Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The End of Days

This was written in September 2002, in response to the predictions of total anarchy, the end of life on Earth and even the end of the Earth itself. People were stockpiling food, clothing, tools, weapons, anything they could imagine needing when they woke up tomorrow to utter destruction.

One of the first prophecies of the end times came from Nostradamus and had to do with the Jews going home, which they did a number of years ago. The Middle East has not settled down since. Another of his prophecies had to do with the mark of the beast on the forehead of a world leader, and was interpreted to mean the birthmark on Gorbachev’s head. Much was written about the bear and the eagle, possibly referring to Russia and the U. S., or perhaps China.
Even the book of Revelation in the Christian Bible referred to the end times in graphic detail. More of these prophecies are coming true with each passing day, the end of the world as we know it is more and more certain. Operation Desert Storm brought us closer to the end as did the American declaration of war on terrorism.
Iraq is heating up. India and Pakistan are at the ready and both have nuclear weapons, in part, thanks to Canada giving freely of our technology to make nuclear reactors to generate electric power. China is ominously silent. Both nuclear and chemical weapons exist in abundance. The ability to deliver such weapons anywhere in the world is an accepted fact.
The attack on the U.S. September 11th last year signaled the end of innocence and freedom as we know it. More and more freedoms are being taken away in the name of safety and the populace is accepting gladly these changes. The world economy is shaken to its very roots. The U.S. economy is heading for a very real, very drastic upheaval as the bills for the aftermath of 9/11 come due. The Japanese economy teeters on the brink. Even here at home, we lose services at a steady rate without making any real dent in the national debt. More of the world’s population slips below the poverty line every day. Starvation is no longer a Third World prerogative. It is happening right here at home.

Everywhere there are predictions of dire events, global warming, untreatable disease, floods, droughts, famine, earthquakes, destruction of our environment at an incredible rate, holes in the ozone layer, extinction of more and more species of both plant and animal life before they can even be cataloged.

I think it is obvious that if we do not succeed in wiping ourselves off the face of the earth, Gaea will have a flea bath and certainly reduce the number of Earth’s inhabitants drastically. There is truly no way to prepare for what is to come. Because the course of history is cyclic, civilizations rising and falling, going all the way back to the decimation of the dinosaurs, Atlantis, Egypt, Athens, Pompeii, Rome, the Biblical Flood (a version of which exists in all religious histories), the European Dark Ages, the British Empire, the Russian Tsars, and now the USSR, Aztecs, Incas, and the list goes on, Life itself is in an eternal spiral of becoming, such that with every turn of the wheel, civilizations fall, but with something left over to begin again with, I believe our emphasis must be not on saving life, but on saving souls. Death, is the eventual outcome of all births, and as we know, death is simply a rebirth on another level. Panic is not called for; we are simply living in the end times of another civilization.
Because it has become truly a Global Village, we are much more aware of what is happening than in the past, which means that the general populace is privy to much more “News” than even twenty years ago. I am not sure I would want to survive, at my age, to greet a “Brave New World” where living simply is a must, with no medical services, no system of care for the elderly nor any of the modern conveniences that make life easier as we age. I believe that is the job of the young. There will certainly be survivors to repopulate the world and start the cycle once more. It would be hoped that these survivors would be much more spiritually aware than past generations.

Perhaps our responsibility lies in trying to make for a more enlightened populace. People are definitely searching for answers, for a better way, for connection with the Divine, the Creator, the Cosmic All. That is why so many Eastern Religions have taken hold in the West, among them Buddhism, Baha’i, Hare Krishna, Transcendentalism, Wicca, Native Medicine, Spiritualism, plus any number of fakes allying themselves with the New Age movement. I see our role as one of bringing light to the dark recesses of the human condition, in all possible ways.

What is old. What is new.

What is old is me. What is new is this Christmas Day.

Last year, I wrote about passing the torch, and the need for the younger generation to learn to make Christmas before that knowledge dies out with the old ones. This year has been a totally new experience for this older child. I had been dreading Christmas in a way. As most of you know, I am not that strong any more and the idea of making Christmas, including Christmas dinner was a daunting one. The idea of going to the city for Christmas was out of the question.

I never even considered bringing (or taking) Christmas! However, my daughter arrived from the city last week, stayed two nights, and went with her dad to get the tree, then took me shopping for my gifts for him. In the evening he strung the lights and she decorated with his help. When she left the next morning, Christmas had arrived in our house.

