Thursday, May 03, 2007

Love or Fear?

It was a beautiful spring day, just this last Saturday in April. I had the responsibility for taking care of my 6 and 7-year-old grandsons.

We stopped by my house and I made a big bowl of buttered popcorn and the boys entertained themselves with coloring books I had picked up on my last shopping trip while they munched their snack.

After I finished my home office business, we went to the local park to play. This is a lovely playground that the boys are very familiar with, so they went to play, happy to be there.

We hadn't finished the popcorn so I had decided to just bring the big bowl with us and finish munching it there. I installed myself on one of the picnic tables in the shade, with a good view of the playground.

I was feeling very exuberant and happy so I offered some popcorn to a mother and her kid as they passed by on the way to their car. They seemed to ignore my offering and I thought nothing of it.

A few minutes later a couple of the local police approached me and asked for my ID. I said sure, but what was the problem?

Apparently someone had complained that there was a man in the park trying to sell popcorn to kids!

I have had nothing but good experiences with the Mundelein police so I got my driver's license and chatted with them while they checked me out to make sure I wasn't some kind of pedophile or something. In a few minutes they handed my license back to me and said I was ok to go.

So what to make of this incident? Of course if there was some strange man in the park trying to seduce kids by offering them popcorn he should be reported.

And maybe because I have a beard I looked not like a typical Republican suburbanite. But jeez folks!

If the mother or whoever reported me consulted her intuition or even just used her powers of observation for five minutes she would have seen/known that I was just an innocent grandpa in the park with his grandkids.

But her decision to call the alarm must have been a knee jerk reaction just based on fear. This is a sad and hopefully avoidable situation.

The events of 9/11 created a New World for many. There is no doubt that there are sexual predators out there that we need to take precautions against to protect our children. The world can be a pretty scary place and it is easy to yield to fear and just live a paranoid existence. But do we really want to live this way?

I certainly don't. And even though there is much negativity in this world, I still see Love to be the most powerful force in my life and in this world. I intend to live my life based on love, not fear. If we end up living in fear the terrorists have won.

I am not a Pollyanna who wants to hide from the realities of modern life. I just want to remind everyone that a lot of your reality is based upon where you put your attention. If you have been watching too many news reports and have not been tending to your relationship with God, you will have a tendency to develop a warped perspective, one that is fear based.

If your recollection is that you are Soul and are eternal, it is possible for you to bring the force of love into your daily existence in a meaningful way.

Are you going to share the popcorn or call the police?

Some thoughts on the tragedy in Virginia

Tragedies like the murders at Virginia Tech provide fresh reminders of the fragility of our lives. Why did this happen? What does it mean?

We live in a time that esoteric literature has described as the Kali Yuga, or the Iron Age. I first ran across this term when I was studying Hinduism and later encountered it again in Eckankar, the religion of the Light and Sound of God.

Wars, strife and disharmony characterize the Iron Age; it is also called the Dark Age. Events like this are a stark reminder that this is indeed the age we live in. We could see the war in Iraq as more of the same.

A Yuga is an incredibly long period of time. Scholars differ as to its length, which is traditionally described as 432,000 years but some think is shorter.

Do your remember spinning a top as a child? It spins beautifully for a long time, but then it begins to wobble. Once it starts wobbling, it will soon fall. The Kali Yuga is the time when the top of the universe is wobbling madly.

Each age is shorter than the previous one, and there are four. The first is the Golden age which is remembered as the garden of Eden and in many other utopian legends.

How is this relevant to the tragedy in Virginia? Remember the serenity prayer? One of the things we cannot change is the time into which we have incarnated. So we have to learn to deal with it.

How? By remembering that Soul is eternal and we are all sparks of the Divine. This is the central truth of Eckankar and most of the world's religions. Further, Eckankar teaches that Soul exists because God loves it. So even though the reasons for the deaths in Virginia may be unfathomable, we must know that Soul does not die, only the body.

Is their some karmic connection between the murderer and the people he killed? More than likely. It is a given that more bad karma has been created, but who knows what karmic drama was manifesting?

Detachment is the key quality that is taught in Eckankar and it can be a very useful skill in times like these. Detachment does not mean not to care. It really means to realize that you are not your emotions. So grieve, but as the Chinese say, do not let the bird of grief build a nest in your hair.

I personally would like to hope that this incident might cause the lovers of guns and their freedom to buy same to take a fresh look at the tragic consequences of the easy availability of automatic weapons. The only reason for the existence of these weapons is to kill large numbers of people.

One could hypothesize that a determined person can always find a way to get access to what weapons he wants, but why should we continue to make it so easy? You have probably seen the statistics about the number of violent crimes involving guns that occur in America versus every where else in the world. This is something we can change in America if we have the will.

Each moment of our lives we have a choice where we put our attention. This is a freedom that we always have and always will. We create our reality by where we continue to put our attention.

If this incident can serve as a wake up call perhaps that is the lemonade. Remember that we are Soul, that our life in this body is a gift and can be taken from us at any moment. Let us live accordingly.