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Archive for May, 2009

Reality?

It is vitally important that we keep learning in life. We need to prevent our mind from settling into patterns that make us think reality is always a certain way. Because truthfully, we haven’t a clue what reality is. We only know our reality and that is the reality we see via the patterns in our mind. Basically we see what we choose to see. We can choose to see something other.

Using our imagination is really important but also seeking out new learning and new experiences is huge. And this seeking isn’t limited by money. We can do things like: going to a different church every week to see what other people’s religions are like; taking walks in the dark; volunteering at a soup kitchen one Sunday a month; going to the library and just skimming through the books; fasting one day a month; meditating to feel our own soul; trying to feel the spirits of the dead that are around us; doing five push-ups every time we use the bathroom; listening to a song from an unknown band on the web every day and; on and on. All these little things to shift what is the norm. And when we shift from the norm, we open up to a world of possibilities. We aren’t stuck.

We create our realities. We can recreate our realities with thought, inspiration, perspective. The universe is totally remarkable and limitless. We get caught into patterns that make it so small. I mean is a scratch on my car important? Should it ruin my day? Is stopping to fret about it a better use of my time than smelling the apple blossoms on the tree that I parked next to, or listening to the news on public radio and trying to understand what is going on in the economy, in politics, in the environment, in the world. We can control what we allow our minds to think about. These things are choices.

So the question always is, how are we going to look at things? There is never black and white. Life is always shifting. It is never fixed. We need to have a spiritual life that helps us find some balance amidst the constant shifting of the currents of life. We also need one that recognizes that we are all connected. We are all one but we see this oneness from our own unique perspective. That is abstract I know but I think it true. So let’s create a spiritual path that addresses these needs. Let’s live it.

So here is a thought, let’s start everyday with envisioning the day the way we want to unfold. And I don’t mean something like, the lottery numbers come up (though that’s not a bad thought :>), but that our day will go without difficult conflict; that we will have peace in our day; we will have laughter and joy; we will learn something exciting; we will find understanding about how we have created our life and how we now need to create our future. Let’s try to envision the food we eat will be healthy and absolutely delicious; try to envision happiness; try to envision our connection to the Earth and to the spirits of our ancestors who are always with us and cheering for our success. Let’s envision that all of our relationships will hum with the sacred. Let’s spend a few minutes in the morning picturing that we are going to have a great day. And when something good happens, recognize it, and recognize that it happened because our consciousness helped to create it. This is how we can empower ourselves. We are all the co-creators of reality. We can create it however we want.

“It depends on what you look at obviously,
But even more it depends on the way that you see…”
— Bruce Cockburn – from the song “Child of the Wind”

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Music is a Metaphor

I spent last Saturday night out at the Braham Hall Pub in Portland celebrating my birthday. My friend Sean Mencher played out with a big ensemble of great musicians. It was an incredible performance. They are a swing/rockabilly band with Sean leading on guitar. There was no cover charge. It was one of the very best shows I have attended – ever. The music was tight but free flowing with each musician taking solos and going off into creativity based on the emotion of the moment. Freedom within the context of the song.

Over the past couple of years I’ve realized just how important it is to support our local artist. Whenever I hear the radio, I hear a record company trying to produce a product to make money. I hear radio stations playing what they are told to play based on investment instead of playing what the audience wants to hear or playing something the DJ discovered that is simply magical. They sell product.

Our local artist are better than most every band you hear on the radio. There are a few exceptions and I am so glad that we do get to hear music from around the globe via the internet and CDs. The indie movement via the web is very exciting. Still though, there is no substitute for listening to live music. And the best musicians are the ones that haven’t “made it” and they live right in your neighborhood.

“Music is not a noun“. It isn’t a product. It is an experience that transcends the words to describe it. We use the word “music” as a metaphor for an experience that can not be captured by words. Music is living. Even when we hear a great recording it is nothing compared to the sheer energy and excitement of being there, feeling the vibrations from the amplifiers or from the voice of an opera singer. It carries us to a new place. The records and videos can not come close to the feeling of being at one of those early Elvis Presley concerts. You just had to be there to get it. We can only imagine it now.

The experience of listening to and creating music isn’t something we should let be reduced to a product. It is part of our human nature. The playing of music is the completion of the a cycle of creativity and that is at the very core of my spiritual path. So while it is great to buy a CD (especially of our local artist), it is more important that we go hear live music. It is also vital that we not allow the fact that we may not be a great musician or performer, from playing and singing on our own. Our own music may be “bad” music but it is music none-the-less. It is part of being a complete human. The recording of music has stolen something from us. It has allowed us not to be creative ourselves. Without recordings, we would natural fill our life with music. And it would be our own voice along with our community that created it.

