A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for August, 2008

So, forgive and forget, eh?

Just like that, no matter the crime? Well, maybe not “just like that, with a snap of the fingers”, but we do need to forgive. Now, we humans are apt to hold onto small snippets of injury that could be released with little effort if we really thought about it. But, unfortunately, sometimes we get into a rut and just decide to martyr ourselves over small slights. Even here, there is such a sadness at the fact that, “letting go” would improve the health and well-being of the organism. In fact, one of the things that saddens me the most is the misconception that forgiving someone automatically absolves them of the crime, as though it were never committed.

That can happen, as I understand it, but not by your word or action, it happens at a much higher level than most humans can even hope to attain in a particular lifetime. You may learn compassion, and you may learn utter forgiveness, and it releases you from the blockages that such anger causes in the flow of energy. Only as the “other”, i.e. the one you have forgiven learns to forgive are their shortcomings forgiven them. Each of us must learn forgiveness for our shortcomings to be absolved. You do not absolve another’s crimes by forgiving them, you only release the life-force to flow freely within you again.

C Forgive me, at the risk of belaboring a point too far, I am going to use a little analogy. Imagine that you are pointing to the one who wronged you in an accusatory manner. There in the fingers folded back on your palm held tightly is a list of the wrongs committed. You must release that list, open your palm and relax, letting go of the hurt and pain that was caused by the wrong in order for the healing balm of the Holy Spirit to begin to enter you and heal you. This is the forgiveness you are being asked to give, indeed, commanded if you want the healing for yourself. This process actually does not affect the other person at all. It is for you alone to receive the gift offered.

This same process must happen in the person who wronged you for their wrongs to be righted, and for them to receive any healing from the Holy Spirit. Now, the truth of it all is that, if you are no longer holding onto the hurt and pain, as you have every right to do, but it will continue to harm you if you do, the other person, sensing that what they did no longer has the power to hurt you, may actually begin to look at the events and begin to release their own “angst”. There is no guarantee of this, and it should not be looked for, but it has been known to happen, as when the Holy Spirit is in a project, miracles most certainly can happen!

Relaxing the fist is not easy. Sometimes you have to take your other hand and pry open your own fist, i.e. a lot of prayer, but if you can get there, the rewards for you are immense. C

So, what this means, ultimately, is that, yes, you must forgive, but, should you hope that the other’s sins will be ultimately forgiven you must pray that they learn to forgive also. The grandest part of this little piece of knowledge is that once you realize that this is how the flow works, you know that the one who committed the crime against you, in order to be forgiven, must repent and forgive also. You know that the forgiven individual is not going to commit the crimes of the past, because they have turned their life around and now serve the Holy One and the “energy” can flow for all.

Do you see, my friends, that this is why it is so important for you to mind your own path, and not your neighbor’s, not even your “enemy’s? Each of us will go before the ‘Holy Counsel’ and answer for our own crimes. This is where they are absolved and it is and will always be individual by individual, not a group process. If, when you come before the Counsel you have forgiven, i.e. released all injuries done to you, and are at peace, your shortcomings can also be forgiven, for the healing energy can flow through you.

Following this line of thought further, it will come to pass that the more folk who learn proper forgiveness, the stronger the energy will flow for all mankind, and the stronger the energy flows, the sooner will all receive the healing needed to grow strong and healthy minds and spirits. Whoa, now that would be glorious in the extreme, yes? Yes!

But . . . . .we must remember that the changes that occur in the heart in order for forgiveness to happen are seldom instantaneous. Many times, when a crime has been committed, there is a loss that must be grieved before true healing can even begin. Like the stages of the butterfly, changes happen over time, but they are worth waiting for, for the human that learns to forgive does, eventually, become a fully winged and free butterfly!

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Controlling . . . . .

Aren’t buzz words great? Heavens, 20 years ago, recovering alcoholics were the only people that even had a clue that their problems came about because of their own control issues, and now we all know that’s a problem each of us has in differing degrees, Right? Well, sort of. Like all buzz words, having control issues is pretty much a joke for many people.

But we do all have the silly things. If they interfere with our lives, they can render us quite dysfunctional. There’s a rather nice website that I refer people to on a relatively constant basis, it’s just called Coping, and for the person who simply needs help sorting out what’s going on in their lives, The Dr.s Messina have set up some very nice check lists. When the crisis becomes something one cannot sort out alone or with the help of a listening friend, it’s time to consult a professional.

The website addresses control issues with the concept of detachment. They explain it in such a way that you understand it as a healthy response to stimuli. There are things that are just not yours to “fix” or render better, and the Dr.s Messina post an excellent checklist to help us understand where our boundaries should be and what to do to bring them into healthy alignment. The problem is that many of us grew up in families where proper psychological and physical boundaries did not exist. This is much more common than currently understood, and has led us into most of the issues that face us as a people today.

