Surviving a Crisis

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
Aristotle.

My son has a close friend TJ. I had noticed his father at different school functions. Jerry was blind and had one leg. His attitude was so completely at peace with his situation that I thought he must have spent most of his life this way. After all, how could anyone seem so happy unless he had had a lifetime to adjust to such tragic circumstances?

I learned that it had only happened a year and a half before. I was shocked that such relatively little time had passed and that everything was so normal. This caused me to look back over my life and the many crises and tragedies I myself have had to face and I found that the only thing I had to regret was the length of time I spent on self-pity. Regardless of what we go through, eventually, we must face that moment when it becomes necessary to evaluate the living of our lives and not our lives themselves. You see, we have no control over what happens to us, but we do have control over how we react, and how we react could possibly determine the quality of the rest of our lives. Although it may seem difficult to control a reaction, reaction is a function of the lower mind. It is a habit. I had my hair pulled when I was a child so as I grew, anytime someone reached their hand in a way that appeared, to me, to be coming towards my head, I would flinch and pull back. Once I became conscious of this reaction, I began to do it less and less, first intentionally, and later not reacting became a habit. It took time to build up our reactions and it will take time to change them, but they can be changed.

We are each being faced, right now, with some form of personal crisis, within a national crisis within a world crisis. At this time, as perhaps at no other, it would be difficult to find one individual on the planet who is not at this time dealing with a crisis. We, in this country, are dealing with the effects of the Iraq War, the destruction caused by the climate changes, and our evaporating economy, while at the same time every individual is dealing with some form of personal, political, financial, racial or religious crisis. So, it helps to know that we are not suffering alone but have actually joined the suffering of mankind.

Putting it in this perspective, we must rise above our personal situations and understand that this is a time of change in the universe. There have been unprecedented increases in the sunspot activity in recent months. The atmospheres of various planets including our own have been going through drastic changes. We have just entered a new millennium, but with all things being synchronistic, we can say that the entire universe is also entering a new era.

For change to occur there must first be a period of breakdown; logically, there cannot be a breakdown without chaos and crisis. That which is not built to move to the next level must be transformed. The beginning of the last millennium was dominated by the advent of Christianity. The first years of breakdown and realignment of previously held beliefs were difficult years. They were not easy years in which to be incarnated, yet many souls chose them for their growth.

I read a book, “Life before Life<!–[if supportFields]> XE “Life before Life” < ![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>“, by Helen Wambach which is now out of print, in which she, during the course of a few years, regressed over one thousand people from all over the country, to the time before they were born. She asked each person to find out the answers to a list of questions, one of which was why they chose this time to be here. The overwhelming reason was that this is a time of so much change and chaos on one hand, and so much available spiritual knowledge on the other, that it offers each soul the rare opportunity in which to fit many lifetimes worth of growth.

When life doesn’t work the way that, we planned or hoped it would, we can’t sit around until we rot; feeling miserable because we were given lemons. We just have to make lemonade. Sure, it is never easy, but the history of the world and the history of our own lives tell us that this too shall pass. And when it does, it is important that we have not wasted this valuable time in self-pity. When God closes one door, He opens another. It may be a struggle at first to face a new door, but it is worth the effort. For every pain, and every heartache there is a seed of equivalent benefit. If we take this as an opportunity to move to the next level, we will find that many of us are being given an opportunity to recreate our lives in a way that we never before believed possible. For so many years now I have been living under an cloud of debt. In the past few years I have felt like the commercial where a couple want to move their house is hovering over their heads. It has been a constant panic, will we lose the house, the cars, the insurance – or even, will we eat. I constantly fear that I will exhaust my reserves of faith if this goes on much longer. Then, as irony would have it, Easter Sunday my husband walked outside to find that both of our cars had been repossessed. I was initially distraught, I felt violated, lost, and how could we work without transportation? I just felt that this was the domino that would knock the whole building of dominos down. And it could have, no car – no work – no money – no home. But, a funny thing happened after the shock wore off – I felt just them most exhilarating sense of relief knowing two more payments that we could not afford to make were no longer hovering over our heads.

