The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the month “February, 2016”

The Wisdom of Failure

First published November 28, 2014

Mother-and-Child-reading

Ye

I died while giving birth to my second child. This was how we arranged it before any of us were born. They needed to experience life without a mother.

Previously, we had also been mother and children. In that lifetime, I was very controlling. I lived a long life so neither of them ever learned to be fully independent. By the time I died as an old woman, my children were old themselves, with children and grandchildren of their own.

By then, they were fearful of everything, full of self-doubt and lacking all natural instinct. I recognize now how deeply I crippled them but at the time, in that life, I was only pleased and made secure by their need of me.

It seemed to be accepted by us all that I alone, knew what was best for them. They deferred to me on almost all their life decisions, from who they married to what kind of work they did to what they believed about the world.

Of course I always had their best interests at heart and usually chose well for them, based on their personalities, their abilities and their nature. They understood this and so deferred to me on everything.   But in doing this, I never allowed them to find the way on their own

They brought me all their problems and ceded to my advice. They were usually satisfied with the results, if only because they were content and secure in knowing the best decisions had been made for them. They trusted that I would always direct them to the best possible outcome, given the circumstances.

They valued me for my wisdom, and it is true that I was wise in many ways. I did provide well-considered solutions to their problems. But in the most important way, I was not wise at all. I kept them passive and obedient, willing to accept the wisdom of another, never motivated to search for wisdom on their own.

This time, they have no choice.

 

****

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The Space Between the Galaxies

first published November 14, 2014
immense Andromeda galaxywatch – from earth through the universe

 

Ze

There is an ether separating this world from yours; a vast ocean of energy. To access the other side,  you must be willing to embark on a great journey, even knowing you will likely be tossed back upon the shore. But if you persevere, eventually you will catch the right current. It will carry you out and give you new perspective. If you are willing to go where it takes you, if you stay awake and aware, you will see Truth in new ways.

Circumstances are not always within your control. As with fishing, you must wait patiently, hoping for the right conditions.

Push aside all self-generated thoughts — certainly all the worry, fear, doubt, sorrow, anger, guilt and recriminations — but also pride and any sense of your personal importance. Let go of the egotistical belief that your feelings, challenges and achievements are uniquely important. This is what is meant by “abandoning the ego.”

Focus on the void; the empty space between your thoughts, like the darkness between galaxies. Concentrate your mind there until it becomes real. Then step into it.

Let whatever comes come. No need to force it. It is whatever it is. Allow yourself to be pulled in and carried along.  Dedicate yourself to the practice of quieting the mind; to tune in to what lies beyond. Let go of everything you thought you knew. Accept what you did not believe was possible.  Climb to dizzying heights so you may see life from a more objective perspective, then realign your thinking.

Watching the Earth from the moon, it is easy to recognize how small and insignificant you are.  The higher up you go, the more distant your view, and the wider your perspective.

Even If you can just get above your personal relationships, you’ve gone a respectable distance.

There is no shortcut.

Shed your skin. Step into the void naked and trusting.

The answers are there.

 

****

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days.  Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward.  Would greatly appreciate sharing on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)  Thanks!

The Eye of the Needle

eye of needle camels

 

NEW!

Ipo

To achieve great wealth and power in a human lifetime, one must be almost single-minded in such a pursuit, desiring these things above everything else. These wants are driven by the ego — the gratification of rising above and having dominion over others. The satisfaction derives from the mistaken notion that greatness in one’s lifetime makes one superior to their fellow man.

But human achievement is not equal to spiritual achievement. In fact,  one usually precludes the other. The more one appeases the ego, the less one is able to develop spiritually.

Observe  the very rich, the very powerful — politicians and kings, religious leaders and giants of industry.  It is easy to recognize how disconnected many of them are from the purest part of their own souls.

They fill the void with the spiritual equivalent of empty calories – material goods, status, , with the game of bending others to their will. And although they may have greater ability to shape the world to their whim and even direct the course of history, once on the other side they hold no special status except as having been a tool to move along the story of humankind;  a tool of the universe.

However the desire for greatness is not the only way in which humans cater to the ego. Submission to any of the various manifestations of the self  —  insecurity, fear, guilt, desire, grief, anger, pain — prevents  the soul from ascending, from connecting with the greater universe. This is what blocks the soul’s path to true peace

To covet anything –even serenity and spirituality — is to accede to the ego.

sculpture by Russian artist Nikolai Aldunin

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Stranger in a Strange Land

Originally published November 11, 2014

 

indiginous

Je

I was born among my people on land we had lived upon since the beginning of time. I was bound to that land through my soul.  I lived many, many lives there.

I knew all the trees by name. The paths through the woods had been worn deeper into the earth by my feet, over thousands of years.