The Native American teaching regarding Sacred Space is one that is sorely needed by us as a society if we are going to learn to cope with the pace at which our world currently spins. I have discussed it at Wild Garden Arts, the website for my art, if you go to the site, click on the leaf labeled “Sacredness” and you will be at the page on which the picture of the tree in the medicine wheel is displayed.

Often, it is only with the understanding that each of us is actually born with a “sacred space” or the right to it, that we can realize that even interference that we feel is “for their highest and best” may be interfering with their lessons. This does not mean that one should ignore a friend or loved one’s bent toward self-destruction, it simply means that we cannot remain respectful of their sacred space and try to take over their lives. If a person is bent toward the use of drugs in such a way that it detrimentally affects you, you may need to choose to leave. These are the things that a professional can help you sort out.

When you can learn a healthy compassionate detachment that will love without trying to own or even manage, then you yourself are in a much better position to assist those you love and care for. This is a tough one, I know, I have had my own “issues” with boundaries. The Buddha addressed this many generations ago, his teachings are as salient today as ever. Elizabeth J. Harris gives an excellent rendering of the meaning of detachment and compassion as the Buddha taught it, and will help anyone on a search for the knowledge of how a person can develop healthy boundaries toward living a happier life. The mandalla above is a wish for peace to you and yours.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera . . . . .


I love this symbol. It has not, to my knowledge ever been made the symbol of a cause or religion. It is so beautiful I have often wondered why. I have also wondered why my fascination with this beautiful mark that simply signifies et cetera, all that other stuff. Except that I am an amateur calligrapher and have been since I was 12. That would probably explain loving the beauty of it, but there’s more to my love than that.

The very meaning of sacred is to set apart, as in no longer common or profane but held in high regard. The ampersand is a bridge; its meaning is inclusion, not exclusion. It ties things together: Black & White; Red, White, & Blue; You & Me. There is nothing exclusionary about the ampersand. If it became a holy symbol it would be because there was a group of people that understood that God loves everyone, red & yellow, black & white, they are precious in his sight, and it’s not just the little children of the world, it’s the workers, & the aged, & the moms & the dads, it’s the bus boy in the restaurant & the owner, & the waitress, & the waiter, & the customer, the straight & the gay. Oops, did I say that? Yeah, I did.

There are those who would point out Sodom & Gomorrah to me and say, hey, God doesn’t like gays! And I would have to say to you that you haven’t studied this tale nearly well enough to even begin to preach to me if you take that as the message. I want to know a couple of things. Have you seen groups of gay men going around and raping other men? Have people come knocking on your door insisting you give them your guests to appease their sexual appetites? If that is the case, then, maybe God does need to come around with fire and brimstone. I’m glad that’s not my call, but, as a woman, I really detest the idea of rape, and I cannot believe it would be any easier on a man.

As far as I can tell forcing others into a sexual byplay is not what being gay is all about. I have had the honor of having been befriended by some very honorable men who happened also to be gay. They wouldn’t think of forcing a partner. So, where is your comparison, really? Does it even come close to holding? I don’t think so. And that only works for me if you take seriously the idea of stoning your children if they refuse to clean up their room, or stone a stranger for walking through your church when uninvited, now there’s a church that forgot the message for falling in love with the messenger. Go for it, sing Hallelujah, Glory to God, and when the stranger comes in your midst and doesn’t wipe his feet, (yes folks that is in the OT!) you stone him. That would make the headlines

To adopt the Ampersand as a holy symbol requires that we see ourselves as being “in the soup,” as it were, with everyone else. It requires that we drop the us and them perspective. It requires that we love God, and love our fellow man; even when our fellow man isn’t from our social club.

Awareness ~

The churched call it being “saved”, but other paths usually call it being awakened, it can mean the same thing, only different verbiage. It does indeed feel like you have been born into a new realm of reality, and so calling the phenomenon rebirth, once you have experienced it is not at all unnatural.

The sadness, for me, comes with the process in the more fundamental form of Christianity that jerks at the emotions. This is something that has haunted me for many years. Does this process need to be accompanied by so much emotion? I don’t believe so, I believe that there may be an emotional release within the heart of the one experiencing the awakening, but the induced emotionality of the “Hallelujah” preaching of the man on stage is not needed for this process to be genuine. In fact, the less induced emotion, the greater the release from within, from what I have seen and experienced.

