A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

Creating our own world ~

second-life-store

Second Life store front

I have been looking at the tools for building one’s own virtual world here on the net. Such tools look to be fun and helpful in building the imaginations of our young people. My computer is not powerful enough to use some of the tools, so I sit back and “watch”. I see correlations between the virtual world and the real world that are both intentional and simply cannot be helped because that is where we “come from”. Yet, there are accidental correlations that may be helpful in the understanding of universal principles.

The Primary Principle that comes to mind is “What you put out into the Universe will most assuredly come back to you, sometimes by threes, sometimes by tens, sometimes magnified by 100”, i.e. “What goes around comes around.”  The virtual world may teach that principle more instantaneously than our “real” world. The users create their world with avatars and have basically a “social life” online. Since I cannot power up enough to be there I cannot go into it much more than that, though, should the “computer gods” shine, I certainly plan on upgrading, so, one day, I may operate a store front there.

However, we do need to keep in mind that the virtual world may give us more

Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell

freedom to be inventive with the background, but human nature is human nature, so even with a sci-fi or fantasy background, people will ultimately be themselves. (Even Tinkerbell has a jealous streak.) One can only keep up a “personna” for just so long, eventually a person’s true nature will surface. Though, when it comes to personal relationships, the warning to err on the side of caution holds double or even triple. If I had the Know How, I think that the thing I would try to create would be a place where the metaphysical lessons of life could be played out in scenarios that don’t damage the way those lessons do out here in Realityville.

Speaking of Realityville, a friend asked me not long ago if I believe we create our own world, I said yes, in most instances, but I want, here, to address the fact that that is less than half the picture. First, be aware that we can and do by our own will find the place in life where we are best suited. But! We can be knocked out of that place by random acts of destruction, as well as being helped by random acts of kindness. The Universe is a very big place, and if the Quantum physicists don’t change their minds in the next instant, even science is beginning to see the strong possibility of parallel universes.

I am aware of Occam’s razor that states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, but I siblingsrefuse to buy into the idea that children ask to be molested. I do not care if you think they do! They are not of an age where they can ask for something the consequences of which they do not understand. That means that those who would take their innocence and blame them, need to sit and take a long look in the mirror. If you are an adult and would willingly do something so heinous to a child, you need to look at your own actions and take responsibility. That child is too young to play in your world.

I am also aware that a person can be careless and be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or wearing the wrong thing when some lascivious monster that cannot control his primal urges is lurking in the bushes. God help us when that peacock-swr-april-2007happens. I, however, want to go on record as one who refuses to blame the victim. If we continue to allow the perpetrators to roam free, we will never have a society that can heal. Once a person has shown a tendency to take someone into sexual bondage, even for a short time, without their consent, they, from that point, get watched until we have the means to be certain they will not do such again.

I guess the only answer to such a question then is, sometimes. Yes, we can, if we have the courage and daring, change the circumstances that seem to hold us back. No, our fate is not written in stone. Yes, we can make a difference. But those of us without omnivision need to not look at our neighbor and judge him or her if they cannot.

Courage ~

Paul’s list of fruits of the Spirit does not speak of courage or integrity, but they are most definitely a fruit of that which is highest and best in our lives. Here is the Serenity Prayer in it’s entirety,

600px-vodicka_triquetra1svgFull Original Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

Dr. Keshavan Nair,

With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.

I had not heard of Dr. Nair and did not know of him at all before I found this quote about courage, but it so spoke to what I wanted to bring out in this post that I had to look him up. He is apparently an inspirational speaker for fortune 500 companies. With that particular quote I can see why he would be in demand. It says a great deal in a very few words.redspottedpurple

Courage is indeed the foundation of integrity, for it takes courage to speak when others hold the opposite opinion yet, you know the truth. It takes courage to speak when you are wrong and it will hit your hip pocket to say anything because no one knew but you. It takes courage to speak when the facts you must present are the opposite of what you want them to be. It takes courage to stand alone. It takes courage to be part of a change that needs to happen.

Most of us have a “comfort zone”. Hopefully it’s within the bounds of love, peace and joy, but when we must leave that comfort zone because duty or life makes that call, no matter where that comfort zone lies in the scheme of things, it takes courage to leave that and move into a new zone. Even when our lives have been messed up with drugs or alcohol, we are in a type of comfort zone in that it is a familiar place. We know the “rules” here, if we leave this “place” we will be on unfamiliar ground. But, if we want to live a better life, if we want the voices we hear to be of clearer and cleaner source, we must leave the familiar, and dare to change our lives. Believe it or not, that takes as much courage as mounting an expedition to the antarctic.

antarctic-wonderland

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

Maya Angelou

Perceptions ~

20080118-missing-section-3d-sidewalk-art3D sidewalk artists have a great deal of fun showing us that our perceptions of the world may not be correct. I love the work they do, and have a friend who is always forwarding me the new stuff as it makes it’s way around the internet. What a wonderful way to teach us to be on the look out for those things meant to fool the eye, or other senses for that matter. Yet, our world is so complex that if we do not trust others to report “truth” in their perceptions, how can we survive?

I remember many years ago being under the teaching of a man whose simms_wc_lgperceptions of the world were so straightforward that there was no room in his world for other ways of “seeing” things. It was he that threw me out of a Catechism class at the age of 12, yes, he had been explaining that Creator’s time line had no beginning and no end. I asked if he wasn’t describing a circle? He became so distraught, he asked my mother to withdraw me from the class, as he did not want the other children exposed to the perspections of a “witch”. Now, a mentor of mine, who helps me with my drawings and exploration of the visual world wrinkled her nose when I related that tale and said, “That question was normal from the point of view of an artist!?” So does that make artists witches?

I don’t think so! But then, I prefer the company of witches to the company of stodges, so who knows?

large_webBut that same man said something else that caused me to contemplate then, and even today it’s a point of query. He said that one could only worship with others that percieved G-d in the same way you perceive G-d. I disagree. I can’t remember that I said anything at the time, though if I did, I probably had that poor man’s back up before I ever mentioned the “circle”. If we wait to find only those who perceive G-d the way we do, we will never fellowship with others. Our individual filters are such that each of us has different perceptions deep within our psyche as to who and what G-d is to us.

To me, everything we are and that exists in our world exists within the mind of G-d. Now, that makes G-d immense physically, or makes our world in all it’s layers an illusion of incredible proportions. The Native seers speak of the dreamtime, so perhaps that is the case. However, that is not how others perceive G-d or the Universe. I have had some wonderful discussions with others during fellowship gatherings at my teacher’s house. Those were the best times in my life, and though none of us saw “G-d” in exactly the same way, we enjoyed the companionship of others whose openness allowed for free and unencumbered  discussion on all manner of things spiritual.

willow_tree_on_the_sunset_by_rattodisabinaI would not trade those times for any amount of pure church attendance, even with a fellowship circle after, as in many of those fellowship halls, little of spiritual note is discussed for fear of offense to others. No one dares take that chance. I like being with those who will discuss without offense what those in the circle believe, leaving room for others’ views to prosper. I am aware of those who feel that being too open minded allows the wind to come whistling through, but I prefer the fresh air to the smell of mustiness.

