HERETIC ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Monday, December 30, 2019

New Year, New You?

This has became a bit of a handy-dandy catchphrase in the past decade or so. On the surface, it sounds pretty good, right? Most people would love to become 'a better version' of themselves. To become the best person they can be should be everybody's goal. However, although it is an honorable thing to want to be the best ( person ) we can be, it's definitely not as easy as it sounds! How do we become a better person? Well, that's easy; make better choices! Again, easier said than done, right?! Yes, we should make better choices, but really, where do those choices begin? In our 'choice generator' of course, our innermost being, our 'heart'. Here's where we come to the 'crux' of the matter, though & this is where perception plays the biggest key. Many or most of us have been taught from day one that somehow & to whatever extent, we are fallen creatures & that 'the heart [ is ] deceitful above all [ things ] and desperately wicked'. Therefore, in line with this reasoning, since our choices originate with the 'heart', we really cannot make good choices........................without help, that is!

To be honest, 2019 might be the hardest year on record for me & I know it wasn't any easier ( in some cases, harder ) for many who are reading this! The biggest issue that I've dealt with this year, as in the several years leading up to it, was more than a paradigm shift ( that happened years ago, as some of you are aware ); this was a Shift in Consciousness. This Shift has caused me, even almost forced me, to look at many things differently! Although I wouldn't necessarily say that I have lost any friends or loved ones over it, the relationship that I enjoyed with certain people has felt the strain. Although, to whatever extent, my relationship with certain others already suffered because of my prior shift. Speaking of perception, though, I sometimes wonder if it is simply my own perception that these relationships have suffered. 'The door swings both ways', right? I know that in times past, I have seeming allowed 'being right' over 'being friends' . There IS value in being right, please don't get me wrong, but another lesson I have learned over the past few years, especially this one that is rapidly drawing to a close, is to value relationship, not more than Truth, but more than the human need to be right. It's not that I don't want to be right, or that I no longer care about Truth. It's that, while I KNOW Truth, I will no longer use It as an excuse to play the victim, to separate me from those I love or care about!

I said all that to say this; maybe this is becoming somewhat passe' by now, but I AM, we ARE More than what we normally manifest in this human form, or vehicle. 'How do you know?', you might ask. I might simply respond, 'I just DO!' But this kind of answer, though true, probably won't satisfy most people. 'How DO I know?!' Well, off the top of my head ( so to speak ), I've become more aware, as I walk through this Journey we call Life, that I AM, first & foremost, a spirit-being. Humanly speaking, the words we speak & the things we do are simply the manifestations of the choices we make in our individual spirits. 'So far', you might be thinking, 'this is simply lending credence to the notion that the 'heart' is desperately wicked or incurably sick'. 'No, not really, though I can understand how you might reach that conclusion'. This, though, is where it gets a bit complicated; speaking of the individual spirit, this is where the Ego come into play. I've said it before & I'll say it again; the Ego is NOT a bad thing. It's part of what makes us human. It's when we allow our Ego ( individual spirit ) to overrule or overrun the part of us that is inextricably linked to those we often call 'others' that we run into trouble. As a Christian, maybe the best example I can give is from the Bible, in Genesis 4, where Cain killed Abel because he allowed his Ego to rule over him!

'So how', one might ask now, 'do we stop ourselves from allowing our Ego to make our choices for us?' ( In this case, you could almost call the Ego, 'the Devil' ) First & foremost is to realize that we are not the Ego, It does not define us! Much, if not all the problems in this world is that most people, not all, identify with the Ego ( ie., blame it on the Devil ). We need to remember who we are & why we are here, in this biology. We are here to love. We ARE Love! Although we manifest as individual spirits in individual human bodies, we are all One with What the American Indian calls the Great Spirit! Therefore, even though we are individually manifesting in these human vehicles, there are, in reality, no 'others'. It is not us versus them, with our empires & nationalistic fervor; It is US, sharing the Truth in Love!

