A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘encouragement’ Category

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.

Sacred Space ~

medwhlI love the medicine wheel, it is always part of my thinking, now. I will try  to translate the Native wisdom so that you can understand and participate in this way of life  without appearing to be trying to rob their spirituality. The Lakota and Shawnee teachings are those with which I am most familiar, and though they approach the wheel each from opposite directions, their ways are still quite compatible. One of the reasons I have been reluctant to share this as part of the path I walk is that a pale face, like myself, just looks silly running around in ribbon shirts and feathers in their braids. So, though I want to discuss the concepts of the NA way of life, it is with the idea of incorporating these  concepts into your own perspective, not to make you into a NA wannabe.

As I understand it, (and that must always remain in your awareness, I am not a holy woman, picture1nor am I a “shaman”, I cannot turn out other “shamans” off an assembly line because you need to be one to teach it. I am a mystic, who has found the Native awareness of Spirit to be so completely on target, that once exposed to their teachings, they became a part of my practice.) life is seen to be lived on a series of circles, each of us having our own personal circle, and all life forms each having their own circle. The awareness of this first brought me to an understanding of Sacred Space that I had never seen in other forms of spirituality.

Sacred Space then became something of a point of study. I wanted to understand this concept as it applied to me. Above and to the right you see a series of concentric circles, the outer one is yellow, for openness, as this is where your sacred space meets the rest of the world, and you  must interface with what comes your way, whether in work or daily life, i.e. fellow workers, clerks in stores, supervisors, delivery people. The only choices you have here are the simple ones, as in where you go and the people with whom you choose to do business. The next circle is green, still open, but much more selective, for here in this circle are your acquaintances and family, people with whom you have things in common, but do not want into your most intimate space. The next circle is your truly most sacred circle, here are those you trust with all that you are and hope to be.

win_win_relationshipI was taught to take three pieces of paper, marking each one with the color of the circle represented, i.e. mark with yellow marker or the word yellow, whichever works with your circumstances. Here list all those with whom you have daily or weekly commerce that are not your most intimate friends. In fact, work with all three papers at the same time, sorting who goes where according to where you want them to be in your life. If you have had a problem with boundaries, that is not necessarily where they are in your little corner of the world, and you may need to make two sets of lists, so that you can see what you need to work on to get your world in balance.

When there is someone farther out than you want them to be or closer than you want them to be, you need to look at the why’s of the issue, so that you can gently, and without fuss, relationshipfind a way to readjust your world so that they occupy the space in your life that you want them to. When you are wanting someone to be closer to you, you must also be absolutely certain that they want to be closer also, if they do not, do not mess with them. Give space to others in the same manner that you want space given to you! I found a similar relationship map at a circles network. Please feel free to use whichever map works best for you, and by all means, if you find you are entangled and cannot find gentle ways out of bad situations, find a relationship counselor who can help you find the highest and best way to refine your relationships.

Remember, the path I walk is learning to love all. This does not mean that all are in the innermost circle.  Love is the building block on which relationship is built. Consider carefully and choose consciously how you wish to live your life.

Free Will ~

binnewies-390-for-tridion_tcm18-115975Do we have free will? Well, I personally believe so. We have mapped the human genome, and they don’t seem to have found a gene for free will, but, there are many things that point to the idea that each of us, in spite or because of our genetic make up, can make choices as to how we will respond to life’s stimuli.

There always seem to be those who would love to tell us that we are just chemicals reacting to what the world delivers at our doorstep. Yet, looking at life in intensely disturbing reality will show us that this is not necessarily true. One sibling with a similar genetic make-up to the other will struggle against the tide and surface far from muck and gore, while another from the same family will sink into the mire of a life underscored by suffering and sorrow. Why? We don’t really know. It is most certainly NOT just genetics.

From my perspective, as a mystic and student of the cosmos, I think of it as martin-luther-king-jr-picthe “medicine” each child was born with, though that entails not just genetics, but past lives, and ancestral contributors to one’s make-up. There is one other contributor to character that may or may not be counted by the “experts”. The person that child adheres to as a role model may make all the difference in the world. If one thinks in terms of the difference between a “Hannibal Lechter” type or a “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” type the two paths in life are so obvious as to be painful. But children in their first 7 years of developement are often not exposed to such archetypes, their world is much more tightly knit that this.

