Fear originates in the belief that I am separate from you and from everything else in the world. Being separate – I am obviously alone, therefore I have reason to fear. We are programmed to survive. It is the first instinct that we have. If I believe that you are separate from me, I then have every reason to fear you, regardless of what you say. It does not matter whether or not you, today, are intent on my harm, what matter is that you are in a position to cause me harm unless I can control you or protect myself against the possibility, however small, that someday, for some reason, you may feel the need or desire to harm me. All of this is predicated upon the belief that this reality that I can see, touch, and hear is the ultimate reality. When I say “I”, I believe that it is as true for me, as it is for each cell in my body. I am the totality of the consciousness that pervades every atom in my body and so I cannot claim that each cell does not see itself as, as much of an “I”, as I see myself. So it is easy for me to see a liver cell finding it hard to conceptualize a lung cell as sharing a common “I”.
If we understood that we are all cells in the same body, whether I am a brain cell, a heart cell or a cell in the rectum. The body requires the use of each cell in order to survive, therefore each cell shares the same I in every way that matters – each cell shares the same “I” in every way that matters to the ultimate survival of the body. Every cell in my body is not in a me, you, them relationship with each other cell but in an “I” relationship in the only way that really matters. If the liver goes down, soon the pancreas will follow, then the kidneys, the lungs, the heart and the brain. One day, we will realize that the health of our bodies and all of the diseases that seem to plague it are closely tied to our sense of separateness that would logically pervade every cell sharing the same body consciousness.
If I was taught from an early age that I am because you are, which is because they are, which is because we are One. If we were taught to believe that the illusion is our separateness and not our connectedness – we would have not fear of the “other”. We do not see the air, but we are taught to believe that it is there even if we cannot see it. Ants, bees and many other insects function as one body – we may say colony but that is only our vision of their reality. To the ant and the bee, they are only separate in function and contribution but not in being. Therefore the one is never alone, and the whole is never unguarded. There is no fear of each other, and together they act upon that which should be feared. There are places in the world where it is only a matter of minutes before one bee becomes one thousand bees. One bee may seem threatened, but with those odds, it soon becomes the threat.
The Golden Rule tells us to do unto others as we would have others do unto ourselves. In Genesis, we are told that, yes, we are our brothers keepers. In Leviticus 19:33-34 it is said, 33 “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. 34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”Jesus and other spiritual teachers tell us that we are to go further – that we are meant to go further. Jesus, in Luke 10:25-28 25 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live.” 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? “
30″ And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him , and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” To understand what God means by “neighbor” or “brother”, Jesus uses this example which, at the time, would be the equivalent of telling the story to an Israeli and instead of Samaritan – using a member of Hamas.
I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, yet, it has taken me until now to understand the full import of loving my neighbor as myself. I have heard so many people, Christians, say to me that they live a certain lifestyle while there is such poverty in the world because, “They worked hard for what they have, they earned it.” Or, they may say that they, “give to the poor” or to charity. But that is not what Jesus is saying here, it does not say give what is left after you give to yourself. Or, give what is comfortable, after you give to yourself. It is saying, think of others in the same way as you think of yourself. Care for others as you would care for yourself, not after but in the same moment, in the same breath with the same love. It says give to others what you would give to yourself, because you earned it for yourself and for your brother. If we all did this, then no one would be without enough. This could be called many names, it could be said that I am talking about socialism or even worse, communism – but I am quoting the Bible, I am speaking about religion. Yet, I am really speaking about the topic I began this with, fear. Fear is as responsible as greed and selfishness for the mess that we are in.
We fear that we will not have enough to share, yet in truth, if we do not share we will not have enough. No one rises up with a full belly. No one steals when his needs are met. The storehouse is dwindling and if the owners don’t begin to share, the peasants will take it over. It is a story that is repeated time and time again throughout history. We must begin to allow ourselves to open to the belief that we are not separate unless we separate ourselves. We are all connected by the Spirit that runs through the One Body. We are One in reality, we are One in necessity, and we are One in God. The only way that we will guarantee our own health and survival is to care for the health and survival of the entire Body of which we are all a part. Here is another of my favorite stories that exemplifies this point.
There is a story told in Kabbalah:
“With an angel for his guide, the visitor is first ushered through the gates of Hell, which, he is surprised to find, are made of finely wrought gold. The gates, in fact, are incomparably lovely, as is the verdant landscape that lies beyond them. All this is quite astonishing to the visitor, who turns to his angelic guide in disbelief. “It’s all so beautiful,” the man says. “The sight of the meadows and mountains . . . the sounds of the birds singing in the trees … the scent of thousands of flowers. . . .” And then another scent catches his attention: the aroma of food being prepared.
