Free Will?

Free Choice … Free Will…???

I was on the phone with Rodger, my Colorado Guru friend, this morning and we were discussing an upcoming Masters of the Journey program which is focused on “Enhancing Life by Knowing Death.” Another friend who has wisdom and who has experience is presenting his story of his NDE (Near Death Experience) of 4 years ago, will be the center of focus at this meeting. His name is Don. In preparation for this meeting, Don shared with me that he was very conscious of being in both realms (life & death) as he lay unconscious in the hospital as medical folks fought to keep him alive. His description of the “other” realm (in my words of interpretation) was that it was supremely peaceful, warmed with unconditional love and acceptance, free of the pains and limitations of the “body,” and surrounded by the wisdom of the divine. Rodger’s question to me was, “did he have Free Will to Choose whether to return to his “Meatsuit” (body) or was he forced to return?” Free Will/Free Choice… why would he return???

When you stop and think about it, why would anyone want to return? Why would they choose to come back into a damaged body, rehab, and continue with the struggles of living in human form? Great question!

From my experience, I say, we do have “Free Choice” on whether to return to our “lives.” We do have a choice to stay in heaven with the freedom and love, and the acceptance AND we choose to return. But why?

We still have more lessons… We have more to learn…
But, perhaps most importantly, we have sharing of our “story.” We have the service of assisting other souls! We have a reason for touching other people’s lives both for “Their” learning and for “our” continued learning. We are all in this together and sharing our wisdom gained from life experience IS OUR Purpose in this life!

We do not have to have a NDE to share the wisdom of living in our human forms. We are ALL Masters! There are so many ways to serve and service to other pilgrims is our reason for living!

We have “Free Will” and we “know” that we are here to serve. Our “Free Choice” comes with the “Knowing” that we are here to assist other souls to “Remember” their Divinity AND why they are here! It is not so difficult to choose to return to our lives and our mortal bodies because the Divinity awaits us and our purpose is to reach around and touch other lives in the most positive ways.

Consider living without our fear and anxiety regarding dying AND make the most out of your opportunity to Love, Find & Share Joy, and look for the “Perfection” in every soul you encounter. (The challenge comes from the characters who are placed in our lives to “Stir things up” and teach us the challenging lessons…)

Blessings to you on Your Path! Namaste and I hope that I can experience the Divine Perfection YOU Are!

Masters of the Journey is a community of support and resources for all contributors – all Masters (Like YOU!)
Find us at www.mastersofthejourney.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Dying to Know

Have you ever considered what it was like to be dead? We will all end our living by dying and then the mystery of what comes next becomes an activity that we will participate in. Some people consider that at death, we stop completely and there is nothing to look forward to. Some people believe that we travel to the “Pearly Gates,” get a few moments to reflect on our lives, and then head off to the “After Life” in Heaven or…. Some believe in “Re-incarnation” where we agree to return to Earth (or somewhere) in a new body for another “learning” in being human. Whatever your belief, the thought about what happens at the time of death has probably come up for you.

There have been many books written by people who have experienced a Near Death Experience (NDE), or who have worked with people who have moved through the ultimate transition, or who have researched the subject by reading (or conducting) interviews with people who have had NDE’s. In the 1970’s, Raymond Moody was one of the first people to come out with a book on research conducted with interviewing people who had NDE’s. I like Ken Ring who authored a series of books on this topic after even more interviews than Moody. Survivors like Eben Alexander wrote a wonderful book, Proof of Heaven, which is a well written account (by this Neurosurgeon scientist) of his own NDE where he was “clinically dead” for 7 days. There are many books, stories, movies, and other accounts through the history of man, even back to the ancient Greeks. But what can be learned from this research???

Many, maybe most, of the survivors of NDE’s come back to life with similar stories but, more notably, these people return with a different perspective on LIVING. Many report that the “after-life” or “heaven” is not a scary place. In fact, many resisted returning to their bodies and their lives because it felt so peaceful and accepting. Survivors report the feeling of unconditional love and support, full acceptance, freedom from the limitations of the body and space and time. Many report access to divine consciousness and wisdom not known in their human form. Most importantly, many return with the fear and anxiety commonly found in living, reduced because they do not fear dying. They report a different appreciation of “living in the light” and in a state of “Grace” over the way they may have chosen to live before. These stories are compelling. Whether you believe these reports or not, you can benefit from attempting to gain the “Feeling of this Grace” as you experience these stories.

