“The Garden of Forking Paths”

oOA netflix34.jpg

Ah yes, mid Netflix show, that quote caught my attention enough to write it down: “The Garden of Forking Paths.”

The show was “The OA” and it was spoken in an early episode of season 2.  And if anyone follows that particular series, you are open to considering multi-dimensional theory and the eternity of the Soul in its pure-light state that simply “samples” life in many different roles and many different settings throughout collective consciousness timeframes.

I assume the woman they call OA is the Divine Incarnate reference to the Alpha and the Omega, except it is reversed so that she is known as ‘the ending and the beginning’ (the Omega and the Alpha).  She is the Eternal One with self/True Self awareness—she is the aware and intentional traveler between or among all transitory lives.

multidimensionallivinglives56.jpgNow in theory we all travel many journeys and live many diverse lives throughout the created construct of TIME.  We ALL walk ‘the garden of forking paths.’  It’s just that most of us aren’t aware of doing more than one life at a time while staying within the parameters of that life experience.

OA had the option of shifting out of one life and into another but finding “the cast of players” seemed to be similar in those different lives. It’s just that few cast members remembered the others from one life to the next.

But, and it’s an important BUT, … she eventually realizes what happens in one life affects all other lives and affects all other participants in those other dimensions. Which means that whatever issues are resolved in one life, resolve smoothly in the other lives, and whatever issues remain unresolved prior to that person’s death in that life, are left to the other lives to resolve the issue in order to free the ‘karma,’ if you will, of all the original issue’s participants.

I know it seems complicated in a way, but to me who actually guides hypnosis clients through their own “Past-life Explorations,” it makes perfect sense; so I enjoy the interesting theories and subject treatments that this series explores.eternalone456.jpg

“The OA” isn’t a ‘warm and fuzzy’ nighttime tale, but it is a thought-provoking exploration of how we move through life in different situations with diverse and even life-threatening challenges; and how we confront shadow issues in ourselves and in others.

I thought season two of “The OA” took it to an even higher comprehension level.  And I applaud the writers for that.   Good stuff!  Well done!

 

 

The Softer, Gentler Person

At times I wish I were a softer, gentler person.littlegirlkitten (2).jpg

I wish I could look lovingly at what I consider the lesser behavior traits of others and smile with unconditional understanding and acceptance.

I wish I could just acknowledge how much inbred hatred and fear we all harbor for those who appear different than we are, and yet say ‘It’s okay because we are still quoteongentle45 (1).jpgblessed and mutually bound by our hearts to a greater Divine Love that connects us all.’

And actually mean it.

But I know I am not really a soft and gentle person, no matter how hard I work at becoming one.

That’s just not who I am. I’ve been warrior in too many lifetimes. This I know from my own hypnosis, past-life explorations.

Right now in this lifetime, I’m probably as soft and gentle as I’ll ever be, and that’s okay because it’s who I really am. You don’t tame warrior, you learn to redirect it toward constructive endeavors.

I’m probably more like this ornery, ginger-stripped cat who now shares my house, than I really want to admit.  While I often wish that he were more loving and cuddly—more quoteongentle45 (2)like our many other beautiful, sweet cats of the past—he simply isn’t, because that’s just not who he is and it’s not how he will ever be.

He’s a fighter—a tiger—a ‘tear into you with teeth slashing’ little, orange manic that really likes to do battle even against a much larger foe. (Which unfortunately in this house would be me.)

So I guess that despite how I tend to think of his fiercer, less-cuddly mannerisms as character deficits, I do live with the correct animal match for my true personality. It’s just not pleasant to see yourself reflected in your pet house-mate that way.littlegirlkitten (1)

And when he does decide to snuggle in under my chin, loving me up with his raspy red tongue while I cringe and shudder until he quits, I know that this sign of deep affection is his way of showing me his softer and gentler self, if only for a few, brief, peaceful moments at a time.

 

Dreams of Strangeness

When I saw this image on Facebook, I thought, “Wow, this is beautiful, but it also looks so familiar. Where have I seen…oh yes, it was in the vampire dream.” (a few posts earlier)dreamchapelvamps.jpg

Now how weird is that?  This looks exactly like the large chapel-type setting in that dream, just before the space ships began flying around outside and the vampires landed doing their vampire thing.

But also along with the image on Facebook, this was the caption—a quote: “Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for—the idealized image that drives our wandering.”

~ James Hillman ❤

Considering my previous post on identity and this image so closely matching the vampire dream, I’d say the coincidences are a little too amazing. So then according to the quote, I have to ask myself:

Do I yearn to be a vampire slayer?

Hmmm.  Well not in the most literal/physical sense, but perhaps in the metaphorical one.

If vampires represented ignorance and that cruel darkness lurking within each of us that tries to destroy our life force, I could easily yearn for defeating that in myself and for helping others to do so.

Guess I’ll need that ‘nut-cracker holster’ on my belt after all.

 

Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.

Brigit Anna McNeill’s Prose on “Winter”

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animaljessicaboehmanearthpic.jpgs are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.”

  • illustration by Jessica Boehman
  • words Brigit Anna McNeill

Sunday Chuckles

I am a fan of NASA’s Facebook page because they post such amazing images of our solar system and beyond.  So this morning, they posted this fantastic image of Jupiter up close and personal; and it got personal to a few folks out there which made for some much needed laughter.

nasalodo987.jpg  NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 “Inkblot test!    What do you see in this image by NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter? We keep finding new shapes hidden in Jupiter’s swirling clouds. Look closer: https://go.nasa.gov/2qMt8ih

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To which the viewership responded in hilarious fashion:

  • Scott Dew I see our lord and savior Cthulu
    • ( according to Urban Dictionary: “A character in Lovecraft’s tale ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. Cthulhu is a monstrous entity who lies “dead but dreaming” in the city of R’lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently (and mercifully) sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean.Cthulhu appears in various monstrous and demonic forms in early myths of the human race.”)
  • Марио Колев Here come the religious people, even if their god is fictional….
  • Daniel Harden It’s a lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich.
  • Liz Gaffney Air quality in Los Angeles right about now due to fires. (So sorry California.)
  • David Jobling I’m not religious but I can see the full nativity here, which is a bit of a head trip.
  • Arun Krishnarayan A Bird of prey on the right and Gandalf with a bad cold.
    And at the bottom is a shark with a wide open mouth & woman lying face down in the middle.
  • Saranda Tessera The only true god is Zeus.  Scripture tells us so. Anyway the picture of Jupiter (Latin for Zeus) is breathtaking. What a chaotic creation.
  • Steve Parkinson Keep your sky pixie nonsense off scientific fact pages please.

At least the comments made me chuckle. 🙂

Our minds constantly associate familiar memories to objects and items that we are unfamiliar with in an attempt to identify the threat or safety of them before we proceed further in encountering them. And likewise, if you want to see something that others may not see in a burnt piece of toast, you will do so mainly because you are looking for it no matter where you look.

Unimaginatively I see an amazing image of Jupiter’s atmosphere with wild weather interactions.  (But I totally concur about the lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich–it’s clear as day.)

Dreaming with Our Eyes Wide Open

I’ve mentioned previously that I am a fan of Alberto Villoldo, and over the years I’ve alberto987.jpgappreciated his psychological insights into human nature and his identifying the archetypal patterns we follow in the natural world around us. I also receive his weekly newsletter from The Four Winds Society that he founded (https://thefourwinds.com); and while this partial quote was from a July 2018 email, I kept it because there was importance in properly assessing those three common personal delusions afflicting nearly all of us.

heartshamanbookalberto87.jpg“Releasing in a few short days is my newest book,  The Heart of the Shaman: Stories and Practices of the Luminous Warrior, where I discuss the three common dreams we turn into nightmares.

I share these with you because transforming them is foundational to finding your sacred dream. They are the daydreams we are so convinced are true and cannot seem to wake up from.

Yet, to dream with your eyes open, you must enact your courage to face each of these head on:

  • The dream of security
  • The dream of permanence
  • The dream of love that is unconditional

When you transform these dreams─when you accept that life is ever changing, that your mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate you from a life of fear and insecurity except yourself─the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.

When you find your sacred dream, the creative power of the universe (known by the shamans as the Primordial Light) becomes available to you to create beauty in the world, and to heal yourself and others.”   —Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.

***

How many of us once believed in those concepts of security, permanence, and relationship love that is unconditional?

As Alberto states above, “They are the daydreams we are so convinced are true and cannot seem to wake up from.”

I think time and age bursts many delusional bubbles, but the daydreamer673trick is to allow our senses to effectively clear without depressing our life spirit, which means we must learn to view life in general less romantically and more realistically.

Ideal states are those levels of human attainment that we may indeed strive toward, but facing the reason for WHY we feel the need to bolster our delusions of an idyllic existence against what actually transpires in our lives, is to confront our deepest fears head on.

When you transform these dreams (of security, permanence, and relationship love that is unconditional)─when you accept that life is ever changing, that your mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate you from a life of fear and insecurity except yourself─the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to feel safe? After all these natural and man-made disasters around the globe, there are so many people in the world right now that would wish for this day-dream of security above all the others.

Who doesn’t want to feel a sense of permanence in their lives—for themselves and for the people they love the most?  It is a truth we can’t deny: people we love do die. We ourselves often face life-threatening illnesses and injuries that can lead to our personal demise. With one natural disaster, life can chew us up and spit us out seemingly at whim because we are mortal beings with limited shelf-life and we don’t last forever in physical form.

Who doesn’t want to personally know and feel unconditional love in their life? Who unconditionallove623doesn’t want to be accepted and appreciated for simply being ourselves, even with all our flaws and warts?  How many relationships are built on this brand of unconditional love? I’m guessing not many because it is hard to give unconditional love to others, let alone expect to receive it from them as well.

Life is hard. Love is hard. Experientially we learn so much by living in a chaotic world, but those lessons are based on successfully surviving with our sanity and our person in tack. That means we need to be well equipped to handle the world we actually must live in rather than the ideal world we once imagined to exist around us.

That also means we must face each day with courage and determination to make it the best possible day for ourselves and for those we love because there are no assurances that it will be as such.

Yes, we can still day-dream for a better existence and actually work toward that life for ourselves and for others around us, but first we must accept the situation realistically for exactly what it presently is THEN make the decision to do our best despite the adversity that we may face in the process.

“When you transform these dreams─when you accept that life is ever changing, that your mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate you from a life of fear and lifefearend34.jpginsecurity except yourself─the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.”

Yes, it is possible to create the life you desire. Yes, it is possible to surround yourself with loving companions. But we need to do so intentionally and with directed effort to create a better world for ourselves and for each other.

We must live with courage. Live with compassion. Live with eyes wide-open to all the chaos around you, and instead choose your path forward with grace and determination to make it a better place for yourself and for all of us. That is how you “create beauty in the world and to heal yourself and others.”

Live intentionally and in full awareness of your responsibility to bettering life itself. Don’t just expect it to happen.

You have to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Then you don’t just survive your life’s ordeals—you learn how to thrive in spite of them. That’s when “the chaos in your life turns to order and beauty prevails.”

Living fearlessly in the face of adversity, is when you really learn to live.

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