A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘path’ Category

Voices . . . .again~

Well, we know that Moses heard voices, and saw things that others wouldn’t necessarily see. It’s why I cannot condemn him as a spokesman, as I am in the same boat. Though I wouldn’t dare to speak to others as though it were God very God that spoke to me. In fact, in order to keep some semblance of balance in my life, I have had to come to the conclusion that, for me, at least, if it was not of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, love: it was not from God. I had to hold to that boundary, for if I listened to just any voice in the wind, I’d be listening to the dog telling me to go kill the neighbor, yikes, and no thanks!!!

Those of us who do hear those voices are always going to have that dilemma, as, if we are truly hearing voices from beyond the veil between dimensions, we cannot be sure whether the voices stem from high or low energies, or simply from our own minds misfiring in the auditory parts of our brains.  It was my mother, heaven bless her, who taught me to always ask questions. So I do, now and always. That’s ok, I know it means I will never be mistaken for some high prophet, mouth of God, if you please. But even if it keeps me from such wondrous elevation, it keeps me from being one of those who sent children into war. I know that Moses heard the voice he heard tell him to go kill the neighbor. But there you have it, because the question remains: why would a God who told us not to kill, instruct us to carry out commands that do that very thing?

Yet, among those who believe the Bible to be God’s written and holy word, to question the killing of neighbors if the voice instructed one to do so, would be tantamount to blasphemy. Oh well, I guess I’d rather go down in history as a blasphemer than as a killer. (Though betwixt me and thee, history will most likely not remember me at all.) I have  been contemplating the “rules” by which we are to interact with one another. The best set I have found was taught by one who didn’t even speak as a prophet, but as a being of enlightenment. Buddha. Hence, I have thought a lot about paraphrasing his words for those of us who feel God is very real, and ultimately very personal. Buddha spoke of concepts and principles that could guide a person in any era, any circumstance. It makes the list relatively short and sweet, where learning rule by rule would mean memorizing thousands of laws entailing every situation in which one would find oneself.

Principles can and do speak to circumstances in any time and place, rules speak to specific circumstances and may be outdated as soon as they are written. Principles will only guide us to more and more light. As we look at Buddha’s Eightfold Path and realize that slavery, child molestation, rape, were not issues that he grappled with, we can see that the principles he taught would lead you, with light to see that they are power driven crimes, and therefore not to be allowed a free ride in one’s own society. It seems that those who believe that we must lead lives governed by God, also believe God would govern us with rules rather than principles, I do not agree. Compassion speaks of a principle, forgiveness speaks of a principle. I cannot afford to limit myself to rules when principles have been written that can guide me in my life. I believe God is very real, I also believe Buddha had the best handle on how to walk this Earth. When I walk as Buddha taught, I find I am in obedience to the principles behind all the rules set forth by the prophets except those rules that say I have a right to kill those who don’t agree with me. I guess I will just have to hope that’s enough. I cannot afford to kill my neighbor, I’d be killing myself.

Destiny of Souls ~

I recently read a Kindle copy of this book, and plan to get it for my own library. There has not been another book, at least that I have read, that so completely and accurately echos what Spirit has been telling me for years. The process of going home is so umencumbering, so lifting, gentle, and pure, and the love one experiences is not to be found on earth. There is so much that Dr. Newton has learned in his research that is right on target. I will even have to agree, at least in part, with his assessment from his research that there is no hell, and there are no demons.

Now, are there darkened spirits that exist in such hellish conditions within themselves that they are all but without the light of heaven? Yes. Indeed there are. Is there a dark Lord that rules a lower kingdom that endevours at all times to bring us down into the depths of that realm? No. Were such a person to exist, those who choose to live non-spiritual lives would be easy prey, unable to discern the evil pursuing them, they would be in hell on earth. There are way too many folks who live without any need for spiritual encouragement that the approach of the churches has never truly made sense to me. I had been told through Spirit that even when a person experiences “spiritual attack” that it is not an issue with the dark ones, but a living incarnate who is sending hate and anger, that the darkened spirits attach to that energy, this causing the affects experienced by the “victims”.