Again, 'easier said than done', particularly in this Ego-driven world we live in, but, 'it is what is'! By continuing to strive for the best seat at the banquet, by continuing to view 'others' as somehow 'less-than', simply because of race, color or creed ( even sexual preference ), we will never be able to break this vicious cycle. It all starts with US. Not us individually, although that is where It manifests; we all need to realize that it is not all about 'Me' ( Ego ), though there is nothing wrong with individuality, that's what makes Life worth living: what matters most is the Collective 'US', the Divine Energy that drives us all ( Christians call this 'the Imagio Deo' ) When we remember & this is happening as we speak, that we are all, at 'heart', One, then wars will cease, countries will become borderless & Love will rule!

'As above, so below'; this past year has not been an easy one for ANYBODY! It has been fraught with pain, peril & Peace. Yes, 'Peace'! Through whatever means, whether because of or in spite of the suffering we have undergone, many have found anew, in our 'hearts', the Peace that passes all understanding.

Again, 'easier said than done'! The suffering will continue, though we may pray it eases up in the coming year, for while the world around us is in turmoil & confusion, we carry this Peace in our 'hearts'. As is the case in many a scenario, in many of the current events we witness, it's taken this long to get to the point that we find ourselves & the world in, that it's likely going to take at least that long to get back to where we should be, personally speaking. Can we make that change in the coming year, can we BE that necessary change?! It's really up to US!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Awaking

'Am I really awake?'

Sometimes wonder stills me, doubts assail me.
It seems the harder I try, the more fear freezes.
Learning to let go & let be, is a tough lesson for me!

But 'let it be' must happen & yet it must not!
Confusion assails, a near cousin.
Trying ties the stomache in knots.
Letting go is easier than it sounds.
Without letting go, growth cannot change.

Must grow, must live, must die.
Brilliantly we shine for others to see.
But, we are not here for 'others'!

Choices to be made, things to do, or not.
Change will come, will we or won't we.
Time is just a concept, but it is.
Growth there is, just 'let it be'.
It occurs to us all, as we strive, or no.

Letting go ain't easy, but moving on.
There is no Fear, as days go by!
Its all in our heads, not our hearts!
Wander as we wonder, for there is More to Life than this.

'I AM!'

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Ascension: An Ode to Joy

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We approach, fueled by fire,
Heavenly, your sanctuary,
Your magical powers unify
What custom harshly parts
All men are made brothers
Where your gentle wing spreads.

What is Life all about? Many in this day & age seem to think it's all about accruing as much ( wealth? ) as humanly possible before time expires, whether for ones own personal enjoyment, or for some sort of familial dynasty. Both scenarios have their own issues, but we should all know that Life is about More than mere accumulation: an ancient Greek Maxim, immortally inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple at Delphi, is, 'Know Thyself'. To truly know, or love others, one must first know themselves. Life, then, is not about building dynasties or even leaving a nest egg for our children, although both of these may contribute to our enjoyment of this thing we call 'Life'. It's not even about enjoyment, although one might say that if we can't enjoy the fruits of our labor, is Life really worth Living?! What then, IS Life all about?! Schiller understood that the loftiest goal in this Life is finding Joy, though he seems to point us upwards & outwards for the Source of this Joy. 'How', you might say, 'do we find this Joy?' I'm glad you asked!

First of all, what is Joy? One modern definition is that it is an emotion, a feeling based & dependent on the possession of ones deepest desires. This is not totally untrue, for humanly speaking, our emotions, our feelings are our greatest gauge. They can also prove our downfall, however, for when we base our Joy on our possessions, whether it be the love of another person, or a material object, our Joy can then be lost, for things & people tend to change. In fact, things in this thing we call 'Life' change like the weather in Montana; one minute we could be floating on 'Cloud Nine' & the next minute, we're so 'down in the dumps' that we're almost seriously contemplating suicide ( extreme case ). The point here is that if we base our Joy, much like our Happiness ( almost indistinguishable ), on anything or anyone outside ourselves, we risk disappointment, because ( you guessed it ), 'things change. Situations change, people change, but you know what NEVER changes?!

