Faith

69. SPIRITUAL OR RELIGIOUS?

clouds

Years ago I was sitting in the basement of a large unfinished home taking lunch with my then supervisor, Ken. I enjoyed working with him and I admired his approach to life. In a world of false pretense his attitude of conviction and faith stood out; he truly seemed to stand by and practice what he believed. Often the conversation would drift towards our belief systems and it was mutually pleasant. An outsider might think we had a lot of differences, but in truth we shared a passion to learn from each other. When he talked I listened; when I talked he listened. I enjoyed his company immensely and all these years later I still think of him quite often.

This day was different from most. It was a little more peaceful, a little more relaxed. The incessant chatter of my selfish mind ceased and I tuned in.  The moment surprised me because I had no forethought to what I was about to say. There was a lull in our discussion and I was moved to pay my friend a complement.

“Ken, I think you’re a really spiritual guy.”

“I think you are too, Daniel,” he said returning the observation with a large smile between bites.

“You know what I think the difference between spiritual and religious is?”

“What’s that?” He said.

“Well, it seems that spiritual people have an intense desire to share with those willing to listen what’s working in their lives, while religious people have a need to argue with as many as possible what isn’t working in the lives of others.”

It was as if the entire universe leaned over and whispered in my ear.

I was thunderstruck. Where did THAT come from? One other time there had been a voice from the ether, but that was before I’d gone into recovery. This was unique, it wasn’t quite a voice I heard: it was more like something flowed through me. The energy of the cosmos had aligned with me: or perhaps I with it. In any case, it changed me. For those who have experienced epiphanies, you know what I mean.

Honestly, I have nothing against religion. I feel it is a wonderful place to begin a path of spirituality and it’s probably difficult to do so without it. I doubt a spiritual leader ever lived that had little to no background in some sort of existing faith. If my observations are correct, the more religious a person is who is in tune with a connection to spirit, the more personal the relationship with God is for them. Those who inspire leadership shine by example. They enthusiastically share, (not preach) taking care to never judge others or belittle them. When the framework of religion is used as a whipping post for those who do not agree with the views of their accusers it becomes the ultimate example of arrogance, ridicule, and eventually, violence. “You are wrong, I am right. You are bad, I am good, and here are my reasons for reinforcing my convictions by pointing out what I think you need to change.” Yuck. Makes me ill just re-reading that last sentence. Here lies the seed of worldwide conflict. Here is where hate is born. Here is where fear and persecution prevails. Here is where the destruction of our world will begin; in fact, it may have already.

As a child I was taught that “leading by example” was the best way to show others a better path or system. I thought the reasoning was absurd at the time. Such is the youthful mind. I now see it’s the only way to teach. If I really want to share, then I must possess and express an abundance of what others want. Only then, when I’m approached by those who feel they lack what I have, am I free to give. I never will shove onto others what I think they need. It’s always up to them to be accepting. This is why when I attempt to “lead by example” I MUST live what I believe so that others can see cause and effect in action. When this is done well there’s no need to recruit anyone; they will approach and ask how they can reproduce the same results, they will wonder what the hell is in my gas tank.

Personally, I love those who share, even if they are facing a different direction. Magnetic personalities are wired to the qualities of love, compassion, and humility; enviable traits to be sure. It’s hard to not like these people, we want to be in their vicinity, instinctively knowing that their influence by presence alone can help us align with pure spirit. If  however, we meet those people who are in the mode of arguing (or judging) then this acts as a repellent, at least for me. They express doubt, disrespect, and conceit. I pay them as little audience as possible, polity backing away while they look around for fresh prey.

If you are having a difficult time connecting to spirit, I can help with a little experiment I heard Wayne Dyer do with an audience some time ago.

Point to your self…….aw, go on, no one is looking.

One hundred per-cent of people, every culture, every ethnicity, every age does the same thing.

They point to their heart………

No one points to their head. No one. Even though we understand every body function is regulated from this place, we have an awareness there’s something else behind who we are. Our brains are the software, and the body is the hardware, but neither one is the user. Again we come to the difference between religion and spirit. None among us have exactly the same religious beliefs. Not only do doctrines vary widely, but so do opinions within those doctrines. Spirit however, remains constant because its source is identical to everyone else’s, its “seat” shares the same space.

Our connection to the universe is constant and cannot be shut off. It can, however, be ignored, but I do not recommend this course. A lifetime of pleasing the body but not the spirit leads to indulgence and misery. Please do not deny your true self the nourishment it craves. If we feed it what it wants most, recognition, attention, and expression, our lives will embrace peace, joy, and love.

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

66. SEEKING DREAMS

sunrise-over-st.-mary-lake-glacier-national-park-montana_1024x768_25386 (1)

 

 

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

54. ANOTHER OBSERVATION

rain

“If you are not living in support of tomorrow, then you are dying in support of yesterday. This moment is where the decision is made.”

