Hugging

It feels just a few short years
since shyly we began to hug.
And now – we must back off!
We stand 6 feet apart
and long to touch the bare skin
of another human being.
To take and shake a hand today
Could bring me tears.
Now
To hear the phone ring – a dear voice!
brings life into my being.
Am I so low I cannot lift another?
A storm came through with fury.
Now all is still.
I arise from sleep and sleep and sleep
like a daffodil
long wintered in the ground.
I sleep
and then awake
and feel a new person trying to break my shell,
letting off old ways,
familiar thoughts and patterns.
I will let Death change me
Now
Before I let him enter through my door.
I will stop my doing,
be a different person,
Now!
What wants changing in this life?
In this body?
In these habits that I wear?
Who do I need?
What do I really require?
Where have I been headed?
How can I change course?
Can I still tack with the wind?
How close or far away is this boat to port?

Dancing with the Handicapped

The White Saddle Band, one of the best-known Country Western bands in the Chicago area, was 
playing for my old circle of friends called Special People, a support group for the handicapped.  I

hadn’t danced in the last four years since the death of my husband Tom; he and I had loved Country

Western dancing.  Tonight something in me felt pulled to give this a try.

I hadn’t been involved with Special People since moving from Des Plaines to Oak Park, farther away from their meetings. The dance brought back memories of the hard and frightening times after Tom’s death. Supporting myself and putting our two teenagers through college, while limited by my back curvature, was a scary situation. This was why I’d sought out the support group for the handicapped., looking for any helpful ideas.
My attendance was irregular with the group as time was tight and the situation of the others was often different from mine. I was able to look almost normal and function fairly well, with my limitations hidden, and so I felt “borderline handicapped”. It was actually a new step to publicly see myself belonging with this group. Maybe I was coming to the dance alone to keep my association with the handicapped anonymous.
They were quite a mishmash of humanity. Every kind of disability, ailment, and limitation imaginable were all brought together by suffering and needs. Poverty, loneliness, discrimination, and the frustrations of trying to do minimal daily activities were constant experiences for most. Some were subjected to emotional abuse or felt harshly judged by others. Most all felt the temptation to feel inferior. All these kinds of daily experiences united this clan of the Anawim, God’s beloved poor. (Zephaniah 2:3 “the humble of the earth”)
The program was directed by a fine and competent man named Ron. He had survived polio when he was young; he was now maybe 45, about 5’3” and verythin. Sometimes he had to hold his hand to his throat to strengthen his vocal chords in order to talk. He drove a car capably, but walking was difficult. His parents were dead and he lived alone, doing graphic artwork and directing this group Special People to supplement his small disability income. Ron was intelligent and caring, he never complained, just continued to do his best under circumstances that silenced my own small complaints. I felt such respect for his courage as I did for all the people in the group.
Ron and I became friends. He was upfront about his wish to love someone, describing what life would be like if one were to live with him, such as sleeping with his breathing machine. I had such admiration for him that I considered this relationship, but had enough to take care of already; this did not fit my own needs.
This night I wanted to come to the dance because I knew that with these people I could do whatever I felt up to doing or not doing, without embarrassment. Dancing was in my heart but my curvature made standing on my feet difficult and painful, let alone dancing. Yet strangely, I still could never quite see it – that yes, I am handicapped! How many dance classes had I started and dropped because they were too hard? Polish polka dancing, Appalachian clogging, Irish step dancing, Scottish country dancing and the Highland Fling (where I’d broken my steel arch support). Even Hawaiian dancing had been hard because I had to take off my orthopedic shoes and dance in my flat feet. I was coming to this event by instinct and the longing to dance, but my brain still didn’t admit that this was my tribe.
The event was being held at Oakton Community College, located back in the beautiful woods along Golf Road. As with all handicapped people, I was anxious to park where I wouldn’t have to walk too far, but I had no idea where on the campus the dance was being held. After randomly parking somewhere and walking with difficulty through many halls, I found the room. To my surprise it was a large ballroom and packed with people. Evidently the network of handicapped people that Ron’s newsletter reached was much larger than our small monthly group.
