We Can’t Stop Living to Prevent Dying

Anne Mason and Thea Mason

Life is full of risks. And reasonable folks aim to strike a balance by taking prudent measures to reduce the risks without sacrificing life’s rewards.

TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne (00:00):

Hi Thea.

Thea (00:02):

Hi, Anne.

Anne (00:02):

It’s been a while. Our lives, like everyone else’s have been pretty up ended and we have had some challenge finding the space and focus to connect in this way that we did pre lockdown time, but we realized how important it is to move forward and move this dialogue forward as well and move our thinking and progress along. So we’ve got to get on with it. And we’ve talked at length off camera about all of this and we’ve each got our own opinion about it as does everyone out there. But the time has come I think to move out of this grand experiment, if we want to call it that. As I was mentioning, ABC7 News a couple of days ago you know, said “Suicides on the rise, amid mid stay at home order, Bay area medical professionals say.” So the doctors at John Muir medical center in Walnut Creek, they’ve seen more deaths by suicide during this quarantine period than deaths from the virus itself. And they’re calling to end the shelter in place order because it’s doing more damage on, really, infinite levels of our lives than any virus really, in my estimation, ever could. But he said the numbers are unprecedented. We’ve never seen numbers like this in such a short period of time. We’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks. Which is so heartbreaking, when you just sit with the implications of that and just try to connect to folks, especially, you know, we were talking––the younger folks in the world who don’t have the anchor of their family, their kids, a life that has been somewhat established, an identity, a trajectory that has been somewhat established in life as we, as older folks have.

Anne (02:42):

It breaks my heart to even try to put myself in their shoes. Kids in college who are facing the prospect of not going back to campus and having some virtual reality world where they can’t meet people, you know, folks who aren’t dating, who can’t go date and can’t go just connect to their friends, which is such a part of their own discovery and emerging identity right now.

Thea (03:18):

To connect to their teachers, for their teachers to connect to them. My son who ended up having to do the remaining of his college year online, he said, “even if we had a pretty decent class,”––which was challenging in itself just to have dialogue and discourse over zoom––he said, but then even if that, there wasn’t ever the feeling of completion that you have when you finish a class and you walk out and you’re chatting with the classmate or you’re chatting with the teacher to kind of wrap up those threads that have been inspired. Here it’s just, poof! Now you’re back in your room and you, you know, how does that get harnessed? You know, those threads of creation, not to get too abstract in it, but they’re lost. They just go and they’re done. And people are left sitting still in their place by themselves going, “Where am I? What is my purpose?”

Anne (04:29):

And “What just happened? What is this experience?” And I won’t get too much into it either, but some of the dialogue circulating around on social media right now regarding the CDC’s recommendations for reopening schools––it sounds like beyond a dystopian nightmare, right? Social distancing? Staying apart? Being put in this isolation chair, essentially? As a child? I mean, don’t even get me started. And so, you know, we won’t make this a real long one, and I’m sure it’s going to provoke outrage in many folks who will say, But…”

Thea (05:14):

“People are dying.”

Anne (05:18):

People are dying. People ARE dying. People have always been dying. You know, 600,000 plus annual deaths from heart disease in the U.S. Alone, 500,000 plus deaths from cancer each year in the U.S. Alone, 250,000 plus deaths attributed to medical errors alone in the U.S. People die.

Thea (05:48):

And those are the ones that are caught. Those are the ones that are noticed and documented.

Anne (05:53):

Right. And you know, death is a part of life, Folks, first off.

Thea (06:00):

And saying that doesn’t minimize the suffering and the hardship and the pain that everyone goes through when there is loss and tragedy that comes to your family. It is terrible. It’s suffering. It hurts. It’s painful.

Anne (06:17):

It’s inconceivable. It’s inconceivable pain of course, when, when people die, when we lose people. And yeah, it sounds like I’m saying it flippantly, but I’m simply stating the fact of life that death is a part of it. This absurd notion now, you know, after we first start out with “flattening the curveand making sure that we’ve got the resources to care for people”––down to “We must prevent…”

Thea (06:50):

Death.

Anne (06:53):

“…All Death.” We’ve gone off the deep end here, Folks, and lost sight of any measured and reasonable approach to life’s risk benefit analysis. Right?

Thea (07:08):

And just to chime in and flesh that out just a little bit. So with that flattening the curve, I mean the understanding that was given with, with these orders was to flatten the curve. Meaning everyone still needs to come in contact with this, but we don’t want to overwhelm our systems of care. So right there we are now creating some, there’s some other dialogue happening. There’s some other directive coming. It’s not about flattening the curve. It’s just “stay in your house forever? Don’t come in contact with it because we don’t want to contract it when what we do need to do is contract it and probably way more people have come in contact with it. There was an article that said that it’s beennow there’s cases from September in the US, right?

Anne (08:10):

Right now we think it may have started in September. Yes. I am sure that much of the population has already gone through it. But just like anything, the healthy members of a population of course should let it circulate, develop some resistance, immunity, and then let it move on out. Let’s protect the vulnerable members of our society. Reasonably though, right? It doesn’t mean that we should destroy our businesses, lives families and become destitute so that none of us can take care of anything in order to prevent that. Anyway.

Anne (08:51):

So we obviously know how I feel about this as I have felt about it the whole time. But as it’s gone on and become far more extreme and destructive, it is time to end this madness. And as someone brilliant just said to me not long ago, we’ve talked about this, we cannot stop living in order to prevent dying. We must be measured and balanced in everything that we do here and this virtual reality world isn’t cutting it. And I do not consent to this bizarre, abstract, disconnected world that some folks seem to be wanting to create. I absolutely support anyone who wants to walk around with a mask on for the rest of their lives even or with some six foot bubble in each direction. I support anyone who wants to stay home as long as they want.

Anne (10:08):

I do not want to do that. That is not the world that I am bringing my children into. And that is not a future world really, I think that most people want to be living in.

Thea (10:19):

And it’s not sustainable because we are social beings, right? And we need to be making connection and our children need to be making connection to find their way in the world. And the world. What world is that we’re making? I mean that’s really the thing that has been hitting me intensely is that this world that we’re making right now for our young people, these moments are huge. And to normalize the separation of humanity is wrong. It’s a wrong thing for them to be experiencing and living in. Yeah. And I, we need contact, real contact––and these gestures of pushing in to create more distance in a world that’s already so distant and isolated––which is why we have people making suicide attempts at such a rate because there’s no, the connection is what keeps us human. Connection and purpose, right? Having meaning in our life and, and caring for others, being cared for by others is one of the main things that gives us meaning in this world.

Anne (11:51):

Yes. So end the lockdown and do not reverse course. Let’s open all this up. Let’s start living our lives again. Fully. Let’s start hugging. Let’s start hanging out. And many people are. I’m seeing it everywhere. People are starting to disregard this because it makes no sense. So we cannot stop living in order to prevent dying, otherwise, there’s no point in being alive in the first place. Let’s all remember that.

Featured post

Eradicate Fear and Move Forward

Anne Mason and Thea Mason

We can meet each moment with courage and hope.

A Verse for Our Time

We must eradicate from the soul
All fear and terror of what comes towards man out of the future.

We must acquire serenity
In all feelings and sensations about the future.

We must look forward with absolute equanimity
To everything that may come.

And we must think only that whatever comes
Is given to us by a world-directive full of wisdom.

It is part of what we must learn in this age,
namely, to live out of pure trust,
Without any security in existence.

Trust in the ever present help
Of the spiritual world.

Truly, nothing else will do
If our courage is not to fail us.

And let us seek the awakening from within ourselves
Every morning and every evening.

                  -Rudolf Steiner

TRANSCRIPT:

Anne (00:01):

Hi, Thea and folks who are connecting with us. We wanted to just say a couple of things in a short one today. First off, everyone is impacted by what’s going on in the world, and what I want to make clear is that Thea and I are dramatically impacted by what’s going on in the world. And I’m not saying that for sympathy, but to just make it clear that these recordings are not coming out of a place of comfort and ease, but in spite of some lack of that. In order to also demonstrate that we can meet each moment and each day with courage and hope, no matter how you know, how insecure one may feel given one’s situation. And I won’t go into all the details about that right now. But that being said, I want to also talk about something that is becoming clear to me. Carlos Castaneda wrote of what his teacher taught him were called the flying fish in this world. Rudolph Steiner also speaks of these beings as do many other seers and, and wise folk throughout humanity, and the ancient religions and texts and cultures. And essentially these beings are, for want of a better description, psychic parasites.

Anne (02:00):

And what is clear to me right now is that––whether one’s fear is of a virus, or one’s fear is of economic instability, or one’s fear is of descending totalitarianism––or all three, these fears must not be fed if we are to move things in the right direction. And in order to help with that, I’m going to ask that you read or recite a Steiner verse, a very short Steiner verse addressing this.

Thea (02:45):

Okayj. We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror of what comes toward us out of the future. We must acquire serenity in all feelings and sensations about the future. We must look forward with absolute equanimity to everything that may come. And we must think that whatever comes is given to us by a world directive full of wisdom. It is part of what we must learn in this age, namely to live out of pure trust, trust in the ever present help of the spiritual world. Truly nothing else will do if our courage is not to fail us. Let us develop our will and let us seek the awakening within ourselves every morning and every evening.

Anne (03:48):

Thank you. And finally, I’d like to conclude with the fact that Thea sent me a couple minute video of her yesterday dancing in the rain. Moving and dancing in the rain. And I was so struck by it and struck by its demonstration and inhabitation and celebration of our humanity. And it inspired me. And I want to tag this on the end of this in hopes that it inspires you. In the face of adversity, in the face of insecurity, in the face of anxiety––we must embrace our humanity, exercise our humanity, and celebrate our humanity. It’s important now more than ever, I assure you. Okay. All right. Thanks so much. Until next time, Folks. I love you.

Thea (04:48):

Love you.

Featured post

Our Humanity

Anne Mason and Thea Mason

We are infinite, expansive, powerful, creative, connected human beings. Remember! This is a critical moment.

About The Great Invocation

TRANSCRIPT:

Anne (00:00):

Okay, well we’ll try this. We’ve got some funky signal going on, but…So we’ve been talking about the situation here and the mindfulness we want to bring to our humanity, to remember how critical our humanity is at this time in the face of measures that might falsely lead us to believe that we are smaller than we are.

Thea (00:46):

And that that came out of different conversations you and I have been having and observations that I’ve been having with regards to working and doing things online whereas normally in my life, I have to do very little online. And I’ve been blessed in that way to have real human interaction in my work. But having meetings and such online has given me the experience of what it’s like to be in that world. And people I know are using this all over the place. And the experience of being online, my kids are having it now for the first time, really. And it’s very different, very different than having real exchange, you know, so we’re all struggling a little bit. And I had been observing that coming to this, this frame that we are in right now in this virtual world in a certain way-–though it echoes an aspect of our relationship or the way we would engage normally––it’s like on one plane of that rather than the rainbow color of all of those nuances that we can perceive and send out to one another in real face time, physically together. So on line, it brings our attention to this small point which I’m experiencing right now and you are, we’re here in our realm but focusing in this one little space. And that’s not a bad thing, but it can be something that encourages or supports the idea that we are smaller than we are rather than the vast beings that we are.

Thea (02:38):

I have been now playing with this idea and the practice of when I’m out and getting groceries or doing something that I’m able to go do, rather than looking at this six feet of physical distancing from people as the separation, I’m looking at it now as a draw to fill my six feet of space around me and that others can fill their six feet in that––I think of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man and expand that farther out into the distance, because as human beings we are much bigger than we often give ourselves credit to be. And one more thing to add to that is that when I am experiencing a fullness of my full space all around me, there is no space for fear. That is the other part that had come in our conversation that when we come into a small point and we’re existing in a small field, there’s a lot of room for fear to fill up those realms around us. And if we, I had the thought in our last conversation, but a little bit of like the ripples in the water that we are those and we send those out from ourselves, those ripples. And if we’re filling up that space, there’s no rippling of fear from me to you, from you to me, from you to anyone, me to anyone. That instead we’re filling it with this whatever we picture right? What do we see in that? Is it fear or is it love? And in that is love. And so if we can, as people, fill our individual spaces with love in a bigger way than we’ve ever thought to do before, and we picture that in the entire world around our Earth and into the whole universe, I mean, it’s pretty powerful. And it reminds me of how powerful we are because we actually get to do that right now. We can be asked to fill up the space with love, with what it is to be a human being with light, with love, and with power.

Anne (05:06):

Yes. Thank you. And with that in mind, I’m going to ask people to be a bit quiet while I’m recording.

Thea (05:19):

But in a loving way. It’s a lot warmer there than it is here today. I’m in wool socks and a sweater…

Anne (05:26):

It’s so sunny and beautiful and warm. But as we know, the signal’s a little bit funkier outside there. But yeah, and we should remind ourselves that sunlight is the path to health, right?

Thea (05:46):

The right amount of sunlight, I will say, I have some rain right now too.

Anne (05:56):

I get you. So I love all that. And also with that in mind, I feel as if the work that we’re doing here right now is so critical. How we respond. How we meet our challenges right now is so critical. Our humanity is critical to the All and as above, so below. And so it is ever, ever critical for us to bring that mindfulness to every moment, every gesture, every day we wake up with the situation as it is. And then also following on that, we discovered we were going to try to say The Great invocation together. And we discovered that another limitation of this type of communication is that you cannot speak at the same time.

Thea (07:08):

Which means you can’t sing or harmonize together either.

Anne (07:13):

Right. Which is something we need to really look at as there might be a tendency to rely so much on this kind of communication as if it can serve us instead of our human communication and connection. This must be temporary. This must be a temporary measure. So with that also comes the conversation we were having about the work that people do with The Great Invocation and it’s called Triangles. And there’s a network, a worldwide network of people who have been saying The Great Invocation daily for many, many, many years since it came into existence. And the interesting thing about it is that you don’t have to, you form a triangle with two other people. They might be across the world even. You don’t need to say it at the same time, you don’t even have to be in the same place because time and space are transcended. And so you can say it and then I’ll say it, but we’re still saying it all together and it still brings that same power to this plane.

Thea (08:33):

And it sure is applicable, you know. I mean, I am so grateful to have had this in our lives. And as we’re in these moments together, it just expands. That’s what it feels like.

Anne (08:49):

Dimensionally. Yes.

Thea (08:50):

So I’ll start and then you will as well. Well, add a layer every day maybe. Hopefully.

Thea (09:04):

From the point of light within the mind of God, let light stream forth into the minds of men. Let light descend on Earth. From the point of love within the heart of God, let love stream forth into the hearts of men. May Christ return to Earth. From the center where the will of God is known, let purpose guide the little wills of men, the purpose which the masters know and serve. From the center which we call the race of men, let the plan of love and light work out and may it seal the door where evil dwells. Let love and light and power restore the plan on Earth.

Anne (09:53):

Amen. From the point of light within the mind of God, let light stream forth into the minds of men. Let light descend on Earth. From the point of love within the heart of God, let love stream forth into the hearts of men. May Christ return to Earth. From the center where the will of God is known, let purpose guide the little wills of men, the purpose which the masters know and serve. From the center which we call the race of men, let the plan of love and light work out and may it seal the door where evil dwells. Let light and love and power restore the plan on Earth. Amen. All right. Right on. Let’s keep this going. And please, anyone who would like to join in, the more we say this, the more opportunity we have to bring it all forth, to manifest the world that we want to create.

Thea (10:59):

I love you.

Thea (11:00):

I love you.

Featured post

The Great Invocation

Please join me

Here is a link to The Great Invocation and its history: https://www.lucistrust.org/the_great_invocation

The Great Invocation

From the point of Light within the Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.

From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ* return to Earth.

From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men –
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.

From the centre which we call the race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.

Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.

*Many religions believe in a World Teacher, a “Coming One”, knowing him under such names as the Lord Maitreya, the Imam Mahdi, the Kalki Avatar and the Bodhisattva. These terms are sometimes used in versions of the Great Invocation for people of specific faiths.


TRANSCRIPT:

Anne (00:01):

Hi everyone. It’s been some time since I’ve recorded anything or posted anything. And it’s some time that we are living in right now. I’m going to keep this short, but I’m going to invite you to say this along with me. It’s called The Great Invocation and it’s something that I have incorporated into my own daily routine for a number of years. And I’ll post the words to it along with this recording, as well as a link to explain its history and how it came to be. It’s been around for a long time, and I think it is important and needed now more than ever. And the more of us that say it daily, the more chance we have of bringing it forth and manifesting what can be. And so here goes:

Anne (01:06):

From the point of Light within the Mind of God Let light stream forth into the minds of men. Let Light descend on Earth. From the point of Love within the Heart of God Let love stream forth into the hearts of men. May Christ return to Earth. From the center where the Will of God is known Let purpose guide the little wills of men – The purpose which the Masters know and serve. From the center which we call the race of men Let the Plan of Love and Light work out And may it seal the door where evil dwells. Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.

Anne (02:00):

Amen. Much love and much light to you all.

Featured post

Is Scientism the Secularist’s New Religion?

Have folks replaced traditional religion with an unquestioning faith in the doctrine they call “Science?”

Anne Mason, Thea Mason and Drake Mason-Koehler discuss.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:01                Okay. Here we are again with Drake on the East coast. Thea down in Southern California, me, Anne, up here in Northern California. And last time we got together we talked about organized religion. And again, I want to just briefly preface this dialogue just like all the others with an explanation of why we’re doing this. It’s, it’s really just an examination. It’s asking questions. It is an attempt to find perhaps new language for a growing, ever expanding consciousness as we––as I understand––are moving into a new age. And so here we are again. We spoke about organized religion last time and while I have a great deal of respect for the practice of organized religion, all that it offers, a foundation of morality and a guideline for growing, positive living. I also see some downsides to it. And what we discussed last time was the tendency sometimes to get stuck in a fixed set of beliefs which don’t then promote continued examination and looking at things from a new perspective, which then in turn doesn’t support learning. And for us to expand our consciousness, for us to continue moving forward and grow, we need to keep learning. And so following that, I’d like to discuss just briefly in this brief conversation what I see as a kind of new secularist religion called “Scientism.” And it’s a term that is being bandied about more and more these days. It’s a distinction between actual science––which is a method of observation and measurement and theory based on those observations and measurements and experiments––versus a doctrine. And before we started recording, Drake and I were talking a little bit about my experience––and I think we’ve all had this experience where, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s medicine,vaccines or really any area where science has brought us to an understanding and a practice and a theory––I’m finding that when people challenge those theories, whether it’s in social media, online debates, or in person, often, even if I, for example, provide studies that challenge the consensus, the response will be “It’s science. Don’t you understand science?” Do either of you have this experience?

Drake:                          03:48                Yeah. Something that came up for me when you were talking, Anne, was the way that people appeal, not so much to the method of science, but to science as some sort of credible, accepted institution. Right? That things need to be peer reviewed and pass through a certain number of tests or examinations before they are accepted as, you know, science. And in thinking of what it means to challenge that practice––because really if one’s going to have faith in a methodology, it seems to me that you need to actually examine what that method is taking for granted. Like what, what a certain type of methodology is taking for granted. And something that I’ve been learning over this past year, as my education has continued, is that every single science has its presuppositions that it has to take for granted. I wouldn’t pretend to know anything very complex about any of these sciences like biology or physics or chemistry but I do know that, or I think I know, that for example, biology takes the existence of life for granted, right? Like it goes back to very basic presuppositions that it has to assume that, or the science can’t work. And I think there’s other suppositions that kind of weave themselves into the method of science.

Drake:                          05:33                And if those aren’t examined then I think science can result in wrong conclusions. Like, I think of like if you’re, if you’re trying to draw two parallel lines and it’s a little bit off in the beginning,, then a mile down the road, it’s going to be way, way off. Well and something I thought of that I learned about last semester was a guy named William Harvey in England who basically figured out that the blood was a system of circulation. You know, he figured out that the blood, that the heart pumps the blood through, you know, that it passes around the lungs. Then it goes to the other, you know, different ventricles of the heart, goes through the entire body and then circulates back to be re oxygenated. And he figured that out by questioning the established doctrine of the time, which was Galenism. And because Galen said no, the heart does this specific function only and that was it––and that was the accepted thinking in the universities––and Harvey started cutting open, he started dissecting animals and going, actually that doesn’t make sense. Like he had to question the method of actually, the method of the practice of the anatomical science at the time to make this breakthrough. And so it seems like that should still apply.

Thea:                            06:52                And we could then take that same gesture or standpoint of not just going with what you’re given. It’s that you have to continuously be testing and making observation about your practice of religion, your practice of science or the method of science.

Anne:                           07:15                Drake just left us for a moment. Okay. He’s back.

Thea:                            07:24                So I was just saying that it seems like that’s the same sort of point that we were talking about––organized religion––is that, stay awake! Stay awake and pay attention that you don’t hand over your own seeing to another. And in terms of the practice of science and observation, that has to continue, you know, recognizing this is a presupposition, this is where we’re starting from, but that’s not the whole totality of whatever it is we’re observing or studying because you’re given this presupposition to start from.

Anne:                           08:01                Yes, absolutely. I agree. I try to constantly question. But even within those sciences, which are founded on a presupposition, I’m seeing a dangerous lack of critical thinking when people are working with these theories, discussing these theories. Let me go on a little bit of a tangent. There is a lawn sign I have been seeing a lot up here––I don’t know if you guys have something similar down there––which makes a few, there’s a few statements. I find it absurd. It seems like a virtue signaling type of thing, but it says something like “women’s rights are human rights,” “black lives matter,” “love is love,” whatever that means. And “science is real.” And “science is real.” What does that mean? And so, you know, that’s what I’m, I’m focused on right now. It’s beyond the fact that Drake, what you’re saying is, is absolutely true. We need to constantly question even the foundations of our working theories. Otherwise we’re going to get stuck in a more and more narrow framework of theory. So we have to constantly question even its foundation, re-examine it. But beyond that, we have to recognize that science itself is simply a method. It is not a truth. I don’t really even know how to get my head around saying something like, “science is real.” I don’t understand it when people say to me––in response to me challenging germ theory even, right? We are developing a new understanding of our immune system and the human microbiome, virome, and the fact that the environment of our body is a huge factor in terms of whether or not one person contracts a disease versus another person who is exposed to the same virus or bacteria. Right? So that is is shifting, that is growing, that is expanding. We’re developing a new understanding of this. When I present this information or present studies that demonstrate, that challenge, the idea that, “Oh, it’s just the germ that makes someone sick,” someone will say “It’s science. Don’t you get science?” Without even having to discuss the argument.

Drake:                          11:40                Well that’s funny, for it seems like they’re not even, they’re not even discussing the science then. Because the science, science is just a chain of reasoning within a certain set of parameters. Like, to do science is to reason your way with certain parameters that, you know, at least in modern science, that you’ve set for yourself and to the conclusion that follows. So, when you’re talking about these lawn signs that are saying “science is real,” that sounds to me like putting a sign in your lawn that says, you know, “logic is real.” Like absolutely, logic is real. But logic can be wrong. You can have, you can have conclusions that are logically true, but if your premises are wrong, the logic is false. Like, so same thing. A chain of reasoning is real. Yes, definitely real. But it can still be wrong.

Thea:                            12:29                Well the combination of statements on the sign is curious to me. What does science have to do with, you know, rights of human beings having the right to be, and be safe, you know? But it also then leads to that thought that that’s really just that “science is real” is a belief. So it is now outside of the scope of logic or reason. Saying, “science is real” is like, that sounds like a doctrine.

