I was fortunate to have been born into a family of “freethinkers”. My lineage is abundant with people who have challenged the ruling class, either following the route of other contemporary or historical individualists, or making their maverick way, blazing trail through the dense forest of unconsciousness with a tool fashioned by their own hands, journeying for many miles and perhaps many moments with little or no encouragement.
Although I have understood that many of my ancestors were Seekers – intelligent, passionate, fiery, courageous and determined – I never got the impression that they were rebellious for rebellion’s sake. I believe they wanted to find Reasons for Being that made sense to their heart and to their mind. And yet I am certain the paths they chose were not easy ones to walk, and that they clung to those people, places and things that represented and reflected back to them the universal truths that whispered within them.
Of Cherokee, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, Dutch, and Finnish heritage, I can only imagine what immense challenges and heartbreaks my relatives faced – and I can only imagine what yours have faced as well – and continue to all over the world, where people are still punished by death (or worse) for what they believe is their highest dream, grandest idea, most expansive, life-supporting hope for how it could actually be on this planet if we all lived in harmony with one another and all life forms.
I wonder how many of my relatives were “punished by law” or put to death by a deep need to live in alignment with who they felt themselves to be; how many were burned at the stake, or hung or imprisoned because they just couldn’t agree with slavery of any kind, or holocausts of any kind, or separatism of any kind, or the concept of a god that wouldn’t love us if we blundered and stumbled our way through life, trying to figure it all out.
To sin literally means “to miss the mark”. I’d say that’s fairly easy to do at least a few times a day – even on our best day – not to mention over a whole lifetime. So, I’m guessing that I’ve come from a long line of Sinners and Heretics: people who probably just couldn’t understand why wanting the authentic best for themselves and for all sentient beings was so wrong – like so very many of us wonder. And why any god we believe in can’t be a loving god, inclusive even of other gods; other concepts of Wonder and Awe and Mystery…
And then we even kill each other in that name? I believe this is an aberration, a departure from the original idea, which, if I were to submit a guess, would be: Please Love.
A heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs. (Wikipedia) The term heresy, in Greek, αἵρεσις, originally meant “choice”. It also referred to the process whereby a young person would examine various philosophies to determine how to live one’s life.
The process whereby a young person
would examine various philosophies
to determine how to live one’s life.
This has not been the common experience for many of us on the planet for hundreds of thousands of years. But I’d like to think that those of us living in these days and times will begin to change that.
I think “the powers that be” would want it that way. The true Powers that Be: this Knowing within each of us: We started out Good. We’re made of Good. We deserve Good. We’ve always wanted to inspire and share and give away that Goodness. But for most of us, before we even got a chance to uniquely express our Goodness, it was stunted and then rerouted and perhaps misguided into a whole different idea of Who We Are and what source of goodness and intelligence we came from – stunted and rerouted by mostly well-meaning loved ones and members of our society.
Yet, sometimes even our best intentions go awry. And sometimes, we don’t even have all of the information yet. Which is why there will always be Seekers. That is, until the Answers that lie within are allowed to be heard.
Here’s to a new thought about heresy. And here’s to You. You Know Who You Are…
– em claire
“Show yourself to me,”
said I to God again.
And this is what happened next:
I became pregnant with Light.
My eyes were sunrise and sunset, both.
Freckles announced themselves planets and stars
and beamed upon my cheeks.
Each of my lips became a kiss to the other;
my ears heard oceans of life.
Between my eyes there was an indigo wheel,
between my toes, blond fields.
My hands remembered climbing-trees,
my hair, each lover’s fingers.
And then I whispered,
“But why have you made me This way?”
and it was told to me this:
“Because I have never had Your name before
nor heard the way You sing it.
Nor stared into the Universe through eyes like These,
nor laughed This way, nor felt the path that These tears take.
Because I have not know These ecstasies,
nor risen to These heights,
nor experienced every nuance of the Innocence
with which you create your lows.
Nor how a heart could grow so wide,
or break so easily
quite so Unreasonably.”
“Unreasonably” em claire
©2008 All Rights Reserved
(Em Claire is an American poet whose work appears in her book Silent Sacred Holy Deepening Heart, as well as in When Everything Changes, Change Everything. She may be reached through www.emclairepoet.com)