The second hurtle, Christmas dinner, which we had cooked for the past 33 years without interruption, was to be catered...by her and her partner. They cooked all day Christmas Eve, then headed here in the morning, turkey, veggies, pies and Champagne with orange juice in hand. Her dad lit the kitchen range and promised to make the gravy. They warmed everything up, set the table, shared a morning champagne, opened gifts and we sat down to a very leisurely mid-afternoon dinner. Before leaving to go home again, they cleared the table, did the dishes, shared out the leftovers and put our portion in the fridge. All was left the way they found it this morning...except we have wonderful leftovers for tomorrow.

I could not feel more loved!

I pray for everyone to be surrounded by such love in this special season and all year long.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Magic

I wrote this a few years ago, but I believe it is still very relevant particularly at Christmas time when magic fills the air.

The Magic

With our changing world, so much of the continuity with the past has been lost, partly due to the breakup of the extended family and the frailty of the marriage bond. This is a major concern because it is part of the magic that children used to inherit from the older generations. It allowed them to know what was real and what was make believe, but also allowed them to dream great dreams. If our children do not dream, they will not do great things, a recipe for disaster in these most terrible of times.
So much of the magic is gone that many young parents do not even know about it, so how are they to teach their children. What always comes to mind when I think of this is the news item a while back about a young boy who shot his brother, then waited for him to come back to life and continue playing. He had been brought up on a steady diet of violence on TV and in the video games his parents used as baby sitters, and they said Mother Goose is too violent for the current crop of children. At least with Mother Goose, Grimm’s and grandparent’s stories, we knew what was make believe and we absorbed the moral of each story without even noticing.
We also absorbed the moral fiber of their generation along with our daily bread. We knew what was right and what was honorable. We knew that dead was dead. At the same time, our innocence was preserved for as long as possible to give us time to mature enough to handle the harsh realities.
We now live in a society that is stressed to the extreme just trying to provide the necessities of life. Family play time or story time, or even participation in group activities has become extremely rare. These are the times that should be providing the magic of dreaming big. I was always told that if I wanted something bad enough I would find a way, that hard work and integrity were rewarded, that I could be anything I wanted to become. … When my daughter was in grade 7, her teacher told her she would make a good secretary, not to dream beyond what was logically do-able. We had words, that teacher and I!
The schools are letting the children down and the parents are not taking up the slack, they simply exhaust themselves trying to survive and there is nothing left over for the children. Everything is done in the fast lane, even cooking dinner is seen as taking away from quality family time.
There is no time to cook, no time to teach, no time to participate in activities together, no time to share memories of accomplishments, dreams and ambitions, no time to learn sportsmanship, life skills … and on and on. Often there are no aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents … and the rest of the extended community that earlier generations belonged to and were supported by. WE have become a restless, rootless society.
When something died, it was given a fitting burial and the occasion was used to teach the sanctity of life, the logical rhythm of living and dying. Now, the dead thing is disposed of and the children are told that it went to live with Aunt Martha on the farm.
Parents don’t face the big questions with their children; they take the line of least resistance. This may be because they did not learn these things in their childhood either. The first funeral my children went to was for a favorite goldfish. The children decided the fish was hungry and gave it a whole oatmeal cookie. The next morning, I found the fish had tried very hard to eat it all, but had not been up to the task. He barely fit into the match box for his burial, but we sent him on to the next world with full honors and the children knew that dead is dead and he was not going to wake up.
I am not saying that there are no good people left, only that the balance has shifted with more young parents not having learned the skills and are now unable to pass them on. With the extended family being the exception rather than the rule, there is room for the “family by choice”. I personally have three daughters by choice, yielding five grandchildren by choice as well, who all enrich my life immensely. I am seeing more of this and I believe it may hold some hope for the future.
There are really no words to describe exactly what this missing magic looks like to anyone who has not experienced it, but maybe part of the answer is for those of us who know to reach out to those younger ones who know there is something missing, and help them find it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Peace Profound

My life of pain is written
In the tears upon my face.
My capacity for joy is written
In the depth behind my eyes.

Understanding is reflected
In the timbre of my voice.
Peace Profound is waiting
In a chamber in my heart.

The events of each day
Form the path I must take
To reach the chamber
Holding ultimate bliss,

And gladly I walk
Through the refining fire,
To reach such an ultimate goal.

