A tapestry woven and each thread interconnects

Bird Droppings November 26, 2011
A tapestry woven as each thread interconnects

“For certain fortunate people there is something that transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness, something which rises from the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games and that is intimacy. But all of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as ‘togetherness.’ This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.” Dr. Eric Berne, Games People Play, 1964

The title intrigued me as I was sitting here 6:00 AM wondering which direction to go in this morning’s writing I was thinking about students, parents and teachers and how so often the intertwining of personalities produce the fabric of the day. I recall in a graduate class a professor friend used the term or representation of weaving. Our lives are a tapestry being woven each day as we go.

“Each person designs his own life, freedom gives him the power to carry out his own designs, and power gives the freedom to interfere with the designs of others.“ Dr. Eric Berne

For many years I was directly involved in the sheep industry with raising, breeding, and of course shearing the sheep and selling the wool. I traveled nationwide photographing and talking to producers and writing about the sheep and wool industry. I met many hand spinners and weavers as I traveled. Some were artisans spinning yarn as fine as silk and weaving literally pieces of art work. Back in the day we had a ewe a Hampshire cross ewe that was “black” and when she was shorn, her fleece was chinchilla gray. For a number of years a dear friend would get that fleece each year for her spinning and weaving. Somewhere in a box is a small ball of yarn my oldest son spun one afternoon when he was six with that fleece with my friend showing and helping him.
Life as Dr. Andrews, professor and chairperson of Special education department at Piedmont College commented in class is a weaving it is an intertwining of events and people.

“A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else. “ Mahatma Gandhi

One of Gandhi’s methodologies of protest was to spin and weave his own cloth rather than rely on industrial produced material. Many other intricate thoughts were woven in as well; spinning is for many a form of meditation. The process of weaving, creating and designing a piece is literally a painting of a picture with thread and yarn.

“A man’s action is only a picture book of his creed.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

So as we weave our cloth in life we are seen by the fabric, the pattern, and the methods we use to make that piece of cloth.

“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. “ John F. Kennedy

With each progress report we call students parents or guardians to discuss issues and grades. I spoke with several over the phone back a week or so ago. I walked through my room after school that day reading a poster that has been hanging around now on my wall where ever I take up for 30 years, Children Learn what they live. While one weaves silk while another weaves burlap. Silk has many great attributes as does burlap and the applications and uses vary. To spin hemp into twine and weave the burlap is as much a skill as the artisans who weave the silk threads into cloth. The weaving and material made is not the issue but it is that weaving that is occurring. For it is that effort that is being made to produce a life that is so important.

“Understand clearly that when a great need appears a great use appears also; when there is small need there is small use; it is obvious, then, that full use is made of all things at all times according to the necessity thereof.” Dogen Kenji, Zen master

Recently I used the word direction and drew criticism from a teacher trying to explain that choosing a direction in a journey and not truly having a destination is sometimes a meaningless effort. For some just going is the norm. I always speak of the journey being more important versus the destination but there is a point to head towards. When building a house first you build walls you determine where doors and windows are needed and add them as you go. A really good builder knows ahead and plans for doors and windows and designed properly a house can have huge windows and great doors and movement in and out occurs continually.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle, 1854

Many years ago I was sitting alongside a fence in a field far away from houses and people and I watched a spider spin a web. We see webs all around I was told there are thousands of spiders per acre in any field. Many of the spiders are minute and nearly microscopic. Anyhow the spider climbed to a point and dropped leaving a strand of silk climbed and dropped and so forth building a base for her web. Next came the cross lines and soon a web was built over an hour or so in the process. We see webs and easily sweep them away but the design and care in making is engrained in the spider. Life is a weaving a spinning a web of sorts and yes so often is simply swept away. Occasionally someone will stand back in awe of the artistry if only we would take note every time. Please as we have already partaken of a day of thanksgiving continue giving thanks and keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Spirituality an uncertain certainty?

Bird Droppings November 25, 2011
Spirituality an uncertain certainty?

“When you examine the lives of the most influential people who have ever walked among us, you discover one thread that winds through them all. They have been aligned first with their spiritual nature and only then with their physical selves.” Albert Einstein

What has always intrigued me is Einstein is so often reputed to be an atheist. Yet within his writings the aspects of a spiritual nature are intertwined. Perhaps it is his Judaism and heritage that allowed some to criticize and chastise. Perhaps he would never clarify his stance other than his own heritage yet intermingled with his scientific ideas is a under lying awareness of a spiritual aspect to humanity.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

“Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” Albert Einstein (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

It has been a few days since I have thought about another author I enjoy William Edelen. It has been some time since I first read, Toward the Mystery. It was in around about way I found this book. The book was named as the book of the year for the United Methodist women groups and distributed at their national conference. Back in the day roughly mid 1990’s or so it was a very controversial book. Edelen refers to his own search and path to spirituality as a search for the mystery. The book is a series of essays by Edelen looking at religion and the founding fathers their aspects of faith and spiritual views. He emphasizes in his look at eastern thought and Native American thinking where his own direction has gone. In Indian thought is where Edelen borrowed the idea of “the mystery”. Often in Native American ideology the mystery is all that is and where we fit.

“You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man, 1863-1950

In 1931 Black Elk revealed his vision from his childhood to author John G. Neihardt who recorded the words in the book, Black Elk Speaks. In Native American thought the circle was considered sacred and throughout literature and philosophy the circle continues.
For example you can see in curios and in eastern thought the black and white fish swimming in a bowl symbol of yin and yang, which make a circle. Many tribes considered their spiritual direction to be, Wakan-Tanka, or the Great Mystery. In movies and books Wakan-Tanka is used in reference to God when referring to Native Americans, yet the word is not even defined it is a mystery. In ancient Hebrew philosophy you could not say the name of God and even in biblical writing, “I am that I am” is God defining God to Moses. Perhaps it is in our own insecurities we need definitions and clearly defined parameters for spiritual matters.
We build monuments and write affirmations and liturgies to glorify and personify. Edelen uses the term anthropomorphize we want everything to be clear and to be like us. “Toward the mystery” “The great mystery” Daily I work with students who have are literally vacuums in terms of faith in anything which also translates to not trusting anything or anyone. Over the years I have found that faith and trust are synonymous and without one you do not have the other. While many will say they believe this or that and or deny just as easily it is the lacking the hole that offers the issue. For if you cannot trust dealing with each other let alone spiritual issues is difficult. Earlier as I went outside for my morning meditation the trees were blowing rustling is a better word slightly that thankfully subsided a few minutes while I sat out or I would have frozen in the thirty five degree chill. The quiet of the heavy air subduing humanities encroachment I was looking deeper today perhaps than normal searching myself for the mystery. So often I wonder why it is so many simply except and stagnant not allowing daily interactions to come onto play not allowing the pathway to fork off or change. But then again sometimes I ponder to much today let us all please keep all in harm’s way on our minds and in our hearts and always give thanks.
namaste
bird