The angel leads the visitor toward an immense banquet table laden with every sort of delicacy. However, something is terribly wrong. Hundreds of people are seated around the table, but they all appear to be starving. Their emaciated condition is painful to see in the midst of such bounty, but even worse is the frustration and anger they are obviously experiencing. Each person at the table has a long-handled spoon chained to his wrist. The handles are so long that no one can place food in his mouth. But that does not prevent the condemned souls from trying. For all eternity, they are struggling to feed themselves a meal that is right before them, but that might as well be a hundred miles away. Taken aback by the tragic spectacle, the visitor is now more than ready to visit Paradise, and the angel immediately complies. At once they pass through another set of golden gates, alike in every detail to the gates of hell. In fact, a great deal about the two locales seems to be identical, including the banquet table and the diners chained to their utensils. But the people around this table are well fed and happy, despite the fact that their circumstances are identical to those of the damned. The difference is not in the physical situation, but in how they respond to it. As you might have guessed by now, instead of trying to feed themselves, each of the souls at this table feeds the one across the table.”
The following poem is dedicated to three men who are not here to read it, but were it not for them, I would not be the person that I am today writing it.
It is dedicated to my father Aguinaldo, my brother Alfonso, and my surrogate father Al Wallach. These three men refused to yield to what
they believed to be injustice. They instilled in me the deep conviction, that if we try to hide from injustice, if we tolerate injustice, or even if we ignore injustice, we are destroying any hope that in this world, there will ever be justice. They were not here to witness this day – but I think that they planned it that way so that
they would have the best seats in Heaven.
Today the World Changed
I did not receive a release of my debts
But still, a debt was paid this day to a people,
To my people
Today the world changed
For one moment
Those men who sat for days to build a foundation
Upon which a more perfect union could be built
And those slaves who gave their blood, sweat and tears
To lay the bricks and mortar that would secure that foundation
And the Red man, from whom all of this was taken
Rose in silent witness
All of those souls – joining hand, and heart
Standing side by side cried tears of Joy
For the resurrection of the Spirit of America
Today the world changed
Not with a bang – but with a whisper
A whisper that resounded throughout the world
And into the Heavens
The sky did not fall
Only that impenetrable ceiling upon which, the words,
“You may rise no further, this club is for “White Men Only”
Came tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.
Today the world changed
The last unyielding, inhumane, bloody chains of oppression gave way,
The spirits of my Hebrew ancestors who escaped Egypt
And had cried that they could not be really free until all mankind was free
Stand, arm in arm with the spirits of all of the slaves that toiled
to build this country as the they had once toiled to build the pyramids,
Together their tears of joy rain down on us,
For they are all finally free, and the yokes of slavery and fear
Are removed from their generation
Today the world changed
Millions gathered ,of all ages, races, religions, genders, gay and straight, from all nations and all political ideologies
And above this multitude of men, women and children
Flloated a multitude of Angelic Beings
All huddled together to bear witness to
the New World of Man,
the resurrection of Hope,
the resurrection of faith,
And the resurrection of Divine Love,
Today the world changed
The President of the most Powerful Nation in the world,
Was raised up by the hands of the thousands of slaves who laid
The path that he walked , who built the stairs that he climbed,
And with pride and overflowing hearts they placed him in the highest seat.
They were able to work through the pain, the blood, and the exhaustion without giving up,
Without laying down to die,
Fueled and Driven by the faith that
One day, if they built it –
He would come
and complete the circle.
Today the world change
Never again can a teacher tell a little black, Hispanic, or native American child,
“You cannot reach for that goal, why even try, just wash dishes, clean houses
Get those foolish notions out of your head”
Never again, can a teen on the corner selling drugs to other teens
be able to say,
“The White man condemned me to this life, it is not my fault”
Never Again will the Black, Latino or Asian child be able to say that there is nothing more to aspire to
because they are Black, Latino, Chicano, or Asian
except to die in a gang.
Because – this day, if we look to our left, and we look to our right, there
Is the White man –
He is not in front –
He is not in control,
He is one of us – Today, the united States of America had declared this from here on,
Today the world changed
No more can a boy or girl, living in a blighted ghetto or an arid dying suburb say,
“I cannot become whatever I want”
No one can ever, from this day forward say, I can’t.
No excuses left – no justifications left,
There is no greater or more meaningful role-model
Than the President Of The United States.
Today life’s struggles are still overwhelming us,
The tunnel which now darkly surrounds us
Has become neither shorter, nor easier,
And for so many of us – the light at the end of that tunnel,
Has grown no brighter.
Today the roof of my house shelters my family,
Tomorrow, it may be the roof of our car,
But if I have to struggle through the challenges of each day
This is the world that I want to struggle in.
Today the world changed
The dark and spiritless landscape that I stared out at yesterday
Has become a garden with the just the tiniest buds of hope, of possibility, and of Light.
Whatever lies ahead for me, I have lived the best of my life.
My greatest fear was that my children would not have the chance to know
what the best might be.
And I know that the best that lies before my children will be much different than mine –
For mine was not real, it was made of glittering dust and ashes of the material world –
like a star we see far off in the distance of the night sky – so beautiful, yet
As soon as we see it, it is dead –
As soon as we obtain that far off material goal – it too is dead,
Ashes to ashes – dust to dust -we search for the next one.
Today the world has changed
The world of my children will not glitter,
It will radiate.
They will remember what being drunk with the world destroyed,
And so they will seek joy – and not intoxication.
History will record that this date ushered in a New Age
This is a great man,
but a great man cannot climb great heights alone
A great man can only accomplish great things by standing on
the shoulders of ordinary men and women,
Today the world changed
It changed because of white, black yellow and red, Jew, Christian,
Muslim, Sufi, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindi, Mormon, Atheist,, Agnostic, and
all other faiths –
men and women, gay and straight,
and the littlest of children,
the tiniest of Angels,
all raised him up, with their voices, and their prayers
pledged their toil, their struggles, their nickels, their dimes, their hopes and their dreams.
Because although this man is great
equally great are the people, the nation and the world that would not let him down.
Today the world changed
Because one man claimed his place in history,
and showed us that we must claim our voices,
We must shout from the rooftops until we are heard,
And never, never be silent again.
He reminded us, and the world that this is our country –
and in the greatest sense – it is the country of the world –
there is no nation that does not have its own seeds planted in this garden.
And Today the World Is Proud to Be An American
And I am proud to have my country back
Today the world changed
I have my Statue of Liberty back,
This Lady was given to us as a reminder of who we are,
and why we are,
As clearly etched eternally on her foundation:
I have taken my faith back,
Knowing in my heart and soul that this moment has sealed it
Whatever happens, for better or for worse cannot erase,
cannot touch in any way the undeniable fact,
That Today Happened
And it happened to every man woman and child in the world,
And with that faith – I have a reason to go on.
Today the world changed
The Last Great door opened wide today
The Last “Whites Only” sign
Has come down,
And with it, the last excuse for not trying,
or forever yielding the fight Before it’s begun
The White Man has not surrendered –
better than this,
He has realized that we are all in it together
And to stand, we must stand together
Today the world changed
All because one man, foolhardy enough to think that he could,
Promised millions of people around the world, that, “Yes We Can,”
And yes, together we did,
Today The World Changed
This is for every little child of every race, religion, and national origin,
you can dream even bigger, reach for that far off star
And for every man or woman who sees -Nothing
Whose lost -Everything,
You! Find that dream, dust it off,
And dream it like you’ve never dreamed before,
Search for that star
You long ago lost track of,
Everything is possible so long as we
Can hold our dreams
and keep our eyes on our stars,
Today the world changed
Today, with brown hand placed on the Bible, this man said, “I accept”
And we heard his heart say to us,
I accept your trust, I accept your faith,
I accept your dreams and your hopes.
I accept your need to believe
and I will honor them,
and I will honor you
with every breath in every day.
Today the world changed
On this cold, clouded winter afternoon
We were warmed, united in sacred ceremony
That at last
in a place within each of us that we no longer dared go,
Under a common shining light
As One Nation, under God, with Liberty and Justice For All
It matters not what tomorrow brings –
whatever it brings will pass
Only this moment will shine forever
Through whatever darkness lies ahead
It will shine
It will shine until the last hungry child is fed,
It will shine until the last sick child is healed,
And it will shine until the last guns have been beaten into plowshares,
And until the missiles have been beaten into pruning hooks:
and nation no longer lifts up a sword against nation,
And neither shall we learn war any more.
Today, The world changed
And nothing again as long as we live will ever be deemed, impossible.
With all that we are going through in the world today, it is more important than ever that we remember what we are, why we are here, and how our experiences now relate to all of that. Otherwise, we will get lost in the experience and lose sight of its purpose. We are souls rooted in God. We enter the earth round of incarnations to learn unconditional love. It is a concept that we throw around, but one that few really understand and even fewer live.
Every soul in this dream, at this time, is learning his own lesson; however, that lesson is connected with attachment to the things of the material world. We talk about the final battle between good and evil. But there is no battle between good and evil. The battle that is being waged on earth today is between the spiritual world and the material world. If we were to assign God to the Spiritual and Satan to the Material, then it is hands down a victory for God, because there is no power on earth that can prevent the fall of all those who held material power, along with all those who have been striving for material power and all those who have served material power. But it is not that easy. Losing everything is only the beginning of the journey, just as it had been for Job.
The accumulation of wealth in the material world requires a narrow sight. Even if we do not consider ourselves to have hardened hearts, we must close our eyes to that which would prevent our focus on the goal of accumulation. When I was in business, my partner and I began with an equal opportunity to amass wealth. He was able to close his eyes to the needs of those workers whose efforts were necessary for our success. I was not able to do that. He felt that his position was earned by him, and obviously sanctioned by God; it was his right to be wealthy. I felt that it was the Grace of God that had placed me in that position, and not my right. I felt that it put me in a position where I was more responsible for those who were not in my position, not less. He became wealthy not by screwing other people, so to speak, but by not seeing them.
