The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Personal 'God'?

'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
Jesus - Matthew 22:37 

As always, we must keep in the forefront of our mind that when Jesus spoke these words, quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 ( among others ), He was speaking to the Jews in the first century AD. This 'Lord' ( Hebrew - YÄ•hovah; Greek - kyrios ) was THEIR 'God'! 'He' was the product of their imagination, how they perceived the Giver of Life, the Source, the Divinity! Many different cultures see this 'God' in as many different ways ( even within certain cultures ), but all, or at least most, see 'God', along with 'Satan' as a powerful Being that watches from a distance & sometimes intervenes in the affairs of humankind. Christians have worshiped this 'God', the 'God' of the Hebrews, for ages. Some, like this blogger, might question 'Why?' Why DO we worship this 'God' rather than the 'God' of a different nation or culture? Sure, the Christian 'God', the 'God' of the New Testament at least, is a kind & merciful 'God'; 'He' is full of Wisdom. 'He', according to 'His' Word, is the One True & Living God! But why should we take 'His' Word for it? Is 'He' not simply an Aspect of, or the Hebrew perception of the Divinity?

 Not to rail unduly against the Christian 'Trinity' ( for one, we've been there before & two, that's really not what this is about, though it certainly plays a part ), but its description, in essence, is 'Three Persons, One God'. Though there is some confusion about this 'Three Persons' thing ( some actually have wondered if 'Father, Son & Holy Spirit' ( or 'Ghost' ) are really three ( separate ) Gods ), this should be a glaring clue that 'They/He' are simply an invention of man, or humankind. ( I'm not arguing the fact, by the way, that these words, or concepts, ARE, in their Greek form anyway, found in the Bible, which is the English ( Western ) rendition of that piece of Ancient Near Eastern literature. ) The concept ( speaking of 'concepts' ) of 'the Trinity' does not originate with the Greek Scriptures; it was around long before they were ever conceived, in different cultures, used to explain their perception of 'God'. This is not, again, to try to discredit the 'God' of the Hebrews & Greeks ( the 'God' of the Bible ) or even to say that Christians are wrong in their perception of 'God' ( although, thinking of 'Him' as a 'Person' ( whether the 1st; 2nd or 3rd ) tends to get in the Way ); this is simply to say that, as long as you love 'your God' & 'your neighbor as yourself' ( Matthew 22:39 ); you're doing as you should!

The crux of the matter is what it looks like to love 'your God' & 'your neighbor as yourself''. Questions like, 'who IS your 'God'?' 'Who IS your neighbor?' come to mind here; what does it mean to 'love' them? Loving ones neighbor is fairly simple; once you figure out what is meant by 'neighbor', it's fairly easy, especially from a Christian standpoint, to realize that, as per the 'Ten Commandments', we shouldn't bear false witness against them, we shouldn't steal from or murder them ( there's that 'covet' thing too ) Basically, like Jesus also said, we should treat others as we would like to be treated. That pretty much covers it. If you don't want your 'neighbor' ( whatever your perception of that is ), to steal from you, don't steal from them. If you don't want them to bear false witness against you, tell the truth about them. Etcetera, etcetera. Loving your 'God', on the other hand, might be a different matter entirely! Or IS it?! Who, or What, IS your 'God'?! One simple explanation you might have is that 'it's what you worship'. Well, that would certainly be a good way to put it. Since the word 'worship' basically means 'to ascribe worth to', by extension, you might say that most, if not all Christians worship the Bible! There, I said it! But seriously, this could even extend to themselves! When one perceives themselves as 'worthy', they, in that sense ( if in that sense alone ) see themselves as their 'God', personally speaking!

Not to sound too much like a broken record, but even our own Bible tells us that we are 'Gods'! This is a Universal Truth, though it was originally aimed at the Judges of the Hebrews. 'How could you say that about a mere human being?' ' Glad you asked, because that's exactly why the Jews crucified Jesus! They couldn't believe that a human being ( as Jesus was ) could also be 'God'! We are Gods in the same way that Jesus was! ( I know, more blasphemy! ) We ARE human. yes, but we are More than that. In our inmost Being, we are of the same Divine Essence. Now, most people are so wrapped up in their own humanity, that they, as well as most others, cannot see any further than that, but to paraphrase an old TV show, 'the Truth is in there' ( US )!

