A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘responsibility’

Meantime . . . .

158283722I am on a friend’s computer, and thought I would post from here. We are needing to replace the breaker box in order to have things back to normal, so it may be a while before I can post regularly again. In the interim, I have been reading for the pure fun of it. Some mind candy that may or may not be particularly “healthy” but is certainly a fun read. Right now I am going through the Dresden Files, Jim Butcher’s tales of a white wizard in modern Chicago. The stories are fun, and his portrayal of Harry as a wizard going against the main stream of thought in the “wizarding community” are actually, as with all good storytellers, character studies of a man whose life is nothing but test after test of his mettle, so to speak.

Harry is a wizard who got off to a poor start to begin with. His mother was aligned with the murky forces of dark magic, his father a stage magician. He attempts to live a life doing good amidst all manner of  temptations to turn to black magic in a modern world that doesn’t even believe magic is “real”. The struggles are set in a world of fantasy, the character development of the wizard, however, is the study of any human being caught in a continual loop of adversity. The things that make the read pure fun, and still a study of spiritual paths, per se, is Butcher’s continuous explanations of Harry’s perspectives.

He is dealing with being on the outer rim of everything. He cannot lead a so called normal life, after all he really is a wizard, yet, he stukeleys_druidis beginning to learn, slowly, that the mother who died giving him birth was aligned with the murkier side of things, and that he was apparently intended to practice that way as well, since he wishes to do good, he is caught in a crack. The “good guys” don’t trust him, he has already used magic to destroy his teacher who was trying to enthrall him. This is an infraction of the “First Law of Magic”. The “bad guys” want him, but he does not want them. The temptation is to either go dark, get out, or sit down and cover his eyes and ears. What a life!

Butcher addresses many things that seem to have filtered into our world as misconceptions through the misunderstanding of what is in the realm of Spirit. Things like demons. Most true demons don’t know and don’t care about humans. Much, indeed, that is harmful to humans in that realm really doesn’t bear humanity distinct malignant will. The forces and entities that reside in that realm are busy tearing, destroying, and just being, where they are. Even much that is beautiful and “Good” does not have a direct bearing on humans, and may, indeed, be too powerful or too “wild” to be part of the world of humanity. The clash most often comes when a human draws one of them into our world thinking they can control the demon and use it’s power to get what they want without having to earn it the hard way. When those forces are unleashed into a vulnerable world, things get a bit shaky. Seldom are they as dramatic as one sees in the Dresden Files, but that is usually what has happened, nevertheless.

sn1987a_nasaThe problem, unfortunately, that has plagued us for most of the time humankind has been on this planet is the egocentricity of our understanding of the world at large. It usually isn’t really all about us, we just think it is. Even our concept of G-d comes from that egocentric place. It is an afront to most people’s beliefs that G-d isn’t even all about us. There is much of G-d’s perspective that has absolutely nothing to do with the creation of those humans on the planet Earth. Are we important to G-d, oh, I think so, but then, I believe all life is important to G-d, and I think G-d is big enough to handle it all, it’s just that we often do not live up to our highest potential and attempt to blame that on G-d, mom, or the neighbor. Sorry, folks, we are responsible for who we are and what we do. Painful though that truth may be. I’d much rather be able to blame someone else for my faults, but I suspect they are mine, and I will have to answer for them in the end. Dang the bad luck!

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Tricksters ~

corvid_frIs the “Devil” a real “person” or just a concept? Big question, many answers. I have some opinions, no answers, but will lovingly share my opinions with any who will listen. The raven, my birth totem, is one of the well known tricksters in Native American cosmology. There are others, better known, i.e. the spider, and Old Man coyote. Depending on your feelings regarding these creatures, you may consider their ways enlightening, entertaining, funny, or nastily devilish. My own Dad was a rather well known trickster among his friends, and when I first read the medicine of the coyote, recognized him immediately; Prankster, contrary teacher, sarcastic wit, devilishly playful.

