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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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Posted by Don Paine

I was introduced to the book Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose, by Matthew Kelly.

I really embrace the idea of living with passion and purpose.  Whenever I notice defensive parts in me I notice that they shut down compassion, passion, and purpose.  They take over.  When I notice that I have an agenda I know it is self serving therefore triggering of other's defensive parts.

This seems to be a defensive yet challenging treatise to argue for the Catholic Church.  That seems defensive though well thought out and agenda focused though purposeful.

He states "Catholicism is a treasure map".  True.  Yet it is not true that there are no pother treasure maps.
For instance while I believe in my traditions that are historical and meaningful and create purpose and passion in me, I also respect many other traditions and innovations that do the same thing.  Distinctive of faith can be embraced without negating the distinctive of others.  I call this multiversity as different from diversity.  He goes on to say, "It leads to treasure".  Sorta, kinda, sometimes are my responses.

Their is a map in all of us that leads us if we dare to follow it to the treasure inside all of us.  Many call it different things but the key is discovering the treasure within, the Kingdom of God within, the guru within.  That is the treasure that is a "pearl beyond pricing".  The hidden treasure.

Catholicism is one way to that pearl.  There are many ways.  Every way is of passion and purpose and of love and peace, the non-church or church Jesus Way.

Binding and Loosing: The work of the Kingdom

Posted by Don Paine

As I worked with someone today in their internal world I caught a musing part that was focused on the issue and the person but received a new insight at the same time.

Is the insight of God or of human origin.  You be the judge.

In Matthew 16:19
"I give you Peter the Keys to the Kingdom, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth shall be released in heaven."

This passage traditionally is used to say the church has the power to bind things here on earth and they will be bound in heaven or to release things on earth and they will be released in heaven.  The implication is that if they are not released here they will not be released there.  Not only does this interpretation connect the binding and releasing to the church it also relegates what happens on earth to impact the ay of heaven.

A shift of perspective on the way we see this passage or the lens by which we see this passage:

Peter to you are entrusted the keys of the Kingdom.  That kingdom is within you so when you bind up the bruised and injured they are healed on earth and it is also done in heaven and when you release people form the prison of their own prisms (the colors of the stories they tell themselves), the false beliefs that restrain and constrain will be release on earth as they will be in heaven.   This lens says heavens will will be done on earth.  Some things bound for healing in heaven will be bound up on earth for healing here, and somethings due to be released in heaven will be released here on earth.  This also parallels the testimony of the scroll that Jesus took and read from Isaiah to inaugurate his earthly ministry of heaven come to earth> namely, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to preach the good news....... to bind up the broken hearted and release those imprisoned to freedom".  The work of the kingdom is to "bind up those who are wounded for healing on earth as it will be in heaven and to set free (release)  those who are all bound up in their prison cells of the mind and heart for healing on earth as it will be in heaven"

I wonder.

Parakalein on Original Blessing and Original Curse

Posted by Don Paine

Carl Jung whose father was a preacher promoted the early father's thought of Original Blessing and Original Curse in the creation epic.

The church has specialized in maintaining the doctrine of the depravity of humanity and there fore the need of the church to deliver redemption.  This is self-promoting and self-propogating.  This is the direct opposite of the portrait of God in Genesis and the life of Jesus.  While intending to help and teach the world about love and compassion peace and tranquility the church portrayed God as a God of wrath would would punish humanity and so but for his grace we are eternally damned.  This perpetuated fear and superstition.  It is not the intention but it is the effect for many.

On the other hand the portrait of God and the portrayal of God in the Christ is that of self-sacrificing and self-awareness, no need to promote or propagate, perfect peace and love.  The original blessing or ego state was one of perfect peace and love.  Balance and harmony was present in Adam and Eve as they lived alongside of each other in a peace and love that knew no limits and had no deprivation.

Several years ago at a meeting that invited mediation on the inside world I had a picture of the words:  today I place before you a blessing and a curse.  A blessing if you obey and a curse if you disobey.  I blogged about that over a year ago and today had a renewed sense and perspective on this theme.

This is the original blessing and curse redefined and refined.  The original blessing is when I see everything as contributing to my plentifulness and pleasure from inside.  The blessing as given from the creator is the "freedom to choose to be", to expand the experience and expression of peace and love inside, to be fruitful and multiply that fruitfulness in a multiplicity of ways in a multiversity of spaces, and subdue anything that would in fear or threat cause this focus to be lost.  The curse as given from the creator is the "freedom to choose to do" and thereby lose control, lose freedom, and die on the vine.  Self-punishment, self judgment, hopelessness, and fearfulness from the illusion or reaching outside.  Punishment and pain result not from reaching out but from not looking within.

We are cursed when we disobey the original blessing and look outside for more than we need when all we need we already have.  The original blessing is restored and redemption and replenishment occur when we "go inside" and offer healing to the pain and suffering, restoration to a sense of being loved and lovable as the creator.

The original and restored blessing is when we obey the internal sense of peace and love and in a positive, compassionate  and non-controlling way respond to all parts within and without regardless of anything in self-sacrificing serenity with honesty, honor, and humility.  The original and repetitive curse is when we disobey the internal sense of peace and love and in a negative, competitive and controlling way react to all parts within and without in self-promoting, self propagating way.

The original blessing is the way of life everlasting.
The original curse is the way of death and destruction.

The original blessing is regenerating, resilient, and redemptive.
The original curse is that when the original blessing is abandoned the creation feels abandoned and in abandonment it is reactive, restrictive and recidivistic.

