HERETIC ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The Death of the Person

First of all, what is Death, but the cessation of Life? In relation to that, what is Life? In one sense, it depends who you ask. 'What sense is that? one might well ask. 'Well, most people seem to think that biological existence is Life.' An acceptable enough answer, I reckon, but is that really what constitutes Life? One might note that it is a necessary constituent, but then we're right back to 'square one', so to speak. 'Is Life simply biological existence, or is there more to it than that?' If Life is mere biological existence, then yes; it could be rightly said that once a person stops breathing, Life has ceased to exist for that person: therefore, 'Death is the End'!

There are those who believe that Death is only the Beginning. In some sense, the greatest maybe, this is true: Death means the Beginning of something New. Biologically speaking, anyway, it is a Universal Truth that, in order for something, be it plant, animal or human ( animal ) to live, something else, 'as above, so below', must die. Therefore, when something dies, something else experiences new life, whether it's a blade of grass that becomes food for an animal, or whether it's what is usually called a 'dumb animal' offering it's 'Life' so that a more articulate ( human ) animal might live. That really doesn't answer the question though, does it? 'If you claim that Life is More than this Biology, then the burden of proof is on you, right!?' Well, yes & no. It's easy enough to say, 'It it what it is', in an attempt to slip out from beneath that burden, but that IS a pretty 'pat' answer!

Just as there are those, 'as above, so below', who believe that 'Death is only the Beginning'; in a slightly different sense, there are those who know that Death is only the Beginning! One might well ask, at this juncture, 'is there really much difference here, between knowing & believing?' Don't we know what we believe? In essence, if we believe something, doesn't that imply that we know it? 'I mean, what do you take me for, anyway?!' Then again, a Muslim believes certain things about 'God' that a Christian might gasp in horror at, because the Christian 'knows' that 'God' isn't like that. 'Why', you should ask yourself, 'does the Christian 'know' that 'God' isn't like that?' If it's because the Christian's Holy Book says so; don't you think the Muslim believes with the same or even more fervency what their Holy Book says about Who or What 'God' is?

Every culture known to humanity has their own peculiar notions about Who or What 'God' is! While Western religions, Near Eastern religions & even some Far Eastern Religions put a 'personal' spin on 'God'; those 'in the know' know that 'God' is simply the manifestation of our own Divinity. Now, before you consign me to 'Hell' for 'Eternity', let me offer this clarification. When I imply ( strongly ) that we are 'God'; I am by no means saying that we 'created' everything we see, up to & including the Universe ( or Multiverse ) Itself. We are not the Source of All!

Being One with, or a Part of that Source, we are then Divine, just as the Source is. Some call this Source 'God'. As we've noted before in the 'pages' of this blog, even the Christian Bible tells us that we are Gods ( small 'g' or large 'G'; does it really make THAT much of a difference?! ) As we've also noted, the Hebrew word used in both cases is the same. On the other hand, most Science tells us that the Universe & everything in it is made up of pure energy, always moving, like a great 'Wheel in the Sky'. If everything is Energy, where then did that Energy originate? Has It, like most religion's concept of 'God', always been, or did Energy have a Beginning? In our personal experience, something must be set in motion in order for it to maintain that motion, for whatever period of time, even for what might pass for Infinity. However, taking that back to its natural conclusion, that would be akin to saying that the Christian 'God' Himself, the Creator, had a beginning!

Science has told us that all is Energy. While that is 'plain' enough, It does not satisfy our curiosity as to Who or What 'God' is, the One who purportedly put everything in motion. What some call 'God', others call 'Energy'. Again, 'as above, so below', in our personal experience, a thing must be set in motion in order for it to remain in motion for any length of time: however, what if Energy, as some Science says, does not die, but is simply transformed? 'What then?! What if Energy is a veritable 'perpetual motion' machine? One might try to throw a wrench in the works here, saying something like, 'but even perpetual motion machines gotta start somewhere!' True enough; 'in our personal experience, yes, but are we not More than the Person?!

Whether one believes or not that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, it cannot rationally be denied that there is more to us than what is noticeable on the surface. Most religions teach us that, after the death of the physical body, the 'soul', or spirit continues on for 'Eternity'. Thus, by the overwhelming majority of accounts, we, as the Person, are governed, or motivated by the Soul. Therefore, the Person is not 'Who' we are, so much as the Soul, or Spirit is!

Being Who we are, then, We cannot die! Only the Person dies. When our Person (individual body ) expires, if we identify with that Body ( as most do ) we might rightly say that Person, or individual has died. But those who know, know different. Just because an Individual believes they are the Person does not change the fact that they are More. They are simply blinded to the Fact!

The Death of the Person then, in that sense, if that sense alone, is not the End! It really is the Beginning, the Beginning of a New Person, the Beginning of a New Life, in a manner of speaking. 'But wait', you say,' didn't you imply earlier that Life is More than this Biology?!' Why yes, yes I did!

