A Message From “The Family”: Resurrection Time

earth-5Nothing in physical reality  stays the same forever, for it is the nature of physical reality to be constantly changing: expanding, contracting,  giving birth, wielding death, bringing new life from death again. Your civilization of the West has been living in a reality of continuous stimulation to purchase objects, objects that are touted as possessing the abilities to make you feel young, beautiful, strong, healthy, desirable, hopeful, safe. No object, however, can do any of these things, for objects themselves break down, wear out, are discarded in favor of new objects. And so the cycle continues.

The only possession that does not break down, wear out, fall apart, get lost in the laundry, mess itself up by banging into other objects—the only possession that does not change in physical reality—is (1) pain and (2) joy. Mister Rand objects, “Pain can change if I am willing to feel it and work with it.” That is correct, if by “pain” one means “specific pain arising from specific incidents.” These indeed can soften into background noise, barely perceptible, with no power to limit the onetime sufferer’s life. But pain itself—one’s capacity for suffering, the existence of pain in physical reality—the fact that physical reality provides endless opportunities for pain—that does not change. As long as there is a physical reality, pain will be available.

Mister Rand finds this statement angering and disheartening. “Pain caused by resistance can be mitigated by learning to accept rather than deny what is happening,” he says. “Pain inflicted upon one by a physical source such as sciatica or an angry spouse can be mitigated by medications and physical therapy on the one hand and reconciliation counseling or divorce on the other. But you’re saying that all the claims of certain world religions, that some day God will transform physical reality into a place where no pain, no suffering, no disease, no hunger, no violence exists—you’re saying that this is not going to happen?”

That is correct. That is what we are saying. As long as physical reality exists, pain will be possible, for physical reality is a reality of hard and soft, harsh and gentle, violent and peaceful, good and evil. As we see it in fact, the only realities where pain is available are physical reality and its close companion, the plane of existence we call thought reality. Sometimes called the plane of mind or the astral plane, thought reality is the level of reality where all minds from all times and spaces can meet and interact. Of the nonphysical realities, thought reality is the closest to physical reality, and it mirrors physical reality’s joys and sorrows.

Everything that happens in physical reality sets off sparks in thought reality. These sparks become what we call thought forms, which have, to the aware human mind, all the appearance of reality. When Mister Rand goes into a mall, and begins feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the crowd, he is unconsciously being battered by thought forms generated by the humans in the crowd. That is because, as Judgment Essence in his Tarot of You system of personality exploration, Mister Rand is particularly prone to sensing and absorbing the mental projections of humans and animals. If Mister Rand permits these thought forms to attach themselves to him, he begins to feel as his own the suffering of those who generated these thought-forms. And this often results in his withdrawing as much as possible from the life outside his own head.

What is the point of this discussion? Our point is that, while you are in physical reality, suffering is one of the experiences that is inevitable here. But physical reality is not the only reality in which your consciousness is embedded, and suffering is not the only experience available here. There are many joys and pleasures available in physical reality as well. Physical reality holds beauties innumerable, and pleasures that have nothing to do with possessing objects that will inevitably decay. Furthermore, Mister Rand is continually connected to the consciousness of his Greater Self, and in the nonphysical he is surrounded by what your Bible calls “clouds of witness”: disembodied friends and relatives, spirit guides, angelic consciousnesses who wish him only well and if called upon can help him make choices that will open up new avenues of pleasure for him.

For every pain in physical reality there is a solace, even if that solace be death; and for every death there is a resurrection. •

— Channeled Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

A Message From “The Family”: On Human Goodness

Jeffrey Robert Lee (L); Rand Benjamin Lee (R)

Jeffrey Robert Lee (L); Rand Benjamin Lee (R)

Mister Rand has found himself deeply upset by the carnage in Florida’s gay and Lesbian nightclub, the club in which half a hundred individuals lost their physical bodies to bullets and many more were traumatized. Understand that evil is an act, not a condition; that one can say, out of rage and fear, that so-and-so is evil to have done such a terrible thing unmoved, but at root humans still are good, as all things at root are good; i.e., worthy of existing, for they have been born from the womb of God and return to it at death.

