A Golden Thread?

Maze, Graphic, Render, Labyrinth, Design

As I reflect on how many states are now again recently declining after major spikes of covid19 cases, it appears this is due to an increased emphasis on masking and social distancing in the national media and governing actions this past month.  I say this as a New Yorker, who has witnessed the dramatic effect these measures have had in our state over time.  For all of the hardships and trauma the pandemic has wrought and continues to wreak upon individuals, families, schools and businesses, I see here yet a golden opportunity.

IFF, or perhaps by the degree to which this dire threat to human wellness and basic survival can be approached collectively by people uniting and agreeing to step up to protect themselves and one another by masking, social distancing, testing, staying home especially if feeling not well, and disinfecting, we then CAN reach the other side of this mountain, together.  We can bring down the scourge to a much more manageable level while yet awaiting effective vaccines and treatments.

The opportunity I am recognizing here is that we can UNITE to face our common enemy; then this era could serve to help us advance spiritually as a whole.

There is a golden thread that we can follow–like Theseus in the realm of the Minotaur–to re-emerge from the perilous labyrinth we are in.

Contemplation, Woman, Meditation, Sun

The interwoven triad of awareness-responsibility-freedom means that when we act responsibly on the basis of our highest awareness (e.g. responsive to scientific data and medical as well as spiritual guidance), then we can discover our measure of freedom within a given range of experience.

Your freedom ends where another’s begins.”

(Sri Harold Klemp, spiritual leader of Eckankar)

I have the freedom to be in a public space, of course, but I need to act responsibly in that arena on the basis of my own and collective awareness. So, I always carry a mask and put it on whenever other people are present especially within six feet (I try to at least double that myself when I can).  Acting responsibly means looking out for the other person’s freedom in the process of expressing my own.

If we can learn this deep lesson we can emerge from this pandemic stronger and healthier as a global species than we have recently been. We can be more united, more caring, more whole.

Woman, Walking, Dog, Leash, Leg, Foot

But yesterday I had an experience that brings me to add a caviat with regard to this optimistic hope.  I was walking with Sophie (my Shorkie girl) at a lakeside park nearby. We walked along a sidewalk on the perimeter of the park. Usually we would have walked along a path next to the lake itself, but no one was masking except me so I did not feel safe there. Honestly I became perturbed as I realized the park had lots of people organized in couples and small family clumps, walking amongst and past one another freely, but no one was wearing a mask. A woman with two children came along on the perimeter walk and crossed my and Sophie’s path at close quarters to get to her car, no masks. I involuntarily let loose verbally at her:

“Why isn’t anybody wearing a mask?” I asked.

“Go Home,” was her swift as if well practiced reply.

I was miffed, but of course I also felt chagrined and mad at myself for my angry outburst in front of this mother and her two little daughters. “Go Home,” indeed!  What was she saying? That as someone who masks I am not welcome in open public spaces? That non-maskers have claimed this park as their own?

Monalisa, Mona Lisa, Mask, Painting

images are from pixabay.com

I am actually preparing for a move back to my hometown from high school days. Visiting recently while searching for a new home there, people are masking in that slightly more populous town.  So, maybe my harsh encounter with this mother was a waking dream or “golden tongued wisdom;” confirmation that I do not belong where I am currently living so that I should in fact Go Home.  As well, spiritually Home is beyond this physical plane altogether, so maybe she was reminding me to maintain a higher awareness so as not to be perturbed by the course illusional states of this lower plane arena.

Responsibility is the key word of the triad of Awareness-Responsibility-Freedom at least insofar as living in a society is concerned.  For myself, I aim to act in a manner that serves the Whole, not just my own selfish immediate interests. 

We have an opportunity to grow and we might even begin to heal our divisions by respecting one another (my lesson in this encounter) and, yes, by wearing a mask in public spaces during a global pandemic.

The Color of Love

A friend recently posted a prompt for her writing group after sharing a picture of military humvees in DC.  She asked, “What is the color of love?”

Here is my my meager response:

The Color of Love

Love is green: a walk in verdant woods, freshly mown grass;

Love is yellow: Sun’s golden rays, wedding rings;

Love is blue: clear sky vistas, soulful music;

Love is also red: beating hearts, lifeblood;

 

 

Love is lavendar: lilac blooms, early sunrise hopes;

Love is black: solace in the darkness, night before dawn.

Love is white: hospital care, a blank page.

images are from pixabay.com

Love is all the colors of the spectrum:

Unity in diversity, melodic harmony, joy.

