Spiritually Speaking

Some of you may remember this phrase coming from me but I think it is appropriate at this time to reemphasize it. I wish it was original, but it is not. It comes straight from the pulpit and not from me. Circumstances in my life and maybe yours had me drifting, if you will, into a perspective no Christian should indulge. Whatever you’re going through, however insurmountable the odds appear to be, if the deck is stacked against you in your eyes, remember, “This fight is fixed.” All the evil that comes at you in this world is intended to confuse you into thinking otherwise. Then in a state of confusion, you act (negatively I might add) as if somehow you’re in charge. If only you were more in control, had more money, or more will power, then maybe you could change things, change jobs, change mates, change the past, alter the future or erase your addictions. For some reason, we want to take way too much credit for our lives or, out of a state of confusion, take little to no responsibility for them. Blame becomes a way of thinking or even a lifestyle for many of us who claim Jesus. I’m here to suggest to you that just like so called professional wrestling, the outcome for whatever you’re going through, has been predetermined. The fight is fixed. Jesus took the heavy blows, endured the emergency trip to the ER and survived the intensive care unit on Calvary. What we tend to forget is His fight was THE fight and His victory was and continues to be our victory.

Because He won, we won. Let me put it to you this way, whatever you’re going through, YOUR FIGHT IS FIXED! You’ve already won. “Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms of Jesus Christ in order that in the coming ages, He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ.” Ephesians 2:6-8. Does that not mean you win?

Hence, there is real meaning in the refrain, “The fight is fixed.” Practically speaking, take another look at your situation with the fundamental truth that you’ve already won and then go forward. See, you gotta understand and act deliberately and consciously upon the truth that Christ is in your corner. From there, faith will never allow you to ever again enter the ring and your opponent not know who yo Daddy is. Mess with me at your own risk. You see I’m figuring out that all the mess I’m going through or someone is trying to put me through, is but an opportunity to run home and get my Big Brother J.C.

Our challenge is not to try and win this fight alone. We cannot. We will surely fail. My witness is to always let my opponent know exactly what I’m fighting with. It ain’t gone be fair. I’m not playing by their rules and if only they knew like I do that I’m going to win, they would just leave me alone. I have not met the man or woman yet who can beat Satan at his own game. I tried and without Jesus, I failed miserably.That should not surprise any of you and especially those trying to go it alone right now. Satan has a big advantage in this world, but I don’t worry about that anymore. My knowledge of the outcome lets me handle the tricks of the enemy. I know the fight is fixed. I win. And guess what? You do, too. See. We got it like that.

May God bless and keep you always.
Jamesjaws@dallasweekly.com

Understanding Consciousness

By Eben Alexander, M.D., Unity Magazine | After spending more than 20 years in academic neurosurgery (15 of them at Harvard), I thought I had some idea of how brain, mind, and consciousness were interrelated. But that was before my near-death experience. In November 2008, a severe case of bacterial meningitis sent me into a coma within three hours of symptom onset. I was put on a ventilator and given very powerful antibiotics. I should not have recovered. At first, my doctors gave me a 10 percent chance of survival. By the end of the week, without showing any return of neurological function, that chance was down to two percent. Doctors recommended stopping the antibiotics, but inexplicably, I started coming out of the coma.

My brain had been wrecked, just as predicted. All my words, memories, religious beliefs, and knowledge of neuroscience—every bit of it—was completely gone. But within hours my language began coming back. Within a few days, many of my childhood memories had returned. Within eight weeks, everything was back. My memories were even more complete than they had been before the coma. That part is very difficult to explain until you realize that memories are not stored in the physical brain at all. This is something neuroscience is finally coming to realize. My case violated everything conventional neuroscience believes about the role of the neocortex in helping to form detailed conscious awareness. My neurologic exams, scans, and lab tests showed that my neocortex had very effectively shut down, and yet I had an extremely vivid and ultra-real experience. I initially tried to explain it as some kind of vast hallucination, but the more I went over my medical records with fellow physicians and others interested in consciousness, the more we came to realize this whole experience completely violated the notion of “brain creates consciousness.”

That started me on what’s now been more than eight years of research trying to explain it all. Before my coma, I couldn’t have seen taking on this role at all. I thought I was basically a doctor trying to heal people. But I’ve learned that our lives unfold with purpose and meaning. We just have to be open to all the possibilities and to the wonder of existence itself. It’s important to understand that my goal is not to answer a simple little question about whether heaven is real or if there is an afterlife. It’s really about exploring the fundamental nature of reality and consciousness. The old thinking in conventional neuroscience that I was trained under was that the physical is all that exists, and therefore the physical brain must somehow create consciousness out of purely physical matter. Even though nobody in neuroscience has the remotest clue how that might work, many have this blind faith that if we keep researching it more, we’ll get the right answers. Yet we have evidence to show that the physical brain does not create consciousness—evidence in the form of millions of human experiences, not only of near-death experiences, but also of shared-death experiences, outof- body experiences, remote viewing, past life memories in children indicative of reincarnation, and after-death communications, among others. Our consciousness is not produced by the brain and is not limited to our senses in physical reality. This much broader understanding of consciousness, which I discuss in depth in my new book,Living in a Mindful Universe (to be published by Rodale in October), opens the door to a higher purpose and meaning to our lives. It’s so important to get this message out there.

In Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight (Viking, 2006), she describes how the linguistic part of her brain was destroyed by a bleeding vascular malformation. As it happened, her boundaries of “self ” expanded outward. She became one with the desk, the chair, the rug, trees outside—and with this overwhelming sense of love and connectedness. That’s a perfect demonstration of the role our linguistic brain plays in giving us this isolated sense of being self rather than nonself, which is the rest of the universe. That kind of focus on self and nonself is a huge part of the distortion that comes out of our reductive materialism, which is the conventional form of our science. It says that the physical is all that exists, and if you break the physical world down to its tiniest parts and understand the rules that govern them, it gives you the answers to all the questions about the universe.

That’s actually completely backward. A top-down approach gives us a much richer understanding of reality. People often come to that knowing through meditation. For those who don’t have a means of going within, to quiet the little voice in the head, we offer up the tools of Sacred Acoustics (visit sacredacoustics.com to learn more). But really any means that you have to go within is a tremendous tool in getting in touch with that infinite universal mind.

Many encounter that consciousness and call it God, and while it seems to have that infinite loving attitude for all of its creation, this is not a “human god” at all. This is a power and force of love far grander than anything we could imagine—one suitable for civilizations that are advanced far beyond the level of our current humanity. The lesson that humanity has been challenged to learn throughout the past few thousand years is one of love, compassion, and oneness—and healing that illusion of false separation that results from some orthodox interpretations of spiritual texts. Truthfully, we are all one with the universe.

We are now in the process of uniting science and spirituality. Some think this is basically a debate between science and religion. It’s not that at all—it’s really a discussion between those who believe that the physical is all that exists and those who believe there’s more. Anyone who gets deeply into trying to explain the workings of consciousness sooner or later gets to a point where they abandon the false promissory materialism of our simplistic, physicalist neuroscience as completely inadequate.

The evidence exists through clinical situations that are quite common, such as terminal lucidity where elderly dementia patients often have great moments of clarity, reflection, and memory right as they approach death. Another example is acquired savant syndromes, where some kind of brain damage opens the door to a super-human mental capacity within an overall setting of diminished general cognitive capabilities. These super-human capacities of awareness and memory— like being able to recover numbers from a phone book or being able to calculate pi to 3,000 digits in one’s head in the setting of brain damage—go beyond any kind of “brain produces consciousness” model. Ultimately, this is about recovering that knowing of ourselves as divine, eternal, sacred, spiritual beings, all interconnected not only with each other and with all sentience throughout the universe, but also connected to that divine creative source, that deity that we might call God. We become that love and share that love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and mercy with all fellow beings. That is what brings such true healing to this world, and the most relevant healing comes in the form of physical, mental, and emotional health, which is not easily maintained without attention to underlying spiritual health.

Soul Vibrations Corner

YOUR ASTROLOGICAL FORECAST

ARIES -March 21- April 20

Perhaps this change has some practical purpose. You may discover some legitimate shortcuts that help the team work together more efficiently. You’re in charge, well at least you feel like you are. This could mean that you’ve earned trust and respect, so that you can move forward in your professional life. Even if you’re uncertain, act confident. If you feel esponsible, but don’t have the authority to act, you may need to re-examine the situation. Talk to those who count to find out where you really stand. LUCKY NUMBERS: 1, 7, 15, 33, 39, 48

TAURUS - April 21- May 20

You’ll be very productive. You’ll be able to solve problems effortlessly, even when others are uncooperative. You might not be very tolerant & be easily frustrated by people who don’t listen to you. Don’t let them get the best of you. Stay very focused and be clear about what you expect. State it as precisely as possible. If you do this exercise,you’ll sharpen your powers of communication. If you’re not on track, an argument or dispute may get your attention. You could run into complications on the job due to some long-distance interference. LUCKY NUMBERS: 11, 19, 23, 28, 30, 44

GEMINI - May 22- June 21

Comfort is not always the best thing, especially when you’re in a comfortable rut. Do some investigation, because hidden information could have a strong impact on your work and your reputation. Research, poke around, ask tough questions, and you’ll get the answers you need. With your facts in hand, you should be able to advance smoothly. You may experience some intense feelings because of a misunderstanding about money or inheritance. Fortunately, you’re able to act maturely and can handle the situation under control. Consider some additional training to enhance your career. LUCKY NUMBERS: 10, 27, 29, 37, 39, 40