This is why Y’shua told us that our faith could and indeed does make us whole, and protect us from such “attacks”. I fully suspect that these are the truths that Y’shua said we would learn as we grew in our relationship with Spirit. I am aware that his emphasis was on the Ruath HaQodesh, or Holy Breath, usually translated as the Holy Spirit; he spoke of kingdom living, he spoke always of personally being aware of Spirit’s guidance and presence in our lives. The Spirit that is with us always is an emissary of the Holy Spirit, I do truly believe this, and have no doubt that there is one such person guarding each of our lives. To call them Spirit Guides may, indeed, not fully embrace all that they are for us.

The one who has been with me is a guardian, mother, mentor, teacher, friend. It is her guidance that has kept me from falling prey to the voices that echo in my brain. According to Dr. Newton, we are given bodies that are less than perfect for the spiritual lessons we have come in to learn in this lifetime. Yes, he has found that we reincarnate, some many times. This would make incredible sense to me. My paternal grandmother heard the voices and saw the things that I have seen. She became paranoid and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Because of the help with these voices given by Spirit, I have never been hospitalized for this. Yes, when I have not listened to her, I have taken paths not good for me, but when I listen to her, I am given the guidance to move in the direction in which I need to go.

As I process more of what Dr. Newton has to say about his case studies, I will happily share those insights with you, my readers. I thank you for continuing to read, and hope you will find the time to read his books, please feel free to share in comments any insights you experience in that reading. One last thing I would like to share. In his books it becomes extremely apparent that compassion, forgiveness, indeed unconditional love, are the goals toward which we all are working. Take care, and blessings to all!

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 Compassionate Path ~

It must be remembered that the first of the major religions to show us a path where compassion is the key to spiritual growth, is the Judaic Path of Moses to the Jews. That is often overlooked because of the several battles Jewish history shows were a part of that revelation. There are also commandments to kill transgressors outright for their sins. However, some of the things that are overlooked are of monumental importance. Though the Jews were settled in an area where there were enemies (and I do mean enemies, the folks around them wanted them out or dead or both) all around them, they were not instructed to kill or even bother those who were not bothering them in any way, very much a live and let live philosophy.

Further, a study of the commands to kill transgressors reveals that it was an attempt to purify the ranks from within, as most of those commands were aimed at those that had been taught the commandments, but chose to ignore them. In fact, if you examine the laws of Leviticus closely, you discover that the blood shed from animals was only for unintentional sin (and even that wasn’t necessary if you were among the poor); that, for intentional sin, the requirements were repentance and restitution to the one against whom the crime was committed.(Leviticus 5:2-13) In fact, the mitzvot regarding the treatment of neighbors and strangers alike were in all likelihood, the most compassionate set of commands put down by a lawmaker anywhere before then. Now, I am an egalitarian, so do not believe in putting women in a subservient role to men. At the same time, I do recognize that the Jewish treatment of women was far better than the surrounding cultures at the time of Moses.

Historically from the rabbi Y’shua we learn that love is the principle behind the mitzvot. But the “how to” of compassion, the path to learning to live in compassion is best learned from the Buddhist’s teachings. From Thich Naht Hanh comes a wonderful set of teachings on distancing oneself from the angry feelings that well up inside us. From the current Dalai Lama, a prolific writer, we have gained, as you saw a sample in the last post, a wonderful means of learning to live in compassion. His books are wonderful, and there are many to choose from. From each of these great teachers, Moses, who gave us a full list of what constituted compassionate behavior toward one’s fellow man, from Y’shua, the principles behind those examples, from Buddha, the very essential means of ridding ourselves of anger and learning compassionate behaviors at all levels of life.

