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Archive for January, 2011

Consider this…

Visualize yourself in a place of great beauty, like the Grand Canyon, or Yellow Stone National ParkYosemite, The Redwoods, along the seashore or in the Painted Desert, in any place of beauty you wish to go. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply. In your mind enjoy all the sights and sounds and smells of your favorite place. Now imagine if you will a group of fellow travelers with you enjoying the serene beauty of this place…Do you suppose any two of them will see this place of beauty in the same way that you do? Or will each one focus on different aspects of the same place, that appeals esthetically to their senses.

Moving on in your mind imagine if you will that you are a student in a college art class. Your chairs are arranged in a large semi-circle. A lovely live model is reclining on a couch at the center of the room. Your assignment is to draw the model from your perspective within the room…Do you suppose that as the Instructor walks around the room watching the students work, he will be surprised to see that everyone drew the model exactly the same? He would be very surprised indeed, for in all actuality each student will draw a very different picture, even though they are all viewing the same thing. Each student is seeing the model from a different perspective, and their own interpretation of what they are seeing will be unique as well.

Now my friends we are gathered in a cozy living room, music is playing in the back ground. A table laden with many delicious foods to enjoy occupies the adjoining dinning room. Many friends are gathered here, we are all visiting together and discussing various topics that are of mutual interest…If you were to wander around the room I am sure you would hear many topics under way each presented in the speakers own unique way. If asked later to describe this gathering each person present will describe it differently depending on their perception of the evening as they experienced it.

What you may ask do all these events have in common? These examples along with many other scenarios  all present each individual with opportunities to observe their environment in a personal way, utilizing both their own unique perceptions and observing the perceptions of others experiencing the same event.

In any case no two people will observe the same place, object or event in exactly the same way. Each one will have their own unique perspective depending on their point of view and the internal perspective they are experiencing the occasion from. If you wish for fun, the next time you entertain friends try placing an object or arrangement of items in the center of the group. Have each one write a brief description of the items you have placed there. Then have them read their perception aloud. Each will be unique depending on the persons view and past experiences with similar items.

So my friends it is with spiritual matters. Each person will view spirituality based on their past experiences, entrained beliefs, and their present view of spiritual matters. Each person and each collective group of people are at their own vantage point along the path we all travel. For each one their perspective is valid for them. It does not diminish another’s point of view or invalidate it in any way.

We each have our own unique perspective on life and the experiences we have had. We also have much in common within the frame-work of life that we all share. If we as individuals can come to appreciate the uniqueness of each person and accept them for who they are; then perhaps one day we as a group will come to accept one another also. I long for the day when no one will try to impose their own ways on others, as our societies have historically done. For every one of us who accepts all others and their beliefs as being equally valid, and equally sacred to our own, we each bring our planet one small step closer to a more peaceful coexistence.

In closing I wish to share this quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“At a fundamental level, as human beings, we are all the same; each one of us aspires to happiness and each one of us does not wish to suffer. This is why, whenever I have the opportunity, I try to draw people’s attention to what as members of the human family we have in common and the deeply interconnected nature of our existence and welfare.”

Dalai Lama

In consideration of the many view points our diverse population holds on this earth, combined with our common needs for love and acceptance; the idea of mutual equality and validity of view could help to bring us all to a place of greater tolerance, peace and acceptance of each other. May love for all light the path to a more peaceful coexistence.

Namaste,

Kerrie UniFaith

“Do only that which is right”

When in doubt as to what is right, let love be your guiding light.

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Prayer, a call to Home

As I sing my morning prayers facing East each morning, I think of my ancestral home, and all the troubles faced around the world by my brother’s and sister’s every where. My heart cries out for peace and solace for their souls. Especially as I sing the Shema, which speaks so eloquently of the one God who loves us all, my heart longs for the unity of all mankind. Every family has their squabbles, their disagreements. When we can come to see that all are One, we are one vast family here on this earth, blessed with the gift of sharing this world we all call home. We are all blessed with the gift of this opportunity to share this life experience here together.

We each have our own beautiful ways to express the longings of our heart and soul. I believe that the prayers expressed with loving hearts have the most eloquent heart cry s of all human speech. I think of them as the spirit calling home.

Here I will share a few examples for your blessing. Much love, joy and peace I send to you all.

