Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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How Do We Heal It?
We realize that we were wounded by people who didn't know how to treat us. They couldn't love us because they weren't spiritually connected, and didn't love themselves.
Healing the wound is realizing the wound was never about you. It was about them, and their pain.
So, one you understand that, you realize that as a Child of God, Child of the Universe -- you were loved spiritually and that was always there.
So your worth is connected to your spiritual lovability, and not how earthly human beings treated you. It is through spiritual grace that you have survived all of that. You are a walking miracle.
Now is your time to spiritually connect, know you are loved, and that nothing any human beings do to you or say about you can take you away from spiritual love and Divine lovability.
So, release the power of the human wound, and identify yourself only with God's unending love and grace for you. Your true nature is Divine, and your freedom comes from knowing that.
Now spread this message to world, so worldly wounds, coming from Empire Consciousness, can no longer have any power or control of who anyone is, what they believe, and what they do.
This is the message of Jesus, and St. Francis, and Richard Rohr. Nothing else matters if you have this internal love, compassion, grace, and desire to help others feel this way.
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At 81 Years ... The Video Version
Dr. Michael Obsatz Speaks For 27 Minutes
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It is amazing how resilient we are. We are walking miracles.
In every challenge there is a hidden blessing.
Good, long-term friends are priceless.
Selective vulnerability is the way -- trustworthy friends are the best gift. Be cautious about being too open with people you don't know.
Working hard does pay off.
Selfish, narcissistic people are a drain, and should be taken in small doses.
Life is about comings and goings. Many people leave. And that is all right.
Being of service to others brings joy.
Gratitude is the way to live in peace.
There are many brilliant teachers. Most people have something to teach us.
It is important to not be hooked on praise, applause, and external validation. Inner knowing that one is worthy is enough.
Be kind to everyone, especially caregivers -- doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.
There are no mistakes, only opportunities for growth and transformation.
Living in Oneness Consciousness is the best way to cope with life's challenges. We are all connected.
Letting go of the past, forgiving oneself, and others is crucial for inner peace.
Don't expect people to trully understand what really matters. Don't expect to be understood by everyone.
What really matters is using one's gifts to make life better for others.
Feelings are important, but dwelling on them too long could lead to problems.
Find people who love themselves, and know how to love.
We are all loved, loveable, and loving. That is our spiritual connection.
Nature is a great healer.
Labels limit us -- we are more than any category or group. We are all children of the Universe -- that is all.
Laughter, playfulness and light-heartedness are helpful for us.
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"Soul Sadness" and The Disposable, Peripheral Joseph
As I listen to Christmas songs, I notice one common theme. Mary is a Virgin. Jesus is the Son of Mary and the Son of God. How does Joseph feel about not being Jesus' father? Is he a stepfather?
These days, one would call "The Immaculate Conception" an illegitimate birth. Yet, as Christmas is celebrated, this is seen as a miracle.
A birth that is not the typical birth. God is the father, not a human being, not a man.
None of this makes very much sense to me. Joseph is superfluous in the Christmas story. He is there, but not really necessary. Yet, he takes on the role of father, and also takes care of Mary.
So, is Joseph just a caretaker? What does he really feel about all of this? Do we care what he feels?
If you look at the whole story metaphysically, it doesn't have to make biological or logical sense.
God used Mary to bring Jesus into the world because God needed to experience human suffering and joy, real life. But, Mary is far more important than Joseph. She is seen as Holy while he is pretty much ignored.
How many songs are written about Joseph? Not too many. Joseph's job is to make sure there is a birthing space since there was no room at the inn.
Joseph did what men are traditionally supposed to do --be a sacrifice for the Higher good.
This peripheral idea of manhood is rarely talked about. Men are created to earn a living, put up with bosses, fight wars, and die for their country. And yet, they are seen as having privilege. Where is the logic in that?
I believe the need to be one up, to make a mark, to dominate others comes from a deep abandonment of a man's soul. As he is expected to provide, protect, and procreate, a man's feelings and needs become secondary. And he is taught to not show those feelings, and not talk about them.
So, the whole of Empire Consciousness is a reaction to the peripheralization and disposabilitiy of men. All males experience abandonment of their true selves, losing honest acceptance of their vulnerability.
Vulnerable men probably would have a harder time killing others in wartime, or being ruthless in corporate life. Robert Bly said it many years ago. Men are used for the benefit and gain of others.
How about this? All dysfunction in the world comes from the loss of one's wholeness, authenticity and inner power. When a man gives up his true nature to conform to a role, he spends his life grieving what he has lost. However, he is not really allowed to express his "Soul Sadness."
