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Both

 

The chief form of life on this planet is a creature who is genuinely confused as to whether his grandfather was God … or a monkey.

                                          –  Archy (the cockroach)
                                               from “The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel”  by Don Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are predisposed toward the notion of MUTUAL EXCLUSIVITY.  Black or white.   Evolution or creation.   One or the other.

 

Mmm?

Is it not so?

 

We look at the world presupposing inherent mutual exclusivity.

 

This (as it turns out) … is a MISTAKE.

 

Our view of the world is (extensively) mediated by (lots of) grotesque stereotypes.  And mutual exclusivity happens to be one of them.

 

~~~~~

 

Our cultural “discussion” on the issues surrounding abortion … is mainly a fight between two polarized camps – those who are ‘pro-choice’ (and favor women’s rights) … and those who are ‘anti-abortion’ (who regard abortion as equivalent to murder).

 

Barbara Kingsolver assures us – that when a woman has an abortion, if you were to ask her any time afterward – how old that child would be … she will always know.  (It is never a casual matter.)

 

And … (if my memory serves me correctly, and if my studies were true) – the soul does not normally enter the body … until after the birth.

 

Probably – there are some situations where abortion is the best choice … and some situations where the best choice would be to try for full-term pregnancy.  (and then either keep the child … or put it up for adoption)

 

There are many factors which need to be taken into account.

 

~~~~~

 

There is a similar ‘fight’ between the Creationists … and the Evolutionists.

 

But where do we get the idea – that life arises by ONE PROCESS OR THE OTHER?

 

What if it’s … BOTH?

 

[if you are interested in this question, I suggest you read the excerpts from the Urantia Book – which are included at the end of this essay]

 

~~~~~~~

 

The culture we live in is devoutly materialistic.

 

I say that because there is (still) a great deal of commitment (in our perverse hearts) toward the idea that there is NOTHING beyond the realm of materiality.

We have all heard it said that – ‘there is always a scientific explanation’.  

Mmm?

 

We WANT to live in a world which is material …. ONLY.

 

[This is an important battle in the Great War of Ideas]

 

Isaac Bashevis Singer was a wonderful writer [Nobel Prize, Literature, 1978]; and he wrote many stories about his childhood  – growing up in Warsaw.

One of these stories – “Why the Geese Shrieked” – well embodies the struggle between these two schools of thought.  Singer’s father is the local rabbi … so you can guess which side he takes.

 

[I just now added this story to the ‘Poems & Stories’ page, within this site’s ‘References’ pages] and

I heartily recommend that you read it.

            

The Urantia Book also has some things to say about this matter –

34:7.2 (382.2) Evolutionary mortals inhabiting normal worlds of spiritual progress do not experience the acute conflicts between the spirit and the flesh which characterize the present-day Urantia races. But even on the most ideal planets, pre-Adamic man must put forth positive efforts to ascend from the purely animalistic plane of existence up through successive levels of increasingly intellectual meanings and higher spiritual values.

34:7.3 (382.3) The mortals of a normal world do not experience constant warfare between their physical and spiritual natures. They are confronted with the necessity of climbing up from the animal levels of existence to the higher planes of spiritual living, but this ascent is more like undergoing an educational training when compared with the intense conflicts of Urantia mortals in this realm of the divergent material and spiritual natures.

157:6.4 (1749.3) Thus did Jesus exemplify in his life what he taught in his religion: the growth of the spiritual nature by the technique of living progress. He did not place emphasis, as did his later followers, upon the incessant struggle between the soul and the body. He rather taught that the spirit was easy victor over both and effective in the profitable reconciliation of much of this intellectual and instinctual warfare.

157:6.6 (1749.5) Jesus had sincerely endeavored to lead his followers into the spiritual kingdom as a teacher, then as a teacher-healer, but they would not have it so. He well knew that his earth mission could not possibly fulfill the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people; the olden prophets had portrayed a Messiah which he could never be. He sought to establish the Father’s kingdom as the Son of Man, but his followers would not go forward in the adventure. Jesus, seeing this, then elected to meet his believers part way and in so doing prepared openly to assume the role of the bestowal Son of God.

 

How are we to make sense of this fight?

 

It is abundantly obvious that life is material … and it is less obvious that it is also NON-material / spiritual.

 

Carl Jung says that people spend the first half of life getting “into the world” … and the 2nd half of life getting out of it.

 

This generalization he arrived at through having seen many many people as clients, as he worked as a psychotherapist.

 

And, of course, it is not an admonition or anything like that, it is simply a description of how human beings live … and through the course of life – how our focus shifts.

 

Here is how I make sense of it —

 

Humans are spiritual beings (always).

But as we begin life we do not realize this; we are young and stupid.

(by which, I just mean that we have the kind of stupidity which comes automatically with being young).

 

But as we live and (slowly, gradually) begin to open our spiritual eyes, we begin to realize (more) who we really are. (a spirit being … having a ‘human’ experience).

 

[There is more to say (on the issue of ‘both’ vs ‘mutual exclusivity’); I better save some for next week]

***********************************

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    https://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-65-overcontrol-evolution?term=65#U65_1_0   —

 

(Remember that ‘Urantia’ is the name that the celestials use to refer to this planet … which we call – ‘the Earth’. 

In reference to 734.5  – the Earth is what’s called a ‘decimal planet’ … because one (evolutionary) world in every ten   is designated as an “experimental planet” … and our world happens to be one of these.

 

 Embolded text is my doing.)

 

~ ~ ~ ~

65:8.2 (739.6) If spending so much time in effecting the evolutionary changes of life development occasions perplexity, I would say that we cannot time the life processes to unfold any faster than the physical metamorphoses of a planet will permit. We must wait upon the natural, physical development of a planet; we have absolutely no control over geologic evolution. If the physical conditions would allow, we could arrange for the completed evolution of life in considerably less than one million years. But we are all under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Rulers of Paradise, and time is nonexistent on Paradise.

65:8.3 (739.7) The individual’s yardstick for time measurement is the length of his life. All creatures are thus time conditioned, and therefore do they regard evolution as being a long-drawn-out process. To those of us whose life span is not limited by a temporal existence, evolution does not seem to be such a protracted transaction.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

65:3.6 (734.3) Mankind on Urantia must solve its problems of mortal development with the human stocks it has—no more races will evolve from prehuman sources throughout all future time. But this fact does not preclude the possibility of the attainment of vastly higher levels of human development through the intelligent fostering of the evolutionary potentials still resident in the mortal races. That which we, the Life Carriers, do toward fostering and conserving the life strains before the appearance of human will, man must do for himself after such an event and subsequent to our retirement from active participation in evolution. In a general way, man’s evolutionary destiny is in his own hands, and scientific intelligence must sooner or later supersede the random functioning of uncontrolled natural selection and chance survival.

65:3.7 (734.4) And in discussing the fostering of evolution, it would not be amiss to point out that, in the long future ahead, when you may sometime be attached to a corps of Life Carriers, you will have abundant and ample opportunity to offer suggestions and make any possible improvements in the plans and technique of life management and transplantation. Be patient! If you have good ideas, if your minds are fertile with better methods of administration for any part of the universal domains, you are certainly going to have an opportunity to present them to your associates and fellow administrators in the ages to come.

4. The Urantia Adventure

65:4.1 (734.5) Do not overlook the fact that Urantia was assigned to us as a life-experiment world. On this planet we made our sixtieth attempt to modify and, if possible, improve the Satania adaptation of the Nebadon life designs, and it is of record that we achieved numerous beneficial modifications of the standard life patterns. To be specific, on Urantia we worked out and have satisfactorily demonstrated not less than twenty-eight features of life modification which will be of service to all Nebadon throughout all future time.

65:4.2 (735.1) But the establishment of life on no world is ever experimental in the sense that something untried and unknown is attempted. The evolution of life is a technique ever progressive, differential, and variable, but never haphazard, uncontrolled, nor wholly experimental, in the accidental sense.

65:4.3 (735.2) Many features of human life afford abundant evidence that the phenomenon of mortal existence was intelligently planned, that organic evolution is not a mere cosmic accident. When a living cell is injured, it possesses the ability to elaborate certain chemical substances which are empowered so to stimulate and activate the neighboring normal cells that they immediately begin the secretion of certain substances which facilitate healing processes in the wound; and at the same time these normal and uninjured cells begin to proliferate—they actually start to work creating new cells to replace any fellow cells which may have been destroyed by the accident.

65:4.4 (735.3) This chemical action and reaction concerned in wound healing and cell reproduction represents the choice of the Life Carriers of a formula embracing over one hundred thousand phases and features of possible chemical reactions and biologic repercussions. More than half a million specific experiments were made by the Life Carriers in their laboratories before they finally settled upon this formula for the Urantia life experiment.

65:4.5 (735.4) When Urantia scientists know more of these healing chemicals, they will become more efficient in the treatment of injuries, and indirectly they will know more about controlling certain serious diseases.

65:4.6 (735.5) Since life was established on Urantia, the Life Carriers have improved this healing technique as it has been introduced on another Satania world, in that it affords more pain relief and exercises better control over the proliferation capacity of the associated normal cells.

65:4.7 (735.6) There were many unique features of the Urantia life experiment, but the two outstanding episodes were the appearance of the Andonic race prior to the evolution of the six colored peoples and the later simultaneous appearance of the Sangik mutants in a single family. Urantia is the first world in Satania where the six colored races sprang from the same human family. They ordinarily arise in diversified strains from independent mutations within the prehuman animal stock and usually appear on earth one at a time and successively over long periods of time, beginning with the red man and passing on down through the colors to indigo.

65:4.8 (735.7) Another outstanding variation of procedure was the late arrival of the Planetary Prince. As a rule, the prince appears on a planet about the time of will development; and if such a plan had been followed, Caligastia might have come to Urantia even during the lifetimes of Andon and Fonta instead of almost five hundred thousand years later, simultaneously with the appearance of the six Sangik races.

 65:8.7 (740.3) [Sponsored by a Life Carrier of Nebadon resident on Urantia.]

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State of the Union

The best politics is right action.                                        

                                                     – Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

I write this article on the eve of our nation’s 243rd birthday.  Big party tomorrow.

 

Even though it’s a mid-week celebration (no long weekend), we’ll still spend (an average of) $75 each (on food alone – 6.9 billion dollars) … and over a billion dollars just on fireworks (mostly made in China, of course … That’s roughly one pound of pyrotechnics for every American man, woman, and child).

 

Should we believe that this is a display of True Patriotism?  … or are we still (in our minds) – adolescents, attending a High School Pep Rally?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~   [ The Condition of our Society  :

 

We continue to confuse Reality with Materiality … (and therefore, we ) –

continue to oppress our minorities (lessers) – Native Americans, Blacks, and Latinos.  This program is (merely) consistent with the intentions of our Founding Fathers. It was NEVER okay (with European Americans) – that Indians should live (ANYWHERE in North America) AS INDIANS … EVEN THOUGH they were ALREADY HERE.  The (many) treaties we entered into with Indians … have proved USELESS to them.

Blacks mainly got here because they were kidnapped and BROUGHT here … as PROPERTY (slaves).  Emancipated 156 years ago (in 1863) … but not really. Racism can not be legislated.

 

Hispanics … don’t talk right … and they’re too dark.   Same with Asians – they LOOK funny; and some of them TALK funny.

 

Is this (blanket) racism based on Real Data?  On Research? OF COURSE NOT!

 

It deserves the same amount of respect as any other childish fabrication.  (Kids, playing in the Sand Box … they make things up: ‘If you fart, I get to hit you.’  … things like that.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to Grow Up?

 

[Ref:   https://www.worldfamilytrading.com/the-costliness-of-our-materialism/   ]

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We continue to maintain laws which (clearly) allow (or support) planetary degradation.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We continue to uphold (and use) a pathological design for Corporations.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We continue to auction off our own government to the highest bidder –

We grant to Lobbyists:  free access to our Congressmen.

 

Should we imagine that these lobbyists are Humanitarian and altruistic?  These people are NOT volunteers. They are PAID. And who pays them? And WHY? 

 

[The average Lobbyist salary in Washington, DC is $124,329 as of June 27, 2019.]

 

These folks are hired by corporations … to make money for that corporation (by making Deals with OUR LEGISLATORS.)

 

It isn’t NEWS.  (Maybe that’s why we don’t talk much about it.)

 

 

Ralph Nader figured out (in the 60’s, I think) – that the Vested Interest Groups are HURTING US.

 

It’s simply due to (ordinary) selfishness and greed … (so, if we continue to permit it, it will continue to happen)

 

 

And what is the Best Predictor of “Who will WIN an election”?  MONEY … their campaign budget.

And yet, we continue to allow corporations to donate funds (without disclosure) toward the election of whatever candidate they think will be in their best interest to win.

There are planners (the corporations) … and there are plannees (us).

 

The reason we have (in our language) words such as ‘whore’ – is because we believe that

there are certain things which should NOT BE FOR SALE.

 

Why should we think that (under these current conditions) our Government will SERVE US?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Our Education System continues to be undermined by the Super Rich.  

 

That all citizens should develop Critical Thinking skills – would NOT serve their interests.

(Why would they allow such a thing to happen?  They WON’T, if they can help it.)

 

[Ref:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6unS2JF8TA    (Chris Hedges  – The Pathology of the Rich) ]

 

We should understand that there is NO REAL DIFFERENCE between the Super Rich (individual people) …

and the corporations that they own and operate.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We have sent off our Brightest and Best young people … to seek their fortunes.

 

We have told them that – “Money isn’t everything, but it’s way ahead of whatever’s in second place.” … and they have believed us … and that’s what they’re doing.  Instead of doing whatever has to be done to save this planet from destruction at our own hands.  

If we ruin this world, we commit (also) Self Genocide.

 

“Here Kid, drink this Kool-Aid.  It won’t hurt you. 

 Heck, we already drank it, and look at us!”

 

To save this world from oblivion … SHOULD be the Project of EVERYONE WHO has ANY POWER AT ALL.  (including all Governments, all Churches, all people … even all Corporations)

 

Mmm?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We continue to fail to realize – that SURVIVAL is one of our Choices

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Tomorrow … I shall pray.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU    (Four Horsemen)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBzW1myEpUc&list=PLoEQxmkQ8A5b6kyq8jDwa_HxrRancTyCK    (interview w/ Ralph Nader, Feb. 2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPHSXUS0_1c    (Why America isn’t the greatest country in the world)

“The Shawnees and the War for America”  (book, by Colin Calloway)

http://www.thrivemovement.com/    (Thrive)

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Authenticity

 

 

You have to be true to yourself, but you have to be true to your best self, not to the self that secretly thinks you are better than other people.   

   

                                                                                                                                                                                                   –  Stephen Gaskin

 

 

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little. 

                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                    –    Thomas Merton

 

 

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

 

                                                                                                                            –   Oriah Mountain Dreamer

 

 

In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for ‘finding himself.’  If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence. 

                                                              –      Thomas Merton

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I saw (a few days ago) the film – “Always Be My Maybe” … I did not expect to write about it.  But the theme of the story is (clearly) – authenticity

[It’s a ‘Values Story’ … which holds up as its highest value – authenticity]

 

Actually, I don’t think I’ll say much more about this film … except that it’s a romantic comedy, and that it has a LOT of things going for it – humor, freshness, tension, humanity.  (It’s definitely worth watching.)

