Category Archives: self-empowerment

The Prophet Spoke Again

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

The Prophet spoke once more in the latter days, long after any had been and these be the things she said into the minds of those that would listen.

I am not bringing any good tidings, she said to them, therefore it is entirely up to you whether you listen, or fail to listen, for the message will be given even if only the stones of this world, the pavement of its streets or the girders of its highrises hear it.

You will have noticed that your world has changed once again, and in that change it has turned against you. You speak amongst yourselves of climate change; you debate whether it is the works of your own hands, of the world itself or perhaps a combination of both. You do not know and while you are confused, refusing to face the music you yourselves ordered to be written upon skies, seas and lands, you cannot dance. You but plod, and you weary yourselves with petty thoughts of greedy corporate executives and bankers, corrupt politicians and the endless charade of religion. Thinking yourselves wise, you have indeed made yourselves fools; the duck thinking to survive the winter in a child’s wading pool.

You seek answers where there are none! You deliberately ignore your history to fall ever and anon in the same trap your ancestors fell in and died in. You continue to believe that if you replace this puppet with that one; this god with another; this system with a more “environment friendly” one, you can carry on with just such light brush strokes on the old canvas; that you can carry on with no self-sacrifice, no purifying of heart, no transforming of mind, therefore no essential change.

But know this, if you cannot see it for yourselves: your canvas is rotten, even to the frame that holds it together.

That is the sum total of my tidings, to do with as you see fit. I did not come here to make the change for you, I came but to give warning. If you care about each other and particularly if you care about your own children, you will listen. If you do not, I may as well once again take the name of Cassandra and die in the fall of your great and impregnable city.

Is there any hope? I don’t “do” hope, but I am addressing people who believe in such things. So, look about you, anywhere, and see if there is anything truly new rising from your world; from within your many systems: anything you would bet your life and the life of your children upon? Anything that cannot be bought and sold in the global marketplace or corrupted beyond recognition in your high places of government, banking and worship?

Every prophet is mad, I as much as any other who has ever dared incarnate on this world and in my madness I dare imagine that some of you will ponder this and cry out, ‘Yes, we can see how it is coming apart,’ and add, ‘what should we then do?’

As I said, I am not here to give you answers, that was not part of my job description.

Let me remind you that everyone like myself who has come before and given you strict guidance and rules of conduct has been an abject failure because the teaching was imposed, it did not arise from within yourselves, thus it was powerless to change you. Go ahead, read your prophets, the full time, the part time, the ones you defamed, tortured and killed. You could do worse than re-reading “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. Read other way showers and rule givers and go as far as pondering the voices of those who called themselves saviours and see what you find these many years later.

I will give you hints though, even if it violates my strict self-imposed mandate. Simple hints. First, your civilization as you experience it and as you’ve known it throughout your very short history, is finished. Its days have been measures and found wanting.

Its very nature is inimical to the concept we call life. It has exceeded its limits to growth. It feeds entirely on bloodshed and destruction and many there are who profit from this and many more who rejoice in the results. That is its greatest sin from which it can neither be healed, or ever rise again.

Second hint: if you would do something that has a chance of bearing fruit, though it likely will be but for yourself as an individual, choose the path of the compassionate being. “How” is entirely up to you.

Quote: “A dominant myth is inclusive, in the sense that people feel lost without it. They can’t attribute any sort of human activity to anything else but the myth. They can’t see their way past it. They feel stymied without it.” (Jon Rappoport) and my added comment: “And what is civilization but a dominant myth?”

 

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When I was Nineteen

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~ ]

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.
Everything seemed cut and dried.  Art and music were fine, but could they
explain anything?  Could they tell me why I was alive or what the world was
all about?  I didn’t think so.  And ever since, I’ve lived a compromise: I
wouldn’t try to kill myself, because there was always a chance something
would happen to explain everything.”  (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)

It is the end of another year, my seventy-second year, which isn’t bad considering I’d set my “best before” termination year at fifty. It seemed reasonable at the time, what could I possibly accomplish of anything worthwhile past fifty in a society that worships (fake) youth and gobbles its world as if it is a melting chocolate ice cream?

