Quotation of the Day

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

A holiday mirror

The world is a mirror which reflects back to us what we look into it with. This is true for all of us but when you are doing energy and healing work, it becomes especially true. I used to work for a Chiropractor who specialized in energy medicine. One thing he taught me was that whatever issues that his clients presented, there was always a reflection of that going on in his body or in his life. As I’ve grown into my own practice, I’ve found this to be very true for me as well. I’ve written about how powerful this has been for me before. http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2009/04/coincidents.html

Last week a client wrote to me asking for an appointment and in his email he expressed how stressed out he has been over a DUI that he got in June. It was his second one in some number of years and so he faces potential jail time. He mentioned how sad this was making him. He was feeling depressed and lonely and so he wanted to schedule a session with me. Throughout his email he proceeded to blame everything that was going on for him on getting a DUI.

After a few emails back and forth discussing the issues, one of the things that became clear to me was that he was stuck in victim mode. I pointed out to him that the night of his DUI was over and done. Yes, his impending court date was a direct result of that evening but so was the night he took his first drink. So was the day he first got the prescription medication which negatively interacted with the alcohol. So was the first day the he learned to drive a car. Every day was somehow related when you examine it so why choose such a negative event to focus on? I understand why and do it myself but when you look at it consciously that way, it helps to break you out of victim mode.

This awareness seemed to really help him move through the block he was holding on to but it also really stood out for me emotionally. I found myself continually thinking about the email exchange and so I knew there was something there for me too and that I just needed to watch for it. Not surprisingly it didn’t take long for it to show up.


HO HO HUMBUG

This past Saturday, my partner and I began decorating our home for the holidays. This time of year can be very emotional for a lot of us because of all the stress that the holiday season can bring. As much as I hated the fact that I disliked this season so much, the truth is historically it has been one of the worst times of year for me because of early childhood wounds. Those wounds led me to be miserable as a young adult and unhappy even to this very year. All of that has contributed to me having yet another unhappy holiday season every year. It was one of my “life stories” that I told myself and others. Sad but true.

That night as we sat in our living room admiring our decorations, my partner was looking at our tree and smiling. He said “this is the first real tree that I’ve ever had for Christmas.” My heart broke open. Here is a 43 year old who is one of the kindest souls I know and someone whom I love dearly and he was experiencing newness in this moment. His joy was evident and there I sat stewing in my old Christmas juices. And then it hit me. I’m being a victim of my past. Just because past Christmas seasons had bad things happen, it didn’t mean this one had to be bad too. The only thing that was negative about this season was ME.

Tears flowed down my face at both the joy of co-creating a magical experience for my beloved but also how much lighter my heart felt by me choosing to let go of the past pain and move into present joy. I know that my thoughts shape my beliefs and my beliefs shape my life, so if I change my thoughts I change my life. In choosing to believe that this season is about THIS season and the joy that fills my life THIS year, I chose to step out of victim mode and into joy of the present moment. It really feels good and just made things a little brighter for me.




In looking at your life, what old stories are you still re-playing that keep you from being joyous in the present moment?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A personalization process for the Tarot

Imagine for a moment that you were creating a card based oracle from scratch because you wanted to deepen the guidance you receive from within. You might start with two cards; one says “yes” and the other says “no”. Each time you asked your Spirit a question and used these two cards, obviously you’d only be able to ask very rudimentary questions and you’d receive very simple answers. Eventually you’d want to expand your vocabulary so perhaps you’d add a card for “maybe” and one for “unsure”. Over time as you began to seek more and more specific answers you might have a deck of hundreds of cards that you’d select from and there would be overlap between cards so you’d start trying to find ways to deepen the response on each card to reduce the number of cards. Potentially after years and years of perfecting your deck, you’d end up with a simplified version of the Tarot deck. Fortunately this process has already been done for you over centuries and all you have to do is learn the language.


The process that I will share with you is a way for you to learn the meaning of the cards according to the interpretation book and eventually create a reference that is specific to you. This is a process that may take you a year or so to create but not doing it doesn’t speed the process along nor help you learn to work with the Tarot any faster. Hopefully you’ll be using your deck for years to come so why not start personalizing it right away so that you’ll see a personal connection faster than you might otherwise. For this process you’ll need a couple of notebooks, your Tarot deck and interpretation guide. I like using a notebook with ruled, loose leaf sheets in it because when you fill one page up, you’ll be replacing it with another one as you’ll see. Create a single page in your notebook for every card in the deck. Write the name of each card, in sequence, at the top of the page and leave the page blank. You’ll be using the front and back of the sheet, so one card per sheet of paper.



DAY 1 – GETTING STARTED

I recommend doing your reading in the morning before you start your day. The very first step is to get your “Basics” in place. http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2010/04/awakening-grounding.html When you connect with the Tarot, you are connecting with an energy field of the Tarot and with your Higher Self. Your Basics help keep you grounded during this process and that allows you to connect more fully with the process. Take your Tarot deck and hold it next to your heart. Take a moment and feel that connection between your physical body, the cards and your Higher Self or spirit. When you feel the connection feel like you drop a question from you head down into your heart and into the deck. An easy, generic daily question that I pose is “What is this day about for me?” A question similar to this is the best way to start learning the Tarot rather than jumping to big questions with complicated spreads. It’s like learning to crawl before you run. Remember though this is your egoic self asking the question of your Higher Self, your direct connect to Source. You aren’t asking the cards or some outside entity. It’s you all the way through.

Next shuffle the cards while contemplating the question. Think about the events of the day that you already know you have planned while you do this. Continue shuffling the cards until you feel that you’re ready for the response. There is no set number of shuffles or time but more just a feeling of “that’s enough” that will arise. Next lay the cards down and cut the deck with your left hand and put the bottom half on top. Using your left hand is said to engage the intuitive side of your energy. Trust that you will be cutting the deck at exactly the right spot because you will. Your conscious mind may not be aware of what is going on but during the shuffling process your spirit is getting the cards arranged in the way that you need for the response. Trust is key to this process as well as enough shuffles for your spirit to get you the best answer to your question. That is where the “that’s enough” response comes from…from YOU!

Take the top card and turn it over so that it faces up and lay it down. If the card is upside down, leave it that way. The cards have additional meaning if they are upside down (reversed) as opposed to right side (direct) up. Now you can either take the next card and flip it over or cut the deck again. Listen to what your intuition tells you or go with what “feels right” because it will be right. Place this second card to the right of the first card face up. In the beginning these two cards are all the cards that we’ll use in a single reading. Keeping the number of cards used to a minimum will allow you to direct your focus onto a single card so that you can learn about each card more fully.

Now take what I’ll call your scratch pad (any little notebook will do for this but allocating a notebook specifically for this purpose is a good idea) and write the date and both cards that you drew on the line with it. You’ll be using this scratch pad during the entire process so keep it with your cards and books. That’s it for the first day. To start with, don’t read the interpretations in the book for today (hopefully you will already have taken the time to read the first portion of the book up through the interpretations). When you’re done, stack the cards you drew (still face up) on the deck so that they will be on top for you to see tomorrow.



DAY 2 – RECORD YOUR EXPERIENCE

On the second day the process will be a little bit different. Take the cards you drew yesterday and spread them back out side by side so that you can look at the pictures more closely. The first card you drew is what the focus of your day was about. The second card is what energy is crossing (or mixing with) that focus. As we all know, an entire day is never about one single thing. Life is too complicated for that. In the beginning don’t worry too much about what this second card means but for now just record it for historical reference. It will make more sense later.

For the purposes of explanation, I’m going to assume that you are using “Tarot of the Spirit” as your interpretation book. Look up the meaning of the first card you drew. When you find the page where it begins you’ll see a “Divinatory Meaning” followed by a “Meditation” and then the “Interpretation”. Read through the “Interpretation” completely while you lightly hold on to the thoughts of your previous day. When you finish the reading, take the card and hold it so that you can get a good look at it. Let your eyes wander around the card while you continue to mull over all that happened to you yesterday. Take your time with this but hold your focus on the card rather than looking around the room. If need be after a minute or so, close your eyes, think about the image, the interpretation you read and your previous day.

When you feel you are ready, turn in your notebook to the page you have created for this card. Write the date on a line and then summarize your previous day onto one or two lines at the most. We aren’t looking to create a journal here but rather record events or learnings from the day. If the card is direct (right side up) then document it on the front of the page and if it is reversed (upside down) then record it on the back side of the sheet. The events that you want to record are those which “feel” relevant to you based upon the interpretation of the reading you just did. There is no right and wrong here but rather a trusting of your intuition to give you the information that you need. If you think that the event is in any way related to the reading, make a quick note of it. You want to be concise but detailed enough that when you read over this in a few months from now you’ll be able to recall the experience from your words or get a feel for how the day was from your words. At the end of the line, make a note of the second card that you drew. You only need to note what card it was for now. Don’t read the interpretation for this card because it will take your focus off of the primary card’s interpretation and slow the process of the image/interpretation connection. Eventually you’ll have read and re-read each cards interpretation so many times that you’ll almost immediately know the meaning just by seeing the card. That’s the experience that we’re after.