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Healer

'Joe' was, to outside appearances anyway, your ordinary, average girl-next-door. Born Josaphyna Aryana Smith, she was the only daughter of the deacon of a local community church, a modest little social gathering that boasted around 200 members. Though her upstanding parents had managed to keep it out of the papers, so to speak, Joe had a dirty little secret: at the tender age of 13, she had managed to get herself pregnant. Whether because she knew from her upbringing that abortion was murder, or simply because she was afraid of the shame it would bring upon her parents, Joe found a 'black market' physician who would perform it for her, 'no questions asked', for a modest sum, of course. To his credit, the responsible young man, who was a bit older, somehow came up with the money. The abortionist, however, was not the physician he claimed, so when the deed was done, not only was little 'Joe' not pregnant anymore, unbeknownst to her at the time, she never would be again!

Like a lot of teenage girls, especially those infamous 'PKs', Joe had discovered the 'joy' of sex. Like most, though, she soon found that 'Joy' was a fickle mistress, for without the experience of orgasm through sexual intercourse, the relationship, such as it was, quickly fizzled out. In fact, because of this, Joe earned the nickname 'Potato Chip', for most of the local boys quickly learned that she was, to put it crudely, an 'easy lay', a moniker which became even more prolific when it was discovered that there was no 'danger' of pregnancy.

At first, Joe, along with her multitude of wannabe 'lovers', counted this a boon, but when she tried to 'straighten her act up', at the behest of her parents, who didn't realize she was barren, she found that she was not 'marriage material' to the kind of men her folks approved of. Though she did go through her fair share of suitors, even managing to get as far as engagement once or twice, Joe soon learned that, in most circles, particularly the ones her parents ran in, she was considered 'damaged goods', even 'broken'!

Broken' as she was, as well as being naturally rebellious to her strictly religious upbringing, Joe finally, at the ripe old age of 33, found a man that was willing to spend the rest of his life with her. As 'Luck' would have it though, her Joy was not to last, for a mere two years ( to the day ) after they said their vows to each other, her husband passed away in a freak vehicle turnover. At 37 years old, Joe was still quite a 'looker', so, while finding a 'lover' was a fairly easy task, since she only seemed to attract married men, none of whom were willing to leave their wives for her, she decided that the married life was not for her!

Enter 'John'. 'John was the kind that might be called a 'hurt puppy'! He WAS married, but because of certain unresolved issues in his life prior to this marriage, he was having problems keeping it afloat. John's wife had her own issues to deal with, so rather than listen with understanding to each other's issues, they both had chosen to deal with the other's issues without dealing with their own. In this way, both had become sullen, preferring, it would seem, to focus on solving the problem they saw reflected in their partner, not realizing it was their own reflection they saw!

When Joe came along, John found himself drawn to her, not sexually, so much as by an undeniable spiritual connection, though he had to admit she was still very attractive, physically speaking. As their connection continued to blossom, John's wife Mary, while struggling with her own issues, fought to keep her husband's obvious attraction to Joe at bay. Not wanting to cause further issues, while still wishing to maintain the secure connection she had finally found, Joe decided to pursue a relationship with both wounded parties, to see if she could aid in bringing healing to both!

Considering Joe's prior experiences with the opposite sex, physically speaking, it came as no surprise when she began to find herself attracted to Mary, though not necessarily sexually speaking! In her prior experience, Joe had found that men, for the most part, were lead by the wrong head. This is not to say that every man with whom she had dallied only had one thing on their mind, just that, for the greater part, their decisions were based, to whatever extent, on their 'need' to gratify their own lust. Therefore, when Joe began to cozy up to his wife, in a manner of speaking, John began to notice a subtle change in Mary, all the while realizing that it mirrored the transition he himself was experiencing!

John's main issue with his wife, he realized ( hopefully before it was too late ) was that he saw himself as a problem-solver. This sounds like a good thing, but really, most of the time it only serves to exacerbate the problem. When Mary would come crying to him, either literally or figuratively, John's 'go-to' had always, immediately been to try to fix it. When she would 'rag' on him for something he had supposedly done, or if she was just having a bad day, John would almost always go on the defensive, taking personally what was not so much aimed at him as it was just Mary's way of airing out her emotions, or feelings. One thing that John was learning through his relationship with Joe was to do more listening than talking. He was also learning not to be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Both he & Mary had been brought up similarly to how Joe had been raised, so they both were judgmental, not just of outsiders, but of each other. Learning to know Joe, as they both were, they were slowly realizing that though a person's prior history may have an effect on their future, it does not define who they are!