Whether you get these stories first hand by speaking with someone who has had a NDE or read the accounts in the many books on this topic, it is important to try to remember your own Divine Spiritual experience and possibly bring the knowing of the State of Grace back with you to offer you perspective as you live out your remaining days.

My parents were role models with two very different approaches. My mother lived without fear of death and dying. She had adventures in life because she was not afraid to live… most fully. My father got fearful the older he got. He disliked change or traveling or eating new foods because he feared the adventures in life. I chose to be more like my mother and love the adventures, and accept the challenges that these might bring. You have a choice in how you want to live your life. You will have to come to grips with the experience of your last transition and, for many people, some consideration regarding dying adds interesting dimensions to how you live…

Our community of consciousness seekers, Masters of the Journey, offers connection to a community where topics like these are shared and resources offered to you. You may want to consider coming in person or engaging in one of our video conferences on a topic you may know about, and can offer your wisdom, or one where you can come and experience the wisdom and experiences from other people like you. This is NOT a religion but it is a way to connect to a supportive community.

Count Your Blessings!

Have you ever heard that expression, “Count Your Blessings?” Why would someone say this to you? What is the purpose for looking for the “Positives” in the life you are here to live? For many people, it is easier to look for the problems and the negative interactions and perhaps even play a “Victim” to these challenges. But does looking for and living within the “negative” give you the joy that can be found in this world?

What do YOU give thanks for in the world? Even the most brutal lessons can be honored as important opportunities to learn from, even if the learning is what NOT to do. Personally, I have learned more from my mistakes and my painful relationships than I have learned from when my life was most easy and successful. The 8 years I lived with my wife’s terminal cancer I would not wish upon anyone and yet these were some of the most important years for learning in my life. The lessons of empathy and compassion were so valuable. The fear and the sharing within our many crisis’ was such a powerful tool for learning about the human dilemma. The closeness that we grew into, with the love at a level tested by trauma, was an amazing and important experience for me. AND, from all of this learning, I find that I have wisdom and gifts to share.

So, look for the difficult experiences as well as the joys when you look for the many blessings that YOU have been granted. Do not keep these a secret. Share them! Challenge others to appreciate being more fully “Present.” Bask in the drama that is your lessons of this life. Do not hesitate to reach out for other people. Allow them to support you AND reach out to share your love and support with them. Find compassion and caring. Find the perfection of the divine spirit within every soul you encounter, even the ones who trigger your fear, anger/frustration, and your defenses. Each encounter is there for a reason. Each encounter is there for your learning.

Blessings to you! Love and appreciate each moment and share your love and wisdom whenever you can.

If you are looking for support and resources to focus upon your spiritual growth and development, consider the Masters of the Journey community. YOU are a Blessing! You have a Purpose! The Universe would have a huge hole in it if you did not exist… With Love – Namaste!

Adventure Travel for the Soul! Do You Like to Travel?

Do you like to travel? Why do YOU travel? Do you like to get away from your “normal” life? Do you like “Eco-travel” to see beautiful, exotic places on Earth? Do you like “adventure” travel, where you might be physically or emotionally tested by an exciting experience? Have you ever gone to amusement park to ride the rides, where some are scary or challenging? Do you like visiting different “period” parks like historical Western towns of yesterday? Or, do you travel to visit other cultures, eat different foods, speak different languages, and meet new and even different people? Finally, do you feel like travel broadens your view of the world and teaches you lessons which can be interesting enough to share with other people?

This lengthy series of questions exists for a reason. Take stock in the fact that most of us do travel (for our own reasons) and we tend to be exposed to new learnings along the way. Is this a “True” statement? I do not mean to disturb you with this blog, but I do mean to get you to think in a different way. Perhaps you will view your life and your travels differently after reading this blog.