The Promise of the Rainbow ~

rainbow2There is just something so uplifting and beautiful about a rainbow. I remember as a child oohing and ahing, and still do so when I see a particularly bright one or a complete one. They are gorgeous. When I went to Sunday school and learned that that was G-d’s promise that the earth would not be drowned again, but burned next time, I was thrilled, there was a reason to love the rainbow as much as I did. The Bible would have you believe that the rainbow did not exist before then, or I should say my Sunday school teachers, as I recall, the Bible says nothing one way or the other. A large part of my heart fears that’s just another lie, though there is this little corner that sort of wishes the statement were true, since it would mean that the communications from G-d that each of us gets might have a source other than somewhere inside us.spectrum

Whether it is G-d’s promise of no more mass drowning of the world or not, it “feels” like a promise from Hashem. There is this sense of inclusiveness about the rainbow, it includes all the colors we can see. Now that we know through science that there are most likely many more colors that our eyes cannot see, one wonders just how big a rainbow really is. But that is just my silly mind wandering off on one of it’s tangents. The point I was writing about has more to do with that feeling of “promise” I was talking about.

The sciences have shown us clues for many years now, that the basis for many of our traits is in our genetic make-up. What it seems to be showing is not that genomeour “fate” is pre-written, but that our reactions to events are somewhat pre-ordained. Now, personally, I believe that there are many things we can choose to live above. Do I believe that is easy? No! But there are many who are unable to feel empathy toward others of our kind, yet do not go out and murder dozens of their fellows, and until we understand the mechanism that drives those toward murder that do commit it, we are not going to be any closer to living free of that horror than we are today.

But, there are other things where our genetic make-up may indeed lead us to possibilities that are not necessarily “right” or “wrong”. When the imperative of the species was to pro-create, I can accept the idea that Hashem might have indeed said, “Go forth and multiply”. The Earth had plenty of space for all. As medicine has given us longer lives and more live births, I cannot accept that that genetic imperative is there any longer if Hashem truly wants us to live and be free to enjoy the bounty of the earth.

Indeed, I do not believe that it is. There are many couples choosing not to have children. Other couples of the same gender stay together out of caring for one another, not an imperative to have children. This is not just in one area of the world, it is all over the world, where people are too crowded to live healthy lives, including our own cities. I am aware that most people do not like to be compared to the “lower” animals, (so maybe they are glad of that, ’cause we don’t make that great a contribution to the well-being of their living space either.) but we are all here, and we all share the earth!

prismaspirianWhoa, that came around to my point almost as if I’d planned it that way. To me, that is where the rainbow is both a promise and a command. We are all here together, whether green (plant life), blue (some insects and birds), two-legged(most of the other colors), purple (flowers), we are here in the same eco-system, we must learn to work together to survive, and if we do learn that little trick, if we learn to work in harmony, we’ll fit together like the colors of the rainbow. In learning to honor our selves, we’d learn to honor Hashem, and, oh, I think Y’shua and Buddha taught that long before we came along.

Holy Writ ~

hh-tenzin-gyatsoI have read the Christian Bible more than 4 times through, and have read the New Testament so many times I have lost count. I have copies of the Tanakh, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Quran, and books written by HH Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama. I respect the writers as men whose dedication to holy living was born out in their lives. I tend to give weight to the words written by the level of holiness that was evident in the lives they lived. Erego, I place greatest weight on the words of his Holiness, the Dalai Lama, as a living example of compassion in action.

Even here, though he is reckoned the 14th incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, I do not consider him infallible. He comes far closer to infallibility than do I, who am a simple woman of faith residing in the US. He is not God incarnate, nor does he claim to be. He is a human being, enlightened, to be sure, but a human being. What he shows is that Holy Writ, good as it is for guidance and instruction, is written by men who may be inspired by the Holy Presence, but they are still men and their words must be weighed in that light.

The books I have that he has written are in English, and this is my point regarding Holy Writ from any source, I must presume upon the good intent of the translators of his work. This is easier to do when the writer is living, and has loyal helpers who will let him know if a mistranslation has skewed his meaning on any teaching. When the writer is long since passed on, there is no such safety line.

Y’shua cannot stand up in an assembly and say, “That is not what I said or 1_robetaught.” At least not with any legitimate verity, as even one who would say they represent him is representing their vision of Him. I do not trust the machinations of humans who have done little in their lives to sort their “impressions” from objective truth. Constantine has been called a saint by many, but I do not trust the “vision” of a conqueror who chooses to use the teachings of a peaceful rabbi to enhance his position as a head of state, consolidating his kingdom by making Christianity the state religion.

Many of Y’shua’s teachings resemble the Buddha’s, enough so that I question the veracity of those statements that seem to claim Godhood beyond the Godhood of all sentient beings, and because of the way Aramaic is written, and the way Y’shua could easily have spoken of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh, I believe his words have been skewed.

I believe Moshe’s words are pretty much intact, as they were in the keeping of his kinsmen for generations after his passing. I believe Buddha’s teachings are intact also, because there was no great upheaval where his words were removed from the hands of his students and “sorted” by some great “council” of men seeking to justify the position of a monarch.

zoo_2_bg_072603The best any one person can ask of any version of Holy Writ is that it be consistent to the principles of truth and compassion. Any time that consistency is lacking, I will question the source of the teaching. By the way, the Buddha gave that as one of the criteria for knowing whether your teacher was representing the teachings truthfully, his words were to obey the teaching, not the earth bound teacher. I wish that had been passed down from Y’shua, for I am certain that somewhere and at some time he said that, though, of course, if his teachings have been so completely tampered with as I believe, why should I believe those words were not simply deleted?

Wolf, the teacher ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fruit, mature, ready to “eat” ~

apple_royal-galaIf compassionate behavior is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit, what are the results of that fruit maturing and becoming ready for consumption? Since love can gush all over and be almost overpowering in it’s sweetness and nourishment, allowing all manner of things to grow, both healthy and not so healthy, it is necessary to learn how to handle all that loving power correctly, and with the will of All That is Good, in mind. The result then, of being flooded with the love of Spirit, is a willingness to learn.

One becomes hungry for every bit of instruction that is available. This is where learning to study Holy Writ, the commentaries regarding Holy Writ, the meditations of Masters that have learned the Holy Writ before you, and anything that acts as a codicile to Holy Writ besides. Learning is the mode into which the beginner flowers. As one grows there is also a willingness to help those coming after you to learn the Way.

The things you are learning here are above all how to balance the incredible

Balance

Balance

love of Spirit with a sense of discipline that will allow that love to flow freely when needed, and to put the brakes on when gushing will only harm the person or situation involved. One learns, if one is close to Spirit, that the place of “Balance” is “Beautiful”.

In order to grasp the beauty of balance, there is always a need for wisdom and understanding, these are the “next” on the agenda to learn, though most of the time the lessons are all wound together so one gets a bit of wisdom when one learns balance in a given area, and a bit of understanding when one needs to apply discipline to oneself or the situation. Patience is learned along the way, as nothing comes overnight.

rabbit_jpg

Humility

And, lo and behold, as one learns all of these wonderful things, the will of that which is Highest and Best becomes ever clearer. But, even here, humility is required, for even at our highest point of development, we can be deceived by those whose motives do not serve the Ancient of Days.  This is why there is none who can say they have attained the highest level of maturity and need no more growth or learning.

So, what is the mature fruit of the Spirit? It is a dynamic sense of balance that is able to adapt to the circumstances at hand and move the elements around to honor the Highest and Best. What a beautiful day when we all attain that balance.

Why would Hashem care?

sparrow_frMost especially about each and every individual, whether they are dedicated religiously or not?

There are a lot of quotes from the different “Scriptures” that would be appropriate here, Y’shua’s comment about G-d’s love of the sparrow, so we know G-d cares for humans that are more important. Most people who doubt G-d’s caring would go, well, maybe. I want to look at this question from an “almost” logical stance.

Well, it’s only logical if you can believe we are all connected, truly connected, and that each of us carries the spark of life that comes from G-d. The scientists are in the midst of proving that statement, but, for many, it is still a major statement of faith. However, once the individual accepts the idea that each of us is a part of the “Whole”, the rest is fairly simple. corvid1

The sparrow above is one of my own drawings. I am an artist, so to speak, and I see this from that point of view. When I draw, the creative process is always using bits of who I am. This is only a 2 dimensional piece, just a little bird, but the shading and the lighter areas, the placement of the wing and eyes and bill and tail were all part of that process. And I am simply drawing from the Creator’s model! Now, to be fair, it seems that the Creator has been simply “improving” the models frocorvid2m the beginning, many millions of years ago, as there are signs that some of the dinosaurs are still with us in the forms of those birds we so love. Do you ever wonder if they have dreams about the days when they ruled the earth?

And, of course the creative process is somewhat different when one is modeling living creatures from the DNA of creatures that are their antecedents, but there are ways in which creativity is always creativity. You lay down a corvid3pattern and go to work. You put colors in, then perhaps not liking what you see, you take them out. You layer the colors, and plan the highlights where you place no color. You step back to look at your work just to make sure that the “whole” is pleasing to the eye. By the time you have finished with the “process” you are fond of this piece you have created, and think of it as more or less “one of your children”, but, like a good parent, you must let go and see if the “child” can live on it’s own, making it’s way in the world.

Icorvid8ct is this process of letting go that is so difficult to understand from the point of view of the created. We stand there feeling alone and abandoned in a sea of other “works”, wondering what we are supposed to do, or if we are supposed to do anything. There is worry, and sadness and pain and gain, and hard work and worry; until, one day, we fly, we make it on our own in our chosen field. It is then we know we are where we belong, doing what we were supposed to do. Sadly, for humans, there is an ego involved, and it is only when we don’t manage those final stages that we find room in our hearts for the Creator that started this process to begin with.

Just because we do not remember the process by which we came into being and therefore do not bother with the Creator, does not mean the Creator does not remember us.

Against all odds ~

queryThe young seeker asks “Why are we here?” almost before he or she is in school. Who are we, what are we here for, what is the reason behind everything we see? Pretty heavy duty questions to be asking, and most of the time there are no quality answers to give for such questions.

I feel I have stumbled on the answer to that one, however. It’s not an answer I particularly like, but it is an answer that makes sense even out of the most horrid circumstances that can exist on this planet. I believe that we are here to learn, against all odds, to love. I know, it sounds too simple, but then, remember Occam’s razor; and it straightrazorwould seem to fit, wouldn’t it? We humans have found that our species can be guilty of some pretty horrible and nasty things, many of which have been committed against each other. Truth is, many of those horrors make it pretty difficult to love the perpetrator.  And then there’s that “platitude” love the person, not the crime. Well, yes, but the person is usually so darned intimately attached to the crime, how do you do that?

135cat-dogI am still learning this one, and I will not try to tell you that I can love all the time. There are crimes that just beg for an expedient end to the perpetrator, I will not argue the logic of that. I am simply stating that I believe that we as a species need to learn to love, deeply, truly, completely, and against all odds.

It was Peter who told us that love covers a multitude of sins, see lPeter 4:8. I am not sure he understood the entire ramifications of that statement, though he very well might have. If each of us learns to carry within our hearts that deep compassion for all souls, the compassion asked of us by the Master, the injuries will quietly stop that create many of the “monsters” that come from abusive environments. In that level of compassion we will also learn how to treat the diseases of the mind that leave a soul broken and unable to account for their own actions.

It is only as we learn this depth of love that things like modern slavery, very much an existing plague, can be stopped. (see, Free the Slaves) I cannot defend the perpetrators of all of the crimes against humanity that occur every day in our frightening world, I can only say that until we learn to love at a deep level, all the time, all of us, we will still see this level of degradation in our society.

childlabor

The Occult ~

occult. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved November 04, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/occult

harrywithnimbus1The above link gives a variety of meanings for the word “occult”, as you can see if you click on that link, it can mean something with a hidden aspect to it. Having practiced nursing, this is how I think of the word, not as something automatically evil. I have enjoyed the Harry Potter series, for the same reasons others have as well as the fact that Rowlings chooses to show that those who practice that way of life, (though not usually as instantly powerful as shown in the movies,) are the same as the rest of us, some are good, some are dark, and there are those who are somewhere in between.