I was driving in a car with a friend of mine in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and as we drove from the airport I saw that there was a beautiful view of the ocean to my left, and to my right was the very sad view of extreme poverty. I asked my friend, as I looked at the broken down shacks to my right, how could they live their lives of affluence while they had to see this poverty every day. He just turned my head towards the ocean and said, “We look this way”. This position that we are facing, is one created not only by those who did not care, but also by those who would not see. The fall that we are facing is rooted in the belief of Cain, that “I am not my brother’s keeper”.
There are so few of us who even love God unconditionally. We live life in accordance with what we believe to be the will of God in order to gain the reward of such living. It does not matter if we seek the reward of our faithful deeds on earth or in heaven; the point is that we are acting on condition. What we do, we do as a means to an end. In Job, we see a righteous man who we find, after being tested by Satan is perhaps righteous in the Biblical sense but not in the Spiritual sense. It is clear in the beginning that he is good to those God favors, that he prays and gives the sacrifices required by scriptural law. It is clear that his actions throughout his life had been without sin. Yet, as is often the belief, he felt that in some way, the wealth, position, power and respect that he enjoyed was due to his life of righteousness, a reward from God. In the beginning, he took the loss of everything in stride, understanding that God gives and so God can take away. But as time went on he became angry, certain that he was a righteous man – holding up his end of the agreement – but God was not holding up God’s end. He reached one point where he came to the belief that there is no benefit in trying to please God, in living a righteous life. As Satan told God in the beginning, Job’s love was conditioned on the life that he was given, not from his heart. Job goes through all of these different scenarios with three of his friends, always ending up in the same place. Finally, the last person to speak to him is the youngest, waiting till the end because of his lack of age and the apparent learning that goes with it. This young man speaks of God, not from scriptural reference but from the words that have come into his heart. He tells Job that it may not be about reward or punishment; it may just be that God is speaking to him, teaching him something through these trials.
We want to believe that we are suffering because of the few greedy people who have robbed us. That we are suffering because we have been deceived by a corrupt government, but that is only slightly true. A better way of looking at it is that the system that we have fallen victim to is a system that we ourselves have fought to hold in place because we desire the material wealth that is only possible through a system such as ours. We yell foul, only because it has broken down before we have had the chance to reach the top. I say we because this is a Democracy and we have, and have always had the power to change the system, which we have not done because we have wanted our own chance at the golden ring. Whether we can count ourselves among the haves or the have-nots, we are not separated by greater values but by lesser opportunities. We need to learn, first and foremost that it doesn’t matter whether or not we profited by the system – we still chose to hold it in place. The capitalist system, contrary to Democracy, creates mountains where those who can climb, can look down and feel superior to those who cannot.
So as we continue down this road of economic collapse, we are given a chance along the way to find our hearts, to forget about what we have left to lose and consider what we have left to share with those who have nothing left at all. It will be a long road down, and all along the way we will have this opportunity to rise up and embrace the God within our hearts, perhaps this is the rising in our bodies, while we live to the Spiritual principals that are buried in our hearts. For those Christians who are waiting for Christ to come and take them up in their bodies, perhaps, Christ is here already, waiting for them to enter their hearts and rise up to Christ’s level of unconditional love, while they are still in their bodies. The number 144,000 breaks down in numerology to the number 9, which is the number of Universal Love.
Many of us are holding on to what someone else wanted for us, or someone else’s dreams. Few of us are living the lives that reflect who we are in our souls. The losses that we are facing now, could be the greatest chance that we will ever have to create the lives that speak our true names. Now is the time when we are free to become. There is a door opening for us, a second chance – we need to take it.
More than any time in our recorded history it behooves us to remember that we are souls, and as souls we are learning. Our Teacher is God and the text is the book of life with all of its stages and all of its experiences. United, as One, we can have more happiness in our lives than money could ever buy. We just have to open our hearts and see God, love God, and server God, in and through every creature on earth. In this final battle, the material world has no chance against the Spiritual, we just have to take a side and live it.
One of the most important phases of maturing is that of growth from self-centering to an understanding relationship to others. A person is not mature until he has both an ability and a willingness to see himself as one among others and to do unto those others as he would have them do to him.Sir Walter Scott
The earth is a growing field. Imagine a seed planted deep within the soil, a seed having to journey through layer after layer of packed earth, finding its way around rocks and other objects until it finally breaks through to the sun—and break through, it will. Yet what apparent insurmountable odds it faces there, deep within the soil. Still, the same soil which seems intent upon blocking its way, contains the nourishment needed for its survival on the journey.