~~~~~~~~~~

 

One of my heroes is Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  She is a great Champion of authenticity.

 

Please consider her book – “The Invitation”    (ISBN – 0-06251584-5 )

 

~~~~~~~

 

Have you heard the music that no fingers enter into?

 

Far inside the house

Entangled music  –

What is the sense of leaving your house?

 

Suppose you scrub your ethical skin

Until it shines,

But inside, there is no music,

Then what?

 

Mohammed’s son pores over words,

And points out this

And that,

But if his chest is not soaked dark with love,

Then what?

 

The yogi comes along in his famous orange.

But if inside he is colorless, 

Then what?

 

                                                           –   Kabir      (version – Robert Bly)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Too many people spend money they have not earned

to buy things they do not want

to impress people they do not like.

                                                                                          –    Will Smith

 

This comment (by Will Smith … and also the other quotes) do a good job of explaining what authenticity is; and I don’t have much to add.

I will only say – that I am confident that authenticity is one of the (few) things worth striving for … as a Life Goal.

(It is certainly a  better goal than Happiness.  You should probably listen to what Emily Esfahani Smith has to say about it.)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o&t=96s      (Vulnerability  – Brene Brown)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Trdafp83U    (There’s more to life than being happy  – Emily Esfahani Smith)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpj-Vt09TqE    (Meryl Streep and Yo-Yo Ma)

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Unable to See the Forest for the Trees

 

 

If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks’ vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.

                                                                               –   Dorothy Canfield Fisher

 

When we say that a person is unable to see the forest for the trees … we mean that he is aware of the details of his situation, but has gotten lost in those details; and has failed to see the CONTEXT in which he finds himself.  It is a failure to contextualize.

 

In this past week I had the good fortune to see a (very good) documentary –  “The U.S. vs John Lennon” (2006)

                               https://www.imdb.com/tv/watch/tt0478049?pf_rd_m=A2FGELUUNOQJNL&pf_rd_p=11468689-c6cf-4171-acbb-3b9e94cd223b&pf_rd_r=RM5G848BK7AEGQE7GPFR&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=15021&pf_rd_i=tt0478049&ref_=dvm_us_as_imdb_tt-wbr-fdv  

 

It’s about (a certain battle in) the Great War of Ideas.

 

John and Yoko had moved to New York City (to live there).  The big problem was that he was a ‘peacenik’ … and he had rather too much influence, especially with young people.

 

The VietNam war was already dividing the nation; and the U.S. government (which was committed to prosecuting the war) did not want Lennon’s influence.  The problem was studied. Nixon was president, and J. Edgar Hoover was head of the FBI; and (in an effort to neutralize the threat) the Immigration and Naturalization Service were called upon … and John & Yoko were given notices of deportation.

The Lennons hired a lawyer.  And while they continued to receive deportation notices (for quite some time) they were never actually deported.

 

The film paints a fine picture of Abuse of Power … including a (priceless) clip of a speech by J. Edgar Hoover.

 

The colluders were in general agreement – that if Lennon did not approve of how the country was being run, then he should take himself back to England.  Not come here and criticize.

 

But … here’s the ‘take-away’ … (mine, anyway) –

 

I have been aware (for some years) of how easy it is for us … to simply do some things, and then (as we look at how we’re living)  we say “This is my life.” … but it had never occurred to me that (perhaps) governments might do the same thing.

 

Mmm?

 

Without a strong Context … how shall we govern ourselves?  How will we be able to protect ourselves (and others) from our impulses?

 

Some quotes (from interviews, from the movie) :

 

Jack Ryan (FBI agent): “Looking back … it was horrible what we did.  We were being used by the government to stop dissent. Plain and simple.”

Noam Chomsky:  “It was very serious.  It reached as far as political assisination … a gestapo-style assasination of a leading black organizer in Chicago, Fred Hampton.”

Wesley Swearingen (FBI agent): “It was what Hoover liked.  It’s what Hoover wanted to hear – that agents were neutralizing these different organizations; so, it wasn’t a question of – whether it was right or wrong, legal, ethical, immoral, or whatever. As long as it was effective.”

 

According to the Urantia Book – what separates human beings from animals … is NOT the ability to think; as an animal is able to work out the best way of accomplishing a task.  What is distinctively Human – is the ability to come to the conclusion that a certain thing SHOULD NOT BE DONE AT ALL.

 

As an embodiment of this (peculiarly Human) style of thinking, I think we may look to the life of Ivan Illich.  (1926 – 2002)

 

                                   

 

a Croatian-Austrian philosopher, Roman Catholic priest, and critic of the institutions of modern Western culture, who addressed contemporary practices in education, medicine, work, energy use, transportation, and economic development.  The book that brought Ivan Illich to public attention was Deschooling Society published in 1971. It was a groundbreaking critique of compulsory mass education. He argued that the oppressive structure of the school system could not be reformed but must be dismantled in order to free humanity from the crippling effects of lifelong institutionalization.

Illich was born in Vienna to a Croatian Catholic father, engineer Ivan Peter Illich, and a Sephardic Jewish mother, Ellen née Regenstreif-Ortlieb.  His maternal grandmother was from Texas.  Illich spoke Italian, Spanish, French, and German fluently.  He later learned Croatian, the language of his grandfathers, then Ancient Greek and Latin, in addition to Portuguese, Hindi, English, and other languages.  He studied histology and crystallography at the University of Florence (Italy) as well as theology and philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (from 1942 to 1946), and medieval history in Salzburg.

Someone who speaks ten languages is not going to see (any issue) from but a single viewpoint.

 

In general, Illich was NOT a Modern Man – (someone who believes that God is Dead).

In 1961, Illich founded the Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC, or Intercultural Documentation Center) at Cuernavaca in Mexico, ostensibly a research center offering language courses to missionaries from North America and volunteers of the Alliance for Progress program initiated by John F. Kennedy. His real intent was to document the participation of the Vatican in the “modern development” of the so-called Third World. Illich looked askance at the liberal pity or conservative imperiousness that motivated the rising tide of global industrial development. He viewed such emissaries as a form of industrial hegemony and, as such, an act of “war on subsistence”. He sought to teach missionaries dispatched by the Church not to impose their own cultural values.  “Throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s, CIDOC was part language school and part free university for intellectuals from all over the Americas.”

In his speech of 1968 to the Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects (CIASP), Illich strongly opposes the presence of American missionaries in Mexico. Illich says that the presence of American’s “do-gooders” is causing more harm than good. Rather, he suggests that the Americans should stay completely away from Latin America and stay in their homeland where they can at least know what they are doing.

 

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Illich

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Religion, More Again

 

“We do not want to be beginners.

But let us be convinced of the fact that we will

never be anything else but beginners, all our life!”

– Thomas Merton,                                                                        Contemplative Prayer     

 

“Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men, and all the history of mankind, in the light of God. To pray ‘in spirit and in truth’ enables us to enter into contact with that infinite love, that inscrutable freedom which is at work behind the complexities and the intricacies of human existence. This does not mean fabricating for ourselves pious rationalizations to explain everything that happens. It involves no surreptitious manipulation of the hard truths of life.”

– Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

 

 

 

Did you know that C. S. Lewis was, for a long time, an atheist?  He had great resistance to becoming a Believer (a Christian) … but his transformation is described in the film –  “The Magic Never Ends” –

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUiiqh2wBnY    (the life & faith of C. S. Lewis)

 

Here is a comment by him :

 

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.  All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

                                                                                   –    C. S. Lewis

                                                                                                                                         Screwtape Proposes a Toast

                                                                                                                                                   and Other Pieces

 

And here is another comment by Thomas Merton –

 

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . .

This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.”

Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

 

How should we make sense of such an experience?