Shema:

Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Blessed be the name of of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever…

A Prayer for Blessing:

Goddess of the Divine Universe, Let your love and light shine upon my path and penetrate my mind, body and spirit. I release the negative with love and forgiveness and allow your blessings into my life. So it is.
A Prayer for Protection:

Great Spirits, Creators of All That Is, Please send to me the most positive energy and light possible in this time and space to watch over me and those I share this experience with. Send to us the highest force or forces possible to keep us safe, focused and positive in our intent. In return we give thanks and gratitude, love and positive light for the universal good of all. Blessings be upon us.
Prayer for Calling Your Guides or asking for Guidance:

God of love and light, Spirits of kindness and care, I ask for your positive energy and guidance in this time and space. Please show me the way and help me find the answers within to move forward for the better good of my soul and life. So it is.
(You can state the name of your guide if you know it and call on them directly. You can also state a specific issue or event that’s occurring in your life, to gain insight or discover solutions.)
A Prayer for Healing:

Divine Universe I ask for help in healing the dis-ease within my life. Please let your divine energy penetrate the cells of my body, mind and spirit to rid the negative from my being. Allow your grace to destroy the harmful (germs, cells, virus) and provide strength to body to fight this ailment and repair my body to full health. Amen.
(You can be as specific as you need or want to be. If you’re fighting heart disease, then use your imagination to see an emerald-green light coming from the Divine Universe, entering your body and attacking the cholesterol, or whatever specific disease maybe affecting your heart. See that same light repairing your veins, your heart muscles and restoring you to good health. You can use this type of visualization with this prayer to attack cancer cells watching them dissolve in the Divine energy and allowing the green light to repair your body where the cancer existed.)
The Lords prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us the wrong we have done
as we forgive those who wrong us.
Subject us not to the trial
but deliver us from the evil one.
This is the version of the Lords prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13.

Beautiful Buddhist prayerful Vow to end suffering:

“From this point forward, and for however long into the future it is needed I dedicate myself to the total removal of suffering and the causes of suffering from the lives of all living beings each and every one of themI dedicate myself fully to their healing and awakening; to their having comfort, strength of body, mind, and spirit, most excellent nourishment, health, longevity every level of protection, shelter, food, clothing, medicine, education, joy and wisdom I dedicate myself fully to the complete enlightenment of all living beings No matter how long it takes no matter how difficult it may be no matter what it costs With all my heart and with all my strength,I vow to always serve them all in every way that is necessary for them and in every way that will bring each and every one of them true and lasting happiness”
Native AmericanPrayerOh, Great Spirit

Whose voice I hear in the winds,

And whose breath gives life to all the world,

hear me, I am small and weak,

I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold

the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have

made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand the things

you have taught my people.

Let me learn the lessons you have

hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,

but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.

Make me always ready to come to you

with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset,

my Spirit may come to you without shame.

(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)

published in Native American Prayers – by the Episcopal Church.

There are so many beautiful prayers in the world. I have here only a tiny sample. The simple point I wish to make is that prayer is a beautiful way for your spirit to call home. How ever you pray, and how ever you address the Divine is your hearts way to reach home. May all your prayers, and all your lives be richly blessed by the Divine one we all cry out to. Shalom and Namaste.
 Kerrie UniFaith 
“Do only that which is right”
When in doubt as to what is right, let love be your guiding light.
Here are links to the pages where I found these beautiful prayers. They each have more for your enjoyment and spiritual blessing.
http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer/shema.htm
http://www.sapphyr.net/natam/quotes-nativeamerican.htm

http://www.paganspath.com/meta/prayer.htm

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/F-%20Miscellaneous/Miscellaneous%20Buddhism/Essays/A%20Collection%20of%20Buddhist%20Healing%20Prayers%20and%20Practices.pdf

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I have a Dream

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, in the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr, I too have a dream. A dream where people of all faiths can simply love and accept one another in a spirit of love, respect, compassion and kindness. You my friends are each a part of this dream. Here at UniFaith we are living this dream today.

I see hate and intolerance as far to heavy a burden for anyone to bear. Does not the Lord send his rain upon everyone? Did not the same Great and awesome Being give life to us all? Must we fight like children, or can we grow up and see that all are loved and accepted by the Divine. Can we do no less than love as we are so immeasurably loved?

True many past horrible and hurtful acts have been committed by each of us intern. No one group is without stain of some kind or another. To continue to do each other harm, and to see ourselves as superior to others in any way is inexcusable. It is time we stop behaving as children and grow up. I challenge you today to no longer except any belief that teaches you it is okay to hurt or destroy another human being simply because they believe differently than you, or your group believes.

