Render Unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s

In the US, this year, we’re having elections all over the place. Primaries and General Elections

Whether we feel inspired or discouraged, the main issue isn’t whether we’re feeling inspired or discouraged.  As people who care about the world we live in and hope to find ways to help, the real issue becomes whether we’re going to do what we can to help.  The real issue is whether we’re willing to try with what we have.

The ballot box is one way of trying.  Even if we don’t see many good and wonderful options in that ballot box – the issue becomes whether we’re willing to try to do what we can with what we have – or in this case – with who we have.

When we go into the ballot box, we’re not just saying “my vote counts”. We’re also saying, “I matter” – “I count” We’re saying I am one person and I matter in this world, in this nation, in this state, in this county and in this community. I matter. I touch this world. I am here.  I am alive.  I matter.

Granted, We may not be saying this aloud to anyone.  More often, we don’t even realize we’re saying it within our own self. But, we are.

If we believe that as individuals we can have value by being alive, then we count as an individual alive in our world, right now.

Some may ask me, “Jodie, if you know the future or know who is going to win, why do you vote?” My answer is always – because my opinions, my thoughts, my ideas, my feelings have value – maybe not to “you”, but they do to me. And I’m going to express them.  I matter and all of that which is within me matters.  The other answer is that peoples’ freewill choices can change.

Someone once asked me who I was voting for and I told him. He said I was throwing my vote away, because that person couldn’t possibly win. But, I voted for the person who I WANTED to win, not for who I thought could beat the other person. I voted for who I wanted in the office – not for who I thought had a chance to win against the other person.

To me, I wasn’t throwing my vote away, because I voted for the person I wanted to hold the office. Others have the strategy of voting against “the other person”, whomever it may be that could beat “the other person”.  I wonder how many people don’t vote for who they want to hold the office only because they don’t think this person could win. Instead, they vote for someone else because they vote against the other person – thinking this person could have a chance to win. This type of vote is common and it’s focus is – voting against a person, rather than voting for a person. They vote for who can prevent someone else from winning.

We all vote the way we want.

Final thoughts:  John Adams once wrote (paraphrasing here) “Either wise men will come forward to run for public office, or others will.”

I add this:  “Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser’s” also means contributing in our own way to being a part of the government system that we have accepted in our nation.   When wise men and women don’t come forward to run, we are left with those others that do run and get elected.  Being part of the citizenry, we still matter.  Our vote still matters even when we are called to do the best we can with who we have – those that run.

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PS.  Someone else (I don’t remember who) mentioned a comment that (paraphrasing again) “when the younger generations [or any of us for that matter] don’t get involved, don’t run for office or don’t vote, this becomes a statement saying to the world, ‘we want rich, white old men determining the direction this country should be going’ [and all it’s policies.]” Obviously that’s a lot of generalized negative opinions, but it is a noticeable comment, nonetheless.

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Love Is It

Every individual struggles to live life as best as possible, even with all the hurdles we place in front of ourselves, and the stumbling blocks we cling to. Yes, our lives are filled with difficulties, pain, suffering and the like. Even when we have wonderful things to potentially make life easier, bring joy and be less painful, and bring happiness and have less suffering, our lives are not free from any aspect of life. We simply have a different kind of pain and suffering in our life.  Some of it is easily seen, and some of it is hidden to everyone except ourselves.

No individual’s life is strictly either black or white. No life is strictly either pain or joy. No individual, no soul is strictly either good or bad. Consequently, no experience is strictly only good or bad, black or white, pain or joy.

In our world, we know suffering exists and many of us try to help there be less of it. In our world, we know that understanding God more can help there be less of it. Yet, again and again we run into the wall of the differences between our efforts and our results. Over and over we seek ways to offer others insights or learning which we have with the hope of reducing suffering and with the hope of increasing understanding and compassion in our societies and the hearts and minds of people.

It is so common to get very discouraged and saddened when we believe that we’ve been ineffective and unsuccessful. If we hold to this belief – that we’ve been ineffective and unsuccessful – or that we haven’t even been able to change ourselves or enhance God’s presence in our own lives, then we can also become depressed or despairing – feeling that we get nowhere with our efforts at changing another’s consciousnesses.

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But, if we open our minds just a little bit more, we’ll be able to see something different happening. If we can see that our effort at changing our self is the superior path – the path that brings us to greater awareness of our world through the greater awareness of our self, we can begin to see that, of course, we’re going to get depressed about our ability to change somebody else. Of course, we despair when we think we’re here to put love into someone else’s heart.

There’s a paradox here.  These tasks are not realistic tasks for us. These tasks are not the tasks set before us by God.  These tasks are not why we’re here. We’re not here to bring salvation to someone else. We’re not here to bring enlightenment to someone else. We’re not here to bring about someone else’s greater learning.

We’re here to demonstrate something special.  We’re here to seek salvation within. We’re here to seek enlightenment within. We’re here to come to know our own self as uniting with God within. We’re here to seek our own greater learning within.  We can do this by loving God above all and loving our neighbor as our self, and demonstrating all of the above.  What we learn from this is a very simple realization.

Each time we love or express love in some way, each time we feel love in our hearts and demonstrate it, we are in a very real way, bringing God’s consciousness, energy, and vibration into this plane in order to affect this plane – like a tuning fork, to raise the vibration of all things. Each time we love, regardless of who or what receives, we are opening to allow God to have a greater presence in the world. Each time we love, the love energy extends and strengthens the connection we have, and increases our awareness of the Oneness of all life. Each time we love, the world, the planet, the environment we’re in changes. Each time we love, we change.

This means the way to healing is to love in a greater capacity than the way of illness. This means the path of illness, dis-ease, darkness or whatever we call it and this path’s strong inertial pull, can be changed by choosing to love and sending this love out.

While the path of love is not an easy path to walk, it certainly offers more than the path of trying to change others instead of ourselves. It offers more than the path of thinking that we’ve failed because the world is still “crazy” even after all those meditations and talks we’ve done. It offers more than the path of trying to figure out what what we’re supposed to be doing to make ourselves “spiritual.”  It offers more than the path of believing that spirituality is what we do rather than what are.

The path of loving is the path that can offer the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and taking life one day at a time.  The path of loving is a path of demonstration of all that has been said in this article.  Every time we love, we bring God in all God’s Infinite Consciousness into the present moment into this space that we’re in. Every time we love, we demonstrate love to someone who may have forgotten it.  There is no greater spiritual act that any of us can enact than to love. There is no greater spiritual purpose to which we can attain. There is no greater spiritual path that we can progress upon.

Love is it.

Now, a few questions:
If any of us died right now, would the people in our lives have known for certain that we loved them?  or would they think something else?  If anyone we knew died, right now, would they die knowing that we loved them?  or would they die thinking something else?

What is the harm of demonstrating to someone else that we love them?  What is the harm of expressing to all life that we love all life?
What is the harm of showing God that we love God?

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This article is dedicated to a friend of mine – someone I love.