Epiphany: Seeing an Urgent Truth Revealed

The word epiphany comes from the ancient Greek verb “to reveal.”  The church holy day of Epiphany celebrates the Magi seeing the presence of God—the spirit that created the universe—revealed in Jesus.  The church season of Epiphany is about recognizing that same spirit’s manifestation not only in Jesus but in other people, in nature and in ourselves.

The word epiphany in everyday use means an “aha!” moment.  To have an epiphany is to have an insight that feels like an urgent truth revealed.

Right now humanity is facing a multidimensional global emergency.  We need epiphanies, and we need the spiritual wisdom that the church tradition of Epiphany can reveal, to help us resolve these crises.

Epiphanies pave the path to a new consciousness.  We can help our entire culture move along that path by sharing our own epiphanies of the Spirit’s guidance, and our insights into the purpose for our lives, and our glimpses of the light shining ahead that beckons us toward a healthy, just and sustainable way of living on earth.

The Hubble telescope is a metaphor for what epiphany calls us to do—peer into the depths of the universe within and around us and send back what we find.

This is an extraordinary half-hour film.  You can watch it by clicking on the image above, but I encourage you to read the background about it first at https://deepfieldfilm.com/.  Particularly read about the composition of the music, which is equal in importance to the breath-taking images.  The music is designed to follow the history of the Hubble telescope and to reflect the experience of humanity receiving Hubble’s epiphanies.  The choir that you hear in the vocal portions is made up of over 8000 voices of all ages from 120 countries, and you will see some of their faces at one point in the film.  It is as if the earth itself is singing, and we are merely the part of the earth that was created to attain this universal consciousness and sing its song.  The video is intended to spark epiphanies in us and be a religious and transformative experience.

We need epiphanies now, both ancient and modern.

The Christian tradition of Epiphany comes from the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew where the Magi follow a star to the child Jesus.  The Magi were a combination of contemplatives and scientists.  They were priestly holy people and wisdom seekers who were steeped in the most advanced observed knowledge of nature.  They believed that the spirit of the universe was trying to communicate with humans so they studied the skies for signs and listened to voices in their dreams.

We can look to similar sources for the epiphanies we need.  The spirit that created nature speaks through other life forms to help us understand what it needs from us in order to sustain life.  The spirit that evolved our consciousness speaks to us from our depths and helps us keep evolving.

We need to be both scientists and contemplatives to catch the epiphanies the spirit is trying to give us now.

We need to cultivate our heart’s core, our inner Golden Room, the place within us each where we meet the spirit, where we find the ability to perceive intuitively what God or the universe is saying.

It takes courage to open ourselves to urgent truths because they can be painful.  The second chapter of Matthew describes how Herod responded when he realized that the Magi had disobeyed him.  He sent soldiers to slaughter all the children near Bethlehem two years old or younger.  Humanity’s failures to follow the spirit’s way of universal love can be excruciating to see.

Even beautiful epiphanies require courage to embrace, though, because they lead us into the unknown, which we fear.  They change our consciousness, and they ask us to act in new ways that go against our cultural norms and comfort zones.  Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to save themselves from Herod.  Imagine that.

The epiphanies of ancient spiritual tradition and modern insight are aligning now like Jupiter and Saturn, like the star of Bethlehem.  They offer hope that we might yet save the earth from the crises that humanity’s failure to follow the way of love has created.

We exist for a purpose.

Why did the spirit of the universe that orders the galaxies and created life on earth evolve human consciousness?  The Hebrew wisdom teachers pondered this question thousands of years ago and recorded their epiphanies in the creation stories of Genesis.

God put us in this garden “to till it and keep it.”

We exist to serve life.

Over the millennia we have come to understand that this means our life, but not just our life.  Our family, but not just our family.  Our nation, but not just our nation.

The most urgent epiphany for the twenty-first century is that the creation is truly one, and we need to declare allegiance to all life, especially to the most vulnerable, including strangers and enemies and the ecosystems on which life depends.  We need to think locally and act locally with love and care, but also with an awareness that humans are no longer residents of their local place alone.

This planet is our one and only garden, a small, fragile home we share with all life.