I am quite aware that the OT says that one should not “suffer a witch to live”, but I also know is says the same about disobedient children. If you go around stoning your children you will be arrested and tried for child abuse, deservedly. I do not practice “witchcraft” per se, because I have no interest in controlling the elements. I also eschew the intent to control others, having seen that this is a form of craft all it’s own, whether it is of the “witchy” sort or not.

The “hidden” information that interests me most is herbal, and that which is st-johns-wortconnected with self-growth on the spiritual plane. I have seen questions regarding the idea that doing pathwork is following a cult. By the old definition, i.e. a religious group of any sort, that would apply. Beyond that it fails. Those of us who do pathwork are interested in spiritual growth, by and large, and have learned not to look at what our neighbor or friend is doing or receiving, at least as any kind of comparison for ourselves.

Pathwork is always personal. This is an individual’s struggle to grow beyond one’s own boundaries and limitations. I am free to join any church I should find enjoyable or would fit into my particular interpretation of the cosmos. Many who do pathwork also believe that Y’shua was G-d incarnate, I don’t happen to believe that, so I am not a Trinitarian. Were there a Hamayim (Gentiles who believe in Hashem, as do the Jews) congregation near me, I would probably join them in worship.

This weblog is not an official representation of anyone else’s pathwork, it is my own, and how I have managed to stay somewhat sane, even though I do hear voices. I blog for others who also hear voices, some of whom live back in Indiana, where I come from, so that if they wanted other readers here to know they were also voicehearers they would comment on that for all to see. If my path is of any help at all to others, I am delighted, if it is not, I hope that you find a path that suits your needs, and may Hashem bless all of your days.

Su

tibetan-eternity-knot1P.S. One of the things I would prefer to see stopped is the Christian tendency to label anything from any other religion “occult”, Buddhism is not hidden, nor is Hinduism, nor Jainism, (and a whole bunch more,) these are religions in their own right, and the practitioners of these faiths deserve to be treated with the same respect as all other humans.

Labels ~

As a society we depend on labels to tell us what is in things, on things, about things and whether the sun will shine tomorrow. For the safety of our children, and the well-being of ourselves, labels serve as a very necessary short hand that allow us to move through life not having to read the fine print on every thing that passes under our inspection. However, we do need to remember that they are shorthand, not the full or even often the true story behind the labels. This is so prevalent that there have, in the past decade or so, come to pass many truth in labeling laws.

The difficulty there, of course, is that some of the spaces in our lives where we particularly need “truth” to be the veritable truth, those laws cannot enter nor would they be effective if they could. How do you label a mystical experience? “The sun was a beautiful rosy red, and the stars talked to me!?!” Careful, you’ll be labeled a druggy if you say that to too many of the wrong people. Or what about the fact that there are so many people out there willing to take the money of people honestly seeking spiritual truth and having no idea where to find it? You cannot always tell, in fact, there are people who sincerely believe what they are selling is sound truth whose work will in the end prove quite false.

All too often that ugly word, “cult” gets thrown around when a new idea comes to town and the “old guard” are threatened by a strange way of doing things. Some of the new ideas are great and will enhance one’s spiritual experience immeasurably and some are pure bunk. Did the Masters’ give us a way to tell when we were being led down the primrose path, or are we on our own on this trail?

Actually, both Y’shua and Buddha gave us some very wise teachings to help us tell when we were being led around by the nose. The Buddha’s caution was to stick to the teachings, the “Four Noble Truths” and the Eightfold Path” being primary but also his other teachings, if a new teacher came along and began to teach anything that went contrary to the basics, he was a charlatan. Y’shua spoke of the fruit of a teacher’s life, if the fruit was bad, the tree was bad, do not eat from that tree.

