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Living off the Land. A right or a privilege?

28 Mar

Another memory to share with you, out of which to serve the higher good.

Toheroa season was  an annual highlight – until, of course, it became so popular that the succulent treat was threatening to abandon the planet.

Until then the farming families would sort out a day when weather and tides suited, load up their vehicles  (we would sit on an old car seat on the back ofthe land rover – oh my, OSH, what you would say today!) and head off to Dargaville to camp for the day at the high tide mark on the wild west coast beach.

You were allowed to take a certain amount of the shellfish home but as well as that you could eat as many as you liked on the beach. We would build a fire to boil a billy of water in which to open them and set up a hand mincer so fritters could be fried.

What enjoyment there was to be had – rolling down the sand dunes, racing through the tussock grass, getting bowled by sweepers while digging in the sand at the edge of low tide  and then eating fritters or steamed Toheroa sandwiched between slabs of soft white bread and dripping with golden butter! Such sea-splashed, sun-washed, salt-sprayed, sand-blasted, greasy, sticky, exhausted delights were we at the end of those golden days!

Yes, wonderful memories. It does not seem likely that such experiences will be available to the general populace again. If I’m really honest about it , it was probably my experience only 2 or 3 times – it all had to coordinate with tides, milking, weather and budgets.

The following article by Glenys Stage, “The Elusive Toheroa”, while written some time ago, outlines some of the adversities this delicacy has endured.

It is apparent from this that the shellfish is extremely sensitive to any environmental change and has always been so, so that even in prehistoric times, the population underwent huge fluctuations. Does this mean we should ignore the call to restrict access?

I think not. At no time has the environmental change that the toheroa endures been so huge as in recent history. Never before have they had less time to adapt to continuing pressure.

The restrictions must help. The question is whether or not we think it is important. We of older generations desire to share our more delightful experiences with the younger – but perhaps it must be our stories which provide this, rather than the actual experience, since we have taken without giving back.

We have lost many species to the pressures of increased population and business exploitation of resources. The planet and the entities which live with it will always strive to achieve balance and nature will always succeed. The energies held in living organisms – including us – will be utilised to this purpose. If we are not aware of this law and do not consciously work with it to maintain balance, it will be attained to our detriment and to the detriment of animal and plant species.

If we believe all is connected, then we understand that we can influence this balance and that we have choices. Our interaction with nature triggers effects which can snowball and cause reactions beyond our understanding in the longer term. The highest good will always be served when we love and respect nature, our planet and each other equally. Would anyone sacrifice their loved ones for  material gain? Unfortunately they can and do. They remove choice from their existence and they do it in the absence of love.

In the ‘old days’ a smaller population lived in balance where nature was revered and resources preserved for future generations. But in more modern times, we have ignored the needs of our oneness, separating ourselves from all of it. Living off the land has been something we have interpreted as the right to exploit it rather than as a privileged relationship of give and take. The give part has been forgotten.

To my mind, anything we can do to restore that paradigm, adapting and adjusting with love our relationship, is positive. This includes supporting efforts to cut down on environmental pollution, discontinuing exploitation of natural resources and promoting the use of natural and balanced farming methods.

Judge Not…

4 Mar

Many of us in ‘Western’ culture have been raised in a society whose mores and laws are rooted in the Judeo – Christian teachings of the Bible. We have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the ten commandments of the old testament. We carry reaction to the premonitory warnings of the book of Revelations and have heard stories of Solomon’s wisdom. From the New Testament, most have at least heard the Lord’s Prayer and have been exposed in some way to Jesus’ teachings about not judging, giving to Rome, turning the other cheek, the meek inheriting the Earth and so on.

However, I would say everyone is very aware of the hypocrisies which abound in an unjust, unfair and unbalanced world. It is why so many are rebelling against traditional teaching and philosophy.

In my last blog I addressed the concept of guilt as self judgement and its relationship to hypocrisy. I would like to expand on this theme to focus on Jesus’ teaching – ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’

The human, by ‘being’ and making choices does so by comparing and categorising options. When exploring options for what to think and what to do, we usually sort things into two groupings. What is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. We draw on our experiences and how they have impacted on us. We also draw on the experiences of others and how we imagine they would impact on us. When we are unsure, we draw on the choices others make. These tend to be people we ‘agree’ with,  those we admire and look up to and/or those from whom we desire approval; or those we fear. Sometimes we change how we categorise things that are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ depending on who we are with.

If we are to listen to Jesus, then the mere act of comparing in order to separate people into one group or another, is to judge them. This is an enormous paradox for us to come to terms with if we believe that a person’s behaviour defines the person. When we define people by what they do we are not only judging them, we are also failing to love them unconditionally. (Another of Jesus’ directives.) This includes oneself.

Instead of judging people for their behaviours, we can discern behaviours which are the result of an ab(sin)ce of unconditional love, and desire that those empty spaces be filled. Compassion for ourselves and our fellow humans recognises our oneness both as humans ‘being’ together and as an energy of unconditional love flowing ceaselessly  in every direction – except where it is shut out by our ‘being’ human.

We are in this thing called ‘Life’ together! When we judge a fellow human we are not only shutting a door to a room in our own hearts against Love entering or leaving, but we are barricading the doors to others against their potential choice to open them to Love. As humans when we lock our own rooms from the inside, we lock others’ from the outside. Love doesn’t have the opportunity to enter. Forgiveness is about unlocking the doors. Sorry is being so ready to find the humility to recognise the need to do so.

I am not advocating fence sitting or live and let live policy in addressing behaviours which are the result of a loveless existence. These deny others’ choices –  to make decisions, to choose partners, to make mistakes, to learn, to enjoy living, to freedom – to choose life.

What we can do is be discerning about the choices we – and our fellow humans – make, which impact directly on the right for others to choose. We can act as necessary to stop or change that behaviour. But there will be no possibility to fill empty rooms in human consciousness with love, if we have no desire to find compassion, born of unconditional love, in our own hearts.

Many of us who observe hypocrisy in others  are unwilling to consider that we recognise it because we have been – or are – there already. It is in our experience. Some reject all wisdom because of it.

If our hearts are open to love, we can discern wisdom from folly, courage from foolhardiness, kindness from guile, assertiveness from anger, justice from condemnation, compassion from sympathy, appreciation from prejudice, humility from weakness; there is no right or wrong – there is only Love or Not Love. No one can change the vibration of love. We can only shut it out -or in- with a hard and closed heart, as lead blocks radiation, or walls block light.

Within every human heart is unconditional love – the soul. To open our hearts and allow the flow of love through our ‘being’, will affect human consciousness and bring about Heaven on Earth.

So, ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’ Let’s be mindful of hypocrisy in our thoughts and actions and begin to allow unconditional love to transcend it.

What is Guilt?

27 Feb

One of the greatest teachings of Jesus which most of us either ignore or ‘tweak’ to justify our own behaviours is ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.

My understanding of this relates to the need to observe our hypocrisy – when we observe this in ourselves it manifests as feelings of guilt. Guilt is self judgement. When we observe it (hypocrisy) in others, we judge them – accusing them of being ‘wrong’ and ourselves of being ‘right’.

Human behaviours are a reaction to other human behaviours. We each categorise behaviours, which include thinking, as good or bad, depending on our society, upbringing, friendships, core beliefs, choices, culture etc. – the feeling of guilt results when we compare our own behaviours to the expectations placed on us by the ownership we have of those definitions.

When we feel guilt we have a number of options:

  • We ignore it. ‘None of my business. What the heck. Shit happens.’
  • We justify it by comparing ourselves to the ‘enemy’.  ‘ He started it!’
  • We punish ourselves. ‘I’m useless. I’m unworthy. I deserve to be punished.’
  • We feel sorry for ourselves. ‘Nobody likes me.’
  • We forgive ourselves and move forward.

The final option is one we would all like to think we can apply! But how often is the perception  that we have done so, really the truth?

My take on this comes from my personal conviction that:

  • ‘God’ is an energy of unconditional love – it just IS. The attributes of this energy when it manifests as behaviour in the human are things like ‘kindness’, ‘patience’, ‘gratitude’, ‘compassion’, ‘acceptance’, ‘allowing’, ‘charity’ and of course, ‘unconditional love.’
  • ‘Sin’ is any energy we absorb and reflect that is abSINt of love. Its attributes manifest as behaviours of ‘judgement’, ‘self righteousness’, ‘superiority’, ‘outrage’, ‘guilt’, ‘grief’, ‘pity’, ‘hate’, ‘fear’, ‘retribution’ and ‘conditional love’.

I believe Jesus reflected the energy of unconditional love completely. When he was killed he ‘absorbed’ all energies abSINt of love and underwent the complete feeling of isolation it brings – lonely, forsaken, cut off – until the love he truly was transformed it all to reflect as the greatest act of compassion that we have ever observed, not because he underwent more physical pain than others (which he did not), but because he underwent the emotional pain of sin – complete isolation from the energy of love – by embracing and feeling it all.

It is the same pain we all undergo when we are feeling the effects of love’s absence in our lives. His example can show us the way to transform it with the energy of absolute love. This energy is EVERYWHERE except where it is isolated by the heart of the human in his ‘being’.

When we open our heart to connect with the love of our soul (AKA Jesus, God, Love, Allah, Buddha, Gaia – whoever/whatever is our personal representation of unconditional love),  and stand with our own pain – guilt, grief, hate, anger, blame -it can transform into a love of lesson. Only then can our hearts expand to stand with others in true compassion, available to them with love should they choose to open their own hearts. If we do not do this we deny them – and ourselves – the choice to change.

So we begin by examining our definition of unconditional love, as it applies to our personal ‘representative’. If we find it wanting, it is because we have applied to our concept of ‘God’, attributes which are created in his absence, to justify a perceived need to have power over behaviours.

If we can stand with the power of love in our being, then those who stand with a love of power cannot wield it! They might then choose love. But we must first address those of our own thoughts and actions which stand with a desire for, or subservience to, power. So we must identify this in ourselves and forgive it (give it forward to unconditional love, being so ready – sorry – to do so).

So when do we say no to others’ actions?

We can say no and stand against any action or decree which denies free choice. Although the choice to serve a love of power is honoured by unconditional love, if it disallows free thinking and choice for others, then war, law changes, incarceration, assertiveness, boundary setting  and protest are justified (application of truth serving love) even as we stand with them in their pain and offer our love. However, if we apply justice from a desire for revenge or in prejudice or hatred, rather than discerning an absence of love in others’ choices, we stand with them in judgement to feed our own love of power.

So the questions of choice in our lives are:

  • unconditional love, or conditional love.
  • the power of love, or the love of power.
  • compassion – standing with others in their pain, or judgement –  comparing others to our own measured standards.
  • discerning behaviours as denying or allowing the freedom to choose, or judging  behaviours as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
  • seek truth to serve love through the power of love, or seek truth to serve power through the love of power.
  • forgive -give forward into love those places within the heart absent of it or refuse to seek readiness (be sorry) to do so.
  • open the heart with a desire to serve love or close it with a desire to serve or wield fear.
  • Integrity or dishonesty.

Always seek within. If we are to bring about ‘Heaven on Earth’ we cannot exempt ourselves from these considerations of our personal choices.