A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for December, 2008

Peace ~

beauty17vigThere are few things that convey peace as completely as a swan floating on water, (or are as terrifying as seeing a swan heading toward you with both those giant wings flapping!) In fact, peace is part of swan’s “medicine”. This time of year we are constantly wishing peace to one another as part of the season.

We are on the eve of a brand new year, and peace is something we could most certainly hope to accomplish soon. Especially since we are making war in the middle East. I am a peacenik, I do not like war on any scale anywhere. I do not like the number of innocents that suffer as “collateral damage” whenever mortar fire starts erupting. Death comes way too easily on television and the media for most to realize just how traumatizing it is. Coming across a dead body unexpectedly has to rank up there as iraq_war_header_11-21-2007one of the topmost traumatic events in one’s life. As a nurse that happened to me once, a patient we thought was so much better she would be going home next day was dead when I went in on my rounds to take her vital signs. Gads! That was a shock.

War traumatizes everyone who experiences it. No exceptions. It, of course, can be survived, but this is not the same as not having had such trauma tear at your very soul. I am aware there are those extremists on both sides that see war as the only means of settling differences, I just don’t happen to be one of them. I wish we could throw all those with that particular view into a large war game and just let them go, let the rest of us have peace!

The problem, or so it seems to me, is that once the extremists start their actions, reasonable earthand relatively peaceful people find themselves in a defensive mode, trying to ward off the agents of war. It then seems to become a vicious cycle where the only answer in the eyes of some is total annihilation of the “enemy”. I consider myself fortunate to live among reasonable people who will take on such a battle with the reluctance of those who would rather have peace than war.

We have a new president, I am hoping that within the time he is alloted, we can have peace in the Middle East. But then, that may be an impossibility, no matter who is at the helm. So, maybe the thing to hope for is a truce, during which serious strides can be made. Pray for peace, perhaps there are a couple of miracles out there that could bring such a wonder to this war torn Earth. That is my wish to all this New Year;  Blessings and Peace to all that dwell on this big blue marble called Earth!

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Approval or Not ~

tuptdownWhen is it right action to approve or disapprove of an action or word? That is a pretty heavy question, and I am not sure I am going to be able to enlighten others as sometimes I, too, get confused on this one. Y’shua told us not to judge. He was adamant about it. So it is something we need to be aware of on a daily, minute by minute basis. Yet, every decision we make is a judgment of one kind or another, so what is it all about?

Personally, I feel that it has very much to do with the entanglement in others lives spoken of in the last post. When we mind the business of our neighbor so closely we know how many trips he made to the store yesterday, we are crossing his boundaries, a place we should not be. And the comment, “I don’t know why Harry or Sally have to go to the store so often, you’d think they’d make a list and get it all at once.”, Is just the kind of judgment Y’shua was talking about. The only time it’s our business when our neighbor is going or coming is if that very action is messing with our boundaries, i.e., they are making loud noises at 2 am and we are trying to sleep, or they are stomping around and slamming doors so the cake we are baking flops. In other words, if their actions are causing some part of our world to disintegrate is the only time what our neighbor does is any of our business.

This is a tough one, I know, as there are many messages out in the wide world that encourage us to snoop on our neighbors. True, I do not want drug parties in my neighborhood, and would want that sort of thing stopped. But, there again, that’s because something of that sort causes  my neighborhood to disintegrate, so it is my business. But, that’s justransparent-canoe-kayakt it, isn’t it? How far do you go in finding out if something is going on that will affect you, do you wait until it does? That may be too late.

For me, the answer has been to live so transparently there is no cause for others to spy on me. What they see is all there is, becuase I truly don’t try to hide things. I know that is not an answer for everyone, but that, too, is probably the result of people minding business not theirs. It does seem a shame that we cannot seem to mind our own boundaries and leave others in peace. It would be quite a different world if we could.

Balance re: attachment, detachment ~

marefoalI do sometimes wish that the English language were more diverse. There are times like this when one word does not fit all. Attachment can mean anything from an area where a plug connects with its socket to the relationship between a mother and her young.  Detachment of a type is an important concept in Buddhism, and also a sign of sever emotional dysfunction in a child. Gads! What a world! I may get quite verbose on this one, as it’s a tough nut to crack.

