A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for November, 2010

The Eagle ~

The Golden Eagle is the messenger from Creator to the people, according to Native Practice and legend. It is a beautiful bird, being large, up to 15 pounds, and having up to a 7 and a half foot wing span. They are just gorgeous in flight, wheeling and turning with a grace that touches the heart. The Eagle as a totem is awesome, and those who have this totem have guidance from step one if they will take it.

I have had the blessings of learning from a Wichasha Wakan (holy man) whose totem was the Golden Eagle. Vernal Cross was the teacher at the Sun Dance at Salt Creek for several years, and an excellent guide to Spirit in all facets of life. The lessons I would bring home from the Sun Dance would often take the entire year to process.

Some of those lessons were as big as learning the deepest meaning of a phrase (Mitakuye Oyasin) and that it meant that we are all related, four footed, winged, creepy crawlers, stone and tree people, all are related. Some of the lessons were little in scope, learning the ways of getting along in an atmosphere where cultures meet and sometimes clash over little things. (BTW, that always seems the way of things, the little things will clog the wheels of progress much quicker than the big).

That is the medicine of Eagle, seeing the details in the Big Picture. It can be rather overwhelming to work with. It is not my medicine, I carry mouse medicine in the East, and am inclined to focus on the small rather than the large,  seeing things through the eyes of those who can see the big picture can make a mouse want to crawl back in the hole and hide. But, it was good experience, and I would not trade those lessons for anything.

If you have the chance to learn from one of the sacred teachers, I would counsel you to do all in your power to do so. Be sure that it is a Native teacher, who learned from a Native teacher. I don’t want to disparage those who have learned from new age teachers, much of the knowledge will be good. It is simply that, if you learn from someone who had as their teacher the traditional teachers of their tribe, you are at least less likely to get mixed teachings that come from all over the globe. I say this as a “for instance”; the word “shaman” is not from Native lore, it comes from Norther Europe. The beliefs and teachings are similar, but when you hear a Native Teacher use that term, you know they have not been taught by one of the Original People of Turtle Island.

That is why I would not take on teaching a student my ways. I have been taught by teachers from many walks, and would not be able to give you the truest teachings of the People. Those who have come to me for spiritual insight are shown from the beginning that my ways are a mix of different cultures and traditions, and by no means should be used as an example of The Beauty way of the Native People. Try to correct a Holy person with ,”But, Sumariel said”, and they will ask you who the heck she is. And they would be right. What I share here is from many traditions, and from my own experience, I would never want you to correct a traditional teacher with something I shared with  you.

If you have the chance to work with an Eagle Wishasha Wakan, please take that chance, with humility and grace, for they will be able to teach you much about yourself and the world around you!

 

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Truth ~

Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience. Albert Einstein

One of the things that bothered me immensely when I participated in the church was the oft repeated phrase that the “truth” needed to be defended. I am not a scientist, but did train as a nurse, so was quite familiar with the concept that a truism, or axiom, that earned it’s place in the base of knowledge by which we operated in our work had to prove itself in the results we gained in using it. Put more simply, a truth will surface in the using of it. This is so contrary to the idea that the truth needed defended that I had to choose a different way of seeing spirituality or give up being a nurse.

Now, keep in mind that I hear voices, and knew other folks did not, but I had also seen what I would call “snippets” of things that often were warnings of things to come. I had also found, through the years, that I would just simply “know” things about others that were not known to the general public, things neither they nor anyone else had verbalized in my presence. I had lost more than one friendship because of that, and it had been a tough lesson to realize that just because I had these insights into others, it wasn’t mine to comment on them to the person or those around them. That being the case, it wasn’t difficult to convince me that the people who ran the churches I attended didn’t quite serve the basic no nonsense truth. It also wasn’t necessary to convince me that Spirit existed; I didn’t have to accept that on “faith” alone.

This “difference” that I have lived with through all of my years of remembrance has left me questioning nearly everything around me: from my faith to my sanity, to the veracity of nearly everything that anyone has ever put before me without empirical evidence. I have been called a “doubting Thomas” when poking at the things people would tell me that they had seen or done, as well as being told I ask too many questions. I have gotten so used to that that when someone starts dithering with comments of that nature, my antennae immediately start to buzz. I have found that the people who don’t like questions are usually deceiving at some level or another.

