H.O.P.E is 30. What now?

We move into its fourth decade… a certain (and uncertain) adventure!

Here are some welcoming thoughts from Ken Hamilton, MD, H.O.P.E’s founder: As I look back over our first thirty years, I see a steady process of development that began with a study of how to help my surgical patients identify a core passion which they had in their earliest memories and then nurture it. To put it simply, my patients taught me to listen to their story because it always revealed their core passion, no matter how hidden it had become in the unfortunate circumstance(s) of their lives. Thus, I became a human development coach! Then in the 1980’s I learned about support groups and guided imagery, and incorporated those skills into my practice. What began for cancer patients benefited a host of other challenges. This process grew and evolved, reaching maturity earlier this year (2017).

H.O.P.E’S Board of Directors has recognized that they are ready to take H.O.P.E. as far as it could go, building on a motto that first appeared in 1988: “H.O.P.E. is everywhere for everyone”. With our development solid and virtually complete this July, we were called to become marketers and promoters of that for which we stand: our commitment to that principle Hamilton learned as a second-year medical student in the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, to promise that we would do everything in our power to help (people) “get on with their lives.”

The full meaning of a 2014 dream about the wreck of a driverless train off its tracks crashing into the waters of Penobscot Bay with the loss of all on board became clear earlier this year… it was our oh-so-strange political executive and legislative branches that were off the tracks and headed toward a catastrophic disaster. In the dream I found my way through the smashed undergrowth into a dark, dark forest. With the help of the trees in that forest, I found my way onto open land and a large railroad terminus with trains at platforms waiting for all those humans who were coming out of that dark forest. When full, their engineers closed the doors and headed out on converging tracks becoming a single track leading to a lovely light on the horizon.

What H.O.P.E. has learned during its developing years is to help people find their way through that dark forest, which is likely to confront just about every one of us humans, and “get on with their lives”. This comprises all of us who began their journey by working their way through the wreckage left by the train wreck.

We need your help in experiencing and sharing what we have to offer. There is not one human being who can not benefit from this support. We’ve shown you how to do this work. Your personal initiative in convening H.O.P.E. groups that rely on the H.O.P.E. Goldbook to keep the group headed toward that lovely light of our potential in a living, loving Universe, in which all human beings are created equal with individual dreams and core passions. Yes, we are all one. Please feel free to contact us, and we’ll keep looking for you.

Looking for support in your healing process?

A H.O.P.E. Group is a safe place in which we come together to find wellness by sharing our story and listening with open heart and mind to the other stories in the room. In our H.O.P.E. Groups we learn the practice of compassion and the release of suffering — the engine of forgiving. Join us at one of our four locations in Maine to see for yourself what a difference a H.O.P.E. Group can make.

Join A H.O.P.E. Group

Welcome to H.O.P.E. where you find out who you really are…

where we know that at the core of our being all humans strive to be healthy and whole: the process called healing. In addition, all of us are persons; and because no two of us are alike, we are all exceptions to each other.

Moreover, an intense, indomitable curiosity about life, health, and our spirituality has brought us to see that we are alive because the whole marvelous Universe is alive, and It’s not in the business of repeating Itself… we are, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin told Jean Houston just before he died in 1955, “spiritual beings having a human experience!”

No H.O.P.E. Group near you?

Do you work with a therapist?

Invite her/him to go over these pages with you and see if there is a group that is available for you. If there isn’t, invite your therapist to talk with/message me through this website to see how we might get a H.O.P.E. Group started. Therapist referrals are a very important way to get a H.O.P.E. Group going. We in H.O.P.E. work to support both you and your therapist. I’m delighted to share 30 years of guiding over 5,000 H.O.P.E. Group meetings, keeping in mind that my personal devotion to all of my patients, going way back into the 1970’s was, and still is, to help them get on with their lives, and the best way to do that was to help them remember and serve that core passion with which they were born… and may have been discouraged from ever realizing. The life work of my great teacher, Earl Nightingale (probably the world’s best at helping humans succeed), focused on that as the essence of all success.

Be your own H.O.P.E. Group. Here’s how a personal life plan unfolds – stepwise!

1. Pencil and paper in hand, get comfortable and give yourself permission to know that you, like every other human, were born with a “worthy ideal,” a “dream,” a “fantasy,” a “divine assignment”. Take a few deep breaths, relax your eyes and let thoughts of achieving that “worthy ideal” come to mind as an action. Write out every one that comes up now, even if there is but one.

2. Patiently relax into an intention for every worthy ideal you wrote down. An intention is more than a goal… a line to cross is something you’d like to have happen, or something you’d like see come out of a particular circumstance. Take mine, for instance: “My worthy ideal is to become a doctor like my grandfather and one of his nephews.” It is already in your imagination, and the work of your life is to make that image real.

3. Now, you’ve just remembered why you are here, haven’t you? Good! Now write out the answer this question: “Who am I?” Well, let’s get clear that you are not just a body, you are a spiritual being – a Soul, just as the Source made you – immersed in your human body, and promised this life at the beginning of time.

4. Alright then, journal what comes up in response to this question: “How am I going to get what I came for, and exactly what am I to do with it when I have it?

5. Now you need a context in which all of this works: An attitude of service: “First of all, do no harm; second, do some good; third, benefit someone.” Promise that you’ll do everything in your power to help people get on with their lives. Be aware that in making this promise, you’ll be a beneficiary of it, too. This is called “The Law of Returns”, also heard as: “What goes around comes around.”

