A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘learning’

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.

Hatred, anger, interference, why?

MB1There was a question on Daily Buddhism that is one that baffles all who have entered a path of enlightenment, no matter the faith of origin or place in the world at large. When one makes choices that go contrary to the social “norm”, one is sometimes accosted by physically or verbally violent reactions from others. The question was how to deal with this. But my question for many years has simply been, why?

I come from a Christian background, but about 25 years ago gave up on the sect I was with, feeling that they could not or would not follow Y’shua’s teachings to love. The general actions of the congregants seemed, in fact, to be something quite the opposite, at least of the person was not of “Our Church”. The insistence was that we were not to love those who were outside the faith, as they were apostate and “not really human”, well, that was never said, but that was the feeling one got.

My problem was that Y’shua had dealt with just that phenomenon. His comment was that “Publicans love their own, what benefit to us if we behaved no better?” That’s a paraphrase, but then everything read from the manuscripts is paraphrased in order for us to understandJesus the wording and syntax of the sentences. But, there it is, what do we benefit if we behave in a manner that is like those who follow no spiritual path of any kind?

In my explorations after that, I found that the Buddhists as a rule were more obedient to those teachings than those who followed the Christ. It was in looking at why they were obedient to Christ, when Christ’s own seemed unable, that I began to realize that there is this “position” that the human spirit adapts all too easily. That is, “I am right, you are wrong, you must suffer.”  This way of looking at the position of others as ”wrongness” that somehow affects one’s own well-being, indeed, seems rampant in the Western world.

Such an attitudes still puzzles me. There seem to be two extremes here in the West. Either there is an intense caring of what others think to the intent to control those thoughts, or be controlled by them, or there is an extreme diffidence that borders on a sort of personality disorder of detachment from all connection with others; neither is healthy. If we maintain an attitude of what I have learned to think of as compassionate detachment, we can cope with the daily struggle without letting it overload us.

So, what is that? It’s the willingness to look at the behavior of others as “their issue”, knowing that there is little we can do to “make” them see the world differently without some manipulation of their world or ours, while deeply caring that they are happy in so far as it lies within our purvue. Happiness comes from within. We cannot “make” someone else truly happy. We can do our best to please them, or at least not to offend them, but we cannot make them feel contentment within. That is something they must discover for themselves.

I still don’t know why we are so bound in this part of the world to insist that others live their lives by our rules. The only thing that makes any buffalowhite3sense to me is that it is quite possible the unhappy one has chosen a life other than the one they truly wanted in order to meet someone else’s expectations, and the “different one’s” choice to live an idiosyncratic life hits a soreness within. That is sad. But it makes a sort of strange sense, doesn’t it?

It is for this reason that I respect a Native American teaching imparted to me by my Lakota and Shawnee teachers. “Follow your own truth”. You are expected to do this prayerfully and respectfully of others, but you are expected to find the path you are to walk from within yourself, not from what others want of you. It seems to me to be a right way to live. I hope someday our culture will evolve enough to teach that to our children.

The Barbarians ~

fur-coat-full-length-2a-009-w298What is a barbarian? What constitutes being civilized? When has the line been crossed so that all will see an act as barbaric? There really are no answers to those questions, because it is all  in the point of raccoon5view of the culture from which we come. The beautiful fur coat that you see here to the left, it’s raccoon fur. They are awfully cute little guys, and if you have ever watched them, they seem pretty self aware. They use tools, and can be considered pests just because of that. So, because they are inconveniently aware of their surroundings we kill them for their fur? Hm, the same argument could be used for killing humans. We must seem like pestilence to most of the animal kingdom.

I like leather. Most of the leather I use comes from bovine sources. So it is for most of America. We are red meat eaters. (I’m not much anymore,  not because I do not like the taste of it, but because I am a heart patient, and can only have red meat once a week, so stick with chicken and fish for most of my protein.) But, what of killing the cow that provided the leather and the meat? Did it “deserve” death? Was it killed in a compassionate manner? (that seems a strange question, but look at the kosher laws of the Ivrit, and you will see what I mean, and that can seem to be enlightened self interest, for if an animal is not afraid when it dies, the hormones of that response are not in the meat that will  be consumed by the humans killing it.)

storyteller-holymanThe Native American perspective has been one that seems rather civilized,( for being heathens). Yeah, remember that one of the Popes declared Native Americans to be soulless, therefore killable. GADS, what a horrible error in judgment. Lord, what fools we mortals be! Back to civilization: The Lakota Souix, from whom I learned a great deal about Native American perspectives, and remember that is just one tribe, not the entire back of Grandmother Turtle, taught me to thank Creator for any sacrifice made by any thing that had life before I use it. Now, that isn’t just animals, that’s plants as well, and rocks, which carry a slower more ponderous energy, but definitely carry energy of their own. And the question returns, just who is the barbarian, here?