Just a few years before this, I was in the same position only this time I was renting and six months behind in my rent. I had this moment – you know – a movie moment when everything stops in mid-action, and I said to myself, ‘I have done all that I can do, I have tried everything that I can try, if we lose everything and end up in a shelter – it will be God’s will, and we will all learn what we arrived at this experience to learn and climb up from there.’ In that moment there was an energy shift in my life. A crisis can last ten years, or it can last ten minutes. It lasts as long as we remain in crisis mode and ends when we enter acceptance that what is – is, and move on to plan b – or at least to formulating a plan be. Anything that we do, that is not wallowing in the approaching trauma or existing trauma will shift the energy. I shifts from what was or will be lost – to what was or will be gained. Acceptance is the train out of suffering. It is the open door that allows new air to come in. Above all, acceptance allows us to realize that we are in good hands – always. And nothing happens that we did not choose before we came – and for the highest of reasons.

I asked for…
I asked for strength…. and was given difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom…. and was given problems to solve. I asked for prosperity… and was given brain and brawn to work. I asked for courage… and was given danger to overcome. I asked for love… and was given troubled people to help. I asked for favors… and was given opportunities. I received nothing I wanted… I received everything I needed.
From “The Analects of Confucius” – a philosophical translation, by Roger Ames and Henry Rosemont
 

Peace Comes From The Balance Of Mind And Soul

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We have been given the gift and the curse of the use and enjoyment of our minds and our hearts. From the moment that we rose above the other animals to become co-creators of our universe, we were given the heart to love, and appreciate the world. We were given the mind to classify, and the ability to blend the two for the creation of solutions to our problems, ensure our survival, and to develop the wisdom that comes from the balance of the two.
How far have we come in the evolution of these gifts? Not as far as we believe we have. The mind has been developed to the point that without the heart it cannot go any further. Scientifically, we have traveled to the point where we are now dealing with a quantum reality that requires creativity, imagination, and even a bit of faith to explore.

Still, the heart is well behind in its development. To kill in cold blood, or really, to kill at all, requires functioning without the heart. Hate is a cold product of the mind. Yes, it does become impassioned, but passion is not a quality of the heart. Passion is a remnant of our primitive ancestry — the energy that drives animals to pursue food, pursue a mate, and scare intruders from its territory. It is an energy, which is directed by a healthy ego or it directs an unhealthy one. The ego, which separates us from the other creatures on our planet, coordinates the use of mind and/or heart. The ego is the decision maker; it is the mediator. It is the health of the ego that determines which we use.

The heart and mind are in balance in a healthy ego. Working together they choose when, how much, where, and if the fuel of passion should be utilized. The decisions, guided by creativity and wisdom, are born out of the combination of heart, and mind. Hate is an instinct based by-product of an unbalanced ego. It is instinctual fear harnessed by the mind without consideration of the heart. Hate is the absence of love. Love is the only ingredient that the heart has to contribute. Even a balanced ego may become unbalanced for a moment when it considers the stresses of life on earth and the different ingredients it has to balance.

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Anger, however intensely it is experienced at the moment, is soon extinguished by the warmth of the heart. It doesn’t turn to hate. Not if the ego is balanced and the heart is strong. Where hate has a place, the heart energy is not developed, either because there is too much reasoning mind, too much primitive instinct, too much fear, or too much of them all. Whatever it is, there is no room for the heart to grow.

Mankind was given, or we took — when we bit the apple — this enormous Pandora’s box of mind, heart, passion, and fear. How we mix them would determine whether we survived outside of the garden or not. And so we struggle with this mixture of cold reasoning mind, hunger for more, and divine love. And it is my belief that as part of the Divine Plan, the souls that incarnated at a particular time, are balanced in a way that will bring all souls, the lessons they have evolved to learn. There are no new lessons, the lessons we face today are the lessons that have been faced by mythic and historical figures, and mythic and historic lands, only the setting is changed.

Ultimately it all comes down to this, can we face the enemy without becoming the enemy? Or can we, as a species, be the hero who faces the enemy and allows the enemy to become one with us? Acknowledge, after thousands of years, that the battle waged out in our world must be won within our own egos, so that, as a species, our progress can be seen in the world around us. As long as we seek the enemy outside of our own beings, we will diminish our chance of winning with each outside enemy that we kill.