Basically, that is the reason I began to explore other faiths and perceptions of God. When someone tells me that I must simply accept what they have to say on faith, they are dismissed as flim flam artists in my book. Now, that probably isn’t fair. I am sure there are many who truly believe that Spirit is a concept to be accepted on faith rather than a phenomenon to be experienced. That’s fine, but it doesn’t work for me.I am not saying that if you have accepted God’s existence on the word of another that you need to doubt that existence, for I have no doubt at all that God is and God rewards all who seek to know that.

I am, however, asking you to understand that, as long as your faith teaches compassion as a cornerstone of your religious life, you are on a path that will reveal God to you. This does not mean that there are not other things to learn, for the realm of God is full of things to learn, all along the path; it simply requires that you understand that the moment anyone, anywhere begins to tell you that you don’t need to be compassionate to your fellow travelers, no matter their circumstances, they are leading you down a dangerous path, and away from God.

The point of all of this is to ensure that you are aware that you may test everything anyone says to you, always. You are responsible for your path, no one else is, if someone tells you to “kill the neighbor”, they are most likely not speaking for God. If that’s a voice in your head, tell it to go away, it doesn’t come from God. If a man or woman purporting to be “of God” tells you to destroy another or their property, that isn’t from God. You can only serve God from a perspective of choosing compassion first. You must learn to walk your truth, doing so from a perspective of humility and compassion ensures that you reach your goal with as little damage to you or others as possible. Y’shua said it best, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

 

Faithfulness ~

I approach this subject in fear and trepidation. I have never married, so speaking of faithfulness within that institute is something I can comment on only from observation. So, what am I doing here to begin with? It seems a New Jersey pastor has recently focused on social networking, and Facebook in particular, as being at least partially responsible for infidelity among believers to the point that he has ordered his church’s leadership to give up their Facebook accounts, and is planning on counseling his congregants to do the same.

Yes, I will concede that there is probably a certain amount of temptation involved when old flames reconnect. But, I seriously doubt if Facebook, or any other social network caused either party to flirt or meet up. I am not saying that the vehicle, i.e.Facebook, didn’t make it easier to reconnect, but then, there are class reunions and other social events with the same sort of reconnection as their sole aim, do we need to ban them as well? More to the point, do marrieds need to sequester themselves from society to remove all temptation? Since I never married, I cannot testify to the necessity of such extreme measures or not, but I can testify that there is no social vehicle, either of yesteryear or today that is responsible for whether you or anyone else can keep your promises.

And that is my point. How do you, as a spiritual individual guarantee your own promises? Promises are, at the very least, tough to keep. That is something to which I can attest. Making a promise should be something you do as seldom as possible, and with much thought, for your word is your bond. It is your honor. And you and you alone are the only one that can keep the promises you make. Marriage is a lifetime promise, and therefore tougher to keep than, perhaps, promising to stop and see someone on your way home from work, but your ability to keep those promises, no matter how trivial or time consuming they may be, is all about who you are.

The 10 Commandments of the Torah, honored by Christians and Jews as binding for one’s behavior, (the Jews have several more to account for, some 600+), contain an admonition against adultery, reneging on your promise in marriage, but no over all commandment against breaking promises. That seems to me a shortfall, for, one’s word is one’s integrity, and one’s integrity is every bit as important as one’s willing compassion toward one’s fellow travelers. So, the point of this commentary? We need to quit blaming everything else for our shortfalls, and face the fact that we alone are responsible for the promises we keep.

Heartbreak ~

In looking back at my path these several years, I find myself looking with melancholy at the transformation from innocent faith; in God, in Doctrine, in other humans to have interpreted what they saw and heard correctly, and in the Church, to a perhaps wiser (no guarantees), certainly sadder, older believer in God, though not in God as presented. I am not sure, in that long look, that what I have found is just for my own benefit, or is to be shared with others. This blog is probably the extent of that sharing, though I have shared with others in my circle of friends.

I miss the old days. I miss the days when I could sing a hymn and not feel a cringe at the theology of the lyrics. I miss the simplicity of the days when it was just “Me and Jesus”, yeah, when we had our own thing going. I look with longing at the innocent faces of the children singing “Jesus Loves Me”, and ache for those days.

