The origins of myrrh and frankincense are traced to the Arabian Peninsula.
According to Herodotus (5th century BC): “Arabia is the only country which produces frankincense, myrrh, cassia and cinnamon…the trees bearing the frankincense are guarded by winged serpents of small size and various colors.”
Myrrh is a resin, or sap-like substance, that comes from a tree called Commiphora myrrha, common in Africa or the Middle East. Myrrh is botanically related to Frankincense, and is one of the most widely used essential oils in the world. The myrrh tree is distinctive due to its white flowers and knotted trunk.
Sandalwood oil is extracted from the woods for use. Sandalwood is the second most expensive wood in the world, right after African Blackwood. Both the wood and the oil produce a distinctive fragrance that has been highly valued for centuries.
Onycha, spoken of in Exodus 30:34, was one of the ingredients of the sacred perfume. It consists of the shells of several kinds of mussels, which when burned emit a strong odor.
Being loved is what we live for, and we recruit all sorts of scenarios to accomplish the precious feeling. If we haven’t felt deserving, we both long for being loved and get in the way of it happening.
Rather than being loved, it works much better to “be love.” What I mean is that, we humans are scuffling around trying to access love from each other, when being an instrument of love’s expression is the way to go. Love doesn’t come from us, it comes through us.
If I AM love, I only look for ways to express it in the world. Those ways are constantly emerging, but we miss the opportunities because we’re looking for validation of worth from each other. Here is the bottom line: We are already valid because we are love’s expression!
Once we accept this, we express it every chance we get. We offer an open heart, compassion and gratitude. This is much more appealing than a sense of lack and “what can you do for ME” mentality. In fact, when others feel that we are giving rather than asking, channeling in Universal Love, they gravitate toward it. We become the conduit through which others can experience it.
This sort of love may or may not appear as personal love. Personal love appears as romantic relationships and family and looks like it’s about ME. In fact, it’s a particular canvass upon which Universal Love is expressed. It’s never about your or me as an individual, although it appears that it is.
Love is expressed moment to moment and subtly guides our decisions. When we are aligned with that beam, attuned to it, the music that plays through us is light hearted and joyful. We aren’t on a hunt for something in the world to complete us. We are already complete.
I had someone recently say “but I’m not Jesus or Ghandi!” To that I answered, why not?
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction… Or simply said from the psychological perspective “You cannot touch without being touched!”
Back in the day my brother, five years older than I, took the physical science road and became a physics teacher, while I took the life science road and became a biology teacher. It seemed like we were on opposites sides of the road.
As time passed, I moved from my biology platform into psychology, but still teaching in my own ways, both in practice and in college. Last week, my brother shared Newton’s Third Law…”You cannot touch without being touched,” and I realized the more things appear different, the more they are the same.
When we touch another person’s life, we are touched in return. Precious are these interactions and not to be taken lightly. Vital is conscious awareness as to how our “touch” of another rebounds and has effect on ourselves.
I recently completed teaching a trimester in both Intro to Psychology and Human Relations at Berkeley College. I realized, in our last class, that I had touched my students and they had deeply touched me. Every moment of interaction has its impact, a Universal impact. The laws of science and of interpersonal relations are one.
We humans move through life often semi-conscious and seeing things solely from our point of view. The ability to empathize, embrace the position of another person is our willingness to be touched. The perception of isolation and individuality is a limitation, just as the idea that the laws of science don’t apply to all things.
So I’m glad I’ve lived long enough to see separation become connection. Thank you to my brother for his wisdom…
With love, Rosanne
I was speaking to a friend about his intrigue with “patina” on furniture and building materials. Patina is the signs of weathering that give wood, metal and objects character. It’s considered desirable to show that the item isn’t newly manufactured and in fact, has been around for a while.
Of course, my mind went to patina in the human condition. Why isn’t it desirable to look like we’ve been around the block a few times? Why should we all look like fresh-faced newbies?
Maybe it’s capitalism… the encouragement to “get a new model” to drive the economy. We generalize the concept that new must be better. So new people must be better too.
I think most of us feel like new earthsuits would be more serviceable and less demanding that the older models. With new earthsuits comes the reality of cluelessness, and most of us wouldn’t envy that part of the deal, not to mention the trials and tribulations needed to breathe some wisdom into the callow mind.
Here’s my suggestion; aging is just “patina.” It’s a sign that we’ve been there, done that and hopefully have reached a peaceful place of self-acceptance. I plan to wear my patina with pride because I’ve earned it! (Not to say there isn’t some wrinkle crème in my medicine cabinet… I’ll call that “artistic license!”)
I remember my dear uncle saying, “Now that I’m old I can look back on life while I’m living it.” I didn’t get that at the time, but now I do.
What I find different about getting older is that I can be the observer and the actor at the same time. When we’re young, we’re “doing,” and if we are more mature than the majority, reflecting way after the doing is over. “Insight,” is just that…looking inward and reflecting. If we can do that while we’re living, we’re far better off than most folks.
If we aren’t among the more mature and mindful, we blunder along only to discover our patterns and miscues in what isn’t working in our lives. If we don’t blame others, we may end up in the office of a therapist. Better late than never!
On the Discovery Channel there was discussion about research moving toward life without death. On the surface, that sounds like the vanquishing of the ultimate enemy! But what impact will immortality have on the choices we make in our then open-ended lives?
Will we care as much about our impact on others? If we have endless “do-overs” will we choose to be mindful? There was a hypothetical projection that one day we will be able to upload our consciousness into an app and won’t need a body!
There is something about the finiteness of form and time that motivates us. That which is finite is more precious and worthy of introspection and meaning. Since neither I nor anyone reading this is at this point immortal in the physical sense, maybe we can cherish the life we are living and “look back at its impact while we’re living it.”
I was recently contemplating the words servant versus the word slave. In spiritual life, it is often said that we are servants, or those who minister to the needs of others. We choose this willingly.
One the other hand, a slave is someone who is ministering to the needs of others, but unwillingly. Many of us feel like slaves in our everyday lives. We go to work resentfully, feeling trapped by invisible obligations that (incidentally) we tacitly agreed to. The agreement was probably made in an unspoken exchange… “I’ll work at a job to make enough money to be a desirable mate.”
This happens in relationships as well. “I’ll be enslaved to your personality glitches because I dare not expose my feelings for fear of being unlovable.”
It’s interesting to note that the same job or relationship might feel like service if the choices came from love rather than fear. Think about that for a minute.
Desperation makes us unconscious. If we suspend self-doubt and make our choices from the platform of love, our direction would be guided by a steady hand. As soon as self-doubt and desperation intrude, we are slaves and the master is fear.