We fight the same war, century, after century, without finding peace, until it is found within our own hearts. There is no good or evil; there are no boundaries, no pure white hats, or pure black hats. There are only human beings torn within their egos between spiritual or material. It is a battle that the unbalanced ego does not want to face, because that battle requires letting go of those big shiny idols which the little mind finds such pleasure. It means embracing the small eternal flame, which the heart longs for. And so, we enter the battlefield like Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita, with God as our charioteer, patiently telling us that these bodies are not real, only symbols used by the soul for the true battle within. And this war, whether it is fought on the battlefield, in the playground or in the living room, is a battle of duality, one that continues for as long as we cling to our belief that first the other is bad, and second, that there is any other at all.

We battle those we label evil because we believe they seek to destroy us. They fight us for the same reason. No one marches into battle with a picture of Satan on their flag. We all go off to fight evil, to fight the devil we imagine we are facing. As we all wear both labels at the same time, saying to the enemy, “I am evil”, to myself, “I am good.” We fight to protect our lives because we do not really believe in the eternal soul. We fight to revenge the deaths of those we love, because as Krishna told Arjuna when he was questioning the battle that he was about to fight,

“One man believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain. Both are ignorant; there is neither slayer nor slain. You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed; you can never change. Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies. Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and unchanging, how can you slay or cause another to be slain?

As a man abandons his worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within. The Self cannot be pierced with weapons or burned with fire; water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it. The Self cannot be pierced or burned, made wet or dry. It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundation of eternity. The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change. Knowing this, you should not grieve.”
( Bhagavad-Gita 2.19-25)

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When we are able to see that the entire world is a symbolic battlefield for the individual soul and the larger groups of souls to play out their eternal battles, we will be able to deal with that apple, understand that the dark and the light are two sides of one coin that each exists because of the other. One cannot exist without the other because both exist within each of us. Only when we have a balanced mind and heart, can we be released from war and suffering.

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OVERCOMING FEAR


The bravest people in the world are not fearless; they simply use that fear to motivate them instead of paralyzing them.
Fear is connected with something that once happened to us, some pain that imprinted upon our conscious mind yet the exact cause of that pain is hidden in the subconscious. I have a fear of confrontation. It hurts. That is not my adult experience of confrontation but my inner reaction to the thought of it. I feel myself being struck by something large and cold whenever there is a confrontation. It stops me. In my mind I know that I am equal to the situation, but in my gut I feel as though I am only two inches tall. I understand that it is the same feeling that I had during all of the fighting in my home as a child. I am certainly not a child anymore and if I carried the fear in from a past life, I am not there anymore either. However, the truth is that the conscious mind and all of its logic has about as much power over the subconscious programming as a pea has over the rotation of the earth. So, the problem with fear is that knowing the cause, even remembering the initial incident does not erase it. Again, fear is not logical and it is not subject to reason, it is based upon something that was proven to be a fact and can be removed only by proving it to be wrong. I read somewhere that courage is not being without fear; it is acting in spite of it.

Fear is self-perpetuating. Once we are afraid, that energy grows. What makes fear so much more powerful is that it is actually an ominous feeling that has absolutely no words. When dealing with worries we can rationalize them because there are things that go through our minds. Yet when we are struck by fear it is really this huge dangerous overwhelming nothing. It is a nothing because we don’t think it, we don’t see it – it is just a feeling suspended in the gut. Fear is a ghost in the machine of our being. There is no enemy so powerful as the one you cannot see – this is fear and fear is the greatest unknown.
Fear has a moment in which it immediately propels us back to a feeling that we had.

We actually fear only two things death and abandonment. Every experience in our lives that instills an unexplainable overwhelming sense of fear in us is infusing us not with reality, but with the translation of the subconscious mind. The subconscious sees something that could cause one of those two dangerous outcomes. If we have had past lives, we have died. When I was born I spent two weeks in an incubator – I had an enormous fear of abandonment – abuse me, berate me but don’t abandon me. There was a time that I could not even handle anyone saying, “Goodbye”. We are transported back to a time when we were in a situation that reminds our subconscious of this one. It shows us how we suffered, but not why or where or when. It is not impressed by the fact that this is a different situation. My mother used to pull my hair when she was angry at me. My father used to catch me by my braids to beat me. Into my thirties I automatically jumped or covered my head if someone raised their hand for anything, it was embarrassing. As soon as my hair gets too long I cut it off. I cut it off because I like it better short. But I don’t really know if I do. I don’t know that my subconscious mind which causes me to flinch or jump back when someone raises their hand – doesn’t cause me to feel the overwhelming need to cut my hair off and I simply interpret my subconscious fear of long hair as a fashion statement. It just tells us that something feels dangerous, if we ignore the warning, it will cause us to sabotage our efforts. Most often, we can’t simply walk through fear; we have to fight with all of our might, as if we were walking through an emotional hurricane to get to the other side.

