Stillness in the Storm

“When the sage walks, he leaves no footprints behind”…the sage leaves no traces of desire and attachment clinging to him as he lives from moment to moment. Life is flowing, always changing, and the sage never looks back…

Source : Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice, Dharma Publishing, College of Oriental Studies, 1975, PP104-112.

img_1559

Personal Magick

In the end, nothing is wrong with creeds or beliefs as long as you stay aware of your individuality, keep your freedom and are able to enlighten and improve your own self without getting dependent from any outside influence or structure. It does not matter which God or Goddess you have, or how many of those, or if you have anything like that at all, it is completely unimportant whether you believe in the divine, or in fate and coincidence, or solely in the laws of physics.
The Tarot is valuable and suitable for any kind of person that has an inside, a consciousness and a subconsciousness. It is completely independent from any belief but the belief in your own self. (from Magick in Creeds and Beliefs)

Visit Raven’s Tarot site.

In Need of Compassion and Common Sense

Lately, I’ve enjoyed following the knowledgable posts of Dr. Coyne over at his website, Why Evolution Is True. While here at Mother Prontennoia, I’ve intended to keep this site clean of strident opinions and politics, this particular story of Lebanon High School and the state of its surrounding community presents an impactful and insightful look into the sociological problems I see and have dealt with growing up, and it saddens me greatly to see otherwise well-meaning and reasonable people act in such blindly atrocious ways…

Long-story-short, the principal of this high school gave a highly religious, one-sided presentation of the mainstream Christian faith during his graduation speech. Many have since called him out on it, while others have heatedly defended him. You can find Dr. Coyne’s thoroughly written articles on all of the developments of this kerfuffle here. Most recently, a student who attended their own graduation ceremony at Lebanon had some intense and intelligent things to say about their experience. I don’t think Society listens to the needs of the religious minority enough, and it is shameful. Please take time to read this student’s beautiful and heart-wrenching letter in its fullness here, though I’ll share some of the highlights from it for you below:

…What bothers me is the school’s [tendency] to dissolve other groups that promote tolerance of differences… Christian students often dismissed my opinions in class discussions about whether non-Christian sources were credible.  Political discussions in Social Studies classes were quite one-sided… What Mr. Lowery did at the 2014 graduation ceremony is hardly the first time that he danced around the Separation of Church and State for prayer… The students felt safe to bully me and my non-Christian peers, as they were the majority.  And the principal seemed inclined to protect them… At my graduation, I was prepared for him to say a prayer.  I did not expect a speech about America essentially being a Christian nation.  It was arrogant, aggressive.  I felt shamed for being a non-believer.  It was not a simple prayer.  It was an outcry of how he didn’t care about the minority.  I had already felt as though he had a personal distaste for me as he knew I was not religious… I graduated as an honor student, received generous scholarships for college, and participated in a plethora of extra-curricular activities.  I attended classes, made good grades, and treated my classmates with respect… …as my peers around me clapped and cheered for his prayer, I realized.  This is not for me.  I am not welcome here.  I have never been.  Lowery is not proud of me or for my various accomplishments, no matter what my class ranking was… No one cares if I leave the community or not, because my opinions are not welcome.  And Lowery further illustrates that they never will be… Several teachers have voiced their displeasure with Lowery’s statements, but have admitted to being afraid for their jobs to do anything that was anti-Christian…

Why, you may ask, do otherwise well-meaning Christians persist so adamantly and with such outward cruelty toward others? Isn’t the Gospel one of love and hope for others? Aren’t we the bearers of Good News for the nations? WTH then?

Now, it would be impossible – not to mention wrong – to lump all Christians into one finite reasoning for their actions, of course. Every person and their beliefs are different and highly personal, entrenched in our own experiences and environments as we navigate this life. Again, there are so many various slants (or flavors, as I’ve called them) to the Christian faith, and every person is unique even within a certain denomination or creed. But, having been raised in the Word of Faith style Christian home that I was, I can tell you the changes I’ve seen since my upbringing that are running throughout mainstream Christianity in this country, and it bothers me something fierce.