There are now over 7 Billion people walking around on the Earth and countless other life-forms. In a spiritual sense, many people believe that we “choose” to be born into this life and we are “re-incarnated” to find physical form and to learn certain lessons. Consider that the over 7 Billion people and countless other life-forms are here for a reason and these souls have requested to participate in life on Earth as a visit to a primitive environment that is exciting and dangerous, like an amusement park. Why would an advanced soul ask to land on a planet which is doomed by its human inhabitants? A world where violence is tolerated and wars are ever present. Where humanity exists like a “B” rated fictional movie of hardships and occasionally has a surprise happy ending. Humans are “soiling” their nest to a level that can not sustain life as we know it. We, humans, are primitive in the ways we treat each other and the world we live in. We do not respect life, human or otherwise, especially women and our children. We are blinded by nationalism, racism, sexism, religious beliefs, and our own under-education. Our doctors are still treating cancer patients in primitive ways by hacking on their bodies and then poisoning them with chemo or radiation. We too often believe politicians who lie to get our votes and the media who uses our fear to hold our attention. We allow companies, whom are run by other HUMANS, to decide how we should use up our resources for the sake of their short term profits. We go to war for stupid reasons and innocent young people die early in their incarnations. We mask our pain with drugs and distract ourselves with silly, superficial technologies. We show no respect for our seniors and our wise elders.

Are the souls gathering on our planet to watch the “Train-wreck” of destruction and the “explosive climax” of our Earthly civilization? Do these souls want to be here to help change the program at the last moment, like a trick ending, or just to be here when the ship goes down? (It would make for a great story to say, “Hey, I was there when Humanity Imploded, like the old hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas strip…)

The Divine Spirit is much greater than what exists on our Earth. It includes all of the ever expanding Universe. Surely there are other planets or star systems with civilizations which are more highly evolved and watch our Earth as an Adventure Travel destination. “Yes, experience life on Earth before its gone,” are the words on the travel brochures… Our Human minds and egos will struggle with and want to deny the concept that we are actually primitive, lower life forms who are an interesting experience to have before remembering how Divine we really are, but the pain and denial of the Mind and the Ego do not change that fact…

Our purpose on Earth, in this incarnation, is to make the most out of difficult and challenging life. We are here to help each other to grow in consciousness and to work together to remember how that Love is at the core of this process. We need to not be depressed by the past or fear the future, but to live in the present moment and know the beauty of life. Live each moment of your adventure in Joy and the willingness to Know and Share Love! Your Travels in this incarnation are not just a vacation from your boring spirit lives, you are here to have an adventure, to try new things and maybe to fail, so you can learn what you came here to learn. Stay alert! Be aware! Love and accept each interaction as if God or Holy Spirit was sharing with you the lesson from the “Burning Bush” of the Bible stories. (I am NOT a bible person but I do have reverence for the advanced beings who help to guide us all.) When You bump up against STUPID people, know that they are here for a reason and YOUR judgement of separation from them suggests the lessons you are still in the process of learning! (We are all connected and in this together! We are all ONE in the Divine!)

The next exotic travel experience you might pursue may be to the “Higher Realms” where reality “Knows” that we are all “One” with no limitations of time or space. A place where we bask in Wisdom and Unconditional Love. You can choose to Remember to Live in Joy and radiate Love to all the Souls you encounter.

Namaste

The Masters of the Journey can assist you with support and resources to enhance your growth and connection to spirit. Travel well. Remember the Divine within You!

Knowing

What happens when you “Know” something but there are no words or rational proof for what you know? In our language we struggle to convey the description of emotions and feelings. We struggle to find words for smells or tastes. Even defining colors can be difficult. Even worse is to take a strong position regarding something that you “know” to be true but can not prove to someone else. People have different opinions about things and so build different factual foundations to assure themselves that they are “right.” This is why “Nationalism” and “religious beliefs” can start wars.

When I was a young college student studying psychology a philosopher challenged me with the statement, “For every Truth, the Opposite (opinion) is equally True.” There are facts, even research, which back up almost any point of view. We are still arguing about whether Global Warming really exists or, even, whether Darwin’s theory on Evolution is more true than the view of Creationism.

