Thursday, October 7, 2010

book update

Our book, "Can Christians Be Saved? A Mystical Path to Oneness" is at the publisher and is scheduled for a late November date. Buck and I are getting excited as we have been working on the book for 2 years. We had dinner tonight with a friend who knows the subject very well and he believes our book is groundbreaking and very unique in spiritual circles, and he loved it. We are finishing up some last minute edits and additions, and are also settling on a cover design.
In any case I am sure our book will reside in the top books of esoteric, edgy, out there, totally controversial spiritual books of 2010. Which means our circulation will be limited, but passionate. And that will be very good.
We will post the link for purchase here, probably in late Nov.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Oneness Blessing

Earlier this year I became a Oneness Blessing (deeksha) giver, by attending a 2 day Oneness awakening course. Since then I can truly say that this spiritual practice has had more effect on me than any others I have done. Below is a description of the blessing and what it does. Buck and I will offer the blessing on Sunday Mornings at 10:00AM, beginning on Sept. 5.

THE ONENESS BLESSING

The main tool we use to help with spiritual growth is what we call "Deeksha" (also known as the Oneness Blessing). Deeksha is an ancient word derived from the Sanskrit language that refers to a �benediction� or a "gift", or having to do with the notion of "transfer" - in short, the receipt of a gift from the Divine, from God, from the Higher Self, which fuels the awakening process. Deeksha is a Blessing from the Divine that works to activate the kundalini, balance the chakras, and serves to intelligently guide the recipient on an individual, unique journey into higher states of consciousness, and ultimately into the state of Oneness itself.

In short, Deeksha is the transfer of a physical energy, which affects a neurobiological shift, thereby initiating a process where the Divine guides the recipient on an individual journey into awakening into Oneness. Deeksha creates a shift in the brain, deactivating the energy in certain areas of the brain while increasing energy in others, which results in a diminishing of the feeling we all have of separation. As other areas of the brain are activated, we find ourselves able to truly experience reality, through the senses - to actually taste a banana, to see our spouse for how he or she is, to hear the sound of our child crying. A whole new world opens to us where we are in direct contact with reality, as it is, without being carried away by the never ending chatter of the mind, its evaluations and interpretations.

It is an ancient understanding that higher states of consciousness of an awakened being can actually be transferred to another, through a specific initiatory process. We in Oneness utilize this ancient understanding by way of the Deekshas to help you grow and heal. These states are transferred to participants, through the Deekshas, who are able to then have a direct and personal experience of these higher qualities of love, unity, joy, silence, and Oneness. In order to receive the blessing, a blessing giver will place his/her hands lightly on your head for about 30 seconds to transfer this divine energy to you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

movie review: "Solitary Man"

"Solitary Man" opens with Johnny Cash's version of the song which to me is a perfect opening. A summary of the plot can be found here: http://www.solitarymanmovie.com/.
The interesting thing about the movie is that Ben, played by Michael Douglas, is a sex addict, who sabotages his life repeatedly by bedding whoever crosses his path, including the 18 year old daughter of his girlfriend, HUGE mistake. Near the end of the movie his life has reached the point that he is talking to those people in his life who care, and is forced to do some examination of his life. Why is he a sex addict?
(Spoiler alert) It turns out that the whole reason is that he fears death. 6 years earlier a doctor told him he had abnormalities in his heart, and instead of receiving further tests and treatment, he started sleeping with everyone who would, which turns out to be quite a few. As the film ends it infers that he has decided to confront all the issues in his life, even though it is very hard for him (no pun intended).
I have thought alot about this movie as I am a spiritual healer who specializes in healing people from their fears. The way I got into healing was I was able to confront the fears in my life, including the fear of death, and walked away free of fear for the first time in my life. By saying that, I am not saying I never have fears. I only say that I know a process whereby we can be free of harmful affects of fear, meaning we can make right decisions for us in our lives without being affected by the fears.
For example, in the movie, when Ben found out he had heart problems, and felt the urge to block out the fear by sleeping with women, what he should have done was simply talk to someone about his fear: his wife, a friend, a spiritual person, but he either felt unable to talk about it OR he felt he had no one to talk about it with.
I suspect in our culture that men, especially, feel unable to talk about things they consider weaknesses with others. So they act out in inappropriate ways, which inside they know are inappropriate but they do so to show and prove that they are in control. Even if the consequences are hurtful to them, they feel "good" about being in control. Ben did that for 6 years until the consequences of his actions became intolerable. Even then he had a hard time giving up control and admitting he needed help, hence the guessed ending.
Women on the other hand, seem very quick to share their fears and struggles with another woman. They feel very comfortable talking about their weaknesses and fears.
Some say this makes women stronger than men, because they are in touch with their feelings and fears. Men say that that makes them weaker, to make decisions on feeling rather than rationality.
My own feeling is that both intuitive decisions are needed as well as rational. Balance is needed in the world. I believe that masculine and feminine energy is needed to both contribute toward good decision. Obviously there are some people who embody both gender energies, and in these persons we have our hope as people who still live in a patriarchal society, who are searching for balance.
This movie exposed those wounds in us. It is an excellent movie full of drama, heartache, crisis and symbolism.