Aunt Jane, or Mama are their world, or Gramma, or Grampa or Dad or Uncle Joe. How we react to our world is how we teach the little ones to react, mouse1and it is often those we admire that our children admire or reject for just such similar reasons. Many times I have seen an incompatability in “medicines” be the means by which the “bad seed” develops into a rebel or delinquent. A child born with “mouse” medicine to a parent with hawk medicine may learn to hide from the eyes of their elders and becomes sneaky and untrusting and untrustworthy. Yet, mouse medicine is not bad medicine. If the child is guided by one with similar medicine, say a Mama with squirrel medicine, the child may prosper if only because they learn to prepare for what life brings them.

The “hawk” and “mouse” situation may turn abusive, simply because of hawk7frustration and fear of what will result when the child matures, yet the parent never meant to be abusive in the least, loving the child immensely. How tragic this whole scene becomes, most especially when it is from intense love that the results are far from ideal. There are no societal safe zones for either the parent or the child. Nothing “honorable” that will allow the parent to “back off” and let the child become themselves. Our family unit is now too small for the child to find an aunt or uncle who can understand, as the family is often scattered over 1000’s of miles.

I guess then, that I must conclude that though we do indeed have free will, and if the child can survive intact until their late thirties without having been in too much trouble with the law, they may get themselves straightened out, as it takes that long for us to become who we are, even when the parenting was compatible with our “medicines.” Even here, I believe we have free will, and if we have the internal strenth, we can become who we want to be no matter what our parents were or are, good or not so good. One most helpful thing to remember is that most parents truly do the best they can with the tools they are given to hand.

Wolf, the teacher ~

greywolf1I have been thinking about our love/hate relationship with teachers. We value them above almost any other profession, yet, they are the most poorly paid of all professionals. We send our children to school each day, for an average of 35 hours a week during their prime learning hours in the day. Many are happy with this arrangement as it gives the children quality time with adults while we go about our urban lives. Yet, there is often an uneasiness about what our children are learning and how it will affect their lives.

The totem of the teacher is the wolf, a beautiful animal that has been much maligned by farmers whose fear of the wolf resembles our fear of the teacher. wildernessThe wolf is a “Pathfinder” which means that when others cannot find a way through the “wilderness” the wolf will find it. The wolf will avoid a confrontation if at all possible, and is an animal that likes peace to reign in it’s domain.

There is somewhat to support that the wolf behaves quite differently in the wild than it behaves in captivity, so I am uncertain of some of the things I thought I knew about wolves, but much of the fear of the wolf is due to the very fact that wolves cannot be fully domesticated. They will work together with humans, and will be quite loyal to a human they have befriended, but they will not tolerate the abuse a domesticated dog will tolerate.

ptcI believe this may help us take a look at the parent-teacher relationship. The teacher has things that are to be taught the child according to the state, they may also have things they particularly want to teach the child (oops, an agenda), the parent, thinking this child is theirs and desiring certain standards of behavior is often watching from the wings. Parents that are totally involved with their child’s learning may run up against a wall that says they are “too involved”. Personally, I don’t think that is possible. It is the parent’s responsibility to see the child learns what is needed, the teacher is a professional assistant in that process.

For parents, I would say, “Learn the totem of the teacher, it may help you to understand the attitude and what you need to do to assist your child in learning.”

For teachers, I would say, “Study your totem, it may help you understand your own reactions to things said and done.”

How totems work, at least for me ~

It seems best to start with Wagle Shun, my south totem teacher. I have felt her presence since I was a small child and will admit that it is her wisdom that has kept me from crashing on the rocks during the early part of my journey. Since she is the totem of the mystic, there is every reason to suspect that this is why I followed that path. Whenever I see one of those wonderful little figurines of her in a home I visit, I start asking the questions that will tell me if the person that collects them is one of her students. I start with her because her gentle guidance is available to everyone if she is who I believe her to be.