Do I still believe Jesus loves us? Well, that’s complicated. First, there’s the fact that his name was most likely Y’shua, or possibly even Mishe, for the name Jesus(Greek), or Y’shua(Hebrew) is symbolic and means savior, so it might have been changed to fit the story. Do I believe the teacher we know as Jesus would have loved me? Actually, yes, he was a teacher of unconditional love, so I still hold that thought dear to my heart. Do I believe that he taught that he, himself, was the “I Am”? No, I do not. I believe he taught of the “I Am” that she, yes she (check Proverbs chapter 8), was present in every moment of life? Yes, I do. Do I believe that it was his intent to form a new religion? No, not even for a moment. First, there is a prohibition against such in the Tanakh, and he taught obedience to the Law so thoroughly that we were to walk in unconditional love, thus fulfilling all the Mitzvot having to do with our fellow beings on this planet. Even to the point of saying that not one jot or tittle of the Law would pass away until all came to pass.

Do I believe Jesus was one with the Father? Yes, of course, in so far as those of us who act of one heart are at one with one another. He taught constantly of Hashem (The Name, YHWH) that that presence loves us and loved us always, now and forever. He felt that love, and acted in that love. Therefore he was at one with Hashem. Do I believe that the only way to come to the Father is through Y’shua? NO! I believe that the way to the Father is through the “I Am”, the very near, very here, presence of God Very God. If that Spirit guides you, you will live a compassionate life, caring deeply for all beings your life touches. I believe that that is the criterion heaven uses for whether we get to go home, and when we get to go home.

Yes, I have come to believe in reincarnation. *Gasp* I know, leaves me out of a lot of Christian conversation, doesn’t it? So, you see, my faith has gotten quite a bit more complicated at the same time it’s gotten simpler. I believe the only thing required is compassion, IJohn4:7-8, I believe that nothing else really matters. All the ceremonies are for the sake of man, not the sake of God. All the fancy buildings and garments are for the sake of man, not the sake of God.Please believe me when I say I like the fancy ceremonies, I often attend high Mass at Christmas, just because it is a beautiful ceremony, and puts one in the Christmas Spirit. But, it isn’t for God that I do that, God doesn’t need me to attend a ceremony to be in the mood to love me, that’s always and forever. God loves us all that way. Every moment of every day. Even when we are broken and in need of severe repair, (which is most, if not all, of the time).

I am also certain that it is not necessary to have a particular religion to obey God. A heart that wills to do good to one’s fellows, and holds no guile, is a heart that will be going home. So, yes, I miss the simple faith of my childhood, and wish I was back there at times, but my faith is actually simpler now, so, perhaps, it doesn’t matter, I can enjoy all the ceremony, knowing God loves each of us with or without all the fancies. I guess, with all that I have learned and seen, mayhap I should  simply count my blessings that I still have faith in the One.

 

 

Geeez, I can’t spell!!!!

The Expectation of happiness ~

How did we get here? This “place” we are in, where the expectation of every one is that all will be “happy” and sunshine and fun? It seems that we are seeing more depression and anger in our children than in any generation before us. Is this the result of that expectation? I do wonder about that. After all, has any generation before us been so insistent that life give us these things? Think about that. If we had sunshine 365 days a year, our world would die a very parched death. Wouldn’t we be better to teach our children to live a balanced life where there is both sunshine and rain?

It seems that it is only the past couple of decades in which depression has even been a diagnosis where children are concerned, and it is something that should be taken quite seriously when the possibility of it exists at all. I do believe it may be past time for us to look at what we are doing to our children, and to ourselves, when we put very unreal, and extreme expectations into our own lives and those for whom we are responsible. We expect little Johnny, or little Sally, to excel in school, or in sports or in beauty, dear God, and are we even thinking of what we are doing to them when we do this?

It seems past time to accept every person, child and adult, as they present themselves, and to love them without condition, right where they are. So Johnny only gets C’s, and little Sally is never going to be a prima ballerina, and maybe little Eddie is not the handsomest boy in his class. Is that child any less a human being, any less needful of love? I don’t think so, nor, perhaps, do you. Yet, in our ever more competitive world, we continue to place unreasonable expectations on both ourselves and our loved ones.