book update

Buck and I have been revising and editing the book over the last 4 months and it is really coming together. As we live the principles and process of the book we discover that we are changed persons, therefore the book changes with us. But we have an appointment with our prof. editor in August 10, so we must be done by then. We have one last ritual to do together before that, The last Supper. Sort of sounds final doesn't it?
The book has become many things. It is a chronicle of our spiritual lives, complete with personal stories. Folks who have read portions of our book say the stories are very interesting and hold the reader's attention. The book is also an explanation of Oneness Spirituality, what that is and how to live in it. It is also a case for the construction of a mystical Christianity or any other mystic religion within ones self.
It also explains God realization and suggests pathways to oneness and the realization that God is within and not in Heaven or out there somewhere.
The title: "Can Christians Be Saved?" is an attempt to challenge our marketable base to read the book. We consider our base to be Christians who have left the Church behind, Oneness blessing givers, new agers, gays, lesbians, and transgenders plus hopefully theologians, and spiritual leaders. We teach the reader to internalize the Biblical stories to discover who we are and to be lead to a view of God as the inclusive, all-encompassing, all compassionate and loving, divine consciousness, with whom we can participate in living- Hooray!
We hope to be done with any re-writes from the edit by September sometime so we can publish in the Fall.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vote for our book

To vote for our book to win the "Next top spiritual author" award, log onto:
http://www.NextTopAuthor.com/?aid=226

and look at our 3 min. video presentation and read the description of the book .

To read the preface of our book, go to the March posts on this blog.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Can Christians Be Saved?" book preface

Preface to our book
After one and a half years, we have finally finished the Book "Can Christians Be Saved?". We will post excerpts from the book all during the year until publication.
Here is the PREFACE which explains more about the title.


Can Christians Be Saved?
by Rev. Virginia Stephenson and Rev. Buck A. Rhodes

Preface

As to the title “Can Christians be Saved”, we offer this book as a vehicle for enlightenment and awakening for all people, Christians and non-Christians alike. In the reading of the book it will become clear that the issue is not one’s religion or lack thereof, but our view of the world, ourselves, divinity, and our fellow people. As to the word “saved”, it is our intention that the world will be awakened to the fact that we are all brothers and sisters, whether we are a different nationality, ethnicity, or gender – and even more than brothers, but ONE together in this world. We believe this knowledge and realization will “save” fundamental Christians from the cycle of judgment, guilt, fear and a misunderstanding of divinity.
The Bible is the quintessential religious text of the Western world, and we use the stories from it to show that even the familiar spiritual stories from many of our youthful experiences, can bring us to truth. The God that we teach throughout this book lies inside of us, in our heart and soul, and we have only to realize who we are to experience that divinity.
Through our years of spiritual work together, we developed a process whereby we could internalize the Biblical stories for ourselves. This process is interpreting the stories allegorically, not literally. To assist the reader in understanding our process we have interjected many of our personal stories into the book. Our hope is that the reader can use our process (or their own) to let these stories live in them as they have in us.
We begin the book with brief personal spiritual histories, and then we get right into the stories. Eight stories and three parables from the Bible are given to our process of allegorical interpretation and are included here along with our personal reflections on what the process meant to us. We then include some of our background investigations: to explain some terms and to explain oneness. We conclude with several chapters on the spiritual tools to realize and experience Oneness.