Sometimes it just finishes the sentence for us, we don’t even feel the anxiety of it but we react to the situation as though we know how it will turn out. In this way we sabotage our efforts and begin to destroy a successful situation because our fear writes the script of the future. The subconscious mind is one of symbols, not words. It began creating its database before we knew words. I was afraid to ask for help, afraid of the pain of rejection. I don’t ever remember not being afraid to ask. As I mentioned before I was in an incubator when I was born. This was not a time when there was an understanding that infants need to be held and touched. So for the first two weeks of my life my needs, my cries probably were not really responded to. This fear had a terrible effect on my life on my relationships.

We have to remember that the subconscious mind is like a computer, garbage in garbage out. It tells us that it feels like something familiar. We re-feel a past event that had a painful consequence. We re-feel the situation but we do not necessarily re-play the situation. This is the value of fear and this is the problem with it. It says, “Danger, danger!!” but because it does not re-play the situation we cannot see exactly what that danger was so that we can compare it to what the current situation is. From this moment on it is up to us to examine the situation. It is important that the moment that fear advises us that something feels familiar it must be checked. Just because it smells like smoke does not mean the building is burning it could just be a stick of incense. However, fear will go there if it is free to travel at will. Take from fear its only gift. Allow fear to awaken us, allow fear to awaken our senses, but not our imagination. Listen to what it knows but never let it think. Fear is always attached to the past; its eyes are in the back. Fear makes us react much faster than we ever would if we consciously processed the information. Sometimes that saves lives, and sometimes it destroys them. We have to question our reactions, our fear and if it is in the way of a better life, we need to fight our way through it – once. After we make it to the other side once, it becomes easier and easier. Once we make it through we have taken the threat out of the program.

When we feel fear, we need to be in the current situation. Fear is there to tell us to wake up to the situation. So each time that we feel fear we must see clearly. If the situation that we see is really not related to what we are feeling, we must fight through the fear. Each time that we do this our fear will diminish. Fear is part of our survival instinct. Instincts do not discriminate. Our fears hold us back. There are often possibilities just on the other side of our fears that we never realize. I have wanted so often for someone to touch me but could not reach out. This invisible wall stood between the other person and me, this wall of fear. I was a bundle of fears, fear of reaching out, fear of confrontation, fear standing out, even fear of showing fear. I finally made the decision to act as if I were not afraid.
I reached the point where the pain of living within the limits set by my fears felt excruciating than having whatever I feared actualize. So I began, slowly, each time I was in a situation where I felt constricted by fear acting as if it were not there. It gets easier. I don’t think that it goes away. I am still encircled by my fears, but today I can walk through them with much more ease and not cower within their limits.

There are two distinct kinds of fear. One is rational one is not. A fear is rational when what you are afraid of is clear. If you are on the edge of a cliff, what will happen if you fall is clear. If someone is facing you with a gun, what could happen is clear. Even when we have unprotected sex, what could happen is clear. These are real fears that should be heeded. Fear is based on protection. We just have to know if we really need to be protected from what we are afraid of. We must confront our fears, and analyze our reactions, because the subconscious mind is powerful, it can trick us into believing that we are acting out of choice when we are really acting out of fear. We can be made stronger by our fears they force us to faith because it is the antidote. And when we have enough faith, we realize that the very worst that can happen isn’t anything compared to fearing the worst that can happen.

Changing our Concept of Good and Evil

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We have evolved in many ways since the days when the major religions were founded. We live in a world that is now explainable in ways that our ancestors could never have understood. We no longer fear the darkening of the sun, because we understand the science of eclipses. Religion used the mysteries of nature to prove their validity. Now, we understand the forces of nature and although we cannot control them, they are no longer a mystery. It is a different world. We have evolved by leaps and bounds intellectually, now in order for us to continue to live on and be sustained by the earth that we have come to understand scientifically, we must evolve, we must mature spiritually and “put away childish things”. We have access to great Spiritual knowledge; we must make the spiritual leap.

