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Religion, I believe is something that is personal to an individual. Religion can be a set of formalized beliefs, and labeled "Catholic," "Protestant," "Wiccan," "Judaism," "Islamic," et cetera, or just a simple personal set of beliefs. Religion is often discussed amongst people, but should never be argued. Every person on Earth has the right to their own beliefs, and to argue those beliefs, I consider a violation of those birth rights.
My own beliefs, I consider private, but I will simply state, that I do believe in a Higher Being; call him God if you will. I don't believe in organized religion-for myself though I do not condemn it for others. I don't consider myself a "religious" person but rather, a person "of faith." I believe God lives in a person's heart and soul, and that if a person lives a good life, doing no harm to other people, creatures, or this planet, then they are doing God's will. My beliefs encompass many things — teachings from the Bible, to pagan religions, to the teachings of the Native Americans, et al. I care not that others agree with my beliefs, for my beliefs matter only to me.
On this page, I plan to post inspirational and motivational pieces from a variety of sources. Some will be poems, some will be legends, some will be quotations, others shall be stories.
My first set of offerings will be from the Native Americans. Their spirituality, their intelligence, their love for all living things, make these people truly awesome and wise indeed. I truly believe these people are in touch with the spirits. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.
First, one of the many legends about the Dreamcatcher. I have a beautiful one at home, made by the Lakota Sioux, that hangs near my bed. Not only do I believe it works, but the stones that were placed on it are opals — my birthstone.
The Legend of the Dream Catcher
"An old Sioux Indian legend says that dreamcatchers were hung in lodges and teepees to ensure peaceful dreams. The good dreams, knowing the way, slip through the webbing and slide down the soft feather to the sleeper. The bad dreams, not knowing the way, become entangled in the web, and melt at the first light of the new day. Small dreamcatchers were hung on cradleboards, so that infants would have only good dreams."
This next story is simply a very wise man speaking of the great truths in life.
Mountain Dreamer Speaks
"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain,mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with JOY, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon.
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments."
~ Oriah, Mountain Dreamer, Indian Elder
The Legend of Billy Jack and all of the Billy Jack movies were probably my most favorite when I was young and are still among my favorites even today. The stories were powerful, sometimes more honest than we might like to admit.
One Tin Soldier — (The Legend of Billy Jack)
~ as sung by Coven ~
Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They'd have it for their very own.
Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after …
One tin soldier rides away.
So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they'd kill.
Came an answer from the kingdom,
"With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there."
Now the valley cried with anger,
"Mount your horses! Draw your sword!"
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
"Peace on Earth" was all it said.
Now, please enjoy some stories I found in my searchings. Many of these stories come from a wonderful book given to me by a dear friend, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Soon after her brother was born,little Sachi began to ask her parents to leave her alone with the new baby. They worried that like most four-year-olds,she might feel jealous and want to hit or shake him, so they said no. But she showed no signs of jealousy. She treated the baby with kindness and her pleas to be left alone with him became more urgent.They decided to allow it.
Elated, she went into the baby's room and shut the door, but it opened a crack — enough for her curious parents to peek in and listen. They saw little Sachi walk quietly up to her baby brother, put her face close to his quietly, ,
and say, "Baby, tell me what God feel like.I'm starting to forget."
~ Dan Millman, Chicken Soup for the Soul
The Two Monks
Two monks on a pilgrimage came to the ford of a river. There they saw a girl dressed in all her finery, obviously not knowing what to do since the river was high and she did not want to spoil her clothes. Without more ado, one of the monks took her on his back, carried her across and put her down on dry ground on the other side.
Then the monks continued on their way. But the other monk after an hour, started complaining, "Surely it is not right to touch a woman; it is against the commandments to have close contact with women. How could you go against the rules of monks?"
The monk who had carried the girl walked along silently, but finally he remarked, "I set her down by the river an hour ago, why are you still carrying her?"
Irmgard Schloegl, The Wisdom of Zen Masters
"We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms -- to chose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
You Are a Marvel
"Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again...And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.
When will we also teach them what they are?
We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.
You may become a Shakespeare, a Michaelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?
You must work -- we must all work — to make the world worthy of its children.
~ Pablo Casals, Chicken Soup for the Soul
A small child was drawing a picture and his teacher said,
"That's an interesting picture. Tell me about it."
"It's a picture of God."
"But nobody knows what God looks like."
"They will when I get done."
Start with Yourself
The following was written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey:
"When I was young and free my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would have then been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world."
The Rules to Be Human
You will receive a body.
You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around.
You will learn lessons.
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school, you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of trial and error. Experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works."
A lesson is repeated until learned.
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
Learning lessons does not end.
There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
"There" is no better than "here."
When your "there" has become a "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
Others are merely mirrors of you.
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
Your answers lie inside you.
The answers to Life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.
You will forget all this.
~ Chérie Carter-Scott, Chicken Soup for the Soul
| FAVORITE QUOTE
|"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." — Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
| PLEASE NOTE
|The star on my pages was a graphic that I made personally in 1994 when I was first learning how to do animations. This star has been a standard on my Rattt Trap pages since their creation in 1994; specifically my newsletter pages, The Back Fence.