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When pain afflicts the enlightened

When pain afflicts the enlightened

The ‘real’ Secret: Physical illness doesn’t discriminate. A person with a healthy spirit is not immune to bodily harm — but is well equipped to gain something sacred from the journey.

DAVID RICKEY: A friend and spiritual mentor recently told me that he had brain cancer. The shock was especially strong because his brain, or more accurately his brilliance, was what I most admired in him. Of all the cancers this one seemed especially unfair.

Since receiving the news I have started pondering the suffering we human beings experience. For my friend, I imagined the suffering would likely be twofold. First, there would be physical suffering, which was already starting in the form of headaches and the nausea. But secondly, and perhaps more difficult to handle, would be the mental and emotional pain of losing the ability to think and process his experiences along the journey. He was already having difficulty remembering simple things and finishing sentences.

I once read that a man asked his spiritual teacher, “Is death real or an illusion?” After a long pause, the master replied, “Death is a very real illusion.” While I hope we are not looking at death here, the suffering of our body and of our mental life is, on one level, a very real illusion. Our body and thoughts are not who we really are. Attachment – or identifying with our body or thoughts – is what leads to suffering. While I believe this is true, here is the bigger illusion: the idea that spiritual enlightenment will prevent suffering in the body or in life.

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The Non-Accidental Universe

The Non-Accidental Universe

Our own intentions don’t trump those of the universe. Even BP received signs from above before the Gulf oil spill

DAVID RICKEY: Long before the big spill, something or someone — let’s say God or the universe — tried to warn BP Oil and its contractors that a massive blowout was imminent. Eleven workers and thousands of birds, mammals and reptiles would still be alive today had the company paid attention to the warning signs rather than exert its own will.

The more I read, and more importantly the more I experience, I am convinced there is a purpose behind this whole amazing universe. Or, to bring it down to a bit more manageable level, behind life on this planet. My own life is full of synchronicities,

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Ego halo

W got me thinking: The ego parodoxically drives both evolution — and war

“Not to do a Mel Gibson but most wars are among peoples influenced by the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). What they have in common is a belief in a personal soul that survives death.”

BY DAVID RICKEY — George Bush’s November media blitz to promote his new autobiography, Decision Points, got me thinking about the distinction between the mindless ego and the mindful one, which W lacks. His new book is as myopic and self-servingly spun as his presidency: Even after public testimony before the 9/11 Commission and Congress proving that the CIA had warned the president of an al Qaeda offensive inside the U.S. a month before the World Trade Center attack, Bush deludedly declares that he had no clues that it was coming.

But while Bush’s personality is an exhibit on public display of the ego at its worst — for its self-deception, narcissism and so many other reasons — the ego at its most elemental is a necessary virtue.

To the ears of many Soul’s Code readers and practitioners defending the ego is the spiritual equivalent of saying, “greed is good.” In mystical traditions, the ego is officially verbotten — an entity that needs to be nuked in the name of knowing and liberation.

But I could not be writing this, and you could not be reading it, without an ego.

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Scoring spirituality

Scoring spirituality

Danny Kenny reviews the reviewers:  Sarlo’s Guru Ratings, Spiritual Teachers and Peter’s Pages — or as he calls them, ‘the unholy trinity’

BY DANNY KENNY — It’s such a simple step to go cynical. But Holy-ocity! — “handicapping” spiritual teachers, guides and gurus like race horses? That’s called bad form.

In these times, many of us dream or wish for “the simple life.” Some of us even go so far as to search for it. But be careful what you wish for — or more like, be careful what you Google.

Especially if you’re searching for “spiritual teachers,” or say, some of the names listed on Soul’s Code in the right column under the Department called Teachers We Track. One of these sites are likely to show up in the first page of your search results: Sarlo’s Guru Ratings, Peter’s Pages and Spiritualteachersorg. They “rate” — and in some cases, berate — spiritual experiences and figures.

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weeds

A psychotherapist diagnoses Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab, Season 3

Does the Vh1 reality series do anything for un-famous addicts, or is it just voyeurism?

