Saturday, February 20, 2010

Value of Religion

This is not really a post, more like a provoking question.

What is the value of religion? If you are religious, why? If you are not, why?

Is religion important to society, to the individual, or to none?

PTTC part 2

PTTC stands for "Parent's Tao Te Ching" in case you didn't know. :)

"When you teach your children that certain things are good,
they are likely to call all different things bad.
If you teach them that certain things are beautiful,
they may see all other things as ugly....

Call birth, 'birth,'
and death, 'death,'
without seeing one as good
and the other as evil
and your children will be at home with life."

Such a profound thing to say, but how hard it is to do in real life! Humans are built with a strong emotional system, and evolutionarily, we are designed to consider some things "good" because they are beneficial to us, and some things "bad" because they are detrimental to us. Children take this to an even greater extreme because they are only beginning to develop empathy and see most things selfishly. For example a child will think that it's only fair to hit another child when they are mad, (because the other child obviously made them mad) but they understand that it's fundamentally unfair for the other child to hit them (regardless of what they did to provoke it!)

Even most adults are incapable of seeing past the ideas of "good" and "bad." An immature person sees the world selfishly, and uses people to get what he or she wants in the world. A more mature person protects his or her family and friends at the expense of others. A mature person does things to benefit his or her society or group as a whole. A perceptive person does things to benefit not only his or her own society, group, culture, or race, but the society of others as well. A wise person does things to benefit the whole world as a whole, including all life and even non-life, having respect for all things.

Some children are good role models for this. They treat their dolls as real people. They treat rocks as if they are living beings. They care for animals with the same respect they care for people, and cry at movie depictions of animals being killed. They make friends with poor people and rich people, black and white, real and imaginary, without discrimination.

But they will easily lose this empathy if adults model discrimination. The best parents are those who foster a balanced perspective, so that their children grow up without the labels "good" and "bad" to taint every experience they have.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Parent's Tao Te Ching

So I stumbled upon a book in a used book store called "The Parent's Tao Te Ching" by William Martin and thought I would pick it up and read it and then perhaps post my critique of some of the passages, or any thoughts that stemmed from my thought process while reading the book. My intention is to read a passage a day, but I'm a flexible person so I'm making no commitments. :) Sometimes if I'm too sleep-deprived, I'm not up to thinking deeply about anything. Also, if I read something and have nothing to say about it, I won't post it. No reason to, really, unless I feel compelled to post it without commentary anyway. :P (Of note: I'm not going to post the whole book, obviously, so if you like what you read, go buy the book.)

This is how the book begins...

"You can speak to your children of life,
but your words are not life itself.
You can show them what you see,
but your showing and their seeing
are forever different things.

You cannot speak to them of Divinity Itself.
But you can share with them
the millions of manifestations of this Reality
arrayed before them every moment.
Since these manifestations have their origin in Tao,
the visible will reveal the invisible to them."

For me, this portrays the wonderful revelation that kids learn by actions more than by listening to the spoken word. Personally, I could never have learned martial arts by verbal instruction alone. It's something that has to be worked through physically, observed, pondered, modified, and practiced over and over and over (without thinking about it too much!) in order to be effective and natural.
In the same way, I can speak about my personal experiences and hope someone gleans some bit of insight for them, or I can inspire them to go seek their own personal experiences. Which is more valuable? If I'm lucky I can do both, but I would place more value on inspiring others to seek their own truths than telling them what MY truths are. MY truths are valuable to me and, probably, only to me... but it is the seeking, the searching, the experience that makes those truths a reality. That's why I will never teach my son that I have all the answers or even that he can only find the answers in this book or that society or this priest or this religion. He has to look for his own manifestation of Tao (or Spirit, God, Truth, whatever you want to call it) in the world around him.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ribbon of Healing

It seems as if a lot of people right around now are dealing with a lot of hurt, be it physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, etc...

During Imbolc, I received a ribbon of healing... it's literally a ribbon, blessed by Brigitte (Brigid, Bree, whatever you want to call her) and I think doing a healing ritual (basically sending positive energy and good thoughts) would be not only beneficial to all those of you who are hurting, but to me as well as I'm dealing with some issues of my own and rituals help me focus my mind and align myself with the bigger picture, resulting in my being less self absorbed and stressed out over my own petty concerns.

I already have a short list of specific people who I'm going to try and send healing energy to, but please let me know if you'd like to be added to the list, or you know someone who needs some healing right about now. You can message me privately if you'd rather do that.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Old Testament/ New Testament

Many Christians say that they don't follow the laws of the Old Testament because now that Jesus has died for us, the OT laws are obsolete.

This might be what the church teaches, but Jesus himself? This is what he has to say:

(Matthew 5) 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(Luke 16) 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

(Matthew 5)17"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

And of course Paul and John...

(Romans 3)31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

(2 John) 6And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

So basically people need to keep the OT law down to the smallest letter ("tittle" in the King James). So how do Christians justify all the "unjust" or "unnecessary" laws of the OT like not having contact with a woman when she is on her period? Planting 2 different crops in the same field? Women wearing garments of 2 different kinds of fabric? What about all those laws that talk about killing unbelievers on sight, etc?

Personally, I don't understand why most Christians can't accept the idea that some points of the Bible are religious and some are cultural?

Monday, February 1, 2010


Febuary 1 and 2 are pagan feast days of Imbolc. This is when the earliest signs of spring are shown in the world, when the young Bride makes her youthful appearance. Three signs of spring associated with today are:

1. Sheep and goats begin lactating, in preparation for having babies. Imbolc is also called "Oimelc" which means roughly, in Old Celtic, "Ewe's Milk." For us, our goats are in the process of kidding now, which is just another reaffirmation that spring is on its way. :) In fact 2 more goat kids were born last night.

2. The days are growing lighter. Brigit, the goddess/saint honored on this day, is the representation of light-in-darkness... the hidden spring that waits under a blanket of snow to be revealed when the snow melts. Today marks the end of winter darkness and the slow unfolding of the sun. Traditionally a candle is given away representing the passing of the need to carry a candle while doing morning work. Unfortunately, I still need a flashlight to do morning and night chores...

3. "Groundhog's Day" (which was never originally a groundhog). In Scottish tradition, it was a serpent who was said to emerge from its hibernation underneath the hill, and if it stayed outside and became active, an early thaw was predicted. If it went back into its hole, winter would stay another month. The serpent is a divine animal, able to sense the future. An invocation (from the Carmina Gadelica) goes...
Moch maduinne Brhride (On Brede's morn the serpent)
Thig an nimhir as an toll. (Will come out of the hole)
Cha bhean mise ris an nimhir, (I will not harm the serpent)
Cha bhean an nimhir rium. (Nor will the serpent harm me)

...Which, to me, makes a lot more sense than a groundhog being scared of its shadow.