A journal of things, 'n stuff. Mostly stuff...

Category: Spirit

Solstice! Let in the Light!

“Being infinitely patient means having an absolute knowing that you’re in vibrational harmony with the all-creating force that intended you here. You know that everything will happen at just the right time, at just the right place, with just the right people.”

“Happiness, fulfillment and purpose in life are all inner concepts. If you don’t have inner peace and serenity, then you have nothing.”

Today I am writing about the subject most dear to me, which is spirituality. I was struck by these recent inspirational thoughts from Dr Wayne Dyer.

What struck me is how these thoughts are exactly the same as expressed by the three spiritual teachers who are most significant for me: Jesus, Buddha and Lao Tsu.

When I was a young seeker, at age 14, a most enlightened Jesuit priest encouraged me to throw all belief out the door, question everything, find out for myself. This was not how I’d been taught religion or belief – up to that point it had been rote memorization and coerced belief backed by threat of punishment.

What Fr. Breaux did was certainly not in the objectives of the Jesuit organization, which was to turn out well educated, strong men. Men who were good Catholics. Perhaps Fr. Breaux saw that in the long run, strength of spirituality is the most desired state, no matter the religious affiliation of the person. I am forever grateful to him. He gave me permission to explore and come up with the best spiritual way for me. He gave me permission to follow the path no matter where it leads, even if it’s off a cliff!

So, I started on a life long path of spiritual exploration. I haven’t practiced as intensely as some, I tend to study something, put it aside, and come back to it later. Over the years, I’ve picked up the essence of many teachings, done some of the practices, and certainly benefited in terms of knowledge, wisdom and comfort. (By the way, I make no claims when it comes to knowledge. I view myself, as pretty much the biggest fool out there, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I stumble off cliffs all the time!).

What I’ve been struck by lately is how closely the teachings of Jesus, Buddha and Lao Tsu align. All of them speak about finding happiness and fulfillment within. All of them speak of enlightenment as being found within.

There are many sages, teachers and prophets: Daniel, Moses, Aaron, James, Paul, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mohamed, and so on, including contemporary teachers, such as Dr. Wayne.

Almost all teach the same in essence. The three I mention above speak to me.

One thing about the three I mention is that they pretty much focus on the here and now, and on compassion and emotional pragmatism. All three avoid much mention of metaphysics, life after death and so on. If “the Kingdom of Heaven” and “the Father” are meant to signify Enlightenment and the Creative Intelligence, then most of what Jesus is saying in that regard is not metaphysical but rather pertains to our state of consciousness in the Now. He is teaching us about achieving Redemption, or enlightenment in the here and now. He is teaching us how to live so that we can be more closely united with God. He is stern, but loving and compassionate. He points out the truth bluntly. He shows his own trials and moments of doubt, so that we can learn to get through our own challenges.

I choose to believe that is what Jesus means.

So, where am I going with all this? For starters, I realize there are a number of topics I’d like to cover, including Jesus as a Buddhist, my path as a Christian (just call me a “radical Catholic), my practice as a Druid (I belong to OBOD – Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids), my readings on Lao Tsu, sexuality and religion, etc. Lot’s of hot air coming this way! Finally, something to write interminably long dense essays about! Probably not though, my attention span is shorter than a Superbowl commercial.

What I am writing about is my spiritual journey, my walk on the good red road of life, of consciousness. To talk about what I’ve seen. Mostly to understand what I’ve seen, and where I’ve walked. If I happen to leave a sign post for anyone else, then great.

If this is mostly blather, then move on, do the things important to you! I’ll try to keep it entertaining. Ultimately I’m doing it for myself, to get all this out of my darn head.

Stop, voices, stop!

I approach all metaphysics, and explanations for the mysteries of existence with a healthy skepticism. I’m definitely a doubter, just like Thomas was with Christ.

There are times when a leap of faith, based on intuition, must happen. I am perfectly capable of that as well.

My spiritual practice is enhanced by my Enlightenment oriented rationality. I am an adherent of the scientific method, and as such retain a healthy skepticism of all beliefs, unless proven scientifically.

Science is probably our most valuable tool. When the left-brain rose to dominance in the 16th century, and rationality replaced mythical thinking, it allowed us to make many needed advances in understanding the material world, the world of “maya”. This has brought us increased wealth and prosperity in general – look at the world population! That’s a sign of a successful species!

In cultivating and developing our rational, individual mind, we threw out our trust in right brain, intuitive knowing. The right brain works in symbols, systems, and groups. It’s holistic, emotional and image oriented. It is non-linear. It is a deeper way of knowing and understanding.

It was necessary, I suppose, to suppress the right brain in favor of the left. We’ve now come to the point where the left-brain, while important, has taken us as far as it can.

The right brain is now becoming ascendant. There is evidence of this all over, even in the challenges we face as a species. Solving our problems is less about tools now, and more about design. Design is a right brain activity. Much of what we do now on a daily basis in the West is right brain related. Daniel Pink writes about this concisely in A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.
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The derogatorily named pseudo-sciences are not sciences. They are beyond science, on a different level. They are intuitive arts. They have more to do with our consciousness, and the way the mind works with imagery, and with the free play nature of time and matter (which we’ve seen suggested in sub-quantum physics research).

I work with the intuitive arts – trance, tarot, astrology, the I Ching, and other oracular devices. Just like the Old Testament prophets, we must all journey into the Dreamtime to bring back understanding of our reality. I don’t “believe” in them in the literal, material sense; I work with them as tools of understanding the mysteries. The Tao. Creation.

