Maintaining our freedom of being

Dear Ones,

Many of you know that political activist, moral and spiritual ‘awakener’ (*1) Marianne Williamson is running for the 2020 US presidential election. She announced her candidacy last week and started campaigning right away. I was reading her Story yesterday and would encourage you to do the same if you’d like to learn about her unusual career and beautiful life aspirations.



I applaud the courage of such a brilliant person, yet would question, with my limited knowledge of her situation (*2), her decision to run within the ‘boundaries’ of a political party—the Democratic party.

Running within such an established institution is meant, in the end, to limit her ‘freedom of being,’ especially if she goes past the Democratic primary and moves on to take part in the final stretch in the fall of 2020.

Yet, her decision to run within the ‘established’ made me reflect on the many ways in which we indeed restrict our ‘freedom of being’ by belonging, consciously or not so consciously, to various organizations (or group of people). And sometimes, sticking with them, despite adverse winds.

This ‘restriction of our beingness’ (often, for the sake of the collective) is both understandable and inevitable as rules, regulations, directives, emotional attachments and so on are meant to make us conform to the mainstream that each of these organizations sets as a prerequisite to belonging.

For instance, I was reflecting on the school our son attends, with its many such rules, regulations and decisions, and the limited voice we, parents, have in setting them up.

First and foremost, it is a question of what is it that we are willing to accept (again, for the sake of the collective, or for a specific outcome) and at what price. It is also a question of boundaries and where we set the limits. When is it that too much conformity becomes a burden, an unbearable burden?

So, for this week, my question is,

How do we maintain our freedom of being in the face of the many ‘restrictions’ we may encounter in the course of our lives?

Starting, of course, with the families we grow up with, the countries in which we reside and their so-called ‘systems.’

This is, above all, not a call to let go of these ‘affiliations;’ it is a call to be aware, and a call to live with that awareness in front of us.

*1: The last few words of Marianne’s story and ‘why she is running’:

“We need to address the deep emotional and psychological dynamics within the average citizen that have led to the erosion of our political system. In order to have a moral and spiritual awakening in America, we need a leader who is a moral and spiritual awakener. I believe I am that person.”

*2: Marianne Williamson ran for Congress in 2014, as an independent, and lost. Perhaps this lesson influenced her decision to now run under the Democratic party banner.


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A most meaningful commemoration

I returned to Mount Vernon today, where the estate of George Washington, first president of the United States between 1789 and 1797, is located. I visited for the first time last Friday and wanted to get another feel for it, knowing I had not spent much time in the Education Center.

And so I hopped onto the Yellow Line metro till its terminus and connected with the number 101 bus, Fort Hunt line.

I (re)watched the short intro movie, which is followed by a much longer film highlighting some of George Washington’s defining moments: his first meeting with Ms. Curtis, the widow who would become his wife, a skirmish during the French Indian war, and his infamous crossing of the Delaware river on Christmas day 1776. His conviction, bravery and military genius shone through the few words he uttered to his ‘worn out’ generals during this cold winter of 1776. “This is our country. It belongs to us.”


I then set out to explore the wharf area, along the Potomac river, accompanied that I was by a brilliant pink-surrounded sun and some two-legged companions: a flock of geese that was resting and bathing in the sun, just as I was.

The hour of 12 noon was approaching and I decided to go up a few steps to the vault where George and Martha’s bodies lay since 1831. There is a wreath laying ceremony every day and I didn’t want to miss it. Such a profound way to pay homage to people who drastically changed and shaped the face of an emerging nation.

I exchanged a few words with Tricia, the employee of the Ladies of Mount Vernon Association, who, I assumed, was there to conduct the wreath laying ceremony.

I inquired about Martha’s status as a widow, her children from her marriage with Mr. Custis (she was 17 when she married him), and the cause of the passing of both George and Martha. While the definite cause of Martha’s 1802 death couldn’t be identified, three were explored; typhus was one of them.

As to George, he died of epiglottitis. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either until 11:55 this morning. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis — a small cartilage “lid” that covers our windpipe — swells, blocking the flow of air into our lungs.”

And that’s what happened to George Washington on a fateful day in December of 1799. He died on the 14th of that month and missed the 19th century by a mere 18 days. He had four doctors at his bedside, one of them who had performed an opening of the trachea, which could potentially save George. Unfortunately, his patient had died and no one thought it was worth taking the risk with the first president of this new country.


I was the only one attending the wreath laying ritual. At 12 noon, to my amazement, Tricia asked me to lay the wreath. The ceremony also entailed the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the reading of a prayer written by Washington himself.

Tricia and I recited the pledge while facing the flag, she then opened the gate to the vault and let me put the wreath right between the two tombs, respecting symmetry and balance as much as I could. I then came out and recited aloud the following words.

“I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have the United States in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field and, finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Devine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.” Amen

This prayer was addressed by George Washington to the governors of the new nation on July 8, 1783. He was still the commander in chief of the continental army at the time and his headquarters was based in Newburgh, New York.


I also took the opportunity to take a picture of the marble plaque above the two tombs. I could not do that the Friday prior, blocked that the view was by the gate of the vault.

The plaque covers a citation from the apostle John.