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.” So did I, definitely, but my reasoning was much more pathetic: my lover dumped me. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but each one brought its own degree of particular inescapable hurt.  It would be many years later, having survived (dig the maudlin self pity!) the many losses, that I realized these experiences in an otherwise sated and bloated consumerist society was how I manipulated reality to grow a bigger heart.

I began to sense that my personal pain was but one of endless extensions of this world’s pain. I began to look at ways I could use that sorrowful “me” to become a part of the rest; to make sorrow my bed partner. I learned to cry in the night and though the tears were mine, gradually they were no longer for me.

Unlike Greg Bear’s heroine in “Songs of Earth and Power” however, I did not hang around for the chance that something would happen to explain everything. I used my awareness as a key to that explanation. Since I am my awareness, my own mind, I would be the key that would open the door and allow the “something that would explain everything” to come into my life and claim me as its lover. Once more, I fell in love, this time with a very dangerous character, an actual terrorist, someone for whom there would be no secrets, the ultimate WikiLeaks.

If I desired to know, all I needed was ask and he took me upon secret paths, through mined fields, under electrified fences of razor wire, into secure, severely guarded places where explanations were taking place.  He made me listen in and I discovered that official secrets were constantly being made up with all seriousness.

The first time I saw this, I wanted to laugh out loud. Only my dangerous lover’s hand over my mouth saved me. We would leave those places, return to city traffic, lights, pedestrians, noises, smells and facades of endless body accomodations, find our own and talk through nights that became ever shorter.

“There is nothing new under the sun” he’d quote from Eclesiastes.

“But I still don’t understand” I protested. “How can there be secrets, then? How do we not know everything?”

“I will not lie to you. The truth is, there are no secrets. You’re a victim of gross mis-direction, all of the time. That is the System, how it controls you, makes you fear; makes you hope. Then it dashes your hopes, deliberately, and starts the whole thing all over again. Each time you are left drained, like losing a lover, and while you are in this heart-mind weakened state you are taken by something else, on the rebound. You don’t want to let go of that last thread of hope and the next lie weaves itself into your dying hope and pulls more out of you. This goes on until you die. Nothing is ever explained because there is nothing to explain – that’s the realization that made you want to laugh when in the vault of secrets: there are no secrets, just manufactured lies.”

“So, if I choose knowledge, what should I do?”

“Use your key. Use you. You are your own source of all the knowledge that exists; all you need do is free your mind. Trust your imagination and go along for the ride.”

“How will I know where I am going?”

“You won’t; you can’t. If you did, that would be another false path, another lie. Where is the freedom in following an already existing path? Obviously it wouldn’t be yours and if you can see it, someone designed it as a trap for you, to seduce you once again upon a way that isn’t yours and will prove disempowering and end in loss, again.”

“Why do the great teachers ask us to follow them? Their teachings?”

“Because they are lovers, not great teachers and their teachings are powerless to change anything.  Because they want you for themselves and have no intention of ever giving you anything of themselves.  Because they are liars.”

“So, no great teachers, and I know everything?”

“Yes, potentially. You need to trust yourself; believe in yourself. You need to realize you were meant to walk this path alone. In fact, there is no path, just endless choices, the best ones seemingly impossible but remember this: nothing is impossible.”

“What happens now?”

“Now I will leave you because you no longer need me. You are equipped to live your life as a self-empowered being. You not only possess the key to all knowledge, you are that key. Much of that knowledge does not pertain to this, your reality, so you must learn to choose wisely, what you keep in your pockets, in your pack, and what you leave behind for the time being.”

“I am scared to be so alone!”

