A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for January, 2009

Sikhism ~

459px-khanda1svgI am quite thankful for Wikipedia, it lets a person do casual research into almost any subject one can think of, and there are usually references where a person can do deeper research depending on the need or desire. I have heard of Sikhism, of course, and anyone who desires a successful interfaith structure to see us through this millenium sans “holy wars”, has seen the symbol, but I had done no reading on it that would let me know the stance of this faith regarding compassion, that one thing that seems to flow through any faith founded on the holiness of Spirit.

Sikhism fits, most definitely. The emphasis is on good works, the faith is monotheistic, and according to Wikipedia the practice is based on the teachings of the 10 gurus or enlightened beings that founded Sikhism in a span of time from 1499 to 1708. There is a home page for those who wish to research this way of life more thoroughly. One draw is that the Sikhs’ founder was inclined to feel that G-d did not need rituals and traditions, that this was a human thing, so there is a specific stance on such things within the faith.

I remember being told in church that one could not get into “heaven” via good works alone, which necessitated the intervention of a G-d being such as Jesus. I think what made me question that so closely was the presence of the other special borns in religious history, such as Osiris, etc. There was too much resemblence to all the other religions for the claim of uniqueness to stick to Christianity if one examined the claims closely. That brings us straight back to the kind of lives you live being the source of your eventual reunification with the Light. It’s just not possible for me to believe one can go on lying, stealing, and killing, and claim to know the God who is Love.

Herons ~

great-blue-heron_03Herons are the reason I named this blog the hedge. They are a strange bird, and carrying one as a totem puts you in line to work at your own pace, being patient, able to work with the group or alone. Longevity is also part of their medicine. Theirs is the power of the mystic, along with the swan. I love this bird, almost as much as I love my swan totem, these birds look just plain funky, and don’t care. That works for me. If I was long legged instead of round as a rubber ball, I’d say this was my primary totem, but, nah, I look a lot like the owl, and that has been what I have been called since childhood, a spooky ol owl.

You don’t seem to find swans or herons or even owls laughing, so I am glad I have Raven and Otter in there to balance things out a bit. There are so many of the Origin stories on the internet that, if you are interested in them, there’s lots to read. Remember your  local library, also for references. After all, your taxes pay for the community to have those books on hand for all of us, so use them, don’t misuse them.

The Heron
The heron is a long legged wading bird. There are about 60 species of heron a_heronincluding several species called egrets.  Most egrets have white plumage that is highly prized as ornaments in oriental ceremonies.
Herons are often seen standing motionless, as if in a meditative state, on its long thin legs.  This stance symbolizes its ability to maintain balance through proper focus. Its inner foundation is secure although not fixed.

When the heron feeds it stands in water.  Its neck is bent in an S shape.  The flowing pattern of the letter S reflects the rhythm of this bird.  Understanding your personal rhythm and responding to it accordingly is imperative for those with this medicine.

Water is associated with the mysteries of life.  It is connected to the emotional body of man.  When you see a heron standing in water notice how deep the water is. This depth can symbolize the depth that needs to be explored within self.  The deeper you go the more you discover.  Whatever is discovered take the time necessary to stand in silent reflection.  In this way clarity of understanding is known.

Those with this medicine have strong emotional natures. They feel things deeply and with passion. The challenge here is to keep passionate thoughts and feelings under control in order to maintain a balanced emotional nature.  The advantage of this energy indicates the passion and ambition needed to complete tasks and accomplish goals.

Herons are seldom seen flocking together.  They are solitary birds that enjoy their own company.  Heron medicine people are independent and willing to make changes when the need arises.  They do not need a lot of people in their lives.  This can sometimes lead to challenges in personal relationships especially if the other person has needs that require constant attention. Maintaining some type of social interaction and not withdrawing from others completely is helpful.

great-blue-heron_chicka-damHerons stand out in their uniqueness and know how to take advantage of things and events for their own benefit.  By observing the heron, its actions and its lack of action we learn how to perfect out personal flight through life.  Herons hold a silent power, their grace, agility and majestic presence reflect balance.  This balance is the gift they offer to all who choose to receive it.

This is from a website called Sayahda, informative if you don’t have access to totem lore from books, or better still a teacher. Learning how the animals can teach us to be truer to our own souls is fun, and Spirit honoring.