The original blessing is full of hope, faith and love.
The original curse is the absence of hope, faith and love and the presence of helplessness, fear, and hatred.

The original blessing is alongside of all creation with peace and love that is healing and restorative of all the parts that reach out and up for more when we are as created, all in all, for we reflect the creator who is all in all.

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted by Don Paine

Today is Memorial Day and a special day set apart to honor those who have served our nation to maintain freedom in our world.  In church yesterday, a time was set aside to honor those who serve whether in the military, in civil or public service, placing their life in danger so we can live in peace and be free to pursue our dreams and desires.  People called out names of those who were friends or family who so served some who gave their lives.  It is always meaning to remember and give appreciation, honor to those who have so served.

At the same time a part of me recalling the constitution of the United Stares recalled these words:  that we are all endowed with "certain inalienable rights: Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

For years I accepted this as truth and as part of the heritage of our nation and our desire for freedom, liberty and justice for all.  As I reflect on these words today, I realize that these words are part of the problem.  So it seems that while words or internal narratives are created in our brains and effect how we live.  What we think and how we think and how we think about what we think are all part of our inherent freedoms.  So too is the patriotism that is open to call anything into question while also honoring the heart of those who penned these words as well as their positive intent.

Life, yes an inalienable right given to all who are alive.  Liberty, yes the freedom to be and believe in choices and the right to make those choices without anyone telling us we cannot exercise our freedom to choose.  The pursuit of happiness presents a conflict laden inalienable rights which makes me question its wisdom for our 21st Century World.  The pursuit of happiness in a capitalistic society perpetuates egocentric competitiveness that itself is counter productive.  Some define their happiness in ways that have them decrease my freedom to be happy.  It creates the "haves and the have nots" as Marx defined that polarity as itself paralyzing the free expression and free participation of all in a just society.  So, in the name of justice, I ask you to consider that this trilogy of inalienable rights be modified for the 21st century to:

"Life, Liberty, and the Practice of Happiness".   This would make the focus of happiness an internal issue dependent on my creating and maintaining the state of happiness not through external experiences but through internal sense of personal well being and the expression of the same.  The pursuit of happiness creates a competitive, controlling, and confusing focus that polarizes self serving definitions of happiness, mine vs yours.  The practice of happiness has us being happy or contentment internally and out of that contentment expressing true happiness to and for all.

In the arena of "practice makes perfect" maybe if we all practiced being happy it would be a more perfect world.

Religion and Spirituality

Posted by Don Paine

Religion is about doing.
Spirituality is about being.

Religions are about finding the shoes that fit.
Spirituality is taking your shoes off and letting your feet feel mother earth and live in peace and love as the core of being.

Choose to feed the "ego-need" to reach up and out for more and you negate the internal and eternal truth of peace and love.  I am who I am.  I am who I need. You are who you are.  The willingness to sacrifice reaching up and out for gain is the prelude to freedom to maintain perspective, purpose, perception, and perseverance.

On OT vs NT on homosexuality

Posted by Don Paine

All the Old Testament passages are male oriented sinfulness and as such are condemned.  It is not maleness that is condemned but the use of maleness to subjugate or subsume rather than nurture and mutual submit to all as God is in all.

God's creation was of and for loving in whatever form or function it is experienced.  The universe breeds and breathes multiplicity and multiversity.  It is ever expansive and contained at the same time.  Love and peace are the same.  Our parts that want or need to condemn or condone need only to give way to the compassion that neither condemns of condones and is in all of us for all of us.  The "I am who I am" God invites all to be who they are with respect to the you, me and the us.

The reason well meaning, peace loving and love living people of Christian or other faiths go off on "one group" that they judge to be wrong or bad is that they are unwilling to honor, be honest and live in humility.  Power and control are nasty internal toxics that get projected externally in righteousness that are not righteous at all.   Righteousness is the internal peace and love that allows all to be who their "I am is" without judgment or control.  God created us free human beings regardless of our human doings.

In the old testament the focus was on male perversion but the perversion was not about sexuality or even morality but about desecrating the sacred gift of choice and choosing in a narcissistic way, i.e. thinking only about me and not you, or us.  In the New Testament it is again not who is right in their culture, moral, or even religious ideologies but who has an open heart, open mind, and open spirit.  Right heartedness is what righteousness is.  It is the heart of God courageous enough to give us freedom of choice, to provide the multiplicity of opposites throughout all nature, and then to model radical and redemptive openness to whatever is as each part adds to the awareness of every other parts until all parts are welcome and all the earth embraces all parts of earth with the result of "peace on earth and acts of love and kindness" toward all people and things of earth regardless of anything.

Homosexually loving and heterosexual loving are two ways of expanding the uterus of God's love to all people regardless of anything.  To do so I have to give up my narcissistic part that wants to rule and control others in favor of the altruistic part that sees goodness, very goodness, in everything that God has made when those things live in balance and harmony with each other and with honor, honesty, and humility.  Responsible respectfulness is righteously redemptive to all.

Peace: the cost, willingness to stand

Posted by Don Paine

Ben of saratogaindecline.org wrote: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside used up, worn out, and covered in scars from a well lived life" John Tighe: 

Willing to suffer and take on pain is the key to compassion for self and others as well as a calm safe sense of presence regardless of anything.  Safety is an illusion but the courage to be, to live, to let go of fear and embrace all that is results in peace and love inside and toward all outside.  This is not compliant indifference but courageous individuality that participates in true community.  

I am who i am.  You are who you are.  Don't mess with me and I will not mess with you.  MEss with me and I will mess with you.  Compliance and defiance are co-enemies of peace and justice.  Cooperation, respectfulness, and responsibleness empower love, peace and justice for all to all and by all.

