jeudi 9 juin 2011

SYMBOLISM AND SPIRITUALITY





SYMBOLISM AND SPIRITUALITY
Today my sister wanted me to go with her, to witness the end of the year ceremonies for her granddaughter who is graduating from Grade III.
As an Anthropologist, I am always ready to observe the rituals of the society I am visiting, this time around, a Private School run by an Evangelical Church. I was looking forward to observing the rituals of this group. Very well behaved, well groomed and orderly crowd.
Mostly white and most of them have Spanish surnames, but that is to be expected in Miami. I made a mental note that the first USA president with Spanish surname would be from this community, since they pay so much attention to learning and competitiveness.
That was not what I wanted to think about. I was thinking about symbolism.
American Indians with whom I am associated with, are masters of Symbolism as are many native communities.
“Give us the least of a hint, we can figure out the meaning.” say the elders.
The Little Girl was happy at the presence of her parents and was elated that others who are not related to her were also there.


This was what happened.
The ceremony droned on. Americans are very fond of giving honours and prizes to everyone, and it is important that the children be accorded the self-confidence. In France, the emphasis would have been on a feast with champagne but that is the cultural difference. Also, most people were eager to get home to watch an important basketball game.
The great grandmother of the little girl had passed away few weeks ago and a service was held in the Catholic Church for this religious lady who was adored by her family.
When we arrived, the auditorium was crisp and clean and everyone marched into the pews. We had taken a pew upstairs with a good view of the thirty of the children now graduating to the next year of their studies.
The younger sibling at the end of the celebration and award giving was wandering around downstairs with her good friend. She saw a piece of paper with a picture on it, she recognized the face on the photo, her grandmother who had passed away just a month ago. It was lying face up on a seat in the auditorium. She picked it up and excitedly ran up to her mother.
When I heard the story, I was so flabbergasted . I believe in the connections of the spirits, that go far beyond religion and rituals and as Indians say, in the symbolism of the spirits.
It was so symbolic when the celebrant who is only about 9 years old said: I had prayed to Grandma and wanted her to send me some sign.
I grasped this opportunity to talk to her and said: remember this is very important, what this means is that your grandma wanted to be here, beaming to watch you complete your third grade of education. Even though she is no longer with us physically, she is watching over you. Also this means that you would be blessed with good luck for a long time to come and you have to think of this as an answer to your prayers. “ If you pray with a strong heart,” I told her, “ your prayer will come true, as you have witnessed today.”
I requested to keep the paper which was given to me, for I know that this paper has power, which has granted the wish of a young girl, the power of a grandma who was a wonderful woman all her life and was loved by her family. What more of a blessing I can ask for when I was thinking of a reunion in London with another innocent pair or eyes in a few days time?
I had been reading and had the book with me at the auditorium about the Hebrew manuscripts from the second millennia of our history, which vaguely corresponds to the first millennia of Christianity.
I will quote from the book, on page 110
Mishnah had demanded: “whosoever makes his prayer a fixed task, his prayer is not a true supplication.” Other sources echo that call: “one’s prayer should be made new each day,” the Palestinian Talmud tells us, and “as new water flows from the well each hour, so Israel renews its song.” In many of the religious Jewish communities of the East, it was considered disgraceful to recite a prayer that was not one’s own.
I don't have to go far to find similarities. American Indians, by all reckonings the oldest continuously existing group of people do not follow any set scriptures. They begin all their activities with a prayer and the prayer is always fresh since it is from the mind and the heart of the person who is saying it.
And they advise you, when under the force of spirits be very careful what you pray for, because you will end up getting it. This is a warning that when you pray, one must not pray for trivial things. Not like the words form the beat songstress, Janis Joplin Oh God, Send me a Cadillac Car.
So this young innocent mind, which in all spiritual traditions are considered the most sanctified, whether it is Yoga or Indian or Jewish or Christian or Buddhist, said a prayer of her own making and it was answered. Please do not look for logic or scientific answers. This happened and we are blessed to be in the receiving end of this miracle.
I want to keep this paper, always to remind me of the face of a young child beholden to wonder of this world of spirits.
I am reminded of what Black Elk, a Lakota Medicine Man had said:
“ If there is a shadow of a doubt someplace, that will cause a weakness.”
In the spiritual world there is a spiritual law. The Law says: “ Like attracts like.” This means whatever mental picture we hold inside our minds, we will attract from the universe. To make this Law work, we must maintain a constant picture. If we picture or vision something, and along with this picture we have doubting thoughts, our vision will not happen and we will get EXACTLY what we picture or vision. The Law always works. A doubting vision will not materialize what we want. A vision without doubt will always happen. This is a spiritual Law (from the Wisdom of the Elders)
Tonight we saw the vision without doubt of a child, it did happen.