Silent Earth, Holy Earth.

The World Peace monument in a pond next to a s...
The World Peace monument in a pond next to a statue of the Buddha on a lotus in Swayambhunath temple site, Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted December 24, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Let’s hope and pray that men and women around the world will experience good spiritual events with their family, friends, all people, as well as personally. Perhaps humanity will receive the greatest present of all time – lasting world peace and brotherhood between all races, nations, creeds, and backgrounds.

Maybe a sufficient number of people have asked the Creator for some types of supernatural, universal interventions that make a marked difference in the way life on Earth evolves moving into 2014. A sufficient number of men and women around the world have joined their power of positive thoughts around peace and joy to the world, resulting in enough power to bring these ideals into reality.

Considering the ideals brought to light by the man called Jesus – whose birth the world’s people celebrate every year at this time – these days are the perfect time for people to focus on his message of loving God and loving one another “as I have loved you”. One wonders how many around the world are having thoughts now of a world with much more love expressed and lived on Earth, resulting in voluntary laying down of guns and bombs – the end of wars and intentional harming of other human beings.

One wonders how many people on Earth have the idea that matters having to do with spirituality – such as advocating for peaceful resolution of differences, proclamation of the notion that the golden rule is truly what it is all about, that doing no harm is the highest principle for humanity, and forgiveness and reconciliation are the best possible option to prevent added negative actions from being taken – are either signs of weakness or strength.

What is the possibility that the phrase “violence begets violence” is absolute truth, and that awareness of this truth will become universal – leading to spiritual wisdom becoming inserted into discussions concerning war and peace on Earth? Moving forward will there be more dialogue of a higher spiritual nature becoming inserted into the back and forth talks between men and women from all regions and nations?

And who can predict the percentage of people around the world who come to an understanding and a knowing of what has become termed “Christ consciousness”, “Buddha-mind”, and “enlightenment”? And what will any debate consist of – moving forward – regarding the highest possible human wisdom? Will the various major world spiritual traditions end any differences of opinion and wake up to the fact that, in essence, there is no difference – that all paths of genuine devotion lead to Creator/God?

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It is interesting to consider the parallels between Jesus and Buddha regarding material possessions and wealth. Jesus expressed anger – or perhaps righteous indignation is a better term – in the scene where he overturned the tables of the “money changers”, forcefully conveying the bankers’ error of “turning my house into a den of thieves”.

Buddha was born into wealth and luxury, yet turned away from his fortune to seek knowledge and enlightenment, coming to realize that selfish desires such as pleasure and lust, luxury, and other cravings of human beings leads to suffering and unhappiness.

There have been theories proposed about the so-called “lost years of Jesus” that point to his travels East for study and instruction with yogis and mystics of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Gnostic texts found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945 contain passages where Jesus may have spoken of reincarnation, a central part of the belief systems of Hindu and Buddhist spiritual texts. Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness mirrors the intense, lengthy periods of meditation and seeking in remote caves, guided by gurus and teachers, of yogis of the East.

Native Americans have practiced youth-to-manhood “vision quests” for centuries, where the men and women aspirants spend four days or longer without food or water on mountaintops – alone with nature – guided by a respected spiritual leader or medicine person, in search of spiritual knowledge and enlightenment.

Francis of Assisi was born into a wealthy merchant family and walked away like Buddha to search for spiritual truth. Many point out the present Pope Francis, Time Magazine’s 2013 person of the year, speaking on the world’s economic situation in a manner similar to Francis of Assisi.

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So, spirituality seemed like the most proper subject for Christmas Eve. Because I hold that all traditions are each facets of the diamond of spiritual truth, the following documentary is about Khyentse Rinpoche, the principal teacher of the Dalai Lama. Its title is “The Spirit of Tibet”and includes a very interesting biographical study of Khyentse Rinpoche. The Dalai Lama is quick to say that his teacher was very helpful in his spiritual practice – the film shows that he taught others all the way to the end of his life.