ONGOING – SUMMARIZE AND PERSONALIZE

You’ll repeat the above process each day that you do a reading. If you can incorporate this spiritual practice into your daily routine you will of course start seeing results faster. Once you have filled up a page (or mostly filled depending upon your personal process), you should begin to see a pattern emerge. That pattern is what we are seeking with this process. Remember the more days that you incorporate into your readings the more accurate your results will be which is why I recommend waiting until you have filled the page. Once you have identified the pattern, take a fresh sheet of paper and document what you see. You may not come out with a verbose summary like in the interpretation book but that’s okay. This info is specific to you so that you know when you see a certain card come up you’ll begin to have an idea of what is ahead in the day or where you are in your personal cycle  http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2010/09/conscious-competence-cycle.html

The most important thing that you will gain from this is a greater ability to respond to a situation rather than simply reacting to it. For example, if you know ahead of time that your plans will most likely fall apart because of outside influences, then you can begin to consider alternatives or at the very least not become triggered by the experience and start spouting off at others involved. Having an understand of what’s going on for you as part of the experience allows you to see the lesson there more easily rather than immediately seeking to blame others.



THE SECOND CARD

By the time you’ve reached the point where you are building your own summaries (and you can keep adding to this over time as you see other patterns emerge) you will be familiar with all of the cards. This is where looking back over your history with each card really becomes important. With the built up knowledge of the cards and knowing what they mean you can now come to understand how the second card in the draw is flavoring the first one.

Let’s say for example that you are working with the “Death” card and creating your personal summary for it. Death does not have to mean a bad thing because death to an old habit, a destructive emotional response pattern or unhealthy relationships can be a good thing. This is where that second card comes in because it helps to clarify what aspect of death you’ll be dealing with. Yes, sometimes it can mean that someone is going to die but that is rare. So as you look back at your history for each card you can see a bit more info on it now by noticing how the second card related to it. This should help you begin to understand the primary cards message along with what happened to you on that day a bit more fully. Hindsight is always rich with insight if you take the time to examine it. This information can help you see how a single card can have so many nuances.



IT’S ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE

The end result is that your summary will certainly be informed by the interpretation from the book but it will also have your personal experiences in it as well. This won’t come from you trying to guess what the card will mean, it will come from your experience and documenting that result. Once you have your summary created you’ll be mentally blending your summary, the books interpretation, modifying it with the secondary card and then letting your intuition speak to you to give you the insight that you can use as you go through your day ahead. If you understand what scenario may arise during the day you’ll begin to recognize it when it emerges and you can respond with wisdom rather than reacting out of a patterned response.

The other nice thing that you will see emerge from this will be gained by looking at the daily readings history. In doing this myself I’ve seen where my own cycles are emerging. For example, if I draw the Magician today, I can look back over my history to find the last time I drew the Magician. I can then see what was going on in my life the last time I drew that card and I will see shades of those experiences in my current experiences. This lets me consciously draw on what I learned from the last cycle and then I can choose to respond differently this time around if I want a more desirable outcome. Hindsight now becomes foresight and that is the guidance we all seek so that we are making more informed decisions in our day to day existence.



CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

I know this seems like something that is going to take a while to create and it is but the important thing to remember is that you are learning from your own experiences along the way. If you choose to use an oracle such as the Tarot, you’ll be doing it for years to come once you see its value so why not get a jump start on something like this now rather than a year down the line. It’s a relatively simple process that will yield some powerful information for you down the line...but then simply doing a daily reading and using the interpretation guide is a powerful and useful process as well. Of course there is no requirement to do the process I’m sharing with you. I’m simply offering you something from my experiences that might be of assistance to you.

There are also other amazing oracle decks on the market. One I’d like to mention in particular is the “Animal Medicine Cards”. The animals have much to teach us humans if we can get past our ego’s and see them for the powerful teachers that they are. This deck and interpretation guide will teach you a great deal about what energies the animals are manifesting and you’ll see how this knowledge can help you make more informed decisions. It is one of my favorite decks. The book lists some very powerful spreads that can tell you a great deal about yourself and how you move in the world.

The best thing to do when you go to choose any deck is to look at all the cards and see what you are drawn too. Perhaps you just like the images, the color of the deck and cards, the feel of the cards or something that you can’t quite put your finger on. Your spirit will make the deck(s) that is best for you seem the most appealing. If you pick up a deck and suddenly feel a little bit happier, just noticing that shift can tell you a great deal and will always lead you to exactly the people, places and things which are in your best interest. That is how we can directly follow our intuitive guidance. It really is that simple.



I wish you all the best with working with oracles. If you begin using one and have questions, I’m happy to try and help answer them so feel free to drop me a line via email.

What lessons does the day hold for you?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oracle usage

In the last posting I quoted a book on the Tarot and so this time I’d like to talk a little bit more about the Tarot and other oracles. When some people think of the Tarot or an oracle, they retreat in fear or label them as bad because of broad generalizations or associations with “dark forces”. I understand these fears. I had them myself initially but fortunately I’ve worked through them and have seen the benefits of oracle usage.


An oracle, in the simplest of definitions, is a communication device. The communication however is between you and your spirit, or non-physical self. As I have talked about in the past, we are spirits (energies) which are enmeshed within physical bodies. For most of us, receiving guidance from our spirit is something that we do on an unconscious level, so unconscious that most people don’t even know they’re doing it. Our spirits guide us through our intuition but we’ve had this guidance socialized out of us because others didn’t understand it and have taught that it was evil and should be feared. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our spirit or Higher Self is just another aspect of ourselves. It is our direct connection to the Divine and as such I know that my spirit has my best interest at heart because it is me! With that awareness in mind, finding a means for direct communication with that aspect of myself seems essential to me. The more clearly I am able to discern the guidance from my spirit and follow that guidance, the easier it is for me to come into alignment with the Divine. An oracle then becomes the communication bridge between these two aspects of myself.



THE TAROT DECK

The Tarot is a deck of cards similar to the decks that we all use for standard card games. Rather than using spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs however the Tarot uses other symbols to represent the physical (Earth), mental (Air), emotional (Water) and spiritual (Fire) aspects of ourselves. Different decks use different symbols but they all are referencing the same four energetic components of our existence.

A typical Tarot deck has the four suits mentioned above numbered one through ten. It then has four “face cards” with each suit represented as the King, Queen, Prince and Princess (father, mother, son, daughter). These four suits are collectively known as the Minor Arcana. In addition to those there are 21 other cards known as the Major Arcana. These represent the prototypical emotional response patterns that emerge as personality or “energy types” such as a traveler (the Fool), a hero (the Hermit), a creator (the Magician), or ruler (the Emperor) for example. The Major Arcana also represents the archetypal energy patterns that we experience throughout our lives such as completion (Death), love (the Lovers), energy balancing (Karma), or introspection (Hanged Man) for example.

In a typical Tarot reading one begins by posing a question. Most people believe that when they go to someone for a Tarot reading that they are asking the card reader the questions. In fact they are asking their Higher Self the questions and the reader is using the cards to interpret the answer for them. When you do the reading for yourself this becomes more obvious. The cards are shuffled and then dealt out into various spreads. The direction the card faces (up or down), it’s position in the pre-defined spread and it’s relation to the cards around it all factor into what it means for you in response to the question. The spreads can be as simple as a single card or more elaborate ones with 10 or more cards which gives a greater depth of response.

When you begin to see the Tarot, or any oracle for that matter, as what it is rather than fearing it for what it isn’t, it becomes a very useful tool in your life. With the almost non-stop chatter which goes on in our minds, sometimes being able to perceive guidance from our spirit can be near impossible. An oracle then becomes a clear communication vehicle for that connection. An oracle is simply a clearly defined tool for the communication between your conscious mind and your subconscious or super conscious mind. Depending upon how clearly you frame the question, the spread that you use, and your familiarity with the deck and the cards interpretations there is no limit to the guidance you can receive. As with life, the only limits are the ones that you put in place.



INTERPRETATIONS

When I was first introduced to the Tarot I thought that it not something that I was going to get very much from. I had been to readers in the past and thought that the power was with them and not the deck. When you buy Tarot decks, typically they come with a book of interpretations. I was unsure how reading these predefined interpretations was going to get me any sort of unique answer to my potentially unlimited questions. As with most things of a spiritual nature that you buy through mass production, the authors aim towards the most casual user, therefore the interpretation books are usually broad, vague and very generalized. As you learn more about the Tarot however, you realize that the books are just a jumping-off point, the deepest interpretation comes from understanding the cards and relating to the deck.

Most people when they think of going to a card reader, they think of doing it to see if they’ll meet that special person, get a raise at work or answer some general question. I believe that comes from movies and TV and the way psychics are portrayed there. Sure those types of questions can be asked but one has to keep in mind that the future is not set in stone and so asking those sorts of questions can get you responses that may or may not come to pass. Meeting that special person is just one potential outcome that your future may hold but it is all dependent upon the paths you take.

A Tarot reading is a lot like being in your car and going from your home to some location on the other side of town. Based upon your knowledge of the roads, weather conditions, traffic, time of day, and your mood you may choose a very different path than you would have on another day and time. Perhaps that special someone would only interact with you if you had chosen to go down a specific street but traffic congestion caused you to change your mind at the last second and take a back street instead. But then again, perhaps that last minute change is what causes you to meet them. As with all of life, the potential was there but the choices you made affected the ultimate outcome.

