As human beings living within our current evolutionary times, we ride along on the waves of our immediate conditions and circumstances, and infuse our self’s with all the social, and cultural activities that conform to the ideal of the times. We begin to incorporate these cultural ideals into the very fabric of our lives, and relate to them as real fixtures of our being. We also begin to unconditionally ride these ideas as a way to build up our life capacities, strategies, and even our characteristics. These ideas bring forth enormous power on behalf of our cultural, current understandings: for instance, the spread of religious understandings, the ready acceptance of philosophical principles, the growth of political fads, and the effigies of science, are all examples of the manner in which we may be torn from our moral moorings by these ideas sweeping over our minds and overwhelming both our willpower and our sense of moral responsibility. What is more, our resolve to move within truth, deteriorates, and we begin to live our lives on lower levels, and what is worse, we let ourselves become compulsive, recycling our behaviors over and over, until we lose control, and now instead of, we controlling our compulsions, our compulsions are now controlling us.
Who protects the children? Who shelters the sacredness of childhood?
This duty falls upon the parents/caregivers.
And yet, as the quote above states: It is in the homes and in childhood that the wreckage of human life begins. I would say it is also in schools and religious institutions.
I come out strongly suggesting this because this wreckage is what I care passionately about. My passion was reignited last week as my daughter shared an experience she had. It triggered experiences and emotions still unprocessed from my childhood.
A family member had compared their daughter to mine, and not in a positive light. This has happened before when another family member did not want their daughter to be around mine because they believed she was a bad influence. I recall the time, as a young teenager, I was forbidden to step foot in my friend’s house because her parents believed I was a bad influence because I dated black boys. I remember how this hurt me, and it wasn’t the first time. It was a reoccurring theme that somehow something in me threatened the adults and they didn’t want me rubbing off on their kids. Absurd!
I can say that now, but at the time I felt like a defect. I felt ashamed. I felt judged. And, I felt angry. The anger I felt was about the injustice I was experiencing. These parents who judged me did not know me. They never asked me questions. They did not spend time with me. I was instantly forbidden fruit based on a few choices and behaviors.
My daughter is being judged in the same way. The family members who chose this behavior do not know her. I’ve yet to see any of them sit down with her and ask her questions about who she is or how she is. Or have they sat down with me and asked about what is was like to raise her or how I raised her. And somehow, as parents, they believe they won’t deal with the behaviors they think they know about my daughter and if they do, they rather it be due to the negative influence of my daughter. How ignorant!
What is forgotten, what is not done is to look wider and deeper at the reasons behind so called negative behaviors and influences. Why might someone act out with “negatively”? Why might a child/teenager self-harm? Use drugs? Do we think they are just a defect or do we just blame the bad influences? Or do we consider they are acting out unprocessed traumas that occur within our own homes? Our own toxic environments? Acting out the wreckage of their childhood? Not usually. Instead of adults putting this together, adults project their fears, ignorance and their own unprocessed traumas and emotions at the children and make them the problem. How unjust!
For example, say a young girl lives in a home where a parent abuses alcohol. I know this home. My mom was an alcoholic. It sucks. It damages a child. It creates patterns that can destroy a life. The child might point out to their parent that they drink too much. Instead of the parent listening, the parent feels disrespected. They believe the child has lost their rightful place in the family hierarchy- to be seen and not heard; to respect their elders. All non-sense!
Why should a child not be able to claim their childhood? Why should a child respect a parent who is not protecting their childhood? Why should they not proclaim: I matter. My childhood matters. Why should a child not plead to their parents to protect the sacredness of their childhood? More sad, why should a child have to?
Kahlil Gibran on children said:
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
We cause the wreckage when we see them as our possessions and believe they are less than. We do them a great disservice when we do not see them as souls, as a spirit within a body that have their own path to follow. When I was judged, yes, I felt hurt, but I also knew there was nothing wrong with me. I sensed both my humanity and my spirituality. I understand we are dual- both material and spiritual. We are made up of our childhood environments and our larger society that create our psychological experience and we are spiritual- of spirit- composed of high vibrations of energy that are constantly evolving.