Before we can understand good and evil, we must be able to stand mentally and emotionally firmly in the understanding that we are not these bodies or these lives, we are souls experiencing these bodies and these lives for a great purpose. We are energy and energy seeks to expand, we are the stuff that God is made of, and as we expand so does God. Thinking logically, the earth is not the only game in town. Ours is not the only dimension in town, and we are far from the only intelligent species in town. I believe that the earth is a unique school, one in which a soul can study the most diversified subjects and master the most diversified abilities. We are all creators, this is part of expansion, and the earth provides so many different mediums to learn to create within. There is the earth itself, there is the body, the emotions, the intellect, so many areas to perfect, and so many opportunities to grow.
Then there are those difficult courses, such as overcoming temptation, overcoming greed, selfishness, fear, hatred, prejudice – what we call the seven deadly sins are actually the seven challenges that we must overcome in order to graduate from this cycle. This is a very difficult topic because it seems to easy to declare one person evil and one person good, one act evil and one act good, but spiritually there just is no evil.

To say that a lie is evil causes most of us to immediately put up a defensive wall, against hearing anything else. The ego becomes angry and prepared for this attack on its goodness. Yet, this is not meant as a judgment of goodness. It is mean to help us to question our concept of evil.

In a belief built world, good and evil are concepts that arise out of perception. When we life in Maya, illusion, we are already living in a world built in the sky so to speak. Like those castles so readily attributed to neurotics. But what grounds that illusion, what connects it with God is the heart. The heart is where we find the doorway to God. So we can say that what we believe in our hearts, whatever we believe to be the truth, is as good as it gets.

The illusion, the Maya into which we are born is ultimately created by God for the purpose of teaching the soul its own value, its own essence which is God. Man once understood this and so created initiations for the purpose of changing the boy into the man, the boy into the warrior, or the shaman. The boy at a certain age would be sent away from the tribe to some place where he was totally unfamiliar, a place that was wrought with peril so that he could confront the many challenges that would force him to reach deeper and deeper within his being until he was in contact with the source of his power, God, which would then guide him through the dangers. He would then be led back home changed, clear, the illusions of childhood replaced with the knowledge of the true self. Just like Jesus truly became the Christ not merely at the baptism but when he went away for those forty days to confront his last temptation.

This is symbolic of mans time on earth. We must confront the ego which controls our little minds, with its wiles, its rationalizations, it justifications, its cunning and its judgments, which are, in fact, all different types of lies.

Evil is merely an illusion created in the mind of man. It is only “bad” because it takes us further away from our Source, which is connected to the heart. Good is anything that is truth, which originates from the heart and leads us to our Source. Look at it this way, if take one letter, the “o” out of good, you have God, they are connected. If you take one letter the “v” out of evil, you have lie they too are connected. Anything that is a lie, is not good, not of the heart.

When we hear the word evil we immediately seem some red horned figure, or some darkly cloaked sinister shadow lurking somewhere in a corner. Evil is in merely that which points us away from the truth which is that path to God. It is a sign that has been turned in the wrong direction, intentionally, for whatever reason. It is ultimately not in the best interest of anyone if it is away from God.

Am I saying that understanding this will put an end to conflict…an end to war? No, I am not. In a world that is built on a foundation of illusion, which is inhabited by souls who are all on different levels of evolutionary progress, there are bound to be different truths. Those truths will be defended or not based upon the age of the soul, its understanding and its inherent nature. But while the ego seeks domination and adherence at all costs to its beliefs, the heart seeks understanding and acceptance. What I am saying is that coming from the heart, living in truth, even if it is a very personal truth, will put an end to weapons of mass destruction. The heart, every heart, contains the essence of God, and even within the illusion the heart can never justify the death of one innocent being as “acceptable collateral damage”.

The ends do not justify the means in the heart only in the mind. And so a man or woman might very well see that the only way to defend what he or she believes in their hearts is to defend it with their lives. But, at no time will the heart defend its truth with someone else’s life. A noble battle is fought with honor by the one whose belief is being defended. Jesus did not send anyone else to the cross for him. And so, although we will not end conflict by coming from our hearts, we will end dishonor, and find our way to God. We will all emerge from the wilderness with the heart of a true warrior.