If you travel to the moon and look back at earth you see that it is a beautiful, lush oasis, and tiny compared to the vast desert of lifeless space.  The nearest planet that has the potential to be a garden like earth is 4.2 light years away, which doesn’t sound that far until you do the math and realize that our fastest rocket traveling 20,000 miles per hour would take around 140,000 years to get there.

This planet holds our only chance to survive.  If we wreck it, we have nowhere to go.  If we cannot learn to get along, if we cannot live ethically, if we cannot love and have compassion for one another here, we won’t do it anywhere.  If we cannot change in this generation, humanity may not exist for another generation to try again to get it right.

Every one of us contributes to a cumulative human impact that now literally outweighs all other life on this planet combined.  An estimated fifty-one trillion microplastic particles pollute the waters of the oceans, and they have been found in the waters of the womb as well, and in the air of our cities and the air of our lungs.

Our impact on the earth in one place can lead to a pandemic that infects all places.  The deterioration of the climate from our way of living threatens every species.

Our allegiance to all life as one makes it the urgent responsibility of us each to act in ways corresponding to the emergency we are in—arguably the greatest emergency humanity has ever faced.

The most urgent thing we are called by the universe to learn now is how to manage a planet.

I was thinking the other day about how the “eco” in economy or ecology comes from a Greek word meaning house.  That night I had a dream that I was trying to sell my home.  An authority—a realtor or banker—kept telling me bad news about my house’s value.  First it was devalued because of racism—it had been built partly by enslaved people.  Then it was devalued because of economic inequity—the paid workers brought home a tiny fraction of the what the bosses received.  Then it was devalued because of environmental exploitation—it both wasted and used too many resources.  The list went on until the value was less than nothing—I would have to pay the next owner of my house to take it off my hands.

To manage a planet we first need to manage our own egos—our selfish ambitions, our fear and greed.  We need to learn how to have a wise, mature level of consciousness that is capable of loving all creation as one inextricably united self.

If we can evolve to that new level of consciousness as a culture, then we will naturally learn how to manage our lives as individuals and as societies in such a way that we nurture the life-sustaining health of every ecosystem.  We will naturally live by the Golden Rule and love of neighbor with compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed.  Racial, economic and environmental justice will naturally happen.

Epiphanies pave the path to a new consciousness.

This leads us back to the need to be like the Hubble telescope, with our heart’s Golden Room wide open to the epiphanies that the spirit of love and life and light is trying to help us see.  We need to expand the vision of our hearts and minds, what the ancient Christian tradition calls metanoia, and we need to share widely and compellingly the epiphanies that our expanded vision sees.

Part of what we need is a new story, based on a new understanding of who we are and what our place is in the universe.  Below is the trailer for another remarkable film, this time using words for its narrative.  If you have not experienced it, prepare yourself for more epiphanies and another step on the journey toward the new consciousness humanity needs.

Click here to find your way to the full film and other related resources.

 

 

 

 

The Most Important Resolution We Can Make

“The feast of Christmas is the celebration of divine light breaking into human consciousness…. The joy of Christmas is the intuition that all limitations to growth into higher states of consciousness have been overcome. The divine light cuts across all darkness, prejudice, preconceived ideas, prepackaged values, false expectations, phoniness and hypocrisy…. The kairos, ‘the appointed time’ is now.… Now is the time to risk further growth. To go on growing is to be at the cutting edge of human evolution.…”  Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

This is the calling of every human. To paraphrase the popular wisdom of Richard Bach: Here is a test of whether your consciousness is done evolving: if you’re alive, it isn’t.

The quote above by Thomas Keating was from one of his early books.  Late in his life he spoke at a conference as if continuing the thought:

“Jesus goes on to say…, ‘Everybody who’s a human being is a candidate for this and has the resources to do it, if they will take the trouble to learn how to…let God be God in us.’ And so he says, ‘Anyone at all who brings himself or herself to nothing will find out who they are….’ Who are we at the deepest level? Have we a self at all, or are we really the manifestation of the Divine…? So, the plan is to be God in the humblest kinds of ways. That seems to be the program for this life, so why not…put everything into it that you have?”   Incarnation Continua, from the 2015 Return to the Heart of Christ Consciousness Conference, Boulder, Colorado

We need to put all we have into the transformation of our consciousness right now.  It is a matter of life or death for our nation, our species and all life on earth.