Take a look at one of the community responses to this Lebanon HS drama that Dr. Coyne has provided at his website:

Mr. Coyne as we remove God from all aspects of our lives the lower a nation sinks…it is God that kept the USA strong.  If ever we needed God it is NOW….we need Jesus He is our only hope.  As you remove God, satan steps in to fill in the gap…that is exactly what is happening today.  You don’t want God you will get the devil….thats who is ruling the roost today… Mr Coyne this is just a little bit of the evil that is being inflicted on us today, thanks to satan who rules today… Your agenda kills, it is destroying life on planet earth…if God bothers you so much get a pair of ear plugs…..stop taking our rights away from us…mind your own business… Look around , take a look at what is happening to our world, our country…and how bad things are really getting…. What gives you the right to take my right to believe in Him away?  What gives [you] the right to remove the only stabilizing force we have, our salvation, our anchor, our shield?… [My own emphasis in bold.]

Essentially, we who were raised Christian in these “latter days,” and those who still are Christian in these latter days, were/are trained to see the world around us in a constant state of decline – that Satan himself is in charge of destroying us, and the only hope for everyone’s survival is to bow the knee to Christ. Here’s the important point: The Christians who perceive the world through this lens cannot for the life of them figure out why those who don’t believe or agree with them, well, don’t agree with them. After all, can’t you see the destruction?, one might ask. Can’t you see that if everyone were just united in the love of Christ, who gave all for us, then we would in turn see a miraculous wave of joy and restoration to our land? So, of course, there is a war on Christianity, and this “war” is a spiritual one, with the fate of humanity resting on none other than the prayerful shoulders of mainstream Christianity. You just don’t see it, because you are blinded by the Devil and refuse to acknowledge God.

Now, whether you believe this to be true or not is completely beside the point, with respect to the point I’m making. What these Christians are failing to realize is that they are, quite simply, imposing their views on others without regard or simple respect. It’s the folly of whole-heartedly believing, with all sincerity and passion, that YOU alone have the answer to the world’s ills, and all anyone has to do is agree with you. There is, therefore, no longer room for respect toward any religious or philosophical viewpoints other than the mainstream Christian viewpoint — because, if all is controlled by Satan and all is therefore a deception, then it would certainly be foolhardy to allow any dissenting voice to be heard in the public arena.

These comments are given in an extreme light, to be sure, but for the community in which I grew up, this is an all-too accurate portrayal of everyone in the outside – those who did not believe the Bible the way in which my family did; ironically enough, that even included fellow Christians. Therefore, my life was full of harsh judgement and criticism directed toward others, giving way to a highly toxic environment. As I began to realize that I did not hold to the style of thought my family required of me, I too began to feel like an oppressed alien in my own home. I utterly hated it; I felt helpless and alone, and to be truthful, in some arenas in which I work and have my being, I still do. So I can imagine and empathize with what these students at Lebanon have felt, growing up in such a community, being in the minority of an increasingly vocal and oppressive society of well-meaning, mainstream Christians. It is truly unfortunate that, as it stands, society will not have improved as they enter adulthood, and they may be forced to continue to make uncomfortable decisions as a religious and philosophical minority that is regularly alienated and emotionally attacked by the majority.

For me, the hardest part of it all is feeling like my opinion somehow doesn’t matter, that it is somehow not truthful, or is even dangerous to our society, all because I don’t believe in a physical Satan and that my philosophies concerning all religions is that of admiring the constructs of the evolving human consciousness, and, too, that most religions have some element of use for us even today on a subconscious and metaphorical level — as long as we keep an open mind, rooted stably in scientific reality, and are willing to learn and bend and yield.

That’s just not good enough for the mainstream Christian of today, however. And I harshly blame the leaders of those passionate, holy-crusade style movements that have cropped up since the ’70s ad ’80s and gained such a violent foothold in our politics and society as of late.

It all comes down to this: that when anyone, regardless of religion or viewpoint, is afraid and attached to their life in such a manner, they are prone to purposefully hurt those who disagree with them, out of their own fear of losing that to which they hold so dear. Let us not fear change, let us be patient with each other and open to all possibilities and voices.