Why, then, does evil take place? It is possible to reduce one’s consciousness to a level so uncreative and closed to the value of others that one achieves a consciousness level we call To Control Absolutely, the least creative and least loving of all consciousness levels. While To Control Absolutely is no longer a level of consciousness sanctioned by the mass will of humanity as a normative attitude, nonetheless certain individuals, spurred on by fear of victimization by others, are trapped in the attitude that tells them, “The only way you will be safe is to control everyone and everything around you at all times.”

At this consciousness level, one sees everyone and everything one encounters as a character in one’s private play; a tool to use for one’s sensory and physical gratification and safety.Particularly if there is something in oneself that mirrors an attribute in the other, one may wish to harm or even kill the other as a symbolic means of harming or killing the trait within oneself that one loathes.

Many individuals speak with disapproval of how the media glorifies mass killers and similar criminals by devoting seemingly endless coverage to them. Many individuals feel that by doing so, the media encourages other individuals to commit atrocities so that they will enjoy worldwide fame, too. In certain cases this is indeed the effect that media obsession with individual criminals exerts. There is also in our view a sexual component to human interest in death: not only the desire to penetrate (with penis, bullet, etc.) and change forever the one penetrated (through unwanted pregnancy, through destruction of the victim’s mental health, through the victim’s death), but also the desire to feel godlike—to feel that one has the supreme power to bypass all moral systems and commit acts of devastation that will forever draw attention to one’s Self. These yearnings are all connected with the consciousness levels of To Control Absolutely and, to a lesser extent, of To Force.

Why does God allow acts of atrocity? We have no general answer to this. Some acts of atrocity are due to “natural” causes: geographic upheaval, weather, “accident,” and disease. Mister Rand’s brother Jeffrey died of AIDS in 1990, a virus he contracted in Key West, Florida during his time there. This was a very spiritually evolved individual who helped introduce Mister Rand to spiritualism, yet he died at age 35 a year after his beloved dog died. Mister Rand has since dreamed of him joyous and free, and has come to realize that Mister Jeffrey and their mother Kaye had business between them to complete, business that Mister Jeffrey chose to pursue by staying in Ireland and caring for her, even though, about a year before [his death], he predicted to a family friend that his mother “would be the death of” him. (Ireland had few resources at the time for caring for persons living with AIDS, and the medications now available that assist persons with AIDS to live longer did not then exist.) And of course many other deaths from disease, car accident, accident and so forth take place every minute of the human day, and to those experiencing them, or to those loving the victims of these situations, these losses can be unconsolable. If a God of Love existed, why would She permit any creature to suffer at all for any reason? All that we know is, each situation with each individual person must be taken individually for it to be understood.

Mister Rand is horrified by this statement. Are we saying, he asks, that some individuals choose [before they are born] to die horribly in the life to come, or deserve to die horribly because of bad things they have done in this life or a past life? No wonder there are angry atheists in the world, Mister Rand says, with so many religions trying to come up with excuses for why their deities have permitted evil to flourish. To this we say, the gods Mister Rand speaks of do not know pain. They do not know helplessness. They do not know victimization. In their level of reality, only love exists. To them, death is simply the walking through of a door, or an awakening from dreams. The only beings who can know what it is like to die are beings with physical bodies. And one of the reasons for incarnation is to bring the power of Love to bear against the consciousness levels of To Control Absolutely, To Force, To Threaten, and To Blame, the consciousness levels that give rise to Dachau, and Orlando, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The purpose of incarnation is the integration of Love consciousness with the mechanisms of the physical universe, so that reason and intuition, fueled by compassion, can soften spacetime’s hard edges.

