Monday, December 7, 2015

A Big THANKS To The Blog's First Subscribers!

'Tis the season of gratitude and giving! And in that spirit, I'd like to say thanks to all of you who have already subscribed to the Explore Spiritism blog by sending you a FREE copy of my book Changing Lives with Spiritism!

No strings attached. Just a token of my appreciation. If you've already subscribed and would like one of my books, I'll just need to know where to send it. 
J Please check your inbox for the email I've sent with my offer and request for your mailing address. And a big THANK YOU for following!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes You Just Need Someone With A Perispirit

- The Blessing of Having Spiritual Benefactors - 

On the day my husband and I were married, our wonderful pastor said something that has always stuck with me in more ways than one. There were many details that made that ceremony quite special, but one of them was the message she delivered. I appreciated that it was quite simple and meaningful. At one point, as she was speaking about the value of having that very special someone to go through this journey of life with, she mentioned that even when our faith in God is strong and we trust in God to get us through the difficult moments, it still just really helps to have someone “with skin on”.  You know, this is someone who you can see right there before your eyes, who can converse with you, hold you in his or her arms, and travel with you through the ups and downs of life.  I loved that idea, and I still do.

Fast forward to today. While I still recall and cherish those words, they remind me of how grateful I feel to also know about and appreciate the invisible, spiritual benefactors that we have alongside us, something I only became aware of through my studies of Spiritism. By these spiritual companions, I refer to loving discarnate beings (spirits, like ourselves, with the spiritual body called the "perispirit"* but not presently incarnated in a physical body). Accompanying us even when we don’t know they're there, they help us in so many ways - inspiring us (and others in our lives) with new and uplifting ideas, bringing us comfort and encouragement when we are down, giving us courage when we are afraid, and so much more.

[*Note: For those interested, you can read more about the perispirit here].

Even when we have friends and loved ones whom we can count on, there are times when there is not someone immediately available in a given moment, or when, for whatever reason, we do not want to share our thoughts or feelings with another incarnate person. Even in those moments, we are not without support from another realm. When we are feeling desperation, anguish, anger, sadness, fear, you name it, we have invisible friends and loved ones by our side.

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This kind of reassuring consolation is poignantly captured in the answer given to Question 495 of “The Spirits Book”, where we are told:

“Isn’t it a very consoling idea to know that you always have at your side beings who are more evolved than you, who are always there to counsel, sustain, and aid you in scaling the rugged mountain of the good, who are more reliable and devoted friends than the most intimate connections that may be contracted on earth? These beings are there at God’s orders. It was God who has placed them at your side; they are there out of love for God and they fulfill a beautiful but laborious mission alongside you. Wherever you may be, your angel will be there with you: in prison, in the hospital, in dens of iniquity, in solitude; nothing separates you from that friend whom you cannot see, but from whom your soul nonetheless receives the gentlest impulses and hears the wisest counsels.”1

Spiritism teaches us a great deal about our invisible benefactors. These include our personal spiritual mentors, loved ones who have passed on before us but who remain connected to us by way of thoughts and sentiments, and even “strangers” who wish to help us.
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I’ll admit that even when I pray to God, I’m not sure I could do so with the same degree of faith that I do now if I did not have the understanding and vision of the spiritual world that I have acquired through Spiritism. This is one reason why I so cherish and so enthusiastically recommend Spiritist books and novels that help us to see what the interactions between the spiritual and material realms look like in action.

It is simply so reassuring to know that we are never alone. And I, for one, am truly grateful.

Thank you for reading!

Blessings to all, today and always

1 See question and answer #495 in The Spirits’ Book by Allan Kardec [original title in French: Le Livre des Espirits, published in 1857 with 2nd edition in 1860], translation © 2006 by the International Spiritist Council, authorized edition printed in 2010 by Edicei of America.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dear “The Spirits’ Book”, You Had Me At “What Is God?”

Confession. I did not immediately take to Spiritism. In fact, I recall at first verbalizing to my (now) husband, who introduced Spiritism to me some 18 years ago, something to the effect of “Well, that’s fine with me that you have ‘your thing’, but I don’t think it’s for me.”  Seems funny to me now to even imagine that! However, I have to remember where I was coming from and the fact that I’d not yet even picked up a Spiritist book at that point. Truth be told, it didn’t take long after that for me to become hooked!

The first Spiritist book I had the chance to read was The Spirits’ Book, and I’ll admit it that it brought me - all at once - a mixture of excitement, interest, and a strange feeling of stepping into this “secret other world”. I really don’t know how to explain well that feeling, but in my naiveté, I had no idea back then just how many people knew about spirits, spirit communication, the spirit realm, etc. As a side note here, perhaps that was a good thing. After all, not too far down the road, that ignorance of mine would be a factor in driving the sense of urgency behind our creation and development of the Explore Spiritism website. And the truth is that there are still a whole lot of people who do not know about the realities that Spiritism helps us to understand; so it’s important to continue sharing.

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Amidst all else I was feeling at the time, I did truly find The Spirits’ Book to be very intriguing. Question after question, I started to see the “spiritual fog” I had long felt immersed in begin to dissipate. In fact, right from the start, Kardec and the spirits won points with me with the first few questions and answers, starting with question #1: “What is God?” 

Notice that it was not “Who is God?”

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We learn from the first section of The Spirits’  Book that at our current stage of human development we do not yet have the capacity to fully understand, nor even the vocabulary to express, a fully extensive definition of God. From our perspective at this time, however, we can at least understand that God is, first and foremost, the supreme intelligence and first cause of all things. In addition, we can talk about certain attributes that, while not complete, do at least represent a list of qualities we can justifiably use to describe God.  

In “The Spirits’ Book”, the attributes identified and discussed are: eternal, unchangeable, immaterial, unique, all-powerful, and sovereignly just and good.

You can read more about the Spiritist understanding of God here on the Explore Spiritism website 

I loved finding in The Spirits' Book an explanation of this “something” (not “someone”) both perfect and greater than all else in existence. I always had trouble imaging God as if God were some sort of individual or personal figure, like a “guy in the sky” grossly speaking. Kardec’s question didn’t start from that viewpoint, however. Nor did the spirits even say anything remotely like that in their answer.

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Now, I know that even though God is defined by what, not who, you will still find us Spiritists occasionally using wording that seems to contradict this - making statements, for example, about what “God wants” or referring to ourselves (human souls) as “God’s children”. This doesn’t have to be an issue. As our knowledge and our vocabulary progress, our expressions about God will likely evolve as well, and in the meantime they help us to think about and reflect other concepts. I’m reminded here of two analogies that I’ll share to help explain.

Consider computer systems. I find that when my coworkers and I talk about the IT systems we use, it’s not uncommon for us to make references to what a system “knows” (as if it were operating with a human-like intelligence), or we’ll comment on how well two different systems “talk to each other” (as if they had dialogue as a way to exchange information).  Do we really mean our words in the literal sense? No, we employ them in order to convey concepts in a way that is useful as part of a broader discussion.

Another visual that comes to mind for me is that of the monkey bars we uses to play on as kids. Do you remember swinging like apes from one bar to the next, crossing from one end to the other? Well, when you cross those monkey bars, you have choices. If you want, you can use the momentum of the swing to fully let go of the latest bar touched bar before having your forward-positioned hand grab on to the next bar (even if skipping one in between). Likewise,  you could let go of the last bar immediately upon grabbing the next one, or you could even pause so as to remain hanging for some time with one hand on each bar until you are ready to fully let go of the back bar and move on to the next one.

Using terminology at times that in one way or another seems to personify God is rather like using the third approach for crossing the monkey bars. I think that sometimes, until we can fully grasp the new perspective and have everyone on board with the vocabulary and background knowledge to embrace it, we just find it helpful to verbalize certain thoughts with one hand still on the old "bar" of expression.  