The importance of truly knowing yourself cannot be denied! Being brought up Christian as I was, the biblical injunction to 'love your neighbor as yourself' has some profound implications, yet it is so simple. The further biblical notion that you cannot truly love 'God' ( whom you CAN'T see ) if you can't love your brother ( neighbor-whom you CAN see ). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out then that one must love, or know themselves before they can truly love, or know, anyone else, much less 'God', Loving God, to most Christians, means doing what 'He' commands, or at least, what the Bible says 'He' commands. There is certainly nothing wrong, in & of itself, with following the instructions in some Holy Book, especially, 'as above, so below', when they say to 'love your neighbor as yourself'. If one is simply following the command ( 'for the Bible tells me so ) to 'love' their neighbor, we might have a problem. I say 'might', because this is not necessarily always the case, but what if we don't really love, or know ourselves? What if all we know of love, we learned from a Book?! What if we only think we know ourselves from what we read in a Book ( Jeremiah 17:9, et al )

What is Love?! We've been here before, methinks, but Love is NOT a feeling or an emotion, though both these are involved in Its outward manifestation! Love is even More than an action, though this IS its outward manifestation! Love begins with our Inmost Being: in fact, one could truly say that Love IS our Inmost Being! Doing ( action ) surely follows, as it is the outward manifestation of Love, but it all starts, as it must, with our Inmost Being. Whether we consciously, as most do, or unconsciously make the choice to express Love towards another individual, outwardly speaking, it all begins with that choice. We may decide, based on our feelings or emotions that we 'love' this or that person & this is not to say that we should not trust our feelings or emotions ( they're there for a reason ), though when we just 'let it be', allowing the Love that we are to manifest on Its own, we will find that Life comes a lot easier, with no stress!

Thus, then, the importance of knowing ones Self! 'As above, so below'; if we do not know ourselves, can we truly know 'God'?! Is 'God' simply who the Bible says 'He' is, or is 'God' something More? The Bible does say truthfully that 'God is love' ( I John 4:8 ), so therefore, we go ( transversely ) back to, 'he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, he cannot love God whom he has not seen?' The Bible itself says that no one has seen God, though the apostle Paul, in what has become known as 'the  Love Chapter'  ( I Corinthians 13 ) says, 'For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.' In context, maybe, Paul's words held more import for his original audience, but, as a Universal Truth, they stand today as a reminder, not that we must wait for the so-called 'Afterlife' to see 'God', but that when we realize the Christ Within & what Love really IS, then we will see 'God'!

So, 'What IS Love?!' Put simply; 'God is Love: transversely, Love is God! Some may say that's a bit too simple, even simplistic, but there it is. Some might reason that 'Love' has too many definitions, that the 'love' in 'I love you, man', 'love is all we need', etc., is something different than what the Bible says 'Love' really is. Like 'God' though, Is 'Love' simply what the Bible says it is ( I used to 'believe' this ), or is it something More? Do we, or even some Holy Book, define what Love is? 'It is what It is'; like 'God', neither we nor some Holy Book can offer anything but our own perception of  what 'Love' truly is! As a wise man once said, 'Love is not a victory march'! Love is not a conquest, it is not something we must do in order to be; it something we are & when we realize it, sometimes even without realizing, Love comes shining through!

It is in this life, personally speaking, that we must come to this realization if we are to have any lasting impact on the wider world! A Spirit manifests its Will through this biology; that's just the way it works. We may go around the world, spreading 'the love of God in Christ', we may even unconsciously manifest this Love without knowing that we are only manifesting our true Self, but our greatest impact will be once we realize that this is us; It is not something we are doing, or something outside of ourselves that we are manifesting.We are not 'mirrors', we are not simply reflections! Even the Bible says that It is within us ( Love/God-John 11:26 ). We are not reflecting the Love that we have been shown, for Jesus Himself said that if you love ( only ) those who love you, you're no better than a tax collector. By sharing the Love of the Christ, that is, the Christ Within, we are manifesting the Love that we ARE!