For you are Good. You are Good. You are Good.•

— Channeled 6/25/16 by Rand B. Lee. All rights reserved. “The Family” is a nonhierarchical, nonauthoritarian secondary persona of  Mister Rand, created by him to convey information he cannot access readily via his conscious mind. See sidebar for  contact information.

A Message From “The Family”: On Eating Disorders

Mister Rand has long suffered from what is termed an “eating disorder,” in his case the compulsion to eat more than his body requires especially of carbohydrates, sugars, and fat-laden proteins. As a result, he has developed a deformity of the torso that weighs him down and  prevents him, he thinks, from finding love and acceptance from others whose opinions he cherishes.

Eating disorders are, as we see it, at core, disorders of the heart chakra, and they can come in many forms, such as compulsive overeating and vomiting; compulsive undereating and self-starvation; and compulsive exercising and dieting. To bring these disorders into balance, it is necessary for the sufferer to identify the core need, which is love; and to develop strategies for opening the heart both to Divine Love and to human love as well.

In the Twelve Step group “Overeaters Anonymous,” there is a series of contemplative exercises designed to accomplish just the sort of heart opening to which we refer. At root, they involve:

(1) admission of powerlessness over the addictive urge when it strikes;

(2) acknowledging that Divine Love exists and is eager to relieve any and all self-harm compulsions if that is what the sufferer truly wishes;

(3) a commitment by the sufferer to placing one’s will and life into the loving care of the Divine Healer on a daily basis;

(4) listing all the ways  one’s pain and loneliness have manifested in waking life;

(5) breaking silence by sharing this list with another human being;

(6) agreeing, one day at a time, to permitting the Divine Healer complete access to one’s innermost core being, for the purpose of adjusting one’s attitudes and actions so that they reflect our beauty rather than our pain;

(7) performing a ritual in which one formally invites Divine Healer access to one’s core;

(8) making a list of any persons we have harmed, and becoming willing to make amends to them all;

(9) making amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others;

(10) working daily to keep one’s heart open to the Divine Healer’s correction when one acts towards others out of a consciousness level of force, threat, and blame rather than the consciousness levels of  acceptance with intent to learn, understanding, giving, loving, and knowing that one is intrinsically whole;

(11) communing consciously with the Divine Healer on a daily basis, so that we may receive the daily power and blessings that Divine Love wishes to pour upon us; and

(12) offering oneself as a channel of Divine Love to other sufferers on a daily basis as opportunities arise.

It is vital to recognize that the process of recovering from eating disorders cannot take place in isolation: one must become so sick of being sick that one is willing to ask for help, despite one’s shame and inner accusers. This is why Mister Rand attends a Twelve Step meeting designed for compulsive overeaters; he has found, over time, his fear of being seen and harmed by others has diminished considerably owing to the consistent, nonintrusive love shown him by other members of the group.

Furthermore, any healing of the heart results in increased awareness of feelings, inevitably including feelings one does not wish to feel, such as shame, fear, resentment, anger, and other responses to the illusion that one is starving emotionally. A daily choice must be made to allow these feelings to come to consciousness, and to use various tools, such as writing and sharing verbally with others one can trust, for the purpose of acknowledging these feelings and releasing them on a daily basis into the love of the Divine Healer. For it is the Divine Healer alone Who can repair the damaged heart chakra; bring peace, love, and resilience to the emotional body; and silence the voice of the inner accuser who calls Mister Rand a failure and a troll.

And we thank you for sharing.•

For further information about Twelve Step programs for compulsive eaters, check out the website http://www.oa.org.

 

 

My Landlord’s Dog

EPSON scanner image

My landlord’s dog is a white female American bulldog named Julie. She is 8 years old, and exudes sweetness and love to such an extent that nearly everyone who meets her tells my landlord, whom I’ll call Jim, “If you ever decide to give her up, I’ll take her.” I rent a room in Jim’s house, and when my cat Urdwill was alive, Julie accepted him as one of the pack; if anything, he, not she, was the more aggressive and territorial of the two.

