Survive or Thrive?


Meditation: The purpose of this mediation is to Create Sacred Space.


Why did I start with this meditation? Because we are creating a transcendent experience. We have just made an opening for Magic. What is important is what you hear, what you experience, what you remember. The talk is only part of that. Someone once told me, “What you said completely changed by life.” Then when they told me what it was, I knew that I had not said it. But the important thing is that is what they heard. What they heard was Magic. Some might call it Holy Spirit.


The idea for the title of this talk came to me when I was having back trouble. I was having trouble walking and it seemed like there was no position where I could be comfortable. I couldn’t stand, sit, or lie down without pain. I was doing every thing I knew to do to ease the pain including wearing a back brace, soaking in the hot tub, and laying in a recliner with a hot pad under my lower back and my legs over a cardboard box. It was taking over my life and it was not possible to do much else. This went on for days. Finally, I realized that all I was doing was Surviving. And I had been focused on Surviving for some time. Starting in mid-December I was really sick with a sinus infection for a month. Then I recovered for a few days and got sick with the flu for a week. The back trouble started not long after the flu ended. And throughout all of this, my intuitive answers were to not to see a Doctor, or a Chiropractor. Believe me, I checked on this with my intuition frequently. I did not test positive for Covid, but the symptoms that indicated that I was seriously sick. When I really thought about it, I realized that for months I had been focused on Surviving. I want to be Thriving! How can I do that?


That was when I thought of the title for this talk: Survive or Thrive?


Dennis and Bonnie sang “By Way of Sorrow”

“You have come by way of sorrow, you have come by way of tears

But you’ll reach your destiny, meant to find you all these years”


I found today’s talk via Sorrow. An idea and a title for a talk are a big step for me, so I actually felt great, until I started to write the talk. I felt like a dog that caught a car. What do I do now?


How do I go from Surviving to Thriving? I certainly know what it is like to be Surviving. Well, how about a time when I was Thriving? Most of you have heard me talk about my first trip to Nepal. It certainly was a time when I was Thriving. Here is the story: Over time I felt that I was called to go to a Tibetan Monastery somewhere on the way to Mt. Everest. First I had to decide to go. The deciding point was when I talked to Rev. Rod Romney, one of my mentors. I told him that I felt called to go to Nepal and he said. “I felt the call to go to Tibet.” I said, “Wow, what happened?” He said, “I don’t know, I never went.” In that moment I knew that if I didn’t go, I would wonder the rest of my life what would have happened. So I decided I had to go. It took about a year of preparation including selling my parent’s house so I had enough money, buying trekking gear, getting in shape, learning to speak Tibetan, researching, getting five weeks off from work, and working through problems including back pain. I had no real idea what to do or where to go, so had to learn to use my intuition. On the trip had many amazing adventures and met wonderful people. In Nepal I trekked, by myself, to about 13,000 feet and eventually found the Monastery. It was one of the most difficult things that I have done in my life. It was very rewarding and life changing. It was Magic. I Thrived.


As I was flying home, I was amazed at how magical the trip had been. Unbelievable adventures. Magic! Join me for a moment on that airplane. I had just stayed overnight at the Bangkok Airport in a $100 a night room for free – with no reservation. I was Thriving! I thought, “Why isn’t my regular Life like this?” after I got home; I found that my regular Life was like that. I just had not been paying attention. For example, I worked in the Shipyard. I might be on my way to an important meeting and see a friend across the street and had the impulse to go talk to them. As an Engineer, I would have looked away and kept walking so I was not late to the meeting. After the trip to Nepal, I would follow my impulse and go across the street and talk to my friend. That conversation could be the most important thing in my Life. If I was late to the meeting, so be it. I now knew that I had no idea of what was going on. Five years later I found out that the trip to Nepal was when I became a Mystic.


To go from Surviving to Thriving why not just follow my intuition? Because I was doing that and it didn’t seem to be working. I needed to do more.


I decided to stop and review my basic beliefs:


Here is one of my Basic Beliefs: It is very difficult to be Spiritual when I am in pain.

Perhaps there are lessons that I need to learn from being in pain. If I can learn the lessons, maybe the pain will go away. Here is one lesson I heard in meditation:


“Can’t depend on the Physical. Everything changes. Everything!”

Here are two things I also heard.