6. Now, I strongly recommend that you download a copy of the H.O.P.E. Goldbook that we read at the opening of every H.O.P.E. Group meeting, and participants take home with them to help them keep their focus on care, wellness, kindness, forgiveness, health, and love in the face of so many harmful thoughts that seem to find their way into our lives.

There you have it. Start with yourself, and if you find others along the way who want to do more of this work, your group will grow. Please know that we are always at your service, and we welcome your participation it the process. Just go to the menu bar at the top of the page and click on “Ask Us”. It will get you in touch with a senior H.O.P.E. Guide. Blessings thoughts come and abide….

Recent News

Standing at a Fork in Your Road

Standing at a Fork in Your Road Facing Your Demons

First of all, in case you had not figured this out already, we are in chaos today. I liken it to standing at a fork in your road facing your demons. Like it or not the situation demands that we face our most powerful Demon, the Lord of Chaos, Satan, himself.
In addition, the famed major league baseball player, Yogi Berra, tells us, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Therefore, where do the two branches of your fork take you? In our present state of affairs, I see one branch leading down a barren road to a dusty death that could be nuclear. I could also see the other branch leading to a greening of the Earth Mother. If you have trouble understanding this, please be patient; you’ll see. In addition, let me share what crosses my mind now… two important images: our limitless nature – our immortality – and the limited life span of all revolutions, three of which are in their death throes as we speak: the 17th c. world-wide Industrial Revolution on the one hand, and the American and French revolutions against monarchy.

Our Immortality

In addition, I share with you my fascination with the Universe that goes way back in my life. I grew up a few miles from the great Bell Telephone radio telescope that picked up the background radiation from the Big Bang. I visited it when I was a teenager. In my late teen years, I developed a fascination with the quantum reality aspects of this Universe; delighted to find out that it was finite, beginning as a point of light nearly 14 billion years ago. I was also fascinated to learn about the quantum experiments that proved that consciousness was infinite and timeless… a fundamental property of matter, and that matter is a fundamental finite quality of consciousness! On the one hand, it was apparent that matter can be measured in terms of space and time. On the other, it was apparent that consciousness cannot be measured in terms of space and time… It is both infinite and eternal… everywhere… now!
With this background, I have long held the sense that you and I have been promised these lives since the beginning of time. I was delighted to read in Peter Kingsley’s marvelous work, Reality, “We are immortal,” appearing for the first time on page 520 of that 600 page book! I saw that he was leading up to it by the time I had reached page 40, and wondering where he would say it!
About 25 years ago, a friend told me how he had a heart attack and, knowing that he had died, he went into an beautiful place of color, light, and love, knowing that he was dead. Especially relevant, he was aware that a very important piece of creative work had been interrupted by his death and immediately he heard a voice saying that he was to go back and finish it. On returning to this life, he finished his work and then had a second heart attack and left for good. He was the first of six people I have gotten to know who have had similar experiences with their own dying and going beyond their death. They all returned to complete an important service to others.
All of this makes perfect sense to me… not in terms of logical thinking, but knowing, as Antoine de St. Exupéry writes in his book, The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. The essential is invisible to the eye.”

The Dying Revolutions and Chaos

I recently finished reading Chris Hedges’ 2015 book, Wages of Rebellion in which he examines the nature of unsuccessful and successful revolutions. He finds that successful revolutions create their own “vocabulary” that the oligarchs, against whom they rebel, cannot understand. The unsuccessful rebellions fail to create such a vocabulary. As I went through this, I realized that every revolution has a lifespan, the end of which comprised a disintegration of the thought forms that had created the revolution. That disintegration was inevitably chaotic.
The chaos that we see around us today marks the ending of prior revolutions. Consider that the three revolutions of the 18th century are in their death throes. One of the revolutions is industrial and social: the Industrial Revolution of 1750. The other two are political and social: the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. Fundamental to the vocabulary of the approaching revolution are words that reflect attitudes and belief systems. Examples of the former are kindness and compassion. Examples of the latter are all associated with globalization, which, to me implies the growing recognition of our universal equality in the context of an immense diversity.

The Dark Side of It All

In respect to that image of universal equality as a reflection of the new vocabulary, there is a defensive, terribly fearful, retreat into the dark side of the dying revolutions. In this way, I can begin to appreciate the behavior of a class of powerful individuals who call themselves “The Elite”. This is not what you think it is; rather, it is the product of a denial that there are limited resources to keep us going in our consumption of those resources. There is a class of individuals who have accumulated great wealth from the consumption of our limited resources. They do not see that when we run out of these resources, all of us will suffer the same fate as any homeless human on the streets of every hometown. Yes, denial can take incredible forms… one only needs to be reminded of the Holocaust. It makes you keep on standing at the fork in your road.
It occurs to me that the trillions of dollars accumulated by these ravenous, insatiable appetites represent the energy that can keep the earth and its human population very much alive and well! It occurs to me as well that it does not pay to try to isolate these highly creative and intelligent, but misled, human beings… they will only retreat into their bomb shelters and hire mercenaries to protect them from what is really going on. Most of all, it is better to look peacefully at them in their fear and acknowledge it by saying, “I see what you want me to do, and I will not do it because I will not let you control my life. So, come out of your bomb shelters. We are not going to hurt you.” Rather, I believe that we shall follow the example of Bishop Desmond Tutu confronting the police lining the walls of his Grace Cathedral to prevent a march against apartheid. He extended his open hand, saying, “You cannot mock my G*d; for He will not be mocked. Come join the winning side. You have lost already.”