Here, on earth is where the soul comes to learn its greatest lessons. Yet, what is the earth? Live spelled backwards is evil—and on earth what we consider evil is what the earth is made of. It is a wild, dangerous, greedy, and most of all, insatiable planet—a place where every organism large or small seeks one thing—survival. God said to all life, “Be fruitful and multiply”. To survive, each species knows that it must multiply. Microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, grass, weeds, plants, and flowers—all life on earth fights for the same limited space. The less man interferes with a species, the more instinctively and aggressively intent it is on fulfilling what we, as a species, have labeled ‘manifest destiny’. It is the basic driving instinct of all species on earth. Survival is of the fittest. Weeds, trees, and bushes all grow anywhere and everywhere when not checked. Even concrete cannot arrest their growth. Wild animals fight to maintain and then to expand their territory as they seek to expand their herds. Wars are fought on earth over lines drawn in the sand by every species and every organism on the earth. Each species survives at the expense of at least one other species. The earth is one large hungry, greedy, food chain. This doesn’t make the earth less beautiful, but it is necessary to understand the energy of the earth to understand the energy of the body with its instincts and desires —the body into which we each incarnate.
For some species, survival is for the swiftest, and for others, it is the strongest that survive. For yet other species, it is for those that who are best able to scavenge, or appear threatening—and yet, for others—to hide and appear invisible. Yet for some species, such as ants, or bees, survival is in the inborn ability to know what they have to offer their species and to offer it selflessly and without question. Insects seem to be much better prepared to survive than most species—they appear to have mastered the requirements for survival—united we stand divided we fall.
Man is neither swift, nor physically equipped to adapt to the harsh and changing climate of the earth. He has been given the mental and physical agility necessary to manipulate his environment. Man has also been gifted with the heart and the compassion to manage it with benevolence. We have been given the earth to live on, to grow on and to care for, but not, despite what we believe, to master and destroy. She is not ours.
In nineteen seventy-seven there was an object discovered in space. It was difficult to identify—a comet, an asteroid, a planet. No one was sure at first. Finally it was called a centaur, the first of many objects in its category that would be discovered. This first centaur was called Chiron. Chiron was, as all of the centaurs, half man and half horse. With each new discovery in space, some new door is opened here on earth—some new direction taken—some knowledge finally comprehended or information finally received by man. With the discovery of the centaur, Chiron, came the age of holistic medicine treating the mind, body, and the spirit as a whole—understanding that to cure a part of the whole without addressing the whole—ultimately cures nothing.
In mythology, Chiron was a master of all forms of art, of learning, of philosophy, of self-defense and of combat. Chiron turned each hero who passed through his cave into a true hero—a whole; a hero is not simply the one who can defeat the greatest or strongest foe, but the one who can recognize the greatest foe. This is often within the self. He did not simply give them techniques, he gave them appreciation, value and honor. Chiron did not only train the greatest fighters, he trained the greatest healers, musicians, scholars, physicians, and rulers. To teach these things, he had, in some way, embody them.
Chiron was an exceptional centaur according to legend. There were a few, who, like him, were healers, or philosophers; the majority of centaurs could not really be trusted for they were too susceptible to their desires when they became intoxicated. When intoxicated, they were robbers, murderers, and rapists, simply put, they were untamed animals. One day, as one of the legends goes, a group of centaurs became drunk and went on a killing spree. Chiron went out among them trying to bring peace and was accidentally wounded by Hercules, his dearest student, who mistook him for one of the wild centaurs. However, unlike the other centaurs—Chiron could not die—he was immortal, and as such, he faced an eternity of suffering. In spite of his pain, he continued to teach, he continued to love, and he continued to share his wisdom. In the end, Chiron made the ultimate sacrifice—he sacrificed his immortality to end the suffering of Prometheus who was being punished by Zeus for bringing fire to mankind. Because of Chiron’s selflessness and willingness to sacrifice his immortality to end the suffering of another, Zeus took Chiron up to the heavens and gave him his own constellation.
Since the discovery of Chiron we have all become more and more aware of our lower nature. All that we consider evil—all that we consider vile is nothing more than the natural inherent tendencies of our physical nature—our earthly nature. The earth is void of conscience. We, as spiritual beings, are the conscience of the earth—man brings that conscience from God. Conscience is not natural to our environment—not natural to our physical bodies—and not natural to the spiritually unevolved ego. The earth tests the spirit within each of us. To fulfill our destinies, we must not destroy the earth herself, but the world that man has built on the earth by his egos need to be better than its Creator. Man has built a false world and in seeking to become its master, he has become its slave. In ancient times the donkey or “ass” was a symbol of man’s lower animal nature, just as the body of Chiron. In the Bible, Jesus finds it necessary to enter the gates of Jerusalem riding an ass. However, the spiritual meaning of this is somewhat different than the biblical one. The city of Jerusalem, at the time was a representation of all that is unholy, nowhere did greed not exist. It was in essence ruled by the lowest part of man, his greed and his desires. Even in the Temple money was changed. And the temples did not permit entrance to everyone who wanted to worship regardless of economic status. It was a city where all catered to the wealthy. This was why the disciples were astonished that Jesus said that a camel would pass through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man enter the gates of Heaven. It seemed at the time that wealth was a gift from God because it was the wealthy who seemed to gain the closest audience with Him. So Jesus rode into the city on the ass, showing all that his spiritual nature was superior to the animal nature – that he mastered the animal in man.
