Posted on | October 14, 2010 | No Comments
There are so many different meanings and uses of this word. We can dig beyond the initial aspect of ideas to find aspects hidden. Aspects that lead us astray, and Aspects that lead us to truth.
Posted on | October 12, 2010 | No Comments
The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17: 22-23.
I believe we’re each accountable for our own spark of divinity.
I was at church on the second Sunday of Advent last season and the pastor spoke about the child of light coming to the earth. He used a story about some high-school kids on a retreat camping in the mountains and noticing how bright the stars looked. Their retreat leader changed their perspective by stating, “the stars aren’t so bright – it’s the world that’s very dark. It is our role as Christians to reflect the light of Christ into the darkness of the world around us.”
I thought about the whole idea of pinpoints of light in the darkness. Most of those points of light are VERY powerful, blazing stars in the darkness of space. I thought the Pastor’s point about our duty to reflect the light of Christ into the darkness of the world may have missed the mark. Instead of reflecting the light of Christ, maybe our role is to BE a light in the darkness – like Christ. After all, isn’t the point Jesus was trying to make simply that there is a “Christ” in each of us waiting to be found and brought back to God’s light?
Thinking further it’s easy to see why the reflection idea might be important, after all, the brightest lights in our Earthly darkness are the moon and our neighboring planets that do simply reflect the light of the Sun. Some of the brightest people around me seem to reflect the light of God’s Son. But are the people who reflect the light more powerful than those individual sources of light that happen to be further away, but bring a light of their own to far larger volumes of darkness? I don’t know the answer, or if one answer exists. Maybe at times we are called to be sources of light in the vast darkness, and sometimes we are called to reflect a closer light for the path of those closest to us who are wandering in the darkness. Maybe we need to be doing both at all times.
The Christmas service was themed around the light of God becoming man. The original celebration was on the winter solstice, when light physically returns to warm the Earth in the form of longer days. This time our Senior Pastor was giving the message, and themed his message as one of Christmas being a time to remember that the light of divinity descended into humankind. Predictably, but no less disappointingly, the Pastor’s interpretation of this idea was that divinity descended into that one baby – Jesus of Nazareth – and no other human. I believe divinity descended into him, as it has into ALL humans.
What if Christmas was celebrated as the reminder of the divinity in each human? How much better would our world be if each of us were accountable for the spark of divinity God gave each of us?
Posted on | October 10, 2010 | 1 Comment
It IS about YOU.
On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you. John 14:20
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
A recent bestselling Christian book does some wonderful work getting Christians to start reading and considering their faith. It also does some deep damage. This book starts with the phrase “It’s not about you.” I disagree. I think the ancients disagreed. I think Paul disagreed as shown in Colossians 1:27. Finally, I think, as evidenced in John 14:20 above, Christ disagreed.
It’s all about you. Life is all about the spark of divinity in each human. It’s your purpose in life to recognize, and fuel that spark of divinity and produce “fruit.” You are a co-creator of our world with God and God can only work through you and I.
This is something you can’t phone in. You are the only one who can fuel that spark. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE for your own spark. You are ACCOUNTABLE for the fruit you produce.
Matthew 7:16 says “You will know them by their fruits.” Then, verse 19 goes on to say, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
To many times in history the leaders of Christianity has asked Christians to turn off their brains and not question. They’ve told Christians “it’s not about you” and then proceeded to tell them it’s about that LEADER’S interpretation and understanding of God – which very often has not squared with the individual’s conscience or best interest. I fear that’s happening again, and I fear that when Christians turn of the brains that God gave them and take “fundamentalist” or “literalist” views of God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible, and take a position of faith that conflicts with the tenants of reason and love – then Christianity suffers. When Christianity suffers and loses credibility, then it’s only logical that our world suffers and we fall short of the Glory of God.
God love us and wants us to be happy. I’m not saying that a self-centered obsession with the luxuries of life is what you should be after. But we can only bring happiness and fulfillment to others when we are happy and fulfilled ourselves. If your spark of light and divinity are dead, how could you possibly share the flame and light with others? So, in order to fulfill the purpose God has in mind for you, you can’t just sit there and wait for it to come from above.
- You’re a co-creator.
- You’re accountable.
- It’s ALL ABOUT YOU.
- Otherwise why would God need any of us?