H.O.P.E. Groups Facing the Dark Side

It seems like we need H.O.P.E. Groups to help each other get through this time and stop standing at the fork in our road. H.O.P.E. groups, big or small, are supportive of each other using a loving, gentle, non-judgmental approach to achieve unity instead of division. As a result, I believe we can direct our future to follow the green road and thrive.

Changing the Cost of Resistance

I’ve just read ‘The Cost of Resistance’ at https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-cost-of-resistance/. Now I would ask you to consider changing the cost of resistance.

“The Cost of Resistance” is a brave article by Chris Hedges that speaks my mind as to the vital need to resist the forces of moral and intellectual corruption that gain power every day, it seems. However, I would offer a basic change in that cost….

Overcoming Bored to Tears by Factual History

I was bored to tears by the courses in history I was required to take and pass in order to move toward an ever “higher” level of education – the one that would get me into medical school to be able to serve according to the song in my heart. They contained list after list of uninteresting facts.

Little did I suspect that one of the greatest assets of medicine would be found in listening to a patient’s own narrative of her/his own life – it was the “why” of how s-he got to me for my medical/surgical services. In the words of an associate professor clinician, the “why” was to be explored in order to find the meaning of the clinical “who,” “what,” “when,” and “where” of taking a medical history that led us to the “how,“ the answer that medical school education gave us.

The Power of Listening

As I became aware of the power of listening to the story (s) of humanity’s struggles to “be,” I became a lover of history! “His”tory became “Her”story and they became “Our”story. Then the “Why” of our very existence began to come clear, defying the need for resistance to a mindset that must be laid to rest – the mindset that we are nothing but an accident of matter, and that evolution is simply an accident of “survival of the fittest”.

That which throws all such thinking into the trash bucket is the knowledge we now have of two vitally important phenomena: our Universe began some 13.72 billion years ago as a point of light–energy that was both physical and non-physical! And… its evolution had to satisfy the five questions that I’d been taught in medical school. I repeat them for your consideration, offering you a response to each:

    Who? One Source – call It what you will.
    What? Conscious Space-time.
    When? 13.72± billion years ago.
    Where? Contained completely within itself, continuously evolving.
    Why? The answer comes from Dante Alighieri’s appreciation of the One Commandment: “BE”… and its echo that comes from the farthest reaches of the Universe: “I AM” ….

The Answers… My Resistance to Evil

The answers to these great questions comprise the nature of my “Resistance” to the forces of the untrammeled human ego that threaten to ultimately destroy this wonderful world, the living gift from Life, itself, the sole Source of all that is. Keep in mind in your resistance that Life continuously invites us to find out Its “How”.

I leave you with this that you may join me in resisting forces of the untrammeled ego by not so much a “pushback” as an invitation… to peace… to compassion… to creativity… to LOVE.

What Trump and Company don’t get…

The Fatal Greed of Trump and Company

  1. Their greed is based on fear.
  2. Their greed is based on denials
  3. Their greed has signed their death warrant!

The Denials
  • That there is only one Source of everything.
  • That there are no orders of superiority and inferiority.
  • That there are physical limits to everything on this physical Earth.
  • That the supreme law of the land comes from the Source, not “Man”.
  • That life is not simply an accident of matter.
  • That evolution is not a blind struggle for survival.
  • That there is a divine, creative purpose in everything.
  • That what we call “heaven” occurs only after the death of the body.
  • That what is true is all about compassion and service.

The Nature of Fear

I would like to invite Trump and Company – and you – to look at the nature of fear… that it projects to a time that does not exist – the future. Therefore, “fear is an illusion.”As the principle of Attitudinal Healing goes, “Now is the only time there is, and each instant is for giving.” This principle is known in virtually all spiritual practices. These same practices recognize that our ego is ignorant of the spiritual reality that is the entire Universe.

These same practices that have existed for centuries also maintain for us the awareness that the ego is limited to keeping the physical body alive. Its work is to separate the one from the other, making levels of superiority appear real. Such levels lead to jealousy, about which, the Prophet Mohammed is widely quoted as saying, “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.”

Parenthetically, greed and jealousy go hand in hand to keep the ego’s use of fear alive. As long as they coexist, great harm comes. When they are the primary motives of the executive of any organization, including a nation such as ours, we are incapable of good deeds. Tragically, nature is capable of creating such extreme holocausts as recently consumed the California town of Santa Rosa, effectively preventing good deeds by the thousands. I am also aware of those who connect our behavior with Nature’s behavior…. (Could we be looking at the signing of our death warrant?)

Three Native Prophecies of “Purification”

Moreover, I am aware of three Native prophecies for this land of ours: one for each green and beautiful coast, and the third for the beautiful and dry Western lands. They all describe the deception of the fair-skinned ones that come from the East with a good tale but with no honesty. They all suggest the possibility of a process of “purification” that will cleanse this nation of its illusions. In the early 1990’s I heard the Hopi Elder, Thomas Banyacya, speak of this process, and I have lately read his words in a 1990 Beyond Words book, Wisdomkeepers (p.52). I strongly encourage you to read it (I got it through an interlibrary loan.)

From what I have learned from the Native people of this country is that the “purification” has two possible outcomes – two roads that come from the Road of Life. One road leads down a barren track to a dusty death. The second leads onward through a beautiful, green and growing world. It is clear to me that we are at a fork in our road, and it is also clear to me that which branch we take is a matter of choice – personal choice. Remember that Yogi Berra has advised us that when we come to a fork in the road, take it.