Moral outrage demands courageous action for the safety of all not the profit of a few.

I am willing to bare in my body and soul the hatred, cruelty, unfairness, injustice, the pain, the suffering, the hurt, the betrayal, and the brutality of humanity so that I can be free to live without fear and with faith to see the best in people regardless of anything.

Atonement or Atunement

Posted by Don Paine

Substitutionary atonement is about appeasing the wrath of God Transformational atonement is about pleasing the heart of God by being willing to be sacrificed to the anger and wrath of humanity to transform it and place it in the human heart, the very heart of God".  Placing this mind which was in Christ inside of me (Philippians 2:6)

God sent his son not to atonement for the sins of humanity for they were already forgiven in the heart of God.  God sent his son to atunement  of humanity to the need to sacrifice what we want to hold on to to get what is already holding on to us from the inside:  God's love and peace holding us loosely and firmly from the inside.

The Birthing of a New Focus, God created

Posted by Don Paine

In the beginning God created.

That is it:  God created a new world, a physical world, into which God poured the "Image of God".  We see God in everything as everything was created to reflect the creator and invite the created to reflect back to the creator.

God is love.  At the core of who God is there are two internal realities which are perfect peace and perfect love.  Peace that is undisturbed and unthreatened by anything and Love that is agenda free and accepting of everything.

An ancient Native American portrait of the birth of earth from the maternal archetype of God pictures a woman giving birth from her uterus to earth.  The uterus of love is God's heart of love, giving birth to the world as if God's internal creative birthing was from the heart-shaped courage to the heart shaped void in Creation until that heart is open to the heart of God.  This heart to heart is the work of spiritual reality in the human reality of the physical world.

I met a woman who has a heart shaped uterus whose story had me imagine that that was the creation epic.  God's heart shaped uterus created the world with a core heart in need of connection to the spiritual reality beyond the physical.

God did not create the world because he needed to be loved. God created the world because she was so of love, so pregnant with Love that that love naturally produced a creation with the capacity to love and be loved.  God gave the internal experience of peace and love into a creation in the hopes that that creation would find the secret of "peace and love".  The secret is there needs to be no effort to reach up or out for love but to look inward for the love that is already there and the peace that passes human understanding.  Both the elements of love and peace are inherent in the "image of God" in all of us.

We all have parts that feel loving, that feel unloveable, that feel undeserving of love, that feel unloved.
God has no unloved, unloveable, and unloving part for God is the uterus that birthed our existence.  Nothing can separate us form the love of God in us except our burdens of unloved, unloveable, and unloving parts that betray our internal and eternal love and peace.

Our hearts are shaped after the heart of God that is in us to love, be loving, be loved, and know lovableness.  The universe is the uterus of God's heart, ever expanding and ever birthing the experience and the expression of Love.

Jesus said, "I tell you this solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.  Nicodemus, "I cannot enter into my mother's womb and be born a second time, can I?  Jesus answered, (Yes you can!) "I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3-5).   Until you see the kingdom of God in you you can not enter the Kingdom of God.  Unless the Kingdom of God in you is seen and experienced inside you can not live or enter the Kingdom of GOd outside of you.  It is living form the inside out.  When we are born physically the water that envelops the uterus breaks and physical life flows out the birth canal.  Our spiritual beings pass through the "birth canal" of our physical experiences and realize our spiritual essence as physical makes room for the spiritual flow of life, love and peace.  The physical womb gives birth to physical beings and our spiritual womb births our connection to the Spirit of love and peace.
We are spiritual beings have a physical experience.  Our physical experience causes our protective system to develop parts with burdens and beliefs that betray our fundamental spiritual essence.  As we learn to lay aside every part that so easily besets us we learn to run and walk with patience the course laid before us in the freedom of Peace and Love (Hebrews 12:2) full of truth and grace (John 1:14).

Rephrasing Jesus solemn truth: "unless you become as an new born and enter into the womb of love and be born in a new and different way, you cannot see clearly the kingdom of heaven with in you, around you, and enter the Kingdom of God above you."- John 3:3-5

The Self: Soul Energy Within

Posted by Don Paine

In the Beginning God.....

After musing about parts from an experiential view in an effort to make the concepts of parts and Self understandable......(yesterday's musing) a mentor friend suggested a theology context.

God who is, ever shall be and was has been defined in many ways.  We have given the three attributes of God"  All powerful, Omniscient and Omni-present.

Yet a theology is not about how I experience God, or how God is perceived by humanity, or what I  might attribute to God that may be a refection more of humanity than a distillation of divinity.

God is.  If we try to keep it simple which is often a good idea according to Ockham's Razor, God is eternal, and all God is is internal.  In the beginning if all there was was God, then there was nothing God had to exert power over, nothing God needed to Know and so we are left with God was in every moment in a every way present as their was no time beyond or before.

One can imagine that in that moment there was perfect harmony and balance in God's internal and eternal system.  There was no fear, no longing, no threats, no demands, and no disharmony.  Perfect peace and perfect love was internal and eternal.  So a Theology of God sees intrinsic and eternal peace and love.

When God chose to create a world beyond the existence that world took on the form of an opposite existence.  Spiritual reality conceived and constructed its opposite: a physical reality.  God placed the very image that was and is God within the frame of the created physical being.  The created was given an internal spirituality and a physical reality in which and though which to express that spiritual reality.

