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I am a pastor and a clinical psychotherapist. My life's passion is defining healthiness from a human perspective and paralleling it to the holiness of God, divine perspective. Shifting perspectives creates a paradigm that is alongside of rather than over and against. The parakalein of God and the paradoxes of humanity are redefined. Humanity is all about winning and yet we are losing ground everywhere. Divinity is all about letting go of the desire to win and the fear of loss. The Divine embraces the world with loving care regardless of anything.

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Way of Jesus

Posted by Don Paine

As I sat in church today, I heard the theme as "Jesus loves you". Simple and profound. Complex yet compelling. Mark 5 was the text. (Matthew 8 and Luke 8 are parallel texts) I noticed that in each in counter of Jesus with the seas or wind, with the fear or faith, with the dead or living the theme was the same. The way Jesus was in each case was calm and compassionate.

The disciples were focused on the storm and the waves. Fear of the external shook their internal peace and trust. The audacity of their cry, "Jesus do you not care that we perish" was eclipsed by the audacity of Jesus calm response. "peace be still". Was he talking to the wind or the disciples. To both I am sure. The wind and the waves witnessed his calmness and became calm. The disciples witnessed the "power of inner calmness and care and became afraid. Jesus looked at them with compassion not judgment. I imagine that Jesus would have smiled and said watch and learn. Next time when you see me asleep, trust my presence. I am in your boat. There is nothing to fear except fears furor. Instead of saying "wake up" say to yourself, let's take a knap. No evil will be fall us as long as Jesus is with us.

The way of Jesus is not a theological or dogmatic way. The way of Jesus is a way of being that welcomes everyone and everything into the realm of eternal loving. Competitive desires are not eternal. Competition is of the external world. Calmness is the character of eternal things. Jesus met every competitive challenge with compassion and calmness.

The way of Jesus is even more powerfully illustrated in the next event. Jesus is confronted with a man possessed by evil demons. They shout to him, do not torment us.....I can see Jesus again with a smile of reassuring love and compassion on his face. The "Legion" of demons ask the God of the universe to send them to the swine. Jesus response was not a negative judgment but a calm compassion, "sure go ahead". Evil was not confronted as if God was competing good against evil. Evil was met with compassion and care. The swine headed for the lake where the evil was drowned or dissolved and the life force renewed in the living water that always springs up into everlasting life.

Jesus as anyone or any group might define or market him is not the way. The way of Jesus is the way of love and peace. Love and peace do not triumph over evil as if they are at war. They dissolve the need to compete that is in the world. The dissolve into the transformative sea of glass that calm and redemptive.

Narrow Path

Posted by Don Paine

I was out for a morning jog winding through the cascading countryside, enjoying the freedom of movement and the breath of life. I came upon a split in the path ahead of me was a wide path that looked safe and was obviously frequently traveled. Next to it was a narrow path all overgrown, somewhat uncharted and obviously less traveled. As I considered which path to take, I reasoned that the one path was safe and though not easy well traveled. The other was scary. It looked like no one had dared taken this path. Reason tipped me toward taking that path. Emotions too. Something inside of me led me to take the narrow path. I knew it was the path of courage and faith. The other path was the way of comfort and ease. Intuition and trust in self had tipped me in a different direction

I was traveling along slower but freer, courageous not fearful, careful but calm.
“Narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it. Wide is the path that leads to destruction and many there be that follow it.”

For years of living I have believed that the way to God and the way to know God is to choose the narrow way of eternal life rather than the wide way of living for today, going for all the gusto! I not so suddenly but very deliberately have shifted in my belief. The narrow way is externally defined as a particular way of a particular belief. The way of Jesus is a narrow way. It is not the way of any particular theology or church doctrine. That would be an external belief brought inside. I sued to think that way much like a child believes what he is told. I put away that child. I realized another child found his own inner path free of outer direction. It was not that the narrow way was a particular truth that was universally true in a religious sense. It was a universal truth from the internal universe. The narrow truth was to care for the internal would which is all that is eternal. The wide way that leads to destruction is focusing on the external world with all that it has to offer. This includes physical, emotional, social and even religious truths or ways. The wide way was he way of self-indulgence, self-inflation, and self-absorption. It was a way of living in the external world for the external benefits of that world. The narrow way is the way of caring for the internal world. It is living form the inside out rather than from the outside in.

The narrow path leads to widening my horizons and broadening my living. It is the path that leads to life.

In all honesty I did not choose the narrow path in the physical reality of my jogging, The narrow path looked to uncharted and scary. However it did provoke the thoughts and realities of inner life and internal choices. When given the opportunity to sit it out or go the way of most people, I try to choose the narrow way. This is the way of spiritual realities that are of the inner, internal and eternal world. The way of the external world and all its choices leads to the destruction of the wisdom of the inner world. Choosing to be honest internally and with you is the narrow way.

The narrow way is the way of true honesty within oneself, toward others and toward oneself. It is the way of calmness, compassion, courage and creativity.

Exploring the one true God

Posted by Don Paine

I meet Suneet from India at a recent conference.  It was so cool to dialogue with open non-judgmental presence and to offer the same to him.

I arrived back at the room into which we had been thrust as room mates at LMU in LA.  He was beginning his devotions as a Hindu using Indian Music, Yoga and meditation.  I had just been for a run during which time I had meditated on the mystery of God's majesty.

I totally respected his sacred space.  He interrupted his focus for a brief dialogue then he returned to his meditation and I to my shower.  We were both cleaning different parts of our selves.

We later discovered so many similarities of heart, soul, mind and spirit.  I attended his workshop and learned that the Indian/HIndu idea of God was not in conflict with the Christian idea of God.  The essence of God is love and peace, hesed and shalom, agape and erainea.

He explained that a guru is not a person but an inner reality of God's peaceful and loving presence.  I explained that in the Internal Family System's model of therapy and life and in the Christian model of living, "The SELF" is an inner reality of God's calm, creative, courageous and compassionate presence.

When there is mutual respect between two people regardless of their theological or psychological or ethnic systems there is love and peace.