Song To Support The Word:
Lately as I prepare to launch this somewhat unorthodox ministry, I’ve been asking myself, “What is ‘Church?'” And if I could creat the kind of “church” that I would love to be a part of, what would it be like? Who would want to attend it? I find myself writing things on random scraps of paper. Here’s one:
This is church to me:
- Doing my best to own my own “Stuff” and then healing it.
- Reflecting on the miracle of life
- Connecting with people on a deep and soulful level
- Leaving the world a better place than when I found it…
- doing whatever I can to heal the land and the environmentally destructive and inhumane practices of raising animals and processing them.
- _______________________________ [fill in the blank]
I kind of came to the conclusion that EVERYTHING is church to me. EVERYTHING is a manifestation of whatever it is that created the universe and animated it with consciousness.
For me Church began a long time ago… at the 250 year old Yorktown Presbyterian church in Yorktown Heights NY…
When I was in 4th grade I asked my parents if I could stop going to Sunday school at the Yorktown Presbyterian church and instead attend church with them.
We had a minister named Ronald James who was not only a brilliant preacher but played a pretty good folk guitar as well.
He always did a “Three Point Sermon.”
He would tell you what he was going to tell you. Then he’d tell you. Then he’d tell you what he told you. There is something simple and profound about 3 points, 3 ideas.
In the midst of my daily chores and ongoing projects I often reflect upon some of the key ideas that are motivating me or “driving” me to be motivated to do more each day towards creating the kind of farm, spiritual community and purposeful life that I am being called to create.
It all comes down to 3 concepts. Body. Mind. Spirit. At first glance they seem like three separate things. But they are all connected and intertwined.
First, Without a healthy body NOTHING is possible. I’ve said this before and probably will again, “We are Spirits with bodies not bodies with spirits.”
Secondly, If our bodies are not healthy our minds can’t function as well. Without a healthy, clear and curious Mind we get pulled into superstition, mental traps, conspiracy theories, thought loops and contradictions.
Thirdly, without a healthy body and mind supporting a resilient and open spirit we are more likely to be pulled down into distraction, dysfunction or even despair.
But WITH those things:
a healthy body, a clear and curious Mind, and a resilient, open spirit we can empower ourselves and each other to literally change the world for the better. And in case you haven’t noticed, the world needs us. Not just in war zones but everywhere.
1. Nice Body You Got There: Our Bodies are our actual spaceships. We need to take care of them better than we have. Doctors and Hospitals are great to have just in case but the kinds of crap we eat and the way we raise our food is hugely destructive. We need to work on improving the quality of the food we eat. Which ultimate means improving the soil, and the way we grow or raise our food. While I “get” the cost effectiveness of huge Confined Feeding Operations (CAFOs) or “Factory Farms,” The toxic mess we make with them and the destruction of the soil has to stop. Otherwise it could be the end of us all.
The act of growing my own food not only improves my nutrition but it provides daily exercise and a bridge to my neighbors when I have more than I can eat. Growing my own food challenges me to pay attention and to take care of living things outside of Me. And in case you haven’t noticed it we live in a pretty “me, me, me” time in human history. We are also living in quite literally the best time to be alive in the history of the human race. The knowledge we need to take exquisite care of ourselves and our food growing environment is freely available on Youtube.
I started growing greens on the window sills of my Apartment in Albany NY. Having little light in my yard, I started growing a garden at my friend Robin & Mike’s house… That led to moving in with my dad and turning his 3 acres into a micro farm… which led me to reach out to a number of folks in my immediate neighborhood.
I’m pretty clear that MY path is not for everyone. But EVERYONE eats. Everyone has the ability to improve the quality of the food they eat. Find yourself a farmer and make friends with him or her or THEM. Support locally grown food as much as you can. You CAN change the world one fork full at a time.
