A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘living’ Category

Fearfulness ~

New Studies

The  upshot of these studies really, is that we are not sure which comes first, the fear, or the conservatism. I remember when I became a Democrat, a buddy and I had taken off from Indiana, looking to build our lives in California, wrong timing, and a bunch of other factors brought us ultimately back to Indiana. But, in the aftermath of that adventure, my politics had changed. Now, when I look at the whole incident, the “adventure”, and it’s subsequent failure should have made me more fearful, i.e. more conservative.

But the major lesson this particular adventure had taught me, was to choose love first. Now, looking back, I fearcannot honestly say how that lesson came through, or even “stuck”, I just know that fear, which was the precursor to that adventure, did not work, and was not a path to travel. I guess I do know how that lesson “stuck”.

But, now comes the kicker, love and fear are opposites. You cannot choose to love and live in fear. It will not happen. Love, and by this I mean all manner of love, whether you are speaking of love of one person or love of all mankind cannot come out of fear, nor will it manifest as fear. To choose to Love, truly, in the sense of having compassion for oneself and all others will manifest itself in the positive; joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, humility, and self-control. To be sure, I am not perfect in this, not by a long shot. But, I continue to learn.

I am often at odds with Paul the Apostle, who is the original writer of the above litany of the manifestations of love, but, like Paul, I have many fears, and those fears sometimes take a great deal of prayer, journey2self-examination, faith in the Master of the Universe, and time to conquer. It is both a very good thing that Paul’s letters were included in the New Testament, and a very bad thing that they are there. The good, of course, is that we can watch a very human individual, a murderer, no less, come to terms with his imperfections and find solace in the love of God. The very bad thing is that, if you do not read Paul’s letters as a journey toward love, you see them as a mandate on how humans are supposed to conduct themselves as believers. That will result in a horrible lack of growth, for his letters were not a manifest, but a record of a journey from human failing to learning to love at the highest level. In fact, the entire Bible is very much about such a journey, not for just one person, but for an entire nation.

That, indeed, is why, though the original laws written in the Torah were an excellent starting point, they were remiss in that they did not list a group of heinous crimes that we have, finally, grown enough to see as the wicked crimes they are, i.e. slavery, rape, and child harm. All three of those can be listed together as what one could call “power” crimes, in that their entire force is to hold power over others. It was not until the later prophets that one began to see that “compassion” was first, last, and always, the way to please God. Compassion will not manifest itself with slavery, rape, or harming children. It will, indeed, manifest itself in Dalai Lamakindness toward all other humans. Truly, we are a long way from manifesting this as a people. Some humans have arrived, and speak to us about this, for instance we see the Dalai Lama, leader of the Buddhist faith, speak often about the fact that compassion is a human need, not necessarily a religious tenet. He is right.

We humans, if we are going to grow from childhood to adulthood, must grow in compassion, living our lives in fear gets us “stuck” in childhood. We will continue to be militant, angry, suffering humans if we do not learn to manifest love from the first of our interactions, to the last of our lives. We need to learn as a people, to choose love first.

 

Judging Gays ~

I have addressed this before, so I will try to keep my material fresh, but cannot promise that I won’t repeat myself. I have been doing a bit of a survey study of Old Testament Law. One of the things that struck me is that at the points where the Bible speaks of Gay sex as being detestable, it also says that unmarried sex of almost any kind, from simple fornication, as in two unweds fooling around, to adultery where both participants are married to other people, are detestable, and that the Ivrit were to remove the evil from among them, consequently putting to death those caught in the act.

I am blogging this because of the recent spate of fundamentalist Christians and even fundamentalist Catholics, (same thing, really, just clothed a bit differently) that have said that gays should be put to death. To quote Shakespeare, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” First, there are injunctions in both the Old and New Testament not to judge. You will be judged by the same measuring method you use to judge others. So, why the lists to begin with? Well, I suspect it has to do with showing us what holiness is all about. That living a normal life, with our normal proclivities, carries with it the implication of daily “sin”.

Now, keep in mind that to the Ivrit, “sinning” is falling short of God’s Glory. It is not always some dark and somber commission of an evil deed as we see evil, i.e. mass murder, orgies, serial rape, that sort of thing, but even just doing what we normally do in our daily rounds. We live life. In other words, if you live life in the trenches, you are bound to get a bit muddy. To the Ivrit, and to God in the Old Testament, “sin” was not always an act of commission, but was just as often an act of omission, not doing everything you can to be as good as you can be. Sins of omission, then, would include seeing someone in need and not lifting a hand to help them. Ouch! Doesn’t leave many folks out there, then, who haven’t sinned by these standards.