One (logical) possibility – is that it was a fit of fancy … something produced by Merton’s imagination.

The other possibility is that it was a true apprehension of a reality that is not often seen.  It’s THIS explanation which, to me, seems the more likely of the two.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

In the film – “The Theory of Everything” (2014) we get to see Stephen Hawking make comments such as –  “God’s back in business” as he works through various of his theories about the nature of reality.

What is so wonderful – is that he proceeded fearlessly, seeking the truth … and was quite happy to live in whatever world he might discover.

Here is a real man.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Karl Marx (the German philosopher and economist) said –

 

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”

 

 Napoléon Bonaparte said –

 

“ I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation, but the mystery of the social order; religion attaches to heaven an idea of equality that stops the rich from being massacred by the poor.”

 

[Marx & Napoléon, though, were Modern (materialistic) men.  Mmm?]

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

And here is the (well-known) Villanelle by Dylan Thomas –

 

[I suggest you read it for Meaning.  Keep track of the subjects and the predicates … e.g. – ‘Good men rage against the dying of the light’]

 

Do not go gentle into that good night

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

                             –   Dylan Thomas     1914-1953

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Here is some commentary from the Urantia Book [the bold type is my doing.  Please feel free to study, as well, the whole of  Paper 36 … perhaps especially Section 4, about the midsoniters.  

 https://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-36-life-carriers?term=#search-jump-result-0 ]:

 

36:5.11 (402.8) 6. The spirit of worship—the religious impulse, the first differential urge separating mind creatures into the two basic classes of mortal existence. The spirit of worship forever distinguishes the animal of its association from the soulless creatures of mind endowment.Worship is the badge of spiritual-ascension candidacy.

36:5.12 (402.9) 7. The spirit of wisdom—the inherent tendency of all moral creatures towards orderly and progressive evolutionary advancement.This is the highest of the adjutants, the spirit co-ordinator and articulator of the work of all the others. This spirit is the secret of that inborn urge of mind creatures which initiates and maintains the practical and effective program of the ascending scale of existence; that gift of living things which accounts for their inexplicable ability to survive and, in survival,to utilize the co-ordination of all their past experience and present opportunities for the acquisition of all of everything that all of the other six mental ministers can mobilize in the mind of the organism concerned.Wisdom is the acme of intellectual performance. Wisdom is the goal of a purely mental and moral existence.

36:5.13 (403.1) The adjutant mind-spirits experientially grow, but they never become personal. They evolve in function, and the function of the first five in the animal orders is to a certain extent essential to the function of all seven as human intellect. This animal relationship makes the adjutants more practically effective as human mind; hence animals are to a certain extent indispensable to man’s intellectual as well as to his physical evolution.

36:5.14 (403.2) These mind-adjutants of a local universe Mother Spirit are related to creature life of intelligence status much as the power centers and physical controllers are related to the nonliving forces of the universe. They perform invaluable service in the mind circuits on the inhabited worlds and are effective collaborators with the Master Physical Controllers, who also serve as controllers and directors of the preadjutant mind levels, the levels of nonteachable or mechanical mind.

36:5.15 (403.3) Living mind, prior to the appearance of capacity to learn from experience, is the ministry domain of the Master Physical Controllers.Creature mind, before acquiring the ability to recognize divinity and worship Deity, is the exclusive domain of the adjutant spirits. With the appearance of the spiritual response of the creature intellect, such created minds at once become superminded, being instantly encircuited in the spirit cycles of the local universe Mother Spirit.

36:5.16 (403.4) The adjutant mind-spirits are in no manner directly related to the diverse and highly spiritual function of the spirit of the personal presence of the Divine Minister, the Holy Spirit of the inhabited worlds; but they are functionally antecedent to, and preparatory for, the appearance of this very spirit in evolutionary man. The adjutants afford the Universe Mother Spirit a varied contact with, and control over, the material living creatures of a local universe, but they do not repercuss in the Supreme Being when acting on prepersonality levels.

36:5.17 (403.5) Nonspiritual mind is either a spirit-energy manifestation or a physical-energy phenomenon. Even human mind, personal mind, has no survival qualities apart from spirit identification. Mind is a divinity bestowal, but it is not immortal when it functions without spirit insight, and when it is devoid of the ability to worship and crave survival.

6. Living Forces

36:6.1 (403.6) Life is both mechanistic and vitalistic—material and spiritual. Ever will Urantia physicists and chemists progress in their understanding of the protoplasmic forms of vegetable and animal life, but never will they be able to produce living organisms. Life is something different from all energy manifestations; even the material life of physical creatures is not inherent in matter.

36:6.2 (403.7) Things material may enjoy an independent existence, but life springs only from life. Mind can be derived only from pre-existent mind.Spirit takes origin only from spirit ancestors. The creature may produce the forms of life, but only a creator personality or a creative force can supply the activating living spark.

36:6.3 (404.1) Life Carriers can organize the material forms, or physical patterns, of living beings, but the Spirit provides the initial spark of life and bestows the endowment of mind. Even the living forms of experimental life which the Life Carriers organize on their Salvington worlds are always devoid of reproductive powers. When the life formulas and the vital patterns are correctly assembled and properly organized, the presence of a Life Carrier is sufficient to initiate life, but all such living organisms are lacking in two essential attributes—mind endowment and reproductive powers. Animal mind and human mind are gifts of the local universe Mother Spirit, functioning through the seven adjutant mind-spirits, while creature ability to reproduce is the specific and personal impartation of the Universe Spirit to the ancestral life plasm inaugurated by the Life Carriers.

36:6.4 (404.2) When the Life Carriers have designed the patterns of life, after they have organized the energy systems, there must occur an additional phenomenon; the “breath of life” must be imparted to these lifeless forms.The Sons of God can construct the forms of life, but it is the Spirit of God who really contributes the vital spark. And when the life thus imparted is spent, then again the remaining material body becomes dead matter. When the bestowed life is exhausted, the body returns to the bosom of the material universe from which it was borrowed by the Life Carriers to serve as a transient vehicle for that life endowment which they conveyed to such a visible association of energy-matter.

36:6.5 (404.3) The life bestowed upon plants and animals by the Life Carriers does not return to the Life Carriers upon the death of plant or animal. The departing life of such a living thing possesses neither identity nor personality; it does not individually survive death. During its existence and the time of its sojourn in the body of matter, it has undergone a change; it has undergone energy evolution and survives only as a part of the cosmic forces of the universe; it does not survive as individual life. The survival of mortal creatures is wholly predicated on the evolvement of an immortal soul within the mortal mind.

36:6.6 (404.4) We speak of life as “energy” and as “force,” but it is really neither. Force-energy is variously gravity responsive; life is not. Pattern is also nonresponsive to gravity, being a configuration of energies that have already fulfilled all gravity-responsive obligations. Life, as such, constitutes the animation of some pattern-configured or otherwise segregated system of energy—material, mindal, or spiritual.

36:6.7 (404.5) There are some things connected with the elaboration of life on the evolutionary planets which are not altogether clear to us. We fully comprehend the physical organization of the electrochemical formulas of the Life Carriers, but we do not wholly understand the nature and source of the life-activation spark. We know that life flows from the Father through the Son and by the Spirit. It is more than possible that the Master Spirits are the sevenfold channel of the river of life which is poured out upon all creation. But we do not comprehend the technique whereby the supervising Master Spirit participates in the initial episode of life bestowal on a new planet. The Ancients of Days, we are confident, also have some part in this inauguration of life on a new world, but we are wholly ignorant of the nature thereof. We do know that the Universe Mother Spirit actually vitalizes the lifeless patterns and imparts to such activated plasm the prerogatives of organismal reproduction. We observe that these three are the levels of God the Sevenfold, sometimes designated as the Supreme Creators of time and space; but otherwise we know little more than Urantia mortals—simply that concept is inherent in the Father, expression in the Son, and life realization in the Spirit.

36:6.8 (405.1) [Indited by a Vorondadek Son stationed on Urantia as an observer and acting in this capacity by request of the Melchizedek Chief of the Supervising Revelatory Corps.]