There’s an old story of a man who took a trash heap and turned it into a beautiful garden. A priest walked by and said “What a beautiful garden, God’s work is truly beautiful.” The Gardener responded, “Yes, God’s work is very, very, beautiful, but you should have seen this place when he had it all to himself.”
God needs us.
I believe in a God of creation. I believe God is STILL creating. How BORING would it be for God to have set everything up and just sat back and watched. God is still involved! God gave us free will. I believe the biggest “sin” in the world (I hate that word, but that’s another conversation) – the one that leads to all the other “sins” is a person’s failure to be accountable for his or her own personal spark of divinity.
My goal in this blog/life is to help you recognize your spark of divinity, then fuel that spark of divinity through a combination of scriptural language and personal thought to figure out how you can bring that spark to a roaring flame. If your spiritual flame is roaring, you can’t help but share it with others. You can’t help but produce the fruit Christ charged us to produce.
I’m going to ask you to engage your brain. Christianity should take work. Your Spirituality (of whatever form) should take work.
Everything worth-while takes work. This work includes asking questions and searching for answers. I’ll ask you to accept accountability for your personal divinity. I’ll ask you to engage with your doubts and encourage you to work through them. I’ll help you decide what you feel comfortable truly asking God to bring you in this lifetime. I’ll show you how to be creative and produce good fruit. We’ll figure out how to receive the bounties of God’s creation without guilt in order share those bounties with our fellow co-creators.
That other author I talked about earlier has lead literally millions of people down a futile path, a path looking outside themselves for divinity. He’s asked them to give all responsibility and accountability to God, rather than taking accountability for their own lives. There are not five purposes for our lives – there is only one: to produce good fruit. Christ in you.
You can only produce good fruit by becoming accountable for your own spark of divinity, and manifesting that spark in the world around you. How you do it should be inspired by God, but it ultimately is yours to succeed or fail.
Posted on | March 31, 2010 | No Comments
Since I founded The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business earlier this month, I’ve received a lot of questions asking about the thought behind the name. There’s a lot of thought behind the name, that’s for sure. I started working on the concept way back in early 2008. Much of the following essay was drafted back then (time flies) and was shared with a few friends. I pulled it up and made a few additions and corrections this evening.
Stillness is putting a muzzle on that monkey chattering in your mind long enough to hear the great ideas that come from somewhere else. We can call that somewhere else “God.” We can call it “the Universe.” For the sake of argument, I’ll call it “the Source.” Telling the voice in your head to shut up is one thing. Making it shut up or ignoring it until it shuts up out of frustration requires practice. That practice is the basis of meditation. Another way to think of this is what I call “The Space Between.”
There is an infinity in the space between breaths.
There is an infinity in the space between thoughts.
The wonderful ideas coming from that space are limitless. Picture a ruler or a number line from your days in grade school. On that ruler or number line, “1” is followed next by “2” then “3” and so on in both directions into infinity. Later, you learn about fractions like ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ¾ and so on. Think about that. When you understand that the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and on are simply labels for concepts, and the same is true for each labeled fraction, then you understand that there is an infinity in the space between each number or fraction. More importantly, there is an infinity between each label we choose to put on numbers.
The infinity in the space between doesn’t apply just to numbers; it applies to anything you can label. Logically then, the space between is infinitely more abundant than anything we have or can label. This is why examining two words, phrases, or concepts that generally do not work together is such a great creative tool – examining the space between things that we don’t even associate with one another creates something I like to think of as a “bigger infinity” in the space between. You could also think of it as a “richer” infinity for great ideas, because like a riverbed that has never been explored, a virgin piece of farmland, or an isolated lake in Canada, it’s resources have not been mined by other folks for their own purposes.
When you understand the concept of “The Space Between” then you will never again think there is a scarcity of ideas, time, money or anything our minds can conceive. If there is an infinity around everything, how can there be a limitation of anything?
If you’re stumped, you just haven’t mined enough of the infinite number of spaces between thoughts, words, actions, feelings, senses, or labels.
In the quiet infinities between thoughts we find inspired ideas.
The space between is not empty. In the space between, the first occupants one generally encounters are the archetypes programmed into every human from the beginning of time. Those archetypes are described in different ways. Joseph Campbell talked of them in his famous works including The Hero’s Journey and The Power of Myth. The Hero’s Journey inspired George Lucas’s storyline for Star Wars. The hero’s journey is the outline of the human spiritual journey toward enlightenment and is found in practically every culture in our world, across time and space, in a virtually identical pattern. The hero hears a call to adventure, denies that call, experiences an event that requires him to engage in the journey anyway, finds a mentor, faces the challenge, gains possession of the goal of the journey, then fights his way back home where his knowledge and experience are eventually embraced for the benefit of the group. The trump cards of a tarot deck (called “major arcana”) also depict the hero’s journey through the archetypes of human existence in the space between where we were before we were born and the place to which we are all eventually bound.