The Ancient creators of the zodiac set the Heavens into a circle with twelve divisions, each one represented by an animal that to them symbolized an aspect of God, or, perhaps the aspect of God capable of controlling the represented aspect of nature. Jesus came in with the age of Pisces, called by ancients, the age of the fish. Note the references to fish during the time, however, simply coming up with ideas of the meaning of these references to fish gives us nothing. The view of fish in ancient times was that they were a species where the large always gobble up the small. Before language, before writing, this was what was symbolized by fish. In essence, fish was the sign-language for the strong eating up the weak. Jesus was the fisher of men, because he came to save the small fish from the mouths of the larger fish. Has this not been the greatest underlying theme of the age of Pisces? It was so clearly exemplified by the Catholic Church gobbling up all of the smaller Christian groups, destroying their wealth of scripture in order to create their own. It continues with small businesses gobbled up by larger business, homes taken away to build high-rises, this is the age of the fish, in which the fisher of men appeared, not to eradicate our sins, but to lead us away from being fish.
We are not truly human until we conquer the beast and become humane. Until we do this we are no more than centaurs, no more than fish. For most of us, the intoxicant is not alcohol it is money and the wealth and power that it affords us. And, like the centaurs, once intoxicated by money, our higher selves are consumed by the lower nature, unless we are strong and able to resist the temptation to indulge ourselves in that taste for money. We are driven to consume just as every other organism on the earth—we become predators because it is natural to do so.
In the Gospel of Thomas or the Secret Sayings of Jesus, Jesus said,
Blessed is the lion that the human consumes so that the lion becomes human, Cursed is the human that the lion consumes so that the human becomes the lion. When the human eats the lion—devours the beast—it is the soul which has conquered the beast to become humane. The beast, once conquered, serves the soul and thus serves God. The things of the soul are attended to with the aid of the beast that is now lovingly serving the soul. In the twelve labors of Heracles, one of the labors was that he had to kill a lion that had, up to that point, been indestructible. Once Heracles had managed to slay the lion, he kept those parts of the lion that gave it its strength, and wore them as armor. Thus, taking the power of the beast and adding it to his own, he protected himself as he went on his quest. This is man consuming the lion. If the lion consumes the man, however, and becomes human the soul becomes enslaved by the passions and desires of the lower self—the animal self which is of the earth.
I have heard it said that man is the only animal who kills without necessity. I am not sure that this is true. I once had a cat that spent a great deal of his time outdoors. Regularly, we would find dead birds or dead mice that he proudly brought into the house, and presented to us as gifts with no intention of or desire to eat them. He carried his conquests with what appeared to be great pride. Perhaps he was showing us his skill as a hunter—who knows—but what is certain, is that he did not hunt for food—he hunted because it was natural to his species to do so. Perhaps for the cat, like for man himself, the reason for the hunt has been lost in the cans of cat food and bags of crunchy tasty nuggets that he had grown accustomed to eating. But his instincts as a predator were too deeply ingrained in the cellular memory of his body—in the genetic memory of his species since it is born of the predatory earth. My cat, like many other domesticated animals, collected the trophies of his kills because, as an animal, he was a killer. A man mounts his kills on his walls—a tribute to the animal within himself which he has not as yet conquered.
Here on earth there is no evil—there is only the earth. What we call evil is only nature. It is the opposite of spiritual but that does not make it evil. We just need to realize, without judgment, or labels, that we are not this.
Fear is the prevailing emotion on a planet where survival entails eating or being eaten, conquering or being conquered. All that we consider as sins are but the outgrowths of fear; fear of not having enough to survive; fear of not being strong enough to survive; which, ultimately, is fear of death. As we evolve spiritually our fear diminishes because it is replaced by faith. It is faith which raises us above our fears. Faith, affords us the security that we need to rest in the knowledge that there is nothing to fear in God’s universe.
Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations —Delivered October 25, 1985 by Leon Shenandoah, Tadodaho, Haudenosaunee
Listen to the words of the Creator given to the first United Nations—the Haudenosaunee—over 1,000 years ago:
The Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skins shall be seven spans which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive action, and criticism. Their hearts shall be full of peace and good will, and their minds full of a yearning for the welfare of the people. With endless patience, they shall carry out their duty.
Their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds, and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation. In every nation there are wise and good people. These should be appointed Chiefs. They should be the advisors of their people and work for the good of all the people, and their power comes from the “Great Peace.”
A chief must never forget the Creator of mankind; never forget to ask the Creator for help. The Creator will guide our thoughts and strengthen us as we work to be faithful to our sacred trust and restore harmony among all peoples, all living creatures, and Mother Earth.
We were instructed to carry a love for one another and to show a great respect for all the beings of this earth. In our ways spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics. When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.
These are our times and responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes.
In order to do this we must recognize the enemy—the one within us. We must begin with ourselves. We must live in harmony with the Natural World and recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our own destruction.
We cannot trade the welfare of our future generations for profit now. We must abide by the Natural Law or be victims of its ultimate reality. We must stand together, the four sacred colors of humans, as the one family we are, in the interest of peace.