A Worst Case Scenario for 2012

Many people I speak to are disappointed with President Obama, and I can understand it, I have had my moments of downright anger. I believe that the biggest reason for this is not that he did this or didn’t do that, but that we have not seen any change. Unlike Congress, he does not owe the corporate lobbyists for his election, he owes the people. The funny thing is that the founding fathers gave Congress only two year terms to guarantee that they would not be in office long enough to corrupt the government. They believed that the people would catch on quickly to any corruption and those who were partial to special interests would not have enough time to do any real damage. Little did the founding fathers know, that because they only had two years, they would have little time to do anything for the people because they had to guarantee that the corporations that paid for their campaigns, would pay for the next. So their allegiance is to the money and not the people. However, the President’s campaign was paid for by the people, and he has only three years to secure their support.

I have peeked over the shoulders of the Fates, and seen the path ahead of us, so I was not expecting him to fix the economy, or put an end to war. I was hoping for mind blowing, never saw that coming CHANGE. I was hoping for something like an executive order putting a moratorium on foreclosures, I was hoping for a change, like attacking the problem from the bottom up, instead of the same ole, same ole trickle down method, which never quite ends up actually trickling down. I was not hoping for a solution, as I was hoping for a new paradigm in the way the government goes about seeking solutions. I was hoping for a change. Now, I know that most of the Republicans in Congress have no intention of doing anything except protecting the interests of the corporations that keep them in office. And many others have the singular goal of making sure that anything that could keep President Obama in office, fails. Yet, I hoped that in this unprecedented time of suffering for the citizens of the United States, he could declare a state of emergency and by executive order, do something wild and outside of the box to help the people. That would be a change, one not seen since FDR. I really feel that the only thing that that can lead us at least in the direction of better is different.

As we face 2012 with understandable trepidations, and as we Astrologers face a configuration that is very difficult to gloss over because it has never passed without notice. The last time we saw this set up was the great depression and WWII. I have been saying to people that there was not going to be some devastating event. But I am not too sure anymore. We are facing a minefield, one in which we would be well served to revisit the history of that last time we saw this lineup. It would do well to revisit Germany, because they were experiencing a terrible depression. People were going through exactly what we are experiencing today an environment of fear and helplessness. Then a man came from obscurity to power, a man named Adolf Hitler.

Sadly, when people lose hope, they seem to find solace in being given someone to blame, someone to punish – because it is something that they can do to relieve their helplessness, and even shame. Find a bad guy, eliminate the bad guy, and live happily ever after. So, regardless of what is happening in the televised economy, the people are living in a growing climate of joblessness, homelessness, and increasing hopelessness. If something drastic is not done soon to effect the lives of those Americans who once lived in homes along Main Street, but now are living on the sidewalks, in parks and cars along Main Street, there is no telling what will happen. However, history tells us that those ingredients have always made a volatile cocktail.

The thing that scares me is that 2012 is an election year. Whom we elect could be the spark that ignites the fire. It will depend entirely on whether or not President Obama can justify the hope that he gave us, in exchange for our votes. Because I fear, it was all the hope that we had left. If he cannot deliver for the people, if he cannot deliver a reason for our hope, then I am very much concerned that whoever runs against him in the next election, as in Nazi Germany, will deliver a scapegoat for our rage.

The Journey’s End is the Only Cause of Death

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts the sickle, because the harvest has come”. The Gospel of Mark, Parables 4:26-29

Everything grows; a dream grows towards becoming a reality. A journey grows towards its destination. A project grows towards completion and a search grows towards the finding. Everything alive seeks to reach higher, a plant and a tree grow towards the sun, their source of life. The body grows towards the sun, its source of life. The ego grows towards the soul its source of life. The soul grows towards God, or The Source, its life.

It is that growth which pushes us. It is an aching, the aching of the seed, the aching of the plant, and the aching of every life on earth. We seek growth in everything that we do. We challenge our bodies through sports, and through weights. We challenge our minds through puzzles and through overcoming obstacles, finding a new way. We challenge our souls through the obstacles and sorrows that we place before ourselves in life.

What is the reason for growth? It is to unite with our Source, become one with it. Our dreams grow to unite with reality. Our ideas grow to unite with form. Once the light is reached the journey is over. The process is complete. When that is achieved, the seeker becomes that which was sought. The journey becomes the destination. The being becomes its purpose for being. Everything grows to reach its light because it is that light which gives it life. We exist to seek the light, the light enlightens our way, and the light is the force within us that motivates our journey.

