Archive for July, 2012

The presence of knowing

July 28, 2012

Knowledge is a dubious gift.

The problem with knowledge is that once something is known, it cannot be unknown. Even though we forget and often can’t recall what happened yesterday, some part of our brain still retains the memory of everything we have ever encountered.

Much of what we do and remember is automatic and linked to our survival and basic needs. Dementia and Alzheimer’s aside, it takes little effort to recall where we live, work, and play on a regular basis. I am grateful to remember my loved ones and special times shared with them. The memories I have a problem with are those when I witness the ugliness we create in life.

The current ugly in my life is the knowledge that people leave their babies and small children to die alone locked in vehicles. This summer, I have read at least five articles where infants and small children died of heatstroke inside a car or van. All of their stories yank my heart right out of its ignorant resting place. For example, a day-care worker “forgot” that she left a three-year-old strapped to his car seat in the van at the end of a field trip. I really would have rather not known this. My imagination has a field day taking on the suffering of others, and I wondered why I needed to know.

I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to die like that, so I purposely sat in my car one day when the temperature was about 85 degrees. I parked in the shade, turned off the engine and rolled up all the windows.

Within five minutes, a mild panic settled into my throat and I felt that certain restlessness that I was not in a good situation. Thick and heavy heated air went in and out of my lungs, but it was not enough. Sweat oozed from my skin as my body began its futile attempt to cool me off. Nausea settled in my stomach. Within ten minutes, I had to open my door and let myself out.

And my true suffering had not even begun.

The babies and children I have read about suffered much more. They could not free themselves. The three-year-old who was left in the day care van might have been able to get out of a car seat, but most likely he had been trained NOT to. He sat there sweating, waiting, and hoping for someone to release him. I cannot imagine the distress in their little minds, although I can imagine how I would have felt, what I would have thought, and how alone I would have been with my despair. In my ending, I felt total anguish at the betrayal of trust. I had been entrusted to someone’s care and they had broken that trust.

I think that before anyone gets to have a driver’s license, he or she must endure at least ten minutes of what it is like to be locked in a hot car and not be able to free themselves.

The question again came to me, though: Why had my attention been drawn to these articles? Why did I need this knowledge? I know not to leave a child locked in a car under any circumstances. When I am driving with a child, everything about that driving is with the knowledge that I have precious cargo on board. I could have easily lived the rest of my life without knowing the suffering those children endured.

My answer is metaphysical. God/Spirit/All-That-Is/Universal Consciousness is always with us, connected at the source of our being, even in our dying. I am connected to those children, just as I am to every living soul in the universe, through God.

In this moment, my presence is with every child who is suffering and letting them know they are not alone.

©2012 by Barbara L. Kass

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The presence of Satan

July 5, 2012

[making the sign of the cross just in case Satan is for real]

I’ve always been a little confused about this God/Satan thing as two forces opposing each other in an eternal battle for our souls. It started when I was a very little person and went to Catholic catechism classes. It seems that God is perfect and created these angels . . . but God gave the angels free will and choice. Satan (aka “Lucifer”) staged a coup which failed miserably and he ended up in being banished forever to hell and [gulp] the earth. Because Lucifer was an angel, he is immortal. So, this guy’s soul or essence or being or whatever is still lurking about in plain sight.

Among believers, it is agreed that God created everything. “Everything” would have to include those things we find “good” as well as those things we define as “bad.” In fact, God admits he created evil in Isaiah 45:6-7: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things.

The Hebrew word “satan” means adversary/enemy or someone who obstructs or opposes. Because I know there is absolutely nothing outside of the eternal presence of God/Universe/Spirit/Jehovah, I prefer to deal with Satan as a metaphor rather than as an adversary to struggle against. We don’t need to go looking for evil because it resides right here right now in us. Like the angels, God gave us freedom of choice. Because we are all a part of God, we, too, have the power to create both peace and evil. Metaphorically speaking, we are both God and Satan . . . with the freedom to choose which energy we want to use. Think about that.

But that is not why I brought you here today with this rather flamboyant title. Yes, I wanted to get your attention to let you know where I have been these past few months. I’ve still been writing and blogging, but my efforts have been focused on Meaning Making, Loyola University’s student blog. You will find me in “Shamanic Revelations.” You can also find me here and here. I wrote the About section, too. I am still working on getting Loyola to offer subscriptions.
Until then, as a new posting appears in Meaning Making, I plan to make our work there part of my work here.

It is ALL good.

©2012 by Barbara L. Kass