Monday, November 26, 2018

Edges

There are so many edges in life: actual edges to things, an edge in our voices when we are frustrated or upset; the edges we create between ourselves and others. The seeming edge between us and the out there, the not of this world, however you want to name it. 
And, yet....

The idea that we are separate from the universe is expressed in this meditation image from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be. This idea of there being something between us and creation, the world, produces the idea that we have an edge between us and others as well. We seem to think, probably not unreasonably, that we stop at our skin. Everything outside our skin is otherness. But, is this true in all things? Is it true in all ways, all times?


The companion meditation in my book is this one. If, as science says, atoms are mostly empty space, then despite what we perceive on the macro-cosmic level, we are not as solid as we seem. Things flow through us. Does this make us connected to everyone and everything? Does this mean that there is truly no otherness? I do, at times, get a little weirded out by this. Oh, my as George Takei might say in that drawn out way that he has of saying it. 

So, what do I do with this seeming duality, this dichotomy of life? Some people have emotions that I don't want floating through me, let alone taking up residence in my being. I try to regularly cleanse these unwanted, unneeded emotions out and away from me. I try to have appropriate boundaries so that someone doesn't take over my life. I also, however, attempt to be open to the miracle of being connected, being at one with the universe.

I wrote two poems on this subject: 


What Keeps the Universe Out?


We do not see or feel
all of the Universe in
ordinary time, ordinary living.
Somehow we create veils,
filters to live in the everyday.
We ignore the signals, the clues
that the Universe exists within
each of us.

Is it our skin that does this?

Is it our minds instead? 

© 2018 Kathryn L. Samuelson


The Universe Flows Through

Here is a spooky thought:
the Universe flows through
each of us, connects each
of us to everyone, everything else.
Nothing keeps the Universe out. It lives
and breathes in us and with us
at every second of existence. 


© 2018 Kathryn L. Samuelson


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The first photograph is by Martin Adams, and I found it on unsplash.com. The other two are from my book.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Light and Dark/Good and Evil

It is typical to conflate light with good and dark with evil, and I occasionally hear someone talk about them as if there is no other spiritual/metaphysical meaning to light and dark. I think that that's not necessarily true, and, in fact, I think it would be good to separate or unconflate them (if there is such a word).

One good reason I can think of to separate the concept of good and evil from light and dark is that it is easy to think of light as white and dark as black because they are visually that. But, then it becomes too easy to unconsciously (and maybe even consciously) think of white as good and black as evil. Just think about where that leads. The other issue for me is that the uterus can be seen as a dark place, so women are dark, which leads to will women being evil and hence needing to be controlled, etc.


Now if we separate these concepts out from each other, what then are light and dark? I don't think we need to ask the same of good and evil.

One of the things that I believe about dark and light is that, metaphysically, they exist at the center of creation. The dark to me is the fecund, the seed place, the time and space from which, when sparked, creativity flows outward. Light is the spark that sets the seed growing.

They existed at the time of the creation. Light inseminated dark, and, et voila, the universe was created. Or, so I believe. There are so few animate things on the earth that self-generate the next generation. So, why would we think that the universe was created by only one force? You can designate them as god and goddess if you so choose. Or merely feminine and masculine energies.

And, if we free up light and dark, does that mean that we also cleanse good and evil of some of the associations that have tainted light and dark. Then good and evil could be seen as purely acts and thoughts that help or harm, and not necessarily somehow tied to races or sexes. Maybe then one less thing would be in place to keep white patriarchal supremacy would disappear. 

(I also believe that patriarchy exists in other cultures and places, but I really can only write of the United States and not those other cultures and places.)


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The photographs, in order, are by Adrien Olichon, Nathan Dumlao, and Jerin J. I found all of them on unsplash.com.


You can find out more about me, my services, and my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be here

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Monday, November 5, 2018

More Reflections on Ancestry: Immigration and Citizenship

I have been thinking over the weekend as the election approaches about ancestry, about immigration and the fear of the "Other." On Donald Trump deciding that he can override the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by an Executive Order which gives citizenship to anyone born here or born out of the country if one of the parents is a citizen. 

Ted Cruz, former Presidential candidate and Senator from Texas is only a U.S. citizen because of the 14th Amendment. He was born in Canada. His mother is a U.S. citizen, so he is allowed to be a citizen. No one has given him a hard time about this, just Barack Obama whose mother was a citizen. He could actually have been born in Kenya (he wasn't) and still been a citizen. The birther contingent seemed to conveniently forget the fact about his mother's citizenship. And, her long line of ancestors in this country.

Because, unless you are Native American, you are or your ancestors were immigrants. What I remember from my history lessons are that newer immigrants were often treated with fear and loathing. They were considered dirty. Well wouldn't we all be dirty if we'd spent who knows how much time traveling to come to the US. I imagine those coming from England, Spain, and Portugal in the 16th and 17th Centuries were a tad smelly and worse for the wear. I remember my MorMor (maternal grandmother in Swedish) saying that she remembers the family hoping that the new arrivals in the family would show up in the middle of the night because they would be dirty, etc.

Then there's the cry that they'll take our jobs away from us. I don't think that has proven true through time. I know that's one of the current refrain, but there are many jobs open because everyone now wants to go to college. That is leaving jobs open in the trades, in retail, and other businesses. Immigrants often take the jobs that those of us born here don't want. They work in the slaughterhouses, restaurant kitchens, and mow lawns.

Some people say that immigrants are a drain on the system meaning illegal immigrants in particular. Well, immigrants, legal or illegal, pay taxes. People think that illegal immigrants don't pay taxes, but they do through purchasing things subject to sales taxes. They pay property taxes through their rent, because landlords, after all, have the tenants pay a proportional share of the taxes in their rent. Many illegals somehow manage to obtain a tax ID number or are using someone else's Social Security Number. So, unless the illegal immigrants are living under a bridge somewhere, are paid under the table in cash, and buy nothing, they pay taxes.

I wonder about the consequences of repealing the 14th Amendment. What happens to all the people who were born here after their parents came legally but weren't naturalized citizens yet? Are they immediately no longer citizens? What would have been my MorMor's status? She was the only one of her immediate family born here. Would she have been required to become naturalized despite being born here? How far back would the effect of a repeal go?

The intent of this seems extremely racist to me as it is clearly, in my mind, aimed at those coming in from Central and South America. There are illegals from other countries, but people do seem so focused on those immigrants. Interestingly, the Spanish came to what is now the United States before the English. St. Augustine, FL, founded by the Spanish, is the oldest city in the U.S. Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California were colonized by the Spanish. Yet, somehow we are supposed to fear Latinx.

It also is racist as it ignores that fact that the 14th Amendment was passed by the Congress and then ratified by the required number of states in 1868 after the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. It was put into place to address citizenship rights of and equal protection rights for former enslaved people. I believe it would be dishonoring the history of the former enslaved and what this country went through to end enslavement.

Would I still have citizenship despite the fact that my family origins are from somewhere else? Or would I have essentially squatter's rights because some of my family came in the 17th century? Would those whose ancestors were given citizenship in the 19th century due to the 14th Amendment lose citizenship?

I think that it is quite sad that the person occupying the Oval Office is so unaware of Constitutional law that he feels he can wipe out a right with an Executive Order. Or maybe he thinks that everyone will go along with it. 

Thank god for lawyers. I see a law suit coming over this one.

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The photograph is by Ghost Presenter and was found on unsplash.com.

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