That is, in fact one of the very definitions of trickster medicine to a NA holy person. This is the one who comes along and teaches you the lessons you need to learn the hard way, if you refuse to learn them by a neater, easier and cleaner road. I find the whole concept of the trickster teacher so much easier to accept than the silliness of the Devil that comes out of a people that teach that the “devil” is responsible for everything you don’t happen to find palatable.

Do I believe there is a form of absolute evil? Well, actually, I believe there is. I just do not flaminbelieve that the “Devil” made you or me do everything that we were not supposed to do. I am more responsible for my decisions than that. Even the very bad ones, and I have made more than my share of those. Actually, to me, pure evil is what is responsible for the awful accidents and horrible things that happen to good people anywhere in the world. It is mindless and without direction, striking where it will and randomly dealing with all and sundry, for good or ill.

The trickster is more personal, that is something that comes along to teach you, and seems quite evil to begin with, but brings some very good things with it when we learn from it. I also believe Creator is quite capable of bringing very good things out of instances that had no intent other than pure evil. We silly humans, who think that if we study something long enough can read the tea leaves and tell which or what just by the studying of it, generally cannot tell until one has allowed time to tell us by the fruit growing out of a situation whether it was a trickster or a devil that precipitated the incident.

coyotemoonSo, no, I don’t believe the devil made you do anything. If I understand the New Testament, the devil goes around toothless, and has no ability to bite you, only whisper in your ear. You can say no to the evil thing suggested if you will seek the help that is usually there, if you will look for it. So, unless illness has compromised your mind, there is the capacity to say no.

I know this is an unpopular notion, but, if you are old enough to know better, say, perhaps over 10 or 11, don’t blame your Mama, or your Papa, at least not to me. You are already old enough to know that what you are feeling or thinking isn’t how things ought to be, and therefore old enough to ask for help with those feelings. Yes, I think our parents do influence us for good or ill, and no, I don’t think we begin to really grow beyond their influence until we begin to lead a self examined life. Some don’t even begin that process until the age of 40 or so. But there is much that has been written to guide those who would seek such guidance, some of it quite simplistic enough to be read by a teenager that chooses to be obtuse or simply obstinate.

I do, therefore realize that, though one can know the difference between right and wrong at as early an age as 10, and therefore not do things one shouldn’t do. I suspect that one will not truly know how to reverse the early training until one is much older. The pity of that is that we have usually had our children and made our share of mistakes with them before we can even begin to realize what makes us tick, so we don’t pass along bad habits.

We should have been made in such a way that we didn’t start having babies until we were qq1sgmessydesk1thirty-ish, a sensible age all around, and we are therefore in our 40’s when they need the advice we might be mature enough to give. Oh well, it wasn’t until a few decades ago that one could expect to live long enough to see such maturity, so nature had to get us into the game before we were even remotely emotionally ready.

So, here we are, all muddled up, and without the ability to begin to straighten out the muddle until we figure out how to make it so that humans only procreate when they are ready mentally, not physically, we are probably a ways from that, thank Creator, for we have too many who would use that tool to propagate their own form of wickedness. So, as I said, lots of opinions, no answers.

Sin ~

adam-and-eveSin has been a thoroughly contended concept since long before I was born, and, since the major theologians cannot agree, I may be treading where even the angels will not go. Since the genome project assures us that Eve was of darker skin tone, there are no depictions of her that can even come close to accuracy, but hey, I want to discuss the inaccuracy of our perception of sin, anyway.

Calvinism provides a definition of sin as being that of total depravity, a twisting of what is right into something altogether wrong. That kind of nastiness is present in our world, but is not what was meant by the teachings of old. It would seem that the intent was to understand that humans were incomplete, and imature, in the sense that mistakes are more easily made than correct moves in the dance of life. Hence, humans are born with intelligence, the ability to learn how to “dance”.

