A voicehearer’s path ~

Murk ~

Murky-FoggyGod does not see into the murkiness of our souls. I have held this view for many years, and every horrible thing that happens, from school shootings to genocidal events confirms this for me. I have even had debates with my fellow believers on this subject as they insist that the “Almighty” can see whatever the Holy Presence looks at. But, therein lies the rub. We were given free will. If the Ancient One interferes with that, it is not free will. But that means that in this world in which we live and move and have our being, there will be horrible atrocities that are completely unexplainable if you believe that God has set the Holy Presence as some sort of GameMaster.  That isn’t how it works, obviously, or 26 people would not have died at Newtown, many of them children under the age of 7.

Do I believe God called these children home? Well, I believe that God opened his arms to receive them when they were sent home by a  madman. Is that the same thing? I don’t think so. I, personally, believe that the only way such an atrocity, such a heinous act, could have been prevented was to restrict and enforce that restriction of the sale of such guns. I know, I will be told by those who believe in gun freedom that the law breakers will get their hands on them anyway. Maybe. Murders with firearms, are down in many countries, the only countries ahead of us on this scale are war torn, at best. We need to admit that we are not first (I know, GASP!) and look at their laws and adapt such laws to our nation.

But, getting back to this thing about the murkiness of the soul, and God’s not looking into that murk. I believe the ancient laws of Moses were given so that we could know some of the causes of murkiness andopenbible find the way to be more pure of heart and mind. Now, do I believe that list was complete? No! Do I believe that list was correct? Well, for the most part, but there were things that needed much longer explanations, or just not mention them. Do I believe the Bible was inspired? Sort of. You see, to me, Moses may have had more visionary instruction than dictated instruction. That would lead to wordiness where succinctness would have sufficed, and succinctness where more verbiage would have helped. And, I believe that all inspiration comes through our very faulty filters, in which case, no matter how much God tries to tell us what we need to know, if we are not clear enough to see it, we won’t get the lesson. I don’t care how powerful you believe God is, and I personally believe God to be more powerful than anyone is capable of imagining. If you have not gone through a clearing process, you will not see or hear any instructions you are supposed to see and hear.

Dalai LamaIf, in fact, we were all clear enough to see and hear the best instructions from the High One, there would be a world of people like Buddha and Jesus. I don’t think we’re there yet. I think we are much more inclined to be like a sieve, where some of the holes are blocked, and some are clear, where we hear, we may, indeed, hear with great clarity, but where the holes are blocked, we don’t even see that there’s a problem. And, there’s another issue. Many times what we do hear is for us, not the congregation, and we think this light we’ve just been given must surely be shared. That has lead to some incredible confusion. The only “‘sharing” of light that we are to consistently do is to be compassionate toward each other, to forgive perceived wrongs, and to be responsible for our acts and words so as not to hurt others unnecessarily in our quest for higher living.

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Reality, Is there a God?

jesus_teaching_2I happen to believe that “God” is very real. I also believe that this God wants us to be happy and good to one another. Much beyond that, and it gets murky. I have had personal experiences with Spirit in my life that have convinced me of the reality of a “Higher Power” in the universe. I cannot tell you that you must believe, or even what to believe, you are responsible for your own thoughts on this.

I have come to believe that, though the scholars may be right, and the stories of a Christ may be twisted and suborned, there are kernels of truth in the gospels. Not of a human that was a God, but, rather, a human teacher that was enlightened and taught a better way for us to live. Yes, I am aware that he is quoted to have said some things that are just simply not supportable by a human. I believe those things were added into the story by those who wrote the legends many years after this rabbi lived.

In fact, it is because of all the controversy that I am going to share with you my base for the beliefset I hold. I must admit that when I first became aware that there were no notes and documents from the time in which the rabbi lived, my head was spinning. Had I put my faith in a myth? Well, possibly. So I began to search out from other faiths, what they believed, and why they believed them. One of my favorite books was Huston Smith’s work on the religions of the world. I was most impressed that Dr. Smith had done the field research that I would want to do if I had had the opportunity.

