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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Four things NOT to do on Valentine’s Day

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Don’t think you have to eat out at a fancy restaurant. The tradition of eating someplace extraordinary requires reservations and yes, waiting, because so many other people are doing the same thing on Valentine’s Day.

You can instead eat at a smaller eatery, or eat in-house. You can have a simple healthy meal with maybe a special dessert, shared. At home, lighting one candle on the table offers a quietude more fitting for your Valentine, than sitting in a crowded restaurant.

 

Don’t buy chocolate for someone with a weight problem. Food is a temptation and love doesn’t tempt us, but encourages us to be moderate and nourishing.

Give flowers or a thoughtful card to your Valentine. You can even make the card.

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Don’t expect sex. Love is not sex and expecting sex cheapens it. If there is no sex, disappointment seeps into the psyche and ruins Valentine’s Day.

Instead, appreciate the spiritual qualities of integrity, patience, and compassion in your Valentine and if sex happens, you will appreciate the intimacy and yourself.

 

Don’t get down on yourself. Not everyone has a Valentine in its narrow definition and that is okay.

Love yourself as God loves you. You are worthy of joy and wellbeing, gently and permanently bestowed on you by God. Your relationship with God, by default, is a relationship with infinite Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Religion today, part VII

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Now that the word Islam no longer terrifies me, I can stand up against Islamophobia with understanding.

From, 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, we read, “Christian Science requires us to improve our intentions. Hatred is to become extinct through kindness. Lust is conquered with purity. Revenge is triumphed over with charity, and deceit is defeated with honesty. Starve errors in their early stages if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”

Most people are are busy getting through the day, going to work, paying bills, and trying to help others that we eventually have to face that which terrorizes us, even our own fears. From 21st Century Science and Health,While respecting all that is good in the Church or out of it, one’s dedication to Christ is more on the ground of demonstration than of profession. In conscience, we can’t stay in a mindset we have outgrown. We are enabled to heal the sick and overcome sin by understanding more of the divine Principle of the deathless Christ.”

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Healing is possible. Inevitable. It comes by not getting distracted by the masks that hate and fear and egomania wear. Everytime we let go of the old and put on the new (Ephesians 4:24) we notice progress and courage in the understanding of a meaningful life.

Four things I’ve learned:

  1. Healing is always happening and we can find where to be a part of it.
  2. We can throw out that which we’ve outgrown, including the worn-out ideology that someone in the past knew the answer for us today.
  3. We need to find our own answer.
  4. We all have access to God, Truth, now. The truth is practical to us, now.

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Islamic image today, part VI

posted by Cheryl Petersen

After getting know better my neighboring Muslims, my concept of Islam was detaching from the “unknown” or “scary” and attaching to peace and joy. Spirituality became the focus rather than religion.

To stereotype a religion is to ignore the underlying forces currently at work. If hate, revenge, and egotism, have the upper hand, religion is destructive. If empathy, respect, and selflessness have the upper hand, religion is constructive.

I visited the Sufi Center again on another day and met up with K. She, and other women, had just finished up having a birthday party for one of the young children.

K gave me a tour of the farm. They raise chickens, sheep, cows, ducks, and other animals. K and I walked up a typical Catskill hill. The view was lovely. At the top was an apple tree. “These best apples,” K told me.

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The apples were high in the tree, way out of reach. K picked up a long stick and lifted it up. She used the stick to shake a branch. Apples fell off and landed at our feet. We picked them up and put them in our pockets, except one apple, which we ate.

Three things I learned:

  1. Whether it’s a stick, a religion, or a science, they are only tools to help us get at ideas that help us understand reality.
  2. It is within our reach to respect all the tools even if we prefer one over the other.
  3. We all have to eat.

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The Islam image today, part V

posted by Cheryl Petersen

At the Muslim Sufi Center, I was taken under the wings of two women, I’ll call them S and K.

They explained what everyone was doing as the evening progressed. I was introduced to Shaykh Hoja then we all sat on the floor to listen to the Shaykh speak.

It was interesting. The Shaykh used terminology I used. He said Allah, but he included the words, Lord and God also as he talked. He encouraged us women to create environments and communities that welcomed and respected all ethnicities, no matter what “colors. Brown, white, black, green,” he said with a smile.

The Shaykh touched on history of the Ottoman Empire and said, “People wanted to be ruled under the turban rather than the cross.” Referring to the Islamic turban that men wear on their heads and the cross of crucifixion.

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The turban/cross analogy lacked strength for me. I think turban/crown might be better.

But, the Shaykh went on to say, “The big holy war, or jahid, is against our human ego.”

“The old system of massacring people is the wrong practice today,” said the Shaykh. “We must hold to the original teachings and pull ourselves out of confusion, out from egos. Be thankful that our purpose is to have no enemies, it is to raise children simply and well. It is to live as citizens of the State and Country.”

After his mini-sermon, one of the women, K, told me in her broken English (she’s from Turkey), “It is much freer here in United States. I can cover head freely.”

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Her statement prompted me to note that circumstances make a difference in our beliefs and practices. Someone who grew up in a negative religious environment is going to react differently than the person who grew up in a positive religious environment. Our environments are affected not only by our immediate families, but also by our communities, countries, and world. The economy, harvests, and plagues.

Three things I learned:

  1. I can’t judge a person by their religion and I can’t judge a religion by a person.
  2. In order for old systems to die out, they must be replaced by new systems.
  3. Raising children simply and well is a worthy tradition.
Previous Posts

Four things NOT to do on Valentine’s Day
Don’t think you have to eat out at a fancy restaurant. The tradition of eating someplace extraordinary requires reservations and yes, waiting, because so many other people are doing the same thing on Valentine’s Day. You can instead eat ...

posted 8:03:34pm Feb. 02, 2016 | read full post »

Religion today, part VII
Now that the word Islam no longer terrifies me, I can stand up against Islamophobia with understanding. From, 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, we read, "Christian Science requires us to improve our intentions. ...

posted 7:50:26am Jan. 25, 2016 | read full post »

Islamic image today, part VI
After getting know better my neighboring Muslims, my concept of Islam was detaching from the “unknown” or “scary” and attaching to peace and joy. Spirituality became the focus rather than religion. To stereotype a religion is to ...

posted 7:45:40am Jan. 20, 2016 | read full post »

The Islam image today, part V
At the Muslim Sufi Center, I was taken under the wings of two women, I’ll call them S and K. They explained what everyone was doing as the evening progressed. I was introduced to Shaykh Hoja then we all sat on the floor to listen to the ...

posted 7:39:08am Jan. 15, 2016 | read full post »

Dealing with the Islamic image today, part IV
The famous “bell graph” comes to mind when I’m breaking down misconceptions and stereotypes. The graph line starts low, rises, peaks, tapers off, and ends low. At the low points are extremes. There are extreme thinkers inside as well as ...

posted 7:28:48am Jan. 10, 2016 | read full post »

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