Free to Choose

I know that when we realize that we are on the barren track we can choose to follow the lovely, rewarding Green Road that goes in the opposite direction. I am also well aware that people are having an experience of death that goes way beyond “near-death”. They know they are dying and they go through the darkness into a beauty with indescribable colors and perfect love. They then find a call to return to perform a specific service. One of these humans is Rev. Peter Panagore who has written about his experience of dying of hypothermia in a wonderful book called Heaven Is Beautiful https://www.peterpanagore.com/

I do not know of any other way to get the executives I refer to above as “Trump and Company” to make the change to green creativity than to publish these thoughts, and firmly demand a change of thinking and action amongst those who would lead us down the dusty road. We, the people of these United States of America, have a divine right to demand that our executives destroy that death warrant they seem so intent on creating out of their own fear and greed. There are several attitudes and functions that would access the Green Road were these men and women who claim to wish America to “be great again” really want to make it great: compassion and peace are the two attitudes that years of H.O.P.E. work have proven effective. Forgiveness and caring are the functions I have found that tie in with the other two.

It is this work that can end the danger of the unrecognized shadows that do such great harm: slavery, genocide, and the abuse of women. Please look at the media reporting on these evil functions. Do we suppress them (again) or do we remember how many we’ve harmed and heal? Our choice… I know mine. I take the Green Road.

Desmond Tutu

I close with the words of Desmond Tutu challenging the police who lined the walls of his St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town to prevent a march against apartheid (1989):

“You are powerful. You are very powerful, but you are not gods and I serve a God who cannot be mocked. So, since you’ve already lost, I invite you today to come and join the winning side!”

Purification Time, an old Prophecy Coming True… but how?

It’s all about remembering what we had forgotten

I would like to start by introducing you to something about me that I suspect I share with a great many people, but that we seldom talk about. Before I had lived in this lifetime for five years, I knew that that which I grew up calling “God” loved me because it is love, and the story about God in the Garden of Eden could not be true. I knew that the loving God would never punish its children in the way stated in the legend. I had this thought as I was listening to my grandmother read me Genesis 3, which was part of the weekly Sunday morning scriptural lesson in her household. The thought stayed with me, guiding me through my life from its background over the next 75–odd years.

This thought matured into a “knowing” when I was given a copy of Nick Herbert’s 1985 book, Quantum Reality. In it, I discovered that my universe had a beginning and that consciousness is a fundamental property of matter. This led me to an appreciation that I have been promised my life since the beginning of time, nearly 14 billion years ago!

I found that sharing that idea with people in my H.O.P.E. Groups helps them begin to see themselves differently – to be of greater value to self and others. To put it simply, I began to look at all of my knowing as, in fact, a “remembering”. Indeed, what I am about to pursue with you are the implications of a tragic “forgetting” that has led us into a disastrous situation… a situation that, fortunately, is reversible. The process has its name – Purification.

We Are Immortal

Before we explore the concept of “Purification,” I want to go a step further: We live in an expanding Universe which began as a point of light that comprised both matter and consciousness. As revolutionary as this may sound, the evidence for it is solid: we’ve found that the Universe is expanding from a beginning instant, and subatomic particles share information about each other as if time and space do not exist. (I invite you to visit these phenomena with the help of Google and all encyclopedias, like I did… yes, they are proven theories!)

Peter Kingsley, PhD historian, a passionate devotee of the really ancient (pre-socratic) Greeks, makes the simple statement of our immortality in his rich work, “Reality” . Kingsley opens his last book, A Story Waiting to Pierce You, with a two-sentence quote from the Hopi Elder, Thomas Banyacya, that come from the following quote from a 1990 Beyond Words publication, WISDOMKEEPERS:

“If you don’t stop what you’re doing, Nature will intervene. Other forces far beyond your control will come into play. The last stages are here now…. Our Prophecies tell us in the last stages the White Man will steal our lands. It’s all happening now. We pray and meditate and ask the Great Spirit to keep the world together a while longer. But it’s coming. The Purifiers are coming.”

I would add that there is a growing cadre of humans who are in communication with Great Spirit working to hold the world together. Please add your prayers to theirs. Thank you.

“We are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world. We are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government.”
~Zachary Quinto~

Wilhelm Reich

With that clear segue in mind (with which I agree completely) I offer you a thought that I got from Wilhelm Reich in his 1951 passionate work, The Murder of Christ: we have been struggling to get out of a gigantic trap for several thousand years – a trap, the nature of which we really don’t understand and we struggle mightily to escape, not knowing that we have been promised these lives since forever.
I would like to bring Dr. Reich forward to today and let him see how deep the struggle to get out of that trap has become. We have two epidemics running side-by-side that suggest to me the depth and severity of that struggle: the addiction to opiates, and the incidence of suicide affecting all ages. For me, there is a common thread here that can be summarized in one word – despair. That simple word also warns us of an epidemic of suffering that affects the entire world.

Our Suffering

Stop a minute and give yourself permission to open your peaceful heart and let it look for an instant at the breadth and depth of our human suffering… we find it in virtually every society in the world. In the thousands of languages throughout the world the cry is the same: “Help me; I am trapped, and the harder I try to get out of the trap the stronger it becomes!” Who/what do we cry out to with this lonely plea? Please take a peaceful breath and use it to release enough suffering that you can begin to feel peace. Keep that peace while I tell you to whom we submit our plea – God! Yes, that one word that we struggle so hard with in the Western “Christian” world – God!
That name for the Nameless comes from the German, “Gott”. Before you go any further take a moment to consider how many names we have for the Nameless. Is it really not a universal concept for all human beings that there might even be one Source of everything? In my work with people, I often hear the claim to be an “Atheist”. My response to hearing this is to ask the other to tell me about the “God” he or she does not believe in. You see, this is our dilemma – our trap – does this universe have the meaning it would have if it came from a single unimaginable “Source”; or is it nothing other than a random interaction of atoms?