God who was and is perfect peace and love created humanity into which he poured divinity. In Isaiah 26:3 and I John 3:8 these two constructs are found.  God purposed for humanity three things:  autonomy (freedom of choice), serenity (peace regardless of anything) and love (compassion for and toward all).  God would honor the creation and its right to choose freely, would be honest toward his creation regardless of anything, and God would take the role of humanity to model for humanity how to experience and sustain internal peace and love.

So a theology of God, a study of who God is and how we might define God from what we see and experience of God includes these three qualities, two traits, and these four characteristics.  The three qualities are honor, honesty, and humility.  The four characteristics are courage, creativity, compassion and calmness.

It took great courage and creativity to take a deep breath before there was breath and create a world and give it freedom to spin out of control or spin in control and either way God would maintain and sustain internal and eternal peace and love,  These two traits are at the heart of who God is in mind and spirit so he put them in all of us.

I believe God is calling humanity to embody that which was and is in the creator and the created.
It is on all of us, for all, and toward all.

A New Merry Go Round

Posted by Don Paine

In the tradition of Jonathan Edwards, I was out for my walk this morning and the following musing passed through my mind perhaps from somewhere inside. So here it is.

Taking in the wonder of all creation as I walk in the forests of God's faithfulness so evident in nature.  I began to think there is nothing certain.  All my pats wanted certainty to make them feel safe.  I began to muse of the safe and serene sense of presence in uncertainty as that which is true serenity:

We speak with certainty about things when the only thing that is certain is the uncertainty of things.  These uncertainties create unrest and anxiety.  The system is polarized and the polarity paralyzes our internal system.  In an effort to save the system from its anxiety and fear, parts develop ways to protect the system from what it fears.  It fears that if it does not act to protect the system in some way, the polarity will destroy the system.  While it is a reasonable conclusion from the evidence and experience of the system, the belief that it has to do this is a "false fabricated belief".  It is offered with the best intention.  Its effect is to propel the system into repetitive and unhelpful behaviors in service of the system.

The desire to protect and secure the system thru protective parts reaching up and out for self validation and the fear of the system's survival combine to work against the system.  In personal frame, the fear of losing what I have causes fight or flight.  I flee to escape only to  fear my aloneness.  I fight to survive only to sanbortage my survival.  I desire peace and love and look outside the system for validation and care only to exacerbate the system as I experience fragmentation dn frustration from eh external world.  The merry go round is not so merry!

This dual drive of fear and desire, avoidance and attachment are enemies inside.  If I go inside and return to the natural state of the organism I release fears ando gings, I release the effort of thought, feeling  and action.

While many have named this state as conscious or unconscious, Christ consciousness or Busdha enlightenment, mindfulness or mindlessness,  it is none of that.

It is beyond us and in us, it is above us and under us, beside us for comfort and on the other side to challenge.  It is the all in all, the all in everyone and everything, it is everything and everyone as one, it is multiplicity and multiversity and miltipliuniverssl.  

It is in all of us.  It is intrinsic peace and love that are autotelic, autonomous, non-anxious and agenda free system already has inside.

The serene and surrendered SELF (the embrace of peace unthreatened by fear or enlarged by desire meets the courage of love to sacrifice its longing for external love and embracign of internal loving sets the system free to be). 
Unlike the human self that strives works, identifies and conceptualizer,
protects and promotes, and in fragmentation and frustration becomes hopeless and aimless, the divine Self is already in a state of peace and love.

The Spirit SELF is inside and is an effortless and efficient energy of balance and harmony in the system and for the system.  When all the parts see and trust the SELF, the SELF (always present but sometimes apparently absent) provides leadership into the state of peace and love which honors all parts, invites all parts into a sea of acceptance (honesty), and models for all parts humility that has them release all their burdens, false beliefs, and betrayals and breathe in compassion, calmness, courage, and clarity.

Uncertainty and certainty are mutually embraced as are all polarities propelling the system inside where everything they need is already present so they can live "most abundantly" from the abundance that they already have.

So be merry for inside of you is all you need you just do not know it!

Andrew on Beyond Religious tolerance

Posted by Don Paine

The other night I heard Dr. Andrew Cort's talk on Beyond Religious Tolerance.  I applaud and embrace his main thesis that of respectfulness and embrace of all religious traditions as what hey are no more or less.

He identified the need for a way of inclusion of all without watering down any faith.  His focus is  not to espouse some Universal Faith or World Religion but to foster a respectfulness by and for all religions.

I recalled a quote I have spoken of in my blog earlier but has a parallel message to his:

"The willingness to sacrifice is the prelude to freedom"

"The willingness to sacrifice my idea of truth, not demonizing yours or deifying mine (which only feeds my ego or depletes yours), is the heart of the matter.  The capacity to affirm all demands the capability of valuing others without devaluing one's own religious faith is essential.  This is the way to freedom from our ego needs or fears and the willingness to in humility, honor and honesty sacrifice religious certainty for religious community.  This is the prelude for true freedom for all, of all, and toward all."

Religion might lead the way out of hostility if it could embrace humility.

The Cost of Freedom to Peace

Posted by Don Paine

The other night I heard Dr. Andrew Cort's talk on Beyond Religious Tolerance.  I applaud and embrace his main thesis that of respectfulness and embrace of all religious traditions as what hey are no more or less.

He identified the need for a way of inclusion of all without watering down any faith.  His focus is  not to espouse some Universal Faith or World Religion but to foster a respectfulness by and for all religions.

I recalled a quote I have spoken of in my blog earlier but has a parallel message to his:

"The willingness to sacrifice is the prelude to freedom"

"The willingness to sacrifice my idea of truth, not demonizing yours or deifying mine (which only feeds my ego or depletes yours), is the heart of the matter.  The capacity to affirm all demands the capability of valuing others without devaluing one's own religious faith is essential.  This is the way to freedom from our ego needs or fears and the willingness to in humility, honor and honesty sacrifice religious certainty for religious community.  This is the prelude for true freedom for all, of all, and toward all."

