\"An it harm none, do what ye will.\"

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14 years 9 months ago #24010 by Jon
Although I consider all my decisions in life as crucial points of change for a new future, the one major decision which spontaneously came to mind was that of my decision for laicisation from being a deacon. On the surface it may seem to be a clear cut issue, what more did I do than just decide to turn my back on religious life and embrace that of a secular one. Wrong. It is not as simple as that! In reality my decision was very much more manifold: I said no to what I was experiencing to be a suffocating religious system; I said yes to working for a living, standing on my own two feet and paying taxes; I broke free from the pressures of public opinion, namely the expectations of friends, my parents and the Order for me to be ordained at any cost; I deepened a strongly frowned upon and spiritual relationship with a woman; I rediscovered my right to religious freedom; I made a break for authenticity between what I do, feel, think and believe.

This earth quake decision flowered from a dung heap of experiences which left me with no choice but to choose for a better future. I describe these as my experiences because there are always two sides to a story, and this is mine.

The ball started to roll while I was a member of the English province of the Order. After I had seen the departure of all of my thirty five fellow students within my first two years, I decided to stay and try to make a change. I mean how can things get better if there is no one left there to do it? I started to dream of what could be and address openly what should not. This more than cheesed off a few older, well established members who seemed to see me from that moment on as a threat. They saw my visions as a threat to their well ordered lives and my criticisms as an affront to what they had already achieved. The result being that I should be disciplined and brought into line (told to me by a brother who overheard a conversation).

To mention but a few: I was forbidden to have any contact with my parents, which meant us meeting secretly; my post was checked before receiving it; my room was searched in my absence; I was named a „f****** idiot\" and told during meals to move to the end of the table when we had guests from abroad; on the day before my entry ceremony into the Order I was told to cut off my moustache (because this was not fitting for a religious) and change my German name from Hans to a more English name John (otherwise the ceremony would be called off, something about which I was the last to be informed); my German heritage was more than a cause for amusement; I was told to continue to work while everyone else had free; they wanted to pull me out of my 5 year Theology degree course at Rome 4 months before my finals and place me in another university in England... . On seeking counsel I was told that Jesus suffered a lot more by being nailed to a cross and if I reflected on this my pain would seem like nothing. After almost loosing my mind and filing an ecclesiastical lawsuit against the English province I was moved to Germany. I did not however manage to recover from the hurts, I became very sensitive to the frustrations arising between the brothers, became more aggressive in my reactions, more reclusive in my behaviour and lost my calling to become a priest. They did not want to accept the latter, and put me under pressure by arguing that a lot of time and money had been invested into my training. As a minister, deacon, I found my self living with two personalities, one representing the attitude of the Church and the other Love. One particular situation comes to mind, that of a lady who along with her child was abused by her alcoholic husband. She left him and found a new partner who cared very much for them. She asked me what she should do since she would have liked to receive communion, but with her living with another man while she was still married meant she was ex communio, excommunicated, and was barred from receiving it. I found myself going against the institution I represented and told her to go to another Church where she was not known. Jesus Christ would have most certainly not wanted this. During this time the only person to whom I could turn to was a spiritual girlfriend, and as you could possibly imagine this did not go down well at all. When they tried to break this off I feared falling into an abyss. When I talked to my parents about considering making a break, out of fear for my welfare, they told me that there was nothing for me in the outside world with my qualifications. I would most probably land on the streets with nothing.

Fear, anger, desperation and despair were tearing at me, either way it seemed to me I was going to loose. The world I lived in, the people I lived with, and even myself did not seem to exist anymore. The only thing that remained was the hope for a better future. I closed my eyes made a decision, made a move and accepted my fate. One early morning I packed my bags and climbed over a barbed wire wall when everyone was asleep and was picked up by friends who took me to the airport. James Bond could not have done it any better.

Did Jedi ethics unwittingly play a role in my life, I have to admit a definite „yes, they played a part in my decision„. And „yes I made my decision very much aware of all of the points illustrated in those very same ethics\". My experience with the ethical hierarchy in my decision was anything other than hierarchical but was more of an interchangeable interaction or suited for the moment. Also whereas with some of the points I was consciously aware of, others were just there or instinctive.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.

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14 years 9 months ago #24011 by Jon
One principle which had always remained clear in my mind was \"if you do not like it then leave!\" I had to look reality in the eye, there was no room in that place for me anymore, to stay would only cause harm to my brothers and to myself. \"An it harm none, do what ye will.\" Looking back I have to also admit that just because I did not get on with that system did not mean that others did not. My view might be good for me but maybe not for others. So what right did I have to tear them out of it? What then? To do something of the sorts meant taking responsibility for these afterwards and that I could not have done. I was reluctant to tear others out of a world they were happy with and make them unhappy. I was reluctant to place others in a world they were not ready for. My leaving sufficed to make an unmistakable statement of what happened, what I was trying to say and the then situation. The message was clear \"what is happening is wrong!\"

„An it harm none, do what ye will.\" I learned the importance of decision, just as the Rede shows this to be an important quality of every Wiccan. This calls for decisiveness in all that we do. Whatever we do in life, do it with I00% of your energies. I would go so far as to say that it is better to be decisive and make the wrong decision than to make no decision at all. All too often people content themselves by just sitting at home, reading a few books, taking a few seminars... and expect instant results or enlightenment.

