Tag Archives: life

Compassion in a Nutshell (as promised)

OK, here goes, my stumbling attempt to clarify something that is way out of my league… but someone’s got to do it, and I promised!

Compassion in a Nutshell, as I was taught, how I experience it daily
by    ~burning woman~   expressed by Sha’Tara

What it isn’t:  When I speak on compassion as I was taught by the Teachers and how I experience it, I’m never talking about a common mixture of feeling and emotion, of love, like, attraction, desire, lust, romance, or any of the usual social relationships.  It is none of those.

What it is, point by point:  Compassion is utterly selfless.  Whatever I give to another is entirely for that other, no thought of “what’s in it for me” involved in the transaction.  At the same time I realize that any expenditure of “energy” on my part is immediately replenished and added to.  Since I am fully aware of this now, I have to say that although it seems a contradiction, my motivation is both, selfless and selfish.

Compassion is inclusive.  This needs to be understood very clearly because the compassionate being has no enemies… ever.  What is an enemy?  Obviously someone you fear, either because s/he has hurt you in some personal and real way and would continue to do so, or it is someone your society has demonized.  You fear and you hate.  You want protection or you want to attack.  These are emotional responses.  In this area it isn’t forgiveness that heals, it’s compassion.

Compassion is non-emotional.  In compassion there are no emotional responses.  This also must be clearly understood.  In the previous case of “the enemy” the concept disappears completely if there is no emotional response involved.  Does that mean then that the compassionate person is android-like?  Not at all.  If anything the compassionate person develops and experiences deeper feelings than a normal person.  I find myself constantly reacting strongly to events normal people hardly notice, take for granted or even enjoy.  When I see someone eating meat the effect is mentally devastating, hence why I block any emotional response.  To me all killing is murder and a “piece of meat” was a living, breathing, feeling “other” that a universally false belief backed by emotions, has turned into a billion dollar business from billions of helpless torture victims of “gastronomical” greed.  Hunting, fishing, violent sports such as boxing or sports involving animals in which they suffer or are in danger of being seriously hurt – horse racing for example – these are all stumbling blocks to the empath.  Try to imagine what the truly compassionate feels when confronted with instances of abuse, oppression, rape, genocide, war and mass shootings.  It isn’t just “news” believe me: it’s hell.  You don’t want to go there emotionally or you won’t come back.  Compassion takes care of it by shutting down emotional response.

Compassion does not recognize special relationships.  For a gregarious species this may be the toughest aspect to comprehend.  “You mean I can’t “love” my child more than anyone else’s?” is a typical response.  To a normal person such is unthinkable.  So perhaps it can be explained.  First, compassion doesn’t care who or what you choose to “love” or “hate” because that is neither here nor there.  Compassion, being, shall I say, “higher” in nature and power than all known types of love, overrides those emotions in any case and neutralizes them.  The compassionate being has no use for special relationships, they just cloud the issue.  So if you already have special relationships that need your presence, input and support, compassion will certainly not prevent you from doing your duty.  The difference is that these relationships, these people, animals, things you may own, are not central to your life and do not determine your thoughts and acts.  You are first of all, compassion — not just compassionate — and everything else is secondary.

Compassion is never reciprocal.  Another point that has to be clearly understood.  Most if not all Earthian relationships exist within some form or reciprocity even if it’s just a form of recognition for altruistic acts.  Ego (I don’t like using that term but most people understand what is meant by that) is usually involved in normal relationships, from the dependent to the seductive to the gimme-gimme; the protective to the controlling.  I could truthfully say I suppose that compassion is self-rewarding, that it is its own reward.  Indeed it doesn’t take long for a compassionate person to realize how much the practice empowers!  This empowerment is highly beneficial to both, body and mind.  The immune system works better and there is no energy wasted in lust, regret, recrimination, jealousy, competitive behaviour, fear or anger.  There is neither a sense of gain, nor a sense of loss as far as relationships go because compassion overrides the great “need” that drives individuals into exclusive, controlling relationships.

Compassion demands, and feeds, self empowerment.  A crucial point.  No dependent or non self empowered person can claim to be compassionate by nature.  They may express aspects of compassion at certain critical times but much of that will wear out quickly, or wear the person down because in all cases it will be the result of some response to an emotional appeal and terribly entropic.  A compassionate being is a self empowered being for the two go hand in hand.