We learn from personal experience. Things we read in books or see on TV or spoken of in class or church, are often NOT true until we actually know this through experiencing it. I have learned from personal experience that losing my parents to death by stroke was not nearly as difficult for me as losing my wife (and my chosen partner for 28 years) to Ovarian Cancer. Before my wife passed, I thought I could more easily handle her terminal diagnosis and death because I had gone through the loss of both my Mother and Father. Boy was I wrong! However, the greatest learning I have experienced in my life has come from the coping with my wife’s illness and her death. A Blessing, which I would NOT wish on anyone else! A Blessing which I would not change, even with my pain. Which brings me to the real topic of this Blog Rant.

One year after my wife passed away, I was “Guided” to meet with a psychic/intuitive person on my travels to find a new life on my visit to Tucson, AZ. She “channeled” my wife in a way that I was convinced was true and accurate. (A great story by itself. Gripping.) The psychic told me these words which were coming from my wife, “I am in a better place. It is bigger and better than you could ever imagine.” A jolt of “Knowing” went through me. Not from these simple words but from the intuitive or emotional reaction that went with them. The “Knowing,” which I know I can not find great words to accurately convey my deepest feelings, was that she dwells now in what some people call “Heaven” with the Divine Spirit. She is not constricted by time or space. She is “One” with all souls. She is basking in the warmth and light of “unconditional love.” She is tapped into all wisdom. This moment and these few words changed my life by being able to feel this “knowing.” It felt like it was not a coincidence that I met this psychic in Tucson or received this message. I had been “guided” by my wife to have this encounter and to learn this lesson.

Knowing for me can be a very strong and life changing experience. It is my purpose to share this story and this learning. Maybe it is better said to share this “Remembering” because it felt familiar, as if I was experiencing information that I already knew, at some deeper level. It felt like I was tapping the collective unconscious and this particular experience is not unique to me.

Thank you for spending time with my ranting stream of consciousness. The point is that we all have “knowings” that can not find an easy form to share but are as true as any rational, researched, fact that exists. We are all Masters and have wisdom from life’s experiences within us. We simply need to remember this wisdom and find ways to share it! This is your purpose! This is what YOU are supposed to do in this life.

Blessings to you on your journey. Where possible reach out and take the hand to assist fellow pilgrims along your way. Go out and do GOOD in the world!

The Masters of the Journey is community forming to offer resources and support to everyone who is on their path, whether they know it or not, that they are Masters. Find your way to connect with other pilgrims and share the wisdoms you have been gifted to receive.

Blaming and Dodging Responsibility

Tough topic for many (most) people… Is it easier to blame others than to take responsibility for the challenges that life throws at you? Sure it is! We have been taught to defend our “position” (at any cost.) You are taught to “judge” other people and look for their weaknesses or imperfections so we can pretend to “elevate” ourselves. Winning and competing is valued by our culture. Yet, the way to a better, happier, healthier world is not found in tearing other people down or fixing our “wrong-headedness” in the concrete of our emotional foundations.

Many times, it is better to look at a difficult situation and to learn how and why We Put Ourselves in this situation. It is not a conscious choice BUT there is a lesson we are to learn from, and so, move on our path to consciousness. As an example, 19 years into my marriage with my life partner, my wife, we were confronted with a terminal diagnosis with her ovarian cancer. Initially, I was confused with why (?) and how I was going to support her and to deal with this. I do NOT wish this situation on anyone, however, I would not trade this difficult life experience. There is so much learning that comes from this situation. Since her death in 2012, I have continued to learn and to grow. It is a major reason I am in the position of writing this blog in an act of sharing from the lessons I am continuing to learn.

Why we were “supposed” to endure this challenge is not fully explainable. However, I realize that this experience has huge value in learning my purpose in this life and helps me to be of service, with much greater compassion and resolve. Blaming the doctor who missed the diagnosis was easy and familiar but did not serve me. I am learning that taking responsibility for my role and my learning makes me understand how best to take a seemingly negative life challenge and make this a teaching moment, not just for me, as I continue my path through this life. I never thought that after losing my marriage that I was alone, but I have learned about my relationships with friends and with starting my life over (in many respects) later in this life…

My life AND YOUR life have been filled with challenges and successes which we were meant to have as developmental tools. We can blame other people and situations for the pain we have felt or we can find a way to thank these difficulties for teaching us what have needed to learn. We can take responsibility and NOT live as victims. We can take our learned lessons and find ways to be of service by sharing our stories and the wisdom which we have forced to learn! We can begin to remember that the divine purpose of these trials have been presented to us not just our learning but as a way to raise the consciousness of everyone we come into contact with.

