Archive | December 2011

All Reality is but a Stage

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
~ Shakespeare – As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I believe with regard to religion and spirituality. I’ve come to realize that I need to be clear on my beliefs so I have a better understanding of how to explain them to others. With that, I’m going to spend some time here to give a more thorough examination of my current beliefs and I will utilize some real life experiences and analogies in order to explain them. It’s important to know that as I learn and grow, so do my beliefs. I take time to re-analyze my beliefs against any new awareness and decide if it needs to be updated, added or removed.

Recently I was invited for lunch with my friend Joshua because we had been dialoging via email on various topics surrounding religion and we thought that we could really make some ground on our conversation by meeting in person. Upon arrival at our meeting, I was surprised at how quickly he wanted to dig into the topic at hand and dispense with too much small talk, but in a way I was glad of it. (As a side-note, Joshua is Christian who is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and I’m not – even though it is the church of my birth) I decided to back up a bit and give an overview of my personal position on why I’m not a Christian. After doing so, Joshua continued into a line of questioning that was mainly asked in order to obtain a better understanding of my beliefs. While the conversation was quite lively and interesting, I became concerned about the kinds of questions he was asking as they did not seem to be in line with what I thought I had explained as my beliefs. Even in subsequent emails over the following day or two after our lunch, I was still confused on why the conversation went down the path of being more of an offense/defense around religion. He even recommended that I read the book “Letters from a Skeptic”, in order for me to have a resource to answer my objections to Christianity. This book is about a son (the Christian) who invites his father (the Agnostic) into a letter dialog to enable his father to pose all his objections and questions around Christianity and the son would answer these letters in hopes of “saving” his father.

I took Joshua’s advice and downloaded the unabridged audio version of the book and I listened to it over the next couple days. What I found in listening to this book is a range of emotions. First I was angry at what I felt were not only ludicrous and ignorant questions (from the father in the story), but also I was angry at the answers being given by the son as I felt they lacked any real motivation to “convert”. My emotions then moved into boredom as the book when on and on with questions like, “… well if God is love and he loves his creation, then why are their natural disasters and pestilence in the world?” to answers like, “… there are bad people in the world because of a great cosmic war between good and evil that we are caught in and cannot save ourselves.” I was tired of the story and seeing that I had about half the book left, I thought more than once to abandon it and move on. I decided that there must be some reason why this particular book was recommended to me so I trudged on and what I found is that once I gave up my emotions around listening to the book, I began to really hear the conversation. I also was able to see a different perspective on the stories of the Bible including those of Jesus. I also came to the realization (based on the questions Joshua was asking) that I’m doing a really bad job at being clear as to what my beliefs are. I realized that how I approached the reasons around no longer being a Christian (or any religion for that matter) not only challenged Joshua’s beliefs (which would naturally put him on the defensive), but it also clouded what I really wanted to share about me.

With the new awareness in place, I decided to outline my personal current beliefs in writing and here is how it came together (in no particular order):