In spite of, or because of, the very breadth of our upside down world, we have before us the means of becoming the generation that learned to be compassionate, with or without religion as our mainstay. What a marvelous time to be alive!

Feedback ~

Warning: This may be a very long post, read at your own peril:

Throughout the great scheme of things you secure a B+ for hard work. Exactly where you confused everybody was on your details. As it is said, details make or break the argument.. And that couldn’t be more accurate right here. Having said that, permit me say to you what did work. The text is certainly quite engaging and that is probably the reason why I am taking an effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can notice a leap in reasoning you make, I am definitely not convinced of exactly how you seem to unite your ideas that help to make your final result. For now I will, no doubt yield to your point however trust in the foreseeable future you actually connect your facts better.

First of all, thank you for this feedback, I have been hoping to get someone’s critique on the writing, and though this is overall positive, you make a good point about the lightness of the facts presented. In the entire blog, I have presented most of the passages from the Bible and from other sources that I base my argument upon, but you would have to read the entire blog to get that, as they are pretty scattered. In the hopes of not boring my regular readership, I will go ahead and list many of them here, so that you may see them in one post. Forgive me for presuming that most do not want to slog through my many years of contemplation and study, I do understand that most are not into that kind of study in reading a blog, but concede to the need to make the argument clearer and better organized.

I would like to share with you the passages in the New Testament that had me questioning the interpretation of spirituality that was being given in the churches I had attended, mostly Pentecostal and Evangelical.

From John 14 ;12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Now, I had seen true miracles done in his name, and had seen wonders come through my own prayers, but had never witnessed anything that could be listed as being any greater than what the Master is said to have done, either through my hands or through the hands of others. We were either not doing enough, or not believing correctly, or this was a misquote. For many years I thought it might be that I was not believing him for the greater things.

But, wait, there were other passages that had me asking questions. (BTW, please, always, feel free to read the entire passage from which I quote, to do that here would make a post that will already be more than a long chapter longer, it would make it unreadable in one sitting, it may be anyway.) There was the passage in John 4,

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Now, this has been interpreted many ways, usually to signify that rejection of the Christ would result in eternal damnation, as it was the Holy Spirit that brought Jesus to us. I had other questions that lead back to this, however. What of those who had never heard of him, or those who had heard of him from people who had murdered a person’s family, and therefore made it impossible to hear a gospel of love from them. And what about the idea that one could speak against Jesus himself, but be forgiven, but not be forgiven for speaking against the Holy Spirit, that would make the primary explanation circular, and therefore false.

What about the idea that the Holy Spirit has already spoken to the Ivrit (Jews), giving 600(+) mitzvot or commandments regarding conduct before God. What about the other people with whom there is evidence of awareness of the Holy Spirit, such as the Tao Te Ching , which, in several passages refers to one who can only be interpreted as the Holy Spirit; I have provided a link to one such translation, please take the time to read it, it isn’t that long, and is beautiful. What of Buddha’s teachings, so similar to Jesus’ ; they are spoken differently, and even formatted differently, and if you wish, I will make a post comparing them teaching by teaching. These are only a few examples of where and to whom the Holy Spirit has communicated, there are others, they are prolific, and I will take them example by example if you wish. (and enjoy the task, as it is something I love to contemplate!)

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Compassion-energy_JasonAllenMiller

There is a statement in 1John:4 7&8 that has become a mantra to me;

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Now, I must digress and speak of the Holy Spirit, most profoundly and beautifully spoken of in Chapter 8 of Proverbs. Note, she is spoken of in the feminine, not the masculine as in the New Testament, because the church fathers did not want to have a comparison of their trinity teachings confused with the trinities from other faiths, Hinduism, Egyptian cosmology, Paganism, etc.. So, we must consider that she had transgendered, or perhaps the church fathers had arbitrarily decided to change her for their own purposes.The Holy Spirit, if I am correct, has spoken to all of compassion. It is here that I take my cue, that compassion is the primary purpose of our lives, we are here to learn to be compassionate with each other, against all odds! Here I also include the indigenous peoples of all the world, for when you study their take on cosmology, we are to be forgiving and to care.