What came through to me so clearly in that research, and more of my own in reading and talking to those who practiced other faiths, was that Buddhism, stripped dalailamadown to it’s core teachings was nearly identical in principle, and many of the Buddha‘s teachings were a rephrasing of the rabbi’s, or the rabbi’s teachings were a rephrasing of the Buddha’s teachings. Either way, this gave me a basis on which to build my own practice. I had also found a woman who would teach me regarding the indigenous beliefs of the First People, so I must admit this is also part of my beliefset. In fact, my current practice has little to do with ceremony from any of the three basic foundation sets, and much to do with how I see things, and the principles I try to practice in daily life.

There are some lovely side issues when Buddhism is so similar to the Christian path. One is that I see Y’shua as another Buddha, an enlightened human, not a God. Another is that, with Buddhism, there is no need to worry whether there is a “Father” God at all, Buddhism is about relieving humanity from suffering, not about worshipping a God.  Ergo, you can be an atheist and practice Buddhism quite easily. The key, for me, has more to do with how you treat your fellow human beings, in following Buddha’s path, you are in obedience to the one I call the “Ancient of Days”. There is another gem here that should not be over-looked. With Buddhism, you are instructed right at the start that this has to do with your own journey, not about telling others how to live. You don’t have to worry about “John”, or “Suzi”, or anybody else along the way, just worry about yourself. What a wonderful release from being responsible for how others live. It isn’t yours to worry about.

8fold_pathNow, that last part, that’s been a point of contemplation for me. Y’shua taught us not to judge others, he also told us that we shouldn’t worry about the splinter in our brother’s eye when we had a log in our own. That should pretty much tell us to mind our own p’s and q’s, but, rather than telling us not to worry about others so much, Gautama Buddha went on to teach us how to travel the path toward the light, i.e. Wisdom, our own ethical conduct, where to concentrate our efforts. Though you can see the parallels in their teachings in the third link I gave you, the focus of their teachings was a bit different. Y’shua’s was almost all about conduct, Gautama was about the inner journey. Both were leading us toward spiritual growth, Buddha was teaching us how to be another Buddha. Though I believe it was Y’shua’s intent to also teach us to be like him, that has been made to look almost impossible by those who preach and teach in Christian churches, teaching us to love the messenger and forget his message. I don’t personally believe we can afford to do that. We must learn to follow the message.

 

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.

Morality ~

I find myself contemplating the Eightfold Path often, and wondering why it is that the faiths that believe in God very God should find it necessary to place commands for right living rather than principles. Buddha said all that was needed, by putting forth 8 well written principles to live by, rather than 100’s of laws that basically say the same thing, but get into the minutiae of how to shake hands on Sunday, if you will. I, personally, have not found ritual to be that helpful, other than in my times of meditation, when I am settling into “that” space, which is what I think it’s all about. Unfortunately, I also think that much of the ritual is intended to entrain one toward the thinking of the leaders rather than enlighten one about one’s own truth.

That being said, I do believe that each of the prophets and teachers was intent upon leading us closer to what was, to them, the desires of a Holy God. Look at Moses, he was nearly right on a lot of things, most of the mitzvot of the Hebrew faith leading his people toward compassion and forgiveness. You can’t ask much more of a leader, until you look at Buddha, who put all those laws into a set of principles that are timeless in nature. Then came Jesus, a rabbi, whose original words have been so coated with other men’s thinking that it is hard to sort through the teachings and come out on the other side truly enlightened. His goal, of course, was to make faith a more personal thing, while still retaining compassion and forgiveness as the center of all that he said and did. Add Mohamed into the mix, and you have compassion mixed with militarism. Eh, not my cuppa tea, but it calls to many.

However, there seems to be a lack of understanding regarding just how far we were to go with compassion. I am not saying they were wrong. I am saying they simply did not go far enough. None of them said war was wrong. None of them said anything about slavery that would make you recognize it as something deeply wrong. Child marriage was still allowed in all that, girls as young as 9 years old. Child labor still remained right up until the 19th century, as legal, and “under the table” it still exists. Rape didn’t even get a nod as the horror it truly is. So, we have a long way to grow in awareness of right and wrong. Pedophilia was never recognized as a sin, but sends shudders up and down my spine every time I think of a child being forced into adult sexual activity!

Many of those faiths and others not listed still consider homosexuality wrong on the whole, even though where it is addressed in both Old and New testament it was being held up as an example of wrong worship (not brought out so that you could see it that way, but when we dig that’s what it was about.) In fact, when you look at Sodom and Gomorrah, the entire question had more to do with people being taken, and harmed, against their will. That isn’t what homosexuality in this era is even about, so there is no connection to that from a modern view.