Consider how YOU can learn from the situations where YOU feel like blaming. Consider how you are responsible for  these painful situations through the choices you have chosen to make. AND, take responsibility for the wisdom you have found! Reach around and use this wisdom to assist other pilgrims you meet in this life. Fulfill your purpose to serve the divine.

Though this is difficult to read and to understand, know that you are perfect. You are a master sent to grace this plane of consciousness with your learned wisdom. The world IS a better place because of the role you are here to play. Serve by being a light, a role model of the collected experiences and learnings you have gleaned from this human experience. Thank you for being you! Thank you for surviving and learning from the painful challenges! Blessings on your continued path.

Consider sharing your stories and your wisdom with the community of Masters of the Journey. Or, get involved in this communities events, many listed at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

We Are ALL in This Together

In many spiritual practices, one of the main principles is the belief that we all have the perfection of the Divine Spirit within us. As if we were a hologram of the Divine, we are all a perfect and necessary piece of the much larger spirit of pure consciousness and we are living our lives in the constraints of our current “meat suit” (body) in the effort to “remember” our role in the “greater consciousness.” We all have a purpose which is, in our own unique way, to serve the Divine and assist fellow travelers by helping enhance their process toward enlightenment. We are here to help each other.

So why do we hold grievances toward other people? Why are we often impatient or quick to anger or to judge? Perhaps our “egos” which seek to separate us from other people and judges their actions without the unconditional love and acceptance which our divine spirit celebrates. We are raised by our worldly fear-filled existence to be separate and comparing each individual we meet as we search for their weaknesses, protecting ourselves from attack. When we become more enlightened, we feel the connection and the “oneness” with fellow pilgrims in a way which allows us to accept even the people we disagree with because of their actions or beliefs. Acceptance is often difficult until you realize that these other people are learning their lessons on their path AND that they are actually YOU in a different life (because we are “One” and all in this together.)

Yeah, I do not want to accept, much less love, those people in human form whom I disagree with, sometimes strongly. My lesson is to know that if I hold the grievance toward another, I am only hurting myself (because they are me) and this becomes MY lesson. (A spiritually bruising lesson to not react but to only accept.)

I believe that you are a Master of your Journey! I believe that you are perfect and have the Divine Spirit burning brightly within you. You are here to learn your lessons and use your “Meat suit” to communicate your wisdom with other travelers. You will “remember” your divinity in your time and way. AND, I celebrate this divine perfection which you reflect… Namaste

There are many paths to enlightenment and you will find your way. If you want resources or better still, you want to share with and support other seekers, consider participating in the Masters of the Journey community, or Unity Spiritual Center, or Center for Positive Living, or Course in Miracles study groups, or A Way of Mastery study groups, or…

Blessings to you on your path. We are all in this together… whether we recognize this or not…

Growing the Garden: a Reason to Live

Do you have a good reason to live? Is there something motivating you that may help you to live longer should you find yourself with a terminal illness? I have seen mothers with young children use their love of their children to fight off near-death experiences. When asked why they chose to come back from their near-death incident, they have answered they could not leave yet, knowing that their young children would be left to grow without them. This experience has surfaced when severe accidents and terminal illness were involved. Some people are ready to pass into the next consciousness and “let go” more easily. Some people fear death or for other reasons stubbornly hold on to living. I had a male client in his late thirties who had anger as a motivation to keep living years beyond his prognosis. His wife and younger children suffered the torment of living with this angry, frustrated husband/father. When he finally did let go, there was some relief felt by caregivers and family. In this particular case, his death-defying behaviors were actually viewed as a torture for his family. Sad, but true.