Joe's blossoming relationship with Mary, on the other hand, was more personally based, whereas with John it was mainly spiritual. Both had become more or less comfortable with Joe being in their lives, but Mary, probably because their friendship had begun in physicality, felt less threatened by Joe's presence than her husband did. Though they both had their moments, as anyone would, Joe's relationship with John was actually deeper because of their spiritual connection. Other than that, they really didn't have much in common, but they both felt an almost un-explainable affinity for each other.

Through all of this, almost mysteriously, John & Mary's failing marriage was beginning to show signs of being rekindled! Neither partner was perfect, don't gt me wrong, but through their relationship with Joe, they were quickly learning how much better ( in fact, they found soon enough that it was the best way ) it was to listen more, while talking less. Furthermore, to listen without judgement, though it was difficult for them both at first, became easier the more they exercised their new-found freedom!

Joe, meanwhile, was reaping the karma she had sown in her earlier life. The sexual 'freedom' she had experienced previously had proven to be detrimental, rather than a 'boon' to her health.While
John & Mary's relationship was rising like a phoenix from the ashes, Joe's bodily presence, having fulfilled its purpose, was fading. From all of her sexual escapades, Joe's body had been slowly but surely wearing down. John & Mary were both rather devastated by this realization, though understandably Mary moreso than John, but knew that her continued attachment to this couple would, in Time prove to be detrimental to their relationship, though it had effectively saved it.

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Power to Breathe

Venturing out on a limb here, I'm going back to my roots! As most if not all of my readers know, I have a very strong Christian background. Quite a few years ago, before I was aware of the Journey I was on, much less the direction it was taking me, I wrote an article entitled 'The Difference Between Having & Taking'. Even though this article is no longer available for viewing ( probably a good thing ), the main gist of it, as I remember, based on the biblical text of Genesis 1:26-28, was that 'Elohim', or 'God', told 'His' Creation to 'have dominion'. It would seem from the garbled history of humanity that this has largely been interpreted as 'take dominion'. No matter how one interprets this passage, though, it clearly says that they were to exercise what they had been given, not take what they had not!

According to one author, Power, personally speaking anyway, takes three forms; 'power over', 'power with' & 'power from within'. She refers to these three forms in this way, '“power-over,” referring to domination and control; “power-from-within,” meaning personal ability and spiritual integrity; and “power-with,” pertaining to social power or influence among equals'. 'As above, so below'; personally ( individually ) speaking, one may exercise their own power over others, whether it be person, animal, or even plant, but, in the case of another person, only if the other, for whatever reason, allows them to. In the case of most animals, mankind has, for the past many hundreds of thousands of years ( ? ) been able to hold power over them, thanks mostly to their own ingenuity. Nature, though, has a way of evening the odds! One might well note that 'Karma' plays a big role here, as well!

Not knowing any more about the recent news out of Minnesota concerning George Floyd than what the MSM wants us to know; I will give this bit of commentary. No matter what the truth may be about this situation, George Floyd didn't deserve to die! The cop, or cops, that caused his death are guilty of murder ( call it 'manslaughter' if you want )! You may have heard that there was history surrounding the incident & maybe there was, but so what?! one can almost understand the one cop kneeling on his neck ( if THAT'S even totally accurate ), given this 'history', for, like as not, Mr. Floyd, if given an inch, would've taken a mile. I guess we'll never know! Whatever the case may be, George Floyd, by ceding his personal Power to someone else, whether through coercion, deceit or ignorance, lost his life that fateful day.

'The Power is YOURS', to quote an old cartoon! Personally speaking, we are creatures of Power. No, I'm not necessarily talking of physical strength, though that is surely a force to be reckoned with; I'm not even speaking of endurance, mental or physical. The Power that I'm referring to is the Power Within, the Power that we innately hold, as spirit-beings. One might even note that we are Power Itself, being One with the Source of Power, Divine Energy. This Power, of course, is not physical or mental strength, although it often manifests in those ways. Beyond the physical attributes or even the mind itself is our spirit/soul, where our personal Journey begins. It is here that Power resides. The Power to Choose is in our mind, but it really goes back, or up/in, even further than that, though we may or may not be aware of it. Our choices, when we are truly Aware, reflect that awareness. However, when we are driven by the Ego/Mind, our choices are most often reflective of our egocentric mindset.Though this is not always the case, this is how we end up with cases like that of George Floyd in Minnesota!

The Ego, as we've discussed in previous posts, is neither good nor bad; 'it just IS'! An integral & necessary part of our humanity, the Ego is that which allows us to function in this Life. With the personal Ego, we would not be able to choose for ourselves. This personal ability to choose, though, is where the problem manifests! We can choose to exercise our Power over other people, animals or plants, or we can choose to exercise that Power alongside of those others. We can live symbiotically with all life, or we can 'die by the sword'! When we decide to use our Power carelessly, or even evilly, that Power inevitably turns back on us & 'bites us in the ass', in a manner of speaking. However, when we live as Nature intended, in harmony with ALL Creation, Life not only flows much better, but we might even enjoy a longer Time in this physical realm!

