To have integrity, one has to question one’s integrity.
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The Blessing Song
Long ago, in every tribal group, including the long-ago ethnic ones you yourself come from -- no decision, no journey was undertaken without first singing a blessing song over the decider, the traveler...
But not a nice little jingle wishing the traveler well. No. No greeting card sentiments.
Rather a fierce blessing song, chanted out strong and long:
-- meant to remind about the obvious dangers of the travel;
-- meant to raise awareness of the hidden dangers on the road ahead;
-- meant to threaten what will happen if one proceeds heedlessly;
-- meant to remind how the tribe will be affected if the traveler succeeds;
-- meant to remind how the tribe will suffer if the traveler makes many careless mis-steps;
-- meant to strengthen the heart and the feet for walking the entire road ;
-- meant to highlight the satisfactions to be gained by walking that choice, that road -- rightly -- with soul and immaculate love intact.
In our time, such blessing songs over appointed leaders are sometimes shockingly absent.
No one questions, reminds, or informs the leader about the actual outcomes possible and how to diminish negative ones, and how to augment positive ones. Beforehand. Before action is taken. Before words are unleashed.
Thereby, without proper blessing, those in charge, blunder forth, without consideration for ‘what lies underneath’ in terms of knowing full well the leader’s own motives, biases, blindnesses, insights, hopes and fears.
There’s a saying amongst the bendigaderas, the blessing people, in the family:
Blessing is not permission: it is information.
Once again, blessing is
-- Information about one’s own weaknesses and strengths that one has to remain conscious about in order to perform -- not perfectly, but well;
-- Information about how one can strive to be impeccable in preparing for and undertaking one’s journey, for these will affect others deeply, both by example, and by consequences to the tribe and all its clans;
-- Information about what cutpurses and monstrosities one is likely to meet on the road,
-- how to deal with all those, both within, and outside oneself...
-- how to remain clear, and integral in long-sight and in insight.
...Amongst your and my far-back people, all this information was “blessed into” the person to help them succeed with best possible outcome, and least harm to all.
That is not to say that even with all “blessing questioning and considerations,” an endeavor cannot turn out less than well, or even poorly. Instead, it is to state in high-noon voice, that a leader going unquestioned before their decisions are unleashed, is unthinkable... for too often such unconsidered actions have turned into disasters that take one-hundred times longer to clean up than the time it took to bring the disaster on.
In a cohesive tribe, the questioning of the leader is not a hostile act, it is a helping one. And an apt leader, asks for such, would feel not cared for were it not forthcoming. Thus, the blessing song is a striving to inculcate conscious integrity. Before the fact.
In all, if one were to strive toward integrity -- before the fact -- an appointed leader would not ask anyone to sing a song of mindlessness or impulsiveness. That will never work. Rather, singing the blessing song of consciousness will.
Story: Battle of the Two Wolves
A story very like this one is carried inside your own heritage bones. Wherever your ancestors walked and worked, wherever actual wolves lived in that time... some version of this story is found too...
Here’s how the story’s told in our Magyar and Schwabian families...
A young boy child and his grandfather witness a fight to the death between two wolves.
The wolves leap at each other, snarling, clawing. Over and over they roll, causing huge sprays of yellow dirt to fly... each wolf trying to kill the other.
The little boy sees the wolves’ scrabbling legs, their bloody-toothed, black gummed mouths lunging at each other...
and the child is afraid.
But, the grandfather tells the child there is something to fear far more than these two wolves fighting... rather, to fear any two humans or groups, outside oneself or within oneself, that rise to fight each other... for one of these wolves is called by the name Awake and the other wolf is called by the name Asleep.
The grandfather, a proud old warrior, is far more dedicated to care than to war. He assures the child that there has always been more to this wolf fight than meets the eye... that one wolf represents the pure awakened spirit of the human being, and the other wolf represents sleepwalking in mindless action.
... If Awake wins, there will be rest and feast for all, and fresh green will dawn above ground and be nourished. But, if Asleep wins, there will be an ever darkening dark rolling over the people’s land, and anything green with life will be extinguished before it has a chance to thrive.
The child, timidly asks, which wolf will win this bloody battle?
“The one we keep singing awake,” says the grandfather, ...
“... or the one we keep allowing to sing itself into a deadly sleep.”
Vatican, sleepwalking with eyes wide open.
Of the parasomnias, that is, clinical sleep disturbances, one of the most baffling is sleepwalking. Sleepwalking often causes injuries and sets off other deleterious outcomes as the person walks with all strength and unvetted impulses intact, but without alert mind, judgment and foresight fully engaged. The person is thereby unable to weigh potential negative consequences of her or his actions while sleepwalking.