Oh, BTW, it is a hedge of herons, a counsel of crows, a lament of swans. Someone with tongue firmly planted in cheek, eh?

Sacred Directions ~

sunbearsanimalwheelAn example of the Elders using simple iconic designs to teach deep spiritual truths to the children, is the medicine wheel, and the animal components or teachers from the 7 sacred directions. These are East, South, West, North, Above, Below, and Within. There are two more in most cosmologies, the teachers that are on your left and right sides, guiding your masculine and feminine energies. (The wheel is Sun Bear’s and you need to read his book, Dancing With the Wheel, to get the entire teaching.

Medicine Wheel Wisdom

The way of the Native American Medicine Wheel is not so much that of a medwhlsmreligion as a way of life. It is a perspective of how life works, and is therefore compatible with any belief system that serves good and compassionate purpose.

As we walk the medicine wheel of our own lives, we find that there are seven sacred directions to be traveled.

East ≈ As we are born into this journey, our first direction is the East. This is the place of new beginnings, it is “where” we receive instruction by learning to hear and see what Spirit is saying to us. Most with Eurobred religious backgrounds are sure, when they begin to hear Spirit for the first time that these are messages for the people. This is seldom the case. On this path, Spirit is generally working with individuals for their own well being. It is best to presume from the outset that this is how it is with you.

“There is but One Original Source, learn to heed the messages Spirit is bringing you. The messengers of Spirit are here to help you complete your walk.”

South This is the sacred direction of growth. It is here we grow in stature as well as understanding. {The brevity here has nothing to do with the amount of teaching involved, that could actually only be contained in volume upon volume, it has to do with the individuality of the teaching and the need to heed one’s own truth, rather than make your individual truth a mandate for all mankind.}

“Grow as the Willow that bends and moves in the wind but seldom breaks. Grow in Spirit, grow in Truth, grow in Love.”

West The West is the Sacred Direction in which we take on the mantle of responsibility for ourselves and for the tribe. It is when we have reached this point of growth in our sacred walk that messages from Spirit may have meaning for others as well as ourselves. It is the “place” where we learn what is right to do for ourselves and how not to embroil others in our own dysfunctions.

“Walk with a light step, walk with grace, walk with love.”

North ≈ The North is the place of the Wisdom of the Elders. This is where we learn to honor the wisdom of those who have walked the wheel of life before us. “Here” is where we learn to apply that wisdom, both for ourselves, and for others. This is the point where it is appropriate for us to begin to pass on the wisdom that we have learned as we have walked the wheel.

“Be ever mindful that what we do affects Mother Earth and all her children for seven generations hence.”

Above This is where we learn to honor Creator in everything we do and say. It is from this perspective that we learn that all of life is actually a prayer. Nothing we do or are is ever hidden, all will be revealed in the end, so the best thing we can do is live our lives by the light we now have, and hope for the best possible results.

“From the stars we came, to the stars we shall return.”

Below This is the “Place” in our lives where we learn how to maintain our grounding in this plane of reality. Those who are truly aware have a tendency, unless they put forth a great deal of effort, to “wander off” into mental or astral realms, and forget that part of our mission is to learn to be “here, now”. In learning to be present in the here & now, we will learn to cope with what we have been given. {For most people, the animal that guides you here will be very much a clue as to what brought you back to live another life, and what will continue to bring you back until you resolve the issue.}

“Walk in balance, remembering always that we are astral beings living in bodies made of clay.”

Within This is our sacred space. This is the place within us that we are to hold separate, where no one else is welcome except by invitation. It is here we learn to honor our own boundaries and those of others. It is here we learn to appreciate who we are and what we have been given. It is here we learn not to desire to be someone else, it is here we learn that all “things” are held in stewardship, nothing is ever truly “owned”, so, even the act of stealing without intent to repay is a defilement of our own sacred space.

“Honor your own truth and walk your path accordingly.”

image004This is an encapsulation of the teaching, and by no means even comes close to the depth you can discover about yourself if you pay attention to what this has to say to you. When you display this symbol, or one like it, you are telling all around you that this is the teaching you honor with your life. There is no one among the elders that would prevent you from honoring their ways, but I suspect that any you would ask would also prefer that you walk with a light step, and a clean heart, serving Great Spirit, (Holy) with kindness and compassion for all that cross your path. Remember that the “First People” welcomed the first “Boat People”, it was the boat people that in an ungracious manner began the killing that swept across this land over the next few hundred years.


