Spirituality

The Lord of Love

by Julian Middleton

Even as the world endures its present crisis, manifest on so many levels, Divine Help stands ready to rejoin us and show us the way forward into a new time of Justice and Peace. Indeed, the times we are living through represent the birth pangs of the New Age, and behind this great transformation stands none other than the Lord of Love Himself, bringing matters to a head. He is forcing humanity to choose which path it prefers: the old ways of greed and selfishness leading inevitably to destruction, or the Aquarian way of selflessness, altruism, sharing and brotherhood, leading to world peace. World peace need not be an ideal. It can be a reality if we accept the Wise Ones’ help.

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Most organisations have their leader: businesses have a managing director; the Cabinet has its Prime Minister; the United States has its President. The Hierarchy of Masters (see previous article) has at its head the Master of all the Masters, whose name is Maitreya which means ‘the happy one’, ‘the bringer of joy’. Who is this extraordinary being? Much as Maitreya stands as a divine colossus, extraordinarily evolved from our standpoint, He is also truly one of us, ‘merely a man’ and yet astonishingly advanced. He was one of the first, perhaps actually the very first member of humanity to achieve spiritual mastery, millions of years ago during the long Atlantean era.

For millennia, Maitreya lived in the high Himalaya, where there is a great spiritual centre. However, the terrible suffering endured by humanity during the World Wars reached His ear and in 1945, He announced that He would come back to the everyday world at the earliest opportunity. In actual fact, owing to humanity’s ongoing selfishness and disorder, it was 1977 before He was finally able to do so. He descended from the Himalaya and came to London where He has lived incognito ever since, working ceaselessly on behalf of all of us. He is the great World Teacher for the entire 2,500 years of the Age of Aquarius, the Water Bearer bringing forth knowledge and wisdom. And, of course, He brings love, Divine Love, in limitless measure.

Maitreya’s unseen, extraordinary influence helped bring about the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of apartheid and many other sweeping, progressive changes. He has appeared before numerous gatherings and individuals, religious and non-religious alike, famous and nondescript, and visited many, this author included, in prophetic and stunning dreams. The many signs and miracles now flooding the globe (weeping statues of religious icons, crosses of light, signs in the sky and so forth) all herald His imminent Appearance. For the age of miracles has not ended – it is just beginning! These wondrous events presage the return of Maitreya and His Masters into open view for the first time in almost 100,000 years. Every day, every moment, Maitreya draws closer to the heart of humanity, and we draw nearer to Him in answer.

Omniscient, omnipresent, fantastically ancient, wise and powerful, it is He Who shall show us in our folly and greed how to save the world and draw back from the brink in the nick of time, principally by sharing the world’s ample resources in order to create Justice and Peace. At the last, He knows that we will choose wisely and the new civilisation shall begin. Just as all seems lost perhaps, all will truly be saved. That time is not far off: indeed, to all intents and purposes, it is now. But humanity really needs Maitreya’s and the Masters’ overt, visible help, in order to move onwards and upwards: we need Them to be able to work openly. At present we are not quite ready, and so They remain present but behind the scenes, unwilling and unable by law to force our hand.

Maitreya stands waiting at the door. If you believe in Him, as He believes in you, help spread the glad tidings – that Divine Help is here, that an end to violence, suffering, want and war is offered, that a brilliant New Time lies just ahead and that the Lord of Love Himself stretches out His hand right now, showing the way. Share – and save the world.

About the author:

Julian Middleton is a White Eagle Astrologer and author who has been writing fiction for many years, actually mostly children’s books, and studying spirituality, in particular the works of Alice Bailey and Benjamin Creme. His works can be found on Amazon at:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/JULIAN-MIDDLETON/e/B00ANNHGXI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1523439387&sr=1-2-ent

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A Walk in the Park: Life as Giant Bazaar

By Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

stewart bitkoffIt was a clear, fall morning and Amoun wanted to go for a walk. Entering Washington Square Park Amoun pointed to a bench, in the sunlight, overlooking the large cement circle and meeting space in the Park’s center. The Park was alive with activity: children playing with a colorful beach ball; young parents pushing babes in strollers; vendors selling hot dogs, pretzels, and peanuts; and street people waking from their night in and around the bathroom lawn.

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As we came to rest beside an empty bench Amoun looked-up at the sun and took a long, deep breath. Slowly he smiled and said, “God is Kind.” Together we both sat quietly and observed the variety of activity about us. People were going and doing, exploring all of the fun things to do in the Park.