Many times if you find that someone you have leaned on as a teacher is lacking, you will be slammed with “Do Not Judge”, an understandable gambit, but be careful, choosing not to stay under the tutelage of one that does not live by the principles as a general rule is not condemning them to haedes, it is preserving your own integrity as a follower of the Great Ones. Attempt always to stay in balance and accuse seldom if at all, but do not choose to stay where Compassion is not honored as a way of life.

How totems work, at least for me ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times ~

While I applaud the concept behind much that is being done to throw down old barriers to health care {Dr.s without Boundaries} and other good works that aim at getting behind the walls that have been placed by despots for control of their people, there is an air of the extreme about today’s world that begs for the very disorder that is the Psychiatric dish of the day, i.e. Bipolarism.

This is a wonderful time for people like myself, who prefer to live alternate lifestyles. We are not pushed by society to be something we are not. I never married, it is not that I was not asked, it was that I was drawn to the bad boys. They make fun companions, lousy husbands and worse fathers. As long as you do not expect a long term commitment from them they are wonderfully fun and funny, even when it is they that ask for the commitment.

Yet, there are many in our world who do not thrive in a time where limits are the taboo, and putting boundaries on your life can make you unpopular. I have long thought that the controls of, say, the church, are fine as long as they are not mandatory for everyone. If those controls are the way a person wishes to live, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t make it law for everyone to live that way. That, however, has not been how it has worked out over the centuries.

We are not a species that easily finds its balance in life, many of us are workaholics, others are drug addicts, many have found their thrills in unprotected sexual activities.  There are many self-medicators who need a glass of wine daily; there is nothing wrong with that as long as it stays at a glass and doesn’t become a bottle daily and starts to interfere with one’s life. And therein lies the rub, eh? We allow our cravings to run our lives and then we are in trouble.

So, is there an answer?

Well, yes, but it is not easy, and I cannot say how each of us will go about doing it. For generations out of mind, society has served as an exoskeleton, bracing us up in ways that were such that we did not have to grow our own bone structure and stand on our own. That exoskeleton has weakened, and in many places crumbled. It is time to find our individual internal bones and strengthen them so that we can stand without the bracing of societal rule to tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Talk about a difficult task!

This is actually where Buddhism has an advantage over Christianity or any other “faith”. In almost all faiths, one is not taught to seek inner strength and purpose, but to look to the deity for one’s rescue. I believe in G-d, so this was not much of a problem for me, but one does not need to believe in a deity to follow the Buddha’s teachings. One needs only to desire internal and true happiness and to be willing to follow the Buddha’s recommendations toward that end.

Let me be fair, here. Christianity, as with Judaism,  the Muslims, and many others has a wide variety of groups within the whole, some of those groups do indeed teach discipline and study. Some teach discipline for all, others only teach this for the group that is part of the inner sanctum. This is also true of Buddhism. So the main difference between the Buddha’s path and Y’shua’s path is the belief in Hashem. Actually, the more I learned of Buddha’s path, the more I realized it is the only difference.

If you study the four gospels, counting Y’shua as a wise teacher from whom you wish to learn, instead of thinking of him as a magical pill you swallow that makes you “whole”, you will find that his teachings bear an uncanny resemblence to the Buddha’s teachings from 500 years before in the orient, 1000’s of miles to the East.

Essentially, Y’shua was teaching how to most sincerely and certainly please a high and holy God via release of worldy attachments, service and humility. Buddha was teaching a path toward inner joy via release of worldly attachments, service and humility. They are the same path, simply two diametrically opposite perspectives. And as the saying goes, one can have it all, as one can please God most high, while at the same time, finding true happiness. Hm, and we can even find balance from the extremes by following Buddha’s middle way.