So anyway, get out and hear some great music and support those amazing artist in your own community. And also when your favorite tune comes on in the car, sing like it is the last thing you will ever express. Not to be morbid, but who knows what lies around the corner :>) So let your soul vibrate with the sounds of music. Express yourself without the worry that people won’t like it. It is the act of creating that is important, not the end result. Hey, it isn’t like you are charging people $100 for a ticket to a tightly controlled corporate sponsored concert that promises to sound exactly like the record did thirty years ago. It will just be you that is flowing along the currents of inspiration. And that my friends in the way to live a great life.

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Outside of time

Tomorrow I turn 43 years old. The passage of time is so strange. I’ve had this question running around in my head for a few weeks that has given me some insight. The question is, “when does eternity begin?”

I think when we speak of things being eternal, we are speaking of something outside of the concept of time itself. What is outside of time? The answer that comes to me is, the moment. Time has no power, no meaning, and simply isn’t part of the reality of the moment. The moment is eternal. I believe we can experience this place if we can bring our consciousness into perfect presence. I think the deep profound spiritual experiences and realizations in our lives touch this place. When all the great teachers and masters in the past and in modern times speak of the eternal, they are speaking of a state of consciousness where time no longer applies.

Eternal life in heaven? Well Christ taught the Kingdom of Heaven is within. So it follows eternity in Heaven must be found within you. If you don’t discover this in your own consciousness, you never will find this. I don’t believe Christ ever said he could do this for you. He said you must become “as I am”. I think this is at the core of Buddhism, Hinduism, and indeed at that heart of all transcending religious experiences.

In Druidry, we take this experiential approach of self-realization in the pursuit of what we call “perfect presence”. How do we work this? By waking up the senses. We engage fully in life pouring all of our energy, all of our consciousness into living this life with honor and awareness. We work everyday to wake up to, feel, understand, and utilize all the consciousness that makes up what we call our soul. And what is the soul? It is all of our consciousness in its totality.

How old is our soul? We don’t have a myth about the beginning of the world or the end of the world. In Druidry we work only to become more fully aware of our soul, our consciousness in relationship to the reality around us in the moment. Consciousness isn’t bound by time. It comes into form and breaks apart, only to find new form. It is like the river. The water constantly flows but the river is still there at every moment, ever moving and changing, but it is always the river. Consciousness moves and its relationship to other consciousness is always changing but it remains consciousness.

So 42, 43, 44, 74, 12, 8, 4, 102, what does it matter? My consciousness is always part of reality, and it is always in relationship. Sometimes these relationships have such clarity, they step outside of time. They touch a realization that all of Nature, all of reality is consciousness in ever changing motion. They lead us to the realization of perfect presence.

Every moment is an act of creativity. Every moment is my birthday. Hopefully, I will awake to this realization deep enough in my core that it is the mode from which I live all the time – outside of time.

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This past weekend a friend and I went to my friend’s house to help make a garden. We brought a big tiller and my Mantis tiller. In about an hour we have tilled a 16×22 garden out her lawn. The next day I spent using the Mantis to create a new garden at our home for growing corn. I also used my new chain saw to clear brush from around the my fruit trees. The next day I brought it to another friend’s home to cut down a group of five adult maple trees (60 – 70 feet tall). We cut these up into fire wood in a few hours. All this work and I used less than a gallon of gasoline.

The astounding magical power of gasoline is something we all take for granted. The amount of work I did in a few hours would have taken weeks of work with hand tools. Think about this. Your car carries you and a friend up a long steep hill and uses about a tablespoon of gasoline. Now imagine that not only did you and your companion have to walk up the hill but also had to push your car as well. Think about how much energy you would expend to accomplish this task. All that energy is in one tablespoon of gas (more actually as the internal combustion engine is hugely inefficient). All that power and we just burn gas without thought. Fossil fuels are a miracle that we need to consider every time we use them. It is a finite resource and we need to respect and treat it as such.

Now consider that the power of gas has been the driving force of our world economy. The power in gas has a direct correlation to the advancement of technology and the growth of the world economy. This power is waning and there is nothing in the world to replace it. There isn’t alternative fuel that has this much power and cost so little. There isn’t enough uranium to power the planet using nuclear energy. Natural gas is in decline as well. There is no such thing as clean coal and gasoline derived from it will cost a bundle. Basically the power that drives the world’s economy is in decline and it isn’t coming back. There is nothing at the moment or on the horizon that can replace that cheap source of power. We are facing a world in decline economically and technologically.