The light is the beginning, and the end, the alpha and the omega. To reach the light is the culmination, the highest point that we can achieve, and yet, at the same time the light is the death. It is the end. It is where we begin, our purpose for the journey and the end of it. To die is not to end it is to finally become. The seed dies to become the tree, the caterpillar dies to become the butterfly, the idea dies to become the creation, the dream dies to become the reality. It is a never ending process of birth, death and resurrection. There is no end. We leave one life when it is done. We are born at the moment that God destines our journey to begin in this life, and we die when God destines that it is over. My birth might be called a fluke, my mother could not go into labor, she had already lost one child for that reason. My father stayed out all night, one of many all nighters that he pulled. This night, she decided that he would not spend the next day resting up in bed as was his habit after an all nighter. This night, she decided that he would suffer. So, the next day when he came home she told him that she was in labor and he had to take her to the hospital. To her surprise, the umbilical cord was strangling me and she had to have an immediate emergency C-Section.

The body of the baby dies to become the toddler. The body of the toddler dies to become the child. The body of the child dies to become the teenager. Look at pictures, each resembles the other but each does not share the same body of the other. We die most deaths without know it anymore than we notice the birth of the toddler, or of the adolescent or adult. At the end of each life, there is simply no more script to read, no more lines for our character, it doesn’t matter how old or how young we leave this incarnation, some souls choose to accomplish a great deal in a short time. If a baby survives for only a minute, that baby has still changed the life of the mother who carried it into the world and the family that waited for its arrival. A life touches others for as long as it is written into the play. God allows the soul to choose the length of its stay. And the purpose that it is here to accomplish. We arrive on time and leave on time. The way that we leave is the way our plot ends. It completes the story, the story we chose, and the one chosen for us. They are one in the same. No one causes the death of another as no one causes the birth of another.

The Bhagavad-Gita is a spiritual epic about life, death and our relationship with God in between. As is so very appropriate today, it is the story of Arjuna, a warrior at a time when each person had a role to fill, teacher, ruler, warrior, etc. It is a story of a great battle lasting between warring families and the kingdoms that are their allies. Because of his birth, Arjuna is forced to fight in this battle. Before the battle begins, he asks his charioteer, Krishna, to drive him into the center of the battlefield so that he can see clearly who he will be fighting. He sees that he will be fighting those closest to him, his family members, teachers, mentors, brothers and father-in-law. He is overcome with grief at the prospect of fighting those he loves dearly.

“Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.” “I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krishna, killer of the Keshi demon.” “I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.” “O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarashtra?”… “Better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.” “It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood.”

I didn’t know, when I read this years ago, why it felt so important to me. It was not only the message, but the context of war and the inner conflict that any good hearted man or woman must struggle with that stayed with me. Arjuna is a warrior, battle is not his conflict but with whom he must fight. In his argument laments the fact that although the perpetrators of the war are only fighting out of greed, why must he kill, knowing that it is wrong. He cannot understand how in killing those he loves, knowing it is wrong, he is not equally as sinful as those who do not care who they who kill.

The soldiers know that we support them, but not the war that they are fighting. We have learned from Vietnam not to fault the soldiers, but to love them, pray for them and support them. Yet, it does not matter to the soldiers that we support them, because we are supporting them without really knowing what they are doing that we are supporting. If you tell me that you believe in me, but I cannot tell you what I am really doing, or that I cannot believe in myself for doing it – I gain no comfort from your support. Most Americans do not really know, or really want to know what our soldiers must do and must see. There is no way to erase images that are emotionally or traumatically imprinted on the mind. But what can be done to in some way help those who are suffering loss, or are struggling with the guilt and or shame of feeling responsible for causing the death of another is to help them open up to the possibility of accepting that what we see as death, is a transition, and not one that man, regardless of his actions is capable of causing. The moment of our birth and the moment of our departure from the body are two moments more fated than any other in our lives. As Krishna told Arjuna:

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”… “That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.”…“ One man believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain. Both are ignorant; there is neither slayer nor slain. You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed; you can never change. Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies. Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and unchanging, how can you slay or cause another to be slain?
As a man abandons his worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within. The Self cannot be pierced with weapons or burned with fire; water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it. The Self cannot be pierced or burned, made wet or dry. It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundation of eternity. The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change. Knowing this, you should not grieve.”
( Bhagavad Gita 2.19-25)

When all of the pieces come together we become complete. To become is to die as we were. We die as that which seeks fullness, and are reborn as that which is full. We die as the question and are reborn as the answer. We change into the form that we seek.