For the past few days I have been caring for Julie. About 4 days ago, Jim was taken to the hospital, where he has been ever since, with a cracked pelvis from a fall, a deep upper leg infection, and urinary difficulties. Jim is a very large man, and it took a four-man team of paramedics and firefighters to transport him from the upper tier of the bunk bed where he sleeps down to the gurney they had waiting for him. When I spoke to him on the telephone yesterday, he sounded disoriented and frightened. In his deep bass voice he said, “I’ve never felt so helpless before.”

I can believe it. Jim is 74, with a lifetime of international sales, business ownership, and professional rugby behind him. When I met him, about 2 years ago, he had been reduced to spending most of his time in a chair in front of his large screen TV, watching sports programs. I learned that some years back he developed a brain embolism that impaired his hearing, eyesight, balance, short term memory, and completely erased his sense of smell, which in turn has reduced considerably his ability to taste anything. A Type Two diabetic, and a heavy nighttime vodka-and-cranberry-juice-cocktail drinker, he is also a hoarder. Nearly every square inch of his house is filled with sports equipment, boxes of books, clothing, heaps of old bills and letters, tools, memorabilia, and trash, and the yards around his house sport several huge, inoperative vehicles, including a chartreuse van and two trucks, one of which has a mobile hot tub attached to it. (In the Seventies, Jim used to drive this rig around Santa Fe, renting it out to partying hippies.)

Despite his brain damage and short term memory loss, Jim notices at once if anything new appears in his vicinity, or if anything is thrown away or moved from one spot to another. “Is that your towel on the washing machine?” he asks. “Did you move that [tiny scarlet] tag from the desk to the side table?” Severely depressed, he goes to bed around midnight and gets up around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. “It just doesn’t seem worth it most days to get out of bed,” he told me.

Jim is on Medicare, and has had a string of caseworkers who come by now and again, disappear, and are replaced by new caseworkers. This is not because Jim is a difficult client to deal with; he is remarkably sweet tempered for a man with his background and in his condition. It’s because New Mexico, one of the poorest states of the Union, does not allocate much money to social services, and typically caseworkers are paid little, overworked, and overscrutinized by middle management longtermers anxious not to lose their jobs. Still, it’s a good thing Jim has Medicare, as he tells me he will be in hospital for at least another week, and in the meantime I am more or less in charge of taking care of Julie. “She misses you a lot, Jim,” I told him. “I miss her a lot, too,” he said, and his voice broke.

I find myself grieving, for Jim’s pain, certainly, but also for my own. My father, pictured above, was a big man, too, with a bass voice, and like Jim had little liking or talent for asking for help. Tonight I miss my father keenly. I was scared of him, much of the time, and angry with him, much of the time, and yearned for his approval and acceptance all of the time. He filled the house I grew up in with his presence just as Bill fills this house with his, and after my father died, of the last in a string of heart attacks back in 1971, the house loomed vast and empty without him in it.

I have no reason to believe that Jim will die, not this time, anyhow, though the events of the past week are clearly a wakeup call for him: change your ways of handling your pain, or make a humiliating, and possibly protracted, exit, stage right. But however long he is in hospital or rehab, and however many changes must take place in his house for it to accommodate his new fragilities, for now, I am here with his dog Julie; and our hearts, both hers and mine, are aching. •

 

 

 

 

A Message From “The Family”: On Atheism

celloatSarajevoMister Rand is often disturbed when he encounters advertisements or Internet posts from and about persons espousing atheism as a rational, more balanced approach to understanding and coping with life than theism, religiosity, mysticism, or theomancy. He is disturbed because deep down he himself does not entirely believe that he can be lucky enough for his channelings of unconditional love and light to be accurate and valid. Particularly since his mystical experiences feel so undramatic to him—familiar, almost ordinary in their safeness and familiarity—and never accompanied by UFO sightings, beams of mysterious light breaking through ceilings, angels with outstretched wings, and so forth.

