A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘kindness’

The Parasol ~

The Parasol

A parasol is not an umbrella. An umbrella protects from the rain, while a parasol protects from the sun. The parasol also symbolically protects against “the heat of defilements.” Another way to look at it is that the parasol represents the sky and the handle represents a mountain that holds up the sky, or possibly the axis that holds up the whole world. The proximity of the person under the parasol to the “axis of the world” represents the importance of the person.

Still another way of looking at it is that the dome of the parasol represents wisdom, and the hanging part symbolized compassion. The parasol as a whole represents the fusion of both.

Guess who is usually shown sitting under a parasol? Two points if you guessed “The Buddha.” However, other important figures, such as the Dalai Lama and others are entitled to parasols as well.

parasolI have chuckled at the Traveler’s Insurance ads, as they use this concept quite effectively to show the protection of carrying their insurance. The concept revolves around the idea that a life lived in kindness is, in and of itself, a protection from much adversity. When you live mindful of the needs of others, and attempt at all times to be gentle and compassionate, life is easier for all concerned. In fact, this goes back to the idea that life on this plane of existence is full of suffering and sorrow, and it is among the Eight commendations by the Buddha on doing your part as an individual to relieve that suffering.

Though, in a world as paranoid as the 21st Century in the United States, this is not always the case, being kind will usually “oil” the squeaks and moans of the wheel of life as it turns. The Dalai Lama has even commented on the fact that if you are consistently kind,you will usually have few actual enemies. I have found it a point of extreme sadness that this teaching, which Y’shua repeatedly iterated, seems to have been skipped in the practice of modern fundamental Christianity. If you are busy mindfully conducting yourself in a manner that aims to sow compassion and gentleness, you learn to speak even harsh truths in a manner that will bring about thoughtful living, rather than condemnation.

Most people do not wish to be unkind, in fact, when you get to the source of unkindness, it is usually pain of some form or another. Physical pain that burrows into a person’s ability to think and respond clearly, or emotional pain that is just as wicked in it’s injuries to the soul, leading to a need to always be on the defensive with others. It is only when one attempts to be mindful at all times, even when one suffers from these pains, that an easement is found in any given situation.stickers_thumbnail

Imagine what the world would be like if each of us did our best, every day, to be fair in our dealings with people and in the things we do!”

I found this website in my search for a “Golden ruler” to point out the wording of Y’shua’s teachings. What a lovely reminder for each of us to live the Golden Path as taught by Y’shua. I love this, and find it a healthy comment that perhaps more who follow Y’shua are finding that his path was the most important part of his ministry. I have long considered his teachings a path toward the light, and it has been a heart breaker when I have found preachers and teachers of his path teaching others things like, “You don’t have to forgive in order to be forgiven,” {See the Lord’s Prayer}, You only have to be kind and honest to those who are members of your own faith or congregation, EEEEEEEK! Why would you teach that? Even those who have no faith in any sort of Spiritual path are kind and honest their own!

P.S. I will soon be back to posting regularly, I have been occupied with a visit from loving friends from back home, and along with our electrical problems {now fixed} have been busy catching up, thank you for your patience.

Su

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Change ~

deltablueYes, change is the only constant in the Universe. That is one of the most difficult things for us to cope with, most especially as we grow older. We want the security of certain things in our lives remaining constant. That does not happen on this planet, it may not happen anywhere in the Universe. There are references that say that Hashem remains the same forever. That may be quite true, and indeed, I suspect it is, But our understanding of Hashem has changed many times through the ages, and will yet again. Part of that is that we as a race of beings are getting “older” in our understanding of ourselves.  Some say our culture is in it’s teens. Which means we are capable of depth of thought, but not of sustaining depth of being. I can believe that.

All of the pieces parts are there in the Law to show us a way of life that is compassionate and gentle. Yet, because of the various instructions to oust and decimate unlawful peoples we have a perception of Hashem that is harsh and even possibly cruel. Certainly, there is a verse in the Tanach that says Hashem is a jealous G-d. Yet, what is asked of us is a kindness at the level taught by the Buddha some years later in another area of the Globe altogether.

It is in contemplating this factor that I have come to believe that all inspiration, no matter the timing or the person, comes through our own filters, and if we are not absolutely clear, afi50000with no agenda of our own, we will hear what we want to hear. In other words, in order to change our perspective of Hashem, or Moses, or Buddha, or Y’shua, or Mohammed, we may need to change internally enough to hear with the clarity of a clean and polished bell what Spirit has to say to us as individuals.