Khyentse Rinpoche spent fifteen years in meditative and spiritual exercise, an intense time where the aspirant forgoes comfort, luxury, or wealth in the search for enlightenment. Perhaps it would not be a stretch to compare long periods of meditation by Buddhists, Hindus, Native Americans, and others to the 27 years in prison spent by Nelson Mandela. There seems to exist a commonality where the person becomes actively engaged to self-conquer or control one’s thoughts and mind.

Khyentse Rinpoche spent the morning hours from 4 am to 9 am in meditation and prayer – a practice the Dalai Lama has inserted into his daily routine. One could relate meditation to prayer, as both are periods of silence and contemplation. So, quiet time is common to every tradition on Earth. Wisdom received through meditation and prayer burns away ignorance and self-centered emotions, resulting in more positive thoughts and actions of compassion and concern for the end of suffering – the happiness – of others.

In the film the Dalai Lama speaks about the Buddha‘s instruction to students to consider him a teacher, and that he was pointing out each person’s innate ability to train their mind positively. This may be seen as related to Jesus’ pointing out that “greater things than these shall you do”, illustrating his role as teacher similar to Buddha. Native American medicine people are sure to point out that any healings come from the Creator, the Great Spirit, and that healing power comes from God through the medicine person like a “hollow bone” – from the Creator/God to the patient.

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Whether you consider yourself an adherent of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Judaism or one of the folk religions – may you experience a Silent Earth, Holy Earth.

 

 

 

 

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Prayer For All People, All Life, And All Things.

Posted August 11, 2013 by Jerry Alatalo

“Prayer that craves a particular commodity, anything less than all good, is viscious… prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft… As soon as the man is one with God, he will not beg.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

earthblog2Prayer is communication with God, the Creator. Some people never pray, some pray once a week during church services, some pray when faced with particularly difficult life situations, when in the foxhole during warfare as an example. Still other people have come to a point where every step is as a prayer. Where life, all life, can be thought of as sacred.

Every person deserves to be, and must be, respected regarding his or her personal relationship with God, the Creator. One person should never tell another that their spiritual status is right or wrong. Spirituality is something that is every person’s business and nobody else’s. Each person will find their own way in the realms of spirituality; others may communicate, but not judge others for, what they have observed in those realms.

It is the sole responsibility of every person to discern spiritual writings and either accept or reject what they have to offer. Perhaps one will feel in their gut, what some term intuition, that the ideas and thoughts conveyed in particular writings resonate. Intuition is a very interesting subject which fascinates us when we realize that it was built in to us as human beings. When we think about the human experience we become overwhelmed that such an amazing scenario, life and reality, came to exist in the first place.

There are times when we sit and allow our minds to imagine what is occurring on the rest of the Earth. All of the information we receive throughout our lives from travels, personal experiences, books, films, news reports, websites, blogs, communications through many forms and types, all add to the intensity and vividness of our imagining of the situations in the world now.

“Great Spirit we pray for all people, all life, and all things on this Mother Earth. We pray for the two-legged, the four-legged, the winged, those that live in the water, the crawling things, the green things, the rocks, the air, the waters and all things. We pray for those who live in areas where war and suffering are occurring; that leaders will emerge to bring an end to fighting and a lasting peace. We pray for those living in areas where there are weather events which have left people in difficult situations. We pray for people who are in situations where the absence of love, forgiveness and compassion has led to harmful words, anger, physical and emotional violence, pain, and suffering. Please bring better days to all these Great Spirit. We humbly thank you for the food that Mother Earth freely provides us and ask that all may be given their sustenance. We thank you for humanity’s coming together as one with friendship, brotherhood, mutual respect and good intentions for all people no matter their status. We thank you that this feeling of unity and oneness is being felt by more and more people all across this beautiful Earth. We thank you for this growing awareness and the increased feelings of unconditional love and forgiveness.”

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In Memory of Bear Heart. Conclusion.

July 3, 2013 by Jerry Alatalo

earthblog3A vision quest is not about trying to see some kind of “supernatural” event such as a spirit or ghost. The man or woman is spending time communicating with the One Source, the Creator. Bear Heart thought that “The survival of our society depends on people who have a good connection with the spiritual. That’s our salvation, and without it our society deteriorates into politics and greed. We see it almost daily.”

He pointed out that there is a difference between being truly spiritual and being a member of a church.

“Finding yourself, looking within, is the most important thing in life. ‘This is where I stand. This is who I am.’ When you know that, you can tackle any circumstance that comes along.”

Bear Heart recalled someone saying to him, “I wish I had the same amount of spirit that you have.” He replied , “We were all given the same amount of spirit. None more, none less. The difference between individuals is allowing the Spirit to have more of you.” Many of us think we have yielded to the spirit, but are still holding back in certain ways.

“There is a path for each of us to follow-that is what life is all about. Many people say to me, ‘I’d like to learn your ways.’ That’s okay with me, but I would rather have people learn their own way, and equally important is how they use what they learn.”

He talked about achieving whatever we wanted in life. He said it is possible, even though it may not be easy. If the goal is one which is worthwhile it keeps us moving forward. He gives the example of Abraham Lincoln, who suffered many political defeats before he was elected president. He was told that he was ugly, that he looked like an ape. Lincoln overlooked the unkind comments, persevered and reached a high office. Other examples are those blind poets and deaf composers who found they had something inside which told them they could do it.

Many times the achievement will not come immediately, but persistence wins out.

We too often look at others’ success and wonder what it would be like to be this or that person. We wish we were someone else. So what if someone else does something a little better? Be happy for them, but don’t let that stop you from being the best that you can be. Maybe you are better at some things than that person, so it all balances out.

Bear Heart noted that “You have it within you to become good at anything that you strive for. The thing is, never give up, accept what you are and be proud of it, be grateful for it. But never let it go to your head, always strive to keep your feet on the ground.”

“Each one of us has something to offer in this life, every one of us. We are here to reflect the beauty of all of life-the beauty of the trees, the grass, the animals, the birds, the rivers as they flow by. All these may be lost in time. While we are still here, can we not appreciate and love the land, the environment, so that when we pass on, we will have left something solid and beautiful for those who are going to follow after us?”

“The word memorial does not indicate that someone has died. It symbolizes that someone has lived. What is going to be that living memorial that you’re going to leave behind? That I’m going to leave behind? Why are we here now? We’re here to add something, to construct, to preserve. To leave something good for those little ones who are going to come into our world. Let that motivation be so firmly established in your heart and mind that you can say, I will stand for this. I will live for this.”

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In Memory of Bear Heart. Part 10.

June 29, 2013 by Jerry Alatalo

393-2Bear Heart mentions that his people did not spend only an hour each Sunday morning to practice spirituality. Every day was considered sacred and holy.

“I thank You for another day. I ask that You give me the strength to walk worthily this day so that when I lie down at night I will not be ashamed.”

He mentioned that when his people prayed it was not for themselves only. Prayer would include children that were growing up now and those children yet to be born. The prayer would include all people, plants, trees, birds and animals.

“Let your every step be as a prayer.”

He remembered as a child going to gathering where the medicine man at the time would ask for a quiet time from all gathered, and communicate with the Great Spirit. He would say that he has tried his best to take good care of that knowledge entrusted in him for the good of the people. He would express gratitude that he had come upon the knowledge that resulted in people feeling good physically, mentally and spiritually.

Bear Heart remembered that this was the people’s church, in nature, where everything, including the birds, became quiet. He said that they were in tune with all of life. After the silence the people would dance all night. It was not what most people consider dancing; a time to party it up and get crazy. This dancing was a way of thanking the Great Spirit and it was a ceremony. This was a sacred ceremony where people would sweat, bathe and fast before communicating with the Great Being.

“They called it pagan, yet it’s my belief that however we make contact with the Creator is of meaning in His eyes.”

Bear Heart goes on to talk about respect for the Earth and all living things. He said that if people took something from the Earth, whether it be herbs, stones, plants or the earth itself, there was always an offering of in return, usually tobacco. Then a prayer is conveyed that the item that was taken shall be used in a good manner.

“My people were told a log time ago, ‘The rivers and streams are the veins of the universe. They’re your lifeline, take care of them.’ Today it’s hard to find good clean water anymore. We’ve been very poor stewards of all that was given to us in its pure form. Instead we have become exploiters and abusers of the very thing that sustains our lives, and we think we have nothing to learn from the world around us.”

He gives the example of bears, who are very playful when they are hunting or fishing. They do not hunt and fish to make a living and make a game out of it for enjoyment. Bear Heart said that humans can learn from the bear’s example. He advises for people to not get into ruts where the joy is not appreciated and experienced. People have made the error of going to work and not making the most out of it through gratitude and sharing joy with others. He advises people to work on their attitudes and make the most of their situations while being grateful.

Bear Heart talked about the manmade pollutants that man puts into the environment which darkens our view of the beauty of nature. Everything is connected to everything else, so the hole in the ozone layer affects one-cell organisms and the plants, animals and other forms that feed on those organisms. This phenomenon goes up the chain of life to affect human beings and the consequences are felt.

The choice by humanity to waste tremendous amounts of paper results in thousands of trees, which hold the soil together, being lost along with topsoil.

“We were told to respect the land. Each blade of grass, every leaf, even one pine needle, is trying to filter out some of the pollution we cause. All of these things help make air more breathable and life more comfortable for us, yet modern society seems to go along without much regard for them.”

He talked about there being much to learn from nature if people would open up their minds. He said that “Until we get back in touch and in tune with nature, we’re destroying ourselves.”

The Four Directions.

“If you have a problem that you have no answer for, you can face East and think about it and an answer will come to you.”

Bear Heart talked about the two planes of the mind; the conscious awareness and right below it the unconscious. He said the unconscious holds every bit of knowledge we have ever received from the time of being born; it sends answers to our conscious awareness to our questions and problems. When we face the East direction we are tapping the unconscious knowledge for guidance and direction.

He said that we can face South when we have lost a friend or relative; someone we have been close to. He saw the South as representing the destiny of mankind. His tribe holds the belief that we come from the South direction, walk the red road during our lives, and walk the blue road, the road of spirit, to cross over to the spirit world. He was taught that when we get to the blue road that there is a white bird that clears our way so we make the complete crossing.

The Wind People then come and push our soul into the next world so the person will not be left roaming but find rest and peace. “If you have lost a loved one and spend a lot of time on that loss, face South and ask for help to keep going on in life.”

He said West is for us the direction of thankfulness and gratitude. He advises us to look to the West at the end of the day and say, “Thank you for all the things that happened today, the good as well as the bad.” The bad holds a lesson for us so we need to find the lesson and grow from it. When we spend too much time focusing on our difficulties we are building a wall around us which separates us from happiness on the other side of the wall.

Bear Heart looked to the North for physical, emotional and mental health. His sharing of a way to deal with issues of health and well-being could be hard for some to take seriously. He told people that by laying on the ground, Mother Earth, with our navel facing her and our head to the North will give us healing.

He gave the example of Crazy Horse, the great Indian warrior. Crazy Horse would stand on Mother Earth barefoot for hours to get energy built up in him. The Earth can heal us.

“So lie there with your head to the North. In the North sits the bald eagle, whose head is white like snow. The white of snow represents purity, and when snow comes we say it covers your path. If you have had difficulties in your life, all that’s covered up-you begin to feel good and sound again and you can make new tracks.”

Continued in Part 11…

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