Hettienne Ma

Life is a sacred garden

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

The many  gardens of the world, of  literature and poetry,  of painting and  music, of religion and architecture, all    make the point as clear as possible:  The  soul  cannot thrive in the absence of a  garden.  If you don’t  want paradise, you are  not human;
and if you are not human, you don’t have a soul.
–  Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, 1996, p.      101

We have recently added a nectar bottle to our collection of bird feeders in the garden.  And what joy it brings to me, the observer and to the birds!  It has drawn many new species to our garden which has led to some more delving into the bird books, getting to know and understand more about the mysterious ways of these beautiful creatures.

I have come to learn that the seemingly gentle and nurturing weavers are actually bullies!  They menacingly chase the sparrows away from the seed feeders and they bully the hummingbirds to such an extent that I will have to put up a separate nectar feeder for them.  The angry waider has a harem of five wives, no less.  When it is mating time, he does not allow any other bird near his patch and this often leads to quite vicious attacks with feathers flying and a high pitched screeching for hours on end!

And so when people ask me ‘why does God allow hurtful behaviour?’, it brings my mind back to my garden filled with birds.  Does anyone ever ask why does God allow the weaver to bully the hummingbird, or why does God allow the hawk to catch a beautiful dove in mid-flight right in front of my eyes on my lawn?  No, that question is seldom asked as it is ascribed to Nature, or the nature of things or the natural way of things.  Well, in the same way do people act in accordance with their nature.  Some people are liars by nature; others are driven by their own greed for power or for ownership.  Most often they do not believe that what they are doing is wrong – in some way they can always justify or rationalise their own actions. In their mind and belief system they maybe think that they had no other choice, or that that was the best course of action.  Also that the ‘noble’ goal justifies the means. And most often we find that people act from a place of entitlement.  They believe that because they have been victims or they have suffered at the hands of another, they are entitled to now claim for themselves, despite causing suffering in another.

So, is it that God ‘allows’ bad things to happen or are bad things part of nature and part of the natural cycle of life? Is God then only good and does that mean that  bad things happen outside His/Its ‘jurisdiction’ or is it that God has given man free will and therefore he has a choice at all times whether he acts as good or bad?

There are no simply straightforward answers to any of these questions  However, there is a place deep within yourself where you Know the answer to these questions and you can bring yourself back to this place, over and over again, and look at life and your nature and find the infinite peace based on the direct knowledge of the Self.  Then you may find yourself trying to make your own knowledge and understanding of the answer to these questions legible for others in your own unique way.

The quandary of living in duality is that we are always faced with a dichotomy.  A part of us know and realises that there is only One and that there is no duality, no good and bad.  And a part of us lives and exists in the body in the world of duality.  But we cannot access the Greater Wisdom of the Soul without living in a body!  Therefore one has to be grounded and committed to this physical existence in order to transform the personal understanding into one of absolute peace.

Therefore, keeping in mind the tension of the opposites of the Absolute and the physical existence, let us look at the statements above.

When is something good or bad?  In order to establish that we have to make a judgement.  Your sense of bad or unacceptable may not be the same as mine.  I suppose generally speaking, we will all agree that something is bad when it hurts ourselves or those or that which we are attached to and have strong feelings about.  But often, when you hear the other side of the story, you have great compassion and understanding for the perpetrator. How often have you watched a movie, starting off wanting revenge for the victim and half way through the movie, you swop sides and you start rooting for the bad guy and you hope he/she never gets caught!

Is it not often that the ‘bad’ person are acting in accordance with his or her own nature, driven by their own conditioning and experiences and above all, through their own ignorance that there is a different way of looking at life and at themselves and that there is a greater picture to be known?

Once we have been hurt by another, many feelings follow and one of the strongest ones are anger.  What is the true nature of anger and what is it telling you?  When you spend enough time with your anger and get to know it intimately, you will find that anger masks a stronger and deeper feeling : shame.

What does shame imply? It implies that you believe that  whatever has taken place should not have happened.  It implies that you believe that you have not  acted in accordance with your or others expectations of yourself or that you did not act in accordance with your own nature. And it implies that the other party should not have acted in that manner.

I am not referring to what psychologists call a healthy sense of shame.  Shame is designed to guide you, to keep you safe, to ensure your survival. But in the hands of the conditioned ego, shame can be used as a self-inflicted punishing whip, designed to keep you from liberation. And only too often, is shame used by both religion and teachers and guides of the various spiritual traditions, to keep you spell-bound and disempowered.  The mere mentioning of the word ‘ego’ brings up deep feelings of shame and many spiritual students and seekers, are very confused about what is actually ego and how to overcome it.

To my mind there is no difference between being told by a church or religious leader that you are born in sin or being told by a guru that ‘it is only your ego speaking and therefore it is not valid!’.  Contemplate on the extreme power in the hands of either of these authority figures!  You therefore cannot trust yourself, or your own ideas and thoughts, because it is all ego and therefore ‘bad’ and it separates you from the Self!  Thus you are disempowered and cut off from your own Source and dependant on others!

The process of shaming starts at a young age when your behaviour is not in accordance with the social and tribal laws of of your family and culture.  And this continues throughout your life : you have to fit in or  you will be shamed.  And then finally you are ultimately nailed to the cross, when you follow a spiritual tradition, designed to lead you to liberation, and you are being shamed for the nature of your ego.

The key word here is ‘nature’.  Who created your nature?  You were created in the image of the Creator;  you come from nothing and you return to nothing.  Thus you are from the Essence of the Creator.  How can you then be ashamed for your nature?

From the moment when you enter existence, you assume a body with DNA, genetic imprint and ancestral history.  You are conditioned by the actions and lack thereof, of your parents and those you grow up with.  You are shaped by nature and nurture.  How can any of this be labelled as ‘bad’?  How many of those choices did you consciously make in this body?  Your body is programmed with instinct and natural responses. None of those are your creations – they are all your natural self.  So if you agree that you did not choose any of these consciously, in this body and this mind, then you have to agree that you are a divine creature.  Therefore, everything is as it should be, although the human mind, by its limited nature, cannot comprehend this mystery.  And if you are a divine creature, so is everyone else, and their actions are all from God.  And then you have to accept that just because you cannot understand it, or it does not fit it with your belief system, it does not mean that it should not have been.  This understanding and acceptance is the first step towards forgiveness and unconditional love (prema).

(Yes, ego can be our greatest obstacle to Self-Realisation, but it is also our vehicle to our innermost Self. But this is a complete topic on its own)

Nature is often referred to as Mother Nature, or Prakriti, the Divine Mother or Goddess.  She who contains the Light in her own nature and who is capable of giving a virgin birth when consummated with the masculine formless consciousness.

Embrace yourself, your divinely created ego and allow Great Mother to guide you from within to living your own spectacular sacred Self!  When you act in a way which does not fit in with the idea of who you are, remind yourself of the bullying weaver and hang garlands of compassion around your neck.  Plant a new seed of  forgiveness and water it everyday with wonderful sweet water and wait for the Mystery to unfold in yourself and your life!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hettienne Ma Grobler, Hettienne Ma Grobler. Hettienne Ma Grobler said: Life is a sacred garden: http://wp.me/p14ks1-2u […]

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