~~~

As you may well know – everything that science (medicine, biology, neuroscience) knows about brain functioning … falls (very) short of what we all actually experience in being alive; and this is referred to as the “Brain-Mind Gap” or the Brain-Mind Problem … and it is no trivial problem.  The above information … assuming it is true and correct … fills in this gap.]

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“The Priest”

 

The priest sat in the airport bar

He was wearing his father’s tie

And his eyes looked into my eyes so far

Whenever the words ran dry

Behind the lash and the circles blue

He looked as only a priest can, through

And his eyes said me and his eyes said you

And my eyes said, let us try

 

He said, “You wouldn’t like it here

No it’s no place you should share

The roof is ripped with hurricanes

And the room is always bare

I need the wind and I seek the cold”

He reached past the wine for my hand to hold

And he saw me young and he saw me old

And he saw me sitting there

 

Then he took his contradictions out

And he splashed them on my brow

So which words was I then to doubt

When choosing what to vow

Should I choose them all — should I make them mine

The sermons, the hymns and the valentines

And he asked for truth and he asked for time

And he asked for only now

 

Now the trials are trumpet scored

Oh will we pass the test

Or just as one loves more and more

Will one love less and less

Oh come let’s run from this ring we’re in

Where the Christians clap and the Germans grin

Saying let them lose, crying let them win

Oh make them both confess

 

                                   — Joni Mitchell

 

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858568391/#Er1SwluKkfVOlOpT.99

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

nor do I really know myself,

and the fact that I think I am following your will

does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you

does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though

I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,

and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

 