Drake:                          13:00                Not science.

Anne:                           13:00                Yeah, and I don’t remember now what, I think there was a climate change statement on that one too. Right? So, you know, and that’s where I’m––for the sake of time we won’t get too much into it––but that’s where I am wanting to explore what I do see as kind of a new religion. So Scientism often––it includes the doomsday prophecy of climate change, right? I’m not on any level suggesting that the climate isn’t changing. But whereas peak oil theory was Scientism’s doomsday theory prophecy in the naughts, right? The two thousands. Now it seems like it’s, “Ah! Climate change! We’ve got to change our ways!” It’s kind of, it’s the new religion’s Apocalyptic prophecy and warning. So we’ve got that going on. And then we also have this very fixed set of beliefs that…what I am seeing you know, I see the priests of Scientism––and not saying the good ones, the good scientists, the good doctors are always examining, are always questioning––but I am seeing people grant authority over themselves. I think they are giving the authority to doctors, to scientists, to the experts to tell them what is and what isn’t, what they should and shouldn’t do.

Thea:                            14:58                Creating a reality there.

Anne:                           14:59                In a similar way that the downside of organized religion, I think, handed that over to the priest. So we’re coming up to 15 minutes and I know Drake has to get going, but I think this is something to examine. I think that for all of the secularists’ focus on rejection of organized religion, to me it seems as if they simply replaced it with a new religion.

Drake:                          15:40                New authority. Right?

Anne:                           15:43                It’s a new authority. So that’s what it is, Drake. It’s a new authority. Whereas God and the priests are not their authority. Science as a God, almost? And the priests of that Scientism is the authority? Is that right?

Drake:                          16:08                I wonder. Yeah. It’s like, it’s just, it seems very comforting to me to think of people who don’t screw up. You know, like I didn’t grow up in organized religion so I didn’t, I guess I didn’t grow up with a conception that there’s always someone watching out for me doing the exact right thing––of a God figure or a priest figure. But a lot of people that I speak to, just lately, talk about science as if it’s some group of people somewhere who don’t mess up. And that’s appealing, right? Like that’s nice to think that there might be people that don’t mess up, but it’s not true.

Thea:                            16:46                Well, because it’s taking it from the religious realm, where there was faith involved and the unseen––to the realm of “it’s reason and logic and that is above all what we can trust. And it’s real.” So it’s interesting because we do believe in reason and logic and those are good. But like you said, Drake, if the beginning realm that the reason follows is off, then you have something that’s false and now you have people believing it, or saying “it’s real” in particular arenas.

Anne:                           17:25                Or simply if we missed something in our observations, that we then finally pick up, well that’s going to change the working theory and that’s going to change the entire model. Right?

Thea:                            17:39                Can I say one more quick thing? The thing that always––and science is not my practice, I mean observation is though, so I guess in one way it is––the thing that has always blown my mind learning the scientific method was that you could only test that which you could conceive of. And so everything is limited there in terms of creating theories and working theories. It’s only based upon what you already know or think you know, and that right there is like, what?

Anne:                           18:15                Right. Your own reality. It’s only based on the reality that you can observe at that moment. And as we all know, even from the time, like we said in the last one, from the time you’re five years old to the time you’re seventy five years old, our consciousness, our perceptions, our realities change. We perceive more, differently. Right? So the same goes every day. So anyway, let’s get going and pick this up I think next time, as we’re kind of formulating the discussion for next time.

Thea:                            18:50                Sounds good. Thanks so much guys. Nice to see you.

Drake:                          18:53                Alright.

Anne:                           18:53                Alright, let me, let me stop recording. You too.

Featured post

Does Organized Religion Move Us Forward?

Anne Mason and Thea Mason –– — with Drake Mason-Koehler

How does consciousness grow if we subscribe to a fixed set of beliefs?

Anne Mason, Thea Mason and Drake Mason-Koehler examine and discuss.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:00                Okay. Hello there. We’ve got Drake from the East Coast. Thea down in SoCal. Me up here in Northern Cal. We’re going to try to make this quite a short one because Drake has to leave. So I want to start this out by talking just a little bit about why we’re doing these, this series of discussions, Thea and I often talk like this all the time anyway as do Drake and I when we have a chance to be together and we thought it would be a good idea to just share it with others who might be having some of the same streams of thought or questions and want to join in to the discussion. The tagline on the website, on the Sacred Osiris website is: Into the Age of the Fifth Sun, and that refers to the Mayan calendar, the Mayan elder prophecies that we are in transition and moving into a new age, which corresponds to many other prophecies of ancient texts and religions.

Anne:                           01:15                Even astrologically moving out of the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius. So I perceive us––of course, we hopefully are always moving forward in consciousness. Hopefully we are always growing and developing and expanding our consciousness. Evolving. But if we are between ages, marked ages, this transition is likely even more dramatic. And perhaps we could use even a little bit more attention and effort as we, as we find new language to express this transition and perhaps new conceptions and new consciousness that we may be emerging into. So, so it’s a dialogue and it’s, it’s just a lot of questions and obviously we don’t have the answers and obviously we have some opinions. But the topic I wanted to talk about is organized religion.

Anne:                           02:29                And I say that having a lot of respect for the practice of organized religion but not subscribing to one particular set of beliefs that have, has been initiated by someone else or organized by someone else, but rather kind of an amalgam of my own study and practice and sense and faith and belief. And 49 years of life experience. So the question I guess, or my, my issue with organized religion as relates to what I just said is that––and let me back up for one second. Something I love about Anthroposophy, Waldorf teaching is the, the approach to teaching the approach to answering questions, especially when the child is young. You know, “Why is the sky blue?” Rather than answer with an explanation of the way light reflects, refracts off molecules in the air. One might say, “I wonder?”

Thea:                            03:46                As opposed to answering with a finite sort of dead answer that stops the questioning.

Anne:                           03:55                That stops the wonder. Right? I think the idea in Waldorf teaching is to just let it keep going in one way or another. Right? Whether it’s as the children are older and you are having a discussion that takes you down many pads or not, but if we answer anything with, with just like a hard and fast fact, well, that’s done, right?

Drake:                          04:25                Yep. Interesting. I remember having a discussion in class this week that left me feeling sort of unsettled. And it’s funny that you’re mentioning Waldorf because Waldorf education has been on my mind a lot this week––because my verse, I think it was my verse in fourth grade, came back to my mind: To wonder at beauty, stand guard over truth. Look up to the noble, resolve in the good. And I think that was the first line that we would say everyday when we, when we left class…When I was getting kind of embroiled in the deep that, you know, the intellectual details of something. I’m getting stressed out about it. You know, I can’t figure out this, this one little thing. And I was like, well, how about I wonder at the beauty of it? Let me just look at––of this mathematical proposition or whatever it was and just kind of sit in that. And sure enough, I understood it a little bit later. Once I stopped the frenzied, you know, logic because it can, you know, when you’re trying to figure out a problem, you can get very stuck and not see what you’re missing or what presupposition you missed.

Drake:                          05:35                And Anne, when you’re talking about different ages or people switching the way that they think about things, what came to my mind was presuppositions. Because if you want to have a mode of thought or a doctrine that’s going to allow you to evolve, it seems important that it would be a motive thought or a doctrine or philosophy or whatever it is that urges you to examine the presuppositions of the philosophy itself or the doctrine itself. And maybe that’s what organized religion doesn’t do. Maybe that’s something it really explicitly doesn’t do––is urge you to question why you’d be associated with that particular organized religion. And that’s supposition on my part, I don’t have evidence to back that up right now. I don’t have a lot of life experience with a particular organized religion, but just from my reading of different texts, that seems something that perhaps the actual teachers, you know, like, like Buddha or Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita, Christ. I think they do, they do urge people to actually think about things. But then the customs or laws laid down after those teachers by other people who embrace those religions maybe don’t as much.

Thea:                            07:12                It makes me think a little bit, Drake as you say, that like that the teachers themselves were teaching, one of it was to maintain interest in things and questions. That space of wonder. And what seems to be one of the things that people in general, one of the places where we get tripped up is that wanting to claim something entirely or, or be secure. I wonder if it comes from a sense of wanting to be secure in some finite existence that the wondering stops. Like it’s a failing of humans. Maybe not a failing, but it’s a habit. It’s not necessarily what the teachings are at all. Right? That the teachings and that thread, stream of wisdom isn’t finite like that, but that’s what we’ll do to it––like hanging on to the image of it rather than penetrating to the essence of it.

Drake:                          08:20                Yeah. Or just, I mean, and that seems to be simply like staying in your comfort zone, right? And that doesn’t have to be something that is totally seen as negative. Like, yeah, all of us humans are going to do that, want to stay in our comfort zones, but if we can understand that it applies intellectually or religiously or spiritually as well. Because I feel like we, at least personally, I don’t often think about it applying to those areas as well. Like, oh, you know, I wanna stay in my comfort zone in terms of I don’t know, how hard I’m working at something or some other aspect of my life that’s maybe more external and easier to examine and I might not realize, “Oh, wow! It might also be my natural tendency to stay in my comfort zone religiously or spiritually” or whatever these other aspects of, of life that are less tangible.

Anne:                           09:17                Yeah. I mean, humans have this kind of dichotomous relationship with change and the unknown. So we are drawn to it because we are curious and we have an innate need to grow, as do all beings. But it’s scary too. So we like to find answers that we can rest upon, I’d imagine. Right? I really like your point, Drake, that probably the original teachings and teachers we’re conveying a truth and spirit to others who then took that and fixed it. I mean, when I say fixed, put it in a fixed organization that can be handed down and worked with as a framework, always difficult to do. So I guess, since I don’t practice an organized religion either and my main experience is with Catholicism, but I didn’t get that deeply involved in it. I can’t speak to the tenets of all the different religions. I do agree that a foundation of morality is critical to a society, a family, a religion, anyone. Right? But those can be principles that are not challenging to understand. But when we get into pedantic details, even of…I was having a conversation with someone whose religion does not subscribe to a belief in reincarnation. And the first thing that I think I remember him saying is we don’t believe in reincarnation. Right? And so that, that just saying, “we don’t believe,” to me that’s problematic because, I mean, I’m not a collective. I work with people and I need people, and I I learn from people, and I also share some beliefs with people, but I don’t like saying “we believe.” I believe. So far, too. I believe, so far. Best I can ascertain. Here’s what seems to make sense to me. Sorry, go ahead.

Drake:                          12:50                Well, yeah, that’s just what jumped to my mind when you said, “we don’t believe,” for some reason, I thought of the “royal we,” how a lot of a lot of literature when kings are speaking, from like older times, they use the “royal we” and it like is it from themselves? And I was like, oh, well, obviously, royalty, authority. You know, like if you’re saying “we don’t believe,” it’s like this credence of authority that you’re like interweaving with your opinion. Your opinion is the authority, and an authority kind of seems like something that’s less likely to be questioned.

Anne:                           13:23                Well, yeah, right. Also, you know what I think of though? I think of the Borg from Star Trek, right? The collective, hive mind, “we believe.” Right? Anyway. But back to that topic, for example, reincarnation. Look, I don’t know. For sure. To me, there’s enough evidence out there and certainly enough has been passed on through the hermetic traditions by many that I respect to suggest that reincarnation is something. Does exist. However, as I pointed out to my friend, maybe the ultimate goal is to stop cycling. Perhaps the goal is to stop reincarnating. Perhaps, perhaps that’s the goal for humanity. Perhaps that’s the goal for each individual soul––if you subscribe to that belief that there’s a soul––and perhaps it was interpreted somewhere along the way that because the goal is to not cycle, it doesn’t exist. But, but doesn’t want one need to leave room for the possibility that it does? Doesn’t one need to leave room for the possibility that there is something contained in every religion––every current modern religion being practiced, and every ancient religion that we have learned about, and every future one going forward––that there is some, some piece of the puzzle there that cannot be ruled out?

Thea:                            15:17                What it draws to my mind a bit is there’s certain stories––and I know Drake can relate and probably you––that I like to reread every few years, even novels or whatever, to come back to a story. And every time I read it, as I live more life, I see more in the story that was always there, but I couldn’t, I didn’t have the experience within myself to reflect it and see it. And so it makes me think a little bit of the teachings of these different lines, these different religions, that that’s why there has to be a continuous study and penetration of the wisdom that’s passed to us. Because if we take it at face value, we see it in the way we saw something when we were five or ten or fifteen or twenty five or whatever it is. Instead of allowing it to just continue to work on us and for us to work with it in that expanding depth of anything that’s true or you know, that has that seed in it.

Drake:                          16:36                That’s funny. That makes me think a couple people last night were talking about a certain Homer translator that is disliked in my dorm. And part of the reason for that, and this is debatable, is that part of her philosophy of translating is that when Homer repeats these epithets that he did because it was an oral poem and he was remembering he needed to remember what came between. So he would have these easily repeatable lines “dawn with rose red fingertips” or the “wine dark sea”, like things that he would draw on––the sea, it’s the wine dark sea. Dawn, it was this dawn. But this one translator, she translates it completely differently every single time, because she wants the reader in English to be struck with the image as if it was a new image every single time. So she’s giving different words to it.

Drake:                          17:33                And I think I, I get, I think I understand why she’s doing that because it’s more impactful for the reader. But the flip side is it seems like that takes some of the work of the person reading the book away, right? You really try, you can read it and get something different out of that image or be struck by that image, equally, if you’re actively (inaudible) every single time in one of them lesions. And so this seems to get into, like, if you’re going back and rereading a text, whether it’s a religious text or some other thing that’s helping guide your morality or your spirituality or anything it takes effort to read it differently, right? Like it naturally happens if you let years, if years go by and then you go back and read a book you’re probably gonna get something out of it just cause you’ve changed as a person in that time. But if you’re, if you’re a practicer of a religion and you’re doing it every single day or every week or something like that, it’s hard. Like, it’s hard to read the same things over and over again and have it, you know, hit you like have it really stir something in you every single time. Like it seems to be a difficulty of prayers too. Like if you have a prayer you repeat, it’s a really good practice and I, and I admire it. But to feel it every single time instead of having it be habit. And maybe, maybe the habit’s not bad as well, but it came up when I was hearing you guys talk about that.

Anne:                           19:04                Yeah, and that’s also why the, the curriculum, the Waldorf curriculum, there’s, there’s a new verse every year for the growing, the changing consciousness of the child to say. A new prayer. Right? So we’re going to wrap this up so that Drake, you can go on to practice and we can make this shorter for people as well. I think that something that’s always been very helpful to me is, I mean, this is not a new concept. That’s why comparative religion, comparative religious studies is something that people do in university. I hope they still do. I don’t know. But I think that doing whatever one can, to stimulate thought and reconsideration so that we can continue looking at things from a slightly new perspective, a fresh perspective, whether it’s engaging with new people, other people reading the texts of other religions that are different than the one that you practice, and allowing for possibility. To me that would temper the problem that I have with a strict dogmatic practice that organized religion often becomes. And dead. A deadened one, I found that with Catholicism, and I’m sure that that was my experience with it. And it’s not many people’s, because I know some Catholics who blow my mind with their connection to so many dimensions of realms and spirit and God and faith. Like blow me away. So it’s not Catholicism that is the problem, but certainly how I came to it or how it was introduced to me or the priest that was heading things up, I guess. Butso anyway, I guess that’s the conclusion for now and we can continue this discussion in another, we can continue this dialogue in another discussion. Thanks guys.

Featured post

Can We Be Our Own Priests?

Anne Mason and Thea Mason –– — with returning guest Drake Mason-Koehler

What does a priest provide that we can’t provide ourselves?

Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason discuss––with returning guest Drake Mason-Koehler.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:01                Okay. Here we are again, we’re going to dive into some possibly controversial topics. I want to ask the question, can we be our own priests?

Drake:                          00:18                Yeah. Remembering what we were talking about last time where we, we sort of discussed different spiritual paths that people might have, whether they, I believe in God, whether they don’t believe in God whether they’re agnostic and whatever they’re sort of moral guidelines or a spiritual path might be. And coming back to this question of whether we could be our own priest, I feel like that leads me to think about what are the things that I would want a priest to do. ‘Cause I’ve never been a part of an organized religion. I’ve never had a priest. I’ve gone to church a couple of times, I’ve talked with a couple different priests, and it seems like a very important thing is that you would confide, right? And I know that that’s different in Christianity depending on whether you’re Protestant or Catholic in terms of things that confession and stuff like that. But that kind of leads to this difficulty of building up a relationship with yourself where you actually confide things or dialogue about things with yourself, whatever that would look like. Would it be a journal? Would it be a prayer? Would it be a conversation with a loved one? I feel like these are all different spaces that you could sort of hold that confidence with.

Anne:                           01:45                So in that’s the context of a counselor almost. Right? So a priest serves as a counselor and a guide to people. And we all need that sometimes. The reason the question comes up for me is that I have a difficulty with the idea of a middleman between me and my source. And maybe I have it wrong. Maybe the priest doesn’t get in the way of that. I don’t know. But Drake has gotten me reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, and I’m only about halfway through. Drake has read it and there’s a particular chapter that came to mind when we were talking about this before we started recording. Drake, could you describe it briefly?

Drake:                          02:59                Yeah. Well, we were talking about about The Grand Inquisitor (chapter), and I remember I first read that book in high school and then re-read it recently. And it’s pretty life changing. But I do remember that chapter where one of the brothers presents a poem to his younger brother. And in the poem––it’s set in the Inquisition in Spain where many heretics have been burnt––and Jesus appears. And the Inquisitor instead of celebrating or kneeling down or anything like that, sends Jesus off to prison. And then comes down later, I think it’s later that evening, to interrogate him and tell him how in refusing the temptations of the devil––which is in I think Matthew and Luke section four or something like that––how they damned mankind to be free and who they choose to worship, to have freedom of conscience and have to try to be their own conscience. And he, the Inquisitor talks about how the church has stepped in to be that authority and to be what he thinks Jesus couldn’t be. Keep in mind, I mean I have to keep in mind this is all Dostoevsky’s view of the church. But what the Inquisitor lists off that he thinks that the church has provided for people, that Jesus refused to give, is miracle, mystery and authority. And so I feel like in Anne’s question of, “Can we be our own priests?”, well then we have to ask like, is that necessary? Like do we want the authority of a priest? Do we want miracle to come from, cause that’s another thing when you’re talking about, you know, not wanting a priest. I feel like, I mean I know human beings can be incredible, but I don’t look at them as exalted in that way. And I feel like that’s something that rubs me the wrong way. If someone was to tell me I needed a priest to have a relationship with God, I’d be like, well, I know he’s studied the text more than I have, but what makes what makes them special?

Thea:                            04:54                We’re all creations of the, out of some divine.

Anne:                           04:58                Right. If we all have a divine spark in us, if we are all God’s children, why should one have more authority over that relationship than another?

Thea:                            05:14                And I mean, and that’s wherewe were talking a little bit about the priest or whatever the Holy person is in a tradition that they do provide that quality of being a wise person, an elder or some sort of a guide like we just spoke of. And then there’s also that these are people who are dedicating their lives to this practice of this religion, of this tradition. And so therefore they’re giving their time and energy and efforts in a daily practice that maybe strengthens…The reason I’m saying this is because when you were saying that, it’s like, yeah, do they have a direct line to God? Is it like their channel’s a little clearer? And maybe that is what it is a little bit. Maybe their channel and frequency is tuned in a little bit more clearly, and in a stronger path to it because it’s been practiced.

Anne:                           06:30                Well, and because they are devoting themselves to that. Right? Whereas we’re raising kids, we’re doing the work in the worldly world that is not giving us that time or allowing that, allowing us to become as learned first off in that way so that we have so many resources to draw upon, but also that we are not spending as much time in prayer, in meditation, and perhaps in direct connection with source.

Thea:                            07:05                I mean that’s a question. That’s a possibility.

Drake:                          07:09                I think at least on the moral side of things. And in speaking to that sort of like need for authority, like if we do have a need for authority, because it seems especially like today, it seems a big claim to say that people have a need for religious authority. It’s like you can just look around and be like, plenty of people don’t seem to have that need. Right? But it seems fair to say that we at least have some sort of tendency to want to, to look to a moral authority when it comes to things. And we might want to escape it. But we so often, like at least I know I so often want to appeal to something, to be able to judge actions. To be able to look at myself, you know, have I treated these people right? Like what am I going to compare that to? And when you’re talking about people who’ve dedicated their life to something, it seems like that’s an easy way to, to feel trust. Like this person is going to hopefully tell me the right thing to do. They’ve dedicated their life to being able to tell me the right thing to do.

Anne:                           08:10                Yeah, yeah. They’ve been studying this so much. They intimately understand it. They have dissected it, they have contemplated it.

Thea:                            08:19                And they’ve observed, right? And had experience. And seen others.

Drake:                          08:25                Well, people are busy, right? Like, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to be able to do your whole day at work or do whatever it is you’re doing. Take care of your kids and then check in with yourself and be like, you know, how am I holding up to this moral standard? That’s a whole extra level of work to do and trust in yourself. That’s difficult.

Thea:                            08:44                And that takes us a little bit too, and I don’t know if I segue too much right here, but the need of, what was it you said? Magic, mystery, authority? Miracle, mystery and authority. But that we were talking about a little bit in terms of this idea of being our own priest or priestess is having ritual, having a practice of some sort that brings us back to that space of reflection or meditation or whatever it is. Something that is part of our daily rhythm that brings us to a space of that observation really, or contemplation in some way. And I was saying that that’s what, you know, Hatha yoga came out as, I mean that’s a practice for the householder to attain self-realization. You know, because you are busy with life works of managing a household and children and all of that. But then ritual, magic, when you were saying the need for a moral authority, that, I mean our sense of that checking in with ourselves, but also, I mean, we look at our world, we have a need for mystery and miracle, you know, that is huge. And we see it in people’s excitement of tech, technological advances. We see it in all sorts of these things that show a little bit of mystery that we go Ooh. And miracle. Okay. So anyway, I went all over.

Drake:                          10:42                So that’s a funny thing looking at the, at the modern world, like I mean, so few of the people that I know are a part of organized religion, and I know they’re still so many people that are and have that as a part of their daily life. But it seems like generally, or in many cases, we don’t want the miracle, mystery and authority all in the same place. Like we still want those things, but to have them all in one figure, it seems like, I mean, so when you’re talking about us being our own priests, it brings back the conversation to like, well would I want a priest to do that if I was going to have a priest, I don’t know.

Anne:                           11:33                Well so correct me if I’m wrong. I think where you’re going is that so the miracle and mystery, well we can perceive certainly the mystery, right? We can perceive that there is the mystery, and we might be able to bear witness to the miracle. Right? But do we also then want to answer the question? Do we want to then appeal to our own authority in making sense of all of it? Is that kind of what you’re saying?

Drake:                          12:06                Right. Yeah. Cause I mean that, that at times that seems impossible. Right? To, you know, at the end of the day, come back and have yourself as the authority.

Thea:                            12:20                Yeah. Well, I wonder if there’s something else in that authority is that that’s a thread to community and not being alone. When there is an authority and you, if there are many that link to an authority figure in some way, that builds community.

Drake:                          12:43                Right. I feel like elders that I’ve known, you know who I’m thinking of. But like they can be that figure in a community to some extent. I mean in a different way, but still someone that another young person and I can look to and, and go, you know, we’re going to be reverent to this person because look how much he’s lived and look what he has to say. Let’s listen. Because if we’re both doing that, it’s somehow affirming both of us, both of our experience in the moment, right? Like if we’re both, we’re both hushing down when this older man is talking or we’re both, you know, offering to help this older person. Like it’s a shared reverence that shows we’re both kind of on the same wavelength.

Thea:                            13:27                And that’s one of the things that I think is so important. And I think maybe that’s one of the things that comes out of the need for something outside of ourselves. Is that sense of togetherness that we feel with others when we are having something shared, something profound that we share.

Anne:                           13:51                Well so makes me think of a couple of things. Number oneI suppose this might seem obvious, but the priest is channeling, presumably channeling communication with God, connection to source and representing in some ways. A representative. The priest is a representative in the same way, you know, you might say parents are also representative to the child of the divine. We are an earthly manifestation to channel that perhaps. And speaking to your point, Thea, and yours, Drake, that, together we all revere, rightfully revere our elders, first of all. Our elders and those who have experienced and become wise. And so even in revering them, they do become elevated, right? And so…go ahead.

Drake:                          15:13                Well, right. And in that sense, they seem like a representative too, right? Like if someone has made it to 80 years old and they look happy, they’re healthy. And they’re talking about, you know, whatever it is, some experience or you know, they’re telling their grandchild that was the wrong thing to do. And explaining something to them. It seems that they’re representative of living a good moral life. Right? And I’m sure there’s immoral old people…

Thea:                            15:43                Well, not all old people are wise. I mean, not all old people shine.

Drake:                          15:50                Well and not for everyone would you hush your voice as they, when they start talking, because you have some sort of reverence., And I feel like with many, many elderly people, that’s my initial reaction because they at least seem like a representative of that. So when Anne’s talking about the priest being a representatives and parents being representative, like you were thinking about parents also as a representative of wisdom, too. Right?

Thea:                            16:16                And that’s what I was saying––or is it the same thing really like that not necessarily only that vessel of communication from the divine or the source, but the wisdom that comes through experience and observation, but from my experience so far in the moments where I feel like I’m exercising wisdom, when other things fall away and what’s left is that wisdom or that experience or that compassion of truth, when the other things fall away, that to me there is something in that that that is a channeling of what is good and true and, and is. Regardless.

Drake:                          17:05                Well, it’s like, I mean to look, I feel to look at something similar to that in a different way is like, it’s almost just like giving different things different weight, right? Like seeing what’s really most important or what’s truly relevant. Right. The other things falling away and being left with a single thing in a given moment, in any given moment that this is the most relevant thing right now. Even being in any dire situation and your wisdom or your past experience is telling you, okay, this is exactly what we need to do right now. And nothing else is important. It’s kind of going to one thing by itself all of a sudden.

Anne:                           17:41                Well and so I would like to not go a whole lot longer this time. So I also am hearing that the priest serves as one we can dialogue our experiences with. So that we can find some objectivity to our subjective experiences. And I explained, one of the reasons that I felt that having a priest, having a middleman there to me is problematic––the other reason ismaybe this is too long a conversation right now, but going back to The Grand Inquisitor the Grand Inquisitor who was actually also the Cardinal, right? The Cardinal, the Bishop? We find out later as he relates to Jesus that actually about 800 years ago they started working with the other guy, right? And they are basically, they are, they are working with Satan. And, and the people are none the wiser. So having a priest in that capacity, in that role––it is ripe for corruption. Right? So, you know, maybe this is something to explore beyond this conversation, but so I see ideally now, and I understand even better ideally why we have a priest outside of us to help us dialogue and relate to our source. But I do see some problems with it. We have all seen the corruption around us and how that power and authority can be and has been misused.

Drake:                          19:47                Right. And I feel like that that highlights again, looking for ways to be your own authority because you can follow, you can, you know, through every chain of like of authority, you can find someone for this authority to be accountable to and someone for this authority to be accountable to and so on forever. And it’s never going to be infallible, right? No person is going to be infallable. Right? So it seems like, I don’t know, I feel like my takeaway right now is that I’m my best shot in some ways.

Thea:                            20:21                Well, I think so. I mean, even when we have someone who we revere, we can hear that, but then we still have to be coming to our own process.

Drake:                          20:34                It’s hard though. It’s hard to revere someone and not sort of fall into a blindness regarding their faults.

Thea:                            20:40                Well, we have a tendency to that. But I think if, I mean, when I think of the teachers I have who are doing it well, they don’t allow people to put them up there and worship them. You know, they remember and remind of their humanity and failings. Not that they have to lay their failings out, but there is, it takes a real something to not let people worship you if you’re doing some powerful work. And so I think in that, in ourselves as people who are looking towards having elders and wise leaders among us, we have to remember that we still have to bring it into our own process. I mean we’re talking about, at the end of the day, that part of the practice of becoming our best self and being of service to the world in a right way is to be able to have that checking in. And strengthening that, that compass, I guess, of ourself, of our own priesthood, priestliness.

Anne:                           21:54                And perhaps to remember that it’s a relationship that we are required to participate in fully, at least equally with any authority that we have granted. And so that we have to continually be checking them and making sure that they are also doing the work to deserve that authority.

Thea:                            22:24                Right. That we don’t hand it over blindly.

Anne:                           22:27                Yeah. Or get lazy after we’ve handed it over consciously, but then over time it’s very easy to get lazy. So, I’m not sure what we’ve concluded on this one, but it was a good exploration.

Thea:                            22:47                Well, it is. And I think that the one other thing I’d love to add to it though is that in order for us to be our own guides and authorities or then even in equal relationship to those that can offer that to us, is to have those spaces just being in nature too. Because we were talking a little bit, and I won’t go into it, but talking about creating places of worship or places that are Holy, and nature is one of those that we all have. To make an effort when we’re living in cities to be in that because it gives us that sense of connection, like a direct line. I mean, that’s my experience of it anyway. You know, and it charges that, it strengthens that current in us as people.

Anne:                           23:47                Yes, it is very grounding. It is the grounding, I think.

Thea:                            23:51                And uplifting. It’s grounding. I mean, it’s the whole thing. It’s like we become clearer to be able to perceive what is there.

Anne:                           24:00                Truth. Truth. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I like that. Okay. Let’s end on that. I mean, you know, you can’t go wrong with advising that people spend more time in nature. That is, there is the quiet, there is the reverence automatically or just laid out there for us. Right? It is creation.

Thea:                            24:25                Creation. Observation. I mean, when I think of the things I want to practice more, it’s that, that quiet observation and I mean, observing anything in its natural state is a good exercise.

Anne:                           24:40                Yeah. It’s a good reference point. Going back to references, right? Drake, it’s resetting in nature and seeing this unadulterated creation gives us some perspective to bring back into our manmade world to check it, to see if it kind of stands up to truth.

Drake:                          25:06                Right. And when you were talking about representatives too, right? Like in nature, if you can look at a natural, any little scene, right? Like a little pocket of trees in a brook somewhere, it’s kind of in a harmony, right? So you can, you can look at it as representative of things. Yeah. It does seem like nature seems to work.

Thea:                            25:27                It does seem to work!

Drake:                          25:29                When left to its own devices. So when you were talking about priests as representatives, and then we were talking about elders as representatives, to just kind of look at these things as examples or exemplary of something good that we might want to emulate, that seems like a path that it can take as well.

Anne:                           25:45                Yes, what, and that, that nature and being there in nature and witnessing all of that perfection we can see that pattern and want to find that particular beautiful, perfect pattern in at least the ideals of those that we grant authority to?

Thea:                            26:17                And even then in relationship, right? In the dynamics of relationship and the way relating is happening, those dynamics of nature, the balance. Am I losing something here? Maybe?

Anne:                           26:31                We’re just, we’re just getting very abstract here, but yeah. Okay. All right. All right. Let’s cut it here and we’ll continue this dialogue in another one at some point. Thanks you guys.

Thea:                            26:45                Thanks. Love you.

Anne:                           26:46                Hold on one sec. Love you. Hang on one minute.

Featured post

Let’s Talk About God

Anne Mason and Thea Mason –– — with special guest Drake Mason-Koehler

To move beyond the limited options of agnostic spirituality, atheism, or fundamentalist religion––we need to talk about it. And before we can talk about it, we need to think about it.

Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason discuss––with new guest Drake Mason-Koehler.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:01                Okay. Here we are with a new guest Drake Mason-Koehler, my nephew, first and foremost Thea’s son. He’s home on break and he’s going to join the discussion. We’ve been having chats, discussions as we always do about some of the subjects that we’ve been talking about. And today we’re going to talk about God. And we’ve had a few discussions about this already, so we’re going to try to kind of just hit a couple of the points and go from there. I have lamented to these guys that––I live up in the Bay area in California and I don’t think people talk enough about God. I think that God, discussions about God, is met kind of with derision and suspicion. There is an atheist tendency up here and an emphasis on secularism that I think is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Anne:                           01:10                And I say this as someone who has gone through myriad perspectives and explorations and examinations. I was not raised in any particular clear tradition really. And I’ve come to my own faith very experientially. And as anyone who is familiar with Anthroposophy––I’m a homeschooler who follows a Waldorf Anthroposophic curriculum and Drake was raised in the Waldorf schools, Thea teaches in the Waldorf schools––we understand that religion, from the Anthroposophic perspective, all religions are valid and are a manifestation and expression of the consciousness of the time, the evolution of humanity. And no religion is regarded as––even the ancient myths––they’re not regarded as fables or misunderstandings, but an understanding of our connection to our source at the time. So that being said you know, both Drake and Thea brought some interesting points up. Drake, can you talk a little about your experience being raised in Southern California?

Drake:                          02:37                Yeah. Well, and this is because we’ve spoken about this a couple of times now. Just recalling that when you, initially were talking about the atheism that you’ve run into up in the Bay area, just in your experience, my immediate sort of complement to that growing up in Southern California ––and although I went to a school where we learned old Testament myths or old Testament stories in third grade, along with all the Greek and Norse and other myths that were part of the curriculum––I still have grown up with so much agnosticism and not even just agnosticism, but spiritual tendencies in the adults around me and gradually in many of my peers as well. And not that I think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to discussions about God, I think that that led me to not even really start thinking about God until just towards the end of high school. And more lately.

Anne:                           03:45                Can I interrupt you just so that you can make it clear? I think what you’re saying is when you, when you talk about this kind of agnostic spiritualism or spirituality, sorry, you’re referring to a kind of nebulous spirituality that doesn’t follow any, certainly any organized religion or firm tradition. Yeah?

Drake:                          04:11                I feel like I’ve run into a lot of that. And then also a lot of, “well, I just don’t know. And I’m also not really interested in having a discussion about what I don’t know or what I do know.” So it’s kind of maybe, I don’t know what the, what the split would look like in terms of people who are going, you know, “I’m spiritual. This is my belief which is kind of hard to put your finger on exactly what it is. But they might, you know, hold it very precious and that might be very good for them. But I think the emphasis of my point would be that there hasn’t really been much on either end of the spectrum. I haven’t known a lot of people who are very religious and I haven’t known a lot of people who are very clear cut in their atheism. It’s all been somewhere in between. And the majority of that in between has also seen an unwillingness to stop and talk about it or to think about it because I think the thinking about before the talking about it. So, yeah, that was, that’s kind of where I came into this discussion.

Thea:                            05:10                And that came after also you articulating that we grew up in the Midwest where there were a lot of very fundamental religions around us. And while that was around us, we didn’t grow up with that in our home. Ours was sort of a nondescript sense of God and faith, but not any clear delineated path within that I guess.

Anne:                           05:35                Yes. We were raised by liberal academics so who were as you point out, I’ll let you speak to this, but I think who were, as many people from that generation, turned off to the hypocrisy of the organized religion that they had grown up around or even with.

Thea:                            06:02                Like, like a lack of breathing within it. I think, you know, I mean, and that was mirrored in a lot of aspects of the culture, too. I mean, the religious aspect kind of, and the structure and strictures of life in this country. I mean, just thinking of the social changes that were occurring in the fifties, sixties, you know, so all of that was a reflection of all of it in a way, too. And so there was this pushing away from that hard and fast structure and form because of the many injustices that were seen and condoned by religious practices one way or another. And that’s throughout all of history.