Love is Light, and Sound; the very essence of Life:

Divine Breath, all the hues and call

of Creation.

For the Good of the Whole

 

What times we have found ourselves mucking around in these days! A global pandemic such as we have not encountered, certainly in America anyway, since the 1918-21 flu epidemic.  As this year’s theme for this blog site is about “Building Bridges,” I feel it is worth noting that underneath the terrible situation we are still trying to get a handle on collectively as well as individually for ourselves and our families, there are some potentially positive undercurrents.

When faced with a common fear or enemy, there can be a unification of otherwise factionalized groups.  We can put aside our differences and come together to share our insights and our resources, our best practices and our compassion, for the Good of the Whole.

May it be so!

I am finding my neighbors are reaching out to each other, checking in on each other to see what may be needed. Spiritual classes that cannot meet at a center or church are starting to occur by phone conference calls or by Skype or Facetime or Teams.  We have ample online resources now so that we can stay connected.  I have found I can order needed supplies and groceries via Instacart for a small fee; they will deliver to your door. Thank heaven for such services and that there are still goods and groceries available.

images are, gratefully, from pixabay.com

We are facing a common dilemma, together.  Hence we are already building bridges and sharing smiles (6 ft. apart!) as we go.  These are difficult times and many are facing peril.  Every single individual matters.  Hopefully we can lessen the dangers as far as possible, so long as we continue to serve the Good of the Whole.

APOTHEOSIS / Fulfillment of the Quest

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Fulfillment of one’s quest promotes “apotheosis” in Joseph Campbell’s terms pertaining to the Hero Cycle. That is our topic for September. In The Hero With 1000 Faces, Campbell presents apotheosis as an initiation stage by which duality is dissolved into unity.

The merging of opposites: masculine + feminine, positive + negative, physical + Divine; such fulfillment transcends merely apparent paradoxes.  Neutrality is achieved, being neither for nor against. Equanimity allows us to resolve differences and internal as well as external conflicts. Stasis occurs at the eye of the storm. From here one attains Higher Consciousness.

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Freedom is born; a new, heightened sense of freedom from any attachments. Now one is free to move on to new adventures, no longer trammeled by whatever tension of opposites might have brought him/her to overcome obstacles and navigate stormy seas to arrive here.

In life we are constantly asking ourselves—if we are at all reflexive about our progress, or Being—who am I? And then again, who am I, Now? This ‘I’ that we are asking after, this Higher Self, resides always in the Apotheosis state.

I think of Rumi, who must certainly have many a poem about apotheosis. Here’s a verse:

“Through your love

existence and nonexistence merge.

All opposites unite.

All that is profane

becomes sacred again.”

 – Rumi

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Have you experienced times in your life when cycles have shifted and you have felt a special calm after fulfilling some deep quest? Sometimes when I have worked on a difficult project and have completed that successfully, either alone or with others in service, I know, as Frederico Lorca expressed so poetically:

“Something has come

to an end here,

It has been

accomplished.”

I feel the ending of a cycle as an equinox in my life. It has often seemed to me in such a moment that I could willingly die then, translating my life experience into new forms in another dimension. But then, so far anyways in this life, the next project or adventure appears on the horizon, so I am off again to meet it.

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images are from pixabay.com

The attainment of Fulfillment for any one Quest brings strength and understanding we can apply evermore.

Do you have a story to share?  I invite and welcome your comments and stories.

The Sacred Marriage

 

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This month let’s focus on the stage of the Hero’s Cycle known as the Sacred Marriage.    To Joseph Campbell, drawing from Jung, this is that stage by which the masculine and feminine energies of the Hero are merged, allowing the Hero to go forth as a more integrated Whole Self as s/he continues to pursue their Quest.

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To Jung more directly, this is a union of the Animus and Anima and brings about a major transformation of character.  If it represents the actual goal of the individual, it can even be seen as an alchemical achievement of the highest magnitude: Mysterium Conjunctionus!   Masculine + feminine (both energies coexisting within both men and women), or Soul + Spirit, or even Earth + Heaven/ Human + Divine: this is the apex of integrated unity, gold out of lead.

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While the Sacred Marriage is often depicted via an actual Marriage of two characters, ultimately it is an internal achievement, as the individual attains a balance within of their animus and anima traits. Because of this, it can occur within anyone as a solo accomplishment or it could manifest as a relationship union.

Integration or even fusion as the Sacred Marriage represents is a significant spiritual development for it allows the Self to emerge as fully formed, as an expression of Soul.

