Awakened Intelligence

If we are going to participate in sacred ceremony it means there are some things we will no longer be doing during our preparation time- which can be weeks or months prior to the Ceremony.  Sometimes we fast on certain types of foods, or enter a media ban in which we stop watching all the bad news of the world.  Or we might dedicate our time to prayer or creating sacred objects or garments that will be used in the ceremony.  IMG_4390Preparing for and participating in sacred ceremony becomes our life.  It’s not something we just show up for on a weekend, join in the music and dance, and then go home to watch a movie or return to our jobs.

There are many reasons that people come to a spiritual path- sometimes it’s because their life doesn’t work and they’re seeking a way to feel successful in jobs, relationships, and personal intimacy.  Sometimes individuals seek to join a spiritual community because they feel they have a great gift to offer and want to find others to appreciate it.  But sometimes people join a spiritual path to help make a difference in the lives of others.  It is these people who are willing to learn and practice the true meaning of sacrifice.

An authentic path of spirit gives one the opportunity
to experience awakened intelligence

Awakened_WomanIn the world, on a regular basis, most of us are engaged in daily entertainment or some form of consumerism.  This is because we are trying to avoid thinking about and realizing that illness, old age, change, and death are the realities of existence.  Since this idea tend to be depressing and off putting we form our lives around avoidance of these energies, even though, in the end, this never works.  Little children, young people, middle aged people, as well as old people go through changes they never anticipated, become ill, and even die.  Reality can, and will happen, to everyone.  But most people prefer to remain asleep and ignorant of these realities.  Awakened intelligence is the ability to live our lives, on a daily basis, as though it were our last chance to love, forgive, listen, share, or be kind to others.  Awakened intelligence means creating a life that has meaning regardless of the realities that await us.

Having a life means making a contribution to the welfare of others.  To make a contribution to the betterment of the world we are willing to sacrifice: time, money, effort, and ourselves in order to participate in actions that make a difference.  This contribution can be the practice of prayer. spiritual awakening Prayer is the focused intention of blessing those around us with the good things in life, love, joy, peace, beauty, healing, or grace.  We contribute by being kind and thoughtful to our family, friends, and associates.  We contribute by forgiving those who speak ill of us, listening with full attention when others are sharing a story that is important to them, and by allowing others to be who they are rather than expecting them to live up to who we would prefer for them to be.  We contribute when we notice and comment with appreciation on the gifts that others have shared through words, ideas, or deeds.  We contribute when we are willing to share affection with those around us- a smile, a hug, and a kind word, a touch on their shoulder or their hand.  In order to live our lives in this way we must be willing to sacrifice focusing on what we think, what we want, and what we expect.

4734c4fc70366adc5ba834ead143af9fWhen we have Awakened Intelligence we have begun
to realize our spiritual nature-
we start to take the road that leads to Enlightenment.

Responsibility Not Rights

“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”- Matthew 7:12

“Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.”-
The Prophet Mohammad- Hadith

“Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”- Confucius Analects 15:23

The fundamental responsibility of a human being is to treat others as well as or even better than we treat ourselves.  The greatest barrier to truly doing this is the way we actually treat ourselves and the way we truly think about ourselves.

Monastics have a duty to set an example that will inspire others to live as fully sacred human beings.  This responsibility includes embodying and understanding the qualities of a spiritually mature individual.  These qualities are: Heart Ethics; Self-Awareness; Ash-E-Tah Wisdom; Discernment; Adaptability; Empathy; Self-Sacrifice; Serenity; and a Resilient Spirit. We acquire these qualities through a series of trials and errors.  This means we learn from our mistakes, come to an acceptance that life is unpredictable and there is no way to “do it right” or “be safe.” And no matter how clever we are at planning for the future something erratic or chaotic can and probably will happen.

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Rather than becoming depressed, cynical, and materialistic the mature soul discovers a freedom, an openness of heart that is impossible for someone hoping to maneuver safely through life and arrive triumphantly at death singing, “I did it my way.” The Great Being, on the other hand, has discovered, that the ability to manifest possessions, power, and position through visualizations, rituals, and ceremonies is only little self in disguise; the province of a frightened ego attempting to prove their own spirituality in world mind terms.