Inevitably, this biology will, at some point, go the way of all things in the Great Circle of Life! Certain people would probably tell you differently, but 'this old body wasn't made to last forever'! Through our choices, though, or at least as far as it is up to us, we can either shorten or lengthen our Time in this Iteration. It is not totally up to us of course, but we can influence others in their personal choices, either negatively by exercising  Power over them, or in a positive way, by allowing them to exercise their personal power with, or alongside us. One cannot exercise Power over other unless one first takes their Power!

This is not to say, of course, that such a person no longer has any Power; they just don't realize, most of them, that their Power is innate, it goes Beyond the Person! The simple realization of this Power is, well, powerful. Understanding that we are More than the Person & so not allowing ourselves to be controlled by the Person; we can better enjoy Life with our Ego not driving, or pushing us to use our Power over others. Rather, we will be free to use our Power to complement the personal Power of others. Better still; Life flows better when we live it symbiotically, instead of trying to control what is beyond our control!

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, June 08, 2020

Lost in Metaphor; The X Factor

You may have heard it said that, from conception, all fetuses are female, at least, until the 'Y' chromosome is introduced. Assumably, according to this scientific 'fact', it is at this moment in Time that the male characteristics begin to form, most notably maybe, the penis. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ( necessarily ) disputing this 'fact', just reminding my readers that, unless we have studied or otherwise 'discovered' it for ourselves, we are consigned to taking 'their' word for it!

Personally speaking, that is, humanly speaking, even in the larger context, biologically speaking, there are two different sexes, male & female. As it was put several years ago in a previous post, these two sexes fit together 'like hand in glove'. One might even note that their sexual organs were perfectly mastered for procreation. Of course, for most humans, it is also very pleasurable, in the 'right' context, anyway! With the introduction of contraceptives, of varying sorts & effectiveness, the act of sexual intercourse has almost been rendered irresponsibly 'worry-free'. This is not to say, of course, that sexual intercourse should only be enjoyed for the purposes of procreation, as some have taught in the past, nor is it to say that anyone who engages in this practice, purely for the sake of enjoyment, is therefore acting irresponsibly. I'm merely pointing out that the primary, natural purpose ( for lack of a better word ) for these two organs, the penis & the vagina, along with the usual delivery system ( direct injection?) of the male's sperm to the female's egg, is the creation of a biological host body, which then begins the cycle all over again, in the great Circle of Life!

'Metaphor' can be loosely defined as 'truth told in a way that is not meant to be understood, or taken literally'. It can also be used as a form of symbolism, as in say, certain comic strips or cartoons. Speaking of 'a greater spiritual truth', metaphor can also be used to indicate a deeper meaning, as in statements like 'as above, so below' This statement does not literally mean that what transpires on earth mirrors or represents what is in the 'heavens' or the Universe, although it can most surely carry that intimation; rather, it refers more to the human condition & the undeniable fact that it all begins with the intentions, or thoughts. These intentions may even be unconscious, but as we awaken more & more to our true nature, as spiritual beings, they will manifest more & more in our conscious thoughts & actions.

Our actions betray our thoughts & our true intentions! Whether unconscious or not, whether we are willing to admit or not, our desires most often rule us, at least, humanly speaking. 'As above, so below'; it is in our DNA, so to speak, to use the tools that we have been equipped with naturally, for the purposes ( among others ) of procreation. So not only are we battling the Ego when we endeavor to abstain from sexual intercourse, we are also acting in a way that is contrary to our human nature! Certain religions have instilled in many of us from a fairly early age that it is wrong, or wicked to act on these natural desires prior to marriage ( ? ) & while there seems to be a certain wisdom here, such controlled behavior tends to lead to either sexual frustration or to a marriage based on sex. This is not to say that one cannot or should not exercise self-control in such a situation, just that when one is controlled by outside influences, it rarely, if ever, ends well!

To take literally what was given metaphorically is a big mistake & can lead to a 'world' of trouble! When we misunderstand, for instance, the saying 'as above, so below', we may end up believing that what goes on in this earthly realm perfectly, or literally mirrors what is in the 'heavenly' realm. Or, to bring it even closer, that our actions 'in the flesh', so to speak, mirror our spiritual condition ( ? ). This itself can lead to, as it is also a result of religious conditioning ( some may call it 'brainwashing' ).

The biological 'fact' that we were born into this biology with either a penis or a vagina does not, in itself, determine whether we are male or female! As 'spirit-beings having a physical experience', we are only sojourners in these host-bodies. When this life is over, we continue on for a time as pure spirit ( energy? ), then, when the time is right, we return to this realm to inhabit a different body ( sometimes, a TOTALLY different one! ). In certain circles, in fact largely, the notion of reincarnation has been 'poo-pooed', but when one wakes to the fact of our true nature, it makes all the sense in the 'world'!