John 11:25-26

25 “I am the resurrection and the life,” said the Lord. “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

These may seem like no more than meaningful and appropriate words blessing the realm where George and Martha lay for eternity. Yet, to me, they take on a more special meaning, knowing January 17th is around the corner. The image of spiritual Death has been ringing lately, through the Tarot and other concrete signs, and January 17th marks the day when Yeshua raised my father Lazarus from the dead.


How more meaningful can this time be? And how more synchronistic this visit to George Washington’s sacred land could possibly be?

To make matters even more significant in my personal history, January 15th, 2019—which is today—marks the very beginning of my 30th continuous year living on the soil of the United States.

I could not wish for a more beautiful gift to commemorate both the life of an American history craftsman and the anniversary of my own commitment and dedication to this land.

Thank you!

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For Light by John O’Donohue

A beautiful poem by John O’Donohue

For Light

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.

In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.

That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.

That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.

When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.

That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.

When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.

When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.

When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.

As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.

And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found word.

~ John O’Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

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Do we need to exit the old to penetrate the new?

Do we need to exit the old to penetrate the new?

I was doing a meditation this evening with a tarot card that epitomizes a sense of completion: the World.

It is the last of the twenty-two major Arcana cards, yet, at the same time, it marks the beginning of a new cycle; a renewal if you will, and possibly the turning of the wheel of life.

The guided meditation asked to reflect on our achievements, our life journey thus far, something we would gently do at the end of a calendar year.

And it also required to look at the future, what our interests are, what projects we have in mind, and what we want to build, in various areas.

And thus the question above came, which is not really a question.

Simply because we are always both the old and the new, always searching for something we haven’t found in the old, unfinished “I”, a ‘something’ that, very fortunately, propels us forward;

Consciously or not so consciously; it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that the seed of life is growing within each of us.

So let’s ponder this non-question at a time when our World might be totally transformed, completely turned around, and utterly reconstructed.

And let’s imagine for a second how we’re going to both penetrate and embrace the new.

Because the new will, very soon, be upon us.


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In the craziness of it all

In the craziness of it all

This is how I feel, dear Ones. The craziness has engulfed us all, and who knows what it will give birth to.

This is still a mystery to me.

Did I say fortunately?

The refreshing symbol that came to me this morning, as I was reflecting on this craziness, is the Star card of the tarot. A beautiful symbol of balance and equanimity, with one jar of water in her right hand, and one in her left hand. When one of her hands is down pouring water over the pond, the other one is up over the land. That’s how grounded, and balanced she is.

May we all be inspired by her sweet balance and delightful groundedness ♥ ♥

Gilles Asselin is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: In the craziness of it all

Time: Nov 15, 2018 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


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Rolling down the hill

Rolling down the hill

Dear Ones,

The first thought that crossed my mind this morning (Monday) as I sat on my meditation chair was, “rolling down the hill.”

Why would it be so? And what does it mean?

A few minutes later, I checked my Facebook messages and a friend asked me to explain my good wishes to her, “Welcome back to the world.”

That’s when 2 and 2 started to make sense, or to add up nicely, if you will.

That ‘rolling down the hill’ has to do with the old world, the one we are leaving.

There are times when I truly wonder what happens and how we can cross these dimensions so easily; not being fully conscious of where we are.

Times when I am so immersed in spiritual posts or discussions that I don’t even notice what goes around me. Then, I go down the hill, literally, and walked the few steps that separate our 2nd floor from our 1st floor and meet my family. This is when I realize that there are (at least) two worlds and that they don’t seem to coincide.

It is usually a question of seconds before I can shake this feeling of cognitive dissonance, of realizing that I have landed back in a different, yet hospitable, universe.

Except that the last time it happened, about three weeks ago, the feeling lasted a few hours, even at the gym during my yoga class.

Is there an amplifying effect at work?

Are we slipping deeper and deeper in to this new world?

A new world that is waiting for our embrace.

Anyhow, “Welcome to this new world!” and welcome to our communion this Thursday!

I look forward to seeing you there, down the hill! 😊



Gilles Asselin is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Rolling down the hill

Time: Sep 27, 2018 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Back to basics

Back to basics

Dear Ones,

A friend of mine working in the field of intercultural relations requested a biography of mine, in case one of her clients would be interested in my experience.

This sent me into a reflective exercise on how to appeal to the 3D (read business) world while being true to myself, and especially to my growth process for the past 3 years (I left that field three years ago).

Besides the usual stuff about skills and cultural experience, I mentioned our communion, which initially started with an internet radio show, Nurturing the Spiritual Spelunker in All of Us and described what spiritual development is about.

“In the simplest terms, Gilles defines spiritual development as the desire to go within, listen, reflect and grow the beautiful human flower that is seeking the light.”

Which brought me back to basics and to the reason why I am walking this beautiful, yet not so clearly delineated, path.

Why are we walking this path, yes, and more importantly, how?

Knowing the ‘how we walk’ question can be interpreted in a myriad of ways.

Walking with enthusiasm and curiosity, for instance.

And let me add one more question, ‘how do we define, and exemplify, spiritual growth?’

With answers to these three questions, we shall cover our ‘basics.’

See you on Thursday, dear Ones


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