Should criminals be shown mercy? 3

29th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

Forgiveness is not a sanctimonious withholding of judgement.  Forgiveness is about introspection and meditation and achieving that moment of understanding and gratitude that brings tears to our eyes, where the victim can reach out to the perpetrator or the perpetrator can reach out to the victim and say “thank you for being the perfect teacher for this life”.  That is what some of the victims at the TRC experienced and expressed.

Does this mean that people can harm others and get away with it simply because they are forgiven?  Of course not.  There is a difference between “an eye for an eye” and “do unto others what you want done until yourself”.  People that harm others are here to learn their own lessons, which include taking responsibility for their actions.  There is a lack of balance when the focus is on how to ensure that perpetrators get punished for their actions, because such a focus is often based on revenge and resentment.  A murderer or rapist should have the same opportunity for introspection and spiritual discovery than their victims.  They also came to this earth to play their part and to grow to a better understanding of their actions.

This is where mercy comes in.  Does mercy mean letting people off the hook when they have committed crimes?  Certainly not.  Mercy means helping the perpetrators to understand themselves and their actions.

For example, if a teenager with a rich parent commits a crime that is punishable by a fine, how about exchanging the fine with community service that relates to the crime?  The teenager would not learn anything if the parent pays the fine, but they would learn a lot about themselves by doing appropriate community service.

That is mercy.  That is also taking responsibility for all our actions, whether our actions result in us becoming a victim or a perpetrator.  True forgiveness brings us closer to Love.

First printed in The If Journal volume 124

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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Should criminals be shown mercy? 2

26th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

South Africa had a unique situation for years where young white South African men were conscripted by the government to fight against the “enemy”, which were young black South African men.  The white men went to war, not being sure who their enemy was.  The black men organised a defence, not being sure who their enemy was.  Both sides united on the basis of skin colour, and fought against people who had a different skin colour.  They were all citizens of a country they loved, and they all fought for their country.  You cannot get a more superficial or a more personal war than that.

The outcome of the civil war in South Africa included a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  The objective of this Commission was to provide a platform to victims of the civil war where they could be heard, and at the same time to provide a platform for perpetrators of violence to give testimony and provide amnesty from prosecution.

There has been much criticism of the work of the TRC in the sense that many people felt the reparations were slow and meagre.  However, there have also been tales of the personal journeys of some of the participants and the release that they experienced as a result of letting go of hatred and desires for revenge.

These outcomes reflect two aspects of mercy, namely understanding and taking responsibility.

Let us take a step back and explore the spiritual meaning of forgiveness.  Assume that life if eternal, that our souls are eternal, and that we incarnate into this life with a purpose.  This life purpose forms a central theme that runs throughout our live on earth, and the theme is repeated until we understand.  This may even mean that we need to return for another incarnation before we understand.

We can only have learning experiences as a result of our interaction with other people.  Does this interaction simply happen?  No.  We contract with these people before they incarnate that they will help us to learn what we need to learn.  These contracts include experiences that are as ugly as war and rape and murder, and they are not necessarily limited to a single lifetime.

Jesus is quoted in Mat. 5:38-39 as having said “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I tell you . . . whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”  Is this because we are supposed to be spineless nincompoops that must simply accept abuse?  No, of course not.  I am sure Jesus meant that we would have to go through the same experience again and again until we understand what it is that we have to learn about ourselves (like eventually standing up to bullies or having serial marriages before finding happiness).  Having revenge does not reflect any understanding – it simply reflects a lack of awareness of our spirit.

To be continued

First printed in The If Journal volume 124

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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Should criminals be shown mercy? 1

22nd Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

Should murderers and rapists be shown mercy?  Should people who commit lesser sins or crimes be shown mercy?  Or should people simply be punished for their crimes and be kept away from the victims?

We often read in the media about victims of crime or their families that refuse to even think about forgiving the criminals.  When a Scottish backpacker was murdered, a relative was quoted as saying that “she will never succumb to pressure to forgive the killer”.

On rare occasions we read about victims that forgive the criminals or sinners, and then there is another uproar about these people’s gullibility and soft-heartedness.  When a gunman killed five Amish girls and injured five others in Pennsylvania in 2006, the world was surprised when the Amish supported the family of the gunman.