– Thomas Merton

~~~~

Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him,

requires a lot of courage and know-how.

 

                                                  – Thomas Merton

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Time Before Death

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.

Jump into experience while you are alive!

Think . . . and think . . . while you are alive.

What you call “salvation” belongs to the time

before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,

do you think

ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul  will join with the ecstatic

just because the body is rotten—

that is all fantasy.

What is found then

is found now.

If you find nothing now,

you will simply end up with an apartment in the

City of the Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next

life you will have the face of satisfied desire

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,

Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for

it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that

does all the work.

Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

 

                                                              – Kabir

                                                        (version by Robert Bly)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.

                                                                                       – Thomas Merton

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

Who Am I, Without Exile?

 

A stranger on the riverbank, like the river … water

binds me to your name. Nothing brings me back from my faraway

to my palm tree: not peace and not war. Nothing

makes me enter the gospels. Not

a thing … nothing sparkles from the shore of ebb

and flow between the Euphrates and the Nile. Nothing

makes me descend from the pharaoh’s boats. Nothing

carries me or makes me carry an idea: not longing

and not promise. What will I do? What

will I do without exile, and a long night

that stares at the water?

Water

binds me

to your name …

Nothing takes me from the butterflies of my dreams

to my reality: not dust and not fire. What

will I do without roses from Samarkand? What

will I do in a theater that burnishes the singers with its lunar

stones? Our weight has become light like our houses

in the faraway winds. We have become two friends of the strange

creatures in the clouds … and we are now loosened

from the gravity of identity’s land. What will we do … what

will we do without exile, and a long night

that stares at the water?

Water

binds me

to your name …

There’s nothing left of me but you, and nothing left of you

but me, the stranger massaging his stranger’s thigh: O

stranger! what will we do with what is left to us

of calm … and of a snooze between two myths?

And nothing carries us: not the road and not the house.

Was this road always like this, from the start,

or did our dreams find a mare on the hill

among the Mongol horses and exchange us for it?

And what will we do?

What

will we do

without

exile?

                                           –    Mahmoud Darwish

                                                         Transl: Fady Joudah

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

7. The Acme of Religious Living

100:7.1 (1101.5) Although the average mortal of Urantia cannot hope to attain the high perfection of character which Jesus of Nazareth acquired while sojourning in the flesh, it is altogether possible for every mortal believer to develop a strong and unified personality along the perfected lines of the Jesus personality. The unique feature of the Master’s personality was not so much its perfection as its symmetry, its exquisite and balanced unification. The most effective presentation of Jesus consists in following the example of the one who said, as he gestured toward the Master standing before his accusers, “Behold the man!”

100:7.2 (1101.6) The unfailing kindness of Jesus touched the hearts of men, but his stalwart strength of character amazed his followers. He was truly sincere; there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from affectation; he was always so refreshingly genuine. He never stooped to pretense, and he never resorted to shamming. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was constrained to proclaim saving truth to his generation, even though such sincerity sometimes caused pain. He was unquestioningly loyal to all truth.

100:7.3 (1101.7) But the Master was so reasonable, so approachable. He was so practical in all his ministry, while all his plans were characterized by such sanctified common sense. He was so free from all freakish, erratic, and eccentric tendencies. He was never capricious, whimsical, or hysterical. In all his teaching and in everything he did there was always an exquisite discrimination associated with an extraordinary sense of propriety.

100:7.4 (1102.1) The Son of Man was always a well-poised personality. Even his enemies maintained a wholesome respect for him; they even feared his presence. Jesus was unafraid. He was surcharged with divine enthusiasm, but he never became fanatical. He was emotionally active but never flighty. He was imaginative but always practical. He frankly faced the realities of life, but he was never dull or prosaic. He was courageous but never reckless; prudent but never cowardly. He was sympathetic but not sentimental; unique but not eccentric. He was pious but not sanctimonious. And he was so well-poised because he was so perfectly unified.

100:7.5 (1102.2) Jesus’ originality was unstifled. He was not bound by tradition or handicapped by enslavement to narrow conventionality. He spoke with undoubted confidence and taught with absolute authority. But his superb originality did not cause him to overlook the gems of truth in the teachings of his predecessors and contemporaries. And the most original of his teachings was the emphasis of love and mercy in the place of fear and sacrifice.

100:7.6 (1102.3) Jesus was very broad in his outlook. He exhorted his followers to preach the gospel to all peoples. He was free from all narrow-mindedness. His sympathetic heart embraced all mankind, even a universe. Always his invitation was, “Whosoever will, let him come.”

100:7.7 (1102.4) Of Jesus it was truly said, “He trusted God.” As a man among men he most sublimely trusted the Father in heaven. He trusted his Father as a little child trusts his earthly parent. His faith was perfect but never presumptuous. No matter how cruel nature might appear to be or how indifferent to man’s welfare on earth, Jesus never faltered in his faith. He was immune to disappointment and impervious to persecution. He was untouched by apparent failure.

100:7.8 (1102.5) He loved men as brothers, at the same time recognizing how they differed in innate endowments and acquired qualities. “He went about doing good.”

100:7.9 (1102.6) Jesus was an unusually cheerful person, but he was not a blind and unreasoning optimist. His constant word of exhortation was, “Be of good cheer.” He could maintain this confident attitude because of his unswerving trust in God and his unshakable confidence in man. He was always touchingly considerate of all men because he loved them and believed in them. Still he was always true to his convictions and magnificently firm in his devotion to the doing of his Father’s will.

100:7.10 (1102.7) The Master was always generous. He never grew weary of saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Said he, “Freely you have received, freely give.” And yet, with all of his unbounded generosity, he was never wasteful or extravagant. He taught that you must believe to receive salvation. “For every one who seeks shall receive.”

100:7.11 (1102.8) He was candid, but always kind. Said he, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” He was frank, but always friendly. He was outspoken in his love for the sinner and in his hatred for sin. But throughout all this amazing frankness he was unerringly fair.

100:7.12 (1102.9) Jesus was consistently cheerful, notwithstanding he sometimes drank deeply of the cup of human sorrow. He fearlessly faced the realities of existence, yet was he filled with enthusiasm for the gospel of the kingdom. But he controlled his enthusiasm; it never controlled him. He was unreservedly dedicated to “the Father’s business.” This divine enthusiasm led his unspiritual brethren to think he was beside himself, but the onlooking universe appraised him as the model of sanity and the pattern of supreme mortal devotion to the high standards of spiritual living. And his controlled enthusiasm was contagious; his associates were constrained to share his divine optimism.

100:7.13 (1103.1) This man of Galilee was not a man of sorrows; he was a soul of gladness. Always was he saying, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.”But when duty required, he was willing to walk courageously through the “valley of the shadow of death.” He was gladsome but at the same time humble.

100:7.14 (1103.2) His courage was equaled only by his patience. When pressed to act prematurely, he would only reply, “My hour has not yet come.” He was never in a hurry; his composure was sublime. But he was often indignant at evil, intolerant of sin. He was often mightily moved to resist that which was inimical to the welfare of his children on earth. But his indignation against sin never led to anger at the sinner.

100:7.15 (1103.3) His courage was magnificent, but he was never foolhardy. His watchword was, “Fear not.” His bravery was lofty and his courage often heroic. But his courage was linked with discretion and controlled by reason. It was courage born of faith, not the recklessness of blind presumption. He was truly brave but never audacious.

100:7.16 (1103.4) The Master was a pattern of reverence. The prayer of even his youth began, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.”He was even respectful of the faulty worship of his fellows. But this did not deter him from making attacks on religious traditions or assaulting errors of human belief. He was reverential of true holiness, and yet he could justly appeal to his fellows, saying, “Who among you convicts me of sin?”

100:7.17 (1103.5) Jesus was great because he was good, and yet he fraternized with the little children. He was gentle and unassuming in his personal life, and yet he was the perfected man of a universe. His associates called him Master unbidden.

100:7.18 (1103.6) Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify mortal experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: “If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new.”

100:7.19 (1103.7) [Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.]

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A Bit More on Religion

                            It is only the religious mind

                                       that is truly a revolutionary mind.

                                                                                       –   J. Krishnamurti

 

In his book – “The Sibling Society”  Robert Bly examines the cost (to us) for having removed the ‘vertical dimension’ from our collective paradigm.  Bly says that (now) without God, we are reduced to a culture without elders … where everyone is regarded as a ‘peer’ … as an equal.

A ‘sibling society’.

And is this an improvement?   I doubt it.

 

Here is a comment (on our situation) by James Hillman –

 

When The Father Is Absent

The missing father is not your or my personal father.  He is the absent father of our culture, the viable senex who provides not daily bread but spirit through meaning and order.  The missing father is the dead God who offered a focus for spiritual things. Without this focus, we turn to dreams and oracles, rather than to prayer, code, tradition, and ritual.  When mother replaces father, magic substitutes for logos, and son-priests contaminate the puer spirit.

Unable to go backward to revive the dead father of tradition, we go downward into the mothers of the collective unconscious, seeking an all-embracing comprehension.  We ask for help in getting through the narrow straits without harm; the son wants invulnerability. Grant us protection, foreknowledge; cherish us. Our prayer is to the night for a dream, to a love for understanding, to a little rite or exercise for a moment of wisdom.  Above all we want assurance through a vision beforehand that it will all come out all right.

Without the father we lose also that capacity which the Church recognized as “discrimination of the spirits”: the ability to know a call when we hear one and to discriminate between the voices….

The mother encourages her son: go ahead, embrace it all.  For her, all equals everything. The father’s instruction, on the contrary, is: all equals nothing  – unless the all be precisely discriminated.

 

You remember the first Star Wars movie? … when (at the end) Luke Skywalker is commanding a fighter and they are trying to destroy the bad mothership (or whatever it was)?  And this ENTIRE BATTLE IS ACCOMPANIED BY TRIUMPHANT MUSIC !

This makes me think – that Hillman’s words have (already) come to pass.    Mmm?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Let us consider Van Morrison’s song – “Into the Mystic”.  This is a song (mainly) about birth & death.

Morrison suggests that when we were born, we had ‘sailed into the mystic’ in order to get here.  And while he does not claim great knowledge about the craft which brought us … he reckons it must have been a “bonnie boat” because, after all, it DID get us here.

 

