A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

Jesus, real or not?

jesus1Is Jesus (Y’shua) a real figure in history, or just a tool used by the “establishment” to control the masses? I can’t answer that one for you, you have to do the research yourself and come to your own conclusions. I know that I have come to some conclusions of my own, and will share them, but you must do your own. First, I do not see Y’shua as an actual Son of God, as I do not believe that God will take human form. I had already begun to question that when I did some digging into Jewish thought. You can see those thoughts on several very good websites, Jewfaq, Judaism 101, Aish.com, all are good. (Remember, there is no “pope” in the Jewish faith, so there are differing interpretations for all things God depending on the sect you question.) But, generally, Jews do not believe that God will incarnate, ever, in human form.

After I had done much research on those sites, and in questions to rabbis, I began to see Jesus as a rabbi, not God’s son. Now, to be honest, Jews do not see Y’shua as having been a particularly good rabbi, for he taught obedience to principles rather than the letter of the law. That is because Moses outlined the laws down to the very minutiae of daily living. It seems that the rabbi Y’shua was attempting to teach living by the principle of compassion. It was at the point at which I began to see this that I started to read the teachings of the Buddha. Now, I had been studying Y’shua’s words and thoughts for about 20 years, both as part of Evangelical MB1Christianity, (I was part of the fundamentalists), and outside the church, because I did not fit with the people with whom I was studying. My basic problems were that, though Y’shua taught a peaceful way of life, many from that particular sect were not inclined to Love. You can’t do that, and be faithful to Y’shua’s teachings.

What I encountered in Buddha’s teachings was so similar in principle that when you do a comparison of the two, you see many many parallels. So many that I needed to write them down, and did, in the post I have linked for you. In fact, the amount of parallels I found had me beginning to see Y’shua as another Buddha. The reason that is important to me is that you can pray to a Buddha, (essentially an enlightened human being) and recieve answers, both in advice and in help, for living a better way. In other words, if you pray in the name of Jesus, or Y’shua, his Greek and Hebrew names, the Spirit behind his enlightenment will help you.

The only reason this is important is that there are so many legitimate questions regarding the historicity of Jesus’ life, especially the way it is presented in the four gospels. There are many who question his very existence, so much so that it becomes important to see that it is what is at the core of his teachings that matters. He taught that we could become like him, he taught that we could do the things he did, and understand what was needed and that we could grow into that place he spiritualgrowthoccupied. That makes him a genuine son of man, not an offspring of God, but enlightened and willing to help us. So, when I pray, I still have Y’shua in mind, but think of him more as a Big Brother, than as God. My helper, my path teacher, if you will.

The remarkable thing in all of this is that, if you study Buddha’s teachings you will see that it doesn’t matter if there is a God or not. Buddha never taught about God, he was teaching a path that would lead humans out of suffering. He was teaching us that if we are compassionate toward all life, we will begin to find our own way out of the morrass of pain and suffering that is so much a part of the human existence. We could become a Buddha. I like that perspective so much that it no longer matters to me if you believe in God, so much as it matters to me if I am kind. It is not my business if you choose that path or not, it is my business to live my life following that path.

To “Christians” ~

Jesus taught:

Love ~ “ One command I leave you, that you love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34-35

Forgiveness ~ “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:14

Minding our own business ~ “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Matt 7:3-5

Non-judgment ~ “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matt. 7:1 (same thing as minding our own business, but put a bit stronger.)

Now, I am well aware that there are those who do not believe Jesus was real, or said what was said or was many different teachers, or, or, or. There are many theories out there which are not the point of this particular post. I am speaking to those who confess that He is God incarnate. If you all truly believe this, why do you not take his teachings to heart?

So many claim Christianity as their religion, but pick and choose which of His teachings they will live by. That’s not really how it’s supposed to work. Jesus was teaching a path to walk, one that would bring you closer to the I Am, the very near, very now presence of God very God. Now I believe him to be fully human, like Buddha, an awakened being, big brother to all of us, not just a few. He is recorded to have said that we could all be like him, and do the things he did. John 14:12-14, but that is not what is taught by the churches, for to see him that way requires that we consider him enlightened rather than an incarnate of God. I myself am a seeker, not yet so enlightened that I can manifest as he did.

All I am asking is that, if you believe in his teachings, or believe in Him as God, can you Please, Please, live by what He taught. Shining a light of love onto humanity so that the compassion and forgiveness that he taught are the hallmarks of following Him. It does no good to stand in judgment of others, it does no good to make others to blame for what is happening to you. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt 6:33

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 7:12

Critical Thinking ~

Don’t mistake ignorance for perspective.  Gather complete information.  One of the most important and most violated principles of critical thinking is thoroughness—that is, gathering all available facts on a subject under scrutiny.  Obviously thinking requires facts; erroneous conclusions often stem from inadequate factual knowledge.

Principles of Critical Thinking:

1.      Gather complete information.

2.     Understand and define all terms.

3.     Question the methods by which the facts are derived.

4.     Question the conclusions.

5.     Look for hidden assumptions and biases.

6.     Question the source of facts.

7.     Don’t expect all of the answers.

8.     Examine the big picture.

9.     Examine multiple cause and effect.

10. Watch for thought stoppers.

11.  Understand your own biases and values.

One of the reasons I have so thoroughly come to respect both Judaism and Buddhism, and adopt their views as my own, is that there is an encouragement toward Critical Thinking built into both religions. As this is the reason I drew away from Fundamental Christianity as my source of faith, you can understand that this would be a draw toward these as perspectives to both admire and to adhere to in my own walk. Question, question, question; this is my own stance toward life, and I expect to be questioned by those who walk the path beside me.

I believe Spirit is very real, as I have had that level of help in my own walk, both in making decisions and in who and what to be. I also believe that there is One, Holy and Righteous, that cares intimately for me, and all other human beings that walk the planet. I also believe the One has many helpers on many levels. I have had many mystical experiences along the way, which is why I call myself a mystic, though the path I walk could as easily be called the Questioner’s Path as any other name. In fact, one of the red flags along this path is that, when questioned regarding a particular event, any person says to me, “Don’t ask questions, just believe.” That will get my hackles rising in seconds.

I have been called a “New Ager”, and I understand the wish to label me, so I understand the desire to put this label on me, though, if you look at standard New Age belief systems, generally, I don’t fit with the norm, (when have I ever?), but just for the sake of argument, I have drawn from beliefnet.com a set of general beliefs to show where mine differ.

Belief in Deity
God is the impersonal life force, consciousness, ultimate truth and reality, the incorporeal, formless cosmic order personified within all people and matter. God is all and all are God.

God is very real, not only not impersonal, but extremely personal, with a sentience that goes well beyond our understanding. God is in all of creation, this is truth, but we are not God, we are co-creators with God, therefore gods, in a round about way, but not God the One.

Origin of Universe and Life
The universe, life, and matter were not created by God but “are” God. The universe and life emerged out of the creative power of the eternal universal life force.