Showing mercy is not limited to criminal activities against individuals.  How do the Jews forgive the holocaust in Germany?  How do the Poles forgive the Russians for the results of wars against them and for communism that was forced on Poland?  How do people from Iran show mercy towards the Americans and the British?

The traditional religious definition ranges from acting as if nothing has happened, to giving tacit approval to hurtful behaviour, to sympathizing with the criminal instead of the victim.  Showing mercy is often presented as an exercise of setting aside resentment or giving up grudges.  In all of these the underlying assumption is that the victims have a right to judge the perpetrators, and that showing mercy is a withholding or a watering down of the right to judge.

However, the first commandment in the Bible is often overlooked.  No, the first commandment is not the first of the famous Ten Commandments.  The first commandment in the Bible (Genesis 2:17) states that “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Of course anything that is written down can be interpreted in many different ways.  I choose to interpret this verse as saying”If you decide what is good or evil, you judge yourself and others, and that means that you become unaware of your true nature, which is Love.  This  lack of awareness is equal to spiritual death”.

Where showing mercy or forgiveness is only about withholding judgement, it does not necessarily mean that the forgiveness is based on Love.  Forgiveness is about knowledge which brings us closer to Love.

To be continued.

First printed in The If Journal volume 124

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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Heard the one about the elephant and the ant? 2

19th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

And then there is the interesting fact that elephants are very afraid of bees.  At first glance you would think this is probably an urban myth.  There is no way a bee can scare an elephant or get through the thick skin of an elephant, right?  An elephant skin is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick and there is no way that a bee’s sting can penetrate that, right?  Right.  But the elephant’s skin is as thin as paper behind the ears, by the eye, on the abdomen, chest and shoulders.  And can you imagine how a bee sting could hurt in an elephant’s trunk when they have no way to remove that tiny sting once it is nestled in the elephant’s trunk.

Bees seem to know that, and elephants have discovered this the hard way.  Elephants have learnt to stay very far away from bees.  An elephant will never eat from a tree that has a bee colony in it – they would not even go near the tree.  The elephants can smell bee hives (even empty hives) from a distance and will do anything to avoid the hives.

What probably adds to the fear of the elephants is that when a bee stings, it releases alarm pheromones.  When this happens, other bees in the area are attracted and they continue the attack.  And getting under water to fool the bees only helps while you are under water. When you surface, the bees will smell the pheromones again and continue with their attack.

Farmers in Kenia are using this fear of bees to control elephants and protect their crops.  The farmers had in the past lost many crops through marauding elephants.  In recent years, the farmers simply put empty bee-hives at a distance of a few feet apart around their fields.  They discovered that the elephants will not even come near enough the fields to confirm that the bee hives are empty.

So, even the mighty elephant has its weak spots and its own fears.  I wish I had known that when I had to deal with corporate elephants and others who walked over me when I was emotionally vulnerable.  An old dog is never too old to learn new tricks.
Announcement: I will be holding a workshop titled Coping with Widowhood – A Spiritual Approach on 19 September 2009.  Refer here for details.

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.  Your comments are the only way for me to know that you are reading the blog.

Love and Light

Elsabe


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Heard the one about the elephant and the ant? 1

14th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

Did you know that there is an ant colony that lives on three continents?  Seriously.  There is a colony of Argentine ants that has spread to Europe and Japan, of course with some help from people.  One colony spreads over 6 000 km (3 700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast.  The second one extends over 900 km (560 miles) in California in the US.  The third colony is in Japan.  Researchers discovered that these ant colonies share a very similar of hydrocarbons in their cuticles, and they are in fact members of the same colony.

Here is the interesting part.  Put ants from different colonies together and they become aggressive.  Put ants from these three different colonies together, and they act like old friends.  They are never aggressive towards another, and they never avoid one another.  They recognise each other on the basis of the chemical composition of their cuticles.

