Today has been one of those days where I have mixed in a bit of everything, and I kinda like it that way.

I have already mentioned that I am finishing up Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol.  I love this book for so many reasons.  First, I love his writing style.  I also love the subjects he chooses.  There is always something to learn historically & spiritually fro his books.  On a personal level, though, this book really gets me.  It speaks a great deal about the Masons; my dad was a Mason.  Two of  my grandfathers both died Masons in good standing.  My mom was an Eastern Star, and her mom died an Eastern Star in good standing.  Unfortunately, neither of my parents encouraged us kids to get involved with the Masons or Eastern Stars.  I wish they had.  Reading Brown’s books help me feel closer to a part of their lives I never understood and they never really talked about.

What I love about reading books is that there can always be something learned from them…well okay, at least from the books I read…even the fictional ones.  I can always find a message of some kind in the books I read.  Here are a couple of thoughts I have gained from The Lost Symbol:

* “My body is but a vessel for my most potent treasure…my mind.”  The Bible says our body is a Temple and it must be treated as such.  Of course it says it is a Temple of God…..  Divinity lives with in us..this is true (at least for me).  But if we do not treat our bodies properly, then our mind will also get sick.  We must treat our bodies with respect and keep it healthy in order for our mind to work to its fullest potential.  Of course, we also must work our mind to keep it strong.  Puzzles, reading, games, laughter..all of these will help with that.

* “Truth has power.  And if we all gravitate toward similar ideas, maybe we do so because those ideas are true..written deep within us.  And when we hear the truth, even if we don’t understand it, we feel that truth resonate within us…vibrating with our unconscious wisdom.  Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called….re-membered…re-cognized…as that which is already inside us.”  I loved this quote.  It reminded me of what I learned when I went to school for storytelling and took Mythology. I learned that all cultures shared the same stories..they all had flood stories..they all had virgin births and resurrecting deities and sacrifices….they all share the same stories but share them in different religions and call them by different names.  We are all the same.  If we all learned that, then maybe there would be more peace in this world…just maybe :).

* “Only through the death experience could man fully understand his life experience.  Only through the realization that  his days on earth were finite could he grasp the importance of living those days with honor, integrity, and service to his fellow man.”  I loved this quote and this idea.  It’s not a new idea to me.  There are several experiences or rituals that simulate death so that once can grow from this experience.  “Rebirthing” and what leads up to those kinds of rituals provide this experience.  A sweat lodge does this same kind of thing….  I have always believed that something first must die before something new can grow….  Sacrifices of existing life must happen before growth can happen.  scientifically this is true.  This theme is played out in so many movies and books.  I just watched “Funny People” with Adam Sandler, and he went through this same experience; if you can get past the crude “teenage/college boy” themes, the actual lesson is very profound.

You may or  may not know, that my husband and I were students of James Arthur Ray (from The Secret).  You may recognize his name from more recent news reports from 3 deaths in a sweat lodge incident in Sedona, Arizona, on October 9, 2009.  My husband and I stopped attending  James’ events a couple of years ago, but we had friends in that sweat lodge, and one of our friends died as a result of injuries from the sweat lodge.  What I have gone through after this incident is very difficult to explain especially to people who have never worked with James so I won’t even try to explain it.  But during the event where the sweat lodge was held, he spoke about death happening and being reborn.  He even quoted one of my favorite quotes, “It’s a great day to die” (from Joseph Campbell).  When 3 people died in the sweat lodge, the media took these quotes and these ideas and turned them into something sinister..using these quotes as “intent” to harm…or at least creating the illusion of.  That is soooooo NOT what happened.  A sweat lodge is a beautiful experience when it is done properly, and obviously something went horribly wrong at James’ event.

The media also portrays James as this horrible person with bad intentions.  I don’t know if that is really true.  I totally believe that James’ heart had beautiful intentions of spreading light and love.  I wasn’t just a student of James’; I also got to be his “point person”/body guard during  several of his events.  This position allowed me to get closer to him than most people ever get.  I got to see his human side..not just his stage presence.  Please do not take this to mean that I knew him well and very personally; that is not true.  I am just saying that his average students and even some of his most recent employees have never gotten that close to him…and I have a different perspective than most people.  Anyway, I have been a mess over what has happened in Sedona, and I’m still doing alot of healing.  Investigations are going on about the event, and no charges have been made yet.  In the process so many people are talking and so many rumors and flying, yet there are so many people who are NOT talking publicly or even to fellow students or “the community”.  I feel like I have lost a big family in all of this.  I feel alot of things.  But while reading The Lost Symbol, I read something that reminded me of James and what is going on right now.  I can’t find the passage now, and I didn’t mark it in the book, but it talks about the Ancient Mysteries were hidden because with them came great knowledge and with great knowledge comes great power…These Ancient Mysteries take root in ancient Egypt and are meant for light, love, good…and when used by people with good heart, love and intentions, it is a good thing.  Though many times people who already have power, want more power..this is where greed and ego step in.  When Greed and Ego step in, then these “good powers”….can and will be manipulated based on the energy of the person using them.  And there have been many people who have said of James that he started out with love, light, and good intentions, but with power comes the want for more power (ego and greed).  When Ego and Greed step in, then things go wrong……..and the effect?  3 people died on his watch during a ritual that is very sacred and beautiful.

I do not believe Jame intentionally meant to hurt anyone.  Knowing James the way I do, I believe he, at one time, had the best of intentions.  Yet, I also know pride got in the way with him at times…and I believe greed did too.  It’s not a judgement as much as it is an observation.

There is one more quote in here I would like to point out:

“From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to American politics–the name of Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles.  Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding.  They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand.  They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions.  Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.”

I love that quote. In this day and age, SCRIPTURE and JESUS and GOD have been cited for reasons same-sex marriage should not be legalized.  It has been used to deem homosexuality as a disease and something that can be cured.  It has been used to kill people who believed in different religions.  It has been used to start wars.  Really?  Is that was GOD, JESUS, and THE SCRIPTURE are all about?  No.  I don’t think so.  I can say from a very personal perspective, as someone who has used these very things against her, that NO, this is NOT what these things are about.  I remember as a kid being teased and tormented and all I could say to those who bullied me was, “I’m not junk, cause God doesn’t make junk.”  My mom thought I was wise beyond my years at the time..and I was.  I was 8 years old when I said this…maybe even younger.  But when I was 11 years old and told my mom that I thought I was gay, she practically turned my words on me…”You can’t be gay because you are a good Christian young women…and good Christian young women can’t be gay!  Besides you like boys don’t you?”    She was right about one thing.  I did like boys…and therefore I could  not be gay.  That however did not stop me from liking girls as well.  She was right.  I wasn’t gay.  I was/am bisexual, and I stand by my original statement, “I’m not junk, cause God doesn’t make junk!”  The creator made me the way that I am.  No one else out there made me this way.  I was born this way.  I have always like girls for as long as I can remember…AND I have liked boys.  Go figure!  Believe me, I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to straighten me didn’t work.  *laugh*  Anyway, I loved that quote from the book.  It really spoke to me and the way I believe that “good Christians” tend to think…and they quote GOD, JESUS, and THE SCRIPTURE and hide their intolerance and ignorance in their words.

So there ya go, from the sublime to the ridiculous, there is much to learn!