June 24, 2012 by Bill
I wrote you a letter this morning:
Chuck, dear friend, compadré and kindred spirit. You and I have had two dear friends that were full blood Lakota Sioux American Indians. You remember “Red Crow,” a speaker at my Walk of Stars dedication, and Vine Deloria who stayed over night in your guest house several times.
They both believed that there are two dimensions of reality: “this side” where we live now, and the “other side” where we join the spirit world as we depart this side and this life. These two sides are connected by consciousness, and this life, so called, is only a brief interlude between two mysteries, which are yet one.
And Chuck, from our many conversations you know that I also believe this, and that is why there is not a doubt in my mind that you, at this very moment, are receiving this letter to you in the presence of your many friends.
You and I talked often of my Marine Corps pilot days, and one day as I was standing on the stern, the back of the deck of any aircraft carrier, I was mesmerized by the wake the ship was leaving behind.
And I thought, the evolution of our spirit is blazed on the background of eternity by our individual wakes.
Every person can, if he/she wishes, leave a more or less brilliant wake behind them, which widens or prolongs the existing path and contributes to its fanlike expansion. Everyone here this morning will leave a wake.
But we are present to celebrate the wake that you left behind, whose fanlike expansion has been such a positive and constructive influence in the business community, the social life of the valley, the people employed by Prime Time International, those of my Sunday morning symposium. And, Chuck, really, in the lives of all who knew you.
Your threads of thought and influence will be remembered for generations, and I want to tell you that in all of my years of military life, university and academic life, you were one of the most generous human beings I have ever known. I remember saying to you one day, “Don’t you know they are taking advantage of you?” And you smiled, and said, yes, you knew it, and went right on eating your biscuits and gravy, and I thought, wow, here is a man like I have never known in the cut throat world of business. Read more
June 17, 2012 by Bill
My calendar of the soul fills me with awe at the miracle of the summer solstice. The dazzling, shimmering light of this solstice period, falling this year on June 20th, balances the winter solstice. It is the Yin-Yang of the universe, the cosmic dance of complementary opposites.
The heat waves radiate out from the mountain rocks that jealously guard our home. The animals find shade from the noonday sun and the flowers wait for their daily drink. I live surrounded by miracles and I realize that we humans are only a very, very small part, a unit of one, symbiotically related and dependent upon all of the other billions of protoplasmic relatives. How is it that we are all connected in some marvelous and mysterious way to this cosmic dance of solstice and equinox? This something unknown…doing we know not what.
I stand in awe and wonder gazing at the flowers outside the glass doors of my study. A long, long time ago there were no flowers. And then, just before the close of the Age of Reptiles, there was a soundless explosion that lasted over a million years. It was the emergence of the angiosperms, the flowering plants. And from flowers came the mystifying emergence of man. My flower seeds have a long memory, and I too, as I remember that my very existence as Homo sapiens depends on these flowers.
In these desert spaces of this summer solstice grows thorny plants and spiny creatures. And within this same solstice are forests of giant trees, and great plains covered with the grasses that weave a garment for the naked earth. And I think that the flowers of a rainy spring and the grasses of a showery summer are good and beautiful and sufficient, even though they will shortly vanish.
I have often wondered, as I wander, what cosmic astrological energy is there within me during these solstice periods? The solstice reminds me that we must come to terms with non-physical realities. It is like ultraviolet light, microwave light and infrared light and many other ranges of frequencies that coexist with our visible light spectrum and yet are invisible. How many other non-physical energy frequencies co-exist with us and yet are invisible to us?
The summer solstice reminds me that we live in the midst of, and are supported by, mysteries beyond our comprehension. It reminds me of our connection to invisible realities, the view long held by Native peoples and Eastern sages. A view that is today being confirmed by physicists and astronomers. “The universe is everything, both living and inanimate things, both atoms and galaxies. The spiritual and material are one, for the universe is the totality of all things,” wrote Fred Hoyle in Frontiers of Astronomy.
June 10, 2012 by Bill
One of my columns in the Santa Barbara NewsPress some years ago was about animal cruelty. In that column I included a quote from Dr. Albert Schweitzer: “A man is moral and ethical, only when all of life is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellow man. This is the absolute principle of the moral and ethical.”
I started getting e-mails before 8:00 a.m. that Sunday morning, continuing over the next three days, all saying, in one way or another, “thank you for that column.” But what surprised me, and in a way shocked me, were many who said: “who is Albert Schweitzer?” I write this column as an answer to that question.
When Norman Cousins was a professor of medical humanities on the medical faculty of the University of California in Los Angeles, he wrote these words: “Albert Schweitzer is a spiritual immortal. Albert Schweitzer has done more to dramatize the reach of the moral man than anyone in contemporary Western civilization. Long after the hospital at Lambarene is forgotten the symbol of Schweitzer will be held high. If there is a need in America today, it is for the Schweitzers among us. We are swollen with meaningless satisfactions and dulled by petty immediacies.”
Only one word can describe his education: AWESOME. He earned four Doctorate degrees in the most difficult universities in Europe. With his Ph.D in Music he became known as one of the great Bach scholars of his time. His Doctorate in Philosophy was from the Sorbonne in Paris. He later received his Doctorate of Theology where his thesis on “The Quest of the Historical Jesus” set the bar so high in scholarship that all future books on Jesus were judged in comparison. His being a brilliant Greek scholar contributed to the profound depth of that book.
He shattered the rigid crusts of orthodox doctrines and dogmas with his biblical studies. He left in shambles the trinity…virgin birth…resurrection…and other orthodox doctrines. He wrote this: “the historical Jesus claimed none of the things that the church has claimed for him.” And again: “Jesus was drenched in Judaism and a claim to be God or a Son of God would have been utter blasphemy.” What Schweitzer did was what the “Jesus Seminar” of our day is trying to do, “to free the historical Jesus from all the trappings and fantasies created by theologians” in Schweitzer’s words.
At age 30, true to his promise to himself, he told his friends he was entering Medical school and upon graduation would spend the rest of his life in Africa helping those with no medical services available. Upon graduation he now had his fourth Doctorate, in Medicine. Over a span of fifty years he ministered to blacks in Lambarene. He wrote that he did this “because the historical Jesus moves me deeply. Jesus made no claim to being divine. But the spirit of love that comes through in the historical Jesus moves me.” Read more