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images are from pixabay.com

A CONTEMPLATION AND JOURNALING PROMPT:

Can you relate to the topic of the Sacred Marriage?

Do you feel you have achieved this INTERNALLY, whether or not you are partnered with your spouse or a significant other?

If so, what does this open up for you in terms of pursuing your greater goals? If not, how shall you achieve this; again, internally?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Finding Forrester: A Golden Child Better Ending Story

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This week after the horrific string of homicides in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas, in thinking of the Golden Child archetype I find myself recalling the story of Finding Forrester. In itself this story depicts a ‘better ending’ scenario when the reclusive author William Forrester (Sean Connery) intervenes on behalf of his young protegee, the brilliant, inner city genius Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) when he is accused of plagiary out of crass and ignorant racial bias. Surely a Black basketball player brought across town to bring a pennant to the prep school could not outshine his preppy White schoolmates at the scholastic tradition of writing. Yet, he does.

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Were  Jamal, represented as 17-18 at the time of the story that appeared in the year 2000, alive today he would be in his mid-thirties. I wonder, what might this talented author have to say to us, this week? Having lived through callous bigotry and appreciating the cultural camaraderie of his inner city family and friends–knowing deeply that Black lives do indeed matter!–, I do not believe he would be silent, today. Having befriended one man whose own race was not a deterrent to his becoming a mentor who also was open enough to learn equally from his younger mentee, Jamal would not be hasty, I believe, to resort to racial hatred himself.

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images from pixabay.com

I believe Jamal might exhort his reader to separate egregious error from the human condition itself. He might call upon our common potential for doing Good and attend not to the terror or carnage so much as to our coming together across all divides for all of us to contemplate and mourn this senseless violence.

Enough, he might title his message today. I only hope Jamal Wallace would not retreat to becoming a recluse himself. We need his awareness. We need to be revealed and healed. We need each of us, each of you, to look deeply within and then embrace one another, with hearts and arms open, with careful words that bridge the chasm of indifference.

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/finding-forrester-2000

Bury the Hatchet

Christmas tree vector - Illustration

As a final post about the Warrior archetype in relation to the life metaphor Life is an Ensemble Cast of Archetype Characters, it seems fitting to recall the story of Deganawida, the Peacemaker who along with Hiawatha established the great League of the Iroquois that served as a model of peaceful governance for the Articles of Confederation that presaged the US constitution.

The phrase “bury the hatchet” derives from an Iroquois ceremony whereby the Six Nations peoples literally buried their hatchets of warfare under the soil while planting a Great White Pine tree so as the tree grew they would be covered by its expansive branches spreading across the four directions.  Thus a warring, feuding peoples were united for peace and prosperity that lasted many generations. Warriors became peacemakers amongst their own peoples.

Native American Tomahawk Warrior Circle

The Iroquois League came about after many years of intertribal blood feuding amongst Iroquois speaking Native Americans at a time that predated the settling of White peoples in northeastern North America. As one version of this legendary story describes, Hiawatha was an Onandaga warrior whose wife and two daughters were murdered by a chief of his own village. Hiawatha wandered bereft in the woods in a state of desolation and grief; some say he feared he would become a cannibal, so great was his despair.

In the woods, some say while in a canoe on a lake, Hiawatha looked into the water and saw a godlike figure, Deganawida, looking back at him. (Another version says Deganawida was a man with a speech impediment that Hiawatha encountered while in the woods.) In any event, Deganawida shared the Condolence Ritual with Hiawatha to help him deal with his grief and to bring back to the Peoples to help them to allay their own grief. He also described how the tribes could unite to form a great League, with lifelong, wise delegates or sachems to be installed or deposed by the women of these matrilineal tribes. Deganawida also inspired the ritual for burying the hatchet, a symbolic putting aside of warfare for the sake of coming together as one Peoples, uniting in strength against their common enemies and fostering internal peace.

River reflection

This great League forged peace among the Six Nations of Iroquois that joined it; this peace lasted for many generations and still embues these Nations with deep principles of peace and democracy.

It has been said that the ceremonial act of burying the hatchet by the Iroquois peoples is one of the greatest examples of peacemaking in all of human history.

It took a Warrior who allied with and became himself a peacemaker to put aside warlike habits and attitudes in order to embrace unity, peace and the greater Good. If only West and East could BURY THE HATCHET today. At very least, you and I can do so. We can bury the hatchets brandished by any of our own feuding sub-selves, or within our outer community of fellowship. It takes only a CHOICE for the Warrior within you and me to stand up for Life and Peace, not Death or War.

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