(other parts of the code below) Thank you for sharing!
1. I develop significant relationships. I avoid abusing others for selfish gain.
2. I cultivate a positive attitude, a healthy body, and a clear mind. I avoid whatever would reduce my physical or mental well-being.
3. I promote the search for personal realization of truth. I avoid the seductive comfort of narrow-mindedness.
Early television is remarkable. A half an hour program is almost thirty minutes in length. Compare this to modern television in which Madison Avenue has buried its teeth and foreshortened entertainment in favor of materialistic brainwashing; a half an hour program is now only about 18 minutes in length. Well, save that soapbox for another day. What is so remarkable is that in the day, story counted because there were no FXs to make up for creative deficits. Content was critical.
This is never so evident as in Have Gun Will Travel. Breaking all the rules of conscious eating, we indulge in dinner time episodes of Richard Boone as Paladin, "a knight without armor in a savage land." Named for the knightly champion of Charlemagne, Paladin does have an armor of sorts; it's just not physical. The armor of Paladin is a personal framework of ethics which strictly governs his behavioral choices, thus maintaining his safety and integrity. Paladin has a Code of Honor.
After watching a number of episodes of Have Gun Will Travel, Dana & I sat down to sketch out Paladin's Code of Honor. This is what we came up with.
1. Tell the truth.
2. Honor your word.
3. Be fair.
4. Treat people with respect unless they prove undeserving of it.
5. Protect the weak.
6. Be kind to animals.
7. Display good manners.
8. Expect to be paid for your work.
9. Have an active interest in the arts.
10. Stay strong physically and mentally.
Further thinking on the Code of Honor brought another television series to mind: Star Trek. Any trekkie worth his salt knows that the code is the Prime Directive. In all of its iterations, the underlying message is non-interference in the development of others.
So what has this to do with shamanism? I fall back immediately into the work Carlos Castaneda undertook with Don Juan. Anyone who has read the books will recall the insistence of Don Juan that the warrior must be impeccable. Mysterious word, impeccable. The dictionary defines it as faultless, flawless, an adjective often associated with conduct, as in impeccable manners. Webster continues and enlightens further with not liable to sin and incapable of sin. This suggests rules or standards by which to measure "fault" or "sin." Therefore, the warrior must have standards of behavior. In the case of Castaneda, the rules weren't necessarily about Don Juan having control over Castaneda. They were about acting in a manner that kept Castaneda safe and giving Castaneda the conscious awareness that he had control over himself.
That is the ultimate aim of the Honor Code; one has conscious control over one's own behavior and exercises sovereignty (supreme and independent authority) and dominion ( rule over the self). One takes one's own measure and is in control. This is the way to maintain safety and operate with integrity in the world.
Since the shaman deals with the health of the soul, it becomes necessary to look at the ways in which the soul is disrupted. Interference comes in the form of soul loss or spirit attachments, both of which are ailments of weak or permeable boundaries. When we don't know who we are or what we stand for, we are scattered and can easily become lost or confused.
Our health depends on the clarity and definition of our personal boundaries. To live our life's purpose is to behave in a way that most authentically harmonizes with our own soul. To give ourselves away or to act under the influence of another is to stray from our personal purpose, our life’s path. One way to mitigate the disruptions and influences is to bring clarity to our life through the creation of a personal Code of Honor. Many authors have addressed this including Caroline Myss and Caitlin Matthews. Honor codes also pop up in other literature. Consider the Bible. Although they are called commandments, the top ten can be viewed as a Code of Honor that supports people in behaving in ways that minimize soul disruption.
Another great example of a code can be found in Kyriacos Markides’ Fire in the Head, a book about his work with Daskalos. The code is presented as promises one makes to oneself.
I promise to:
1. serve at all times and in all places the Absolute to which I whole-heartedly belong.
2. be ready at all times and in all places to serve the Divine Plan.
3. make good use of the divine gifts of thought and word at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances.
4. endure patiently without complaining all forms of trials and tribulations which the most wise divine law may bestow upon me.
5. love and serve my fellow human beings sincerely from the depths of my heart and soul, no matter what their behavior may be toward me.
6. meditate and contemplate daily the Absolute with the objective of total coordination of my thoughts, desires, and actions with Divine Will.
7. investigate and check every night whether all my thoughts, desires, words and actions are in absolute harmony with the Divine Law.
It is well worth the effort to design a personal Honor Code. Look to those you admire and see if you can ascertain the code that they live by. Begin to experiment with a code and notice if it binds you or somehow liberates you to be true to yourself and your soul’s path. The elements of your code may be standards to which you aspire and through voicing them you have a target you can reach. The essence of the code is to know yourself and to live authentically according to who you are and what you stand for. Consider your spirit, mind and body when you create your code. You are all of your parts, and bringing your choices and the awareness of your totality into consciousness gives you the high ground to honor and protect your boundaries and your soul's individual purpose and path. You can then be a knight with armor in this savage land.
Our friend An-shu Stephen K. Hayes has shared with us some points that make up the honor code of his students. Here is a sampling of his 14-point code.
1. I protect life and health. I avoid violence whenever possible.
2. I thoughtfully express the truth. I avoid the confusion of dishonest words.
3. I encourage all to speak purposefully from the heart. I avoid the dull contentment of gossip and small talk.
4. I am as enthusiastic about others' fulfillment as I am about my own. I avoid treating others' successes as the cause of my lacks.
5. I work to build love, happiness and loyalty among all the members of my family. I avoid putting temporary personal benefit ahead of the welfare of those I love.
- Thank you, An-shu Stephen!
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