The reason why is that “Transformed people transform people,” as Richard Rohr says.  Transforming ourselves is the place to start in our efforts to transform the world.

World transformation is of the utmost urgency.  We need human civilization to evolve to fulfill the wisdom of all the spiritual traditions that agree on certain fundamental principles that make life ethical and sustainable like the Golden Rule, love of neighbor and universal compassion.

We need to evolve to a new collective consciousness that sees the oneness of all people, creatures and ecosystems on this planet and that recognizes our need for justice, equity and a sustainable harmony between all people and between humans and the earth, as the Earth Charter describes.

Therefore we need to evolve to that consciousness ourselves as individuals.

The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in the Christian calendar are all about that evolution.

The secular celebration each December 31st includes the ritual of making resolutions.  The most important resolution we can make right now is to dedicate ourselves to the process of personal and world transformation. In other words:

Resolve to evolve.

The wisest have been calling for this since the days of the Hebrew Prophets, Greek philosophers and spiritual teachers in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist and Indigenous traditions.

Gus Speth quotes many recent voices including Vaclav Havel, Aldo Leopold, Erich Fromm, Thomas Berry and Mary Evelyn Tucker in his lead essay in the book, The Coming Transformation: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities.

Gus says, “What these authors and many others are saying is that today’s challenges require a rapid evolution to a new consciousness. That is a profound conclusion. It suggests that today’s problems cannot be solved with today’s mind.”

So how can we evolve as quickly as we must, both as individuals and as a global culture? Continue reading

“In Returning and Rest You Shall Be Saved”

Do not fret. Peace. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.  Here is why these scriptural commandments are so important today and for the future world.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15

The soul of the nation had fallen into rampant self-interest, materialism and greed.  It neglected and oppressed the poor.  It strayed from the sacred way of love of neighbor and love of the ways of spiritual wisdom.  Its politics had become corrupt, its alliances unholy.

The prophet Isaiah warned the nation, because “you put your trust in oppression and deceit, and rely on them…this iniquity shall become for you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant.”

Isaiah’s words have spoken to many nations over the past 2,500 years, not just because of their warning but even more importantly because they show that there is a path out of that imminent destruction.

The sacred way of the Spirit that created the earth and all life is merciful.  It is infinitely forgiving of those who turn back to its ways while there is still hope of recovery.

This proved true for Isaiah’s society and for others throughout the ages.  We need to listen and follow its wisdom today: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quiet and in trust shall be your strength.”

The path back begins in returning to where the Spirit lives within us all, the golden room of the heart’s true core, and resting there.  Strength comes in quieting the ego’s selfish, agitated human thoughts and listening instead for the wisdom that arises from the Spirit through our silence and deep trust.

As I write this, America is voting for its President and the composition of Congress and state governments.  The outcome will shape our future in many ways.

But whatever the outcome, we still will have the same enormous challenges that threaten our democracy and the survival of the human race and all living species. We still will have brutal social, economic and environmental injustices that must be changed and healing that must be undertaken.

The wisdom of Isaiah says that we need more than just the right politicians in office.  No matter who is in these positions of power, we need a shift of cultural consciousness, a change of heart and mind that can come only one way—in returning and rest, in quietness and trust.

We need to break the obsessive, compulsive, white-knuckled, gut-clenched mode of being that many of us have developed over the past several years of political turmoil and several months of intense election anxiety.

We need to break the addictions of the ego to anything less than the Spirit’s ways of right living.

Whoever is in power, we need to be the change we wish to see in the world from our deepest heart outward, starting today.  We can live from that calm refuge even here in the agony of fearful uncertainty.

We have a new world to create, the fulfillment of the ancient prophets’ dream.  We need rested, strong and quiet souls that are trusting in the Spirit’s guidance and power in order to fulfill that hope.