Violence, greed, hatred, need to control, arrogance, and rage -- all signs of a loss of the depth of one's true soul. Empire Consciousness is a reaction to pain, loss, and abandonment.
So, the story of Christmas is supposed to be about a birth, a change in Consciousness. Empire Consciousness leads to suffering. Oneness Consciousness leads to connection, compassion, empathy and wholeness.
Describing Jesus as King, Lord, and Ruler of All is strange to me. If Jesus represents oneness, love, and acceptance of all, why does he have to being a King, Ruler or Lord. Why can't he just be an ordinary guy who delivered a powerful message about transformation.
We take the ultimate birth of Oneness Consciousness and turn it into Empire language. Empire language leads to Empire thinking and belief. Hierarchy always leads to pain. So, the Good News is perverted back the same old Bad News.
We can't legislate change of consciousness, and it is not about worshipping anyone. It is about living out the message of Oneness, every day in every way. As an Ordinary Joe. Maybe Joseph was just an Ordinary Joe, and that was the true message of Christmas.
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From Empire Consciousness to Oneness Consciousness
"Distill" is defined as "extracting the essential elements" from something.
So, we can read a book, and distill its main ideas and conclusions. We can share that information with others, so they can "get the gist" of book without reading the whole book.
Distilleries are places where beer is made and sold. Distilled water has essential elements in it, without harmful contamination.
I believe we are all living distilleries. We share the main aspects of our life's journey and wisdom and the learnings of many wise and creative individuals. We have lived minutes, days, weeks, years. We have gleaned much wisdom and understanding from our experiences and learnings.
Learning from our journey helps us make more mature decisions, avoid pitfalls, and live more intentional and meaningful lives.
The goal of eldering, being the older part of the population is to share that wisdom, and distill the major insights from life experiences and experts in the arts, psychology, sociology, education, the sciences, and all other fields.
As we guide younger people, the future adults and elders, we who have lived a longer time, read a lot of books, and met amazing people can help youth focus on meaning and purpose, rather than merely acquiring wealth and fame.
Robert Bly wrote a book called "The Sibling Society." He stated when the young believe they can learn only from others who are young and inexperienced in life, many distractions and much destruction can result.
Elders who have gleaned real wisdom from others, and who have examined their own experiences with some thought and depth can provide a more mature understanding of living a valuable and purposeful life.
If we believe that love and connection are what matter most, we can teach that the younger generations. If we believe that there is an abundance of resources, we can teach that. Most of all, we need to teach that there is a responsibility and an accountability that comes with growing up. We are to take care of the earth and all of its creatures. We are to take care of those in pain, the sick, the lonely.
Empire is about power, domination, scarcity, fear, subjugation, and violence. Oneness is about abundance, love, sharing, compassion, and accountability. Distilling from the past, seeing the destructiveness of Empire Consciousness, we can teach that there is a better way to live. Oneness Consciousness provides lasting peace, joy, and compassion. Empires implode from within. Nobody is really safe until everyone is safe.
Share your wisdom, share your understanding, and let love and compassion rule the world.
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We have all been wounded emotionally. Some of us have been abused physically or sexually. Others have been shamed. Some of us have endured beatings. Others have been harassed and verbally abused. Many of us have experienced losses of loved ones
It is wounded world. If one isn't hurt or abandoned in one's family of origin, he or she has to endure a culture of Empire Consciousness, which focuses on domination, hierarchy, labeling, and being taught to believe that "You are not enough as you are."
We work on our traumas and our wounds. We cry out, try to reach inner peace, and sometimes confront those who abused us. Some people move toward forgiveness. Others attempt reconciliation. Still others spend their lives believing that they are "damaged goods."
Spiritually, we are all perfect children of Spirit -- loved, lovable and loving. Nothing anyone did to us changes our magnificence. We are all shining lights.
Here is another way to look at this world of trauma and pain. I believe we are all "walking miracles." We have endured countless experiences of being hurt, shamed, and humiliated. We have kept some of our pain inside, and some of our pain oozes out into the world. Some people believe that "hurt people hurt people." We can blame others, and stay in the mode of victim, or we can claim our wholeness, despite our suffering. As a matter of fact, our suffering has enhanced our wholeness while giving us empathy and compassion for others.
If we can focus on our "overcoming" the suffering and not just the suffering itself, we can discover how strong, resilient and amazing we really are.
We are OVERCOMERS, and "walking miracles." With this comes a feeling of inner power, strength and fortitude we may not have known we have. We have been pushed beyond our limits, and are still alive to talk about it. Some of us take our personal woundedness and use it help others who have been hurt.
