Fire flames

Conflict on the Path

Last night I watched the last episode of Avatar, the Last Airbender.  I was just so curious to see how Aang could defeat the Firelord without killing him.  It turned out that I did receive some spiritual encouragement and guidance from that episode. Aang was deeply troubled over the coming fight and went within, he asked for help.  He received guidance from his previous incarnations, but the guidance and advice did not give absolute direction. He still knew in his heart that his path would be one of not killing. He had to evolve into his own unique direction.

 

I’m also interested in giving attention to spiritual values and the advancement of levels of consciousness. I intuitively understand that as I incorporate more spiritual values into my life, the level of my consciousness will rise, and my life will be more of an expression of Power not force.

 

That was the ultimate lesson of Aang’s journey to the battle with the Firelord. Raw force was the Firelord’s weapon and Anng was armed with Power. In the end he took away the fire-bending ability of the Firelord and I think that’s the secret of karma and incarnations. We gain perspective through each challenge we endure, learning to rely on Power more than force.

 

Some weaknesses I can identify in myself are; sloth, gluttony, and a lack of fortitude, among others. They seem insurmountable but I pray and I go within and I take baby steps towards overcoming these barriers to a higher degree of love.

 

Even those at the lowest levels of love, even the greatest criminal loved in some way.  Love is the plant we can nurture in our hearts, we can fertilize it,  we can cultivate the ground of its being, and as it grows and blossoms we will experience a new life, the new way, a beautiful vista of opportunity. We too can earn the path of truth, beauty and love.

 

In order to help the poor We ought to be rich, and in order to take away the badness of a person we ought to be so much more good. That goodness must be earned, as money is earned. That earning of goodness is collecting the goodness wherever we find it, and if we do not focus on goodness we will not be able to collect it sufficiently. What happens is that man becomes agitated by all the absence of goodness he sees. Being himself poor he cannot add to it and unconsciously he develops in his own nature what he sees.

 

I love this paragraph in Hazrat Inayati Khan’s book The Smiling Forehead. Collecting good is a practice that I have to remind myself daily to do. The challenge, of course, is that it seems so much easier to collect bad, to collect the things I don’t like, that I want to change, and then lament on the amount of those items I have collected.

 

My remedy is to recognize that tendency and correct it. To collect the good, to see the love, to find a good thing that is always somewhere, maybe hiding but still there to be acknowledged, admired and shared. I’ve been criticized for being non-confrontational and not fighting the bad. This, I’m sure has roots in a tendency towards complacency and weakness, but also in my experience, fighting the bad has not lead to peace. I acknowledge and understand that there are times that fighting the bad is inevitable, still I don’t feel like it’s something that is a daily practice.

 

To have the courage to fight the bad, I need to be like Aang and master the elements first. If I master My Body Mind and Spirit, I have a clear path of action and I’m not acting on blind emotion.

 

How do I know when it’s time to fight?  How about when I’m not feeling the urgent need to retaliate. I’m not talking life-or-death here I’m talking daily annoyances and triggers. Confrontation and aggression is a part of this world that I choose to minimize in my experience. If that is considered cowardly then so be it.  I still feel called to act from my heart and find the good that I can see, and build the strength and fortitude I need by mastering the elements of my self.

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