Archive for the Compassion Category

Yo, Lazarus!

Posted in Compassion, Forgiveness, Healing, Initiation on February 12, 2016 by Standing West

Well, after nearly 4 weeks down with what had to be the worst head cold I’ve ever been hit with, I’m finally back on the beam. I’ll be the second to admit I can be a sonofabitch of the first order when I’m under the weather (second, that is, after everyone who knows me!)

Felt pretty damn good to be able to throw some iron around this morning without feeling like Meatloaf after a back-flip.

From what I’ve heard from other people who’ve had this thing, it’s a real beast. Nothing you can do but lay low, whack it with your remedy of choice, and ride it out; which, typically, I’m only good at for about two days before I start acting like a shithouse rat.

The lesson here – for me, anyway – is to learn to become a patient patient; bed down when I need to and let my body take care of itself.

Hope I learn that before I’m wearing six feet of earth as a blanket…

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A line from the cave…

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Inspirational, Media, Spirituality on November 16, 2015 by Standing West

As some may have noticed, I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately. To be honest, it hasn’t really dawned on me that I’ve had anything worthwhile to say. Not because I’m down on myself or don’t value my own opinion; those of you who know me personally know that I happen to value my own opinion a great deal and generally don’t mind sharing when the opportunity arises.

Lately however, things have been moving along at an increasingly intense clip. Since my job folded some six months ago I’ve been focused primarily on the workings of my own household: spending time with my wife, developing my healing practice, fostering my students, playing in the dirt…

Paring down financially and socially has really begun to help me see what’s important in my life. And this has led to an almost complete unplugging from mass media and all that goes along with it. Yes, I’m aware of the situation in Paris. I’m also aware, depending on what you choose to read, that aliens walk among us, Monsanto is the devil, chemtrails are dumbing us down, and that the Georgia Guide Stones spell out the directives by which some uber-secret organization plans to almost completely depopulate the world and control the survivors.

Oh, and then there’s the Masons…

At any rate, my official awakening some years back was something very akin to that of Neo in the matrix. (”They had good noodles…”) The main difference being, however, that while Neo went on to fight the system, I, like many I’ve seen, chose instead to bitch about it under the guise of “waking people up”. This has led me on a deeply introspective journey. And it has also shown me that one can either wage some type of war against the things one hates, or one can serve the greater good by promoting the things one loves.

And therein lies the tricky part.

As a teacher of mine once put it, “every time you make a purchase your foot is on the throat of someone else.” Wear cotton clothing to protect the environment? Somebody picked it. Buy running shoes? Chances are a child labored in a sweatshop to make them. Use a plastic toothbrush? Petroleum products and their pollution made it possible. The list goes on and on.

So what do we do? How do we continue to exist in the world without bringing pain and suffering to others? How do we wander through the hall of mirrors without becoming blinded and yet still interact compassionately with those who have?

I don’t claim to have an answer to this yet. I do, however believe that there’s a good chance that answer might be found in a life of service. Not in some arbitrarily adopted lifestyle chosen simply because someone you’ve been trained to worship has done the same. I’m talking about a life based upon the realization and utilization of whatever gifts one possesses for the greater good of others. Not everyone can be Gandhi, Mother Theresa, or Jesus Christ. Yet the volunteer who holds the hand of a dying hospice patient is no less important.

I’ll tip my hat to the mad prophets of the world. The David Ickes, Alex Joneses, et al who scream from their mountain tops about the evils lurking among us. They serve, in a way, as alarm clocks, stirring those who’ll listen from their socially ingrained slumber and sending them on their way. Yet, like with the nagging wail of an alarm clock, those who refuse to listen can simply ignore it or turn it off. And those who are awake no longer need it.

There are many out there whose paths of service are multilane highways paved in prominence: earthshaking individuals meeting with heads of state and boards of directors, deciding policies with global repercussions. For my own part, I‘ve no desire to, and seen no indication that I’ll ever become one of them. So I’ve backed away from the global issues and chosen instead to serve in my own small way; one person at a time.

It’s a much simpler path, and allows me to throw my efforts into places where they’re more effective. . .

Tuesday…

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Initiation, Inspirational, poetry, Spirituality on April 7, 2015 by Standing West

And so it is:
golds and browns
giving way to sleepy greens
and grays tinged with blue.

On days like this
even the rain is meditation.

We’re called to these things.

And as we rise to meet them,
they become us;
or rather,
they fold us into themselves,
so that after a while one fails to notice
the difference
between the service
and the one who serves…

I have walked on rose petals. . .

Posted in Compassion, Healing on November 18, 2014 by Standing West

There’s a lot of anger and hatred in the world these days. Perhaps it’s escalated, or perhaps, because of the speed at which information now becomes available due to the Internet and the myriad devices which utilize it, we are simply more aware.

War, murder, bigotry, pedophilia, religious colonization, the hoarding of wealth, the raping of the planet and the indigenous peoples who walk upon her…the litany of offenses stretches on – seemingly forever.

