Here is an interesting community on the cutting edge of social evolution. Check out the materials offered by the Evolver Learning Lab
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Kirtan artist Krishna Das talks about one of his experiences in India and performs his song “Jesus On The Mainline.” Why is Krishna Das singing about Jesus? Why not? “You gotta love it when a Jewish boy makes good!”
What is the relationship of matter to energy and Energy to The Divine? In this podcast I discuss the Energetic nature of material reality and some of the implications this has on our Spiritual path. We are God-Stuff.
There are many different Scriptures in the world, and I have come to respect them all. Scripture takes the essence of our different spiritual traditions and attempts to break it down into words. These words rarely do justice to the Truth they attempt to convey, but they do succeed, however imperfectly, to preserve the spiritual experience contained in the original community of practice. In this sense Scriptures serve as markers along the way; the finger of words pointing to the moon of spiritual experience.
Over the course of this present life I have studied the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian New Testament as well as The Tarot. Recently I have begun the study of the Koran and the Bhagavad-Gita. In all these Scriptures I have found good points as well as points which have been taken out of context and abused. It has been said, “The Devil quotes Scripture to suit his own purposes,” and this saying holds true for all faiths. But in each Scripture I have studied (Including the pictorial Scripture of The Tarot) there is a spiritual gem of Truth worth more than it’s weight in gold, which those of good will are destined to find no matter which spiritual path they walk.
One Scripture which goes unnoticed by many is the Scripture of Meditation; a Scripture of the heart. Many might not consider Meditation to be a Scripture, but for me this line of reasoning works. Scripture helps to connect us with The Divine as we understand The Divine. Meditation does the same, only in a more direct way. Scripture gives us insight on how to grow and perfect our own lives. Meditation also accomplishes this end. Scripture helps those on The Path to purify their mind and soul. This Meditation does as well. With Scripture one needs to learn how to read. Meditation, on the other hand, requires no literary skills and can be done by a child. Certainly Scripture can be abused and twisted by those who lack purity of heart. Sadly this also holds true for Meditation. But if we enter the practice with purity of heart and intention, we find we are rewarded with a pearl of great value, providing we seek for the sake of wisdom alone.
Many people see the Scriptures of the world religions as being sectarian, and to a great extent they are. Anybody can practice Meditation no matter what their religious background, if indeed any. And done faithfully and regularly, in a form which suits the seeker best, Meditation will improve one’s conscious contact with The Divine of their own heart and understanding. And it is in this respect that I find Meditation to be of infinitely greater value than any written or visual Scripture. Written and visual Scriptures serve as sign posts directing us to a spiritual experience. Meditation provides that spiritual experience. Other Scriptures point the Way to The Path. Meditation shows us The Path and The Destination all rolled up into One. Written Scriptures preserve for us the experiences of ages past, and Meditation allows us the freedom to make those same experiences our own. Both the written Scriptures and Meditation are important. Let us not overlook one in the practice of another.
We live in a world which seems to be divided. Divided between black and white; rich and poor; Christian and Muslim; Pagan and Non-Pagan, and so on. We take these divisions so seriously that in some extreme cases (becoming more and more common, unfortunately) we feel justified in killing over them. Wars and “Holy Wars” have become the new normal of the 21st Century. At the same time poverty runs unchecked and is growing world-wide. Disease, famine, homelessness – the banes of ages past – are becoming so prevalent that we prefer not to notice them and turn the other way. We take the wealth that our societies generate and spend them – not on feeding the hungry, or curing the sick, or housing the homeless – but rather on endless wars of dominion fighting over which culture (if you can even call it a culture) will dominate the human race in years to come. What would the founders of our World Religions say to all this strife and carelessness? Would it be, “Well done good and faithful servant,” or “Depart from Me you evil doers!” In many ways we have shunned the teachings of ages past urging us to a life of compassion, and embraced the way of death. But there is another alternative.
In inter-faith dialogues over the past few years I have noticed many commonalities emerge. The basic tenants of The Sermon On The Mount (Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Non-violence) can be found not only in Christianity, but also in most every other religious and spiritual system known. The Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” is universal. The problem is that we usually don’t follow that rule; not corporately as nations, or even individually as followers. Yet the teachings of basic love and humanitarianism are to found if one but digs into their respective scriptures and searches.
In building bridges of understanding between our different cultures and religious schools of thought we need to become more than just religious scholars; we need to become scholars of the heart and of humanity. We need to understand the words of the prophets, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” We need to learn to see The Divine, not just in Temples and religious services, but in the hearts and needs of our fellow human beings who go hungry, homeless and sick on a daily basis. We need to learn that by taking care of the needs of our fellow humans, we likewise serve the Desires of The Divine and fulfill the commandments to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” and “Love one another as I have loved you.” These are more than just words of poetry, these are teachings from The Divine Source which often go unheard and overlooked in our lives today. These words need to be heard and practiced.