In conclusion, then & 'the heart of the matter', so to speak; when we realize that while we may manifest a certain sex, or even gender in this life, that does not mean that we ARE ( defined by ) those characteristics ( penis or vagina - I've heard of people with both ). It simply means that this is the way we have chosen to manifest in this life. Now, before I get myself into too much 'hot water'; some of my readers may be thinking, 'he's opening the door for transgenderism & the like'! Well, maybe I am, maybe I'm not; YOU must judge for yourself, but you must also ask yourself this question; 'if we are More than JUST human beings, if we really ARE spirit-beings having a spiritual experience, as long as we aren't hurting anyone, does it really what gender ( if any ) we choose to manifest?'

Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Journey Revisited

'Life is a Journey, not a Destination!'

It's not about reaching a Goal, whether it be a 'pie-in-the-sky' dream, or some convoluted Hope of the 'Afterlife'! It's about Living & Loving. Some people are so focused on 'The End' that they forget to Live while they are Here, which admittedly, IS a relatively short period of Time. It should be acknowledged though, that there are those who, even with this Convoluted Hope, live consistently according to this Journey Motif. We are all, just as we are ALL the same Energy, on the same Journey, but just as we all are at different stages in our personal Journey, so we each manifest a seemingly different Energy, though it is simply a different level of Energy, a higher or lower Frequency, or Vibration, if you will.

My own personal Journey, especially of late, has been rather difficult, to say the least! So many adjustments are having to be made, so many changes are occurring to me, that sometimes I feel I'm going mad. No, it's not to the point ( yet ) where I'm involuntarily erupting into fits of maniacal laughter, but sometimes I sure feel like it! Life sure takes us on some interesting pathways! I say 'pathways', because, though Life has sure taken on a different sheen of late; it is not like I'm on a different Path: I have simply embarked upon a different pathway, a Higher Plane, if you will. In the Journey of Life we all have our own pathway, our own way to tread, but when it comes down to it, we're all on the same Journey!

Life is a 'funny' thing! The twists & turns It takes often point us in such a different direction from the pathway we thought were on that It almost seems completely foreign to us. My personal Path has taken such a turn. Things I only dreamed about are happening to me, even things that I never even thought of! ( Either that, or I simply would not allow myself to think that way ) It's not, 'as above, so below', that I'm on a different Path now, just that the Path I'm on looks much different than 'The Path' I was taught to follow. I have, in some sense, therefore, left 'the Faith', but I'm still firmly rooted on the Path that I entered upon those many years ago!

'The Journey' will take you where It will! Call It 'Fate', call It 'Predestination', call It what you will; 'Life finds a way', as a man once said. Human beings make choices, yes, even we, as our true selves, as one might say, 'individual spirit beings', Beings of Pure Light, have the ability to choose & so the different levels, the various frequencies we find each other in during whatever stage of the Journey, 'our Journey', that we currently find ourselves on. In the words of another very wise man, it is best to 'Let it be', though the context most definitely determines the personal meaning of his words. Choices must be made, for in the end, that's what It's all about, but call It what you will, Life Itself has a way of turning out as It will, no matter the individual choices that we as human beings make, for Life, contrary to popular opinion, is about More than this biology!

Being More than Human, we must realize that 'Life' IS More than this Biology! The phrase ( mantra, really! ); 'as above, so below' hits hard, for in acknowledging that 'Life is more than this Biology', we also admit that it is not just our personal choices that determine our Path ( our 'stage' of the Journey , not our 'Path', per se ). Life. not unlike the Dynamo of Life, IS the Path & though our choices may determine our course, It is what determines our Path, personally speaking. Life is what It is, so unless we can accept It for what It is, we will be hit with hardship upon hardship, stress upon stress!

'As above, so below'; our choices determine our pathway & 'yes', our pathway IS our own, but Life DOES find a way, so to speak; so though our Life is, in a sense determined by our choices, in the greatest sense & on the other hand, 'It is what It is'. Therefore, in some sense, one might note that It is give & take: we DO have a choice, 'free-will', per se, but ultimately, whether because we must factor in the nebulous choices of 'others' or what; 'Life', as they say, 'is what happens in between our choices'. Life, whatever your definition, DOES find a way, not so much in spite of your choices, as those who believe in 'Fate' might aver, but THROUGH our choices, one might well note!

'The Faith' is what I was raised in, but it is different for 'others'. Not everyone was raised in the same 'Faith' I was, nor indeed was everyone raised to have faith in anyone or anything but themselves! This is not to say, of course, that no one SHOULD have faith in anyone or anything in this Life, because to get ANYWHERE in this Life, one MUST exhibit SOME kind of Faith in 'others'; this is simply to say that while we must take great care WHO we exercise Faith in, in this biology, Life needs Faith in order to subsist or even exist!