Compassion results in detachment, not just from special relationships but from “the world” as it is often called in spiritual circles.  Compassion makes it possible to realize the true nature of joy and sorrow.  As with so many concepts, joy and sorrow are usually misunderstood and lumped in with pleasure, fun, happiness and sadness, pain, unhappiness, grief, loss, etc.  Notice that these aspects of happy/unhappy are essentially ego-centered, i.e., selfish.  It is what one feels and gets emotional about.  Properly understood, joy and sorrow come from empathy.  Joy contains all the good being experienced by the world and conversely sorrow contains all the evil being experienced.  As explained to me, Joy and Sorrow are twins, one who walks in the light, one who walks in darkness.  They can only meet when someone provides a bridge between them and that’s what a compassionate person, or being, does.  A compassionate being is never concerned about personal joy and/or sorrow.  Taken care of.

The compassionate walk between the worlds of light and darkness and bridge the two.   That is their greatest accomplishment until they move on away from here to things of higher consciousness of which I know but an inkling and cannot authoritatively speak of.

In a nutshell then, you are who you are at this moment.  You make a decision to become a compassionate being.  Being of sound mind you choose to make that your entire life’s purpose.  Then you open yourself up completely to the “power” or “energy” your irrevocable choice brings to you.  You proceed from there.  You’re on your own for every decision you make and through every “battle” you must fight.  Then you watch yourself become a different person until hardly anyone recognizes you.  And that’s it.

“What if I enter into this thing and I fail?”  one may ask.  I don’t know, honestly.  All I can think of is this: that anyone who enters into a life choice to become compassion cannot fail unless something was held back; there was a degree of “dishonesty” when signing on that dotted line.  This thing I’m presenting here is in a sense a personal absolute.  In and never out.  If you’ve seen the movie “Men in Black” you will remember that signing on meant to become a different person and disappearing from your familiar world.  You lost your name and became a “K” or a “J” or a “D.”  This is something like that except that “you” gradually blend into “Compassion” and that is the new nature you then express to the world.  Crazy, right?

If you were offered the key to saving your world, and your people, from a terrible catastrophe they’re bringing on themselves and you were convinced this was the real thing, what would YOU do?  For me it wasn’t a difficult choice at all.

Best I can do in explaining the concept.

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Thoughts and ideas – Passing through the Eye of the Needle

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

[Quote from: A Quantum Murder – Peter F. Hamilton]:  CTC’s:  Closed Time-like Curve or loop through space-time.

“These microscopic holes through space-time are too small for physical objects to pass through, so he suggested that they facilitate the exchange of pure data. Your mind [ ] is quite literally connected with billions, trillions, of other minds; a vast repository of visual images, smells, tastes, and memories. This so-called psychic trait in certain humans is no more than a superior interpretation ability, you can make sense of our cosmological heritage, filter out the scream of the white noise jumble, pick over the bones.” [unquote]

I’m thinking of the saying: passing through the eye of the needle.  Microscopic holes through space-time too small for physical objects to pass through: could this mean only someone “conscious” can travel through the eye of the needle?  Someone in pure consciousness having no physical presence, i.e., no attachments to anything – to any THING?  Question: is “consciousness” a thing?  Is spirit a thing?  Can something non-physical, non-measurable, non-sensually apprehendable be a thing?  If nothing (no thing) is impossible (coming back to that) can a thought that gives a name to a non-thing be possible?  If I can name it, it must exist, however improbable that may appear.  Can one say something that isn’t without making it real; without giving it some definition in this “real time, real space” reality in which the defining thought is uttered? Can ‘existence’ be and not be real, as we are forced to understand the term, real?

More questions:  Are there (is there such a thing as) psychic powers?  If there are, could they be explained rationally, scientifically?  And, of course, if they cannot be explained in a physical sense, does that invalidate the concept entirely?  Or, is man’s lopsided science once again wrong in addressing something it has no business doing?  Is science now replacing religion in making pronouncements about aspects of life it is not designed to study and theorize upon?  Like the pathos of today’s religions coming face to face with thousands of years of ignorant and deliberate lies, is science gradually thrashing its way out of its natural waters to suffocate on an alien shore like a beached whale?

Existence; reality; actuality; personality: can these “exist” outside the atomic/sub-atomic structure?  Outside the physical universe?  Think in reverse: could there be physical existence without a non-physical underlying structure replete with an intelligence so massive it is immeasurable, incomprehensible, unknowable?