I have no doubt the vast majority of us who are parents are going to fuck up our kids. I thought I was a good mom because I didn’t abuse alcohol like my mother did, and provided a mostly stable environment, but I brought them other traumas. This is bound to happen because we have unconscious realms of darkness within us that hold old conditioning and beliefs. But, there is hope. We can protect childhood!
Here is what we can do: We can 1) commit to our own inner, self-reflective work and practices. We can and must commit to our own healing. And 2) repair the harms we have caused with our children. To do this, we must be open and respect their experience enough to openly listen to them. We must give them safe space to air out their grievances. Recently, my kids sat down with my husband and me and told us what it was like to grow up with our marriage. It was brutal to hear. But it was and is my duty to listen, to repair and commit to healing.
It is time to end fearful, ignorant parenting based on a hierarchical mindset and unconscious psychological patterns. Instead it is time to begin conscious, mindful parenting, which is a combination of reparenting ourselves with honesty and compassion and our children the same.
This is a difficult question to answer, although most people will have their answer at the ready. They will begin to give a litany of their identifications; I am a human, a male, a son, a father, a white man, a Christian, a student, etc… Yet, does their identifications explicitly define the question of “Who I am?” It does up to a certain narrow perspective. If we include only the material aspects of our perspective, it does deliver a relative truth of who we are, all in terms of our material interpretation. But it seems we always identify ourselves with what we see, with what we touch, with what we smell, with what we hear, with what we possess, all exclusively with the objective world.
There is a poem written by, Edwin Arlington Robinson, called “Richard Cory.” Richard Cory was, “empirically slim, always human when he talked, admirably schooled in every grace, richer than a king, he even glittered when he walked;” simple people wished they were in his place. Yet, one calm, summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head.
Of all of his accomplishments, and material possessions, none brought Richard true, lasting satisfaction or joy. What was missing in Richard Cory’s life that made him take his life? There is a song that asks a question, “Is that all there is?” and the answer resounds, “If that is all there is, what’s the use of living.” As human beings we have a cosmic, interior urge to expand. If we live in a 6′ by 8′ room, we will aspire to live in a 12′ by 12′ room, and if that room feels enclosed we will look for a larger room.
Our spirit is the eternal energy that moves all life, without which there would be no life. Why then should we, “wash our spirit clean?”
If you haven’t noticed, our earth life is one big ambiguity. We are born on earth, and our out come, inevitably is the grave. In between, we strive, but with an anchor of the fear of death around our neck. As the singer/song writer, Prince, sings, …”In this life your are on our own.” If that wasn’t enough, we are our own, destroyer, and our own savior, and with only a finite capacity of understanding, we are let to make sense of the deepest mysteries of the Cosmos, like: What is the cause of the cosmos? From where do we come? Where shall we fine peace at last? What power governs the duality of pleasure and pain by which we are driven?
Many of us turn to the religious scriptures and doctrines to dispense a higher authority for answers. However, a reliance on religious belief has shown that great errors of doctrine and scripture have distorted their version of the truth.
“Much that is called religion has created an unconscious attitude of hostility towards life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasant to the eye of God, and that knowledge with out action is empty. All men must see that the teaching if religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it with out fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.”
~I haven’t found who is responsible for the above quote.
It was Emerson who said that to go through life depending on some eternal power to save one’s soul was like running up bills on the chance of somebody else’s paying them, with no thought or intention of paying them oneself. If not from religion, you may ask, then where are we to look for our own salvation? Are we our own savior?
Being the inheritor’s of a God-Spark is not a possibility easily accepted. Yet, within the human spirit lies a recognition that we are more than we appear.
There is a cosmic urge to reach beyond our grasp, do the impossible, know the unknown, to live an examined life. This is all part of our evolutionary heritage. This God-Spark represents our essential core. We live, move, and have our being, as does all manifest life, from this Source.