By this time the street people were up and about. Some had started to pan handle from willing strangers and others purchased drugs from pushers. Then an old man caught my attention. He was struggling, walking slowly with the aid of a walker; a middle age, female attendant assisted with words of encouragement. I enjoyed the variety of late morning activity and wondered to myself, what is the point of all this going and doing? To what purpose is all this activity?

Amoun looked at me and replied, “All of this splendor sings the praise of the Light. Each going and doing; enjoying, suffering, laughing, struggling and moving forward in their own way. While some are lost in the shadows for a time; on another day, in a different place, they may embrace the Light. That is the point of the journey. That is the point of the friction between darkness and Light. This friction, or struggle, exists to push us forward.

Like this Park- the world is a giant bazaar. You will find in it exactly what you are looking for. Some seek enjoyment of the senses. Others seek responsibility and family. Does this make one right and the other wrong? No it is not like that. While many activities and choices are harmful and must be avoided, their real impact is that they distance the traveler from the Light. The flesh is weak and must fade, however, the spirit lives on. Remember the real or lasting meaning of an endeavor is if it brings you closer to or distances you from the Light. This measuring stick, or internal indicator, awakens as the traveler progresses.

How can we evaluate the importance of a life? How do we know the outcome of years spent in the darkness? If the traveler can only awaken after years of being in the darkness, is he not like you and I? Was it not dark last night and this morning the sun caresses our skin? Does not the Light follow the darkness?”

By this time I no longer listened to Amoun’s words, I had become absorbed by the peaceful, loving energy that emanated from him and carried the words. Somehow by being in Amoun’s presence I was transported to that peaceful, loving place that I now

recognized as the goal of the journey. As Amoun reflected the Light, I perceived my own connection to the Light and recognized the Light in everything about me. This energy was the very fabric of life and we were created to know and serve the Light.

This piece “A Walk in the Park” first appears in Stewart Bitkoff, Journey of Light: Trilogy, Authorhouse, 2004.

About the author:

Dr. Stewart Bitkoff is a poet and spiritual traveler, and the author of The Appleseed Journal, Light On The Mountain and more.  Visit his website at www.stewartbitkoff.com.  His new book is The World of Pond Stories. To purchase your copy go to Amazon: www.bit.ly/bitkoffpond (Paperback $13.99 | Kindle $5.95).

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An Ancestral Perspective on the New Age

by Gustav Milne

New Dawning?

It is now fifty years since the musical “Hair” announced the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, with the introduction of aspects of New Age thinking to a mainstream audience. But was the new thinking just tapping into a cultural Zeitgeist, or was it part of an instinctive response to something genuinely deeper? This article suggests that, now we have a much better understanding of our long human evolution, there is arguably a solid rationale underpinning at least some of those key concepts. Diverse themes, including aspects of spiritualism, holistic health, environmentalism and social interconnectedness providing a balance of body, mind and spirit can now all be viewed objectively from a human evolutionary perspective.

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A Long Journey

But to start at the very beginning: towns are NOT our natural habitat. For at least the last 3 million years of our long human evolution, we lived off the land, in tribally-based societies, developing ‘hunter-gatherer-style’ regimes. Without recourse to modern medicine, towns or technology, these cultures nevertheless colonised the world, in jungles, mountains, open grasslands, from the Artic to the equator. This dramatic global cultural expansion is not appreciated today, since the histories of these peoples were not written down. Even as late as c.AD 1500 one third of the global land mass was still occupied by these un-urbanised but highly successful ‘hunter-gatherers’, before ‘westernisation’ dramatically changed everything. By the 20th century, such communities were all too often dismissed as social curiosities, fit only for anthropological study, with little relevance for the modern world.

But those long-lived cultures do have valuable lessons for us, for that protracted period in our human evolution is stamped deep into our DNA, tried and tested by the unyielding demands of natural selection. Our teeth and digestive system still reflect a need for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, rather than the abnormal pre-packaged, over-processed products currently on sale. Our lungs still only operate effectively with fresh air, not toxic fumes, tobacco or diesel particulates. Our two-legged upright physiology still demands a daily workout, based on the ancestral foraging needs of regular walking, carrying, climbing, rather than abnormally sedentary lives with their sofas, cars and offices.