Drake:                          06:47                I remember, Anne, yesterday you were talking a little bit about sort of pendulum swings, like going all the way to the other end of an extreme. So wherever you might grow up you might go the other way, like both of you guys growing up in the Midwest and then coming out to California where it’s a very different consciousness than what you grew up in when it comes to spirituality and God. And my follow up thought to that has been, well, what if you grow up where it’s all agnostic? What if you grow up where there’s no, you’re not at any extreme to swing from. Right? You don’t have that, like, trajectory to go look for. Right? ‘Cause I think, needless to say, we live in a world where, you know, if you’re so blessed that you have the opportunity to, to go to college or to go and work in our world you get to forge your own path and you’re talking about this kind of like forging your own religion or your own outlook on religion or spirituality, whatever that might be.

Anne:                           07:51                Okay. We had a little technical difficulty. So Drake, would you just start from, you were talking about, you know, for those of us who are blessed to forge our own path I mean blessed to go to college, to forge our own path, that allows us to…go ahead.

Drake:                          08:09                Well, I was thinking even just looking back at the beginning of this discussion, you said your approach to religion or spirituality has been very experiential, right? Like throughout your life, it’s changed or you’ve done work with it based on your own experiences and what you’ve read, who you’ve talked to and where you’ve been. And I think similar for you. So those are kind of like individual trajectories that you guys have had and you’ve been able to come out from your upbringing growing up in a more religious place, a different type of environment, and then sort of forge your own way. So it almost, it seems like that upbringing gave you a momentum, and I know it wasn’t like, you didn’t grow up like super strict Catholic or anything like that. Also people don’t have to escape it, like they don’t have to swing away from it, but it seems like when it comes to coming to your own understanding of something or your own beliefs where do you get that movement that would make you want to establish beliefs in the first place? Is it just life happening to you that makes you want to, “okay, I need to figure out, you know, what I believe is right and wrong? How I think about children, marriage, grief, like all these other things and scriptures and religion has a lot to say on that. And it’s not necessarily all you need to be followed, but there’s a lot of good in it too.

Thea:                            09:34                Yeah. Well I don’t know if my thought quite follows precisely. I mean it still is in there, but it gives me a picture of, you know, he was speaking about the pendulum, that swinging and you were talking about earlier the streams. And with that pendulum swing you have this momentum kind of like you’re shot out of something, you know, so you have this force carrying you one way or another. And then I was thinking that when there’s this sort of work that’s coming from your individual experiences, it’s a little bit more like picking up a shovel and digging, and you don’t want to be too far from the stream ’cause you still need the current if you’re trying to create a channel. But it just gave me the picture, ’cause today we went for a walk and it rained a lot last night. So this path was just flooded and there were so many streams flowing. And I’m just thinking that sometimes to forge a new stream, you know, you do have to pick up a shovel for a bit and then it can kind of be filled in and have some of that carrying from, not the pendulum, but just from the movement of the stream itself. So that you can kind of, I don’t know, it’s not quite there, but a picture that came with that.

Anne:                           10:51                Well so drawing both on our conversation from yesterday and what you just, you both just said. So we talked a little bit about the fact that like, for example, especially the last couple of generations in this country, given the nature of the economy and the world more and more often people leave the places they grew up in, leave the traditions, the families intermarry, live abroad, live on the other side of the country. Meet, mingle and marry people who have come from widely different backgrounds. And so one is exposed to many different streams and traditions. At the same time, like Drake brings up scripture and these traditions that have come up throughout humanity’s development, understanding and need to figure out ways, codes guidelines and guideposts, those are also valuable. And the flip side of us all moving away and finding new streams is, the downside is that we also sometimes lose and abandon that which came before us. So I think that we kind of concluded when we were talking yesterday that what we’re starting to realize is that there needs to be––so we’re, we’re entering the age of Aquarius. I think I brought up the fact that, you know, as I see it, each epoch is about 2000 years long. And so we’ve come to that end of our current form of Christianity––do we need, I mean, I’m talking about in the Western tradition because we’ve all grown up in the Western tradition, so that’s all I can really speak to, right? So is what we’re seeing around us is that indicating a need to create a new stream, a new path that perhaps for the first time in recent human history is informed by our individualism as equally, if not more than our group…What’s, what’s the word I’m looking for, Drake?

Drake:                          13:53                I don’t know. Like our need for community or something like that?

Anne:                           13:57                Well, you know, we need, we need community, right? But, well, Thea and I had done a talk a while back on claiming our authority and we emphasized the fact that––certainly for us, we see the need to we have lived and, and strived to, be our own authority, rather than look to the experts, rather than look to the doctors the lawyers, the teachers, the priests. Not that that means we reject what they have to offer, but I will put my authority above them all in my final decisions about anything. And I think that this, there is a lot of that, there is a lot of that impulse in people and they’re finding that groove in different ways. Maybe one of them is simply and embrace of atheism, because they are rejecting everything that came before them. Because they’re saying, no, that didn’t work. But perhaps what needs to happen is we need to find something that doesn’t then throw the baby out with the bath water. Because we are spiritual beans, which I will say again only for my own personal, my own experience, but I believe we are spiritual beings or we have a spiritual impulse, a spirituality and we do need to speak to that. And materialism, reductivist materialism, doesn’t answer that need in us.

Thea:                            15:48                Well it doesn’t hold the space for that mystery that is always present in some way. But I’d like to go back just a moment, ’cause I think there was something you said yesterday in our conversation that was really important to distinguish when we’re talking about this sort of age of coming into this individual sense of seeing. I want to find a better way to say it. It is reclaiming our authority or claiming our authority, but also really the honoring of our own seeing is part of that. But what you said yesterday, was there’s a difference between individualism that is just self-serving and sort of narcissistic, as opposed to a group of individuals coming together––I mean maybe you want to say it––as opposed to a group of people who are all thinking the same or don’t have their own responsibility of self quite there. But when everyone is an individual and their work has been done through themselves to come to where they are, there’s more power in that group of people working together towards a shared goal than there is in a group of people following someone with a somewhat shared goal.

Anne:                           17:13                So, basically that, you know, there’s a difference between a group of individuals bringing their own unique skills, talents, perspectives, experience to the table toward a, a shared goal––the evolution of humanity, let’s say that––versus a collective of group think that is following one idea and path. And so I think the way we concluded, and we want to wrap it up just to keep this short, but we want to keep this going, I think, this is a good start. I think what we determined perhaps is that there’s gotta be, there has to be another path now. And so, you know, there’s, there’s a path beyond just the choices of atheism, fundamental religion, nebulous, agnostic, spirituality. Something else maybe needs to emerge and be formed. And new language must be found for a new, experiential understanding of God, or our connection to source, whatever that is for you. And the way to do that is to start talking about it more.

Thea:                            18:28                Thinking about it.

Anne:                           18:29                Well exactly. Like Drake says, you have to first want to even think about it before you can want to start talking about it.

Thea:                            18:36                Well, and then that’s where the conversations come ’cause you have to show up, you have to show up for the––now I’m thinking of baseball––show up for the game. You know, you have to be able to stand at the plate and be like, yeah, let’s bring this discussion up. Let’s bring this topic.

Drake:                          18:50                Yeah, ’cause I was going to say, if you don’t––and it can be totally reasonable to not want to be thinking about these things at certain times. But if you’re not wanting to think about it and people start, you know, asking you questions, pointed questions about your beliefs or what you think and presenting you with what they think and all of that. It can feel like an attack or sort of like a barrage of something coming in at you. And if you haven’t even wanted to start thinking about it, I mean it’s going to feel weird. It feels like people are trying to get you to think like them. Which is I think why discussions about this stuff can be like…it’s so vulnerable. It’s so vulnerable for people to say what they believe or that they don’t know what they believe and they’re like, it feels like it’s a difficult thing to get past that before you say, I want to figure out something for myself, whatever that might be. Because when you were talking about materialists, I mean, I feel like, there’s so many different types of people and there’s so much out there in terms of what people have thought about these things. Like, I know there are ancient authors that I haven’t read yet that don’t believe in God, but have a system of morals and ways of thinking about things that is beautiful and can totally work for someone to read and think about and be inspired and not necessarily adopted as a sort of creed, but to feed into their own understanding of what their work in the world is. So it’s like, yeah, starting to think about it.

Thea:                            20:27                Yeah, and if this ties in just a little bit. Yesterday we had briefly spoken about this, which led to that reflection you had about the normalcy of leaving one’s, place of birth and upbringing. And that came after us speaking about Arjuna and his quest towards his seeing…

Anne:                           20:52                For anyone who doesn’t know what you’re referring to. Arjuna from the Mahabharata epic tale of ancient India, right. As Krishna’s talking to him too, right?

Drake:                          21:04                Yeah. He’s about to, if I recall correctly, I think he’s about to fight his own family, he’s about to fight, you know, half of his family members and he’s like, how, how am I supposed to reconcile myself to this? Then I was remembering from, I think it’s Matthew in the Bible where Jesus says that he’s coming to take, you know, son from father and daughter from mother or something along those lines.

Thea:                            21:30                So those pictures of having to let go of that which is familiar, to forge one’s own path with honor and truth and dignity. And that is, you know, there’s a part that’s necessary to throw off these things so you can see what’s sort of left standing. And I feel like maybe that’s what epoch we are stepping into now. It’s like, what, what’s left standing? What is there, something that we can really protect and nurture and grow for humanity from this point? And what is that relationship with God, source, a structure of morals.

Drake:                          22:12                Well also all these situations that we keep bringing up, it seems like there’s something to do with, when you run into like, contradictions, like very irreconcilable things like Arjuna having to fight his family and wanting to be a virtuous person. Those seem to be impossible to reconcile those two things. So it’s like, what does he do in that situation? And whether you want to do exactly what he does is beside the point, but just getting to see what other people do in these stories? And if that leads to conversation too, with other people like, “Oh, what did they do when they ran into a super sticky moral scenario? Where did they turn? How did they get through it in a way that they thought benefited themselves and others?

Thea:                            23:01                Where the seemingly obvious gentle, compassionate route is actually the cowardly, unhonorable or dishonorable route. Not to not have compassion. That’s not what I’m trying to say, but what seems to be a general kindness may not truly be a kindness.

Anne:                           23:20                Absolutely. And, and the only way to really kind of push through those kind of black and white choices, and push through to, to understand, embrace the complexity, but still take action, one has to examine and explore that. And I think what Drake has brought up to some degree speaks to the fact that we should not throw all of that out in forging our new path, but take that, benefit from everyone’s experience from history, humanity’s experience. Take it, examine it, discuss it, discard, try it, try something different. And then form something new. Correct?

Drake:                          24:17                Yeah. I mean, it just seems like we’re going to have to take action, no matter what. Right? We can’t just hide in our rooms forever. We’re going to have to go do things. And so it seems like it might help us make better decisions as opposed to just going, “I don’t know.” ‘Cause if you just say, “I don’t know,” you’re going to find yourself in situations where you have to do things, anyway. So, at least trying to know might…

Anne:                           24:48                Because you can sit in your room or you can sit in your community, and you can say it’s all good and you know, and decide to not make a decision toward judgment, which leads to action. But if you do that, the world is going to eventually exert its influence on you and you’re going to have to then react. So let’s get out in front of it. Let’s start talking about this more in a new way and find some new language and new concepts to examine and discuss and go from there.

Thea:                            25:31                And I would even just say maybe they’re not new concepts, right? But maybe we do need to find a new language so that those old concepts that are probably timeless and ever present just need to be understood and digested and reused in a way that we can understand now more easily.