Religion might lead the way out of hostility if it could embrace humility.

St Francis for the 21st Century

Posted by Don Paine

Somethings should not be tampered with but I was recently reading this comforting prayer of St Francis and imagined that he would revise it in the 21st Century some 10 Centuries later.

You are free to reject the following revision.  It is my musing. Use it if you like discard it if you prefer the original.  Hopefully there is value in both.

God of all, make me as an instrument of intrinsic peace.
Where there is hatred, let me offer love.
Where there is injury, let me offer compassion.
Where there is doubt, let me offer a human embrace.
Where there is despair, let me offer a holding heart.
Where there is darkness, let me offer the contentment of presence.
Where there is sadness, let me offer the envelope of kindness.
O Divine Leader and Model,
grant that I may first console, and then find I am consoled and consoling;
grant that I may first understand, and then be understood and understanding;
that I may first love, then be loved and loving.
For it is in giving that we receive, and in receiving we give again
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned and become pardoners
and it is in being willing to die that we rise from dead things and
are born anew, now, to Eternal Loving and Living.

Okay here is the original, I love it too!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Compassion Unveiled

Posted by Don Paine

Years ago I always thought that when God came into the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve together ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was full of wrath and they were deserving of punishment.  The part of me that thought that way saw punitive angry God.

Today, my perception is different.  From a heart that has been healed of its hurt, anger and punitiveness I see with clarity full and complete compassion.

Humanity did one wrong thing.  That part of humanity was seen through the lens of God's love and grace not thru the lens of human anger, hurt, and punitiveness.  Thankfully God is not like us.  When we see God as God is, God invites us to become more like God is.

God sees the part that reached for something out of a desire to not miss anything.  So what humanity missed was that we already had all we needed inside we just did not know it so were not satisfied.  Dissatisfaction with what we had and desire for more couples together to create "unhappiness and discontentment".  God on the other hand was and is eternally and internally happy and content regardless of anything. God enters the Garden that Day as God is, full of peace and love, contentment and compassion.  The apostle Paul years later would speak of this state as what we all can mature into, "Godliness with Contentment as great gain".  It shifts perspective form the stuff that happens to the source of contentment and compassion inside.  Had Adam and Eve been able to step out of their hiding, punitive and self punitive parts they would have known the presence of the God of Love and Compassion.

So God stepped out of the human role of judgment, hurt, and punishment into the role of compassion and care.  God asked, "What can I do to help them, who I created, to be more appreciative of all that I have given them?  They had taken all God had provided for their being for granted as they did what they thought they needed to do.  They shifted from "human beings" to "human doings".  They shifted from enjoying who they are to "doing something" to feel better about who they were.  What happened is that what they did made them feel bad about who they are/were.  In doing they sacrificed their being.  So what they needed to learn is how to sacrifice their doing and embrace their being.

The doing of Adams work once a delight was now going to be hard work.  The doing of Eve's birthing would now be with pain.  This was not as many have interpreted it to be out of anger and punishment but as a way of helping Adam and Eve to learn to never take anything for granted, to increase appreciation through hard work and pain.  So the entreatments and instrument of work, pain and suffering are intentionally present in life not to create a negative or punitive presence but to invite us to appreciate and embrace all the experiences of life with contentment and Godly perspective.

Compassion is the key always and in everything.  Compassion is the quality of the image of God in us all and when we unveil compassion we see through the lens of compassion not only a different world but with difference we live in the world.  We live as beings who do, not as doers constantly frustrated in our being.

Just as faith without works is dead and works without faith is meaningless so too doing without being is dead so being without doing is lifeless.

Be all God made you to be full of grace and compassion and you will do all that God wants you to do in and with compassion, contentment.  The veil, of the temple and in our eyes, once removed allows the lens of compassion to be visible.

The cross, the intersection of being and doing, is the Garden of Eden (Man's doing/God's being), and the Garden of Gethsemane (God's being/ Man's doing).  The Cross invites all to step from the well of pain and suffering into the well of compassion.  The well of compassion is already in us and will spring up into internal and eternal compassion (John 4).

Martin Buber in the 21st Century

Posted by Don Paine

Martin Buber
"It is solely by virtue of ones power to relate that one is able to live in the spirit"

21st Century expanse
"It is dually by virtue of one's power to be vulnerable without self- extinction and one's power to be victorious with distinction that one is able to live in the spirit and in a mutually rewarding and sustainable relationship"

I AM is what is, was, and ever shall be

Posted by Don Paine

When God described self-identity as "I AM" it was proscriptive, prescriptive, and descriptive.
I was at a Psychotherapy and Meditation Conference and the panel debate was over the construct of self.
Self Compassion and Lovingkindness were at the core of everyone's agreement or nearly everyone.  So one of the panelists concluded that we, all the presenters (10) had agreed on one thing that Self is not a noun as it is constructed to define what the self needs to do, or what frustrations create the self as in self-compassion or self-indulgent.  When self as a thing is spoken of it is the label of frustration.  When we think of Self as developing energy than it is more like a verb, flowing energy and beyond being a thing but stimulating things, bringing them into being.

Internal Family Systems a model of therapy in which I practice creates in my mind a different idea as in that system, Self is itself energy, a thing, bigger than all humanity but present in every human person and beyond.  It is a thing.