Intolerance will inevitably destroy us all. If mankind is to survive into the next century, we must learn to love one another, and find some common ground to unite us all. If we continue to fill ourselves with the poison hate breeds we will surely exterminate all of mankind.

To reach a place of love and acceptance, we must first begin by examining ourselves. Search out the beliefs that bring separation and intolerance within us. We can choose to replace these old beliefs with new ones that bring unity and acceptance. We must learn to forgive ourselves, and love and accept ourselves as we are. Than and only than will we be able to look at others with love and acceptance in our hearts. When we are able to love one another we will have begun to create peace on earth, with good will towards all mankind; as Angels once sang over the birth of a babe who came to show us all what love really is.

To observe the life of this great Master is one way to really come to understand what love is like. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Love also forgives, even as the master said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” To his last breath he perfectly enacted the most amazing example of love in human form yet to be seen on this earth.

There have been many teachers and prophets sent to aid mankind in our development. All have added their contribution to our journey. The Master Y’shua shines for me as the greatest example of Love I have yet seen. I believe that to live love to others, and treat them as we would want to be treated ourselves; is yet the highest and best dream I have heard. I believe that living by this standard would bring us all into a place of unity; where no one is above another, and all are treated with equal love, kindness, compassion and respect.

What if we were to understand that faith as we know it on this earth, is much like the same process that we use to learn in school. We begin with very basic things, than each year more knowledge is added to what we know.  As new knowledge becomes available to you both in school, and in your life experience, it does not invalidate what you have previously learned. New knowledge always adds to what you presently know, it does not invalidate it. Depending on where we are in our spiritual evolution as an individual or as a group we practice what we presently know. Can we reach a point where we see each others faiths as something in addition to what we know, rather than instead of what we know? Must there be a right or wrong when it comes to faith. Can we not simply see each other as being at different points along the same journey?

The Great Spirit who created all that is, loves us each immeasurably. In love there is no lack. Loves reaches out to every heart longing to fill your every need, with its bountiful abundance. I invite you to enter into a dream of love, acceptance and equality for all. Love is the answer to every hearts cry of need. Love is the elixir that heals every wound your spirit has received.

For a moment consider this thought from Martin Luther King, Jr ” The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

If we do not stop our hatred of all who differ from ourselves, what will happen to them, and what will we have done to ourselves? For are we not all one? I tell you the truth, whatever you do to another, you have done to yourself, and to the Creator of all.

In his day Martin Luther King Jr had a dream, one of brotherhood between races. One of forgiveness of past in-graces and harm done. One where we could all join hands and eat bread together in a spirit of harmony. Although this dream did not seem even logically possible in his day, we have seen in the many years since his beautiful and eloquent voice cried out, his dream has become a reality here in this great Country of ours.

True our country thankfully does allow all to practice their faith as they see fit. I am asking here today, can we extend this dream even more?  Can we come to accept and respect all those of different faiths as well? Can we not remove the walls that presently divide us? Can we begin to consider that for the believer of each faith; what they have is not only sacred to them, but it meets their spiritual needs. Can we respect the right for each individual to determine their own spiritual path? Many of us have this dream and already practice it, as UniFaith is but one tiny example. Can we move from tolerance to acceptance and love for each other? Perhaps one day, this dream will become a reality on a global scale. Let freedom ring! Let Love into your hearts so we all may sing with one voice “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity…”  Psalms 133:1

In closing I ask you to simply remember these words of  Martin Luther King, Jr. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Namaste my dear friends. May love ever draw your hearts into greater unity.

Kerrie UniFaith

The time is always right to do what is right.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

When in doubt as to what is right, let love be your guiding light.

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“Where Two or Three Are Gathered in My Name”

Quoted from the book: “Father Arseny 1893-1973: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father.” Translated into English from the Russian by Vera Bouteneff. Published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press (Crestwood, New York, United States); 2004; ISBN 0-88141-180-9; pages 31-37.

This story is so amazing, and beautiful, I am reprinting it here in my blog.
Here I will share a remarkable account of a miracle due to faith in God from modern times.

It took place in Russia during the mid 1900s. At that time, the government of Russia was controlled by people called “Communists.” As you probably remember, Communists were people who followed the teachings of Karl Marx. They believed that socialism should be imposed and maintained by force. They believed that only economics mattered in life. They believed that the State (the Government) should take over from the Family and the Community and the Church. They believed that the individual only existed only the serve the State (the Government). They believed that religion –especially Christianity– was backwards and evil. They believed that violence and cruelty were good, and they used them against anyone who disagreed with them. In that setting, the account which follows took place in a Communist death camp. People were arrested and sent to this camp to be worked or tortured to death. Father Arseny, who is one of the main people in this account, was a priest and a monk in the Russian Orthodox Church. Like so many other clergy in Russia at the time, he was arrested and sent to a death camp because he believed in God and followed Jesus Christ and served the Church as a priest.

