Healing Herbs: Barberry

    Barberry (berberis vulgaris) is a shrub that is native to  Europe but is cultivated in North America .  Many grow it simply as an attractive hedge, but it does have traditional healing properties.  The bark and roots are used as a kidney tonic.  It is also useful for back pain and other pains.  It is used to treat digestive problems including heartburn, indigestion and gallbladder disease.  It is also helpful in treating hepatitis.  Barberry decreases heart rate and slows breathing.  It is a good immune system booster. 
     Externally, it is used to treat infections, parasites and skin problems including eczema.  It is often recommended for yeast and bladder infections.   Eye drops made from barberry reduce bloodshot eyes (Murine eye drops contain the active chemical in barberry, berberine).
  The ancient Egyptians used a mixture or barberry and fennel seed to fight plague.

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Great Men of Science and Religion: Bacon

    Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was primarily a philosopher, but is known for creating the scientific method of learning through experimentation.  He was also a scientist, lawyer and statesman.   He served as Attorney General of England.  Many believe that he was the true author of the plays attributed to Shakespeare since Bacon had the background and education needed for the great knowledge of history, philosophy and languages displayed in Shakespeare’s plays that Shakespeare did not have.  
    His primary goals in life were to: discover truth, serve his country, serve the church.  He completely rejected atheism as a philosophy that lacked depth and, therefore, could not find truth.  He felt that anyone who studied nature deeply and honestly had to conclude that God existed.  He is also known for the phrase: “Knowledge is power” and his book on his idea of utopia called “The New Atlantis”.  In it, he expressed a desire for a land where slavery did not exist, women had more rights and the idea of separation of church and state.  Many today don’t understand how a man of faith could be in favor of separation of church and state, but Bacon understood this to mean that the state would not establish an official state religion and the state would treat all churches, religions and their members equally, which is the correct interpretation, not as it has become today where all mention of religion is banned from public schools and many other state activities.

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Evil Against Evil is still Evil

    A lot of people today, Including many who call themselves Christians, believe that evil acts against those that are evil are justified and good.  That killing abortion doctors is acceptable because they think abortion is evil.  That beating or even killing gays is acceptable because homosexuality is evil (not so much in this country now, but still very true in Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and a few other countries).  
    Jesus never taught that such behavior was good, or even acceptable.  He taught that we should love everyone and not judge others.  It’s a very simple and easily understood teaching.  And the other great prophets such as Buddha and Zoroaster taught the same.  
    An evil act against someone you think is evil is still an evil act.  I remember once when I was a kid and the cold war was very strong, Kruschev, the leader of the U. S. S. R. was considered by many Americans to be a very evil person, I said once when they were talking about him on the news “I wish he was dead.”  My mother scolded me and said that I should never wish that anybody was dead, no matter who they were.  My mother was not a highly educated or intelligent women, but even she knew that simple truth:
evil acts are not justified because the person you are doing them too is evil according to your personal beliefs or the beliefs of your church or some other group you belong to.  Even wishing evil against someone else because you believe that person is evil, is not justified.  Feel free, however, to wish that that person becomes enlightened and learns the error of his/her ways.

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On the Good Shepherd

We have all heard the parable of the good Shepherd and how he goes after the lost sheep.  Some misunderstand this.  They think that no matter how far they stray, no matter how lost they get, Jesus, the angels and the other Beings of Light are going to rescue them.  Sadly, that is simply not true.  The good shepherd only goes so far looking for the lost sheep then gives up.  The same is true with attempts to redeem the fallen.  The Beings of Light want to save everyone, but they are aware that there are those who simply cannot be saved and to try is to waste time and effort that could be spent on those who can be redeemed.  
    This sounds callous to some, including many who have studied spirituality in some form.  But the spiritual teachers have to be practical if they are going to be effective.  Just like medical triage on a battle field has to decide which of the wounded can possibly be saved and concentrate on treating them rather then treating those who can not possibly be saved, the Beings of Light have to make the decision to save those who can be saved meaning:

  • Those who haven’t become so entrenched in materialism that there is no possibility of convincing them that a spiritual world or an afterlife exists
  • Those who haven’t already lost their soul because of committing major crimes like murder or enough lesser crimes *  that their soul has given up on them and departed.

That second one requires a little explanation because many don’t know such a thing can happen.  They equate the soul with the spirit and thing that since a person cannot exist without a spirit, a person cannot exist without a soul.  That is simply not true.  Your soul is not your property, you don’t own it and it can, and does, leave people and returns to heaven without them.

* by crimes in this statement, I mean breaking God’s law not man’s law.

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