This idea is not some divine inspiration that was brought down to me by an angle or written in stone nor broadcast by the voice of God. I learned this idea by studying ancient philosophies and spiritual writings. I found the idea of Divine Consciousness expressed in the Old Testament, in Genesis, …”the power of God was moving over the waters” (space), … God’s Consciousness, (his power), spoke the Eternal Word which energized all manifestations; from no-thing, to all things. Divine Consciousness was installed in all things and its vibration sustains All. I also found the idea in the New Testament, in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossian, “It is my task to fully proclaim God’s message, which is the secret he hid through all past ages from all mankind, but has now revealed to his people. God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all people. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God.”
The coolness of the breeze The sun shining between clouds The still barren trees The ones sprouting buds The cardinal I could not catch The camouflaged deer The still swollen river
Today, I arrive in a clear open space after a long fought journey.
I have risen- again.
Today, I praise Life Itself. Today, I praise the Life I AM 🙏🏼
My parents grew up Catholic. They did not bring me to church. They did not have me confirmed. The closest I came to anything religious was baptism.
This, other than their bodies and intentions that brought me here, is their greatest gift to me.
Without a religion to follow and adhere to, which I knew quite young, when my very religious aunt made me go to church, that it was not for me. My entire little body recoiled sitting there amongst praisers of Jesus.
How did I know at such a young age this was not my way? What did I know instead?
The answers to these questions have unfolded as a journey to mySelf. In this journey I have found who I am and most importantly, who I am not. That proved to be the hardest part. It’s an excavation of Soul and it leads to our Self- our higher self. At least this is my truth and journey.
In so stating my spiritual path, I am fully aware that it is unpopular. I feel this and have experienced this- especially with Christians, and even those who do not attend church regularly call themselves this. I have been judged and isolated by them and others.
A Jehovah Witness friend would not break bread with me, yet asked me to lunch- telling me if I wanted to see her she’ll be at the Kingdom Hall. I had a cousin- a born again Christian- tell me following any other religion is following Satan- after I explained to her what Namaste meant. Never heard from her again. As a young girl, Christian parents forbid their children to hang out with me saying I was a bad influence.
More generally, from what I understand, Christianity does not condone a path that believes that salvation lies within. It believes only salvation lies with accepting Jesus. Where does that leave the rest of us? Not saved, of course. Fortunately, I’m secure in my journey and I am fine being left to it.
At this time, when so many of us are coming out of our shame surrounding who we are and stepping into our truth- it’s Important for me to come out with what I just shared about a topic we are told not to talk about but infiltrates everything. And what a better day than on Easter!
It’s always been my least favorite holiday. When my kids were young I made the most of it with colored eggs and hiding Easter baskets. Until this morning I still dreaded it. There’s an assumption in this country that most of us are Christian. It can be triggering to those that are not.
But today, I claimed the spiritual path I’ve always been on. It’s an ever expanding one where I rise and fall a lot but I always learn and grow when I do. Salvation, for me, lies within and that is my journey. Namaste.
Driving in my car the other morning, scanning the series of turns I have made in recent years, I wonder: am I walking right toward the lion’s den? Here I’ve been, making several turns in my life, hoping—even at times full-heartedly trusting it’s the right turn—thinking perhaps I’ll avoid more suffering and gain more stability, thinking perhaps the ground will look clear and I’ll be on a new path. But, at each turn the road seems to get darker and this is when I wonder am I walking right toward my own destruction?
What if this is true? What if I am indeed walking right toward the lion’s den? If so, what is getting destroyed on the way to the den? What will the lion rip to shreds should I actually go right in to her den? I realize as this journey to, and perhaps in the den goes on, my heart feels like it’s breaking. But, it’s not. It’s actually opening. Expanding. Awakening. The lion, it turns out, is eating the thick flesh surrounding my beating, awakened heart. Not my actual heart.
This is the gift of the lion. Yet, in our minds we create schemes all to avoid this eating. But, the lion will and does have its way. As we avoid her prowess, we walk right into it. And it is not the eating that causes suffering, it is the hesitating, the resisting, the scheming and staying around the periphery of the den that brings the most misery.