So take a deep breath.  Take a break from the news.  Go outside and notice the beauty.  Connect with a dear friend.  Read some eternal spiritual wisdom.  Listen to music that connects you to your depths.  Best of all, meditate or pray.  Return.  Rest.  Quiet.  Trust. That is where the path begins to the strength we need to save and renew our world.

Dreams and Mountaintop Visions

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

“He has allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!” The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. concluding his final speech, April 3, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee

Visions of a goal ahead guide us when we are lost.  They encourage us with the hope we need when we are ready to give up.

Our dreams and visions are not for ourselves alone.  King received multiple death threats every day for years. He had been stabbed and his house had been bombed. Yet he kept going because he knew that the Spirit that gave him dreams and visions needed them to be shared.

King explained why when he said, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”

Jesus shared the same vision of oneness.  He saw that his real enemy was not Caesar or the Pharisees. His enemy was the selfish fear and greed of the individualistic ego that is incapable of seeing our true oneness. It was the life of the ego that Jesus meant when he said we have to lose our life to save our life.

Jesus said that the source of all evil is in our heart, but so is the source of all good.  He saw that humanity could grow beyond the ego’s immature level of consciousness to have a heart and mind led by the Spirit within us.

This is the evolution we need to undergo now if we are to survive the crises humanity faces.  The Spirit within us sees what the ego cannot—the oneness of all people and all life on earth. The Spirit leads us to have compassion and serve the common good.

Martin Luther King Jr. had an ego, but we revere him because he was willing to lose that life, he was willing to lay it down out of a greater love. Dozens of leaders made the same sacrifice, and hundreds of thousands followed them. The Spirit rose to ascendency over the ego in the 1960s nonviolent Civil Rights Movement. Individual lives were transformed and they transformed the world.

But the ego struck back in the 1970s. Continue reading

You Know the Way: The Torch in the Golden Room

 

Jesus said, “You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Teacher, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  (John 14:4-5)

You know the way.  You know the way to the place that Jesus was trying to help humanity reach, the realm of God on earth, a society that lives by the Golden Rule, love of neighbor and compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed.

Maybe you can’t envision how our current society could possibly get there, how big business and the super-wealthy and the governments they try to control could be transformed, or even how individual hearts could rise above the base selfishness that too often drives our thoughts, words and actions.

But Jesus is right, you do know the way, and the secret of how our society can get there is waiting within you.

The 2016 film Arrival imagines [Spoiler Alert!] that an advanced civilization visits earth with spacecraft scattered around the globe.  They have the ability to see the future and realize that they are going to need human assistance in 3000 years.  They have come to help humanity move to a new level of consciousness and oneness so that life on earth will survive.

An American linguist is trying to understand their message.  The turning point comes when the higher beings say essentially the same thing that Jesus told his followers: you know the way.  (You can watch the scene below.)  Like Jesus, they have taught her a new way to see and think, a consciousness that enables her to solve intuitively the problems that are keeping humanity from evolving and becoming one.

The film reflects reality.  A higher being is trying to help us do the same things.  Our higher being is the Spirit of life that has taught the human race many times before how to evolve and work together as one.  That Spirit desperately wants the life it has created to learn how to live sustainably and harmoniously, without hurting other lives and without destroying the life-support systems of earth.

This higher being is the Spirit that Jesus had in him, and the Spirit he said we each have in our depths.  Jesus listened to the Spirit in his heart and it led him to his vocation, which was in part to teach the rest of us how to find the Spirit in our own hearts, and how to live by the guidance and power we find there.

Humanity has brought itself to the brink of its own extinction, but at the same time it has arrived at the brink of the evolutionary shift it needs in order to survive.  We are learning to listen to the Spirit.  Cynthia Bourgeault says in her book, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice, that we are now making a transition to a new level of consciousness, traveling an ancient path by means of an abundance of new methods in a “sudden awakening to…interiority.”