Then there was the great outdoors, where our ancestors lived, naturally maintaining their vital vitamin D levels. Today, we still react positively to ‘nature’ a response that UCL’s microbiologist Professor Graham Rook provides a crucial explanation for. It concerns our immune system, which gradually evolved with us during the millennia we lived as hunter-gatherers. We’re not born with the beneficent microbiota that now live on our skin and in the gut: initially, we derive them from our mother’s birth canal and subsequently from the external environment, from soil, plants, trees and animals. Without them, we are increasingly susceptibility to allergies, autoimmunity and inflammatory bowel disease. Consequently, reduced contact with nature is bad for our physical health: we still need the microorganisms that only the natural environment can provide. Alas, living in towns decreases our exposure to nature but increases our exposure to crowd infections.

Culturally, society is evolving at remarkable speeds, with its new towns and technologies. But biologically, significant evolution has been much slower: our bodies are still broadly Palaeolithic, much as we were before extensive agriculture or the first towns developed 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. Consequently there’s a real mismatch between modern urban living and our Palaeolithic genome, that ancient part of our DNA that successfully supported ‘hunter-gatherer’ lifestyles for so long. Because of that, we still need fresh air, fresh foods and an active lifestyle: without such basics, we simply fall ill. Indeed, as urbanisation advances across the globe to accommodate a population of 9.6bn by 2050, so too does the prevalence of obesity, coronary-related problems, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer.  The World Health Organisation lists them as the most common causes of death in modern, urbanised societies. But here’s the important bit: there’s plenty of archaeological evidence from ancient cemeteries to show that it was the advent of widespread agriculture followed by the development of urban life- which began just 5,000 to 10,000 years ago- that introduced these killers into our lives. All were virtually non-existent in the long, pre-urban era. This is also confirmed by Staffan Lindeberg’s pioneering work in Kitava, New Guinea, where, in non-urbanised communities that still practice ancestral dietary and activity regimes, none of the top ten causes of death in modern cities were present. Thus it seems that current urban lifestyles are killing us, since they are at odds with our basic biology and biophilia.

The answer is of course to reconfigure our diets, daily lives and townscapes to better fit our ‘hunter-gatherer’ biology. We need to adopt proxy ancestral diets and robust daily activity regimes, and green our cities and our homes. But first a cautionary word on the term ‘hunter-gatherer’.- it’s used here as a convenient short-hand term for any culture that lives directly off the land through foraging or hunting: given the range of environments they colonised from the Artic to the Amazon, from Africa to the Americas- their regimes differed as dramatically as the composition of their diets. Some were hunter-fishers; some fisher-gatherers, some gatherer-hunters, some hunter-gatherers. So for those seeking a proxy Palaeo-diet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution: it depends on the location, the season and on your acquired food intolerances.

An Ancestral Spirit or an Unconscious Mind?

Our Palaeolithic genome blindly assumes we are still tribally-based ‘hunter-gatherers’ foraging in the wild. This not only underpins our physical wellbeing but also many of our instinctive, emotional responses, serving as the engine of our unconscious mind. It provides, for example, the necessary fight-flight mechanisms essential for our survival, needs to be challenged, dictates the tribal-sized group of friends we can cope with, underpins our innate violence, our capacity to love, even our obsessions with sport and shopping. It could be argued that our Palaeolithic genome could be seen as our ancestral spirit. It instils within us a continuous anticipation of and demand for fresh air, fresh food, active lives, collaborative tribal occupations and close engagement with nature. If these and other ‘normal’ everyday demands (for a hunter-gatherer) are met, we are rewarded with good health, physically and mentally. But if we choose to ignore those ancestral messages….

Ancestral Origins for the New Age?

In summary, its not just our physiology that’s still resolutely Palaeolithic, so too is much of our surprisingly ancestral mindset. It’s the nature/nuture debate again: our immutable Palaeolithic genome versus modern, urbanised reason; our conscious versus our unconscious mind. Modern lives are thus a fusion (or confusion?) of the two. But don’t ever underestimate the influence and impact that the Palaeolithic genome can still have on seemingly civilised naked apes. If we really want to change the world for the better, the New Age must respect the very much older one we were all born with.

About the author:

Gustav Milne, M Phil FSA is an archaeologist with over 40 years experience, mainly with the Museum of London, and currently leads the CITiZAN community-based coastal archaeology project (which features in a new TV series on Channel 4 in the UK). He also teaches at University College London, where he co-ordinates the Evolutionary Determinants of Health programme, aspects of which are discussed in his latest book Uncivilised Genes: Human Evolution and the Urban Paradox, which has just been published in the US. It concerns human evolution and its relationship to our modern urban condition.