I believe that in serving the needs of our fellows, we serve the needs of The Divine. I believe that The Divine Source is the origin of all things, and can be seen within all things – the common denominator linking us all. By learning to see The Divine within all things, we learn to love The Divine above all things, loving all things and all Peoples with the Love of God. In day-to-day life we are taught the illusion of separation and fall into the trap of “Divide and conquer.” In a deeply Spiritual life we learn to see beyond the illusion of separation and we begin to see all things as being one; Children of The Divine Source. By living a deeply Spiritual life (each in their own way) we can see beyond the barriers which seem to separate us, and find the Bridge linking the hearts of all. The toll we pay to cross this Bridge of Understanding is Love, and the price we pay ultimately is our frail small ego in exchange for Union with The Divine and our fellow Sisters and Brothers. A trade of rags to gold if there ever was one. This Quest of Spiritual growth is open to all, and is the Quest our Temple of The Infinite Universe is all about. The Quest to find our true nature both as Children of The Universe, and as True Human Beings. Those who wish to follow this path are welcome to fellowship with us!
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” -Thomas Jefferson. Declaration of Independence.
One of the core beliefs here at Temple Of The Infinite Universe has to do with how we view our fellow human beings. We hold with the point of view expressed by Thomas Jefferson above; that all people are created equal and have the same basic rights regardless. We agree that this is a “self-evident” truth, one not needing debate or documentation. Rather, it should be obvious to those who have learned to see.
Following this basic truth we affirm that we shall not discriminate against others based solely upon race, ethnicity, creed, color, nationality, sex, or sexual orientation. Neither will we discriminate based upon economic level or mental ability. Rather we look upon the heart of the individual and the content of their character, keeping ever in mind the Oneness of All whenever we are tempted to pass judgement upon another. At our root level we are all joined together as a single soul. The good qualities I see in another I can also find within myself. Likewise the evil which I may perceive in the heart of another I can also find within myself.
We are all a mix of both Jesus Christ and Jack The Ripper. In being mindful of which side we feed, we allow either the best or worst qualities of ourselves to emerge. Thus we learn to accept ourselves and others as One, and begin the practice of Unconditional Love. We may disagree from time to time; we may even disagree strongly. But in the end all disagreements will settle themselves as the illusion of separateness fades and we begin to realize that when we oppressed another, we really oppressed ourselves; and when we lashed out against another, we actually lashed out against ourselves. We likewise come to a deep understanding that “what-so-ever you do to the least” you have done to The Divine. This understanding calls for extreme inner courage, the willingness to change and to grow, and the ability to forgive yourself and others over time. In attempting to live out this truth we will fail – perhaps spectacularly so – from time to time. But, when we do fail, we pick ourselves back up and carry on, determined to learn and to do better next time using whatever graces we are offered. In the end, we are only One!
“I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew. And so are all of you!” -Mahatma Gandhi
The Temple Of The Infinite Universe started out in 2007 as St Francis Place. It began with the simple idea of promoting peace and interfaith harmony, but with little structure by which to accomplish those ends. Over the years our vision has come to a greater focus, and our network has grown to give our ministry more depth and stability in these uncertain economic times. What follows is a brief account of where we began, where we are now, and our vision of where we are going.
We began with the idea of holding worship services for all regardless of religious differences. This idea was given the working title Church In A Barn in which all would be welcome in a simple rustic setting to worship The Divine in a universal non-sectarian way. This gave rise to our efforts to develop St Francis Place on an internet platform to help build interest in such an interfaith spiritual community. It took several years working a full-time job and building a web presence on the side to get much done on this project. Also, we had no clear idea of what kind of Spirituality we would be using and teaching. I had a basic idea of utilizing the basic teachings of Jesus as preserved in The Sermon On The Mount, but the problem many times was in trying to present these ideas and Spiritual Principles in a way that was non-christian, non-sectarian, and truly open to all.
A few years ago we began to take an interest in Kabbalah and the teachings of the Hermetica. This is where our efforts really began to bear fruit. I found in the teachings of Kabbalah and the Hermetica everything I had come to love in the basic gospel message of Jesus of Nazareth. I also discovered that these teachings are far more ancient in origin than the person of Jesus of Nazareth. I found that they go back thousands of years before the Christian Era comprising a philosophy which has impacted perhaps every religion known to humanity, yet has been maintained as a non-religious system of thought and Spiritual growth since before the pyramids of Giza. Upon studying the Hermetica I realized this was the golden key I had been looking for.
Using the language and philosophy of the Hermetica we embarked on collecting our first group of sincere disciples willing to support our work financially. Using paid platforms such as KEEN and INGENIO we began doing Spiritual Direction via the internet and telephone covering topics ranging from prayer and meditation to past life issues and reincarnation. We now have a foundation upon which we can begin to build a meditation center (though this is very much a work in progress at this stage) and we are beginning to make our plans for the future.
At present we are in the process of organizing as our own corporate entity. To this end we are creating a formal Board of Directors as well as an Advisory Board to help lead and guide the outreach. We are also moving forward in developing our community over the internet using Skype and video hangouts to enable us to reach interested seekers from all over the world. Currently we have committed followers in North and South America as well as Australia, and we stand committed to building a fellowship in which distance and national boundaries are irrelevant. We likewise seek to build a community in which the primary concern is not the salvation of the individual, but literally the good of the entire planet. To this end we advocate living in harmony with oneself, one’s neighbor, nature, the planet as a whole, and the greater Cosmos. If this is a community that appeals to you, feel free to message us using the contact page. I will be posting more on our beliefs and practices in upcoming posts. Until then may inner peace be yours!