You may have noted a sadly sleep-walking Vatican in the recent and ongoing untying of hard won relationships with Muslims and Jews. Too, there are the Vatican’s attempts to seemingly offer its most tender bosom to those who are scornful of many other groups and individuals, whilst the Vatican pushes away and hurts those who love with so few limits... and who are so hungry with love for The Essence.
We’ve seen for many years and decades people of good will and just cause, having to hammer until their knuckles were bloody against the big golden doors of the Vatican until those doors reluctantly opened a crack... but not until the Boston Globe newspaper and other investigative reporters at additional newspapers destroyed all the hedging, excuses, all the layers of veils of bishops and archbishops who insisted, “Oh no that never happened here.”
How tragic still, and right now, that it took many days and weeks, for the Vatican to awaken to the inflated mindset of the Bishop Williamson ... after years of Williamson’s propounding these very same phantasmagorias exactly. How many world leaders, consecrated men and women, stand-up men and women had to shake the pope out of his somnambulism about Williamson?
And now, somewhat like Zelig, the character in the Woody Allen film who keeps showing up time after time in every historical and family photograph even though he’s unrelated to and doesn’t know any of the people in the photo ... here comes this week also, the insubordinate Bishop Williamson, weaseling by speaking to the German news media via fax about his holocaust fantasies. Again. Despite being ordered by his superior to be completely silent.
And this week, we sadly have a new unintended consequence, of no “blessing song” given the pope beforehand ... that is, Pope Benedict appointed as auxiliary bishop of Linz, Austria’s third largest city, the conservative Fr. Gerhard Maria Wagner. But now Wagner is said to be declining the pope’s “promotion” because of the furor it has caused in the tribe of souls there, both prelates and laity, who dislike him, seemingly intensely.
Eric Willemsen at The Associated Press has covered that story and notes that Wagner is, “A pastor who created a controversy by suggesting that God punished New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of the city’s sins.”
How is it that a journalist at AP knows more about the sociometry of the Catholics of Linz than the pope apparently does? Good for the journo, not so good for the pope. Not so good for Catholics who suffer the public acid splash-back because of all these serious sleep-stumbles.
Also in the last weeks, we have a mind-bending revelation about Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado. To his Legionnaires of Christ order’s credit, they have revealed that Maciel had a mistress and a child during his time as consecrated priest. And that much bad road has been laid down by his double, perhaps yet to be visited, triple lives.
Cannot take these matters off the table, as long as a significant leader remains somnolent, unawakened. Beforehand. During. After.
In our time as old believers, all these matters of unconsciousness about harms and outcomes unleashed, purposely, or not... have to remain in the forefront, They cannot ever be shoved behind the gilded Chair of Peter, no matter who seduces, cajoles or threatens.
It cannot be, “Oh, all those upheavals are the past, now back to business as usual.” No. No more business as usual, for business as usual means being asleep instead of awake. “Business as usual” means doing great harm, intentionally or not, but deep often irretrievable harms nonetheless.
My father used to say, “An innocent man waving sharp knives around in the air, can cut you really bad.”
Integrity is an awareness of others’ needs and dignity, in addition to one’s own. Fair and accurate assessment. A just interest in and knowledge of other’s hearts and souls... a just interest in and knowledge of one’s own mind, one’s gifts, and foibles that might influence decisions to the dark or to the light, in the here and now, and in the future.
Integrity means the outside matches the inside, and visa versa. It means insofar as humanly possibly, a non-distorted view of the underlayments, hidden motives, oddities, harmless and deleterious, both... of human nature in others.
Integrity means one has proven ways to examine the balance of all these, and useful heart and methods for correcting for misshapen thoughts and impulses.
The time of “business as usual” is over. There’s not enough gold in the world to effectively cause good thinking people to act like they have a head full of cement. There is no way to quiet just public outcry about unjust actions and methods.
And the two wolves?
The wolves’ names are Awake and Asleep. We can sing for the consciousness we want to win, to lead, more so to build a world based on consciousness rather than somnambulance that causes so much harm.
I’d suggest, as we strive to sing goodness into wakefulness, (for ourselves, for others) that we let it be a blessing song instead of a song of scorn.
The scornful song only tells about how hurt we are. The blessing song questions the leader; informs, prepares and takes the measure of the leader; reminds, and through repetition, sometimes relentless repetition: awakens.
For us, the old believers, one of the best blessing songs we can sing over our leaders, and over one another... could be just this simple one... I hope you will join me...
We can look forward
without looking away.
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“Vatican: Battle of Two Wolves,” and excerpt from “Blessing Song for Traveling the Dead Zone,” both by Dr. C.P. Estés, ©2009, All Rights Reserved. Permissions: firstname.lastname@example.org