'Faith', one might well say, 'is the Foundation of Life ( as we know It )'! Without Faith ( in others or ourselves ( mostly ourselves ) it is impossible to get anywhere in this Life! One must exercise some amount of Faith in 'others' in order for one's own personal plans to come to fruition & of course, Faith in oneself goes without saying, in this respect! In Essence, without Faith in our own several abilities, we would get absolutely nowhere in this thing we call 'Life'!

My personal Journey' 'as above, so below', has been full of twists & turns ( not unlike the proverbial rollercoaster )! Life is 'interesting' to say the least. There are 'ups' & there are 'downs' but that is all personally speaking; spiritually speaking, 'It's all good'! Not simply because everything that 'happens' to us is for our good ( which I STILL believe ), but because, spiritually speaking, we simply ARE; no matter what happens in this biology, to this physicality, WE will always BE, for, being More than Human, our Spirit, being One with the All, persists through & beyond this Biology!

Getting back to our Journey, for it IS OUR Journey, though we each must choose our own respective pathway, we must remember always that we are, each of us, on the same Path, though our frequency, or level of vibration & therefore our personal 'stage' is relatively different! Personally speaking, one might well say that we have chosen our own Path, but one might also wonder, 'has our Path not chosen us?!

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Center of Knowledge; A Contemplation

Knowledge; 'It is what It is'! The question on the mind of this blogger is, 'What IS It?' Can Knowledge be simply be defined, like Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary does, as 'the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association', or is It, like us, More than what we 'see' on the surface? What if I told you that True Knowledge is gained, not by doing, but by BEing?! In that sense though, one might rightly note that True Knowledge is not gained, but, if you will, 'realized through revelation'. The difference, then, between 'simple' knowledge & True Knowledge is that one is grasped/gotten by the intellect & the other is understood by the Unconscious Mind, or Higher Self.

Humanly speaking, education IS of utmost importance! Without it, people would not get very far, if anywhere in this life. Or, is that simply what we've been taught for so long that we've accepted it 'lock, stock & barrel'? As proof of the 'fallen nature' of humanity, many or most Christians use the example that, 'a child does not have to be taught how to lie, how to act selfishly, etc', when, in actuality, they do! Education, or being taught, as we can all attest to, does not come through verbal means alone. Most often, we adopt the behaviors ( or not; it's ALWAYS a choice ) of those around us. Take, for instance, the proverbial selfishness of children; 'that's MY toy, YOU can't have it!' Does the child innately know that it is her or his toy, simply because she or he has it? Or was the child told, when presented with it, that it was hers or his, that it belonged to THEM?! Not that there is anything inherently wrong with 'ownership' ( ? ). Again, then, did the child selfishly wrest their toy away from the other ( child ) simply out of selfishness ( 'fallen nature' ), or because they observed the behavior of others, children & adults, with THEIR things? Fast-forward as the child matures & falls into the trap of lying ( or not ). If the child is surrounded by liars, he or she will the more easily pick up that pattern. Then again, if they think for themselves, she or he might decide that they don't want to be ensnared in that trap & choose the Truth, even if it hurts, which It most often does!

So we come to the 'Center'. What is meant by 'the Center of Knowledge'? It would only make sense that this refers to the origin of knowledge. In the mind of this blogger, though, that brings us back to the question, 'what IS knowledge?' Maybe that's the crux of the issue though; in our mind, we think we must accrue knowledge, While this is true on this material plane, 'as above, so below', is
'knowledge' simply a learned behavior, an acquired taste, if you will, or is there More to it?! Then again, is True Knowledge acquired, or is it realized? The Gap between the purely mental plane & the spiritual can only be bridged by quieting the mind, through meditation. Getting back to the 'Center', speaking of 'meditation'; centering oneself is well-spoken of as a meditational technique. To 'Center' oneself means just that; in terms of quieting the Mind, it means returning to, remembering where one comes from & who one is; that they are More than simply a human ( intellectual ) being, that, at the heart of it all, at the very core, they are a spiritual being having a physical experience!

At the Center of it all is US! In that sense, then, though what we call 'knowledge' on this physical plane most often comes to us from without, through experiential & environmental means, True Knowledge comes from Within, through our link with the Divine, of which WE are an integral part.  Although, one might well note, we are not Knowledge Itself, it is only through that link with the Divine that True Knowledge comes! It is at this point then, that we must ask ourselves the haunting question, which I've already intimated; 'if our 'knowledge' does not come from the Divine, is It True Knowledge?' In other words, 'can we truly say we 'know' something if it doesn't come from the very Center of our Being?' Put simply, human knowledge, or 'knowledge' as defined by most, if not all dictionaries, comes largely through through the experience of others, not through one's own experience, or link with the Divine. This is not to say that one cannot 'see' Truth through the experience of others, but if one would truly KNOW a thing, one must experience it themselves, through what is called 'the Third Eye' & the spiritual 'Center' of our Being.