How many families can associate with this?  How many families are spread across the world and feel such strong familial bonds that they will recognise and support their relatives wherever they find them?  Make the circle even closer.  How many nuclear families live in the same country and find it difficult to keep contact with each other?  It is even more tragic when a family live in the same town and manage to erect artificial boundaries to keep away from each other.  Maybe we can learn from these ants and re-assess our own family bonds.

Do they not contact me because I do not contact them?  Do I not contact them because they do not contact me?  When you point a finger to them, see how many fingers point right back to you.  It is interesting that whenever you have trouble with various family members, you are the common denominator in all those difficulties.  And close physical contact is not the only way to keep family bonds strong.  Simply thinking of people with love, wherever they are in the world, is already a step in the right direction.

Another interesting fact about ants is that they understand when we talk to them.  Yes, I thought the same when I first heard that.  I was told that when you have ants in your house, you can let them leave by talking to them.  You use your finger to draw a line where you see the ants, and you simply tell them that it is time for them to leave because they are in danger if they stay.  I tried that, and it actually worked – in two different houses, and with two different groups of ants.

To be continued.


Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light

Elsabe


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Let there be light – and there was Obama 2

11th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

All of these instances reflect a concept that can be explained from quantum mechanics.  Fermions are entities that thrive on division and separation.  Only one fermion can occupy any space at any time.  Try to get two fermions closer together, and there is tension because there is a struggle to ensure that the energy field of the one fermion pushes away the energy field of the second fermion.  The space needs to be defended at all costs.  This space is about me, me, me.

We have in recent years seen some examples of the opposite, where people were united over the world.  When war was declared against Iraq, there were protests in over 60 countries.  Most of these countries were not at war with Iraq, but they joined in protest against a senseless war and for peace.  That was a display of bosons, the opposite of fermions.  Bosons are above time and space.  Many bosons can occupy the same space at the same time, and when they do, we get a glimpse of eternity and we feel gratitude form the heart.

We got a glimpse of the power of bosons when Princess Diana died – the Royal Family stood out like a sore finger against the rest of the world that were united in mourning and in love for a person who was all too human.   The world united and shared the same space in the same time, and this even neutralised the behaviour of the Royal Family who gave in and joined in the expression of Love.

Sadly the examples of division are rife, whereas the examples of unity are scarce.  Our purpose on this earth is to identify this separation and division in ourselves, and to strive towards becoming One and experiencing Love.  Instead we seem to be very good at creating more division about things that can only make you shake your head in amazement.

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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Let there be light – and there was Obama 1

8th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

The Universe is about balance.  People and this world are about division and separation.  The news media show us the beautiful dance of separation on a daily basis.

For example, president Obama shows off his excellent eye-hand coordination by swatting a fly while being interviewed on television.  The world is in awe of a president that can kill flies with his own hands – what was that again about small things amuse small minds?  PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are upset because a fly was killed publicly by a prominent person who thinks he is Buddha.

I recently heard a radio interview where one person complained about the blasphemous use of the name of God on television and radio.  The person was quite adamant that the broadcaster had to act to root out this blasphemy which was quite offensive to Christians.  Another person objected against the word blimey, because he had been told that the word originated from the expression “God blind me” and therefore the word blimey must also be blasphemous.  Why is it that Christians always sound so whining when they complain about how unfairly the world treats them?  Or is the bias in my ear?

Another person called in to demand freedom of speech and the right to say “Oh, my God” and Jesus whenever they please.  A few more callers supported this stance because they are not Christians and see no reason to comply with the rules that Christians set for their lives.

Speaking of rules – a Jewish couple is suing their neighbours because of the installation of a light switch with motion sensors in the communal stairwell of the building that they live in.  Their argument is that they are not allowed to light a fire on a Sabbath.  When they step out of their flat on a Friday night and the light on the stairwell goes on, they believe it is a breach of their human rights.  Apparently the problem can be resolved with a delayed circuit-breaker switch, a solution that was accepted by rabbis for a hospital in Jerusalem.

The editor of a Jewish community website said “They should not be putting the onus on their neighbours to change. It’s a bit arrogant really. It’s an embarrassment, it’s giving reasonable Jews a bad name.”

To be continued.
Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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Did Michael Jackson die because of foul play? 2

4th Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

I would not be surprised if the manufacturers of various painkillers get under the spotlight soon for their “personal” contribution to the death of a person who chose to use painkillers for his own reasons.

