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Embracing the Shadow – Inner Peace Tip by Catherine VanWetter

iconic void by Gisela Giardino via Flickr

by Catherine VanWetter

Debbie Ford, who wrote the book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, has finished a movie called “The Shadow’. It was released June 26, 2009 and is available for purchase. It is a movie well worth watching.

I have been following Debbie’s work for years and had the opportunity to meet her at the Chopra Center in LaJolla, California, and again at the Coronado Hotel in California.

Debbie’s workshops focuses on that part of ourselves that we push away and that we are ashamed of. It’s that part of our self that we don’t like and try to hide. The shadow is sneaky and can show up as a sarcastic remark, as judgment, or in criticism. When uncovered, it often laughs, as if to soften the edges of being dishonest, cruel or unfaithful.

Carl Jung, a psychoanalysis, coined the phrase shadow to describe those places in us that are often buried deep in our unconscious. The parts of our self that we try to forget about and hope that no one sees it. Everyone has a shadow. Whenever we are not in love, joy or light, we are in the shadow.

I work with individuals and groups who want to uncover their shadow thus shedding some light onto it. They have come to a place in their life where the shadow part of them brings them so much grief and pain, that they want to get to the core of it. It takes courage to do this depth of work because we often go into those places in us that we would just as soon ignore but that keep coming up, reminding us of their existence. It’s like having a thorn in our side. We’re aware that it is there and yet it is illusive and shows up as addictions, distractions, anxiety and depression, to name just a few.

Between Shadows by loquenoves / Pía

Between Shadows by loquenoves / Pía via Flickr

Throughout my years of training and self-healing, I have begun to come to a place of peace within myself, and my shadow. My sense is that the shadow’s initial intention was to protect us. One of the ways that the shadow did this was to help us feel that we were connected to those around us and that we had something in common with others. We could talk negatively of someone, gossip, and “puff” ourselves up because we thought that we were better than the one that was being ridiculed. Yet, that part that we didn’t like in someone else often was a part in us that we didn’t like. This is where the ego plays a huge part in the shadow. If we are proven wrong, the ego expands, and if we are successful in hiding our shadow it expands as well. Often people who begin to get in touch with their shadow may have the dark night of the soul or several, where the parts of them that are no longer working show up in the middle of the night as they are trying to sleep. It’s that anxiety attack that seemingly comes out of nowhere waking them from a deep peaceful slumber.

As one begins to notice the shadow and shed compassion light on it, then the true work of resolving that part can occur. Until we have compassion for that part of our self and become aware of it, as a witness, we will not be able to embrace it. The shadow shows us duality. With the dark is the light. There are saints and there are sinners. This duality allows us to see the contrast that we walk in everyday. It’s finding the balance and honoring all of our self, especially the shadow. By doing this we can heal that shadowy part that has kept us from our pure essence of light, love and joy.

St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow 00.jpg

St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The times that we are in are challenging and as a result are activating many people’s shadows. It’s showing up as road rage, pervasive anxiety, violence, corruption, and betrayal. The shadow is appearing in ways that is evasive and often sneaks up on us when we are not conscious, when we’re stressed out or tired. To become aware of our shadow and how it shows up our life is to begin noticing it. It’s in the noticing that we can begin to come to terms with it, and to begin to heal that part of our self that has been deeply wounded. Give yourself permission to begin this sacred healing through gentle noticing and deep awareness. You may be very surprised at the gems you find deep within your shadows.

About the Author:

Catherine VanWetter is a Holistic Family Healing Practitioner trained in a variety of healing techniques that help people find Inner Peace Through Generational Family Healing. She invites you to be gentle, compassionate, and courageous as you put down your weapon of choice and step into a field of Grace. Additional information on this and similar topics are available at Catherine’s website, blog and radio program “Inspirations of the Heart”. Catherine invites you to a complimentary copy of her Morning Meditation, Welcoming A New Day. All may be found at

Article Source: Embracing the Shadow – Inner Peace Tip by Catherine VanWetter


The Harmony thesis

By W.J.Darlington

God of Heavenly Punishment

God of Heavenly Punishment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is my whole-hearted belief that out there, in that vast cosmos, is a grand puppet master

a creature born from stone, forged amongst the blazing stars, pulling all the strings. Twisting the will of man.

