One Cosmos Within God!

by Mark Gilbert –

During the height of the Communist scare of the 1950s, certain religious and political leaders pushed through Congress a couple of changes that many Americans now think have always existed. One of those was the adoption of the phrase “in God we trust” as the United States’ official motto. The other was the change to our Pledge of Allegiance to add the phrase “one nation under God”.
It took both the fear of those “godless communists” as well as others fear of retaliation from the fear mongers promoting the red scare to make these changes. It was not an easy time to stand up and object to the insertion of “God” into our country’s documents. 
Of course, these changes from a little over 50 years ago are now erroneously conflated by many as evidence that the United States was founded based on the Christian religion and thereby is a “Christian country”.
A Christian Country?
In spite of such opinions, there is much evidence to support the contention that the United States was not founded based on any religion. The Declaration of Independence does mention “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” as well as the fact that we are “endowed by our Creator” with certain rights. However, as writer Jim Walker has pointed out, “the mentioning of God in the Declaration does not describe the personal God of Christianity.”
Our first true legal document – the Constitution – consciously does not mention God. 
The First Amendment does offer that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” 
It was obviously important to our founding fathers that we not codify one religion over another.
In 1797, the Senate ratified the Treaty of Tripoli between the United States and the country of Tripolitania which was primarily Muslim (this land is now part of Libya). Contained within article 11 of this treaty was the following: 
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” Neither President John Adams nor the Senate objected to this language.
Although the United States was not “founded on the Christian religion”, one can make a good case that we are a “Christian nation” because Christianity is the largest religious movement within the country. Our form of government is not Christian but a significant proportion of the people who live in the country at this point in time claim to be Christian.
An Unnecessary Debate?
Whether or not that makes us a “Christian nation” depends upon your worldview. Fundamentalists with a more traditional worldview would say yes, while many atheists with a modern/materialistic worldview would say no. These groups can get quite feisty emphasizing their beliefs. The emotional nature of such arguments flies in the face of labeling ourselves as “one nation”, much less “under God”.
Such debates, in my opinion do not ultimately serve us. The heated discussions say more about the beliefs of those debating than they do about what actions we need to take to bring about the highest vision of our country. To me, such a vision is much larger and more important than who is right in a no-win argument.
If fundamentalist Christians want to believe what they believe and if materialistic atheists want to believe what they believe, then our highest vision should include a country that makes room for all of their beliefs as well as those who believe something else! 
The only problem is when either faction tries to take their belief structure and impose it on the greater whole of the country through certain legal actions.
A Real Shining City on the Hill?
In my highest vision for our country, we will ultimately and truly become “one nation” when we let go of focusing upon our differences and instead focus upon how we are alike. We will become one nation when we will let go of attempting to impose our will and our beliefs on others. 
We will become one nation when our eyes become focused upon a common goal of how the United States can be a positive force for the highest possibilities for humanity and the world. This doesn’t mean bringing either our form of government or our predominant religion to other countries.
Instead, United States can be that “shining city on the hill”, in my opinion, when we can let go of our need to be fearful of one another and replace that fear with a sense of care and concern for everyone everywhere. That concern leads us towards actions which ensure that every human being has access to having their basic needs met – healthcare, food, shelter, education, safety. 
Every person, no exceptions, should be free to live in a world liberated from violence and war. Every person should be able to believe what they wish to believe. Every person should have the opportunity to be prosperous and thrive. And, our planet should be protected from harm so that every person now and every person to come will have a safe place to live.
As each person grows in their understanding of their interconnectedness to all of life, to all of this world, they evolve closer and closer to this higher possibility for humanity. 
At some point, we release the need to believe in our separation from other people or from the universe we live in or from any creative force which had a role in creating it all. 
At this threshold in our evolution, our sense of connectedness calls us to let go of our being simply “one nation” and instead realize that we are all part of the same “one cosmos”
We realize that we are no longer living “under God” and instead realize that we are all living and moving and experiencing our very being “within God”. We will know there is only “the One” and each of us are a part of It.

Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his very latest one Becoming a Spiritual Change Agent


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The Arrival of the New Normal

by Kingsley Dennis –
REFLECTIONS:

We have entered a time which I refer to as the New Normal, and we need to understand that things are never going to be the same again. We have to get used to doing things differently – for these ‘different things’ will become our normal ways soon enough. 
This shift from older patterns and structures that once served us well, into a space where some things are no longer working for us can be unsettling and disturbing. 
Yet don’t waste time with old energy patterns that are no longer working. 
We may feel frustrated in not knowing what to do – and yet this is only just the beginning. In terms of the longer time scale we still have a long way to go, for this change is going to be many years in the making.
Things may now change faster than they have ever done before – we are living in a reality that is on the move. It is likely that many of us have already experienced this – a sense of rapidity and uncertainty unlike previous years. There is no need for this feeling of ‘shifting ground’ to cause anxiety. Change does not mean something negative – people are only afraid of what they don’t know. 
The easy part in all of this is accepting the need for a ‘new normal’ – the more difficult part is to actively engage in change, in a way that is balanced, stable, and not strange. Being a part of the ‘new normal’ also means normalizing ourselves: there is no more need to stand apart; that is, to use ‘difference’ as part of your personality or identity. You cannot express your full potential when imbalanced. 
The ‘new normal’ is not here to alienate oneself and others – it does not support divisive energies.
Sometimes change needs courage – courage to accept this change as the new normal. Some people are more used to and adaptive to change than others – each person must find what is right and comfortable for them. However, we are not starting from scratch – arriving to where we find ourselves now is also part of the change.
In fact, it is stability which is the illusion as everything is in flux. 
Life is one complete flux-engine – if we can put it that way – and the human body is equipped for constant change. When there is imbalance in the body it naturally seeks to find balance: physically, emotionally, and energetically. 
Finding New Positions, Definitions and Tools
We already instinctively know this, and how to practice it. By re-adapting to change and flux we propel ourselves forward – it is a force of momentum within our lives. The new re-balancing is not about going back to the old – it is about finding new positions and definitions. We have to re-define for ourselves what is the new normal.
We have to learn how to operate the new tools we have and which we are expected to use. 
Religious belief and unquestioning faith were old tools, for example. Now we need to figure out what are the new tools we have and how to use them. And within this period of new learning we may also need to do some personal ‘clearing’ – to get our own personal house in order.
So let’s be clear: the new normal is consistent change – and this normal can change on a daily basis. 
Is this so difficult to accept and understand? It seems that many of the young people can work with this; it is not difficult for them to grasp the essentiality of change. For many young people, it seems obvious that change is an essential and necessary, part of life. It is only us, entrenched in our years of conditioned stability that fear such flux and flow.
If anyone reading this is feeling a connection to this theme it is also because they sense the need for change within their own lives. They sense it is right – that there is some urge within them that is telling them that something needs to change – there is intent to know more. 
There’s no better time than now for re-engagement – to reflect upon the question of ‘what is “life” for me? – and how can I participate?’
The following are some of what I consider to be at the basis of change:
  1. Release the fear conditioning
  2. Re-calibrate the definitions of what is ‘normal’
  3. Observe emotions and emotional responses and needs
  4. Get used to change – it is the only normal there is
  5. Be joyful with change and changing habits/patterns – learn to love it
  6. Don’t try to get back to the old ‘normal’ – adjustment is not a return, it’s a moving forward
  7. Waiting for the ‘old’ is not an option
  8. Change works better when you are pro-active so activate your engagement/participation. Get involved with your own changes!
  9. Trust your intuition and intuitive feelings
From Survival Mode to Creation Mode

It can be unsettling at first when trying to get used to something that is always moving! It is like a radio station that constantly shifts its broadcast frequencies – and every day you have to re-tune your radio to find the new frequency. Yet this constant shifting is also a way for us to find meaning and significance in our lives. 
We may find that many of the shifts that we choose to activate/act on will have a direct influence upon our need to find a renewed meaning in life. Another way to consider these changes is to view them as being part of the shift from survival mode to creation mode – creating a new way of living more suitable to how we wish to live life in creative and meaningful ways.
Conscious Participation
As we gradually (or even suddenly!) shift into the era of the new normal we may discover that we fall into one of the following categories:
  • Manifestors
  • Facilitators
  • Nurturers

Each role is equal in importance – and yet each is different in how it relates and engages with others in life. The new normal is going to have a strong influence upon the values of connectivity, communication, consciousness and compassion.
Our social, local and global networks will be ever more important for us. 
Whether we manifest things in life, facilitate for others or nurture others – each involves conscious participation. That is the core of the new normal – balanced, stable, conscious participation in finding meaning for ourselves and others; and to be creative and active in pursuing a positive future for all.

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