When one looks at the average individual in our world, this, indeed fits far better than the

Dance of Life

Dance of Life

idea of depravity. The issue then, in the Tanakh was that G-d was perfect, complete, and therefore man needed a buffer between himself and G-d in order to participate in a relationship with G-d. I believe that the reason that modern Christianity, Calvinistic Christianity needs Y’shua to be a G-dman is that, for them, nothing less than that could untwist the twistedness of the soul. Yet, if Hashem did not see man, per se as twisted, there remains a question of degrees.

I was contemplating David’s words in the psalm, “cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean”. If the ancients sensed that, that something like hyssop, an essential oil from plants, would cleanse one both physically and spiritually, where did the need to place one’s sins on the back of an innocent lamb and slaughter the poor thing come from? I have wondered if there were a larger lesson even in this command from Hashem. What if the desire of the Holiest were that we see just how wrong it is to put our shortcomings on the backs of the innocent?

Look at Buddhist practice for a moment, here. The ceremonies and rituals, as well as the bloodpractice of mindfulness in order to get one’s mind out of the gutter and thinking on higher thoughts is rather effective, as well as accepting the issue of taking responsibility for one’s own thought processes. I like that. If I take responsibility for thinking what I think, then there is no “power” that can coerce me into doing something I do not feel is right. If I lay the blame on the “devil”, then the devil can make me kill or mame others, not acceptable behavior before any court of law. If the voices in my head tell me it’s time to kill the neighbor, then I can tell the voices to do it themselves, I have other things I prefer to do rather than shed the blood of a human.

The Eagle’s place on your personal wheel ~

132First, let me share with you that my medicine on the Wheel in the East is the lowly little mouse. I have always enjoyed the wonderful tales  about mice. Things like the comparison of the country mouse and the city mouse. I am a country mouse. I like the fields and nature and the open sky, even though, out here we little mice don’t live very long. Mouse medicine people have a tendency to want to get up close and personal to explore whatever it is that has come into our world and caught our attention. We want to taste, smell and feel whatever it is that is ahead of us, and that can sometimes get us into trouble. Set some cheese on a spring loaded trap and “thwack”, you’ve got us. And yes, I like cheese, a lot.

Eagle medicine, which is almost a polar opposite in it’s function, is the Medicine Keeper of  goldeneagle4the East of the Wheel of Life. Eagle sees the “big picture” with extreme clarity, seeing details as well as major consequences of actions taken. The East is where a person learns the AHA’s in life, the “epiphanies” or sudden “Yes!” moments. This is where we are born into this life on the wheel, and learn the basics of walking and talking. Eagle watches our progress and keeps the knowledge of this place for all time. It is Eagle that carries our prayers to Wakan Tanka (translated Holy, Wakan; Spirit, Tanka)

5189j2181el_sl500_aa240_Hyemeyohsts Storm is a storyteller and spokesman for the mixed blood peole of the earth. He tells the story of Jumping Mouse. (His book, Seven Arrows, is an excellent introduction into Native teaching and thought.) There are several such stories among the Original People, as mouse is also a keeper, though not of the East, but of the South in some tribes. Let me say a word of caution to those of you who are reading my words and have not explored your totems with a Native teacher. Eagle medicine is not all that common, and to claim it is also to claim not just power but an awesome responsibility to serve the people. Learn Eagle as a Keeper on the Medicine Wheel. Let Eagle teach you, understanding that Eagle is a servant and teacher. Learn Sun Bear’s totem teachings in Dancing with The Wheel. It is an excellent place to start, and you will not go wrong learning from him.

The blame and shame game ~

It is a nasty little game, and gets no one anywhere. No matter if it is blaming self or blaming other, the game is circuitous torture, and causes major dysfunction, or is the sign of major dysfunction. Several years ago, when I first realized that modern Christianity played a large part in this awful game of no one is responsible,

“Hey look, I have a free ticket out and I don’t have to examine myself to see why I did that, ’cause Jesus forgave me and you have to, too!”