Sarcasm ~

sarcasmI have heard it said that sarcasm is a low form of humor. Actually, it is and it isn’t, it takes a bit of sophistication to get into a sarcastic frame of mind, but it also takes thinking you are better than those at whom you aim your sarcasm. The sad thing about this form of humor is that it always aims to destroy something in the other person. Most of the time, it is aimed at the heart, at the feelings of the goat at which the arrow is pointed. For those who care nothing for the heart of others, this is not a problem.

Sarcasm can indeed be used to good purpose, and it is not my job to tell you when and garfield10where to utilize it’s capacity to sting. But, one must be careful, I have been guilty of using this weapon without thinking and virtually bringing someone to their knees. I will not say they did not have it coming, I did not even apologize when I realized how deeply I had stung this person, but I will tell you that when you are considered one who listens to Spirit, you might want to be careful when and whom you wound, for with sarcasm, you will always wound unless the other person is so on their guard, you couldn’t get to them without the use of a handgun.

I will say that the person I so  wounded was in the habit of using not only deeply sarcastic humor toward all in her path, she was inclined to throw herself at any man within range. I had hinted more than once that she had gone too far with others in our work group. She blithely ignored my warnings, so one day it just came out of my mouth, and the next thing I knew, she was on the floor weeping. I am not necessarily proud of that, I forget sometimes and those sorts of things will fly. I have tried for nearly 25 years, since I deeply peterlwounded a friend of good intent with a casual remark that I had not intended to be so wounding with. That remark nearly ruined our friendship. I have learned caution since that time, and still find myself wrestling with it occasionally. That is the danger of getting into the habit of thinking sarcastically.

I will repeat, it is a useful form of humor, especielly if you are working on one who thinks for some reason they are better than those around them, I am simply saying, be mindful of your tongue and pen , they are weapons in their own right. Just remember, the instructions from those we consider past masters, i.e., the Buddha and Y’shua, are to be kind.

Interfaith ~

interfaithI love the attempts by those on an international level of work who continue to try to pull us together as one people, many faiths. It is a sad thing to say that there will probably always be extremes in each faith who will not work toward peaceful solutions. In each of these great faiths one can find teachings on compassion. What we need now is to see our neighbor as not just being an equal in G-d’s love, but also having equal rights regarding the path he or she follows before G-d. This includes a sense of equality for those who choose to believe there is no G-d.

I do not know the fate of each of us, and those who claim to know are usually taking someone else’s word for what they claim to know. I know what I think, I know what I feel, I even know what I have seen in my meditations and dreams. I believe that we do indeed reverberate at the level post mortem that we did pre mortem, which means that regardless of one’s belief system, if one was compassionate toward one’s fellows pre mortem, compassion will be given to that same individual post mortem. It’s a simple belief, and may indeed be too simple, but it works for me. It says that those who are judgmental in their lifetimes will be judged by the same measure afterwards, and yes, you guessed it.

I believe what Y’shua taught about life. The only reason that I do not believe he is born of God in some special way is that G-d told his children many times that this would not happen. I don’t believe G-d changed the Holy Mind, not one whit. I also do not believe Y’shua said those things to the people he was teaching since it would have gotten him a death sentence 3 months into his ministry, not 3 years into it.  I wish I could see the documents that were destroyed in Istanbul (Constantinople). I suspect, like many othersfitz_compassiondvd from scholars to layfolk, that there was much destroyed there that we need today.

I believe very strongly that compassion is the only thing that will save you or me from the fire of our own need for the One. It is compassion that is the healing balm of the soul, it is compassion that seeks help for all regardless of race or creed. It is compassion that keeps us from cradle to grave. When compassion has been denied a human being, they become darkened and withered inside. You can spout all the dogma you choose, you can insist that the cosmos exist by your pattern and no other, it matters not, only compassion will renew us and make us whole.

Renewal ~

inipi002Each year, as the calendar moves gently but inexorably toward the spring, we begin to think of renewal, of the rebirth of the plants that blanket our lawns and gardens, of the rebirth of life on all levels, including our own.  I remember being taught that Christianity taught rebirth of the soul through Jesus Christ, and that no other faith taught any sort of rebirth. I still wonder if that pastor knew what he said was a lie, or if it was just ignorance.

The Native American means of renewal or rebirth is the sweat lodge, or inipi, in the Lakota language of the Souix.  During that ceremony one enters the womb of the mother (Earth) and via the ceremony and ones sincere prayers experiences a literal rebirth upon exit from the lodge. I have been through this ceremony more than once, and that is not an exaggeration. There are purification ceremonies among the Buddhists, and among nearly every group that aims toward better or higher living among it’s adherents. Through these ceremonies, one “washes away” the past and is born anew, to deal with life from a new chartres2perspective. It is very effective, and, at least among the Natives of North America, one can repeat the process later, when it is necessary.

Even in Christianity one can access a renewal when it is needed. This is via the labyrinth, whether you use the Chartre path or another, the prayerful, meditational walk through the steps of a labyrinth can give one new insight into one’s life. Even in the lives of those who do not follow particular ceremonies, but who experience a quintessential spirituality just in the living from one day to another, there is a sense of renewal that automatically comes with the spring.

It is in the release from the snow, which often keeps us indoors unless we are a winter sports person, from the new warmth in the air, from the new flowers that blossom all over the place, everything simply feels new. This sense of renewal can give us new purpose, or revive the purpose we knew before, it doesn’t matter, it’s so refreshing and so wonderful. No faith has a stranglehold on this feeling, or it’s purpose, Mother Nature is the authoress, even for those who do not believe there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit. Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

spring-flowers-1

Romping with Otter ~

otter_frThe Otter is considered the most playful member of the animal kingdom, and indeed, their medicine is that of balanced femininity. They are one of my favorite totems. Their “time” according to Sun Bear is January 20th to Feb. 18th. (Yeah, you might know, Aquarius, which is my North Node.)

They are carnivores with a diet of primarily fish, and are part of the weasel family, being mustelidae. It is their playfulness that most people remember once you have been around them. A friend of mine who grew up on a farm in Indiana remembers River Otters that made their home on the shore of a creek that ran through their property. She chuckles every time she speaks of them, remembering them playing in the creek and sliding down the muddy banks.

In North America, the most common Otter is the River Otter, Lontra Canadensis. Their fur is sleek and they can weigh from 10 to 30 lbs.  It is their curiosity and intelligence, being one of the relatively few animals to use tools, that makes their “medicine” so strong. Their fur was once used frequently by the Holy men and women of the Native American tribes as “medicine bags”.

Change ~

deltablueYes, change is the only constant in the Universe. That is one of the most difficult things for us to cope with, most especially as we grow older. We want the security of certain things in our lives remaining constant. That does not happen on this planet, it may not happen anywhere in the Universe. There are references that say that Hashem remains the same forever. That may be quite true, and indeed, I suspect it is, But our understanding of Hashem has changed many times through the ages, and will yet again. Part of that is that we as a race of beings are getting “older” in our understanding of ourselves.  Some say our culture is in it’s teens. Which means we are capable of depth of thought, but not of sustaining depth of being. I can believe that.

All of the pieces parts are there in the Law to show us a way of life that is compassionate and gentle. Yet, because of the various instructions to oust and decimate unlawful peoples we have a perception of Hashem that is harsh and even possibly cruel. Certainly, there is a verse in the Tanach that says Hashem is a jealous G-d. Yet, what is asked of us is a kindness at the level taught by the Buddha some years later in another area of the Globe altogether.

It is in contemplating this factor that I have come to believe that all inspiration, no matter the timing or the person, comes through our own filters, and if we are not absolutely clear, afi50000with no agenda of our own, we will hear what we want to hear. In other words, in order to change our perspective of Hashem, or Moses, or Buddha, or Y’shua, or Mohammed, we may need to change internally enough to hear with the clarity of a clean and polished bell what Spirit has to say to us as individuals.

That requires a change that can only come from within, not from others, not even from Hashem, except that it is the Eternal Spirit that puts the tools in our hands to effect those changes:

In Aramaic, the word “mitzvah” means connection. Here, then, is the next level for understanding the word’s meaning in a modern context. The business of every Jew is to testify to God’s goodness and God’s sovereignty by fashioning our lives in ways of holiness and peace. We connect ourselves to our Creator; we link ourselves to the one who liberated us from slavery, by the way we live our lives. Each deed either strengthens our connection to God, or attenuates that link. There is no neutrality in the world of action: we either weave a web of goodness, with each new action adding a new strand to the fabric of our lives, or we snip away at the weave of righteousness that Judaism establishes in the world. In this second sense, mitzvah isn’t just what you do because God said so. God isn’t a cop, and mitzvot are not simply statutes. We do mitzvot because we seek to allow holiness into our lives.

From a website called Tikkun, to big-blue-marble-transparentheal, repair, and transform the world. This is Judaism today, marvelously translating Hashem’s words to us in a manner that brings out the goodness and love of the One who asks that of us.

Y’shua is taught to have said,

John 14:21, 15:12-13 He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; but he that loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this that one should lay down his life for his friends.

It was not Y’shua that taught us to kill one another in the name of religion, we have been doing that for a very long time, much before Moshe, much before the Sumerians. We have an attitude from our very outset that says our own perspective is right, and anyone who disagrees must die. In the days before the Law, this was understandable if only in that no matter who won, there would be a blood bath. It is in the Law that you see an attempt at an orderly means of working things out, at all levels. In fact, I find myself wondering if the laws regarding sacrifice were a concession to the already extant system of appeasing  deity, and rather than make wholesale change that folk would not think came from deity, Hashem toned down the slaughter immensely.  (The Eternal understanding that we are not good at change, eh?)

It is in that little added codicil allowing the very poorest members of society to bring somewhere between 1.5-2.5 gals of flour for a sin offering that we begin to understand that 449146a-i101Hashem may indeed have never needed blood shed to be satisfied. That leads to the conclusion that all of the shedding of blood was for our own need, not Hashem’s, so that we would feel that some greater justice had been served. And the very fact that Hashem does not seem really fond of blood letting at any level makes it even more poignantly our problem, not the Deity’s. I wonder when it will begin to dawn on the world at large that Hashem is quite a bit more civilized than the wild children on this planet?

If, then, we factor in Buddhism, which practices compassion as well as vegetarianism, and is tied to no Deity, but actually allows an individual the choice of whether to follow a deity or not, since the focus is on one’s own eternal happiness rather than service to G-d, we are left with the idea that perhaps there are still a great many changes we need to make altogether.

Blood Sacrifice ~

blood_spatter1

The practice of shedding blood for the appeasement of a god or gods is part of our communal history since long before any human is capable of remembering. We do not have records that go back that far. I watched Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and the intensity was shocking, and has had me thinking for quite a while about the idea of Y’shua taking on my sins in such a fashion. It broke my heart. I cannot feel that it is just in any way for someone else to suffer for anything I have done. The very violence of the beating, the blood spatter, the pain. I cannot feel that I would allow that, if I must suffer, then I must suffer, but not an innocent. No!

Then I found out that Hashem would not have allowed it anyway. That it was indeed not possible for Hashem to take another’s blood for my shortcomings.

The Bible is clear, and it is consistent. One person cannot die for the sins of another. This means that the guilt from the sins committed by one person cannot be wiped out by the punishment given to another person. First, in Exodus 32:30-35, Moses asks God to punish him for the sin of the Golden Calf, committed by the people. God tells Moses that the person who committed the sin is the person who must receive the punishment. Then, in Deuteronomy 24:16, God simply states this as a basic principle, “Every man shall be put to death for his own sins.” This concept is repeated in the Prophets, in Ezekiel 18 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die… the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

In fact, in further investigating that sight, I was reminded that one is allowed to bring a half ephah colonial_wheat_flourof flour if one is unable to afford even a pigeon for the absolution of one’s sins. It is the act of contrition then, that satisfies Hashem, not the act of spilling the blood of one who is not guilty.I must admit to having been greatly relieved that Hashem is more appalled than I at the idea of Y’shua’s having been a sacrifice for my imperfections. Please go to the website above, and investigate further, for if you feel as I do, that no one should have to take on your burdens in such a way, you will be relieved that the just God of the Ivrit does not do this, and it is not part of even the “thinking” of that G-d. In fact you will find that, if you simply stop doing that which is bad in the sight of G-d, and start doing that which G-d considers good, you will be doing all that is required by Hashem. I am most grateful.

All My Relations ~

allmyrelationsThere is a Lakotan phrase which traslates into the words of the title. It is a concept that comes back to me time and time again as I see the news, or when in conversation with others. It doesn’t just mean other humans, either. It means all of life, most especially on this planet, as that is our “neighborhood”. The concept is that all of life is from one source, therefore, all are related, all are “family”, there are really no strangers, there are just relatives to whom you have not been introduced.

I am aware that this is not always a pleasant concept if you extrapolate it completely out to it’s farthest extreme, for it means that one is related to Mother Theresa, St. Pious the pope, a grasshopper, Hitler, Y’shua, Buddha, Mohamed, a butterfly, Jeffrey Dahmer, and all of humanity and beyond. One wouldn’t mind being related to Mother cockroachTheresa, or a butterfly, but what about Dahmer or Hitler, or a cock roach. yuck! But, we must meet the pleasant with the unpleasant.

There is another factor. If I look at Hitler as a brother gone very badly awry, I may still be inclined to stop him any way I can because such horror visited upon humanity must cease, but I quake as I do this, knowing that it is my brother I condemn to death because he has gone horribly wrong in his perceptions and ways. I no longer must be punitive in what I do. I must be kind, and hope that all ends as well as possible for all concerned, for there are no good answers when a human looses their capacity for empathy if they ever had it.

And there, in the word empathy, lies the key to all that comes about. When a human being has no empathy, no capacity to stand in the place of another and experience, even for a moment, the good and the bad of being that other person, there opens an entire array of child-abusedark things that become possible for that human to do, that simply otherwise would not even be on the horizon.

So . . . . .

Can empathy be taught? Is it drummed out of a child by neglect or abuse? How do we find ways for this incredibly necessary concept to become part of all human beings? There, I believe is the place where the teachings of the Masters comes into play. Y’shua and Buddha both taught compassion for all, on a moment by moment basis. Not to just high personages of status or means, but everyone. The beggar on the corner, the child, the stranger, the neighbor, all must be treated with kindness.

And though we cannot allow the murderer access to the tools by which he might return to murder as a way of life, even here there must be compassion, albeit firm with unbending discipline, it is only as we see the wisdom of the masters, it is only as we learn to practice the concept of the Lakota people, the Tatanka Oyate, and see all as our relations that we can begin to hope that someday, somewhere on our planet, there will be a shift in consciousness, and all will understand, Mitakuye Oyasin.

All My Relations, Aha!

Karma ~

dance-of-lifeWhat goes around comes around, i.e. if you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else, or more positively “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is another of the parallel teachings that Y’shua echoes from the Buddha. It does make a person wonder if he did travel to India or further into Tibet during the missing years. I am not sure, and there is little to support the idea except that his teachings so completely echo the truths of the Buddha who lived some 500 years earlier in the Orient.

The graphic above is my own, called, “The Dance of Life”. It is my interpretation of the Tai Chigolden-key1 Tu, the  symbol of balance that is used in Taoism, and other Eastern philosophies.  Karma, though it easily boils down into the goes around comes around platitude is a bit more complicated than that. But, of course, that’s like saying Y’shua taught only the Golden Rule, which, BTW I think of it more as a Golden Key, as it is a key behavior that leads more clearly to peace and gentleness between peoples than any other teaching. If you treat others with the respect you wish to receive from them, you will lead a peaceful life for the most part.

dharma_wheelBuddhanet.net gives a classic explanation of Karma as it is accepted through most beliefs where Karma is a doctrine. As I understand this explanation, it would seem that Karma then is comparable to Y’shua’s teachings regarding a tree and it’s fruit, a good tree grows good fruit, a bad tree grows bad fruit. So it is not something quite so simple as one would presume from simply “what goes around comes around”, though that is obviously part of it. It would also explain, to a degree, why “The Secret” is an incomplete teaching, as there are many more factors than simply putting your shopping list out to the Universe and getting what you ask for.

There is another factor that this definition speaks of negatively. I do believe in the mercies of a Creator, and I also believe in help from Spirit. So the teachings on Karma, though good teachings, are not all that appears to be out there in the Universe.