She writes, “Whether through psychotherapy, men’s work, AA, yoga, mindfulness for stress reduction, enneagram work, dream work, soul work, or a host of other modalities, contemporary men and women are awakening to the realization that life is indeed an inner journey as well as an outer one.” (p. 173)

The Life Planning movement is another in the long list of ways that we are learning to hear the higher being’s voice in our hearts.  A trained Life Planner acts like a spiritual director or friend who listens empathically to help us explore and discover what the spirit is calling us to do with our life.  The end result is a vision of our calling spelled out in detail.  Life Planning calls that vision statement a “torch.”

We each have a place within us where we find the presence and gifts of the Spirit, a “Golden Room.”  We each have a torch in that golden room that shows us the path that the Spirit is calling us to take in the next stage of our life to contribute our part to a healthy, harmonious earth.

The future of the world depends on us each turning to the light of the torch in our golden room and following where it leads.

The Spirit in Jesus speaks for the Spirit in us.  It says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) If you know that Spirit, you know the way.

 

Below are two videos.  The first is the scene toward the end of the film Arrival where the linguist, Louise Banks, finds her torch in her golden room with the help of a “heptapod” higher being.  The second is a fascinating analysis of the film’s deeper meaning.

Notes on the first video (more spoilers alert!): Louise has entered for the first time the place where the  heptapods live.  Their twelve spacecraft are about to be attacked by fearful human armies, and in fact one heptapod is dying because of an unauthorized attack in which it saved Louise’s life.  Louise alone understands that the heptapod word translated “weapon” actually means tool or process and is not a threat.  Louise has come to ask the higher beings to send a message to the humans at all twelve sites around the world telling them that the heptapods are on earth to help, and that humanity needs to work together.

 

The “weapon” turns out to be a new consciousness, a new way of being. Louise gains the heart and mind of a heptapod the way the Apostle Paul calls us to have the heart and mind of Christ.  The scriptures and ancient teachings of the Christian tradition accept that our intended destiny is to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” into higher beings who create the realm of God’s love on earth, a society of oneness, justice and peace.  That is our great hope and our great task.

Gandhi’s Path of Higher Power: From Zero to One

This post includes two four-minute clips from the classic 1992 Richard Attenborough film, Gandhi.  The first sets the context for the Salt March that was a turning point in the Indian struggle for independence.  The clip at the end of this post shows more of the March itself.

“There comes a time when an individual becomes irresistible and his action becomes all-pervasive in its effect.  This comes when he reduces himself to zero.”  (Mahatma Gandhi, quoted in Eknath Easwaran’s book Gandhi the Man p114)

The Indian National Congress issued its declaration of independence on January 26, 1930 and raised a new national flag.  The masses of the Indian people were ready for an uprising.  It was a conflagration waiting for a match.

Yet the British Empire did not flinch.  The Indian National Congress made demands and pursued negotiations, but it was clear that the British were not ready to give up or even compromise significantly.

The pressure for change among the people was gaining in intensity.  Everyone knew that either a massive nonviolent action would take place or violent revolution would break out.  All eyes turned expectantly to the ashram and humble rooms of Mahatma Gandhi, but no word came forth.  Days stretched into weeks, and Gandhi made no indication of what would come.  The media accused him of playing his cards close to his chest, of purposefully building suspense to get the world’s attention.

But Gandhi was telling them the truth when he said he did not know what action he would take.  He was praying and waiting.  He was meditating, listening, asking for God’s guidance, and he would not do anything until he felt a clear calling from the Spirit.

In the end it came to him in a dream: Continue reading

If you only 60 days to save the world…

Less than 60 days now…

I invite you to look deeply into this photograph.  I’ll reflect on it below.

The spirit of life is in every cell of this morning glory with its drive to survive and thrive.  The spirit of life is in the roots and leaves and it is especially in the golden heart of the flower where the seeds of the future take shape.  Solutions to life-threatening problems evolve in that golden room such as innovations the plant must undertake to deal with a changing climate or persistent virus. 

The innovations humanity needs to undergo are not genetic, but they, too, need to come from our heart’s core.  That is the place within us each where the spirit of life inspires the collective evolution of human consciousness to meet our life-threatening problems.  We need to look deeply into that golden room, listen to the still small voice of the spirit and act on what it guides and empowers us each to do.  That is our greatest source of hope for this time.