Some people find the quiet in the space between to be a wonderful place to “receive” guidance. Many successful songwriters, novelists, journalists, visual artists, and speakers describe this experience as something close to “channeling” the message or other content from a larger collective creative source. To tap in, they just had to get their egos out of the way and listen to receive the creative flow. This type of receiving takes many names, from “inspiration,” which is how the church attributes divine authorship to the books of the Bible, to the “Spirit Guides” of tribal cultures, to the “Holy Guardian Angel” of new age spirituality, and the angelic visitations as described in the Old and New Testament and Islam. Many people all over the world claim these angelic visitations happen every day, and we can’t disprove those claims.
We’ve all had incredibly realistic dreams that seemed to be giving us messages. We’ve all had wonderfully creative ideas “come to us” as we are in the space between waking up and sleeping either at night or in the morning. We’ve all had moments of déjà vu. These are all experiences of finding the stillness in the space between thoughts. It doesn’t matter what label you place on the experience, or to what source you attribute the inspiration. The one thing that matters in the creative process is that you allow yourself to step out of controlling the process and allow yourself to surrender to receiving the inspirations that originate in the spaces between.
This concept is not just a Western thought. Verse 11 of the Tao Te Ching states:
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it’s the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
The space between is not only infinite, it’s useful.
These are the core reasons I founded The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business. We all have ideas. We can reach our potential through creative business. To connect those two potentials, one must pass through The Space Between.
But, for those of you who want an easier and more modern answer, take a listen to The Space Between by The Dave Matthews Band. Here are some of the lyrics:
The Space Between
The tears we cry
Is the laughter keeps us coming back for more…
The Space Between
Where you’re smiling high
Is where you’ll find me if I get to go…
Take my hand
‘Cause we’re walking out of here
Oh, right out of here
Love is all we need here…
Nice. Think about it. Take my hand…
Posted on | March 10, 2010 | No Comments
Posted on | April 28, 2009 | No Comments
I was asked to post my www.twitter.com/kevinhouchin background image. Here you go.
You can find out more about the symbology here:
Posted on | February 20, 2009 | No Comments
There were some technical challenges during my interview with Joel Comm during yesterday’s tweetathon2009 event. In the first video I’m talking about the Fuel The Spark book and in the second we discuss some of the legal issues to keep in mind while using Twitter.com (follow me @kevinhouchin) that are included in the chapter I wrote for Joel Comm’s new book Twitter Power.
The tweetathon created some internet history and raised over $10,000 for Water Is Life.
Posted on | January 14, 2009 | No Comments
Fuel the Spark: 5 Guiding Values for Success in Law School and Beyond is now online for pre-orders at:
Posted on | January 5, 2009 | 1 Comment
A good friend of mine (really, this is truly a friend story, not just a veiled self-examination) has recently started studying two of the most powerful books on the planet – The Kybalion, and The Tao Te Ching. I started him on this path, so I feel very proud that he has started this work. I believe these two books hold the core teaching of human spirituality between them. The Kybalion holds the Western spiritual teachings and the Tao holds the Eastern teachings.
I sum them up this way. The Kybalion (and Western tradition) teaches us how to “make it happen.” The Tao (and Eastern Tradition) teach us how to “let it happen.” Both are profoundly powerful and perhaps more powerful when their seemingly conflicting approaches are reconciled and used together.
Back to my friend. We were chatting yesterday and it came up that he’s having a difficult time with a co-worker. This co-worker tends to block projects and impose his will without a lot of thought, usually based on protecting turf and weilding power in irresponsible ways. It’s very frustrating to my friend who feels like his integrity is being attacked by each outburst of the co-worker. My friend doesn’t want to back down from any of these potential conflicts, thinking that he would be thought of as weak, or worse, that the goals of fulfilling his job requirements would be in jeopoardy.
It’s not a fun position to be in. I had a hard time trying to give advise on this so I tried to just listen and let the issue sink in. Of course I also said that he has the power to let these things pass around him without getting caught up in the petty issues, to pick his battles, and suck-up a bit if he has to because these are all elements of working for and with other people. I think that helped, but not much.