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Word in Flesh

 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His [c]own, and His [d]own did not receive Him.
John 1:10 & 11

First of all, I want to make absolutely clear that the traditional Christmas Story, while it does have implications for all of humanity for all time ( though it's not what most people think ) & so, IS a Story for the Ages; the Christmas Story that we read in the Bible is primarily one about the salvation of the Jewish people. It's also about their condemnation, but that might be another Story for another Day. This is, however, not to say that the world of our day, or humanity in general, did not or does not benefit from what the historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth did. According to the Bible ( Matthew 1:21 ), Jesus came to save HIS people from THEIR sins! He surely did that, at least to those who accepted Him as Messiah, but He also showed, to anyone who reads His Story ( down through the ages ) that a Man could also be God! 

The 'flesh' of which the Bible speaks can be applied to humanity in general, but primarily, as above, it refers more generally to the Jewish people, or, more correctly, to the Hebrew people. Theologically speaking, it refers in particular maybe, to the Law, or the Law/Temple System. Not to get too far into it, theologically speaking, for that is something I prefer not do anymore, but, as I've postulated before, the Hebrew Story IS the Story of Humanity. The tendency among many, unfortunately, is to allow the Hebrew part of the Story to fade into the background & apply the Story DIRECTLY to us & OUR situation, OUR day & age. There are many ageless truths to be found in the Bible, but when we bypass the Hebrew flavor, we tend to read into the Story what was never meant to be there. In the same vein, then, we also tend to overlook certain blessings that ARE there!

The 'Word' ( Logos ) that was 'in the beginning', actually means just that; 'word'. Just as Elohim breathed life into His Creation, so the 'word' that proceeded forth from His mouth did not return to Him void, but accomplished everything He sent it for ( ? ). In the Story of Israel ( what we know as 'The Bible' ),  it is often taken for granted that when 'Elohim' Spoke the Word, the Universe, with all its constituent elements, was formed, but closer, more careful study will reveal that this piece of Ancient Near Eastern literature is NOT about the formation of the material 'world' in which we live; it is about the formation of a covenant that this 'Elohim' made with His own Creation, the people who would be known as 'Israel'.

As we progress through our reading of the Bible ( I'm writing largely of my own Journey here ), it should become clear that this 'Word', according to the apostle John ( John 11:26 ), resides with ( in ) us. One might even say that It IS us, or at least a part of us. Since we are, in some sense, Creators ourselves, with the ability to create a blessing or a curse with our own words, or the thoughts we breathe, it should be fairly simple to take two & two here to make four. I'm not saying that we created the world ( Earth ), or that we can simply make things appear out of nowhere, just by saying the 'word'; no, we have to put forth some effort too, working to create, or manifest what we imagined with our thoughts & spoke with our mouth, but as they say, 'you gotta start somewhere'!

My readers are by now aware of the fact that I affirm we are Gods! I agree with Jesus when He 'echoed' ( ? ) the sentiment of David King of Israel, telling the religious leaders, 'you are gods'. It is not, however, in our human nature ( our 'humanness' ) that our God-hood rests, though it is often made manifest there ( ? ), but rather in the fact that we are spiritual in nature, of the same essence as the One that Christians call 'God'. Other religions perceive this Divine Source differently & thus call It by a different Name. That this Divine Source ( some simply call it 'Energy' ) formed the universe is abundantly clear! 'As above, so below'; it had to start somewhere! Or did it? Maybe It, like the 'God' that Christians claim, has always been; 'Eternal in the Heavens'!

The Truth is that, humanly speaking, no one KNOWS for certain that their perception of 'God' is the correct one! Human beings can only BELIEVE, unless they see it with their own eyes, that a thing is actually true. The Christian religion tells people that they must take it on faith; they must believe that the God of the Bible is the One True God; Islam doesn't totally disagree that He is the One True God, but He is only One ( Person? ) & His Name is 'Allah'. The Jews are kinda mid-way between the Christians & Muslims, while the rest of the world can go to 'Hell'! Just Kidding! The Eastern religions worship the Source by the Names of Shiva, Yamantaka & Amaterasu, along with a host of other deities, most of which are based, however loosely, on mere human beings.

