Witness

THE LAW OF WITNESSES

One of the most boring books in the Bible has got to be the book of Leviticus, called the Vayikra by Jews. The third of the five books of Moses, Leviticus is full of laws. Laws of the gauguin4 by you.Temple, laws of cleanliness, laws of birth and death, giving and taking, working and not working. Along with Numbers and Deuteronomy, it is tedious and almost entirely uninspiring. I avoided reading Leviticus as much as I could as a younger Christian. For every one time I’ve read Leviticus, I’ve read Psalms or Song of Solomon or even Isaiah as many as five or ten times.

One year, though, when I was much younger than I am now, I felt strongly impressed to read Leviticus. I felt I was to read it with love and the sort of attentiveness that expects a blessing. And so I did. I read Leviticus and thought about the book in present-day terms rather than relegating my head and the book to the ancient past. I began to see patterns and deep truths in the laws of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and even the counting and classifying of the book of Numbers. I saw that laws had purpose and meaning and were not merely constructs of an ancient, backward people.

One law of which I’m especially fond is the rule of witnesses in Deuteronomy, which states that no one can be condemned on the testimony of only one witness. All facts, this law says, are to be established “out of the mouths of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 17:6). This law is also applied to New Testament church discipline, since St. Paul taught that a church elder or pastor should not be accepted unless “two or three witnesses” were willing to testify. Two or three witnesses; keep this in mind.

gauguin6 by you.The year I saw that these ancient laws can have meaning here and now was a very good year, for one of the primary things I learned was from this law of witnesses: Facts come with two or three. What this means, among other things, is that whenever truth is welling up within me, or coming at me from the outside, it will come in two or three ways. I may miss it if it comes only once, and since the universe is bountiful and God is good and giving, He will give me more than one chance to get a clue.

So this is my gift to you today, dear reader: the law of witnesses. Try it out. See how it works for you. How many times of seeing something does it take before you see that you see it?

20 responses

  1. Hello Eve,

    I’ve missed hearing your thoughts! I am learning a great deal about being present to the moment in my yoga classes and you were in my moment. I hope that all is well with you which is more out of my intuitive place….

    Since I brought up my yoga class, may I share a bit? I attend two different classes. One is led by a lovely, athletic young woman in her early 40’s with a calm, gentle, physical presence, yet feisty in her statements. It’s moderately difficult; I can do all but one stance. (Shinning of my badge here.) I love being there and feel welcomed, alive and capable and from the looks on the sea of faces I am not alone.

    The other class is led by an even younger woman (is everybody young these days!), early 30’s, wild, dark curls surround her most spirited disposition. She speaks of India and teaches throughout the class of same. So much knowledge from such a young woman. Physically the class is extremely challenging but the pain is worth the gain and I spare no expense to dress my soul!

    I count myself lucky to have discovered these two spaces of awareness, Eve, and yes, of healing, too.

    With compassion to you, to all,
    MJ

  2. Well, Eve, I meant the word complex on both planes but I didn’t wish to assume nor jump over my respected boundary for you. Yes, I certainly understand that power of our mother and father complexes both positive and negative.

    And here is yet another story which springs from the word “Mother.” When my own mother died we lived in Ridgefield, CT. There I had the blessing of friends from many nationalities, many double and triple degreed. This one young Indian mom friend asked me over one afternoon for tea. I felt sad that day, my grief quite fresh, and I started to cry. She said to me, “MJ, you will find the Mother in many women now.” It comforted me.

    And with all things Jungian, Eve, I would like to give you and your loyal readers a link to a wonderful story from the NYT’s about The Red Book, Jung’s soon to be published work. I was alerted this very morning of the article from your blogger of the Hannibal Blog. http://andreaskluth.org/ It’s a wonderful piece. Dr. Steve Martin, an esteemed Jungian and much responsible for this wonderful book being shared with the world, is from Philly, and an admired friend. His extraordinary efforts are rightfully acknowledged within this reporting!

  3. I had only one nun in 12 years of Catholic education who was mean to me. Were it so with my good husband’s family! What is delightful to me is how many nuns I adore. Since 1986 I have worked p.t. in assisted care facilities for religious. In that regard I was invited into a culture. I’ve gotten to know many nuns in many different orders and they have gotten to know me. I think it was easier for me!

    I’m not kidding when I say that sisters do not complain. I, on the other hand, can be such a whiner. But after leaving their facilities I always try better, Sister Mary Perfect here. Jeez, I must sound like I’m an 8 year old but maybe that’s an okay thing since I was good at 8 years old and I suspect we all were.

    Sorry your mother didn’t accept you as you were, Eve. Is that complex when you see others exhibiting that particular behavior?

    I like stopping by your forum, Eve. I like turning the rocks under my own thick skull. You have created something special here with your forum that is mind engaging, shadow exploring and wholeness making.

    MJ

    • Mary Jane, I’m so glad to know that there are loving and kind nuns in education. That hasn’t been our experience thus far, but I admit our experience is limited. As well, of five religion teachers at two schools in two years, only two were nuns; the others were simply religion teachers who were bad examples of religion teachers.

      Your question amused me: “Is that complex when you see others exhibiting that particular behavior?” Did you mean is that complex (complicated), or is that a complex? Ha ha–a complex. My answer is that it is in fact a complex and therefore it’s not terribly complex. Whatever gets me in the “I’m not worthy” spot must be checked for the overlay of Mother before I can do anything else about it.