This deity seeks balance and order, so it manipulates mortals to carry out his will.

Why it seeks balance? we may never know

is there some reward? perhaps

does this creature hold all the answers, or does it give us the questions?

I know this theory sounds insane and inexplicable. Especially since, to the unobservant one, the world is not balanced.

There is war and strife. Hate and rage. Children are dying, and innocent blood is spilt everyday

but at the same time. Children are born, homes are built and half the world is at peace, while the other half rages.

There can be no light without darkness.

A world of light will always have the rebellious, the hateful and the dark hidden away in it’s corners.

The same can be said of a world of darkness.

A world of dark will always have hope, determination; a candle in the night

Do humans really have free will? It is in our nature to wage war, to fight. It runs throughout all of nature, yet we believe in peace loving deities that believe in imaginary worlds with no strife.

Is it so crazy to believe that something out there doesn’t want peace? That something doesn’t want the western indulgence?

Image via Tumblr

If the gods wished humans to be peaceful, then why did they program us to instinctively wage war amongst each other?

If a god wants the decadent west to fall, then why did it create it in the first place?

Why should a king need to prove itself to it’s subjects with some prophet and a handful of miracles?

Every religion has some guideline. A book, a scripture, writing on the wall, Something! But why? Why are these guidelines not deeply imprinted in our minds? Why do they need to be drilled into us from birth?Perhaps the true guidelines are already within us. The will to fight for dominance, to balance the world may be our guidelines.

What if the gods we bow to are simply creations, meant to cause strife and peace amongst man, in the pursuit of true harmonic balance.

Believe my theories, or don’t. The choice is yours, but you cannot deny my theory is sound in many aspects.

Thank you for reading

Article Source:

About the Author

A well-read scholar who has studied human behaviour, religion and Balance for several years


Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 5)

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation ...

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation by Rubens, 1628 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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A Final Word on Violence

In Christian mysticism, peaceful living and spiritual growth go hand in hand. As the believer increases in perfection and becomes closer to God the soul usually experiences an overall increase in heavenly graces.

The ideal Christian washes not just the outside but the inside of the proverbial cup to receive the pure waters of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 23:26). In this metaphor the cup represents the self, the soul, and the person who ultimately is bound for heaven.

So Christian mysticism never justifies violence but rather, gentleness and humility.

One might object to this claim by citing Joan of Arc, her inner voices apparently coming from God and urging her to lead the French army into battle. But it was the Catholic Church which eventually canonized St. Joan. The New Testament Gospels, themselves, never condone violence.

God or no God?

As noted earlier, religion can get complicated. Whenever one forwards a given assertion, an exception usually arises. On the issue of violence, we might point out the notion of the Just War and, for the matter, the bellicose Old Testament which Catholics embrace as originating in God. Having said that, the New Testament and Buddhist ideals about non-violence clearly differ in the sense that Buddhists do not believe in an ultimate, omnipotent, omniscient and eternal God, while Christians obviously do.

To repeat, Buddhists do not believe in God. Instead, Buddhists normally contextualize the idea of God saying “God” is just another cultural idea to surpass on the road to Nirvana, a journey involving the belief in reincarnation.

In Christianity, however, an unselfish love of one’s enemies arises from inviting the living presence of God to dwell in one’s heart. Happiness isn’t just inside, as so many non-Christians (and even some Christian pop singers) say. Rather, happiness is having a good relationship with God, who ultimately exists beyond the self but also immanent.

Unlike Buddhism, Christian salvation cannot entirely rely on one’s own contemplative efforts because God, and not oneself, is seen as the source of all goodness and being. Some see this ultimate dependence on God as a weakness but from a Christian perspective it’s just the way things are. One can only go so far through one’s own initiative. And that, for many Christians, is a significant limitation for Buddhists and for any New Age thinker who thinks they can reach the highest high through their own efforts.

