(Continuation of thoughts based on Maya’s “On the Pulse of Morning”)
When strangers in a strange land, who have known oppression and then responded with Heart, harken to the cry of the Rock, they may sing along with the song of the River. Having been awakened and impassioned, they are prepared to hear the Tree, planted next to the River.
The groups mentioned here have experienced the throes of bigotry, prejudice, and destruction wrought by those who work in Ego energy, those who plug their ears to the cry of the Rock and fail to see the how they pollute the River. Responding to our heavy history is the message of the Tree; it leaves nothing to imagination or interpretation.
The twenty types of people mentioned in the transition from the River to the Tree seem to represent the most significant aspects of humanity. They arise from the litter of nationalism that hates and rejects those unlike themselves, nativistic thinkers who litter the shores of the River as they inhumanely degrade and seek to destroy the Other.
The list of the Others includes the following categorizations of people: ethnicities, nationalities, religions, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, and careers — a fairly broad spectrum of humanity. This swath of humanity that harmonizes with the singing river and hears the plain truth of the tree represents everyone, the hater and the hated, the oppressor and the oppressed, for, deep down, all have a Heart to know the truth of Spirit. They have “a true yearning to respond to / The singing river and the wise rock.”
Not all will listen to their own Heart; not all even know where to begin. Some purposefully shut out not only the voices of Nature, the soul of this world and universe, but also they reject the testimony of their own Heart and choose Ego, that part of us which isolates from others and works to promote and preserve self at all costs in a multitude of ways, ways that sometimes include hate and destruction.
As the Tree speaks, we may learn we do not require Ego for safety, security, fulfillment, and peace. We are One — no Other to fear, all others to love.
Hey, today is the anniversary of his birthday — his death day, too. Yep! Will Shakespeare, April 23, 1564 — April 23, 1616.
Of course, I’m being a little flippant, but so was Will. However, I will neither budge an inch nor play fast and loose with the remembrance of things past of this tower of strength, not on the graves of any of my flesh and blood. It would be cold comfort to me and beggar all description to you if I simply referred to Will as a playwright.
Why? Well, he was much more than that, and his 37 plays and 154 sonnets of which we know were only outlets for the other talents he possessed: actor, psychologist, historian, linguist, and others that could be culled from his work. He didn’t have degrees, yet all of the training for these current degree fields refer extensively to Will Shakespeare.
His linguistic ability still amazes me, as well as I know it. The phrases in italics in the second paragraph above are all his creations. How many such words and phrases did Shakespeare produce? That would be somewhere around 1,800 — a number no one else even comes close to in the history of the language.
When I was a classroom teacher and beginning a unit about Will Shakespeare, I would start by asking my class to write a poem in iambic pentameter metrical pattern. I would tell them they needed to invent a word that was unknown to the rest of us and that the meaning should be so clear, we would understand what it meant from the context. Then, I would ask them to make sure it was so good that it would be in common usage in five years, ten years, four hundred years.
“Like what words?” they would ask.
“Well, when we talk about the brightness of the sun, we refer to its…”
“Radiance,” someone would shout out. “You mean he made up radiance?”
“Yes, and words like obscene, frugal, countless, hurry, excellent, lonely, hint, gust…”
“What about phrases? What do you mean?”
“Did you ever hear about a relative being your ‘flesh and blood’? Or can you picture something in your ‘mind’s eye’? Has something disappeared quickly and you say that it ‘vanished into thin air’? Or that someone is so stubborn that they won’t ‘budge an inch’?” (Thanks to Bill Bryson’s book The Mother Tongue: English & How It Got That Way.)
Language and communication techniques change every day. Shakespeare helped accelerate change. However, his type of change is based on careful observation and critical thinking. And when he made changes to the language and added his creativity to our human experience, the rapidity of it did not matter.
Today, change is equated many times with speed, and shortcuts are desired, “life hacks,” and many folks don’t want to have to think about what they hear, see, or read. They want it so clear that they don’t have to evaluate, analyze, connect, synthesize, or any other critical thought process — just be fast, direct, and don’t make anyone guess.
That wasn’t Will. Scholars still debate his meanings and intents 400 years later.
I suppose on this day I would hope you do a few things. Nope, you decide!
Post-Earth Day could become a reality. It would be a day remembering that there was a planet Earth that once sustained life. Of course, humans wouldn’t be around to remember. That would be aliens, unless we figured out a way to live in space, another planet, or something else that we could destroy, too.
On this Earth Day, I want to share the words of Chief Luther Standing Bear, an Oglala Lakota Sioux (1868–1939). the tribe of current Water Protectors.
“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the earth is not bereft of four-footed life — that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’
“But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.
“But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them… The animals had rights — the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
Our inextricable link with Nature could inform us about our lives and life in general. If the majority, though, does not adopt the attitude and and practices that Luther Standing Bear references above, then someone may very well be soon keeping Post-Earth Day, and the aliens will wonder how we so quickly destroyed such an amazing planet and failed to heed those who shared their Heart and who connected so intimately with creation.