Responsibility implies an emphasis on duty and purpose in order to become a person of selfless service.  Monastics or spiritual teachers can only hope to encourage others to follow a path of selfless-service if we ourselves have made a genuine demonstration of that work within our chosen path. inspirational-quotes-ghandi-2 Gandhi did not ask others to perform actions he himself was not been willing to perform.  Therefore, he did the work of untouchables, willingly went to jail for demonstrating against unjust laws, and even spun the cloth for the loincloths he wore.  Consequently, he had the moral authority to ask others to follow him.

Becoming dedicated to spiritual maturity requires a commitment of learning, growing, and the practice of compassionate witnessing.  It means finding that others are just as important as ourselves and often even more important because their ability to support and find inner comfort may be more limited than our own.  Remember the spiritual path is one of Service.  Sometimes that service is to withdraw from the world in order to sustain humanities link with sacred truth and divine mystical transcendence through prayer and disciplined sacrifice. Sometimes the path asks us to focus on providing care for the sick, orphaned, or aged populations.  Perhaps the call is to be a repository of knowledge and applied teachings of the holy truths. Whatever the calling the Path demands spiritual maturity and requires total commitment.

7-hameggsThere once was a monk training a group of spiritual practitioners; one day he posed this question.  “What is the difference between an egg salad sandwich and a ham sandwich?”  After much discussion, guesses, and debate the students finally acknowledged that they didn’t know. “Well,” said the old monk, “with an egg salad sandwich the chicken makes a major contribution, but with the ham sandwich the pig has made a total commitment.”

Sacrifice

Making a sacrifice is forgetting about the self. It is taking time away from worry, fear, anxiety and pain. It is becoming busy doing and being someone who makes a difference in the world.  ImageSacrifice is the ability to give away to another with no expectation that anything will happen other than the opportunity of being of help to another.  When we offer service to others it is a space of sharing and many times there is an expectation of receiving something in return; that’s why getting a haircut, eating in a restaurant or having the oil changed in our car are called services.

Selflessness requires courage.  This is because sacrifice and selflessness are based on loving another more than we love ourselves.  But if we are not meeting our own needs for comfort, safety, affection, and happiness it isn’t possible to make a true sacrifice.  Not caring for our needs and worrying about the needs of others is a form of martyrdom and emotional enslavement.  It arises from the belief that we can only be happy if we make everyone around us happy.

True Sacrifice is the ability to exchange oneself for another- to be with others where they are instead of where we wish them to be. Image If someone is sad it is more of a sacrifice to sit with them in their grief than to attempt a healing in order for us to feel better about where they are.  With sacrifice we learn to be a compassionate witness to another’s journey through life, supporting and validating how they feel and what is happening for them at the time.

Sacrifice arises from devotion.  This is devotion to Great Spirit, to a spiritual master, or guru.  It is seeing a need and being drawn to fill that need because one sees the face of the Beloved Spiritual Master in the suffering countenance of that brother or sister.  We do not practice sacrifice to change the world, we practice sacrifice to heal ourselves.

Beloved Mother & Father Spirit-
If I have wounded any soul this day
Or caused someone’s fear, anger or pain
If I have walked too strongly in my own will and way
Great Spirit forgive me

If I have spoken ill of anyone
If I have turned aside from want or pain
or caused another to suffer for my comfort
Great Spirit forgive me.

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If I have envied joys that are not mine
If I have sought to be loved rather than to love,
or thought too long on world gate desires
Great Spirit forgive me

If I have been perverse, hard or cold, ignoring the needs of others
while longing to shelter in your arms
Great Spirit forgive me
Forgive me the things I clearly see
Forgive me the things I cannot see
Teach me and help me to love, to share, and to forgive.