Sacrifice ~

egoThere are some occasional hints that Creator considers prayer and praise offerings as significant as any other offering. (See Leviticus 7:12 & 19:24), perhaps even more so. This is something many churches have learned to practice, singing praise songs for a good twenty minutes before anything else begins. But, I want to look at why these should or would be considered a sacrifice to Creator. Throughout the Holy Writs, from Bangkok to Cairo, there is much said about the release and renouncing of the Egoself.

It is, in fact, a difficult thing, dealing with the egoself, that part of us which is the pride of head_and_brainlife. When we believe that we have accomplished all that we have done with no help from other humans or Spirit, we become rather unbearable in our dealings with others. We become “prickly” and “proud”, making no attempt to be diplomatic when speaking or acting out our plans. This is part of human nature, part of the programming in the human brain, taking pride in accomplishment so that we can survive in a tough world. However, it is a bit of programming that needs to be placed in a subordinate roll if we are to function as creatures within a structured society.

Our Creator knows full well how we are made, and I believe this is why there is recognition in the holy writings that we must sacrifice this tendency to pat ourselves on the back and learn to praise, pray and give thanks for all that comes into our lives, and even the opportunity to learn. When we learn to do this, we begin to deal with life through our own spirit, rather than through our own ego. It can be a wonderful experience, as much of the learning that comes through our spirit is intuitive and flows more cleanly between the heart and the head, allowing us to deal in compassion with our fellow travelers.

Sacrificing the ego is not an easy thing, it is the practice of humility, of knowing when to be silent and when to speak. It means working always with an eye toward the needs of others so that they may function and contribute to the “cause” as well as possible. One other thing. Sacrificing our egoself may be more difficult than laying down our physical lives, as that is a once for all sort of move, but sacrificing the self-praise “machine” is an action that must be repeated hour by hour, day by day.

“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.” Deepok Chopra

As Dr. Chopra points out, be careful, you might end up truly happy if you learn to sacrifice the egoself.

Humor ~

oldchurchI spent most of my high school years in a little  church in a small town. I liked many of the other members of my youth group, and one of my mother’s best friends was an elder in that church. The Pastors that came and went were decent people whose main fault was that they took the Bible as a literal truth that must be practiced point by point. {The more I study this rich resrource, the more I find that is an impossibility. Onc can, without doubt or hesitation, most often follow the principles incited, but the literal obedience would have you stoning your  children to death for misbehavior. Perhaps a temptation, but never a possibility.}

I enjoyed that church, and the point of most of the sermons was learning to live a life that hermes1honors Creator. I had only one reservation in that church, and have heard from friends still there that it is better now. There was this hesitation regarding a sense of humor and the appropriateness of laughter because of some faulty translations in the Old Testament. I can be sure they are faulty because, though it is translated as laughter perhaps even appropriately, it is about a humor that hurts others. That is never right for those on a spiritual path.

However, there are places in the psalms that ring with joy, and one is encouraged to make that joyful noise before the Lord. It is impossible to have that kind of joy and not laugh and smile. In the reverse, no humor that makes it’s point through hurting the well-being of another, or taking power over another is part of that joy. In that joy, one cannot take delight in another’s sorrow or trouble, such a reaction to life is not possible when one resides so totally in the Spirit that one has that depth of joy.

Yeah, I kinda hammered that, sorry. But it is necessary to make that distinction. Especially for people like myself. I was reared by a man whose skill with sarcasm was razor edge sharp. I was capable of such wit that I could wound another with a few words. One day I had so wounded a dear friend with my sarcasm that I nearly ruined the friendship, and though she forgave me, it was a while before she could trust me not to hurt her again so deeply. I have only indulged in such repartee (since Spirit brought my shortcoming to my attention) when the person had so completely disregarded the well-being of others around them as to cry to be brought down. {I was more than happy to comply.} There is a time and place for all things, one must be mindful, however, that one will answer for every word that comes from one’s mouth, don’t wound the innocent or those who truly intend good, even when sorely tempted and the path laid out before you.

Just remeber, there is humor that wounds, not to be practiced by those who follow the Ruach Ha’Kodesh, and there is humor that heals, always appropriate, any time of night or day.

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