In fact, it looks to me to be that the Buddha had it closest to right when he said that all sexual contact needed to be consensual, and that one could not even consider it if the person with whom one had it was basically unable to give consent. To Buddha, that meant a child, a slave, a married person. The child because they were not old enough to resist, the slave because they were owned, the married person because they had made promises to another. Buddha thought it was best to remain celibate. but if celibacy was beyond you, at least make sure of the playing field.

In fact, if you are going to quote ancient teachers to me regarding what should and shouldn’t be allowed, quote Buddha. One must strip away most of what is extant in the New Testament in order to get to Jesus actual words, and one must consider that Moses didn’t even know that war, rape, and child molestation were wrong. And don’t quote Mohamed because, as long as it is woman’s fault that men cannot control themselves, (consider the Burka) then something else is going on. It looks to me as though our laws have moved into the realm of what is considered consensual, that’s a major plus. But otherwise, we need to reconsider and revamp our views of what is moral by law. In fact, I am beginning to like the Dalai Lama more and more. It’s time to take this out of the realm of religion altogether, and come to terms with what is compassionate, what is forgiving, and what is right.

God of Love ~

Those that need to think that God is real (I number among them) have many reasons for this need. My own is that I hear voices and see things that sometimes are not there to others. That can be pretty scary. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the only way I was going to be able to cope with it all was to find a bottom line, and stay there. It is through that storm that I came to see that even though the many forms of faith have a lot of differences, there were a couple of things they had in common. The differences are unimportant to me, the things they held in common, a call to live compassionately, forgiving others as quickly as possible, were the things that seemed destined to help me cope.

Many times, as I read the Old Testament, as well as the New, I find myself shaking my head in wonderment that a True God could have been perceived to be so tribal. Yet, we must remember that Moses, and Father Abraham were tribal above all, and would have seen God in this same reference. You see, that seems to always have been a problem. It is difficult to see an entity as existing beyond the bounds of our own individual experience. Yet, I want to be fair here. The books in the Old Testament are not the complete version, there were many books left out, because they seemed not to have anything to do with Jesus Christ, and were therefore, ignored. The shame comes in the fact that in those books that were left out, a quite larger view of God comes to light. It is somewhat startling, but some of the mystics could envision a God that was big enough to have made the Universe. Now that is where I can say I could join them.

Here, I am going to irritate some of the “faithful” for I do not believe in war. In fact, I believe that war is failure. We were given language and tongues. We can talk, and we can reason, and we should be able to negotiate. Any time we resort to shooting each other, we have failed at negotiations. I am well aware that this world has been overridden with a need for power that seems to trump all other considerations. I do not, however, believe that the God I worship caused this. This is a man made problem, and man needs to solve it. Soon!

In fact, it is this need for power that has caused not only war, but some very personal crimes that are none of which, like war, have been recognized in the Book as crimes. So, what can this list entail? Well, there is war, the wanton shooting of other humans who do not agree with us; there is slavery, often in the past ages the taking of people from among those defeated in war for personal pleasure, be that sexual in nature, or work related in helping us become wealthy; there is also rape, the overpowering of one person by another for sexual gratification, (YUCK!) ; then there is child slavery and molestation. I don’t personally believe there was ever an instance where GOD declared war on any of us. NOT in the Old Testament, NOT in the New, Not in any document from the Quran to the Baghavadgita. God didn’t choose war, our ancestors did, and they were not Holy in their intent. Ever. So, that is a list of power crimes, not complete, I suspect there are more that have not come to mind, but that is a list that must be recognized by our current leaders as a list of things that MUST be stopped before we can even begin to build a civilization that will bring about peace on Earth.

Many look for a messiah, some think he has come in the nature of one Jesus Christ. I don’t believe that was the case. OK I know y’all are gonna slam me for this one, but the human race is just now beginning to recognize power crimes for what they are, and we are not ready for the messiah; Jesus, either as a conglomerate of teachers and rabbis, or as a single person, would have only been the forerunner, setting the stage for what yet is to come. We haven’t yet gotten to a point where the compassion both he and the Buddha have called for from the enlightened is present in a majority of the people. We are a long way from even beginning to enter such an age. We aren’t even close.

