A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

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.

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