We are part of that great creator Spirit. To this fact, we each need to awaken. The light and love must first shine within and from us. Then, we will live in respect, equality, and acceptance for one another and all creation.
This is the day when christians remember the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The day is tied closely to Passover, remembered by the Jews. Both are times of celebration.
Both celebrations involve life emerging from death. The firstborn of all those who didn’t sacrifice the Passover lamb died in the land of Egypt. The Israelites fled death to head toward their new Promise Land — big detour involved. Of course, Jesus left the grave after suffering death. Both stories feature life emerging from death.
Today is a great day to pause and not only celebrate whatever we choose to remember but also to exercise and access the resurrection energy that is within each of us — regardless of choices of faith or religion.
When Jesus arose from the grave, a number of results ensued, miracles from a miracle. We are miracles, each of us, and we can produce them. If you would say we are poor sinners, I would say to wake up. Jesus himself said his followers had the ability to do greater miracles than he did.
Think about it, though. Women at the grave who went to mourn left with awe and praise and a new message. Close followers who doubted received confirmation of their faith. Some received special knowledge and peace (the road to Emmaus and following time). Others had their minds and souls enlightened. On Pentecost, the Spirit was manifested in a public and miraculous way, and many acquired new gifts and abilities.
This is not an exegesis, so here is my point. Think of that dead-feeling something somewhere deep within a grave-cave of the soul. Identify it. Get it clear. Now, appropriate resurrection energy from your own eternal Heart, that place and piece of Spirit within each of us that we came here to live, our highest, true Self.
With that knowledge and energy, breathe in strongly, taking that Spirit-breath all the way into the grave of some disappointment, death, fear, doubt, lack of self-confidence — whatever of a thousand things it could be for you. Boom! Let resurrection Spirit hit that grave and breathe out hard. Breathe out and into life.
What do you have to celebrate now?!
Yesterday, we began listening to something much more powerful than a babbling book; we heard a singing river in Maya Angelou’s poem, “On the Pulse of Morning.” The river finishes her song in today’s post.
The river’s estimate of nations recognizes that they are “delicate and strangely made proud…” Why “strangely made proud?” Because they are artificial, they are weak, “delicate.” They rise and fall, sometimes overnight — no cause for pride.
Oh, yes, this is River’s intended message — no doubting: the nations are “thrusting perpetually under siege.” The unbridled expressions of hyper-nationalism seen both now in alarming expansion and throughout history in many countries might make egotists think they are powerful, but they’re not. Truly strong nations would not have to fight endlessly. Of course, examples of such nations are hard to come by.
Why? The ability to wage and win wars — the only possible result of Ego-fueled nationalism — is certainly not based on Heart-energy. Rather, this penchant for flexing muscles derives from this: “Your armed struggles for profit / Have left collars of waste upon / My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.” The River frames her song not only with the beauty of passion but also with the accrued evidence, the facts of the detritus polluting its essence.
Nature ravaged by the Ego-choices of humanity, the unabashed dash for wealth, power, and control, results in death and destruction. The River has witnessed war from the inception of nations from its unique vantage point of being a border.
How can we learn the lessons from such keen observation, such deep wisdom? “If you will study war no more.” But what about them? What about the threats? What about those who won’t give us what we want? What about…? Keep asking the questions. The answer is the same: “Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs…” They are songs of peace, harmony, and natural order, the natural laws in place from the beginning “when I / And the tree and the stone were one.”
These are the tenets, the precepts, to which the founders of America were attuned, even though the reality of much of the Natural Law escaped them in practice, witnessed by the inhumane treatment of Indigenous Peoples and the fostering of slavery of Africans and others.
However, Heart-energy observes these natural laws of human dignity, respect and care for the environment, and freedom. Those in the fellowship of the Heart know that individuals must have the opportunity to discover Self and create purpose, which cannot be forced with lesser Ego energies. They can, though, be protected by laws that harmonize with natural law.
When were these laws enacted? “Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow / And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.” No Ego arguments, no rationalizations, no alarmist fears, no hubris and pounding of chests.
River, in its ever-flowing course, has a song to sing to us of peace, harmony, and natural law, a song of Heart-energy, Spirit. Cynicism reeks of superiority, breeds bigotry, and creates unhappiness. What response would tend to a harmonious flow, a peaceful society? Admitting we don’t know everything and all ideas are worthy of consideration.
There is no virtue in knowing everything, because no one does. All the unyielding political stances and always being right begin the pollution of the River. Omniscience is Ego’s feeble attempt to control our world.
While some elements of humanity continue boastful foolishness, they do not and cannot stop the melody, for “The river sings and sings on.” Nature’s voice will not be silenced as long as we exist, for its testimony exposes Ego and evokes Heart-energy to challenge us to experience life we desired to know.
The evidence of Heart within each of us is found here with the River: “There is a true yearning to respond to / The singing river and the wise rock.” The fact that many of us long for a swift end to foolish Ego hostilities and learn from Nature shows Heart-energy operates in us and longs for productive peace. Hope.
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!