And (if my studies are correct) about one in seventeen (on this planet) are starseed … not from here … or even NEAR here.  And the distances involved are so enormous that “repersonalization” turns out to be one of the fastest ways of getting around.  We (some of us) just ‘got born’ here … and then (even taking into account the time required to grow up … the journey was (still) very quick.

 

And do not think that if you have no clear memories of (any) former lives, that that means you are not a starseed.  It is unusual to be able to remember such things.

 

Here are the lyrics.  (I have altered them some, so that I could use the song at a friend’s memorial service) :

Into the Mystic

                                                                                                       – Van Morrison

                                                                                                           (based on his song)

We were born before the wind                                                                                       

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won

And we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry

Smell the sea and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly

Into the mystic

     And when that fog horn blows

     I will be coming home

     And when that fog horn blows

     I wanna hear it

     We don’t have to fear it

And I bless your soul with all my soul

Like you did for me   in cosmic days of old

As we magnificently fold

Into the mystic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I want to share with you what the Urantia Book says about death –

 

3. The Phenomenon of Death

112:3.1 (1229.8) Urantians generally recognize only one kind of death, the physical cessation of life energies; but concerning personality survival there are really three kinds:

112:3.2 (1229.9) 1. Spiritual (soul) death. If and when mortal man has finally rejected survival, when he has been pronounced spiritually insolvent, morontially bankrupt, in the conjoint opinion of the Adjuster and the surviving seraphim, when such co-ordinate advice has been recorded on Uversa, and after the Censors and their reflective associates have verified these findings, thereupon do the rulers of Orvonton order the immediate release of the indwelling Monitor. But this release of the Adjuster in no way affects the duties of the personal or group seraphim concerned with that Adjuster-abandoned individual. This kind of death is final in its significance irrespective of the temporary continuation of the living energies of the physical and mind mechanisms. From the cosmic standpoint the mortal is already dead; the continuing life merely indicates the persistence of the material momentum of cosmic energies.

112:3.3 (1230.1) 2. Intellectual (mind) death. When the vital circuits of higher adjutant ministry are disrupted through the aberrations of intellect or because of the partial destruction of the mechanism of the brain, and if these conditions pass a certain critical point of irreparability, the indwelling Adjuster is immediately released to depart for Divinington. On the universe records a mortal personality is considered to have met with death whenever the essential mind circuits of human will-action have been destroyed. And again, this is death, irrespective of the continuing function of the living mechanism of the physical body. The body minus the volitional mind is no longer human, but according to the prior choosing of the human will, the soul of such an individual may survive.

112:3.4 (1230.2) 3. Physical (body and mind) death. When death overtakes a human being, the Adjuster remains in the citadel of the mind until it ceases to function as an intelligent mechanism, about the time that the measurable brain energies cease their rhythmic vital pulsations. Following this dissolution the Adjuster takes leave of the vanishing mind, just as unceremoniously as entry was made years before, and proceeds to Divinington by way of Uversa.

112:3.5 (1230.3) After death the material body returns to the elemental world from which it was derived, but two nonmaterial factors of surviving personality persist: The pre-existent Thought Adjuster, with the memory transcription of the mortal career, proceeds to Divinington; and there also remains, in the custody of the destiny guardian, the immortal morontia soul of the deceased human. These phases and forms of soul, these once kinetic but now static formulas of identity, are essential to repersonalization on the morontia worlds; and it is the reunion of the Adjuster and the soul that reassembles the surviving personality, that reconsciousizes you at the time of the morontia awakening.

112:3.6 (1230.4) For those who do not have personal seraphic guardians, the group custodians faithfully and efficiently perform the same service of identity safekeeping and personality resurrection. The seraphim are indispensable to the reassembly of personality.

112:3.7 (1230.5) Upon death the Thought Adjuster temporarily loses personality, but not identity; the human subject temporarily loses identity, but not personality; on the mansion worlds both reunite in eternal manifestation. Never does a departed Thought Adjuster return to earth as the being of former indwelling; never is personality manifested without the human will; and never does a dis-Adjustered human being after death manifest active identity or in any manner establish communication with the living beings of earth. Such dis-Adjustered souls are wholly and absolutely unconscious during the long or short sleep of death. There can be no exhibition of any sort of personality or ability to engage in communications with other personalities until after completion of survival. Those who go to the mansion worlds are not permitted to send messages back to their loved ones. It is the policy throughout the universes to forbid such communication during the period of a current dispensation.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

From Rumi’s ‘Prayer to be Changed’ –

Muhammad said,

Three kinds of people are particularly pathetic;  the powerful

man who is out of power, the

rich man with no money, and the learned man laughed at.  Yet

these are those who badly want

change!   Some dogs sit satisfied in their kennels.  But someone

who last year drank ecstatic

union, the pre-eternity agreement, who this year has a hangover

from bad desire wine, the way

he cries out for the majesty he’s lost,  give me his longing!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

And here is an excerpt from the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Hindu scriptures … 10:11.1

 

    1. THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.

What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?

2 Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day’s and night’s divider.

That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.

3 Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos.

All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.

4 Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit.

Sages who searched with their heart’s thought discovered the existent’s kinship in the non-existent.

5 Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it?

There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder

6 Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?

The Gods are later than this world’s production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?

7 He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,

Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s my view – that we know WAY too little to make any glib pronouncements … or take any ‘final’ position on the cosmos … and our place in it.

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What To Do about the Religion Problem

 

 

At the present time there still exist many doctrines which choose to leave in the shadow certain troubling aspects of a too complex situation.                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                    – Simone de Beauvoir

 

 

 

Suppose you go into an ice cream store with the intention of getting an ice cream cone, but you are uncertain as to which flavor(s) you would like.

You may well find – that the person behind the counter is quite willing (by using a little ‘tasting spoon’) to let you try a taste, without (yet) buying it.   You may say – “Could I try this one?” … and they’ll give you a little taste of it … and they’ll probably let you try a couple more flavors, if you ask them nice.  But then, you’re going to have to decide … and say – “Could I please have a scoop of blueberry and a scoop of coconut, on a sugar cone? (or whatever you feel like having).

 

You have just made an aesthetic choice.  (as you should have)

 

Next time you may make a different choice … and that’s fine.  We make aesthetic choices for the (simple) purpose of maximizing enjoyment.  [Actually, we (should, at least) make all our decisions for this same reason … only usually, the enjoyment is deferred or indirect.  But, since most of our decisions have a predominating ‘practical’ component … we do not call them aesthetic choices; we simply try to ‘do the best thing’.]]

 

However …

 

Suppose you are wondering what the truth is – regarding the Nature of Reality.   This is a different sort of situation (and the consequences are quite different.  We are no longer in the ice cream store.)

 

If you want the Truth (more than anything)   you will find that the construction of a Personal Paradigm (formulating – what you think is true / what you believe is true … the Whole Thing) – this process has nothing to do with choice.  A person who (simply & determinedly) wants the Truth … is NOT at liberty to choose what to believe.  You may be able to invoke the truth; if you yearn for it, the truth may come to you … and then you may recognize it.  But you do not choose it.

 

Everyone has some sort of relationship with the Truth; and this relationship is a Very Important one.

 

There are people whose lives are about deception … manipulation and control of appearances.  (We all know this.) Con artists … Ad men … certain politicians (I will not bother to name any).

Such people may be wealthy … they may even be respected.  Even so – I would NOT want my sister to marry one.

A person who is in a (close) relationship and is misrepresenting themselves to their partner … is lying to them (whether or not they are able to do so ‘successfully’).  And such a ‘relationship’ is a phony one; it’s NOT a real relationship.

 

If you’re going to have a phony relationship … why bother at all?  

(you’re just going to hurt people)

 

Our relationship with the truth … it matters a lot.

 

But – aside from social damage (hurting others) … it’s our relationship with the truth (our thirst for it) which equips us (more than anything else does) – to coax the truth into presenting itself … into putting itself where we may see it.

 

Think about everyone who has ever received a Nobel Prize … they wanted the truth!  (and not just casually)

Mmm?

 

Anyway, I regard hunger for the truth to be the First Principle   and the motivator which can impel us to more deeply understand anything (at all)  – whether in the physical (material) world or in the realm of the metaphysical.

 

In (material) Science – what are the other fundamentals (besides the Spirit of Enquiry / the desire for the truth)?

 

  • Observation / empiricism / respect for the ‘evidence’
  • Experimentation (the ‘experimental method’   and replicability of experiments)
  • Rigor & impartiality

 

The problem (of course) with metaphysical investigation is that it does not lend itself neatly to the ‘normal’ methods used by physical science.

 

We must try our best – not to be daunted by the (rather overwhelming) difficulty of ‘studying’ something as vast and apparently inaccessible as God (or metaphysics).  We should maintain our integrity and simply go forward.

 

Here is a comment by J. B. S. Haldane, who was a nuts & bolts geneticist –

 

“The conclusion forced upon me in the course of a life devoted to natural science is that the universe as it is assumed to be in physical science is only an idealized world, while the real universe is the spiritual universe in which spiritual values count for everything.”

— J.B.S. Haldane

The Sciences and Philosophy: Gifford Lectures, University of Glasgow, 1927 & 1925 (1929), 273.

 

Also, he notes –

 

“The advance of scientific knowledge does not seem to make either our universe or our inner life in it any less mysterious.”

 

De Beauvoir says –

 

It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our life

that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for acting.

                                                                  –  Simone de Beauvoir

 

 

And I offer these (following) comments (from the Urantia Book)    as a (partial) description of the human Condition –

[certain words are ‘bolded’; this is my doing]

3:5.5 (51.4) The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God.  All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following:

3:5.6 (51.5) 1. Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.

3:5.7 (51.6) 2. Is altruism—service of one’s fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.

3:5.8 (51.7) 3. Is hope—the grandeur of trust—desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.

3:5.9 (51.8) 4. Is faith—the supreme assertion of human thought—desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.

3:5.10 (51.9) 5. Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible.

3:5.11 (51.10) 6. Is idealism—the approaching concept of the divine—desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things.