Thousands of registered Life Planners around the world begin each life plan by asking three questions in the EVOKE process that my brother, George Kinder, developed:

  1. I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money [and time] to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is…how would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams.  Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.
  2. This time you visit your doctor who tells you that you have only 5 – 10 years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live?   Will you change your life and how will you do it?
  3. This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself:  What did I miss? Who did I not get to be? What did I not get to do?

Today Americans need to reframe that second question.  Instead of having five years to live, we have less than 60 days to save our democracy and save the world.  We have until Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020.  Many people on both sides are framing this election as a matter of life and death, and I believe they are right.

So the urgent Life Planning question now is, if you have only until November 3rd to save our democracy and the world, what will you do in the time you have remaining?  Will you change your life, and how will you do it?

Take a few minutes or an hour to think about that, and then if you feel inspired, please share with us your intention for these days by clicking on the Comment button below and writing in the “Leave a Reply” box that will appear.

Then consider the third question, once again reframed for our situation.  The shock is not that you have one day to live, the shock is that you wake up on November 4th and learn that the side lost that you believe could have saved our democracy and world.  Take a minute of mindfulness to note carefully the painful feelings that arise.  Then ask yourself: What more do I wish I had given?  What more do I wish I had done?

The original 3 Questions have both spiritual depth and practical power.  George Kinder is a Buddhist teacher, a student of psychology and literature and the first winner of the Financial Planning Association’s Heart of Financial Planning Award.  He has been named “One of the top Icons & Innovators in the financial planning industry,” and “The first of 15 transformational advisors whose vision most changed the industry,” and he has been inducted into the Financial Planning Magazine Hall of Fame.

Accolades have come to him for one reason: these three questions and the actions we take based on our answers have the power to change our lives, and have done so for tens of thousands of people.  They lead us to our deepest heart’s core to find what the spirit of life is calling us to do and be.  They release our creative and entrepreneurial gifts.  They motivate us to help life around us improve and evolve in ways that lead to greater life and love—exactly what you would expect when the spirit of life is freely flowing through us.  The results of these questions have changed the world.  Now, perhaps, they can save it.

I hope and pray that you will listen to your heart’s core and that you will make the changes necessary to give all the time, energy and resources you can in this time of greatest need.  Please use the days left before November 3rd to save our democracy and world.

If you have questions about how to fulfill what you feel called to do, feel free to use the comment feature below and ask for what you need. Thank you!

 

Introduction to the Returning/Aloha Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Returning/Aloha is the most important stage of the journey.  It cannot happen without all the other stages, but this is the reason why we have sought and built the Golden Room into our lives.  The purpose is not for us to feel the bliss of being there.  The purpose, as the vision showed, is to take what we find within and deliver it to the world.

An essential part of dwelling in the Golden Room is returning to the world, living not just in our heart’s core but from it, in order to serve with whatever gifts we find there.  Usually a Life Plan contributes gifts to others, whether to family, our workplace, our local community or the wider world, even if the plan is to sail solo around the world or enter a monastery.  There is almost always sooner or later a gain for others in our fulfilling our Golden Room life.  The calling in our deepest, truest core comes from the universe that created us and is not for ourselves alone.

We return to the world, and then return to the Golden Room and then return to the world again, until that cycle of returning is resolved in the highest nondual or integral developmental stage of consciousness, when we see that the universe and the Golden Room are one and we do not need to return because we are always at home wherever we go and whatever we do.

We will not have reached the truest, deepest core of the Golden Room until we have attained this universalizing stage of oneness with all creation.  The heart’s core gives rise to a self-giving, unconditional, all-forgiving, universal love that does not differentiate between worthy or unworthy or friend or foe or this recipient or that, but loves for the sake of loving.

No matter how partial the love we find within, our task is to return with even the smallest sliver of its golden light and deliver our gifts to the part of our world where we find they are needed.

“Aloha” is where George Kinder’s Seven Stages ultimately lead.  The meaning of Aloha is far more than hello or goodbye.  It is a personal quality of generous-hearted lovingkindness.  It takes simple joy in bestowing gifts to the world, whether random spontaneous acts or larger life works.