May the Peace and joy of the season find all of you


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Journey Into Being, A Beginning

This is in response to Paul's comment on Anger-The Book Review.
After publishing the book in October 2005, I became very ill and expired in an ambulance on April 6, 2006. Herculean efforts resuscitated me and I came out of intensive care and home only one month later. It was love that brought me back, and love that keeps me here. I have done no more with the book as I am working on either a second book or a second edition, not sure which, adding new material and changing it to Journey Into Being-A Lifetime On The Path. My DH thinks I should call it The Spiral Path. Since I am in the latter stages of COPD, I tire easily and need to rest more often. It is slow going but I believe I will be able to publish it. There is a link to the book at the end of the blog links to the right of the body of this blog.
I am also working on another book, Dialog Between Teacher And Student. It will trace the communication between teacher and student over a 5 year period, with emphasis on the fact that we are all teachers, we are all students.
It is still my desire to keep the charting of my course free, and to that end, I post most of the material here. If one were to read this blog from the beginning 'till now, you could follow my course through this life.
Due to time constraints, I have not kept the My Space blog up to date but there is a note there directing anyone intersted to this blog.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Journey Into Being, The Book

Since the 1970's, I have kept a journal of jottings tracking my own journey toward enlightenment, things I have learned, observed and recorded over a 30 year period. In 1982, I compiled them into a small volume for family and close friends (6 copies). Last year, with the passing of a very dear friend, these early jottings came back into my possession.

Due to the extreme pressure from these same family and friends, I agreed to up-date the collection and compile it into a book for publication. Most of the mare rial comes from my early thirties, juggling a career and a life, while at the same time pursuing my personal quest to "become" an enlightened being. I have added more recent material as well, but it is truly a Journey Into Being, A Beginning!

Since I do not believe in putting a dollar value on anything I may have learned that would be of benefit to others, I was in a bit of a quandary, which I solved by setting up this blog and another at My Space At MSN. Between the two sites, I hope to offer things I have learned about life and living it, freely to anyone who may enjoy or benefit from my experiences.

The pressure to publish continues, and with the help and encouragement of family and friends, I believe the book will be ready to print by the end of October. I have found a site that will print and distribute it, taking their fees out of the proceeds for each book as it is printed. In this way, I need not pay any costs up front, making it possible for me to do. My course is being charted by the Creator each step of the way, and I must believe this book needs to be written. Difficulties are being swept away, needed information falls to hand almost before I need it, and the support and help of my family and friends is unending.

It is my sincere hope that my early experiences will help those beginning on their path to have courage and hope, knowing they are not alone. All knowledge resides within each of us. We must simply seek our inner connection to all that is. When we tread our paths with a light and a mirror, we light the way for our footsteps, and hold a mirror to assist others to look inside for their truths.

With love and companionship on the Journey

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anger-The Book Review

I found a rather negative review posted on the site that the book, Journey Into Being, A Beginning, is being sold. It upset me rather more than I thought it should so I had to sit down and examine it to determine why.What it comes down to is this. I gathered together the writings and published the book because I wanted to share my personal Journey with others so that they would know that they are not alone, and to perhaps help to point them toward their own path. It is truly from the heart, a little bit of me in every word.

I put myself out there, spiritually naked for all to see, but that was not the reason the review made me angry.After pondering and meditating for some time, I realized that I was angry because that review might turn someone away from the book without checking to see if it was something that they could identify with and perhaps gain insight from. My DH assures me that this will not happen, that one mediocre review will not defeat my purpose in publishing, and I find that I do agree with him. Those who can gain from it will find it.

Funny how even after all these years, anger can still come up and blind side a person. It also reinforces my belief that anger is not a true emotion. When we look behind it, we always find another face peeking out. Sometimes it is fear, or embarrassment, or disappointment, or other emotions we do not want to deal with. Most often, though, it is fear that I find behind the mask of anger. In this instance it was fear caused by hanging on. I needed to learn to let go of the results of my actions, instead of hovering over them like a broody hen. That light-bulb has allowed me to continue work on a second edition or a second book, Journey Into Being, A lifetime On My Path. My DH suggested I name it The Spiral Path.

When you find yourself angry over something, stop and examine that anger. You may be very surprised at what you will find there. The greatest benefit in this exercise is that once identified, anger usually slinks off into the darkness, leaving you more aware and in control than before. Each time you confront it, it is easier to banish.

This is the beginning of taming the emotions and banishing the fear that motivates ego. There are layers beyond the mask of fear that hides behind anger. I will leave it up to each one to search their hearts for the answers hidden there.

The Buddha on Anger

In my youth, my temper was uncontrolled. The first guy who took me to a deserted road to tell me the "hereafter" story ended up in hospital… Later as a young mother, my temper was definitely not an asset. About that time, I stumbled on a book called The Teachings Of The Compassionate Buddha. Although not a Buddhist, I have worn out three copies of that little book. One of the first things I saw in it was this piece about anger. It grabbed my attention and was probably the beginning of my quest to understand and eliminate it as much as possible. Control was not my goal, as control is simply suppression, which still hurts the one experiencing the anger. Again, meditation was the tool that let me peer behind this ugly mask.

The Buddha On Anger

Let a man leave anger, let him forsake pride, Let him overcome all bondage! No suffering befall the man who is not attached to name- and-form! And who calls nothing his own.
He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver, other people are but holding the reins. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good, let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!

Speak the truth, do not yield to anger, give if you are asked, even though it be a little. Beware of bodily anger, and control the body. Beware of the anger of the tongue and control your tongue. Beware the anger of the mind and control your mind. The wise who control their body, who control their tongue, who control their mind, are indeed well controlled.
The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of one’s self is difficult to perceive, a man winnows his neighbor’s faults like chaff, but his own faults he hides, as a cheat hides an unlucky cast of the dice. If a man looks after the faults of others and is always inclined to be offended, his own passions will grow.
You, yourself must make an effort.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Links

Today I have added two new links to posts that I enjoy reading very much.

The first belongs to Jon Be Me and is called Right or Rong? . His insights are based on the Buddhist view, and well worth the read for anyone on or searching for their path. Anyone who knows me, knows that if I had to profess a specific religion or path, it would have to be Buddhism.

The second belongs to Maithri Goonetilleke, a medical doctor in Australia, and is called Soaring Impulse. The information he shares is honest and to the point, written in plain English so all can understand. Knowledge is power and he passes it out freely. His poetry is powerful, beautiful, and moving.

Both are worthy.

The Mask

Since I am writing an article on anger to post here, I thought I would first post a poem that I wrote many years ago.

The Mask

So much has made me angry
Over the years till now,
That I have had to ask myself
What anger is, and how
It can control the things I do
despite my very vow.
I look behind the angry roar
And lurking there, I see
A myriad different disguises
Peering back ant me.
Behind each mask I look beneath.
The face of fear is what I see.

Let me never wear this mask.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Balance, The Spiritual Pillar Revisited

If one meditates regularly, the questions will come, growth will begin whether we plan for it or not. Opportunities will present themselves. We may struggle with a concept for ages then one day, the light bulb goes on and we simply know that we have found that particular answer. At least the right answer for this particular stage in our growth, since there is no ultimate answer to be found until one has scaled the mountain and stands on the pinnacle.

Much of this growth happens unnoticed. We simply accept these new ideas, truths and ways to relate to the world around us as normal. At some point, we will recognize that something is happening to us, and that we are no longer the same person who started meditating. Better health, less stress, and the results of a quiet mind have allowed our inner selves to communicate with the mundane here and now selves. Our values change and grow, our pleasures tend to be had in the simple things around us. We feel more connected to nature as well as more compassionate with our fellow travelers. We love more deeply, we think more deeply, and we are much quicker to lend a helping hand.

The platform of our lives starts to spend more time in a balanced or at least semi-balanced state. We have found our path and have begun to scale the mountain in earnest. This may be a dangerous time for us as we start to utilize more of our mental capabilities. If we manifest talents that we did not know we had, we need to remember that they are simply guideposts along the path and not to become fascinated by them. If we do become distracted, we will spend time in sort of a rest stop area, neither progressing nor regressing. Along the path, there are many of these rest areas, where we may stop and gather our thoughts, put new knowledge in it’s proper place and contemplate future endeavors. These stops will be different for each of us as we each travel a unique path, near or far from others on the slopes.

It is also possible to be so wrapped up in our spiritual growth that we neglect to nurture our physical, emotional and mental selves. As the pendulum swings beyond the balance point again, we will find ourselves in need of concentrating on these other pillars to bring ourselves back into balance. For each of us, the needs will be different. We need to pay attention to the worldly aspects of ourselves in order to embrace and nurture what needs attention. This is not a final balancing as we can not sustain perfect balance here on earth, we can only move through it like a pendulum does. Each new journey around the spiral of becoming will present it’s own challenges and it’s own rewards.