But true mysticism is not always expressed via the melodramatic  memes one encounters in television and film. True mysticism is less likely to be a riotous adventure of alien abduction and much more likely to be turning a corner in one’s day and discoverin g that one is suddenly seeing everything afresh, as though one were awakening from a dream.

Beliefs are not the same things as experiences. One can experience the mystical without believing in it; similarly, one can believe in something without experiencing it. The keynote of whether a belief is core or a superficial adoption lies in whether one takes that belief and builds a world for oneself to inhabit out of it.

Atheism is currently fashionable, particularly among certain classes of intelligentsia in the USA where Mister Rand dwells. As a belief structure, atheism dates back thousands of years in Western civilization, and like religious beliefs, atheism often arises from (1) trauma, (2) acculturation, (3) home rearing, and/or (4) gender role identification.

Traumatic atheism, like traumatic religiosity, arises from unbearable psychological wounds such as those suffered by rape, war, accident, and bereavement victims. Traumatic atheism, however, often can be traced to an individual’s abuse in childhood or another vulnerable life period at the hands of overtly religious persons or institutions. Hence, for the traumatic atheist, atheism can be experienced as a liberation from the manacles of “terror theology”—religiosity rooted in Force, Threat, and Blame, that seeks to expunge the individual self and soul in order to make the self more easily controllable by the religious hierarchy. Where traumatic atheism does not arise from religious abuse, but from unbearable pain due to violence and loss, it can provide liberation from the torment of a sufferer’s wondering whether their suffering is a “punishment” by Deity for some deed or character flaw in a given or former lifetime. Traumatic atheism can also be an expression of rage against a deity one secretly still believes in, the atheist “punishing” that deity (or one’s parents, or one’s pastor) by refusing to worship the deity one has been taught to venerate. In all these cases, therefore, atheism serves the same purpose as other belief systems: protection or liberation of the self from the unbearable weight of pain.

Opportunistic or social atheism is our term for atheism arising from an individual’s desire to fit in with a desireable social group, usually a group that confers upon its members or adherents social, intellectual, [monetary] or political status not afforded to individuals who are theists or religious. Fad atheism, like fad religion, depends upon group pressure for its continuation; when the individual outgrows the need for group authentication, fad atheism—like fad religion—often fades.

Environmental atheism, like environmental religiosity, is atheism arising from family or bonding-group indoctrination. It is cultural in origin, with powerful emotional triggers and anchorings. For such atheists, theism can seem like a betrayal of intensely intimate familial and cultural values and kinship ties.

Gender-based atheism arises, usually amongst boys and men, when they are exposed to the notion that religiosity is somehow effeminizing, something that “real” men do not believe in—the province of moral, intellectual, or sexual “weaklings.” The statement, “Religion is the opium of the people” is [in our view] an expression largely of gender [role] based atheism.

Then there is a kind of atheism that arises from a genuine, heartfelt examination of one’s observations of the world and experiences therein. This kind of atheism, which we may term “true” atheism, is a true reflection of the internal process whereby an individual seeks to make emotional, intellectual, and philosophical sense of a frequently violent, apparently heartless, and often random and impersonal world. Just as “true” religiosity may be said to arise from an openhearted examination of evidences for universal consciousness, “true” atheism may represent a “high” and transfiguring awakening within the individual to a broader sense of reality. As such, true atheism can be a powerful tool for healing, acceptance, resourcefulness, and balance within the individual. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled by Rand B. Lee on 7 September 2015 6:40 AM MT.

A Message From “The Family”: On Pets

Rand.UrdwillMister Rand is today facing the possibility that his pet feline, Urdwill, may have more cancerous tumors growing upon his body. They may be malignant or they may be nonmalignant, but in any event Mister Rand’s cat is not eating, although he is drinking water. Mister Rand is remembering all the pets, and all the humans, he has lost to death over the decades, and has been showing great signs of anxiety, guilt, and shame, because part of himself feels (1) that males should not feel such feelings, (2) that he ought to have “saved” his transformed loved ones from death; and (3) that his future spiritual belongingness–whether “God” accepts him after death or not–depends upon his being perfect in all his thoughts, words, and deeds. He even believes that we may be fictions, or worse still, Satanic messengers sent to draw him and those who read his blogs away from the One True God. Mister Rand does not believe any of these things consciously. But all selves exist within the Self, including younger versions of the self, and all their voices sometimes sound within Mister Rand’s heart at once, contradicting the quieter voices of his reason and spiritual insight.