Our Expanding Universe

The concept of “atom” goes back to the ancient Greeks, to whom it was essentially a philosophy. We didn’t find atoms or evidence for them until the early 1800s. We did not begin to grasp the idea that our Universe expands at incredible speed until the end of that century. Albert Einstein found that the universe was expanding when he worked out his general theory of relativity. However, he did not believe it and so he changed a numerical “constant” to make the universe fixed… unchanging. Edwin Hubble challenged him with solid evidence for the expansion, forcing him to admit that he had just been caught in the greatest “blunder” of his life!
It was only a matter of time before we developed instruments to find out just how fast we were expanding. Once we had that, we were able to run the clock backwards to when the expansion began! The result? 13.72 billion years ago! It is known as the “Big Bang” and there is no sign of it stopping. It started as a point of light, and it still is that “point of light”!

Consciousness and matter

In the early years of the last century we became aware of consciousness as a property to be found in all matter: subatomic particles communicate with each other as if time and space do not exist! So, is consciousness a property of matter or is matter a property of consciousness? For me, the great and beautiful Mystery is that it is both!
Conclusion: matter is finite; consciousness is immeasurable; and both are fundamental properties of everything since time began!
Problem: what gave rise to consciousness and matter in the first place?
Answer: the nameless Source that has so many names throughout the world was but a point of light 13.72 billion years ago – and it is still a point of light! We cannot get outside of it to measure its dimensions. They are determined by its internal relationships, all of which are constantly unfolding to create everything from atoms to galaxies.

Getting out of the trap

As people like Nancy Danison and Peter Panagore have found out by dying and going beyond their death to the Source, there is but one Source of everything, and everything is the product of Its imagination! Danison and the Irish poet, John O’Donohue, both call that imagination “Divine”…and I am of an identical mind.
I will leave you now with the idea – indeed, the knowledge – that we are the product of a single “Divine Imagination”. It created us and our world to help It in Its evolution. Everything in this world, and the world itself, the solar system, and our galaxy all have meaning value and purpose. So I can say, with the support of a sizable group of wonderful human beings, “We have found our way out of the trap.”
I would like you to take with you these thoughts: the crucifixion of the Nazarene opened the trap wide because of a mistaken belief that human beings are “sinful” – morally corrupt – by nature. “Sin” is a Hebrew archery expression meaning “to miss the mark”, and the not – so – saintly philosopher, Augustine of Hippo, slammed the door shut on the trap by his insistence that we humans are inherently flawed.

Going Home

We know, today, that we are not as Augustine, the Manichaean skeptic, thought… “flawed”. We are the product of the One Flawless Imagination. Take that to heart, mind, and body, and look right in front of you for the way out of the trap. I choose to call it: “Going home.” Thank you.

Independence Day, 2017 = Interdependence day 2017?

Independence Day

241 years ago, we declared this nation to be free of any dependence on the British throne for its existence. We wrote the Declaration of Independence to make our case for freedom from what we considered to be unfair rule. It also states that we have the right – the right of the common people – to alter what we have declared, as stated in the very beginning of the document, as follows:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all (human beings) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among (human beings), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The upshot of this declaration was a revolutionary war that, like all wars, was destructive of life and property. The current situation in these United States of America strongly suggest that we are headed for another such war. I have a serious concern that, because of our sophistication in technological development, this war would be terribly much more costly in terms of life and property that could be imagined 241 years ago.

Hopi Prophecy

Back some 20 – odd years ago, I was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Holistic Medical Association holding their annual meeting outside of Sedona, Arizona, and having the Hopi Elder, Thomas Banyacya, tell us about the Hopi way of seeing the world. He told us about an old, old prophecy engraved in stone that has been interpreted to say that we are coming up on a time of “Purification,” the very nature of which was catastrophic. He did tell us that there would be a healing of this nation coming from its Northeast corner. As a citizen of that Northeast corner, I would like to offer the implications of calling the ceremony on July 4, 2017 “Interdependence Day.” Let me explain….

(I would like to point out that I am not judging what is going on, but choosing to discern the nature of what is going on and its implications for us with “healing” at the forefront.)

Interdependence Day

First of all, the man that we have chosen through an antiquated and outdated system of selecting presidents is a businessman who has been extremely wealthy almost all of his life, but has been conditioned to conducting his affairs in harmful, unethical ways. He is failing in his ability to assume the responsibilities of governing this country. He is deficient in that kind of experience. Tragically, it seems that impeachment or health problems seem to be the only possible (constitutional) ways to get him out of his position… Equally tragically, they both appeared to be anathema. There is, however another option… Resignation.

Secondly, our present two–party condition has evolved to the point where both parties are incapable of providing the necessary leadership. The one is seemingly devoted to destroying the effectiveness of the system, and the other is seemingly devoid of any candidates for leadership. Both parties appear to have been compromised by a persistent internecine struggle between the two parties. Even though our Native population wants us to work towards consensus, we stubbornly resist following their wisdom. It is tragically apparent to me that this white, male–dominated immigrant population has a complete amnesia for the spiritual nature of our origins, which is totally contrary to what the Native population has always remembered.

