About Me

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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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Jesus is the Truth

Posted by Don Paine

Jesus is the truth means that he lives and loves in truth.  Honesty and integrity are behind Jesus call to an intimate relationship with all God's creation.  Jesus always spoke truth.  Jesus' truth had no conditions to it.  He did not speak one thing to one person and something different to another person.  He did not speak one truth in one setting or circumstance and change it in another. setting.  Jesus spoke truth regardless of anything.  He spoke truth in regard to everything.  He spoke truth regardless of the context or the cost of that truth.  Jesus died or was killed because he would not deny what he knew to be truth, nor would he embrace a truth that he knew to be a lie.  Jesus was full of integrity and offered the intimacy of a God of love and peace for he taught and lived that love and peace were the only things that reflected the perfect presence of God.

Truth is not about doctrine or dogma as much as it is about divine honesty and integrity.  As a marriage and family counselor I often say to couples, "if you do not have the capacity and capability of being honest and receiving honesty, I do not know what you have but you do not have a marriage".  Without honesty there is honesty no relationship.  Honest to God.  The most honest and honoring thing any of us can do is be honest without fear of punishment and without desiring approval or reward.

Honor and honesty are at the root of the image of God in us.  Jesus is the honest truth with grace always and forever.  That as the disciple declares in John 1:14 is the Glory of God, beheld in him.

Live the truth of honor, humility and honesty and watch your life and relationships transform and become transforming.

Jesus is the Life

Posted by Don Paine

Living from the well of eternal love and peace inside all of us is living the life of Jesus.  Jesus did not live with any conditions of his loving of people.  He loved people regardless of anything about them.  No sin turned his heart away rather invited his open heartedness to be experienced.  This is not God condoning sin and it is also God not condemning the sin or the sinner.  Jesus lived his life in the fullness of unwavering peace inside.  No situation or experience had him "rattled" inside as inside he had "peace that surpassed human understanding".  It made no sense for Jesus to not defend himself, to not revile back or falter in his peace when falsely accused or falsely represented.  Yet today many in churches or who call them selves Christians represent a view of Christ that makes no sense.  That is in fact non-sense.  Jesus makes sense of all that is and shall be as he remains at peace regardless of anything. Similarly he remains unconditionally loving toward all regardless of anything they do or do not do.  Again this is not condoning or condemning but offering the world the first hand experience of of a God whose very image is most notably and noticeably clear.  God loves without condition and without agenda and lives that out in Christ as a model for all of us.  To say we believe in God and live with conditions on out loving and agendas in our theologizing is to embellish the truth of Jesus being the life with error by living differently than he lived.  It is not about ecclesiology or theology but about living in peace and with love form the inside out.  Jesus living, living in us.

Jesus is the life of peace and love for all and Jesus is in in all of us for all of us.  The eternal world of love and peace is the only world that is eternal.

Can I take this road to Bangor, ME: Jesus is the Way

Posted by Don Paine

I had a good friend from Maine who loved Maine humor, obviously.

One day he told the story of a man who stopped to ask directions in Portland, Maine.  He simply asked the friendly Maine person, "Can I take this road to Bangor?

The response, "Nope, this road has to stay right here they have enough roads in Bangor!"

The road to a place is one thing the way of being in a place of love and peace is another.  When Jesus said, "I am the Way", I do not think he meant he was the road to heaven and that people had to take any particular road to heaven.  He meant, the way of heaven had come to earth.  It is a way of surrender of the physical world (reality) to the spiritual world (reality), it is the way of serenity regardless of anything, and the way of sacrificial loving without condition.  The Jesus way is the way of love and peace.  It is not about any particular religious way but a spiritual way that can be assisted by any religious orientation that embraces the wonder and witness of living in peace and loving all people regardless of anything.

Live this way, do not take this road, love this way!

Love without conditions and without any agenda.

Parts war, ending war

Posted by Don Paine

I sat in a group and one member began to talk about how uncomfortable she is with talking about religion.  She declared that buddhism is not a religion but a way of being mindful.  I had a part that thought this was a  reaction to my saying earlier, at another time, in the same group, that I was triggered when people use Buddhism as an illustration of "embodying self"without also stating that other figures in other religious traditions also "embody self" in similar ways.