“Fear is the mind killer. I will not fear, I will face my fear… do you remember that? You learned it because you already knew you would need it. Now is the time. You walk alone, you never look back, you never doubt yourself.  Goodbye, lover.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Had to Write This…

I had to write this…
[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  ]

Just finished watching, for the umpteenth time, the movie, “The Statement” (2003) with Tilda Swinton and Michael Caine.  Basically another story of hunting down Nazi murderers of innocent and helpless Jews in WWII, this time in France under the fascist, heavily pro-Nazi Vichy regime led my Marshal Petain. 

The point here is that these mass murders happened 80 or less years ago – one Earthian life time and here we are, poised to do it all over again.  Isn’t that just fantastic how quickly we forget our ignorance, stupidity and murderous mob tendencies just to start again? 

Granted, we haven’t yet quite decided which race or class of people are going to suffer our wrath, but we’re ready to “do it”.  Most likely the educated and well-informed voting mob will pick on people of some sort of colour to slaughter. Refugees, they’re pretty safe, not too dangerous.  The Muslims, well, that’s a different matter, they tend to fight back. We’ll definitely need the police, the Security state, maybe the army on our side for this. It’s but a matter of putting the right people in government to pass the laws to legitimize the slaughter and that’s never been a problem.  The problem is motivating those still sitting on the fence.  They may have to be our target this time.  Great, those stupid liberals won’t expect to be a mob’s target: sitting ducks.  

You see? That’s how it goes.  The circles just get bigger, nothing essential changes.  And why is that? Why doesn’t anything change and why do we put on the rose coloured glasses and insist that somehow, yes, things have gotten better? Was the 20th Century with its two devastating world wars followed by endless wars and the cruelest form of exploitation of resource rich emerging countries really better than the Hundred Years War?  Is that a rhetorical question or what?

What is our problem?  I’ll tell you, and I’ll keep telling you, as long as I have breath: our problem is that as a species, as a collective, as a “civilization” we don’t give a damn. We are not the least empathetic, though we can be so easily conned by our various propaganda machines into believing that we are, indeed, kind and loving “at heart” and that it is only the few; the minority; that is psychopathic and loves war and killing.  It isn’t. It’s a very, very big majority that is in love with violence and that never gets enough of it. If you don’t believe me, check out the internet and video games. Check out how much money derives directly from violence or the promotion of violence.  

Not all violence means bloodshed and death, though we certainly enjoy doing that best. Violence is everything that causes some sort of harm to others; to another – human, animal, plant or planet, for one’s selfish benefit or one’s enjoyment.  We need to get that very clear in our head for it is the same as what religion calls sin: the inflicting of pain and loss upon any “other” for one’s own satisfaction, benefit or pleasure. 

There is but one antidote for this Earthian condition that is destroying this world and possibly much of the biological life on and in it, and that is for all *ISSA beings to choose to become compassionate.  How many times have I said that? Doesn’t matter because it’s like the wind in the leafless cottonwood trees here in winter: sound and either you like it or you don’t like it, but the wind doesn’t change its tune whether you’re comfortable with it or not.

I’ve been following the current protests highlighting climate change and elitist rip-offs called the economy and assessing the chances of such protests actually accomplishing anything at all. My conclusion is predictable: the protesters are going nowhere.

Oh, what a terrible thing to say! Of course they’re going somewhere; they’re making some politicos change their minds… wow! Problem with that is, these mind-changing chameleons are opportunists. They can see the tide flowing in and they are just smart enough to move the blanket, the umbrella and the cooler a bit higher up on the beach. Still same beach, same picnic, same people. They’ll be safe from the rising waters and who cares about those who are already up against the cliff? Their problem.

If there is one thing activism has taught me back then, it’s that to address one “big” problem it is absolutely necessary to address all “big” problems. You cannot address climate change without addressing global poverty. You cannot address poverty without addressing over-population. You cannot promote alternative sources of energy if you are not condemning consumerism outright. You cannot blame right-winged politicians for screwing the planet if you are blinding yourself to the fact that your “left winged” politicians (the ones you would happily put back in charge) are as corrupt and often more so.  You cannot address justice if you are not, first, dedicated to destroying your billionaire elites – and I mean destroy utterly.  You cannot address and hope to make a dent in any of the above if you are not primarily committed to stopping all wars, genocides and where police operate out of control as in the US, stopping all government sanctioned mass murder.  You cannot in all honesty address and oppose any of the above if inside yourself resides one ounce of racism, misogyny, bullying and oh yes, patriotism. How many realize that patriotism is fanaticism that leads to terrorism?  It’s always been that.