Vain repetitions ~

Y’shua spoke of this just once, I believe, as it is recorded, but it has influenced many to believe that memorized prayer is wrong. I don’t believe that is what he meant. When he said do not do as the “pagans” do, I would like to know the practices of pagans in that area of the world. He would have been aware of Buddhism and Hinduism and the Egyptian cosmology, as well as indigenous faiths from Africa, so what was he most likely to have been referring to?

One of the things he was NOT referring to was the repetition of memorized prayers said daily in earnest. He was specific that this was a pagan practice, And since it is fairly obvious there are other places where he was deliberately misquoted, I do wonder what he really said there . . . . . . .regardless, repeating formal prayers was not what he meant. The Shema is repeated 3 times a day by the devout among his fellows and is a beautiful prayer.

Cover your eyes with your right hand and say:
Sh’ma Yis-ra-eil, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, A-do-nai E-chad.

Whisper:
Ba-ruch sheim k’vod mal-chu-to l’o-lam va-ed.

V’a-hav-ta eit A-do-nai E-lo-he-cha,
B’chawl l’va-v’cha,
u-v’chawl naf-sh’cha,
u-v’chawl m’o-de-cha.
V’ha-yu ha-d’va-rim ha-ei-leh,
A-sher a-no-chi m’tsa-v’cha ha-yom, al l’va-ve-cha.
V’shi-nan-tam l’-va-ne-cha, v’di-bar-ta bam
b’shiv-t’cha b’vei-te-cha,
uv-lech-t’cha va-de-rech,
u-v’shawch-b’cha uv-ku-me-cha.
Uk-shar-tam l’ot al ya-de-cha,
v’ha-yu l’to-ta-fot bein ei-ne-cha.
Uch-tav-tam, al m’zu-zot bei-te-cha, u-vish-a-re-cha.

There is more to it than this brief paragraph, but this is the transliteration of a prayer said morning, noon and night among the Ivrit.

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.

(Praised be the name of the glory of God’s sovereignty for ever and ever)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead; inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving the Lord your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. You shall gather in your new grain and wine and oil–I will also provide grass in the fields for your cattle–and thus you shall eat your fill. Take care not to be lured away to serve other gods and bow to them. For the Lord’s anger will flare up against you, and He will shut up the skies so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its produce; and you will soon perish from the good land that the Lord is giving you. Therefore impress these My words upon your heart and in your soul, bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead, and teach them to your children–reciting them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up; and inscribe them on the door­posts of your house and on your gates– to the end that you and your children may endure, in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them, as long as there is a heaven over the earth.

So, the refusal to say repeated prayers or the accusation that the rosary or other uses of prayer beads are vain repetitions misses the mark. Saying the “Our Father” as often as you want to say it is NOT vain repetition, at least not if you say it mindfully when you repeat it.

I believe that that indeed was what the Master was referring to, repetition of words without contemplating in your heart the meaning of them each time you say them. If you will refer to the Sermon on the Mount it is inescapable that the Rabboni felt that words have a power of their own, and saying words without truly contemplating in your heart their meaning in your life and the way you live would have irritated him a bit. Don’t do that, say your prayers mindfully and focus on Spirit when you pray. I do believe that’s all that was meant by that, nothing more, nothing less.

Orange ~

Orange, the combination of yellow and red, is considered a secondary color on the old color wheels, everything is changing, shifting under our very feet, so let’s go see what Wikipedia has to say about this color.

The colour orange occurs between red and yellow in the visible spectrum at a wavelength of about 585 – 620 nm, and has a hue of 30° in HSV colour space. The complementary colour of orange is azure, a slightly greenish blue. Orange pigments are largely in the ochre or cadmium families, and absorb mostly blue light.

Here is a wonderful work-up on the color and it’s meanings. It is a vibrant color, denoting warmth, cheerfulness, the autumn leaves, pumpkins at Halloween and Thanksgiving, the energy of the sun, and playfulness. It symbolizes purity and innosence in the Orient, and may be the symbology of the saffron robes of the Buddhist Monks.

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