This summer has been an emotional one for me. My two constant, daily companions, my wonderful, wise, loving friends, have both had to depart, passing from this life back to spirit. My dear puppies, two big, white, fluffy, Hungarian kuvaszok taught me so many things, and in my desire to remember the good and nurture the love and wisdom they shared, I want to recount these stories, ones containing valuable teachings.
Sassy came to us first, and two years later, we took Spirit. Sassy was ever the mommy, trainer, and protector of Spirit. She sacrificed for him. In fact, Sassy is the most intuitive, natural, true-to-her-breed dog I have ever known.
Spirit quickly learned from his surrogate mother. He tugged on the rope toys with her. He started chasing and flipping her over by grabbing her back leg when she tried to walk away — which she did to him and intended for him to reciprocate. This is something the breed naturally does in keeping sheep from wandering off.
Sassy naturally barked at the strange and unfamiliar, and while Spirit learned, he never appeared as vigilant as Sassy. He performed his functions more by staying close, enjoying the touches, pets, and love. He was confident he could defend from up close, which he showed when we went on our three walks a day.
Spirit with a look I saw almost every daySpirit’s nature was to be physically near to those he knew were his to watch over, and to do this, he stayed close and enjoyed the love. His methods were clever, disarming, funny, and effective.
Our neighbor met us at the gate every morning, and Spirit accepted Barry as one of his humans. Since Sassy always had alpha stature, she got first pets from Barry, which didn’t allow Spirit to express his style of being. He wouldn’t stand it for any length of time.
Spirit, understanding Sassy’s style of being, would run to the other side of the yard at the other gate and bark like crazy for a few seconds. That served as a call for Sassy to come take over the protection challenge. Every single time, she would run over to the far gate, while Spirit sauntered back across the yard to our neighbor— cool, calm, collected, and having achieved his goal to engage in his purpose: staying close and sharing love with those who were his humans.
I don’t think he acted from selfishness; it was only insistence on being him, and, in a way, he helped Sassy to be herself.
Spirit also learned that he could easily flip the latch up on the cyclone-style fence gates we have by using his nose. The first three times I found the gate open and the puppies wandering the neighborhood, I berated myself for not closing the gate. I couldn’t remember not doing that, though. Sassy, naturally, used the open gate before I discovered it to lead Spirit around the neighborhood and show him how to be recognize the familiar and be vigilant about the strange.
Then, one morning when we had our morning Barry meeting, Spirit nonchalantly nudged the latch up and ran to get closer to Barry.
Mystery solved. Spirit used his cleverness to express himself, live his purpose of love, and be a partner with Sassy. He was quite content with himself. Life lessons.
Sassy making sure all was as it should beSassy illustrated her brilliance and insistence on being herself and of finding ways to do that despite obstacles in one particularly funny and instructive episode. Sassy could annoy with her bark — oh, how I miss that now — and my wife, particularly, wanted her barking to stop. I didn’t; I simply wanted to have more control of it. Neither of us got our wishes when we tried a couple “solutions.”
My wife bought a bark collar that sprayed a disagreeable citronella scent. A burst of the fine, scented mist shot straight at Sassy’s nose when she barked. I didn’t want to do it but somehow knew it would work out. I suppose I trusted Sassy to be herself.
Within minutes of having it on, she overcame the obstacle preventing her from fulfilling her purpose of warning and guarding. I watched her stop barking abruptly, at first, but then she tried softer barks. To my amazement, she pointed her head and nose as high into the air — almost straight up — as she could. She kept a constant, soft bark up, one not even detectable inside the house. I could see the mist. Then, I couldn’t. She emptied the reservoir.
My wife filled it maybe two or three times, and Sassy did the same thing every time. A similar attempt to curb the bark came with a little plastic box that emitted ultrasonic sound upon barking. Sassy moved to corners of the yard and would bark till the battery was drained.
Ultimately, I used the only thing that helped: I would get up, go to the fence where she barked, tell her to move, and she would end. She needed to know she was heard and she mattered. Don’t we all?
My puppies helped teach me and reinforce that knowing myself, my true nature, my Heart Self, and expressing that through my chosen and created purpose must be lived daily if I am to matter, to be happy, content, and fulfilled.
Powerful lessons with two cherished, loved friends who shared my daily life — over 11 years with Sassy and 9 plus years with Spirit. I’m sorry you can’t see me right now, because you would know by the wells in each eye how genuine my love is — for them and for you.
Many of our problems and social ills in this world would be quieted if we chose these lessons. Know Self and the true nature we possess of Ego and Heart, create purpose, and live it in love in relationship to Self, our great creator Spirit, and one another. Every. Single. Day.