I know I’ve been around and around this old tree standing alone in the middle of the prairie, but could I have been chasing myself with another self from another reality?  Same tree, same prairie, different time, different “parallel” universe or universes, for that matter?  Ok, perhaps not the same tree or same prairie, just images of same, doppelgangers, identical realities, and “I” traveling between them, thinking I’m anchored in the same space-time but in fact flying about at an exponentially expanding faster than light rate?

I already know mind-wise that the fact of the matter is we are travelers on an endless maze of possibilities stretching, not in a straight line but arrowing away from, and towards, the “self” in every possible direction, out and in.  Riders of the cosmos.  From ever to forever, and our own private mind the guidance system of this vast and ever-expanding ship taking us through cosmic reality as best it can.  As there is no rest for the wicked, there is even less for the aware mind.  It needs no sleep.  Using data for fuel, it maintains itself upon experience after experience, growing, changing, adapting, learning and ever pushing back the darkness that is its unknowing.

Someone will ask, so, have you encountered God in these travels?  God, you will answer truthfully, was left behind in another space-time continuum.  God is man’s quandary, his paradox.  God is the painting which evolving mind-man has been working on since inception, becoming both, man’s greatest thought and his greatest nightmare.  God is not something the self-aware independent questing mind spends energy querying.  Enough of that long ago when she needed artificial wings to stay aloft; when “she” – the now free mind – existed on only one straight line of space-time and sought rest from its labours, as in, “Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”  When on her tombstone they caused it to be written: “Requiescat in pace” – Rest in Peace.

Now is not the time to sit and ponder possibilities, as in, “to be or not to be.”  It’s now the critical state that allows one free mind to create light to leave as a beacon within the tunnel of space-time.  There will be other travelers who will appreciate that some small parts of their quest have already been traveled and they will thank the long-gone strangers who went before and left markers.  I know I am thankful for the parts I found already lit up.

[Quote again]:  “I used to see decreasing probabilities. Tau lines, we call them; right out in the far future there were millions of them, wild and outrageous; then you start to come closer to the present, and they begin to merge, probabilities become more likely, taming down. The closer you come to the present, the more likely they get, and the fewer. Then you reach the now, and there’s only one tau line left, it’s not probability any more, it has become certainty. That’s why I’m not surprised you only saw one past, because there is only one now.”

“Alternative futures, but no alternative past[?]”

“The future isn’t a place, don’t make that mistake,” [ ] “It’s a concept. I’ve steered people away from hazards often enough to know. The future is a speculative nebula, the past is solid and irrefutable. Taken from the psychic viewpoint, anyway,” [unquote]

Is that so?  Or is that just a convenient statement to end an uncomfortable moment in thought?  The aware mind knows that the so-called “past” is just as much riding on all the wave-fronts, tau lines or infinite directions as is the future.  Just because someone can only see one past, or even if ten billion individuals locked in group-mind step agree on only one solid past, that doesn’t change the fact that one individual not locked in; one free mind can see the past differently.

I imagine picking up a novel and opening it up at random.  To make sense of the reading, the mind instantly creates a “past” to anchor the present presented in the book.  That past may resemble the one implied by the story, or it may not.  But if I continue reading forward, “my” substituted past is now the past for all the characters in the book.  I read them through my particular vision of what their past was.  The interesting thing is, they don’t care because they can’t remember: they’re just characters in a book.

That is the state any as yet unaware, non-questing mind is in.  It has no power to question or change whatever past its Past Makers, particularly history, mythology and anthropology, give it.  They cling to the pendulum and from one end of the arc to the other, they only see the so-called present.  Is there a god in charge of winding the clock and keeping the pendulum of time moving?  One omnipresent God?

The unaware mind cannot travel therefore it must accept that there is a “present” that is formed by an unchanging past and is constantly moving into a preset future it cannot know.  It resembles sailors upon the deck of a tall ship caught in the doldrums – “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”  It can extrapolate; it can guess; it can wish – but it can’t know. The present is a prison; a prop; a permanence island; the lotus flower; forgetfulness. Present-dwelling people, like the lotus-eaters, live in a drugged state, going through the motions of being alive, yet always waiting for someone, something, to happen so they can experience something different; something new.  A new house, long weekend, new baby, retirement, hockey game.  Many lotus eaters believe in some blissful after-life (thus subconsciously admitting they are going into a non-life state!) while others simply spin away their days until, like a child’s top, the spinning slows, then stops: the top falls over.