We must abolish nuclear and conventional weapons of war. When warriors are leaders, then you will have war. We must raise leaders of peace.
We must unite the religions of the world as the spiritual force strong enough to prevail in peace. It is no longer good enough to cry, “Peace.”
We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. We are the spiritual energy that is thousands times stronger than nuclear energy. Our energy in the combined will of all people with the spirit of the Natural World, to be of one body, one heart and one mind for peace.
We propose, as a resolution for peace, that October 24th be designated as a Day of Peace, and a world cease-fire take place in honor of our children and the Seventh Generation to come.
To be responsible is not simply to accept burdens, more than anything else it is to accept power. We are the actors in the play that is our lives – we are at all times spiritually responsible for our actions in that play. However, until that spiritual responsibility becomes emotional and material within our lives we will be destined to enact the same play over and over again with nothing changing but the period wardrobe and props.
When I was a child my father taught me how to play Gin Rummy. We would play for hours and most of the time that we played I would win. One day I was feeling very full of myself as a great card shark and I decided to play for money. My father tried to talk me out of it, but I insisted. I bet my entire allowance and in about five minutes my father won. Now the game was over and he had won and I believed that he should give me my money back. My father refused. I cried, I begged, I sulked, I even tried to borrow the exact amount, but he absolutely refused. I could not believe that my father could actually love me and not give me back my money. I decided that he did not really love me. I believed that if he loved me he would give me anything that I wanted. This was what I really felt. It took a long time for me to understand that my fathers’ love had nothing to do with my responsibility for my own actions.
After many months, perhaps even years, I finally understood what he had given to me. I could never again act in any way or say any words that I was not prepared to be responsible for the outcome of. I realized that my father would never make idol threats, if I wanted to do something that I should not, he would tell me the punishment that I would receive if I did it. He was no longer attached to my choice, and when I ultimately did what I wanted to do anyway, he was not attached to the punishment. I am now grateful for this lesson. The one good thing about this lesson is that it is never too late to learn, and never too late to teach to your children. It only takes one time, which was all it took for me. I may have pushed the envelope many times after that, but the difference was that I was responsible and prepared for whatever the outcome. I was in my power.
I suppose that when our belief in reincarnation was taken away from us, so too was the possibility of ever really being right – so we went for the next best thing which was appearing to be right. Of course if we could do neither, we had to place the responsibility for our being wrong on someone else – blame – so that we could escape whatever repercussions we envisioned. The concept of reincarnation has always felt right to me. I always knew that God was Love, and it just made sense to me that placing us in the darkness and giving us only one chance to find the right light – without a manual was not a loving act. To me, it was like taking your child and putting her out at night having this discourse:
Parent: Go find it and you can’t come home until you do – and if you don’t you will be lost forever.
Child: Find what?
Parent: Figure it out.
Child: Which direction do I go?
Parent: Look in the Book.
Child: Which Book – there are so many?
Parent: Figure it out!
Then having the parent close the door on the child. So, reincarnation made sense to me. As someone who has practiced Astrology for many years, I have looked to the chart for past life content. But a chart may be easily verified in this life, but when referring to past lives it is really theoretical. However, since I started doing past life regressions, I find that the chart does give very accurate information as to the issues we need to take responsibility for in our lives that we have failed to do the same in past lives. I see people repeating the same theme over and over again. In the sixteenth century the theme may have been “Romeo and Juliet”, while in the twentieth century it may have been “West Side Story”. Over and over again I see people making the same ultimate choices, life after life, suffering the same consequences only with a slightly different story line. My father put the responsibility for my actions in my lap. I am still growing into that lesson, it is still a work in progress, but at least there is progress. I thought that my choices were pre-determined. I now realize that they are not pre-determined but they are hardwired into my make-up, because they are the choices that keep my ego where it is the most comfortable – on familiar ground. I love the saying, “Better the hell you know than the hell you don’t”. That is straight from the ego’s mouth. When we take responsibility, full responsibility – “The buck stops here” kind of responsibility, we will very likely end up in unfamiliar territory. I know how to function in a bad relationship, but do I really know how to function in a good one? Even happy is scary if happy is unknown. I always go left, maybe I should go right. I always wait, maybe I should act. I always go for the one who needs love, maybe I should go for the one who has it.
We choose the lessons we will learn. We have to accept responsibility for the choices we made before we came here as well as the choices that we make while we are here. We did not choose to suffer; we chose to learn we chose the areas of growth we would work on in this lifetime. This was how we determined our moment of birth<!–[if supportFields]> XE “birth” < ![endif]–>; we chose that moment so the energies of the planets would create the right atmosphere for the growth we came in to achieve.
Taking responsibility automatically puts us in the present. It puts us in a situation in which we have choices to make. As soon as we acknowledge that we have choices, we will realize that we have power. Finding someone or something to blame for our situation relieves us of the responsibility of changing it. It also prevents it from changing. Even if we blame ourselves, we tend to blame something that we label as an inadequacy rather than our own action or inaction, which we can do something about. I will not permit my children to say, “I can’t”, they have to say, “I won’t”, “I can’t” is a great deal more comfortable than, “I won’t”, “I won’t” implies responsibility.