CANCER - June 22 -July 23

Teammates may come up with some inspiring ideas, your enthusiasm is fueled by their support. Your humanitarian tendencies are likely to show up. People need your help, and you’re there for them. The weak, the lost, the confused & the down and out bring your best qualities to the surface. Your organizational abilities show up strongly in this kind of situation. A bright friend or colleague may have a fresh idea that’s interesting, but challenging. LUCKY NUMBERS: 7, 8, 13, 21, 22, 44

LEO - July 24- Aog 22

not fooling around now. You’re serious about your fun. Expect to be carefully evaluated. If you’re properly prepared, you’ll earn respect. Use your sharp mind to find the best answers to what could be difficult questions. Your first response may not be the best one, so dig deeply if you want to make a good impression. You may not be criticized, but you could be reminded what it takes to work as part of a team. If you’re not clear of what’s expected of you, ask direct questions. Take this opportunity to speak up about your needs and your expectations of others. LUCKY NUMBERS: 2, 9, 14, 21, 39, 42

VIRGO -Aug 23- Sept 22

Your intuitive judgment may be a little off. Working with others, however, may require that you share your opinions more discretely now. If you think before you open your mouth, you’ll avoid some hassles. You’ll feel better if you get productive and have fun at the same time. Adopt a creative attitude and try to turn your work into fun. Try not to get sidetracked by minor details. Keep your eye on the big picture and avoid petty distractions. LUCKY NUMBERS: 8, 9, 16, 20, 22, 40

LIBRA - Sept 23 - Oct 22

You’re now ready for additional responsibilities. Responsibilities at home could interfere with your social life. You may not have time to pamper your appearance. You may be stopped in your tracks by some intense conversation. Take the time to listen. Comments made by peer may feel like criticism but look past your feelings. Once you toughen your skin, you’ll be back to your usual self in no time. LUCKY NUMBERS: 14, 21, 34, 38, 42, 46

SCORPIO -Oct 23 - Nov 22

Find out where the secrets are. Get the hard-to-find information that’s the key to your overall plan. Once all of the pieces are in place, you can make your presentation and get others onboard. You’ll be able to make a good impression. Just watch out for that urge to make small, critical remarks that appear helpful to you, but that may rub others the wrong way. Do something physical. You need to keep the rust out of your system with a regular exercise routine. It takes time, but it’ll give you extra energy in return & that’s a good investment. If you are corrected on a minor detail, stay positive, but listen and learn. LUCKY NUMBERS: 6, 10, 17, 29, 30, 34

SAGITTARIUS - Nov 23- Dec 22

You shouldn’t promise more than you can deliver, you could be tempted to do so. Think carefully before making your pitch. It’s great to get your enthusiasm up and to inspire others, but consider the costs of time, money and energy in your calculations. An innocent remark could provoke a powerful response from you. You could over-react to what someone else tells you, or one of your comments could trigger intense feelings. Rather than attack or withdraw, find a relatively neutral place to process the information. You can build trust by working through complex situations. If you get your facts together and expand your knowledge base ,you could ultimately expand your income, financial status. LUCKY NUMBERS: 18, 21, 32, 33, 37, 42

CAPRICORN - Dec 23 - Jan 20

You have a plan that’s practical, reasonable, good for your future. Once that’s been established, you’ll get the resources you need to commence. You could improve a creative plan or project by making significant revisions now. Straight talk doesn’t have to be insensitive, just clear and to the point. Don’t brood, just get on with the changes. They are not nearly as important as you think they are. Your efforts will be well-spent because of the potential financial benefits. Take a serious look at your finances. Set up a plan to build your bank account. Even a small amount set aside on a regular basis can mount up. More than that, it’s an investment in the future, an act of faith that tomorrow will come and you’ll be here to enjoy it. LUCKY NUMBERS: 21, 28, 32, 39, 44, 48

AQUARIUS - Jan 21 - Feb 19

If you don’t share information, you can’t work as successfully as a team. Eliminate work around some of your regular tasks. Let go of work that’s not essential to you. People will attempt to get at some sticky details that need to be worked out. Organize your workplace to make room and time for something more interesting. Just go for it, with joy, even if you feel bored. If you go beyond the call of duty, you’ll earn some well-deserved recognition. LUCKY NUMBERS: 5, 9, 13, 30, 37, 40

PISCES - Feb 20 - March 20

Your pride is very strong, and you are the last person who will accept abuse from others. You may be tested on your loyalty. Focus on the task at hand and deal with it in a mature manner & you may move up a notch or two. Your organizational skills could be your key to success. Put in a new system or try to improve an existing one. You’ll be able to see the bigger picture and understand why it’s beneficial to you to cooperate with others. You have a strong will, so use it to get the job done. If you have any concerns or questions, you might want to contact an old friend or mentor. They may be able to show you a new way to solve a problem. LUCKY NUMBERS: 3,4,17,24,29,45