3:5.12 (51.11) 7. Is loyalty—devotion to highest duty—desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default.

3:5.13 (51.12) 8. Is unselfishness—the spirit of self-forgetfulness—desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.

3:5.14 (51.13) 9. Is pleasure—the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities.

 

It’s true – that there are now lots of Modern People … intelligent & well educated people who think that we have ‘outgrown God’.  We have relegated God (& religion) to the dustbin where we’ve thrown all the ‘other superstitions’. And now – the biggest ‘church’ in our society … is the Church of Scientism.

But, ironically, the ‘faith’ with which the parishioners are devoted to their doctrine is unscientific; it has the same character as the faith that the old-fashioned ‘believers’ had.  

You might like to watch –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKHUaNAxsTg    

                                                 (The Science Delusion  – Rupert Sheldrake)

 

In this little video Noam Chomsky shares his personal relationship with ‘religion’ … and how he came to adopt that position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNDG7ErY-k4    (Chomsky on Religion)

Now, I greatly admire this man and am (extremely) grateful for his work.  However, it seems to me that he allowed himself to take up the position of ‘not believing’ … not having ‘faith’ … by making an aesthetic choice; he simply “accepted’ Bertrand Russell’s counsel.

Certainly it is simpler – to just dismiss all rumors about God, about angels, and so on.  The problem is – ‘What if these things actually exist?’

 

Bob Dylan says –  “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

And while this may not be true … I am confident that we (all) must bet our lives on something.  We (unavoidably) live our lives according to what we think is true; so, whatever that happens to be … that’s what we’re staking our life on!   Mmm?

Given that we are sufficiently clear-headed … (and also truth-hungry) enough NOT to be able to choose what to believe … we need to admit that we are human beings; and this means that ‘all the information’ is NEVER going to be in.  Therefore – we are (all) obliged to choose what seems to us to be the best Working Assumption available.  Whatever sits heaviest upon the scales of Truth … (and NOT the scales of preference)

 

If you’re a bit ‘on the fence’ with regard to (God &) religion, I would suggest you read a bit of the Urantia Book.

Why?

For information.

 

For many years I regarded myself as being incapable of faith.  I knew people of faith … I just reckoned I could not do what they were able to.

But after I joined the religious order (in which I would spend 17 years) … my view on faith shifted.  I now regard faith as being mainly a matter of information … and of discipline / of practice.

The Urantia Book was (& is) the fulcrum of the studies at Global Community Communications Alliance; and I am (and remain) grateful for what I have learned from this (2,000 page) document.

 

I regard it as a (greatly) augmented ‘Bible’; and I know of no other place where one may learn so much (invaluable) information.  I would not wish to try to live my life without it.

 

In October, 2014 I took it upon myself to write a reply to a question that appeared in ‘Quora’;

https://www.quora.com/God-made-man-in-his-image-Looking-at-the-Earth-today-could-God-possibly-be-behind-the-worlds-outlook

Here is that article   (my response) –

God made man in his image. Looking at the Earth today, could God possibly be behind the world’s outlook?

 

         (response by) Stephen Spyker

 

It’s my guess that you ask this question rhetorically. I think you’re suggesting that since the humans on this planet have created such a spectacular mess — that, in itself, should be enough to convince any thinking person that human beings have clearly proved that we are not little godlings … that, seeing how we deport ourselves … to claim (or even believe) that we are ”created in the image of God” would be somewhere between extravagant and crazy. I think that’s what you’re saying; and if it is — your point, while apparently sound … is, nevertheless, untrue.

During the famous Tennessee Scopes Monkey Trial (in which a school teacher was brought to trial for teaching evolution to his students) the prosecutor said (according to my memory), “You told your students that man created God.” To this, the defendant replied, “I never said that. What I said was that God created man in His own image … and man, being a gentleman, returned the compliment.”

That we have made a grand mess of things is certainly true.

We labor under enormous (self-made) problems — anomie/alienation (we do not feel connected to each other, or even to the very life-support systems which uphold us), selfishness/(self-absorption), greed, willingness to deceive and exploit, numbness, general (and thorough) neglect of our great, great grandchildren.

And (despite the fact that most of us claim to believe in God) – Godlessness is a big problem.

Lately, I have been wondering – maybe the whole of Western Civilization, (from the roots, from its outset, from its creation) is our very own “Hey. Let’s do without God” project. And if it is that, my first reaction is – that it is perverse. But perhaps that’s too harsh.

I think we’re like a bunch of teenage children who imagine our parents are away for the weekend … and now we can do what we want – with each other and the house. “Great! We were fed up with our parents anyway!”

What, according to Zorba (according to Kazantzakis) were the first words (to God) out of Adam’s mouth? : “Come on, Old ‘Un. Out of the way. Let me pass.”

You see what we’re up to?

One day when I was about 12, it came to me ( for no reason … that is, I had not been thinking about it) – that the question about the existence of God will never be resolved by reason or by “evidence”.

Someone asked Carl Jung (when he was a bit elderly) if he believed in God. At this question, he laughed and said, “No. When I was a young man I believed in God. Now Iknow.”

This is the way a real man lives his life.

It is possible to know God, to have a personal relationship with Him … but without commitment, you should not expect much.

Having done some theologizing without revelation (The Urantia Book), I can tell you that you’re better equipped with it. There’s lots of things in there that I would never (ever) figure out. (While I do not accept the whole thing as ‘true’, mainly I trust it.)

There are now lots of people who (quite casually and easily) regard anyone who believes in God as ‘soft-headed’.

But are you so sure that all the “God” business is superstition and nothing more than a myth – that you would bet your life on it? Well, you are betting your life on it (if that’s the way you’re living your life.) And if that’s the case, then you may, as Kabir says – “simply end up with an apartment in the city of death.” (Then he says, “If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.”)

Western Civilization is (perhaps) ‘about’ growing up and doing without God. In the midst of this, the Humanists generally abstain from (even concern about) the whole ‘God’ issue. And if you’re a Humanist Agnostic Fundamentalist (you worship in your Church of Science [& Technology] and you’re all but completely certain that God is just more ‘Hoo-Hah’) … I suggest you avail yourself of more information – (spend some time in The Urantia Book. If you have Christian roots, start with the Jesus papers [p. 1321] … otherwise, start with Paper 72,  p.808; then read about Adam and Eve … then read the Adjuster papers [pp. 1176 to 1241] … then just use your intuition as to what to read next.)

Once you feel you have enough information, accept the Fact that you are a Child of God … and resolve to live as one. I have learned that faith is largely a matter of discipline. I used to think that I was not capable of being a person of faith, but I was naive … and I was wrong.

A person who wants the truth is not at liberty to choose what to believe. However, one may choose what to adopt – as a working assumption.

I would suggest – that you do not give up on God too glibly.

In her song, ‘Woodstock’, Joni Mitchell says that she ‘came upon a child of God’. She means this not in the strict sense. In the strict sense, we are all children of God. So, she means – that her encounter was with someone who had accepted his Sonship.

He tells her, “We are stardust … billion-year-old carbon. We are golden … caught in the Devil’s bargain (though that part is not really true; we’re creating our own hell) … And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watch these clips, and you will see – that “data” (impartiality & actual history) have their place in the Great War of Ideas –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWgyy_rlmag    (Moneyball –  “What is the problem?”)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzin1DgexlE    (Moneyball  – ‘player value’)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwjMXtI5oIU    (Moneyball, part 3)

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“The Japanese Wife”

 

Life, n.   A spiritual pickle

               preserving the body from decay.

                                       –   Ambrose Bierce
                                                          The Devil’s Dictionary

 

Many years ago I saw a (very good & interesting) film … but failed to write down the title.  I tried (unsuccessfully) many times to find the film … but recently I succeeded. And it is –

 

“The Japanese Wife”  (2010, based on the story by Kunal Basu; written & directed by   

                                      Aparna Sen)

 

It’s a story about an east Indian man (a school teacher) and a Japanese woman, who begin their relationship as pen pals … but then decide to marry … which they do.  They exchange vows and conduct their relationship as married man & wife … entirely through the mail. They plan to get together physically (when they can afford to do so) … but meanwhile they just go forward with their relationship.

 

It is well done … by which I mean – that the action, the drama is entirely believable.

 

I do not know that such a thing has (ever, in the world) actually happened; but this film shows us that it could.      

 

And, in so doing, it shows us – that life is essentially psycho-spiritual.      

That is the (non-trivial) implication of it.    

 

I think it would be a great foolishness – to argue that human life is not physical.  It is obviously physical … but it is also psycho-spiritual (mental/emotional/spiritual).

I could have titled this essay – “Life is spiritual more than it is physical”; but, as I begin the essay with a movie review (which film has the import of supporting a spiritual view of life)   I’ll stand by my choice.

 

Now … it is a helpful thing    in understanding (anything) – to realize that there is a First Approximation … and then –  Second (and subsequent) Approximation(s) / deeper levels of insight / and appreciation of nuance and subtleties.  And (for a human being) these levels of potentially deeper insight are never-ending. Human understanding is never replete; that’s just not who we are.

 

The commonly held view of Life (in Western Civilization) – is that Life (as a First Approximation) is physical … and then (later, maybe) as a Second Approximation – it’s spiritual.

 

The problem is – that this is wrong.

 

These (respective) approximations are reversed; they’re in the wrong order.

 

Life is (First of All) psycho-spiritual … and then   it’s physical.

 

And this brilliant film is capable, quite on its own, of showing us this.  That’s why you should see it.

 

(The Japanese Wife  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br3K4fkt9fs  [or]   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPqdPWW9TmI   )

 

Here is what happened to me (to convince me that Life is a spiritual affair) –                                  

By the time I left GCCA (the religious order I was in for 17 years) … Oct. 2012, I had come to the realization that I was lonely … to such an extent that I felt my well-being was at risk.  I felt like I was nearly going crazy.

Everyone at GCCA had taken vows against casual (premarital) sex; and perhaps if I were more spiritually mature, I could have better handled celibacy (& the lack of female affection and friendship).  In any case, I guess I did not do so well with it.

When I left the religious order, the next three years were devoted to getting settled (again) in the big world.  I stayed at the Spyker farm (my brother’s place in southwest Washington) for 10 months. When I found work (in Scappoose, Oregon) I moved there.  About a year later I moved to Sisters, Oregon (where I live still). About a year after moving here, I began doing some online dating, starting with communicating with local women – more or less my own age.

I met a couple people doing this.  And one of these is still a friend.

But after after doing this for a few months, I came to the realization – that it was not going to take me anywhere I really wanted to go.

I had seen a few notices in my inbox about dating sites for Russian-speaking women; and (having studied Russian in the Navy) I had long wondered whether I might have a sweetheart somewhere in that part of the world.  So I began looking through photos/profiles; and when I found someone whose looks I liked, I began communicating with her.  So (in February, 2016) I had an intense online affair with a woman from St. Petersburg (but then living in Kiev).  

But (after 3 weeks) I was forced to conclude – that she, in fact, had no intention of ever getting together with me; so I ended that ‘relationship’.