Some people prefer to be miserable; they prefer to be victims. These people are constantly seeking and rejecting answers. Everything that goes wrong in their lives is the responsibility of someone or something other than themselves, and no amount of facts will convince them otherwise. This is a pattern built up over lifetimes.
The wrong people find them; they don’t find the wrong people. They remember the harsh things said to them but not what they might have said to provoke harsh words from others. If they are ever wrong, it is because they were provoked, tricked, or in some way forced to do whatever they were being held responsible for doing wrong.
If there is any good in their lives they find someone to compare it with who has it better. They do not compromise, because if it is all or nothing there is a much better chance of getting nothing. These same people tend to be luckier than most, they tend to be taken care of although they don’t notice it. These people probably live the most tortured lives because they have to keep validating the external source of their misery. The catch is that when we are not responsible we are not in our power, we hand over our power to those people or circumstances that we consider to be responsible. We are not blocked from having a wonderful life, we miss the chances life presents to do so because we are so deeply engrossed in our need to elude responsibility. “I won’t call her because she hasn’t called me”, “I won’t show love because it is never appreciated”, “I won’t try because I always lose”. Even when we blame ourselves, we say, “I am not tall enough, smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough…” We blame an attribute or lack of an attribute; we don’t take responsibility for an action or lack of action, a choice made or refusal to make a choice. We do not take responsibility, as beings.
This is all perception. If you perceive yourself as not responsible, as helpless then the positive side is that you are off of the hook, you didn’t make a mistake, fail, etc., the negative side is you are helpless, a victim of an unsafe world.
Lets look at an example, say that you have a good job, you have never been late, and have never been sick. One day you walk into the office and the boss’s lover is sitting at your desk and you’re out of a job. Well that is a classic case of victimization if ever one existed right? Perhaps, it really depends on ones perspective. This could be an example of how nothing you do works out, so it is a good reason to go get drunk, or lock yourself in your room. You can add this to the list of wrongs done to you. Or you could tell yourself that you’re lucky that you got away from a losing situation. Perhaps you might perceive it as a sign from the Universe to go on your own, or that it is just a sign to move on.
Most people are afraid of responsibility because they fear being responsible for the outcome of our actions. However, taking responsibility for the outcome is unrealistic. When we take responsible for a child or a valuable piece of jewelry or anything left in our keeping this is in a moment. It is not something that we do twenty-four hours a day. However when we accept responsibility for our actions we are taking responsibility for everything except the outcome and we are taking that responsibility in every moment that we are alive. It is being responsible for each thought, each movement and each word that we say. We cannot control the outcome of anything. I may drink and drive and have an accident or not. I am responsible for having been drinking. I am neither responsible for the fact that I had an accident nor am I responsible if I did not have one. To be responsible is to be present and aware in each action that we take in each thought that we have. This is to be in each now of our lives.
There is a part of our brain that works automatically. It regulates our body, it breathes, it pumps blood to our organs it does not take our presence or our awareness in order to function.
When we are toddlers and we begin to walk we are present. Each step is an effort it takes mindfulness. After we walk long enough it becomes automatic. I watched my son focus and strain while he tries to put his socks on. Eventually he didn’t even notice that he was doing it, because it became automatic. Even when we drive to a certain destination enough times it too becomes automatic, as though the car just knows where to turn.
How often do we bump into a piece of furniture and say, “excuse me”? When our living, becomes automatic we cannot be responsible, we are sleep walking. We are not present. Many times the loss of passion in our relationships and even the loss of growth in our relationships emerges simply out of our having sent the functioning of the relationship to automatic. Where once we experienced each word and movement of our lover and were present within the relationship now the relationship becomes automatic. The relationship becomes part of our unseen unfelt automatic world. So we cannot find where we went wrong because we were not really there. We need to relegate the functioning of our bodies to the automatic brain and the functioning of our lives to our active selves.
When we meditate we are taught to focus on our breathing because that connects us with the present. That connection is the key. When we are connected with our present, with our actions we can then assume responsibility for our lives. When we are truly responsible we are again empowered and in control. It may take work and time to disengage our lives from automatic. It will certainly take walking through our own fears. Yet once this is done we are finally connected with our lives, our loves, our souls and our God. When we are awake we can hear sounds that the sleeping cannot hear and feel things that the numb cannot feel.
When we are awake and responsible nothing gets past us or slips through the cracks. When we say something it has value because it is not just an automatic response. When we are awake we awaken those around us, merely by our presence. Our lives do not just happen; we don’t wonder where the day went. We are aware that we have lived it. Each moment is fuller because we are aware of all the wonders within it. In a relationship we feel all the things that we felt in the beginning because each moment is a beginning when we are alive. Life becomes awe inspiring because we are in it. We feel empowered in the knowledge that we are responsible for how we have lived our lives.