One sad loss of the modern day times is a loss of the sense of the sacred or of the divine. Each person on this planet is called to rediscover this again.

The story of the search for the \"Holy Grail\" is one running through many of the great Cultures of the world: ranging from King Arthur and the knights of the round table and emerging in our vocation as Wiccans. The object of the search is represented by a mysteriousness, a supernatural aura and a peace bringing power. The early Christians for example wanted to transcend time and stand at the threshold of eternity. They wanted to re-live that moment in the history of the cosmos when the new and everlasting covenant was sealed through the perfect sacrifice of the perfect victim.

Today is no exception where the sense of belief that we are always in the presence of the \"Holy Grail\" has been lost.

To find the \"Holy Grail\", I learned we have to be open to objective truth. Any prejudice or doubt has to be cleared otherwise the mind cannot perceive the realities of emotional and spiritual healing. The search for the \"Holy Grail\" is a means in itself for self-exploration and self-acceptance. The chores and responsibilities of daily life which very often do not allow people the luxury or time to truly understand who they are and what they want from life can be re-ordered by re-thinking. Where this quest starts and ends is completely unique to each and every individual.

The Jedi ethics call for dedication. It means finding out what you are made of. It takes a decision, passion, courage, and determination. It is a quest well worth the effort. But, just as with any marathon or tournament, few ever even get to really take part.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.

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14 years 9 months ago #24012 by Jon
Although my decision was my response to the call „An it harm none, do what ye will.\" was it far from easy and far from a new way of life. It was a challenge, an open window with a fleeting glimpse on the truth. To be quite honest I was full of hate, spite, despair and driven by a deep desire for revenge. I even hated myself, considered myself even less than the dirt I trod under foot. „An it harm none, do what ye will.\" was the last thing on my mind. Why should I, my dreams had dissipated, my person violated, my confidence shattered? And what for, in the name of religion? I`vet never been in a life and death situation but I do know what it means to hang on to dear life. I didn`t want to loose my life and that fear drove me to make that decision. For me and the others, I had to take the responsibility and leave. This doesn`t mean my hate was gone, oh no, this I took with me. But time taught me to forgive and forget, that the world and I were still worth it.

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14 years 9 months ago #24013 by Jon
The way you feel is a reaction to the way you are, and is something which can be controlled. \"Being\" on the other hand is a condition in which we put ourselves in, it is a choice. A lot of people have forgotten that they are the architects of their own reality. Just because this is not consciously done does also not mean that it does not happen. The tragedy is that many may not really know what they are doing. (Lk 23,34) \"And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.\"

Each of us has the choice to be wise or marvellous, to be compassionate or understanding, to be forgiving or patient, just as I chose to be angry, hateful, free... .
In our choosing, for example to be happy, it is not something that can be created but something we should simply be. Everything else, our actions, will result from this happiness. True happiness cannot come from an external experience or happening. We can see in everyday life how people react in different ways to the same thing, each has made a different choice in life. Also as long as a choice has not been made, how can anything in life have a meaning? It is left to each person to decide whether he/she is happy, sad, angry, happy, forgiving, hating, illuminated...., and not to someone else.

Due to my sworn obedience, submissive character and openness ( so also I was told) I more than called for abuse. All it needs are willing takers, and you can make a fool out of anyone especially with someone like I was then. I decided to be submissive and I was dominated. I emptied myself to make room for the frustrations of another. And the more stick I got the more I cowered into a corner. Now I know what it feels like being a dog. My unhappiness caused me to cry…. right to wanting to end my life. And even though I tried to believe in the Gospel messages during the services of forgiveness and the power of God nothing seemed to happen. My faith in the higher power also dwindled, until I looked at the priest and what he was saying as being utter bull****. And the more I suffered the more everyone seemed to turn away. It seemed like no one could handle the power of my suffering I was radiating. No one seemed to want to understand that I needed help. I do not suffer from the handicap of not being able to speak but I sure know what it feels like. I had to get out of this and I was the only one who could do it. I lashed out and faced these people with a law suit. Despite a written order and threat of excommunication I told them to stick their sick system in their b****. Surprisingly enough my call was supported by the curia for religious affairs in the Vatican. I wanted to live and found a job.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.

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14 years 9 months ago #24014 by Jon
All the great spiritual leaders showed what it meant to be powerful or focused. These possessed a great inner strength, a steadfast self-confidence. And even though they were living to their full potential, they were still open to change both as a substantial person and on a spiritual level. As such they no longer reacted to life but were creative in their love, peace, success and happiness.

A part of our inner selves is our conscience, something we can put to sleep. Unfortunately modern day thinking struggles with a worldwide tendency to care only about the self, worry about what is good and useful to us, fulfil ourselves, achieve all we can, and fret not about others. This is the attitude: let us not be concerned about the events of the world, even in our own country, don't let us be troubled about the hungry or those who suffer incurable sicknesses, or the destruction of the environment. Let us stop for a moment. We are all exposed to a danger. Many tricks are being used to put our consciences to sleep, telling us that the wrong is really not wrong, and through the many impulses we receive, trying to make us numb, irresponsible towards our fellow human beings, and the created world.

This universal message of the above mentioned masters is none the less important for us, where many of us still fall victim to circumstances, events or people. We make compromises, are afraid to speak, allow ourselves to be forced into unwanted actions... . Unfortunately, many have not experienced spiritual empowerment or recognised who they are or what their full potential is.

If we accept the empowerment of the Force a whole new world opens, namely yourself. Isn‘t the thought of being the creator of your destiny just mind blowing. Admittedly you would still move to all universal laws, you would still live a life of respect but you would still make your CHOICES (lovingly, consistently and successfully).

To be empowered by the Force means to be more directly in charge of yourself and of your life instead of your environment; your life energy could be more economically used; your self esteem is more solid; your creative self moves you to a greater sense of love; you are no longer governed by fear; a greater sense of life and wisdom sharpen your decisions. You are now in a stronger and better position to really help others in need without it being emotionally draining (not only to yourselves but also to others).
Certainly life is what you make of it, but life is also what others make of it. If you want to live more of the life you want, you must endeavour to develop into an able Creative Life Force.

Not for one moment have I regretted my old life, what happened, my decision and my new life. I suppose in a way it would be more accurate to say that I made my decision a long time before actually realising it by what I am, believe, live for and hope for. What happened to me happened because I believed in change, change from rigid traditions; I believed in potentials, potentials for self reflection; I believed in ideals, ideals of a new world… . I knew what I wanted, and although I did not exactly know how things would turn out I could guess what the consequences of my actions would be. A new seed was planted and in order for that seed to grow healthy and strong it was necessary for the weeds to ripen, die and make room. Good deeds do not necessarily call for bad rewards but they certainly can do. It became also apparent to me that not only did weeds grow around me but also in me, as the destructive emotional forces which almost tore me apart showed me. I had a vision but my seeds of doubt had to make room for those of „confidence\" in order for me to succeed.

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14 years 9 months ago #24015 by Jon
As I said responsibility and change go hand in hand. It means having the guts to stand up against inflexibility and those who support it. It means having a plan, doing it and carrying it through. It meant me facing my worst fears what others thought of me and worst of all what I thought of myself (I was a traitor to my vows; I had no sense of community; I was weak; I didn`t have the necessary faith; I didn`t have what it took to be a minister of the spirit; I was inadequate…). It meant me saying no to all of that and taking my life into my own hands. I proved them wrong and am happy with myself.

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14 years 9 months ago #24016 by Jon
All literature is dangerous, in the same way that Jedi ethics are dangerous: If you are happy with your spiritual life and want no challenges, don't read these books or see the films, because they might change your world.

Am I exaggerating? Soon after reading and seeing these, I seriously began reconsidering my life as a Franciscan Deacon. Don't read or see any of these, unless you want to fall more deeply and passionately in love with the universal way of life.

It is reported that at the end of his life, St. Thomas Aquinas said, \"All that I have written is but straw compared to that which I have seen.\"

As already suggested our \"wills\" play a key role in our discernment, change and finally personal growth. This ability to make choices is a unique gift which every human being shares in, from their very birth. Influenced by our instinct for survival however, means that our \"wills\" are not naturally versed toward a divinity. Every day presents us with opportunities to choose between ourselves, the other or even a Deity. The choice is ours: egoism or altruism; subjection or rebellion; hopefulness or despair; lovingness or hatefulness.... .

Our sense of reasoning, judgement and perceiving can get clouded by our emotions. Our \"wills\" can get blind. Choices we make can be harmful. I would not have described myself as an addicted smoker, and was convinced of my sovereignty to be able to pick up and leave a cigarette whenever I wanted to. True, I was able to stop and also for months at a time, but I was not able to remain stopped! If I‘m honest, my \"will\" is still trying to find its way through a haze of smoke.

This experience is in no way an exception. I would even dare to claim that even though for many the idea of change and self improvement may be appealing there is a tendency for a lacking conviction. For those who have the necessary conviction the resulting journey to change could prove to be too much of a hurdle ( due to social norms, personal constitution, sudden unexpected pressures of life....). This, what I would describe as, the Force`s wonderful gift of free will, is in no way easy. It is an open challenge.