So, what is the “Awakening” that some call getting “saved”? It is literally as though one had been pulled awake into a new reality, in fact, when it happens, you find yourself looking around expecting everything to be different, only to find it is you that has changed. You have a new sense of life, a new sense of self, and a new sense of all that is. There is a hunger to understand what this “newness” is. If you are among the churched, you will begin to study the Bible in earnest. If you are among the Indigenous peoples of any land, you will sit and listen to the Holy person with renewed interest and understanding.

No matter the path you are following, you will have a new understanding of matters spiritual, and of greater truths than those that end at the tip of your nose. In fact, that is a large part of the entire phenomenon. You have become aware that there is more in the world than your own selfish needs. This is why I have no use for the emotion inducements of the Evangelicals. When the awakening takes hold in truth, there is no longer a need to center everything you do around whether it meets your own selfish needs or not. The world has grown, and you have seen and know that there are others that have needs besides yourself.

I spent a large part of this life’s journey within the confines of church doctrine, and I have seldom seen the induced “salvation experience” result in this awakening to the needs of “other”. Most of the time, these are the ones that are the so-called “backsliders”, which is where the folks at the Second Baptist church of Warhol have gotten the idea that “salvation” is something that has to “take” in order to be permanent. You would have hoped they would have thought out the idea that perhaps one needed to respond with more than a Hallelujah to find true “salvation.”

No pastor or mentor can take credit for an Awakening, the “job” of those whose lives have been forever touched by Spirit is to plant the seed. When a person wakens, it is simply between them and Spirit, and a matter of the seed sprouting roots and growing. That is nothing any human can call their doing. And it is not peculiar to Christianity, it is part of the spiritual walk of all sincere pilgrims no matter the faith. However, it is indeed the seed planting, spoken of by Y’shua, that is important. You let Spirit “grow” the crop, you just keep planting.

Most pastors feel that a “new convert” will not grow and will “backslide” if they do not come to church every Sunday. That is also a fallacy. If Spirit was in it from the beginning, the person will stay on the path whether they follow the doctrine of a particular church or not. There are many times that the pastor of a church exhibits so many of the traits of the controlling personality that one begins to wonder if the pastor was also an induced “salvation” and never actually awakened to Spirit.

Soldiers of the Cross?

Has it occurred to you that Y’shua never made that correlation? That was a Paulism. Would it surprise you to find that Y’shua probably would shudder at such a title for “His” followers? Remember that to all of the people of Judea soldiers were representatives of Rome. They were often cruel, many times brutal, seldom considerate of other humans in any way. That is so far from the “Path” that Y’shua was teaching that it seems way off key when we celebrate such a position. Now, keep in mind, as I address this glitch in our thinking that the US has never had a “professional” army in the same sense that Rome did. We have professionals, yes, but the bulk of our army is citizens, not mercenaries. There’s a reason for that, and it does indeed go back to the type of people soldiers become in such an atmosphere.

Be that as it may, Y’shua would not have encouraged his followers to emulate soldiers in any way. I am not all that certain I understand why Paul took the church in that direction. Part of the issue may be that Y’shua was calling individuals to a closer relationship with Spirit, while Paul was organizing a flock he hoped would all march to the same tune.

I admire individualism. That cannot survive in a regimented atmosphere. In fact, if you look at the many churches we have all within a few blocks of one another in many cities, you will see that most churches have no give in the fabric of their construction for the individual. When someone has a different vision of Hashem, they almost have to start another church instead of making room in the old fellowship for a different way of seeing things. I remember hearing a preacher once say that if you did not see God the way he saw God, you could not worship at the same altar as he. I didn’t argue, I just left.

But then, here is the point of this musing: does a God that so completely treasures variety that there are so many different flowers, trees, plants, animals, even colors of humans, really want those who follow and obey to be like rubber stamp copies of one another? I doubt it. Even the clouds in the sky do not copy one another exactly. And then there is something else that it seems Y’shua wanted, it was for each of us to mind our relationship with the Almighty, and leave our neighbor’s relationship to God between the neighbor and God. But then, Paul thought it was all right to scold people for doing wicked things when they weren’t even doing them. So the children follow the pied piper, should I be surprised?

Rebirth ~

What is this phenomenon? Is it really necessary? I did a Google search on rebirth, and saw an ad by Playstation that rather caught my breath. Adult female, assisted by female (Dr?) with an adult male covered in what looked like myconium as though head coming from birth canal. Interesting. Almost frightening. I had to check it out to make sure no new cult was using such weird techniques to imitate the emotionality that accompanies the phenomenon in the churches.

Seriously, is the “born again” phenomenon actively pursued in the more fundamental churches what Y’shua was addressing when he spoke of being born again? Personally, I don’t think he was being all that oblique, I think he was addressing reincarnation. When such a question would be asked of him, he who was so totally aware of Spirit, could most likely tell, just because of that awareness, where a person “was” spiritually. With that, he would know if one needed to live another life or three before one could arrive at the awareness of Spirit needed to “enter into” the kingdom.