To get back to the quotes that opened this post, both of them express much of the essence of what the great three teach. That’s one of the great things about Dr. Wayne: he essentially re-communicates the essentials for moderns to understand.

“Happiness, fulfillment and purpose in life are all inner concepts. If you don’t have inner peace and serenity, then you have nothing.”

When I choose to find my fulfillment and purpose by looking within, then I also find happiness. When I remember to stay serene, I achieve inner peace. When I have these inner states, then the world is mine. When I fall off, forget, or grasp on to the world, then I have nothing. Just despair.

Jesus, Lao Tsu and Buddha all teach us to let go, stay detached, avoid striving. All three tell us that when we do that, we achieve the Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana, alignment with the Tao.

“Being infinitely patient means having an absolute knowing that you’re in vibrational harmony with the all-creating force that intended you here. You know that everything will happen at just the right time, at just the right place, with just the right people.”

I have found that when I remember to look within for guidance, and to stay detached, serene and compassionate; then I can practice infinite patience. I can remember that I am exactly where I am needed or intended. If I can stay present, then every event does seem to flow, every meeting seems significant, and every person shines more brightly with the Light.

The Light of God, the all-creating force. May all our days be filled with the Light!

Happy Solstice!

It's not always a sunny day…

I’m no Pollyanna. There is evil in the world. There is darkness and horrible, incomprehensible suffering and tragedy. Bad things happen, seemingly randomly, to very good people. Things do not always turn out right – at least in the short term.

Life very much is, as Buddha says, “…old age, sickness, suffering and death.”

However, in my book, the only response we can make is to practice compassion, to attempt understanding; to remain optimistic, positive, and healing. We must work to heal ourselves and others. It is a continuous process.

Jesus shows us this in His Passion and Crucifixion. One must let go of and finally go through the suffering, and die to the world in order to transcend it.

It’s the only activity worth doing, ultimately.

P.S. Hedonism comes in a close second for me!

Prayer to the Great Spirit

Thanks to the Rude Pundit for this.

From Black Elk Speaks:

Grandfather, Great Spirit, you have been always, and before you no one has been.
There is no other one to pray to but you.
You yourself, everything that you see, everything has been made by you.
The star nations all over the universe you have finished.
The four quarters of the earth you have finished.
The day, and in that day, everything you have finished.

Grandfather, Great Spirit, lean close to the earth that you may hear the voice I send.
You towards where the sun goes down, behold me; Thunder Beings, behold me!
You where the White Giant lives in power, behold me!
You where the sun shines continually, whence come the day-break star and the day, behold me!
You where the summer lives, behold me! You in the depths of the heavens, an eagle of power, behold!

And you, Mother Earth, the only Mother, you who have shown mercy to your children!
Hear me, four quarters of the world, a relative I am!
Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is!
Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.

Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike.
With tenderness have these come up out of the ground.
Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quiet.

This is my prayer; hear me! The voice I have sent is weak, yet with earnestness I have sent it.

Hear me!

It is finished. Hetchetu aloh!

Now, my friend, let us smoke together so that there may be only good between us.

"Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats…" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

For Morgan…

“Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep
He hath awakened from the dream of life
‘Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings. -We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments. – Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!”

The Wheel is turning

From Buddha to Lao Tsu to Jesus the Christ, every great spiritual teacher speaks mostly of the constant and inexorable nature of change, and how to deal with it.

I am often struck by the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the Buddha and Lao Tsu. There are 20 years, give or take, when we do not know where Jesus was. Many have speculated. Was he in an ashram, a monastery? Traveling with Uncle Joe to Glastonbury, England? Traveling to India? Persia? Mystery schools?

Here’s an interesting take on Jesus’ missing years:

http://www.thetruejesus.org/jesus/jesus_studies.htm

I’m digressing though. I’ll want to cover some of the more esoteric aspects of Jesus in another post but for now, I just want to share my morning ruminations about change.

The wheel is turning
and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go
and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back
and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you
then the lightning will !

Lao Tsu speaks of the only constant in existence, which is change. So do contemporary quantum physicists.
We can’t hold on, and keep change from happening, and we can’t let go of the wheel, it drags us, pushes us, pulls us along. Lao Tsu mentions the dusty world, everything rises and falls, nothing is permanent, not even Lao Tsu. Or his teachings.

There are so many allegories for change…rivers come to mind. Buddha speaks of the river. The river is there, but always different. Nothing lasts. Form is an illusion, form itself is constantly changing.
So how do we deal with it?

I’ve found that when I hold on and try to keep change from happening, I only suffer fear and frustration.
When I can let go and ride the change, it’s a thrilling roller coaster, it’s a whitewater rafting trip. The best way to enjoy the roller coaster (or whitewater!) is to relax and enjoy the suddenness of change. Love is the key.

When Jesus is in the Garden, he prays to His Father to let him avoid the wrenching changes about to happen. He is afraid, as we all are. This is what is so beautiful about the Passion;  Jesus shows his humanity so that we can realize it is OK to fear change, but we have to go through with it.

Then Jesus literally sacrifices himself on the Cross of Change, the cross of earthy existence to show us that we too must willingly and lovingly sacrifice ourselves to change and to love. We must die to the world in order to transcend the world.
We must let God’s will take us where it will take us, and practice Love, the greatest gift we have to give to each other. When we fully surrender,  change is….doable (to use some 21st Century slang).

So, I’ve not revealed anything new here, there is nothing really new under the sun. I’ve mostly reminded myself of the nature of existence, and change, and the way to deal.
1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind. Here it is. I love you!

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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