“I am a part of all that I have met” (Tennyson, “Ulysses”).
Deep down, what do we want out of life? No, that is the wrong question. Deepest down, why did we come here? That’s better.
We didn’t come here to be a banker or grocer or salesperson or CFO or a drug abuser or dealer. We came here to experience a mortal existence that would allow Spirit embodied in us to experience physical creation. We find ways to do so by connecting. Our human characteristics and circumstances make us wonderfully unique, and because of that, different people, places, things, and philosophies resonate with us.
Those draw us, and we seek connection with those. We came to connect in significant, fulfilling ways that matter to others. Integrative connections. What we really want is to be a part of all that we meet.
To process life, we come equipped with two operating systems: Ego and Heart. Ego is required for physical, mortal survival. Heart is required for the deepest down concerns of life, the ones we should be exploring every day. Why? Because that’s where significance and happiness are found—and love. Never forget love, because we want to be a part of all that we meet.
Tennyson explores this in his poem “Ulysses.” He’s an example of seeking connections in his life by writing his poetry. And in this poem, he illustrates his personal truth through the character of Ulysses, who many also know as Odysseus.
Ulysses is a leader and warrior. However, the associated roles and qualities were only means to live his true nature of an explorer and discoverer who knew he had to continue living his truth if his life would have any meaning, significance, fulfillment, thrill, joy, peace, or love. He asked the deep questions and accessed the best energy source, Heart, to search his own being.
He sums up his life of the past when he says, “I am a part of all that I have met.” Then, he considers himself in his current situation and evaluates his life.
He knows his purpose: to travel, explore, and discover. When he neglects his Heart, even though being a king and doing what most consider noble work, he realizes that he will “rust unburnish’d” and that he will “not shine in use!”
Do you and I have a sure knowledge of our purpose, sure enough to know that we are wasting away, rusting, and dull when we aren’t walking in that positive energy?
Ulysses speaks of himself, but his words register with those of us awakening to Heart, to highest Self. Although he is famous and loyal and a model for his people, if he is not engaged in his purpose, everyone else’s opinions of him do not sway him or encourage him. Ulysses gives his estimation of his privileged life. It’s not “I’m a king and important and wealthy.”
No, he sums it up by saying, “As though to breathe were life.” It’s not. Ego would have us simply exist, draw breath, find no challenge, thrill, intimacies, connections, or true love — only be safe and secure. Ulysses says that’s bullshit.
He’s old and knows it, but he intends to walk in his purpose, live it, and die doing it. Even in his last years, he plans on discovering new things and “to follow knowledge like a sinking star, / Beyond the utmost bond of human thought.”
As Ulysses does, I will always hear and give some credence to Ego in seeking to conform me to expectations in order to keep me safe, secure, and respectable. However, when Heart speaks, I listen and do.
Whether I was painting, working as a lab tech, restoring antiques, pastoring, or teaching, I was working towards where I am now, towards my awakening. When I heard my Heart urging me quietly, deep inside to move on, I did. Finally, I came to full reckoning with myself, and I knew I should be writing.
I know if I don’t write and publish, which is my purpose and the way I become a part of all who I meet, then I will feel as if I just exist, suffer frustration, and live out my life sucking oxygen.
Ulysses didn’t know where he would end up when he hit the ocean waves again. I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I know I will be part of all that I meet, all things, experiences, people. Fulfillment. Significance. Thrill. Joy. Peace. Challenges. Creativity. Light. And Love.
Whatever age we are, when we join in the journey with those who know their purpose and yearn for it, we are “one equal temper of heroic hearts… /…strong in will / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” I love connections, especially with those following their Heart, those who will not be deterred, those who will not yield to their own Ego.
If we become a part of all that we meet, then we are experiencing true freedom in living personal truth. What a valuable measure to indicate if we are following Ego or Heart!
How good are we at reading the writing on the wall? How skilled are we at using our spiritual senses to understand and respond to the events in our world? Why is reading the writing on the wall of society and the world at large so crucial?
Because the world, this planet and the inhabitants of Earth, are at another turning point, I believe. A funny thing about history is that the longer we as a species are here and the more history we have, the more we should realize we have opportunities to experience life in different ways, if we are adept at spiritually translating the writing on the wall.
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As a species, scientists believe we homo sapiens date back about 300,000 years ago. Even if we only consider the historical period, our history should inform us we have the power to shape society in a way that benefits nearly everyone; after all, we can make sense of our senses. Why don’t we, then, read the writing on the wall?
