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Beyond the Cave

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Whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.
If ignorance and passion are the foes of popular morality, it must be confessed that moral indifference is the malady of the cultivated classes. The modern separation of enlightenment and virtue, of thought and conscience, of the intellectual aristocracy from the honest and common crowd is the greatest danger that can threaten liberty.
What constitutes "enlightenment" and what does it have to do with me?

Entrée:  Raising My Sights by Terri McPherson
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My six-year-old granddaughter, Caitlynd, and I stopped at a Tim Horton's donut shop for a blueberry muffin. As we were going out the door, a young teenage boy was coming in.

This young man had no hair on the sides of his head and a tuft of blue spiked hair on top of it. One of his nostrils was pierced, and attached to the hoop that ran through the hole in his nose, was a chain that draped across his face and attached to a ring he was wearing in his ear. He held a skateboard under one arm and a basketball under the other.

Caitlynd, who was walking ahead of me, stopped in her tracks when she saw the teen. I thought he'd scared the dickens out of her and she'd frozen on the spot.

I was wrong.

My GrandAngel backed up against the door and opened it as wide as it would go. Now I was face to face with the young man. I stepped aside and let him pass. His gracious response was a kind, "Thank you very much".

On our way to the car, I commended Caitlynd for her manners in holding open the door for the young man. She didn't seem to be troubled by his appearance but I wanted to make sure. If a grandmotherly talk about freedom of self expression and allowing people their differences was in order, I wanted to be ready.

As it turned out, the person who needed the talk was me.

The only thing Caitlynd noticed about the teen, was the fact that his arms were full. "He woulda' had a hard time to open the door."

I saw the partially shaved head, the tuft of spiked hair, the piercings and the chain. She saw a person carrying something under each arm and heading toward a door.

In the future, I hope to get down on her level and raise my sights.

About the author:

Terri McPherson is an exceptionally talented motivational writer and author of Wisehearts. Weaving small wisdoms. A daily motivational ezine. You can experience more of Terri's wonderful work, and read more about her GrandInspiration at her website.

Main Course: Without Shadows...
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For primitive man, the absence of light, by impairing his ability to see, seemed to plunge the world into nothingness. Thus, even from the earliest times, one finds darkness, the negation of light, regarded as a cause of fear and, therefore, of evil.

Historians speak of an "Age of Enlightenment" during which great human progress was made, and knowledge of the Universe and its Creator largely expanded. It was a period during which ignorance was replaced with philosophical musings, scientific discovery, and improvement of the human condition.

Is humankind still in this so-called Age of Enlightenment? I hope so. Even today, there is ignorance in the world, and political and religious leaders are not above taking advantage of the ignorance of individuals over whom they hold power or influence, preying upon that ignorance to promote fear, to justify repression and to legitimize persecution. A good example of this is Plato's Parable of the Cave, (written ca. 400 BCE). Plato makes plain the idea that ignorance is a condition that can be remedied, and that enlightenment is the pathway to a better life.

Individuals are said to be "in pursuit" of knowledge. They are said to "search" for knowledge. They are said to be "on a quest" for knowledge. They describe themselves as "seekers after" knowledge. All these idioms suggest the same thing: that the knowledge already exists that the individual has yet to find. No one ever says they have "created" knowledge, for, of course, they cannot. What they do is to observe certain facts, then draw conclusions from these facts, test the conclusions in practice and, when they are proven to be true, call the conclusions knowledge.

Within the great volumes of religious and philosophical writings of this world are to be found principles of morality and justice which lay the foundations upon which to build a righteous life. Not all knowledge is right out in plain sight, and it may take careful research, consideration and conclusion. Seeking Light in this manner, banishing my own shadows of ignorance, has helped me to see the effects of malice, envy and self-seeking, and the corroding influences of prejudice and intolerance. May these shadows, someday, be gone from this planet!

What, then, is Light? It is education and the gaining of knowledge and wisdom, through study and direct experience, occasionally affirmed through the whisperings of the Spirit, and more: It is discovering that there exists choices that are different from what is presently known, heard, seen or experienced.

What is it to be enlightened? It is the exercise of intelligent and informed choice by exemplifying the principals of Love, which are justice, mercy and humility, and the practice of compassion and kindness. It is to leave the shadows and the cave behind.

Let there be Light!