To complicate things, Buddhism does speak of compassionate and intervening bodhisattvas who dispense graces to seekers along the way. But these exalted beings are not regarded as God. A monotheistic God is never present in Buddhism and at some point even bodhisattvas must be surpassed to enter into the nothingness/fullness of Nirvana, a place where the apparently illusory idea of individuality also vanishes.

Granted, some Christian mystics do talk about losing the self in a boundless ocean of God’s love, but God never disappears from the picture. And it’s doubtful that Christian mystics are advocating a complete loss of individuality. Instead, their metaphors seem more like happy fish in a boundless, beautiful ocean instead of the more Asian notion of drops of water dissolving in the sea.

Heaven and Hell

The Buddhist perception of heaven and hell is related to a discussion about violence and non-violence. Hell isn’t eternal for Buddhists. It’s more like a stopover in a lousy hotel room where one eventually checks out. Likewise with heaven. Heaven is described as a sort of ‘spiritual health spa’ enjoyed between lifetimes. So the reincarnating soul eventually departs from heaven to become fully enlightened. In fact, in Buddhism one encounters numerous heavens and hells before attaining full enlightenment.

Upon attaining enlightenment, Buddhists say the soul realizes it, itself, doesn’t exist. And at this point, even the idea of past lives becomes illusory. After all, how can you have a past life if you never existed?

These are interesting philosophical ideas but a Christian hoping to reach everlasting heaven might wonder if the Buddhist heavens could be astral realms and not heaven as understood within Christianity.

Since Buddhist hells are not eternal, they perhaps would be closer to the Catholic notion of purgatory because for Christians hell is eternal. Nor is the Christian hell a mere way-station or, for that matter, trendy or humorous Hollywood fantasy as portrayed in movies and video games. “See you in hell!“¹

For the vast majority of Christians, hell is just hell, forever and ever. And when it comes to the opposite, namely paradise, the Christian understanding of grace as a living presence that guides believers to everlasting heaven is relativized and absent in Buddhism. True, different Buddhist schools speak of emptiness, fullness and enlightenment. And they mention transitional grace and temporary heavens and hells. But Buddhist do not believe in everlasting heaven and hell as articulated within Christianity. So it stands to reason that the graces that Buddhists speak of are not the same thing that Christians talk about.


This brief comparison indicates that the scriptures and beliefs emerging from Krishna, Buddha and Christ have points of similarity but are not equivalent. As we’ve seen, the Mahabharata speaks of peace but in the Gita Krishna emphasizes holy warfare. By way of contrast, Christ, as part of the Holy Trinity is said to be co-equal with God and the Holy Spirit and, rather than engage in violence, is willing to sacrifice himself on a cross. While non-Christians may see this as misguided and some Buddhists (like D. T. Suzuki) say it’s “distasteful,” for Christians it is the ultimate point. This world is not it, and fighting and killing for material gain is not the way to get to eternal happiness.

We’ve also seen in the above that the Buddha doesn’t believe in God, and Buddhists say that the Buddhist nirvana surpasses the Christian understanding of heaven and hell.

The Hindu Krishna and the Buddha each speak of many lifetimes and associated opportunities for salvation through reincarnation, whereas the Christ of the Gospels entreats disciples to get it right the first time because (presumably) there is no such thing as reincarnation.

To overlook these and other differences may be well-intentioned but it’s also imprecise. And it’s doubtful that a fuzzy, misinformed belief in religious homogeneity will contribute to meaningful dialogue and genuine interfaith harmony. Promising commonalities can be discerned among today’s faith groups, but it will take clear and honest thinking for humanity to walk peacefully into the 21st century and beyond.


© Michael Clark

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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 4)

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

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War and Peace

When interpreted literally, the Gita says Arjuna shouldn’t be upset because his killing is in accord with God’s will. If Arjuna detaches himself from his feelings bad karma will not arise from his violence.

Most Hindus would probably say Arjuna’s not angry on the battlefield. If anything, he’s initially reluctant, almost like a Hamlet who just can’t muster up the gumption to act.

Ultimately, Arjuna does his duty for God, fulfilling his dharma as a kshatriya, a member of the warrior caste. That is, he kills, making the Gita and the New Testament present two remarkably different pictures.