  • I believe in an intelligent, universal energy that is All, it binds all and is pure love and pure creation (e.g. The Universe, The Divine, God, Yahweh, Ein Sof, Allah, etc).
  • I believe my Higher Self (HS) is but an extension of God and is not in any way separated. My HS is not my humanity. The HS knows all and is completely enlightened within its connection to The Divine.
  • I believe my Soul is my consciousness in and around my human body. It is my HS’s representation of itself as I am in human form, but the soul has chosen to “forget” who he really is as the HS.
  • I believe God can only truly know herself through experiencing all facets of creation through a virtual separation or dis-memberment from herself. The dis-memberment is a veil of “forgetting”.
  • I believe the dis-memberment I create from God is only an illusion that I agree to before becoming human.
  • I believe that everything returns to God because nothing is truly separated from Him.
  • I believe free will enables us to create a vast number of experiences and opportunities for The Divine to know Herself.
  • I believe that when we die from the human form, our Soul goes back to be part of All – Always
  • If we do bad or “evil” things during our lives, or we experience evil, this is an experience we have chosen.
  • I believe that if we put (create) enough negative or “evil” energy out, it will manifest into its own force with apparent intelligence. I believe this force can cause problems, death and destruction but has no power over The Universe. I believe this force can be transmuted by (not only God) but easily by a direct focused intention of any human commanding it with Love.
  • I believe hell is only a part of our human reality and is a deliberate denial of being connected to The Divinity within us. It only exists individually for a person’s lifetime as a human. Hell can also be conditions brought upon by an energetic imbalance from society. Hell is also a chosen experience.
  • Whether the bible or any religious text is real and/or actually happened is irrelevant to my beliefs.
  • I believe we can choose to be incarnate in human form multiple times.
  • I believe religion came about because of a natural evolution of Man discovering and remembering it’s truth. Religion is not right or wrong, it’s simply a tool used as we become more enlightened as humans.
  • I believe the human ego is a purposeful way to experience our humanity. Once we understand this, each experience can be reviewed, considered, and then released.
  • I believe our reactive emotions (anger, fear, depression, happiness, etc) are the domain of the ego – they are conditional. It’s when you can allow the emotion to pass through and out (release) and observe it for what it is, then you can truly be the master of your ego.
  • I believe that there are many roads Home and it’s our choice which path to take (free will). But no matter the path, we all go Home.
  • I am no religion. Nor do I claim to fit into any category of organized spirituality.
  • I am not a Christian because I do not need to be saved by having Christ die for my sins.
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12
    – Even if everything taught to me about the stories of Jesus are true, I believe the actions by Jesus were primarily a guide to living life and showing us that we just need to let go and believe in our connection to The All that Is. Jesus was another example given to us over human history (also like Horus and Osiris) .
    – I believe I am just as much a part of God as Jesus. I believe Jesus was just more naturally (by intention and design) aware and humanly conscious of this connection to The Universe than most. He was this way on purpose to help us evolve our awareness and our collective consciousness.
  • I believe we have had many Masters come to earth over time to teach us the same truths that was taught by our ascended Masters. I believe that over time we have become more enlightened as humans, that we now have access to more “connected” humans giving us more guidance and truths.
  • What I see is that the illusion of daily life as an experience that we can truly see and re-member the Divinity within ourselves.
  • I do not believe that God has the emotions of humans and that She is pure Love. Love is not an emotion, it is a way of being that is all accepting.

I have an analogy that helps me to explain our existence as it relates to our humanity, the ego, the soul, and our Higher Self (Godself). The example that I am giving is to compare these things to a stage play. The primary aspects of a play include; the set (or stage), the actors, the characters, the audience and the script. Each of these components I will relate to how I see myself as a spiritual being having a human experience.

  • The set or stage represents the earth as well as the visible known universe. This is where I “exist” in my reality.
  • The actor represents our soul which is veiled in its full knowledge of God and is more closely related to our physical human experience, but takes guidance from the Higher Self.
  • The character is our humanity or our day to day facade that we portray during our life including the effects of our ego
  • The script is our overall plan for our experience that we designed before coming to earth as a human
  • The audience is our Higher Self and God, witnessing and experiencing the interactions between all aspects of the play.

As we live our lives as characters in a play, we play out using our free will and some guidance from the script. The actor or soul is the connection to spirit or our Higher Self and it experiences the interplay among the self, other characters and the set. If we choose (using free will) to ignore our guidance and take a different path, this is acceptable and is honored, but we find our lives to be incomplete and we struggle.

Before we are born unto humans, we have already decided the main experiences we want in our lifetime. Some people refer to these as lessons, but that is not my view. I believe we already “know” everything conceptually, but not experientially. It is our wish to truly know via experience. The problem we face as humans is that we deny the truth of our existence as it has been shown to us many times (including by Jesus). We do not know how to manage our experiences of life as just that, an experience – then it should be released. Upon human physical death, the experiences of the life is re-membered All the consequence of the life are no longer relevant, but yet does create a Karmic resonance that can continue to be felt and can seek resolution within the next life. If we haven’t been able to release our experience, we will never really know it completely. Therefore, if we choose to re-incarnate, some of these experiences may be played again in the next life.