First, be aware that detachment in Buddhism is a type of disentanglement when one is so embroiled and enmeshed in the lives of others that the attachment causes  severe discomfort for both parties, where neither party knows a gentle way to ease out of the situation. It is not intended to dissolve one’s compassionate interaction with other humans, or even other beings. Quite to the contrary, it is intended to teach that the truest form of compassion will always be there to help, but will never interfere if the person has already bgmade up their mind the direction in which they intend to go. When that person is injured as a result, there is no recrimination, simply help with getting back on one’s feet. It is not an easy way to live or see the world. There are so many times when pure temptation would have us say “I told you that would happen.”

Only when it becomes apparent that even with the hard knocks the person hasn’t learned are we to take a further step back, even then, no recrimination, simply not allowing their need to learn the hard way to devolve us out of the path we are supposed to be walking. The concept being that once you have done everything you can, and are praying about those areas where you cannot reach out and make a difference, (the prayer that some one somewhere can.) BTW, the serenity prayer helps with that (Neibuhr), you can move on to learn the next step of your path. One of the things that attracted me to Buddhism was that there are those, (called bhodisatvas) who chose to stay on this plane to help those of us who lag behind. They reincarnate not because they must or stay in a low position on the wheel of life, but because they have “made it” and are here to show the rest of us the path of kindness that will bring us all home.

the_dalai_lamalargeRemember, Buddhism is a personal path of study and learning about mastery of self  and about personal attitudes, it is not a religion, it does not address in any way if there is a G-d in the heavens, it is about you taking responsibility for your actions and learning to live a better way. You are free to believe in God, it does not interfere with being a Buddhist also, you may be a Taoist, (pantheistic belief in compassionate living, a Christian, a belief in g-dman that “saved” you; a Jew, a monotheistic belief in compassionate living, or any other belief system you choose. It is easiest if you choose a belief system where compassion is a chief cornerstone, so that you have no conflicts between your path and basic Buddhism.

It is the need to live in balance, called the Middle Way by the Buddha, that finds itself addressed in living a “detached” life that holds neither attachment to things or people so tightly that they cannot breathe, nor detachment from things or people so lightly that one forgets to be kind to all other beings. Finding that balance is not easy, but it is possible. HH Tenzin Gyatso, the dalai lama,  is a wonderful example. I bow to his teaching and mastery.

christmashollyt

Sin ~

adam-and-eveSin has been a thoroughly contended concept since long before I was born, and, since the major theologians cannot agree, I may be treading where even the angels will not go. Since the genome project assures us that Eve was of darker skin tone, there are no depictions of her that can even come close to accuracy, but hey, I want to discuss the inaccuracy of our perception of sin, anyway.

Calvinism provides a definition of sin as being that of total depravity, a twisting of what is right into something altogether wrong. That kind of nastiness is present in our world, but is not what was meant by the teachings of old. It would seem that the intent was to understand that humans were incomplete, and imature, in the sense that mistakes are more easily made than correct moves in the dance of life. Hence, humans are born with intelligence, the ability to learn how to “dance”.

When one looks at the average individual in our world, this, indeed fits far better than the

Dance of Life

Dance of Life

idea of depravity. The issue then, in the Tanakh was that G-d was perfect, complete, and therefore man needed a buffer between himself and G-d in order to participate in a relationship with G-d. I believe that the reason that modern Christianity, Calvinistic Christianity needs Y’shua to be a G-dman is that, for them, nothing less than that could untwist the twistedness of the soul. Yet, if Hashem did not see man, per se as twisted, there remains a question of degrees.

I was contemplating David’s words in the psalm, “cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean”. If the ancients sensed that, that something like hyssop, an essential oil from plants, would cleanse one both physically and spiritually, where did the need to place one’s sins on the back of an innocent lamb and slaughter the poor thing come from? I have wondered if there were a larger lesson even in this command from Hashem. What if the desire of the Holiest were that we see just how wrong it is to put our shortcomings on the backs of the innocent?

