Wednesday, August 31, 2011


During Oprah's final monologue on the Oprah Show she deviated from her prepared talk and mentioned God and His importance in her life and to her success.

She did so with a wry grin and immediately acknowledged , "I know, I know, there's going to be people that get their back's up because I mentioned God. Oooohhh, not God, don't bring God into it."

And she is right. Mainstream society doesn't want to hear it; it's almost taboo. Don't bring up God or prayer at work, you'll be labeled a freak or a Bible thumper. Don't bring up God at your PTA meeting or you will be given strange looks as other parents move away from you as if they may become infected with religiosity. In some situations people will even become angered if the subject is brought up.

It seems that for many people  God and prayer is only acceptable in church, synagogue or temple, weddings and funerals, or when one is experiencing moments of profound misery so great that it causes an involuntary outcry for mercy. And yet, there are multitudes of people who have a personal, spiritual relationship.with God that they maintain and deepen through an active and meaningful practice of prayer.

Recently I borrowed a book called, TALKING TO GOD: Portrait of a World at Prayer (2006, Stone Creek Publications) and the truth of this was brought home to my soul in a most profound manner. I believe in God and I converse with Him on a daily basis, but I am one of those people who hedge their bets in public in order to avoid controversy. I skirt around the God issue in conversation or with my pen  and keyboard as if He were taboo. I refer to God as the Universe, or the One, or the Source, or the Absolute  -- not an outright denial, but certainly couched in terminology that I think would be more acceptable to others who do not think of God on a daily basis, and to whom the practice of prayer would seem alien. And I wonder in my inner space what God thinks of this. It certainly is a bit stand-offish. If my son or daughters were to refer to me as "that woman of my origin" or "she who raised me" instead of Mom, I would be hurt and offended.

The fifteen essays that are gathered together in TALKING TO GOD contain wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Of the six prayers sandwiched in between the essays, I was only familiar with one -- the other five were beautiful prose offering praise and glory to God that filled my cup and my soul to overflowing. And accompanying the text are vibrant, beautiful, soulful photographs that display the worship, prayers and faith of all the world's major religions. Uplifting and enlightening, the book is a blessing. Here is a selection of the inspiring quotes, blessings and prayers from its' pages:

He who is in the sun,
and in the fire,
and in the heart of man
is One.
He who knows this
is one with the One.

The Upanishads

Photographic Credit:  Mark Downey - Lowell Thomas Award for Photography
In Nara, Japan a man stops to offer prayer outside  the Todai Temple

God's answers
are wiser
than our prayers.


Photographic Credit: Richard Nowitz - 1996 Travel Photography Award
Russian Orthodox Nuns, Easter Celebration in Jerusalem

Prayer does not change God
but it changes he who prays.

Photographic Credit: Alison Wright -- Freelance, 1993 Dorothea Lange Award
Prayer bridges the generations. Tibetan Buddhist's at Sarnath, India

Beauty is before me
And Beauty is behind me
Above and below me
Hovers the Beautiful
I am surrounded by it!
I am immersed in it!
In my youth I am aware of it..
And in old age I shall walk quietly
The Beautiful trail.

Navajo Blessing Way

Photographic Credit: Stephen Trimble - Ansel Adams Award for Photography
An Apache Sunrise Ceremony Initiate - covered in cornmeal and earth
Honouring the Elements

The world is holy.
We are holy.
Daily prayers are delivered on
The lips of breaking waves,
The whisperings of grasses,
The shimmering of leaves.

Terry Tempest Williams

Photographic Credit: Louise Gubb - Images of  the Apartheid Struggle
Mass at Christ King Cathedral, Johannesburg, South Africa

Oh God, help us in this darkened period of human history to remember once again who we are and what the purpose of our existence is here on earth. We have become usurpers of the human state, parading as human beings without full awareness of what it really means to be human. Rather than being a channel of Thy grace for Thy creation, we have decimated the harmony of life on earth, pushing many of the species (including ours) to the verge of extinction.

Oh God, awaken us at the begining of this new era from the dream of negligence and help us to fulfill our responsibilities as representatives of Thy sovereignty here on earth with essential duties toward each other and toward the whole of creation. Help us to remember our true nature, to recall whence we came and wither we shall go. Aid us in the journey of life to do Thy will and to act as the bridge between Heaven and earth, thus fulfilling the role for which Thou didst create us. Shower Thy grace upon us to be a beacon of light rather than a dark cloud for the ambience that surrounds us. Only with Thy aid can we create the peace within and harmony with the outer environment, both natural and social, for which our souls yearn. Only awareness of Thy oneness can prevent us from idolatry and dispersive multiplicity that destroy all that our inner being seeks. We pray Thee to help us remain true to our inner selves, to that primordial nature which we still carry in the deep recesses of our souls.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The holiest Name in the world,
the name of the Creator
Is the sound of your own breathing

Lawrence Kushner

If you like this article, or if you have an opposing opinion, please leave a comment below. We invite you to browse the site to see what else may interest you. We would appreciate your support of our site and the concepts we encourage and promote by having you join as a FOLLOWER, or by SHARE-ing this article with your FRIENDS on Facebook, or by adding your email address to our mail-list. WAY-FINDER WEEKLY is scheduled to be launched end-September -- its purpose is to assist single-parent re-enty students feed their families during the duration of their studies. This program is not intended to provide stop-gap, food-bank type assistance, but rather, meaningful, dependable assistance they can rely on without a loss of dignity. These striving individuals are attempting to improve their lot in life and to give their children a better foundation. They are deserving of help. Your moral support will help make this worthwhile program happen!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MORAL EDUCATION: A Series of Articles on Moral Literature for Children

About Influencing Young Minds

In Plato's Republic, he asked, "Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales, which may be devised by casual persons; and to receive into their minds ideas, for the most part, the very opposite of those we should wish them to have when they are grown up?"

An excellent question parents should ponder.

A daily barrage of influences, both good and bad, bombards children, in today's society. From birth, their sponge-like minds begin to absorb the things they feel and see, and once their language skills take hold, what they hear. Parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and family friends all influence what that absorption includes. The media is another source of influence, and a frightening one at that. Plato would be mortified at all the "casual tales" we as parents today allow out children to absorb through television, videos and other forms of media.

Greek mythology and the ancient Greek philosophers gave the world a treasure-trove of "moral-lessons" literature. Their intent? To advance culture and to assist the commom-man to attain a higher level of understanding in order that humanity would strive to live right.

Aesop's Fables are a wonderful compilation of short little narratives that touch on, and teach about, many moral issues. They are ancient tales, and may seem out-of-date, but can be tweaked and revised into modern anecdotes that teach valuable lessons of good character. The Roman poet Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, wrote about the need for parents to guide their children.

Many modern-day educators and parents have cast away the old moral tales as too violent, too horrific and an inducer of nightmares in small children. To some extent this may be true, but to my mind, these tales were not meant as a bedtime story to delay lights out -- "just one more story, pleeeeassssse!" I think they were written as a teaching tool: to be read together -- parent and child, or teacher and child -- and then discussed. How can this concept be applied to the child's life? These valuable tales were meant for the education and training of  the young mind -- to turn the light on -- not off!

If you like this article, or if you have an opposing opinion, please leave a comment below. We invite you to browse the site to see what else may interest you. And we would love to see you support our site and the concepts we encourage and promote by having you join as a FOLLOWER, or by SHARE-ing this article with your FRIENDS on Facebook, or by adding your email address to our mail-list. WAY-FINDER WEEKLY is scheduled to be launched end-September and its purpose is to assist single-parent re-enty students feed their families during the duration of their studies. This program is not intented to provide stop-gap food-bank type assistance, but rather meaningful, dependable assistance they can rely on without a loss of dignity. These striving individuals are attempting to improve their lot in life and to give their children a better foundation. They are deserving of help. Your moral support will help make this worthwhile program happen!

The New Paradigm: Shifting Us Into A New World Order

By Serena Aubrey (Copyright, 2011 -- All Rights Reserved)


It starts as a whisper, and if you don't hear it, it builds a little louder. And if you still manage to ignore it, it becomes a SHOUT! And out of that SHOUT comes CHAOS.

What is this thing that starts out quietly, and builds until it creates mayhem? Who hears this whisper, this SHOUT?

It is UNREST this thing that starts out as a whisper. It starts as a whisper in the hearts of men and women who have, for far too long, lived under conditions that do not allow them personal freedom. They have lived under the regimes of mad men, wrong men, powerful men, men who are ruled by greed, men who have no compassion, men who have no love. They have lived under the rule of men who have forgotten how to be human.

