I talk a lot about peace, love, making peace, being love, etc. Well, because I am who I am, I find it necessary to act from time to time, instead of just talk. In that spirit, I'd like to offer some self-realized guidance on one way to bring about reconciliation...

I have a habit of saying just about anything :O

I also say things that are not completely understood, whether it be the actual words or the thinking behind the words. Whenever this occurs, I am provided the opportunity to put my peace-talk into action. I once had a dear friend say, "Jeff, you can't just say anything you want." I agree.

At the same time, passion causes me to lose sight of this when I get cranked up. I want the world to stop and listen. Rather narcissistic, huh? I agree again. So when I get foot-in-mouth dis-ease, I have the perfect remedy. I say, "I'm sorry." I don't mean just saying the words... I mean meaning the words. My method goes something like this -- "I'm sure that what I said was inappropriate, and I think it may have hurt you. I want you to know that I am sorry, and I will not do that again. Can you forgive me?"

Sort of elementary, you might say, but is it? Have you ever been in a position where you have a genuinely specific opportunity to make peace with someone you love, even if it means modifying the way you express yourself? When you've been around the block as many times as I have, and when you really, truly love people, AND when you are as outspoken as I am, there will inevitably come a time when you are confronted with the choice of either not budging or allowing the feelings of the one you love to take precedence over your need to make a point. Does that even make sense? I hope it does.

This post, like all the others I write, is very personal. I am growing as I am writing. You, Dear Reader, have an open window through which you may observe the evolution of Jeff Baker. I do not pretend to be right, I just speak my mind. I never intend to offend, and I seldom consider what one might glean from my posts, although there are times when I get carried away and unintentionally hurt another's feelings. Kind of like a bully pulpit, I tell it like I see it. But I am anything but a bully. I am a gentle soul with the best of intentions. I have friends who are hurting and I take it upon myself to defend, and much to my dismay, I can come across as offensive.

If you are reading my stuff and you know me, and if you have been offended by anything I have EVER written, I am sorry. I did not mean to hurt you. I cannot justify anything. I will not attempt to do so. I hope you can forgive me.

In closing this confessory entry, I'd like to add, for what it's worth, that I have even pulled some older posts as a means of backing up these heartfelt words. As much as I'd like to think that my blogging is mine alone, I recognize that (and it stings a little to write this but) I can't just say anything I want.

This is a shared world, and during uncertain times like these, it is imperative that each of us do all we can to give peace a chance to flourish. It has the potential to eliminate all of the ugliness that we have witnessed in recent times.

Peace for our lives, love for everyone, and thoughts that lead to reconciliation for us all. -- jb


I See a World

I see a land of peace

no. i’m not alone

for the eye that sees

is the I that has won

if we want it to be

then our work’s almost done

it’s the wanting, you see

that will make us all one

i see a world with no lies

only love remains

of course nobody cries

just the sweet scent of rain

falling free on us all

living in peace

is my dream

it’s my destiny’s call

this world is so real

lying just beyond the veil

so long concealed

yet i’m lost in its spell

envision with me

if only for today

people coming together

with peace as their way

i see this place

as sure i know

that love will erase

all memory of foe

beauty and honor

respect, love, and cheer

if you truly believe

then it’s already here

i may be a fool

and this i am sure

will not be the last time

i dip my tongue in the pool

of a love that will last

my vision so near

just want it with me

please, just want it with me

see. now it is here

let it be

that my hope

is not lost on you now

for if our hearts can see it

then peace is here… right now

I wrote this poem because I really and truly believe that world peace, as we see it being defined and attempted by our world leaders, is not possible. There is a fundamental omission of personal responsibility on the individual level. Peace is a personal choice. Right? I can say I desire world peace, but I also scream at my wife, or kick the dog, or curse the other angry driver… Or, I aim my missiles at some other country.

When I decide once and for all that peace starts in my own heart, and I begin to systematically eliminate the actions that promote chaos, I have made my own first step in contributing to peace on a global scale. Pray for peace, but also promote and create peace by doing peaceful things. — jb


I AM, Therefore I Think

For all of you that are thinking that I have that backwards, I apologize, but for me this is how it works... not the way Descartes put it. He said, I think, therefore I am." Which is the same as saying, the fact that I am thinking is proof that I exist. So profound.

I know I exist. I existed before I had my first thought. After I thought, I became a creator :O

Aristotle is quoted as saying, "But if life itself is good and pleasant (...) and if one who sees is conscious that he sees, one who hears that he hears, one who walks that he walks and similarly for all the other human activities there is a faculty that is conscious of their exercise, so that whenever we perceive, we are conscious that we perceive, and whenever we think, we are conscious that we think, and to be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious that we exist..."