1. This is related to the Vision: “It’s an illusion!” The subject of my last talk.


2. You are sick (after being well for 3 years). Kay is not at home. Life is very different. Notice what has not changed- the Spiritual.


Here is another Basic Belief: Half & Half. I am half Human and half Devine. I am always both.

Which half am I focusing on? Remember that Life is not logical and not fair. Being in pain, I must be focused on the Human and I am depending on it. Remember, “Can’t depend on the Physical.” if I am looking for things to depend on, I need to look to my Devine nature.


Here is another Basic Belief: I become what I do daily.

What have I found to be uplifting, successful, and encouraging? Am I doing that daily? As a result, I added walking to what I do daily. I also added playing the didgeridoo.

Many ears ago I was told that we each have a Psalm. It turned out that mine was Psalm 119. I was told that this is the longest Psalm in the Bible, and I remember thinking, “That figures.” However the part that speaks to me is (105) “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” At the time I was attending a traditional Christian Church where “Thy word” meant the Bible. However, over time I have realized that “Thy word” can be anything. It can be what someone says, what I hear, what I see, what I read. It can be a “Vision.”


Another Basic Belief: Pay Attention! “Thy Word” can appear any time.


Another Basic Belief: Best Guess – I need to remember that I operate based on my Best Guess. I am not certain of my conclusions and I may be called on to guess again.


My Best Guess was Thriving is a goal. Perhaps it is time to guess again. Thriving may not be so much a goal as it is a direction. So I have decided to recognize and celebrate when I am moving in the direction of Thriving.


As most of you know, we moved my wife Kay into care over a year ago. She is now living at Martha & Mary where she is getting good care. I knew that people would ask me how she is doing, so I carefully thought about it. Kay is happy and content. If you have ever known someone in a facility, you can appreciate that this is wonderful. However, I was concerned and was worrying. Then I heard in meditation, “Kay is happy and content. Why aren’t you?” That is a very good question! So when I think of Kay, I remember to be happy and content.


A Buddhist saying and one of my Basic Beliefs: Take joy in the joy of others.


For last the few years, my goal has been to keep Kay safe and happy. First it was at home and I became a caregiver 24/7. When we moved Kay out of the house, I had to find new ways. Not only learn them, but also to arrange and pay for them. I have also needed to be mindful of my own care. As a result, I have not really had a dream for some time.


Another Basic Belief: In order to have a dream come true, you must first have a dream. Kay told me this.


One powerful thing for me, is to have a Vision and for this Vision to become my dream.


For a dream to be valuable for me I need to recognize and remember it. My best guess is that this is what I really need to do to move in the direction of Thriving. To have and recognize dreams.


So one dream I have is based on my last vision: “It’s an Illusion!” My dream is to recognize the illusion and go beyond it. Also to help others go beyond it. My Best Guess is that this has been happening. What I didn’t do is to recognize this as a dream and honor it.


My past dreams have often been trips to special places and/or special events. I now have recognized two of these. And I plan to create more.


A final Basic Belief: Music or Sound is important in my Spiritual Journey. I know that the Sound of the Didgeridoo can be Mystical. I mentioned that I am now playing the didgeridoo daily and believe that it is making a difference in my life. If the energy of emotions builds up, it can affect my physical health. This tends to happen for me and one source told me that this caused the Cancerous Bladder Tumor I had in 2018. The didgeridoo can move the energy of emotions and my Best Guess is that by playing it daily, I am reducing the chance that “The Cancer” will return.


Where am I now? My back pain is gone. By recognized and honoring dreams, I am moving in the direction of Thriving.


Last Sunday we had our Annual Meeting and discussed our Church and what we would like to see during the next year. What I want to do is share what I think is an important concept.


We are learning in the Course in Miracles class that everything takes place in the Mind. We have also been reminded that we are all One. I thought “Wait a minute, if all of this is taking place in the Mind, then all I have to do is change my mind.” However, this did not seem to work. Brian Jones, who leads our Course in Miracles class said, remember we are all One. So our Mind can look like this – two hands with the fingers intertwined. Clasped Hands can represent interconnected minds. This could also be a representation of our Church.


The concept that I want to share is exactly that. By meeting together in our Church, we can help change our shared Mind. We can support our dreams for the Church and encourage each other to have dreams.


A friend of mine once said, “Don't stop dreaming. You can do that the day after you die.”


Meditation: Using the sound of the didgeridoo and a bell to transcend. To move our awareness beyond the physical.


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