Related Recent Publications:

Marshall, S., Milne, G., Rook, G. & Tinnerman, R. 2015 ‘Walking: a step-change towards healthy cities’, Town and Country Planning Journal, 125-129

Milne, G. 2015 ‘The Evolutionary Determinants of Health Programme: urban living in the 21st century from a human evolutionary perspective’ Archaeology International 18, 84-96 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/ai.1809

Milne, G. 2017 Uncivilised Genes: human evolution and the urban paradox. Crown House Publications https://www.amazon.co.uk/Uncivilised-Genes-Human-evolution…/dp/1781352658

 

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Writing as a Spiritual Practice

by Diana Raab, PhD

Spirituality may be seen as the search for truth in one’s life in the interest of being happy. Writing as a spiritual practice can connect us to what seems most right for us, both personally and professionally. It can help us pinpoint our mission and reason for being by encouraging us to reflect on our feelings. Writing also helps us create a more profound sense of harmony and peace of mind.

Sometimes starting to write about pivotal or life-changing experiences can also confirm our identity. When I look back at my own life experiences and reflect on those that have truly transformed me, challenged me, or made me feel more aware or more alive, I must say that these were pivotal events involving the deaths of loved ones, the forming or evolution of relationships, becoming a parent, sexual encounters, and meaningful conversations with others. They have all been subjects of exploration in my journal writing, which has led to some form of change or transformation.

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Transformation may be defined as a dramatic change in our physical or psychological well-being. Basically, the path of personal transformation is a process of becoming aware of, facing, and becoming responsible for our thoughts and feelings. When thinking of writing in this way, we can say that it can be considered a spiritual practice.

Most writers like myself will confess that they write because they have to write, not necessarily because they want to write. We write out of necessity because it either makes us feel better or we want to share our stories with the world.

My beginnings as a writer began when I was ten years old. I was the only child of immigrant parents who were gone all day, tending to their retail dry-goods store in Brooklyn, New York. My grandmother was my beloved caretaker while they were at work, and on Labor Day in 1964, I was at home with her.

It was a hot Indian summer day common to the season. We lived in a suburban community along with other immigrant families and their children, so I was excited when a friend invited me to go swimming in her pool. With a child’s enthusiasm, I knocked on my grandmother’s door to ask for permission. There was no answer. I tried several times, but still no answer. I called to her, but there was only silence. I looked inside the room to see my grandmother, completely still, in her bed. Trembling with fear, I phoned my parents at their store. I sat with my nose pressed to the front bay window until they drove up in Dad’s pink car that matched our house’s shingles—the color he had painted them the day I was born. My parents dashed out of the car and up to Grandma’s room. Before I knew what was going on, my beloved grandmother was being carried down our creaky wooden stairs on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. I never saw her again. She had taken her life.

I missed her very much—she was the only grandmother I’d ever known, as my father’s parents had perished in the Holocaust. I was so lonely without her company and her love. After all, she had been the one who’d taught me how to type short stories on the Remington typewriter perched on the vanity table in her room. Her loving attention was something my mother was unable to provide in a meaningful way.

However, my mom knew I was grieving and wanted to help me through the trauma of my loss. Reaching out to therapists wasn’t done in those days, and even if it had been, we would not have had the money for it. So, my mother went to the nearest stationery store and bought me a blank, red leather journal with a saying by Kahlil Gibran at the top of each page.

For many months after my grandmother’s suicide, my mother continued to encourage me to write down my feelings. I sat at my small birch desk or in my walk-in closet under the hanging clothes, writing about my grandmother and how much I missed her. Having been an English major in college, my mother intuitively knew that this was the best way for me to deal with my grief. So, for days on end after my grandmother died, I wrote in my journal. For me, writing was a spiritual practice back then and continues to be a very important part of my life today.

Little did I realize that my mother’s inclination to buy me a journal would set the stage for my lifelong passion for writing. As I grew into adulthood, each time I endured difficult times—including my turbulent adolescence in the 1960s, my daughter’s drug addiction, and my battles with cancer—I wrote about what I was going through. Not only did I delve into the experiences in depth, but I also wrote about how they made me feel.

It was more than four decades after my grandmother died, when I was forty-seven years old, when I received my first cancer diagnosis (which I wrote about in my book Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey). After healing from the physical and emotional trauma of that experience, I decided to follow my dream of returning to graduate school. I pursued my MFA in writing, and when the time came to consider a subject for my thesis, the story of my grandmother’s life occurred to me.