Here now, is the amazing account of what took place:
* * *

During one of the winters, a young man was assigned to Father Arseny’s barracks. Aged 23, he was a student and had been sentenced to twenty years in the camp. He had no experience of camp life because he had been sent to this special camp directly from the strict Butirki Prison in Moscow. Still young, he did not fully understand what lay before him. As soon as he entered the death camp, he encountered the criminals.

His clothing was still good for he had only been in prison a few months. The criminals, led by Ivan the Brown, decided to get hold of the young man’s apparel. They proposed a card game with clothing at stake. Everybody knew that this lad would soon be naked, but no one could do anything about it; even Sazikov dared not intervene. The camp rule was that whoever interfered would be killed. Those who had been in camp for a while knew only too well that if the criminals decided to play for your rags, to resist would be the end of you.

Ivan the Brown won all the young man’s clothes. Ivan approached him and said, “Take everything off, my friend.”

At that point things started to go sour. The young man, whose name was Alexei, thought that the game had been for fun and refused to hand over his clothing. Ivan the Brown decided to make an exhibition of it. He began with mocking kindness; then he started beating him. Alexei tried to resist, to fight back, but by now the whole barracks knew that he would be beaten until he could no longer move, or even to death. Everyone sat still and watched as Ivan bashed Alexei. He bled from the mouth and face and was swaying. Some criminals urged him to fight.

Father Arseny had not seen the beginnings of the fight; he had been piling up logs near a stove at the other end of the barracks. He suddenly saw what was happening. Ivan was going to kill Alexei. By now Alexei could only cover his face with his hands; Ivan was slamming him and smashing him repeatedly. Father Arseny silently put the logs down near the stove, calmly walked over to the fight and, before the amazed eyes of the whole barracks, grabbed the arm of Ivan the Brown. Ivan looked surprised and shocked! The priest had interfered in a fight. This meant he must die. Ivan hated Father Arseny. he had never dared touch him for fear of the rest of the barracks, but now he had a true reason to kill him.

Ivan stopped beating Alexei and pronounced, “OK Pop, it’s the end for both of you. First the student, then you.” A knife appeared in his hands and he lunged toward Alexei.

What happened? Nobody could understand, but suddenly the gentle and weak Father Arseny straightened himself up and slammed Ivan on the arms so hard that the knife fell from his hand. Then he pushed Ivan away from Alexei. Ivan stumbled, fell, and hit the corner of a bunk with his face. Father Arseny went to Alexei and said to him, “Go, Alyosha, wash your face, no one will hit you anymore.” Then, as if nothing had happened, he went back to his work.

Everyone was taken aback. Ivan the Brown stood up. The criminals did not say a word. They understood that Ivan lost face in front of the whole barracks. Somebody discreetly wiped the blood from the floor with his foot. Alyosha’s [Alexei’s] face was completely smashed up, his ear was torn, one eye was closed, and the other one was dark red. Everyone was completely silent. They knew it was all over now for both Father Arseny and Alexei. The criminals would kill them both.

But in fact things turned out differently; the criminals looked upon Father Arseny’s actions as bold and brave. Even though everyone feared Ivan, Father Arseny had not faltered when Ivan the Brown had held a knife, and they respected a man who showed no fear. They already knew Father Arseny for his kindness and his unusual ways; now they respected him for his courage. Ivan retreated to his bunk and whispered with his friends, but he realized that they did not really support him — they had not come immediately to his aid.

The night passed. In the morning everyone went to work; Father Arseny was busy tending the stoves, cleaning up and scraping dirt off the floor. In the evening the prisoners returned from their labor and suddenly, just before the barracks was locked for the night, the supervisor ran in with several guards.

“P18376 and P281 to punishment cell No. 1, for 48 hours, without food or water, for breaking camp rules, for fighting,: shouted the officer.

Ivan had reported them to the authorities. To do so was considered by the criminals to be the lowest and most despicable act possible.