Anne:                           25:54                Because truth is eternal, right? So truth is eternal, but our consciousness is ever changing. And so we need to develop some new understandings, I think, in order to incorporate those truths and most beautifully, powerfully, and positively manifest them going forward into this new age. Into the Age of the Fifth Sun. So let’s wrap this up. It’s getting too long, but let’s keep going. Okay? All right. Thanks you guys.

Thea:                            26:35                Thanks. Bye.

Anne:                           26:35                Let me stop recording. Bye.

Featured post

Allowing Grief

Anne Mason and Thea Mason

To support one who is grieving, simply allow them to be––to be a mess, to be demolished, to be in grief. And to not be the same person you knew them to be before the grief. Because they are not––and they never will be again. And if you are the one grieving, honor yourself and your loss by allowing that in yourself.

Grief “veterans” sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason discuss.

Anne’s article describing her personal experience with loss and grief was written and published a few years after the death of their parents in 2002, 11 days apart. It was recently republished again this year in Grief Digest Magazine, entitled Responding to Life.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:01                Okay. So Thea and I are going to talk a little bit more about grief. We feel we’re still, we’re feeling that thread still of grief and we were just reflecting in a conversation we were just having on the fact that it’s probably partly the season. Our father had passed at the end of October and then our mother, 11––I never remember 11, 13 days later, whatever it was in the early November…

Thea:                            00:32                Eleven.

Anne:                           00:32                Eleven days. And one thing I wanted to qualify is that the reason that I think we’re talking about this as if we have a great deal of experience with kind of intense grief is that part of it was the experience of caretaking our parents from brain illness and injury over the course of some years. So it was very, very intense, you know, when people lose the brains, basically, that’s an intense process of caretaking. And then it happening when we were a lot younger.

Thea:                            01:20                It’s almost at 20 years, I mean we’re going toward 20 years now.

Anne:                           01:27                And then, and then happening within the space of two weeks. So that was just all intense, very intense and very magnified. So that’s partly why we are wanting to convey what helped. We were just reflecting on the fact that if it happened now, of course it would still be intense, but not as intense. So, we want to talk a little bit about what helped us during that time practically. And I was reflecting with Thea on the fact that one of the things I did during that, especially that first year after it all happened and I was going through the motions of life and work and dealing with the estate and all of these things, I started drinking cream in my coffee where I had drunk black coffee before that. But just to, to get out of bed and go to work, which was like, felt like it required sometimes superhuman capacity. I started drinking cream in my coffee. I started taking baths again. And I had lived in London, years before where everybody takes baths and I had gone back to taking showers here in the States. But I started taking baths, because it felt more nurturing. It was softer. It was gentler. I started doing yoga a little bit, and as Thea can vouch for, I’m not a yoga person, but I started doing yoga in the mornings. I had this funky VHS tape that I had inherited from Thea or something, and I would do this 20 minute yoga thing in the morning and it nurtured me. It helped me. I also look back on that time and realize, you know, I cocooned a lot and it’s kind of against my nature, to be so insular, you know, I’m pretty out there, but I was alone a lot. I wanted to be alone a lot. And I drank a lot. I wept a lot. I cried a lot. And, and I remember at the time, friends, people close to me, kind of trying to encourage me to get out of that, “Come on, you know, this isn’t you!” and being kind of at odds with that, like, “Oh, this is not me. What, what’s going on? What am I doing here? What am I doing?” And I wish I had had the sense that I knew best and the sense to just allow that process to happen without trying to force anything.

Thea:                            04:34                Well if I can chime in to that. This reminds me of the thought I had had when we were chatting a little bit ago was that it wasn’t you. And like we touched on last time, that there is that darkened space that we go into and we do–– allowing, allowing for that darkened space and time to occur like a cocoon. We do come out something else. We become something else. We develop, we grow, we change. But I just wanted to remark, because I don’t think I’ve thought of it this way before, was that when someone that we love and make connections with in this life leaves this world, the world is altered and therefore those that are closely tied to that person do truly change because they fill the space differently to be able to continue. And you know, when it is a connection that is like one of those of loved people in our lives, it does alter us and we do become something not ourselves while we’re in transformation. And I think even just stating that if that, if that knowledge was more apparent for those people who are supporting the grieving people that they will be different, and it’s not really a helpful thing to convey.

Thea:                            06:04                You’re not yourself. No shit, you know? You won’t be, you know, I will be picking up different threads of myself, but I’m weaving a new fabric. While I’m in this cocoon. You know, we are changing. So if there’s a little more intelligence about that process for people who are going through grief maybe or those that are going through it, our own knowledge that we’re going to be different and allowing for that without the guilt game of I’m not being myself for these people in my life. I don’t know if I’ve gone too far astray, but I think that’s what you’re speaking to. Wishing you had known that, you know best like listening to that inner voice again that is asking you to do something different, you know, is, is really valuable.

Anne:                           06:55                Yes, it’s definitely valuable. And it’s, and it’s good to talk to other people who have been through it as we did, you know, over time. I also went to a grief counselor. First time I had really done any therapy or any kind of thing like that, and it was helpful for sure, to have that validated. I think that’s an important thing to point out to others too though, who are there to try to, or those were trying to hold it for someone else. Trying to support someone who’s going through the grieving process. W.

Thea:                            07:33                Which is really a hard position.

Anne:                           07:36                It is. And I’ve read about this recently too, where people don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to do. People who have not been there really don’t know. And I think it’s important to just let those folks know that I think that all anyone is…You know, when you’re grieving that deeply. And one other thing I wanted to point out is like, you know, a friend had communicated recently about it, who had lost her son recently and that, as I said to her, I can’t even touch that, right? That’s, that’s many layers beyond. But what I can say is I, I just, you know, I just send you my love, you know, I give you my love and, and I grieve for you and with you, right? You know, you can say, I’m sorry for your loss or whatever, but you know, I always, I found all that platitudinal stuff kind of like, just, just be real. And just to know that that person, honor that person by allowing them to just be going through that phase that you’re describing, their transformation. They are not going to be what you know, they’re not going to be what you are used to, and they’re probably never going to be that again.

Thea:                            09:18                That’s huge.

Anne:                           09:20                So to, to accept that and encourage them in that rather than make them feel as if they’re doing something wrong. Right?

Thea:                            09:30                Right. Yeah. I think what you’re speaking to also, and I, you know, when I look back at people in my life when they’ve been going through their own grief and it’s like, you know, we don’t want to say “I’m sorry for your loss” while you are, is, depending on the nature of your relationship is a little bit like “I’m here and I can relate and I’m here.” But we can’t, there’s not much else. There’s not much else we can really offer.

Anne:                           10:02                Yeah, we can’t. That’s the thing. We can’t fix it. We can’t give them anything. We can just hold that space for them to just be and to be demolished too. We can hold the space for them to be demolished. To be all over the floor. To be a mess. Let them be a mess. You know? And that’s what you and I spoke about a little bit too. It’s like, you had used the word, I don’t think you said this in the video, but you said, there was a part of you that, because the fabric of reality had torn open…

Thea:                            10:42                Or altered.

Anne:                           10:42                Altered. There was a tear in it. (You Said), “It didn’t fit, it no longer fit. Your life didn’t quite fit anymore.” So that’s something that we become aware of more in any heightened state, I think.

Thea:                            11:03                Right. That you’re actually growing into a new way of being. When there has been an alteration to the reality you’ve been engaging with. So allowing for that growth and that shift and that discomfort. Kind of like if you have a new pair of shoes, they take a bit to wear into the shape of your foot, right? Or your, when you get used to a good pair of jeans. At first they didn’t feel so good, but that takes a little bit of time and then you fit them right and they, you fit them and they fit you. But it all takes a little discomfort for awhile.

Anne:                           11:43                Or more than that though I would say. I mean, I like your, your clothing analogy––as anyone knows, Thea’s style and her clothes and her relationship to clothes, it’s appropriate. For me on the other hand, like when we were talking about the mess and, and being demolished on the floor––I think also give yourself a break. And give anyone who’s going through this a break to, to really screw up too in a way. Like make some, make some big mistakes.

Thea:                            12:22                Which I think we all, we all did.

Anne:                           12:25                We all did, you know, and it was challenging and hard. But also it’s like we had to break some things. In order to then allow that new thing to form. We had to break it down. Say that again.

Thea:                            12:47                A new emergence, like of oneself. Out of it. To break down ideas that we had about ourselves that were held, I mean, in our situation, it being our parents, that’s a different dynamic than a friend or a lover or a child. So different things we had to break down to free ourselves even.

Anne:                           13:10                Yeah. I put it as, you know, we went a little crazy and that was okay. Because we only went so crazy. We kept things going, but we went a little crazy. And then we came back from the crazy.

Thea:                            13:32                The edges, I call it the edges. A little bit. Because we weren’t out of our heads, I mean, we weren’t disconnected with what we were doing. We were really pretty aware of the choices we were making in most of those moments. They were big but we, we pushed past our edges maybe that we had kept ourselves in before. And I, you know, I think what you said just about that, that initial time of intense grief, it’s like finding whatever it is that is some sort of ritual for you––cream in your coffee, baths, walks, talks, whatever––those little things that can hold so much power. Lighting a candle, you know, I mean, I’m just giving little things, making your, you know, whatever. I’m like thinking like my shoe rack, little things that I could make really neat and orderly that brought me joy because everything felt…

Anne:                           14:32                And tethering, right? It was a tethering, so whatever, you know, finding your little rituals of tethering. To tether you while you also are flailing at the same time through that.

Thea:                            14:48                And one more thing. I don’t know if this ties anything in, but I think there’s those, those pictures that when you’re sharing of your sort of cocooning, and I was saying a little bit of that spiraling inward because you tend to be more outward and I, I don’t think I’ve put this together quite yet until now. I tend to be a little more inward in many ways and I think in that period I was so busy teaching and practicing, I kind of did the opposite.

Anne:                           15:19                And parenting. Yeah, you did.

Thea:                            15:19                I went out a little bit more than I normally would be. So that’s curious. I don’t think I’d seen that until now.

Anne:                           15:30                Yeah, which pushed this other side of you like this, this other side of me. And brought us to the wholeness that we are now! I joke!

Thea:                            15:41                As we go through new challenges and edge pushing. My God.

Anne:                           15:49                Absolutely. Absolutely. As we’re, yeah. As we are both going through other changes, and we’ve also just reflected on the fact that having gone through that intensity in our earlier years and, and then becoming accustomed to cycles and cycles of grief does inform you to become accustomed to all cycles and that they do move and they’re waves, and it moves in and out. And if you just kind of tether yourself while you get through that, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Thea:                            16:23                Yeah. Thanks.

Anne:                           16:25                There we go. As nonlinear is all that was. Hopefully that’s, that’s something and something. And Happy holidays to all the grieving people out there, because I know this brings it up as it does the winter and all of that. Right? So, all right.

Thea:                            16:46                Absolutely. Take care.

Anne:                           16:47                You too. All right. Bye.

Thea:                            16:50                Bye.

Featured post

Coping with Grief and Loss

Anne Mason and Thea Mason

Grief can seem indescribably unbearable. But it gets easier, we promise. And it can transform and give birth to something positive––and widen, deepen and enrich our capacity and wisdom as we move through life.

Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason speak from experience.

Anne’s article describing her personal experience with loss and grief was written and published a few years after the death of their parents in 2002, 11 days apart. It was recently republished again this year in Grief Digest Magazine, entitled Responding to Life.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:00                Okay, we’re recording. Okay. So we’re going to talk about grief today. And to inform anyone listening. Thea and I both, and our sisters, lost both of our parents at the end of 2002 after they both suffered pretty horrific, devastating brain injuries and illnesses. Our mother from brain cancer at the young age of 52, and our father from a brain injury following other health problems at the age of 62. So that was pretty intense as anyone can imagine. Tt was not just the loss, but also the years leading to the loss and how excruciating that was to witness.

Thea:                            01:07                And the 11 days apart, you know, and the, the compact “pow” of the loss.