Thirdly, our very liberal way of looking at ourselves has made it possible for us to create a financial divide at the individual, human level, and at the corporate level. Both of these behaviors are, in my opinion, irresponsible, and sooner or later, they will learn that we are here to serve each other.

Choices

In the first place, should our current president choose to resign, who would replace him? Certainly, not his cabinet or fellow executives. The choice must be for somebody who is, literally, independent. We have a senator who is an Independent. He is an experienced politician. He comes from having been elected Governor of the state of Maine as an Independent, and he has a record of kindness, compassion, and nonpartisan, consensus–building leadership. His name? Angus King.

In the second place, carrying the idea of leadership coming from independent sources leads me to look at people who are vocal today, and I find two of them: Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Bernie Sanders. What would happen if both of these individuals could be persuaded to become Independent of any and all party affiliation? Would Elizabeth Warren not be a very good candidate for vice–president? Two things in her favor: her age and her gender. In my opinion Senator Sanders has the experience of becoming more mellow with age, and yet maintaining personal power – the ability to stand on his own two feet and make his case with passion and clarity. Would he not make a good Secretary of State?

In the third place, people and corporations of great wealth can become aware that greed is destructive, and choose another path: a path of service. For all those in such a position, I offer the promise that I made along with all of my classmates in the second year of our experience in the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University in Montréal, Canada: always perform to the highest level of your training and “promise your patients that you will do your best to help them get on with their lives”. I challenge everyone to consider the beautiful spiritual value of that promise. I challenge you to consider as well what roles that corporate America and wealthy America could assume in order to achieve these honorable ends.

Possibilities

Finally, I can hear you say that such possibilities are impossibilities. My response is to say, “My career as a physician has shown me that nothing is impossible.”

If you are of a mind to explore what I have just offered, go right ahead and do your very best. I know that we can all be pleased and pleasantly surprised.

These are my thoughts. Ken Hamilton, M.D.

H.O.P.E. Groups are still all about healing

They still are, after 30 years.

(This is yet another slant on H.O.P.E. Groups. I found it in a no-longer–useful 2009 external backup drive that I was cleaning up during our 2017 mid–March blizzard! All I had to do was to add some details that were already in place back in 1987. H.O.P.E. Groups continue to be all about healing…)

Using the wisdom of the ages for thirty full years, H.O.P.E. Groups continue to be all about healing… becoming whole…. H.O.P.E. and I have been maturing over these past 30 years and 6000 H.O.P.E. Group meetings! in 1975 I ran into my early childhood wounds–ANGER/GUILT–and was blessed by the presence of a compassionate practice manager who introduced me to Earl Nightingale (nightingale-conant.com), the greatest student of success the world has ever known. (Before I go any further,I invite you to follow this web page link success.com/article/earl-nightingale. It is a quick read telling the incredible story of this fine man’s life. He introduced me, in turn, to wonderful teachers who contributed to the creation of the first H.O.P.E. “Attitudinal Healing” Group meeting on February 12, 1987. I have heard this question, “What are H.O.P.E. Groups all about?” many, many times over the years since that first meeting. At that time we chose to call ourselves a H.O.P.E. Group with the proviso that we had to come up with the name to fit the acronym if we wanted to continue to use it. At the second meeting one week later, the nurse, Sharon W, who started this work with me, proposed, “Healing of Persons Exceptional” and all those present said, “Yes”. We discussed this and agreed to the following: “Healing” literally means to become whole… to integrate all of one’s parts or fragments into one Being. “Persons” reflects our shared human-ness. “Exceptional” reflects the fact that no two of us are alike.

Sharing Nightingale

And I want you to know that I am sharing thousands of years of this healing knowledge that have come to me through what Nightingale had to share through decades of its application… Yes, Nightingale’s lifetime of study went back 2000 years when I met him in 1975, and it had gone another 2000 years by the time he passed in 1989. I spent a full twenty years reading the monographs accompanying every one of his monthly INSIGHT tapes that I listened to several times a week, enjoying the company of a variety of three other great teachers on each tape, often while driving, learning the patterns of Nightingale’s thoughts that I summarize here: You can look at where you would like to be in a year, and now look at your toes to see that they point to the same place… if they don’t, a course correction is needed to align yourself to what is fair to call your “divine assignment” while you are here in this lifetime. This is the essence of all “Attitudinal Healing” H.O.P.E. work.

Nightingale’s 3-part gift to his customers

1. A Formula common to all great spiritual practices: “We become what we think about most.”
2. A Goldmine making the formula work: the Mind,… (The brain is an organ that the mind finds useful.)
3. A Word … the key to the doorways of the mind: Attitude.

It is crystal–clear to me that Nightingale is a healing gift to H.O.P.E., and we are to share it in order to help us evolve. And take a moment to consider how the Mystery works; give thought to Nightingale’s experience as a U S Marine in the rear observation tower of the battleship, Arizona, when the forward magazine blew up on December 7, 1941. He was knocked unconscious, feebly moving, afloat in the harbor waters, to be rescued by a Marine officer! I have heard him tell his story, choking up as he did from its emotional impact. Did he have Post-traumatic Stress? Of course, but it was not a “disorder”. He “reframed” the stressful trauma for the benefit of himself and countless others… just like you can be of benefit to others by participating in a “small group” like a H.O.P.E. Group!