The last presenters had presented a model of I am, we are, me is as a way of working with couples.  I am had been referred to during the conference in various ways.  Dr Willoughby Britton had responded to a questioner who quoted Hegel in "I am, therefore I am" (as a question for her comment) with the comment, "Why cannot we say just :"I AM."

I went to the microphone.  There was a part of me that wanted to talk about IFS and defend that model but felt that would be agenda driven so provoking.  Another part of me wanted to go "spiritual preacher" part, not so helpful.  Another part wanted to challenge the thought process of the moment in a thought invoking way.  Another part of me knows it is not about how much you say but about what you say and how it is received.

I said, "My comment that can invite each panel to comment is 'I AM' is a noun and a verb not either a noun or a verb".

Mindfulness: Teaching Self Compassion

Posted by Don Paine

I am at a conference on Meditation and Psychotherapy sponsoired by Harvard Medical College in Boston.
The brain according to one of the presenters the brain is hot wired to compassion.  They began to be asked about the violence and hostility.

I began to muse about the images of lion and lamb.  These arch type images suggest that while there is a part of us that are hot wired to violence and anger there is another part that is hot wired to compassion.

The vicarious suffering of the lamb leads to taking on the sufferings and hurt of humanity only to transform that in the courage of the Lion that swallows up the fear of death.  As CS Lewis stated "Jesus suffered not so we would not have to suffer but to teach us how to ( the role of) suffering to embrace the lamb and empower the lion.

There is a lion and a lamb in all of us/  A seed of power to destroy and a seed of the willingness ot sacrifice/.  The brain is hot wired to anger and violence to protect, promote and preserve (fight flight fright) but also it is hot wired to compassion, to calmness,, and to curiosity. .

I Am, who I Am

Posted by Don Paine

There is no "I" in team
Except the "I AM" who is with ALL, in All and for All

You will die, come live

Posted by Don Paine

Today I received a lengthy letter on whether we are saved from Hell to Heaven.  The author mentioned that we created in the image of God but have been unplugged from that image. 

I began to muse about this idea and found myself thinking about how the creator God made us with an intrinsic need for God and an intrinsic presence of God in us.  Some have argued that all was lost when Adam and Eve sinned.  Others argue that nothing changed. 

I mused again that the creator God was a “spiritual umbilical chord” providing everything we needed connected to his creation in a way that served all the needs of that creation.  When Adam and Eve chose to use the gift of Choice given them to do “there own thing” they unplugged themselves form the creator God.

The peace and love that flowed from God to them and from them to God was interrupted by the desire for something more which caused them to grasp after something out side of them rather than being content with what hey had inside of them.  There grasping part was then gripped with fear and they ran from the light of the secret garden into the cave of secret hiding.  They began to feel shame and blame each other rather than accept mutual responsibility in a respectful way.  This is the original sin based on an original lie.  The lie was the flower of truth laced with the poison of arsenic of deception.  They became as God knowing good and evil without the moral fiber of God to choose the good and reject the fear and the desire that leads to evil.  Satan told a half-truth.  The life connector of the organism was dismantled.  The image of God remained but it was “unplugged”.  Humanity seeks to plug in to external sources of apparent truth instead of connecting to the inner truth of the image of God inside.

As it was said the “death” was of this connection lost.  Paul writes of this in Ephesians 2:1 “You has God quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins”.  We did not fall from grace we fell into grace when the one who is life took on death so the death that we took on can be overcome.  The “ORGANISM” must be “quickened” that is come to life, that is connect, or get re-plugged in to the one from whom we were unplugged.

All the organizers of the parts of humanity to try to compensate cannot reconnect while the core elements of compassion, calm, courage and creativity are they waiting to take the leadership of the system once reconnected.  Paul refers to it as “quickening” or showing signs of life.

We are saved inwardly to live compassion outwardly.  What died that day in the Garden of Eden was not our innocence. What died was the capacity to know that the creator, regardless of anything, loves us.  We are saved to heaven not from hell.

God loves everyone and everything regardless

Posted by Don Paine

I was out for a long walk along the beach on Long Island Sound.  On my way home I walked by a beautiful old stone church and noticed a sign that read:

"I love all kids everywhere"

As much as I appreciated the Truth, I mused that there is more truth to be spoken:

"I love all kids, all people, all nature wherever and whatever"

Truly while people put parameters, perimeters, and boxes of all kinds on people of all kinds, God simply and serenely LOVES everyone everywhere regardess of anything or anyone.

A Strange Different feeling?

Posted by Don Paine

I was walking in the cool of the morning of an unusually cold (24 degree) April Day.
I began to imagine that I was sitting in a sad place after making a mistake in judgment.  I am feeling prejudged so I go into a shameful dark place to hide from the consequences of my actions. 

In that dark place I think to myself, “what am I doing here?”.  I decide to get up and walk out of the cave of my self-judgment, of my prejudging the God who made me, and my judgment on the partner who was a gift from the creator to help me.  Instead of helping each other we had inflicted more pain then necessary on each other.  I take my partners hand and we walk out of the place of hiding and darkness into the sacred place of healing and of wholeness.  The hole in our heart opens to receive the love that both fills the hole and brings wholeness to our hurt parts.  The whole of us, including our “mistake,” steps aside to receive the whole of the creator’s heart.  We see that the creator’s heart is itself broken to bless even as our broken failure is there to receive the blessing of grace.  We take a deep breath together as we walk out of the darkness of our hiding into the darkness of night that will give way to the light of day as if nothing changes around us as long as nothing changes inside of us.
The deep breath opens space for fresh air.  The fresh thought grips me.  If we sit here, in the darkness without fear or failure as well as in fear and failure, we discover the hidden secret.  We wait for the God who created us to be with us with anticipatory grace.  The Hidden secret of the garden is that all things grow in us the realization that nothing needs to separate us for m the creator God who loves us.  Literally nothing changes in God even when we feel strangely different.