May we someday learn to embrace each other in true brotherly love and peace.

When Literalism can be Beautiful….

Most people who claim they read Genesis 1 “literally” don’t. They believe that what they believe about Genesis 1 is literal. But they aren’t reading Genesis 1 literally.

If we read Genesis 1 literally, we come out with a very different picture than most literalists imagine. Indeed, we find ourselves firmly planted in the Hebrew worldview—an ancient worldview. And, if we know our history, we know that the Hebrews had no concept of a round earth that coursed around the sun. They believed the earth was flat, the sky was a dome, and the sun revolved around the earth.

—-Scribalishess, from “Reading Genesis 1 ‘Literally’

 

continuum-Fig-3-2-hebrew.preview

To try to wrestle with the ancient cosmological understandings of the day and shoehorn them into our modern, scientific understandings of the Universe, as we know them so far, is to rob such ancient texts of their beauty and poetry.

Read this wonderful article by Scriablishess in its entirety for all the details in understanding this beauty, from the cultural perspective of the ancient Hebrew writer of Genesis.

Click through the jump for some of my most favorite quotes from the article!

Continue reading When Literalism can be Beautiful….

A Dramatic Realization

I suddenly had the most intriguing revelation this morning upon waking. This is perhaps a bit off-topic, yet this blog is, of course, an online journal of discovery, so perhaps it’s not so much a derailment of thought… 🙂

Social Networking: Appropriate-Social-Network-Behaviour-300x299

I love Facebook! It has connected me with friends and relatives and fans of my work like I could only have imagined before there was the internet (and, yes, I do remember those days, though I was only a child, haha)!

I always strive to be real; I never want to present myself as something other than myself. And, out of respect for others, I have never ever made it a practice to “unfriend” those in the digital-social arena whose political or religious or cultural values differ from mine. Unfortunately, however, there are a couple people my Unconscious — my Higher Self — brought to my mind very strongly this morning; people  who I know and with whom I have interacted personally in real life — who I did end up de-friending after a long, long time of frustration.

Naturally, the frustration was over political differences, stark differences. The odd thing about my situation was that, with both of these people, I only engaged very rarely with them in heated discussions (online, in the comment sections); I wound up unfriending them only after being constantly reminded of their staunch positions through the memes and comments they shared with me via my feed. I had decided, I don’t need to be reminded of our stark differences by seeing this in my feed every day.

What struck me as interesting and unique this morning, was that there are plenty of other diverse things that are shared with me constantly via that Facebook feed every day. Why should I be so bothered by these few? I think perhaps it is because in real, face-to-face life, I would never have engaged in such heated commentary with them, and indeed I would probably never have even seen this side of their views so vividly, knowing them and their in-person, quiet natures. And, even if I had, knowing myself well enough, I realized I would simply have nodded my head in respect of their opinions and loved them anyway, rather than engaging their ire further with my dissenting viewpoints.

So, my Unconscious asked my Conscious this morning, what would I “share” verbally in face-to-face communication with my friends, if I were to speak with this collection of diverse individuals in person? I know myself well enough to know that I would not be so quick to blurt out to everyone any such heat-worthy news bites or strident memes that catch my fancy at any given point, without instigation. I tend to be the person, in real life, who normally listens more than speaks when it comes to hot-button issues of the day, unless I am asked for my opinion. Thus, when I am invited to share in the discussion, the discussion is instantly understood to be on more friendly terms, and not an opportunity for scathing commentary back and forth.

I realized, too, that on my personal Facebook wall, I only share with “Friends” and not the “Public.” Which begs the question, again, if I were personally, physically, surrounded by these friends today, what would I actually share with them? Would I bare my soul so destructively and without discernment? Or would I more likely nod my head in enthusiastic agreement with those things said with which I concur, and smile with patient understanding and polite silence when faced with opinions I don’t agree with? Yes, having done so confidently in the past, and knowing this is who I am, that is what I would do. Therefore, I have committed to a grand personal experiment on social media: Rather than sharing blatantly anything and everything that strikes my fancy (and, understand, I already tend to be judicious in what I choose to share; I share those things that seem highly important to me — but it’s important only to me, without concern for others at the time; that’s the point), I have decided: I will only “share” that which I would personally say to anyone in my circle face-to-face. 