This morning I woke up thinking about the Tao and the Kybalion. The Tao uses the symbolism of water very frequently. Chapter 8 of the Tao starts:
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disclaim.
Thus it is like the Tao.
Water is powerful, but it seeks the low places. It runs from the top of the mountains to the deepest levels of the sea. The deeper it goes, the more strength it has. Humans have changed the course of rivers, but we’ve never moved an ocean. The depths of the ocean are dark and quiet, and very powerful.
Keep that image in your mind, and then think about the Kybalion’s Principle of Vibration which states:
“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”
We’re all vibrating, everything is vibrating. My friend’s troublesome co-worker is vibrating at a high frequency, but low wavelength and amplitude state. Think of a little yippy dog. High pitched, frequent barks, but no power. Now, think of the ocean’s water. What waves have the most power? Answer: the waves that have long wavelengths and large amplitude. Little waves are just absorbed into the power of the bigger wave.
If my friend can center his power in the vibrations of long wavelengths of large amplitude, he should be more easily able to absorb the vibrational energy of the co-worker without getting upset. But how does one get into a state of long wavelength, high-amplitude vibration?
One word: “purpose.”
If my friend can keep his vision and attitude set on reaching the higher purpose, he will be like the powerful depths of the ocean. Sure, he’ll still be present, feel, and be effected by the vibrational energy of everyone around him, but he’ll be much better able to absorb those vibrations into and through hinself without losing direction or momentum toward his purpose. Low energy waves can’t hurt big energy waves. Purpose-inspired people may apear to be moving at a lower pace than people who are making a lot of noice, but purpose-inspired people are moving with a power like that of a mighty ocean wave. It may be almost impersecptable, but nothing is going to stop it.
The books mentioned in this post are included in my Book Recommendations widget at the right – get copies for yourself and join the discussion.
Posted on | January 1, 2009 | No Comments
This is the short essay I wrote for the First Night programs at the Masonic Center last night. There’s a little bit about the building and a little about Freemasonry in general.
On behalf of the Masonic Family in Fort Collins, I welcome you to our historic Masonic Center. This building is truly one of the treasures of Fort Collins and we are very proud and happy to be part of the 2008 First Night festivities.
Take a few minutes to look around the building and feel free to ask questions to the Men and Women who are part of the Masonic Family and have volunteered to host tonight’s activities. They are happy to answer your questions about the building or the Fraternity and its related organizations.
A quick bit of history:
Freemasonry is traced back to at least 1717 in England, and Freemasonry has been active in Fort Collins since 1870, when Collins Lodge #19 was founded. The great history of the organization has truly mirrored the history of Fort Collins itself. The men of the Lodge met in several buildings prior to constructing the current building. The cornerstone of this building was set in 1925 and the building was opened in 1927. The total cost of the building and furnishings (many of which are still in use) was $144,990. That would be about $16,250,000 today.
The building is owned by the local Masonic lodges and membership on the Home Board is restricted to active members of Collins Lodge #19. The Home Board is charged with the day-to-day operations of the building as well as the long-term planning and preservation of this historic treasure. The group is actively planning for the future preservation and renovation of the building with the goal of keeping the building as a vibrant hub of community involvement.
What is Freemasonry about?
Many people ask me what being a Freemason is all about. The quick answer is “making good men better.” How is that done? Through a series of ancient symbolic rituals that teach moral and spiritual lessons. The Mason learns invaluable lessons of faith, hope, and charity in addition to being exposed to some of the richest and most meaningful symbols in the Western spiritual traditions. Masonry is NOT a religion, although members are required to affirm a belief in deity. Our members come from, and tend to be active in, a wide variety of spiritual backgrounds. Masonry is not about business networking either, although many relationships are formed outside the formality of the Lodge.
While “Blue Lodge” Masonry is for men only, there are opportunities for women and children to join the Masonic Family through organizations such as The Order of the Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay for Boys.
Masonry may be best known today for it’s charitable work. For example, most people have heard of the Shriner’s Hospitals. Every Shriner is a Mason, and there are dozens of other very active Masonic charitable causes.
Finally, to be one, ask one.
Kevin E. Houchin, Esq.
Member, FC Masonic Center Home Board
Member, Fidelity Lodge #192 and Collins Lodge #19