Ego and Heart energy choices determine this. I saw Ego used many times when I was a public school teacher, and I’m not saying it was wrong. Most students who received high grades didn’t think it was fair to offer students who were failing an opportunity to pass by doing make-up work. The good students enjoyed superiority and wanted that protected. Just like the ruling, top of the heap, wealthy ones in US society now.
I remember one girl in particular who didn’t appreciate a project that I did with many classes. For about three or four weeks, I implemented the model of education I believe should be a base model: an integrated curriculum in a democratic classroom. Students designed their own curriculum, with guidelines and procedures I provided for them. After introducing the unit, I told the classes everyone had an A for those weeks.
Well, the girl I mentioned did not like this. She was huffy the whole time. When I asked students for their written evaluations of the project, she ripped me a new one, said she resented being a guinea pig, complained she had done all the work in her group, and believed I failed as a teacher for those weeks.
Two years later she came back to visit me to apologize and inform me how valuable that experience had ended up being in college for knowing how to learn. She also told me our class had led her to take a Shakespeare course as an elective. She had failed to see the value earlier; she could not read the writing on the wall.
Her Ego had been given the green light to resent others receiving the same grade. Ego wants to be the winner, the victor, alone, isolated, but adored. This is a protection because we control our life when this happens. It’s not necessarily right or wrong, but ego energy will not grant us that which we really seek as highest self.
* * * * *
Ego predominates in general, which is why laws even exist. Ego will do whatever is necessary to protect, and its expressions may look very different, but its motive is the same.
Sometimes, the favored and ruling majority claim they are being discriminated against — reverse discrimination — because they simply do not want to feel threatened; others may be able to have the same things they have, the same opportunities for those things. They value wealth, power, control, and the lion’s share of the market on righteousness; they will tell us what is right and wrong.
Egotists will have good ideas, sometimes. The deep value of an idea depends on the driving energy. If ego energy powers policies and procedures, a lot of people are going to get hurt. One group will come out on top to the detriment of others. It doesn’t have to be like that.
Therefore, when it comes to social issues — we are social creatures — I look at society through the lens of heart energy. The corporate life of society and the governance of society is not dissociated from how we operate as individuals. It’s all how we make sense of what is going on around us, what we take in through our senses. Read the writing on the wall.
* * * * *
A well-known biblical story illustrates this. King Belshazzar of Babylon chose in ego to look around him and say he should have the best and offer it to his guests. They defiled the gold and silver vessels of the temple of Jerusalem. He was king; his kind was in control.
A large contingency, albeit minority population, of Jews lived there. When judgment was pronounced in the appearance of the famous writing on the wall, Belshazzar once again played his power card and declared Daniel, the wise Jewish man who could interpret the writing, as the third most powerful man in the kingdom. Daniel declined. He used heart energy to make sense of what he saw: Belshazzar’s kingdom was going to be destroyed and divided up.
Heart energy should guide wise governance, which means it should include all, consider freedom and equality for all, and should not damage basic human rights so one group can do whatever the hell it wants to. In other words, love guides.
For people to die or be in misery or lose everything to preserve life because medical care is too expensive is ridiculous when we have the resources. For wealthier people and corporations to not pay a huge chunk of taxes is not acceptable — it’s such a simple concept that helps others. Hunger, war, hatred of immigrants, disenfranchisement of minority citizens, continued abuse of Indigenous Peoples in various ways, policies that destroy the environment, species, and ecosystems — all of this results from Ego energy. People are not making sense of their senses; they aren’t reading the writing on the wall.
* * * * *
The current turmoil in this land and around the world is the handwriting on the wall. Fear predominates over love. The fear of the Other must cease, and it is fear that establishes systemic racism and oppression and biases. The fear of not having enough drives the destruction of the environment through greedy economic reasoning. The fear of losing control instigates nationalism that causes war. Ego energy rationalizes fear. People don’t learn from history. They fail to understand the writing on the wall.
We could and should. Our Heart operating system can infuse and use love in our governments, legislation, and policies. In general, we won’t and don’t. However, hope exists. More and more are awakening and using their senses to read the writing on the wall.
The time has come to employ Heart if we wish to choose a different path. Ego never gives a permanent solution. It’s not wrong, necessarily, just inadequate.
Heart energy provides us with the qualities of life we desire: love, fulfillment, significance, innovation, creativity, joy, intimacy, and much more. Heart energy should be fueling our government, relationships, and society.
Read the writing on the wall. What do you want? What does society need? What does your Heart say?
“Suffer (allow) the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (KJV Matt. 19:14).
Little children. Innocence. Nonjudgmental love. Delight and awe in discovery. Are they naive? Limited? Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is made up of these qualities, and more. I remember my childhood. Allow the little children.