I, personally, believe that only when we as an entire race of beings can get to a point where the only God we would even consider worth worshiping would be a God of love and compassion, will we be ready for a time of peace and prosperity, for only when that includes everyone, will it be true.

I have come to believe that God’s Love is a given. It is there at one’s birth or origin from the moment you are brought into existence. You and every creature on this planet. That makes it simple, and I believe that the Love of God is that simple. It’s there for you to lose, not something you can earn, it was always there. In fact, it is that that makes it so difficult for me to listen to all the Preachers and Teachers who speak condemnation as part of their belief system. But what would that mean? It means that it is your decisions that make or break you. You have to be deliberately mean and cruel to others in order to lose the love of God. It means that all concepts of Hell are erroneous at least in part, for a God that loves completely will not condemn completely unless you choose deliberately in your life to walk away from that love.

If you choose to live your life as though God does not exist, but are kind to others, and hold no grudges because you simply know this is not good for you, you will not lose the love of God. This is why prayers of those who have not lead devout lives are often answered. And why the “devout” who are cruel to their fellow men are often ignored. You simply can not lead a life of cruelty and call yourself a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Jew, and expect God to respect your self-naming of your faith. In fact, I believe that once you call yourself a believer, you are more responsible than ever to be good to your fellow creatures.

It doesn’t matter if you believe, God does not need your adoration. God is complete, therefore He/She does not need ANYTHING from you, not your devotion, not your worship, not your dissidence. God does not need you. However, having said that, God loves you completely, and listens always to your cries for help. It is simply there.

Now, you may ask me why there is so very much evil in the world if the Love of God is this complete. It’s a valid question, but you know the answer before you ask it. Look into your own heart. Is there no anger, no jealousy, no hatred there? If there is none of those things you will not be able to understand evil. But, if you truly have examined yourself and your feelings you will know that multiplied by all the people of the earth, there is a great deal of evil all over the world. Is there a Satan? Well, not as a person. In fact, I don’t believe evil is well enough organized to call it a force in and of itself. That is why a mere babe may back it off with a simple tune which praises Good, or God. For that is part of what God is, Good. All else that we would call evil is just our human dark side shaking in the abyss.

Further, you cannot do evil in the name of good, that would constitute the “sin against the Holy Spirit”. That would earn you a place in a world in which God does not exist, call it Hell if you wish, for it will feel Hellish even were it not so.

Images ~

There is a movie coming out that I want to see.  The reason it interests me is that, when I have contemplated the 4th commandment, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” it seems to me to be many layered, and has something to do with how the human mind actually works. This is examined in part in Jungian psychology, and is an extremely powerful part of who we are.

Most people are aware that the pictures and statues of Buddha and Jesus, and Mary, and any other image, are symbolic of the original, that they are not the original, and are only “so to speak” a means of concentrating our prayers. However, this is more easily seen in something like the swastika, an image, originally, of a peaceful people at worship, not a symbol of evil, yet, with it’s constant use by Hitler and his minions, it became a symbol of evil in our minds, making us quake at its sight. Its use was repurposed, or at least sidelined from its original use. There are ways this has happened to images of Jesus. He was a teacher, a lover of children in the most ethical of ways, one who taught a compassionate and forgiving path.

Yet, that very image has come to be something of horror to those who are born with homosexual tendencies. It is a horror filled image to those of African origin who have been plagued by slavers killing their families and kidnapping their children. Pictures of Jesus have come to mean condemnation and oppression to those who have felt the outrageous slings and arrows of those who would use his image to further their purposes. It was several years ago that I became aware that these images of a gentle teacher and the use of chanting songs of “praise” were a type of entrainment, meant to attune the entire congregation to one another, and to be more malleable to the preachers ravings at the pulpit.

Needless to say, I quit attending such services, and began to study other religious and spiritual traditions in order to understand what I was seeing and feeling while in those services. I do very much believe that it is an individual responsibility that each of us bears regarding what we study, what we believe, and how we act. I began to realize that Y’shua, Jesus to most of you, was never wanting us to hang up our sense of self, but was encouraging us to actually examine ourselves and discover who we really and truly are, as the more in touch we are with the “authentic self” that is at the core of our faith, the more likely we are to act in compassion, in forgiveness, in truth.

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