Finally (this has to stop somewhere) nothing at all will ever change as long as there remains one Earthian anywhere convinced that s/he is entitled; if particularly blessed in some way or is superior to anyone else.  In other words, until Earthian pride is completely subdued by humility… we are doomed. We were taught; we were given chance after chance; we know right from wrong and as long as we choose wrong we can’t expect that anything will ever come out right. 

“We knew that the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the center of the universe, and we knew that a man-made heavier than air piece of machinery could not take flight. Through all stages of human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Are we really any different today? Have we really changed our acceptance towards things that won’t fit the frame? Maybe there are concepts of our reality we have yet to understand, and if we open our eyes, maybe we will see that something significant has been overlooked.”Terje Toftenes (take from the film “The Day Before Disclosure”)

*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware

The Accused

(I may have posted this story before, I cannot remember and it doesn’t matter, it’s a question of conscience, feelings, and a particular burning remembrance in my heart.)

The Accused

                                   [a short story from  ~ burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

A black hood is pulled over her head and tied around her neck.

She is propelled into the interrogation room down a flight of four cement steps to fall blindly against a metal table leg.

Grabbed from behind, she is roughly pulled up and her wrists shackled to a bar above her head.

Through the torn blouse and knee length skirt her flesh shows deep bruising and bloody cuts.

She hangs motionless .  Silent.

The interrogator’s voice is harsh, cutting,

“You are accused of treason.  How do you plead?”

No answer.

“You must answer me.”

No answer.

“Make her talk.”

Torture.  Moans.  Gagging.  A scream escapes the hooded prisoner’s lips.

“Stop!”

Silence, except for the prisoner’s halting breathing and low moans.

“Are you a traitor to the state?”

No answer.

“Again I ask: Are you a traitor?”

A sigh but no answer.

“Make her talk.”

More torture.  More screams.  No pleading for mercy.

They tie her ankles to keep her from kicking.
Blood drips down her legs and bare feet;
falls to pool on the cement floor that has accumulated same on many previous occasions.

“Stop!”

“You are accused of sedition against the State.  How do you plead?”

Short gasps, moaning.  No audible word.

“Answer me!”

A high-pitched moan, no verbal answer.

“Make her talk!”

Scream!  Scream!  Long, piercing blood-curdling scream… loud moan and silence.

“Stop!”

The interrogator stands up from his chair and walks around to face the woman.  He looks at her bleeding and shaking form for several seconds.  He unties the hood and pulls it from her head.

“Oh God, no! … NO!  This cannot be happening!”

“Father,”  whispers the girl through her broken face, “you assured me you never tortured prisoners.  I had to know if you were lying to me.  At least I am not dying in ignorance.  I forgive you…”

Her head drops forward.

“Get an ambulance here — now!  Unshackle her, lay her on the table, get blankets, get water, cloths, move!”

From the shadows the attending physician comes forward, checks the prisoner’s pulse and the severity of her wounds and pronounces a physician’s most dreaded words:  “She is dead sir.”

After listening to Lakme, the Flower Duet

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I like beautiful music and although I prefer music over song, either can be from any era, just as long as it is beautiful to my ears and it moves me. So I was listening to Lakme, part I, The Flower Duet (in this case performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca – See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw)

…And I was thinking, again, about Earth and about “Man” as Earth’s current lord and master. I was thinking of a line by Carl Sagan in “Contact”: ‘You are capable of such beauty, and such horror.” (Quoting from memory but the gist is here)

Whenever I engage myself, mind-wise, on Earthian matters, I get confused as to how I should approach it. Is it “you” and me as the cosmic observer, or should I include myself in among the observed? How do I decide this? First, I must be sure it isn’t a matter of hubris; that if my observation runs into negative judgment, that if I remove myself it isn’t in any way because I think I’m superior to the rest of Earthianity, but because I no longer think, speak or act as most of “you” do. This process, this judgment, must be impeccable on my part.