Buck Rhodes
Virginia Stephenson
March, 2010
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Copyright 2010 by Virginia Stephenson and Buck A. Rhodes

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi probably had as many relevant quotes as there are grains of sand, but here is one for today.

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, February 25, 2010

acceptance speech

Speech given by Virginia Stephenson on 2-19-10 at the Albuquerque Conv. Ctr for the Pride magazine “Models of Hope” awards banquet. The awards are given to 3 recipients who are role models for the LGBT community.
There were 80 persons in attendance.

Virginia's speech:

Thank you all and thank you to Teresa and to Pride magazine for this wonderful award. It is indeed an honor also to be given an award with Don and Roberto, both of whom are tireless workers for our community. Thanks guys for all that you do.

I would like to speak for 5-10 minutes tonight on the state of the transgender community.

Just this month, the results were released on a survey of San Francisco students in Middle School and High school, and the survey found that 1.9 percent of the students in Middle school and high school are transgender. Transgender would include transsexuals, gender queer, and gender variant students, and 1.9 % is 450 students in that school district. It also showed that 13% of middle school students are gay, lesbian or bisexual, and 11% of HS students are G,L or B. These figures are significantly greater than expected.
All of us who are activists know that we have not been doing LGBT activism for ourselves, but for the generations to come, and this survey shows that there are many, many of us to come.
In addition, the survey exposed that many students experience bullying in their schools. Jordon Johnson is here from EQNM, who has an anti-bullying initiative in place and active in the state, and the survey showed that 7% of heterosexual students had skipped school because they felt unsafe, while 11% of GLB students had, but 56% of the transgender students had skipped school because they felt unsafe. These are alarming statistics.

If we extrapolate the transgender percentages to the entire nation, it would mean that presently there are 1.1 MILLION transgender students in middle and HS across the nation. Now I know what some of you think, that perhaps the percentages would be higher in San Francisco than anywhere else because of the welcoming climate to LGBT persons, but consider that that only means that young people are only more able to come out, not that they do not exist as LGBT in the same percentages in other states. The transgender community is indeed experiencing exponential growth.

At the time when the numbers of trans people are increasing, our community finds itself under attack like never before. Documents in our affirmed gender are becoming harder, not easier to obtain. Changing the gender markers on driver's licenses and SS cards are very difficult. At the same time health care insurers are forbidding insurance to transsexuals, and I am NOT talking
about them covering gender changes, I am talking about the denial of any health insurance. Employment discrimination is rampant, both in us finding employment and in keeping our jobs if we transition on the job. And there has been significant increases in violence against trans people. Penn Baker and Stephani Patton are here tonight, and they produced the transgender Day of Remembrance in Nov. of last year, and they told me that violence against trans people rose significantly from 2008 to 2009.
I was in Florida presenting at a conference at the DOR last year, and the conference had a service for the DOR. After I spoke at the service, Rev Debroah Johnson, a leader in LGBT communities of faith and greatly respected in the LGBT community rose to speak and she said these words:

“I really believe that the reason trans people are being attacked at these alarming rates, are because of the culture's reaction to the political and social gains of gays and lesbians in the last 10 years. The people that hate want to strike out and punish us, and the most visible of us are transgender people.”

I do not know the truth of that statement, but I greatly respect Rev. Johnson. I do know that trans people have stood side by side gays and lesbians in the fight for equality in NM for many years. I want you to understand that we are fighting battles relating to basic needs, rights and safety, and just as we have been good allies to our community, we need your support in achieving these basic rights.

In closing and with a personal note, let me say that my spiritual path is very, very important to me. It gives me community .....and meaning to my life. In many ways I am my spiritual path, ....and as that relates to advocacy, it gives me 2 things. 1. It enables me to endure and rise above cultural oppression, and 2. it teaches me to forgive, and to love those who hate me.
I pray for that peace on all of you tonight, and thank you again for this wonderful award.


End speech