You will notice his opening line of thought, "But if life is good and pleasant..." Well, sometimes life is not good and pleasant, but it is what I think it is which is to say I created it the way it is. Many of you will say, "There is no way that I created all these problems in my life!" And I cannot argue with you, but I do humbly disagree. I have a thought about something, and I am thinking about what is and no matter how much I don't want a certain thing, the more I think about it the more it lingers. What I have learned is to change my thinking and then I find I am creating the new thing that I do want.

I can't get into all the physics of it, but these days there is no shortage of those of us who place a lot of emphasis on what thoughts run around in our minds and how those thoughts constitute our reality. Some can explain the details of it. I am less interested in the how, because that is God, or fate, or the process. It is of the utmost importance to me that I become the master of my thoughts and spend my time participating in the end result that I am seeking. Visualizing what I want to ultimately experience, even though I can't see it yet.

That is faith.

You can say I am leaving God out of the equation, and to some degree you might be right, but can we agree that no matter how much faith I have in God, or Source, or the Universe, little if anything happens unless and until I get involved? I mean, I believe in God, but I have prayed, begged, and pleaded for many things that were very important and nothing... absolutely nothing happened. In fact, things sometimes got worse. That does not discount Divine involvement, it implies that I have been asking without really participating in the realization of my prayer. God gave me the mind to use. It is part of being created in her image. I have to use the mind to participate in the intended power that my thinking possesses.

I think, therefore I create. I AM no matter what, and I am creating my world with my every thought. By monitoring my thoughts and keeping them in line with the intended result, I play the most important role I can in seeing the thing come to fruition. Does that make me God? Nah, that's too much responsibility for me, but it does make me a co-creator with God. Like it or not, that is a truth that is as real as rain.

Don't stop praying, just be involved in your prayers. Don't wait for someone else to change your reality. Begin in your own mind seeing the reality you desire while in the process of praying, and I believe you will see that reality come to you quickly. Have faith. It is good to have, and it is better than saying a prayer and just waiting... wait all you want, but I AM getting up, getting out, and getting on with my life fully awake and aware. I AM fully participating in my prayers being answered. What are you doing?

Peace, love, and faith-filled thoughts. -- jb

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What Now?

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. -- (Albert Einstein, 1954)

The above quote speaks directly to the heart of the solution to our current world economic situation. I did not call it a solution; this is fundamentally a larger perspective while involving the heart in coming to terms with why these things are happening, understanding and systematically eliminating the causes, and ultimately getting on with living this great life.

It's time for us to begin to look at ourselves and how we view this situation. Do we feel victimized? Do we need to blame someone? How will this affect our children? Have we thought about it? Have you thought about it?

Think. About. It.

Greed and apathy have played insidious roles in forming the current path. Honesty and integrity will cure it and restore our vision of the correct path, one in which all people are honored and planned for. Maybe we should stop putting our parents in nursing homes and assisted living communities and allow them to live with us in support of raising our children. Think about the benefits, not to mention the honoring of the wisdom inherent in being the older, wiser adult. Spending time with men and women of such stature is incredibly good for young people and children. At the same time, it is very healthy for elderly individuals to be involved in the energy of the young as well. Think about it.

Like I said, fundamentally a larger perspective :)

The opportunities to influence the world for good take place all around us and how we treat other people speaks to our willingness to be a part of the process. We have evolved to a point that we can and should be seeing everyone as connected; not separate. This is indeed a world situation, not just an American situation, and I believe we can get a good start on healing it all if we would consider forgiveness. Forgiveness. Neat word.

Peace -- jb


What Do You Think?

I have an opinion on every subject, and if you have the time and can give me half an ear, I will tell you all about it. At the same time, I am genuinely interested in what you have to say, and I will listen to you. That element may seem somewhat unique considering the way most talkers like me tend to take up all the air in a room :-)

Genuinely listening to others almost always offers me ways to refine my thoughts about whatever is going on in my life at the moment. I guess mostly because I am open to the way God offers to help me in my every moment, while at the same time recognizing that wisdom does come from the mouths of people when I am really listening to them.

Last night I had the honor of discussing a particularly sensitive subject with a gentleman I have known for a while, but I am just now really getting to know. Without going into detail, let me just say that our conversation was a reminder to me of why I talk so much, and why drawing others out into the open to express their own ideas is so rewarding for me. There is so much wisdom in the world and I want to hear what others have to say.