I am not suggesting that we will cease to have technology or that we will run out of gas any time soon. We won’t. But it is going to get more expensive and without cheap fuel the rate of technological advancement will slow. This is a fact that I am trying to work with, building a life that is self-sufficient. I am trying to be as conscious as possible with the gas I use. Every time I use it now, I am acutely aware of the power of it. I sit in amazement as I go down the road in my car, or when I cut down a tree in a few seconds that would have taken ten minutes with an axe or saw, or when I turn over the soil in a few minutes when it would have taken many hours with a shovel. Gasoline is precious. It is a deity in my mind and I try to approach it with worthy respect. It is a miracle of power that has no equal in the human story. Let’s use it well.

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I recently found a written interview I gave a few years ago to a woman as part of her graduate studies. She was doing comparisons between monotheistic religions and paganism. I think there is some good stuff in there so I have posted it as a separate page which can be clicked on above underneath banner.

Enjoy,
Showhawke /|\

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Follow Your Bliss

I have been watching Joseph Campbell interviews which are absolutely wonderful. If you didn’t know, he coined the term, “Follow your bliss”. I have been meditating on this all this week. Looking at my life, I see that I have managed to followed my bliss within the limited resources I have had in life. Some points have been better than others. I have drifted at times but the call has always drawn me back.

My passion is my spiritual life, my paganism. My bliss is exploring the realm of the sacred. Even when this wasn’t formalized, I spent my time trying to see the sacred, see the whole story, in each situation I was in.

I remember working in a horrible factory filled with fumes and noise. There was a hum to the giant ventilators over the chemical tanks. This was a clear note. I use to listen carefully to this hum and then I would find the note with my voice. And then I would try to harmonize with it. I worked with some great people and some people who were not very nice at all. It was these not so nice people where I made an effort to get through their facades and rough exterior and try to find some common ground. I tried to see their soul and not just their personality. There was one grouchy jerk that took most of the part of the year before he let his guard down enough for us to relate on a level other than his rude hard-ass work persona.

The hard work and consistency in trying to relate to the world in this manner, was and is what I strive for in life. Finding Druidry was a wonderful homecoming, as the focus is learning to craft ever deeper relationship. For it is out of this deeper relationship, we touch and recognize the sacred in another and this makes it easier to see it within our own psyche. From this place of deep relationship, inspiration flows. Seeking inspiration is my bliss.

So ask yourself, what is my bliss? Am I actively living it? Is it the path I follow in life? If not, why not? Your bliss needn’t be an abstract like mine. Perhaps it is music, or writing, or hiking, or wood working, or gardening, or dancing, or any other activity that really drives and excites you in life.

Sure we have to provide for ourselves with food and shelter. But do these activities really take all of our energy so that nothing is left for following our bliss, our passion in life? If the answer is yes, we need to take a serious look at what we have labelled a necessity. Isn’t a small apartment and used stuff enough if it affords us the time to be living the life we really want? Where are we putting energy into things that aren’t what we really want in life? How do we fix this? Isn’t an old guitar we play for three hours a day better than a new one we get to use thirty minutes a week?

Life is short. Do you want to spend your life climbing the ladder only to get to the end of your life and realize your ladder in on the wrong wall? Time for us all to live the lives we really want. Time for us to listen to and follow our bliss.

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Happy Beltane all! Here we are at the first of May. Nature has blessed us with a long and beautiful Spring here in Maine. In Pagan traditions, the first of May is a holiday called Beltane. And Beltane is associated with sexuality. In the mythology, the Goddess has grown mature enough to take her consort. Many pagans celebrate this with explorations of their own sexuality as a sacred act. And in communal celebrations dancing the May Pole dance which is representative of the male organ being wrapped in the vagina. So many people in America have no idea of the blatant imagery but that is the truth of it.

Sexuality is but one aspect of this holiday. While sacred sex is vital to explore in life, the meaning of Beltane isn’t limited to sex. What does it hold for those people who are not in a sexual relationship? It holds plenty.

I see this holiday as a time to celebrate any dynamic where two souls come together and creativity comes to fruition. I think of a painter who has found the inspiration to paint a canvas with wild bold strokes of color. In my mind I see writer typing intently as the expression of her muse comes into being. I see a scientist and her colleague smiling as the intensity of their research and conversation finally yields the answer. I see leaves unfurling to the caress of the sun’s rays. I see the male gold finch has regained his radiant yellow plumes. All around me I see creativity coming into being and this is the essence of Beltane – the sacred dance between the artist and his muse.

And all of us who try to live a conscious life are artist in our own way. Every time we make a conscious act, it is fueled by the creative principle. Creativity is consciousness in motion.

To me Beltane is all about this creativity and the sharing of inspiration. So to all of you who feel the flow between you and your muse, give thanks and give expression to that inspiration. It is May and all Nature is celebrating

Many blessings,
Snowhawke

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