That requires a change that can only come from within, not from others, not even from Hashem, except that it is the Eternal Spirit that puts the tools in our hands to effect those changes:

In Aramaic, the word “mitzvah” means connection. Here, then, is the next level for understanding the word’s meaning in a modern context. The business of every Jew is to testify to God’s goodness and God’s sovereignty by fashioning our lives in ways of holiness and peace. We connect ourselves to our Creator; we link ourselves to the one who liberated us from slavery, by the way we live our lives. Each deed either strengthens our connection to God, or attenuates that link. There is no neutrality in the world of action: we either weave a web of goodness, with each new action adding a new strand to the fabric of our lives, or we snip away at the weave of righteousness that Judaism establishes in the world. In this second sense, mitzvah isn’t just what you do because God said so. God isn’t a cop, and mitzvot are not simply statutes. We do mitzvot because we seek to allow holiness into our lives.

From a website called Tikkun, to big-blue-marble-transparentheal, repair, and transform the world. This is Judaism today, marvelously translating Hashem’s words to us in a manner that brings out the goodness and love of the One who asks that of us.

Y’shua is taught to have said,

John 14:21, 15:12-13 He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; but he that loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this that one should lay down his life for his friends.

It was not Y’shua that taught us to kill one another in the name of religion, we have been doing that for a very long time, much before Moshe, much before the Sumerians. We have an attitude from our very outset that says our own perspective is right, and anyone who disagrees must die. In the days before the Law, this was understandable if only in that no matter who won, there would be a blood bath. It is in the Law that you see an attempt at an orderly means of working things out, at all levels. In fact, I find myself wondering if the laws regarding sacrifice were a concession to the already extant system of appeasing  deity, and rather than make wholesale change that folk would not think came from deity, Hashem toned down the slaughter immensely.  (The Eternal understanding that we are not good at change, eh?)

It is in that little added codicil allowing the very poorest members of society to bring somewhere between 1.5-2.5 gals of flour for a sin offering that we begin to understand that 449146a-i101Hashem may indeed have never needed blood shed to be satisfied. That leads to the conclusion that all of the shedding of blood was for our own need, not Hashem’s, so that we would feel that some greater justice had been served. And the very fact that Hashem does not seem really fond of blood letting at any level makes it even more poignantly our problem, not the Deity’s. I wonder when it will begin to dawn on the world at large that Hashem is quite a bit more civilized than the wild children on this planet?

If, then, we factor in Buddhism, which practices compassion as well as vegetarianism, and is tied to no Deity, but actually allows an individual the choice of whether to follow a deity or not, since the focus is on one’s own eternal happiness rather than service to G-d, we are left with the idea that perhaps there are still a great many changes we need to make altogether.

All My Relations ~

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

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

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

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

So . . . . .

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

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

All My Relations, Aha!

Balance re: attachment, detachment ~

marefoalI do sometimes wish that the English language were more diverse. There are times like this when one word does not fit all. Attachment can mean anything from an area where a plug connects with its socket to the relationship between a mother and her young.  Detachment of a type is an important concept in Buddhism, and also a sign of sever emotional dysfunction in a child. Gads! What a world! I may get quite verbose on this one, as it’s a tough nut to crack.

First, be aware that detachment in Buddhism is a type of disentanglement when one is so embroiled and enmeshed in the lives of others that the attachment causes  severe discomfort for both parties, where neither party knows a gentle way to ease out of the situation. It is not intended to dissolve one’s compassionate interaction with other humans, or even other beings. Quite to the contrary, it is intended to teach that the truest form of compassion will always be there to help, but will never interfere if the person has already bgmade up their mind the direction in which they intend to go. When that person is injured as a result, there is no recrimination, simply help with getting back on one’s feet. It is not an easy way to live or see the world. There are so many times when pure temptation would have us say “I told you that would happen.”

Only when it becomes apparent that even with the hard knocks the person hasn’t learned are we to take a further step back, even then, no recrimination, simply not allowing their need to learn the hard way to devolve us out of the path we are supposed to be walking. The concept being that once you have done everything you can, and are praying about those areas where you cannot reach out and make a difference, (the prayer that some one somewhere can.) BTW, the serenity prayer helps with that (Neibuhr), you can move on to learn the next step of your path. One of the things that attracted me to Buddhism was that there are those, (called bhodisatvas) who chose to stay on this plane to help those of us who lag behind. They reincarnate not because they must or stay in a low position on the wheel of life, but because they have “made it” and are here to show the rest of us the path of kindness that will bring us all home.

the_dalai_lamalargeRemember, Buddhism is a personal path of study and learning about mastery of self  and about personal attitudes, it is not a religion, it does not address in any way if there is a G-d in the heavens, it is about you taking responsibility for your actions and learning to live a better way. You are free to believe in God, it does not interfere with being a Buddhist also, you may be a Taoist, (pantheistic belief in compassionate living, a Christian, a belief in g-dman that “saved” you; a Jew, a monotheistic belief in compassionate living, or any other belief system you choose. It is easiest if you choose a belief system where compassion is a chief cornerstone, so that you have no conflicts between your path and basic Buddhism.