Punishment cell No. 1 was a tiny house that stood by the entrance of the camp. In this house were several rooms for solitary confinement; there was also one for two people which held a narrow board instead of a bed. This board was less than 20 inches wide. The floor and walls were covered with sheets of metal. The whole room was not wider than three quarters of a yard [meter[ and two yards [meters] long. Outside is was -22 F [-30 Celsius] and windy, so that it was hard to breathe. You had only to step outside to become immediately numb. The occupants of the barracks understood what this meant: certain death. Father Arseny and Alexei would be frozen within two hours. No one had ever been sent to that cell in such cold. Occasionally, someone was sent to it when the temperature reached -21 or -22 F [-29 or -30 Celsius], but this only for 24 hours. The only ones who stayed alive were those who could jump up and down the whole 24 hours to keep their blood from freezing. If you stopped jumping, you froze. And here it was -22 F [-30 Celsius], Father Arseny was an old man, Alexei had just been beaten up, and both men were exhausted.

The supervisors seized them both and started dragging them out of the barracks. Avsenkov and Sazikov dared to come out of the line and said to the officer, “Comrade Officer, they will freeze to death in this weather. You can’t send them to that cell!” The supervisor slammed both so hard that they flew dazed against the barracks wall.

Ivan the Brown lowered his head. Fear gripped him as he realized that his own people in the barracks would kill him for this.

Father Arseny and Alexei were dragged to the punishment cell and shoved inside. They both fell, cracking their heads against the wall. It was pitch black inside. Father Arseny stood up and said, “So, here we are. God has brought us together. It is cold, Alyosha [Alexei], and there is metal all around.”

They heard the outer door close, the locks click, the voices and the steps of the guards fade away. The cold seized them and constricted their chests. Through the small window with iron bars the moon shone its milky light into the cell.

“We are going to freeze, Father Arseny,” moaned Alexei. “It is because of me that we are going to freeze. We are both going to die. We need to keep moving, to jump up and down, but it is impossible to keep that up for 48 hours. I already feel so weak, so battered. My feet are already frozen. There is no room here, we cannot even move. Father Arseny, we are going to die. They are inhuman, it would be better to be shot!” Father Arseny was silent. Alexei tried to jump, but it did not warm him up. It was hopeless to try to resist such cold.

“Why don’t you say anything, Father Arseny?” Alexei shouted.

As if from somewhere very far away Father Arseny’s voice answered, “I am praying to God, Alexei!”

“What’s there to pray about when we are going to freeze?” Alexei muttered.

We are here all alone, Alexei; for two days no one will come around. We will pray. For the first time God has allowed us to pray aloud in this camp, with our full voice. We will pray and the rest is God’s will!” The cold was gradually conquering Alexei and he was sure that Father Arseny was losing his mind. Making the sign of the cross and quietly pronouncing some words, Father Arseny stood in the ray of moonlight. Alexei’s hands and feet were numbed by the cold; he had no strength in his limbs. He was freezing and no longer cared.

Father Arseny was silent now, and suddenly Alexei heard Father Arseny’s words clearly, and understood that this was a prayer. Alexei had been in church only once , out of curiosity. Although his grandmother had baptized him when he was a child, his family did not believe in God. They simply had no interest in religious matters. They did not know what faith really was. Alexei himself was a student, a member of Komsomol [the Communist Party’s organization for young people]. How could he believe?

Through the numbness and the pain from the blows he had received, Alexei could clearly hear the words that Father Arseny was saying: “O Lord God, have mercy on us sinners! Ever-merciful God! Lord Jesus Christ who because of Thy love became man to save us all. Through Thine unspeakable mercy save us, have mercy on us, and lead us away from this cruel death, because we do believe in Thee, Thou our God and our Creator.” And so the words of prayer poured forth, and in each one of these words lay the deepest love and trust in God’s mercy, and unconditional faith in Him.

Alexei started listening to the words of the prayer. At first he was perplexed, but gradually he began to comprehend. The prayer calmed his soul, took away the fear of death, and united him with the old man standing beside him.

“O, Lord our God, Jesus Christ! Thou didst say with Thy purest lips that if two or three agree to ask for the same thing, then Thy Heavenly Father will grant their prayer because, as Thou didst say, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them.” Alexei was repeating these words after Father Arseny.

The cold had taken over Alexei completely; his entire body was numb. He no longer knew whether he was standing, sitting, or lying down. But suddenly the cell, the cold, the numbness of his whole body, his pain from the blows he had received and his fear all disappeared. Father Arseny’s voice filled the cell, but was it a cell? Alexei turned to Father Arseny and was stunned. Everything around had been transformed. An awful thought came: “I am losing my mind, this is the end, I am dying.”

