what you are going to do?  Prayer can be a promise and you can even tell God your New Year’s resolutions.  Ask God how they feel about your decisions.  One thing is for sure, that often our expectations will not appear in the way we think of.  That’s where we need patients and humility to accept the path God is guiding us on.  This is the time where we need flexibility and where living in the present moment helps.  In the here and NOW we can always feel o.k.  With this new consciousness we can experience a deeper sense of gratitude and can accept whatever comes next.

"The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."
~ Abraham Maslow

Feeling overwhelmed?
Here is a link to Carol Tuttle’s blog where she introduces a very simple method of letting go of stress or momentary overload.

The Seven P’s to live in the Presence
Prayer – is talking with God.  Meditation is listening to God.

Paradigm change – Repentance has to come first. We can only be renewed by cleaning up first. 

Patience – To live in the presence takes a lot of patience.  We have to constantly remind ourselves to be in the here and NOW, not regretting yesterday or projecting things into the future.  Our mind can easily wonder and it takes discipline and patience to focus on the presence.

Practice MindfulnessMindfulness is a skill.  Have you ever washed the dishes with mindfulness?  It creates a new awareness of the task at hand.  With focused intent you feel the warmth of the water, making bubbles with the soap; looking at the patterns of the plate, admiring the sparkle on the glass; or just enjoying the fact that the counter becomes clear after a healthy meal.  There are many ways to practice mindfulness by staying in the present moment. 

Praise – is a wonderful form of prayer.  Tell God what a wonderful world they made.  Praise them for your live and give thanks every day.  This video by Louie Schwartzberg is an appropriate example.

Promise – God has an ideal image of us.  Their purpose for us is to reach perfection, a unity of heart and mind which gives us divinity.  (Mt. 5:48 “You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”)  By reaffirming that ideal and telling God that we are longing and desiring that ideal, we create a higher vibration which will move us forward in our spiritual growth.

Prophecy – Let’s not forget and disregard ancient prophecies.  Our ancestors build the foundation we are standing on today.  History has been going through repetitive cycles.  We can learn from the mistakes of others and don’t have to repeat what they did wrong.  Prophecies are warnings for us to change course and trust in the Lord instead of just depending on our human wisdom.

I don’t believe that 2012 will be an easy year.  When we can accept whatever comes with an attitude of gratitude and “lean on the Lord” we can be prepared for the “New World Age.”

If we can accept all the changes as the “birth pains” for the new age and understand that this transition will help us to transform ourselves from self-centeredness to living for the sake of others, it will be a time of great excitement and discovery.  As Rev. Sun Myung Moon said, we need a revolution from selfishness to unselfishness. 

Hasn’t that been the hope of all mankind since the beginning of time?