Proverbs is full of mention of her, most especially the eighth chapter. It is also full of mention of her opposite number, Folly, whose animal I am unsure of. I believe Wagle Shun is my teacher’s totem, and is most certainly the way she communicates with me. It is she who first taught me not to envy others the things that are theirs by birth, which, once I knew my birth totem was a good chuckle, since that is the raven, and a reminder of Aesop’s fables. Who knows, maybe I am folly and am finally allowing Wisdom to teach me. That would certainly be the way my life has gone, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it were at least an allegorical truth.

These two totems, along with the Snowy Owl and the butterfly have drawn me from early youth. I have had some strong lessons to learn from them. Note the amount of airy totems, which is where my head usually is and then it will be no surprise to you that I had to learn from another totem, one that had drawn me but I had not explored the lessons, the otter, how to stay grounded, balanced and playful. If you understand that the animals as the Native American sees them, are teachers, not G-ds, they can teach you also.

You can start out by looking at the animals that drew your attention in childhood, what were they trying to teach you? Even domestic animals have lessons to teach so do not discredit their influence in your life lessons. If you cannot remember being drawn to any wild ones, there is another, rather slightly off-beat way to learn about totems that have to do with you personally. Everyone is familiar with astrology, some believe in it, some don’t. That’s fine, I will not try to persuade you one way or the other, but it is a tool, should you choose to use it, that can lead you to the knowledge of at least four of the animals that will have been a fairly strong influence in your life.

First go to Alabe.com, look down the page to where you can pull a free birth chart. Enter your data there, save the chart on your computer, it will be a gif image, and save the write-up in a Word document, or other word processing software. (Open Office is free on the web and does all that Microsoft’s does without spending an arm and a leg.) When you have them on your own computer where you can study them, pick out the “houses” that are your birth sign (your character), your moon sign (your inner self), your rising sign (your outward projection for others to see) and the North Node, which will tell you where you are headed in your learning patterns.

After you have found the astrological “houses” involved for your birth, look at Sun Bear’s Dancing with the Wheel. It can be found at most Public Libraries if you cannot afford it, but is a wonderful book to have if you are interested in Native American cosmology at all, so I wouldn’t hesitate to spend the money if you have it. You will find the totems for those four “houses” in that workbook, and full explanations of the lessons those four animals have to teach you. It is not quite the same as having a “Medicine” teacher find your totems for you, but is a good way to start with learning about totems.

Choices ~

I live in a country where it seems the choices of how to live one’s life are unlimited. You can be anything you want to be, so long as you have the innate ability to carry it off. If you really want to, you can become an astronaut, and litterally reach for the stars. But the choices are also there to take us into the very pits of a living H*ll. I am not one who believes in an eternal h*ll for the average person.

This does not mean we cannot lower ourselves to experience such horror, it simply means that, considering the grace of an Almighty Creator, I truly doubt if an average person, trying to make out the best they can with what they have will be condemned to an eternity of either ice or fire. The belief that man is totally depraved and deserving of eternal death is actually rather unrealistic and sounds more like the ravings of a depressed individual that needs therapy.

I am aware that Hashem is perfect and shining and awesome and totally beyond our imaginations, I am also aware that in comparison to that vision we are shadowy beings at best. But, I want you to look at the writings of a man whose words mean a great deal to the Evangelicals, i.e. Paul. In I Corinthians chapter 13, he speaks of Love, genuine from the heart caring, and he does a very nice job.

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

There, in the 5th verse, is the key to my commentary. for if G-d is Love (1John4:7&8), then G-d keeps no record of wrongs. So, who does keep a record, and is that one more powerful than Hashem? And is the one who condemns your G-d? The one who condemns is not my G-d. I choose love, and I choose to love. No, it does not make the nastiness of living in a limited dimension disappear, but it does ease the pain. Choose love first, always.

Anger, there is help . . .

Dealing with my own anger issues has been one of the toughest problems, but one of the most important to accomplish. When I am incredibly angry, the “low” voices are at their strongest, and I can hear them most clearly. Their presence is uncomfortable in and of itself, and reason enough to find ways to deal with this very normal emotion.

For me, and apparently for all humans, intense anger blocks the flow of love. Now, that’s only logical, but, when you think about, and indeed consciously contemplate it, that would explain quite clearly why some one like me is particularly bothered by the angry blockage of that flow.