In reflection I notice that religious dialogue trigger a "parts war" as many people find the same sense of self in many different ways.  I began to realize that religious wars between religious groups whether argued out in cognitive wars in conference rooms or battled out in military wars in battlefields, the end result is to miss the common ground of all ways to "Self".  There is a multiplicity of ways to "Self" and a multiplicity of ways to be in "Self".  The way of parts wars is to unintentionally but clearly to step out of being "in self" while protecting "a way to self" as "the way".

When I was in the evangelical church, I often heard people say and preach that they knew the truth, that they were "in the spirit" at first this intrigued me and incited me.  Over time I realized that this was no Spirit, but human spirit. I began to say, "not so much".  Today in another parallel universe I hear people say, "I am in Self" or teaching how to "embody self".  This intrigued me and incited me.  Over time I have learned that there are a multiplicity of ways to "embody Self" and when I think I am in Self I am probably not.

All religious ways or teachings are religious parts, protective parts, some managers some firefighters but all of them blur our seeing and block our experiencing the True Self.

I started the parts war and only I can end that war.  Being in Self, ends all wars as wars have to do with agendas.  Self has no agenda except to be loving.  Love ends all war.

A thought that shifts all

Posted by Don Paine

I have been teaching Internal Family Systems at CCSU for the last few days.  One one of the teaching days one of the students who is seasoned therapist said she had read a lot and had decided that it, IFS, was just a language shift and that she does the same thing using different concepts and frames.  I told her I had a part that wanted to say, "yuh, no, it is much more than a language shift".

I began to think that we use language to try to help people but then that language gets in the way as it is more than language.  I reflected that this is true in religion and politics thoughts two arenas that everyone says "do not go there".

Shit happens everywhere to everyone regardless of anything.  What we need is not language shifts but a shift to see every happening as an opportunity to enlarge and enhance our living.  I think this is at the core of all religions and of IFS training, to welcome all people regardless of anything into an experience that shifts everything from a language issue to an issue of acceptance and compassion toward all for the good of all.

What a shift, if all people regardless of ethnic, social, religious, political, economic, ecological, scientific, or sexual orientations, simply and profoundly accepted each other as people regardless of anything.

A shift from trying to control and direct to a shift offering openness and compassion.

Hint from a dog

Posted by Don Paine

We have a golden retriever who we joke is more like a bronze evader,  However she has taught us a thing or two.

First and foremost, the commands of "Look at Me, Watch me, Eyes on me!" are ways of getting her way to become the "way" we want her to be.  As I watched her go from a self absorbed, unable to focus dog with an injured psyche, to a dog who actually looks at us, makes eye contact, and clearly connects (by the way that took 3 years of training), I noticed something intriguing and interesting.  Her way of riveted fear has become our way of faithful contact and connection.

I began to wonder what if this is what Jesus had in mind we said said, "I am the way".  He was not saying I am the way as if he was outlining a road map to a destination.  Today I asked my wife the way to the nearest Fed-ex and we concluded that is what the GPS is for.  The way is a way of take this road then that road.  It was not the way to heaven that Jesus was outlining in John 14, it was the way of heaven come to earth for all to see.  With eyes on Jesus we walk the way he walked not on the road or in the places he walked but "the way" he walked.  It was not a bout the way to a destination but the way to live out the destiny of heaven here on earth.

Jesus was saying to Thomas and all of us, "look at me, watch me, keep your eyes on me" and you will be connected to and in contact with me.  Then you will live the Jesus way, the way of Jesus,  not to a destination but as a designation of focus.  This would not be a Global Position System but a Global Posturing System.

As I have said before, I do not want to walk where Jesus walked, I want to walk in the way Jesus walked.  

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Posted by Don Paine

An arrogant self absorbed statement or the most misunderstood statement of all time as it is defined by so many  in so many different ways except the way of Jesus meant it.

