Wednesday, April 03, 2013
"They tried to adapt their lives, at first, to the tenets of religion;
but that turned out, alas, to be a difficult proposition.
So now they have taken the opposite direction:
Adapted religion to their own imperfection."
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Sunday, June 17, 2012
The most common category among Christians is those who have awareness of the realm of Good, in the sense that they can feel directly when they do something good, a sense of warmth and joy that comes into their heart that is not related to the pleasures of the senses. In this direct perception of something spiritual, they are naturally inclined to believe in God and Heaven, and it takes some effort to convince them otherwise, as some people these days do.
It seems to me that the path of karma - action or duty - is particularly prevalent in this group. I guess that makes sense since they feel an immediate reward?
The next and much less common group is what I call "heroes" or geniuses, those who are able to directly receive inspiration from a higher realm. Artists of all stripes, natural born leaders, teachers and scholars. I call us "heroes" because we have one or more abilities that common people cannot understand, kind of like superheroes in contemporary entertainment, although less abrupt. But in truth, no great genius is without a touch of madness, so there is also a potential for damage.
It seems that the way of jnana - knowledge, insight, wisdom - is more dominant here than elsewhere, and is viewed with a little suspicion by most members of the other two groups.
The third group is the saints, whose purity of heart and immediate contact with the holy is beyond the understanding of even those who regularly receive inspiration from high realms. Since it is always harder for someone on a lower level to understand those on a higher, there is not much I can say about these, except that there are more saints than listed in the books, since you have to be involved in miracles or die spectacularly to become an official saint. There are others, but you usually know that after they are gone.
The saints seem to particularly follow the path of bhakti - love, devotion, receiving and giving mercy. That is not to say that they don't also have wisdom and action, but these typically follow as an afterthought to devotion, a fruit of love, if not quite a side effect.
So in Christianity there seems to me such a correlation exists. I have seen mentioned that Christianity is itself predominantly a bhakti religion, even though I frankly don't see this preference in the words of Jesus Christ. What I notice is his overflowing jnana, but that may be just my limited receptivity. I must concede, I don't seem to be made from the stuff that saints are made from.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
There are individuals gifted with particular brands of genius: musical genius, artistic genius, scientific, even philosophical and religious, I believe. And certain cultures, and certain times in history, saw a flourishing of one or more of these. I will not here speculate on how this came to be. But mere biomass is not enough. You cannot assure that a new genius will be there to continue a tradition. An era draws to its close, and the geniuses dwindle and are gone.
Modern society is shaped by an era of unprecedented scientific genius. Even today knowledge increases exponentially. But it seems to me that much of it is ordinary workers picking up the fish killed by the explosive depth charges of genius already gone. And we know not which type of genius will erupt next, or where, or when.
It is easy to get puffed up and identify with the genius whose coat tails we ride. The spirit of democracy says that we are all the same, but that would ensure a hasty decline. As Frithjof Schuon says, the purpose of a civilization is to produce saints. I would say more generally, genius. Those who can directly perceive the crack in the Cosmic egg, where the Light gets in. No quantity of mass produced doggerel can substitute.
Monday, May 14, 2012
To argue whether Holy Scripture contains contradiction is like arguing whether a picture is flat. They are both representations, pointing beyond themselves, like the proverbial finger pointing at the moon. If you cannot look through the picture or the Scripture to the higher-dimensional reality it represents, you are merely critiquing art.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
A lot of things have happened and that church has changed, and I have also changed but not in the same ways. I set out on a different sort of discovery, learned about different religions and philosophies and the history of human civilizations. I realize that there have been many wise men through the ages from whom I could learn much.
Yesterday I picked up a book I have brought with me through all these years, a collection of articles or very short essays written by the "founder" of that particular church - the guy who managed to irritate the established churches so much that they threw him out. I am not sure how to put this. The clarity of his understanding, and the ability he had to draw from the Bible insights that are applicable regardless of religion, culture or time in history. Of course he frames it all in distinctly Christian words, but it is definitely the perennial religion.
For some of us it is a necessity to learn about different religions and spiritual traditions. But I now also realize that this is not necessarily true for everyone. That one could with just the Bible find all the wisdom in the world. I am not the right person to say whether you could do that with the sacred scripture of other faiths as well. It may well be, what I mean is that it is not for me. The thing is, it is not the letter but the spirit. The actual text is only a container for a spiritual fountain that cannot be exhausted, not in a single lifetime or even by a single church throughout the ages. But without the right spirit, the text will lead one into utter madness.
They say that you do not know what you have until you lose it. But I have now come to believe that you do not know until you find it again.
Monday, January 02, 2012
St Teresa is awesome as usual.
"One fall is not sufficient for a person to be lost, nor are many, if he loves You and not the things of the world. He journeys in the valley of humility."
That's an amazing visual. The prideful walks on the ridge, where a single misstep can send him tumbling downward. But he that walks in the bottom of the valley, even if he stumbles, he only falls to his knees.