Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Thing We Know

The president in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of this earth is scared to my people. Every single pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect; all are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give to any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all sons of the earth.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when all the buffalo are slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last Red Man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forest still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is precious to you. One thing we know: There is only one God. No man, be he Red Man or White Man can be apart. We are all brothers after all.

I found Chief Seattle 1855 speech especially important now. His words express what is innately known regardless of education credentials. Our Western education seems to take these principles and lock them in an egotistical and judgmental box of beliefs. Everything is significant in its own way. Everything is consciousness expressing the beauty of life. We are here to appreciate that beauty not destroy it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Guest

The Guest House
Darling, the body is a guest house;
Every morning someone new arrives.
Don’t say, “O, another weight around my neck!”
Or your guest will fly back to nothingness.
Whatever enters your heart is a guest
From the invisible world: entertain it well.

Every day and every moment, a thought comes
Like an honored guest into your heart.
My soul, regard each thought as a person,
For every person’s value is in the thought they hold.

If a sorrowful thought stands in the way,
It is also preparing the way for joy.
It furiously sweeps your house clean,
In order that some new joy may appear from the Source.
It scatters the withered leaves from the bough of the heart,
In order that fresh green leaves might grow.
It uproots the old joy so that
A new joy may enter from beyond.

Sorrow pulls up the rotten root
That was veiled from sight.
Whatever sorrow takes away or causes the heart to shed,
It puts something better in its place.
Especially for one who is certain
That sorrow is the servant of the intuitive.

Without the frown of clouds and lighting,
The vines would be burned by the smiling sun.
Both good and bad luck become guests in your heart:
Like planets traveling from sign to sign.
When something transits your sign, adapt yourself
And be harmonious as its ruling sign,
So that when it rejoins the Moon,
It will speak kindly to the lord of the heart.

Whenever sorrow comes again,
Meet it with smiles and laughter,
Saying, “O my creator, save me from its harm,
And do not deprive me of its good.
Lord, remind me to be thankful,
Let me feel no regret if its benefit passes away.”

And if the pearl is not in sorrow’s hand,
Let it go and still be pleased.
Increase your sweet practice.
Your practice will benefit you at another time;
Someday your need will be suddenly fulfilled.

Rumi’s words explain how our consciousness expands in physical form. We are aspects of consciousness that experience reality through our perceptions and beliefs. Sorrow and pain are tools in our belief structure, and we use them to change our beliefs in one way or another. The well of wisdom within the self is always flowing, but our conscious mind is focused on physical reality. The ego creates projections to experience, and we call them our reality. The emotions created by our beliefs fills the conscious mind with the feedback from our projections, and we find the self dangling from a cliff of fear.

Our emotions are fragile and respond to our own creations. Painful experiences open the door of awareness, and we feel aspects of our inner self. Every morning an impulse arrives from that inner self, and we create another guest and we give it a name. Those guests help us focus on another part of the self. That other self sits in our inner consciousness.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Fruit Of Our Own Seed

So though the eyes love attains the heart:
For the eyes are the scouts of the heart,
And the eyes go reconnoitering
For what it would please the heart to possess.
And when they are in full accord
And firm, all three, in the one resolve,
At that time, perfect love is born
From what the eyes have made welcome to the heart.
Not otherwise can love either be born or have commencement
Then by this birth and commencement moved by inclination.

By the grace and by command
Of these three, and from their pleasure,
Love is born, who with fair hope
Goes comforting her friends
For as all true lovers
Know, love is perfect kindness,
Which is born, there is no doubt, from the heart and eyes.
The eyes make it blossom; the heart matures it:
Love, which is the fruit of their very seed.

Giraut de Bornelh was born in 1138 in Limousin which is in central France around the area known as Limoges. He was connected with the castle of Viscount of Limoges, and his skill as a Troubadour earned him the title, “Master of the Troubadours.” About ninety of his poems, and four of his melodies have survived through the years. Love, as Giraut mentions, is the fruit of our own seed, and it is constantly flowering into magnificent arrangements. The eyes and the heart are always searching for what we already possess.

Our body consciousness wants to sense what our essence expresses unendingly. Expressions of love are fueled by mental enzymes. These enzymes act as a catalyst so we can innately feel other aspects of the self. We create a physical life in order to experience our individual consciousness.

James Joyce, the 19th century Irish writer, novelist, and poet had this to say about love:

At the moment of the wakening to love, an object, apparently without, passes into the soul forever. . . And the soul leaps at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.

When love is manifested physically it blooms and expands in its own action. As Joyce mentions, it takes on the form of life.

Joseph Campbell the 20th century American Mythologist simply says:

The distance of your love is the distance of your life. Love is exactly as strong as life.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Frog and the Lame Goat

To a frog that’s never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble. Look what he’s giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition! The ocean frog just shakes his head. “I can’t really explain what it’s like where I live, but someday I’ll take you there.”

Rumi,The 13th century mystic, has a distinct way of describing change. Moving through the trials of a familiar life and arriving at the intersection of two worlds does take some adjustment. Old beliefs are altered and they become new thoughts. Those thoughts change experiences as well perceptions.

Rumi explains that change this way:

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
It feels like trees on the bank
Are rushing by. What seems
To be changing around us
Is rather the speed of our craft
Leaving this world.

Transformation is experienced at different times in physical life. It’s safe to say that this movement is an ongoing process even though we are unaware of what we are creating. When we realize we move into another reality every moment, the definition of change is dramatically altered. We are constantly moving through the fast-running creek of consciousness. The contrast we create are tools that implement change.

Rumi says this about contrast:

Be patient.
Respond to every call
That excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful
And sad, that degrade you
Back toward disease and death.

The ocean of consciousness has enormous waves as well as calming currents. In this ocean of awareness, the physical self continues to express the duality of change in order to know, as well as sense the complexity and the simplicity of consciousness.

Rumi tells this story about the self: The Lame Goat

You’ve seen a herd of goats
Going down to the water.
The lame and dreamy goat
Brings up the rear.

There are worried faces about that one,
But now they’re laughing,
Because look, as they return,
That goat is leading!

There are many different kinds of knowing.
The lame goat’s kind is a branch
That traces back to the roots of presence.

Learn from the lame goat,
And lead the herd home.

The frog and the lame goat are two aspects of the same self expressing consciousness using different imagery. They both find themselves experiencing conscious knowing. That knowing can't be fully explained, but it can be appreciated.