No one looked familiar, so grabbing a bottle of pop and I sat down at a the nearest table. The room was not decorated but was well lit and just the right size for the crowd: plenty of room to dance but not so spacey to leave anyone feeling alone.
The room was filled with much chattering, excited energy, and a happy feeling. I surveyed the gathering. People were dressed in street clothes and jeans, nothing fancy, expensive, or even western. Many people were in groups with group leaders while others seemed to be with family or friends.
The band warmed up and began to play. Immediately I realized that these people were not going to be doing the normal line dancing – “Slapping Leather,” “Bootin’ Scootin’ Boogie,” and other fast-foot dances. Nor were they going to glide as couples elegantly around the edge of the floor in cowboy-style waltzing. They could hardly stand up, probably not even do the slow zipper-melting, buckle-polishing body-to-body dance/walk that couples did at bars. Nope. This crowd was not going to do anything fancy at all, but they were going to have a good time.
The band was fantastic; I could see from their smiles and enthusiastic music that they received great joy from playing for this crowd. In spite of how these people looked, they were normal. Like everyone else in the world, they wanted to move their bodies to good music, to be revitalized by movement and rhythm, to express and experience joy in being alive. For some it took heroic effort because their bodies did not easily do what their spirits so wanted to do. People got out and stood on the floor and mostly moved the upper halves of their bodies. Everyone just did whatever they could. Many held the hand of someone beside them, perhaps encouraging each other, or perhaps just enjoying the feeling of belonging in the human community.
Off to one side was a circle of deaf people who stood right in front of the five foot high speakers, seeming to feel the beat. They moved in interesting ways, different from the rest of the crowd, and they talked to each other with sign language while they laughed and danced.
There were people on scooters who rode onto the floor and waved their arms around while sitting. Some danced as couples; the standing one would grab the hands of the seated person and jump around with the seated one laughing and moving any way possible.
A few groups had lovely youngish women with them who would drag some of their group onto the floor and dance with them, smiling wholeheartedly, glad to help them have fun. After watching a bit as an outsider, I finally got up, went onto the floor, and like everyone else, just moved to the music – nothing special, just pure natural response to great rhythm and sound.
Eventually the band took a break. I wandered around looking for Ron. This was his night, he would surely be here. Someone told me Ron and his wife were taking tickets on the other side of the ballroom. Then I remembered that he’d announced in a newsletter that he’d married. He was on a scooter over at one side of the room, surrounded by people. His health had clearly deteriorated. It wasn’t hard to identify his wife. Joy was a non-handicapped woman who showed on her lovely face that she was clearly proud to be married to such a fine person.
Ron was busy with his responsibilities and the many people needing his attention, so I wandered around in the hallway, then back into the ballroom. The band was warming up again, and soon they were playing in full swing, their music inviting our bodies to come and move. I leaned then into my identity as a “normal” non-handicapped person and became one of the “responsible” caretakers trying to get shy people out on the floor. The first person I approached declined but I succeeded with the next one. The woman and I danced beside each other and enjoyed ourselves.
A young man on a scooter was sitting on the sidelines, swaying to the music alone. I went over and grabbed his hands to dance with him. He responded with enthusiasm. As the music went on he actually got up on his feet, stood on his scooter, and continued to hold my hands and sway. When the song ended, we talked a bit. Another really nice person living a difficult life.
The groups on the floor morphed around so I found myself dancing with any number of people, individuals and circles. Before I knew it and to my surprise, the end of the evening arrived as the band played their final joyful, wild finale. Then we all reluctantly donned our coats and headed chatting down the halls, wandering out to find our cars.
Strangely now, as I drove home I felt more normal than I had in a long time. I had given in and participated as one of this group, as a handicapped person. Having accepted both of my contrary identities, handicapped and non, I felt at peace. And the music and joy had given me a vacation from my sadness and worries. I drove home emotionally relaxed by the self-acceptance, while my body felt rejuvenated by the joyful movement to music.