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14 years 9 months ago #24017 by Jon
My problem was I read more than I should, I listened to more than I should and I tried more than I should. Catholicism was not THE answer. I was a dreamer. I always wanted to understand but I wanted to know why. I just didn`t want to know that was „white“ but I wanted to know why it wasn`t „black“. My problem was following that up and not waiting for others to say go ahead. It meant breaking with the heresy trap and believing in what I feel. For some this may be easy but put yourselves in my shoes and face the prospect of loosing your soul. Hell can be a frightening prospect. Little did I realise that I was already in Hell with little prospect of growth. Admittedly my Theology opened my mind but I sure have learnt a lot since and there is a lot more to the universe.

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14 years 9 months ago #24018 by Jon
And yet how could I realistically expect others to understand my situation, my experiences there of and where I was going? Come to think of it I did not even know where this was leading me. It was kind of frustrating to expect understanding but not getting any. Such was the loneliness which hit me most. Looking back, every moment had its importance in what I believe is a divine plan. If I had not experienced those set backs I would not have found the purpose to rethink my situation, make a decision and move. I would not have experienced how great it was to work and pay taxes. Yes, you heard right \"pay taxes!\" I felt I was alive, a part of the human race and making a contribution to society. I would not have met that wonderful woman who made my heart skip a beat. I would have not been able to share in the wisdom of the elderly I nurse. I would not have shared in the spiritual of so many religions and ultimately enter the Athame`s Edge. And most of all I would not have been able to enjoy the most beautiful gift life can give, a wonderful daughter.

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14 years 9 months ago #24019 by Jon
On looking back on his music career Yehudi Menuhin commented \"To play was to be!\" Truly we all are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us. Sometimes we get a glimpse of these gifts even in our childhood. Our giftedness however is in no way inert, but a response to the universe‘s \"calling\" as well as our family heritage, our own life opportunities, the spirit‘s guidance and our unquestioning readiness to do what it shows.

Most people upon meeting for the first time ask \"What do you do?\". A name, place of birth, occupation help us to orientate ourselves. The work we do relates the significance and the amount of good we produce in a lifetime. We become what we do!

To be \"called\" or have a vocation turns all of this on its head. A sense of \"calling\" usually precedes a choice of job or career, and to discover our own calling we have to follow up what we are each created and gifted to be. The conclusion \"You are what you do!\" is replaced by \"Do what you are!\"

In society there are many different institutions with different expectations:
1. Secular institutions promote the idea of \"career satisfaction\" by using \"personality types\". The result is that that the individual is left on the wayside.
2. Some Church institutions concentrate solely on the spiritual gifts of the person, ignoring any natural gifts. This undermines secular life.
3. Other Church institutions have broadened their search for those with both spiritual and secular gifts. The result is heightened importance put on giftedness rather than on stewardship (responsibility for a gift entrusted to us).

According to not only Biblical understanding we know nothing that was not given to us. Like the children of our families, who we have to learn to let go of, so our gifts are always \"ours for others\". I believe that just as we trust in the guiding will of the divine, we realise that our person (including gifts) are meant for a purpose. Not like society which tries to find a place for you and your gifts.

Once out of the arms of a powerful, almighty, loving, judicious, moral, Catholic, Father like God I fell into the unknown, frightening, dark, depths of an abyss. Or at least that is what it felt like. Hell it was like leaving home again as a young adult. The thing is this is what I was lead to believe. Until I saw what I could do. It was comforting to feel a friend say „I believe in you“. The proudest moment was when I looked for a job and an employer found use for me. What overpowering wonder as I saw the local bookshop open my world to the spiritual. Every moment seemed to share a moment of the divine and I was responding to those as the divine.

Our gifts and destinies are not defined by our parents wishes, boss` plans, generation trends, social demands or group pressure. We have to find out our own destiny, the design of the Universe. Everyone of us is a special person, with special gifts, with a special destiny, with a special vocation.

Now I am fully aware of the Jedi hierarchy of ethics. I could now imagine in the light of the Ethics how I could be more aware of my person and gifts, not let my brothers dictate my actions, not let my emotions get the better of me and see my part in the Force`s plan. But as I said I would not want this decision or accompanying experience to be done any different. This applies to all my decisions. Just as I would not want to miss out on what the Force has install for me. And although the ethics hierarchy is conveniently listed its appearance in my life is not so obvious, but it is like twine in the fabric of life. Without it there would be no form, no definition no stability. Everything would dissipate like the molecules of an expanding gas.

The author of the TOTJO simple and solemn oath, the liturgy book, holy days, the FAQ and the Canon Law. Ordinant of GM Mark and Master Jestor.

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