Then there are people like my late wife, Barbara. She lived beyond her prognosis. She appreciated and celebrated every day that she lived with her cancer. One of her positive motivators was her passion for growing plants in her garden. Like the Winchester Mystery House, she continued to add more garden and more plants every chance she got. She rejoiced with every blossom that developed. She celebrated every vegetable that matured. She had weeding projects and building projects that never seemed to end. When she cut her blossoming flowers and brought them inside to decorate our home, I felt her joy and saw her beaming smile. She took all of our visitors on a tour of her gardens to celebrate her creations and the sensation of life that these plants symbolized. Their appreciation bolstered her energy. This energy kept her stronger for her treatments and helped her to maintain an exercise regimen. She kept her focus on living and did not discuss her condition. She did not want to be known as a cancer patient or someone struggling with a terminal illness. She did not want sympathy but wanted to bask in joy, health, happiness and the Light. She planned future dates of positive events with family and friends. She looked to the blessings in the future and not to the gathering clouds.

If this is relevant to you or to someone you know, I encourage you to help them bask in the Light of life’s celebrations. Enjoy the happiness and joys in each new day. Focus on what is working and keep moving forward.

Thank you for your attention and your time. With my love and my challenge, please keep moving closer to the light of unconditional love and higher consciousness… Find joy!

Love or Fear

There are many spiritual and metaphysical sources that believe there are only two extremes in understanding the connection to the divine spirit. There is the energy of “Love” which is at the core of consciousness and all of the universe or there is the ego created thoughts which work to separate people from the source of pure consciousness. In many sources this concept is spelled out by countless words. The Course in Miracles and the Way of Mastery which are two sources based on dictations from Jesus repeatedly remind us that our souls/spirits are perfect and connected to the Divine Spirit. These sources say that we are “perfect” manifestations of the supreme consciousness. (These books are not “religious” dogma or revisions of the “Bible.”) These references say that the Ego is a creation of the mind which is designed to protect itself and to separate us from the Divine. It is our job to “remember” our connection to the “source” as our lessons in the present incarnation (manifestation in human form.) Many other authors, psychics, mystics, spiritual guides/teachers, gurus, prophets, religions, philosophies, and even physicists (based on quantum physics) have similar beliefs.

Love, as the core energy which created the Universe and all consciousness, seems to explain many things for me, spiritually and even mentally at some times. Fear is also understandable as the mind, ego, and “meatsuit” (body) does not continue at the end of this incarnation (or life.) Fear creates the barriers which limit “connection” and the experience of full wisdom. Fear and the ego seem to create the need for “Judgement” and comparisons that leads to the limitations of “time” and lead us away from the full expansiveness of pure consciousness. Your soul/spirit is on a quest to have “Human” experience to learn and to communicate (in its limited way) the lessons that lead to higher consciousness and spiritual development.

Anyone who has had a near death experience (NDE) or knows someone who has had a NDE or who has been “gifted” with “guidance” or a true mystical experience loses the fear of death/dying because the life beyond the limitations of the flesh (meatsuit) are the heaven that we have heard about and are what we are seeking. No limitations, pure unconditional love, connection with universal wisdom and the “Source,” and freedom to be create reality, what is not to like…??? This also frees up a lot of energy to be “present” and bask in the beauty of life most glorious.

Why do we choose to live with fear and separation? And, why do we spend so many lifetimes seeking to return to the pure consciousness of the divine source? No easy answer comes to my mind. We do benefit from mixing it up with other souls who are struggling along their path to enlightenment and higher consciousness, but it ultimately is not about “learning” but about “remembering” what, at a deeper level, we already know!

I do know that we are ALL in this together and we benefit from taking the hands of other pilgrims. We benefit from loving and supporting the development of consciousness and NOT the continuance of separation and judgement of the other souls we pretend (in this life) to be detached from. In history, the purpose for the greatest spiritual leaders was to model consciousness, acceptance, and unconditional love. These highly evolved entities know that we are all in this together and that we must love and support the souls we bump into along the way. There are no accidents. These are all precise encounters that require us to learn the lessons of the current life. Some of our toughest struggles come when we are confronted by people who do not share our view. They may even be opposed to what we believe. These encounters are there for a reason. These experiences are designed to teach us about the limitations of judgement. These encounters are also lessons for us to learn about taking responsibility and limiting the tendency to blame (other people and other situations.)

