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Talk given on Anzac Day 2010

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Post by Wes Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:20 am

Last Sunday I gave a talk at the Rosa Tingey Centre and at Jim/Lis's suggestion I'm posting the text here, complete with "ad-libs" Razz

On a day like today where our thoughts are with those who had the passion and commitment to take up arms for a cause, it’s also worth remembering those who took up arms in other ways to fight for a cause.

Such as the early spiritualists who fought for the abolition of slavery and those who campaigned for equal rights and freedom of choice. There are many ways to stand up for something and all those who did are worthy of our thoughts


I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and there once was a time when thinking just wasn’t the done thing – if you thought the world was round and revolved around the Sun, you’d be very gently encouraged not to think, by being burnt at the stake.

What prompted this thinking was a spiritual church I went to recently in Brisbane, where they sang a song that seemed to be saying that God is our own personal rescuer and we should be grateful to him because we can’t rescue ourselves.

That didn’t sit well with me, as I’m pretty sure we can rescue ourselves, and if we want to involve the assistance of God or of Spirit, it’s up to us to ask – that’s what our gift of free will is all about.

My thinking on this topic led me to turn to Silver Birch for any thoughts he might have had about God and religion – I was very surprised to read that the topic was something he was very passionate about:

When asked if it was right to hate anything or anybody, Silver Birch replied:

“I do not hate anybody….But I can hate systems and desire that they be abolished. I can become angry when I see cruelty, when I see the results of greed and malice and the lust for power.”

One such system that gets a mention is theology, where he says:

“I know that theology has been a great curse to your world, but its day is practically done…our allegiance is not to a Creed, not to a Book, not to a Church, but to the Great Spirit of life”

So it looks like god is in the firing line here, but isn’t god another word for the Great Spirit, so how can Silver Birch be against one and not the other. He explains:

“There is no personal God apart from the one human beings have created… There is no golden heaven, no fiery hell. These are the imaginings of those whose views are limited”

So if I have it right here, Silver Birch is very much against a humanised god, and that god is the biblical one. I wonder if that god is any different from the ones born from superstition and ignorance in times long gone.

Those Gods were the stock answer to any question that did not yet have an answer:

Why is there lightning? The gods must be angry
Why is there thunder? Well, the gods are fighting
Why is it raining? Because the gods are crying

And being the self centred and self absorbed creatures that we are, it soon became clear that these gods’ lives revolved around the affairs of humans, and they liked to punish us with floods, famine, earthquakes and the like. Which MUST have meant that we were doing something wrong and therefore deserved to be punished.

So it would not be a surprise for a cleric to say something like: earthquakes happen because of promiscuous women who don’t wear enough clothes.

The fact that this happened last week might be a surprise – if you ask me it’s not angry gods we should be afraid of, it’s the women whose fashion sense can cause earthquakes – THAT is true power!

(Now there was a bit of an earthquake here in Adelaide last week wasn’t there, does anyone here want to own up for causing it?)

Anyway, it wasn’t all about us though; the gods’ private lives were quite a soap opera. Take the Greek gods for example:

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Post by Wes Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:21 am

Sure, they took great interest in the affairs of humans, taking sides in wars, playing favourites (how far would Odysseus have got without the patronage of Athena?), sowing their wild oats with human women, often without their consent – Zeus was especially fond of doing that (the movie wrath of the titans gives an example of his style – disguising himself as a woman’s husband and having his way with her), and he was the one in charge on Mount Olympus - What a wonderful role model!

But they also got up to a lot of mischief with each other. For example the blacksmithing god named Hephaestus had a bit of a limp and was the subject of much mocking from the other gods. He was married to Aphrodite and just like Zeus she played the field, often with the god of War, Ares.

Hephaestus eventually had enough of that and crafted a golden web and trapped them in the act, again much to the amusement of all the other gods. Now there’s a storyline that never wears thin in the Soapies.

(Although these days webcams would be used rather than the much more expensive golden webs)

Perhaps we got tired of the soap operas or just lost patience with the gods’ antics, but at some stage in history we decided the gods needed downsizing, and just like the dinosaurs the gods disappeared and were replaced by just one deity, the one true god.

This was good news for us because it meant that we had ALL of god’s attention, and that maybe he would treat us a bit better than the old gods did, because we were all he had.

So that would mean the end of playing favourites, the end of taking sides in a war, the end of wiping out most of humanity as a morality lesson, the end of sowing godly seeds in unsuspecting human females. Life would be good.

Well, Cain and Abel might disagree. And Lot’s wife, and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and pretty much everyone expect Noah.

That was the old testament god though, the one that seemed to have anger issues and trouble being impartial. Somewhere between the old and new testament God decided he needed a facelift, that he had learnt from the errors of his “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” days and was a more kind and caring god, worthy of our praise and admiration, rather than our fear and sacrificial devotion.

It is odd though that this new era was ushered in by the impregnation of a married woman, Mary – does “no” mean “no” to a god - did she even got a chance to say no?

(perhaps god was afraid to ask in case she stole his thunder and caused an earthquake!)

Gods new publicist, Jesus, did his job well, his father was no longer an angry vengeful god, he was a god of peace and love – turn the other cheek, meekly inheriting the earth and all that.

(on a side note it’s worth asking what more resonant, a jesus/god or a jesus/human? One was kind of perfect and lived a predestined life, whereas the other always acted out of free will and provides an example of what truly aware humans are capable of)

It may just be a coincidence but these civilised teachings of love and mercy were told to a people living under Roman rule, where being meek and mild would certainly help you stay alive a bit longer.

This moderate approach sat well, for a while, with the exception of war. Time after time over two thousand years wars have been fought in god’s name. Of course the motivation behind many wars had nothing to do with god; it just added credibility and justification to your cause to claim you had god on your side.

In this case he had become a god of convenience, one that would allow you to do unspeakable acts of violence in his name, and as long as you were sorry afterwards, there was no harm done.

This matter of convenience is something that comes up time after time, that all sorts of bad behaviour can be excused by repentance, and that the god of fire and brimstone that became the god of love; had become the god of the “get out of goal free card”

Has god changed over time or have we changed? Was god there in the beginning because we needed an explanation for why things go bump in the night. And once science explained away that bump, did we need god to help us stop killing each other because for some reason we were unable to do that ourselves, and to help us to love each other because we were unable to do that either?

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Post by Wes Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:21 am

If as the bible says, we are truly made in god’s image, then god is a mirror to us as we are a mirror to him – that would explain his very human actions, the wrath, the destruction, the judging and the surprising intolerance that his church is capable of.

It would also explain why, as humanity changed and became more “civilised”, god had to change too – science and free thinking could no longer accept a god that directly intervened with human affairs, with famines floods and wholesale destruction of misbehaving societies.

So we now have a loving, merciful god – if we want one, but we also have an angry vengeful god – if we want one. It all depends on which part of the bible you’re reading at the time, and also what you want god to do for you.

Therein lies the question, what do you want god to do for you? Do you want him to be the beginning and the end of your spiritual journey, or can he be the springboard to greater awareness?

My spiritual journey started with God, and then astrology, and crystals, flower remedies, dream analysis, angels, fairies, tarot cards, oracle cards, meditation and spiritualism. Looking back, it was a natural progression where each step led almost seamlessly to the next, and each step would either replace or add value to the step below it.
I call this process climbing the “ladder of awareness” and I really want to copyright this in case I ever write a book about it.

I’m mentioning this as I believe that even if you feel god has no place in your life, that coming to that conclusion puts you one step closer to greater awareness, as you need to rule out the things that don’t work until you find things that do, and for many, many, people the first rung on the ladder is god and religion.

The second rung might be exploring other religions, and looking at meditation which takes you a bit further up, and reaching a bit higher you find crystals and atunement with nature. From there you might embrace angels then fairies, goblins and orcs. You might stay at that level for a while deciding that goblins and orcs really aren’t for you. Then onwards and upwards to psychic development and mediumship and an ongoing journey.
This “ladder of awareness” (copyright neale martin) is unique among ladders as it has no top rung, it can continue upwards for an eternity as you climb through many lifetimes or planes of existence.

(And the inspiration for further progress up the ladder can be found in all sorts of unexpected places. All you need to do is keep all your senses open to anything you hear, see or read that strikes a hidden chord within you.)


Caesar Millan has a TV show called the Dog Whisperer and he has a very holistic approach to his work with dogs and their owners. For him, projecting the right energy around your pet is the first step in creating a lasting, fulfilling bond between human and animal.

His approach has follow through effects on the owners; as they learn to become more calm, assertive and consistent leaders for their dogs to follow, they also learn to be more balanced, confident and self aware in their everyday lives. It’s like they have jumped a few rungs up that ladder, with not a single mention of god, gods, or spirit.

(doing something helpful and good for no other reason than doing something helpful and good, can have wonderful results – as Silver Birch was fond of saying - “service is the coin of spirit”)

In one episode of his show, Caesar asks “what is it you are willing to give up to truly receive the things you want in life”

In the show the challenge is to let go of our perceptions of dogs as we tend to humanise and personalise them to the point that they become confused, fearful and unbalanced. By allowing dogs to be dogs we can let them meet their own needs instead of own.

(the challenge was to undo what they thought, knew and believed about dogs and start again with an open mind)

We can also look at Caesar’s question in a more spiritual sense:

What beliefs, systems, creeds and ways of thinking are you prepared to give up, in order to find a new awareness and the life you want to lead?
In some cases that means seeing past what you are told, and deciding for yourself what works and what doesn’t. If your version of god or anything else works, then keep it, if it doesn’t then move on with an open mind for the next step up that ladder.

(even if you are at a comfortable level where you are certain you know all you need to know at this stage of your life, there’s no harm in remaining open to new and different ways of looking at things)

As for finding the next step up your own personal ladder, Silver Birch suggests embracing:

“The silence. I am one of you who believe that you should set aside a little of your time each day to retire in the silence of your home and your soul, to allow the power of your spirit to rise to the surface. You are so busy in your world you have little time for spiritual refreshment.

It is only when you are quiet, receptive and subdued, that the spiritual forces within and without can manifest”

So bearing that in mind I will now be quiet to allow you to embrace the silence.

Thank you

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Post by Wes Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:24 am

*I should also add that the Silver Birch quotes were taken from the book "The Spirit Speaks" compiled by Tony Ortzen

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Post by Admin Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:40 pm

Many Thanks Wes it was a very good talk and a good day, very glad to see you again in Adelaide

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