But, so many of us have to do this. So many of us, for so long have to stay on the outskirts of this den or maybe even venture far away from it—but, we will all eventually end up in her den, being ravaged by her teeth. Our flesh will be eaten. It is also eaten while we avoid the den. It is eaten while we sit and stare and fear at the den. This slow eating of the flesh, of our small self is what prepares us for the ultimate destruction. The destruction of that small self. We are being prepeared for this encounter—all of us.
As I have moments of this awareness I welcome this and say: let her eat and skin me alive. For, it is the only way to come alive. It is the only way toward true intimacy and union with our higher self. It is the passageway toward truth and as a subscriber on my fan page said in response to my question: Do you ever feel you are walking right toward the lion’s den—? Only those who have the heart of a lion can do it.
It turns out the eating of what surrounds my beating, often aching, but alive heart is what makes me feel less afraid. It turns out the walking toward what will ravage me is my salvation.
Let me say this again: It turns out the walking toward what will ravage me is my salvation.
As I searched for a photo for this piece I realize the story of a lion’s den is in the bible: Daniel in the Lion’s Den. He was thrown in the den for praying, but was left unscathed because of his faith in God. It adds to what I am sharing here: the more conscious we become of this journey, the more faith we will have as we walk, and perhaps even the more we will want to be eaten.
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. ~Buddha
I heard about a man who left his wife and children to pursue a spiritual adventure. I listened to a man preach from the Bible, and yet he smoked and drank. A woman says, “I am a Christian, but I don’t know enough about the Bible to have a conversation about it.” I see religious politicians on their soap box to reform homosexuals. I’ve called myself spiritual and have found myself intolerant of others.
If we call ourselves Christians and participate in self-destructive behaviors, while preaching the Word- I say, go deeper. If we call ourselves spiritual, yet find we are increasingly intolerant of others- I say again, go deeper. If we think we can’t be who we are without leaving a relationship or go om with the monks, again, go deeper.
Our spiritual life is not intended to stop once we proclaim, I am Christain, I am spiritual. I am this. I am that. The spiritual life continues. It expands. Deepens. Widens. A spiritual life need not restrict or exclude. Condemn or cut us off. And further the spiritual life has everything to do with who and where we are right now, which means the smoking, drinking, judging, leaving- whatever. It has to do with ourselves, and everything that means, some of which we know, most of which we don’t.
The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived. ~Thomas Merton
There is a disconnect happening, at least that I see, and I believe it is because our awareness of the spiriutal life is in our heads. We listen, mostly, to the ideas in our head that we believe to be true, instead of listening to our soul. In order to go deeper, we must move our awareness away from our heads and into our soul space. Beyond this, I am not sure, but the soul is where I see, is the next space for humanity to move.
The soul speaks a different language. It’s more subtle. Flexible. Honest. It might speak to us in images or feelings or words, which surface spontaneously. Once there, we will be moved to spaces within us that might frighten and overwhelm us, but as I said in my previous post, the only way out is through and I do believe, many of us have yet to get over many of the experiences we have had in our lives. Our childhoods still haunt us. Traumas are still buried. Dreams ignored. There is a lot there to realize. And no matter what cliches or beliefs we hold and proclaim, if there is something troubling our soul, the only way to move through it is to look at it. Connect to it. Learn from it, and therefore grow because of it.
To live deeper and grow, we must move beyond our superficial and lazy way of living the spiritual life. We must question our current beliefs. Stretch our commitment beyond saying the right things or accepting the right savior. To say or think any thing that we have not fully realized from within does not make us of sound mind. It may provide some relief, and have us put off what we know we must do, for another day. But, if we want more inner stability. More wisdom. More flexibilty. Freedom. More of who we are- then, we must go deeper.
I guess it comes down to this: do we want something lasting and true or do we want something superficial and convenient? Do we really want to know who we are or just think we know who we are? Do we want to commit to living deeper now or later?
For those ready to excavate the soul, go to the “Soul Work” tab to learn more, and fill out the form. I’m here to be a guide, if you so desire.