Others have explained it much better & in greater detail, but the Truth is, that though we ARE all 'Gods' in our own right, many or most have failed to realize this, their true nature, simply because of conditioning. We have been taught, in most cases, from 'Day One', that we are primarily human beings; we have a spirit/soul, yes, but upon our demise, that spirit simply returns to its Maker. After that, who knows; 'it's up in the air'! Some, even, thanks to religion, have speculated that we just go 'poof'! The Mind/Ego plays its part as well. It likes to try to convince us that we should identify with IT & that's where we run into trouble. We start to think, 'that Person hurt me', 'they're telling lies about me', etcetera, etcetera. All they did, in actuality, though, was to bring perceived harm to our physical vehicle. When we identify with our physical vehicle, we naturally tend to respond in kind, even though there is usually, if not always, that 'still small voice' that says we shouldn't!

'Be still, and know that I [ am ] God'! This is only the first part of Psalm 46:10 & so may be said to have been taken out of context, but this too has stood for generations as a Universal Truth, though maybe in a different manner than most are used to thinking! Since we ARE 'Gods', in a manner of speaking, when we still our Mind/Ego & travel deep within ourselves, we will find that 'God' part of us. Moving beyond all of our conditioning/training, we will realize that all is not as we were taught! It will become clear that, not only are we NOT these physical vehicles ( though one might say we're inextricably linked ), the deeds done in the flesh, so to speak are due to the fact that we identify with the Person, with its Mind/Ego. To use an example that I've employed before, from the Hebrew Scriptures; 'So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire [ is ] for you, but you should rule over it' ( Genesis 4:6 & 7 )We know, from the rest of the Story, that Cain did not 'rule over it' & thus murdered his brother because he let his Mind/Ego rule his physical vehicle!

We need to remember Who we are! Though we, personally speaking, will reap our own Karma, dependent on what we allow to transpire in our physical vehicle, realizing that we are More than our vehicle will help us to make better decisions/choices, leading to positive Karma ( we ALL reap what we sow! )! Who we really are cannot be altered! Our Mind may change, our physical body even changes over the course of the years, but the Divine Essence that is US can never change! We, again, personally speaking, make life-altering choices every day, but these choices are not what make us US. We are Who we are, not because of the decisions we've made with our Mind/Ego, but because we are a part of the Whole, the Divine Essence; 'God'-stuff, you might say!

Namaste & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Bridge

Christian had always known there was something More. In his day-to-day life here on earth, sometimes it was difficult to imagine, but as he continued his personal studies, as well as daily meditation & introspection, it became frightfully clear that it was not as simple as the two certainties he'd always been taught about Life; 'Death & Taxes'. 'Death & Taxes' may well be perceived as sure things in this earthly existence, but, as he was beginning to discover ( for himself ), Life was so much More than the seeming drudgery of the day-to-day; It was something to be enjoyed & lived fully, with one's feet firmly planted in both the good soil of the Earth & the etheric plane of what is longingly called 'Heaven'!

The Summer of his 18th year found Christian preparing for marriage. In this day & age, he'd heard all the whispered comments; 'they're too young', 'they've got their whole lives ahead of them'. Especially with a soon-to-be blushing bride of barely seventeen ( actually, she was still 16 at this point ), the under-the-breath comments were flying faster than the snows that were only a few months away! Even though Mary would be of legal age by the time the wedding rolled around, Christian & Mary were the recipients of many a sideways glance, quite a few raised eyebrows & even a few bits of proffered 'wisdom'. With the wedding date, as well as the first snows, looming on the horizon, the two young lovers were more prepared than most people realized to take that heralded leap!

As the Day approached, both the blushing bride & groom-to be found themselves getting more & more anxious, not because there was any hesitance on their part, but because the peer pressure had risen to almost insurmountable heights! Coming from all quarters, both of these young people were daily assaulted with the freely-given council that they should wait till they were both a bit older ( more mature?), that they should play the field, test the waters, so to speak, before they made such a weighty decision, especially one that would impact the rest of their adult lives. Against all odds, their wedding day finally came & Christian entered into wedded bliss with the love of his life!

Mary was ecstatic! Christian had proven, throughout most of their relatively short lives & even shorter engagement, to be her perfect soulmate! Having known each other since kindergarten, it hadn't taken them long to recognize a kindred spirit, then as lovers from a past life, or even many lifetimes ( if you can believe it ). 'Why', you may ask, 'did they wait so long to 'tie the knot?' Both these young lovers were born into unfortunate circumstances where society told them there was no such thing as reincarnation. Born into fairly strict ( Christian ) families, both these young lovers had been taught from a very early age that everyone had but one life to live & that after death, they would spend eternity in either 'Heaven' or 'Hell'. Both young people, old as they were, knew the Truth of the situation, but they also knew their predicament. If they were to marry before their time, not only would they risk losing their witness to society, they also ran a higher risk of losing both the families they had been born into!

The predicament that our young lovers faced was one that is probably more prevalent in society than most realize, or care to acknowledge! Here in the West, in particular, so much emphasis is placed, not only on what is 'proper', but on what is 'legal' or 'illegal' that what is right often pales in comparison, if it's even a consideration. Christian & Mary found themselves in such a situation. How could they bridge the gap between 'Heaven' & 'Earth' without alienating both the families & society they had been incarnated into? They could easily have flouted convention & decided to enter wedded bliss the way 'God' intended, simply coming together as man & wife, but in order to preserve the 'the ties that bind' ( IE, the families they had both been born into ) & to preserve the peace, both Christian & Mary exercised great patience, as well as self-control, waiting for a more 'appropriate' time to exercise in this current iteration the love they had borne for many lifetimes.

Whether or not one believes in reincarnation, the fact was, Christian & Mary recognized ( some might call it deja vu ) something in each other that was more than physical or even spiritual attraction! They knew that much of what they had been taught was misleading at best & outright lies at worst. They also knew that the Truth would be revealed when the time was right. Waiting for such a time, even bowing ( bending? ) slightly to convention would do them no harm & would likely prevent needless harm to the society that surrounded them. Thus, they waited to consummate their marriage until they were legally wed. With both their families satisfied that all the necessary conventions were met; Christian & Mary finally entered into a state of wedded bliss!

Our young couple, the hero & heroine of our story, had taken that daring first step; what would follow over the course of this present lifetime would be a Journey of Discovery, not so much theirs, but through the lens of their lives, the society that surrounded them would begin to see the Truth. The Truth was, as Christian & Mary already knew, that we, as human beings, are More, More than our humanity; thus we pass from one lifetime to another, animating different persons till we have rectified, or at least, learned not to repeat the mistakes of the past. 'Is that all there is to it?' one might well ask. Of course that's not all there is to it, there is so much More to be known, but that might need to be your own personal Journey of Discovery!

The two young lovers in our Story, like so many before them, had bridged the gap! Through their joining together, their marriage, Christian & Mary had made manifest, at least to those with eyes to see it, the reality of Heaven on Earth. While Christian had proved ( to himself ) these realities, it was not until he was duly wed to Mary that they became clear to those closest to them, who witnessed both their wedding & the following marriage. The More that both these young people had shown to those around them, those who loved them, though in their own way, was that even this earthly existence was not defined by 'Death & Taxes', 'Death & Taxes' were only a very small part of Life. Life, when lived to the fullest, is a veritable Bridge between the seeming drudgery of the day-to-day
here on Earth & the etheric Joys of 'Heaven'.

'Does one need to be married in order to experience this Joy?' Of course not, but it sure helps!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Beyond Christianity

But the Lord [ is ] the true God;
He [ is ] the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble,
And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
Jeremiah 10:10 

Note to my readers; Please, please, please read this passage in context; not only the context of the Greater Story which contains it, but the historical & cultural context in which it was written! Take, for instance, the first half of the 'chapter' in which we find this singular verse; many seem to think it's decrying what is commonly known & loved as 'the Christmas Tree'. The context, as I've mentioned, clearly shows that this is not the case, but is simply, like 'chapters' & 'verses', an invention of humankind'. Now, on with the show......................

I'm sure there are many people out there, praying fervently for me to return to 'the faith of my fathers'! After all, Proverbs 22:6 says, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, [a] and when he is old he will not depart from it.' In some sense, one might say I HAVE departed from that 'faith', but really, only in the sense that I have gone beyond it, following its natural conclusions. Although I've reached some conclusions, I have by no means strayed from the Path. The Path I am on, in fact, have been on since I began this Journey some 48 years ago, may look somewhat different than 'the faith' I was reared ( 'trained' ) in, but I assure you all, I AM still on the Path; I have simply taken the next step & moved beyond my training!

