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Author Topic: FlameKeeping - The Book!  (Read 16871 times)
HeartShadow - Cutethulhu
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« Reply #45: June 02, 2010, 11:47:18 am »


Part whatever:

Facing Towards the Future

FlameKeeping believes in looking to the future.  There is no golden age we have lost.  If there is a golden age, it exists in the future.  It is something we need to strive for, not something we have lost.  It is a goal we seek, knowing that there is no such thing as perfection.  Instead, we simply try to make things better than they were.

This is something easy to say, but complicated in practice, of course.  We look towards the future, but we cannot forget out past.  We are built up of every step we have taken, every memory we have.  What we have experienced determines who and what we are.  Deleting our past, or ignoring it, deletes and ignores ourselves.  It's impossible to move to the future unless you know where you are coming from.

So what is the goal?  What is the future you want?  Well, everyone wants something different.  Some people don't know what they want, and sometimes what you want is impossible.  I would have loved to be an astronaut, but I don't meet any of the qualifications.  But the reasons why I wanted to be an astronaut haven't changed, and some of those reasons have carried through into my life still.  I'm still looking towards the future.

Facing the future isn't easy.  There are problems, after all, and denying them doesn't make them go away.  We have to look at the future honestly.  If we truly believe that everything will be perfect if we just achieve X, we're doomed to disappointment.  X might be great, but there's always something else that we want, always something else to aim for.  Part of facing the future is the recognition that we will never succeed at everything we seek out.

But then, success isn't necessary for happiness.  The act of striving itself is what makes us better.  And while success is important to us, success is only meaningful if there is a chance of failure.

So what do we strive for?  To make the universe better.  This is the goal, the cause of FlameKeeping.  Without it one is not keeping the sacred flame of the Divine.

Facing the future requires pragmatism.  Idealism is all well and good – I myself am quite the idealist.  I definitely have an image of what I want the world to become in the fullness of time – what I believe humanity can become.  But a goal with no basis whatsoever in reality isn't a goal, it's just a dream.  If I want my goals to become reality, I have to figure out which pieces matter and where I need to compromise.  I need to accept the little steps instead of insisting on everything or nothing.  Change does not occur in thunderbolts.  It happens by erosion.

Why change?  Why must the future be different?  Well, the future will be different, regardless of whether or not any of us seek it.  Change is a fact of life.  People are born, people die, we grow and we change.  Technological advance happens, and lately it happens faster than most people can keep up.  Change will happen.  The question isn't whether or not it is good, but what we do with it and how we respond to it.

FlameKeeping isn't meant to be comfortable.  We as Keepers are agents of change.  We are agents of subversion, seeking to alter what is to what can be, what should be.  But we must be open-minded about what the best outcome is.  We must always keep in mind that we can be wrong, and another can be right.  When we forget that, we stop working for the Divine and start working only for ourselves.

So what are the answers?  What are we supposed to do?  What future do I think we should strive for?  I don't know.  I have some answers for myself, but my answers aren't everyone's answers.  I do believe that if people of goodwill come together and try for the best for everyone, though, we will come up with the right answers in time.  What I have to offer is, hopefully, some of the right questions.

Why questions and not answers?  I don't believe in answers.  I wish I did, because answers are easy.  Answers are a chance to stop, to be content.  To find an end to the questions.  But answers are also limiting.  When we stop asking, we stop looking for better.  We believe we're done.  But there is no done but death, and even that may be just another step.
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« Reply #46: June 02, 2010, 12:16:56 pm »

Part whatever:

Facing Towards the Future


I think this is the IT - the bit that best defines what we do and are trying to be.

not quite as snappy as the Nicene creed but I like it
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« Reply #47: June 02, 2010, 12:23:40 pm »

I think this is the IT - the bit that best defines what we do and are trying to be.

not quite as snappy as the Nicene creed but I like it

It works for me too. Makes sense.
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« Reply #48: June 02, 2010, 12:29:45 pm »

I think this is the IT - the bit that best defines what we do and are trying to be.

not quite as snappy as the Nicene creed but I like it

GOOD!  Thank you.  I'll use this as my starting piece and go from here.

*flails a little less, I hope* Cheesy
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« Reply #49: July 13, 2010, 04:14:28 pm »


Part whatever +1 ...

Our Dark Flame

In Flamekeeping, I use the metaphor of the Flame for our souls.  The Flame is made up of two pieces, Light and Dark.  Note that I have not said good and evil.  I reject the idea that light is good and dark is evil.  Dark is hidden, mysterious, secretive, but it is not evil.  Much of what makes life exist happens in darkness.  Without a balance of light and dark, we would die.  Pure light is impossible to see in, live in, cope with.  We need darkness, rest, quiet.

The Dark Flame is the flame that nourishes our quiet, our peace.  Our insides.  It is the place where ideas are born, where creation happens.  Without it we are simply reflectors of the world around us, with no depth to our souls.

But there are bad things in my darkness, you cry!  There are all the things that go bump in the night hiding in the darkened corners of my mind.  All the things about myself that I wish were not lurk there.  How could any of those be good?

Because that is where we put the things we don't want to recognize.  That is where we have our selfish grabby greedy four year old that wants the world to revolve around us.  Where our anger for the transgressions, real or imagined, against us have happened.  Where the things about ourselves that we don't like hide.  And as long as we leave them hidden away and refuse to recognize that they too are a part of us, they will rule us.

We are imperfect creatures.  Often our own desires are contradictory.  What we want and what we can have are often quite different.  We sometimes want things that we know aren't good for us and that we shouldn't have.  I am not saying our dark flame is something that we must obey without question.  That way lies madness.  But when we deny the impulses we have, or pretend they come from somewhere other than ourselves, we are also on a road to madness.  We have desires we don't like.  We have impulses we have to keep from acting on.  Just because we don't like them doesn't mean they don't exist.