I had such a blast you see because we talked for a few hours and never once did either of us get offended or bothered. Neither of us attacked the ideas that were presented by the other. (World leaders should take note.) It was not only a lively discussion, with Cornelia patiently listening and sometimes contributing, but it was also heartfelt and honest. It was simple. It was great!

I awoke this morning refreshed from the experience. It's been a fine day, and I am reminded as I sit in the Memphis airport, waiting hours for my plane, that if we could all each one of us engage in the type of talk I just described, there could be no limit to the good that could come from it.

Sitting in airports exposes me to much negativity as the news channels constantly spew the latest awfulness while somehow maintaining a smile. I don't waste much time on watching or reading the news precisely because of that, but as I sit here today, I remain encouraged and hopeful for the day when all adults world wide will arrive at that place where there is no agenda, and motives are replaced with genuine interest in the ideas of another. Whether you are a politician, a preacher, or a pimp you have an opinion, and your opinion matters. It really does. But don't be mistaken. You are no more important than anyone else. And the opinions, ideas, and interests of other people, countries, and religions can aid all of us when approaching solutions to the many issues we all face.

Sometimes we should talk less and listen more.

There is no prerequisite that we agree, only that we honor each other. We are not required to do anything, just listen to each other. There is no shortage of wisdom on this beautiful blue orb that we all live on together. And the sooner all of us tune in to the rest of creation, by crawling out of our place of perfection, the sooner we can get on with the business of healing the hurts that exist today. (Forgiveness is a good place to start, and when would now be the right time to do something about it?) Wisdom is certainly to come when two or more are really intent on honest discussion regarding matters that have real meaning.

We are the ones who are going to have to find common ground. We are the ones charged with making things work while we have the chance. We are the ones our children are counting on to get it together once and for all.

When we move into that special place of acceptance without judgement, honor instead of disdain, and love without limits, we will indeed be entering heaven on earth. I believe in it as surely as I believe in our ability to get there. I am not waiting around for my ticket to heaven to get punched. I am not sitting around twiddling my thumbs doing nothing, anticipating liberation from above either. What I am doing is engaging any and all comers who honestly want to make the world a better place in which to live and learn.

Together we humans have what it takes to make lasting change by simply being aware of the things that take place in our immediate field of experience. Don't let an injustice go as "just the way it is." Get up and do something about it. Don't wait on saviors or messiahs to come. Don't sit around and waste this chance. We are the ones who are alive right now. Let's get together and stop believing in separation. Recognize the inherent goodness in and connection with everybody else that you can see. We are the human family. Together. Brothers and Sisters. Sons and Daughters. We are all part of The One.

One world. One hope. One love.

One way or another, we will get there. How much more enjoyable it will be when we make the choice to get there together.

Love and Peace -- jb


The End of Conflict

It's been a while since I last posted anything. It is not for lack of desire, however, and becoming busy has its own certain bittersweetness; doesn't it? I have enjoyed great abundance in my professional line of work (not blogging) and I have equally endured the perceived lack of "enough time."

It is in the spirit of ending conflict that I write of my thoughts today. This is an effort to spark conversation about forgiveness and how it alone can end all suffering.

Conflict and war in the world reflect conflict and war in the mind, and both this inner an outer turmoil are born of thoughts of anger and attack. The relinquishment of anger and attack and the practice of forgiveness are, therefore, essential to the realization of peace in the world and in ourselves. -- Gifts From a Course on Miracles

I have come to see that there are times that, in my own anger lies the perception of righteousness and justification at the expense of the true feelings of the one I am projecting my interpretation onto. In other words, I have interpreted something about someone and allowed negative emotions to rise up in me because of what appear to be the facts. In that moment I am denying my knowing that forgiveness heals, and choosing to allow anger to take its place without clearly perceiving where the problem lies. When I choose to accept the idea that all conflict stems from misunderstanding, I am taking a first step towards peace and away from conflict.

When I allow myself to receive only loving thoughts from someone and recognize their attack as a cry for help, then I can begin to accept them and work towards healing that hurt. We are all humans with the potential for greater good than we have known, and by choosing to think before we speak, and letting love forge a position of forgiveness deep within us, we allow peace a chance to bloom in any situation... no matter how dire that situation may appear.

Anyone I perceive as my enemy is part of my peace, which I give up when I choose to attack.