 

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

51. GHOST STORY

ghost

This is a tale of supernatural coincidence. It is the story of a miracle, and I swear every word is 100% true.

Day 1

A few years ago, around 2005, I decided to find out how my AA sponsor was doing. It had been some time since hearing from him and didn’t quite know where he was since I hadn’t written down his address. His phone had been disconnected as well.  This didn’t surprise me because the last time we spoke he’d mentioned cutting back on non-essential bills now that he was in retirement with  a limited income.  I’d visited his apartment since he moved, but couldn’t recall exactly where it was. The general vicinity was known, however I wasn’t about to go around randomly looking, hoping to recognize it. I found a web site designed for locating people and paid for some information, which to my surprise, proved quite useful. The following Saturday morning I set out to see my friend. My spirits were dampened upon arriving, it was a security building; hadn’t remembered that. After trying Joe’s number for several minutes without an answer I randomly tapped on several other buzzers hoping the occupants wouldn’t get too mad; there was no response. I then spent the good part of an hour trying to figure out how to get word to him some other way and was finally rewarded with a chance to approach a tenant who was leaving. Gathering my groveling skills I pleaded shortly with the gentleman to let me in so I might at least leave a note on his door. The first synchronicity was about to happen. The man was living in the apartment Joe had occupied. He suggested talking to the property manager and maybe she could give me some information on his whereabouts. It was a couple of buildings over, and I found the office with little effort. I called the number on the door and left a message that went something like this, “You don’t know me but I’m a friend of Joe Patton. He used to live here and I can’t find him. I know you don’t have to, but could you please call me and let me know if you remember him and if he is ok?” I left her my number not expecting a reply since I’d asked for information of a personal nature.

Day 2

On Sunday morning around 8:00 a.m. I received a call from the manager of the apartment complex. She was very kind, more than helpful, and a little sad. I had a slight suspicion what was wrong. She told me Joe had committed suicide about a year and a half prior.  My response to the news was surprising. A peace settled over me and I was happy for him. The funny thing was, I didn’t think I would react that way. By no means did I agree with his actions, but I felt I understood them. He had said some time back he may be going into hospice. I thought he was exaggerating his situation, not out of rudeness or insensitivity, but because he always acted and moved with such a healthy swagger. Obviously this had not been the case. After looking at his situation from the point of view of an addict, I could understand why it made sense to him. He had left a lifetime of dependencies in his wake and when suddenly faced with the possibility of leaving this world full of drugs that would violate his ethics, then the option of self-termination became a justifiable alternative. I’d read years ago that suicide is actually a crime, so I surmised calling the police might yield more information. My goal was to pay respects to wherever his remains were. They told me that obvious suicides are not crimes and are simply handled by the coroner’s office. I sent off an e-mail with all the information I had asking if they could let me know anything else about Joe. Synchronicity number two was about to happen. That night I went to my basement and got online to relax. Literati is a generic version of Scrabble I used play almost every day on Yahoo! While playing I would usually turn on my “personal” radio station through a now defunct web site called Launchcast. It was a music service that allowed the listener evaluate songs, albums, and artists. Given enough time, 90% of what streamed would become whatever the user had  graded. At this point I had around 5000 ratings, more than enough to cater very personally to me. For the most part every tenth song or so was either a new release or something that the system had guessed matched my preferences.  About half a dozen times or so (at this point, for the last year and a half) a soundtrack had popped up  that never matched my tastes or had anything on it I’d approved. This was the music to Joe’s favorite movie. It’s called “Last of the Dogmen.” It was released in the mid nineties and it’s about a lost tribe of American Indians found in modern times. Well…….as I was playing online that night, here it came. The name of the track was, “Somebody’s out There.” The hair on the back of my neck went up, not out of fear but recognition of what was going on. I was alone and looked around slowly to see if anything was moving or if I could actually glimpse an apparition of some sort. I didn’t notice anything and didn’t have to. I slept very well that night.

Day 3

It’s Monday morning now, and another phone call came, this time around nine. There was a kind and sympathetic person on the other end. Within a few minutes the Coroner had given me all the details he could about Joe. He told me how he died and that one of his friends had taken care of the funeral arrangements. I knew he couldn’t give me any private information about Joe’s friend for obvious reasons, but instead asked if he could call the man in question and give him my number. He said he would be very happy to try and I said goodbye thinking it wouldn’t work. (I would have been upset if I hadn’t tried.) Within three minutes there was yet another call from a man named Chris.  We talked for a while and came to the end of the road metaphorically speaking. He told me his ashes were spread in a park near Boulder. Chris was most compassionate and he seemed happy that someone still cared for Joe. And that was it….I thought. Synchronicity number three was about to bear down like a locomotive. As usual that night I was in the basement playing my game to unwind while listening to music when Joe’s soundtrack popped up again. Two days in a row for something that had never been listened to or rated? Now it was weird enough it played the night before, but this was way too specific to be considered some sort of random event. The title of this particular track was “Leaving Forever” Hmm. Now……….the next song was one that actually had been rated years before but not heard yet. Queen released an album in 1980 called “The Game” it was extremely popular at the time and being a fan of the group I had marked all the tracks as high as possible. The song that started playing next was called “Don’t try Suicide.” What a way to say farewell. I leaned back in my chair without needing to look around for any physical evidence of his presence and said out loud, “Good-bye, Joe.”  

