• 90th International Peace Meditation “Accepting the Peace of God”

    “Accepting the Peace of God”

    June 6, 2004–Contemplating the end of our lives is difficult. At this time many people turn to the faith of their religions, their families, and leaders in the spiritual community whom they respect.

    End of life options are becoming more confusing daily. The array of options which in some instances is very limited, at other times can be overwhelming. Each option has a consequence, and it is at this time that the patient and family and friends often turn to those whom they trust to assist them. Religions and spiritual paths have differing beliefs about the hereafter. But all hold in common hope for a better life beyond. This hope helps the patient accept the end of this life and a new beginning. Without definition or distinctions, the life hereafter is viewed as relief from suffering and hope for reunion with those who have preceded us in death. The idea of life as a cocoon, and the transition like the emergence of the butterfly, is one to which we can relate. But there are other signs that we also can see which provide us with clues of the life to come.

    The life we cannot see lies before each of us. Like a long trail without an apparent destination, we journey down the road of life. We find branches in the road which require us to make decisions on our course. There may be decisions of whether to marry, whether to have children, where to work and in what field of endeavor, and where to live. But the choices we make are not the ultimate resolution of what happens in and to our lives. The choices we make are all temporary. The journey to the end of the road is that which is inevitable. In other words, all life is a journey on a path. All paths lead eventually back to the oneness that is God or Love or Allah. Regardless of the path we choose or upon which life has placed us, we all return to the same final destination. That destination is the final union of spirit from which we have come, and to which we will return.

    Lest that sound sad or frightening, let’s consider for a moment who we truly are. Each of us is a spirit which engages the world around us from the perspective of a human body. Whether we are brown, black, white, yellow, red, or a combination of the races, we are spirit, born within the context of a human family. Today, many of us are combinations of the races located where our forefathers lived. One source of beauty is new combinations of races evolving, giving unique compositions in physical appearance. Each person born is also unique in emotional and personal makeup, and comprises the evolution of the species in exciting new ways. But the journey of the human being is a journey of consciousness taking place on a path with opportunities for decision-making, but the inevitability of final re-joining.

    Undoubtedly this perspective will make some of us uncomfortable. It is only a perspective which can be added to the diverse perspectives with which we each come into contact. But for some of us, it will resonate as true. It will touch us inside in a way that facts, beliefs, stories, and philosophies cannot. It may resonate as truth-not for us alone, but for the human species.

    Each life on earth is finite. Life itself is infinite. We cannot destroy energy, we can only watch as it changes form. The butterfly outlives its need for its cocoon. At a given point in time, the cocoon can no longer support the life inside, as the life inside requires freedom. It is the same with humans. We outgrow our need for a physical shell that protects yet limits us, and we move into the next experience. The next experience is an experience of spirit.

    One of the reasons we have difficulty with this concept is that we identify with our bodies. Those in marketing have learned to capitalize upon this identity with an almost constant message that our bodies are not “good enough”, and can be improved with the purchase of their products. If we believed that we were “good enough” without the products, we would not purchase them, nor the strategies purported to improve our physical appearance. We also would not feel compelled to support that segment of the marketplace. This would have an impact on the economy. However, our psychological dependence upon our appearance causes us to continue to seek visual and sensual products to enhance our position in work and romantic pursuits.

    We do not like to think of leaving this world because we focus on the destruction of the body and the fear of the unknown. We do not like to focus on unity because it means the elimination of our individuality. Neither is a concern when we remember that we as humans are already spirit and spirit does not die; it only changes form. Those who claim to communicate with departed spirits do not seem so unusual if one believes that the spirit continues. They seem only unusual in their gift for communication. However, we have many gifts and not all of them are recognized. The ability to hear, see, and communicate in ways that we do not understand are judged to be abnormal only because we do not have a way of confirming them or categorizing them. Yet many of us have spent time with those who could predict future events, or seemed to have understanding far beyond the general population. Artists “see” what many of us cannot. Writers “hear” and write what many of us cannot. Musicians have the capacity to transform us through sound to emotions and consciousness in ways that we do not understand. Philosophers write about these experiences; researchers attempt to replicate them. However, replication generally fails because science often fails to acknowledge that which it cannot explain. Unique gifts such as these are currently without explanation.

