My husband and I just returned from a spiritual retreat on the Olympic Peninsula is Washington State. Just imagine being able to see a vast body of calm blue-gray water with sweeping evergreen forests covering the islands and shorelines of the Olympic Peninsula, as the waves gently lapped to shore. Occasionally an eagle would cry, or an otter or two choose to dine in full view. The temperatures got down to high 40s at night, but the days reached 70. It was such a welcome respite from the steam bath that Kauai had become before we left.
We are surrounded by friends, some that we only get to see once a year, and some that we see weekly. We are here to listen to Tom Carpenter speak about Love, real Love, that is the source of life as we know it, and way beyond what our brains can even comprehend about it.
Tom Carpenter called out to this Love in the early 80s when his brain mind was over stressed with how to make things work for his large blended family and business. Love responded. The very next day a man came to his home saying that he’d heard that Tom was having a rough patch, and left him with a spiritual book that introduced him to one of Love’s great teachers, Jesus. Tom hadn’t studied religion much, but he was certainly blown away the experience. He was a good student, and began incorporating the idea that Love is ultimately at the core of everything.
I’ll spare you details of his experiences, but he was led to “A Course in Miracles,” which encourages everyone to remember that they were made by a loving God to Love, and be Loved. This loving Creator also responds to our prayers, but cannot show favoritism of one person, sect, country, etc. over another. We’re all loved the same. God, being Spirit sees in us the Spirit Self that He made, and not the ego part that we made as a result of the feedback that the body’s senses report to us.
There’s so much to be shared about this, but I just want to function on one thing. It’s the thing that I wish I’d learned when I was a teen. It’s that underneath all the drama, the fear, the goals, the competition, the striving, we all want the same thing. We want to know that we are Loved and lovable. And we want to Love. We want to be able to share this Love that we are with another, or many, and sometimes all.
As a teen who wanted to express Love and be Loved, I learned about romantic Love, puppy Love, which sometimes seemed more like playing a game of fitting in than really sharing an unconditional Love with another person. There was a hierarchy of popularity. The popular kids hung out with folks from that clique. Other groups, sometimes regional and sometimes based on interests, hung out with their own cliques. Then there were the social misfits and geeks. Oh gosh, I wish I knew then what I know now.
As I learned about special education, I recognized some autistic characteristics of these folks: very bright, top of the class, with no understanding of social nuances. These days, the two I’m thinking of would have been screened, then trained to read emotions, and respond appropriately. Instead, because they were brilliant, they just went on along with all of us, although somehow frozen socially at age 10.
So readers, don’t get stuck judging what you see with your body’s senses. Inside a damaged body, or mind is still a beautiful soul that wants to be Loved, feel lovable and Love. In 50 years we’ve come a long way in recognizing this as true. We cheer for dancers burned unrecognizably, or with severed limbs to win “Dancing with the Stars.”
We share YouTube videos of special athletes on regular school teams making incredible shots, scoring winning hits, or completing a marathon. Their courage and self-acceptance reminds us of our own. And often “acceptance” is used as the main synonym for Love. We are told that God Loves us. He accepts us as we are. His beLoved kid!
Another thing that Tom taught is that it is impossible to truly Love another without that person “getting it.” Now this Love is pure Love, maybe expressed as caring. I saw it last night. My daughter and two granddaughters and I had dinner last night at Pho Kauai Restaurant in Lihue. The 5-year-old had four colored baby rubber duckies she was playing with on the table. The waiter came up and the next thing you know, one of the duckies disappeared. I watched him look at her with real caring, joy and sweetness. I can call that Love.
They bantered back and forth for a bit, both enjoying the situation, and sure enough the ducky reappeared. She wasn’t shy, as she sometimes is, I believe because the caring was sincere. She was convinced that he was a magician! He took our order, but before it arrived, he arrived, and took yet a different colored ducky, and again the joy was on! A sweet and simple story, but our lives could be filled with them.
A more complex story might be how Germany and Austria have opened their borders to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. I’m sure that the mind could say, “We don’t know these people, they’ve been treated like dogs, and they might bite or steal from us.” Instead they are opening to that Love that they have an unlimited supply of inside of themselves, and are offering it to those who temporarily appear to have less. Things change.
The third thing that Tom shared is that at the spiritual level, there is no separation. We know that our bodies are separate from each other, and our private thoughts seem to be just ours. However, at the spiritual level where we are, always have been, and will be forever, we are One Being. We seem to split into forms that inhabit the Earth, but it is to learn about Love, often by learning what it isn’t. Think of it this way: When you sleep at night, you have all kinds of different dreams. Some are fantastic, some are scary, some are boring, and sometimes you wish things didn’t happen in them.
On those occasions, remember how happy you felt when you realized these nightmares were just dreams? Well our lives are something like that, and the best thing that you can ever do in your life, is to be as loving as you can be to as many people as you can. We are joined in spirit, and when I Love another, I am literally loving everyone, including myself.
Many religions including the Christian religion support this. Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” Notice He didn’t say “more than yourself”? We are also told that to be forgiven we must forgive. That sometimes takes a little effort. I have to remember that at the spiritual level, I am invulnerable. When I wake up from this life time, I am still whole.
This is the wonderful application of Oneness: I might not be able to house a refugee, or send a lot of money to help the unfortunate, but I can always remember for them that in spite of this very difficult “dream” they are a part of, they are truly Loved, lovable, and able to Love. And if I am sincere, it will be received. I may even be led to a way to help them that I can do.
Speaking of which, if you are tired of drama, artificial hierarchies, and bullying in your school, join your school’s mediation team, or help start one. You’ll never know how far an act of kindness can fly! When I help someone find peace in his soul, I’m helping everyone.
Hale Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at email@example.com. For more information about Hale Opio Kauai, go to www.haleopiokauai.org.