Anne:                           01:10                Yeah. It was. And, you know, I was Mom’s primary caretaker. She was not remarried. Thea, she already had a family. So she also had a young child and she was flying back, taking care of things as well. Then my dad’s secondary caretaker. So it was just, it was so intense, right? As anyone who’s gone through loss understands. And so we’ve been talking about this and I’ll post a link to the article too that by chance I discovered––there was an article I had written really not long after they died, but then I kind of held onto it and submitted it for publication a few years later. So it was published about a decade ago and it was just recently republished this year. So the first thing I think we would like to talk about is to acknowledge for anyone who is suffering and in grief grieving, going through the grieving process, that we get it so much and that it is an experience that one cannot really convey or describe really, unless you’ve stepped through that door. And we’re aware of the fact that the world does not see or acknowledge what you are going through as you are walking through your day to day life, trying to just cope with an unbearable, indescribable pain. You know, I mean, it makes me want to cry when I’m––I don’t know why I’m in touch with it recently. And that is the weird thing about grief, it is always there, but it gets much more manageable and it transforms and there’s a beauty. There is as much beauty to the pain as there is the pain, I think over time, you know? And so yeah, you know, a couple of friends of mine have just suffered very close losses. So that’s been a topic we were just talking about.

Anne:                           03:44                Ricky Gervais’ After Life––it’s a new Netflix series and it’s remarkable. It’s extraordinary. His comprehension, his understanding of grief and his ability to portray it. It’s very good. I highly recommend it. So, I think what we want to talk about a little bit right now is, and let’s look at our time. As we had been talking about even in last week’s conversation, which we entitled Responding to Change and many other of our conversations have been kind of in keeping with this theme of our responses to what life presents, right, and how impactful it is. How our response to what comes obviously significantly influences our life’s experience. And others’, you know, in this case with grief, others’ response to what we are going through is also impactful. And that article I wrote about touched on how the lack of our society’s observance of grief, of what people are going through. There is as I had written in the article, there’s a short period of time where your loss is formally acknowledged, but maybe it’s our busy world, our busy society, our busy everyday hectic pace. I’m not sure what it is. I also think there’s something unhealthy in the way we cope. I think there is some times a sense of putting on a face. I think there’s a sense of kind of faking it––that we, that we should, you know, just appear as if things are okay.

Thea:                            06:10                If it doesn’t interrupt your thought too much, I think there’s something that I’m seeing when we’re articulating it is––your article says so eloquently really how you’re given this space and time, brief period of time where it’s acknowledged and then it kind of just slips away, but you’re still holding it. And that’s really the time where the burden gets heavier. And because the shock, depending on what grief stages or how it comes to someone, you know, ours was, I can speak from that experience. That was, it was just so intense. And, and because it was so intense for us, I felt like, you know, everything was blown apart, all of our reality in a certain way. So, so taking us to our knees that the only thing that could come through was grace. Like it carried us through the horrificness of it in a way. And then after the shocking part sort of starts to wear off, that’s when the new stages of that grief start to come in, in a more thunderous way in a sense. And what I’m seeing in this though is like, different cultures have different observances. You know, maybe you wear black for a year or whatever it is because it really does take that length of time. And our culture–we don’t do that so much in any real way.

Thea:                            07:48                But what I’m seeing is that we have the observance for this short period, and then you have the funeral or the celebration of life or whatever it is, but it’s like boom, boom, boom. And it’s like the meaning again is getting lost and it’s the image rather than the essence. Even the advice that you’re given through grief counselors to not make any big changes, which you speak to really well in the article, but it’s again, it’s like it gets lost. The words, the meaning, the intent, the impulse that’s sound gets distorted. And then it’s like you’re standing in nothingness.

Anne:                           08:31                It’s, you know I remember how I worded it and I don’t want to repeat exactly how I worded it, but basically it’s cautioning us, right? To not be reactive. To not be reactionary, maybe is a better way of putting it. But in so doing, it’s kind of throwing the baby out with the bath water. So yes, we should not, it’s helpful in life to not react impulsively without thought, without care. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respond. Right? And that we shouldn’t act upon the process that we’re going through that we shouldn’t act upon some of the instincts or the awarenesses or changes that it’s bringing up in us. Right? So that’s one thing I think that it goes hand in hand with the way the culture observes our loss as well. It’s true that we have to get on with it. Right? And, you know, I remember in the midst of it, and I have since kind of lamented how challenging it is with a death. So the person who’s been caretaking experiencing incredible loss after they’re already exhausted from the caretaking, and then they’ve got to do all this other stuff after the death, all the legal stuff, all of the you know, the estate situation.

Thea:                            10:21                The business part.

Anne:                           10:26                The business of it. But, there is also something necessary in that because it keeps you moving, you know, and there is a tethering there, as unpleasant as it is, so that you don’t kind of go off the deep end. Not to say that one doesn’t at times go off the deep end. And I would say I, you know, those first couple of years were almost debilitating. Right? I mean, it was just, you know, I drank a lot, you know, and I sheltered myself a lot. I did go through the motions and I did what I absolutely had to do. But other than that, you know, it was, it was rough as you know.

Thea:                            11:16                And I know that too. You know, I think so much of the way grief comes to us or what we’re given through it–– knowing that I had a child to take care of, it minimized the spaces I could even go into. So they kind of came in a softer current over years because I had a living proof purpose that I had to keep going for. Right? And that changes things.

Anne:                           11:46                Yeah. Totally. You couldn’t, you couldn’t fall down. Right? And so that also means that probably it may have lingered longer. Your process may have just been elongated you know, but who’s to say? Right? Cause it’s still, I mean, there are still times, once in a great while, I will like, I’ll weep. Right?

Thea:                            12:11                I know. Yeah.

Anne:                           12:11                But also you know, on the flip side, for anyone going through it, God, I mean, as devastating and difficult as it’s been, I’m grateful to them for the gift that they gave us in that. I would not be who I am. I would not be the mother I am. I would not be…There’s so much that it deepened in our experience, right, to have gone through that. So there’s some good stuff that comes from it, you know, with all of life’s, you know I mean it’s cliche again, but the deeper the suffering, the deeper the experience, the deeper the wisdom I think.

Thea:                            13:13                Right. And that goes, we spoke just for a moment beforehand is like, yeah, as, we love more, as we grieve more and feel the depths and breadths, and all the angles and spaces of feeling––I mean these are the things that make us really human. It allows, I mean, I feel for myself, it’s allowed me to become a bigger person, more able to meet more people where they are. The more experiences I have, the wisdom, right? The more that there is a reflection within me to another, the more we share, the more we connect, the more we serve our purpose being here on Earth.

Anne:                           14:00                Oh gosh. And it reminds me of a comment a friend made on my Facebook page when I had just posted that this article got republished. And she had lost her mom. And she said, you know, it makes one aware, it’s a reminder that we don’t ever know what anyone else is going through as they’re walking through. Right? And so when you’ve gone through this yourself, it brings an awareness to you always that there are many layers there in everyone. It brings a compassion to I think one’s interactions with everyone and any one, because you start to reveal or you start to realize that so much more may be happening, has happened. You have not walked in their shoes. And that we really, this life, there are few that escape, you know, sorrow and pain in this life. And so just that awareness and compassion brings such a dimension to our relationships, our regard for people and the world really.

Thea:                            15:19                Because within sorrow, I mean, I want to say healthy sorrow, because there’s tragedy that is like, there feels like a wrongness in, you know, an injustice. But there’s, when there’s the healthy sorrow, I feel like within that is a real big seed of what’s beautiful. You know, it brings us to that which is––beauty, you know, love.

Anne:                           15:50                It’s a sweet sorrow. It’s a sweet sorrow. And it’s like having gone through that experience, going through this kind of experience and similar experiences, it definitely, like, it reveals that layer to existence. And we probably should start looking to wrap it up soon, and I’ll only touch on this now, but I mean, beyond the deepening, I mean, it’s, you know, I discovered my faith through that process too. And when I say that, I’m not saying a particular, an organized religion or denomination or, you know, and as I’ve said to people who I’ve gotten into discussions about this with, it’s like I feel that it’s much larger than any one particular organized set of beliefs, but a kind of you know, an all encompassing understanding connection to my source, connection to the divine, connection to other realms. And it’s, you know, it’s been a gradual process for me really since the deaths of my parents. And it’s been an organic, beautiful thing too. And one that feels very experiential. I remember a friend of mine who a German friend of mine who, who lives here in California where it’s really, people don’t talk a lot about God and faith here, in the Bay area, we’re in the Bay area. There’s almost a disdain for that. Right? And he had remarked that it has really struck him how I didn’t, I don’t have this from having been raised in it, you know, ’cause we were raised kind of half assed Catholic…

Thea:                            18:07                But I would say my experience was there was a sense of intelligence and divinity, the acknowledgement of God in our life even though it wasn’t through any direct channel or picture. But that picture that there is, there’s meaning and purpose and God.

Anne:                           18:33                Yeah. An understanding of there being more than we are seeing. Yeah. Right. More than is visible. I agree. But, he was remarking that, you know, that it came to me through experience in this way as opposed to where it’s come through for him and through practice. But anyway, you know, I won’t get off on a tangent, but there’s something so beautifully rich in the experience. Go ahead.

Thea:                            19:09                Well, I want to say, I don’t think it’s quite a tangent, but I think it will be a thread to come back to that we explore a little bit more because I want to reiterate again in our dialogues that we’re sharing together here. These are our reflections from our experiences and our understanding of those experiences and the way we then choose to engage with our life and the world and the people in our lives. And it’s not so much about is someone testing, has this been proven? This is through our own experience, which I think, what I want to wrap it into a little bit is––losing, having our parents move on at our young age, which felt very young at the time I think removed, I think I said this, I remember feeling it when, when it was going on, just that when they were gone, there was no longer any image of a guidance or you know, mother, father, between myself and God. So my relationship to whatever I call God, source, whatever, became even more clear and tangible for me because there was nothing in between it. I didn’t have anything separating it. And I think what that has brought to me through my own journey and you, is what I perceive is a gift and for me to do something with. So it’s, it’s like, it’s allowed me to develop that capacity more and more and more to listen to myself, to listen to what I Intuit or instinctively respond to. You know, trusting oneself because knowing oneself is more than just me. Like that there’s wisdom that moves through and shows itself to me through my experiences. So, yeah.

Anne:                           21:14                Absolutely. Thanks for making that distinction. Thanks for making that distinction. Yeah. It’s, once again, it’s you know, I’d made this comment recently, but there is some knowledge, there is, there is information that sometimes cannot be transferred through language or books or teaching, but only through experience. Right? It’s when the veil drops, you know, or when we walk through a door. So anyway, it’s an exclusive club. So anyone who has experienced it, welcome to it and promise it gets better and there’s so much richness to the experience that one can be in and does become quite grateful for. And we’ll probably touch on this more next time.

Thea:                            22:09                I think we should. And I just, there’s one more thing now I have to say that as you say that there’s more richness. I feel a little bit like it is that experience, because at first through it, things become more dull and it’s kind of like you’re going into a cocoon a bit and the veils wrap around you. And then when you pull yourself back through that, the world is more vibrant again. It changes. But you do go through a darkness.

Anne:                           22:40                You do, you do. And so do not expect all of a sudden, “Oh you know…” There is a deadening and a darkness to it at first, but you have to go through that to come out to a brighter light.

Thea:                            22:54                Yeah. Well thank you so much. I look forward to us talking more about it ’cause there’s so, so many other spaces within it for us to, you know, think about it as the culture of how to alter and change and support or develop new ways or old ways to honor the grieving process when each individual goes through it. So it can be a transformative space that’s recognized and really honored.

Anne:                           23:26                Yes, I agree. All right, we’ll think on that.

Thea:                            23:30                Thank you.

Anne:                           23:31                All right, one sec. Bye.

Featured post

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑

Follow us