The Vision Quest ~

bluelotusmandalaThis eight point symbol, or star, is used by the Lakota to signify the Morning Star, the Spirit from which each Lakota asks guidance for their life path. That is the purpose of a ceremony called the “Vision Quest”. Though it sounds a bit romantic, I would caution you that it is several days of fasting and praying on a hill, away from others, in rain or shine. The attitude of the Holy men of the tribe is that it is serious business, not a game. Yet, here is one of the reasons I have so much respect for my brothers and sisters that live this walk.

This is a query set before Spirit regarding each individual and the life that one person should lead in order to honor who they are as a child of the Universe. The query is not about what my neighbor should do, or my Pastor, wren_carolinabut about me, and what I should do. And it is not about conforming with the “crowd”. It is about learning to handle the person you are in a manner that honors Creator. If you are a person who carries, say, wren medicine, you are not expected to conduct your life in the same manner as one who carries badgerbadger medicine. Each of us, indeed carries more than one “medicine”, and some may carry both wren and badger. It is, in fact, the medicine combinations you carry, and how you choose to honor them that makes you into the unique individual before the tribe. A lot of folks raised in the European fashion, as in “Take what you can get and run!” (We are called the “fat-grabbers”, or Wasichu, when we behave in this way,) want to claim the big medicines, such as eagle and bear, and buffalo, rather than important but “quiet” medicines, such as wren or mouse. It truly is not about the “size” of the medicine you carry, it is about the way you carry your medicine.

One other thing, while we are discussing this particular concept, did you note the business hopemandalaabout the Morning Star, when I opened this post? There is a Christian hymn that speaks of Yeshua as being the bright and Morning Star. I believe that, and he most certainly is that to me. Not God incarnate, but the Morning Star, set in the sky to guide me, and all who will follow his teachings. You may call the Native American heathen, if you are that foolish, though I suspect you had best be careful, for it is the sin against the Holy Spirit that is the one that cannot be forgiven, and I think calling Native Americans anything but “brother” or “sister” in the faith, would make for just that kind of sin.

Meekness ~

1raspberryThis is another one of those fruits that Paul listed that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention. To my notion, first of all, this is not necessarily the willingness to stand still and be whipped, though that has been known to happen, it is by no means all that this concept entails. When I look at those who insist that they know G-d better than their brother, I look for a couple of things.

One of them is that a person filled with the love of the Holy Spirit will seldom insist they know G-d better than you, for there are only a few souls privy to the workings of your inner being, and they seldom have that kind of pride. The next thing I look at is whether they show the marks of having learned from the Holy Spirit. This will include Compassion, of course, but it will also include a sense of Joy, a strong peacefulness, and a willingness to learn from all other humans, and from all of their environs.

That doesn’t mean that I expect to see the kind of compassion shown by one as developed as HH Tenzin Gyatso, but it does mean I expect to see the buds of each of these holy fruits the_dalai_lamalargebeginning to appear, or that this person is in that stage of winnowing when Spirit first gets hold of us and starts clearing out the gunk we have a tendency to accrue in our lives. All of these things are included in the concept of teachability.

This is not something that is forced upon us from the outside of our souls, this is a working of Spirit deep within us that is, for lack of a better way to express it, a softening of our hearts. As we grow in the Spirit of Holy Love, we find we develop better ears, eyes, touch and taste, yes I know, you are going, WHAT?

But, most of the time, the Holy Spirit does not teach even those of us who do hear voices through that one capacity.  Much of the time, we are taught by hearing what others have to say; by the leaf that scuds across the road in front of us; and by the sharpening of our senses so that we begin to undedoveyrstand that though life doesn’t always make sense from our lowly point of view, life is always communicating with us if we are willing to take the time to pay attention. This talent for learning is something that seems to come with the touch of the Holy One.

This is why there are those who follow a path of discipline, such as one finds in Buddhism, which brings about this teachability, and there are those on other paths toward the Light that find that the teacher within is bringing about the lessons, sometimes all at once, and sometimes gently, one at a time. Each of us learning at the pace our own Spirit chooses from within, aka the touch of Spirit.

