Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pray Local, Think Global


As our world gets smaller, our exposure to world spiritualities is rapidly expanding. Whether you are visiting a web site about the Indian chakra system, watching a movie about Norse mythology (thank you Marvel comics), taking a class on the Japanese system of Reiki, or watching a YouTube video on the whirling dervishes of Sufism, global spirituality has never been more accessible. It is truly astounding that I can follow the Facebook feeds of both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a New Orleans Vodou priestess at the same time.

When confronted with a new spiritual idea, we only have two options…We can embrace it and incorporate it into our existing belief system or we can choose to reject it. I have had contact with people on both sides of the spectrum. Some want to embrace everything, with no discernment and others want to reject all that does not conform to their particular faith.

I think it is up to each individual to choose. I have heard ideas that I embraced wholly and other ideas I rejected because I thought they were crap. Personal prejudices should always be checked.  Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it has value and just because an idea is new, doesn’t mean that idea should be rejected without testing it.

As the Buddhists and many other spiritual thinkers believe, there may be many paths to the divine. All we can hope for is that each of us has a unique piece of the picture and that we can all work together to reach the summit.

As our consciousnesses continue to be expanded by our shrinking world, we will continue to be forced to choose to incorporate or reject the spiritual ideas to which we are exposed. We live in both a wonderful and frightening time. Watching the results of the recent US election, I was struck by a certain political operative that was throwing a tantrum (on national tv) because the results of the election didn’t conform to his world view. It was obvious that rather than accept the premise that he was perhaps (gasp!) wrong, he decided to reject the outcome, even though everyone else could see the answer clearly.

I compare this with some of the self-proclaimed spiritual leaders who have dug in their heels and refuse to hear anything that might involve changing their world-view. While I strongly believe that everyone has a divine given right to believe (or not to believe) whatever they chose, this does not mean I have to join in your belief system.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Simple Truth found in a Video Game

A decade ago, I used to play a video game series called Zeus: Master of Olympus and the companion game Poseidon: Master of Atlantis. There wasn't anything particularly exceptional about these games...they were civilization builders set in ancient Greece. I think what really made them fun for me however was that the gods would show up and walk around your cities doing both good and bad things. For example, if Dionysus was mad at you he would show up and lead some of your citizens away but if you built him a temple, he would make your grapes grow faster (which would then be made into wine, of course).

I believe this very much mirrors what happens in our world. When you provide a sacred space for the gods, they can come to that place at will. A dedicated space provides two things to the gods: energy that provides them spiritual sustenance and a physical location in which to dwell. A sacred space is an anchoring point and gives the deities a place to go. For instance, I have lived in San Antonio for 14 years now but there are still parts of the city I haven't seen. While I can get in my car and drive anywhere I want in this city, there are parts that I have not lived in, had friends near nor were there any shops or restaurants nearby. So, while the potential exists for me to have seen every part of this city, in truth, if I've had no reason to go then I probably haven't seen it.

The same is true for the deities. While they can go pretty much where they want to, if they don't have a reason to go, they may not have been there. By creating a sacred space, whether it is building a temple to Dionysus, or creating an altar for Nana Buruku in your kitchen, you provide them a destination and give them a reason to come.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The View from Binah

My sister committed suicide on Thursday, April 5, 2012. We were estranged and hadn't spoken in a year. I have been living with unimaginable grief and pain ever since.

Because of the trauma of her death, she was stuck in limbo for a while but some wonderful friends of mine got together and we did a ritual sweat lodge for her. In that makeshift tent in a friend's back yard, I cried and screamed and cried some more and we got her out of limbo and over to the other side. She's doing fabulous and is currently finishing her journey before heading back down here.

Meanwhile, I am broken-hearted and I ache like someone ripped my guts out.

She has explained to me that I need to forgive our mother (I'll save that Shakespearean tale for another post) and find peace with her death and her suffering. I know she's right but I just haven't figured out how yet.

Death sucks. I have never felt this much pain and I can't even begin to know what to do with it. My husband, who lost his father to cancer over 9 years ago, has informed me that it never goes away. You just learn to make room for it.

On the Tree of Life, Binah is the sphere of sorrow. While I have studied the kabbalah for many years, Binah was always a bit foreign to me. Now I get it. What ever brought you to Binah, you know that you are crying into an ocean filled with the tears of all.

For the first time ever, I have real reason to celebrate the Day of the Dead. She loved Starbuck's and I will be taking her there.

I miss you sis.