Coincidentally, around that time, my mother gave me my grandmother’s hand-typed journal telling of her early life as an orphan in Poland during and after World War I. It was the greatest gift a granddaughter could ever receive. I devoured every word and used it as a part of my MFA thesis, which turned into my first published memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal.

In that book, I dealt with the two major turning points in my life: losing my grandmother and then discovering her sacred journal. The journal was sacred because of its role in my understanding of my grandmother and why she might have committed suicide. It was also sacred because it was another chance for me to get close to her intimate and private thoughts. I realized that writing about her was healing, as it allowed me to honor her and keep her alive, and it was also a way to understand why she had taken her life at the age of sixty-one.

Studying my grandmother’s life helped me become empowered by her experience and take on the role of a woman warrior. I realized that she had been a survivor for most of her life. She had survived the trauma of being orphaned, witnessing two world wars, and being in an emotionally abusive marriage; and she survived long enough to see me go to school. By examining my grandmother’s life, I realized that I, too, yearned to be a survivor and a fighter. I wanted to become empowered by my experiences and also help others become empowered by theirs. Thus, my grandmother’s journal was a huge gift.

In continuing my path of writing as a spiritual practice, I returned to school to get my PhD, where I researched the healing and transformative powers of memoir writing. Basically, my research examined how life-changing experiences have inspired some esteemed authors to write the narratives of their lives. I learned that writing one’s story is a way to reclaim one’s voice, share a family secret, or simply relate a personal story to others.

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My research interest was based on the fourth and newest branch of psychology, transpersonal psychology—the study of optimal psychological health and well-being and the idea of reaching one’s highest potential. Transpersonal means “beyond the ego” or “beyond the personal.” It has to do with the exploration of the unconscious as a way to tap into the higher self, both personally and collectively. Transpersonal psychology grew out of the mid-twentieth-century humanistic psychology movement and the study of alternative states of consciousness. It was originally founded and introduced by Abraham Maslow in the 1960s at the Esalen Institute in California. Transpersonal psychology encompasses all other types of psychology, such as psychoanalytic, Jungian, behavioristic, and humanistic. It also incorporates the spiritual aspects of the human experience. When studying this newest branch of psychology, I incorporated transpersonal experiences, which are those that extend beyond the ordinary and usual ways of knowing and doing.

Transpersonal psychology also accentuates various ways of healing and spiritual practices. Writing is considered a transpersonal practice in that it encourages self-expression and self-discovery; it helps us identify our strengths and weaknesses, with the goal of realizing our potential and leading happier lives. When using writing as a spiritual practice, we are documenting the story of our lives; and, as such, we have the chance to relive, examine, and reconstruct our experiences in an empowering way.

Central to our needs as humans is the need to understand the world around us. By examining the causes and meaning of certain lived experience, we come to understand the role and impact they’ve played in our lives. Some people reach out to organized religious practices or spiritual paths to help them gain such knowledge and illumination. Others, like myself, turn to writing tice because it cuts through the illusion of the self. Writing has been my own spiritual practice because it has helped me release whatever is bottled up inside of me. In this way, my journal has become my lifelong confidant. Writing in my journal allows me to discover what I don’t know, and thus, I become more aware. It also helps me discover meaning and find a container for my experiences. Writing as a spiritual practice is very liberating and satisfying, because when we release our secrets, we achieve a level of freedom that gives us more control over our lives.

Freedom comes in many forms. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, I journaled my way to recovery. One of the things I acknowledged was the brevity of life. I realized that there was no time like the present to seek bliss by writing down the experiences that brought me joy. I also acknowledged that having toxic people in my life was a bliss deterrent, so as much as possible I tried, and still try, to surround myself with inspiring, positive, and loving individuals.

During my own journey of writing as a spiritual practice, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in my practice; many writers, such as Anaïs Nin, have used writing in this way. In my own case, pivotal or life-changing events have served as stepping-stones for either new writing projects and/or self-discovery processes—an example being my newest book, Writing for Bliss. Overall, what I’ve learned as I use writing as a spiritual practice—and what I also teach others—is that this very personal creative process can bring about a sense of wholeness and, ultimately, a sense of bliss . . . which is what we all ultimately strive for in this life.

(Adapted from Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life)

About the author:

Diana Raab, PhD is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, and speaker. She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, and Elephant Journal. Her latest book is “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.” Her website is dianaraab.com.

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