If we bear in mind that life is a spiral, we will not get discouraged, thinking we have simply come full circle and are back where we began. The territory may seem familiar but it is not exactly the same. Progress is being made, and at the proper rate for each of us. The journey is long and speed is not a requirement.

And so ends another circuit of the pillars that support our lives.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

More on Stolen Moments

“Stolen moments are the times in which I feel guilty for not having done what I could have done”.

The above is a quote from someone who read the article on Stolen moments. After thinking for a short while, I realized that I may not have made the difference between lost or wasted time and stolen moments totally clear.

Lost or wasted time is what you feel guilty for not having done something "productive" when your plan did not work out. Stolen moments are what you can transform lost time into. For example, you may have an appointment with someone, but your car will not run. You find at the last minute that you can not do it, you can choose to fret and worry or feel guilty about not making the appointment. Alternatively, you can take that time that was suddenly freed up and do something for yourself that you did not have time to do. That is stolen moments. It is also possible to read a good book while waiting in the doctor's office, turning even the small blocks of time into Stolen Moments.

You may have to sit yourself down and give yourself a royal taking to in order to dispel the negative feelings you normally feel when plans go awry, but it is worth it. If you accept that there is purpose in the events we experience, that they are not just random hiccups, then you need to accept that your plans were canceled for a reason. You also need to look after yourself you will not be able to help others or do your work well. The things you do to contribute to your physical well being, mental and emotional health are not luxuries, they are necessities! My daughter has a saying that if mama not happy, no one is happy.

Mothers and type A personalities are the ones most often afflicted with the need to be productive at all times. Mothers will neglect their own needs in order to try to be the perfect parent. Type A personalities need to feel they are giving their all to whatever they need to do. Type A is also the one most likely to feel the Only Me Syndrome. Having been both a driven mother and a driven Type A, I speak from experience.

Meditation was the beginning of a return to physical and emotional well being for me. This does not mean that I will not get sick or become disabled. I can still suffer from genetic flaws, chemical imbalances, accidents and other ills beyond my control. What I can do is be the master of my reactions to life's ups and downs, I can achieve the best physical and emotional health I am capable of. I can avoid dragging myself down a self-destructive road. I can become happier and accomplish more with less stress and effort. We all can!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stolen Moments

Do you find that ruined plans and waiting times are lost time or wasted time? Or do you take these little bits of time for yourself and recognize them for what they are. Stolen moments!

If you find yourself in the first category, you probably also multitask, carry a lot of stress, become frustrated when your plans go awry, and you may be subject to high blood pressure and even ulcers. I have experienced all of the above in early adulthood. I still multitask………..I have relinquished the other Type A traits.

On the other hand, if you view these little bits of time as the gifts they are, you probably get as much, if not more done in the same time span. Your stress levels are probably much lower, blood pressure is not a problem and you are more balanced in all four areas, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

There are ways to get from lost time to stolen moments. I got there by prioritizing, demanding time for myself, and meditating, meditating, meditating. I was a young parent with a family and a burgeoning career. I burned the candle at both ends and suffered from ulcers constantly. This was the point in my life that I met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I was taught Transcendental Meditation and was on my way to healing the ulcers, reducing stress, and appreciating the stolen moments that are a gift to each and every one of us.

Meditating twice a day became easier and easier. After some time, I was able to meditate anywhere any time, almost. I was even able to meditate in a moving commuter train, not recommended! As my stress levels reduced and my health started to improve, I began to see that if I did not look after myself I could not fulfill my obligations to family and career.

Although I did not have any more time than I did before meditation, I was able to use it better, which included capitalizing on those times when plans go awry and we are left with unplanned time. Before, I thought of these times as lost time. Now I see them as stolen moments, gifts which I can use to take care of my own needs. I can now use this time to read a good book, talk to a friend, go for a drive, have a leisurely bubble bath, spend it doing something I enjoy with family or friends…. The possibilities are endless.

It is worth examining one’s life to see what needs are not being fulfilled and incorporate satisfying those needs into our daily lives. YES! Play is a need that must be met in order to become a fully functional human. Try making a list of the things you would like to do but don’t feel you have the time. You know the ones.... you dismiss them as being selfish, or believing that everyone else’s needs are more important than yours. Then prioritize the items on this list using a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not very important and 10 being very important. Those with the higher rating are those that are needed to maintain your physical and mental health at their highest possible level.