The song "We Shall Overcome Some Day" is an incredible anthem of Black Americans. It is remarkable that Black people have made it through so much oppression, suffering and abuse and are still living, creating, and functioning. The same is true for Native Americans, Jews, GLBT people and other marginalized groups. I'd like to add another song to that one: "We Have Overcome This Day."
If we can begin to focus on our overcoming, healing the wound, but not forgetting it, I believe we can move into gratitude and Oneness Consciousness. Jesus said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." We can forgive others, and show the world that they no longer have any power over us.
As OVERCOMERS, we radiate Divine Love, and support others as they come to know their own resilience, power and amazingness.
Empires will always die and implode. Those who hate also hate themselves. Oneness Consciousness is the healing solution. And OVERCOMERS, we can testify to the being "walking miracles."
Go -- tell it on the mountain.
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Some people make fun of older people. Others dismiss them as incompetent and worthless. There are countless images in media of doddering older people.
As we age, we may lose some muscle mass, and some bone density. But for many of us past eighty years old, we are still pretty sharp in the brain department. Many elders over eighty have amassed an incredible amount of information.
I am a Caucasian male, with Jewish roots. Because I have lived this long, I have awealth of experiences and information. I have read well over 3,000 books in my lifetime. Some were assigned by teachers and professors, and others I have read on my own.
I have taken classes from famous and not-so-famous educators. Some of the famous ones included Abraham Maslow, Robert Bly, Carol Bly, Natalie Goldberg, Charles Nolte, Bruno Bettleheim, Philip Jackson, Phillip Slater, Jacob Getzels. You may not know about these professors, but they wrote books, taught many classes, and shared their wisdom with the world.
I have experienced being a professor in a small liberal arts college for 40 years, teaching education and sociology classes. I have written hundreds of letters of recommendation for other people.
I have been a Board member for a variety of organizations including the YMCA, Family Tree Health Center, Adler Graduate School, Clare's Well Spirituality Center.
I have lived on a farm. I have lived in cities. I have lived in the suburbs. I have been very poor economically, and have lived as a middle class person. I have had dozens of friends from a variety of classes, races, sexual orientations and ages.
I have presented more than three hundred workshops all over the US and Canada, written books, written hundreds of articles about personal growth and emotional well-being. I am part of three different websites, and have made several films, and You-Tube videos. I have won awards for my books and films.
I have had a counseling practice whereI have led men's support groups, women's groups, and couples' groups. I have been part of men's groups for almost 50 years.
I have been a son, brother, father, nephew, uncle, grandfather. I have been a full-time custodial single father.
I have experienced the loss of my parents, my grandparents, my sister, friends, family members, and pets. I taught a class called Death, Dying and Bereavement for twenty- three years. I have led grief groups.
I have explored a variety of religious belief systems including Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism.
I have had a variety of health challenges including irregulr heartbeat, other heart issues, two hip replacements, and some other surgeries. I lived in an incubator the first six weeks of my life.
Some of my causes are: civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, men's rights, elder rights, children's rights, care of the environment. I believe in empowering all people of all ages and backgrounds to have choices, live in dignity, and know their own lovablity and wisdom. I currently mentor more than forty people and help them making life choices and decisions.
I am against labeling and dividing people, stereotyping of all kinds, especially racial. As a child of the Universe, I celebrate my own complexity and resilience. I have overcome prejudice and bullying. I have lived through years of harassment and oppression.
So, don't try to categorize me. Don't assume I can't empathize or show compassion for those who suffer. Most of all, don't assume my work is done. And don't laugh at me because I may walk a little slower.
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I will be turning 81 next week. That's 9 squared. I make a joke about it because it doesn't seem real to me. How can I be 81 when I was just 50 about five minutes ago.
Time flies, and it flies faster the older I get. The following week, my youngest daughter turns 40. How can that be? She was a child not long ago, and now she has children of her own.
I frankly did not think I would make it to 81. My sister died at 55. My cousin died at 54. My grandmother lived until 65 or so.
When I think back to my early life, I feel a lot of sadness. That little boy was lonely and trapped. As a victim of violent bullying for years, I often thought I'd be better off dead. Maybe I outlived the gang of boys who tormented and hurt me so badly.
Boyhood was painful. Adolescence was confusing. College and graduate school were draining. Lots of tests, awkward social situations.
You see -- as a young man, I received little guidance and support for navigating the world. I was clueless, and lacked many social skills. It is a miracle that I made it through the teens and twenties.
So much pressure to perform, to prove myself, to "know" about life.