In southeast Missouri, known as the Bootheel, a mostly southern mentality prevailed. My grandparents lived in a little town with a population of 500. I remember one visit. After a five hour drive from St. Louis, my dad pulled into one of the two gas stations in the area. No car air conditioning, a Missouri midsummer night, barely able to make out the station pumps before closing time, and the interior lights struggling through the thick, dusty air just enough to show the way to the door. We went inside for a cold soda.
At five years old, I could read fairly well, thanks to my mom and dad both, but especially dad. He had me sit on his lap for a few minutes every day when he came home from work and read the newspaper. He would show me words and help me make sense of them, phonics and sight words. I really could read somewhat, so when we went inside, I read two signs, one spanning the drinking fountain and bathrooms and the other on the wall over the chest-type soda machine, both of which said the same thing: Whites ONLY. I asked what that meant, rather loudly. Allow the little children.
Mom shushed me to speak lower. Dad appeared uncomfortable and tried to explain what was, in the face of a child who didn’t understand bigotry and hatred, inexplicable and inexcusable. Thankfully, he said it was wrong. This was before the 1964 Civil Rights Act and only five years after Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. I was confused. Allow the little children.
Yes, allow the little children to come and know the power of the infinite, deep wells of life within them and to experience their own spirituality. Why? It is because the qualities they possess make up the kingdom of heaven, which I’m viewing here as a societal structure, a government, a method for human beings to live and relate to one another as mortals containing Spirit within them.
We all have Spirit within us, which I call Heart, as well as Ego. I view both as energy operating systems, ways to process life. Ego functions as it should in little children. As they grow a bit, they begin choosing heart with which to act, react, and interact with our environment.
Adults, however, quickly bring in ego concerns — a variety of expressions, one of which is seen in the disciples’ response to forbid the little children to come to Jesus. I suppose they thought he was too important, more pressing matters, not practical — and possibly a dozen more ego concerns. The same sort of reasoning and ego motivations apply to signs like “Whites Only” or segregated schools. Little children don’t understand those things. They just share their water fountains, sodas, and toilets and go to school together, play together, grow together. Simplicity. Love. Allow the little children.
This biblical account shows leaders and organizers of society should exercise heart energy, in general. Yes, spiritual concerns should be the driving motivators of government.
Why is the United States in this current mess? Ego energy has driven us to the brink of losing one of the most amazing governments and societies ever known on this planet, and politicians of all parties have increasingly indulged ego and exalted ego goals as models. I believe when policies and legislation are considered, the formative question should be this: What would a child do? Allow the little children.
I am thankful in one, and probably only one way, that Trump is president: he and his administration have illustrated the basic human condition of living ego over heart. They illustrate every single day how ego works, and while I cannot always assess individuals, I can evaluate trends being characterized by ego or heart energy.
When an administration or a political party establishes laws and policies that destroy the environment, diminishes the value or worth of those not like themselves, or promotes divisions among races, ethnicities, and other nations, then I see the heart energy of a child has not been used. That is a serious mistake, an egoic one. Children — those who have not been corrupted by ego forces of adults — observe Nature in awe, light up when they see other babies, and readily accept others. Allow the little children.
The current Republican Party proposals and efforts focus on the economy, maintaining power, being better than everyone else, and gaining unchecked control. I know most ego-fueled folks can’t see beyond their bank accounts, the power, superiority, and control. That is a serious mistake for a nation, an egoic one. Allow the little children.
Make no mistake, please. I am not advocating for a christian government, at all, nor any religion-based one. I am, however, offering my plea and belief in the infinite power each of us has to create and live in a heart-moderated society and nation. The basic tenets of “certain unalienable rights” being “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” and to “promote the general welfare” are heart-energized founding principles. To depart into an overriding ego-soaked society will eradicate this expression of democracy. Humanity trumps wealth, power, control, and superiority. Allow the little children.
One last memory here. In that same little Bootheel town in southeastern Missouri, my mom, sister, and I were walking along the business section of the main street. Two black men were approaching us, and when we drew close to them, they stepped off into the gutter and tipped their hats at us. I didn’t understand because I had never seen anyone else do that. Mom said that’s what they did to show respect because polite black people did that.
It disturbed my young self, and I didn’t know why. I asked her why, again. I don’t remember an answer. I remember the icky feeling I had. Allow the little children.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said this: “We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity” (King, https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/birth-new-age-address-delivered-11-august-1956-fiftieth-anniversary-alpha-phi).
Allow the little children.
(Aug. 10, 2019)
Face to face. That’s the way to conduct business, make policy, and create relationships. That’s the way to explore how you feel about another and how another explores you. Eye to eye. Understanding. Empathy. Reaction. Interaction. Action.
Some educators know this. When faced with problematic students, teachers want some resolution. What motivates any teacher depends on which operating system is being used: Ego or Heart.
When a teacher confronts one of these “troublemakers”, the teacher may stand in the hallway alone with the student and ask, “What is going on?” That previously arguing, cursing, talkative, apathetic, or unbending kid looks the teacher in the eye; tears roll down her cheeks, and she says, “I’m only seventeen and my twenty-year old brother lives with me but won’t work. I work forty hours a week, but I have to get my car fixed. My parents can’t afford to come here.”
This scenario is based on a student I had. She turned out to be really amazing, but she originally didn’t project that. Looking into my student’s face, I saw determination to succeed and be great. Had I just looked at school policy, I could have used discipline and removed the student from my class.
Ego could have done that without guilt. Heart rarely would.
Politicians know face-to-face encounters work. Presidents do this every year at the State of the Union address when they have select civilians who stand up to adoring applause. Of course, those who disagree with the president have their own faces sitting next to them, ones they want to use to present their take on some issue.
Why are face-to-face encounters effective? We are human beings, and we come equipped with two operating systems: Ego and Heart. We choose — either by default or deliberation — to use one or the other. Both are necessary, and each has its purpose. When we look into another’s face, into their eyes, we are forced, for as long as we allow it, to act, react, and interact beyond the Ego self. We sense another with Heart.
That brings me to consider the the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. For those who seem bent on insisting that everyone has a right to military grade weapons and war-time ammunition capacity, I would ask you to look into the faces of those families who lost loved ones. I mean really look. Imagine telling them you have a legal right to have those weapons, and if someone like you had been there, you would have stopped the ego-fueled shooters. But you weren’t there, and you didn’t.
In fact, if those sorts of weapons were not for sale or the ammunition capacities were not legal, then those wicked people would not have been able to wreak such havoc. Can other ways be found to kill? Yes, but we should do what we can to stop what we can.
The second amendment argument? I have a friend from childhood who spent a career in the military. He disarmed nuclear weapons around the world. He makes a great point. Should we have access to nukes because they are fun, because they are arms? What about howitzers? RPG’s? Where’s the line?
Some say they have to have safeguards against an overreaching, possible military takeover of this country by our own government. Really? If our military decided to stage a coup on behalf of a stupid, rogue president, and an infantile, dictatorial-minded one, do you think you could really fight them with their technology and weaponry, with their air capabilities and missile targeting expertise? No, we could not.
Therefore, those who oppose full background checks, registration of all weapons sold, completely closing the gun show loopholes, a ban on all military quality and grade assault weapons, and at least a ten day waiting period until all the precautions have been carried out to produce proper licensing — those who oppose all of these only have the Ego excuse that they like guns and want what they want, when they want it, and everyone else be damned because, well, the Second Amendment. None of those things I and many others desire in any way abrogates the constitution. They are decisions about how it is administered.
Again, I would challenge such thinkers to stand face to face and tell those bereaved family members that you want your guns because you have a right. How does having fun stack up when you look into the eyes of people whose loved ones would very likely not be dead had common sense legislation that “promotes the general welfare” been in place?
Really, don’t think about your argument against me. Or what you would say to your buddies. Or what you would write in a social media post. Or what you would tell legislators. Think what you would say looking into the eyes that have tears streaming, in a head attached to shoulders that are retching held up by knees that are trembling. Your fun and misguided, egoic rights don’t seem to be rooted in the general welfare or in Heart energy. Ego — that’s the issue here.
Some have said the bigger picture is the need for improved identification and treatment of mental illness. Or that video games are the cause. Research says those things are not the bigger picture. Eliminating access to weapons of war would help. But that’s not the bigger picture, either.
The bigger picture gets down to individuals. We choose either the Ego operating system or the Heart operating system. That’s the root. Because neither anyone individually nor society in general chooses to always employ Heart, we need government for those “general welfare” principles to protect society, in general, from Ego actions, reactions, and interactions. That’s the crux of it.
Find a picture of one of the fathers, mothers, siblings, or children of one of those murdered. By yourself, in your own soul and mind, look into those eyes. What would you say — about anything? Each of us, whether we have awakened to Heart or plod along in Ego, can begin healing for ourselves, for those affected, and for our society and the world at large by formulating with words what we would say. We may never get to meet this person, but the energies emitted by our expressions are real and healing. They prompt action.
Face to face.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!