And then of course there is the bargaining stage.  This is all about control.  If an autopsy provides answers that are “too much to stomach” – because we are dealing with the solar plexus chakra – what do we do?  Order another autopsy, of course, so that maybe we can get the answers we want.

And given Michael Jackson’s personal history, it should be interesting to do some research to compare the tributes his memory is being showered with, with the insults he was showered with at the low points of his professional and personal life.  I wonder how many of the people that distanced themselves from him in the past are now keen to pay tribute to him? That would be a typical part of the bargaining that goes with an experience like this.  “If I am nice about him now, will he return and do his concerts?  Will my comments from the past go unnoticed if I now say something good about him?”

This is the stage where Michael Jackson becomes an even greater icon than he could possibly have been in the past – bargaining turns an ordinary person into a larger than life person, and it will probably turn an already larger than life person into a saint even quicker than the Catholic Church can to it.

What next?  Of course there will be the depression stage.  We can expect to hear a lot about the opportunities that the singer (and his fans) missed, about the people that never appreciated his great talent (which will grow by the day in the minds of his fans and critics during this phase), detailed profiles on his children and what they are missing, and so on.  We can expect detailed profiles on how his brothers and sisters are being depressed with grief, because there are so many people in this world that live their lives as a reflection of the life of someone else.  The depression that the world will show will be based on love and a wish to understand his life and his contribution.   This will come from the heart chakra.

Will there be more?  Will there be a burst (or a long-lasting trickle) of creativity where performers will do their own interpretations of his songs and dance moves, or where the inevitable monument for him will be a source of conflict and frustration to many, and of victory to others?  Will people voice this creativity from the throat chakra?

Will there even be a deeper understanding of his role in destroying racial and sexual stereotypes?  Will people lift this mourning process to a spiritual level?  Was that what the broadcaster meant when he said that he was now mourning the fourth icon in his memory (after John Lennon, Elvis Presley and Princess Diana)?  Just shows you how mourning can clutter your perceptions – or did I somehow miss Princess Diana’s singing career and her creative, artistic contribution to the world?

And meanwhile Michael Jackson, no longer in a body that requires painkillers, is probably looking at the people’s reaction in astonishment and awe – from the neverland that we all came from.

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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Did Michael Jackson die because of foul play? 1

1st Jul 2009



Hello lovely people

It is always interesting to see how people respond to death.  The reaction is often so predictable, even though people that lose a loved one believe that the experience is so unique that nobody will understand them.

Of course the latest example is the passing of Michael Jackson.  The first, very predictable response was denial.  When the news broke, over sixteen million people did not believe what they had heard and turned to the internet to get the right facts and confirmation.   The impact was so much that for nearly half an hour Google believed that they were under attack from a computer virus or spyware application.

This denial was also confirmed in the typical responses of “I cannot believe he is gone,”  “I have tickets for his concert and he was preparing for that last week,”  “He cannot be gone”, “when I dealt with him he was lucid, and he never took painkillers”, and so on.

Why would people rush to confirm the death of a very public figure that was loved as much as he was despised?  This is typical of the fight or flight reaction that goes with a shock to the base chakra.  If they could not deny that this icon had passed on, they at least wanted to have the correct information and defend themselves.

The next typical response is anger.  There have been reports about the anger of the Jackson family over the medical treatment that the singer received from the doctor that attended him.  The traditional role of any medical practitioner is to know everything there is to know about the human body, and to keep the body alive against all odds.  The medical practitioner is very often the first target of anger, especially when the person died.  Somebody has to be responsible for the death, and accepting that the dead person chose their time, date, place and means of departing is not even an option.

A typical response from the sacral chakra is to feel anger when a relationship is severed.  In this electronic world, people often feel a personal relationship with celebrities, because the most intimate details of their lives are dished up to the public to share.   At this point, the focus is on finding “the person or persons unknown” that caused the death.  One of the singer’s fans is even quoted as slamming the “evil people” that drove Michael Jackson to his death.
To be continued

Please leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Love and Light
Elsabe


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