So Blessings to you my fellow travelers. I bow to the Divine Spirit and perfection which is you! Namaste! We are all Masters of the Journey whose purpose is to “Remember” our perfection, to “Love” unconditionally, and to support all fellow pilgrims we meet on the path…

Where possible, know your ego and the fears it creates. You have a choice to live in Love or in Fear. Avoid separation and judgement. Learn acceptance and practice, and live, the energy of Love! Bask in the light of pure connection. Practice meditation to have better access to the divine wisdom. Be present! Find Joy and live your Bliss! Accept responsibility for the flaws and lessons that you encounter. AND, go out and do GOOD in the world. Blessings.

Visit our website for Masters of the Journey at www.mastersofthejourney.com

Connection and Community

Have you ever lived in a family or a community? Most of us have had this experience, for better or worse. Some of us have been blessed with an ideal situation where we have found people who we really love and care about, who have functioned well in a loving, caring way toward each other. This experience is more rare. I remember growing up in a neighborhood with decent people who did not deeply care about each other. For the most part, they did better than tolerate their neighbors but, by and large, remained independent and superficial (or aloof) from their nearest neighbors. In primitive communities, neighbors worked together to survive and looked out for each other because they realized that it was too difficult to live comfortably completely on their own. But growing up in Southern California suburbs meant barely putting up with your immediate family, let alone the neighbors. At least, that is what it seemed to me.

No man is an island was a line in a 1624 poem by English poet, John Donne. Suggesting to me that we are all connected and the world is less if anyone goes missing. Also included in this poem, “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.” “Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in Mankind.” So some people reach out to deeply connect and care for others, and this serves all of us to do so. Caring and connecting makes us happier and healthier. Perhaps we can remember this and make connecting a higher priority. Some of us may need to be reminded that life experiences are better when these are shared experiences.

Whether people are conscious or not, most of us strive to be included in communities. We feel better in a “Tribe.” In this day and age, a tribe may be with other people who share a common interest or even passion. In the United States you can see the tribes gathering on weekends in the Fall of the year. People in the tribe dress up in colors and costumes to be included in the celebration of the religion of their favorite football team. A very tribal community with elaborate clothes (Jerseys), hats, and even War paint. There is competition to be the most devoted and fanatic among the tribe’s fans. This may be our primitive need to join and to be part of a tribe.

Consider that this need for community exists and many of us do not feel a part of a “Healthy” and supportive group of people. We have been too isolated by our cultural behavior where independence is worshiped and lack of trust runs strong. For many of us, the need for connection and community has begun to surface, especially, as we begin to face aging or our mortality. Being “alone” during these transitions is often scary and less conducive for healthy transitions and the learning we gain during these major transitional periods. At the very least, it is better to have mentors or role models to help cope with these difficult life lessons. Connection and community can be very useful in these times.

So I ask you, what are YOU doing to build and maintain a HEALTHY connection and community? Not just with fellow sport fans, co-workers, or folks you see in class, church, or club, but real deep connections with caring, supportive people who can “count on you” and you on them…. It takes time and effort, but for most people, it is worth the “trouble.”

Another perspective comes from metaphysical philosophy which tells us that we are all in this together, spiritually. We are all pilgrims and benefit from reaching around and assisting the fellow pilgrims we meet in life. If nothing else, know the value you can offer by allowing another person to share their story with you. You can even show respect by not interrupting, except for clarification, as your partner finds the depth of their experience to share with you. I know that YOU would love to be respected and “heard” as you attempt to share your truth. Blessings and patience. Learn to judge less and accept more, for this offers the deepest love you can give your fellow pilgrim.

The skills of “witnessing” and listening are taught and practiced by members of the spiritual support community, the Masters of the Journey. The Masters of the Journey is a supportive community who believes that we are each masters (of our lives) having lived through many life experiences. There are lessons learned and wisdom to share. Find your supportive connections and community!

Find out more about Masters of the Journey: A Transformational Community at: www.mastersofthejourney.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney