For the New Year, 2022

“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable,
and perfect,
will of God.”
Romans 12:2 (KJV)

So by wisely using that which we have, the natural, we are transformed from that which is most apparent, and consequently that which we think we are, the mortal, the physical, into that which from all eternity we in reality are, and never except in our own minds can get away from, – the Spiritual, the Divine.

It is through this instrumentality that the Divine Life within us, the Divine Life with all its ever-ready-to-break-forth glories and powers, is enabled to be changed from a mere passive and hence potential actuality, and to burst forth into the full splendors of conscious, active life. Surely, then, thought rightly directed and rightly used has within it the true regenerating and hence redeeming power; through it and it alone are we able to make for ourselves a new heaven and a new earth, or rather, by thus finding the kingdom of God, and through it entering into the conscious realization of the heavenly state, are we able to make for ourselves a new earth by actualizing the kingdom of Heaven in our lives while living on the earth, and which, when once truly realized, can never be lost.

– Ralph Waldo Trine, The Greatest Thing Ever Known,” 1898

I stand amazed at the fathomless wealth of God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge.
How could man ever understand his reasons for action,
or explain his methods of working?
For: Who hath known the mind of the Lord?
Or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For everything began with him,
continues its existence because of him,
and ends in him.
To him be the glory for ever, amen.
– St. Paul, Romans 11:33-36

The New Testament in Modern English: Student Edition Revised,
translated by J. B. Phillips, copyright.

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Music – so bonded to the deep meaning of Christmas

Time – bonded to our hope and expectations for the New Year which follows.

Some random personal reflections on the parallels between performing music and the practice of Christian spiritual life:

“Time,” of course, is at the core of music. A piece demands a certain amount of clock time to be heard from beginning to end. Yet time seems to stand still during the progression of tones and rhythm. Beyond the commonalities of clock and calendar, the human perception of time is quite variable. In this sense music becomes a microcosm of life and the spirit – living both within and beyond “time.”

Internal listening is essential to the study and performance of music. “Listening prayer” comes very easily, once recognized.

The music played reaches all listeners equally, non-judgmentally, impartially. The performer can only “give,” not control how it is received.

Music is not a thing that is ever “finished.” It is experienced in the moment it is received, in the here and now. Perhaps this is a parallel to “perfection” as related in Scripture, where it is a “way,” not a finality. Even “perfection” is a process.

The physical skill must be maintained regularly, even as “praying without ceasing” is required in life.

Practicing music is probably the only activity that cannot be accompanied by listening to another piece of music in the background – obviously because it IS music itself, and requires complete focus, both internal and external listening.

To some extent, the performance of music enables silence in the listener. It may surprise some that musicians, in turn, deeply value times of silence, since “sound” is their career.

May those that cherish their commitment to the Life and Guidance of the Creator find inspiration and nourishment in music thus dedicated as another New Year approaches. – mjd

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Powerhouse of the Universe

Originally posted in December, 2016, this quote is universal – both in time, history, and space. It is a personal favorite, because it opens the door to all who care about “who we are” in the Creator’s cosmos. Despite the ups and downs of our lives, there is indeed a central core that never changes – always giving, always responding, with only one requirement: seeking and listening. Christmas reminds us that this universal “core” cares that we accept our humanity as part of the cosmos – that we accept the fact of the Presence available to any and all at any time and in any circumstance. May you, dear reader, be infinitely blessed by knowing the Presence, whether you understand it or not. All of life is molded by accepting and growing through the years given to us.

Thoughts by Mary Jo Disler

“The great central fact of the universe is that spirit of infinite life and power that is back of all, that manifests itself in and through all. This spirit … is what I call God. … He is the life of our life, our very life itself. We are partakers of the life of God; and though we differ from Him in that we are individualized spirits, while He is the Infinite Spirit, including us, … yet in essence the life of God and the life of man are identically the same, and so are one.”

“The great central fact in human life is the coming into a conscious vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite Life, and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow.  … In just the degree in which you realize your oneness with the Infinite Spirit, you will exchange dis-ease for ease, inharmony…

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Originally posted Thanksgiving, 2016. Many years ago, I realized the power of genuine gratitude. For those who may doubt the reality and power of the Creator of our universe, gratitude is the eternal gateway. If you would like to pray, but feel as though you don’t know how, begin with thinking, expressing genuine thanks for whatever comes to mind. Let the All-Knowing-One speak to YOU.

Thoughts by Mary Jo Disler

“The thankful heart is always close to the creative forces of the universe.”

  • Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, 1963.

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The reason for peace is that there is nothing to fear. While there is something to fear, there is no peace. Once the peace has descended upon us, the prayer is complete; … The feeling of peace is the successful prayer.

All prayer, all communion with God, is only for one purpose … to achieve for us this sense of peace, or well-being, this realization: “Lo, I am with you until the end of time. Lo, I am always with you.” Let us have that sense of the divine Presence, and we shall have answered prayer. … In “My presence” the fire does not burn, the water does not drown; in “My presence” the storms do not rage. The power of Christ is the answer to every form of inharmony. The feeling of the Presence is in itself a prayer. Let us understand this: Our problem is at an end–not when we think we have found a solution, but when we have felt this inner peace.

The solution of the outer problem is automatically taken care of in the realization of this inner peace. The peace within produces harmony and joy without.

 – Joel S. Goldsmith, “The Deep Silence of My Peace,”
Collected Essays of Joel S. Goldsmith, copyright 1986

Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you;
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

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God is within you now, and you are in God now; you already have God’s presence where you are; but it is your conscious remembrance of that Presence which brings it into manifestation.

The light is attained in that moment when you have no external desires, when you have the knowledge that it is only God’s grace, God’s will, and God’s law that you are desiring. … The moment you stop chasing something, it comes into your experience; the very moment you stop running after something, it begins running after you. As your desire for anything, anybody, or any condition in the external world comes to an end, you begin to live this inner life of conscious oneness with God, and then your external life begins to take care of itself. There is an invisible Presence, Something that you cannot see, hear, taste, touch, or smell, going before you to make the crooked places straight, … and to bring unto your own.

… those who spend only a few hours of the day consciously aware of an indwelling Presence, of God as the Substance of their good and as the Source of peace, safety, and security, find that God is their high tower and fortress. God cannot give safety and security; God can give only Himself, but in God there is safety and security. God cannot give peace to anyone: God can give only Himself, but in God there is peace.

 – Joel S. Goldsmith, “Meditation on Life by Grace,”
The Contemplative Life, copyright 1963 & 1991.

(Jesus:) Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him;
and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:4-5


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A legacy

This post is different from the usual topics which focus on the spiritual life. It is a tribute to my brother, John, who fulfilled his life quite recently. It will be read at his Memorial service. In the interests of family privacy, I will refer to his first name only, “John.” He had a career in military flying, including exceedingly dangerous assignments during the Vietnam conflict. His faith and belief in Biblical precepts was paramount to his flying during those years. Upon retirement from the US Air Force, he trained and flew as a commercial pilot, assigned to journeys westward to Asian and other ports. In its own way, this post represents the “fruits of the spirit” – the life that flows  from a committed, believing spirit.

The Legacy of “John”
Psalm 19:1
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Psalm 139:1-18
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.

A story: John’s career centered on his love of flying. But his legacy centered on his love of people – his dearest wife – his high school sweetheart, their family, and just about anyone he encountered. An example: During his commercial flying years as a pilot, a day came when a 747 was loading and preparing for takeoff. But a young boy was very frightened about this new experience – so much so that he was nearly hysterical. Someone from the cabin crew went into the pilot’s area and related what was happening. John went out to sit next to him and console him. So he started a conversation about –– baseball! As they talked, the plane started down the runway, soared skyward, and all was well. A potentially terrifying new experience transformed into welcoming a new friend who cared deeply for a young soul.

So what is John’s true legacy? – It is found – perhaps in secret, perhaps down deep somewhere in the lives of countless people he encountered in life, and in some bit – some kindness spoken or unspoken – that may have transformed their day, their outlook on a rough patch in life, their appreciation of personal loved ones, their reassurance that there are those who really care – something that each will in some way pass on to others in their life legacy.

To close, a poem that has become a modern day psalm – especially for those who love flying.

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941), Royal Canadian Air Force pilot

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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“At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War (World War I) ends. [The Armistice agreement was signed between Germany and the Allies] At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.”
– quoted from

This is the background for The World Within, 1918, an early book by the prolific and respected Quaker author, academic, and social activist Rufus Jones. These quotes from the Introduction speak not only to history, but to the rebuilding after the Covid-19 pandemic.

– mjd

We must restore trust and confidence in a living God who is not off beyond and above the storm and stress of life, but in the very pulse and flow of it all, and whose will for a good world is the deepest reality of our universe. … we shall, if we are wise, care more than ever for the central realities by which men live. St. Augustine was right when he said: “My life shall now be a real life, being wholly full of Thee.”

I have always believed and maintained that the apparent lack of popular interest in (religion) is largely due to the awkward and blundering way in which it has been presented to the mind and heart of those who all the time carry deep within themselves inner hungers and thirsts which nothing but God can satisfy.

The easy, inherited, second-hand faith will not do for any of us now. … We demand something real enough and deep enough to answer the human cry of our soul to-day. We need to be assured that we do not in the last resort fall back on the play of molecules but that underneath us are everlasting Arms. We want to know not only that there is law and order but that a genuine Heart of Love touches our heart and brings us calm and confidence.

Mountain peaks and stars can not embody love and sympathy–they can embody only energy. Love and sympathy, tenderness and patience, forgiveness and grace are traits of character, attitudes of a personal spirit. If they are ever to be revealed, they must be revealed in the life of a person.

Now once there was a Person who felt that his life was a genuine exhibition of the divine in the human, the eternal in the midst of time. He lived and died in the consciousness that through his life he was showing God to men; that his love was a revelation of the real nature and character of God; that his sympathy for the weary, heavy-laden, sin-distressed, heart-hungry people of the earth was a true unveiling of the heart of the universe.… He felt this, and consecrated his life to this deeper revelation of God. Some have doubted and some have been perplexed, but there have always been some…who profoundly believe that here in him is the personal character of God revealed to us. However leaden and pitiless the march of the universe may be at other points, at this one point, at least, love and tenderness break through and enwrap us. This God who is unveiled in Christ is the God our world needs to-day.

…through him can come afresh to us the God whom our chemistry and astronomy were too limited to reveal–we can see him in the face of Jesus Christ.

 – Rufus M. Jones, excerpts, Introduction of The World Within, 1918.

That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked at
and our hands have touched
—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
The life appeared;
we have seen it and testify to it,
and we proclaim to you the eternal life,
which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,
so that you also may have fellowship with us.
And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light;
in him there is no darkness at all.

I John 1:1-5

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Always remember that God, the Mind of you, has prepared for you all that is necessary for the fulfillment of your individual experience. You are never outside the harmony of God’s being. Cultivate the consciousness of the presence of God every moment.
It is our conscious union with God which enables us to live without taking thought and makes possible a life of complete abundance–“by Grace.”

From the height of spiritual vision we do not look upon each other as man and woman; as rich or poor; as grand or humble. All human values are submerged in our common interest to seek and find the Kingdom within. We see each other as travelers on the Path of Light; we share our unfoldments, our experiences, and our spiritual resources. We would not withhold any of these from each other.

We are all “joint heirs with Christ in God,” therefore, we all draw upon the resources of our own infinite Mind and Soul, and we need not labor, strive or struggle for that which is already divinely ours.

 – Joel S. Goldsmith, “Supply,” Collected Essays, copyright 1986

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11
The Bible, New King James Version

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
and he will dwell with them,
and they shall be his people,
and God himself shall be with them,
and be their God.

Revelation 21:3
The Bible, King James Version

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There is a perfect passivity which is not indolence. It is a living stillness born of trust.

There are some things which we are to do ourselves, but there are others which God does not expect us to do. … They are His part, and our greatest trouble lies in our trying to do God’s part, just because we have not learned how to trust Him to do it. We are, with our conscious thought, to speak the words of life, of truth, of abundant supply, and we are to act as though the words were true; but the “bringing it to pass” is the work of a Power that is higher than we; a Presence which we do not see with these mortal eyes, but which is Omnipotent, and which will always rush to our rescue when we trust it.

From the smallest thing of our everyday life to the rolling away of the largest stone of difficulty from our path, this Presence will come in to deliver us. But its working depends upon our trusting; and trusting means getting still inside.

In this effort of ours to bring into manifestation the good which we know belongs to every child of God, it is when we get beyond the point where we try to do it all ourselves, and let God do His part that we get the desires of our heart.

After we have done our part faithfully, earnestly, we are told to “stand still, and see the salvation of God which He will work for you.” “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:13a, 14)

It must be peace, peace; possess your soul in peace, and let God work.

excerpts, H. Emilie Cady, “Trusting and Resting,” Miscellaneous Writings, 1916

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.
Psalm 37:7a

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