I am in my weakest state when I attack, and I am at my strongest when I recognize that I do not need to attack. I always regret conflict afterwards, so my prayer today is that we each remember, before we go into attack mode, how much nicer it is when we all get along in the way we are designed to. We are all better served when we do not choose to be offended, and instead choose to offer healing through the conscious choice to forgive. Every time I write those words, I remember Christ forgiving his murderers while they were in the act of killing him. I think that embodies for me (by design) the totality of love personified. That act alone is the simplest way for me to see that my petty issues are small enough to, at least, justify the idea of forgiving instead of fighting.

Give peace a chance today, let love be its reason, and think thoughts of how to end conflict with those we know we should right now. -- jb


How Are You?

Today is Saturday, October the fourth, in the Autumn of the year of our Lord two thousand and eight. It is the afternoon of another day complete with made-to-order weather, radiant flowers, and trees that from drought and change of season are making themselves available to any eye that would take pause and notice. Today presents itself to me as another opportunity to contemplate the things that are part of the thing that reminds me to appreciate all the good that exists in my life.

Isn't it a good day to examine our state of well being as well?

How are you? How are you doing when it comes to the things that come to you? Are you bringing them to you? Is that good or not so good? How are you? Are you happy? Do you appreciate life as it presents itself right now?

I sometimes fail to take the time to say outwardly how thankful I am for specific things, so I will list a few of the more general in hopes the reader may relate in some way. I hope to cause a thought of appreciation in you which will translate into a beautiful experience for you. I will also leave you with a link to a post that I feel says a lot that I could try to articulate in my way, only to end up referring you there anyway :) It is an honor to introduce you to TimeThief. She is a very intelligent writer, and an inspiration to me as one who offers a constructive eye towards making my writing better. Helping others is cool.

So, I am very appreciative today, and before I offer a short list of my points of appreciation, I'd like to make obvious the fact that I have not used the word "grateful" or the term "gratitude." For me there is a difference that in terms of how it is applicable to my post is worth clearing up. Gratitude is what happens after I have either survived some event perhaps, or after receiving a gift from someone. Gratitude happens after.

Appreciation, on the other hand, occurs because I choose it.

I am appreciative of things that have made me a better person and these include: My wife, my son, my parents, all my relatives and in laws. I immediately think of all my close friends and how much closer we are getting because we really like each other. These are the best of days because of the ones so dear who have made the choice to always make time to be in the others' company whenever the busy calendar allows.

How are you? How are you doing in terms of your family and/or your good friends? If you don't have any friends, contact me. If you are like most, you have some really good friends, and I'd like to challenge you to go an extra step in showing appreciation for them as soon as the opportunity comes up. This can be done in a variety of ways, and you don't need me to tell you how to do something nice for your friend. I only know how good it feels. I know it equally well because of how often my friends go out of their way to show me appreciation as well as acceptance. That's good stuff.

Peace between family and friends, love for both, and thoughts of creative ways to show them. -- jb


I Don't Understand

I don't understand why some people choose to be so happy, but I like it. Lately I have been noticing that those with whom I am interacting seem to be much happier people than in times past. Could it be that this whole world peace thing is coming around?

I realize that there is uncertainty regarding the state of our financial institutions here in the U.S., as well as concern over money in general everywhere else in the world. I have had my own issues in recent months, but hey! It is really a great time to be alive, and the joy that I keep bumping into is quite contagious. It is also really hard to miss.

I like how it all seems to contribute to an overall sense of well being, at least from my perspective. Additionally, it is remarkable that this sense of well being would choose to manifest when everything appears to be so screwed up :O

I don't put much stock in the news, and I don't care too much about popular opinion. I have been hearing how bad the economy is for several years and with little exception, my work is as fruitful as it has ever, ever been. So why have some of us been shielded from so much of this chaotic activity and allowed to live an unaffected existence?

I tend to believe that those who choose to see the good will always see it, and the poor souls who choose to see only other than good, have an ample supply of doo doo to sift through. It is a choice to see beyond these illusions, and I encourage you today to consider a new set of eyes and/or glasses if you have anything less than beauty and truth in your immediate view.

It is times like these that allow for the contrast that becomes necessary for some of us when we get too complacent. It is indeed a beautiful world, it's just that some people need help seeing that beauty. If you're happy, offer a glimpse of it to a stranger as you make your way through your day. If your anything short of happy, drop me a line and I will share mine with you.

Either way, just remember that it is our choice to see beauty and truth, and it is also our choice to see something else. Seeing is sometimes believing, and the fact that I am seeing more smiles than frowns makes me more of a believer in world peace than ever before.

May you experience peace, love, and thoughts that are unhindered by illusions. -- jb