The cast of Celeb Rehab 3

BY DAVID RICKEY — One only has to watch the intake interviews for Celebrity Rehab, the reality show on the VH1 cable channel hosted by Pasadena-based Dr. Drew Pinsky, to see that cast members like Dennis Rodman, Tom Sizemore and Heidi Fleiss have more issues going on than just addiction, either to drugs and alcohol, or certain patterns of behavior. (Exhibit: country singer Cindy McCready, who was addicted to an abusive boyfriend).

This points, then, to the major drawback of Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab — and rehab in general.

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The purpose of pain

Living through physical and emotional pain is a gift to the collective consciousness — and ultimately, the cosmos.

BY DAVID RICKEY — Being Human, at the present time, inevitably involves experiencing pain, both physical and emotional. As much as we may try through sex, drugs, relationships or meditation, there is no escaping this “given” of life.

Other manifestations of life also experience pain and the opposite of peace, from quails to quasars. But what makes pain uniquely painful for we humans, though, is the capacity of the mind for self-reflection, and the attempt to avoid with the reflexive thought-form: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.”

Take a step back from that concept, and let me explore why there is a universal imperative for the pain we feel.

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A conscious meal

A conscious meal

A spiritual teacher explores Eastern systems of self-healing and your digestive system.

GUEST COLUMN: VAISHALI — Most people think of the digestive process as something limited to the foods and liquids that we stuff into our mouths daily. However, digestion is best understood as a metaphor for life.

According to Eastern systems of self-healing, our entire body is an aggregate of different types of digestive intelligences.

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mens-health-obama.jpg

Why did The One win by a landslide?

When we feel powerless, we project “power” onto Obama. As much as we celebrate a savior — being one, or looking for one — is a delusion

BY DAVID RICKEY — For many of us, (I’ll admit myself into this group) our great hope was pinned on Barack Obama winning this presidential election.

The scale and depth of the victory points to what political strategists and CNN analysts, who are stuck in their heads and the obvious, are missing about elections: they’re driven by a chemistry between a leader and voters that runs far deeper than a linear series of tactics, the financial crisis or rational or wedge issues.

Where does the Hope about Obama come from? As with Jesus, we the people who look to Obama see him as the embodiment of a “solution,” to a “problem.” Obama is the Great (Black) Hope — or as the McCain campaign mockingly put it this summer, “The One.”

The question about Hope is another way of asking why we feel we know public figures, whom we rarely meet in person, so intimately.

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Church for the 21st century: an oral and aural buffet we can all savor

Church for the 21st century: an oral and aural buffet we can all savor

An Episcopal priest comes to the realization that what we have labelled God is actually ”absolute intelligence” expressed via humans

BY DAVID RICKEY — Recently two events have changed my center of gravity. First, attending the Parliament for the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia in December of 2009 and then going to Haiti for the first time in June of 2010 and, at the same time, reading “The God Theory” by Bernard Haisch.

The Parliament gave me the opportunity to experience people from an amazing variety of spiritual perspectives, all talking and sharing in a way that opened my eyes further to the truth of the “interfaith” reality of TRUTH.

My trip to Haiti was my first encounter with incredible poverty as well as the resilience of the human spirit that I could see in the faces of the Haitian people. My reading “The God Theory” gave “solidity” to my own questions and emerging answers about this amazing mystery I call God.

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You, powered by God to heal the world

You, powered by God to heal the world

God is greater than you can imagine — and so are you!

BY DAVID RICKEY — The very idea of God is, by its nature, beyond the comprehension of “mere mortals”. So, we tend to conceive of God in ways that are limited by the level of our own evolution.

Deepak Chopra, in “How To Know God” describes various attributes of God that actually reflect the level to which our own awareness has moved. For example, if we are still basically functioning at a “fight or flight” level, we conceive of God as warring, defending or protecting.

Mystics, from Meister Eckhart to Eckhart Tolle, and some quantum physicists are able to perceive a “God” who is much more at one with all of the universe. Indeed, the astrophysicist Bernard Haisch, in his book “The God Theory” speculates that the Universe is really God — infinite conscious intelligence — seeking to express itself and experience itself.

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