I knew the place in the river where it curves around a sharp bend.  The fish got trapped there.  They were easy to catch. I knew the warrens of the rabbits  — the entrance hidden between the roots of a large tree or under a large, moss-covered rock. I knew where to set my traps. I never went hungry.  I knew every plant, nut and berry and which of them were edible, medicinal, intoxicating.

I knew every landmark; the way the silhouette of the hills cleaved the sky from every angle. I always knew how far I was from home.  I could walk for days and never get lost.

Everything I had ever seen or tasted or touched or heard or smelled had been of that land.   My parents were born there.  My grandparents were born there,  and theirs, and theirs, and theirs.   I was married there.  I had children there.  And everything they had ever seen or tasted or touched or heard or smelled had been of that land.

It was not a paradise.  Life was hard.  But it was our life.  We were characters in the same story as the land.  Inseparable.  Our histories, intertwined. To take one from the other would be to destroy both.

And then, eventually,  the Strangers came.  I was a grown child before I ever saw one with my own eyes.  But slowly,  like stalking a deer,  they drew closer in increments so small we barely noticed.

Soon there were borders which were not allowed to cross; where we were not allowed to hunt.   They would not bother us as long as we stayed on our side.  But they kept pressing forward,  encircling us,  drawing the noose tighter.  We were being strangled but we were too small a group to put up much of a fight.

Eventually,   they took us all to a place far, far away. There were many different people there, speaking languages I did not understand.  It seemed there were many who did not understand each other.

I did not understand this land.  It was dry and dusty.  There were no forests.  There were no streams or rivers anywhere.  There were no hills.   Just ugly, flat, colorless dust for as far as my eyes could see. I hated it instantly.  I was resentful and angry.  I had been forcibly removed from my past.  I no longer felt whole. I knew as long as I lived there I never would.

Some tried to live outside our forced settlement,  but it was nearly impossible to survive.  It was a world so different, so strange from the ones we had known. We had no skills; did not understand their customs or their ways.   At least within the settlement,  we were with others in the same predicament.  For the benefit of all, each People tried to put aside their ancestral differences with others,  so we might all work as one.

The elders knew immediately this would be the end of all of us.  In order to survive, it would be necessary to give up some of our past identity and forge a new identity.   If we were unwilling to do that, if we insisted on clinging to the old ways,  if we wasted our energy to getting back to the old lands which no longer existed as we once knew them, we would have been too divided and too weak to survive in the face of the Strangers.  We needed a single, strong, united voice.

Positions of power went to those from warrior Peoples.  My People were small in number and not known for their bravery against the Strangers. It was natural that we all put our faith in the mightiest warriors of all.

But,  in the end,  none of it did any good. Our weapons and tactics were ultimately useless against them.

The old ways are gone.  Some rituals and stories remain of course, but now, disconnected from the land, they no longer make sense. The food and methods of cooking are lost, because we could not find what we needed in our new land.  We lost our cures, our intoxicants, our aphrodisiacs.

We survived, but we did not thrive.

It had always been the duty of all elders to teach the young ones their People’s history, traditions, language,  culture and skills.   But now,  what did it matter?  Many elders realized this knowledge was not useful for the new world.  We needed to learn a common language so we could communicate with other People.  We needed to learn new skills for new land with new rules. What was the point of passing on valuable information such as the best place in the river to catch fish,  or the best place to set a trap for rabbit,  when that river and that mossy rock were half a continent away? (Nobody knew exactly how far,  but certainly a walk of many moons.)

There was no going back.  The elders were without hope.  Most,  like myself, who remembered the land eventually died,  lost and heartbroken,  with wounds to our souls that never healed.

The younger ones took to changes more readily,  more willingly.  For them, it was an adventure.  They didn’t have such long memories.

They had fewer psychic wounds but they also grew up without traditions and stories that bound them to their spiritual past, without the reassuring knowledge that they stood upon the land upon which they were born and to which they belonged.

They had no ambition for anything for what could they aspire to?

Some took on the ways of the Strangers.  I did not blame them.  They needed something to fill the huge gaping voids inside themselves.

If the old stories don’t work, find new ones.  So they discovered Jesus. They learned to read and write and count many things.  They learned the ways of the Strangers so they could interact with them and perhaps find some advantage.

But even with this, they were not accepted outside.

And so, all the Peoples are not really People at all anymore. They are the children of People and Strangers. It is impossible to be anything else.   They live in two worlds and will never again be whole.

I am grateful that many still have pride in who they are, in who we were.  It is good to know that the People still endure.