I was introduced to the Tarot about 10 years ago by my partner who had been doing readings for himself for many years before we met. Over time I’ve found that daily readings for myself have been very useful personally but I’ve also learned a great deal about the process and about myself along the way. To me, the cards are a great way to see patterns emerging in my life and a way for me to see if my egoic self is aligned with my spirit. Based upon my experience, I’d like to offer some guidance for you if you’d like to begin your own personal journey with an oracle.



DECK SELECTION

The most important part of selecting a card based oracle is the images on the cards themselves. The images themselves are symbols which speak to the deepest layers of our psyche. There is a great deal of truth in the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” especially when it comes to oracles. I use the generic term oracles here because there are also oracle card decks which are not Tarot based and they can be very useful as well. The Tarot is a specific system with a set number of cards just like a set of Rummy cards or a Uno deck.

Tarot decks can be found at most larger book store chains but the best selections are at New Age shops. (If you are in the Seattle area, East West Books in the U-District has a huge selection.) They are also available online but unless you know of a specific deck that you want and can’t find it locally, it’s best to go where you can take the cards out, hold them and look at them. Take some time looking around at various shops before you make a decision. Try and find the widest range of cards before simply purchasing the lowest priced ones that you can find.

You want to choose a deck that you will enjoy working with for years and so selecting one with images which appeal to you will be very important. Once you start working with a deck, you’ll want to stay with it as long as you can because you’ll begin to imbue the deck with your energy through usage and that will deepen your experience. The images in Tarot decks are psycho-active. This means that the simple act of studying the symbols on a particular card activates your sub-conscious mind in such a way that allows explanations or interpretations to surface to the conscious level. This is where spending time looking through the deck before you purchase it will be beneficial. The deck that you should work with will hold great visual appeal for you for reasons that you may not even understand. Your intuition will guide you in that process. Our spirits have a way of making what we need be very attractive and what we do not need be very unappealing.



INTERPRETATION GUIDE BOOKS

While most decks that you purchase will also come with an interpretation book, if it’s possible to only buy just the deck, go with that option because I would like to recommend that you purchase the book I referenced in the last post. “Tarot of the Spirit” by Pamela Eakins is a fantastic book to use. She provides some of the most directly spiritual interpretations of any book that I’ve seen as well as information on various spreads you can use and the history of the Tarot. It’s an amazing book and after 10 years of use, I’m still blown away by it. Even if your deck comes with a book, I’d still recommend also purchasing and using her book. You will be very glad that you did.

The book however should only be seen as a starting point when beginning to work with the Tarot. I’d like to give you a technique that I’ve developed in conjunction with my spirit guides to help you personalize the interpretations for yourself. When you initially begin working with the Tarot, essentially you are establishing the language that you and your Higher Self will use to communicate. Typically our Spirits give us direct guidance through our intuition. Our culture doesn’t emphasize this aspect of ourselves nor help us learn to develop it and so we don’t really learn to work with this innate ability. At various points in our lives however we realize that we are getting these “hunches” or “gut instincts” and desire to begin relying on these more and more but we don’t know how.


STAY TUNED

In the next posting I’ll share a process for personalizing your readings. In the meantime, I encourage you to begin searching for a deck which appeals to you. Many decks now have websites where you can see every card in the deck or see enough cards that you can decide whether you like the look of the deck or not. Trust that you’ll know it when you see it…even if you don’t know why. Enjoy the process.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

See it another way - Part 3

This is the final part of this 3 part series, so let's get to it.

SEPARATE THE MESSAGE FROM THE MESSENGER


I have a Shamanic teacher who is a very powerful channel for several entities. He is able to open himself to those energies and let their messages and teachings flow through him. When we see him do this from the outside it looks exactly like the human we know as ThunderCloud but there is often a subtle shift in his tone or speech pattern. As well as we know him often times it is difficult to detect the moment these shifts occur and even harder to identify which of the entities he has connected with and is channeling. When someone new sees him do this and they don’t know what is happening, it simply appears as if ThunderCloud is spouting forth information that is very powerful and deep. To them it is all just ThunderCloud and nothing more.

This is how it was with Jesus. When he connected with and began stabilizing the Christ Consciousness within his human consciousness, he would speak from that place and unless you were there and knew when this happened and that it happened, you wouldn’t know what was going on. When he made statements like “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light” he wasn’t speaking about Jesus the man, he was speaking from the Christ Consciousness. This is why it is important to be able to distinguish the message from the messenger.

The Christ Consciousness is an eternal energy field and not connected to any one person or soul. Jesus was a human born of flesh and blood and his body was only temporary. We are given stories which were created by those observing his actions and words and then passed on orally as stories to others before finally being written down. We can’t get bogged down in the semantics of any one statement or single word but rather we have to look at the bigger picture of the teachings contained in these stories. As history has proven, this is very challenging and leads to worship of the messenger rather than the embodiment of the message.



FOLLOWING THE STAR

Keeping the Yogic perspective in mind let’s have another look at the “star” that the wise men followed. Yogic teachings state that while we may perceive ourselves as physical and solid, we are in fact a field of pure energy. We are an individuated stream or portion of the Divine energy field (God, Allah, The Source, Zero Point Energy Field). As such we each have our own energy system that we use to perceive, process and transmit energy from the Divine, our environment and the Earth. This system has many entry and exit points and these places are called chakras. In Sanskrit, where the term originated, chakra means turning or spinning wheel.

I will be doing a series of blog entries discussing the chakras in more detail very soon but for now I’ll just touch on the subject enough to make a point here about the birth story. The human body has seven main chakras which bring energy to the body and each of these are connected to various organs, systems and muscle groups. These are the Seven Gates spoken of in the Bible through which we must pass to gain entry into heaven. In Yogic terms that is to say the seven energy centers through which our consciousness must pass as we move up the spine from the root chakra to the crown chakra, or Heaven. One of these primary chakras is the called the Ajna or “3rd eye chakra”. This energy center is where we process what is commonly called psychic information. It is our connection to the non-physical world of information or our connection to the whole.

Through training and personal work we can have conscious access to the information available via the 3rd eye. Through this energy center we have access to all the information we could ever need to know about anything. This chakra is also known in ancient Hindu texts as “the Star of the East”. The Yogis believe that Divine energy comes to us from the East; the direction of the rising Sun. This is the “star” that the wise men (or energy masters) were able to use and follow to locate Jesus. This is the same process that is in use today in Tibet and India to enable them to locate the new incarnation of the Master teachers (The Dali Lama, various Buddha’s and Sai Baba to give a few examples) when they reincarnate into a new body.



OTHER VIEWS OF THE JESUS STORY

The Tarot (an ancient oracle) is a divination system and philosophy which is based upon the use of archetypes. An archetype is “an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated; a symbol universally recognized by all.” One of the archetypes from the Tarot is the Hierophant. In light of the above, I offer you this powerful excerpt from “Tarot of the Spirit” by Pamela Eakins.

“On the path toward understanding the mysteries of life, the Hierophant is known as the Sacrificial Priest. He embodies the strength and resolution to dissolve or to discard that which is no longer needed. As sacrificial priest, he also embodies the strength and resolution necessary to banish and therefore to overcome self-pity.


Thus he is the star of sacrifice as well as the star of manifestation, that which brings forth. He is also known as the guiding star of divinity. The Hierophant’s primary role is to illuminate. He illuminates sacred (inner) realities and teaches hidden laws. One of the most important symbols of the illumination of a sacred reality is the birth of Christ in a lowly manger. The birth of Christ-consciousness represents the consciousness of the higher self of all of us. This sacred birth represents the spirit made flesh, the descent of the Holy Spirit to the condition of Humanity. It is the merger of the macrocosmic will of the outer world with the microcosmic will of Self. When I say the spirit is made flesh, I am speaking of rising above, or lighting, the darkness of the unconsciousness or the darkness of ignorance. The light of super-consciousness is realized. That is why the birth of Christ is called the Birth of Light. The Hierophant represents such light. He is both the eternal life-force residing in the flesh and the guiding light. He is the eternal will of the babe in the manger as well as the light of the star that guides the Magi to the birth.


The birth of Christ-consciousness can be looked at figuratively or literally. The Hierophant – as the great macrocosmic force coming to Earth – is said to move in cycles of 2000 years. This means that the Earth is due for a new Messiah. The new Messiah is the harbinger of a new level of consciousness. During this phase of the 2000 year cycle, however, there is not one Messiah, but a multitude. A whole generation is rising up and embracing the female aspects of the God-head. A generation is rising up in defense of the Mother Earth and beginning to raise the vibrational level of the planet to receive the clear communications from the source, to which we shall all return. Even as you read this, you are being called as one of this multitude. You must realize this. You are a harbinger of the new consciousness.


The transition to a higher vibrational level, just as any transition in life, involves its share of pain and suffering. To make room for the new, we must abandon the old. There is a certain amount of sorrow inherent in this process. And the shaking out may not always be what we want or think we want. Nonetheless, it is always for the better. We must abandon self-pity. The Hierophant intervenes for our growth and development, both on the micro (self, inner) and macro (universe, outer) levels. He is eternally the triumphant intelligence. His will triumphs because it is the same as the will of God.