Aloha is a returning of blessings to others out of the knowledge and gratitude that we have been blessed by the universe to have this time on earth.  It has nothing to do with a sense of obligation or self-esteem, and it may not be true Aloha if we have not mastered some degree of the Understanding Stage.  True Aloha rises naturally from the heart.  It blossoms when we attain freedom from inner obstacles that block us from the integrity of living in, from and for our Golden Room, the way a hyacinth blossoms after struggling up from its buried bulb through the dark earth, at last releasing its inner truth of sweet scent and beautiful hue.

Introduction to the Dwelling/Understanding Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

When do you begin to dwell in the Golden Room that you are building, whether it be the spiritual center you are nurturing or the heart’s core vision (the “Torch”) of the Life Plan you are implementing?

Once it is completed and you move in and you never return to your former dwelling?

No, at some point you awaken to the fact that you began dwelling in your Golden Room the moment you inclined your heart toward the faintest calling.  To seek the site, to clear it, to dig, to build are all to dwell in that place.

Even more so, of course, is to move in and change your mailing address, to rest after all the striving and be still and fully present to the moment of arrival, to look with wonder at the beauty of the Golden Room and feel the peace and joy of being in your true home.

You may find forgetfulness taking you back onto your old street, falling into old habits, straying from your heart’s core and dream life, but as soon as you waken to that fact and long to return to the Golden Room, you are dwelling there again.

Whenever you are aware of it, whether you feel you are there or not, you are dwelling in it.  Doing spiritual practices designed to lead us to the Golden Room keeps us dwelling there, however far it may feel from finished and furnished.  Working on the logistical steps to put the new life in place is a real form of dwelling in it.  To live in relation to the Golden Room is to live in it.

“Understanding” is the pivotal phase of George Kinder’s Seven Stages.  It is the moment when we gain the capacity to dwell within our inner truth with acceptance and peace, and to live as we choose to live, with freedom and integrity, no matter what inner or outer turmoil is swirling around us.

We have heard a calling to a new way or level of living, we have cleared and dug deep and gained the knowledge we need, everything is in place, but in order to dwell in that newness and be our true, authentic self we need to have a psychological and spiritual breakthrough, we need to emerge fully from the hold of our old self-limiting ways of thinking and acting.

The Understanding stage requires mindfulness, inner listening, the ability to let thoughts go and let feelings be, the capacity to dwell fully and freely in each present moment whatever experience it may bring, and choose our path through it.  The result is a tremendous release of creative and entrepreneurial energy, a vigor that is in the service of our deepest, truest self, which has altruistic love at is core.  The more we dwell in it, the more we contribute to the well being of the world around us.

The posts in this category will be about what we need to do to dwell in the Golden Room wherever we may be on the journey there or in the process of building it.  They will be about mindfulness and the contemplative life and the Understanding Stage ability to find freedom and integrity within the present moment.

William Blake wrote,

I GIVE you the end of a golden string;
  Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
  Built in Jerusalem’s wall.…

This Dwelling/Understanding category is about how to keep our fingers on the golden string that leads to and through the Golden Room.

Introduction to the Building/Execution Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Building puts new habits and practices in place where obstacles were blocking us before.  We begin to see the beauty of our dream coming to life.  We see the building’s emerging outline define a space, and we step into it with wonder and excitement as it evolves.  We create borders and boundaries, a sheltering structure.  Our perspective changes as each new development reframes the view.

We find ourselves no longer descending in the vision of the Golden Room through utter darkness, claustrophobic and scraping our skin with no end in sight.  We can see now the glow of the Golden Room ahead, and every step on the ladder brings it closer.   We shift from moving away from our old reality through a painful exodus to moving toward our destination with joy.

In the journey of Dante’s Divine Comedy we have gone from being lost in the woods to descending into hell to working through purgatory, and now at last we begin to ascend in paradise, the realm of light.

The Life Planning “Execution” stage is where we implement the architectural designs of the plan, we build the logistical structure.  We carry out the action steps for every solution to every obstacle.  We start to see immediate results as the building rises.  We begin to live into the new life.

Posts in this category will be about putting in place all the needed elements to live the Golden Room, heart’s core life.