It is the single most divisive and decisive statement ever made.

What did Jesus mean?  Did he mean to say there is only one right way to believe in God, only one right theological position, one right morality, one right polity, one right anything?

Are you sure?

An image transformed: A boot for stomping or a boot for walking

Posted by Don Paine

Imagine an image of a boot stomping on your throat as if it wanted to kill you.  As you looked at it you were curious about why it wanted to kill you and what you needed to do to get it to ease off, let you up, or just.

As I think about that boot as a part and am curious toward it I begin to realize that it did not want to kill me or even choke me or scare me even though that was its effect.  It was a part of the boot that felt like I needed to be punished, judged and it felt that I did not deserve to live, I deserved to die.  Then suddenly another part of the boot spoke.  It said "I am just trying to protect you to prevent you from being hurt, to provide a sense of fear and an experience of love". This part did not want to hurt me but help me.  It wanted to protect me and provide for me.  It was holding me down until I learned how to protect me in a different way but until then it would continue to do its job of protecting me in the only way it knew how.

Suddenly, I sensed that this was a picture of the duality of God that is perplexing and paralyzing.  As a sinner I deserve to die and the God of wrath has to be appeased or I have to die.  But is that true?  Is there another angle?  Is God a wrathful vengeful God whose anger and wrath must be appeased by a sacrifice?  Or is it a sacrifice to realize that this God is a God of love, who wants to bestow on us the gift of his love, and to do so requires us to sacrifice the idea that we are undeserving, and unloveable?  God is teaching us to sacrifice give up. He gives up who he is, becomes who we are,  to convince us that we can become as he is!  God is eternal love.

Suddenly I saw an old Bible verse in a new way.  As if a lens had shifted in my eyes and I saw something I had never seen before.  I saw it from the inside out.

Romans 3:23  "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life".

The part of me that feels guilty, wrong, undeserving, and confused feels like the boot is made to stomp on me and I deserve to die and not to live.  Every part of me seems to agree except the inner core that knows that I was created in the image of God and created to model that image to my self.  While it is true that the wages, that which I have earned and deserve, of sin is death, it is also true that the gift, which I cannot earn and yet deserve is already in me for me.  The gift of eternal life is the constant living free of the sense of punishment, guilt and un-deservedness and with the sense of loving-presence, grace and deservedness that God provides.

It is not, exclusively, that the wages of sin is death until we confess our sin and receive God;s free gift of eternal life.  It is inclusively, that the wages of sin what we deserve is death, but also that the gift, for which God created us to receive and which we deserve, is eternal life.  Free of fear and punishment we are gifted to live in grace and providence, protected from the internal judge and critic by the internal sense of love and care, which is eternal.

When it seems like God is punishing or wrathful it is the part of us that is feeling undeserving so it feels like punishment and wrath.  In reality it is the God of Love wanting to get our attention so that we not continue to live under the fear of loss or death. Rather live with the gift of love, with the confidence that we cannot lose it for we know we are loved.

I recall a moment when I screamed at my oldest daughter as she was going near the rode with her new bike.  I sacred her and she felt I was angry at her, that she had done something. In that moment she did not feel loved she felt she had done something wrong and was about to be punished. That was her reality. In my reality, I saw danger and was trying to keep her safe, to protect her, to love and care for her.

God is not a punitive angry God whose wrath needs to be appeased.  God is a loving God who wants us to know his love.  What happens in life may seem like our failures, we may feel we are being punished for wrong, but the reality is that God is attempting to lead us in the way everlasting.

The boot that is on our neck wants us to see that it is made for walking in love not for stomping in wrath.

The Smiles of Christmas

Posted by Don Paine

Christmas season is just about over.  Three Kings day has come and past.  We had a wonderful Family Christmas sleep over inclusive of our Korean family of daughter and grandson via skype (thank God for the 21st Century smiles.

In reflecting this Christmas I think Christmas is about smiles down from above and all around us.  My daughter in Korea is putting smiles of children's faces in Korea, my son is putting smiles of investors faces, my daughter in NY is putting smiles on many people in her life.