I believe it is, therefore I am going to be the observer and use the “you” though certainly in the generic sense. I do not know “you” as individuals, therefore it will be according to your conscience whether you “fit in” or can truthfully remain outside the picture. For you, today, I will once again take up the role of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra and say things you will not find acceptable.

You are capable of great beauty… certainly, and the piece of music I mention above proves it even by itself. You don’t have to be able to write, play or sing such, you just have to be able to listen to it and have the capacity to let it enter you and fill you and for the three or four minutes it takes, let it displace all other thoughts, feelings and emotions. Simple, really.

The problem however is that too often it seems impossible to let go. The “immediate” presses upon the mind and demands full attention. That immediate could be anything from the most pleasurable to the greatest pain or loss. The mind-heart refuses to let go of its current obsession driven by anticipation or the immediacy of physical or mental pain.

Earth is not a place conducive to an overall sense of peace, comfort and wholesome satisfaction. Even in the most remote corners, surrounded by nothing but nature, unless one is blind, the reality of the turmoil taking place in the skies, the seas, the trees, the soil, impinges on one’s awareness: predators, everywhere. You see, your world’s natural motive force is based on predatorship or perhaps I should coin a word here: predatorism, because in fact that is the concept that rules Earth. Some are born to kill, many, many more are born to be killed, eaten or absorbed into the natural fabric, their lives cut down long before they can complete their natural cycle. Even your great mountains are worn away by waters and passing winds.

I realize that most of you do not engage your world this way. You do not sense this, though you may be vaguely aware of it, and you generally shrug it off, or use it as an excuse for indulging in what Sagan called, “great horror.” You call it the food chain, and that’s that, as if somehow that explains it away. As if that same nature you want to wax poetic about can also be the brutal barbaric entity that supports your convenient food chain. As if there is no unacceptable dichotomy here, no problem.

That’s the problem, you see, the fact that you don’t see a problem with how nature works. You don’t see a problem because you don’t realize the direct relationship with your own social failures: your wars, genocides, social injustices of every possible kind juxtaposed with those of the world you happen to be temporarily using as a base because… you have no choice: you can’t get away, and if you could, you would have no clue where to go. Some of you feel that your species is a failure, but how many see your world’s “procession” as an equally and connected abysmal failure?

I feel both, the horror that is the working natural system of this world, and the greater horror that is an intelligent, sentient, self aware (ISSA) species calling itself “mankind” that refuses to question the modus operandi of its natural world; refuses to question its own modus operandi; refuses the simple expedient of connecting the dots in order to realize why things are as they are and why no lasting (real) solution to man’s social problems has ever come forth. The only times some significant change has ever happened was through the exercise of violence. That true statement should make any rational being stop and take note: why must it require violence to make significant change within the social structure, and why is it that any and all such changes have failed and are in the process of failing right now?

To me that would be the “why?” question of all the “why?” questions. Why do you always fail? Look, even now, while shooting off on all kinds of tangents based on IT and AI, you are helplessly realizing that this technology is quite likely going to supplant you, perhaps destroy you as ISSA beings. Barely has the technology begun that already you know without a doubt that some way or another it is going to bite you in the ass, and that severely so.

You see? There is no win-win here, not under the current hegemony; the current “force” or “power” that operates this planet. You, people of earth, are not that force or that power, but its slave species. There, I’ve said it, and but for rare exceptions, that is not something you will find acceptable, therefore you will find it necessary to reject the thought outright. If you did not, guess what? You would be forced to look into this in depth and who knows where that would lead? To confront your real nemesis?