A moment spent on these thoughts makes it possible for anyone to get out of restrictive boxes like “disease” or “illness” or “what’s wrong” We have seen again and again that living in such “boxes” limits human potential. Such thinking compromises our belief systems. The choice of beneficial thinking removes limitations from our potential and opens us to tremendously creative possibilities. “Reframing” becomes an essential H.O.P.E. function. H.O.P.E. is all about “moving from our problems to our possibilities;” so consider how any problem can be “reframed” to create images of beneficial possibility… and we humans have been doing this for centuries! It is the essence of success, which Earl Nightingale defined as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal,” and he went on to say that every one of us is born with one!

Why we’re here

H.O.P.E. exists to help people whose belief systems have been challenged by “getting one upside the head with the cosmic 2 x 4” and finding themselves off balance to any degree from simple staggering to being flat on the floor… and they are asking for help to recover their equilibrium and upright position. So we can still say that H.O.P.E. Groups are all about healing to this very day.

Our Story

The first H.O.P.E. Group comprised five of my patients with cancer. Two had recurrent, metastatic cancer; one had recurrent localized cancer that I had been able to remove; and two had new, primary cancers on which I had performed conventional surgical removal. We were not focused on the cancer, but on the life that each individual could create for her- or him- self, and we greatly enjoyed the exploration. When I first wrote this on March 16, 2007, two of those people were still alive, the one with the local recurrence and one of the two with the new, primary cancer. Of the other three, the two with recurrent cancer outlived their prognosis by a factor of three and the third died of another, totally unrelated condition.

The word got out that something unusual was at hand, and other groups started to form for people with cancer and they soon accepted people with other debilitating physical conditions. Again, the primary focus of H.O.P.E. was not on the disease but on life and what gave it meaning. However, when we moved to the lovely Ripley home at 52 High St, South Paris, in 1990, we were asked to assume responsibility for training hospice volunteers, because the local agency had lost their hospice director. That led to a widespread regional perception that H.O.P.E. was for people who were terminally ill. However, restricting H.O.P.E.’s work to people with terminal cancer is a misapprehension of what the work is all about.

Even in the hospice work, H.O.P.E. carried its focus on life into the work that we had been asked to undertake. It gave us the opportunity to clearly recognize that H.O.P.E. work is all about working with people whose bodies and/or minds have been given a major challenge by Life, itself. We found out that H.O.P.E. works equally well for people with cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, depression, or chronic anxiety. It works for prisoners. It works for recovering people by helping them explore the rich potential of a life turned over to a higher power. It works for ordinary human beings facing many of the different and challenging situations that life can throw at them.

How we do it

When Václav Havel said in 1986: “Hope is not about optimism or the conviction that things will work out all right but rather the certainty that things can make sense regardless of how they work out,” we began to examine H.O.P.E. as a vehicle by which we could help people find meaning, value, and purpose in their lives. Our vision began to settle into simply helping people discover that hope and vision collaborate to bring meaning into life in the immediate moment—NOW. Together, they empower a person to take hold of the main sheet and tiller of their “ship of life” and set course for the glow on the horizon. Then, perhaps for the first time in that life, all winds are fair winds. In this way, H.O.P.E. Groups continue to be all about healing… becoming whole….

H.O.P.E. helps people identify and acknowledge the resources that Life has given them to meet It with, describe the sequence of events that make up the history of their life–what life has met them with–and then decide what to do with it all. It is not rocket science, it doesn’t have to be; rather it is the science of anecdote–the study of individual, personal experience–well described by people like Edgar Mitchell, PhD, and John Mack, MD. Such a study acknowledges that no two of us are alike and that the essence of every human being existed at the moment the “Big Bang” lit up or “The Word” was spoken.

We discovered how wonderfully uplifting it is to know that each of us is a once-told tale, a once-painted portrait, a once-read poem, a once-danced dance, a once-sung song. When we tell others our tale, paint them our portrait, read them our poem, dance them our dance, or sing them our song, we have shared with them who we really, really are. Being thus informed, H.O.P.E. has learned to say, “You honor me with your Self. Thank you.”

When we evoke these qualities in our fellow human beings, we see their pain become our pain and that that pain calls our attention to the inner peace that really, really, really matters in our lives. We find that paying attention to what matters changes the character of the pain, even though it may not leave.

In H.O.P.E, we have repeatedly shown the creative power that lies deep within all human suffering. We have found that we do not have to carry it, but we can let it penetrate us through and through like an arrow, leaving its trail behind so that we can take its measure. We have found compassion. We have found that listening matters. We have found that advice-giving does not. We have learned to let go of judgment, criticism, and criticizing. We have learned to ask questions that increased our appreciation of each other. We have learned to reflect peacefully on qualities that we hear in another person’s words. We have learned to affirm each other by listening with honesty and sincerity.

Holy Listening

In short, we have become practitioners of what the Quaker educator–philosopher, Douglas Van Steere, called “holy listening” (that) “listens a soul into life through a condition of disclosure and discovery, which may be the single greatest service one human being can do for another (On Listening to Another, Harper 1955)”. This is all about becoming vulnerable!

We have learned that these are the components of a “safe place”… a place where people can go and speak from their hearts because H.O.P.E. knows that every one of us is expert in our own lives without being an expert for another. In Steere’s words, found in my Quaker College, Haverford, where he was a professor of philosophy, “To be present is to be vulnerable, to be able to be heard, to be willing to be spent–but it is also to be awake, alive and engaged actively in the immediate assignment that has been laid upon us.”

We have learned to let go of fear and conflict and thus to be able to give ourselves permission to live and love in peace without condition or attachment. We have learned how to create “Rumi’s Field” that lies “out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing”. We have learned that when we are in Rumi’s Field, we are in Love. We continue to learn how to invite others into that wonderful place of creativity which is so rich with the potential of a “quantum wave”.