Even if we are wounded as we grow, we are nonetheless wiser. The Hierophant - which can also be seen as our conscience or the conscience of the planetary group – represents the force of light, the shaking out of ignorance.


The Hierophant is the inner ear. He teaches us how to listen. He shows us the path of understanding of the universal forces and our own place within these forces. He shakes us out of ignorance. We shake out our ignorance through binding with our higher self, through listening to our inner conscience. The Hierophant is the personal consciousness linked to universal conscience energy. He is the awakened one, the conscious one, the illuminated, the enlightened.”


It is important to remember that just like in the Bible, God is referred to as “he”, the Hierophant has no gender either because it is an energy field devoid of human characteristics. Using this type of gender pronoun (he) and giving the field human traits helps us to identify with it more closely. This archetypal consciousness of the Hierophant is the same as the “Christ Consciousness” that I’ve been discussing previously. Hierophant is just the label the Tarot uses to reference it.



EXPAND YOUR VIEW, DEEPEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE

To me it is important to find those parallels between systems because having that cross-reference awareness can help you understand both systems more fully. The more we can see these parallels between spiritual teachings, the more we begin to understand Oneness. Now rather than thinking that it’s two different systems referencing two unrelated topics, we can see it as two different views of the same target. The knowledge of one then becomes transferrable to the other and a new depth of understanding emerges within both of them. When that happens we are able to relate more easily to those who follow the other teachings because we see a connection to our own. This is especially the case with Christians and Muslims. They both are looking at God but using two different views.



LIFE MOVES IN CYCLES

One of the main points I’d like to draw out of that powerful passage is the 2000 year cycle of the Hierophant. So if we see the time of the birth of Jesus as the last time the Christ Consciousness, or Hierophant, manifested in the physical realm that puts us in the general timeframe for the re-emergence of that consciousness. While it may seem that technically we’re 10 years past that point, I should point out one important piece of information. It has been determined that when the current Roman calendar system was established, there was a miscalculation which occurred. Researchers now know that this miscalculation caused it to be about 12 years ahead of what the year actually should be. That means that technically the year 2010 should only be 1998. You can easily understand why we don’t just change the date globally to accommodate this information however.

The Yogi’s have long believed that the best way for anyone to learn spiritual teachings is by direct transmission from Guru (Master, Teacher, Sage) to disciple. They know that Guru’s of all levels and purposes emerge to illuminate sacred teachings and this knowledge is passed on. This process has been necessary because the knowledge was often lost because our consciousness couldn’t hold it as a species. This happened because those with the knowledge had no way to document and preserve it, or they and the knowledge were eradicated by those seeking power over them. That is changing now because knowledge is so easily disseminated now across the globe in a matter of minutes and it can be retained. The Yogi’s have also taught that the age we are entering is the end of the age of the Guru. Rather than only one Master (Avatar, Savior, Buddha) that consciousness, Christ Consciousness, will manifest in the masses.

As more and more of us awaken to this consciousness, we claim our power rather than denying it or believing that we have to go through some other human agency to access it. The more fully we claim our power, the more fully this Christ Consciousness will be able to manifest in the physical realm. As this happens the consciousness of the collective human species will expand to accommodate it and life as it we know it will be transformed. This is “critical mass” and works just like the “100th monkey effect”. Once enough of us know about something and we are able to stabilize that awareness, then we will all know about it. That is what each of us is being called to do, to awaken to the oneness of Truth. That is what I hope to help you to do and why I am sharing the information which has come to me.



KEEP AN OPEN MIND

You may be reading my words and connecting with parts of it or searching for some point that you don’t believe and then writing it off as all wrong but at least the information is getting to you. For a lot of people, Christians in particular, they will read the interpretations that I’ve shared above and immediately reject it because it isn’t in alignment with the belief system which has been handed down to them. It is not important at all that you believe everything I’ve shared (or will share) but what I do hope that you will gain from this particular mini-series (“See it another way”) is the awareness that while you may think you know all there is to know about something, you really don’t. I don’t either. None of us do. There is always another way to see things but you have to keep an open mind.

Once we believe “I know that” then you stop learning and you stop being open to the mystery that is life ever-evolving. By surrendering a limiting world view of spirituality and expanding your view of God and embracing the mystery of the Void, a new depth of wisdom is accessed and our individual and collective consciousness expands to accommodate it. What is true for the parts is true for the whole and what is true for the whole can become true for the parts but only when the parts drop their sense of separation and merge into the whole. Again we see that it is only our sense of separation from the whole which holds us back.

I do not want to prove or disprove anyone’s belief system. Rather I hope to show that by dropping limiting beliefs which cut you off from your power and embracing a sense of wonder and mystery, your view will expand to accommodate a deeper understanding. As your individual consciousness expands, you will be able to stabilize the Christ Consciousness which is emerging and that will indeed be the “Second Coming of Christ” which Jesus spoke of. Those whom are expecting a 2000 year old body to defy all the rules of physics which operate this reality and to reappear will miss out on the very thing that they’ve been watching for because of their limiting view.



TOUGH ONE

Thank you for sticking with this little mini-series. I’m certain it was as challenging for some to read as it was for me to write. I know if I had read this 25 or 30 years ago I certainly would have been challenged by it but now it makes so much sense and helps me see the Bible and the collected stories within it in a whole new way that isn’t scary. I can see it now for the teachings on Love which are at its core, rather than a thing which I should fear or be judged by. There is no room for ‘hate’ within Love because just like I said above “what’s true for the parts is true for the whole”. If there is hate, that energy is not a part of Love. So whether you hate the sin or the sinner, there is still hate and judgment. Holding on to hate keeps you from fully embracing Love.


Are you able to open your heart, mind and eyes and allow yourself to see Life in another way? If so, what do you feel when you do that? If not, why?

Friday, October 15, 2010

See it another way - Part 2

So let's continue this mini-series with the second installation.  In this part, I begin to explore the story behind the story that we're presented it. To understand a character we have to take their whole story into account. Who were they and what did they do and what was their life like?


SEE THE WHOLE STORY


An important factor in understanding the stories is understanding the characters and their stories. In the case of the Bible it’s important to know about what isn’t there as well. In following the narrative of Jesus, he disappears for about 18 years from the time of his early teens and then reappears as Jesus Christ, the healer and teacher. To most people this seems incidental but these missing years are critical to understanding the deeper meanings of the teachings passed on by Jesus and his disciples.

Anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Jesus was a bit of a rebel. He was opposed to the established political structure and sought to change it. He was also well versed in spiritual matters even as a child. His thirst for knowledge and truth as well as his dislike of the existing power structure led him to leave the area and to ultimately go to India. His time in India, the missing 18 years, is well documented. Because a different language was spoken in India however the name Jesus translated into Isa. Jesus went to India to study the ancient texts and spiritual teachings of Yoga. These teachings had been around for thousands of years before the birth of Jesus. They also contain stories of their version of creation, the virgin birth of a Savior, Krishna, and his death and mystical resurrection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_years_of_Jesus



THE SPIRITUALITY OF YOGA

The deeper spiritual teachings of Yoga are not about being able to contort your body into challenging positions or to use it as an exercise program. The physical poses are tools for moving energy through the body and to enable conscious control of the body and it’s functioning. To embody the deepest teachings of Yoga, all functions of the body have to be brought under conscious control so that the energetic changes necessary for spiritual embodiment can take place. The teachings of Yoga are about aligning the individual soul with the Divine and embodying that energy. In essence it is about manifesting the Divine through the vehicle of the body. “Yoga” literally translates into “yoking” or “union”; connecting the body with the Spirit.

When you understand the spiritual aspects and deepest teachings of Yoga and you compare that to the teachings of Jesus, it becomes easy to see how the two are connected. One of the most powerful books on this topic was written by Paramahansa Yogananda and is called “The second coming of Christ – The resurrection of the Christ within you.” In this two-volume masterpiece Yogananda studies the first four books of the New Testament from the Bible and explains at length how these teachings emerged from the ancient Yogic texts. While many Christians may initially feel uneasy about hearing that, if they take the time to understand the deeper truths behind the teachings of Jesus, it helps those teachings to become more accessible and applicable to real life.

The process which Jesus went through is a process which countless others have gone through as well. He wasn’t the first nor was he the last. At its core, it is about using certain energetic techniques which were (and still are) passed on from Master (or teacher or Guru) to student (or disciple or seeker). These techniques help the student learn to consciously take control of their physical bodies and all of its functioning. Once the body, breath and mind have been brought under conscious control then the main process of stabilizing the Atman can occur. The Atman is what we in the West might think of as our Higher Self. “Atmic stabilization” is then the process of physically embodying the Higher Self.

This process is one that anyone can embark upon but it may take them many lifetimes to complete it. The key process is about the evolution of the Soul and thus the speed and success level is dependent upon the individual’s own unique evolutionary process. Since all souls are eternal therefore there is no set timeline or deadline for this process. As is evidenced by the teachings of Jesus, he was clearly a very advanced soul and energy master who manifested in our world to accomplish all that he did. If this were not true, he would not be such a prominent figure in a world which exists 2000 years after his death. The same of course holds true for Krishna, the Buddha, Muhammad and any other being whose life has impacted our modern world.