    Dad was a unique man. He did not completely identify with organized religion, but he had a belief in mystery. He acknowledged that we cannot understand the great artistic and intellectual gifts such as those of a young Mozart, and Einstein. Although his background was Baptist, he told me that he could not explain the mystery of the accomplishments and understanding of Mozart and Einstein except through reincarnation. It was a way of saying that sometimes we are unable to fit reality as we understand it into a tradition or religious paradigm. There exist things for which we do not have understanding. Ask those who study the paranormal or UFO’s. Many investigators are scientific within their approach. They may say to you that if even one experience of extraterrestrial beings is true, our paradigm (the way we see and understand) of reality will need to expand.

    This is not to say that we should ignore science for faith. Nor is it to say that faith can always be limited to religion. We must not ignore that which we cannot explain; neither must we attempt to explain away that which we cannot yet understand. Learning to live with ambiguity, to accept that as yet we humans do not have all of the answers, is one way in which we begin to understand the role of faith. Faith does not replace facts; faith takes facts and transforms them into a personal philosophy that allows for what we understand, and what we as yet cannot. Faith is not denial of what we know; nor is it denial of what exists that we cannot yet understand, replicate, or categorize. Living with ambiguity is faith. It is faith that there is something greater than the human experience that provides clarity and direction and experience beyond that which we are at this time in human history able to define.

    It is important not to hold onto childhood beliefs that limit our capacity to expand our understanding. It is important to hold onto that which we can trust-that there is something greater that human intelligence and understanding that organizes spirit and intelligence of which we are all a part. This something greater is what we are all a part of and to which we migrate when we leave the human body. It is unlimited. How we experience this transition causes fear. But what should not cause fear is what happens after we make the transition.

    Many books have been written by people whose gifts allowed them access to a greater vision. Some have had near-death experiences where they have been revived after a physical death, and have seen relatives, or light, or had an experience of unconditional love from which many did not want to return. Others have had visions as they lay ill. Others write with a greater level of understanding that most. Some channel information. Some document unexplained sightings. Some transport us through music and art. Some who work with the dying are calm in the face of death. Some have great faith upon which others depend for strength. Some experience calm during catastrophic events. Some experience a sense of presence in the midst of loss. Many are changed by these experiences. They lose the feeling of fear. They have a sense of knowing. They are calm. They are serene. They seem to understand what is important and can ignore that which is unimportant. They have a sense of who they are. They have a sense of peace.

    This sense of Knowing is also beyond our ability to replicate upon demand, or to categorize. Yet it is real. It often happens when we least expect it. It may come to us when we are in our deepest pain. It often is a life-changing event, whether recognized or unrecognized.

    Answers are often beyond that which we can replicate, categorize, defend, characterize, or even explain. Yet they are. We are spirit, and we cannot completely explain the spiritual experience in physical terms. The spirit continues. We know because we have other ways of knowing. We each come to that recognition in unique ways. Or, we do not come to it at this time and wait for meaning and understanding beyond transition. However, one experience may be universal, and that experience is the desire to know. To know from whom and where we came, and to whom and where we will return. The desire to know may be what connects us as spiritual beings having a physical experience.

    To those of you who are offended by these thoughts, I apologize. I do not attempt to change beliefs or religions. I only offer thoughts on which to contemplate. And, if you do allow yourself to be challenged with thinking that may be other than what you have been taught, you may allow yourself to grow with new understanding unique to your experience. Living with ambiguity is a new way to experience the world. Believing that we already have all of the answers may blind us to greater understanding. Only as we open ourselves to new experiences can we grow in spirit and in truth. God, or Love, or Allah, or Higher Power, does not change. What changes is our perception.

    Thank you for considering what may be new and challenging perspectives. We continue to grow in human understanding until we grow beyond human limitations.

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    Sue Kidd Shipe
    Executive Director

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    Sue Kidd Shipe, Executive Director
    International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
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