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Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Fresh Start – CREDO XXV

The Ten Commandments were the gift of Moses in the Age of Aries/Libra which gave birth, psychologically speaking, to the collective ego. Its precepts were to curb any selfishness of “I am”. They are mostly prohibitive. However, in Christianity and the Age of Pisces/Virgo, a shift occurred. The opposing sign ruling the constellation of Pisces is Virgo. Its virtue is Virtue, and its shadow is sin, which leads to guilt. Personified as an archetype it becomes the Scold or the Accuser, and I daresay, I am not the only one to have suffered mightily as a child from well-meaning grown-ups or downright sadistic ones from the accusation of sins, which carried to excess can result in negative inflation! The "I am the worst ... a hopeless case,” etc. In the General Confession in the Episcopal rite there lies a trap, I call the Abyss. We pray “Forgive me for all those things I have done which I ought not to have done, and forgive me for those things I ought to have done and have not done!” Those still keep me awake at three o’clock in the morning. At 85, I realize that I really am unable to break too many of the Ten Commandments but I can always sin on the installment plan!

Even today children are scolded ad hominem (to the person), told they are naughty and bad. But I am impressed by those parents who instead adopt the ad rem (to the matter) approach, simply saying “That’s a no!" or “It’s not going to happen.” Several years ago, I wrote a poem about what it felt like –

The hell I knew had human eyes,
angels that were demon wise –
pain to beauty, beauty's pain,
rounded wisdom round again,
Love came down in hate's disguise.
Life it is that never dies;
love it is that tries and tries –
child and demon, demon's child,
innocent and running wild,
stropped for seizing heaven's prize.

When hell is telling, heaven lies;
when hell is selling, heaven buys.
We struggle dreaming struggle's dreams
and reaching where our wisdom gleams
the child within us cries and cries.

Later in life, I came upon another set of precepts. These were not negative “Thou shalt nots” but positive, sensible suggestions for leading a good life. They are so wise, I have memorized them, and they have guided me for decades. It is easy to check one’s conscience against them. As we are approaching another New Year with resolutions, I thought I would share them. They follow Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and are called:

The Noble Eight-fold Path
Free from superstition and delusion
High and worthy of the intelligent; worthy of humankind
Kindly, open, and truthful
Peaceful, honest, and pure
Bring hurt or danger to no living being
In self-training and self-control
The active, watchful mind
In deep meditation on the realities of life
– Gautama Buddha, 6th Cent B.C.


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