January 01, 2018
Pride and Power
There is much talk about owning our power these days. From spiritual teachings we find our power lies in our authenticity and willingness to surrender our agendas to an intelligence beyond our own. There is also the will of ego, however, based on a need for personal gain and status. While spiritual power requires getting out of our own way, this kind of “power” is driven by pride, and lends itself toward abuse. When someone is spiritual, but has not done their personal work, sometimes the two are confused.
Pride, at its best, is a positive sense of self. We are proud that we are the first one in our family to graduate from college, for example. While good self esteem is essential, pride has an uncanny capacity for over indulgence and abuse. In fact it is considered one of the seven deadly sins. At its worst, pride seductively lures us in to defend our inadequacies, at any price. We may choose to lie, or fight dirty, for example, just to claim a victory. While we have won the argument, at what cost is this to our soul? Feeling dirty, we look for another win, and so it goes.
October 01, 2017
Deserving and Entitlement
Entitlement is a self imposed claim on recognition, a flag in the ground stating I deserve special treatment. Perhaps we are smarter than everyone else, or maybe more spiritually awakened. Maybe our spiritual teachings even say we are more entitled. You may believe your social status, gender, or race, sets you apart. Your choices on what you eat, or do not eat, may give you that notch above the rest. Perhaps it is the kind of car you drive. You may even think you have earned differential treatment because you have worked so very hard to get it.
Another way people feel entitled is through wounding. They have suffered more than another, so they deserve a break. They deserve retribution. This kind of entitlement is insidious, it floats beneath our conscious thought, motivating behavior and clouding our judgement. It becomes that chip on our shoulder that justifies bad behavior. The world owes us something for all of the pain we have endured. We deserve compensation.
January 01, 2016
The Fifth Element
Consider a clay pot. It starts from minerals found in the earth. Mixed with water it becomes a malleable substance that can be shaped into a form. Bake it in a fire, stoked by the winds of the bellows, and you temper that object, giving it a strength that can hold up under use. Just as this pot is born of the four basic Elements of Creation, Earth, Water, Fire and Wind, so too are we. But as every alchemist and shaman knows, there is a fifth element at play as well.
From the beginning of time, cultures have broken Nature down into its basic constituents in an effort to better thrive on Planet Earth. Ancients alchemists recognized that there is a visible world constructed of four basic elements. Each one has a different temperament. Water, for example, has the uncanny ability to shift forms. It can move from solid ice, to a liquid, and finally to gaseous steam. Fire, alternatively, has the properties of transmutation. It consumes entire forests, for example, making way for new growth. From the subtle flap of a tiny butterfly wing powerful Winds arise, and of course there is the Earth element, giving us the basis of all structure and form. The fifth element, Ether, they say, is more elusive. It is the consciousness between atoms, the very fabric of the sky.