This could get “tricky”. God is very real to me, as a personality and sentience that goes beyond understanding by my finite human brain, but though I believe God is made manifest in all of life, I do believe God has an existence outside our own universe, and that to presume all of life is “God” is a mistake. The idea that life emerged from the creative power of the eternal universal life force, well, there is truth in that, but only part of the truth, not a complete picture at all of what and who God is.
After Death
Some believe in continual rebirth–no death–as life is spirit. Some believe that our souls rest for a time before deciding on a new body (or bodies). Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, self-imposed, due to ignorance of God as all.
I am a reincarnationist, so there is a partial truth here, but I believe life on this planet is for learning, so there is much here that is left unsaid. And, while it is true that I believe Heaven and Hell are states of consciousness, and therefore “self-imposed”, they, Heaven and Hell, are part of the experience of living in a dense reality through which the eternal light does not necessarily shine, it is that very denseness of matter that creates the darkness into which evil presents itself as a dual reality, it is a lack of life, not another life form.
Why Evil?
No original sin, no Satan, and no evil. Most believe people make “mistakes” when they are ignorant of the power of goodness, which is God, within themselves and others. Some believe evil is perpetuated through accumulation of past-life wrongs and spiritual ignorance.
While I do not believe in original sin, I do believe there is actual evil in the world. The idea of Satan as an overseer of Hell is a bit skewed in my beliefs, as evil is chaotic and self-serving, therefore incapable of organizing on a level that would create an “Army of Darkness”. This does not, however, preclude that there are not dark forces at work, they are just not organized enough to prevail in the face of ultimate Good. As I hinted earlier, in my contemplations and meditations it has become apparent to me that evil is the result of the denseness of materiality, that it is in fact, a lack of light, the light of God, and the denser the matter, the less of God you will find in those places. This does not mean that I think of God as limited, au contraire, God is beyond such limits, I do, however, believe that God just doesn’t “go there”, in those places where the light is not.
Salvation
Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force. Awareness can be heightened through methods that induce altered states of consciousness, e.g., hypnosis, meditation, music, drugs. Spiritual “tools” include crystals, tarot cards, amulets, channeling, fortunetellers and psychics. Some believe the salvation of humanity will occur when a critical mass is reached, when people converge in experiencing their oneness with God and with each other. This will bring a New World Order or new Planetary Order, resulting in oneness of civilization and one-world government, peace, and harmony.
Ah, no. Obviously, since I believe God is a real, sentient being, and a “person” who wants each of us to be “in relationship”, this is not part of my belief system. One part of the twofold issue of Salvation is that God saves, and God saves to the uttermost, so all are “saved” in that all will eventually be “in relationship” with the One. We may have to live many lives to eventually “get there”, but we will all eventually get there. The other part of the twofold “Plan of Salvation” is that each and every one of us, when we finally reach that point of being in relationship with the One, will know that living in unconditional love, compassion, and forgiveness are our “chores” in the learning process. This is what we are here for. This is what we are to learn. It is necessary for each of us to learn these functions in order to reach our own personal salvation. When we learn this, we will be able to “go home” permanently, living in the unconditional love of the Creator of all life. As for the New World Order, well, it isn’t happening in the next six hours, so the best we can do is learn our part in the plan, and see where that brings us when we have managed that.
Undeserved Suffering
Suffering is the result of greed, hatred, and spiritual ignorance in a person’s, or humanity’s, past lifetimes, which returns as suffering (karma). Suffering is sometimes viewed as occurring for a specific purpose, to further spiritual growth and learn a life lesson. Suffering is also seen as illusory, in that it results from attachment to bodily pleasure and pain, and only the universal life force within, God, truly exists.
Well, what we have here is a partial truth. Karma is very much a part of the picture, as Y’shua is quoted, “What you sow, that shall you also reap”. And, yes, I do believe that part of suffering is to learn a life lesson, but that is most definitely NOT all there is to it. Remember that I believe that there are three “lessons” that are uppermost in our learning process, unconditional love, compassion for ourselves and others, and forgiveness; when we have truly learned those lessons, suffering as such will become a non-issue, as it really is an attachment to bodily pleasure and pain that is the ultimate cause of such. What is not being said here is that this is a Buddhist teaching, and the teaching has a great depth not under discussion here. To learn the entire teaching, please refer to the Buddha’s teachings on suffering. I do want to mention here that, Buddhism is the ultimate of humanism. There is no mention of “God” in Buddhist teaching, as the point in the Buddha’s entire journey and teaching was the alleviation of suffering for the human soul. His point was to find what could lead to happiness within the heart of each and every human being. In my own journey, where I have come to believe the reality of Spirit, and the belief that God is real, is that ,most profoundly,  from a Buddhist viewpoint, one must learn to be compassionate and forgiving, and from a Judaic viewpoint one must be compassionate and forgiving. Hence, the ultimate obedience to God is to follow the same path that Buddha taught as the way to alleviate suffering: be kind.
I don’t believe that there is any religion on earth that has all of the truth. I do believe that there is a core truth in all the light serving religions, in that all teach that part of the path is to learn to be compassionate and forgiving. Will we ever see a time when there is only one religion? I hope not, as that implies that the World Order is evil finally organizing itself to destroy us all. What I hope for is a mutual respect given to all light serving religions, so that each and every person on the planet has a choice, finding the path that serves them best in their journey of growth in understanding of Spirit. May all be blessed. Namaste!

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!

The Core ~

We live in a world where there are almost as many different faiths as there are cities. Yikes, how do you know which is the “right” one? Well, hm, is there really an answer to that question? Every person of each of the faiths feels theirs is the “right” faith that will lead you safely to the “other shore”. In fact, if you are willing to look beyond the prejudice of your teachers, there is much in each of the major faiths to say that this one or that one may indeed be the “right one”. But, what if they are all “right”? Or maybe, more likely, they all fall somewhat short of being truly “right”. And worse, what if it doesn’t matter? What if there is a truth, a core truth in each of the paths that is what is “right” about the faith, yet much that will lead you astray if you follow the winding roads that take you away from that core truth?

You already know the core truth of the teaching that I personally think is going to get you where you belong if you have read my other posts: compassion. Yet there is not one faith that stops there, and gives no other teachings, all add other contingencies to make you think that there is “more” that must befollowed to be on the “right” path. There is a kicker there, if you worry about all the other things that your particular faith teaches, and decide that unless all others believe those several other teachings, you will decide to be judgmental and not compassionate where your fellow creatures are concerned. You have walked away from the core teaching that would have led you home.

Among Christians there are those who believe in the Rapture (look it up in Wikipedia if you are not familiar with the teaching) as a single event, while others believe it is a two-fold event, while still others believe it is either an ongoing event that has already begun, or that it isn’t going to happen at all. Each according to the teachings of his or her denomination. This is true among the Ivrit (Jews), some believe in living totally kosher, others are less stringent, some believe in reincarnation, others do not. All in accord with the teachings of their particular sect. The Islamic faith has similar divisions, and these are just the Abrahamic faiths. Buddhism also has similar divisions among those who follow Buddha. Some believe that one leads a human life with no help from unseen forces, while others believe that the Bodhisattvas have stayed to help others attain Nirvana. These are only major faiths, there are many more, and the list of differences from congregation to sect to mosque runs true in all, none are exactly carbon copies of the others. Gads, you’d think there were human beings there, making the policies, wouldn’t you?

In every one, from the majors to faiths like Taoism, to Sikhism,  to Jainism, all have the core teaching of compassion toward one’s fellow humans. It is my belief that, if you follow the core teaching, compassion, you are doing all that my G-d asks. Y’shua said he left his followers with but one commandment, to love one another as he loved them, I can certainly ask no more of you than he who is my rabboni. St. John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of G-d, and everyone who loves is born of G-d. He who does not love, does not know G-d.” So, from my point of view, if you love, it doesn’t matter what path you follow, you are on a similar path to mine and we are both headed home.

Gentleness ~

1145704domestic-cat-silver-tortoiseshell-kitten-with-silver-dwarf-lop-eared-rabbit-2Kittens and bunnies evoke sensations of cuddliness and gentleness for all who see them, now, if they are feral, that won’t be the case, but if they have been handled gently from birth, they will snuggle with whatever human holds them, generally. Paul, the “Apostle” counts gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit, and I would agree with him on the list, though I see that list as incomplete.

Gentleness, however, is seldom, if ever discussed because, for many, that sort of gentleness goes hand in hand with fear. {Mess with that kitten too much and find another little lesson in the weapons G-d gives the gentle.} Yet, most of the time, when I think of the gentleness of Spirit, I think of the Gentle Giant, the Bear, because gentleness is so much a part of her rearing of her cubs, but don’t mess with her, or the claws will tear you to ribbons.

So, having discussed momentarily that gentleness is not necessarily weakness, let’s look at what gentleness is. It isn’t always cuddly, but it is always respectful of space and of need. When you see true gentleness you see that the intent is not to overwhelm, but to allow a creature, whethergb_photogallery1_05 human or other, to feel safe, perhaps even taken care of in an unlimiting fashion. Security, then, is part of gentleness.

when you think of rabbits, you think of gentleness of spirit, in that it is difficult to even perceive of a rabbit being aggressive. Even when a gentle person needs to address something with you they will probably sit down in your presence and await your attention, perhaps “ahemming” in order to draw you toward them, but they are often discreet, no matter the instance. Hence the term Gentleman or Gentlewoman. So discretion is a part of gentleness. In fact, a person you think of as a gentle person is one you usually cannot envision being aggressive in any form.

vfp101_quiet_watersQuietness is also a part of gentleness. One seldom associates gentleness with a rock ‘n’  roll musician for just that reason. This does no mean that such a person may not be gentle off stage, but such would come as a surprise to even an observant person. In fact, because of the imagery of the 23rd Psalm, we think of quiet or still water in association with the Holy One. The vision many of past generations have had of Y’shua has been of a quiet, gentle holy man, softly speaking his truths to those who were willing to listen in little hillside groups, though you have to ask how the 10,000 he fed could have heard him if he was that softly spoken no matter what.

There is yet another thing quite easily associated with gentleness. That would be “rest”, as in the restful slumber of one who is healing from illness or wounds. One thinks of nurses in this role, as it is their job to carry out the healing physicians orders and keep the patient quiet and rested so body and mind can heal.

So gentleness then includes discretion,

security,

quietness,

safety,

respect,

mindfulness,

rest,

healing,

yes, one can say with little reservation that gentleness of spirit is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Sikhism ~

459px-khanda1svgI am quite thankful for Wikipedia, it lets a person do casual research into almost any subject one can think of, and there are usually references where a person can do deeper research depending on the need or desire. I have heard of Sikhism, of course, and anyone who desires a successful interfaith structure to see us through this millenium sans “holy wars”, has seen the symbol, but I had done no reading on it that would let me know the stance of this faith regarding compassion, that one thing that seems to flow through any faith founded on the holiness of Spirit.

Sikhism fits, most definitely. The emphasis is on good works, the faith is monotheistic, and according to Wikipedia the practice is based on the teachings of the 10 gurus or enlightened beings that founded Sikhism in a span of time from 1499 to 1708. There is a home page for those who wish to research this way of life more thoroughly. One draw is that the Sikhs’ founder was inclined to feel that G-d did not need rituals and traditions, that this was a human thing, so there is a specific stance on such things within the faith.

I remember being told in church that one could not get into “heaven” via good works alone, which necessitated the intervention of a G-d being such as Jesus. I think what made me question that so closely was the presence of the other special borns in religious history, such as Osiris, etc. There was too much resemblence to all the other religions for the claim of uniqueness to stick to Christianity if one examined the claims closely. That brings us straight back to the kind of lives you live being the source of your eventual reunification with the Light. It’s just not possible for me to believe one can go on lying, stealing, and killing, and claim to know the God who is Love.

All My Relations ~

allmyrelationsThere is a Lakotan phrase which traslates into the words of the title. It is a concept that comes back to me time and time again as I see the news, or when in conversation with others. It doesn’t just mean other humans, either. It means all of life, most especially on this planet, as that is our “neighborhood”. The concept is that all of life is from one source, therefore, all are related, all are “family”, there are really no strangers, there are just relatives to whom you have not been introduced.

I am aware that this is not always a pleasant concept if you extrapolate it completely out to it’s farthest extreme, for it means that one is related to Mother Theresa, St. Pious the pope, a grasshopper, Hitler, Y’shua, Buddha, Mohamed, a butterfly, Jeffrey Dahmer, and all of humanity and beyond. One wouldn’t mind being related to Mother cockroachTheresa, or a butterfly, but what about Dahmer or Hitler, or a cock roach. yuck! But, we must meet the pleasant with the unpleasant.

There is another factor. If I look at Hitler as a brother gone very badly awry, I may still be inclined to stop him any way I can because such horror visited upon humanity must cease, but I quake as I do this, knowing that it is my brother I condemn to death because he has gone horribly wrong in his perceptions and ways. I no longer must be punitive in what I do. I must be kind, and hope that all ends as well as possible for all concerned, for there are no good answers when a human looses their capacity for empathy if they ever had it.

And there, in the word empathy, lies the key to all that comes about. When a human being has no empathy, no capacity to stand in the place of another and experience, even for a moment, the good and the bad of being that other person, there opens an entire array of child-abusedark things that become possible for that human to do, that simply otherwise would not even be on the horizon.

So . . . . .

Can empathy be taught? Is it drummed out of a child by neglect or abuse? How do we find ways for this incredibly necessary concept to become part of all human beings? There, I believe is the place where the teachings of the Masters comes into play. Y’shua and Buddha both taught compassion for all, on a moment by moment basis. Not to just high personages of status or means, but everyone. The beggar on the corner, the child, the stranger, the neighbor, all must be treated with kindness.

And though we cannot allow the murderer access to the tools by which he might return to murder as a way of life, even here there must be compassion, albeit firm with unbending discipline, it is only as we see the wisdom of the masters, it is only as we learn to practice the concept of the Lakota people, the Tatanka Oyate, and see all as our relations that we can begin to hope that someday, somewhere on our planet, there will be a shift in consciousness, and all will understand, Mitakuye Oyasin.

All My Relations, Aha!

The North of the Wheel ~

grazininthegrassThe North of the Wheel is the place of the buffalo; the place of the Elders; the place of snow and white hair. It should be a time of wisdom and of telling stories of days gone by, of teaching the younger ones how to survive, and how to live free. It is about the ending of cycles, and about beginning new ones. It is the place where we make the next step on the sacred spiral and start another round.

The Tatanka Oyate, Bison People, the people we know as the Lakota, were mainly in the deadbuffplains and foothills of the Dakotas. They depended on Buffalo for everything, food, clothing, housing, tools, all came from the buffalo. When the buffalo hunters shot so many in a few weeks, they knew they were set free to do this to kill off the Souix tribes. It was an incredibly uncivilized thing to do, and as far as I am concerned, the real savages were pale of skin and quick with a gun.

To the Lakota, Tatanka was a gift from the Holy Spirit. And, yes, Wakan translates Holy, so address her properly, and stop pretending that Christians were not turning their backs on G-d when all of this was going on. I do not blame today’s Christians for that sin, I wbblame them for continuing the blindness in the name of being right when our white ancestors stole this land from the people already here, as though it were right to do so. Had we been even willing to learn from the original people,  we would probably not be in quite the pickle with the environment we are in now, but, oh no, the white folks were better educated, so, of course they knew better than the poor “red savages”.

Anyway, let me step down from my soapbox, here, and get back to the matter at hand. The buffalo, to the plains people; were a source of gratitude to the Holy Spirit. They knew they were cared for and that Spirit protected them. They don’t worship the buffalo skull when it is placed on the alter, it’s there to remind them that Spirit provided the means to live. The North then, is the place of gratitude and acknowledgment that Spirit is there for us all. The white buffalo, prophesied long ago are being born more frequently now, and are, to the original people a sign that peace and harmony are just ahead of us.

West Gate ~

gb_photogallery1_05Aren’t they beautiful? The Grizzly, according to Sun Bear, is the keeper of the West Gate of the Medicine Wheel. They are also called Silver tipped bears. Awesome in size and strength, their habits include a winter nap that is hallmark to their species. They sleep through the winter months without rising for food or elimination, but can waken quickly if stirred. It is said that bears in more southern regions where food is available all year, do not hibernate at all.

The Grizzly is a fine fisherman, enjoying the salmon runs as much as any human. In fact there are many things about the bear that are similar to humans, when they stand on two legs, their skeleton is quite similar to a human’s. The legends among Native American tribes are strong in human-bear interaction. The West on most medicine wheels is the time in the human’s life of carrying the working responsibility of tribal life. The young ones as well as the elders depend on those still in their prime to carry out the hunting and gathering duties of tribal life.

It is at this time of life that the habit of self-examination is most useful, for only as we know black-bear-mom-cubour own minds, and have faced our own limits and strengths, are we good leaders of others. This is the principle medicine of “bear”, being able to look within ourselves to find the answer to our daily dilemas. Another medicine is strength and stamina. Bear can run very fast on a short haul but when pacing himself can cover miles in a day. The last, and perhaps most important skill attributed to the bear is the capacity to heal himself by knowing instinctively the herbs to eat to cure the problem.

Bears are generally considered careful parents, watching over their cubs for as long as 2½ years. One of the most dangerous things about bears is that they are just so daggone “cute” that it is altogether too easy to forget they are wild animals and have long claws that can injure us badly in even a mild encounter.

The Heart ~

0214-human_heartI had seen this particular graphic at NatGeo and, because it was a bit different, I kept a copy until I could do more research. All of those little corollaries are due to the heart having some blockage in the main artieries that feed the heart and keep it pumping moment to moment. The more blockage in your heart’s arteries,  the more profound will be the umbrella of little corollaries that are feeding your heart and trying to keep you alive. The heart has no backup organ, unlike the kidneys and lungs. so it is up to us to live heart healthy lives.

Since the dietary knowledge is relatively new, say the last 30 to 40 years, we are still readjusting our daily intake at the “comfort” level to try to teach ourselves and our children how best to eat and stay healthy. Our sweet and salty snacks that everybody loves are pretty much a no-no. We need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and I am not one to have neglected those, as I have had diabetes for years. Oh well.

There is a part of the cardiac regime, however, that is not part of a culinary artist’s work. That is the disturbing emotions. These are dealt with in quite a different way. It is “right” that we remain “engaged” with our world, too detached a point of view is as unhealthy as hearttoo attached a point of view. Most often it is not the events themselves we fear, but how they will change our lives and the lives of those we love that we fear.

My roomate at the hospital was a lovely woman whose attitudes in life had pretty much kept her alive even with a heart whose major arteries were suffering profound blockages. as in 100% and 90%, dang! She has 3 sons, the older two exemplary sons that are good to their mother, her 15 year old, however, is one of those children who loves his freedom and keeps his mother awake at night. It is in fact, worry about him that had stressed her so much that she sought relief from that stress, only to find that she is in need of bypass surgery of the heart.

How does one detach enough from the actions of one’s children to survive one that is more self-determined than helpful at this stage in his life?  Such self-determination may serve him well in his later years, but is certainly disrupting the peace of his parental home. Unfortunately, answers anyone can give her are going to be incomplete, as it is at the center of her own being where she will have to find the peace that passes understanding in order to weather the storms of a young person’s trip into adulthood. There are good things that one can learn, I have sent many to Coping.org, as the Dr.s Messina are quite helpful, though this 2242949998_db416180711lovely lady does not do the internet.

I suggested that after her surgery she seek the councel of a professional, though only time will tell if she chooses that route. The various Buddhist teachers that have chosen to interrelate with those of us outside the monestary, such as Thich Nhat Hann, and HH Tensin Gyatso, the Dalai Llama, all have some wonderful teachings on meditation and detachment from the disturbing emotions, if she can get past the religious barriers, as she is a Roman Catholic Christian. One can never be sure what the best answers are for another, as most times we must find the answers for ourselves. I shall most certainly keep her, and all such troubled parents in my prayers. It breaks the heart, literally to see the babies we have loved from infancy choose a crooked path at so young an age as their teens.

The Medicine Wheel’s South Keepers ~

coyote_roadsideI made that a plural because I know of at least three traditional keepers of the South, depending on the area of North America where the tribe is or was located. The Coyote is best known, I suspect because Old Man Coyote is a well known trickster, and learning that he is a keeper and works with the Holy Spirit (Wakan Tanka)sort of messes with people whose backgrounds are of European teachings, where the Devil is evil and there is no place on the “map” where evil and holiness meet. The
Sacred Trickster” however, is a concept that is absolutely wonderful, as the trickster teaches you when you are too stubborn to learn by gentler and kinder methods.

