The Way Up The Mountain

In Ancient Hebrew thought, each one of us is considered a pilgrim on a journey.  We have been sent from our Heavenly home, here to this earthly wilderness to experience refinement.  We left with full hopes of returning to our home, however, we did not realize that while we were away, there was the risk that we may forget our native language and the way we must travel to return.

This experience can be taught through a parable from Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov:
A King had an only son, the apple of his eye. The King wanted his son to master different fields of knowledge and to experience various cultures, so he sent him to a far-off country, supplied with a generous quantity of silver and gold. Far away from home, the son squandered all the money until he was left completely destitute. In his distress he resolved to return to his father's house and after much difficulty, he managed to arrive at the gate of the courtyard to his father's palace.
In the passage of time, he had actually forgotten the language of his native country, and he was unable to identify himself to the guards. In utter despair he began to cry out in a loud voice, and the King, who recognized the voice of his son, went out to him and brought him into the house, kissing him and hugging him.
Today, we may come to a place where we recognize that we are in the wilderness and want the comfort of home.  We may also realize that we do not know the way.  Like the Ancients understood, we travelers can find the way.

Imagine a trail.  In the wilderness and on the mountain side there are many trails, but there is one which leads Up the Mountain.   This is the trail which will lead all travelers home.  It can be found through observation & exploration; seeking & knocking, asking, and receiving or discovering.

Both Ancient and Modern Pilgrims understand that there are specific directions or instructions in which to follow the trail.  These directions and instructions show travelers the way.  They give warnings of upcoming cliffs and storms in which to prepare.

Pilgrims on this trail also understand that the trail needs to be walked to be preserved.  If not protected and preserved, the trail would become over grown or washed away and lost.  It is the duty of those travelers to lead out in this trail and preserve this path for fellow travelers.

Preparing the Artist Generation through Symbol and Story

In the book, The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe, four different Generations are identified as well as four different periods of time called Turnings. In each of the Turnings, a new group of youth come of age and make their impact on the world.  I am of the Generation of the Nomads, my parents: the Prophets, grandparents: the Artists.  My children fall into two categories of Generations; my oldest three:  Heros; my youngest three:  Artists.

When the period of time, or Turning, called Crisis, comes, it is the Hero Generation which usually bear the burdens of dealing with and solving a series of crisis' after an overall unraveling of society.  It is the Artists Generation who come of age in the Founding Turning, who are being raised during the Crisis, and which set up the new forms and systems for the next four Turnings.

Over the last 15 years, whether we knew it or not, we have been preparing our Hero Generation for their future meeting with destiny.  Even though there is still the tale end of them to be prepared (my youngest "Hero" is 12), I have come to realize my purpose with this entire site, is to do my part in preparing a generation of people who can see symbolically, through Symbol and Story.

It is you and I, any Prophet, Nomads, or older Hero Generations, who must learn to see and learn poetically, and then help our children gain this ability so that our children, who will come of age in the next Founding Turning, will be prepared to set aright "good which has been called evil, and evil which has been called good" and usher in a new Millennium.

An Invitation to See Poetically

Can you see in patterns, systems, or forms?   Our training in the English language has in some way limited us in our understanding. We read house and we understand it as meaning a dwelling place, where we live, etc.  We see it only having a literal meaning, understanding it in prose.

In contrast, house represents duality and pluralism in creation.  For example, Man and Woman, Heaven and Earth, Day and Night. This principle alludes to the place of holiness on earth, a miniature sanctuary, Eve, a temple, a wife, hospitality, etc.  Without Eve, Adam was not complete.  Without a wife, man is not complete.  Yes, there are definite differences between the two, but the beauty and process of coming to balance those differences is the beauty of seeing past the blacks and whites and into the grays.

Seeing this word house with poetic eyes, will help add greater understanding to our view of any story or text we are reading or learning from.

For another example, you may have read the story about a Father, Isaac, who has twin sons, Jacob and Esau.  Isaac mentions that he loves Jacob, and hates Esau.  Now this may seem harsh when we see it only literally, or in prose.  However, if we see this story poetically, we may see Jacob symbolizing our Divine Nature and Esau symbolizing our Human or Carnal Nature. When we can see a poetic meaning as this, we are more likely to then see ourselves in this story, to reflect on our Divine or human natures, and to evaluate which parts we are emulating.

If we fail to see poetically, we tend to only see the story before us, the text, the scripture for what it says literally, completely missing the full meaning and application of stories to our personal lives. 

The Four Levels of Learning

As we journey, we are always learning in one or more of these areas:  Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, and Spiritually.   We are 4 dimensional human beings, we have 4 bodies.  When we include all these 4 Ways, in whatever we do, we become whole.  We are whole.  We are able to retain what we learn.  We will have greater balance and be nurtured in ways God intended.

40: The Span of Time Necessary for Ripening

Last week, my brother turned 40.  He received comments like, "Life really begins at 40." and "You'll love it. This is when life starts."

Well, I have thought a lot about this time of 40 years.  I've heard about turning forty, mid-life crises, which we all hear about, and then I started learning about Hebrew. I learned that the letter Mem is also the number 40.  It represents the span of time necessary for the ripening process that leads to fruition.   Some examples are: 
  • the forty weeks development of an embryo, 
  • when Moses went up Mt. Sinai it took 40 days, 
  • the 40 days of rain while Noah and his family were on the ark, 
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness, etc.  
Forty is also considered a "culminating milestone" in man's process of spiritual development.

So, I shared these things with my brother.  He was happy to know he had reached a "culminating milestone" in his spiritual life.  But really, in life we tend to look at things in a literal sense and loose sight of a larger picture.  We forget to find a more far reaching perspective at the top of the mountain.  Rather, when we choose to see things in a poetic way, we will have a greater perspective.  Our lives will be lighter and the load far easier to carry.  Why?  Because we will see things as they really are, will understand things as they were written to be understood, and then, we will apply truths the way they were meant to be applied.

And to my brother I say, 40 is a great season of life to be in.  Now that you have sufficiently ripened, your life has just begun!

The Empty Vessel Principle

Have you ever tried to keep a vase empty on your counter?  Notice it.  Observe the results.  You may find it interesting what ends up in it.  Mail, leftover toys pieces, pencils, coins, etc.  Keep cleaning it out and see it happen again and again.  When you have seen this, come back to read on....

Can we notice this pattern other places?  Is there a story that shows this principle?  Let's look at The Beginning.  In the creation story, there was a void, an empty vessel.  Darkness filled that void and then the Creator divided the light from the darkness. (see the First of the Five books of Moses)

How does this story or principle apply to ourselves?  Can we notice areas within where we are stuffed full of unnecessary items; things out of place?  Do we long to clear out our inward vessel so that better things can come into our life; like the love of God perhaps?

There is an arduous process here and maybe it is quite remorseful.   But there is more, there is hope.  When we recognize this principle, we can see there is a way to be transformed.  Our vessels may be emptied and through Goodness and Light, they can be Re-Formed.