Back to our Story now, many people miss the fact that we are glorious & powerful beings, even in our humanity, because the Bible tells us, for example, that we are all begotten in sin ( Psalm 51: 10 ) and that even our hearts are desperately wicked ( Jeremiah 17: 9 ). Read in the context, not just of the surrounding passages, but the Rest of the Story, it should be fairly clear that these words were meant for Israel. Can they be applied to us as well? Not really, but in reading those words, we can better understand our own human nature, with its tendency to want see for itself, not just believe everything it's told, just because 'I said so'. 

'Flesh', as defined by Merriam-Websters online dictionary, is 'the soft parts of the body of an animal and especially of a vertebrate'. We are, biologically speaking, little more than animals! We, however, as we've seen, are More than our biology; at the heart of the issue, we are of the same Creative Essence as the One Christians call 'God'! Because of this, we are able, of ourselves, to create, both ourselves & even our environment ( to whatever extent ); by our choices, we manifest that which WE will, 'good' or 'evil', kind or unkind. When Jesus told the Jews ( Pharisees? ) that they were gods, this is what He meant; they had the power, as Judges of Israel, to decide whether this or that was right, whether this or that was wrong. WE have that same Power; by our choices, we decide what kind of environment we're going to live in, spiritually speaking. Our choices determine whether we will be a rest in 'Heaven' or whether we will perpetually slave in 'Hell'!

Not much of a Christmas Story, eh? Well, we can't be jolly & cheerful ALL the time, now can we?! But we don't hafta be 'The Grinch', either! By exercising our God-hood in a creative, not a destructive way, we can ensure that, although it may not always be stars & tinsel, in our hearts, we will know the Peace that Passes all Understanding.  In that Way, if in that way only, we ourselves may celebrate the Christmas Story, knowing that we are an Essential part of it!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Great Expectations; 'Under Pressure'

The Pressure to Perform is without doubt the hardest part of any relationship ( pun intended ). This applies to any relationship ( not only physical/sexual ). In a Work Relationship, for instance, if one cannot perform the assigned task well, in a timely manner, that one very likely won't be employed very long, if at all. In most Personal Relationships, the case is much the same; if one person cannot well-supply the 'needs' of the other, whatever sort of arrangement the relationship exists under, it probably won't last very long either. This often is related to the Work Relationship as well; if one person cannot keep their 'job', for whatever reason, this in turn will most likely affect any Personal Relationship he or she may be in.

There is nothing wrong with having expectations! If we never expected anything, mostly of ourselves, we would probably never get anything done. On the other hand, if we jumped off a cliff expecting to sprout wings before we reached the sharp rocks at the bottom, we would be very disappointed...........for about 1/100th of a second, that is! The problem there, if indeed one perceives it thusly, is that expecting a human being to suddenly exhibit behavior we normally attribute to birds is pretty unreasonable. Expecting to be able to jump far enough out over the cliff to land in the deep water is not so unreasonable, though it's pretty risky, no matter ones physical condition. The expectations we have of ourselves, however, are somewhat different than those we have of others. When we expect things of others, we must take into account, among other things, the feelings of that person. For instance, a person may, to all appearances, be as fit as a fiddle, but if they're having an 'off' day, make one tiny mistake/miscalculation, etc., it could mean the difference between life & death!

Marriage, at least as we're most familiar with the term ( pun intended ), is such a proposition. As most popularly defined, marriage is full of expectations. The husband is expected to provide for his family; in the same vein, the wife is expected to support him in his endeavor, as well as to nurture & care for any children that result. This is not to say that this is necessarily wrong, in & of itself, for to provide for the other person, especially what he or she cannot provide for themselves, is an important, if not absolutely necessary, part of any relationship. This applies as well to both husband & wife. When these expectations are not met, for whatever reason, the relationship often hits the sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff!

The problem with having expectations, even when they're 'reasonable', is that we'll almost always be disappointed! This is not, though, to say we should NOT have them ( ? ), for 'as above, so below'; if we don't expect anything, in particular, of ourselves, we'd never get anything done, personally speaking. The problem appears when we base our happiness on those expectations. When we're happy or satisfied with our partner only when he or she fulfills our expectations, our happiness won't last long, nor will it be true happiness.  For true happiness, one must simply BE!