Why I believe Y’shua may not have even implied he was God Incarnate;

During my journey of questions, I stumbled onto some things that were not taught in my Lutheran Catechism class.

♦ The God of the Jews, the God I thought of as my God had not actually insisted on a blood sacrifice for forgiveness of sin(a misconception in modern times, it meant shortcomings, imperfections in the original, not necessarily evil). This is stated several times in the OT but most markedly in Leviticus 5:11-13.

11 “‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah[a] of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering. 12 They are to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial[b] portion and burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the LORD. It is a sin offering. 13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. [Psalm 40:6]’”

Since I am not financially blessed, this would apply to me, and most of the folks who are a part of my circle, and means that it is not a requirement to sacrifice an animal for me to be forgiven. Though this was not hidden from me as a child in the church, neither was it pointed out. In fact, I was told that there was NO remission of sin without blood being shed for me by an animal or a Christ. I thought that the only way God forgave was through bloodshed. The more aware I became of the horrendous price paid on the cross, the less compassionate I thought God, to make anyone suffer so vastly for sins he had not committed, and for my sins to boot!

In my sojourn in the church, I had learned by implication that God was demanding, angry, vengeful, and unbending. People were put to death for walking into the sanctuary if they were not the right tribe, even. Children were put to death for not obeying their parents (I understand the temptation to wring an offspring’s neck sometimes, but, God?) And a God that didn’t understand that homosexuality wasn’t always a choice? Excuse me, if God made me, he can surely look into my heart and see what is there!  And, yes, I am taking the long way around to explain this point, but I will try to explain here all the reasons for my conclusions.

♦ The God of the Jews abhorred human sacrifice. Yes, the OT is clear on this, and states it several places.This is quoted from WhatJewsbelieve.org, just to make it a quick reference, to be sure, these references are commenting on the sacrifice of one’s sons and daughters to pagan gods, but then, we are all sons and daughters:

What does God say about human sacrifice in the TaNaCH? In Deuteronomy 12:30-31, God calls Human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, “for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. In Jeremiah 19:4-6, God tells us that Human sacrifice is so horrible a concept to Him, that it did not even come into His mind to demand it from His creation, “They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.” We see the same thing in Psalm 106:37-38, and in Ezekiel 16:20.

Though there are places online where you can find basic Jewish beliefs, they do not have a central governing body that decides what is heretical and what is not, so there are many areas where there are differences in beliefs from one sect to the next, much the same as Protestants in the Christian faith. I realize I am using Jewish commentary on this, but I do trust the rabbis to be more in tune with what the Tanach says regarding their beliefs, and what the meaning of the verses truly is. I am an Egalitarian in my beliefs, so I am not always in tune with Jewish tradition, either. I do not believe it is right to attempt to own another human, I believe that Homosexuality is not wrong, I believe that pedophilia is completely wrong, I hear voices, and I have seen things in my mind as in visions that have come true, and I may be crazy, (it’s why I share what I believe rather than attempt to tell others this is the way they should believe)

♦If Y’shua had made the implications or said some of the things he is recorded to have said, he would have been stoned to death, as the Mosaic Law was still practiced fully in his time.That means that there are passages that may have been tampered with quite a bit to read the way they read in today’s New Testament. This may be a result of faulty understanding by the translators from the Aramaic notes that would have been available to the Greek and Roman scribes that would have been responsible for those translations, or it may be a true revision of the manuscripts for political reasons. For what ever reason may apply, there are things that he is supposed to have said that make more sense with minor changes. For instance, he is supposed to have said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” This would have gotten him stoned, immediately. But, with minor changes, he may have said, “The I Am ( a name used for the very near, very here presence of God) is the way, the truth and the life, No man comes to the Father except through the I Am.” very minor changes, very major change in meaning. This could easily have happened because the yod is added at the front of a word to say, “the”. Easily missed, easily misunderstood.

There are places in the four gospels that feel unchanged, others that feel like there are major revisions. I was taught that the model for prayer that is called the “Our Father” was original with Y’shua, and showed a stroke of his genius, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that it was a part of Kaddish, the prayers said for the dead. I was taught that there was no other faith that used the baptism as a means of cleansing the soul to prepare for regeneration, so you can imagine my shock when I first experienced a sweat lodge at the invitation of my Shawnee teacher, the concepts run deeper, actually, but the result is the same, a newness of life and understanding. I was taught that there was a blood red line that ran through the Old Testament that testified to Y’shua’s coming. Imagine how frustrating it was to learn that the books that had been excluded from the Tanach had been excluded because they had nothing to do with Y’shua or his coming.

♦I was frustrated, and spoke of it to more than one pastor, that Paul’s words were treated with the same sense of authority as Y’shua’s words. That wasn’t right in my book then, it really isn’t now, as I have found that they take Christianity so completely away from it’s Judaic roots, that it is a Hellenized approach to faith. Paul was a very spiritual, but very human individual with faults that are difficult for me to accept in humans today. One such can be found in Corinthians. In the first letter he berates a man and his sexual practices, having coupled with his wife and her mother. In the second letter he recognizes that this was not the case, but tells them it was all for their good anyway. I really dislike people that do that, and won’t go back to a church where I find the pastor acting like that.

To be sure, there are spots in his letters that I thoroughly enjoy, even in the same letters where he errs. 1Corinthians chapter 13 is as beautiful a recitation on Love as any I have ever read, anywhere. Yet, in some of his epistles, or most specifically one that is supposed to be his, 1Timothy, he basically says women should be kept barefoot and pregnant. Grrrrr! He is pictured here preaching atop the monument in Athens to an unknown God. I would not mind so much his railing against Pagans if he and those who came after him had not made Paganism so much a part of Christianity. This entire passage can be found in the book of Acts in the New Testament.

Well, forgive me, please, I digressed a bit from my point in this section that Y’shua would not have called himself God, but I hope I am making more sense at this point.  If not, I hope you will give me feedback to that, too. I do want to make my point clear and easily understood. I am not here to impress, I am here to communicate. Thanks again for reading my blog!!

Holy Spirit, part 3

This has been like a scavenger hunt, following a string around the world. Impossible for me except via the web. The Holy Spirit has been found speaking to people on all continents, in many different ways. I followed her through the Tao te Ching. The writings in that missal, in any translation I have read, indicate that she it was who inspired this work. I have read several parts of the Quran, and though there are places where I do not recognize the voice, there are others where her voice rings true. I have had the great pleasure of learning oral teachings from both a Shawnee elder, and from two Lakota elders; her teachings are embodied and followed in their traditions.

I have studied Buddhism, and still study it, and have found that, though this is taught from the human side of the coin, the path that is followed there is hers, through and through. I cannot tell you that I know why She would teach a humanist path to enlightenment, I only know that Buddhism is, throughout it’s practice, a teaching from the Holy Spirit. It has occurred to me, and this seems almost blasphemous, that she considers compassion and kindness so important to the honoring of The One, that she would bring it into play even where there is no reckoning with The Ancient beyond Imagination. Perhaps, and this is something we are a long way from learning, it is kindness and compassion that are truly the forms of worship the Holy One desires.

If this is actually the case, there is no faith on Earth that completely reflects her truth. There are some that come close. Buddhism,emphasizing this as the path, that, even though humanist, comes closest of them all. It is Buddhism and it alone that speaks of learning to see all other humans as our brother, our sister, our mother, our father. It is Buddhism that teaches kindness, study and detachment from troubling emotions as the path to enlightenment. Even Y’shua’s path, so similar in it’s teachings has been skewed and twisted so that those who profess to follow him will maim and destroy other humans in his name. I am quite grateful that they do not call themselves Holy Spirit students, as this would completely blaspheme the purpose she so tirelessly seems to be attempting to teach us.