Service

When we observe a problem in someone’s life we often react by trying to fix it through advice or suggestions.  We call this response, compassion when actually it is sympathy.  One of the important qualities necessary to a worker of the light is detachment about our needs, our desires, and our contribution. Detachment is the ability to see another in pain and ask them if they want or need our help.  Detachment is accepting the answer- “No!” Detachment is also letting go of what we cannot change and working to change what we can- about ourselves.

A gift given grudgingly or with the expectation of how it will be used or received is no gift at all.  When we are kind to people we believe are inferior, or less than ourselves, what we offer is condescension, not compassion.  We are taught that there is merit in serving the poor, the downtrodden, the helpless, and the hopeless.  But if we perform  those same acts of kindness, assistance, and service because we see others as our brothers and sisters such service becomes an Act of Grace.

Perhaps the greatest wrong of our culture is to see people in pain, and throw money at them to make them go away.

May we remember that we were sent here to make the world a better place than it has ever been before. At the center of the Spirit Path is a loving heart that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect, spirit, and emotional growth for our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who hold this great vision must continue against all odds. Our life does not belong to us…it is given to us to make of it a gift to all beings.

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May we become at all times:
A protector for those without protection-
A guide for those who have lost their way-
A ship for those with oceans to cross-
A bridge for those with rivers to ford-
A sanctuary for those in danger-
A lamp for those without light-
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter-
And a servant to all in need.

Your heart is calling…Great Spirit is calling…will you answer the call?

ImageGreat Spirit, may I learn to go about my ordinary activities
sowing the seeds of happiness.
If others don’t seem to appreciate my heartfelt sharing,
let me release those seeds to the Winds of Spirit
trusting that they will eventually find a place to grow.

My heart hurts when I see the pain of the world,
And I want to do something to make it go away.
Teach me how to drown my pain
in the joy of Great Mother’s song.
Teach me to accept with grace the things
I cannot change.
Help me to understand what I truly need,
and what others truly need.
Help me to humbly serve You in those around me.
Show me my job
and assist me to do it fully.

Great Spirit, help me to be the best worker of the Light
You have ever seen!

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Compassion

Compassion compels us to mercy and justice.

Compassion is the ability to respond to the pain of others without becoming entangled in their pain so that we simply join them in misery and suffering.  It is the ability to listen to the story others are revealing instead of telling ourselves a story about who they are.

Compassion is the ability to wish good things for all beings without trying to decide if they are worthy or not.  It is the willingness to believe in others even if they betray our faith in them .

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A gift given grudgingly is no gift at all.  When we are kind to people who we feel are inferior, or less than ourselves, what we are giving is contempt, not compassion.  We are taught that there is merit in serving the poor, the downtrodden, the helpless, and the hopeless.  The Path of Spirit tells us such service is its own reward.   But are we compelled to assist others because we see them as needy and disadvantaged, or does our desire to serve come from true Compassion?  True compassion is giving joyfully, respectfully, and whole-heartedly for the good of another.

When we observe a problem in someone’s life we often react by trying to fix it.  We call this response, “compassionate service.”  Many times it is really interference.  Interference is an attempt to give to others what we think they need, or to mend them so we won’t have to experience their pain.

Sometimes it is more appropriate to ask, “May I help you?” or “Do you need help?”   Of course if someone is in danger we must act before asking but on the whole it is more respectful to inquire if our service is needed or desired before automatically responding.  This is also compassion.

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Divine Mother
You are always willing
To gather me in your loving embrace.
You are always ready
To comfort, forgive, and heal my hurts.
Teach me to accept and know
That the suffering of others is my business.

May I learn to hold others in comfort.
May I see and provide for their needs
Even as you have seen and provided for mine.

Thank you Divine Mother
For helping me to feel the touch of your grace,
For opening my eyes to beauty,
And showing me a way I cannot deny.

May I learn to be like you.
May I remember to share loving kindness.
May I focus on being compassionate

In all the situations of my life.
May I remember to be tender, loving, and forgiving
no matter what happens.
May I remember to be like you- Always.