The aware mind abides not; is always in motion.  It cannot relate to any state that implies rest: that would mean death, and the final death is the mind-death. The aware mind exists in a state of detachment and awe of life.  Ever questing, expanding, analyzing, questioning, judging, discerning… never satisfied.

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

Given the way global and local events are developing, a serious observation can give but one conclusion: that long-talked about collapse of civilization is going to take place.  It probably will not be tomorrow, or next month, or next year.  It may not happen in ten years, or fifty.  The forces orchestrating the collapse of man’s “great” accomplishments are on the job, so to speak, but not all are totally committed to their task.  With all the moving and shaking, who knows but we may yet enjoy some reprieve, some years of relative calm and peace.  Unlikely but possible. 

That said and out of the way, I’m currently reading a dystopian novel called “The Water Knife” by Paolo Bacigalupi.  It’s centered in the US – namely the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Colorado.  The droughts have been severe and finally it’s been realized that water is at a premium.  Acts of sabotage and quasi-civil war take place between farmers, states, and cities fighting for water, and those fighting to keep their water rights: fighting for survival.  It’s a horrible time for all involved, with massive movements of displaced persons or refugees leaving farms, towns and cities that have lost out to the highest or most aggressive bidders and find themselves literally without water. 

It’s not too difficult at this point to see how this could happen, and in a short time.  Even flooding is not a good gauge to use to measure drought: there’s short term and long term, and man should learn to reason and act long term, but so far that ability has quite eluded the creature.

I want to end this with a quote from the novel: [Maria Villarosa, a young girl alone and lost in the chaos] “Why?” she asked, finally.  “Why are you so nice?  It doesn’t make sense.  I’m not your woman.  I’m not your people.”

[Toomie, an old black man] “We’re all each other’s people.  Just like we’re all our brothers’ keepers.  We forget it sometimes.  When everything’s going to pieces, people can forget.  But in the end?  We’re all in it together.  You are my people, Maria.  No question in my mind.”

No question in my mind either, not now.  But it took many years to work that simple addition to arrive at the correct answer.  And even now, having made compassion and service my purpose, my passion, the selfish thoughts and times arise.  Not as powerfully as they once did, but it is still a narrow path from which it is easy to stray and stray too far you won’t find it again.  That is my one fear: that I would follow some will o’ the wisp, some lure, some promise of a short cut and find myself hopelessly lost.  So I gnaw at this compassion bone, and drag it around with me.  If I bury it at the end of the day, I make sure to dig it up again in the morning and drag it along to worry it some more. 

Some might say, why should we care?  You live, you die, case closed.  That works for those who convince themselves that is how it is.  There are some of us, and you may pity us indeed, who happen to k-n-o-w that death is not an end but a passage, and a sort of test.  On the other side there are no “things,” no pretty bodies with seductive smiles to win over the judges, no Olympic gold medals, no Nobel or Pulitzer prizes, no stacks of money, no deeds to any plantation.  Yes, there are deeds, and that’s the problem.  Our deeds, my deeds.  My thoughts.  My words.  These are my judges, after death has done its thing and stripped me of all those physical “things” that don’t mean a thing at the end of the path. 

So yes, it’s going to happen.  In this life, in the next, whatever.  What matters to me is preparedness.  Knowing how to face to chaos when it comes.  Note that I’m not saying the sky is falling, I’m merely saying that we should all take advantage of this warning time to teach ourselves how to respond… properly, as compassionate and caring individuals.  Not as survivors – these die last – but as sharing and giving people, for if I have and my neighbour does not, I’m but half-alive until I share.  Openly, freely. 

Just thought I’d pass that along.  It’s what’s been filling my days (and dreams) lately, while the wild fires continue to burn.  A picture of a smoke-filled sunrise taken a week ago.  The smoke continues… though somewhat abating in the Lower Mainland (B.C., Canada) 

Imagination on the List of Banned Substances

                                        [thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara

“The older you get, the more you realize it’s OK to live a life others don’t understand.”

Few older people understand this but it is quite true.  What’s to lose?  Very little, but what would cause an old person to become a rebel of the imagination?  Not someone as in this picture but someone who could make a difference to society?  OK, let’s describe a normal life lived normally, see where it ends up. 