2. Never mind your mind, mind your Mind: We need to work on transforming how we think, process and interpret the world. It is not the world that causes us suffering. It is our interpretation of the world that causes our suffering. This is not a new idea. The Ancient Stoic Philosophers taught this. The Buddha taught this.
Once we re-interpret our lives with the idea that “The obstacle is the Way” or “Everything is good” it gives us a breather from all the victim, disaster thinking going on around us. It doesn’t instantly “fix” everything but it makes the challenges and rising to meet them a little easier. In a time of unprecedented lies and propaganda, disinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories we need to dig for the Truth with a capital “T.”
My dad said at dinner the other night. “I saw on the internet that there was a husband who divorced his wife because she’d given birth to 22 sets of twins…” I made him show me the video. Because it rang my internal BS bell. It turns out she’d ADOPTED 22 sets of twins. But initially he was convinced that somehow that was possible. He just saw that headline and sucked it in like mind candy. And candy is NOT healthy. Although we WILL make certain exceptions for Brick Chapel Maple Candy… :o)
Without being cynical, we need to question our perceptions of reality. We need to look at ourselves hard and long in the mirror and demand we tell ourselves the truth. I am not as smart, intelligent or brave as I would like to be. I am not as independent and successful as I wish I was. I am a frail, fragile human being sifting through millions of bits of information at any give moment and attempting to make sense of the input as best I can.
As kid I was anxious and cried a lot. Things freaked me out that didn’t seem to bother other people. I was a fussy eater. I was sick a lot. I had allergies. I didn’t know how to have friends. I was shy. I was a mess. But my mind was curious. And once I finally learned to read in the 2nd grade, long after most of my classmates, I voraciously devoured everything I could read about the things I was interested in. As a teenager I began to question a lot of things Spiritually. I didn’t really see the need for a virgin birth or a lot of other Christian orthodoxy. The teachings of Jesus were never, in my mind, threatened by the mythology and dogma that was built up around him. “God is Love.” “The Kingdom is within.” “Woman your faith has healed you.” Still ring deep and true even AFTER my critical thinking mind is done with all the questioning.
We are all being challenged in these times of dis-information and information overload to dig a little deeper. Seeking SOURCE. The truth shall set us free.
3. It’s a Spiritual Thang: We need to work on how we relate to and communicate with each other because each of us is a manifestation of God, All That Is, The Sea of Awareness etc. When I look in your eyes I see your Spirit. We are a miracle of Creation. And we are here to learn to love one another.
Every baby born is a miraculous to me as any miracle in any scripture. Every moment here is a gift no matter how difficult it appears to be at the time. We are all on equal footing because we are ALL Spirits who somehow managed to jump into these physical bodies and move around on this little planet spinning through space.
There is sacrifice and transformation in every bite of food we eat. Most modern humans don’t want to be reminded that their pork chop or steak or burger was a living breathing being. We take this energy into our bodies with little thought. I believe that we need to make this sacred.
To bring it all together requires a willingness to see that EVERYTHING is connected.
The pigs I’ve raised for food are God. The plants that farmers grew to feed my pigs are God. And We are God.
God is everything, everywhere. God is the breath of Awareness that animates and enlivens ALL that is. All of Creation. The herds of herbivores required the packs of wolves or prides of lions to keep their own evolution progressing towards health and resilience. The predator SERVES the health of the herd. The herd sacrifices individuals for the health and improvement of the species.
Every creature is here temporarily. Every creature is here to experience and overcome challenges to survival. To be a part of this Sea of Awareness is a gift, no matter what we might think. That doesn’t mean it is easy. It is not.
But we are called to struggle towards the light and in that struggle to maybe learn to dance into the Light.
Ultimately we are Spirits in bodies not bodies with spirits.
Ultimately we are being called to combine and integrate Body, Mind And Spirit every single day, in every single way that we can. If any one of the three is not right, the rest are not right either…
And I can’t do it by myself, so I’m asking for your help…. Together we can change the world…
Song to Support The Word: