A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for June, 2011

Cause and Effect ~

The Teacher spoke of this in simple terms, “What you sow, that shall you also reap.” But the principle, Cause and Effect applies to everything, everywhere. In the Principles gleaned in working with Spirit several years ago, I learned the basics of that principle, but in the teachings of the Buddha on dependent origination, one learns that this is a profoundly important principle throughout all of nature. Yes, it is important to know that what we put out in the universe we will undoubtedly get back in our daily lives, but it is important, also, to realize that this principle is completely woven into the fabric of life.

This is where we learn that all is connected, everything here depends on everything else. The flower depends on the nutrients in the soil, the temperature of the air (the amount of sunshine available in the climate of the location the flower is growing), and the moisture available for it to grow. I have been watching a fascinating series of television programming called “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman”. I started watching it simply because I like his acting. But the program itself is wonderful. In one episode the tilt of the universe was discussed, as many of the galaxies are going in a particular direction, toward a “cold spot” in the fabric of the universe. The theory is that there is another universe touching ours at that spot, pulling the galaxies in that direction, a rather large and magnificent example of “cause and effect”. So it is that we can see that this principle is woven into the very smallest things observable as well as the largest.

Thus we must ask, how do we proceed in our own lives? As the Buddha, Y’shua, and Moshe all teach, we must live consciously every moment of our lives. It isn’t just what you say, it isn’t just what you do, it’s how you live, from the moment you awaken in the morning until you lay down to sleep at night. I am well aware that this world is torn and shredded by the cruelties that are brought by life, from the child molested by her father, to the seedy trafficker in human slavery. I will not pretend that all of this will go away in an instant if we learn to be compassionate, but eventually, all human life, and all that is around us will learn to be more sensitive to the needs of those around us if we can learn to turn the sorrows into opportunities to be gentle . We are, as human beings, inclined to return kindness for kindness, even in the midst of turmoil.

I cannot tell you that it will be easy. I wish I could. I have had problems all my life in my own path. I do hear voices, I do see things that “aren’t there”. Learning to be here, and be now with my fellow humans has been a monumental task. But, it can be learned. I learned early to concentrate on my lessons so thoroughly that the voices didn’t bother me. Even that would get me into trouble, as I then had so filtered out all that was around me that I wouldn’t hear my teachers or the other students until someone either yelled or touched me. This even affected my play time, as it was also more difficult to “connect” with my playmates in a meaningful fashion. I often ended up playing alone. But, I made it through, may be not in the best way, may be not in a way that others should follow. The thing that always helped was when another soul, no matter how simply done, or how profoundly done, would touch me with that gentle hand of compassion. It has been that compassion that has brought me through. I hope that you, too, can be kind to the ones that need it, it has most assuredly been there for me, and giving it back is all I know to do! It all boils down the the Dalai Lama’s simple phrase, “Be Kind”.

An Attitude of Gratitude ~

The attitude of Entitlement is killing us. I do not speak here of governmental programs of entitlement, that’s a different story, and where there is need, I cannot personally ask that the help be withdrawn, as I benefit greatly from that help. I am speaking of the attitude of entitlement. The idea that the world owes us because we are surely worthy. Yikes! Where did this attitude even originate? I have run into this article in a couple of places, and it is perfect in addressing this attitude, so I will post it’s link for you.

What seems to be lacking, according to Rabbi Heller, is an attitude of Gratitude, something I had learned many years ago from the ministry of Robert H. Schuller. Now, normally, I have little to say that is good about the televangelists that have emerged with technology, but this man seemed to walk his talk, and because of that, I have occasionally listened to him speak. Both the rabbi and the minister speak of learning that everything is a gift. That includes our health, our job, our very breath. We are not owed these things, they are given for our ultimate benefit. When we believe the world owes us, we get surly, angry, and have no patience with the others that are in our way. It is this attitude that makes it possible to kill another human simply because we want the shoes they are wearing.It is this attitude that lets a mother kill her only child because the child is in the way when she wants to do something, like partying.

The world does NOT owe us. We owe the world. An old sage once said that the “service you do is the rent you pay for the space you take up.” We are not here to learn to grab the brass ring, we are here to learn to love. That’s a tall order. I have found myself both amused and aghast at those who would say that teaching and preaching Love as the way of the Enlightened is wishy-washy. Try living it for a while. It is most difficult, and there are many things to learn before we can even begin to operate at that level. We must learn first to be detached from “things”, knowing that they are only temporary, and do not fulfill our greater needs. Further, we must learn to be detached in a gracious manner from the gratitude of others when we “do” for them. We are doing that for our own benefit, to learn to give without strings. We are learning to give because it is the right thing to do, not because we desire a sense of indebtedness from them.

It is for this reason that we must be sure that what we give is right for the situation, so that we do not make things worse for those who benefit from our gifting. Most often we find that it is our time and our attention that benefit others most, not the “things” we can give. This means learning to actively listen when another comes to us with their sorrow or pain. We must even learn to actively listen and enjoy when they come to us with the high points of their lives.We must learn to operate outside the boundaries of our selves. When we cannot do good, we must learn to do no harm. This means walking a balanced path within that lets them be who they are, while we learn who we want to be.

We are not “entitled” to respect. That must be earned, but we must first learn to respect. This includes the boundaries of those we would hope to help. Unfortunately, those who embark on charitable missions look at a situation and decide what is needed according to their own perspective of another person’s life. This is like giving potatoes to a person who has lived their entire life on rice. They don’t know how to use the potato, and it rots in a pile of debris, rather than filling the bellies of hungry children. We must learn to give what is needed, not what we think is needed. The most loving thing we can do is ask, “What do you need?” If it is within our grasp to give what is needed, we are in a good position to do so, if we cannot give what is most needed, then perhaps we need to look around and see if there is another on the Path that can give the needed benefit. This is another area that is difficult, for many times we must learn that it is not all about us, but about providing that which benefits most. As I have said, and many before me who are much wiser, learning true kindness is not an easy life to live. But, when you do learn to be compassionate to others, truly compassionate, you will have happiness within yourself, and you will have given happiness to others as well.

The Dalai Lama

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
Dalai Lama

Understanding ~

It is only when we take the time to probe a situation enough to understand the background that we can begin to hold compassion as our center.

Handling “It”

I had started to post about the concept that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”, a lie that is soooo big, I have difficulty voicing my frustrations, and have a difficult time even keeping my tongue when it is well meaning people saying it. Adversity can come upon anyone, at anytime, and if too much of it comes at once, even the very strongest may break under the load. That goes for people of faith as well as those who claim no faith. Life is tough. Any one who does not believe that has not lived. Yes, there is the rare soul that seems to skate through life, nothing touching them, but they are rare indeed, and often have hidden problems and just know how to hide them from the world.

I cannot tell you that there is a magic formula that will keep such adversity from your door. I wish I could, I would have used it in my life before now. I can tell you that Creator loves us passionately, even when we have broken under life’s load. I can tell you that the tender ministries of the Holy Spirit can wrap you in Divine love more fully when you have broken. And I do not mean here that you should seek such, for it is no picnic, I am simply saying that the care of the Divine is there, always, to heal us and make us whole again. It may happen overnight, in the blink of an eye, or over months or years of counseling or just the passage of time. But, the remarkable thing about the human spirit is that, indeed, it can heal.

This is something to hold onto, for I have seen, as have all of you, what horrible things can come from a broken spirit that has not healed. The injuries spread, and more harm occurs when healing is absent. In fact, if you look around you at the world at large, it would seem that most of the harm one human does to another is usually as the result of previous injury to the perpetrator’s soul. This should not mean that we do not seek justice. It means that justice should always be rendered alongside mercy. It means that, if we can, we should always look to find a way to help others out of adversity, if it is at all possible. It is those of us who can still have compassion that must look to relieve the suffering of those who are under the load.

 

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”
Siddhārtha Gautama

 

Love is God’s Language ~

It is so easy to forget, in this fast paced, urgent to get somewhere society, that the love of God is the most important gift we can give each other! We are so insistent on our views, to the point where the differences become more important than the similarities, that we forget there are entire generations of folks who do not understand that God is Love. Now, there are many passages in the Torah that show us God’s Love, however, the understanding, there is often that that love is conditional on obedience. It is not. God’s love is eternal. I have come to see the OT God as a crusty old Grandfather, you know the kind I am talking about. spouting fire and brimstone, always talking about obeying, but underneath all of that bluster is One who cares infinitely for each and every one of us.