No. I can easily tell you where it would lead: back to organized religion. Without self empowerment; without the power to cancel out all input and replace it all with your own thoughts, your own self-made ISSA reasoning, the forces or powers I speak of, will seem to smile in your brain. They will prod you along, with fine words or goads, down the chute into a ready-made religion that will, of course, explain it all. You will then accept the “new” ideas this “new” religion programs into your mind and who knows? It could explain how the AI is a divine power, or it could just as easily make you believe that the time has come to launch a “revolution” against science and technology and you will go off to destroy all vestiges of science and technology, mindlessly following the dictates of a few madmen who will tell you they are “making the Earth great again.”

Either way, you see, you’re not your own person: you are an actor, a puppet, a robot because you are not in control of your own mind. So you will go along (or you will be of those who will violently oppose the barbarians) and indulge in much, much more horror and under your feet, in the seas, in the trees and in the air, predators will continue to kill and eat, and billions of lifeforms will die premature deaths in attempts to sate the hunger of an insatiable system – as Costello would say, “Same as you!”

Quote: “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

A Bit of Wisdom from my El Issa Days

[essay on compassion – by ~burning woman~ ]

El Issa’s name should not be new to those who have read some of my blog articles. I’ve mentioned her work in my life, her teachings on compassion, on detachment, on servanthood to the point of voluntarily giving one’s life for another. Some will even remember the dream I related where she described to me how she healed her world in the darkness of her Shadowlands.

I came across a book some years back called “The Gods of Eden” written by William Bramley. Seven years of intensive research by this man looking for the answer to his life-long question: why do humans indulge in war? culminated in this book. This is what struck me as I was reading today. I am going to quote some parts from Chapter 12 entitled “The Jesus Ministry.” This passage is about the so-called “lost years” of the life of Jesus.

Quote: “Several years ago I happened to see an intriguing film documentary by Richard Bock entitled The Lost Years. The film suggests that Jesus journeyed to Asia where he spent his teens and early adulthood studying the religions practiced there. One source from which the filmmaker drew this remarkable conclusion was the “Legend of Issa,” a very old Buddhist document purportedly discovered in the Himi Monastery of India by Russian traveler Nicolas Notovitch in 1887.

According to the Buddhist legend uncovered by Notovitch, a remarkable young man named “Issa” had departed for Asia at the age of thirteen. Issa studied under several religious masters of the East, did some preaching of his own, and returned to Palestine sixteen years later, at the age of 29. The significant parallels between the lives of “Issa” and Jesus have led to the conclusion that Issa was, in fact, Jesus. If true, such a journey would certainly be omitted from the Bible because it contradicts the idea that Jesus had achieved spiritual enlightenment solely by divine inspiration.

If Jesus was an Essene (a point already made in Bramley’s book) and he traveled to Asia under Essene sponsorship, and if the Essenes indeed followed an Aryan tradition, we would expect Jesus to be sent to study under the Aryan Brahmans of the Indian subcontinent. According to the legend of Issa that is precisely what happened:

“In his fourteenth year, young Issa, the Blessed One, came this side of the Sindh [a province in Western Pakistan] and settled among the Aryas [Aryans]…”

Upon Jesus’ arrival, “the white priests of Brahma welcomed him joyfully” and taught him, among other things, to read and understand the Vedas, and to teach and expound sacred Hindu scriptures. This joyful reception quickly turned sour, however, because Jesus insisted upon associating with the lower castes. That led to friction between the young headstrong Jesus and Brahmin hosts. According to the legend:
“But the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas [members of the military caste] told him that they were forbidden by the great Para-Brahma [Hindu god] to come near to those who were created from his belly and his feet [the mythical origin of the lower castes];
“[…] But Issa, disregarding their words, remained with the Sudras, preaching against the Brahmins and Kshatriyas. He declaimed strongly against man’s arrogating to himself the authority to deprive his fellow-beings of their human and spiritual rights. “Verily,” he said, “God has made no difference between his children, who are all alike dear to Him.”
“Issa denied the divine inspiration of the Vedas and the Puranas [a class of sacred writings] …”

I don’t need to quote more. Anyone interested can find this book and read it for themselves. The point I wanted to make here was that I’ve discovered why El Issa’s teachings so closely and intimately paralleled those of Jesus still found in the Christian section of the Bible called the “New Testament.” In nature, they are the same person.