The cell had grown wider, the ray of moonlight had disappeared. There was a bright light and Father Arseny, dressed in brilliant white vestments, his hand lifted up, was praying aloud. The clothing on Father Arseny was the same as on the priest Alexei had once seen in church.

The words Father Arseny spoke were now easy to understand, they had become familiar — they entered into Alexei’s soul. He felt no more anxiety, no more suffering, no more fear, only the desire to become one with these words, to understand them, to remember them for the rest of his life. There was no more cell: now they were in a church. How had they gotten here? And why was there someone else here with them? Alexei saw with surprise that there were two men assisting Father Arseny. Both were dressed in the same bright vestments and both shone with an undefinable white light. Alexei did not see their faces, but sensed that they were beautiful.

Prayer filled Alexei’s being. He stood up and started to praying together with Father Arseny. It was warm and easy to breathe, and happiness filled his soul. Alexei repeated everything Father Arseny was saying, yet he was not simply repeating, but praying together with him. It seemed that father Arseny had become one with the words of his prayer, but Alexei understood that Father Arseny had not forgotten him and was helping him all the while, helping him to pray. The certainty that God existed, that he was with them, came to Alexei. He saw God with his soul. At times Alexei thought that perhaps they were already dead, but the firm voice of Father Arseny and his presence kept brining him back to reality.

How much time had passed he did not know, but Father Arseny turned to him and said, “Go Alyosha [Alexei]! Lie down, you are tired. I will keep praying, you will hear me.” Alexei lay down on the metal-covered floor, closed his eyes, and kept on praying. The words of prayer filled his whole being: “… will agree to ask anything, it will be given to them by my Heavenly father…” In thousands of ways his heart responded to these words: “gathered in my name…” “Yes, yes! We are not alone,” thought Alexei from time to time as he continued to pray.

All was peaceful and warm. Suddenly out of nowhere his mother appeared. She covered him with something warm. Her hands took his head, and she pressed him to her heart. He wanted to speak to her, “Mama, can you hear, can you hear how father Arseny is praying? I’ve learned that God exists. I believe in Him.”

As if she had heard him speak, she answered him, “Alyoshenka! [Alexei!] When they took you, I also found God. That is what has given me strength to live.”

Everything that was awful had disappeared, his mother and Father Arseny were near him. Words of prayer which had been unknown to him now rekindled and warmed his soul. It was important not to forget these words, to remember them all his life. “I never want to be far from Father Arseny, I want always to be with him,” thought Alexei.

Lying on the floor at Father Arseny’s feet, Alexei listened, half-asleep to the beautiful words of the prayer. Father Arseny prayed, and the two others in bright garments prayed with him and served him. They seemed amazed at how Father Arseny could pray. Father Arseny no longer asked for anything, he only glorified God and thanked Him. How long this lasted no one could say.

The only things that remained in Alexei’s memory were the words of the prayer, a warming and joyful light, Father Arseny praying, the two others in clothes of light, and an enormous , incomparable feeling of inner renewing warmth.

Somebody struck the door, the frozen lock squealed, and voices could be heard from the outside of the cell. Alexei opened his eyes. Father Arseny was still praying. The two in garments of light blessed him and Alexei and slowly left. The blinding light was fading and the cell at last became dark and, as before, cold and gloomy.

“Get up, Alexei! They have come for us,” said Father Arseny.

Alexei rose. The head of the camp, the doctor, the main head of the special sector, and the Major were coming in. Somebody behind the door was saying, “This is inexcusable — someone could report this to Moscow. Who knows how they will look at this. Frozen cadavers — this is not the modern way.”

In the cell stood an old man in a patched up vest and a young one in torn clothes with a bruised face. Their faces were calm and their clothing was covered with a thick layer of frost.

“They’re alive?” the Major asked in amazement. “How did they survive here for two days?”

“We are alive, sir,” said Father Arseny. All looked at each other in amazement.

“Search them.”

“Come out!” shouted one of the supervisors. Father Arseny and Alexei walked out of the cell. The supervisors removed their gloves and started frisking them. The doctor also removed a glove, put it under Father Arseny’s and the Alexei’s clothing and, to nobody in particular, said, “Amazing! How could they have survived? It’s true, though; they’re warm.” The doctor walked into the cell, looked around and asked, “What kept you warm?”

“Our faith in God, and prayer,” Father Arseny answered.