Alternative terms for Death and Dying

 These are our inadequate attempts to report a death to others.  We usually try to say it gently or consolingly, or to make it lighter than we feel. Generally, we express that we hope the Dead still live “Somewhere”.  Or not:  perhaps this explains the sometimes bluntness.
He “died”.  He’s dead. 
He’s gone to heaven. 
She “returned to spirit”   (my own language)
He “went to the rainbow bridge”  Focusing friend John J., speaking of his pet.
“My sister-in-law, L., has crossed the bridge and is no longer suffering.”  (said by a friend)
“Going Home”  “Returning home” “To be called home” “He returned home to his Heavenly Father” “She went to her heavenly home on Sunday” (obituaries)
She went home to Gloryland
 “passing over”  She passed peacefully in her sleep.
“walking on”  (Native American)
 “Meeting one’s Maker”
He’s resting in peace now     R.I.P.
We laid her to rest.  She’s gone to rest
 “before I leave this earth”
He transitioned.  “At a Buddhist temple outside Hue, Vietnam’s onetime capital, 92-year–old Thich Nhat Hanh has come to quietly “transition,” as his [Buddhist] disciples put it.”
She “passed to Spirit” or “passing to the Spirit World”  National Spiritualist Asso. of Churches
He  ”is no longer with us.”
Gordy is with Jesus this morning.  (a friend about a friend)
He’s in the arms of the Savior.
“She was the seventh of the nine children Roxana Foote bore Lyman Beecher before being gathered to her reward,”                          … David McCullough in Brave Companions, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1992, in the chapter on Harriet Beecher Stowe. 
“…his departure from this earth was said to be imminent.  (John Connolly,  The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository, Mysterious Bookshop, NY, 2013)
#21   ”I learned that most of them were Jews who were waiting for what the SS called “transfer to the sky.”  They all knew they would soon die.”  P.169, “Poetry in Buchenwald”, in Against the Pollution of the I, by Jacques Lusseyran.
#22  He’s got to go and stand before his Judge.  He’s meeting his maker.
He transpired.  He expired.
He took his life.
The disease won;  she succumbed to cancer.
He was killed in action.
She was murdered.
He’s gone forever.
She’s six feet under now.
“He departed from the earth plane in 1901.” (Geraldine Cummins)
He bought the farm!
 She’s crossed into Hades (Greek)
 He’s safe in the harbor.
   From Wikepedia:
She’s pushing daisies now
We “put him to sleep; “we put him down” – common reports for mercy killing our pets
…going up to the spirit in the sky (60s pop song)
Marching to Zion (Isaac Watts)
…found everlasting life  (Methodist, 653)
…in Christ have eternal life, released from all the bonds of time (Methodist, 654)
…Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home (Methodist, 703)
We’re going to see the King. (Methodist, 706)
…then he’ll call me some day to my home far away (Methodist, 504)
Pearly gates
Happy hunting ground
Nirvana                    (49)
before I    “shuffle off this mortal coil.” –Hamlet                      (48)

Alternative Words for “God”

Alternative terms for “God”
“I say God.  I am not sure that is the name.  You will know whom I mean.”  Thoreau
Some basic general categories for these terms:  this force is “out there” separate from us.” or this force is inside us,  or we are inside it.  Or this force is both inside us and other than us.
   This force is male. This force is female. This force is both male and female.
   This force is benign and loving.  This force is indifferent.  This force is judgmental and punitive.
 -God.  Goddess.
 -The Source.  The Source of All Life.  (my terms)
 -The Tao / the Way
-“Ultimate Reality” (per David Finke, Quaker friend)
 -The Real Presence      “To them the  unanswerables are no longer pools of terrible drowning.  They are the depth and body of the sea, the lifting presence beneath the keels of their vessels” – Alan Patton
-The Fountainhead
-Yahweh, Jehovah   the Jewish Bible/Christian Old Testament
-The Father, per Jesus.  “Not a hair falls from their head but their heavenly father sees it.”  However, also Jesus:  “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
-Divine Spirit
 -The Holy Spirit (Ghost) the feminine aspect of the Divine ?
 -Nuos/ World Soul.  Greek:  all are connected through Her.  Earth= Her body = a part of Her
 -Gaia, Greek

 -Shekhinah:    Kabbalahassociates the Shekhinah with the female.[8]:128, n.51 According to Gershom Scholem, “The introduction of this idea was one of the most important and lasting innovations of Kabbalism. …no other element of Kabbalism won such a degree of popular approval.”[15]The “feminine Jewish divine presence, the Shekhinah, distinguishes Kabbalistic literature from earlier Jewish literature.”[16]   [Wikipedia] 

 -Amaterasu,  Japanese Sun Goddess, still honored today in Japan as the major deity of Shintoism.
 -Brigid, Celtic highest deity, Source of all Life, the Great Mother.
 -The Growth Drive:  impulses to grow and survive and adapt that make it possible to survive.
 – Wakan Tanka:  “The Lakota completed their spiritual duty as willed by Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery.”    “That Which is Mysterious” – Quentin Young, Native American teacher in the Chicago Area.
 -The Everywhere Spirit,”  Native American who cursed Custer if Custer was dishonest
 -“What Gives Us All Life”
 -“The Bigger System”  – Eugene Gendlin, founder of Focusing, a body centered psychotherapeutic technique.
 -“That Which is Larger”, Joseph Campbell:  “We are not separate from That Which is Larger; we are in it.”
 -“The Atmospheric Presence” – William James, in The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher, a Jane Roberts book New Awareness Network, Inc., Manhasset N.Y., 1978. 
  -“The Benign Indifference of the Universe.”  -Albert Camus
 -Paolo Coelho:  “The World Soul”:  Is fed by all experience, has no preference for “good or bad”.   e- “The hand that wrote all”  Paolo Coelho in The Alchemist.
-I pray to “Everything I don’t know”  – Steve Walsh,  Quaker friend
 -The Center from Which we come and to Which we go”
 -Transcendent Energy
 -the Absolute, the Universal, the Divine.” 
    “If prayer is not for asking, what is it for?  I asked him.
    “It isn’t ‘for’ anything,” he said thoughtfully.  “It only reminds me I’m not alone.” …It is…our tie to the Absolute, a reminder of our nonlocal, unbounded nature, of that part of us that is infinite in space and time and is Divine.  … our origin and destiny: the Absolute, the Universal, the Divine.”     ?  Larry Dossey, pg. 290?
 -The Life Force:  “A sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky, and in the mind of man: a motion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things, all objects of all thought, and rolls through all things.”  William Wordsworth, in Tintern Abbey.
 

          The life force:   “Deep in meditation, it is possible to become aware of the life-force itself.  You can see it if you learn how to look within. To describe it as electricity, or power, or light, or consciousness is all somewhat correct.  But such descriptions are inadequate.  You have to see it for yourself. You have to feel it for yourself.  Yu have to know it for yourself.

   To be in its presence is like being in front of something primeval, basic, mysterious, shamanistic, and profound.  To be in its presence makes all references mute and all senses slack, leaving only deep awe.  One is drawn to it in utter fascination.  It is the mighty flame to our mothlike consciousness.”
       (365 Tao Daily Meditations, by Deng Ming-Dao, Harper San Fransisco, 1992, p.273)

          The Field.  The Zero Force.  Lynn McTaggert, The Field, 
          “Emerson points us toward a unifying force greater than ourselves.”  Thoreau
           Birther of Creation     Aramaic translation of “Our Father”
          “the origin”  Rumi, Afghani mystic, in “Moses and the Shepherd”
          The Magic,   The Secret Garden,  Frances Hodgson Burnett
“Then I will chant” he said.  And he began, looking like a strange boy spirit.  “The sun is shining – the sun is shining.  That is the magic.  The flowers are growing – the roots are stirring.  That is the Magic.  Being alive is the Magic – being strong is the Magic.  The Magic is in me – the Magic is in me.  It is in me – it is in me.  It’s in every one of us.  It’s in Ben Weatherstaff’s back.  Magic!  Magic!  Come and help!”
          “The Powers That Be”    common phrase
          God” is the aspirations of humans, what we wish we could eventually become!   5/9/18  me! 
          Plus: the “sacred” is an escape from reality.   All this after a visit to Temple el Zedek, a Jewish temple near me in Indianapolis
          God = “The Eternal Witness”    according to something read by Eliz. Valencia on Fathers’ Day 6/17/18  at U.U.I. Indianapolis
          The Great Mystery  -Albert Einstein  “Do not grow old, no matter how long you live.  Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we are born.”
– The Absolute, the Causeless Cause,  The Theosophical Society 
From Theosophy, Wikipedia
Revision as of 15:07, 30 May 2018 by Janet Kerschner
Absolute is a term derived from the Latin absolūtus which means “loosened from” or “unattached.” As such, the word “Absolute” points out a negative concept meaning non-relative, non-comparative, or without relation to anything else. In philosophy it refers to an unconditioned reality which transcends the limited, conditional, everyday existence. It is sometimes conceived of as the source through which all beings emanate. This, however, is not an accurate expression. Beings and objects cannot be emanated from the absolute as if there was an “outside” to it but, rather, they are aspects of the absolute reality itself.
In the Theosophicalview, the ultimate reality of the universe is regarded to be Absolute. It is atemporal, meaning that the absolute reality was, is, and will be, whether there is a universe manifested or not. It is boundless and omnipresent, being the essence of spirit, matter, and energy. It is immutable, which implies that it cannot grow, change, or evolve. Being absolute, it transcends any opposites (such as fullness and emptiness, good and evil, being and non-being, transcendent and immanent, etc.) It cannot be grasped by the mind, though it can be sensed by the spiritual intuition.
Mme. Blavatsky postulates that the Absolute has two aspects: the absolute abstract motionand the absolute abstract space. There is also some mention of “duration“, a kind of absolute lasting, as a third aspect.
Some synonyms used in Theosophical literature are Be-ness, One Life, Parabrahman, Sat, Adi-Buddha, Ain Soph, among others.
General description
This Absolute reality is the first fundamental proposition found in The Secret Doctrine, described as follows:
An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought—in the words of Mandukya, “unthinkable and unspeakable.” To render these ideas clearer to the general reader, let him set out with the postulate that there is one absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being. This Infinite and Eternal Cause—dimly formulated in the “Unconscious” and “Unknowable” of current European philosophy—is the rootless root of “all that was, is, or ever shall be.” It is of course devoid of all attributes and is essentially without any relation to manifested, finite Being. It is “Be-ness” rather than Being (in Sanskrit, Sat), and is beyond all thought or speculation.[1]
Elaborating on the fact that the Absolute is “beyond the range and reach of thought,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote:
The “Absolute Consciousness” . . . “behind” phenomena, which is only termed unconsciousness in the absence of any element of personality, transcends human conception. Man, unable to form one concept except in terms of empirical phenomena, is powerless from the very constitution of his being to raise the veil that shrouds the majesty of the Absolute. Only the liberated Spirit is able to faintly realise the nature of the source whence it sprung and whither it must eventually return. . . . The highest Dhyan Chohan, however, can but bow in ignorance before the awful mystery of Absolute Being; and . . . even in that culmination of conscious existence—“the merging of the individual in the universal consciousness”—to use a phrase of Fichte’s—the Finite cannot conceive the Infinite, nor can it apply to it its own standard of mental experiences.[2]
Although it is regarded as the “Causeless Cause” of the universe, we should not think the universe is produced “out of the Absolute”. Both manifestation and dissolutionare facets of the Absolute reality, which nevertheless remains immutable. As Mme. Blavatsky wrote:
The first lesson taught in Esoteric philosophy is, that the incognizable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits periodically different aspects of itself to the perception of finite Minds.[3]
The “Causeless Cause” of the universe,[4]however, does not correspond to the usual concept of God in monotheistic religions:
We deny the existence of a thinking conscious God, on the grounds that such a God must either be conditioned, limited and subject to change, therefore not infinite, or … if he is represented to us as an eternal unchangeable and independent being, with not a particle of matter in him, then we answer that it is no being but an immutable blind principle, a law.[5]
The God of theology, we say — and prove it — is a bundle of contradictions and a logical impossibility. Therefore, we will have nothing to do with him. . . This God is called by his devotees infinite and absolute . . . Then, if infinite — i. e., limitless — and especially if absolute, how can he have a form, and be a creator of anything? Form implies limitation, and a beginning as well as an end; and, in order to create, a Being must think and plan. How can the ABSOLUTE be supposed to think — i. e., to have any relation whatever to that which is limited, finite, and conditioned? This is a philosophical, and a logical absurdity.[6]
No feelings, even the highest, can be attributed to the Absolute. H. P. Blavatsky answered a question about this as follows:
Q. But we understand that bliss, as the state of the Absolute, was intended to be referred to.
A. This is still more illogical. How can the ABSOLUTE be said to feel? The Absolute can have no condition nor attribute. It is only that which is finite and differentiated which can have any feeling or attitude predicated of it.[7]
In several instances Mme. Blavatsky stated that the Absolute can be regarded to be both Absolute Being and Non-Being.[8]On certain occasions the termed “Absoluteness” is used to provide an even less concrete idea of the Absolute:
Absoluteness. When predicated of the UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE, it denotes an abstract noun, which is more correct and logical than to apply the adjective “absolute” to that which has neither attributes nor limitations, nor can IT have any.[9]
A frequently asked question is why the Absolute puts forth a cosmos, if the former is perfect in itself and cannot gain or be affected in any way by the latter? Mme. Blavatsky said:
Ah! It is a very easy question to ask. . . . He wants to ask what is the cause that propels or compels Parabrahman to create. Parabrahman is not a cause. It is not even the Absolute, as I say, but absolutness. Now, how can we know the cause that propels Parabrahman to create? That which is behind all veil of matter is incomprehensible, and no finite intellect can conceive it. . . . and to come and ask for the cause is perfectly ridiculous. . . . Just try to imagine two forces: the centripetal and the centrifugal, which periodically must emanate from IT. Just as the clock must strike so this strikes and emanates periodically. When it has done striking it goes to sleep again. Try to imagine that and then you will have perhaps a notion. . . . Mind you, it is not that I say, and certainly not that I would go and advocate, the automatic creation of the materialists; never. But it is for the purpose of giving a shape to it, and to allow people to conceive of it, because otherwise, you cannot.”

[ Well,  if you read all that from the Theosophists, good for you!  And if it enlightened you, then you’re ahead of me!  -Marti J]

Tom at Disney


[A travel journal entry from the college years of my son, Tom Dix, who returned to spirit 6 years ago today.  Today = Sept 17, 2015.  For those who knew him:  doesn’t this just sound like Tom?  Can’t you see him out there tromping in the rain, smiling and having fun? ]
Tom wrote:
   We went to DisneyWorld, and it was all very nice – fun, amusing, entertaining.  But the highlight for me was not Mickey Mouse or the Haunted House, it was when it suddenly began to pour and everyone in the park ran for cover.  I chose to get wet, and as a result had free run of the whole park!  I was soaked, but it was so great to choose to enjoy it, and I felt a little bad for all the people standing beneath the shelters, missing out on what was for me a greater thrill than Space Mountain or anything else.
     Also, however, I had a wish within that rain that I did not pursue – to find another enjoying it as much as I.  I encountered a few people out in the rain, and only spoke to one – she was the attendant at Dumbo.  I had a great time, but I wished for a partner.  I didn’t find anyone to ask to be my partner. An untaken risk I’ll never get to try again.  A definite regret.  But still, the highlight of all the vacationing here this week. 
(The underlines are Tom’s)
Here’s one more similar short entry:  10/8   Now I’m blazing a trail back campus and finding that the very thought of being here where few others come is comforting – it’s a feeling of nighttime peace during daylight hours.

Tradition


Tradition:
Similar to a (good) habit.  Helps all stay more easily on the path of choice.  Both tradition and habit are watched over by awareness.
Traditions are forged through the courage and effort of our ancestors:  they are our rich inheritance.  They should not be thrown out on a whim. 
Tradition holds together the community of the past, present, and future as one, while allowingconscious change across time.
The Covenant or Creed is the most important tradition for a spiritual community.  It should hold clearly what has brought these people together; what they are trying to live up to together.