Perhaps, when we learn to stop injuring others in the name of God, when we learn to stop injuring our children so that they learn to sublimate their emotions and thereby become criminals, rapists, and murderers, we will draw closer to God in all aspects of our lives. Perhaps when we learn that NO human is chattel to be purchased and used at our disposal, we will draw closer to enlightenment in all it’s glory. Until then, we have a long way to grow.

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.

Book Burning ~

Gads! The point of book burning, in a day of mass produced books and internet publishing, is completely lost on me. All you are doing is making a statement that you don’t like what is written in the book, and there are more effective ways of doing that. The simplest of all being to start your own blog. (There are so many blogs in existence at the moment that one person’s words get lost in the many that are published, but, hey, my neighbor has a blog, why not me?)

If you will notice, though, most of the books from the first to now that get burned are of a religious nature. (Hitler had a bent that was more wide spread, but we can always hope he was a true anomaly.) When it wasn’t religious writings that were being burned, it was often scientific journals and papers that challenged the seat of power of a religion, so, direct or not, there is a connection.

Recently, a proponent of Christianity, (not a mainline preacher, let me be clear) is said to have burnt 10 copies of the Quran. His message, apparently, that this book did more harm than good. Now, I do not practice the Muslim faith, nor intend to in this lifetime, but, even though there are practices among the Muslims that I don’t care for; the veiling of women being primary; there are many teachings in the Quran that do well to be read by any peace loving servant of the Most High. A direct quote from a translation of the Quran, And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion.” Chapter 90, Verses 12-17 teaches the very thing that is the cornerstone of everything I stand for. How can I revile such a book?

All I would ask of any faith would be that compassion be one of the true cornerstones in the practice of that faith. It would seem that that particular requirement is met in the text of the Quran. So why burn it? What was the point in burning 10 copies of a book that has many thousand copies dispensed throughout the world? It cannot be in the hope that folks will not read it. In fact, the reverse is true of many of my contemporaries, put a book on the banned list, and we will read it just to find what you would burn in it. One must presume, since the man calls himself a Christian, that part of the point was to draw folks away from this particular path. Why? The mainline Islamic teachers do not espouse the flaming rhetoric of the jihadists, and furthermore, the more I explore this faith, the more I see that much of the fiery spewings are in all likelihood, misdirection from the “Great Jihad” an intensely personal battle that has nothing to do with taking up arms against one’s fellow man.

I guess the question is, since the preacher wants a reaction, how do we react? I wasn’t going to spend anything on books this month, but it seems that I will just have to go out and buy a paper copy of the Quran, my computer version won’t make quite the same statement about my thoughts on burning books.

The Eagle ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heartbreak ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Geeez, I can’t spell!!!!

Just say NO!

To Fundamentalism of any stripe. I spent 10 years in the Fundamentalist movement. Pentecostal to be exact, there were many things I loved about the fellowship, and many things I absolutely hated about the positions my fellow “fundies” would take regarding others and and the command to love. I read articles by “fundies” every once in a while, just to remind myself of what I walked away from. One of their most common comments is that every other stance regarding Biblical or other references is that anything that isn’t of their thinking is “watered down”. I have to laugh at that, it’s a painful laugh, but it is definitely a laugh.

I often quote First John, chapter 4, verses 7 & 8 as my favorite verse in the New Testament. {Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He who does not love does not know God.} It is the gospel of compassion that most fundamentalists consider “watered down”. Yet, it is the command to love that is the very hardest command, in any faith, that most humans find to obey. Me included. Genuine love is not for the weak minded, it requires caring about your fellow humans on a level that sees no stranger in an unknown face.

