Stillness by Oxana Poberejnaia

oxanaI am visiting my home town in Russia for holidays. I have not been home for 3 years and I have not lived there for 12 years. Many things surprise me. One of the features of contemporary life in my home town is the relentless and often destructive onset of capitalism. As I have said already, currently patriarchy has joined forces with capitalism in order to suppress nature and oppress women.

One of the ways capitalism does this is by involving women and men into an endless rat race and by substituting their Wild Nature (as Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés describes it) with an identity of a consumer. People willingly put on masks of consumers who live to make money and to spend it on entertainment which is sold to them.

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Remember the Sabbath Day: The Cost of Difference by Linn Marie Tonstad

Linn Marie TonstadI grew up Seventh-day Adventist and was educated at Seventh-day Adventist schools all the way through college. I can tell endless quirky stories about growing up – about the time my parents gave me The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to read at the age of seven and I was certain, certain, that they had no idea what devilish literature they had given me (all those horrible hags and werewolves), so I promised myself never to tell them because they would feel so bad for having led me astray. (I figured it out when I reread the story at the age of nine.) About my joy in meeting missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, at the train station on my way to and from school, so that we could proof text against each other. I was always certain that my marked Bible (marked with Sabbath texts, carefully traced with different colored pens, based on a pamphlet I had picked up somewhere) would eventually lead someone to the truth. (Again, I was nine.) As I entered adolescence, I became increasingly worried about the early Adventist dictum that the degree of responsibility you have as a believer is proportional to the degree of light you have been given – after all, I had a lot of light! In fact, I knew the truth.

But no stories like this will tell the truth of my relationship with the church. Yes, I grew up in ways that seem strange to many people: keeping Saturday holy starting Friday at sundown, without TV or movies until about the age of eleven, as a life-long vegetarian (although I became a pescetarian in my twenties), believing that Jesus Christ will return soon, having read the Bible cover to cover by the age of nine (do you see a pattern emerging?), and so on. Having spent the last decade plus outside Adventist institutions, I know much more than I did then about the ways in which my upbringing and beliefs were unusual by mainstream standards. Yet unlike many people who become theologians, and unlike many women who become feminist theologians, I never experienced the church as a particularly repressive site, even though the external forms of my life look very different now. I loved the church, and despite some unfortunate experiences with authority during my high school and college years, the church gave me gifts that I have valued ever since. Continue reading “Remember the Sabbath Day: The Cost of Difference by Linn Marie Tonstad”

Peace of mind vs Dogma and Capitalism by Oxana Poberejnaia

oxanaWhen I said in my response to Carol P. Christ’s comment that on one level Goddess spirituality and Buddhism are about the same thing, I am afraid it could have sounded shallow. What I wanted to express is that for a Goddess adherent, the primary goal is not to go through death and be reborn. Neither is the primary goal for a Buddhist to go through death and not be reborn. I believe they both seek the same thing: to be happy in this lifetime, to be comfortable with themselves and the world, to be OK with the reality of their own death. Carol says: “For me, regeneration applies to the community, to nature, to the whole, not to the individual”.

The two faiths just lead to this result by using different theology and practices. One of the ways Buddhism installs this peace of mind is by dissolving the very notion of an “individual” and thus, their impending death becomes less of a problem. From the Goddess side of things, listen to an episode of Karen Tate’s Sex, Religion, Politics podcast Enlightenment for the Rest of Us/Shamanism with Polly Campbell, author of Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People. Karen is a Goddess advocate, and what Polly was teaching could be called secular Buddhism: the same breathing techniques, being in the moment and being grateful.

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On Being in the Moment By Ivy Helman

Time.  We mark years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. We mark seasons.  We mark life events.  We live our lives in time: both circular and linear.  Time began before we did and time will continue after we cannot experience it any further.   Some say we repeat time with rebirth.  Others suggest that we only have one lifetime of which we should make the most.  Still others suggest there is existence outside of time with concepts like infinity and eternal life.  We sure do write, discuss and ponder time a lot, but do we ever really experience it?  Meaning: what would it be like to live in the moment, to be aware of and completely conscience within an instance of time, not thinking of the past, not worrying about the future, but being fully present in the here and now?

Sci-fi geek that I am, I often recall the Star Trek: The Next Generation movie entitled Insurrection when Captain Picard and Anij discuss experiencing a moment of time.  Anij explains to Captain Picard, “You stop reviewing what happened yesterday. Stop planning for tomorrow. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever experienced a perfect moment in time?”  A few lines of dialogue later, she picks up the topic again by describing what being present is like. ”We’ve discovered that a single moment in time can be a universe in itself. Full of powerful forces. Most people aren’t aware enough of the now to even notice.”  The visual effects show water stopping and a butterfly’s slow flight if I remember correctly.  Captain Picard is obviously caught up in these moments of time as well as being mesmerized by Anij herself.  The power of both the moments of time and Anij herself is palpable. Continue reading “On Being in the Moment By Ivy Helman”

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