 

There is one time in life when it’s also OK to live a life others don’t understand and that’s in early childhood.  “They” allow you to use your imagination then because society doesn’t feel threatened by you when you live an imaginary life with imaginary friends.  After all, you’re just a child, how much harm can you do with your imagination? 

But the seasons, they quickly turn, and turn.  From childhood you enter your brave new world.  You spend your in-between and mostly significant years serving the “they” in various ways, some by killing and dying (as in the military), some by slaving and consuming, and some by entertaining and partying.  During those years you are severely controlled and your imagination is permanently on the list of banned substances.  Use it in public and soon you’re out of a job, out of favour, out of the family or even in jail.

Every rule has exceptions.  You can use your imagination if you plug it into the System, in an approved way.  You can use it to spew fake news (which used to be called propaganda); teach fake Church history or write popular novels that guarantee a profit for book-makers… or do I mean book sellers?  You can use it to make gaudy or mindless commercial art suitable to adorn the entrance of some government building or corporate headquarters.  You can use it to entertain those who can pay.   In short, you can use it to make money and become famous.  It won’t be much of an imagination, but it will be profitable and therefore it will be unlikely to be put on the Matrix list of banned substances.  The Matrix will allow you to believe you are being rebellious, or effective; that you are moving and motivating and empowering when all along you are just following a script from which you can never depart. The more successful you become on this path, the more trapped you are in it.  

Then one morning you wake up… and you’re old.  The years passed.  You served well; you shopped, consumed and hoarded.  You dutifully voted and believed (in God, science, your favourite football team or the Great Pumpkin.)  You read, or listened to, your allotted share of lame stream fake news media.  You took in a few cruises, gambled, played your computer games, watched your  professional sports, sitcoms, political rallies and reality shows on your big smart TV.  You had your flu shots, bought your meds, pledged allegiance.  You might even have marched on a pre-approved “protest” rally. 

Now you’re old and out to pasture and the System doesn’t care about you. At this point in life you could realize you can return to that child-like imagination once again.  Nobody would care; nobody would listen to the rantings of an old has-been.  Look at that picture again: you could dress weird, act weird, eat weird, talk weird… if you wanted to: there would be few consequences.  All you’re good for now, all “they” care about is whatever property you may still have when you die, or for the medical system, what your physical disintegration can generate in terms of profit: yes, in a consumer society there’s money to be squeezed out of dying and death. 

The sad part of this however is that a life spent dutifully serving the System, and believing in the System will not be conducive to development of a great, imaginative mind.  More likely, the older individual will continue the life-long pattern; continue serving and supporting the System, and in “entitled societies, continue to have expectations of the System.  It has been observed that the older a person gets, the more likely they are to become increasingly conservative and “right winged” in expression.  We certainly see much evidence of that in Western society and it’s probably no different in any other society.  

Imagination is never conservative, nor “right-winged” in expression.  So, an imagination that was killed in order to fit into the public education meat grinder and religious indoctrination is not going to magically re-appear at the end.  Life will end, not with a bang, but a whimper… a long drawn out whining, raspy whimper.  Take another look at that picture: do you really see a change agent there?

We’ve got our Backs Against the Wall

                                            [short story, by Sha’Tara]

James Macken closes down his netbook and goes looking for his daughter.  Twelve year old Ellie or “Elle” Macken is leaning on the railing of the cabin’s small patio, looking intently into the night sky.  There is no moon and the stars, this high in the Coast Mountains, shine brightly.  Despite a light breeze blowing from the west, the summer night remains warm. 

His voice breaks the night’s silence, “Elle?”

“I’m over here, dad.”

James walks over to her and leans on the railing, his face following where she was staring.  “What’s up there, Elle?”

“ I don’t know, dad.  I just feel so funny, so detached, all of a sudden.”

“Funny, like how?”  He isn’t joking or pretending.  He’d learned long ago to take his daughter very seriously or else.  She was already a very deep thinker, or perhaps more of a thinking machine.  Her thoughts are her reality.

“Well it’s like this.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly about my future… well really, the future of this world, and however I extrapolate my thoughts on it, I don’t seem able to picture any sane, safe, comfortable or desirable future.  OK, so here we are, out here almost by ourselves in these mountainous wilds and it’s really nice.  Don’t get me wrong, dad, I love it here, and I’m very grateful that you got us this place where I can spend some of my summer vacations, and I wish mom was alive and with us now… but this is an illusion, isn’t it?  We’ve got our backs against the wall, haven’t we?”

“I should understand you by now, Elle, but what exactly do you mean?”

“I mean, dad, this planet has no future as long as mankind, as “we” continue to take over and basically eat it alive.  We are a disease, dad, can’t you see?” 

James Macken is no fool.  He knows exactly what his daughter is saying and he’d be the last person to contradict her observations.  In a purely technical sense, she is correct: man is destroying the world, the only world he knows, or can have on which to live.  Man is destroying his own living space without the least hope of gaining access to another should this one become unlivable.  But he’s a forty-two year old research scientist while his child is but a twelve year old who has yet to commit to any discipline.  She’s expressing her emotions about what she sees, hears and reads.  He’s thinking that perhaps with puberty in the offing she’ll give more attention to another side of life: romance, and girl stuff.  But then, some never do, and based on her IQ scores it could well be that Elle may not pay much attention to that side of life.  

“I’m not certain you’re giving us a chance here, Elle.  Not everybody is a destroyer of nature.”

“Of course I know that, dad.  Most of my teachers are quite keen on making us aware of the problems this world is facing in the immediate future – that being my future – but you know?  Most of the kids just smirk, or laugh, or ask really dumb questions, especially when we discuss climate change, for example.  People really don’t care, dad.  And you know what’s the saddest part?  Those who make the laws, the politicians; those who sell stuff, the corporations, it’s the “don’t care” crowd they rely on for votes and consuming!  So, how can anything change?  How can anything get better?”

“You care, don’t you?  There must be others like you in your school?”

“Not many.  What if we were one in a hundred – what sort of balance is that?  We can talk but then we’re made fun of and ostracized.  Most kids can’t go it alone, dad.  They need friends and they’ll do almost anything to have friends.  So, statistically, the “don’t care” crowd, being the vast majority, forms the winning pool and those who care stop caring to fit in.”

“Sometimes when I listen to you, I think you were born old, Elle.  I love you, you know that, don’t you?” 

She puts her arm around his waist and looks in his face; “I know dad.  I know.  But I’m growing up fast and soon I’ll be on my own, having to live with myself.  I’ll be the product of my own thoughts and I’ll have to confront a world that is totally alien to the way I think.  You know what dad?  I’m truly scared.  So scared that often I think I should just, you know, call it quits and leave…”

“Elle!”

“I’m being totally honest with you dad.  When mom died, I nearly did it; I wanted so to follow her.  But you were there, as you’re here, and I didn’t want to leave you behind and I knew you wouldn’t come after us, so I stayed.  But for two years I haven’t been able to shake the idea that perhaps I would be much better off if I died.  How can I really live if I can’t see a future for myself?  What’s to live for, dad?  All the things I love and care about are being killed and destroyed.  The world, my piece of the world, is becoming noisier, dirtier and more dangerous all the time.  Something’s so wrong.  There’s what they call “degeneracy” happening all around and the more of that there is, it’s like stepping in swamp mud, you don’t know how deep you’ll sink or if you’ll be swallowed whole.  On top of that you’re getting older too, and you will die and then I’ll have nobody, nobody at all.  That’s not a challenge to me, that’s a nightmare.”

“You’re not alone in that, Elle.  But I think you’re both, over-thinking, and under-thinking this whole thing.  Isn’t it possible that in a couple of years you’ll fall in love with a boy who is really nice – can’t imagine you falling for some cretin – and he’ll become your world for a while?  Then you’ll go to college and find some subjects you really like, pursue a career and then meet the man you will want to marry.  Likely you will have kids and you’ll have your own family, make your own world.”

She sighs and leans into him.  He can feel her vulnerability, wishing he had something better to offer her.  “I’ve thought about that dad.  It’s soothing sometimes but it changes nothing.  When I speak of the future, I mean “the” future, not just something I’ll carve out and struggle to keep for myself.  How could I, in conscience, have kids if I can’t give them a real future?  That would be horribly irresponsible of me.  I have to be sure and what I’m sure of isn’t conducive to a peaceful and safe life.  There’s something seriously wrong with all of our lives; with our life as a people, and I really hate it that I’m one of the very few who can see this, and actually cares about it.  I don’t like being alone but I have no choice, see?  And what if I found someone who thought like me, was like me, how could we ever have a happy life knowing, and living with, what we know?  What would be the point of trying to live together if we decided to spend all our time fighting for causes that take us away from each other, or worse, that land us in jail?”

“I’ll be totally honest with you too, Elle.  I truly don’t know.  I know that I love you deeply.  You’re all that I have left of Amber, of your mother, and you’re so like her in many ways, but so different in others.  I admire your intelligence even though it makes it very challenging for me to keep up with you.  I think I’ll stop trying to do that, just try to be your friend for now.  What you say about leaving breaks my heart, but I know you know that.  So instead of panicking about what you may decide to do with your life… I’ll make a friend’s pact with you.  Hear me out and let me know if we have a deal.  If you come to the end of your road, and you are convinced it is the end, I promise not to stand in your way.  You can even tell me that you are leaving, and I’ll let you go.  I won’t help you, and I don’t want to know the details, but I promise to honor your choices, your decisions and most certainly, your memory.  In this, our private world, Elle, you are no longer a child.  Make your own choices and I will support you as best I can.  Deal?”

“Oh, dad, no one can ever have had a better father.  I love you too; I can feel that so deeply.”  And in between deep sobs, she finally managed to say, “We have a deal, dad.  Thank you for giving me my freedom to choose.” 

 

 

Listening in Time

(short story,  by Sha’Tara)

“I know you are keen, and willing.  Good traits in a researcher.  But you are missing the key ingredients.  You must sit quietly, by yourself, for hours, maybe days, and listen in time.  Listen to the voices of the dead, and the pre-incarnate.  They are in the voices of “others” and in the sounds of the earth: the wind, the cracking soil, the moving grains of sand, the patter of the rain on scrabbly hard-pan soil.  They come on the heat waves.  Sometimes they get playful and paint mirages which tell stories from within your own heart and soul which your tired and bleary eyes will translate into images of desires.  

If you do not learn to listen, all you will accomplish in these places as you sift through dirt and rubble is collect garbage.  It will be recognizable as works of the people but it will reveal no stories, no myths, no history.  These you will have to create from your own imagination and trust me on this, it will not be the same stories as what was, even if the entire world should buy your interpretations.  Honest archaeologists are a rare breed but there is nothing written, either in this desert or in mountains, that says you can not be one of that small group.  When you teach yourself the secret of time listening the people who made and used the objects you unearth, they will tell you their stories.  Some will seem strange and some will be, to your modern understanding, quite unbelievable, but just listen.  It is not your call to re-interpret the lives of others according to your current knowledge: that is sacrilege.  Let the ghosts speak; let them tell their story, and accept it at face value.  It may be that they lie to you, but let it be: do not add insult to injury by adding to the lies.  After all, as you will discover in time, all of your history is lies.  There is no truth to be found on this world, or in this universe.  We know, we’ve been looking for millions of your years and there is no such chimera.”

I was young then, and I’d been experimenting with the local flora under the auspices of a would-be witch doctor who called himself George but whose real name was an unpronounceable Mexican word that sounded like apple-cotle or aptly cotli.  This particular drug induced “time dreams” he had told me, and… “You should only smoke a small amount at sunset.  Sit against a rock, or a tree if you can find one, and set your mind free to roam.  Do not try anything, just let it all go.  It is the time of the spirits and sometimes one of them will notice you and approach you with a story, or some advice.  Just listen and do not try to make any judgment about what you hear, or think you hear.  Put your own thoughts aside and just absorb.” 

I smoked slowly, not eagerly, trying to practice “wisdom” in my folly.  How long I sat against the rock that dug into my back, feeling the sand getting cold beneath me, I don’t know.  Darkness came and the sky exploded with myriads of pin-points of lights: star, planets, meteors, even satellites and flashing lights of planes.  Time passed and I no longer felt the cold, nor the loneliness or that deep fear of the dark unknown.  I “slept” with eyes open, hearing and learning to listen.  I heard small animals squeaking to one-another, some unrecognizable insects repeating endless calls; owls, even one loud shriek of what could only be some wild cat, cougar perhaps.  It didn’t matter.

It seemed as if I’d become a part of the landscape, an extension of the rock I leaned against.  I felt a deep well-being; a thoroughly unfamiliar certainty.  I was “here” and “here” was where I belonged.  This was “home” like nothing had ever been.  “Here I sit, and here I remain,” I thought, against all common sense.  I felt the cold, hunger and thirst but it did not matter to this “me” that was being absorbed by the land, the air, the sky, the universe, the cosmos.  In that time I was no longer a body-centered, or physical being.  I was a member of the cosmic races, with a part of me resting upon a planet called earth – a very small, very strange planet. 

That’s when the voice came to my mind; when I heard the words I quoted above. 

I have been digging up history in this part of the world for almost fifty years now.  I’ve become old and bent.  My skin is like that of a lizard, dry and scaly, with brown spots.  I’ve loved being naked in the sun and it has left its marks on my body but I don’t care.  He was my lover and I cherish his touch still.  I haven’t become famous.  No best seller came from my notes; no following.  People came here to dig with me, and left to seek fame and fortune.  Some managed it, returning to tell me about it.  Some even provided funds so I could remain here, on my wind-swept plateaus digging up ghost stories; me, the crazy Canadian who should have been more at home on the snowy wilds of northern Canada, than here. 

To the local people, I am “loca perdida” or the crazy one, though many come just to be with me, or to listen to my stories.  They come to get me sometimes, either with a jeep, or even a donkey, and take me to a village feast so they can hear some of my stories about their ancient peoples.  They seem to have no difficulty believing me, and I have wondered about that.  Do they also listen in time? They “pay” me in food, or in new blankets for my tents or shelters.  Good people, all of them.  I’ve always felt safe here; not sure I could have managed that in cities where people crowd unhappily together, hardly ever getting to know each other though rubbing shoulders every day.  How sad is that life, I think.

Here I remain.  Here I belong for my body’s time being.  Here I taught myself to listen in time and it is here that I will die so another archaeologist, another time listener, can find bits and pieces of my presence in this place and unearth my own story – a story that will have meaning only to her and the few who carry our vision of living in time.  

How I wish I could express, in words, how blessed my life has been and how much I look forward to new digs out there in the stars, knowing that when I sit down and look up I will see more stars.

A Difficult but Necessary Matter of Balance

 (thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara)

I haven’t had much time for blogging lately, being as they say, busy.  But surprisingly, I’ve had time, perhaps too much time, to think about this world, about its overall condition and where it is heading, apparently heedless and unaware.  I know this is a judgment forming an opinion, but not once in my entire life of 70 years has my sense of where things are going ever been wrong.  It’s like a compass in my mind, something I can “see” and rely on entirely, basing my personal movements on it, knowing when to “hold and when to fold” as the song goes.

I feel massive waves of sorrow passing over me time and again, triggered by many encounters: a baby in its mother’s arms; an old man hunched over waiting to safely cross a busy street; a homeless lady holding a sign saying, ‘Please buy my CD, I’m hungry’ and displaying a CD she probably found in a dumpster – (she got lucky: I saw her and I chose to believe her despite all the propaganda against her) or even moved to a helpless stop by the wind’s choreography of tree branches not yet covered in leaves.  A house hunched behind a sagging gate; a rusting sign from a business that went broke years before…  

Have you ever just “thought” about “the world” and had tears well in your eyes until they started flowing down your cheeks?  Closed your eyes and brought your hands together as if in prayer, though you don’t pray?  Then thinking, ‘Do I want to be here?’ and knowing the answer is ‘No, I don’t want to feel this, this way, connected to this chaos of ignorance, of pain, of apparent mindlessness.  I don’t want to be the stranger any longer; to not be able to speak to the trees, the birds, the clouds.  I’m tired of just feeling and finding it so terribly difficult to harness those feelings; to draw intelligence, awareness, understanding, acceptance and meaningful teaching from them.  That is probably neither their purpose, nor task but I’m breaking the rules here.’ 

Life, I find, is like driving a street.  Some parts are smooth, some rough.  Some are safe and some, well, you may not get out of alive.  The truly sad part is, much of life is entered into without its overall costs duly assessed.  People are programmed, it seems, to repeat patterns and unable to stop and consider the risks, the odds, based on previous lives, previous experiences of elder people, or people in history.  ‘What are my chances this is going to work as I hope?’ Is not the question asked.  Plunge into the swamp, there are no alligators here!  But there are, disguised as floating logs.  You may have passed your swimming tests and won medals, but guaranteed: terror is but a splash behind you, and it isn’t virtual reality. 

Too dark a vision?  Probably, but some of us have chosen a path that runs counter to that of the herd and we see that which the herd isn’t permitted to see, and would not want to see in any case. 

Someone has to shed burning hot tears for the dying.  It’s a difficult but necessary matter of balance.