Now, here, the Evangelical would say that this is where you become a believer in Christ, and let him wash away your sin. But, I want to go one step further, for Jesus said that if we called ourselves by his name, but did not obey him, we were no better than anyone else on the planet. Ok, what is that obedience? It is living each day with as much compassion for your fellow humans as you can, full tilt, 1000%. Do you have that much energy? That’s what it takes, loving others as he loved us. That was his command, you know. His only command.  “Love God, love your fellow man.”

So, when you decide to withhold medication from a gay individual who is HIV positive, you are also going against God’s will. You have not loved you fellow humans with the same measure with which God loves us. When you say that all Gays should be put to death, you are also “sinning” by not being compassionate. Oh, and you are also saying we should put every man and woman who has had sex outside of marriage to death, that we should put rebellious children to death, and the list goes on and on. By not loving them as God loved you. You are just as guilty as the serial rapist in God’s eyes. That’s pretty heavy, but that’s the measuring rod you used. Be careful. That rod, when used on your backside, can hurt.

Timelessness ~

Those who know me, know that I am not a great fan of the Apostle Paul. The canonization of his letters has resulted in folks treating his words as though they were “gospel”( at least as it suits them). I see him as an Evangelist, and quite flawed human being. He was quite spiritual, so some of his teachings have value, but, just because he wrote something does not mean that is the view a person should have regarding anything within the church. He was extremely human!

That being said, I would like to look at one of his teachings that holds a beauty for me and for all who read it. He wrote; “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, teachability and self-control.” There are many teachings on the web regarding this passage, but it still seems to get ignored by those who would have you take a more aggressive perspective of your faith. Yet, it is here, in this passage, that Paul seems to have utterly been in obedience to the Holy Spirit whose work can be seen the world over.

This passage would fit well in a Buddhist monastery, in an Ashram, in a shul, anywhere one is taught to honor the Highest and Best. It is simply stated, yet encompasses all the “virtues” needed to show that the Holy Spirit is at work in your life. It is when I see this “fruit” growing in any life, no matter what faith, that I know I am interacting with one truly walking the Path set out by my teacher, Y’shua. It is true, he was not the only one to teach this path, nor was he the first, but it is through him that I learned of the path, so I honor him as my Master Teacher.

Getting back to Paul for a minute, much of what he taught was for that time only, and not of the timeless nature of Y’shua’s teachings.It is in that vein that I see Paul’s words on homosexuality, on the submission of women to men, and on the manner of dress a person should follow. You do not see these things addressed in Y’shua’s teachings, he was mindful that centuries beyond his earthly walk, there would be those seeking a path to holy living, therefore keeping his teachings succinct and to the point of addressing the work of the Holy Spirit throughout time. Paul’s words sometimes held that sense of timelessness, as with this passage, yet, he spoke also of the needs in that time of the churches he founded, very anchored in that time and space, and therefore, simply a reference to us 2,000 years hence: good to study, but not a guide for living.

It is in my studies of other faiths that I realized the difference between the timeless teachings, good for all of us on the Path, and the timely teachings, good only for the time in which they were written. It is here, rather than in any “Sunday school” or church that I began to see the extreme value of Y’shua’s teachings on Love. And to belabor a point, he was not teaching about romantic love, but about the deep, from the very depths of your being caring for the plight of others you would meet on the journey. We are to be compassionate toward all souls, not just those who happen to agree with us, or share a moment of epiphany with us. We are here to learn how to truly love.

Egalitarianism

EGALITARIANISM

1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs

2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people

I am well aware there are many inequalities in our world, some of them political, some of them social, some of them simply by not being born as smart or lucky as the person next to you. Many of those inequalities would be hard, if not impossible to erase. But, as a human being, and as a person that believes the Most High loves us all, and cares for each of us with the same deep loving nature, it seems incumbent upon me to work and live in such a way as to eliminate as far as it is possible in a single life, the inequalities that stem from behavior toward ones fellow man. Sadly, what is quickly forgotten in practice, is that all of the Holy books that I have read speak of treating others in a manner that is compassionate and kind. That is said in many different ways in each book, so it’s really hard to miss, unless you are intent on doing so. But, the key here is practice, living daily in a manner that is gentle and kind, no matter the circumstances. In a world increasingly intent on violence, this is most difficult, and I cannot say that I am any better than my fellow humans in carrying out the instructions to be kind. I try. I listen actively when someone speaks, whether it is about daily issues, or about deeply personal issues that affect a person’s life on the whole. Many times that is all that is needed, just someone to listen. Truly listening to someone speak of their problems is, by default, an equalizer. When you actively listen to another, you are setting aside your own issues for the moment and giving that other person center stage.

