The Pagan Path

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

Monday, December 30, 2019

New Year, New You?

This has became a bit of a handy-dandy catchphrase in the past decade or so. On the surface, it sounds pretty good, right? Most people would love to become 'a better version' of themselves. To become the best person they can be should be everybody's goal. However, although it is an honorable thing to want to be the best ( person ) we can be, it's definitely not as easy as it sounds! How do we become a better person? Well, that's easy; make better choices! Again, easier said than done, right?! Yes, we should make better choices, but really, where do those choices begin? In our 'choice generator' of course, our innermost being, our 'heart'. Here's where we come to the 'crux' of the matter, though & this is where perception plays the biggest key. Many or most of us have been taught from day one that somehow & to whatever extent, we are fallen creatures & that 'the heart [ is ] deceitful above all [ things ] and desperately wicked'. Therefore, in line with this reasoning, since our choices originate with the 'heart', we really cannot make good choices........................without help, that is!

To be honest, 2019 might be the hardest year on record for me & I know it wasn't any easier ( in some cases, harder ) for many who are reading this! The biggest issue that I've dealt with this year, as in the several years leading up to it, was more than a paradigm shift ( that happened years ago, as some of you are aware ); this was a Shift in Consciousness. This Shift has caused me, even almost forced me, to look at many things differently! Although I wouldn't necessarily say that I have lost any friends or loved ones over it, the relationship that I enjoyed with certain people has felt the strain. Although, to whatever extent, my relationship with certain others already suffered because of my prior shift. Speaking of perception, though, I sometimes wonder if it is simply my own perception that these relationships have suffered. 'The door swings both ways', right? I know that in times past, I have seeming allowed 'being right' over 'being friends' . There IS value in being right, please don't get me wrong, but another lesson I have learned over the past few years, especially this one that is rapidly drawing to a close, is to value relationship, not more than Truth, but more than the human need to be right. It's not that I don't want to be right, or that I no longer care about Truth. It's that, while I KNOW Truth, I will no longer use It as an excuse to play the victim, to separate me from those I love or care about!

I said all that to say this; maybe this is becoming somewhat passe' by now, but I AM, we ARE More than what we normally manifest in this human form, or vehicle. 'How do you know?', you might ask. I might simply respond, 'I just DO!' But this kind of answer, though true, probably won't satisfy most people. 'How DO I know?!' Well, off the top of my head ( so to speak ), I've become more aware, as I walk through this Journey we call Life, that I AM, first & foremost, a spirit-being. Humanly speaking, the words we speak & the things we do are simply the manifestations of the choices we make in our individual spirits. 'So far', you might be thinking, 'this is simply lending credence to the notion that the 'heart' is desperately wicked or incurably sick'. 'No, not really, though I can understand how you might reach that conclusion'. This, though, is where it gets a bit complicated; speaking of the individual spirit, this is where the Ego come into play. I've said it before & I'll say it again; the Ego is NOT a bad thing. It's part of what makes us human. It's when we allow our Ego ( individual spirit ) to overrule or overrun the part of us that is inextricably linked to those we often call 'others' that we run into trouble. As a Christian, maybe the best example I can give is from the Bible, in Genesis 4, where Cain killed Abel because he allowed his Ego to rule over him!

'So how', one might ask now, 'do we stop ourselves from allowing our Ego to make our choices for us?' ( In this case, you could almost call the Ego, 'the Devil' ) First & foremost is to realize that we are not the Ego, It does not define us! Much, if not all the problems in this world is that most people, not all, identify with the Ego ( ie., blame it on the Devil ). We need to remember who we are & why we are here, in this biology. We are here to love. We ARE Love! Although we manifest as individual spirits in individual human bodies, we are all One with What the American Indian calls the Great Spirit! Therefore, even though we are individually manifesting in these human vehicles, there are, in reality, no 'others'. It is not us versus them, with our empires & nationalistic fervor; It is US, sharing the Truth in Love!

Again, 'easier said than done', particularly in this Ego-driven world we live in, but, 'it is what is'! By continuing to strive for the best seat at the banquet, by continuing to view 'others' as somehow 'less-than', simply because of race, color or creed ( even sexual preference ), we will never be able to break this vicious cycle. It all starts with US. Not us individually, although that is where It manifests; we all need to realize that it is not all about 'Me' ( Ego ), though there is nothing wrong with individuality, that's what makes Life worth living: what matters most is the Collective 'US', the Divine Energy that drives us all ( Christians call this 'the Imagio Deo' ) When we remember & this is happening as we speak, that we are all, at 'heart', One, then wars will cease, countries will become borderless & Love will rule!

'As above, so below'; this past year has not been an easy one for ANYBODY! It has been fraught with pain, peril & Peace. Yes, 'Peace'! Through whatever means, whether because of or in spite of the suffering we have undergone, many have found anew, in our 'hearts', the Peace that passes all understanding.

Again, 'easier said than done'! The suffering will continue, though we may pray it eases up in the coming year, for while the world around us is in turmoil & confusion, we carry this Peace in our 'hearts'. As is the case in many a scenario, in many of the current events we witness, it's taken this long to get to the point that we find ourselves & the world in, that it's likely going to take at least that long to get back to where we should be, personally speaking. Can we make that change in the coming year, can we BE that necessary change?! It's really up to US!

Charles Haddon Shank

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