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 Navigating the Maze 

What is the Maze?

The maze is our lives. What path do we take?

The pragmatic and often narcissistic path.  

That is the one where my needs are met, I pursue my own agenda and if I can't get what I want one way, I will get it another way.  I have very few ethical or moral dilemmas. I want what I want when I want it.  If people or things are in my way I tend to run over them or sidestep them.  Causing other people indirect pain is not my concern.  I did not directly hurt you so I have no problem with what you are experiencing.  I only concern myself with the things I can do something about now.  Other issues outside of my immediate reach are not my concern.  My sense of right and wrong is not an abstract concept and only comes into play when I really do injure an innocent person. of course I myself decide if someone deserves my wrath, that is, innocent in my eyes.  If I decide you deserve whatever happens to you then I have no difficulty with what I am doing even if someone gets hurt in the process.  Essentially this path is every man or women for themselves.  If you can't or won't assert yourself, not my problem.

The Idealistic and often altruistic path.

This is where we have a model in our heads that identifies what "should" be right and wrong.  We have a vision of how things are supposed to unfold.  Often we sacrifice our own needs to allow the needs of another a higher priority.  This even occurs when the other person would rather we attend to our own needs.  As the person goes through life with this model in their head they often find it difficult to cope with behavior from others that directly violates this image of how life and relationships "should" unfold.  When someone with this image in their heads meets up with someone with the prior image there is confusion, failure to understand, and many times failure to act with appropriate defensive behavior. This path can be said to be more of an illusionary world view than any other.  It is also filled with more pain for those who follow this path resist "What is or is not" more than any others.  The illusion is more real than What is.  The loss of the illusion is filled with greater confusion and pain.  And yet paradoxically this path has the greater chance for self discovery and spiritual growth. 

The Religious path.

Those who follow this path align themselves with a higher authority.  Although religions differ in how humans are to reach salvation they all have a common thread.  Salvation is not an Earthly event.  Yet, our behavior toward each other and toward our creator is important.  The rules for entering the kingdom of God are often strict.  In many case there is no tolerance for deviation.  This path is not as straight forward as the other two.  It mixes moral and ethical behavior with spiritual integrity.  Much good comes out of this path and yet it too has a dark side.  That dark side is the rigidity of the rules for living faithfully under the umbrella of the religion.  Many religions also tend to cast out those not of the same belief.  This pattern of separateness results in a we verses them behavior.  Spiritual Unity and Tolerance for opposing views is just not accepted.

The Spiritual path.

The Spiritual path is fraught with difficulties in the real world (the world of form).  Honoring a Creator and honoring the results of the Creator's work conflicts with our very biology, how we are wired.  This path is often considered by others weak and defenseless. It is truly non-violent and in most cases non-aggressive.  Those on this path have no home to speak of.  They only have a common world view and share that view in small groups.  They have no big organization and do not find safety or security in a structure of rules and behavior.  Many have rituals, meditations and local group behavior but none have the umbrella of religious organization behind them.  This path centers itself on the essence of being (human) and the essence of being (unity) and the essence of being (one with the creative source of all that is).  The spiritual path strives to minimize the power of the "Self" that relates to the world of form and emphasize the watcher or observer that begins to see the Creative Energy in all existence. This path is the least associated with rules and the most associated with personal responsibility and choice.

Is there a Path that brings Unity and Peace and yet allows Freedom for all to operate successfully  in the world of form?

I am certain that all those who are at the front lines protecting us from terrorists, crime, and war at our front door would read all of this and at the very least shake their heads in disbelief.  For on the one hand violence, criminal behavior, war and genocide are real.  When you are killing and being killed nothing outside of survival really matters much.  When your mother, father, son or daughter, spouse or friend is maimed or killed for no real good reason dangerous emotions rise to the surface and are almost impossible to turn off.  Whether the source is a deranged mind, a declared enemy, someone following an ideology, or a misguided leader, the pain is just as harsh and just as difficult to deal with.  Death and revenge cycle unendingly.  The kill or be killed frame of mind has to dominate when such extreme behavior is present.

All of this is not as polyanna as one might first think. Nothing here prevents each and every one of us from responding appropriately to such threats and violence.  But what it does do is clear the mind. Rather than allowing hatred and anger to consume you, rather than reacting unconsciously, you break the cycle.  Your injured Ego, the very self that feels the deep pain and anger of such horrific behavior, does not lash out indiscriminately but knows and chooses the most appropriate path to follow.

Mostly all of this is preventive.  With the watcher in place, with the Ego in the background, with this moment in our awareness, our frame of mind does not lean towards unconscious injury, pain and fear or their unconscious responses. Instead we have a clear space within which we operate, always.  Ideology does not drive us, pain does not drive us, fear does not drive us.  We do not follow because some leader has declared the enemy, we do not kill because patriotism or ideology says we must.  We follow the path of awareness of ourselves, this moment, and all others that would direct our behavior.  We continuously choose.  We may be forced by the situation to choose from a limited set of options, some even ugly, but at least we choose with awareness.  The burden from a destructive choice will be much less of a weight than if we had just operated from an unconscious fear or anger.   

I say all of this under this heading because we are all in transition.  We are coming from dysfunction in a wide variety of forms to a state of mind where all of this dysfunction cannot exist.  Most of us have an Egoic Past.  If we permitted it, regrets over what we were or were not yesterday would eat away at us today.  To just tell you to let go, while accurate, is not enough.  We each must have a way to let go of past injuries, past mistakes, past pain, past feelings.  To be clear in this moment requires us to not only let go of what our past says we are or what we must do, but to have let go of all of it.  Again, we are all in transition and can't magically be in this moment all at once.

But by learning to allow the presence of the watcher or observer begins the process.  As we sense, observe and allow feelings to enter our consciousness, they do not dominate our responses.  To observe and accept that this is what we are feeling at this moment also allows us to sense, observe and accept our options at this moment.  As this happens over and over our desire to act out directly from those feelings diminishes and is eliminated. 

i often chuckle at odd moments when for example someone pricks my ego or self image.  The chuckle comes from recognizing what just happened to me and what my response might have been at an earlier time.  I then let go of it and can let go of it because I see it is just a small attempt to protect who I think I am.  In the worlds of ideas and thoughts we are continously trying to be right.  In the world of ethics and values we are continously trying to stand on higher ground. In the world of status and power we are always vying for the dominate position.  These are all Ego driven agendas.  The thrust is always to stroke our self image. 

When we have finally let go several things are noticeable.  Less immediate anger, more laughter.  Less regret, more paying attention to what is going on now.  Simple things take on more flavor, more zest.  The normal pains and awkwardness of getting older lose their intensity, we complain less.  Children and grand children get more attention.  We are less critical, more compassionate, more forgiving. Our desire to participate is stronger.  Paying attention becomes a pattern and our conversations become more about the other person and less about us.

We are each valuable, we are each important, but we are not individually the center of the Universe.  Being an important member of the human race is not measured by status but by your state of mind and degree of presence.  All of the problems facing us are solveable, but responding to them requires that we are conscious of who we are, where we are, and what we are.        

Honor your Being, honor the Web of Life and you honor the Creator and all of Creation.

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