Mister Rand has vowed, when ever it is Urdwill the cat’s true time of leave taking the body, never to have another pet, because he says he “cannot bear” the thought of watching another pet die, or worse still, causing their death by having them euthenased by injection at a vet’s office. Mister Rand says that his grief is too great to bear, since (as he is aware) his grief over losing a pet is also grief over his losses of all the animals and humans in his life (and other lives as well, though he may not know this consciously). There are times when he even feels guilty over having a pet at all, both because of the impact pet-rearing can have on the environment and because he wonders whether it is good for an animal to be shoehorned into a human’s life rather than be permitted to live out its lifespan in a natural environment. Yet even in these things he knows the truth: that there are no natural environments, for your world has been made and remade by Humans repeatedly over the millennia; that in the “wild,” animals live a much shorter time than in “captivity;” and that humans can bring enormous comfort and fun into a domesticated animal’s life.

Mr. Urdwill has lived a reasonably long life for a cat of his size and genetic makeup: 14 years by Mister Rand’s present count. For all but 8 months of those years, Mister Urdwill has roamed free within his territory, Mister Rand’s backyard. He has enjoyed much fresh air, sleeping under datura leaves, chasing toads, terrorizing Mister Rand’s dogs (<-this is a joke>).

[Broken off because of need to take Urdwill to vet; resumed early next morning]

The purpose of the communion between “pets” and humans varies from pet to pet and human to human. Why did Mr. Urdwill choose Mr. Rand as his human companion that day at the pound in 2002, when Mister Rand, following an image of a black cat that had persisted in coming to him, visited the pound and experienced the black Abyssinian mix cat open the door of its cage, walk out, and sit upon Mister Rand’s foot? Mr. Urdwill wished freedom from enclosure. And freedom from enclosure is what Mister Rand gave him, for most of the years of their time together. Both cat and human also wished love, for all beings wish love, even rodents, which humans frequently despise because they closely resemble humans in some of their habits; and lizards, which being “cold blooded” are thought to have no need for love, only sex and food. It is just that Love takes different forms amongst different beings.

What Mister Rand really wants to know is, did he love Urdwill and his family and friends who have passed, truly love them “enough” for God to forgive him for not having been perfect? For having resented and quarreled with his beloved younger brother who died of AIDS in 1990? For having hated his abusive-seductive mother, who nonetheless had loved him in her way and he had loved her in his? For having heeded his lover Alex’s psychic command not to enter Alex’s room the evening of Alex’s suicide, when Mister Rand had returned from a gig the both of them had been scheduled to lead? We say, Yes, you have loved truly. Yes, you have expressed this love at times imperfectly. That is because one purpose for incarnation, the great task of incarnating in physical reality, is to learn to integrate the Divine Love at one’s core with one’s physical self and circumstances. And all students perform imperfectly—they are learning.

Mister Urdwill’s life is drawing to a close due to cancer and complications therefrom. Grief is difficult for many humans to express and bear, for it makes them feel weak and vulnerable and foolish in the eyes of other adults. We ask for all who experience grief over the loss of a companion animal or human relative or friend that you pray for Divine Love to help you forgive yourselves for being students of Love rather than masters thereof. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled April 14-15, 2015, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Why Do We Suffer?

eyeless_girlVarious explanations have been offered down through the ages to explain the suffering experienced by so many in physical reality. In some traditions, there are good gods and evil gods, constantly vying for supremacy over their Creation. In Fundamentalist Christian tradition, it’s humans’ fault that pain and hardship exists in the world, which was cursed because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience at the dawn of time; catastrophe is frequently seen in this tradition as God’s punishment for unrepentant human sin. In traditions where reincarnation is espoused, pain and suffering is often explained as the logical outcome of misdeeds done by the sufferer in past lives.