Michael Rawls, Friday's Inspiration © 2004

Second Helping: Enlightenment for the 21st Century by Andrew Cohen
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Everybody wants to get enlightened but nobody wants to change. This is the simple, daunting truth that has been staring back at me from the eyes of countless seekers over the years. "I really want to get enlightened," they insist. "But are YOU ready to CHANGE now?" I ask. "What?" is the inevitable response—surprised and even slightly stunned. And I repeat, "Are YOU ready to CHANGE now?" What follows is always a strange and surreal moment of ambiguity, confusion, and backpedaling. "But I thought you wanted to get enlightened... "

It is a very rare moment indeed when the evolutionary impulse—that mysterious urge toward unbounded freedom and our own potential for radical transformation in this life—arises in awareness, unimpeded by the endless fears and desires of the separate ego. But it is infinitely more rare that, when that impulse arises, there is a bold and fearless response that says yes and yes and yes and only yes, now and forever.

The price of radical transformation is always the same—we have to let go of fear and attachment. And, in that letting go, discover a completely different perspective on what it means to be alive. But it is these two tasks—transcending fear and attachment and being willing to embrace a new way of seeing—that most seekers find so challenging. When the spiritual experience sweeps through our entire being, spontaneously emptying us of fear and attachment and opening our inner eye to higher levels of perception, temporarily there is nothing to let go of. Temporarily, we are lifted out of our unconsciousness, and the way we perceive reality and our place in it shifts dramatically. And so it appears that a real transformation has occurred—that maybe we have indeed changed. But when the higher state of consciousness begins to recede, when the intensity of the spiritual experience becomes the simplicity of life as it is, when we discover that we have not changed as much as we thought we had, how profound is our interest in the miracle and mystery of the revelation that just descended upon us? Indeed, how much do we really want to change, even now that we have seen the yonder shore? Are we willing to pay the price of permanent transformation, when it demands everything from us?

More often than not, the spiritual experience, the taste of enlightened consciousness, merely gives us a glimpse of the possible. In other words, the spiritual experience is rarely the end of the path. But if we are sincere in our aspiration for genuine transformation, it can be the real beginning. The beginning of a completely different life—one that is free from fear and attachment and informed by revelation and an inspiration that comes from an unknown source beyond the mind. But for this to be the case, we have to WANT TO CHANGE NOW. When? Now. And now. And now. Why? Because the genuine willingness to change now is itself the letting go of fear and attachment that reveals a completely different perspective—now, and now, and now.

Enlightened consciousness not only is founded upon the desire for change but is the one and only place inside us all that ever thrives as change. That means FREEDOM itself. The freedom of enlightened consciousness is that relationship to the life process that, precisely because it holds on to nothing, seems to be changing all the time. Of course, it isn't. One who is truly enlightened never moves, abiding permanently beyond this world of time and becoming. But because of that immovable position, he or she is able, in the world of time and becoming, to be a striking manifestation of a passionate and unbridled creativity, a powerful force of conscious evolution in action.

So you see, wanting to change now, fearlessly and wholeheartedly, really being willing now, not only is the door to the freedom of enlightened consciousness but is simultaneously its expression.

So... are YOU ready to CHANGE now? But I thought you wanted to get enlightened... 

About the author:

Noted author, speaker, teacher, and philosopher, Andrew Cohen has a single-pointed goal: the transformation of human consciousness. Cohen is widely acknowledged as a leader in a new movement of evolutionary thinkers and activists who see the potential for such a shift to change the course of humanity's future. His unique contribution is to have developed, tested, and demonstrated the potential of an ethical and spiritual teaching that leads to a new consciousness. More information about Andrew Cohen's teachings can be found online at and

Soup to Nuts: From the feedback button
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ToniS wrote this week, "Just wanted to say that I loved your article, "Don't Block the Flow!" Very inspirational and, in my mind, a special key that unlocks the beauty and truth of "grace." I am passing this article on to several ladies who live in a nursing home - I'm sure it will inspire and uplift them." Toni is a freelance writer and copyeditor.

Susan Friesen (Shivan and Lindsea's Mom) also checked in with me this week. "It's amazing that two of our girls will attend the special heart camp, Camp Del Corazon on Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California. It's a wonderful organization that brings children with heart disorders together to enjoy a camping experience. Doctors and nurses from mostly L.A. hospitals volunteer their time at camp, as well as many college student volunteers. We are happy that both girls are doing well post-transplant." Us, too! Glad to hear that you are all back home.

Vicki Woodyard shared the following, "A true story.  Gloria Wendroff, who has the heavenletters website, has been at it for years. She has paid her dues. But when she broke four ribs in a nasty bathroom fall, the current reversed.  She could do nothing and in that forced activity, she found herself inundated with help.  Now she has self-published heavenletters and people are truly responding to her." See what is all about. 

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