God (as Krishna) in the Gita exhorts Arjuna to engage in violence while God (as Jesus) in the New Testament says that merely thinking murderous thoughts is tantamount to being a murderer worthy of hellfire. In other words, Jesus says don’t even consider violence (1 John 3:15).

But the New Testament goes even further. It calls upon believers to love their enemies, turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute them.

Because the New Testament doesn’t subscribe to the belief in reincarnation, Christians ideally should try their best to lead good lives, here and now—and not in ten, twenty or a hundred lifetimes down the road.

There’s a difference in both emphasis and direction between these two texts that’s hard to overlook. The Gita affords violence a sort of mythic grandeur, obscuring the harsh realities of blood, guts, pain and death with lofty prose and untenable metaphysical rationalizations, while the New Testament clearly directs believers away from violence.

For Jesus Christ — at least, the Jesus of the New Testament — violence among human beings is unacceptable.

Copyright © Michael Clark.

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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 3)

English: Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Another Inconvenient Truth

Although the religions of Krishna, Buddha and Christ each allow for the idea of the Just War, they arguably differ.

Let’s look at Christianity first. Christians generally put more stock in the New Testament (NT) than the Old Testament (OT). The NT advocates turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemies while the often spiteful and bellicose OT speaks of gaining “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Christian theologians say that the OT and NT inform one another. And Jesus Christ is often said to be present in the OT. But the NT is also taken as the fulfillment of the somewhat imperfect OT, as embodied in the person, teachings and living example of Jesus.

True, the Christian Bible consists of both the OT and NT, and, as mentioned, the OT has its fair share of nasty bits. But from the OT to the NT there’s a clear and definite movement away from violence to peace, from tribal retribution to the global message of selfless service.

This worldwide message of “peace above all” is universal. Christians unanimously agree that anyone can convert to Christianity. By way of contrast, some Hindus maintain that one must be born a Hindu—that is, for some Hindus true conversion for non-Hindus is not possible, a stance that seems tantamount to racism and hardly a universal message for mankind to unite in peace.

While some public figures like to gloss over this obvious difference between Christianity and some Hindu fundamentalists, it cannot be denied. And mere platitudes that obscure the issue aren’t going to change this inconvenient truth.

© Michael Clark

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The Good Shepherd and The End of the World

By Fr. Thomas R. Harding, Th.D.

This homily has been posted with the direct and generous permission of the late Fr. Thomas Harding, Th.D. (1918-2005).

There are some great quotations in the readings today. In the First Reading, Isaiah 25:9-10:

This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in His Salvation.

In the Responsorial Psalm, Psalm XX111, the most familiar of all the 150 Psalms:

The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul.

In the Second Reading, the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians 4:19:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

In the Gospel of Matthew 22:

when the invited guests did not come to the Wedding Feast of the King’s son, the King told his slaves to go out and invite everyone whom they met so the wedding hall was filled with guests” “And so it will be when Christ the King will invite everyone into the Kingdom.

Thank God we have the Good Shepherd, Christ the King as Our Saviour.

His Second Coming will mark the end of the world, as we know it. For some time now we have been threatened by terrorism and world-wide conflict. We can’t help but wonder if the “end of the world” is near. How and when will the world end?

There are many eventualities. We generally think of the end of the world as a Sidereal Cataclysm, a doomsday,¹ a day of wrath and so we do not look forward to it.

There are so many stars hurtling about and brushing past. There are so many exploding worlds on the horizon, so surely by the implacable laws of chance, our turn will come, and we shall be stricken and killed or at least we shall be left to face a slow and lingering death in our earth-bound prison.

Meanwhile, apart from this possibility, we are ever more threatened by internal dangers, by biological or chemical warfare, by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of evil people, by onslaughts of microbes, by organic counter-evolutions. Sterility, wars, revolutions, pollution of the earth and water, the atmosphere, the stratosphere; there are so many ways of coming to an end.

So to sum up, there are eventualities. We have turned them over in our minds. We have read descriptions of them in the novels of the Goncourts, Robert Hugh Benson, the works of H. G. Wells, modern science fiction,² Star Wars, or in the scientific treatises of famous men and women.