It would have been wonderful to have a mentor during those years who stood by me and helped me process the many challenges I faced. My high school English teacher was some support. But he was llimited in how much he could help me. College advisors were not much help, and therapists were only for the severely mentally disturbed.
Maybe that is why I mentor people now. I have been doing it for thirty or more years. I realize how much I would have benefited if I had somebody who took an interest in me and my life, and maintained a connection with me through those challenging years.
I started teaching college at 25, only 3 years older than many of my students. What did I know about the complexities of life, how to navigate the academic world, how to choose a partner, how to nurture myself?
I am determined to be there for others -- long term, and support them, sharing my wisdom and insights, providing them with guidance, love, and unconditional acceptance.
I have read more than 3000 books, plus articles. I have been a variety of life situations, and finally think I know what really matters.
My spiritual growth, and my living with love and grace, did not come easy. I found spiritual connection, passion, and love through a variety of belief systems and organizations. It was hit and miss.
But I am grateful to have arrived at 81, with good health, a strong spiritual and emotional support network. I have a created a variety of books, films, websites, and articles. I am not done yet.
I continue to follow my bliss, find joy in my family and friends, and keep up with medical appointments and check-ups. But mostly, I dedicate my life to being what I needed most - a guiding light in a sometimes dark and confusing world.
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The world can be a challenging place to live. Jesus told us to be "IN the world, but not OF the world." To be not OF the world means that one does not live needing earthly approval, praise, or validation. It also means seeing the limitations of worldly values, beliefs, and activities. Success, position, wealth didn't matter to Jesus. He spent time with the lowly, the hungry, the outcasts.
We must learn to navigate a world filled with pain and suffering, as well as joy, love and compassion, and still maintain our spiritual connection and Divine Essense. Since we are children of God, children of the Universe, we have only one label or definition. We are not lured into worldly descriptions of who we are "supposed to be."
We are not our race, gender, age, position, social status, sexual orientation, etc. We are more than any of these. India Arie sings that "I am Light."
Navigational skills can help a great deal, as we try to maintain our Divine awareness, and yet cope with worldly issues.
Here are some of the situations which require our Divine Coping and Navigational Skills:
Pressure to conform to others' perceptions of who one "should" be and how one "should" act.
Interacting with difficult, arrogant, self-righteous, hostile and narcissistic people.
Going unnoticed for the good that one does. Not being appreciated, praised, or valued.
Dealing with other people's projections -- their own self-hatred, for example.
Empathizing with the world's suffering while not trying to fix people or situations.
Grieving worldly losses, but not staying stuck in grieving.
Wars, injustice, brutality, insults, shaming.
How do we navigate an often depressing world?
We navigate these challenges through continually reminding ourselves that we are Children of God, doing the best we can, a world that doesn't always act in loving and compassionate ways.
Choosing our battles. Knowing when to speak up, and when to keep quiet. Maintaining a low profile when it makes sense. Standing up for fairness, justice, and inclusion when we can.
Living in gratitude. Seeing the blessings in seemingly impossible situations.
We realize that we have one foot planted on Planet Earth, and another foot connected to Divine Light.
Good luck on your navigational journey, Child of Light and Love.
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Essence is eternal. Form changes.
Essence is the core of what matters. Form is one way of expressing Essence but is not to be mistaken for Essence.
Form leads to labels, categories, and judgment. Essence is beyond description, and not capable of grasping totally by the human mind and spirit.
We are Essence. Our Essence is packaged in Human Form. This Form is born, changes, and dies. Essence lasts forever.
Empire Consciousness is about Form. Oneness Consciousness is about Essence. Empires come and go, live and die. Empires define, categorize, and rank.
Believing that Empire is Essence is the largest mistake anyone can make. We are temporarily here on this planet. Our Essence is everlasting, and our connection with each other's Essence is the Ultimate spiritual experience.
Oneness Consciousness is the incredible Namaste -- The God in Me Beholds the God in You. This undefinable truth is what brings joy and peace. Without Oneness, all the Forms can do is battle for power, prestige, and dominance. However, this is an exercise in futility. Form is empty without Essence.
God is Essence. The Ultimate, Formless, but Essential Light. There is nothing that can describe this, or define it. It just IS.
Until we start living in Oneness Consciousness, we will continue to have famine, wars, and suffering. By dividing, defining, labeling, and categorizing we lose our Ultimate Divine Connection.
Death changes our Form, but not our Essence. The Main Idea is to see the Ultimate Oneness of everyone and everything, and live from the mystical sacred blessing that is Life Itself.