In atheist materialist tradition, physical reality is a mindless mechanism unaware of and unconcerned with the suffering of its creatures. Stephen Fry, noted British actor, writer, and outspoken atheist, recently said in an interview that in light of all the horrors that exist in this world (such as certain insects that can burrow into childrens’ eyes), a compassionate loving God could not possibly exist. The argument is simple and compelling: as God, the deity is presumably omnipotent and omnipresent; as a loving God, the deity is presumably concerned with the suffering of others. Logically, then, if God created insects that burrow into children’s eyes, God is either not loving, or It does not exist.

The visions I experienced in the fall of 2013 showed me unmistakably that a multiversal Consciousness (which many call “God”) does exist, and that Its nature is love and light. These visionary experiences I have since learned resemble those of many religious and non-religious individuals down through history and across all cultures. The symbols vary from person to person and culture to culture, but the gist is the same: that we are each of us known, accepted, and supported by a universal consciousness that is personal without being individual, and that is utterly familiar without being comprehensible. [For a compelling examination of mystical experience from the viewpoint of a nonmaterialist neuroscientist, see The Spiritual Brain by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary (New York: HarperOne, ISBN 978-0-06-162598-5, paperback $14.99), available through Amazon.com.]

My visions have given me hope that ultimately, whatever happens to my body, the core of me is eternally loved and safe. But my visions did not give me any theology with which to understand why life in physical reality involves so much suffering, or why “God” appears to do nothing about this.

The Kinds of Suffering

Not all my suffering arises from the same vectors or conditions. I’ve broken down the stuff that causes me the most pain into several categories, organized according to the forces and actions involved in the suffering I experience.

Suffering That Results Partially or Primarily from the Actions of Natural Forces: My severe juniper pollen allergy, worse this winter than ever before in living memory; my genetic predispositions towards osteoarthritis, depression, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes; the aches and pains that come from the natural aging of my body; my spinal damage due to a mild case of polio as a child in the Fifties; the physical distances between things and people; the deaths of loved ones from AIDS, alcoholism, and heart attack.

Suffering That Results Partially or Primarily from the Actions of Others: My ongoing PTSD, the result of my upbringing in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic pedophile mother, an angry chronically depressed father, and a sadistic, mentally ill older brother; the economic and sociopolitical forces operative nationally and in New Mexico that make access to employment and medical care difficult for low-income people like me; my struggle for self-acceptance as a gay man in a homophobic culture; Santa Fe’s socioeconomic stratification; the high cost of education; the suicide of my lover Stuart.

Suffering That Results Partially or Primarily from My Own Actions or Inactions: My years of resistance to acknowledging, and seeking help for, my incest background and eating disorder; my poverty, which partially results from my having made unwise education choices as a young man; my loneliness, the result of self-imposed social isolation; my perfectionism; my attempts at controlling a physical reality that is naturally in a constant state of change; my lifelong tendency to resist exercise;  my lifelong practice of eating foods that harm me; the harms I have done to others; the depression that comes from my insistence upon listening to radio news and reading newspaper accounts of the world’s pain; my resistance to acknowledging the good things in my life because I’m so pissed off by the bad things; my resistance to asking for help from God and others.

I recognize that I have not experienced horrors and brutalities that so many of the world’s peoples experience on a daily basis. Nonetheless, suffering is suffering. What kind of help can I expect the “God” of my visions to give me in dealing with the sufferings of everyday life? To what extent can the “God” of my visions directly affect or mitigate the hardships spacetime affords me? And how can I best access this help? We’ll look at this issue in the next blog.

Next: Accessing Divine Help In Spacetime.