Each of them is perfectly feasible. We could at any moment be crushed by a gigantic comet, and equally true, tomorrow the earth might quake and collapse beneath our feet. Or some individual or group could trigger a nuclear war to annihilate us all. Or we could be the victim of global warming, of gas emissions or the toxic poisons of industry, while leaders of businesses and governments could drag their feet in facing up to the warning of Kyoto Protocols and postpone their action until the year 2010 or 2020 for the sake of profits. That may be too late.

However, we have higher reasons to be sure that these things will not happen. Surely the Lord, the Good Shepherd, the Mighty Watch Man will intervene and come rattling His keys to rescue us all. Surely this is in the hands of God and His plan for the end of the world will be fulfilled.

As a matter of fact, the End of the World will be a Triumph of Christ as it is identified with His Second Coming. Christ has already put His plan into place. The last days come in two stages.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the first stage. By these saving acts, Christ introduced into the world and into human history the final order of things. The new creation has begun. We already have eternal life.

The second stage will be the second coming of Christ. But I have good news for you. Before that there will be the “Golden Age of Peace”. Evil will have been reduced to a minimum and disease and hunger will have been conquered; the war on poverty will have been won and people will be living by the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount and there will be unanimity, love and peace among men, women and children on earth.

Then Christ will come on the clouds of heaven, accompanied by all the Angels in great power and majesty to judge the living and the dead.

For as lightning comes from the east and shines even to the west so will also the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:27).

By the way you can read the prophecy of the Golden Age of Peace in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 11:6-9 and in Chapter 65. It is described metaphorically as follows:

Wolves and sheep will be together and leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves and lion cubs will feed together and little children will take care of them. Cows and bears will eat together and their calves and cubs will live in peace Lions will eat straw as cattle do. Even a baby will not be harmed if he or she plays near a poisonous snake. On Zion, God’s Holy Hill there will be nothing harmful or evil. The land will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water.

So cheer up. The Golden Age of Peace lies ahead. As Pope Paul VI said on one occasion: “No more war. War no more.” Everything is in the hands of God.

May George W. Bush, Tony Blair, the United Nations, Saddam Hussein and people of all nations join together in praying to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for the “Golden Age of Peace” to come Amen! So Be It!

References in Sacred Scripture to the Golden Age of Peace

Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25
Joel 3:10
Mica 4
Zechariah 3:10
Revelation 20:6
2 Corinthian 12:2-6
Revelation 9
Isaiah 4


¹ In the original manuscript: dooms day

² In the original manuscript: scientific fiction

This homily is not to be copied, duplicated, modified nor distributed in any way

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Gandhi in vogue among American celebrities

Gandhi Memorial by Steve Fernie

Gandhi Memorial by Steve Fernie

Special to

Peace icon Mahatma Gandhi appears to be back in vogue among Hollywood and other celebrities.

Saturn award winner actress Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) was spotted in New York City streets wearing V-neck T-shirt displaying Gandhi’s large picture.

Actress-supermodel Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl), Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Golden Globe nominated Jessica Alba (Dark Angel), Grammy nominated Rihanna (Good Girl Gone Bad), etc., also reportedly carry Gandhi T-shirts. DJ I-Dee (Isaac DeLima), scratch music prodigy and winner of DMC USA, was seen in a Miami (USA) club wearing neon Gandhi T-shirt.

A prestigious fashion themed exhibition titled “Italian knots: Evolution, language and style of the tie”, organized by Associazione Culturale Colosseum Roma, showing at Embassy of Italy in Washington DC (USA) till July two, displays Gandhi’s picture prominently along with the pictures of the likes of Oscar winner George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck).

Acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcoming Gandhi’s rediscovery by American celebrities, urged them also to look deeper into Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, his commitment to world peace, and his work for the upliftment of the downtrodden.

Rajan Zed, who is chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, further said that although Gandhi never set foot on America, yet he was on Time magazine covers in 1930, 1931, and 1947; Time Person of the Year in 1930; and was runner-up for Time Person of the Century. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts.


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