KEEPING IT REAL

If we take away the magic and mumbo jumbo from the Biblical stories and examine the base stories of Jesus, we begin to see a ray of hope. If I see Jesus as a product of physics-defying magic which cannot be duplicated by a real human, then I am only left to wonder and believe that none of that could happen to me so why bother. However, if I see Jesus as a real flesh-and-blood man who through his own volition and study was able to achieve Oneness with the Divine, it gives me hope. If I know that there is a process which I too can follow, that gives me inspiration and motivation. This view of Jesus is far more accessible to me and is in alignment with all the rules of physics and therefore believable.

While I could never even begin to give you an almost verse by verse translation of the Bible verses into Yogic teachings as Yogananda did, I would like to touch upon the key points of some of the more well known aspects of the Jesus story contained in the core of Christian teachings. By seeing these stories as viewed through a Yogic filter, they take on a far more believable tone and reveal many deeper truths.

The stories in the Bible were written by the followers and observers of Jesus and not by Jesus himself. Their stories emerge from their interactions with Jesus and his teachings. Given that, it is important to remember that they did not have the knowledge that Jesus did because of his training nor the wisdom that he did because of his soul’s evolutionary journey. Those who passed the stories along were speaking about what they saw, heard and understood from the outside. Their own issues, fears, misunderstandings, faulty memories and personal agendas went into creating the stories they shared. They were sharing their stories the same way that you might share a story about your life. They weren’t submitting heavily edited manuscripts to a publishing house that was busy creating the Bible but rather they were simply passing along an account of their experience to those they knew.



YOGIC STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

The deeper spiritual teachings of Yoga begin to delve into the various phases of consciousness especially those outside of our limited human understandings of the mind. Consciousness is that spark of life which separates the animate from the inanimate. They also teach that there are states of consciousness that one achieves as one advances toward Enlightenment. Enlightenment is the conscious awareness of Oneness with the Divine. The Yogis have labeled this state of consciousness as Christ (or Kutastha) Consciousness. When one is in this state they are consciously connected to all of creation as well as the unmanifest realm of Spirit.

Ancient Yogic texts which have been dated to over 3,000 years old (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas) speak of the process by which advanced souls can achieve this state of Christ Consciousness through certain energetic and metaphysical processes. This process is based upon the belief in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the process by which eternal souls return to the physical realm repeatedly, each time taking on a new body at birth and dropping it at death. Through this process the soul is able to continue its learning’s from the physical realm as that soul advances towards Enlightenment.

Jesus was clearly an advanced soul but it is important to know that he was not the only soul at this level. As one advances spiritually, their purpose for incarnating becomes clear and they are able to consciously fulfill their destiny. Some souls have a larger and more visible purpose, such as Jesus did, but most may serve a much more transparent or obscure purpose where little or no recognition is necessary or desired. Unlike how things are in our modern world, it is not about who has the best job with the most recognition but rather it is about fulfilling the souls destiny no matter how large or small the task.

It is important to note that this state of Unity or Christ Consciousness was not named after Jesus but rather Jesus was given this name after he achieved this state of awareness. This is why Jesus of Nazareth became known as Jesus the Christ. His new name was given as recognition of his shift in consciousness from individual awareness into Cosmic Consciousness. As with any name, when one is called by that name then that energy will flow through them and to the one doing the calling. It’s a lot like when your friends call your name; they are addressing the totality that is you and not just you at some age or specific date on which you met them.

When Jesus obtained this enlightened state of awareness he then began to channel, or embody, that consciousness. His limited human consciousness became immersed in Christ Consciousness. It wasn’t an instantaneous occurrence but rather a continuation of the process of soul advancement that led him to that point. As he worked to stabilize that consciousness within himself, he began speaking more and more from that awareness. This is where I believe that a great deal of confusion has resulted in our understanding of the teachings he left behind.

 
END OF PART 2
 
That's it for this portion. I hope you are beginning to see how context is as important as content. Until next week I invite you to examine people in your life that you may have misjudged. Perhaps it is someone that you thought of one way until you got a key piece of information and suddenly you saw them, their actions and words in a completely new way. The key there is that they didn't change but your understanding of them did and that made them seem different to you. Or perhaps you were the one who was misjudged.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

See it another way - Part 1

Let’s take another look at some of what we think we know about the Bible and see if we can find some new, deeper truths there. As I share this, I invite you notice when resistance arises. I’m not asking you to change your belief system but for now just keep an open mind and rather than shutting down when you disagree with what I say just allow yourself to consider the possibility that perhaps there is more to the story than meets the eye.

This is going to have to be a multi-part installment because it is rather long. One thing I’d like to point out before I continue is that I am not looking to disprove or dismiss any religion or its teachings. Rather I want to encourage you to expand your view of them, drop your limiting beliefs and see deeper truths contained within the ancient teachings. The truth is there in all the religions but we have to sort out the message from the messengers and from manipulation. We are all human and religion is a product of mankind. The sacred texts from the religions are also a product of mankind and are therefore subject to human interpretation, misunderstanding and manipulation (consciously or unconsciously).

Since Christianity is the religion that I, and I believe most Americans, are most familiar with, it is the one that I will primarily focus on. I will also try to show you parallels in other dominate world religions but for sake of clarity I will try to hold my focus on Christianity. The principles behind what I hope to reveal will apply to any religion and its teachings. Truth is one, paths are many. In our ascent to Universal Truth we see that each religion is simply another path which presents us with a slightly different view on our journey. All paths are equal but each is unique.

I’m going to include a few links to sites for additional background information on the topics I’m touching on. These links are for your reference and should be considered an easy entry point for gaining deeper insights. I find Wikipedia to be full of useful info with many links to more detailed information so that is the main site I reference. I hope you’ll do your own web surfing to lead you to the information you need. To try and get all of the information into this blog would really be too much and detract from the main narrative, so please follow these links as far as you feel led to.



THE CHRISTIAN STORY

To begin, let’s take a look at the big picture story presented by the Bible in relation to Jesus. We are told that Mary was visited by an angel and told that she would become pregnant from the Holy Spirit and that she would be birthing a Savior for the world. As time for the birth arrived, Mary and Joseph were traveling and could only find shelter in a manger. Meanwhile, wise men from far away were traveling to where Mary was so that they could worship this newborn king. They were navigating to where Jesus was born by following a star.

The Bible then tells a bit about the childhood of Jesus up through his early teens. He then seems to be absent for roughly 18 years and then reappears as Jesus Christ. This is where the stories of his miracles and the main body of his teachings begin. We’re told stories of how Jesus rebelled against the political establishment and challenged the reigning religious beliefs with radical new teachings. We’re also introduced to his group of 12 disciples and told of his interactions with Mary Magdelain. In the current version of the Bible, Mary is basically written off as a trouble making whore and nothing more.

All of this ultimately leads to Jesus being betrayed by one of his followers, Judas, and being taken into custody by the local rulers, tried and sentenced to death for his rebellious actions. He is then taken along with other common criminals and nailed to a cross and crucified. After his death, he is put in a tomb and three days later, as Jesus had predicted, he arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Jesus said that his death would cause everyone’s sins to be forgiven and that he would watch over us and be back when the time came to bring an end to the world.

In the Christian religious belief system, they teach that the Bible is the inspired word of God. They are taught that the stories are literal and given to us directly by the hand of God. The believers are supposed to take all this on faith and follow the teachings in the Bible to the letter. By trusting in Jesus to cleanse them of their sins when they ask for forgiveness, they are all set to gain entry into Heaven at the time of the human death. Those who do not believe are instead sent to Hell to suffer for an eternity in an eternal pit of fire.



HARD TO SWALLOW

To the casual observer, that all seems like quite the story. When compared to the present day reality and laws of Nature, it becomes a bit hard to swallow. As the Dali Lama says “when you examine reality and it doesn’t line up with your beliefs, then it’s time to change your beliefs.” The reality that we know tells us that virgins don’t have babies and that dead people don’t come back to life after being dead for three days. This says that stories that we’re being given aren’t describing physical reality because the Laws of Nature have not changed in the 2000 years since the time of Jesus. If this is the case then what are these stories about?

To begin to appreciate these stories for what they truly are, which is metaphorical teachings, you have to look at the history of the Bible and Jesus and see them both for what they are. The Bible is a collection of stories written by humans for humans. These stories were selected by those in power, translated and edited by humans and passed on to the next generation. The Bible was created by taking the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, and adding the new stories about Jesus, the New Testament. It was used to define the budding Christian religion and hold its teachings. Historically, it was modified and used by those in political power to maintain power and control over the people.

Let’s take a closer look at the story of Jesus and put it into historical perspective and align it with the reality which we believe to exist based upon physics, scientific fact and experience. It is important to not only understand the stories but to view them in the context of the time in which they were written. 2000 years ago, Paganism was the dominate religious philosophy of the time in the area where Jesus grew up. In this belief system, Mother Earth is worshipped as the Creator of life. This belief led to the worship of the feminine and by extension females as the embodiment of the Divine. It was also believed that the Earth was flat, that we were the center of the creation and that all things revolved around us.



PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE

Our knowledge has come a long way since that time and we can use that knowledge to allow us to see the humanity of these writings. Our study of history and the history of the Bible, in addition to the content and context of the Bible, begins to transform what seems to be a supernatural story into something that we can more directly relate to. One of the cornerstones of the Christian faith is the story of the “virgin birth in a manger”. 2000 years the word virgin meant something entirely different than it does now. Then it meant “an un-wed woman” and had no relevance to sexuality. A “manger” was a regular home which had a place on the lower floor for the families’ livestock. The warmth of the animals helped to keep the house warm during the night.

If we take this knowledge and apply it to the Jesus story then things begin to come back into alignment with the physical reality that we know today. This means that Mary would have had to have sex to become pregnant and that could explain how protective Joseph was and it would seem to indicate that Joseph was the father of Jesus. Two humans having sex and producing a human child returns the humanity to Jesus and keeps the story in alignment with physical law. The humanity within Jesus is what makes the rest of his story then come alive in a new and more profound way. The greatest teachers the world has known have achieved their greatness by the quality of the life they live and by their actions not by the stories they tell.

So how did “wise men” follow a star to find and worship Jesus? Let’s use science to help us re-examine this part of the story. We now know that the stars we see at night are two things. Some of the bright points of light are actually other planets in our solar system reflecting the light from our star, the Sun. The other stars are actually just like our Sun, a giant ball of various gases which radiate heat, light and the nutrients essential for the creation and preservation of life as we know it. They are not simply tiny points of light which light up at night like a giant string of twinkle lights. If a star tried to come close enough to our planet to guide travelers, our planet would be disintegrated from the heat of that star. If you see it as “they used a star to navigate by”, then how would they know when or where to stop? Stars, when used for navigation on the sea, help sailors find their way back to land not to a specific place in the middle of the land.



THE STORY OF THE STORIES

It’s important to remember that all the stories from the Bible are filled with metaphors and symbolism. Metaphors are powerful writing tools which help to unlock different meanings in the mind of the reader based upon their knowledge level. They can tell a mundane story on the surface to the casual reader but hold deeper truths for the adept especially when combined with symbolism. During the time of Jesus anyone who disagreed with those in power, including for their religious beliefs, could be put to death. This is where symbols come in. Rather than use specific names in the story, and risk death, often animals were used instead and then when the story was passed on, the translation keys were shared from teacher to student. This is why Jesus is often referred to in the Bible as the Lion or the Lamb.

It’s also important to keep in mind that even the first of the stories involving Jesus were written 40 to 50 years after his death and the rest came much later. Most of the stories were written by people who weren’t even alive during that time because the stories were passed on orally until someone chose to write them down. Just like with Genesis, there was not a scribe running around following God and documenting his story from creation to up through the political workings of ancient Egypt. The stories were written by those wanting to bring forth the teachings to preserve them for future generations from a story-tellers perspective and not as an eye witness account.

The stories that we find contained in today’s Bible were written independently and later gathered together to create the Bible hundreds of years after the original writing of the individual stories. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon) The sands of time have presented us with additional insights into these stories as well. In 1946 a cave was found near the West Bank which contained ancient scrolls. These scrolls were original copies of some of the books used in the Bible as well as many that did not make it into the Bible during the canonization process. Researchers have learned a great deal about the story of Jesus from these documents. They were able to see how the current stories have been altered over the years as well as gain additional insights into the political, social and religious history of the people. These documents have become known as "The Dead Sea Scrolls" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls

Every religion has its own version of the story of creation but they are just that, stories.  http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2009/04/whisper-game.html They are the attempt by the author(s) to explain how we got here and not an eye witness report of the events. Yes, the stories do contain factual components too but it is important to understand their origin and the climate in which they were created. It’s also important to remember that the original story may have been written in one language and translated and retranslated into others. Mistranslations were common as were intentional changes in the story to suit the needs of those using the stories to create the Bible. Changes have been made to the stories through the years as well to suit the political, social or religious needs of those in power. Again taking a historical perspective, these changes were easy to make because there were very few copies of the original manuscripts. The printing press had not been created yet and so only those in power had copies of the texts.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when reading these ancient texts is that the same rules of physics and nature were in force then as now. When you read these stories if there is something that isn’t physically possible now, it wasn’t possible then. Yet just because a story isn’t 100% factual, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful. We can’t get caught up in the meaning of any single word or quibble over statements or events but rather see the teachings contained in the stories and learn from them. Story telling is meant to grab and hold the reader’s attention. This allows the teachings to be passed along by creating imagery that unfolds in the mind of the reader in a way that it will be remembered more easily.

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That’s it for part 1. Part 2 will be up shortly so please stay tuned. In the meantime I invite you to look at stories which have shaped your life, your family, or the world and ask yourself this “even if it’s just a story and not based on fact, what can I learn from it anyway?”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who are you?

I am God.









When you read that statement, what thoughts and emotions does it generate for you? I have no doubt that even from such a small and simple sentence a great many thoughts surfaced in your mind because of it. Notice them and take a few minutes to let them roll around in your mind. The key is to be aware of them without responding to them for now.





I am God.





Now I ask you to notice the perspective that you are reading the statement from. Do you read it as Michael saying that Michael is God? If you change it to be a statement that you are saying about yourself, does it change the thoughts and emotions? Are you willing and able to say it about yourself…and mean it?





I AM GOD.







“God” is a huge concept and each of us has our own personal view of that concept. This view has been created by us since we first heard the word until this moment. It may not be a conscious action where we sit and contemplate the Divine and ask ourselves what do I think of God but it is a concept that we probably never allow ourselves to fully grasp. For the majority of us, especially those with religious backgrounds, it’s a statement that few are willing to make because of all that we believe it to mean.





I am God.





Can you say it out loud? Does that change what comes up for you when you do? Would you even allow yourself to say it out loud? The mental and emotional responses that surface for you when you say it is all that I ask you to be aware of at this point. Does it trigger fear, insecurity, shame, anger, resentment…or a deep inner knowingness and an awareness of truth?



DEFINING GOD

Those of us who have spent time as a member of any religion have a great deal of energy built up around the concept of God. Each of our world religions has a God at the center of its belief system. How God is defined and how we access that energy along with the stories of those upon which the religion is based is what makes the difference between the religions. Each religion is a belief system constructed around the experiences of key individuals and their relationship to God. Each religion has compiled and constructed texts which are used to define the belief system held by those who formed or control that particular religion. Each believes their way to be the best way otherwise the religion would collapse in upon itself.


Unfortunately many religions believe their way is the ONLY way and that’s where the problems start for everyone else. To believe that you are the holder of definitive truth and this truth is so powerful that you have to convince others that their belief is wrong is what is at the base of all Holy wars. At their core, all wars are really Holy wars. The ideological differences between the religious beliefs of one society and another is what leads each of them into battle, and ultimately war, to defend that belief system. The dominate religious belief system within a culture has a direct impact upon all the members of its society even if they aren’t members of that religion. These members are then tasked with going to war to defend the culture and its beliefs. This shows how much power belief systems can hold over us.

We fight amongst ourselves, human against human, simply because of differences in cultural beliefs. We aren’t fighting off another predatory species that wants to consume us. We argue, fight, kill and attempt to destroy all others who don’t believe as we do so that in the end our belief system is the only belief system. The truly sad part is that each warring faction does so in the name of its God.



TRUTH IS ONE, PATHS ARE MANY

If I asked you to define God for me, how would you do it? What words would you use and where do the words that you select come from? For the majority of us the definitions come from religion whether we consider ourselves a member of that religion or not. So where do religions get their concept of God? Each religion is founded upon the subjective experience of a key individual who’s connection to or experience with the Divine is beyond the norm. Entire cultures form around these individuals, temples are built in their honor and they are worshiped and adored. But are they the destination or are they a path?

If you examine any of the major religions, at their core is a story of an individual, born of simple means that is able to break through the mundane existence and express a deeper truth. This truth is so overpowering and inspiring that stories are written about it to share with future generations. The experiences of these key individuals is so far removed from the ordinary experience that these individuals seem magical and begin to seem “larger than life”. From that perspective, the individuals begin to be worshiped directly rather than the truth behind their message and experiences. This is confusing the messenger with the message.

Yet if you take a deeper look at the stories and drop any preconceived notions about the stories you begin to see the deeper truth. It isn’t until we admit that we don’t know something that we open our minds to seeing it from a different perspective. As long as we believe that we know something, we stay locked in our own belief system and nothing changes. When we remove the supernatural aspects from these stories and can simply see these key individuals as other humans sharing the truth of what they have found, the teachings become more accessible. “If it can happen to him, it can happen to me” invites inspiration whereas “I’m not worthy” limits our power.



THE BELIEFS THAT BIND

In the next entry I’d like to share a different perspective on some old stories. Rather than trying to disprove or reject them however I hope to encourage you to see it as a way to see another deeper layer of truth that is accessible to each of us. Truth surrounds us but based upon our past conditioning we are unable to recognize this truth or we fear it too deeply to acknowledge it. The vibration of the planet is increasing and life as we know it is about to transform. We have to break free of limiting beliefs in order to recognize and affirm our own power so that we can move forward into this new existence. To be free from our past and able to respond fully in the present moment is the essence behind “free will”.