But, egalitarianism requires a much broader practice than just “saying” that you believe in equality for all. It requires actually “seeing” all other people, no matter race or creed, as your equal in the eyes of God and man. That’s a tall order, to be sure. One needs to be prepared to go out of one’s way to do for others. If someone needs a ride, find a way for them to get it, if a child needs food, find a way to get them food. If a person needs a coat, find one for them. These are simple things, and can be done with little or no effort, but they do take time. Something no one seems to have extra of these days.

But, there is much more to egalitarianism than simple charitable acts. Egalitarianism requires that, if there are choices to be made, all persons affected by those choices get a voice and a vote. This is not as easy as it sounds. Even in the US, the people’s vote for president is buffered with the Electoral College because the founding fathers of our country did not trust the common man to choose a leader wisely. It is not uncommon for this sort of thing to be built into systems around the globe, so that one’s vote is actually only a voice in the process. Now, truly, if I must have only one or the other, I want a voice, as that can influence the vote, but I would always prefer to have both.

Still there is more: Egalitarianism requires that even in the simplest transactions of the day, buying a roll or coffee for breakfast, shopping at the local supermarket, speaking to the mail delivery person, in all activities you are required, if you are an egalitarian, to be civil even when you can’t find it in yourself to be kind. The people that serve your needs are your equals, not your subordinates. They have chosen to serve as a way of life, you are not their superior even if you are among those they serve. Egalitarianism as a way of life requires a commitment to yourself and your fellow humans to be aware at all times that the person with whom you are interacting is your equal.

The Certainty Principle~

The only constant in the Universe is change. I have read that the old teachers taught their students when following their principles, that one must never be certain, for as surely as they were certain, they were certainly wrong. That has stuck with me in such a resounding fashion over the years, that the moment I begin to see anyone certain they are doing “God’s” work, I get nervous. We humans have a tendency to go on Crusades when we feel we are on a mission for God, and history has shown us how that will end.

I cannot tell you that you are or are not doing God’s work. That will only be shown by the test of time. I can assure you of this, however, when you trod on the rights of others in the name of whatever action you believe is God-ordained; when you decide that others will have to sacrifice for your goals, and don’t they dare complain, you have walked out from under the umbrella of protection you thought you had when you began this or that course of action. You never have that right. You never have the right to tell others what they will or will not do in pursuit of your goals. The only person you have the right to ask sacrifice of is yourself. If others cannot give what you think they must, it is time for you to back off and ask if you are truly doing this work for God or for yourself.

Manifest Destiny, under any disguise, is wrong. I am well aware that I am flying in the face of many who believe they are God’s instruments, but the truth of the matter is that every human being, no matter if they are living the way you think they should or not, is a child of God. If God intends to remove that person from your path, it will be done, and you will not have to lift a finger, or will only have to lift a finger, and it is done. If, however, that indigenous soul remains obstinately in your path, it may be time for you to step off the mark you made in the sand, and look at what you are doing. They may be doing what they are doing for what you perceive to be the wrong reasons, they may be wrong in their pursuit of their goals, I cannot say, but they may also have rights that cannot and should not be denied.

I wish I could tell you that all will be sunny and warm if you do or do not do as you feel is right. I cannot. Life is messy, and seldom has well ordered results, and truly caring for the well-being of others is never a neat and proper process. I can tell you this, however, if you do your best to observe the sacredness of all life in the pursuit of your goals, God can, and has been known to arrange things such that all works out for the best possible results in the end. It doesn’t always look that way from our perspective, it is difficult to see the forest for the trees, I can personally attest to that, but it is always necessary, when all else fails, to follow the principles we have been taught, and let God do the rest.

Gay rights ~

I participate in a forum on a game I play. This discussion has been on gay rights, and I was encouraged to see that the young people playing this game are, for the most part, fair minded and progressive in their views. This was my contribution. I had linked to the thread, but apparently it has been removed, as it devolved into unpleasantness, sad to say, however, up to the point I posted here, it had been nicely written posts from several people, and I wish I had copied that portion.

