Cat's Bits for the Week of August 5 - August 11
Upcoming Events & Holidays
Aug 5: Celtic Tree Month of Hazel begins
Aug 7: Lammas Cross Quarter Day
Aug 22: Sun enters Virgo
Aug 31: Full Blue Moon at 9:58 am EDT
Thought of the Week:
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
Article for the Week:
Open to the Great Mystery
by Brooke Medicine Eagle
excerpted from Handbook for the Spirit with the publisher's permission
Spirit lives in you; it lives within your body, in every cell. You can touch the Great Spirit by touching into your own aliveness.
My relationship with God developed at an early age. I was raised on a remote little ranch, where I had for company and for the fullness of my life three other humans and an enormous amount of animals and land and sky and wind. As a child, my experience of God included everything - a love of the whole beauty around me. And the country was so beautiful: mountains that ended in aspen groves and streams, thick with wild animals and game of all kinds. One time I said to my mother, You know, I think heaven is just like this, only the animals would speak to us; they wouldn't be afraid of us.
In developing a personal relationship with the Great Spirit, you first pay attention to the fact that you already have a relationship with Spirit. Spirit is not something far off that you need to seek or call or grab or go to Tibet to find. Spirit lives in you; it lives within your body, in every cell. You can touch the Great Spirit by touching into your own aliveness. All you need is a different attitude about how big you are, how deep you are, how high you are. You must be willing to own that you are God; even though you are a minute part of the All That Is, you are connected and one with it.
It is also good for you to develop another kind of attention and ability: to hold more and more of life, more and more of the holiness, the whole circle. An elder once asked me, How long has it been since we sang in celebration of the life of the great whale? How long has it been since we danced in celebration of the life of the flowers? How long has it been since we danced in celebration of each and every part of life? It's been much too long.
When we are newborns, we have attention only for our mothers. Our little faces look into their faces and that's all we see. Then perhaps father gets connected in; then the other siblings. Our ability to love or pay attention to or be connected with things begins to expand. We may belong to a clan or a group, and we can expand our arms and hold all its members inside our circle.
Sometimes we become big enough to hold more, perhaps big enough to be called a Mother of the City. This person loves all the people, the whole city; loves and holds them in a good way and does good things in honor of them. Some people are Mothers of Nations. As we expand our attention, we have the kind of love that can hold something that big. Mother Earth is enormous compared to that kind of love. She is big enough and loving enough to hold all of us in her arms all the time. When we expand our attention to the Great Mystery, to the All That Is - then we have an omniscient, omnipresent, powerful experience. We must build the ability to do that. When we talk about moving toward God realization, that's where we're moving.
When I speak about attention, I mean literally, How much attention can we pay to ourselves? As children, sometimes we cannot hold our attention for more than a couple of seconds. Over the years we are able to attend to more and more. Yet we're seldom schooled to hold life in respect, to enlarge our ability to love, take care of, and be respectfully connected with all things around us.
In the old days, the primary job of the native Lakota mother was to teach the new child that he or she was connected with everything in the circle of life. She would take the child walking and say, See the squirrel? That's your brother. See the tree? We are related. This is your family; these are all your family. Because they were all brought up that way, they knew deeply that they were all interconnected, they were all family, they were all conscious. Lakota children had an opportunity to begin early in life to attend to the whole or the holiness, the spiritual side of things, and then to expand this ability powerfullyas they grew.
We, too, can acknowledge that Spirit lives within us, that we are a part of God. The more we can love ourselves and attend to all of life around us with a loving, open, connected heart and good relationship, the more we can be in a very beautiful place. All it takes is practice.
Dialogue also is important in relating to the Great Spirit. It's not just my talking to the enormous All That Is. The All That Is also talks to me - gives me information, support, nurturance, food. It's a totally open connection.
In the Sacred Pipe of our Lakota people, the bowl represents the earth and all of life. The open wooden stem represents our eternal connection to the Great Spirit. The pipe has an open channel that our breath or vibration or energy or thought can go through. Not only can it go out, but it can also come in. When we breathe through the pipe, it's like drawing Spirit into us. We can draw in information, and we can send out whatever we want across the bridge to everything else by blowing out the smoke or by praying with just our breath, energy, thoughts, and gratitude.
The channel is open in everyone. No one, whether priest or medicine man, needs to intercede or interpret or make that bridge any better, more open, more clear, more truthful, more sacred, or more holy. We have an open channel to the deepest, most beautiful part of ourselves, which is the same as our connection with everything. You don't need someone to put a hand on your head and say, Yes, you're okay, and now you can talk to God. This priestly attitude assumes that you are not already in touch with Spirit and capable in that realm, although perhaps you may not be so practiced as some. That bridge to Spirit is always there, always open. You never need to stand at a toll gate on that bridge.
It's wonderful to be in the energy of elders and others who are practiced in that relationship with God. When that connection is humming, it's like a song going on. The elders give you suggestions and pray with you and hold you in their energy and light and wisdom as you go upon the mountain and have your own unique and powerful connection with Spirit.
It is very hard on people to assume that they don't have the ability to make that spiritual contact directly. It is sad that in the wider culture - and even now in native cultures, because of the breakup of old ways - there are very few who have the breadth and depth of attention to be holy people. Think how powerful it would be if our mothers really acknowledged, and were grateful for, our connection to everything. We would have turned out very differently.
Hologram theory offers a powerful example about who we are and who God is. A holographic picture is three dimensional. If you tear the picture in half, each half retains the same image and is still three dimensional. If you tear one of those halves in half, you still have the same dimensional image. No matter how many times you tear the fragments in half, the same image is still there. The tinier you tear it and the more times you tear it, the dimmer it gets, the less distinct and real it becomes to your eyes.
I am and you are and we all are individual tiny pieces - all individuated or torn up out of the sheet that is God, that is All That Is. The whole picture is connected in us. It's all here. My little scrap may be torn to look a little different, but the whole picture is, in fact, within me.
The exciting thing is that I can make that picture more distinct by joining my piece with your piece, and then with my family's piece, and then with my friend's piece, and on and on. The more I can attend to or connect myself with everything else around me, the more distinct the pictures become for us all. And we can reach out to others in the same way. Together we can acknowledge and enlarge our attentions so that we stand in a holy place - in a place that takes in the whole circle, a place that is healed in this wholeness, this holiness, a world that is healed and complete.
Excerpted with permission from the book Handbook for the Spirit, copyright 2008 by Richard Carlson & Benjamin Shield. Printed with permission of the publisher, New World Library, Novato, CA, 1-800-972-6657 ext. 52. Richard Carlson, Ph.D., was considered one of the world's foremost experts on happiness and stress reduction. Benjamin Shield, Ph.D., is an educator, lecturer, and therapist. In Handbook for the Spirit, they gather some of the most revered teachers in religion, psychology, and spirituality to provide much-needed spiritual nourishment.
Brooke Medicine Eagle is a Native American earth wisdom teacher, singer, ceremonial leader, sacred ecologist and author. For more information on her work, please visit her website, www.medicineeagle.com.
courtesy of Lisa Day rec'd 9-18-2011
[email protected] : )
Permission to share freely as long as footer is included.
Brightest blessings for a magical week!
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