Not long ago, I posted on Facebook, something to the effect of, 'Christianity, like any religion, is simply a path, NOT a destination'. To clarify; I'm trying to make the point that while 'the faith of my fathers' certainly is an aspect of the Path, it is by no means the ONLY one. The Bible, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, is our ( modern ) Western translation, or interpretation rather, of an Ancient Near Eastern text! That said, I'm NOT saying that it all got 'lost in the translation'; no, many universal truths, as I've also mentioned before, can be found in its revered pages! However, there IS some Truth that has gotten 'lost in the translation', some of which is that it IS primarily an encapsulated & metaphorical history of 'the children of Israel'. Notwithstanding the theory, proposed by some & accepted by more, that YHWH ( Elohim ), the 'God' of Israel, was simply a Canaanite 'god', 'He' IS an aspect of What is called by many names; call It 'the Source', the Universe', or simply 'Energy', 'It is what It is'. Christians call 'Him' 'God', Muslims call 'Him' 'Allah', Jews call 'Him' 'Yahweh' & many Eastern religions call It by many other names, but really, It is Us, the true 'Us', our Higher Selves!

'Well, there you go; outright blasphemy, claiming that we are 'God'! Actually, I've said it before, though maybe not in so many words. Even Jesus, who clearly made the claim that He was the Son of God, really, God Himself, agreed with the Universal Truth that David, King of Israel wrote when he sang, 'you are gods' ( Psalm 82:6 ). Now, when I say, 'It is Us', I do NOT mean to say that It is our humanity, which most of the above-mentioned religion, except for the Eastern ones, will say is 'utterly depraved'. Although our humanity can most definitely be an aspect of 'Us', or a part of Us, the biological bodies We inhabit are merely our vehicles in which we live & love in this earthly Journey. This is not to say that a person who commits what some would call 'evil' has an evil spirit, although some would no doubt call it that: for the most part, those who commit 'evil' ( ? ) are most likely not aware of Who they are & are living from their Lower Nature, which is not far different from those we call 'animals!

To clarify; by saying 'evil spirit', I'm referring to what many would call 'the soul' or 'the individual ( soul )'. It is not that this person is either 'a Child of God' or 'a child of the devil', as most Christians say, but rather, that this person is unaware they are More than their humanity. This person believes the lie that they ARE their humanity & thus they live from their Lower Nature, which is where their humanity is rooted. This is NOT to say that our humanity is 'evil' ( totally depraved ), as some have accused Us; some, not even aware of their Higher Nature or Self, have employed their human vehicle to accomplish much that has truly blessed this world We live in!

'Our humanity can most definitely be an aspect of 'Us'. 'What is THAT supposed to mean?' you might ask. Simply that our humanity does not always reflect our true Self, the 'Us' we've been discussing. 'We' are all part of the Whole, the Source, What most call 'God'. As what might be called, 'spirit beings having a physical experience', or human beings, We have what is called 'free-will', the freedom & ability to make our own ( individual ) choices. How we choose is dependent upon whether we are living from our Higher or Lower Nature. Living from the Lower Nature, humanly speaking, of course, is what makes us little different from the 'animals'. The Higher Nature is where 'God' manifests. Christians call this 'The Holy Spirit' & while I do not deny this 'Holy Spirit', neither is IT what we have been taught ( 'trained' ) to believe!

Most, if not all Christians have been taught, according to that Ancient Near Eastern text upon which our English Bible is based, that 'the Holy Spirit' is One of Three Persons within a so-called 'God-head'. This should be the first clue that this notion is the invention of a person, or several persons. Having gone there before, I will go no further except to reiterate what I've stated previously; 'the concept of what Christians call 'the Trinity', 'Father, Son & Holy Spirit' is a biblical notion, one based upon a misreading of the Greek text'! 

'Is 'Allah' simply an aspect of 'the Source?' Valid question: as Christians, of course, we were taught that 'Allah' was not the same as 'God', but was simply a 'false god' ( ? ). My readers must judge for themselves whether or not 'Allah' is an aspect of 'the Source', although, may I say, if many of 'His' followers are any indication, I would be inclined to answer in the negative. But that's just MY personal perception! ( To be honest, one might say the same of many Christians )

Most every culture has their own definition/perception of the 'Path to Perfection'! Does this mean that all paths necessarily lead to the same destination? Well, yes & no; depending on what one chooses to believe/perceives the Destination to be might determine ( for them ) if any given path leads there. Then again, many people have many different notions/perceptions of what 'the Path' looks like. Every single human being out there has a slightly different idea of what that Path looks, or should look like. My perception of the Path is that Christianity is simply one aspect of It. 'Is it one of the best ways, or THE best way to view the Path?' Again, my readers must judge for themselves, but, as far as I'm personally concerned, the fact that I've gone beyond 'the faith of my fathers' does not mean that I've strayed from 'the Path'!

Namaste & Blessed Be!

Charles Haddon Shank