Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor

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May the Lord continue to bless and preserve you.
Consulting Your Soul

Recently I approached a traffic light where a man stood in shabby clothes with a three-legged dog by his side. As I waited for the light to change I looked at this scene with compassion and felt an urge to contribute something. The sign he was carrying indicated that he was homeless. The people in my car commented that he was a strong young man, there were plenty of employment opportunities, and why should anyone give to people who are capable of working. They indicated a kind of mild contempt for this man soliciting funds whom they felt "should" be working. My thoughts were on him and the fact that he cared for and fed this crippled dog. I rolled down the window and gave him several dollars for which he expressed enormous gratitude.

As the companions in my car semi-scolded me for being a sucker and for enabling him to continue to be a beggar I thought of some words of Mother Teresa. "You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway." Truly this was not between me and my friends in the car, nor was it between that homeless man and me. It was between God and me. Something inside of me urged me to extend love and a little cash to the man and his dog. That "something" was a fleeting moment of consulting my soul.

To me, spiritual and physical are not two separate dimensions of reality. I
think of spiritual practice as a way of making my life work at a higher level
and receiving guidance for handling my problems. The ways in which I do this involve a few simple, basic practices:

Surrender is the most crucial and perhaps most difficult for me. In surrendering, my thoughts are something like this: I simply do not know how to resolve this situation and I am turning it over to the same force that I turn my physical body over to every night when I go to sleep. I trust in this unseen
part of me to keep my heart beating, my blood circulating, and so on.

Accessing spiritual solutions means converting my inner thoughts and feelings
from discord and disharmony to love. In the spirit of surrender and love I
silently chant, "I invite the highest good for all concerned to be here now." I
try to see anger, hatred and disharmony as invitations to surrender and love.
With this understanding I have the option to allow spirit to manifest and work through me. I believe my spirit is inseparable from the infinite. Having a relationship with the infinite part of myself encourages my recognition of
spiritual solutions. The awareness of my infinite nature is terrific for putting
everything into perspective.

My approach to problem-solving involves cultivating an empty mind. In this
space I listen, and allow myself to have complete faith that I will be guided in
the direction of resolution. I let go of my ideas about how something should be resolved.

Finding spiritual solutions to my life's problems always involves generosity
and gratefulness. For me, this means giving my life to my soul purpose and being grateful for the opportunity to do so. I believe that I get back from the world what I put out to the world, not only physically but also in terms of my
thoughts. So, I recommend spiritual practices that involve being generous and grateful with thoughts as well as actions.

Nurturing a sense of connectedness to everyone and everything invites spiritual solutions. When I see myself as connected I am not looking for occasions to be offended or to judge. I don't see anyone as my enemy or an obstacle. This is how I relinquish negative self-talk and connect to the solutions that are available to me. In moments of despair I try to affirm, "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing that is separate from me."

Finally I choose cheerfulness as a gauge of my level of spiritual consciousness
at any given moment. The more cheerful, happy, contented, and satisfied I am feeling, the more aware I am of my connection to spirit. So, does all this mean I'm suggesting that you always give money to people who ask for it? No. But I am suggesting that the next time you see someone asking for money, look at that situation as being between you and your spiritual consciousness - between you and God. Consult your soul and if you feel that you don't want to give, don't. But rather than letting anger or judgment rule the moment, offer that person a silent blessing from the part of you that is a part of him. This is consulting your soul.