“They are simply fanatics. Send them back to the barracks right away,” said one of the supervisors in an irritated voice. As he was walking away, Alexei heard somebody say, “It’s amazing. In this cold they should have lived no more than four or five hours. It’s unbelievable, considering that it’s -22F [-30 Celsius] out. You supervisors sure got lucky. there could have been some unpleasantness in store for you.”

The barracks met them as if they had risen from the dead.

Everyone asked, “What saved you?”

They both answered, “God saved us.”

Ivan the Brown was transferred to another barracks within days. A week later he was killed by a falling rock. He died in terrible pain. It was rumored that one of his own friends had helped the rock fall.

Alexei became a new man, as if reborn. He followed Father Arseny whenever he was able to and asked everyone he could about God and Orthodox services.

This story was told by Alexei and confirmed by several witnesses who lived in the barracks at the time.

Thank you to John Gfoeller from the Prayer Group for whoever is in need for kindly sharing this amazing story. May the Great and amazing God who Loves us all carry you through all your times of need.

Namaste,

Kerrie UniFaith

“Do only that which is right.”

When in doubt as to what is right, let love be your guiding light.

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In President Obama’s speech delivered on January 12th at the Tucson AZ memorial service for the shooting victims, one of the many eloquent things the President said really stood out for me. He said that “.. sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.”

Have we shared enough compassion and kindness? Have we loved enough? How much is enough? I honestly think there can never be too much when it comes to the sharing of love, kindness and compassion. On your death-bed or in the beyond the sharing of your love, kindness and compassion with others, will not be something you regret. Depending on how we live each day we are blessed with; the lack of these attributes in our lives would certainly be cause for regret. Rather than placing yourself into regret over a past which cannot be altered, why not take positive proactive steps beginning now in this moment; to show those around you how incredibly special they are. Let them know how very much they bless your life. Never take anyone for granted, for none of us know what tomorrow may bring.

As the sun rises on this new day, let us take a deep renewing breath together, and step forward in Love. Create a day you will never regret. Let all those you hold dear know how very much you Love them. If anger and resentment have stolen your joy, release it with the healing power of forgiveness. Where possible let love bring reconciliation between yourself and those who have offended you, or those whom you have offended. Bring reconciliation to whatever level you feel safe and comfortable with. If reconciliation is not possible, release yourself from the situation with love, forgiveness and compassion.

Forgiveness can be defined here as choosing to let go of our perception of seeing others in a fearful, hurtful way. We release the power of the event in which we perceived harm to God; by whatever name we know the Divine Power. When we relinquish our hold on our pain, we are set free from its ability to make us suffer. We are able to look at others as either expressing love, or crying out in pain from their perceived lack of love, within their life experience. An excellent book on this subject to aid your journey is “Love is Letting go of Fear” by Gerald Jampolsky.

Look at the world around you, in your home, at your work, in your neighborhood. Where can you add more love, compassion and kindness. Each of us have special gifts we have been given. Look to see where you can best use your talents to make your world a better place.

Choose not to see limits, see possibilities instead. Let Love be your guiding light as you bring healing and peace into your life, and the lives of all those around you. You can only give that which you have within you. Begin by allowing love to heal your wounds, and abundantly provide for your inner needs. As you allow your healing to take place you will become better able to assist with the healing of those around you who are in need. We are all connected, so when one of us is healed, than healing has begun for us all.

When you are able to love and forgive yourself, you will be able to love and forgive others. Another excellent book to aid your journey into love and forgiveness is ” The Mastery of Love” by don Miguel Ruiz.

It is my prayer that we will all live unconditional love to everyone around us. We are each one of us so very special and unique. We are all loved immeasurably by the Divine One who made us. I invite you to be the Light that you are. Let the Divine Love permeate your life, and shine forth its healing rays upon your world. Love each person in your life for the blessing that they are. Focus on the very highest and best both within yourself and others; for what you focus on you will see.

Have we shared enough kindness and compassion? Have we loved those around us in a way that they can perceive our love for them? Only you can answer that question. Wherever you see a need for more love, kindness and compassion, you are seeing an opportunity to be the one who gives a greater love and fills that need. May all your lives be blessed beyond measure with the great healing power of love.

Shalom Elohim, Namaste, and Blessed Be…to everyone.

I wish you much Love, Joy, and Peace.

Kerrie UniFaith

“Do only that which is right”

When in doubt as to what is right, let love be your guiding light.

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Oh God, Most Compassionate and Merciful One; Who hears us all as we cry out to you in many languages, as you are called by many names. Yet you are One who hears and Loves us all immeasurably.