Are you willing to see yourself as the creator, or God, of your life? Are you ready to take full responsibility for the good AND bad things which you have already created and begin to transform your life?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Process work

“Know thyself”. This is a simple axiom which has been passed down to us through the ages. It sounds simple but how well do you really know yourself? Most of us know ourselves by summaries of ourselves. “I’m a good person” or “I’m quiet and reserved.” To really know yourself and to begin to make changes in your life, you really must know yourself beyond the surface summary level. The term used for this type of transformational activity is “process work”.


Process work is any formalized activity that causes us to examine and alter the processes that we use to navigate the world and how we present our self to the world. It is really about getting into “our stuff” (beliefs/fears/issues/judgments/etc) and working through them to release what doesn’t work and expand upon or add what does. Any type of healing work, talk therapy (psychology) or self-help work that we use to transform issues in our lives is process work.



GROWTH REQUIRES WORK

The thing with doing this type of internal process work is that you may engage in it for a specific issue but the more you learn about why this is an issue for you the more you learn that it’s usually bigger than you thought. For example you may go into therapy because you feel depressed but once you really get into the emotional causes of your depression you realize that it’s not just because you just had a break-up or lost your job, it’s much deeper. Once you take an honest look at yourself and your life and all that needs to change, it can be overwhelming. It can also be frustrating because you feel the changes you need to make in yourself to be happy are not possible within the framework of your current life. Process work is challenging but it is essential for our social, emotional, mental and spiritual growth.

The challenging part about process work is that it will require us to change patterns in our lives and issues in our belief system. When we run into issues which challenge our beliefs, our natural instinct is to judge the issue as wrong and dismiss it because it isn’t in alignment with our beliefs and surly our beliefs are can’t be wrong! All too often however the belief is where the problem is and that is what needs to change. Until we really know and understand our beliefs however we can’t ever begin to change them.



THE POWER OF BELIEF

Our belief system begins forming while we are still in the womb. These beliefs are forming at a very unconscious level and are based upon energy we receive during our gestation period. If our mothers are living in fear or abusive relationships, resentful of the pregnancy or highly stressed, the fetus receives these emotions and the unconscious belief that “the world isn’t safe” gets a foothold. Every event that happens from that point forward will be perceived through that “unsafe” filter.

If we unconsciously hold the belief that the world is an unsafe place, we will engage the world very differently than we would if we felt fully safe and supported. Two people could experience the same event but their belief that the world is safe or unsafe will color their experience and cause them to see the parts of the experience that confirm their belief system. We don’t tend to focus on things that disprove our beliefs because it’s all happening at the subconscious level. Our beliefs then begin to create our realities. If I believe the world is unsafe then I will fear everything and live my life based upon that fear response. Eventually my limited world will close in on me and I will be held hostage in my self-created prison of fear.



ENGAGE THE PROCESS

So then if our beliefs create our realities at the subconscious level and we are unhappy with the way life is going for us, how do we begin to change? We can’t change what we don’t know about. To begin the process of change we have to be willing to take an honest look at our belief system to find and release the limiting beliefs. The following exercise is a way for you to engage a process to bring out the unconscious beliefs that you are holding so that you can begin to see them and bring them into your conscious mind.

Take a blank sheet of paper and write “I believe…” at the top of it. Begin writing everything that you believe as it comes to you. Just make quick notes without explanation at this point but be honest with yourself. Start with the easy ones but notice the others that surface when you write one down. Don’t edit or judge yourself, just write a few words about each belief as it surfaces and stay with the process. Don’t be afraid to write down the ones that scare you or that you feel you’d be judged by if you spoke it out loud. Only you will see this paper. If it scares you too much to write it down, it’s probably causing a great many problems without your awareness. Write it down BECAUSE it scares/saddens/angers or triggers some other powerful emotion within you. Don’t worry about processing these issues for now otherwise you’ll find a way to run from the deeper issues which will begin surfacing after you stop writing the fluffy beliefs that you like. Don’t stop this process until the page is full on the front and back. Push yourself to fill the page and if the energy is there a second or third page. Each time you write one thing down and bring it into your conscious mind this way, more beliefs will surface with it so write them down too and keep the process flowing.

Allow yourself to observe yourself engaging in the process and notice what beliefs surface there. If “rules” arise (“I should use good grammar”, “I must use good penmanship”, “I shouldn’t write negative things”) make a note of them too. Each of these items is a reflection of a belief (you must use good grammar all the time, write precisely or only focus on love and light) that you hold consciously or unconsciously. Thoughts that come with “should” or “must” or words like that originate from some belief you are holding about why you should or must do something. These are the small, controlling and limiting beliefs that we’re searching for with this exercise.



STAY WITH IT

Begin this process when you can set aside at least 30 uninterrupted minutes to an hour for it. Try and stay with the process once you begin it until you can’t take any more. Starting and stopping breaks the flow so push yourself to continue, especially once you hit the first “that’s all” point. It’s very easy to write furiously for 2 or 3 minutes and then talk yourself into being done. Force yourself to stay with the process for the minimum amount of time that you’ve set aside even if you have periods where nothing seems to be surfacing. Allow yourself to sit in that silence and wait. Use blank paper if possible so that you don’t have lines to follow but rather you have unbound space to work in with no rules. Commit to the process of just writing the belief without limiting or judging yourself or doing anything beyond simply writing down what you believe to be true no matter how trivial, petty, embarrassing or seemingly unrelated to anything in your life it is.

Remember to examine all levels here including personal, family, societal, religious and/or professional beliefs. All of the beliefs from any area of your life are having an impact on all areas of your life whether you see it directly or not. For now, just write the belief itself and don’t worry about rationalizing it, understanding it or processing it. This exercise is only about bringing that which is held in your unconscious mind into your conscious mind. Use as many sheets of paper as you need to get it all out and don’t worry about duplicates for now…just let it flow. Save the paper(s) for the process work that’s ahead in upcoming blog entries. If more beliefs surface after you feel that you are done, add them. The more beliefs you can bring from your unconscious mind into your conscious mind the more effective this process will be. Please don’t limit or judge yourself with this process.



What do you really believe and what beliefs have been given to you or imposed upon you?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Conscious Competence Cycle

If you’ve been following this blog, you should be aware by now that I believe that as a species we are evolving. With all of the environmental issues that we are seeing, wars, greed, disease, famine, natural and man-made disasters, it’s enough to make anyone want to throw their hands up in despair. When we can step back and take an honest look at what is going on with our beautiful planet, we can see a planet and her inhabitants in crisis mode. We are nearing a breaking point in a planetary cycle. This planetary crisis is (as I discussed in http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2009/10/guiding-principals-part-2.html) the impetus behind the evolutionary impulse that is awakening across the planet. At its core, it is nature telling us “Evolve or Die”.

Fortunately we are waking up, listening and responding as a species. It’s happening slowly but little by little we are approaching “critical mass”. As more and more of us awaken to the deeper truths, as a species we begin to see and feel the deeper potential. Eventually enough of us will stabilize this new consciousness and hold it until it becomes strong enough that we all feel it. That point where enough of us believe something to be true that it allows all of us to believe its truth is the point of critical mass.


THE COMPETENCE CYCLE

As we awaken to our deeper and fuller potential as a species, we are like infants that are beginning to walk. The movements are new, challenging and scary but still we are drawn to the change at a very unconscious level because it is encoded in our DNA. As we awaken to this evolutionary impulse we experience the world of energy as something mystical and magical. We begin our journey with “unconscious incompetence”. At this stage we don’t know what we are capable of and we don’t know how to use the dormant abilities that we are slowly discovering that we have. As a result we misuse, fear, and deny these abilities. Yet still we sense that something is shifting.


Slowly as we grow as individuals we may not know the full depth of our capabilities but we begin to change our behaviors because we first learn what doesn’t work through our problems, failures and setbacks. Each time that we do something that brings us a result that we don’t like or want, we learn to change our behavior to avoid that consequence. It’s like the toddler that learns to avoid touching the radiator because it burns. It takes a few times of getting burned to make the connection or see the pattern but eventually we learn. At this stage we begin to move into “conscious incompetence” because while we may not know everything just yet, we have learned to survive and grow.

Eventually we reach a point where we have gathered enough experiential data that we can begin putting the pieces together and realizing that we are indeed capable of something more than meets the eye. This stage is like the child learning that if he moves a box near the counter, stands on the box and pulls on the drawer handle to use to climb onto the counter top, he can access the candy jar. At this stage we reach “conscious competence”. We know we can do something greater than we did before to gain more desirable outcomes, like the sweet candy, but we don’t fully comprehend the consequences of these more complex actions. Too much candy leads to a tummy ache in the short-term and weight issues long-term which open us up to a whole host of health issues.