We have discovered how wonderful it is to see that we need acknowledgment of our different packaging, all the while recognizing the common essence of our humanity. As Cheri Huber offered:

Yes, I am me, but what animates me is what animates Uncle Bob, the cat, the tree, the rock and all that is. We are packaged differently, but we share the same essence. There are many of us and we are not the same but we are all one.

Our offering

This is what H.O.P.E. is about… finding the one in the different packaging and honoring it. We have been doing this with reproducible success since February 12, 1987 in over 6,000 “volunteer” H.O.P.E. Group meetings. We know what we do, how we do it, and how to teach it. We are fully prepared to teach professionals from all the major institutions how to use these groups in their services and discover the time–effectiveness of this work. We stand behind all that we teach. Come, do join us.

We are evolving… so where are we going?

The chaos of our time

The chaotic time into which we have plunged is not unknown in our history on this Earth. It is the sign that we are evolving. The tragic insanity of two huge “World” wars in the last century screams the suffering of this chaos. Are we sitting on the edge of a vast precipice doomed to fall into it and repeat that suffering? I don’t think so; rather, I have a strong sense that another story unfolds that bridges the chasm: the story of an evolution we are challenged to imagine: We are evolving… so where are we going?
We certainly cannot go back to the time of World War II when our industry and the resources which made that industry possible produced incredible weapons of war. We have exported our heavy industries, and we have come perilously close to exhausting the energy resources that fed the war industries. Furthermore, we are poisoning the atmosphere with the carbon waste of running those industries. Can we go back? No, we cannot….

The old industrial way

The old industrial way demanded of us that we become consumers of those resources. We became addicted to the idea of this form of consumption. (Ironically, consumption is an old name for galloping tuberculosis, a life – threatening infection of the lungs and the spine!) There is a mindset in our country, which is attached to the idea that we all become consumers of the products of the industries that we have exported. No, my friends, it is time to let go of that old image of consumption and consumers and consider the implications of becoming creative producers of thought and action on a very different scale: service to each other, to the earth, and to the universe!

Our evolving Universe

I have previously shared in http://hopehealing.org/i-know-something-about-you/ what I know of the evidence that we exist in an evolving universe that first lit its fires some 13.7 billion years ago. We know that that fire is not only a creative fire that created you and me and every star and galaxy that we can see in the night sky, and then some; it is a conscious fire that is fully aware of itself and totally committed and devoted to becoming itself. I go so far as to say it created us as holographic fragments of itself to help it in its evolution. I know that I share this perception with many. Yes, we are evolving… so where are we going?

Holographic fragments of the Whole

The Creator has created over 300 million of us Americans, every one of whom is a holographic fragment of that Source! Yes, even the most tragic as well as the most famous of us all! Together, we create a dynamic tension of opposites, which we know, today, is the only creative power possible…. I appeal to all of you, my fellow Americans, to go into the silence of your homes, into your places of religious practice, into your prisons, into your businesses, into your hospitals and nursing homes, and spend time exploring this whole idea that we are not here by accident, but are here as a result of Divine Intention to help that Divine Intention – which created the Universe – continue in that mysterious, wondrous and miraculous phenomenon called Life.

How?

I simply offer you my 40-year experience with helping my patients “get on with their lives”. That second-year medical school instruction empowered my career in general surgery. My patients helped me learn these gems: we can choose an attitude of kindness; choose a function of compassion; and choose the creative energy of the universe called Love. Please look critically and favorably on the tension that we have just experienced around electing a person desperately looking to be loved to be our president. Let us give ourselves permission to see that this is not an accident. It is not anybody’s fault. It is, however, a great opportunity to experience the creative tension that makes the universe run.
We Americans are, individually and collectively, citizens of the most ethnically diverse nation in the world. We, like humans the world over, are uniformly and universally creative. Let us commit ourselves to joining now in our creativity to help the world heal, a process that can most certainly involve all 300 million of us Americans to help build that bridge of Love across the yawning chasm of fear. In crossing it, we can find pause to rest with Kindness, Compassion, Evolution, Unity, Courtesy, Respect, Justice, Creativity, Care, Respect, and Peace. We are evolving creatures in the wonderful and beautiful evolving Universe… the product of one Divine Imagination.

The Healing Power of Presence

Two days ago I posted a blog titled “A Contentious Election In An Irrational Time” that focused on making a 180° shift from the fear–anger–guilt way in which we have lived our lives for thousands of years to peace, creativity, compassion, and kindness. I detailed simple ways to “reframe” this very important shift. I consider that post to be a segue to this one, The Healing Power of Presence, which focuses on two words with basically one fundamental idea: love and presence. I share with you now two previously published stories (in Bridges Magazine for Living Subtle Energies, 2009 # 3. Lafayette CO) that made this clear to me. [click to continue…]

A Contentious Election in Irrational Time

We are experiencing a contentious election in irrational time. I am a Depression Baby and I remember the contentious irrational behavior of the 1930s that led to a disastrous war. I am seeing much the same today, and I recognize a common pattern that goes back thousands of years. The only problem today is that wars can become nuclear, wiping ourselves off the face of the Earth. It would seem, too, that we are using other ways of wiping ourselves off the face of the Earth. What is going on? I strongly sense that we are being asked to evolve rapidly out of the industrial revolution into a time of creativity and service at a higher level than we have ever known, collectively. [click to continue…]