I remember being told many years ago, in the church where I was attending, that Christianity was the only faith where such a phenomenon was taught. I was quite disappointed to find that that was yet another lie. An awakening of some sort is taught in every major faith on the planet, and many that are not even counted major faiths.

The words death and rebirth are quoted in John’s Gospel as being Y’shua’s. (Many teachers of Christianity teach that one will go to everlasting damnation if one even looks at the inner workings of another faith, a convenient way to keep people ignorant of their dishonesty as well as to keep people in the Flock who might otherwise feel that, all things considered they might as well join the Hamayim). So, let’s look at Y’shua’s teachings:

3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[a]

5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

John chapter 3 is the basis of much of what the church believes about this phenomenon, and written the way it is, there is little doubt that it is some enigmatic phenomenon that has to do with belief in him as the one and only Son of God. The problem I have with that is that, even among his most beloved disciples, all of whom attended shul, he would have been stoned to death if he put his teachings into those words. And he would have been making a liar out of Moshe(Moses), who had said that Hashem(God) had said he would never ever incarnate. Something every one of his Jewish followers would have known extremely well, and who also knew the penalty for saying one was God. (I suspect this is the reason the preachers so dislike it when we mere humans decide we want to read the Tanakh as it was written.)

There are few ignorant among the Ivrit (Hebrews), as every child whose parent follows the old laws is taught at the very least temple Hebrew.  So, how did Y’shua get away with saying he was God incarnate for three years until the Romans finally tired of his rabble rousing? I don’t think he did. And I do believe he may have taught about rebirth as reincarnation,  he might have even talked of Awakening to God’s Grace, but I doubt if he talked about being God in the flesh, not even in roundabout ways.

I have searched Y’shua’s teachings extensively, and I have found no indication that he intended for our pilgrimage to be a series of emotional highs and lows. In Luke 14, in fact, he spoke of counting the cost before you leap to say you can do it, whatever “it” is. He wanted those who followed his teachings to do so in a well thought out and steadfast manner. This does not call for high emotion, this calls for studying and knowing what is asked of you.

We are meant to walk the path, not run, not skip, not hop, walk it, in a gentle and steadfast manner, by making a decision to live that way, not by getting “high on God”, that might be fun, but, such an emotive decision early in one’s life seldom leads to obedience and compassion.

Mysticism ~

I have often been amused at the tongue in cheek correlation between the idea of walking through the mists on a dewy morning and walking through the mists on a “mystical” journey. Yes, I know that is either corney or punny, choose, But the metaphorical connection to mysticism and a misty morning obviously struck the photographer of one of my favorite desktop backgrounds, because this photo is entitled, Mystic morning, Yosemite. Yet, is it tongue in cheek or just a deeper connection than apparent on the surface? When you walk down the path to look at the mysteries of the Universe, there is no guarantee that you are seeing any more clearly than your less adventuresome neighbor who follows the truth as he perceives it, in a normal psalter.

So, why do we do it? Why are we drawn down a path that is never ever going to able truthfully to guarantee us any clarity of vision? I have been frank enough with you that you all know that I hear voices, some of them not the kind ones that one would take to be a holy teacher or friend. For me, following the path of the mystics was simply because any other direction and I was crazy or possessed.

But, I am not the first to follow that path, nor will I be the last. So what draws us? Most of my fellow wanderers are intelligent enough not to buy the swill that’s sold at the street corner that this is a way to “know the truth”, no one can honestly guarantee that. However, when you sit down and talk at length with the wanderers, most have experienced something that cannot be explained by a “normal” take on religion. Some may, like myself, have repeat experiences that will not go away. Some may have only one experience but it so filled them with awe or wonder or dread, that the only thing they could do was seek an answer from somewhere.

The photo above on the right was taken by a close friend who has experienced the pictured phenomena for most of her life. When she was sent to me, it was during a time when the encounters were not always pleasant. She would not discuss these things with her grandparents or their church, as she knew she would go through an exorcism, and she knew she wasn’t experiencing that sort of phenomenon in her life. When we met, it took a while for her to trust that I did not deal with the devil, but as we progressed we became inseparable friends.  There were lessons on prayer and meditation, things she should already have known from the church, there were lessons on being sensitive to “Spirit” and listening to what she needed to know. I didn’t teach her, Spirit did. We are still close friends, even though separated by many miles.

She now serves where she is, I where I live. All we can provide is a bit of light shining in the dark. Sometimes the mist is so thick we can only see a few steps ahead, it isn’t easy, I wouldn’t try to sell anyone the path I walk. But if you are already on it, please wave, we can sit down and share a cup of coffee and some fellowship!

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