On that first Christmas God smiled down on earth form heaven and the skies lit up with the Angels Smiling and singing, "Glory to God in the highest".  The Shepherds smiled when they heard the good news.  The wise men smiled when they saw the star and followed it.  The innkeeper smiled when he made room in the stable, Joseph and Mary smiled at each other as the Baby came without pain but destined to receive all the pain and suffering of humanity to release us all from the burden of pain and suffering.  Smiles all around:  visit all on earth today who will make room for a smile, smiles visited the people and the animals of that first Christmas and today.

On Christmas morning a friend from Germany joined us and we smiled the day as we visited friends and family.  Smiles are the best Christmas gift as they keep on giving beyond the moment and flow like a river to all parts of the globe.

We drove on Christmas day to a friends church.  He is a pastor.  He and his wife are going thru a difficult time in their extended family this Christmas.  We decided they needed the gift of a smile so our German friend in tow we car sledded to Kingston NH not far out of the way to Brockton MA.  As we arrived for church the congregation who we know became part of the surprise and hid us until the right moment that became even better.

We walked up the isle while my friend was praying (eyes of course closed).  He began to cough.  He entered silent prayer while keepign his eyes close and attempted to gain control of the tickle or the tickler.  Someone who likes smiles was tickling his throat.  His wife opened her eyes to make room for us in her pew, of course the first row.  My wife gave me a cough drop so I walked up to the chancel area and whispered to my friend, "Pastor would you like a cough drop".

He opened his eyes to see me, an unexpected sight.  His jaw dropped and his countenance shown with surprise and a smile.  The whole congregation loved the smile on his face but not as much as the surprise.  He called me hours later saying he was still smiling.

Smile.  It is your best gift.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Open minded Perspectives

Posted by Don Paine

So many different ideas, beliefs how does a person know what is true.

Truly the crisis of the 21st Century is “who is telling the truth”.

A recent book by Ron Suskind on the President quotes Ms Dunn as saying that the
White house is an unhealthy environment for a woman to work in implying that the President and his administration is “male oriented and male driven”.  What is the truth.  The words are exact quote but the quote omitted the first few words from the interview quote.  Those words were “If it we not for President Obama the White house would…

So was it the intention of the reporter to misrepresent the person and mislead the public.  This kind of misrepresentation and misleading goes on all the time.  It is the reason why in a court of law we are challenged to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…..so help us God.

In reality only when we are open to the multiplicity of the mind, the multiplicity of truths held in the mind, and the multiversity of truth can we really be open enough to be inclusive and to be expansive in our own minds enough to perceive truth and embellishments of truth and misrepresentations of truth in a way that does not demean, demonize or desecrate others or deify and aggrandize oneself.

The multiplicity of the mind and the multiversity of creation hold the solution to the embracing of truth beyond and beneath all truth.  Being open to the multiversity of truth without agenda, anxiety, and with authenticity and audacity creates receptors of all truth, all the varying parts of truth which independent of other truths may be misleading and misrepresenting

This openness would also create an ecologically, psychologically, theologically and scientifically sound approach to issues and conflicts within the person and in the culture of the world.

When truth is not truth

Posted by Don Paine

I used to believe that there was one truth.  A universal and absolute truth that was so powerful that it could change the world.  When I became a follower of Christ by choice, I thought I had found the truth.   I preached that truth and called people to accept that truth with passion and compassion.  Because I knew the truth, I felt I had both a right and a responsibility to preach that truth even at times to impose it as to do less is to not care.  I still believe that truth of the Gospel.  I have realized that a truth with out the balance of another truth creates simultaneously and effortlessly an illusion of truth and an illustration of falsehood.
This creates confusion and chaos in the mind, body and spirit.

In the court of law we are challenged to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  The implication and wisdom is masterful:  There is truth, then there are things people add to the truth which creates an illusion of truth and an illustration of falsehood.  There are parts of the truth that people can give that imply a truth but impose a falsehood.  This subject deserves a few days of discussion so I make one application here.