It’s easy to understand the angry and sometimes violent response provoked by these occurrences; as a people, we are often goaded into action by the basest of our emotions. And while we might be able to justify these actions in the name of some higher purpose, one simple fact remains: violent conflict as a means of ending violent conflict only brings about more violent conflict.

In the midst of all this negativity, we are faced with one simple choice: Do we come to the aid of those oppressed from a place of love? Or do we lash out at the “enemy” from a place of anger? One of these paths is true compassion; the other merely hatred thinly veiled.

“First you get angry,” the old adage says, but what you do with your anger is up to you; for as the words of another old saying tell us, “hatred is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person dies.” The more we hate, the more the light within us dims; and by extension, the darker the world becomes.

I don’t claim to have all the answers. I only ask that before lashing out in anger we take a moment to consider those most deeply afflicted by a given set of circumstances and ask ourselves the following question: “What do THEY need?” Do THEY really need their infrastructure bombed into irradiated dust to rid them of their oppressors? Do THEY really need their traditions destroyed in the name of democracy and material wealth? Would Jesus or any of the other prophets really want someone beaten into submission in order that they might learn to praise his name?

It has been said that energy follows intent and form follows energy. If there’s any truth to this, then the motivations behind our actions will breed true in their results. We are here not only as wardens, but as co-creators. Our external nightmares are nothing more than the physical manifestations of our internal ones. Perhaps it’s time we found the courage to carry a little light into our own corner of the world, lest we continue casting shadows upon the rest of Her…

Not by works…

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Religion, Shamanism, Spirituality on October 15, 2014 by Standing West

(This blog stems from a conversation I’ve had with an Elder on my Facebook page…)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The spirit of these words, given in order that we might learn humility, has been twisted to justify the killing, maiming, and raping of the World and her Peoples since they were codified. Who cares how I treat All My Relations, so long as I have faith?

How quickly we forget  these other words: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” …and it is with added shame that we’ve forgotten our neighbors don’t only come in the two-legged variety.  When the central theological dogma of your culture assures your “dominion over” everything, ANY form of nature reverence can be classified as sacrilege.  (Add that to a cultural vision based upon the consumption of resources, and it makes for a VERY dangerous worldview…]

I keep thinking lately of the poem “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (a Jesuit, surprisingly, with some very “pagan” ideals):

“The World is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”

Written in 1918, it speaks with a voice at once much older, and yet VERY applicable to the condition of world of today…

The Heart of the Matter. . .

Posted in Compassion, Forgiveness, Healing, Shamanism, Soul Retrieval, Spirituality on April 23, 2014 by Standing West

Been doing a lot of forgiving these days. Making friends with some of the pettier bits and pieces of myself. Not condoning their actions, but accepting them with love and compassion born out of the realization that the person that existed at the time of the offense simply didn’t know any better.

It’s been really neat watching the changes that have occurred along the way; watching these formerly alienated pieces of myself take up residence in the empty spaces created by the flushing away of nearly ossified anger, fear, and shame.

The abandoned children, once confined to shivering on the front porch in the wind are finally being allowed to return home.

This is the true essence of Soul Retrieval. Not the ceremony. Not the journey. Not the rattle, nor the sage, nor the drum. It is  instead the welcoming back of those pieces of us long since taken away, and the promise of recognition upon their return…

For what it’s worth. . .

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Initiation, Shamanism, Spirituality on April 22, 2014 by Standing West

So much anger and hatred these days…Sadly, I, too, have fallen victim to it in the past. Being human, I quite probably will do so again somewhere down the line. But the truth of the matter, whether we’re ready to admit it or not, is that those of us who’ve been called “healers”, even with all of our human frailties intact, MUST strive to provide an example of forgiveness. We must remember that we are the conduits through which all work – positive or negative – becomes manifest. And while it would be very easy to get bogged down in the emotional detritus of the daily news and strike out in blind rage, we must be ready to walk the harder road of compassion…IN ACTION.

A teacher of mine once told me, “Never trust a healer who doesn’t limp.” Healing isn’t about perfection…it’s about progress…slow, incremental transformation. This means bearing compassionate witness to the old crap as it comes to the surface and allowing ourselves…and others…the sacred space in which to work it out.

Lately I’ve seen some very compassionate individuals become so enraged by the mistreatment of others that they, too, have begun to advocate violence. And while I cannot, or would not, offer them the disrespect of speaking for them, I truly know that their anger comes from a place of love, and a deep knowledge that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS.

While protecting one’s self and loved ones is a necessary thing, it should be glaringly obvious by now that this world cannot be healed at the barrel of a gun. The so-called “War to End All Wars” proved that.

I don’t come here providing any answers. I only know that performing an act of of compassion is like casting a small pebble in hopes of starting an avalanche. Because the results might not be readily observed, this requires a great deal of faith; something which seems to be sorely lacking these days, if one truly accepts the apparent writing on the wall as cannon.

So perhaps the true nature of our mission then is simply this: to keep the guttering flame of faith alive in a time of apparent darkness and chilling wind, to utilize that flame through acts of compassion in a way that provides light and heat to others in the dark places of this world, and, when the time comes, to pass that flame along to those who come after us that they might do the same…

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