It is, in fact, this “expectation”, this need to create unreal goals in our lives, that is ruining the chance at any genuine happiness that might be available to any of us, anywhere. I am not saying that one should not have goals, however, I am saying that those goals need to be set in such a way that the person who sets them, or for whom they are set, does not feel that they are a complete failure if those goals are not met. It is not good when our children feel that they are “bad” when they do not meet our expectations. I am aware that this is a difficult adjustment to make. We want our youth to “behave” well around others, we want our lives to have some sense of order, something that is quite difficult when we have children that cannot live up to even moderate goals of behavior. I am also aware that we need to look at what is causing the misbehavior.

We cannot expect perfection of others if we cannot give it ourselves. And, I for one, have not yet found perfection within myself. That is my point. I want a life that is balanced, and even that is difficult at times to achieve, yet, with perseverance, and mindfulness that there are rainy days in all lives, and with a concentrated effort on ignoring all the hyper commercials, I can adjust my goals to reflect the reality of what I can do, not what I cannot. Perhaps those goals can also reflect what we can have, rather than what we cannot, and then, possibly, find the happiness that realistic goals can bring.

The Vine and the Branches ~

I have long believed that when Y’shua is quoted as saying, “I Am” he was actually saying “The I Am” an easy misinterpretation, as the jot that indicates the word “the” is small, and easily missed. However, that changes much of the gist of what he was saying. Looking at one of his best remembered teachings, let’s look at what that little jot would do.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

If you read that as, “The I Am is the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in the vine and the vine remains in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from the vine, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in the Vine, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in the vine, and the Vine’s teachings remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be disciples of the I Am.”

Yes, that took a fair amount of rewording, but makes more sense in a world where to claim to be God would get you stoned. There are other factors that have made me wonder if this was the gist of so many of Y’shua’s teachings. The I Am is the very now, very here presence of God Very God, in Jewish teachings. This makes the “I Am” a very powerful, very present force in the life of the individual. We must remember that Y’shua was not talking to Gentiles like most of us, he was talking to the faithful of the Nation of Israel. The thrust of his ministry was, from the very outset, to make the individual aware of the very real presence of God the Father in their lives.

It is not my belief that he was teaching his followers to disobey the laws of Moses, for he said to them that not one jot or tittle would pass away from the law until all had been fulfilled. I actually believe that he was teaching that the law was written for humans to learn to get along with one another, and show compassion at every turn, rather than taking a legalistic approach to their faith. I believe he also taught that humans were not created to fulfill the law, but to live wonderful, dynamic lives within the framework of a body of law brought forth to guide and direct them in their day to day living. If that is the case, it may be incumbent upon those of us who were not born Jewish to abide by the Noachide laws.

This is a set of laws within the entire body of Jewish law that guides us in living in a fashion that honors God in all of creation. These are also easily fulfilled if we live by Y’shua’s Law of Love. It may be that the mitzvot are all easily obeyed once we live by the Law of Love. I realize this makes me one of those who feels that the Jewish roots of the Christian faith are more important than have been observed in past history, and therefore at odds with much of the current thinking on Y’shua’s teaching, but one of the things I have found in my exploration of  Jewish faith, is that many of Y’shua’s comments and stories make sense only from this vantage point.

Separating him from his Jewish roots, and setting him on top of the monument Paul used in Athens, has so paganized the church and it’s teachings as to make Paul’s letters more important than all that is recorded of Y’shua’s words. It is this that has distressed me in my journey toward finding a way to live with the voices. There are too many places in the New Testament where Paul and those who wrote letters in his name prove their humanness. Paul did not understand the lack of choice faced by most homosexuals, society lacked the science to explain it, which is why I believe Y’shua left that aspect of life alone. Paul could not admit openly that he was wrong in listening to rumors regarding the church at Corinth. A letter attributed to Paul, but probably written by another places women once again in the position where their usefulness is only as mules to carry the unborn. “GACK!” ( BTW, it’s an honor to be a baby carrier myself, glad for the job, just not my only point of usefulness)  Y’shua’s treatment of women was much more compassionate than that!

The scholars cannot agree as to the true roots of most faiths, as much has been lost in the generations since the original teachers.It is basically for this reason that I consider all who practice compassion, what amounts to obedience to the Law of Love, as my brothers and sisters in this walk of life, no matter their perspective. I realize this leaves room for those who follow a humanist perspective, I am not sure it matters. I am sure it matters very much that we live compassionately, beyond that, it may be that we must let God sort it out.

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