      It’s sort of like needing reading glasses. I know I’ll see more clearly as soon as I find them, but sometimes I forget they’re on the top of my head.

  4. I’m very interested in Birth Order because it has been held against me, growing up. That is just so wrong.

    I noticed you mentioned buried treasure in this blog and I noticed it in regards to your reference to buried treasure in dreams. I haven’t figured out most of my dreams but they are still an intriguing mystery to me. I’m curious about them, good and bad. Dreams are just too energetic to be taken lightly and the Bible says that dreams are not to be taken lightly either.

    I’ve noticed everyone here has a strong scolding voice. Who gave you those voices and why do you obey them? I’m curious because I’ve never had one. I get feelings of urgency or guilt but they don’t have a voice. I sometimes talk to my self into getting something done like “I better wash the dishes before I start cooking. or I’m stuck with a bigger pile” but nothing like you all describe.

    • Hind’s Feet, what an interesting observation–that we all have strong scolding voices and you do not. I imagine you do have one that’s not active at the moment or hasn’t been active for awhile. Perhaps that voice is repressed and has been shoved far underground. I write this based on the theory that we all share common archetypes, among them the old witch… or the harsh inner nun (like the ones who so often seem to end up teaching religioun in Catholic schools… ugh).

      To answer your question, I think that I obtained my strong inner Sister Perpetually Judgmental through a variety of sources. First, it’s part of my innate temperament type to be hard on myself, a perfectionist, a stickler for principles (and God help you if you don’t act on principal!); Second, my experience of my mother was that she didn’t accept me for who I was, much less help me grow into a better who-I-was; and Third, I share all the collective archetypes of Wicked Witch, Old Hag, Dictator, and so on with the human race. Sister Perpetually Judgmental is therefore bound to crop up regularly in my life.

  5. This is a good question and one I will ponder. I came across your blog looking for dream interpretations. I have revisited scripture because of all that I witnessed and being torn between watching the transparent reality of the certainty of one path with limited light–though with light all the same–and another path that offers more light in all its uncertainty. I may meditate over Esau and the continued story of my dreams, that of denying my birthright because sometimes birthright of this world is not what the Spirit called us to do on this earth. Faith and works…their relationship is what now compels me to meditate over all my decisions. And yes, pushing away evil thoughts and trying to find light in all. Thank you for this post and may God always be with you.

  6. I know I get nudges about books to read, and on more than one occasion I have found a relevant book on my shelves which I bought many years ago and had not read. I love that!

    I will certainly listen for more internally. I feel happy that if I miss one, there will be others – I just hope I don’t miss them! More disturbingly, last night, just before sleep, I distinctly heard within my inner space the sound of a child crying, and I know it was a clue, a lead of some sort. Now that’s going to be interesting to look out for follow ups!

  7. Well Eve, I grumble when I’m cleaning because I would rather be writing or thinking lofty thoughts, little snob that I can be, but now I’ll consider more self-examination if it uncovers my Sister Mary Jane, Sister Mary Perfect.

    My inner nun is not judgmental she is bossy, arms folded, lips pursed, “Did you wash your hands?” or “This is a cause for confession!” (That one is always with a smile since I adored Frank McCort, rest his brave and creative soul.) Or how about, “I’m not saying this again, Mister.” I would say I’m embarrassed but I find it more comical that I would even think that way, never mind actually say it out loud. And here I am now writing it. It’s like an AA meeting.

    I suppose my musing tonight comes appreciatively because I see the spirit modeled in your writing, its brave march right up to the mirror and look! And if I don’t soon change my sister act, Eve, I might find myself out of a good wife’s call to sainthood.

    MJ

    • MJ, funny you should comment, as I had a rather serendipitous happening while painting our library last week. The week before I started this project, I had been poking around on your blog and read about your book. I thought to myself, “I should read her book,” but then I replied, “but I have so many to read already!” So I didn’t do anything about it other than think about it.

      A few weeks later I was moving books off the shelves so my son and I could paint, just huge piles of books because we have about 3500 or so in there. After three days of piling books, taping off, cutting in, and finally painting, the room was finished. I started sorting and re-shelving books, and when I got to the psychology sections, with a whole shelf devoted to grief, bereavement, dying, death… I found your book. Rather than shelving it with the memoirs or autobiographies, I had put it with grief. And I hadn’t read it yet (obviously).

      I was so happy to find that I’d already bought it! Which is a funny thing to write about a book about losing a child, but there you have it. I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’m going to read it soon, because it seems to be time. I’m looking forward to it, especially since I got two nudges about reading it. I’ll report back.

      And thank you for your comment. “I might find myself out of a good wife’s call to sainthood”–poetic, to say the least. You can really turn a phrase. :o)

  8. That’s crazy. I have to listen more.

    I keep meaning to write this to you: I don’t have anything to add or ask about your posts lately, but they seem to tell me exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. (How do you know?) Thanks for that.

    • Aunty, thanks for commenting even if you don’t have anything in particular to add or ask. I imagine we all need wake-up calls and we all miss the first time or four and that we share common experiences and paths that are nevertheless unique because we’re on them, and there’s only one of us.

      Whew, that was a long sentence!

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