Sikhism ~

459px-khanda1svgI am quite thankful for Wikipedia, it lets a person do casual research into almost any subject one can think of, and there are usually references where a person can do deeper research depending on the need or desire. I have heard of Sikhism, of course, and anyone who desires a successful interfaith structure to see us through this millenium sans “holy wars”, has seen the symbol, but I had done no reading on it that would let me know the stance of this faith regarding compassion, that one thing that seems to flow through any faith founded on the holiness of Spirit.

Sikhism fits, most definitely. The emphasis is on good works, the faith is monotheistic, and according to Wikipedia the practice is based on the teachings of the 10 gurus or enlightened beings that founded Sikhism in a span of time from 1499 to 1708. There is a home page for those who wish to research this way of life more thoroughly. One draw is that the Sikhs’ founder was inclined to feel that G-d did not need rituals and traditions, that this was a human thing, so there is a specific stance on such things within the faith.

I remember being told in church that one could not get into “heaven” via good works alone, which necessitated the intervention of a G-d being such as Jesus. I think what made me question that so closely was the presence of the other special borns in religious history, such as Osiris, etc. There was too much resemblence to all the other religions for the claim of uniqueness to stick to Christianity if one examined the claims closely. That brings us straight back to the kind of lives you live being the source of your eventual reunification with the Light. It’s just not possible for me to believe one can go on lying, stealing, and killing, and claim to know the God who is Love.

Herons ~

great-blue-heron_03Herons are the reason I named this blog the hedge. They are a strange bird, and carrying one as a totem puts you in line to work at your own pace, being patient, able to work with the group or alone. Longevity is also part of their medicine. Theirs is the power of the mystic, along with the swan. I love this bird, almost as much as I love my swan totem, these birds look just plain funky, and don’t care. That works for me. If I was long legged instead of round as a rubber ball, I’d say this was my primary totem, but, nah, I look a lot like the owl, and that has been what I have been called since childhood, a spooky ol owl.

You don’t seem to find swans or herons or even owls laughing, so I am glad I have Raven and Otter in there to balance things out a bit. There are so many of the Origin stories on the internet that, if you are interested in them, there’s lots to read. Remember your  local library, also for references. After all, your taxes pay for the community to have those books on hand for all of us, so use them, don’t misuse them.

The Heron
The heron is a long legged wading bird. There are about 60 species of heron a_heronincluding several species called egrets.  Most egrets have white plumage that is highly prized as ornaments in oriental ceremonies.
Herons are often seen standing motionless, as if in a meditative state, on its long thin legs.  This stance symbolizes its ability to maintain balance through proper focus. Its inner foundation is secure although not fixed.

When the heron feeds it stands in water.  Its neck is bent in an S shape.  The flowing pattern of the letter S reflects the rhythm of this bird.  Understanding your personal rhythm and responding to it accordingly is imperative for those with this medicine.

Water is associated with the mysteries of life.  It is connected to the emotional body of man.  When you see a heron standing in water notice how deep the water is. This depth can symbolize the depth that needs to be explored within self.  The deeper you go the more you discover.  Whatever is discovered take the time necessary to stand in silent reflection.  In this way clarity of understanding is known.

Those with this medicine have strong emotional natures. They feel things deeply and with passion. The challenge here is to keep passionate thoughts and feelings under control in order to maintain a balanced emotional nature.  The advantage of this energy indicates the passion and ambition needed to complete tasks and accomplish goals.

Herons are seldom seen flocking together.  They are solitary birds that enjoy their own company.  Heron medicine people are independent and willing to make changes when the need arises.  They do not need a lot of people in their lives.  This can sometimes lead to challenges in personal relationships especially if the other person has needs that require constant attention. Maintaining some type of social interaction and not withdrawing from others completely is helpful.

great-blue-heron_chicka-damHerons stand out in their uniqueness and know how to take advantage of things and events for their own benefit.  By observing the heron, its actions and its lack of action we learn how to perfect out personal flight through life.  Herons hold a silent power, their grace, agility and majestic presence reflect balance.  This balance is the gift they offer to all who choose to receive it.

This is from a website called Sayahda, informative if you don’t have access to totem lore from books, or better still a teacher. Learning how the animals can teach us to be truer to our own souls is fun, and Spirit honoring.

Oh, BTW, it is a hedge of herons, a counsel of crows, a lament of swans. Someone with tongue firmly planted in cheek, eh?

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