News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

A new year, a new spirit?

Truly, Scotties and all dogs are the best friends we have. Yes, we have loyal families and spouses. But as some find out, even family members and spouses have been known to desert us. But a well-loved dog is devoted to its keeper for life.

It may sound silly to some, but it seems that the many thousands of years that humans and dogs have spent together has made the once mighty wolf into a reflection of the very best that humans can be. Unless trained otherwise, a dog is filled to the point of overflowing with love and boundless devotion.

In recent years, we have used our relationship with dogs to train them to lovingly serve us in ways undreamed of a hundred years ago. Dogs protect us by sensing bombs, drugs, and even an oncoming seizure. They guide the blind, and they fetch things for the disabled. Dogs do all these things and more with love and joy filling them every moment.

How can we live up to this noble example?

One way is to follow the teachings of all the great mystics of the world—people who seek by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into God—including Jesus of Nazareth, Lao-Tze—the founder of Taoism, the Buddha, and India’s Guru Nanak. All of these people found God’s illumination through meditation.

Jesus brought God’s message to the Western world having obtained a magnificent, raised consciousness. Through constant prayer and meditation, Jesus totally submerged his human ego to the will of God, becoming the true Christ. He is an example of what is possible for any of us (as he told us) when one goes beyond faith and comprehends a full realization that we each are an individualized, unique essence of God at our core.

That core is Spirit, being perfect good and perfect love. When one comes close to the raised consciousness of Jesus, they see only the good in God’s world, and they see only the face of Christ in each human.

That’s a little bit like a dog. Some may recoil at that comment, but dogs are God’s creatures too, and they don’t have to wrestle with our negative ego; they accept us as we are, and love us for it.

Yes, humans are special in the sense that we have more godly potential than a dog, but domestic dogs have mastered the basic concept of unconditional love, which each of us can make the centerpiece of our life and our faith.

Think about this: 1 John 4:16 — “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”

The teachings of Jesus Christ were not about how much one attended church, or how many times one went to confession. Jesus shunned ritual and dogma. He taught us that letting the inner Spirit, that godly goodness that is in all of us, shine above our human desire for self-preservation and self-centeredness, can bring us into the presence of God’s love. He showed us that when we rise that high, Divine Love does not judge others. Many people talk about love, but then they stand in judgment over others whom they do not think exhibit “the right kind of love.”

Divine Love is not boastful. Many people spend a lot of time telling others how generous they are to the poor and needy. Somehow the ego gets in the way of their good works by needing to boast, which is why the Bible talks about helping others by giving anonymously.

Divine Love makes fear disappear. It is the ego that wants us afraid—that and today’s news media. When you understand love as Jesus taught it, you don’t need fear anymore. You finally begin to see that it is true: this power that created the universe is available to each of us, and we do not have to be afraid of this material world. Spirit is above materiality and we, at the core, are Spirit.

Now let’s revisit that loving spirit of the domestic dog. We can, with conviction, raise our consciousness to such a level that we, this year, can master the concept of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Dogs demonstrate that others respond to unconditional love. People are drawn to others who truly love and appreciate them. People forgive your mistakes when love oozes out of your being. Children can quickly see a person filled with real love. Love makes the person genuine, and children adore real people.

Just think about our little community. If every person in this community made a commitment to loving everyone else in this community for just one year, imagine how many problems would disappear. With a commitment to love, we would listen to each other, really listen, without prejudging another’s ideas. We would take our ego out of problem-solving. We could sit down and negotiate our way through the most challenging issues and find the truly best solution, not the one that is newest or most expedient. Even old ideas can become new solutions under a new lens.

We can do this, but don’t point your finger at your neighbor and say, “You have to do it, too.” Everything begins with you and me. (If it’s going to be, it’s up to me!) When we become committed to unconditional love, others will follow. Maybe not right away, because egos live in judgment of everything. But when we keep it up, eventually even the doubters will see that it can work.

May God bless your year, and may our unconditional love be as good as our dog’s.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. — Colossians 3:14


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