If I say God is light.  Am I forgetting that before anything was, all there was was darkness.  There was no need for light by day or by night for God was in the center.  God is light.  God is darkness.  they are two expressions of God is.  The truth is that these opposite truths, when held in the balance of calm compassion are both equally true.

Ponder with me what the world would be like if we all embraced the universal and absolute truth that there is no truth beyond God is.  That all the "sentence completions" are but parts of the truth and that the whole truth is all of those truths wrapped in love and understanding.  When some religious zealots want to present "their way as the way" their do not the truth.  Just like to say you love God but look down on, as if you are superior in knowledge life or experience, your brother or sister you lie and do not the truth.

Truth?  An illusion? A Falsehood? A distortion? Truth more and less than what you think.

Without wax or waxed

Posted by Don Paine

I was out walking and thinking of 2011 and 2012.  2011 was a tough year in many ways.  People seem indifferent and even callous to "get involved" to change things in the world.  Some have said 2012 will be the end of the world while I find myself saying that 2012 will be a new beginning.  Who is right?  I have said that Malachi is the prophet to the 21st Century Church so will commit to setting up teachings for churches on this idea.

Jesus said, "In the end times the love of many will wax cold" In the world of opposites that would imply that the love of some will grow hot.  When it gets hot the wax of phony fronts are melted away. Authentic Christianity is the witness that the world awaits.  Cold wax is a false spirituality that is laced with a false witness.  Sincere means "without wax".  When it gets hot, tragedies, travesties, and trauma, the witness of Jesus becomes more real, without wax, in the lives of people that are authentic in faith.  The witness of the waxed or religious will become cold.  The witness of the "without wax" people are those who in the heat of adversity reveal the inner character of Jesus and who shine forth the love of God.

Wax off and wax on.

Receiving the Gift of Son and Daughter

Posted by Don Paine

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.  they are all about giving and receiving love, peace and joy and hope for all three.

Simeon and Anna (Luke 2) saw Jesus 8 days after his birth which would be today.  They saw the future of his taking on himself the wrath, anger and hatred of humanity while also he saw the transforming of human hatred into divine love, human grief into grace, human fear into hope, and human despair into joy. These are the true gifts of Christmas: to see the world as God sees the world, to see our selves as God sees us: as sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-6), and to see all people thru the lens of that peace and love inside us as the heart of the Father gave the Spirit of the Son to live in and out of us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I Have a Dream

Posted by Don Paine

As the clock and calendar turn to 2012, as the speech of Martin Luther King is begun to be heard in the month that we celebrate his legacy of peace.  I imagine that his dream went beyond the words he spoke on the wings of the spirit in which he lived.  In that spirit I offer this dream:

A Field of Dreams:
That they may be one, Because we are one!!!!!!!
                                                “There is one faith, one hope, one love, one God”

We live in a world of political, personal, national, family, religious conflicts

When we teach our particular faith group that we are the better way, the only way, the best way we insult our fellow communicants and insinuate that we are right and they are wrong.  The system that supports a right and wrong world perpetuates un-healthy competitiveness.  

The Sufi Master, Rumi said:  “There is a place beyond the place of right and wrong, it is an open field, we can meet me there!

Jesus, the Rabbi and Son of God said: “I have lots of sheep that are not of this sheep pen, they too, I must bring so that in the end there is one flock and one shepherd…..All the law and the prophets are summed up in these words, “love God and love your neighbor (no matter what they believe or what they do, or where they live) as you love your inner self”.

Paul said, “Love keeps no score of wrongs or rights………..love always perseveres (I Corinthians 13)
Shifting from the lowest common denominator to the highest common good shifts the system.  It is not about tolerance but about embracing meaningfulness and embracing tolerance toward all of humanity as a gift of transforming love for all people and nations .  This unleashes the kingdom of God within.

Shifting to the Highest common good: Loving God and knowing you are loved by God and loving all living things is good.  This is letting them know they are all cared for in a just and honest way.  

