Monday, December 2, 2013

Light and Dark

The Light & The Dark  

There's a foreboding and pervasive feeling of darkness in the land.  Yes, there's a normal increase in darkness during December when the sun is far south in the northern hemisphere. But this ominous shroud of darkness goes way beyond the seasonal change.  Darkness permeates ordinary conversations between friends causing short-tempered or angry responses.  The Light of Respect and Good Manners is depleted as sinister or one-dimensional agendas reign over reasoned discourse that would benefit the whole.  In this darkness, one cannot rationally assess any points of an argument due to the din of many voices speaking over one another.  Dark blame is everywhere and always levied on someone else because "they" are wrong and "we" are right.

But as long as we remain dependent on blaming someone else, or remain entangled in the murky tentacles of right or wrong, the fault is ours alone!  Individuals, seasoned in the work of the Light, have a responsibility to join again in reasoned and wholesome conversation on the issues that divide us.  Or the darkness will obliterate the goodness that we are for another season.  It's difficult to imagine that we've progressed much beyond the words of Thomas Paine in 1776, "These are the times that try men's souls."  But he also said if  'sunshine patriots' did not shrink from service they would be deserving of the love and thanks of all men and women.

Lightworkers are the sunshine patriots!  That is the essence of what they are and can be during these dark times that try our souls.  When it appears that the darkness has risen stronger than the light; when it appears that caring for the poor, the elderly, for children, and those in need is a sign of weakness; when it appears that rational thinkers and moderate people have gone mute, then must the 'sunshine patriots' rise up in service.

We have extraordinary ways to turn the Dark Into Light.  Ignore the seductive dark clamor that envelops the airwaves of our daily lives.  Hold tight to the values of compassion and caring for others.  Embrace any ideals that empower you to live your life as a better person.  Summon the support of those who share your views.  And recognize that all people, all places, and all things on this earth have a life cycle of rising up and falling away.  It is a law of nature that declares what is born today must die tomorrow.

December 21st is the longest day of darkness in the year.  Yet, after a few short moments of stillness, the sun begins its migration back to the northern hemisphere and the dark days begin to recede.  Within six months, (not even a nanosecond in Cosmic time,) the opposite occurs.  Just as it feels darkness is forever, light returns.  The pendulum of Light and Dark is always in balance, rising and falling, though we get trapped in believing otherwise.

It's so much easier to live in the balance point of that rising and falling wisdom described by the Buddha.  The 'sunshine patriots' can always endure from a place of Light and Wholesomeness!  That place holds a much gentler feeling to it and creates less disharmony and stress on the being. Without any attachments to the illusions, this work can be done!  For at the end of each season, the Dark must become Light and the Light must become Dark.   Each one rising and falling according to the time allotted.  It is the law and it is in balance.  For in the end, this too shall pass away giving rise to something newer!
Jo Mooy - December 2013

Grandmother Protectors

The Grandmother Protectors 

We'd just returned from a lengthy hike. Sitting down to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, our ears picked up a soft moaning wail. It was a sound that felt strangely misplaced in a California State Park filled with families laughing and happily enjoying summer vacations. We looked around for the source of the sound. Then we saw him.

A little boy with light colored hair stood with the front of his body pressed against a giant Ponderosa pine. The tree dwarfed him. He rubbed his teary eyes through his sobs. My first thought, (rather, it was the one I wanted to believe) was that he was somehow communicating with the tree. We had done the same thing by hugging one of the towering trees earlier on our hike.  But that notion was quickly dispelled. The little boy was being punished. The events that happened over the next thirty minutes not only confirmed it but has left an indelible imprint on my psyche.

His family, a collection of variously aged generations, was eating a well spread out lunch at a picnic table near the tall tree. All of them ignored the child. But we couldn't. After a while his sobs subsided and he began to look around though he never left the tree. Then his mother got up. At last, I thought, she's going to bring him to the picnic table with the rest of the family. But that wasn't her plan. She went to the little boy, slapped him hard across the back, twisted his arm, shoved his face into the tree, and pushed him to his knees. His sobs began again louder than before.

We were stunned by her behavior. But my partner sprang to life, announcing "this is child abuse" and went to get the park ranger. As she strode into the office area the mother went to the restroom near where I was sitting. I decided to confront her when she came out. As I stood in front of her, I noticed her face was splotchy and angry, her hair disheveled, and she seemed tormented. I told her I'd seen how she treated the little boy and surely there must be another way. She replied that she would not tolerate his misbehavior. I asked her what memories she wanted this child to carry into his life - one enjoying a family vacation or the abuse he was suffering at her hands. She stared at me defiantly, assessing how she'd answer. I said "there will come a time when you'll wish to hold this child in your arms instead of smashing him into a tree."

Perhaps realizing there might be trouble brewing, she hurriedly moved away from me. Then I saw the entire family had gathered up their half-eaten lunches and were moving away from the area. Especially now that my partner had arrived with the Park Ranger in tow. Wondering about the little boy, (and secretly hoping they'd left him behind) I noticed his grandmother had retrieved him from the tree and was carrying him away in her arms.

In domestic situations like this something must be done. We confronted the issue by finding the Park Ranger who might be able to help. But there was something more to consider. The mother must have learned that behavior somewhere in her life in order to rain down such punishment on a defenseless child. And sadly, he was going back into that environment no matter what the Park Ranger did.

So we did what we knew to do. Going into the forest, we (two grandmothers) bowed our heads and appealed to the Goddess of the Forest and the Mother Earth Guardian of us all to protect that little boy. We prayed for peacefulness to surround his mother and we asked that his future days be blessed with harmony instead of hatred. We prayed that his own grandmother be there as a safety net while he was growing up.

It's been several months since witnessing that event in the state park. But not a day goes by that I don't think of the little boy crying into the tree. The image stays in my memory as a reminder to continue offering prayers not only for him but for all the children who suffer in this heinous way. And during this month of Thanksgiving I am keenly grateful for all the grandmothers who protect their grandchildren somehow, someway, from all who would harm their innocent souls.

Jo Mooy - November 2013