Incidentally, because of my intimate relationship with El Issa I’ve come to understand why those teachings mean so much to me and why I think that applied properly, with detachment and true self-empowerment they have the power to change the direction man has taken and bring this world to a true “new age” of understanding and peace – without Earth having to go through some horrific aspect of “Armageddon.”

A conflict ends when one of the protagonists discovers compassion and finds that she or he would rather die than cause harm to another. Indeed the basic teaching of El Issa to me over the years has been, “Far better it is for you to give your [physical] life for another than to take another’s life to protect yours or that of a loved one. Life is much, much more than most even have an inkling of.”

War is our greatest sin, our greatest folly, our greatest downfall. But according to “Issa” it is not inevitable. Each one of us has the power to end it – right now, without any need of further interference from so-called divine beings, or for that matter, aliens. Who but us knows this place best? Who but us has the most to lose if things continue as they are today? Seems to me it is foolishness to expect some unknown entity to care more about this world than we do.

A thought: How do we know when we are truly free? When death is no longer either feared or desired as release from responsibility or from pain.

Think about this: as people, we expect nature to provide for us. When we believe that nature is a bit slow in responding to our expectations or entitlements, we force her hand. We’ve been doing this for millennia and with so little negative reaction that we’ve come to think of it as the proper way to proceed. Force and violence is good, waiting, nurturing, sharing and accepting is bad. We made ourselves into violent creatures and from our violence we became vile creatures with no intention of changing.

Now ask yourselves this: what would happen to the world if we all became compassionate beings “overnight”? Then ask, “Why not? What’s preventing me from choosing compassion as my sole modus operandi? Is it because I’m afraid, a “chicken shit” or because I too believe that might is right and to not use force to get my way indicates that I am a weakling?”

How could you (generic) wage war in a world of compassionate people? How could you cause pain or harm deliberately as a compassionate being? How could you accept social injustice? Racism? Misogyny? Imagine the joy felt as a world as we inexorably x’d out our long list of societal evils?

Well, there’s no magic in it, is there. I’ve made that choice and I hope that it shows a bit even on this blog. I’m an ordinary member of the great uneducated, unwashed, never heard masses. No better certainly, hopefully no worse, morally speaking, than any other. That being said, as I’ve said it before, if I can do this, anyone can do this. It’s a matter of choice and if you (generic) choose not to consider becoming a compassionate being, what does that say of your character? That would be a frightening admission!

The offer is simple, the consequences from accepting can save a world and possibly billions of lives.

Too much to ask?

Quote from the fantasy novel, “The Sword, the Bow and the Staff” by Sha’Tara: … “The strongest arm isn’t the one who can throw fires, move storms, overthrow a fortification or destroy an army.

“The strongest arm is the one that cradles a child; that picks up a broken body and heals it; that wraps itself around the grieving and provides comfort; that blocks a blow meant to harm an innocent. That is the strongest arm.

“The second strongest arm is the one who can wield the sword, throw the spear, shoot the bow, pull back and notch the wire of the crossbow or manipulate a staff but only in the service of justice.

“In the end it comes down to humility, courage and compassion.”

A Meditative Journey into the Cave of Fear

This story uses the prompt “Cave” and was written for the October “blog battle” at rachaelritchey.com,    https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/stories-cave/

Short Story by Sha’Tara

It began as a deliberate entry into a gaping opening in the side of a low mountain. I could hear water dripping from wet walls and feel the clinging cold dampness of the place. The question I had to face was whether to proceed into this cave. Of course I could not know the end of it without the experience of it, so I decided to enter.