  • I will freely “Like” those things that strike my fancy, however. It’s my enthusiastic “nod of the head” of agreement.
  • I will “Share” those things that I personally would only say in public, in physical actuality, face-to-face.
  • I will not engage in heated back-and-forth commentary in the manner to which I have become accustomed in this faceless internet age. And if I do participate in discussions, I will only do so as I would if I were standing there with this person face-to-face: with love, patience, silence, and understanding.

To the internet’s credit, I have become much bolder in expressing myself, and for that I am grateful. But I have realized that I — and perhaps, we all, dare I say? — have gotten too comfortable in engaging each other’s ire from the comfort of hiding behind our smiling profile photos, from behind the safety of our own monitors in our own homes. I, for one, will aim to be more “realistic” in my engagement with others online. At the very least, I will be truer to myself, and in doing so, there is great Peace.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

–Jesus, Luke 6:31

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

–Proverbs 15:1

keep-calm-and-be-true-to-yourself-7

Conformity and Renewal

…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…

–Romans 12:2, KJV

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.

–Jesus, Luje 17:33, NLT

What does being “conformed to this world” mean exactly? From what, does Paul suggest, should we be renewing our mind? Many have read the above passage from Romans and interpreted it to mean something along the lines of: “If it isn’t like me or the traditions of my church and family, or follow the precepts as proclaimed by my pastor, then it is of the world and I am to reject it.”

This is too easy, however; this is living the Inner Life: the “framework we build and with which we shelter our Egos and Perceptions…It is protective, offers guidance, and seems reliable in an apparently unreliable world. It gives meaning and explanation to the uncertain. And, when it is attacked by other emerging viewpoints, it is defended violently.” Recall, “The Shadow is who/what we believe we are not…For every aspect of behavior and personality the Ego has chosen for itself, all else is thrown off onto the Shadow. The Shadow is everything the Ego denies….”

But, consider: What is “the world” of which the Bible speaks so often and, most often, in a most odious fashion, that we should reject it wholly? Again, too often, pastors and their flocks have taken it to mean “everything in the world that is not like us and what we perceive in the Scriptures — that which is not of our familiar culture or our personal Inner Experience.”

What if we break it down a bit? One might say the World is:world

  • sin
  • destruction
  • loneliness
  • arrogance
  • dog-eat-dog
  • unloving
  • dark
  • hateful
  • proud
  • disobedient
  • ungrateful
  • cruel

The list could easily go on and on, but I think we can all agree that this is the most typical view of The World — it is right and good that we should abstain from such things, to be sure. But, the interpersonal problems may arise when we, again, view the list above purely from our own personal reference points of what these evils are.

What does cruelty look like? What is pride? What is sin, exactly? Does the male in my community who enjoys expressing himself through the use of eyeliner embody sin and lostness? Is the woman next-door who refuses to wear a dress and “dresses like a man” proud and disobedient? Is homosexuality equivalent to destruction?

This is where the purity of Jesus’ words may shine through — Do not cling to your life.

The renewing of our minds ought to be a renewing of our thoughts to the Outer Experience: “…the realm in which Understanding and most perfect, unconditional Love dwell. It is the place from which we can come to understand our Egos and its decisions and perceptions, and the place we can come to embrace our Shadow and realize that we are One…”

Perhaps The World is most aptly translated to mean: the thoughts and practices and ways of those who live their life locked in their own personal framework of Ego; going through the motions of life without really seeing.

May we continually renew our Minds, to let go of our lives and our narrow perceptions daily, to see All as it truly is and embrace genuine Love and Harmony, as Jesus did.

Be a Master, Be Free

iPhone%20image%20on%202013-07-29%20at%2011%3A35%3A15

Let not the Mind, in its attachment to the Past and to the Future, steal the Present from you. Let not the Reality of what Is, and is Now, be hidden from you. See what Is, in all its purity and reality. Let the same be true of the words we speak and the actions we perform. Let us study ourselves, and embrace the reality of what is true.