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Thursday August 27th 2013

 August calendarPlease note that we shall be making a time change to the class time later on in August from Thursdays to Tuesdays. We plan on making this change on Tuesday August 20th. We shall continue as usual with Thursdays on Thursday, July 25th; Thursday, August 1st; and Thursday, August 8th. We shall then MISS Thursday, August 15th and move to Tuesday, August 20th, continuing from then with Tuesdays, same time at 7:30 PM and same place, unless otherwise notified in this weekly missal.

Picture of a vulcano within an iceburg"Some say the world will end in fire
 Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice
 I think I know enough of hate
 To say that for destruction
Ice Is also great
And would suffice."
("Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost)

The world is a difficult and challenging place, whether or not you believe it will end in fire or ice. Between climate change and economic woes, not to mention your own and others' personal dramas, you all experience the rough-and-tumble of life, some more, some less. Even that statement can be misleading, however, because it's not WHAT you experience but HOW you experience that determines the level of intensity or pain that you feel. People come to Charque and me for insight and perspective, even answers which is, of course, more questionable. One particularly desperate expression of pain comes from the more religious. "Why is God doing this to me?" "How much more do I need to go through?" These questions, and others, are all valid and vital questions, as long as you are also open and willing to engage in a personal search for directions and answers yourself and don't believe that others can solve your life for you. Otherwise, you remain feeling victim to somebody or something outside of yourself: God or your parents, society or even the world itself. Some answers are more obvious than others. You are not the victim of hurricanes if you move to the Florida coast for sun and sea. Climate science will tell you that hurricanes are a natural part of the package. Don't overlook the obvious! Learning to be thoughtful with your experiences can be a turning point from merely being emotional and reactive, and definitely an improvement.

The laws of climate lie behind hurricanes and drought, just as the laws of economics lie behind stock market fluctuations or job loss. Such laws can be studied and understood. None of it is random or accidental. There is no wayward god out there in the universe having fun at your expense or punishing you for some intransigent act or behaviour. Don't succomb to superstition and fear. There is cause and effect at work if you observe it. You can see it and understand it. So it is with the mind and its thoughts and beliefs. If you observe your mind, you will see that it is having an effect too. As A Course in Miracles says: "There are no idle thoughts. What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion". (ACIM Workbook, Lesson 16: "I Have No Neutral Thoughts"). If you believe that you have to give, then you will keep attracting those who expect you to give to them. If you hand over power, others will take it. If you are afraid, you will have to face situations that are fearful for you. Your mind is both active and operative. You need to learn to see that it is having a huge effect on your life, and, more particularly, on how you experience your life. A lot of these thoughts lie much deeper in the unconscious. Why, for example, can some people never keep a job or make any money? Why do others continually have problems with other people, especially relationships? Why does anyone experience illness, accident, or even death itself? And why do such events keep re-occurring?

Justice card from the aquarian deckThese painful and limiting mindsets and beliefs have their origins in other times and places. The Justice card from Palladini's Aquarian Tarot Deck pictures only one pan of the scale (that is traditionally pictured on Justice cards) to emphasise the idea that you may not know what you are balancing against or what lies on the other pan of the scale. You do not see the origins of your beliefs and of your pain. Karma and another and new incarnation allow you to re-work a problem and look at it differently. Karma is not about judgement, other than your own. God or The Big Universe does not judge. It is only you who judge: yourself and your actions, past, present (and future), and then others who reflect what you judge in yourself and who will in turn judge you too. You punish yourself for things done that you no longer see or are conscious of. You return again (and again) into life until you become aware that you are doing this to yourself and creating misery for yourself. Then you can practice a new approach to life by thinking and acting differently. This is, of course, going to take time, lots of it. But it beats continually banging your head against a brick wall and wondering why it hurts. Or, worse still, blaming God or someone else for the pain you feel. Time is what life offers you to heal your past and experience anew. It is one of the great gifts of the Universe. "Time is the means to make actual what is potential". (I Ching, Hexagram 1, "The Creative").

Many years ago an old friend of ours told us of an experience she had during childbirth. She was under the influence of gas (commonly used during childbirth not too far back) when she told the nurse that someone was screaming. The nurse replied "it’s you, dearie!" Hearing that story after my own mother’s experiences under gas at my birth convinced me to stay awake during the birth of our children, no matter what. Even if it hurts, I felt, it is better than the twilight zone of the befuddled mind. This is a metaphor for life. The befuddled mind has trouble finding focus, insight and directions. So, does the dogmatic mind that is already made up. It is the mind that is open and awake, learning to observe and work with the laws of cause and effect at all levels, that is most effective.

Picture of a crowIn some Native American cultures, it is Crow that teaches the medicine of Law and, in particular, of Sacred Law. The crow’s eyes work separately. Crow looks at the world first with one eye and then with the other. Crow sees both worlds: the spirit world and the physical world, the world of mind and the world of matter, the world of cause and the world of effect. Crow understands the magic of the universe. It is as if Crow is reminding you to look first at your experiences in this world and then to remind yourself that their origins lie elsewhere in your mind and in other dimensions of experience in the universe. Then you are more likely to find answers to your questions. In Tarot, it is the High Priestess who possesses and teaches this same kind of vision which ultimately allows you to change your mind and experience life differently. With Crow medicine you can experience the magic of the universe instead of pain. One more thing about pain: a Sufi poet and teacher once expressed it this way: "No one has ever attained by suffering the infinite treasure of the union. Yet, strangely, without suffering, no one ever saw that treasure." ("Suffering and the Infinite Treasure" by Abu Said). The function of pain is to awaken to the infinite treasure which is the true magic of the universe.

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