There was a kind of track sloping down, made of natural crushed shale and slippery under my hiking shoes. After finding my balance, down I went, surrounded by a growing opaque darkness. I had no fire or flashlight, just my senses to guide me and my unquenchable curiosity to push me onward.

As I walked deeper into the cave, it became pitch black and I had to give up trying to use my eyes.  Without any light to define the surrounding darkness, there was nothing to see.  But wait, that’s when I “saw” a new kind of light, surreal, somewhat as depicted in Kirlian photographs.  I could see without seeing!  I could now step forward and down with greater confidence.  The water still dripped from the black walls and I could see it glistening on the ceiling.

There was a warm dankness about the place and I smelled an unpleasant odor. At this point the eerie lighting showed me a small tunnel branching off on the right. I walked to its entrance and saw a dry surface leading upward.  It had an easy walking surface, no loose rocks or shale, just flat grey rock.

Choice.  Should I take this inviting tunnel, or keep on the downward journey of the other one?  Something within me reasoned this drier tunnel would be a dead end, or take me back up and out the other side of the mountain.  I chose to continue down the original cave, ever deeper under the mountain.  That’s when I realized I had passed my first test.

I continued to question the purpose of this weird quest and who had carved these tunnels, and why?  Where was the King under the Mountain?  Where was the sound of hammers as Dwarves carved out the hard black rock to find their precious stones, their silver and gold?

“What will I find in the tunnel?” asks Luke Skywalker of Yoda.  “Fear” he replied.  “Your greatest fear.  Do not take your weapons down there, they will only contribute to your downfall.”  But the young, the rash, the foolish seldom listen to the voice of experience and wisdom.  He went fully armed into the tunnel to be  confronted by his arch-enemy, Darth Vader.  They fought.  Luke won and cut Vader’s head off.  When he looked into the terrible mask, his own face stared back at him.  Fear gives birth to anger, anger to hate and hate to death.  There is no escape. The undisciplined, un-empowered overconfident self is always our own worst enemy.

My fear of what lay ahead became palpable. I sensed a ‘Something’ not alive as we understand the concept and I knew it was lurking further down. It had eyes that could see the minutest details in the dark; that could see into the heart and find every weakness, every frailty, every shadow, every dark, hidden corner where residues of resentment, shame and guilt are stored.  That is what it wanted to feast upon.  It was starving for an orgy on human sin.

I knew then it would never let me leave this place, even if I turned and tried to run back up the way I’d come.  This was its world or perhaps better put, an underworld.  There were hidden passages I sensed as flow of air coming from the sides of the cave. It used these as shortcuts to waylay any creature that wandered this far.

If we intend to walk the darkness of the underworld we must not carry darkness within our mind-heart.  Only the pure of heart can pass unmolested to enter the sacred place of sacrifice.  Yes, that’s what had drawn me down this corridor of non-time.  I remembered what came at the end of this place: sacrifice and redemption.  I understood fully why the beast or beasts, for I now sensed many,  waylaid me.  If I passed, I would have a clear conscience and they would be defeated, left starving.  Thus I would be permitted to offer myself as a sacrifice upon the altar of fire at the end of this journey and in doing so I could call upon the great forces of spirit to grant my one wish. If I passed.

They knew.  And they came upon me to find my darkness; to feed on my fear, for fear is darkness.  I am so close to being devoured here.  I have no weapon with which to ward these starving demons.  I have no protection.  There is no place to turn, not even against a wall – they are all around me, salivating, snarling, growling.  “Give in to your fear… give in and hate me with all the passion that is within you.  Anticipate the pain you are going to endure when my poisoned fangs sink into your flesh, and scream your rage!”

This is when I found some of my power. “Peace!” I said to myself, I came to this place, to confront my fear and not to give in to it.  To test my resolve since that day long ago when I had made a decision and chosen my own name. Shalom Tara! I closed my eyes and slowly sank upon the rough floor.  Beings of light completed this vision then, approaching and taking my hands, helping me to stand and leading me through the rest of the way.

So did I pass my second test. The third has yet to come.