Let’s look at that caring for a moment, the Israelites were taught to be kind to strangers, in a time when a traveling stranger could just as easily find his throat cut for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were taught to treat their women in a respectful manner, in a time when women were literally held as chattel. They were taught to be compassionate with their children in a time when it was common to sell one’s child into slavery, or worse, kill one’s child if one could not afford to feed them. The Israelites were taught that life was sacred, a gift from the Most High. They were even taught to slaughter their livestock in a humane manner that did not frighten the animal unduly.

We have made much progress since that day, and we have regressed sadly since that day. Women are freer than ever, but more vulnerable to rape attacks. Animals are kept in holding pens and slaughtered in a way that frightens the animal. When the animals are examined, they are injured and allowed to go about with those injuries untended. This is not good. Children are abused in ways that make the blood boil, yet, conversely, are allowed to grow into adults without discipline and with the idea that the universe owes them, not simply food, shelter and safety, but the latest Nintendo game, a big TV, and brand name clothes! And the negative language that one hears out of the mouths of children would have mortified our elders just a generation back!!! Are all of these things a result of deciding there is no God to which one must answer? I wonder. Yet, Buddhism, which does not hold that one needs to believe in God, would teach a path full of compassion and kindness toward all other beings on this planet.

So, what is lacking?  . . . . . . . .Love and discipline, in a balanced combination that would lead to a developed adult, one that treats his fellows with respect at the very least. We seem to have walked away from both in a fever to populate the planet without thought of the consequences for the planet, or the humans that inhabit it. One of the most interesting things the Teacher said was that you could even take their names in vein if you obeyed to command to love. Not very often quoted, but in Matthew 12:31-32, Y’shua is quoted as saying that we cannot be forgiven the sin against the Holy Spirit. In context, this would be because they said that Y’shua had an unclean spirit that helped him heal the sick and injured. But there is a deeper meaning here that gets forgotten.

Every teaching that Y’shua,  Buddha, and Moshe  taught about relationships between humans required kindness and compassion. These teachings come from the Holy Spirit, there is no doubt in my mind that sinning against the Holy Spirit is to operate in a manner that is less than kind to one’s fellow beings. The Teacher said you could blaspheme him and be forgiven. So the argument that calling his spirit unclean is the sin against the Holy Spirit  is a circular one that solves nothing. The Holy Spirit has taught love and compassion all over this planet, finding a way to place compassion at the heart of nearly every religion. So, to me, the sin against the Holy Spirit is to treat others unkindly, to lack compassion in your dealings with your fellow travelers. As the Dalai Lama has been quoted, the essence of religion is to be kind. Let us, therefore, love, as God is love, and his language and communication with us is love.

Surviving ~

I truly wish we didn’t live in a world where bullying, and much worse, exists. I was subjected to bullying as a child, and no, I didn’t always run to my parents when it happened, for the reasons the experts talk about, it’s humiliating to admit that you have been singled out to be the receiver of such actions. I tried to understand, even then, why people would do that, and it never really made sense to me. Now, of course, I know it is a mechanism by which people make themselves feel better by visiting misery onto others. How sad! But this post is not about the bullies as much as about the idea that you don’t have to live with bullying. If you, or your child is being bullied, there are ways to survive with your ethics and morals intact.

One of the things that has been puzzling to me is that the people that are attacked on television shows react in ways that lack common sense, that even lack what looks like a need to survive, which is what got me thinking about what information people need to survive such attacks. And, no, I don’t believe that stuff just happens on TV, many of the shows are taken from the headlines, so what happens there is a reflection of something that has happened to someone, somewhere. There are also incidents that have happened in my life, and in the lives of my friends. Here is a list of things you need to keep in mind if someone, anywhere, starts swinging a gun around. They are sensible, they are not aimed at heroics, they are aimed at getting out of the way. However, in order to implement the advice given, you need to stay focused, think, don’t panic.

And that, in a nutshell, is key to surviving anything potentially disastrous around you. Hence, this post. One of the things that comes from training as a nurse in my younger years is the knowledge that panic is your enemy in an emergency. You actually need to think about what you would do in a given situation. One of the most pro-active things you can do is take a self-defense class. The training really does work, because you have a plan of action, you have things you can actually do should the need arise. Many colleges and universities are offering self-defense classes for their students, look at your local university and see if something is offered there.Here is an article about verbal self-defense that might surprise you in it’s common sense approach to communications, with the emphasis, again, on awareness of the situation being the key.

 

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