Living without expectations, whether positive or negative, is truly the best way to BE!  When one doesn't expect anything, whether from their partner or themselves, they will never be disappointed! It is difficult, I will admit, to be in ANY kind of relationship without having expectations, but in order to remain in ANY relationship, we must learn to deal with disappointment, or else to live without expectation. Living without expectation is not easy, in fact, in this day & age, I daresay that most people perceive it to be well-nigh impossible. It is, however, NOT impossible! If we do not expect anything from anyone, much less ourselves, as above, we will never be disappointed. If we're never disappointed, we have nothing to be unhappy about. If we have no reason to be unhappy, we can only BE......you guessed it; HAPPY!

To be happy in ANY relationship, particularly marriage, we must learn to live without expectations! 'But', one might say, 'I expect my wife/husband to act according to to their marriage vows; that's what he/she signed up for!' Marriage is more than vows & though, according to the institution of marriage, a man or women has a 'right' to expect certain things of their partner, they also have the 'right' to be disappointed when all these things are not fulfilled! Marriage being more than just an agreement between two persons; when two souls are united, realizing their spiritual nature, the following relationship cannot be based upon any personal expectations. Such a relationship is eternal, not being based on expectations, but rather, being 'grounded' in the heavens!

One might well say that to have expectations is a purely human condition! It is in our human 'vehicle', this biological wonder that we are blessed ( ? ) to inhabit, that 'feelings', or more correctly 'emotions' originate. This, really, is not quite true either; our individual soul, one might note, is actually the origin of our 'feelings'. Our emotions, from which come expectations, are based in perception, which DOES originate with our human nature. Programming, or training, also has something to do with our perception. Whether religious or 'secular'' ( ?), we have all been taught, or trained to expect certain things of certain people. It is only by returning to the beginning that we can overcome this 'conditioning'!

To return to the beginning, we must first realize that we are not here simply to 'perform'! This is not to say, of course, that we must do nothing, or even that we SHOULD do nothing; there is plenty that we should & must do! For instance, we must do what we can to maintain this vehicle so that we can fulfill our purpose in this biology, in this incarnation; we should do our best to provide for those we have placed in our care ( wife, children, etc. ): all this is personally speaking. We, however, as we've explored to some length in this blog, are More than the Person; we are More than just Doing: we are BEing ( s )! Not just Human Beings either, though this cannot be denied, nor should it be overlooked ( ? ): we are, at heart, in our innermost BEing; of a Spiritual Nature, Pure Energy, some would say. In order to bypass the Pressure to Perform, this is what we must return to; the realization that, while we are in this incarnation, in this biology, for a Higher Purpose; we are here primarily to BE, not to DO, though again. there is that! May we, as Higher Beings with a Higher Purpose, help others to realize this Glorious Fact!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, December 01, 2019

A Mythology for Today

The definition of 'myth', found at Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary website, is, 'a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon'. A myth, therefore, is usually a true story, though not necessarily entirely factual, though based on actual events. Any piece of literature contains some element of mythology, be it an autobiography, biography or history book. The Scriptures of most if not all of the world's religions fall under this classification as well. The Christian Scriptures, in particular,  must be read in this way or else a deep misunderstanding of much of the text will undoubtedly follow!

With that said; 'On with the Story!'

John had quite an imagination! In his world, there was no such thing as religion, therefore nothing to fight over. There was no such thing as a 'Heaven' above ( except the sky ) & no 'Hell' below. John would likely tell you that the only 'God' there was to 'fear' was the One inside each & every human being, their Higher Nature. In John's idealistic world, there was no such thing as 'mine': it was 'ours', if it 'belonged' to anyone.To be sure, John knew that if such a world were to exist, the human beings that peopled it would have to use their imaginations as well & even though most laughed at John's dreamings, he knew he wasn't the only dreamer......................