Finally after gaining a body of experience and the knowledge to understand cause and effect along with consequences, we move into “unconscious competence”. This is the adult stage where we are able to see what our actions do and so we learn to moderate and modify our behaviors to get what we need with the fewest possible negative impacts in the short and long-term. There may still be consequences for our actions that we aren’t aware of yet but we’re much further along than when we were the infants and unsure and unaware of what was happening in our world. At this stage we begin to become so competent in our actions that we don’t really have to think about it any longer, we just do it automatically.

This is the growth cycle and because it is a cycle, it repeats itself. This cycle however is more like an upward spiral. Each time we reach the “unconscious competence” phase we are wiser and more powerful as we move into the new terrain and return to the “unconscious incompetence” phase but at a more challenging level. This is an endless cycle because the more we grow and evolve in any area we learn that the more we know, the more we know that we don’t know and so the process begins again. This cycle applies to every process we engage.



TIME TO WAKE UP

This is how it is with humans and the world of energy. Some of us are just waking up to our abilities in this realm. Some are already masters and are leading the way for others to follow. Others unfortunately are too afraid of the change and so they deny this world and even ridicule or attack those who have made the shift. Still life evolves and moves on and so those unwilling to change and grow will be left behind because they are trapped by their own resistance.

For those of us who are inspired by those leading the way, until we gain competence in this new world, we have to invest the time to learn. We are physical beings. We can see, feel, hear, taste and smell and this allows us to gather data from our physical environment. We have emotional (“energy in motion”) responses to this stimulus. We are capable of thought so we are able to gain knowledge from our experiences. However we are also spiritual beings but it’s important to remember that this spiritual aspect of ourselves is non-physical and therefore operates in energy realm. We are force (non-physical energy) contained within form (our physical body). We are both at once and must learn to work with this equation rather than continuing to deny its existence.

IT TAKES PRACTICE

The rules in the non-physical world are different than in the physical world and require different tools to navigate. To assist you in this realm I want to begin to offer you some tools and techniques which have been shown to me to help you begin to sense your way around in this world. I hope that you’ve been working with, practicing and hopefully incorporating “The Basics”  (http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2010/04/awakening-grounding.html) into your daily life. If not, I encourage you to begin doing that. As we move deeper with the information I have for you, you’ll begin engaging energy consciously and if these basics aren’t in place you’ll have no framework or structure to hold the experiences in the physical realm. If that is the case then the words will seem empty, the principles will seem foreign and your growth will be minimal at best.

Are you ready to make the journey from “unconscious incompetence” toward “unconscious competence”?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Pains

Greetings and thanks for staying with me. It’s good to be back to continuing this blog. When last you heard from me there was lots of movement on my horizon. I’m happy to say that fortunately the physical move is fully behind me now and only some unpacking is left ahead. While I’m not a big fan of the physical act of moving, I do love moving because I like the newness and change that it brings.



SURRENDER TO THE FLOW

This year has really been about surrender for me. All of this began in the last couple of months of last year. My work studio was in a small house in a neighborhood that wasn’t bad but certainly wasn’t the best in town. After being in the house for 11 months, I started having the occasional client get their car broken into after dark. After speaking with the landlord about this and exploring a few simple safety upgrades and not really seeing any changes, I decided that since I couldn’t get rid of the crime the only thing I could do was move my studio.

In March of 2010 I found a cute little studio condo to rent inside a much more secure building and moved there in April. I spent a month and a half getting myself set up in the new space and decorating it the way I like for my work. Once that was done, I sent an email out to my client base letting them know that I had moved and was ready to roll again. Two days after sending that email out, I received a note on my door from building management telling me that they knew about my business and wanted me out of the building as soon as possible. They said that since it was of an erotic nature, they considered it prostitution and that if I didn’t move out quickly they would take their evidence to the police.

Needless to say, they got my attention and so the search for a new place began in earnest. In talking with my amazing partner, we decided that renting a house where we could live and I could work was going to be the smartest option. It was a big decision to make for our relationship but since we’ve been together for nine years and are good communicators and open about our lives, it was a move we were willing to make if the situation was right. To that end we began searching for houses with separate mother-in-law units or finished basements that were separate from the living spaces.

We found what looked like the perfect house. The size was right for our living space and the basement was completely self-contained. Everything was going great for us to get the house and we were very excited about it. As we later learned, the house was in a neighborhood called Goat Hill. Apparently back when Seattle had brothels, they were located in that neighborhood. It just seemed like the perfect place for my studio to be so we turned in our move out notice at our apartment and my work studio and said that we’d be out at the end of June.

When it came time to sign the lease for the new place, like most places they wanted first and last month’s rent and a deposit. We were looking at almost 5,400 dollars necessary to move in and all this on the 3rd of the month. This meant that on top of the apartment rent and studio rent which we’d just finished paying, now we had to pay more. In order to make this work, I asked the new landlord if we could spread it out a bit over the month ahead before we moved in. He apparently took that as an inability to pay on my part and promptly backed out of the deal. Great. Our apartment had already been re-rented and asking to stay longer in a work studio that they wanted me out of wasn’t really an option. Panic.


THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES WITH US

When we began searching again, my partner noticed that a rental home was back on the market that he had noticed and tried to get me to notice when I was looking for a new place to move my studio originally. At that time, I just wasn’t ready to combine my work and home life and so I dismissed the idea. This time out of desperation I decided to at least check it out. As it turned out it was perfect for our needs. Apparently it had been rented around the time that I rented the condo but things didn’t work out so well and so that deal fell through and it came back on the market just days before we found it.

I’m happy to say that we moved into the house on the first of July and every day we fall more and more in love with it. The studio and home separation is perfect and we are incredibly happy. One of the best parts about the house is that we actually gained more living space for ourselves in the move. This extra space has allowed my partner and me to both have our own “create space” as we’re calling them. In addition to our living space, each of us got a room on the top floor that we can call our own for creating art or in my case, writing. It’s just absolutely perfect and it’s in a sweet and safe neighborhood. We’re both very happy.

The layout of the house is representative of the chakra system to me. (The chakras are a topic which I’ll be talking a great deal more about in the next few months but if you are interested in knowing a bit more about them now, you can see the info on my site at www.MaleEroticEvolution.com/chakras.html.) The physical floor of the basement represents the root chakra (our connection to the Earth). My work space which is in the basement is then representative of the sacral chakra. This is the chakra related to sensuality and the connection to others. The physical floor above that represents the solar plexus chakra. It is where our personal power resides. On the main floor is where our bedroom, kitchen and living room are. This is the heart of the home. This floor represents the heart chakra which is the emotional center. The physical floor to the top level represents the throat chakra. This is the communication energy center. The top floor is where our “create spaces” are as well as a small meditation room. This floor represents the 3rd eye chakra which is where creativity is expressed and our connection the energy world resides. Finally the roof of the house represents the crown chakra which is where our connection to the Infinite is. I could not be happier about the layout of the house even if I had built it myself.


“A HAPPY ENDING”

So even though things certainly didn’t go like I had originally thought they might, ultimately they turned out better than I could have hoped for. At times I really feel like I have it all. I have a loving and supportive partner who is free of jealousy and understands the importance of my work. I get to do work that fulfills me on every level and that is having a powerful impact on my clients. I have a home/work space that is making my both of those parts of my life easier. I have my own create space that lets me come and write anytime that I like for as long as I like. I have loving friends and family who support and encourage me. I have great health, a light heart and a strong connection to the Divine and the feeling that great things are ahead. My desire is that all of this translates into my writing and will make the future of this blog even more powerful.


HIDDEN LESSONS

There is actually another lesson at work here for me. In February I told you about Mars being retrograde (http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2010/02/retrograde-planets.html) until March 10th. In that post I talked about how I had been feeling “off” and that I believed I was being affected by the retrograde. Late February and March was when I searched for the new work studio. Knowing that Mars went direct on March 10th, I consciously scheduled the lease signing to be a few days after that thinking that all would be well. As you can see from my story above, it did not go very well at all.

In looking back on that post now in hindsight, the following paragraph from the Café Astrology site really jumps out at me.

With Mars retrograde in the usually assertive and direct sign of Leo, the tendency to internalize and hesitate might feel especially unnatural. Rather than direct and healthy expressions or outlets for frustrations, we might resort to sneaky, indirect, or obtuse methods of going after what we want. If we push ahead impulsively, we run into problems, obstacles, and frustrations.

My frustration with the break-ins led me to “only search for a space but not sign anything until Mars goes direct” so I pushed ahead impulsively and clearly ran into problems. I knew I was being impacted even enough that I wrote a blog entry about it and still I pushed ahead trying to sneak around the technicalities. There is a great lesson here for me that I can ONLY see through hindsight. Much can be learned from life when we’re willing to review our past actions this way. The lights were flashing and the bells were ringing. I tried sneaking under the warning lights and got hit by a train. When our Spirit brings us clear information and direct warnings, we need to honor that. Lesson learned…the hard way.



We certainly live in challenging times and it seems like every day it gets a little more challenging but these challenges, like the challenges I faced this year, are all leading up to something amazing that we just can’t see yet. I look forward to sharing more thoughts on that with you as we move forward. Thank you for your patience during my absence and for staying with me this far. I always welcome your comments here in the blog or directly by email. May you manifest all of your dreams. Now, enough about me, let’s get back to the deep stuff.