Humanity Ego-System and Eco System

Posted by Don Paine

Presentation at the “Intersection of Faith and Health Symposium” at SUNY School of Public Health in Renssalaer, NY on April 26th, 2012 sponsored by the Department of Health of the State of New York

                        The Ego System of Humanity and Ecosystem for Humanity

We live in a world of point counter point.  Everyone is focused on protecting their turf, promoting their agendas and feeding their egos.  This is the “ego system” on which tracks we are destined to crash, cash in, or simply live in the chaos of bettering each other rather than working together to make the world a better place.

Take your fist, squeeze it, then squeeze it even harder until you cannot squeeze it any more then let go, quickly.  Feel the energy surge from letting go of the part of you that has to hold on to your turf, your ego, your importance.  There I more power in letting go that holding on.  Clashing fists perpetuate frustration and conflict. The result is we all get  head aches.  It is good that we all have our points, our distinctive, our contributions to the health and faith of our communities.  What is not good is when our ego-system demands that we devalue or make less important the other and thereby, we depreciate the very value we have.  What we do gets lost and what we refuse to do.           

Faith claims it can heal and there is no need for science and medicine.  Science and medicine claim that reason and science are real and faith is superstitious and inconsequential.  We knock heads to prove our points and the only point we prove is our own and the system of healthcare and the people of our land are hurt not helped by this turf war.

If we open our hands, unclenching our fists, we can join our hands together in a partnership.  We can shift from an “ego-system to an Ecosystem”.  An eco system values everything and everyone as part of the team of health care and of global community.  Instead of a point counter point system that perpetuates ego-centricity we today shift to an eco-system that is propelled by ecumenicity.

Today, we come together to inaugurate a new day.  Today is a day not of conflict, chaos and counterpointing but a day of cooperation, collaboration and community.  We set aside a=our competing agendas and take up our shared task:  the well being of humanity.  This is true faith in action.  Not self-serving faith that perpetuates a particular brand of faith.  This faith is non-sectarian.  It simply sees what no one else sees and works to build toward its becoming a reality.  Hats off and hands up for those who conceived believed and worked to make this day happen.  They saw not the obstacles and they acted not with obtrusiveness but with inclusiveness.  They called together members of the medical community, the educational community, and the religious community to partner together as an ecosystem of faith to work toward sensitivity to all, in partnership with all, and toward a just and effective healthcare system for all.

This ecosystem had three distinct components.  They are honoring, honesty, and humility.

When we honor all parts of all disciplines and all people regardless of anything we invite true community.  When we are wiling to be honest about our part in the problems and change our focus from ego to eco we work toward true collaboration.  When we are willing to humble ourselves and value the other, we become a cooperative, collaborative community which profits everyone.

It has been said that “it is surprising what we can accomplish if we do not care about who gets the credit”.

Imagine if all the cancer research centers decided to cooperate and share all their research and findings with each other not caring who discovers the cure for cancer but only imagining a world that is cancer free.

Imagine if all the religious institutions decided to cooperate and collaborate as communities of faith instead of protecting their turf or promoting their distinctive, but worked together to end violence, poverty, hunger, and war.

It would take three things:  serenity, defined as letting go of all agendas and conditions and being at peace with what is, surrender, defined as surrendering our ego systems to our ecosystem, and ecumenicity and sacrifice, defined as the willingness to embrace all disciplines, all practices, all beliefs, all behaviors, and all people as having one essence of loving presence for all.

The internal family systems model of therapy in which I have trained for the past 8 years and which I now assist in the training at CCSU, provides an ecosystem of care for physical, emotional, and spiritual parts inside of all of us.  Every part is welcome and cared for while the system of parts is imbued with compassion, calmness, courage and creativity from the core of care to the parts of the system.  Imagine a circle around the core of your body.  The circle would begin at the head and circle around the midsection back to the head.  Inside the circle are three organs: the brain (body), the heart (soul/emotions) and the lungs (spirit/breath). Each of them have two parts that could ego polarize the system or they could work together in a partnership for the system.  When the parts are open minded, open hearted, and open spirited then work as a cooperative ecosystem.  When they are ego/parts driven they work against the system.

Nearly 30 years ago as a pastor I was preaching on Spiritual discipline like reading scripture, praying and meditation, which I was an expert in, so a part of me said.  While preaching I sensed the voice of God saying, “You got to be kidding me, have you looked in a mirror lately”.  My first or fist-ego response was, “God, do not bother me can you not see I am preaching!”.  Then I stepped into the sacred space of hearing and realized that God was putting a sensitive caring finger on that fact that I weighed 300 pounds and was preaching on discipline.  I humbly dismissed myself in front of the congregation from ego preaching and went to the altar.  The next day I got up and went for a run like when I was in college, 10 years and 120 pounds ago and nearly died.  Over the next two years I lost a hundred pounds, ran my first marathon.  I committed to run NYC marathon every year as I knew it would force me to keep caring for the body or I would die running the marathon.  So the needs of body, soul and spirit have become partners in healthiness of living and believing ever since.


Every blade of grass in every field, every drop of water in every ocean, every stone on every mountain, every molecule of oxygen in the expanse of sky, every human being on earth living life all cooperating and collaborating in an ecosystem that bay faith sees more than the ego can see.