At the risk of sounding terribly esoteric, I will try to explain this as I understand it. Apparently, there is some sort of tear or opening in the “fabric” that protects the human entity from hearing the sounds, and seeing the events, that happen on subtler, less visible or audible layers of the universe. I wish I could put this in more scientific terms, but I am under the understanding that it has something to do with the bands of light and sound that are normally perceptible to the human eye and ear.

Now, I am not insisting that what I hear is the result of some sane and sober process, because it often feels just the opposite, and I am quick to discourage those who would willingly subject themselves to any “New Age” process that might open one to this sort of thing. Don’t do it, it’s not fun. Learning to live with it has been a harrowing process and I have made many, some disastrous, mistakes in the learning process!

Now, put that insight into practice in that this “window” or tear leaves me open to hearing “low” angry, nasty destructive voices. When I open myself, however, to love and release my own anger, the flow of the loving energy “blocks”, if you will, the sound of the “low” voices. This was one of the most important steps in my development, and happened under the minstering of “Charismatics”, which is why I will not label that way of life as evil. They did me much good. It is simply that, like all human perspectives, they are not perfect. Oooops, neither am I.

The next step in my learning, however, came from a Buddhist teacher who showed me the benefits of “letting go”, completely, of all attachment to outcomes. I will not say that I have been a resounding success at this, but most of the time I am able, sometimes with much prayer and meditation, to let go of my “right” to expect the results I want from what I do, or even from what others do. It is extremely helpful in that I get angry less often when I succeed at this, and am able to relax and let the flow of love keep the disturbing voices at bay.

It is here that the mantra, “Grant me the serenity, courage and wisdom . . .” has been of great service in my life. I am most grateful to AA for making their teachings public, and most grateful to Dr. Neibuhr for development of that prayer.

EDIT ~

12.3.2008, looking back to see what I had said, I find that I did not give the name of the Buddhist teacher whose worked helped me so much. Since his teaching is quite available to the public, that is unfair. Thich Nhat Hanh is his name, the book is Anger, Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. Excellent learning resource, and comes in CD as well.

The Tao ~

On profiles at places like Xanga, and myspace, when asked my religion, I have answered Taoist. I know little of this particular religious practice, though I have read and contemplated the writings called the Tao te Ching, reputedly by an ancient teacher named Laotse.  Philosophically I could in truth call myself Taoist without hesitation, for the meditations as translated into English cannot be mistaken for anything else but contemplations of the one whose purpose and personality are described rather well in Proverbs chapter 8. There she is called Holy Wisdom, and I count her friend and teacher. (Not that I am wise, but that I am forever a student of those who would guide me into wisdom.)

◊Clicking on the image of the first verse of the Tao te Ching will take you to Wikipedia’s definition of Taoism, if the def is right, I really am a Taoist, only from a Native American POV◊

Equally, the teachings of Buddha can be seen to come from this same teacher. His Four Noble Truths, with the Eightfold Path of Enlightenment cannot be mistaken as something evil except by those who have called all things non-Christian as having originated with the “Devil”. I have actually come to consider such prancing foolishness the sin against the Holy Spirit as spoken of by Y’shua in Matt.12;31&32, for if you will study that passage closely, you can begin to understand that it is calling evil good, and good evil that is the sin of which Y’shua spoke.

When you look at the teachings of Native American Wisdom, the Medicine Wheel, you see this same wisdom, the teacher being, again, feminine in the person of Ptesan Win. The teachings of the original people of Australia are quite similar, and fit with the pattern one can see across the entire planet. The Holy Spirit, whether you call her the Ruach Ha’Kodesh, The Tao, Wakan Tanka, or Gitche Manitou, has spoken to humankind many times in the past, and continues to speak, without the human assistance of Jerry Falwell.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is possible that JF has committed the sin against the Holy Spirit, in which case, according to Y’shua, he cannot be forgiven. {Well, maybe this lifetime he lost his way, but, hopefully he will be born into Buddhist practice next time, and regain some of the wisdom he seems to have cast aside.} Sorry about the Smiley, couldn’t resist, oops.