Putting a dome of love over all is truly ruling having dominion over all by being loving toward all.  It is not extracting from creation and using up what God has created because I am the most important part of creation as a human being but I am able as a human being to choose to not extract which contributes to extinction but as expanding the acceptance and embrace of everything as adding to the experience and expression of care which is true expression of dominion over all which his support and sustaining of all, not using, misusing, and/or abusing. It is not about point counter point but about the balance of all points as not to counter each other as if one has to win and the other has to nice.  It is about counter balance so that the system remains in balance and harmony.  To effect this balance the system that generates point counter point needs a process shift to do so.  that process shift is to become nurturing and naturally embracing all parts in the internal system for the healing and sustaining and maintaining of all those parts.  It is through mature dependence, mature responsibleness and mutual respectfulness.  It is letting the Self as God has given it be present for al the parts.  This brings liberty and justice for all to all by welcoming all parts in the justice, com[passion and peace from within where God dwells.

Everything is made to balance and counter balance for the system to be maintained and sustained by everything made being "very good" (Genesis 1:31). When the system is overwhelmed by fear and distrust it is counter -driven. When the system relaxes and trusts its internal core of courage, calm, compassion and care it relaxes into a state of peacefulness where all parts are treated with justice, for all parts are freely received and cared for in equity and with equal right to be heard.  So rather than parts deceiving themselves into believing that they need something they don't need, the parts begin to be cared for from within where the Self lives and loves.  When the parts give up their fear and see the Self and begin to feel cared for the shift begins. Then they receive something they really do need but already have in their interning system.  It is not that they do not need, it is not that the part's behavior is okay.  The behavior is not okay but the part is welcomed and the burden that prompts the behavior of the part begins to shift as well.  In that moment, what is embraced is the part.   The part itself that is embraced for the purpose of healing its burden and false belief that is behind why it is acting out the way it is acting out. When a part is fear driven and self protective it becomes counter productive and driven to eliminate conflict.  It tries to service the conflict by trying to end the conflict, which is counter productive.  The system, therefore, needs a counter intuitive intervention, so enters Internal Family System, offering help and hope to the system.  A systemic shift that says it is not the Self that needs to be transformed. It is the Self that is transforming the system as it offers to all parts the welcome that sets those parts and the system free.  The freedom for the parts is to have all parts know they are cared for and to offer to all pars, equal care and compassion.  The equal care and compassion for all parts is the treatment of justice and peace, that the parts long for. Liberty is for all parts as justice is toward all parts resulting in peace in the internal system.

For the system to change the parts of the system have to stop doing the point counter point thing and to stop countering each other’s part. Then in a shift of  embrace, each part with brings harmony to the system not through agreement but through a respectful and responsible presence that is Clam. compassionate, courageous and creative (THE SELF).  The shift is from a counter point system to a counter balance system that a perpetuates conflict allows inclusion. That self is resilient and redemptive and offers the system of parts, the care and concern they need.  It is not about the self transformation it is about the transforming self.

Billy Graham held a series of meetings here at the Knickerbocker Arena in 1990.  He often said, “in Iowa when the corn fields grow higher than the fences all you see is the open field.  You do not see the things that separate and divide, we are all one in the field of love. It is a field of dreams of which I dream today! If we build a sense of togetherness, it will come.  If we become the wheat in the field there will be no more fences.  We meet in the field of dreams.  The dream is for people meeting not with an agenda to prove their point and counter their neighbor’s points.  The goal is that people will be willing to sacrifice their being right to their being “right hearted toward all people.  In this field we can meet and talk about loving kindness and respectfulness from a place of compassion and calmness.  Maybe then faith can be an asset to creating calmness and compassion in the world village of differences

The only way to live in Peace is to be at peace, which is a breath of fresh air.  To move from the way of condemnation of wrong and condoning of right as I might define it to a way of compassion toward all regardless of right or wrong. This is right to be in peace.  To live in the sacred space of love without conditions and without an agenda. It is the fresh air in t the field of compassion and calm..  Peace is the road to that field. Love is in the field. They are the field.

Rev. Dr. Donald L. Paine, LICSW, AAMFT
Trained Internal Family System Therapist