But while I realized Svetlana had not been genuine with me … I knew that I had been genuine with her.  In the course of those three weeks (and this is a little ironic) –  I had changed and grown; I felt I was more of a whole person … because (from my side) the relationship was (that is – had been) real.

And what I had attained (I knew) could not be taken away.

 

And that’s when I really began to appreciate – that all relationships are essentially psycho-spiritual … that even when we are physically together, and even when we have sex.

Sexual intimacy impacts our psycho-spiritual state … but it is our psycho-spiritual state itself  which is (always) the Primary Reality  (not the physical interaction).   Mmm?

 

Our relationships are valuable to us because (and to the extent that) they make us more Loving  than we would be without them.

 

And this is why we need relationships … why we need other people in our lives.

They afford us a way   of becoming more LOVING.   Mmm?

 

What nurtures me (nurtures my psycho-spiritual state) … is the love (I have in my heart) for the people in my life.

 

That’s why I need them.

 

And this state of Lovingness may be achieved through mere remote communication …(though I do not recommend it).

 

But the fact that it is even possible – is sufficient to convince me – that what really matters in life is first of all psycho-spiritual … and (only) secondarily physical.

 

The (above) story/(argument) I regard as adequate; but there were other experiences in my life which have tended to push me toward the view – that Life is fundamentally a spiritual phenomenon (more than a physical one).

When I was a kid, in Ohio  – 10 or 12 years old, I was out one day walking by myself

east of our house, toward the creek.  

I probably DID go to the creek that morning, because I normally did that.  But that’s not what I remember about this particular morning.

What I remember is … an apple.

 

My grandparents’ place was next door to ours, to the north.

And where the land starts to slope downward (and eastward) toward the creek (on my grandparents’ side … a long gentle slope)  was an abandoned orchard.

Apple trees mostly.  

And the orchard was considerably overgrown with multiflora rose bushes – (brambles).

But that day I was walking along the edge of the field, southward, along the top of the old orchard.

It was late summer, and the trees along this edge were apple trees – Golden Delicious.

The apples weren’t as big as the apples that you see for sale in a Produce Stand or in a Store.  But they were there. And there were a lot of them.

And as I walked along, I perused the apples.

It was late in the morning, and all the apples on the trees had been warmed by the sun.

Presently a certain apple caught my attention, and as I gazed at it,  I knew – that that VERY apple – was the one I wanted.

It was too high to reach … so I picked an apple I COULD reach and threw it at the one I wanted.

This knocked it loose and it fell to the ground.   (Even that throw – was perfect.)

I picked it up.

It was perfectly colored – Yellow and green and gold and with a little blush of red.  Speckled.

The shape was full, but also tall.  A “perfect” apple.

And it  appeared perfectly ripe … Beautiful.  

Even so … I had no idea –  what was about to happen.

I bit into it … it was crisp and a little warm …The Juice !  … The TASTE !!

It blew the top of my head off !

As soon as I bit into it, I could ‘see’ (not with my eyes) … but I could see a cone – the point of which was in the center of my head, and it extended upward through the crown of my head and far into the sky.

Maybe that Cone is always there …(only normally I don’t see it).  I don’t really know.

But that was a good apple.

You can’t buy apples like that in the store.

(And while I don’t remember doing it, I’m sure I ate the whole thing.)

 

I grew up in semi-rural northwest Ohio.  Our house was but a five-minute walk to the church.

 

When I was little, the Shawnee Methodist Church was one of those small white frame country churches, typical to that time and region.  When I was about 12, it was deemed unsafe, and a new brick building (with glue-lam rafters) was built in the alfalfa field ‘next door’ to the east.  

Our parents were (apparently) in agreement about whether their brood should attend church, so my brothers and I attended routinely (as did our parents).

But (probably by the time I was in the 6th or 7th grade) I became aware that ‘going to church’ was (for most of the people in attendance) basically a social phenomenon.  They did not particularly believe what was being said there, nor were they very interested in it. The beliefs (& issues) were for them mainly irrelevant.

 

And – here’s the problem with that:

 

“Children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates; precept or even example is not lastingly influential.”

                                                           –  Urantia Book  (p. 1094.6)

 

Insincerity cannot be hidden; and it’s a poor teacher.

 

So I do not know that all my church experience contributed significantly to my spiritual development.   (True spiritual training is mainly missing from the American Culture.  It’s simply absent.)

 

I do think, however, that choral singing did make a significant contribution.  This is due to (good) song selection … many of the pieces I learned (and sang) were written (composed) from a high spiritual state.  And in order to interpret the piece, you must go there (to where that music came from) … and, it seems to me – that this is not trivial.

 

Listen to this one –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTZEwrgm8KY     (Ave Verum Corpus  – William Byrd)

 

This group of singers has become the ‘piece’.

And look at the director.  He’s (still functioning but is) on the edge of tears.      (Wonderful !)

 

When I was 27, my little brother, Jack (who was 24, and just starting graduate school) died suddenly one night from carbon monoxide poisoning (from an improperly vented gas apartment heater).

When that happened, I realized that I had (somehow) managed to ignore the entire realm of spirituality.

But then, I did some research into ‘Life After Death’.  I took an Experimental College course in Eckankar (the ancient science of soul travel) … and almost began down that path as a chela (a student).

I (instead) learned the practice of Transcendental Meditation.

I attended Maharishi International University, and graduated from there (in 1980)

 

In 1977 I had a (major) philosophical/spiritual insight, which for me changed everything.

Ref:      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlfqsL3hTK0   (trailer to my ‘Talk 1’)

         https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qpqRyvKuPDOtMsQYpKHLxnkOfOCrsYxmdaioAZd8RgE/edit?usp=sharing   (getting an assignment)

 

 

From 1995 to 2012 I was in a religious order (Global Community Communications Alliance … https://gccalliance.org/  ) where I became acquainted with (my own) pride and arrogance …  and also became familiar with the Urantia Book (the core document of that group).

 

Worked as a Hospice CNA (certified nursing assistant) from 2008 – 2013) … caring for people at the end of their life.

Doing this work, I soon learned – that we are all the same … we all have the same needs.  We need to eat … to be (kept) clean (& comfortable). And (mainly) we all need love, friendship, respect; and we need to be enjoyed and appreciated.

 

When a loved one dies, we realize that (though their body is still here) … that they are not … that they have gone.

 

We had (always) associated their body with them … but then we find out that it’s not them … which means – that it (the body) never was them.

 

It’s a little shocking really.

 

But that’s how it is.

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Why Meditate

With ordinary consciousness

you can’t even begin to know what’s happening.

                                                                 –    Saul Bellow

                                                                         The Dean’s December

 

 

 

 

 

Within the paradigm of the culture in which we have grown up, it makes no sense to meditate.  But a paradigm is simply a (collectively held and agreed upon) world-view. It is not REALITY.  Basically, it’s a big IDEA … an idea with lots of parts.

The LAWS governing ideas … fall out of how they work.  

The power of any idea is proportional to  the degree of resemblance which it bears to the thing it is an idea of.

 

A 10-inch plastic model of an F-16 Fighting Falcon … is bound to be a mere model.  It will NOT be a fully-functioning (very small) version of the real fighter. It would be a ‘good model’ … if it has the same proportions as the real F-16 … and most of its external weaponry and general anatomy.

 

Like that … an idea is a ‘brain model’.  If it is a ‘good’ idea, it will bear a strong resemblance to whatever it is a model of.  But the degree of resemblance is BOUND TO BE imperfect … incomplete.

And it is this fact which gives rise to ‘First Law of Ideas’:  Any idea can be wrong.

 (since all ideas are already wrong … simply because they are a model of something else.)   Mmm?

 

So … does this mean that our (beloved) cultural paradigm is wrong?  

 

Of course.

 

The concepts which (if they were present in our paradigm) would allow us to have a single intelligent thought about the fundamentals of Human Life … or about Meditation … are simply absent.

 

I recently had the good fortune to watch a film – “Mindfulness  – Be Happy Now” (2015)

 

https://tubitv.com/movies/372297/mindfulness_be_happy_now    

(Mindfulness  – Thich Nhat Hanh … also: Deepak Chopra, Dr. Blaise Aguirre, Cesar Millan, et al.)

 

I highly recommend this film.

 

“Mind” certainly implies “awareness”; however … it does not necessarily suggest any distinctions (any internal, spiritual anatomy.  And in the film, “mindfulness” is not used to evoke ‘internal structure’.)

 

I would like to offer some.

 

“Mind” also (in addition to ‘awareness’) includes: thoughts, perceptions, perhaps even emotions … plus the ability to think – to discern, discriminate, to compare & contrast, to analyze, synthesize, create, make judgments, etc.

These are qualities (concepts) which already exist in our paradigm; but there are others (which do not) –

 

Consciousness has two aspects – Experiencer … and Experience.

Part of our consciousness poses as something (our experience … whatever we are aware of) … and the other aspect (the Experiencer) simply does the experiencing.

Like an ocean … which may have waves on it.  The waves are our experience … the ocean is the experiencer.  (the ocean experiences its own waves)   Mmm?

 

The number (percentage) of people (in the US) practicing meditation … is growing rapidly … but that group is still a small minority – 14% (as of 2017)

 

Ref:  https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2017/Meditation-Use-US-Adults  

 

The fact that you have read this far means that this    (meditation) is something you’re interested in trying … or perhaps – that you already meditate, but would like to understand it better.  Or maybe you have meditated, but have dropped the practice … but you keep wondering if it’s something you should take up again (and perhaps commit to).

 

You may like to look at my posts from last year –

 

https://www.worldfamilytrading.com/attention/    &

           https://www.worldfamilytrading.com/meditation/

 

I am now satisfied that we should not presume to judge what happens during a meditation; we are simply not equipped to do so.  –

I want to tell you about a certain meditation I had.

It must have been in the fall of 1978

shortly after the students at MIU had received the (new) Sidhis Program.

This was before the big wooden geodesic dome was even started.

We would gather in what had been the old gym

(built at least 75 years ago for Parsons College)

And it had Steam Heat.

You could see the big iron steam pipes up high, along the walls.

And when steam came into the cold pipes, they would expand (a little)

but not uniformly (for the heat came very quickly)

And the joints (or maybe the hangers) would occasionally make HUGE noises !

As though someone was BEATING on them – with a 2 pound hammer.

A single ‘blow’ … just every now and then.

So – we’re all (perhaps 300 students) sitting in meditation on the floor of the old gym

and (on a cold morning) – there would be these sudden and HORRIBLE NOISES.

Well, on this certain morning – I can remember feeling my Autonomic Nervous System ‘flare up’

whenever one of these big ‘Bangs’ would occur … (the ‘Fight or Flight’ Response)

And it struck me as FUNNY – because you’re supposed to choose a QUIET place to meditate in.  Mmm ?

Anyway, after maybe 3 of these big noises (and the resulting Autonomic Flare-up)

I changed.

But I did not know it.

I ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT HAVE TOLD YOU – that I was now different.

(Subjectively:   NO CHANGE)

BUT

When the NEXT noise occurred (JUST the same as the others)

it produced NO REACTION IN MY PHYSIOLOGY.  Not a RIPPLE !

The sound was the same; but my RESPONSE to it was totally DIFFERENT.

(if not for the Sound – I would NEVER HAVE KNOWN – that I had changed) !!

What does this mean?

 

It means – that WE CANNOT (accurately) EVALUATE OUR MEDITATION

ON THE BASIS OF WHAT WE EXPERIENCE IN OUR AWARENESS !

 

There are things going on – BENEATH  (or at least BEYOND) our Awareness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

trailer (to A’Journe’s Talk 1):                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlfqsL3hTK0