Day by day we are exposed to messages from modern mass media that implies, directs and judges us on what we should or should not value. What we wear, what we have, what we drink, consume and do for entertainment is, if we are to believe the doyens of judgement, the values by which we can take our place on this earth.
This smoke screen of ludicrous social white noise distracts us from the values that underlie the way in which we walk upon this earth and this current existence. My value of a person is based on which phone I use? How does this stand up to the value of a child in Ghana that is sold into slavery for the total value of $400. Or a girl in Nepal is taken into prostitution to pay off a relatives debt. How does this relate to the social value of a mobile phone?
Our values reflect whether we walk heavily or softly on this earth and this existence. The accumulation of values that we carry and that influence our behaviour are not hard wired or carved into our psyche but are fluttering in front of the lens of our perception like butterflies or transient dust that we can cleanse at any time once we realise that what we are, in fact, seeing/perceiving is not truth but our version of truth.
The premise of our existence is that we are all in this fish bowl of breathable air together. The breath that I take as I write this has passed through the lungs of many sentient beings before me just as my DNA has been passed down to me from my ancestors long buried and forgotten. Also, we have this one earth that sustains this biological transportation vessel for this consciousness/soul that we all share and that if we walk heavily on this earth then the consequences reverberate in ways that we can not conceive.
Our values in order to promote a life worth living should be, I believe, premised on giving thanks for our ancestors, this land on which we tread, those that are the traditional carers of this earth and the realisation that our breath and blood are common to all.
Sitting in contemplation
Incense smoke rising
My eyes closed
Thoughts of things that matter
That had no meaning
Come to mind – clarity
The hawk drifting
In circles in front
The past gone
The present now
The hawk and I are one
Through its eyes I see
The wings feel as part
When the mind is troubled the breeze is broken
When the I is calm the wind is smooth
When the me is as one the smoke drifts in a steady line
Keeping my guide with me brings me to now
The procession towards gaining a pure understanding of the reality of existence while minimising the influence of ego and perception is a task that takes dedication and motivation on behalf of the seeker. Most seekers start out by realising that, to borrow a line from a fibre advertisement, there is a “better kind of normal”. This can be due to a large number of individual reasons which prompts the seeker to initiate the search.
The search can be the self inspection/introspection in order to “find oneself” or to shop around the well known, and not so well known, spiritual and religious traditions. This often brings people back to the teachings of their culture and/or parents or to experiment with more non-traditional teachings. At this stage the seekers are prime targets for cults and destructive teachings that isolate the seeker from the community for the betterment of the cult or its leaders.
But how do you know when a cult is a cult? Most belief systems have three elements: The Example/Teacher, The Method/Teaching, and The Community.
The Example/Teacher. Is the person that delivered the teaching and showed the efficacy of the teaching as a living example of the effectiveness of the teaching. There are specific qualities that make for a good teacher – certainly how they live their life is an example. Their life should not be at odds with their teachings. They should not be claiming a higher status than that of a teacher or coach for the seeker. This includes those that claim that they are incarnations of Jesus, Living Buddha’s, the next coming, etc.
The Method/Teaching. The method/teaching that is espoused should be logical and provide more than just “have faith” by providing a daily practice that provides a base of behaviour that is conducive to spiritual development that is based on service to others, reduction of ego and the stripping of learned behaviours and criticism. It should not be based on indulgence or damage to self or others. The teaching is more important than the teacher and the teaching and the behaviour of the teacher will provide the proof of the teaching.
The Community. The Community is the community of seekers that support the journey. The identification of the community can be difficult in that there is a community of seekers, of teachers, of practitioners and of people outside of the community. All of them need to work together and be accepting of all and the teaching should provide guidance for those that are outside or critical of the community of seekers. The key to this guidance is that ultimately we are all connected in some way and therefore to be discriminatory of others is to foster discrimination of self.
The journey of reduction of the Ego Hound to allow the Spirit Dog to thrive is not easy and very threatening to some who value their own perception of “self” in that the journey results in the destruction of what they perceive and value.
Which dog will you feed today?
See the people drowning in a sea of stimulation
Craving, desiring and consuming
Drawing into their being the essence of advertising and confusion of needs and wants
The suffering that is only eased by more of the same
Happiness depending on the external – falsehoods one and all
See the people claiming that their way is the blessed way
To the exclusion of all others
The pain the suffering the torment written on their face and in their being
Those in holy uniforms of segregation and separation
Diversity in unity
See the people focussing on the elimination of those not like them
Those that are all one under God but defying the true teaching, so they say
Those that act not in the way of theirs
Those that follow another teacher, another way, to the same destination
The blasphemy interpreted by the judge of self defiant of true teachings
See the people that realise the essence of truth
See the people that abide with the truth in all things
See the people that live in grace as they realise that truth is universal
See the people that have not created a new awareness
See the people that have eliminated the falsehood of false interpretation
See those that are realised in robes of all colours and styles
See the people that put no value in the external
Universal – Accessed
Whilst considering the motivation of those that attempt to force others to change spiritual practice through force I went through the following thought process:
a. To forcefully attempt the change the behaviour of others should be without anger, as anger would be ego and that is being possessed by self, however if without anger is this wrong?,
b. This would be like a mother using force or punishment to change the behaviour of a child that is doing something that is dangerous,
c. If we are taught that there is a certain way of doing something so that we have a positive effect and we see our child doing something different then we act because we have a sense of responsiblity to teach the child,
d. Likewise with religion and dogma, if we are taught there there is a right way of doing something, and have some faith in that method and that it has positive results then we feel confident in that method,
e. If we are also taught that our way is the only correct way and that those that have a different methods are causing a dilution of positivity and that we have a responsibility to the divine world to correct the deluded behaviour of others so that the world will cease to suffer then we feel a sense of duty to act – not dis-similar to the mother and child
f. If we also sense that we must stop others doing this thing so that they will stop hurting themselves or others then we might feel a sense of “right” to use any method available.
SO, my question and my dilemma. Obviously the people that are being stopped will have their own perception of right method and that they should be free to practice what they know to be true. SO, how do we bring these two conflicting views to a common sense of unity such that they can practice their own belief systems with mutual respect and understanding.
More meditation to come – “A’ha” moment not yet achieved.
Sitting and contemplating
External and internal interruptions
That annoys me
Or is it “I am annoyed?”
Take responsibility – if “I” am annoyed then “I” can choose to be not annoyed
Compassion and wonder at the ability of the other to communicate – waves of sound, of light, of wind, of living and breathing sentience
Take responsibility, wonder, enjoy and smile