It is the need to live in balance, called the Middle Way by the Buddha, that finds itself addressed in living a “detached” life that holds neither attachment to things or people so tightly that they cannot breathe, nor detachment from things or people so lightly that one forgets to be kind to all other beings. Finding that balance is not easy, but it is possible. HH Tenzin Gyatso, the dalai lama,  is a wonderful example. I bow to his teaching and mastery.

The Magi ~

xmas-magi2In St. Luke’s retelling of the legendary beginnings of the rabbi Y’shua, there is an oft repeated tale of a visit by three “wise men” of the time whose astral calculations told them of the birth of a specially anointed child. Their path to get to him is not recorded among our literature, though one could wish it had been. Hollywood has speculated on that journey,  the story carries all the romance and intrigue one would desire in a good tale. What they embody for us is an allegorical journey toward the light.

I have said before that I do not see Y’shua as G-d incarnate. Yet, neither do I see him as an ordinary man. I see him as a type of Buddha, a mentor in Spirit upon whom we can call for enlightenment, and even assistance when needed. I have never doubted the strength and possibilities of faith. Y’shua often said to those he ministered to that their own faith had made them whole. That is pretty incredible, for it implies that we live well below our full potential. Many times he said to those who listened to him that they could become like him. He wasn’t wanting followers to bow to his “glory”, he was wanting brothers to walk at his side, doing the deeds he did, from that time unto the present. If I understand that correctly, we have certainly missed the boat.

I had wondered about his mission’s failure to bring about the kind of living among the common man that he intended, and what he planned on doing about it until I read about a wonderful Jewish teacher called the Baal Shem Tov. I suspect, if that’s him, that he has things well in hand, and will keep coming back and teaching us silly folk until we get it right, for which I am most grateful. Until we understand that the walk along the path is as important as getting there;  that how we live each day of our lives, giving, loving, laughing and being true to Spirit is what we are supposed to do, not beat each other over the head or kill for the sake of religion; he will just have to keep coming back to teach each new generation, hoping that someday we get it right.

In the meanwhile, the best thing that we can do is celebrate the greatest gift, the gift of Love. As Spirit teaches us, through Y’shua, through the Baal Shem Tov, through Shakyamuni Buddha, through Ptesin Win, through Mother Theresa, how to love, we can learn each step of the way, to be kind, to be helpful, to be faithful to our teachers. Many blessings to you this season, no matter which Holy Days you observe!

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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

Cyan ~

At the throat chakra there sneaks in a lighter “blue” that is called cyan. It’s a rather lovely, almost electric blue and quite vibrant. Though we think of it as a mixture of blue and green, it is a printer’s primary color, mixing with magenta, (that extra color between red and purple) and yellow, with a dead black as the darkening agent. It is interesting that the “normal” color wheel and the printer’s color wheel both use an almost pure yellow when the other colors are just ever so slightly different in their vibration on the electromagnetic scale.

The variation of Cyan that is called “Light sea green” is actually the color I would have expected to show up on the spectrograph, as it is more my own perception of the combination of blue and green.

I have read and studied other chakra teachings and the one thing that strikes me as strange is the lack of comment on listening, which is as much the power of this chakra as speaking. Since this is a blue-green combination in color, it is here that balance in our day to day “journey” is most important. Hearing truth and assimilating it as truth is every bit as important as speaking truth. To do so with the grace, beauty and balance of the purest color of Cyan is a worthy goal for any lifetime.

Is it coincidence do you think that this is also the center of balance in the human being? Our inner ear is responsible for helping us to walk on this rapidly spinning planet without whirling out of control. Learning to hear everything that is being said, and weighing it’s importance to you and yours is tricky indeed. Carefully digesting this truth and bringing it into manifestation for those you value can be intense, to say the least. Finding the balance of when to listen and when to speak is every bit as important as speaking truth and hearing truth when it is spoken. It is also important to remember that how you speak the truth can make all the difference in the world in how it is received. When the Dalai Lama was asked if he could boil his religion into just a few words, he simply smiled and said “Be Kind.”

{Editorial Note:} In my further studies of the spectrum I have learned that Newton had initially named the spectrum with the standard 7 colors that we have been accostomed to, but it has apparently been suggested that “indigo” be dropped as a seperate color because there are many folks who cannot differentiate between it and violet. Erego, the spectrum now has 6 colors, rather than being expanded to the 8 or 9 that I would have thought appropriate with magenta and cyan, oh well, fashion, as ever prevails

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