I went into deep prayer and contemplation, examining the scriptures to see if Yeshua had really been that short sighted. He had not been. In his teachings, one must take responsibility for one’s actions. It is, again, Paul whose prolific letters get us into a habit of saying things like, “Well, it was for your own good, you see.” when we make a mistake. It is Paul who puts the burden of the sins of the Gentiles squarely on the rabbinical shoulders of Y’shua.

Not only was it unfair to Y’shua, and the teachings that would have ultimately brought us into a wonderfully close relationship with the great “I Am”, it was unfair to the gentiles, for in shifting blame, always, and in not taking responsibility for one’s own actions, a person never grows up and becomes “perfect” that word should be “mature”, another little mistranslation that makes things ever so confusing.

We’re two millenia down the road and instead of “evolving” into the mature individuals it was the Rebbe’s hope we would become, we are now blaming our mothers for everything we have done all our lives. We don’t have to ask forgiveness, we don’t have to mature, our mothers forever stand in the box and must admit their horrible guilt for not letting little Tommy cross the road in front of that massive truck.

So . . . . .how do we break the chain of this game? Well, let’s go back. The Roman Catholics were not all wrong, you know. Admit culpability, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”, examine what you have done, look at it with an eye for what in your actions would have improved the situation. Accept responsibility for your own mistakes and forgive others for theirs. If we do this, there is a hope that someday, we humans will grow up into the sentience we were designed to use in service to the One.

Balance and Beauty ~

Buddha taught that life led in moderation, called the Middle Way, was a life of balance. Most Native American tribes, and the Kaballists teach that beauty and balance are the way to live. They are the same teaching, from different perspectives. Our little Kung Fu master demonstrates the beautiful sense of balance gained from working with Tai Chi, a form of martial art developed for meditation and control rather than combat.

Part of the deeper beauty of all of these paths is that they do not teach a static balance, as though one were standing in one spot, never to move again, but a  dynamic balance that prepares one for the changes and jostling that are a part of everyday life. I love the path of mysticism, though could never truly enjoy life on a mountain top, living as a recluse. I like people, flawed, imperfect, warts and all, I love to be in the midst of things. I do not have to be the center of attention, in fact prefer to be a bit on the side, but I definitely like to be part of an interactive show.

I think the reason I was drawn to mystic spirituality was that there was always room for me to be an individual. I am just as flawed as anyone else, maybe even a bit more. I am not going to achieve perfection in this lifetime. But, though it has been a bit of a bumpy ride, I’ve had a lot of fun!

One of the most important tools in learning to walk that balanced path is the sense of humor, and here I am not talking of laughing at others, but learning to laugh at ourselves and our foolishness. Besides, if I hadn’t been kicked out of the Lutheran church for thinking in circles, life would have been incredibly boring! Garrison Keillor says Lut’rans can’t have any fun! I love the Prairie Home Companion, with Mr. Keillor’s dry wit and sense of the ridiculous. His entire discourse is a sort of gentle, laugh at oneself, lesson in living. One of my favorite characters of his was Guy Noir. Or was that Guy Noarr?

I was listening to the “tube”, (don’t often watch, but sometimes you see some worthwhile stuff on there,) and Professor Randy Pausch was mentioned. His sense of balance in the act of living and dying was probably as profound as any I have ever seen in action. Having every reason to be angry with G-d, having a young family and a wife with whom he shared a loving relationship, he died with grace and humor, leaving a wonderful legacy for his children.

Among the things most memorable was a comment of his that “Right up there next to being responsible and doing the right thing . . . . .this close,” and he held the thumb and forefinger apart for us to see, perhaps an eigth of an inch “Is having fun.” It would certainly be no shame to have seen this man angry and in tears, as the pain of parting from such a full life would be immense.

That statement is as close as one can come to expressing the concept of walking in beauty and balance. May he be blessed on his journey.

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