Graduation Day

During the course of any given month I have so many interesting conversations. Perhaps you do as well. One of those that took place at SunRaven recently concerned our use of language, and two words in particular, derived from the same root: disciple and discipline; strikingly similar but worlds apart. And coincidentally, as it often happens, I was reading a new book, Hank Wesselman’s latest installment of his Shamanistic experience, where the importance of distinguishing between the teaching and the practice was repeatedly noted. As a result of this “double hit,” I felt that I should share it — for Westerners, so predisposed to infatuation with the word, who so easily lose sight of the importance of translating thoughts and ideas, even profound and inspirational ones, into action.

As a cognitive person, I understand this tendency and the problem associated with it. In my deep longing and quest for a satisfactory answer and understanding of life, I am intrigued by such knowledge. Indeed, my head is filled with it. And while I know a lot, that’s a very different matter than following the path that I know about. For us to truly experience the peace and tranquility that we seek, or to achieve the health that we desire, at some point we have to take matters into our own hands, and make things happen; instead of relying on faith, expecting them to happen for us. And, this is an important distinction. Positive affirmations, and devotional practices by themselves, do little to change the course of our lives. Nor does becoming a neurotic adherent to any other type of rigid protocol serve us. The fact is, these are eddies in the river, sucking us in, distracting us and keeping us separate from the business at hand –the flowing river — a life well lived.

For me, that’s the lesson – take what you know now and apply it. Live with deep gratitude and appreciation for all the beauty that abounds, for this amazing opportunity. Clearly, not everything is rosy, but there are enough roses to sweeten the air. Follow that scent, the trail of love and laughter, understanding that life is most about what we make of it once it is granted to us.

The difference between Heaven and Hell then, is the distinction between being stuck in a classroom and becoming the master. Sure, we have to learn in order to grow, but growth is the point. For many reasons–the repressive messages from those who wish to retain control of the masses for one–we don’t realize we have the individual power to ascend in this way. But, we do. After restoring belief in and the faith that this is true, it’s time to graduate.

Mitakuye Oyasin,
Michael

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