The Pagan Path

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Good Intentons; the Battle for the Ego

It begins at an early age. Dad or Mom will tell a child, 'don't do this', or 'don't do that' & the response of the child, usually sooner rather than later, is to do exactly what they were told not to. A prime example ( almost a cliche' now ) is, 'don't touch that hot stove!' I'm pretty sure we ALL just experienced a painful childhood memory of a burning sensation. Coming from a Christian background ( as I do ), maybe one of the most famous ( or is that 'infamous'? ) examples from the Hebrew Scriptures, or rather, our English Bible, is that of the Fall of Adam & Eve. Elohim told them not to partake of a certain tree 'in the midst' of the Garden & what was the first thing these 'children' did? From the Rest of the Story, we know that they did eat of the fruit of this tree & so experienced the death of separation from their 'God'.  One can read this Story & garner different meaning from it, whether metaphorical or woodenly literal, but for the current purposes of this blogger, it serves as a reminder of our natural inclination to do what we're told not to, most often to our own detriment, personally speaking, of course.

'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'! This familiar phrase, though probably not as popular as it once was, rings as true today as ever. Although it should most definitely be understood metaphorically, since 'hell' is simply reaping the sour fruit of bad seed, this phrase tells us that even though we might mean something in a good way, the recipient of our actions, whether words or deeds, may not receive it as such & in many cases, the exact opposite! This, according to their own personal choice, of course, can set them on the 'highway to hell' & we, then, must be careful with OUR choices, lest we join them there.  This is all personally speaking, of course: when we allow our human nature, our Ego, to determine our course, most often, we end up on 'the highway to hell', or in other words, to use another example from the Hebrew Scriptures, filling the shoes of Cain, who murdered his brother, simply because his ( Cain's ) offering, made with 'good intentions' ( ? ), was not accepted, while his brother's was.

The Ego, as we've discussed in this blog previously, is not a 'bad, or 'evil' thing; It just IS! An integral part of our human nature, it's what enables us to make ( manifest ) choices, but when we allow our Ego to determine those choices, we often end up playing the part of Cain & metaphorically ( ? ) murdering our brother. On the other hand, the Ego is actually necessary for us to be able to choose! Being, as we've seen, an integral part of our humanity, we use the Ego ( our individuality ) to decide which is the better choice ( for us ). This again, following the rabbit trail, is not always 'good' either, for sometimes, what seems 'best' for us is not so for others. Individuality, in the same 'vein', is not 'evil' either; like the Ego, It just IS. As human beings, we HAVE an Ego; we have Individuality, but we are defined by neither! Both ( one is very nearly the same as the other ) are necessary constituents of our humanity, but when we allow either to determine our conscious ( or unconscious, for that matter ) choices, then is when we begin to tread the aforementioned 'highway'!

As long as we inhabit this biology, we daily run the risk of traveling 'the highway to hell'! No, the 'hell' of which I write is not some place that sinners go when they die, which was probably the intention behind the phrase; the 'hell' of which I write here is the 'hell' of ones own choosing. Whether through 'bad' choices, or simply our reaction to others, we tend to heap coals of fire on our own heads, allowing our Ego to convince us that somehow we have separated ourselves from what is 'good' & 'right', simply because the 'other' did not react well! This is NOT, though, to say that we should do whatever we can to avoid this risk ( drastic measures? ), simply that, knowing the risk is there, we must exercise great care in knowing ourSelf, for if we truly know ourSelf, we KNOW that we are More; More than our Ego, More than our Individuality, More than our Humanity!

Being More than our Humanity, we nevertheless, through whatever means, are consigned to living with it all, the Ego, the Individuality, the whole nine yards. This is not to say, either, that just because someone IS Ego-driven, their choices are always 'bad', though this is often, if not usually the case; sometimes, Ego-driven people make 'good' choices, not so much because of 'good intentions', though that is often the case, but because their true nature, which is Love, cannot help but shine through! That said, going back, not to the Hebrew, but the Greek Scriptures & in particular the writings of the apostle Paul, we must not needs escape this 'flesh & blood', as some ( still ) think was his intention in writing, rather we must learn to transcend this mortality, realizing that it is simply our 'vehicle' in this thing we call 'Life', though a necessary constituent of it!

'Good Intentions' will take you far in life! If ones intentions are truly 'good', anyway; a person can say 'I didn't mean to do that' or 'I didn't intend any harm' & if/when harm transpires, did they actually intend no harm or mean not to do that ( whatever 'that' is )? Speaking of childhood experiences, most of us can probably relate, in one way or another, but I can recall a saying that went the rounds in my family: when faced with the excuse, 'I didn't mean to do that', the reply, most often, was, 'well, you didn't mean NOT to, did you?' Most often in this life, whether you ascribe to something like The Wiccan Rede, which says, 'an ye harm none, do what ye will' or follow Jesus injunction to treat others like you want to be treated ( IOW ), when we live with good intention, no matter others response to them, we will find ourselves, not just going the opposite direction ( from THTH ); we will find ourSelves living in that 'place' called 'Heaven'!

In Conclusion, though it may be seen as a daily 'battle'; it need not be viewed as such. We do what is right, yes, but we need not engage with the Ego as our enemy in order to do so. As More than our Ego, we simply USE our Ego for what it was intended & make ( manifest ) our choices from our Higher Nature. rather than our Lower ( or animal ) Nature. Easier said than done, I know, but it is what it is. As above, so below; the Ego is NOT our enemy, it is a necessary constituent, part & parcel both with our Humanity & our Individuality.

Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Conscious Breathing

A good friend of mine has a saying, something to the effect of, 'imagine if you had to consciously draw every breath!' The context of his statement, of course, being the religious man that he is, was that there is a 'God' out there somewhere, a 'Man in the Sky' ( though He most certainly would NEVER put it that way! ) Who watches over us, in this case particularly, while we're sleeping & helps us to continue to draw breath while we are in a state of unconsciousness, so to speak. While this is true, from a human standpoint, at least, that there IS a 'God' ( consciousness ) that watches over us ( while we sleep ), It is NOT some 'Person' in the heavens ( 'Heaven'? ) that does this, though it IS most certainly a Higher Intelligence than is normally attributed to humankind ( even someone like Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla )!

The subject of meditation may, at it's most basic, be said to focus, first & foremost, on one's breathing. By calming oneself, by focusing ones attention on their breathing, one is enabled to willfully breathe; that is to say, rather than allowing ones body to clamor for attention by some some 'need to breathe' ( which I do not deny, by the way ), one allows their Higher Consciousness to control their breathing, thereby becoming calm. Some people, as mentioned previously, both above & in a post on the same subject, focus their attention on a Power outside them which enables them to breathe unconsciously: I will not say this is wrong, though it does detract from personal responsibility & tends to lead to a sense of unworthiness & even self-loathing! No, it is not wrong ( by any means ) to look outside oneself for necessary sustenance ( whether physical, emotional, or spiritual ), but once one realizes, through whatever means, that the Power is within, it becomes less & less necessary ( even harmful ) to look outside oneself.

Some may accuse me of haranguing against, in particular, Christianity! Although I'm not the only one ever harmed, spiritually or emotionally ( which can both lead to physical harm ), by ( institutional ) religion, neither am I trying to imply that ALL Christians, even some within the bounds ( 'bonds'? ) of institutional Christianity, are wrong. Some Christians rightly practice the Principles of the Christ, even though they may still be entrenched in religion! For the most part, though, those particular Christians are on the move & will not be content to stagnate, or 'wallow in the mire' with the rest of their fellows!

The Power of Prayer is another subject which has come under consideration, particularly of late. Having written on this subject previously as well, I will simply reiterate & expand on my previous statements. While prayer is most often made to some 'God' above ( I do not deny a 'God' Above ), in many places, it is voiced aloud & quite publically, to whatever effect. In some cases, this 'effect' is that some who hear the uttered request or need, if it be in their power to answer that request or fulfill that need, will do so, thus acting the part of 'God'. In other prayers, the supplicant may focus on health issues or concerns, such as a cancer of some type, that only 'God' can take care of. In such a case, however, although modern medicine, to a degree, is often, in the long run, worse than the cure; it has enjoyed some degree of success in dealing with many ailments. On the other hand, here too, as in many other cases, physical issues, including cancer, can be resolved by voicing ones concerns aloud.

Unlike prayer, which is focused on a Power outside oneself ( which also tends to alleviate or even negate personal responsibility ), meditation usually focuses on the Power within, helping one to realize that they do have have the Power, as well as the responsibility, to maintain & sustain the physical vehicle they incarnate. Without going into the science of the matter ( much information on the subject is easily accessible, thanks to the internet ). suffice it to say that it IS within the realm of possibility, even probability, for humanity to cure itself of ANY type of cancer! ( Strong statement, I know, but the Power really IS within us to heal ourselves, naturally, without the aid of artificial 'drugs' )

Modern science, to whatever extent, has discovered ( 'uncovered' might be a better word for it ) many of the wonders of this human vehicle, leading to ( for those willing to 'see' it, anyway ) the knowledge that, contrary to popular opinion, we don't need all the 'drugs' that Big Pharma is selling us to 'cure' ourselves! The Earth ( Mother ) has all the necessary resources to help us sustain & maintain this physical vehicles. This may come as a bit of a surprise to some ( Christians? ), but even the Hebrew Scriptures intimate this glorious fact!

Meditating on this glorious fact has lead many to the even more glorious realization that the Power is all around us, within our grasp, so to speak. Thanks to Big Pharma, in large part, most of these resources are not readily available ( or acceptable ), but the tide is turning as we speak: more & more people ( for the most part, those outside the bounds of 'religion' ) are realizing those natural cures, putting them to good use & bettering their own lives, as well as those of others!

Christianity ( organized religion ) has not done much, sadly, to educate the Greater Community to this glorious fact. With its focus on the Power in the heavens & its commitments to 'saving souls for the Afterlife', it has failed to enable its adherents to realize their own Power, 'God-given', no less; to 'save' themselves, to cure their own physical vehicles by making the best use of the resources this Good Earth has to offer. This, again, is NOT to say that no one within the bonds of organized religion, in particular, Christianity, can, does, or will ever realize this glorious truth, although it surely can be detrimental to this realization!

Back now, to the subject at hand; proper meditation ( on the Power Within ) calms our spirit, our true nature, if you will, enabling us to look past the trials of this life ( including 'cancer' ) to see that, indeed, we ARE More than what meets the eye! The illusion that 'what you see is what you get' being destroyed, we are enabled to more clearly see the available resources, including ourselves. It all starts, physically speaking, with consciously & purposefully taking every breath.The realization that our fate is not dependent on the whims of some 'God' out there somewhere, but rather on our own personal choices is empowering!

'Is meditation, then, the cure for everything; is that what you're saying?' My readers will have to decide for themselves; I'm not saying either way, but I will say that it is WHOLLY dependent on themselves! By the choices you make & the actions ( both directly & indirectly ) that follow; YOU determine your own fate, as well as influencing that of others, to whatever extent. Yes, this goes both ways; anyone may be influenced by the choices & actions of others, but it is OUR choice that most affects our destiny. How we react ( or not ) to someone else's actions determines our own personal course. Focusing on our own personal Power has the effect of realizing that it is what WE do, the choices WE make, that really matter in the Grand Scheme of things!

Charles Haddon Shank