A typical 'day' in John's dream-world involved everyone, including Nature, living together in harmony! This does NOT mean, though, that everybody liked everybody; just because they all got along in the most sincere & loving manner imaginable, there were still fields to plow, animals ( what we call in this world, 'lesser beings' )  to care for & buildings to maintain. Even for those living from the Higher Nature, there were still differences to overcome ( if that's even the right word for it ); life in this human shell, as even John realized in his world of dreams, meant dealing with humanity, though it was a Higher Humanity!

Religion, Organized Religion anyway, was a sure way to unleash a world of trouble on an undeserving world; John knew this from experience, having been raised in its unhealthy fear! With all the differences between people, as it was, there was enough to deal with, without separating into groups ( denominations? ) of those who were 'right' & those that were 'wrong', 'us versus them', so to speak. As above, so below; there were still obvious differences to get past, but once the people learned to live from their Higher, instead of Lower Nature, even though there were those that resonated better with some more than others, they were able to live together, or apart, for that matter, not just in spite of, but because of their differences!

The Higher Nature, or 'Godhood' that John knew was necessary for such a world to exist is not beyond the reach of any human being. In fact, It exists within each human being; It is in fact, a very necessary constituent, believe it or not, of our humanity. Speaking of belief, not that there is anything wrong, in itself, with belief; in John's wide experience, he knew that when beliefs are exalted above what Is, trouble is sure to follow, to whatever extent. If we did not have that Spark of Divinity within us, we would exist in no way, shape or form! Organized Religion & in particular the three major world-wide ones, Christianity, Judaism & Islam, teaches its adherents that not only is there an Angry 'God' out there somewhere, ready to drop the hammer at a moments notice ( even on a whim, so it would seem ), but 'He' has a chosen mouthpiece on this earth to spread 'His' Good News, 'His' Truth.

Organized Religion has no place in John's Imaginary World! The only religion John knew, if religion it could be called, was to live ones life in peace, to love others as you loved yourself & to treat others in the way you wished to be treated. Other than that, as long as they didn't harm anyone in the process; John really didn't care what anyone else did. In this world, he knew, one couldn't count on everyone responding in kind, but John also knew that the more people started living in harmony with the Laws of Nature, loving & being loved, the more this world would begin to look like the world he imagined. The wars that have been & are being waged in this world would no longer occur, as most if not all wars ever fought have been based in religion, or blind faith. Faith has its place, as John well knew, but blind faith was a clear & present danger, not only to those who held it, but to the world around them!

John was a Prophet of Peace; he didn't claim to be the mouthpiece of some Angry God out there somewhere who watched 'His' children with a critical, all-seeing eye, ready to hurl 'His' lightning bolts of justice at any of them who dared disobey. No, John knew that any 'God' who treated 'His' children like this was egocentric at best & psychopathic at worst! If any lightning bolts were to be hurled, it would take place within oneself, being hurled by oneself. This too, is where the whole notion of separation exists; it begins within oneself & thus that is where it must end. John knew, as we all must, that the only way the world of which he dreamed would manifest is if we, the practitioners of magick, would realize that Spark of Divinity within ourselves, then within those around us in an ever widening circle & thus manifest the Gods & Goddesses that we, by Nature, are!

As Gods & Goddesses in our own right, living as John imagined, from their Higher, rather than Lower Nature, in Harmony with all of Nature, loving without borders, we can forget such things as Pride & Nationalism! We can rule over our own Ego ( nobody else's ) by loving others as we love ourselves & treating them, not as they often treat as, but as we would like to be treated. John himself was often beleaguered by his Ego, but as we must, he had learned how to master it, much like his body, not by forcefully dominating it, but simply by using it for a Higher Purpose!

The World that John imagined DOES exist! In fact, it exists right alongside of this world that we call 'real', just on a Higher Plane. However, I can't take you there; I can show you the door, but YOU  must step through it, You must make the conscious choice to learn to know yourSelf, your Higher Nature. It's not easy, not by any stretch of the imagination, but 'oh, it's worth it', as John well knew & though it's at first a lonely existence, you'll find that it's closer to 'Heaven' than you've ever imagined!

Charles Haddon Shank