I just read this entire thread, and am impressed. This has been an excellent discussion. I am a celibate straight. I know, a WHAT? Well, it’s a long story I won’t go into here, but, of course there are those who presume that I secretly live an alternate lifestyle, most especially since my most supportive and loving friend is gay. I am glad to see the openness here that will eventually work it’s way into the rw.

Society is in flux right now. Many things have changed since I was a youth, (I’m ancient, 57), the changes are not all good. The gangs, and the violence that we are seeing are things that make us all quake in fear. Some would hastily say that this is because of the breakdown of societies’ “walls” so to speak. And, yes, it is not unusual to see anarchy in times of change. It has not been that long ago that women were not considered human or intelligent enough to vote. It has only been 3 centuries since a pope erred regarding the humanity of indigenous peoples when Europeans were wresting their lands from them, making it moral as well as legal to kill humans of different ethnicity.

Many institutions, such as the church, may feel that they must keep old traditions, even wrong ones, alive as part of their duty. But, as the US constitution points out, institutions are there for the people, not the people for institutions. I don’t want to see these old institutions completely disappear. I want their board members and leaders to see that we are growing in awareness of what is right and what is wrong, and that there are simply times the old rules no longer apply.

Forcing others to live by standards I have set for my life is just simply not appropriate. If we use the rule of “compassion first” in every decision we make, in every stance we take, we will find that we do not need to choose how our neighbor lives his or her life, so long as the rights of all are respected. I am drawn to the Buddhist stance on sexual practices, “I will not have sex with anyone that is not morally or legally free to choose to be with me.” That leaves out the gender of my partner, but makes it my responsibility to see that my partner is not married to another, legally underage, or in any way compromised in their freedom to be sexual with whomever they choose. I can live with that.

I truly feel that until we get to a point where we no longer feel we “own” the space occupied by others, and therefore must let them be in their lives, asking only that the rights of all other beings be respected also, we will not progress to a point where we live in peace. That is sad, since it seems that choosing for others is still something we feel we must do, often and usually with horrible results. I wish all my readers peace and compassion in all of their ways and all of their days.

The Medicine of the Song Bird ~

c_o_pThe message the Songbirds bring us is an affirmation of life, and the fact that, against pretty impressive odds, it’s worth making a try at doing one’s very best to “make it work” as an individual. Now, this will mean different things for different people. For some this affirmation will be about life itself, and finding meaning in the fact that we exist at all. This is part of the message of the Cardinal.robin

For others this will be about healing from early childhood traumas, so there may be more than one bird as a totem that will work with that person, depending on their age when the trauma occurred. For instance, if the trauma was the abuse of a parent who could not handle the stresses of child-rearing, The birds may range from red through to green, goldfinchinvolving  all of the early years of development from self, through community through how we relate to others, and whether we can even learn to love.  So that, perhaps a robin, with that beautiful orange breast heralding the spring, or a Goldfinch, the little yellow canary of the midwest, as well as the Cardinal may be part of the early healing that must take place. It is about at the age of four when the heart chakra develops, reference Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, and the bird of choice to use would be the hummingbird, whose medicine is love and hummingbird_3joy. The bluebird would do well for healing of the throat chakra, and look, we have another bird with an orange breast which would help with the healing of the self image. This is all about healing, and ibluebirdt is your choice as to whether you are easier meditating on butterflies or birds, or any other creature whose appearance and ways could lift your spirits and help you with the bumps and bruises of life.

There are so many ways to meditate and contemplate the songbirds, you can become a backyard birder, feeding them, providing safe housing for them, and learning the ways simply by observation. Along with this, borrow some bird identification books from the local library, or get an inexpensive one soindigo-bunting you can keep it by the appropriate window. The Peterson feild Guide is inexpensive at Amazon.com And a couple of the pictures here are linked to Whatbird.com, that is a marvelous online source for identifying birds until you can afford your own.

If you are not afraid to pick up a pencil and draw, even looking at a photo to draw the bird, as drawing itself is not unlike meditation, there comes a point prettymartinwhen one is, as in the vernacular, “in the zone”. If you are not an artist, then trace the bird, even artists use this method to get specifics right, and color it using a set of color pencils. If you excell at imaginary friends, talk to the bird in your imaginary “garden”, see if it answers you, though if it tells you negative things, run, don’t walk to the gate that leads out of that garden. Find an aviary near you and just go observe the birds, listen to them. Connect with them. You will find that if you adopt this as a hobby it will be healing even when you are not aiming toward healing, but just learning about the birds.

Su

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