To get back on track, it is her consistent presence over the world that has me blogging at this point in time and space.  There are enough voices out there so that anyone searching without some sort of rudder will get easily confused, discouraged, and quickly claim agnosticism, or atheism, and would we all please leave them alone? It was after she began to show me how many places she had been, see the book of Job if you question that, there’s a bit about her in there as well, that I began to feel that the worry that people would “go to hell’ if they didn’t hear the “truth” about the Christ, (reference Constantine to see how much “truth” that is,) was needless, Spirit had it covered.

In fact, what I began to find in my studies was that, wherever she had been, one could count on the central message having been compassion, (which is why I still figure that Y’shua knew her, even with all the, mm, rearranging of his words), Y’shua continually taught compassion as the very yardstick of the believer, oh, I forgot, Jerry says that makes me a gnostic. Even C.S. Lewis noted that over the entire Earth people felt the need to follow the same paradigm.

The upshot, then, is if you practice any form of religiion, and that practice includes and indeed centers around compassion, I am going to consider you a student of the one I call “Teacher”, often referred to as just plain Spirit. I will embrace you as family, and have not one minute’s time to worry about whether you light incense or bow in gratitude for teachings at the foot of a representative statue, or worship in a cathedral, synagogue or temple. There has been too much bloodshed in the name of “My God, Your God”, for me to play on that same field. If you practice compassion, you probably worship the Name above all Names, and that is my God.

Soldiers of the Cross?

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

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

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

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

Mysticism ~

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

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

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

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

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

Luminosity of Spirit . . . . . .Nirvana?

I have heard it argued both ways, that the Sermon on the Mount was addressing life after death, and that the SotM was addressing a better world here, if we would learn to live the way he taught. When I read Neil D. Klotz interpretation, there were many things that pulled together for me. I have come to believe that Y’shua was very much addressing how our lives can change in the here and now, if we will learn to live a “surrendered” life.

This is a life so dependent on Spirit that we know that all of our needs will be seen to, no matter what they are. I have actually known people for whom this has happened. I can testify that Spirit will indeed see that your needs are met, if not your wants. And there is where we come to the similarity between the “surrendered” life of Y’shua’s teaching and the life without external attachment of Buddha’s teaching.

When one lives a life without external attachment, one has reached a point where there is an acceptance of all that befalls one. This has been called fatalism by many from this side of the theological divide, and to a degree, that may be truth. But it is not the whole truth. There are “graces” in Buddhism, as there are in all major faiths. The presumption that we understand a faith or path from the outside looking in was one of the many things Y’shua cautioned us about, yet many practice that very form of judgment.

When Buddha taught regarding Nirvana he was not addressing an afterlife experience, he was talking about the golden life one would be able to lead when one no longer held onto desires as rights. You can understand this if you look at the meaning (from Huston Smith) of the word tanha, in the Four Noble truths. “I want what I want when I want it, no matter the cost.” This was the cause of suffering and misery. Letting go of this was the road to Nirvana, the Eightfold Path that led to enlightenment was the prescription toward getting “there”.

Y’shua taught the Eight Beatitudes, Gautama Buddha taught the Eightfold Path, I believe they are the same path. Simply taught to different audiences, therefore with different emphasis, according to the needs of those intended to hear the message. (The Lakota believe the Path of the Morning Star (eight points) will lead to happiness in this life and a good crossing into the next life. Coincidence?)

I also believe that we the people of earth will only remain divided as long as those who desire the dividing are allowed to influence what we think. When we can surrender our will, let go of the desire to have what we cannot have, and learn to walk in inner peace, there will be outer peace, and not before. There are many who believe the prophecies of the end times and of great disasters befalling the human race. That is one possible future. Look at the story of Jonah and the whale. Prophecies may be true and still do not have to happen. We can treat our fellow humans with kindness from deep within, and in doing so, bring about a time of true peace.

Abiding . . . . . .3rd part.

Please forgive me for the length of this discourse, this is so basic to the path I have walked, and though I would by no means hold myself up as a marked holy person, the fact that the voices have made life more difficult for me, and may be doing the same for others, they have made it more difficult even at times, to hold onto reality and my place in the sun. This is, again, the reason I share my path with you, if what I have learned can in any way ease your path, I will feel it was worth the risk in exposing myself this way.

Again, simple ceremonies, such as Tai Chi, or walking the labyrinth, or laying out ones “sacred” items, even if it is nothing more than the book you are reading, your copy of Holy Writ, (be it Bible or Quran, or Bhagavadgita, or Torah), perhaps a candle, a cloth for the table on which you will work and take notes. These things help to put you in the “space of prayer”. What ever works for you, that is what you do. Do not tell another that they are doing it “wrong” even if they are frustrated and asking you how you ‘do it’. Share with them the way that works with you and let them find the way Spirit works best with them.

I have worked with several “students”, other voice hearers mostly, who have been dedicated to wanting to learn a sane way to live and learn and serve Holiness. In the progression of learning, I have found that there comes a time when Spirit takes over the lessons. Spirit will still send them back to me to get more depth, but she begins to lead them in their learning. I have had more than one with whom this has happened. They would come sit with me and we would talk about a concept that needed to be introduced into their lives, and they would leave me shaking their heads, puzzled at what that was all about.

Over the next several days, she would show them the lesson in the best way for them to learn it. It would amaze me. I was not their teacher, she was, I must say that because of that, I began to think of myself as a mentor much more than a teacher, as I simply facilitated the learning process in my charges. This is why I say to you do not insist on a specific way of learning for anyone else. If Spirit works with you as she has worked with me, you are not the teacher, you can only show what works with you, and let Spirit guide the others from there.

I will emphasize again, the only command Y’shua gave was to love, the basis of Buddha’s teachings was kindness to all. If the dog comes to you and starts talking about killing the neighbor, warn the dog that such talk will get it permanently kenneled, you don’t live that kind of life. I have never sought students, they have come to me. I would never encourage one who does not hear voices already to try to hear them. It is difficult to discern the source of those voices and there are many that will attempt to guide you in the wrong direction. That is the reason for the emphasis on compassion in my teachings. A voice hearer cannot afford to live any other way. Let the ones whose minds are not so open to the realms of light and dark be the ones to condemn others, it is not your job, and you cannot afford to let such thought patterns creep into your thinking. Not in any way!

Now, perhaps I need to discuss something here that will help you understand how I came to “teach” the way I do. I worked for a time in a spiritually oriented drug rehab center. The administrator spoke of the fact that alcohol, like drugs, opened up the mind to the lower realms of the spirit. It really made no sense to me at the time, and in context of his conversation on that day, would not have lead to what occured to me later. It was in knowing a gentleman whose association had been with AA and learned their way of viewing the spiritual life that it all came together.

I have come to realize that AA’s practice is a solid spiritual path that cares not the parent faith, simply disciplines the individual to live a personally spiritual life. With all the things that have been brought into my awareness regarding my own difficulties, this makes a great deal of sense. Again, it is not about what you call yourself, it is about how you live your life.

Therefore, know that I would not willingly teach anyone who has the will to hurt another, if you have not already been broken by the pain of what you have suffered it is not mine to break you. If, however, you are ready to live a life in service to the highest, I can help get you on track, that is all. I am not some grand “faith healer”, I am not some incredible “evangelist”, I am a simple woman, living a simple life, willing to share the path that has brought peace to my troubled mind in times that in their way are no more nor less troubled than the past. It is my sincerest hope that if you are also a voice hearer, what I share will help you to find a path of peace and gentle grace.

Abiding . . . . . . .again.

The reason that I use this particular “piece” of illuminated sky to illustrate the topic of abiding is the first beatitude as translated by NDK,

Blessed are those who base their lives in the luminosity of Spirit; theirs shall be the ability to bear edible fruit.

Basing our lives in the luminosity of Spirit is the principle task then, toward living a life that abides in Spirit. But, how do you do that? It is not easy, and it must be realized that there is discipline of one’s own spirit that must take place in order to base oneself in the luminosity of the Holy Spirit. This is not something that spontaneously occurs when you say please, it happens over time, and only if you allow Spirit to take the polishing cloth to you on a daily basis.

So, how does this process occur? Prayer! Yes, prayer. Daily meditational and vocal prayer. I say both types, because we westerners are apt to think of prayer as a “Christmas list” of wants and needs. That is only a very small part of an active prayer life. We were, indeed, encouraged to think of the “Aba-Eem” as being willing to answer our every need and even many of our desires, by Y’shua. But that is only a part of what effective prayer entails.

First, there is actually an attitude of prayer. The Natives of North America call it walking with a light step. To a Tibetan monk, it is so much a part of his training that by the time you would meet him, it is woven into his entire being. But, there it is, isn’t it? Training. There are many Christians who believe that if you “train” and weave, and discipline the spiritual life, you drain the spontenaity out of your service, and therefore, the Holy Spirit. That is a factor that must be watched for, they didn’t come to that conclusion sucking it out of their thumbs.

Ouch, that means you have to learn to walk a balance beam. Too much insistence on “doing it” this particular way, does indeed leave Spirit outside the door. I will share with you here that the first time I realized what the Buddhists were doing and enjoyed it was when I learned to do Tai Chi, it is a daily exercise that is meditational in nature. It is  prayer in motion. Doing Tai Chi teaches you the proper attitude that actually puts you in an internal “place of prayer”.

This same thing is accomplished for the western mind by the walking of the labyrinth. It is a deliberate stilling of the mind, while remaining aware of the “flow” of things all around you and in you. And, that, dear reader, may be the very key as to why these disciplines work to increase our awareness of Spirit. She is not called the “ruach ha’kodesh” for no reason. That phrase means Holy Breath, and could even be taken to mean Holy Gentle Breeze.

In fact, there is much in the Gospels to indicate that Y’shua thought of her as the essential life force in the very air you breathe. You could think of the Holy Spirit as being available to you as Oxygen, and not be far wrong. It is this level of awareness of Spirit that is involved in basing your life in the luminosity of The One.

Perhaps I need here, to address the reason that I call the Holy Spirit her, rather than him (Christian usage, as in the spirit of Christ). I would like you to look at Proverbs chapter 8

1 Doth not wisdom acry? and understanding put forth her voice?

2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

5 O ye asimple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding bheart.

6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

7 For my mouth shall aspeak btruth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

9 They are all plain to him that aunderstandeth, and right to them that find bknowledge.

10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

11 For awisdom is better than brubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

12 I wisdom dwell with aprudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

13 The afear of the Lord is to bhate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

15 By me akings reign, and princes decree justice.

16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

17 I alove them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable ariches and righteousness.

19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his aworks of old.

23 I was set up from aeverlasting, from the bbeginning, or ever the earth was.

24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor athe highest part of the dust of the world.

27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a acompass upon the face of the depth:

28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

35 For whoso findeth me findeth alife, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.

36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love adeath.

Now, I am sorely aware that I have gone on too long, though I am by no means finished with what Spirit has taught me about this particular lesson, so I will here divide this into another post. If you wish to read on, please do so, but this is a good place to stop and contemplate if you are tired. Thanks,
Su

Godinabox ~

Have you ever wondered about the Godinabox folks? This is not some new religion, this “religion” is as old as mankind. It’s the folks, no matter what their parent faith, that feel that God has provided only one stairway to heaven. This is where I usually get tossed out of a sermon, the preacher starts to tell the folks that there’s only one way you can get to “heaven” and you “Cain’t bah hit!” but, on close examination what they are really telling you is that you MUST buy it, at least you must buy that they know the way, and that if you are going to arrive there, it will be as part of their particular caravan, there is no other caravan that will arrive at the heavenly gates!

John Boanerges wrote, in his 1st letter, (see 1John 4:7 & 8 ) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God, he who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” When I realized what that was saying, it hit me like a slap in the face, a thunder clap and an earthquake all at once. It’s simple. “By their fruits ye shall know them”, Y’shua, this time, Matt 7:16, if they love, they are God’s own. If they act with hatred, I do not care what they call themselves, or if they are the high pubah in their church, they don’t know God.

However, by the same token, if they love, at some point in their soul, they know God, also no matter what they call themselves. Puts an entirely different spin on all that preaching and shouting, doesn’t it? That is when I first realized that many who called themselves Christians were nowhere near the mark, and many who called themselves by other names, like Ivrit, or Lakota, or Buddhist, belonged to the Holy Spirit. Now, what that means to me is that the “Names” mean absolutely nothing. You can be a Buddhist, or a Jainist, or the preacher at the South Fork Baptist Church, it is not what you call yourself that will be evident in the final call, it is how you live your life.

And, by the way, that includes all of mankind, not just the members of your particular fellowship. If you are loving at church and walk outside the sanctuary swearing to sue your unbelieving neighbor for all he’s worth because his dog soiled in your yard, you need to rethink. And by the same token, if you have a dog that soiled in your other neighbor’s yard (Buddhist) and you figure it’s no big deal because he isn’t from the family of Gaaawd, you’d better rethink. And you need to remember that Y’shua did have something to say about things like that.

37″Do not judge, and you will not be judged.

Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.

Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give,

and it will be given to you. A good measure,

pressed down, shaken together and running over,

will be poured into your lap. For with the

measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

Luke 6

Abiding ~

I once did a rather long and drawn out study of this concept, not because my church was teaching it, but because the Master seemed to teach that this was the only way we humans could remain obedient to the principles that are required of us. I will share what I found, and it may take me more than one post. It is not an easy concept to grasp, nor is it easy to live.

What makes it somewhat easier for me, and still by no means a cake walk, may simply be that I know in my heart of hearts that my continuance in this body is bound up in my life with Spirit. I know that sounds terribly melodramatic, but on an everyday basis it really is not. Spirit actually does not need melodrama, that is from our side only. Service is a quiet thing, proceeding day by day with little fanfare.

I simply had a diagnosis that gave me roughly just a few years to live, as when they found the diabetes, it was a fulminating disease operating in my system at full rage. I was in hospital with a Klebsiella infection, once the AIDS people start getting those, the Drs tell them to get their affairs in order. That was 20 years ago. I still have diabetes, but it has not killed me, and I am still quite a ways from the final call. I once told my Dr, however, that I was ready to go, my bags were packed and the reaper would not have to knock twice. She understood.

Now, you would think that with such a sentence hanging over my head I would have planted my feet on somewhat safer ground than exploring the real meaning of Y’shua’s teachings, and let the theologians do the thinking for me. I am, however, too stubborn to do that, and I had already run into things that made me think the theologians were not quite “there”. Since it was my head over which the sword swung, I decided it was time to do or die.

I’ve been living an exploratory life since, and that was a large part of why I was intent on exploring the concept of abiding. One phrase in the OT that sticks out to me is the phrase, “I Am” used by Hashem regarding the eternal and immediate presence of G-d. I wish I could speak Hebrew, I have studied it, but I don’t have it as a language, I would like to combine the words for father and mother, sort of like Aba-eem, if I knew how, to convey this intimately caring ever present life force that is willing to be with each and every one of us if we seek it.

I know that there are many Christians who believe that this is only available through Jesus, but I do not believe that, simply because of passages in the OT indicating that in the Hebrew texts, The Spirit of Holiness, Truth and Wisdom was available to all who sought her. See Proverbs chapter 8. I do believe that the balanced following of the Path of the Rabboni is most definitely one way to find that presence in your life, but not the only one.

The passages in the Gospels that I question regarding Y’shua being the only way, could so easily have been improperly translated if the Greek scribes were not careful, since, if Y’shua frequently used the words for the “I Am”, it wouldn’t take much to turn it around. “The “I Am is the way, the truth, and the Life, no man cometh unto the Aba except through the “I Am.” (and the true meaning then, would be the Holy Spirit, which is the I Am presence of God) instead it was translated “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Boy, that would be an easy slide, wouldn’t it? And we don’t have the original Aramaic to prove one way or the other.

I find that quite frustrating, as there are enough scholars out there, with enough moxie to challenge church doctrine that, were the originals available, and could be worked with, there would be no question about what was meant, or at least less question, as languages sometimes change within 20 year periods let alone 2000 year periods. Anyway, understand that if you are hungry for the presence of The Holy One in your life, you are not left with only one option.

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