Then every hospital, catering to the physical needs, will become also a place where the spiritual needs of connectedness and community are respectfully cared for. Then every house of religious traditions, catering to the spiritual needs, will become also a place where the nutritional and physical needs are respectfully and responsible cared   Instead of a parts war propelled by an ego system that focuses on “the survival of the fittest” there would be a parts welcoming propelled by an ecosystem that welcomes all parts and focuses on “fitting together for the health of all”.

So today faith and health intersect for the good of all and the healthy functioning of the system.  Compassionate hearts, Cooperative minds, and Coalescing spirits unite for the good of humanity, global peace, and personal health.

This is transformative care to which we all contribute.  We join hearts, minds, and hands to work together to make healthcare not just a concept but a reality for all.

Rev. Dr. Donald L. Paine, LCSW, AAMFT, D.Min.Psy.
©Donald L. Paine, Parakalein Inc. April 26, 2012

National Day of Prayer, National Day of Reason

Posted by Don Paine

Since the early 1950's this country observed and the president proclaimed a "National Day of Prayer".  Today in the National Cathedral and throughout the country in small hamlets and in large cities and in places in between, people will gather to pray for God's guidance on our leaders.

Driving to work the other day I heard of a movement to ask the President to declare a parallel National Day of Reason.  While I know that whoever is behind that movement it is probably due to the nature of the national Day of Prayer having a "Christian agenda" and implying that God favors a nation that prays.
At the same time, prayer, that is calling on a power beyond, outside and yet alongside of me when in distress is a very reasonable thing to do.  It is a way of stepping outside of our problems into light and that is a good thing to do fro perspective shifts and perception changes.

Former President Bill Clinton said in a speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention, "The world is nto so impressed by the Presence of America's power in the world as they are impressed by the Power of America's presence in the world".  Prayer calls on our leaders to know that it is "presence" not "power" that turns the heads and hearts of humanity.  Prayer is a way of practicing the presence of a power greater than ourselves and who sees presence as true power.

This is not a day to call for God to bless America no matter what or to make America, God's favorite nation.  It is to ask for God's favor to come upon all of the citizens and the leaders of our nation so we might be a people, "under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".  To this end we pray.

Transforming power of living-sacrifice

Posted by Don Paine

Romans 12 tells us to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" over and against the "being conformed to this world".

People over the ages, wise sages have interpreted this passage in many different ways.  All have a point within the context of living.  Few factor in "sacrificing" as part of living.  The argument goes:  I do not need to sacrifice to you as I have my rights too.  You are not more important than me. You may have the right to have it your way but does that mean I have to live the way you define? I do not have to be a rug and let you walk all over me. These parts of you or me have a point and are true butt they are not willing to sacrifice what they think to the way someone else thinks and certainly do not see how to create a win-win orientation and reality to this polarity.

Enter the gates of sacrifice, rather the willingness to sacrifice, and find the light of love shining a beam of transforming light.  With our minds we often think it is about someone wanting me to conform to their way or me getting people to conform to my way.  One person's distinctive can create indignity for an other's.  Embracing another persons right to believe or behave differently demands a deference to without creating an agreement with the other person.  When our minds think in "over and against" or "win-lose" ways we choose to empower conformity and uniformity.  When we let out minds be transformed we move to an "alongside of and win-win" orientation we choose to embrace autonomy and authenticity.

When humanity was first created humanity knew and appreciated all it had.  All things were valued and all were welcomed without any agenda and with full acceptance.  There was no shame or blame or guilt.
When we renew out minds we move back into a state of "welcoming all parts in and around us as well as welcoming all parts in and around everyone".  With this renewed mind all are at peace.  There is balance and harmony.  There is love without limits and love that is willing to sacrifice all and everything for anyone and everyone.

Maybe this is what Paul meant and means.  Are we willing to sacrifice our right to have what we want or like, what our egos need to be satisfied for that which satisfies beyond our ego.  The egos thirsts for power, control and conformity is set aside and the ego embraces the internal living water which is a perpetual thirst quencher.  It is the "willingness to sacrifice in me" meeting the "willingness to sacrifice in you" which creates a mindset of mindfulness.  The win-lose mindset of the world that calls us to conform is transformed into the win-win mindset of Christ whose mind was the dichotomy of "living sacrifice" and the anatomy of humility and grace.

It is surprising what we could accomplish in the world if we did not worry about who gets the credit but just joined hands in a partnership propelled by a "renewed mind".

Higher, bigger, taller or Honor, Honesty, Humility

Posted by Don Paine

Today, we build the highest and most secure building in NYC on ground zero.  We believe in the power of rising above trauma, in resiliency of spirit, and in the embrace of all.  Higher, bigger or taller buildings may feed our egos, or declare our ingenuity, or represent our resiliency but the greatest expression of power is when we can honor all people who have suffered at the hands of people defending their or someone's honor,  when we can be honest with ourselves and defer to others, and when we can humble ourselves and choose to set aside agendas and accolades in exchange for embracing autonomy, authenticity, audacity, and acceptance.

Tolerance of others leads to acceptance of all parts of all people regardless of anything and that leads not to the illusion of peace but to the transformation to peace.

So what if while building a tall building to say we stand tall in the wake of tragedy, we also began to practice being together as one.  In our differences we can defer to one another.  In deferring to one another we expand our universe to be inclusive not exclusive, attentive not attention seeking, and an us not a me.  In deferring we embrace our differences and distinctives with respect and true reverence.

When we honor our differences, we are honest about our uncertainties, and we are humble and certain of only one thing:  we are one and so we ned to live as one with respect toward all.