Is he gone now? No. I still ask him for his opinions; I still ask him for guidance; I still ask him for his presence; and while my prayers may not be answered in ways I can verify or explain, they are indeed always answered. I miss my friend even though I know he’s never really left. This story is for you Joe, rest in peace.  

Please subscribe to this blog. Share and comment as you wish.

 

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

49. EMBRACING TOMORROW

watching the sunrise

People ask me how I’m doing quite often. My response is never one of pre-programmed drivel. I always give it a moment’s thought and answer with as much honesty as I can deliver in the briefness of the encounter. Confused, hurried, challenged, and frustrated have been some of my recent responses; but there is one I say more than the others. It’s an affirmation I’ve chosen to reinforce recognition of personal progress, and it’s a way to appreciate and acknowledge the understanding that more good fortune is on the way.  When someone asks me “How are you doing?” my favorite reply is, “Better every day!” I do not say this lightly or to sound witty; I actually mean it.

I’ve been doing this for years and one day it hit me in a different manner. I was working in a medical facility and had gotten on an elevator when an elderly couple stepped in behind me. They were very well dressed and most likely in their late eighties or early nineties. I got the feeling of  a genuine bond between the two that seemed to go beyond love; it made me smile.

“What floor do you want?” I asked.

“Six please…. How are you doing today?”

I happened to be in a terrific mood and while smiling I quickly offered my favorite answer, “better every day!” They chuckled a little. This particular time slightly more information came to mind and I didn’t hesitate to continue expressing myself.  I paused ever so slightly and continued. I turned to them as I was about to leave and said, “You know what’s great about knowing my life gets better every day? Apparently my best day will be the day I die.” They smiled broadly looking at me and then each other as the doors closed. I stunned myself a little because I had no forethought to what had just come out of my mouth. It felt as if I’d been handed a wonderful secret. I walked on to the job feeling about fifty pounds lighter; my good mood having been magnified through revelation.

I do my best to focus on the moment, but the anticipation of tomorrow motivates me to turn the pages of my life. I’m eternally grateful for what I have now; my wife, my recovery, my health, my job, my home, and my peace of mind; all of these things are gifts worthy of kings. There is little left for me to wish for; but when experience tells me tomorrow has undiscovered treasures waiting to be found, it does pique my curiosity.

I do not believe in age, I believe in progress. I think the act of looking forward keeps me young. The evidence for this observation lies in the fact that there are thousands of senior citizens who can whip me at anything physical (or mental for that matter) no matter the challenge, and of course there are twenty year olds who (by their own choices) have trouble getting off the couch. Movement in the direction of creating something seems to be the key to youthfulness.  I once heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say he had made a decision to never “act” like an old man. Amen; me too. I’m sure he wasn’t talking about becoming immature or childish, just shunning the stereotype of growing old and its habits. I’m well aware physical limitations will eventually hand all of us our final moment, but it does seem to be kept at bay quite well by a select few.

I’m not seeking immortality, I’m seeking a high quality of exit. I do not fear death, I fear the “unlived” life. I refuse to live an entire lifetime where in my final moments I find myself expressing regret. Are not the dreams of tomorrow meant to be nourished by the actions of the moment?  I will never believe it’s too late for that.

Please follow my blog, share and comment as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

48. WALKING WITH PURPOSE

Black and white road

“I do not walk down the road I’ve chosen to get further away from what I wish to leave behind. I do it to get closer to that which I seek”

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

47. NO LIMITS

reaching for the stars

“If we hold ourselves back by believing we have limitations, then we are destined to be ruled by those who believe they do not.”

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

46. CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS?

 Clean-Up-Cleanliness-Is-Next-To-Godliness-1917

 Here’s the equation Cleanliness = Organization, Organization = Efficiency, Efficiency = Profit, Profit = Abundance, and Abundance = the presence of GOD. 

So basically “things that are  equal to one another are also equal to the same thing.” Cleanliness is equal to Godliness. Well, I’m off to do my laundry.

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

44. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

guarantee

“I always get everything I want, all I have to do is change my mind.”

The ego holds us back from so much in life. Why do so many stick to old paths when they can see they will eventually lead nowhere? Change your mind, and change your life. Don’t concern yourself with being right, concern yourself with admitting fault so a new directions can  become optional. Strength is the reward of  humility while weakness is the penalty of inflexibility.  

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

43. ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

infinity

“Where understanding is present, fear is absent. Where fear is absent, love exists. Where love exists, life persists. Where life persists, the possibilities are endless.”

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood