People prefer to live in valleys where the rivers run because water is handy and the soil tends to be fertile. The surrounding hills and/or mountains may also provide some protection from the fiercest winds. Valleys provide people with a comfort zone. Recently, I realized that our lives are like valleys in time where we are not personally aware of things beyond our birth (past) or death (future). Eventually, someone finds a reason to climb to a high place to get a better perspective, though.
A simple example of this analogy of our lives being like comfortable valleys appears to be an annual event here in the U.S. called “The War On Christmas.” Some (not necessarily all) people of the Christian persuasion have declared war with a proclaimed desire to “put Christ back into Christmas.” These people appear to have grown up with certain comfortable traditions which they perceive as long established, and they also perceive their traditions as now changed. However, if they looked beyond the awareness of their own personal life spans (find a high place), they would quickly realize that the only ones waging war during this time of supposed “peace on earth and goodwill to all men” is them!
The actual birth date of Jesus is unknown. Celebrations on or around the Winter Solstice predate the birth of Christ. It wasn’t until around the mid-fourth century (C.E.) that a Bishop of Rome declared December 25th as the observance of Christ’s birth. It is believed that this was done to convert pagan holidays that proved impossible to eradicate. After the Reformation, the Christmas celebration became controversial with Protestants for this reason. While Christmas was celebrated in the American colony of Jamestown, it was outlawed in the primarily Puritan settlement of Boston. Anything British fell into disfavor in the Colonies after the American Revolution, including Christmas. After some reinvention, Christmas was declared a national holiday in the United States on 26 June 1870, relatively recent in history.
This is a trivial matter in the grand scheme of world affairs, but it does demonstrate the advantage of finding a high place that provides a better perspective, better perception, or simply better vision. The Christmas Warriors reveal a growing lack of credibility within American Christianity. Christian officialdom in America is either unable to educate their flocks, or they are unwilling because such tactics are historical methods employed to propagate their religion, and part of their comfort zone. In the former case, the teachings of Christ appear to lack transformative power, which erodes Christian credibility. In the latter case, a demonstrated lack of faith in the power of Christ which causes such tactics to be employed also erodes Christian credibility. Christian America might see how the use of false mythology casts a skeptical shadow on their scriptures, if they found a high place like Moses, Elijah, Jesus and others did.
Another false myth is that the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation. This ignores the fact that the Puritans came here to escape a country that was a Christian nation: England. This also suggests that the Founding Fathers were not competent enough to frame the Constitution according to their intentions. “In God We Trust” did not become the official motto of the U.S. until 1956 and didn’t appear on paper currency until 1957, although it appeared on coins as early as 1863, but long after the Constitution was framed in all cases. While Christianity has influenced some events, nothing credibly supports the allegation that the Founding Fathers intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation. Once again, what people have observed in the limited perspective (valley) of their lifetime seems to be perceived as long established, but it is false mythology and lacks credibility. If anything detracts from American Christianity, it is their growing lack of credibility. They need to find a high place to get a realistic perspective.
We all need to find a high place to get a better perspective on much more serious issues. In our limited life spans, we have been taught the formula to a successful life is to go to school for the purpose of getting a good job so we can afford the things which make for a good life, then retire and die. We have been taught to be hard working consumers. As the structure supporting this lifestyle seems to be collapsing, most of us have absolutely no idea what to do! Unfortunately, if we go to a high intellectual place as in the previous example using American Christianity and history, this problem becomes more daunting because this mythology goes back so far that it doesn’t appear mythological at all.
I wrote (coincidentally) in The Sacred Circle:
Columbus may not have been the first European to discover America, but he was the one who discovered America when Europe was desperate for resources and room for expansion… We are now depleting the resources of this planet with a population that has reached seven billion. Science and technology do not appear sufficient for expansion to other planets…
Humankind seems to have always consumed and competed for natural resources. As they learned more, they began to barter and trade for goods. Currency only made this practice simpler. Many wars were fought in competition for resources, too. If we project the patterns of the past onto the future, we can expect war over dwindling resources, famine because of dwindling resources, and disease because of crumbling infrastructures. Do we accept this dark future, or do we climb to an even higher place?
What is higher than the intellect we have come to depend on and revere? Intellect is a tool which has been used to do as much evil as it has been used for good. There is a higher place of ethics and morality which suggests that some “dubious practices” have led to our current situation and need to be addressed, which seems to be the main thrust of the “Occupy” movement. However, we need to reach even higher for inspired creativity. There are some things we can look to the past for, but some things must come from the future; they need to be invented.
I have just finished reading Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation. It has taken some time, but not because I am a slow reader or the book is long; it is deep, and I have been doing the exercises. It does teach the methods of shamanic journeying, and includes a CD to facilitate the process. However, it also provides a needed vision in these troubled times for our future. The authors do not provide answers for us, but instead, they instruct us in how we can find those answers for ourselves.
Sandra Ingerman seems to best summarize what we need from our collective past:
We are evolving and in a transition time. Every change involves a death. The spiritual is eternal. In this time of great change and uncertainty it is important to infuse spirit into everything we do.
It is time for us to bring back the soul of the world by once again honoring this life-giving source. We need to honor our divine light and our spiritual nature, and we need to honor the spirit that lives in all things, including the elements and the Earth itself. We must honor the spirit of everything we build in the physical world.
This includes living a life of honor and respect for all of life and nature; honoring the cycles of nature; living from a place of awe, wonder, and passion; and being a presence of love and light in our daily lives… (p. 280)
Our practical future needs may be met by inspired creativity from reconnecting with spirit through the shamanic path of direct revelation. If seven billion people try to cook and heat their homes by burning wood (a method of the past), wood will not last long. A lack of forests would also create worse climate problems. Some solutions obviously must involve creativity and technology. A proposition of this book well worth considering is that, the more people who engage spirit through direct revelation, the more successful our future can be through inspiration.
Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation is written with a vision of a hopeful future for humankind. There is more vision in this book than the sum of what all the leaders of our world are currently offering. If you are tired of all the doom, gloom, despair, and agony that the news media and some religions are offering these days, you just might want to read this book. If you are tired of waiting for things to happen and want to take an active role in changing our world for the better, you just might want to read this book. It is time to climb the mountain; it is time to find a higher place.