I get frustrated with the constant quoting of Paul’s comments in Romans on sin, that were meant to simply point out our frailties, but are used to hammer others more often than to take a scorching moral inventory of one’s own faults. Yet, I must remind myself that it was Paul that wrote one of the loveliest passages anywhere in sacred writings, i.e. First Corinthians, Chapter 13.

1 Corinthians 13

Love

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.

That entire passage speaks to what love requires of each of us who would practice the path of compassion. If you think it’s a watered down, “namby pamby” way to live, try it for a couple of months, it will be anything but easy. When you have lived with that as your goal for many years, it is then you can talk to me about “watered down” scripture.

I do want to point out that Paul went too far in his inventory of sin, making it easy for those who follow most of that list to disparage folks who live alternative lifestyles. He touched on things the original teacher he professes left alone. If your finger is not pointing at yourself with most of that list, you have no right to quote it to others who do not live your way. Romans Chapter 8 begins with “There is no condemnation now, for those who live in Christ Jesus, (or for other faiths, the spirit of compassion) for the law of love has set me free from the law of sin and death.” I am well aware that it is much easier to expound on the “law of sin and death” when working with others than it is to live by the “Law of Love”. Until you can live by the “Law of Love”, to profess that you know God may, indeed, be an exaggeration.

What to teach Children?

Gads, has anyone found the parent’s manual for raising kids yet? Why won’t one manual work for all children? Aye, there’s the rub, isn’t it? We are all so similar, yet each of us has a personality even from birth, so that no one set of “rules” works for all. If we believe the Bible, even the first parents fouled up, as one brother got so angry he killed the other brother, so how do we hope to “do it right”, and rear children that will prosper in their own right and be kind to others? How do we take measure of what our child will need the most as they move from one stage of growth to the next? And, how do we compensate for our own brokenness, and not pass our glitches on to our children? And how do we meet the needs of our babies if we are so broken that we cannot even see past our own glitches?

If I really had the answers to all those questions, I could make a mint, don’t you think? Unfortunately, we can only do the best we can with the tools we are given. So, where do we find the tools we need? Are they in the Bible? Are those tools in some other “Sacred Writ”?  Well, not that I have found, at least not so far. So, does modern psychiatry have the answers? Possibly, though even here, not all as the thrust of psychiatry is mending the broken people after they are injured, not preventing the injuries in the first place. But, I have yet to meet a parent that cares that doesn’t want their children to do better and be better people than they were. And that, in a nutshell, seems to be the key. How much does the parent care about the child?

In my own life, I have experienced one thing that seems to hold true for others as well. If one’s parents can convey, through their own trials and difficulties, that they love us with all they have to give, we may, with much soul searching of our own, survive their mistakes and actually prosper as people. It seems to be that, if we do not believe our parents loved us, we cannot believe we are lovable at all. Ouch! If that is the case, then the most important thing, before we do anything else, is to do our best to be sure our children know we love them. If we can do that one thing, then, perhaps, they will be able to sort out the rest as they mature.

Am I sure about this? No, but I am sure that they will find the rest of the basic rules as they go along, after all, we learn in kindergarten to share, to be fair, and not to lie, cheat or steal. And though those are things that parents should try to teach, they will be reinforced along the way by society’s institutions, so that the “rules of engagement” will be part of the child’s thought process as they move into adulthood. But, nobody else besides the parent can provide that one basic ingredient that seems to make life worth living. LOVE!

Dr. Joyce Brothers, in an article about our love map, why we love who we love, addresses the influence of parents on our ability to love and be loved. (I found this at Reader’s Digest, rd.com, the article may have been published elsewhere first, that used to be the case with the Digest, though I cannot say with this article, as there was no reference to another publication) I have always liked Dr. Brothers, but I do want you to be aware that pop psychiatry can only go so deep, you must seek out your own references to go further with the subject. Here she explains some basics that are necessary for us to do the best we can for our children in this primary area of parenting.