As I look back onto my lunch with Joshua, the book I listened to and the validation of my belief systems, things became clearer about life and my existence. I am slowly becoming even more aware of each interaction I have with everyone in my life, no matter how seemingly insignificant. I can step outside of the experience and see it for what it really is. I am more cognizant of what I’m being shown in the experience and how it is teaching me more about myself and re-membering who I really am. This awareness has brought me peace and fulfillment to my life. I believe it is in the awareness of the re-membering where I fulfill the script or “plan” of my life. It is the whole point of my existence.

What I Believe Changes as I grow and become more attuned to my true self.
 

Dwight Raatz

Journey to the Island of Creation

Recently I experienced a shamanic journey that I will share with you here. A group of friends and I got together to do some energy work and we started out the evening with one of my friends doing a one card tarot reading for each of us. I don’t recall the card I drew, but I do remember him telling me that part of the card’s meaning was being able to step outside my ego and looking at those aspects of myself in a way that is giving me control over the ego. This resonated with me because this is exactly what I’ve been experiencing over the past few months and it hit home how far I have come.

We then continued the night with my friend asking about how we wanted to journey; did we want to sit in silence, use a drum or a signing bowl. I was immediately drawn to the drum and spoke my wish. It was agreed to have the drum be the “regulator” of our journey. My friend has the ability to not only drum, but also to journey at the same time. Quite impressive I thought!

All was silent and we prepared ourselves. The drum call began with slow regular beats vibrating our beings and setting the tone. There was a shift and the drumming gathered speed and strength. Immediately I found myself flying above the ground, speeding toward some unknown location. The ground below me was a blur and I could see the curve of the earth as I moved faster and higher. I sensed a presence with me so I looked around to see that behind me flew several small “beings”. I thought it was interesting, but did not pay too much attention.

Ahead in the distance I could see a large object floating above the earth. It had irregular features and as I grew closer, I could see that it appeared to be an island. The island had mountain tops with streams flowing down, trees with many varieties and a dense growth, a large beach with water surrounding it.

I landed on the beach next to a large pyre of wood that was set aflame. The journey drum beat became strong in me and I began to dance around the fire. I looked behind me to see seven little beings dancing behind me – interesting. I looked at my body to see myself dressed in native American ceremonial garb – feathers on my headdress, along my arms – intricate beads sewn in in colorful and dazzling patterns on my leather garment. The drum’s rhythm urged me on to feel and let go of my human connection and to be part of the earth. I danced with love and creation flowing.

As I danced, I could see the skin from my body shedding off like dirt and becoming part of the ground. I could see the sweat running down my sides and flowing toward the streams. I could see my breath extending out and creating breeze. I could see the energy of my dance act as a fuel for the fire and I could feel it expanding. I saw all of these elements expanding and falling to the earth to replenish and renew. With all of this, I saw that I was the creator – that I Am. I saw that I was bringing life and am master of my own.

My curiosity became aroused with regard to the little beings following behind. I turned to look behind only to see that they no longer followed. I looked around to find them on the outer ring beyond where I danced with no connection to my creation process. They did not struggle, but rather appeared to be waiting and holding space for my work. What were these beings I asked. Immediately the answer came to me explaining that these were what made me human and were outside my Truth, Love and Creation. Then I knew they represented the ego in what could be referred to as the “seven deadly sins” (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy & Pride) – all of which are born of fear. They cannot exist where love creates and all was right and I danced with Joy and Abundance!

My journey ended here as the drumbeat changed and called me back. I returned to my reality in the midst of friends and we shared our stories. I felt very blessed to be there and humbled to know my connection to All That Is.

Namaste,

Dwight Raatz