As we face these times of uncertainty and frustration, I pray for your Greater Love to pour out of me; and many others who hear your call to Be the One; when sorrow and sadness come, to comfort those who weep.

Let me Be One, when anger and frustration flares, who calls out in Love to still the storm. Help me to Be the calming presence of your peace.

Help me to Be One, who in times of darkness holds up the shining Light of your Love for all to see.

Help me to Be One, who helps to cleanse and heal the wounds of those who are filled with pain and suffering here.

Help me to Be One who reaches out in Love, Kindness and Compassion to all who are in need.

May your abundance flow from me, to bring Comfort, Peace, Healing, and Love to all I see. Let your Spirit Be in Me, that we may all find Peace and Love within your Unity. Blessed Be your Holy Presence in our lives.

Shalom Elohim, Namaste, Blessed Be… to all.

Kerrie UniFaith

“Do only that which is right”

When in doubt as to what is right, Let Love be your guiding Light.

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Greater Love

What do we need most? What is it that our world needs more than any other thing? To answer this question we need to simply look around us at a world full of hurting people, filled with pain and fear to see that what is needed most is a greater Love for all. One so vast and big it fills every heart, heals every wound and meets every need.

When we look at tragic events like the shooting spree in Tucson AZ yesterday, one is so poignantly reminded of the fragile nature of our lives. No one knows the day or hour their time here will be up. In light of this knowledge should we not live each moment of our lives with the love and tenderness we would bestow upon it should we know it were our last moment here? Love each person around you, as if this were your last moment together.

Fear, Hate, pain and suffering…these affect us all, but they do not need to engulf us or take over our lives. What is needed to stand against the dark side of humanity is not more hate, but a Greater Love. For Love casts out all fear, and illuminates the darkness fear brings, thus dispelling fear completely.

Forgiveness heals every tragic wound imposed upon us, by those consumed with fear and hatred. Love melts the ice over every frozen heart. It has been said in scripture “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) When we view others with Love, we begin to see that the hurtful things that they do are really cries for help from the depths of their being. They are filled with fear and pain, so it is pain and fear that they bestow upon others. Understanding this can help us to take the next step in Love, which is to “Forgive others. Forgiveness is the only way to heal your emotional wounds. Forgive those who hurt you no matter what they’ve done because you don’t want to hurt yourself every time you remember what they did. When you can touch a wound and it doesn’t hurt, then you know you have truly forgiven.” don Miguel Ruiz

In Luke 12:4 it say’s “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” You are not your body any more then you are the clothes you wear. So do not spend your life in worry or fear. Know that you are Love, and you are Loved immeasurably. We are each filled with the potential to be fearful,  hateful and angry; or Loving, Compassionate and Kind. If we would each look to the Love that dwells within us, and pour forth a Greater Love to our fellowman; this healing tide will in time reverse the angry scars left by the wounds we all bear. To give, or lay down ones life for another, does not necessarily mean to die for another. It can and often does mean to live for each other. To live for another, is to Love unconditionally, as we are loved. It means to give preference to others, to love, accept and forgive them as they have need of it. A life of kindness and compassion will long be remembered to the benefit of all.

What do we need most? What does our world need more than any other thing? We all need to live with a Greater Love; for the Divine Spirit within us all, for ourselves, and for each other. We cannot love or respect another, if we do not love and respect ourselves. We are all intimately connected here in this life. What effects one of us, on some level will effect us all.

I would like to invite you here and now, to allow the Greater Love that is needed here, to fill your Being, and pour forth like a mighty fountain from the very source of your existence; to begin the healing of humanity. This Love may be had by all.  Love’s great potential lies within you, placed there by the Creator of all that is. You may choose to become a source of Love and Light for all you know. As every ripple moves the pond, so will you bring waves of healing light to every being here.

“Hatred, jealousy and excessive attachment cause suffering and agitation. I feel compassion can help us overcome these disturbances and let us return to a calm state of mind. Compassion is not just being kind to your friend. That involves attachment because it is based on expectation. Compassion is when you do something good without any expectations – based on realizing that “the other person is also just like me”. Quote from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” I tell you the truth, every man, woman and child here on this earth is your friend, your brother, your sister, your son, your daughter. When you begin to see this, and to be a vessel of love and compassion for all mankind; you will see that it is love that unites us. There is no separation in Love.

Namaste,

Kerrie UniFaith

“Do only that which is right.”

When in doubt as to what is right, let Love be your guiding light.

Let Love’s Light shine ever brighter to dispel the cold darkness of fear

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