And sometimes the impulses and desires we are trained to shove away and disavow aren't actually bad things.  Sometimes it is what we push away that we need the most.

For example, we are taught to not be greedy.  To share.  To take only enough for ourselves, and not too much, and to make sure there is enough for everyone.  And this is a good thing.  But we are also bombarded with messages about consumerism.  To obtain all the various things that we're supposed to want.  Toys, food, electronics, and everything else that keeps the economy turning.  There we are, in the middle, told to want things over and over but to not be greedy.  To not obtain for ourselves.  To want things because they're what we're supposed to want, and not the things we're not supposed to want.  What to do?

When we go into ourselves, and look at what we really want and need in the darkness of our souls, we can find answers.  Sometimes that answer surprises us, too.  We discover that we don't care about something we thought we were supposed to, and we do care about something completely different.  We can find ourselves.  Maybe we don't care for electronic gadgets.  Maybe what we really want is a trainset, or building blocks, or yarn.  And we don't care, not really, whether or not what we want is age-appropriate or anything like that.  It's just what we want.

Does that mean we run out and get it?  No.  If I bought all the yarn I wanted we wouldn't be able to afford the house we have, much less one big enough to put it all in.  We still need to be sensible.  But when I realize that knitting is far more important to me than, say, cable television, I can change the way I budget.  I can reevaluate my priorities.  And I can say that this is something I truly want for me.  Not because I'm told I should want it, not because it's the right thing to do by some standard or another, but because it is truly what I want.  It is what nourishes my inner flame.

We all have things that we want.  And sometimes that thing lines up with what we're told we're supposed to want.  But sometimes it doesn't.  When we take the time to evaluate what it is we really want, what gives us nourishment and comfort and makes us happy, we give ourselves a chance to grow.

There are so many parts of the dark flame, and by the very nature of the flame, they blur into each other.  In the light things are distinct and clear, each thing separated from the next.  In the dark, one thing can seem to blur into the next.  It is not a place for clarity.  It is a place for quiet and refreshment.

I refer to the dark flame as a place, but of course it isn't.  It's inside ourselves.  And it is dark inside ourselves, under our skin.  We don't always like the darkness, but imagine if our insides were always exposed to the light!  Our inner thoughts and desires and dreams are like our organs.  They thrives much better when tucked properly away instead of displayed for everyone.

That is the dark flame.  Those things that belong tucked up inside of us, that are for ourselves and no one else.  Our love for ourself.  Our nurture of ourselves.  That which we do because it nourishes us is what makes our dark flame thrive.  And without that flame, the soul itself will gutter and die.
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« Reply #50: July 13, 2010, 04:45:26 pm »

Our Dark Flame

That is the dark flame.  Those things that belong tucked up inside of us, that are for ourselves and no one else.  Our love for ourself.  Our nurture of ourselves.  That which we do because it nourishes us is what makes our dark flame thrive.  And without that flame, the soul itself will gutter and die.

I said to you already, but perhaps it's worth repeating: I feel like what you use to illustrate part of the Dark Flame here ("desire" and "things about ourselves we hide") is similar to the concept of the Shadow in Jungian psychology. I think the Dark Flame is a lot bigger than the Shadow, but I also think only a few pieces at a time can be illuminated or written about in a concrete way.
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« Reply #51: July 14, 2010, 01:08:55 am »


This is really good Shad! Explains the concept very well......
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« Reply #52: July 26, 2010, 06:24:03 pm »


More.

Silent Self-Tyranny

We all come to situations with a pile of unspoken assumptions.  Our minds are loaded with averages, stereotypes, and beliefs that are rarely if ever articulated.  This is our nature.

The problem is that we use those assumptions as clubs.  We say things are so, and we expect them to comply.  We close our minds to the possibility of being wrong.

We live in a prison of preconceptions and prejudices, and they blind us to reality.  We see these beliefs and think they are truth, then try to force everyone else to agree to our blinders.  Those that refuse to see reality as we do are blind, deluded, naïve.  We are right, and they are wrong.  Right?

Wrong.  We may be right, of course.  But we can't know who is right, if anyone, until we look at the hidden assumptions built into our arguments.  Are we saying a specific group is lazy?  Or immoral?  Do we have any reason for what we believe, or was it simply the way we were raised and we never thought about it?  Can we discuss it, or do we have no words because all the words point to us being wrong?

If we cannot discuss our feelings, our beliefs, we cannot understand them.  And we cannot change them to meet up with what appears to be reality.  We get stuck, mired in a reality that moves further and further away from where everyone else is, and we cling closer and closer to those that are close to us because they validate our own beliefs.

We need to be willing to examine our thoughts.  We have to be willing to find our assumptions, challenge them, and discard them if they are wrong.  We have to know how to find our assumptions, which is difficult.  Assumptions are one of the dangers of the Dark Flame.  They lurk in the corners and hide from visibility.  When we bring them out into the Bright, they can unravel into cobwebs, and so they hide.  We love our assumptions.  They make our lives easy, because we don't have to think.  We don't have to question.  We already know.

Except that we don't.

We have brains.  We have the ability to reassess ideas and assumptions.  The best of us do that already.  The rest of us have to learn how.
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« Reply #53: July 26, 2010, 10:59:45 pm »

So I'm asking with advance time - are there a couple people that are NOT regular readers of my blog (well, not that I've been posting there lately anyway .. meep!) that could help with a beta-read when I get that far?

I'm an English Lit major (one class away from completing that degree), so if you like, I can definitely help with editing and such when it comes to that point  Smiley.
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