The South of the wheel is all about the things you need to learn to keep your body and soul together. This is where you should ideally learn to stay well grounded, learning the skills that will help you survive and even prosper. It is a time of innocence and growth, a time of wonder and of learning, lots and lots of learning.

The Porcupine is also a south keeper, more for those in the North East, I believe, note that 3822_file_porcupine_boultonwith the porcupine if you try to hurt it you will pull back a handful of quills, but if you are gentle and slow with your movements, you can pet it as long as you are mindful to go in the right direction. Innocence is the medicine of this creature, that ambles its way through life, not seeking to hurt others, but protected in such a way they can hurt themselves on it. They are a solitary creature, seldom seeking companionship, though they will accommodate when necessary. They not aggressive in any way, and their childlike curiosity is known by country folk.

mouseThe Mouse is also a keeper of the South Gate in some traditions, I believe mostly the Anishnabee tribes of the midwest. Mouse medicine is also quite curious, wanting to get up close to the things coming into it’s world, it wants to feel, taste, and touch to learn. It’s whiskers are it’s yardstick for telling it if a small space is safe to crawl into or not. There is, in mouse a child like curiosity about the world around it, which is key to it’s being a South Keeper, as it is that curiosity that helps us grow beyond our narrow boundaries. Nothing so injures the inner child so much as killing off that natural curiosity.

On most traditional medicine wheels, the South is the place of the child/young adult, a very important time in one’s life, as this is where we learn whether or not to trust those around us, and how to go about our “being”. All three of these “keepers” have a bit of the trickster in their make-up, either built in, as with porcupine’s quills or mouse’s size, or in being so smart they out smart themselves, like Grandfather Coyote. This is because growing into a strong and solid person grounded when we need to be and spiritual when we need to be, is a tricky business. Much depends on our parents and much depends on the medicine with which we were born.

The Eagle’s place on your personal wheel ~

132First, let me share with you that my medicine on the Wheel in the East is the lowly little mouse. I have always enjoyed the wonderful tales  about mice. Things like the comparison of the country mouse and the city mouse. I am a country mouse. I like the fields and nature and the open sky, even though, out here we little mice don’t live very long. Mouse medicine people have a tendency to want to get up close and personal to explore whatever it is that has come into our world and caught our attention. We want to taste, smell and feel whatever it is that is ahead of us, and that can sometimes get us into trouble. Set some cheese on a spring loaded trap and “thwack”, you’ve got us. And yes, I like cheese, a lot.

Eagle medicine, which is almost a polar opposite in it’s function, is the Medicine Keeper of  goldeneagle4the East of the Wheel of Life. Eagle sees the “big picture” with extreme clarity, seeing details as well as major consequences of actions taken. The East is where a person learns the AHA’s in life, the “epiphanies” or sudden “Yes!” moments. This is where we are born into this life on the wheel, and learn the basics of walking and talking. Eagle watches our progress and keeps the knowledge of this place for all time. It is Eagle that carries our prayers to Wakan Tanka (translated Holy, Wakan; Spirit, Tanka)

5189j2181el_sl500_aa240_Hyemeyohsts Storm is a storyteller and spokesman for the mixed blood peole of the earth. He tells the story of Jumping Mouse. (His book, Seven Arrows, is an excellent introduction into Native teaching and thought.) There are several such stories among the Original People, as mouse is also a keeper, though not of the East, but of the South in some tribes. Let me say a word of caution to those of you who are reading my words and have not explored your totems with a Native teacher. Eagle medicine is not all that common, and to claim it is also to claim not just power but an awesome responsibility to serve the people. Learn Eagle as a Keeper on the Medicine Wheel. Let Eagle teach you, understanding that Eagle is a servant and teacher. Learn Sun Bear’s totem teachings in Dancing with The Wheel. It is an excellent place to start, and you will not go wrong learning from him.

Contemplating the Presence ~

large_web One of my favorite meditations is contemplating the Presence and how it has affected my life. I say “it” rather loosely there, as, to me, Hashem is above masculine and feminine, hearkening to the beginning before duality, yet, Hashem is very definitely a sentient being, full of life and love. Such contemplation helps me reach up when I am “down”, helps me return to gratitude when I forget that I am very blessed, and in general balances out my life. I am very much a monotheist, believing that there is one unifying force behind all life in this and other Universes.

I buy the idea that Y’shua taught that there was but one commandment from Hashem, that is to love. The reason I buy that that is not a tampered with teaching is that it goes so contrary to the practice of the modern church as a whole. This does not mean that there are not denominations that try for the most part to practice such, it is simply a statement of observation of a judgmental system by which those who “believe” take license to feel they are bodie_7_bg_090604better than those who do not. I most heartily disagree with that position.

I have said before that I have observed much in other religious systems that would indicate that the Holy Spirit has been in communication with all peoples all over the world, and that that same presence cares without exception about the well-being of all the little sparks of life on this planet, because that spark in each of us is part of Hashem: part of the whole. Saying that Hashem only cares about Christians, or Jews, or Islamic, or Jain, or Buddhist, or Taoist believers is bunk! If your big toe declared itself an atheist, would you cease to care about your big toe? And, in order to walk in balance you need that toe. Don’t be foolish, Hashem does not care your race, color, creed or age! Hashem cares whether you live in compassionate fellowship with your fellow beings.

I personally believe that those at1_robeheists who live compassionately, will find themselves quite surprised at their fate once they are bodiless. And these are the people with whom I have the least connection. Where a person believes in Pantheism, or Paganism, there is often a sense of civility and caring missing in many who claim to know Rabbi Y’shua on a personal basis. (That’s not possible, BTW. He said you would know his people by the way they loved others, I believe him, not the modern pundits.) I have long since learned to look beyond a person’s outward declarations to their core behaviors. If they know how to care, really care about others, they have been touched by Spirit somewhere along the line. If there is no caring, well, read it for yourself, I John 4:7&8.

One thing more, I do believe in the God that watches us, but it is more watching over us, but even that does not go far enough. Hashem is not just a loving G-d, Hashem breathes with us, is here, between the cells, there, between the in and out breath, and everywhere, even Paul had this right, it is Spirit, through whom we live, and move and have our being. The Holy Spirit is literally the Holy Breath. Selah.

Imagine, no religion ~

imaginebillboard2smaI understand that this group does this sort of thing rather frequently, posting billboards, that is. The “Sad Factor” here is that they have a major point. The difficulty is that it is not religion, per se, that causes Wars, as religions are designed initially to make us see ourselves and change. It is the extremist position that one’s own religion is “Right”, and all others are “Wrong”, therefore the “Wrong” folks have to die. Or worse, the “Wrong” folks are “In Charge” of a “Sacred Place” and won’t let the “Right” folks come to worship at the shrine, therefore someone has to die. GADS!

It would seem that our children in kindergarten can tell you what’s wrong rainbowdovewith that picture! Share, people! First of all, there is no guarantee that one religion has it “All” right to begin with. Then there is no reason to turn what should be a longing for peace and justice into a cry for war, at least in Christianity, that’s not in the pages of that book, anywhere. I, personally, am Apaulitical, and no I did not misspell that, I am not a Paulist, nor do I feel that the “Church” per se is necessary for a person to read the words of the carpenter cum rabbi and walk a path toward the light.

I remember as a young person being told that Paul’s letters were put in the Bible as Sacred writings because there was not enough in the Gospels to lead a true religious life. Dang! I wish I could speak to that preacher now that I’ve read and studied the words we were talking about. The rabbi’s words were more than enough to walk a path of personal spirituality, all Paul added was the stuff that makes institutions run. We don’t need that. If we obey the basic law to begin with, i.e. “Love one Another.” We don’t need anything more.

roberts_rules_of_orderThe rest of the “stuff” in any “Writ” is when unlove prevails. Jessie doesn’t like Sarah, and Sarah doesn’t like Jessie back, so how do we keep them from tearing the fellowship apart with their antics. BTW, Robert’s Rules of Order work better for that than Paul’s letters. Makes sense, General Robert understood the strategies of politics quite well, and besides, the Rules of Order grew out of his embarrassment over being ignorant of how to run a church meeting. When Paul and the 11(minus J. Iscariot) met, there was a tacit agreement that Paul was to minister to the gentiles while the 11 remained true the their ancestry.

While that has been celebrated through the centuries, it is the one thing that makes me extremely suspect of his teachings. If those who walked at Y’shua’s side found Paul’s teachings objectionable, why should I think they are such that I should venerate the man and his epistles? It intrigues me, to say the least, that with all the questions that arise from that, he remains so much the central teacher in the Christian religion. Part of that, I suspect, is that the Ivrit have long been so segregated from gentile life that most Christians do not realize just how un-Jewish are Paul’s interpretations of 2801-762617Y’shua’s teachings. Or that, if Y’shua had been so outspoken about being a Godman, he’d have been stoned before he’d taught for 3 weeks, let alone 3 years.

I don’t believe that the Dead Sea scrolls were the first such find, actually, since so many centuries have passed since it all began, I cannot help but wonder how many times scrolls were found and destroyed or hidden before news of them could even reach the public. Only with a greater freedom from church rule can such discoveries come to light. It does, however explain the need for a grand Inquisitor, doesn’t it? If you are not teaching veritas, you need someone who can keep the rabble (us) quiet. So, in spite of the fact that I believe in G-d very G-d, I cannot blame those who wish for no religion at all. I truly wish I could; blame them, that is.

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