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Free Will and Its Repercussions

Originally posted November 8, 2014

repercussions

Gat

My greatest sin was not that I beat her. Those wounds would have healed. No, my sin was that I sucked all the love and trust from her so that she was never able to love or trust again. She stayed with me, because she had no choice. But in the end she became cold and hard and bitter and angry. I stole her joy. She never found it again.  I made her path hard, and directed her away from more fulfilling ways she could have followed.

If she had managed to save herself from the disaster of being married to me, this weight would not be so heavy upon me now. It’s true, she had free choice. And I suppose it’s also true that we were put together to torment each other in this way; to gain the lessons therein.

We are each always free to choose our own path, but we are never free of obligation to those who cross our paths.

While we are not responsible for the feelings and expectations of others, our treatment of others and how they respond to us reflects positively or negatively upon our own journey. It colors how we perceive and are perceived by the world. This shapes our character which in turn influences our behavior. Our behavior defines our path.

We have free will. We are free to change our behavior. We are free to choose how to treat others. We are free to behave nobly or selfishly.   These choices, for better or worse, have repercussions across many lifetimes. Pain inflicted upon others is not a debt quickly worked off.

A Catalyst for Change

NEW!

power-to-the-people

Dra

I wasn’t happy to die so young but my death was a catalyst for big changes in social and political strata. I believed in the cause, certainly. I worked towards change.  But while alive, I was a mere cog in the machine, no more useful than anyone else. My voice was not heard above the others; my actions alone brought no more attention to our goals.

But my death!

It was not my intention to be a martyr. I was not that brave. But I also knew that there was not much future for me in the status quo.

When my death was imminent, I welcomed it, knowing it would amplify my voice, give it power which had been lost in the cries and shouts of the movement. I was no longer a cog. My death became evidence of all I’d worked to change. I was more useful as a sacrifice.

—-

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

 

The Significance of Dreams

originally posted Nov 5, 2014

computer-see-peoples-dreams-660x433

This is me, talking here….

 

I am beginning to believe that dreams are a mix of images and thoughts from our own imaginations as well as images and thoughts coming from outside ourselves — from the astral plane.   Within a dream, they are so intertwined and confused by dream logic,  it’s usually impossible to figure out what’s what and which is which.

For many years after my grandfather died, he used to come to me in dreams.  We would have lovely visits.  When I think of him while awake, I tend to think of him in very specific places where I have memories of us together. But in these dreams, we were not anywhere I recognized. It was just Poppy and me, conversing in a kind of seamless glowing white space.

The first time I met him there, I was so happy to see him still alive (at least that’s how it felt in my dream.) This was just before a big family holiday and I begged him to come to dinner. Everyone would be so happy to see him! He explained that it was impossible; he could not leave this place, but he asked me to send his love to all. (Which I did, and which they accepted as having come from him.)

I dreamed of him this way for years until one day, he came to me and told me he wouldn’t be able to come around anymore.  He was about to be reincarnated as a boy. It couldn’t wait. I  was disappointed but I was happy that he’d come to say goodbye.   I never dreamed of him in that way again.

Now,  if you are a believer in the afterlife,  you might believe that my grandfather’s spirit was indeed visiting me in my sleep.  It had all the markings of a classic visitation dream in that the message and interaction and conversation were completely pure.  There was none of the twisted logic which is a hallmark of most dreams (as the Robin Williams dream previous).   The communication was clear and direct.  There were no strange or inexplicable emotions.  In fact, there was little emotion at all.  I was happy to see him, of course; happy to know he was still alive somewhere,  sorry to see him go…but there was no pain, no guilt, no anger, none of the intense emotions we often feel in dreams. No convoluted dream logic.

Skeptics might say these were perfectly normal dreams, albeit somewhat different in nature and tone from the ones we typically have. Such dreams, prove nothing to skeptics about the existence of an afterlife.

And once again,  I could not argue with them.  Neither version is provable.

The skeptics say, if there really is life after death, if this astral world really exists, why don’t these spirits show themselves and prove their existence unequivocally?  Why do all messages which are supposedly from the great beyond always seem to be revealed by woo-woo nut jobs?

But skeptics tend to consider anyone who believes in the afterlife to be a WWNJ. Thus, anyone bearing such a revelation would be, ergo, a WWNJ. It’s circular logic and thus signifies nothing.

I will ask Ipo what he thinks about this…He’s my new go-to guy for answers.  🙂

—-

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Robin…Was That You?

first published November 2, 2014

Robin_Williams-3

 

Last night I had a very vivid dream about Robin Williams.  In the past, I would have simply assumed it was merely a dream but these days, I’m not so sure.  I figured I’d let the readers decide:

He came into a dream version of my apartment.  I met him near the door.   He immediately let me know he had one line of coke left and that was it…forever.   Then he graciously offered it to me.  I debated seriously whether to take it or not. I’ve never been  a fan of the stuff. I’d done a few lines here and there, back in the 80’s when it was all the rage, if it was offered to me at a party, but it was never my thing. I never sought it out or bought it for myself. I haven’t even seen the stuff in decades.

I looked at Robin and realized that if HE did that line, it would destroy him. It would likely re-trigger his addiction and take him down a dark path. If I did it, however,  it would likely be a pleasant but ultimately insignificant experience for me.  So, I accepted it as graciously as he’d offered it in order to save him (although in the dream, I never actually did the line.)

He was very hyper anyway,  and was walking around my apartment,  scoping out the place.  He started to look through the CDs in the shelves and drawers under the stereo.   Now, most of our CDs are in a 400 disc changer,  so any albums NOT in the stereo are the rejects.    He somehow made himself very small and crawled deep into the cabinet.  He kept calling out names of CDs and chastising me for my bad taste in music. I kept trying to explain that yes,  those albums ARE awful.  That’s why they’re not in the player!

Finally, he crawls out, still  bitching about my music but now he is naked.  He is NOT an attractive naked guy. He’s kind of barrel-chested and very hairy.  I give him a towel to wrap around himself, but he doesn’t seem interested in covering up.

“Ya got any Pat Boone?” he asks.  “The early stuff.  I just discovered it and I’m really into it.”  (And HE has the nerve to comment on MY musical taste!?)  I do not, but I’m wondering if perhaps I should have a listen. Who knows, maybe I missed something good.

Meanwhile,  Robin is running around my apartment completely naked,   checking out everything (and in my real apartment there is quite a lot to check out!) He’s opening doors and going into all the rooms; poking through drawers and closets.

Finally, he goes over to a door which opens into my neighbors’ apartment (like in adjoining hotel rooms. But this is a dream door, only.)  I try to stop him.  I doubt my neighbors would be happy to find a hairy, naked guy in their living room… but he plows ahead, unstoppable.

Now we are in the living room of a real life couple friend of mine (who are NOT my neighbors.) They are initially taken aback,  but I introduce him and they seem OK with having him there.

The end.

***

What does it mean?  Did he visit me within my dream or was it all a just a function of my sleeping synapses?  I have no idea.

Anyone know if he was into Pat Boone before he died? 😀

________

More on dreams, next time…

The Ripples of Our Actions

New Post

ripples2

 

Ipo

(My little friend is back.  He always has interesting insights, new ways of thinking about things.)

Absolute good and absolute evil are purely human concepts. Even the most horrific thing one can imagine will resonate good somewhere else. Perhaps that ripple will not be felt on the opposite shore for a long time, but the wave will eventually break.

Likewise, the most pure, innocent, selfless act that one might conceive will, somewhere at some time, result in pain for somebody.

That is a basic truth of existence.

All intentions ricochet off other intentions, scattering them like light upon a fractured mirror, refracting them, sending them in a thousand untraceable directions.

Results of human actions cannot be known in a lifetime; they remain opaque to living beings. What is good becomes bad. What is bad becomes good.

To be enlightened is not to act. Rather it is to perceive, to receive, to understand.

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Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

War, Ugh, What Is It Good For?

Originally published October 30, 2014

armytank-watercolor

To

I was a tool of history. I was a soldier. I followed orders, which I believed to be righteous in their intent. I never doubted that I was on the side of God; that our mission was His.

I killed without ever looking the enemy in the eye. Modern weaponry allows a certain moral remove. Vanquishing those who do not believe as you do becomes purely theoretical. From the air, from afar, one does not feel as if they are extinguishing a human life. Deaths are merely numbers, calculated and displayed on graphs and charts.

Soldiers are not encouraged to think about such philosophical matters; or to consider that the lives taken likely belonged to a father, a son, a husband or lover. Such consideration would render a fighting force impotent.

There is no such thing as a killing machine with morality.

But, then, what is morality? It is so much more complex than the way humans, in their limited understanding, define it. It is easy to say, simply, that killing is always wrong. Or that killing to defend oneself or one’s loved ones is justified. Or that destroying your enemy — an enemy who would destroy your very way of life if given the opportunity —   is a righteous cause. Anyone can find justification for any of these positions, but in the end, these are human justifications.

War is built into the human experience.   It has always existed and always will, despite naive calls for world peace.   Peace might be achieved in a limited arena for a limited time, but it will always erupt again somewhere else. Always. War is human emotion and relationships, writ large; the personal human condition, played out on a grand scale;

People call for peace and understanding yet cannot even get along with their own neighbors or stand to be within the bosom of their own family.

War and conflict are part of the fabric of worldly existence. It creates  the shadows in the pattern, and it is this darkness which defines the edge of the light.

Pure light is knowable in this realm.

 

****

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days.  Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward.  Would greatly appreciate sharing on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)  Thanks!

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