Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Belief

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved
Whether you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, agnostic or atheist—whatever the flavor or your spirituality or worldview—December is a Season of Love and Light. People are, for the most part, kinder. Anticipation fills the air. Even those who don’t believe in Santa, Jesus, good karma—or that people are still good at heart—even they may find it difficult to avoid the contagion of a world that’s on an upper.

There are some people who don’t have good holiday memories and fall into crabby or Scrooge-like behavior because of their unhealed personal pain. There’s enough goodwill around to absorb their hurt and bitterness. Yes, there’s commercial madness and a lot of falling off-center about the true spirit of the season. This is the perfect time of year for reviewing our beliefs and asking ourselves, what are they? Have they changed? How do I act from them as an individual in integrity?

To read more about the word oracle series, see 10 weeks of Word Oracles #1

The Sun entered Sagittarius on Nov. 22, the sign associated with philosophy, religion, beliefs, and higher education. To read more about how the astrology of the month between Nov. 22 and the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21 influences us, take a Moonwalk: Sagittarius with me on The Radical Virgo.

How Do We Teach Kids Values?

I had a conversation with a friend about this recently, about how to “teach our children well,” as the old Fifth Dimension song goes (one of my faves). Greed and other Golden Rule breakers tip our world in the wrong direction. Greed, for one, seems directly responsible for our current economic chaos. We need to be against it, vote against it, and act against it if we find it creeping into our thoughts and actions. We’ve managed to make smoking socially taboo and economically expensive and have done the same thing with drinking and driving. We take away licenses and throw butts in jail! Now, let’s go for greed! We are not helpless. We can just say no to things that are not good for society as a whole.

We live in an increasingly secular world. In my own case, I grew up in parochial schools with strong ethics. I may not have always agreed with the reasoning of the nuns who taught me. I often say, they taught me the right things, often for the wrong reasons. For example, there’s nothing inherently wrong with sexuality; it’s beautiful. However, having sex before one is old enough to handle the emotional and possible physical consequences is a nightmare waiting to happen. I often muse that guilt and control were just one way to teach. I’m very mental. They could have also reached me with reason!

In other words, there are many ways to share beliefs. If we want sound children and grandchildren, we need to start telling them our stories—why we do things the way we do, why we don’t do them in a way that harms others. But before we can pass along a good code for living, it’s important to make a periodic review of where we stand with these issues. You might be surprised to uncover dilemmas, changes, and a need to regroup your thinking.

Spiritual Diversity

I celebrate spiritual diversity. There are many ways to look at life and live it, but at heart, we are all human. Any way of life that enhances our freedom and respect for one another is life-affirming and a good thing. Early in my explorations of metaphysics, I was tolerant of everyone except the spiritually conservative. Fortunately, I have grown to embrace people who take a religious fundamentalist approach as much as those who chant om on hilltops. People have different ways of helping themselves stay on the straight and narrow, which is nothing more than the path we have in common where we support each other without harm and hopefully, with help--and emphasis on the “support.”

I’ve got an idea for you this holiday season, because I drew this word as an oracle. Ask a friend of a different faith if you can attend a service with him or her. Or visit a church, synagogue or mosque on your own—with a phone call ahead, if it helps you to have an entrée. Go to an atheists’ meeting.  If nothing else, rent a movie to learn more about some viewpoint or faith other than your own. Tolerance comes from knowing people with different ideas, from putting different beliefs in the context of our shared humanity. This outreach may help you solidify or amend your own beliefs in some way. At best, it’s an exciting adventure to learn how the other half lives.  When you consider how many wars are fought over religion, this exercise can truly be your part in creating peace on earth, as in that wonderful song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth—and Let It Begin with Me.”

What better time of year! And now for an inner journey on the same subject …

Meditation and Journaling on Belief

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1.      Take three deep breaths. Say “belief” to yourself. Let the word rest on your mind, and then let your mind speak. Now ask yourself, “What are my basic beliefs?” Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let your memories or thoughts finish speaking. When they’re done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2.      Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right:  I review my beliefs and note how I have changed. I work on clarifying my beliefs to myself so I can share them coherently with others. Sharing beliefs in a non-threatening way leads to peace on earth, one person at a time.

3.      When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “belief.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts and intentions into your week. Learn as much as possible about your beliefs this week. Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

Above all, believe in yourself!


Next and final word in the series:  Storage 

Photo Credit: © Mkoudis | Dreamstime.com

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