As 'spiritual beings having a physical experience', then, though we must needs use our intellectual capacity to operate on this physical or 'material' plane, but when we fail to maintain, or acknowledge our link with the Divine, we are consigned to trusting the experience, or 'knowledge' of others. This is not to say, of course, that we cannot trust the experience of others ( ? ), in particular, on this physical plane, for how are we to say that their knowledge does not come from their own link with the Divine? On the other hand, simply trusting another's 'knowledge' falls into the category of 'blind faith': I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell my readers where THAT can lead!

The Truth often hurts, though not as much as the pain of believing a lie! While learning the Truth for ourselves, after being taught to believe the lie for so long, or simply leaning on someone else's experience, may indeed be itself a painful experience, in the 'end' it will bring us comfort, because we will not simply have acquired 'knowledge'; we will KNOW for certain, in the very Core, or Center of our Being, that a thing is so! It is said, humanly speaking, that 'Knowledge is Power'. True enough, one might note, but if it is not True ( Knowledge ), is it then truly Power, or is it simply Manipulation? 'As above, so below'; if One does not  acquire ( realize ) True Knowledge through their OWN link with Divinity, that one is relegated to believing, with 'blind faith' in whatever 'truth' another person may choose to 'reveal' to them. This is nothing but Manipulation!

The Truth, like Knowledge, like Divinity, for that matter, 'is what It is'; it does not change! Though, again, 'humanly speaking', we may each acquire our own individual truths, or 'knowledge', when that 'truth' or 'knowledge' comes through any other means than through our own experience, or link with Divinity, even & especially through 'blind faith', it must therefore be suspect. By 'suspect', I do not necessarily mean that it is not true, for again, 'It is what It is'!

We ARE 'the Center of Knowledge'! True Knowledge, 'as above, so below', is NOT gained or acquired, It is 'realized by revelation'. Through our link with Divinity, our Higher Self, if you will, we 'see' this Truth, this Knowledge, for what It is & thus claim it for ourselves, not as Power to Manipulate, but as Power to BE!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon ( Joy ) Shank

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The End of Suffering

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, 
nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4 

When's the last time you heard these comforting, but generally misused & misunderstood words? As a 'Christian', I defended this realized hope almost to the death & while I know that I made no enemies over it ( my defense ), I'm pretty certain I didn't make any friends either! As a believer in Realized Eschatology, I adopted the position that the passage above referred to the 'end' of the Hebrew/Jewish paradigm. This is not to say, by any means, that there is no value in these words for today, just that the value popularly attached to them today by the majority of Christians requires quite a bit of textual wrangling!

For most people, Christian or not, it IS a pleasant notion to think that, at some point in Time, we will inhabit a new physicality free of all the pain & suffering that seems to be a part of our daily existence. Never to have to fear losing a loved one to the ravages of Time, much less dying yourself, is a very attractive idea to many, if not most people! Although misplaced, it IS a very valid idea. The crux of the 'matter', so to speak, is the nagging questions, 'who ARE we?' & 'why ARE we here?' The answer to the first question, of course, is pretty obvious, right? I am Charles Haddon Shank; you, reading this, are the person that was born, however long ago, to parents who themselves were born of various parentage. Well, on the surface, 'yes'; that's the obvious answer, but is that the 'reality'? Am I just Charles Haddon Shank? Are you simply the person that a name was attached to at birth? The obvious answer that I'm looking at here is 'no'! You may ask me to prove that. I was brought up to believe that we have an immortal soul that will continue to exist after this Life, either in a mythological 'Heaven' or 'Hell'. No longer do I BELIEVE we HAVE a soul; I KNOW that we ARE a Soul, in Essence, a spiritual being having a physical experience!

In ancient times, people understood more readily, moreso in the Eastern world maybe, that when an 'end' was in view, it referred more to a goal than the cessation of something, whether it be the end of an activity or the end of a life. Thus, the 'end' of this blogpost is not the last you'll read here, but the purpose in my writing, the goal I have in mind for making this 'apology'! Thus, the 'end' of suffering referred to here is not the cessation of suffering, for that is almost a constituent of Life; rather, it is the goal of suffering. 'What IS the goal of suffering?', one might well ask. 'Good question!' Most people who have examined this very pertinent question over the ages have agreed, for the greater part, that the goal of our suffering is anything from learning a necessary lesson ourselves to awakening empathy, either in ourselves or others, depending on who's currently suffering. Suffering, then, is not endless, not just that it doesn't last forever, but that it never occurs for no reason, no matter however irreasonable it may seem!