When it builds up into a SHOUT, this unrest becomes a movement, a revolt, an uprising. This is an awakening of a regional proportion. This kind of awakening gathers momentum as each individual adds their voice to the SHOUT. It moves with an energy and vibration that can not be stopped. The thoughts of many join forces and the vibration strengthens. Finally the SHOUT erupts into CHAOS, and out of that CHAOS comes ORDER. And out of that ORDER there emerges a NEW WAY. One where rulers are forced to hear the words of the ruled. One where voices have more strength than firepower.

Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya in 2011..........the voices overpowered the fear of reprisal or swift punishment. The governments were weakened and the will of the people has, or will, prevail. It  is time for the world to SHIFT into a new paradigm. One which will bring PEACE to all people.

In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage -- to know who we are and where we come from. Without this enriching knowledge there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainment in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and a most disquieting loneliness.

Alex Haley

Caroline Myss, in her book, Entering the Castle (2007), writes that from the time of our infancy we live our physical life based on the need to gather up what is required for survival -- be that goods, services or attention.


From birth we compete for our share. And yet as we get older, most of us feel as if there is something missing -- an empty void -- and we still have questions; deeper questions. Only the focus of the questions tends to change. We stop wondering how much more can be amassed -- maybe because we already have enough, or perhaps because it does not seem to be filling that void any way. Our thoughts begin to turn to more spiritual questions:
  • Isn't there more than this?

  • For what reason was I born?

  • What is the greater purpose and meaning of my life?

  • How can I be of service to others?
And this is an inner turning point. This is what the Universe is waiting for. When an individual starts to ask these questions, the FORCE of the SOURCE begins to send answers.

This is the individual awakening. It is your "soul" asking your "self" to allow it some freedom. Just like the awakening of a region, the soul starts with a small whisper. But it will eventually begin to SHOUT as well. Just like an oppressed people will eventually begin to strengthen their combined voices until their leaders can not ignore them, so too will your soul commence the inner CACOPHONY that will make you pay attention to the questions that beg to be answered. Your soul will engage your mind in the search for truth. And then the seeking begins...........

Positive Thought

Peace......what does it mean to you? When you think about peace, about living a peaceful existence, about having peace of mind, how do you picture that for you yourself, personally?

My vision of peace means that I have CHOICE. It means I can choose:
  • where to live
  • where to work
  • where to travel
  • whom to associate with
  • whom to socialize with
  • whom to love
  • what to think and express
  • what to read
  • what to eat and drink
  • how much to spend
  • how much to save
  • who to help
In other words, PEACE for me, means freedom. I live in Canada, and for the most part I live in peace. I do not experience war, I do not experience suppression, I do not experience abuses. I come and go as I please, I express myself as I see fit, there are no external rules regarding what I eat or drink, and my income is mine to spend as I see fit. And these days I am thinking I need to choose something, or some one to help. For these freedoms I so enjoy as an integral part of my life, are not shared by all. And why not?

Are we not all created equally? Are we not all a part of one Great Creation? Is it right for me to enjoy my freedom, and my choices, while others do not? Is there not something I can do, as an individual to help foster a Peace For All? Is it that incredibly difficult to help my fellow beings on this earth? It can't be, it just simply can't be.

MORAL EDUCATION -- A Series of Articles on Moral Literature for Children

By Serena Aubrey -- Copyright 2011 by Serene Promotions (TM) * All Rights Reserved

Based on the thought-provoking books by William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues (1993) and The Moral Compass (1995), amongst other sources, this series of articles presented by Serene Promotions (TM) strives to provide food for thought. It is hoped that you, dear reader, will give pause to thought: about how you, as a parent, grand-parent, aunt or uncle, or family friend have an opportunity to influence our young people who struggle to grow into admirable adults through the ever-increasing morass of today's whirlwind society.

An African proverb reminds us, "it takes a village to raise a child", and we should all take this message to heart. Today's youngsters are tomorrow's leaders. It behoves as parents, educators and members of our communities to raise children with high moral standards. The Fourth Nobel Truth of the Buddhist belief -- similar to the belief's in every one of the world's main religions -- says that right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration leads to a life lived with high standards: ultimately leading to happiness and the cessation of suffering. Each week, articles on this topic and others, will be featured on this blog as well as various publications produced through Serene Promotions (TM). We hope you enjoy the various stories, links, quotes and messages from our sponsors and partners.

Don't miss any of the articles in this series. Be sure to sign up as a FOLLOWER of the Serene Promotions blog by any of the various means available to you (on the left hand panel) to receive notification of when a new post is submitted. We hope you become a member of this community and help us to promote PEACE for all.

to read

Article 1

Moral Education:
 About Influencing Young Minds