I wish I knew of a manual for the rest, I don’t think it exists, but, if it did or does, I hope to find it, and give you a link, as I have yet to find any easy answers from anyone anywhere on how to do it right, without making mistakes along the way. Good luck, and let me know, if you find that manual, I will refer to it here.

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The Sparrow

I have been contemplating for some time the whole thing about the “Good News”. I do not believe Jesus was telling people that his death on the cross was going to save them, so what was HE talking about when he spoke of the “Good News”? Well, actually, that doesn’t take a whole lot to think about. What was the thrust of his entire ministry? The very here, very near, very now presence of God very God in the role of loving parent. Every time he spoke that was recorded in the four extant gospels, that was the subject, or so much a part of the subject as to be completely integral with it.

OH!

Yes! God as loving parent. Not Y’shua the savior, but Y’shua the big brother, who brought us the message that God wasn’t just a stern judge hanging over us like a plague on our lives, but a gentle, caring, nurturing presence to lean on in the good times and the bad. Yeah, think about it, God very God cares about you and me, each of us, as though he were our Daddy or Mommy. Does that put a different slant on all those lessons we haven’t been learning? It should. It does for me. My Native American friends call the Holy Presence Tonkashila, Grandfather. Nothing wrong with that, those fortunate enough to have a living grandparent often find themselves more able to talk to their grandparents about the issues that mess with them than their parents. And that was Y’shua’s point exactly.

God is there for us to talk to, to listen to, and to ask advice from. What a major blessing is that perspective. When we are troubled about anything, we have an adviser we can turn to at that very instant without leaving the place we are in. Just ask.  And another part of that perspective turns out to be the whole thing about the sparrow. Such a tiny common little bird. Thousands of them exist worldwide. Yet, not one of them falls from the sky that it is not marked by the Holy Presence! How can I not love a God that cares for me like that?!

I know I have gotten a bit gushy about how much Dad loves us, and I hope you will forgive me for that gush. If it helps any, today is my 58th birthday, so I can feel a little entitlement to gush about love, eh? However, the “thing” that got me thinking about this aspect of our relationship with the Most High may be a debate I had entered yesterday afternoon with some fellow members of a forum I participate in at Smallworlds.com. We were discussing the rights and wrongs of homosexuality. A tender subject, at best, and one that can lead to a bit of bombast from the religious on that or any other forum.

I do not take a stance on whether this lifestyle is a right or wrong, I am straight, so perhaps it’s not even any of my business. And that, dear reader, is the stance I took on the forum. I believe my part in this world is to love, not to judge, and I also find that the Native American perspective regarding those who are referred to as He/She, is a far better perspective than that practiced by those of us reared in the Judeo-Christian perspective. That stance is that the homosexual has a place in the tribe that is a wonderful spot of communication between the males and the females, carrying, as it were, the ability to see both sides of any argument offered with gender bias. I like it. For me it more perfectly reflects the loving parent that is God, and allows every member of the tribe a place in that tribe’s function. No fuss, no violence, no name calling. What a concept.

There are a couple of other things I would like to mention about that. Y’shua did not comment on homosexuality as a sin to be dealt with in his ministry, though, if you read the Sermon on the Mount with any eye toward completeness, he doesn’t leave any of the other “personal” sins untouched. I cannot say what he thought of it, he did not speak of it. I can say that his omission of it is obvious enough to make us think twice about making it an issue in our relationships with those around us. Those who quote from the New Testament about homosexuality quote from Paul’s writings, (remember always that, though Paul had some valuable things to say, he was the one apostle that did NOT walk at Y’shua’s side, so may not have known the Big Brother’s stance on this tender subject.)

I guess all that I would ask of my fellow pilgrims is this: if the person you are associating with is compassionate, and brings as little harm to others or the environment as possible, why do you need to make his or her lifestyle your business? Is not the Holy One capable of making any judgment calls without your contribution? Then, out of compassion for all, let it be. Love to you and yours this blessed day!!!

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.

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