Death is not the end of life; it is the end of a form, the end of an experience. It is the completion of a quest, our search for the Pearl. We each go out into the world for a reason, and when we have found what we were looking for or done what we went out to do, we all return home. We wear the garments appropriate for our journey. When we return home, we remove them. This is as it should be. It is when we return home that we are truly together.

Our lives that were once so connected with each other will die. We each go on to build new lives in new places and regardless of how much we loved each other while we were together; the time comes to move on. This is death. It is not the ending of a life; it is the ending of an experience. The act of dying is simply the ceremony, the ritual attached to that moving on, to that removal of our outerwear. Death comes much more peacefully than birth. There are many old souls who would rather die a thousand deaths than be born once more.

I was sitting with a friend of mine at the New Jersey shore, when she told me about a man who had been standing in the bay fishing when a helicopter fell out of the sky and landed on him. Needless to say, he died. She then remarked that there was no doubt that it was his time. We all have our time it is that moment when we have completed all that we came here to do. It does not matter where we are when our time comes because when it comes we will leave. The means of our departure is part of our journey but not the cause of its end.

We establish, before we incarnate all of the things that we are going to accomplish while here. In some lives there are many major events that we need in order to complete our mission, and our lessons. For others the lessons are very few, sometimes everything we experience in our lives is only to support one lesson. Sometimes we just come in to help another soul that we are close to, as in the case of many children who die very young. It is not for themselves that they come; it is to help their families with a lesson and sometimes to effect the whole society as in the case of Ryan White. The length of years that we spend here is not the issue. There are times when in order to connect with all of the souls that we have agreed to connect with we must spend many years on the earth. There are times when it is but a few hours.

Often the time of death is chosen in order to fit in with lessons of those close to us. Perhaps the experience of our dying is a group experience. Or perhaps it is a part of a lesson for those closest to us. So the time when this can best be accomplished will be our time, that time when we graduate to the next level or need to move to another life for our next set of lessons.
When it is our time there is no reason for our soul to stay incarnate. This has nothing to do with our ego attachment to being here, the ego does not rule the lesson, and it is only one of the tests. Often we will place other points in our lives where we may or may not die and although these points do not mark the end of our lesson here in this life, they still mark points where we may end our time here if our souls are ready. We are given the choice. These are times when things like prayer are very important. These are times when we are able to build our faith. We are brought to the edge and allowed a miracle to bring us back. We are able to make a permanent connection with our spirit and see it manifest in our lives. This is a gift to us.

Sometimes we need to come close to death in order to prepare for the next step in our lives. In other cases we need to be brought to the point of choice so that we can make a conscious decision to be here. Once in a while a soul just cannot appreciate being here because he or she may feel that it was not their choice. If that person has a near death experience and makes a choice to return, life then has a different value. When we die it is always our time, it is a time that has been predetermined and agreed upon by all of our soul family. It is a time appointed by God. It is the right time. It happens in the right way, and we are grateful for what it brings to our souls through the experience. It is a completion, a graduation. When someone we love departs from the physical body, we can always feel their presence if we open ourselves to it.

It is important to understand that when someone leaves his or her body, the connection that they had with the souls left behind does not end. The work that we came together to do must be completed. We have to accept that everything in the physical world has a beginning and an end. Yet the end is in effect a merging with a new beginning. Any guilt or regret should be redirected to positive changes for future situations. Nothing is left unfinished, we may not like the conclusion, but death is the period at the end of our sentence on earth, but by no means the end of our story.

When we leave this earth plane and look back on our time here, it is neither the pain nor the joy that we remember, it is the fullness, the richness of all of both pain and joy combined. It is the roller coaster ride that is life that we long to return to. Birth, death, and the time in-between are all points on the circle, which is life. There is really no beginning and no end, those are just illusions. There is just life, continuous, changing and yet always remaining the same, Life.