If you light a lamp for for somebody, it will brighten your path. – Buddhist saying
Whenever we refer to things that are not good, we say they are dark things. Are they truly dark? Or is it that they just don’t have enough light shining on them. Over the past few writings, I have sought to bring a light on those things that I perceive are keeping us from finding that world of light, harmony, peace, and abundance for all. Even if it was just a spark of light, it was at least something. As the saying states above, I also took the time as I was writing to look at how I related to others and the world around me. In attempting to shine a light for others to see some of the things I see as things that separate us, I also could look at things in a new light. The question that plays in my mind is have I shown even a spark?
Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into a flame by another human being. Each of us owes our deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light. – Albert Schweitzer
Given the counts or comments that i have seen, so very few people have gone to, let alone read, what I have written. I have truly believed that I was guided to write what I did. If so, to who was it intended? Yet, as I have come to learn, sometimes it is just that one little spark that gets passed on and soon the spark draws into a flame that grows into a fire. The question is, how can I fan those flames? We have grown so disconnected not only from the world around us, but from each other. In our striving to succeed, be noticed, get ahead, we have put more and more barriers between us. So what can we do? After all, what good is pointing the things that separate us without also offering possible paths of reconnection.
Well for one, start honoring each others paths. Stop being the one running round and round the mountain telling everyone else they are on the wrong path. Take the time to learn and understand others paths. In removing ignorance, we can keep ourselves from being drawn into the hate and prejudice that separate us. We can start by not getting drawn into the hate being put against Muslims around the world. The whole religion is being condemned because of terrorists who happen to be Muslim. If we were to do that, Christians would have a lot to answer to, ask any former prisoner of the Indian Schools. We need to stop treating whole religions, countries or races for the acts of people who are a subset of those groups. Maybe if we all got a copy of Idiot’s Guide to Islam, or Hinduism, or any of the other faiths that we interact, don’t understand, and need to understand in order to accept and relate.
Another thing we can do is to start looking at how we relate to each other. Whenever we have a negative feeling towards another, take a moment to ask ourselves why? What is it about this other person that makes us feel off? In’ lakesh, I am another you. Think of this when relating to another. Think of them as another copy of you on a different path, with different clothes, maybe a different skin color, hair, eyes. If it really was another you, what would you say to them? What would you ask them? What could you learn from them?
Rather than accepting what our leaders tell us about another country, go to the library, buy a book, learn for yourself. Buddha Gautama Siddhartha said, ““Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Why then do we simply accept what is spoon fed us by the media and our own government. Who knows, maybe you might just find some interesting things about these other countries that you never knew.
Get out to the woods! I can not stress this enough. I do not get out to the woods enough and I practically lived there as a boy. The only way we are going to learn to respect nature is to get out in it. If we become familiar with that tree or stream or stone, would we so readily plow it over? Wonder out in the woods and find a stump or rock to sit on for a bit and just sit out in the quiet of the woods and take it all in. Soon, you will find that it isn’t so quiet. The woods are alive with sound. Whether it is the jay screaming “tief, tief”, or the woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting on the tree above you, or the squirrel scampering on the branches, the rabbit hopping along, or the croaking of the frog, the chirp of the cricket, the wind whispering in the pine, the woods are a cacophony of sound. Sit there for a bit and look around at all the trees and wildlife. Okay, now picture it as a parking lot and shopping center, or a new housing development where the trees have all been leveled and houses that no one can afford have been erected. Can you let these new relations be wiped out for another Walmart?
I wish I knew what to suggest on the job front. Too many companies are laying off more and more people to balance their books and keep the money going to shareholders, but then sit scratching their heads because sales are down. Um, duh, you aren’t the only company laying off and with everyone worrying about surviving, there is no discretionary cash to spend on a new TV or Blue Ray player. Got to love Hyundai’s new commercials saying that if you lose your job, they will buy your car back. Okay, but a car basically drops $1,000 in value going out of the lot, are they going to pay you what you owe? Or are they going to give you blue book? I understand the mentality. It is all about trying to sell cars when no one is buying because of the economy. But I digress as I usually do. The other problem with trying to change the mindset of corporations is that upper management is not going to listen. Worse, I have even heard it said before the last time we were in a down economy, you don’t like it, go get another job. They know you are stuck and take advantage of it. The Big Three automakers didn’t get it when they were pointing their finger at labor costs as the major problem as they arrived in their private jets. Hey, I am open to any suggestions from people that might help others to change the mindset of corporate America.
When it comes down to it, we are the spark. If we don’t start fanning the flames of change, nothing will ever change. As Desmond Tutu said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” I think the first step in doing this is to look at our own hearts. Take a few minutes each day and remind yourself as you start the day that we are truly all related. Say to yourself that each and every person you meet during the day is another aspect of yourself. If you encounter someone that you find offense with, instead of focusing out towards them, ask yourself, am I seeing within them something that I don’t like about myself? have I ever acted like this person to another? Am I judging this person on preconceived notions, learned prejudices, or even media influences? Now look at that person again. Is there something in that person that you see as good? Are we so locked on the negative that we cannot see past it to find that good?
For the past two years I have been writing on Unity and Reconnecting. I have felt that I was led to write the things I have. That it was now time for the people to come together. One heart, one spirit. I have been disillusioned over the two years, feeling that though I was guided to write what I have, no one was reading. Well, some of you were. I have had some tell me that my writings are too long and take too long to read. I am only being the “hollow bone” as Grandfather Fools Crow says. I just start and let it flow. I have been told that a white person doesn’t belong walking the red path. They told me to go be a Buddhist. All I can respond to that is thanks, as I took the time to read some Buddhist writings and found more great wisdom there, including the quote from the Buddha that I included above. My path has led me on many winding roads that has exposed me to many traditions, wisdoms, situations, and especially the people who have helped me to learn and grow. So yes, while I was trying to light the path, that light shown for me to see new things and look at life and my own connections in a new way.
I think I am going to take some time to address my own path. I truly want to get back to the woods. I also have another three sand paintings that I was supposed to have made last year, but kept putting off. I have to finish the pipe bag that I have to bead the turtle on. I have to basically get back to my own training so that I can better serve the people. To think that much of this all started with the vision of the turtle that is in the picture here. The shell is divided into thirteen segments. Three of each of the four colors and the center of the shell a combination of all the colors representing the coming together. This is the turtle that I painted with colored sands on the desert floor during a ceremony in New Mexico. I painted the same turtle of colored sand on a granite ledge back here in Massachusetts. I truly believed that the ceremony that I performed was to set the spirit of that turtle free to travel across all of turtle island to unite the people. It is said that at Black Elk’s passing, he wept because he did not see his vision come to fruition. I pray that I will have a different fate. I pray that the spirit of unity that the turtle represents will cross all of turtle island and that somehow, someway, the people will reconnect with each other. Instead of fighting over scarcer and scarcer resources we will come together to find solution that will help all people. It all starts with ourselves. We have to start relating to each other from the heart. We have to treat each other and all of creation as if each person that we encounter, whether human, tree person, rock person, four legged, winged, or others, as if they were another of ourselves. We especially need to stop looking at nature as a thing to be plundered.
I am another you.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.