Look at Buddhist practice for a moment, here. The ceremonies and rituals, as well as the bloodpractice of mindfulness in order to get one’s mind out of the gutter and thinking on higher thoughts is rather effective, as well as accepting the issue of taking responsibility for one’s own thought processes. I like that. If I take responsibility for thinking what I think, then there is no “power” that can coerce me into doing something I do not feel is right. If I lay the blame on the “devil”, then the devil can make me kill or mame others, not acceptable behavior before any court of law. If the voices in my head tell me it’s time to kill the neighbor, then I can tell the voices to do it themselves, I have other things I prefer to do rather than shed the blood of a human.

The North of the Wheel ~

grazininthegrassThe North of the Wheel is the place of the buffalo; the place of the Elders; the place of snow and white hair. It should be a time of wisdom and of telling stories of days gone by, of teaching the younger ones how to survive, and how to live free. It is about the ending of cycles, and about beginning new ones. It is the place where we make the next step on the sacred spiral and start another round.

The Tatanka Oyate, Bison People, the people we know as the Lakota, were mainly in the deadbuffplains and foothills of the Dakotas. They depended on Buffalo for everything, food, clothing, housing, tools, all came from the buffalo. When the buffalo hunters shot so many in a few weeks, they knew they were set free to do this to kill off the Souix tribes. It was an incredibly uncivilized thing to do, and as far as I am concerned, the real savages were pale of skin and quick with a gun.

To the Lakota, Tatanka was a gift from the Holy Spirit. And, yes, Wakan translates Holy, so address her properly, and stop pretending that Christians were not turning their backs on G-d when all of this was going on. I do not blame today’s Christians for that sin, I wbblame them for continuing the blindness in the name of being right when our white ancestors stole this land from the people already here, as though it were right to do so. Had we been even willing to learn from the original people,  we would probably not be in quite the pickle with the environment we are in now, but, oh no, the white folks were better educated, so, of course they knew better than the poor “red savages”.

Anyway, let me step down from my soapbox, here, and get back to the matter at hand. The buffalo, to the plains people; were a source of gratitude to the Holy Spirit. They knew they were cared for and that Spirit protected them. They don’t worship the buffalo skull when it is placed on the alter, it’s there to remind them that Spirit provided the means to live. The North then, is the place of gratitude and acknowledgment that Spirit is there for us all. The white buffalo, prophesied long ago are being born more frequently now, and are, to the original people a sign that peace and harmony are just ahead of us.

In the Spider’s Web ~

marenostrumuniverseMost often when scientists come to conclusions, the cosmology of the ancients is displaced with newer and wider observations. This time, however, on Naked Science, I heard a phrase that made a great deal of sense. According to their scientific observers, the structure of parts of the universe resemble nothing so much as a spider’s web.

To the Native American Holy People, those who go on vision quest and see into other realms, the teachings have been for generations that Grandmother Spider was one of Wakan Tanka’s helpers in creating our universe. Since she had visited me some time ago, appearing three consecutive days at my place of work. (White sac spider, quite poisonous, but it was outdoors, and I gave a tobacco offering each time,) I have tried to absorb all I could of the teachings about her, as that had never happened to me before.

“In the beginning, there was the dark purple light at the dawn of being. Spider iktomishaWoman spun a line to form the east, west, north, and south. Breath entered man at the time of the yellow light. At the time of the red light, man proudly faced his creator. Spider Woman used the clay of the earth, red, yellow, white, and black, to create people. To each she attached a thread of her web which came from the doorway at the top of her head. This thread was the gift of creative wisdom. Three times she sent a great flood to destroy those who had forgotten the gift of her thread. Those who remembered floated to the new world and climbed to safety through the Sipapu Pole the womb of Mother Earth.”

Her “medicine” is about creativity, about numbers and letters, and writing and mathematics. All those things which help us make sense of our world. I took her instruction to mean the working more thoroughly with my art, and try to do at least a little art work every day. She is considered the Holy Web Weaver, connecting our past, present, and future.

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