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I'm ok with the fact that we do this, (a) precisely because I, too, sometimes find it to be helpful and (b) because I know that we do look ahead to where we are ultimately going. At least we recognize that we have more bars to cross; meanwhile, even with an old one still in hand, we are simultaneously touching the newest one, and we can see and shoot for the ones even further ahead. We can also pause to help those who’ve not yet had the same exposure to this vision, so that they too can see the true potential that is our common destiny.

And meanwhile, we can learn more about the supreme intelligence and primary cause of all things -  otherwise known, by Spiritists, as God.  ;)

Thank you for reading!
Blessings to all, today and always

Friday, November 6, 2015

Room For Improvement

This expression has become a sort of running joke in my family. Growing up, I always heard from my father that in his own youth, no matter what kind of grades he brought home from school, if they weren’t straight As, his own father would always tell him, in a loving way I’m sure, “Room for improvement!”. As a youngster, that bothered me a bit. It was different from my own experience. I don’t ever recall being told that about my own grades. What I remember most is being told to just always do my best and then striving to make my parents proud. It disturbed me to know that my father would get that kind of reaction if his results were less than perfect. Let me just add that my father is one of the kindest, smartest, most generous and hard working people that I know. So I imagine my admiration for him gave a little fuel to that mild resentment I was feeling. Over time though, I got over it, and in fact in my family we often use the words “room for improvement” to tease one another when a situation permits. Coincidentally, I think it’s also a fun way for us to evoke the memory of my grandfather.

By now I’ve gone so far as to come full circle in my thinking with regards to those memorable words.  In part, the maturity of adulthood allowed me to entertain a new perspective. Spiritism, though, is what really has really given that idea of “room for improvement” such significant meaning. I learned in Spiritism that we existed before this material lifetime, and we will continue to live on when it’s over. Just as importantly, who we are and what we know, today, is not a product of this lifetime alone. Nor are we done learning or becoming! Though it sounds cliché, it’s true; life is a journey. In this pilgrimage of the immortal soul, we are gradually acquiring knowledge and virtue. We are far from perfect; in fact, have tons of room for improvement.

Spiritism has given me motive to work actively and consciously on my own progress. It has taught me that I am accountable for my actions, not because I will be damned to hell for the mistakes I make but because life is about choices and their consequences, good or bad.

Today I can fully appreciate those words that my grandfather left imprinted on my father’s youth and the legacy it has become among those who love him.  I want to always keep in mind that I am on a journey toward becoming a perfect spirit but there’s a whole lot more of that road yet to travel. So let those words be my mantra, my battle cry, my daily reminder that my future is in my own hands.

Thank you for reading!
Blessings to all, today and always


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This post is dedicated to my grandfather, who I love dearly, miss much, and thank often for this important life lesson that for me was first handed down through my father and later became reinforced, actually taken to a new level, through the knowledge of Spiritism.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

And So It Begins. The Very First Post!

Welcome to the Explore Spiritism blog! This new space is the latest addition to existing resources offered by the Leon Denis Spiritist Group.  Our Explore Spiritism website is a gateway into the discovery of what Spiritism is all about, offering a structured format to learn more about the fundamentals of Spiritism.  The Explore Spiritism and Leon Denis Spiritist Group Facebook pages help us to build awareness about Spiritism and put us in contact with like-minded individuals across the globe. 

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Still, there are things yet to say, ideas to share, and discussions to have! There's news to be spread and information to ponder. The Explore Spiritism blog will provide a forum to make things a little more personal with commentary, reflection, and exchange. 

LDSG is all about seeking to understand and reflect on our spiritual existence, inspired by the life-changing perspective of Spiritist knowledge.  This blog will offer one more way to shine light, spread love, and share the blessings of Spiritism.

Please be sure to subscribe so you can be notified when something new is added! 

Thanks and see ya on the blog!