A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘compassion’

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.

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.

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.

Choose, but choose wisely ~

Rape

It’a all about the right of the woman to choose whether she will carry the child within her that will remind her, possibly for years to come, of the most traumatic incident in her life. Emotions boil over on this topic and it is often difficult to see the real issues for all the steam we produce. I stated in this debate, that one of the things that bothers me about a man speaking out on rape with any positive twist may indicate that that man has himself raped and is rationalizing in his own mind a heinous act that should receive the death penalty. However, if we look at all the permutations of the act of rape, we might find that few men would survive. Many men do not believe that women mean no when they say no. And women are pounded by guilt if their bodies respond with orgasm when the sex is against their will.

I must say that just because you know someone who is the product of rape whose life has been positive, does not mean that all children of rape will be able to rise above the trauma of this type of conception. Neither you nor I are in a position to judge. Compassion for the woman would give her the option of choosing whether to carry this fetus to term. In fact, the very option of being able to choose may be the positive turn of events that will allow her to carry the child of trauma without her own feelings reflecting on the development of the fetus.

Studies have shown in the past that a mother’s rejection of the fetus in utero reflects on that child’s ability to learn and live a life that is productive. That being the case, do we want to force a woman to bring a child into the world she cannot by the very nature of it’s traumatic conception, accept? To so force the issue may be doing both the child and the mother a grave disservice. All factors considered, the right of the mother to choose whether she will carry the fetus to term is paramount. We need to let her choose what she will do.

Cute ~

Puppies and Kittens

As that one woman in your office can tell you (or if you are her, no need), cute pictures of snuggly, doe-eyed little critters touch a soft spot in us humans. Baby schema — the set of features that make young animals appealing, like big eyes and a head too big for the body — have been shown in experiments to capture people’s attention, make them smile and even induce caregiving to others. Oh sure, the boss may seem tough, but one look at a basket full of puppies and he’ll want to rub you right on your little belly.

A study published online this week by the journal PloS ONE suggests that viewing cute images not only makes people feel better, but improves performance in completing certain tasks.

Oh my! A study to explain why might show something that the wise ones have been saying for millenia. Genuine compassion is what is needed for this world to function better. Lol, I know that seems a bit simplistic, but it’s true. When we care, we are careful. Anything evoking that caring part of our personalities will function to bring us into a state of mind that will cross our “t”s and dot our “i”s with more precision. We can be as efficient in many ways as a surgical machine, but without compassion, we are just going about our tasks on automatic drive. That’s why we cannot find a way to make a computer surpass a good Doctor’s worth when it comes to patient care.

I love the very thought of this. It so completely shows that we are in need of compassion, even in the mundane tasks of the day. The more we care, the more careful we are, even when it comes to tying our shoes. I suspect that this was marketing research for anime that simply surprised those conducting the study regarding the deeper implications of it. But how magnificent is that? A simple market study about cuteness finds that we as humans are hardwired to function better when the caring part of our personalities is tapped! I dare say that you will find with deeper study that this is why those who can harm animals easily and without purpose are inclined to become serial criminals of a violent and harmful nature.

Compassion is teachable! It is important to begin the teaching in early childhood. If we do this, we will enhance our existence beyond our wildest imaginings, and find true happiness is something that can be unleashed here on Earth.

Delusions ~

twirl1I have been AWOL for a couple of weeks, please accept my abject apologies, I have several thoughts on the “boards”, just couldn’t seem to get them put together well enough for a post.

I have been thinking about a lot of things, “magic”, delusions, compassion, principles, and, unfortunately, it’s just been a bit of a jumble, and wouldn’t come out of my fingers onto the board as a readable comment. It’s too late to worry about losing my mind, that is already gone, so, well, I guess I’ll just have to fake it in the meantime.

According to several sources on the “web”, delusions are firmly held beliefs in the presence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Most do couch that in terms that excuse those of us with some sort of spirituality, but then, the implication is that even the belief in the spiritual side of life is delusional.

Delusions are pathological beliefs which persist despite clear evidence that they are actually false. They can vary widely in content, but are always characterized by the absolute certainty with which they are held. Such beliefs reflect an abnormality of thought processes; they are often bizarre and completely unrelated to conventional cultural or religious belief systems, or to the level of intelligence of the person suffering from them.

Of course, the key word there is pathological, i.e. harmful, beliefs. Unfortunately, there are many harmful beliefs that are part of this or that religious system that are allowed to remain part of the overall culture, just because they have been expressed in religious terms. Christianity’s many sects have those who believe, in spite of the teachings of Y’shua regarding compassion and treating one’s fellows as one would be treated, that one does not need to forgive a non-believer, or even a believer if they do not ask for forgiveness. That isn’t how it’s said in the Book, in fact, the Book can be quoted as teaching that if we do not forgive, (no matter who) we will not be forgiven, but it is how it’s taught by more than one denomination.

The sadness there is that the teachings of one who would have us treating all others with some respect, at least, for their humanity, indeed, for the common ground they hold with us, are then skewed and made into the bylaws of a “them and us” club. So, here, in this little practice that should not be present in the path of the Nazarene at all, is a delusional teaching that allows those with an inclination to believe the preacher over the words in the Book, to practice something so anathema to the original teacher as to bring about such harmful acts as the Inquisition  and the Crusades, neither of which fall anywhere in the principles taught in the Book.

One of the most harmful of delusional states is the is one that allows the believer to feel that they could or should control the lives of others. This happens so often it is simply accepted as a matter of that person’s faith, yet, beyond the laws that govern peaceful cohabitation with our fellow travelers none of us has the right to attempt to control the lives of other, and each of us has the obligation to love others as they are. Hm, perhaps that is exactly why we get sidetracked with all the other stuff. Allowing someone the freedom within the law to be themselves, and loving them too is a pretty tall order.

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