The 'end of suffering' then, does not & cannot refer to a pain-free existence, for as we've seen, humanly speaking anyway, pain is a constituent element to this Life! Pain is a signal, whether physical or emotional, that something is not as it should be. Not necessarily wrong, but not the optimal condition for our health, again, physically or emotionally speaking. Then again, the two can be, in fact, are very closely related. It has been proven, time & again, that emotional pain leads to physical pain! 'As above, so below' is a concept that may be applied here. Pain doesn't necessarily always begin with our emotions; sometimes physical pain is simply caused by something as simple as stubbing one's toe or turning one's ankle. Even in such cases though, the cause could well be linked to our subconscious desires & thus, to our emotions!

Emotions are a 'funny' thing! Whether perceived as 'positive' or 'negative', emotions, like the Ego, are neither 'good' nor 'bad'; they just ARE. How we respond to those emotions, however, is where the 'good' or 'bad' is perceived: in essence, either the positivity or negativity. Again, our reaction/response to what Life seems to haphazardly 'throw our way' determines, to some extent anyway, how our emotions are perceived. Sometimes we have no control over what 'happens' to us in the course of a lifetime, but we ALWAYS have a choice as to how we respond to the things that DO 'just happen'. Of course, our human need to control is part of the problem!

Suffering, whether emotional or physical, 'as above, so below', has many different causes, though we usually can only blame ourselves! Again, the 'heart of the issue' is in our chosen response to any given situation. The human condition lends to our emotional status, being part & parcel with it. Again, there is nothing wrong with having emotions  ( biologically speaking, they're built in ). There is nothing bad even, about BEING emotional ( again, humanly speaking, we ARE emotional creatures ). The problem, 'the heart of the issue', so to speak, surfaces when we allow our emotions to rule us, to determine how we are going to react to any given situation. Heading the obvious question off at the pass; 'yes, certain emotional responses can turn out okay, but even here we must be careful; we may respond in a positive manner out of a sort of emotional love, but the next moment in a negative manner, for our emotions often change like the weather!'

Nobody likes to suffer! Even though we know when we're deserving of our suffering, for whatever reason, we usually endeavor to alleviate, if not escape altogether, the rewards of our particular 'crime'. 'Many people', I should say, act thusly, but there are some who most willingly 'own up' to the perceived wrong they've done. Knowing that, to truly learn their lesson, the law of karma must & will be fulfilled, they willingly submit to said law & suffer the penalty of their particular crime. Suffering, however, is not always a punishment for one's own negative ( or positive ) actions; some people suffer for the actions of others, willingly even, in some cases!

Suffering, even when there is an 'end' in mind, even in sight, is not a very pleasant notion. However, it IS made somewhat easier when the 'end' IS in sight, for then, we can take comfort in the fact that we're not suffering for no good reason. We have better assurance that, not only is our suffering almost over; our goal is almost reached! These goals are not always 'selfish', either, for 'as above, so below', there are those who quite willingly suffer for the mistakes of others, so that others do not have to endure the consequences of their own actions. Though almost admirable, this is not the wisest course of action, in fact, it most often 'backfires' in the most horrible manner! When we suffer for the deeds of others, not only do we suffer needlessly, noble as we may think it sounds; we also deprive the wrong-doer of the lesson he or she may have stood to learn!

'Can we look forward to the cessation of suffering, as many, if not most people ( not just Christians ) are taught to look forward to?' 'SHOULD we focus on such a goal?!' Surprisingly, the answer to both questions is a resounding 'YES'! The answer here is in the affirmative because we can end our suffering in this life! 'What', some may ask, 'will you then kill yourself?!' This is why most people commit suicide, in the reckoning of this blogger; they don't see an 'end' to their suffering, except to 'end' their life. But there IS a better way! That Way is to make a choice, hard as it may seem. Funny as it might sound, suffering is a choice! 'Whoah', you might be thinking, 'this guy's really gone off the deep end!' But hear me out; I'm not referring simply to human suffering. In fact, I'm not really referring to human suffering, except as an effect of our spiritual condition. 'As above, so below'; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, thus, if we choose, in our spirit, to suffer, this suffering will manifest in our flesh. If, on the other hand, we choose instead, not to allow ourselves to suffer, no matter what occurs to our flesh, we can remain untroubled, for we KNOW there is an 'end' to our pain, humanly speaking.    

'Should we then, focus on the 'end' of our pain & suffering?' Of course we should! We should realize that, not only is suffering a constituent element to the 'day-to-day', it is also a choice. Simple as it may sound, it is not an easy task. Like our Emotions, the Ego gets in the way, making us play the part of the Victim, or else making us react in a negative way, partaking in their karma, even creating our own. Like, yet unlike the misplaced hope referred to at the beginning of this post, we should endeavor, not to become emotionless, but to focus our attention on who we really are & why we're really here.  'Who we really are & why we're really here' are questions that I will leave my readers to answer!

Namaste' & Blessed Be, 
Charles Haddon Shank