For the past few days I have been trying to cultivate a morning routine of reading a chapter from Jacob Glass' "The Crabby Angels Chronicles" and the day's selection from Mark Nepo's "The Book of Awakening." I love both of them, and consider them very spiritual beings who also just happen to be able to write, so this is a joy.
For the past two weeks I have been trying to steal time from work and housework and meeting every need of the people who live in my house to read Jean Houston's "The Passion of Isis and Osiris." NOT light reading. Great reading, but not light. Not the kind of book that lends itself to being interrupted over 5 times every page. (Which is saying something, because I have been known to devour a 300 page tome in less than 2 hours back when I could do something uninterrupted.) So, needless to say, I haven't gotten very far in it. However, I was able to read TWO ENTIRE PAGES this morning when I was using the bathroom, had the bathroom door locked, and the natives were asleep.
So today, this is what I gleaned from Jean Houston.
We have been isolated from myth and stories that help us make sense of our lives by industrialization. I would go out on a limb and say that technology also does this. Like the David Foster Wallace quote that I posted yesterday, we are alone. We can't know what others are thinking. However, myths used to serve as a bridge. Unfortunately each generation is farther and farther away from being taught those myths. They shouldn't be "taught;" they should be known. My own children don't even know fairy tales. They are unheard of at their schools, but everyone knows about Captain Underpants. (Not to put down Captain Underpants, whatever gets them reading).
With this loss of story/myth that used to a be a common thread weaving us together in our lives, psyches and morals and ethics, at large in our communities, there is a disconnect. We want to believe in something bigger, more substantial, and more permanent than ourselves. It just isn't readily available in our culture.
And from what I see, lots of people are filling that void with religion.
This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing.
However, from what I have seen, this has served to divide rather than unite. Many religionists are very sect-like in their approach. I am learning that Christians and Muslims alike are very judgmental and convinced that their narrow view of their faith is The One True Path. So we get suicide bombers. Holy wars, and constant bickering. Not what the founders of their religions had in mind at all. I do not claim to be a Christian, and I don't even know enough to formulate a sentence on Islam, but I can tell you, I bet today's extremists have missed the boat.
So what is my version? It's mine. It's not yours. I do not want you to adopt it or convert to it. I KNOW it is not The One True Path.
So I am not "praying" that you will convert to my beliefs.
I am not "praying" to "save your soul."
I am not going to argue with you or shove my beliefs down your throat.
I am not that sanctimonious or narcissistic to pull that shit.
I believe Jesus had it right when he said "Love One Another." And when he could ask God to forgive those who crucified him, I believe he was acting as he spoke. This is the standard by which I measure all things.
I believe Buddha had it right when he said, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." I also believe the Buddha had it right when he purported that all life is suffering, that suffering comes from desire, that there can be an end to desire, and the eight-fold path (Right view, Right intention, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, Right concentration) leads to the end of desire.
I believe Nietzsche was right when he said, "One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star."
I believe Henry Miller was right when he said, "The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."
I believe Walt Whitman was right when he said:
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
Finally, I will close with a story from Jacob Glass and "The Crabby Angels Chronicles:"
Our dear Brother Jacob discovered this some time ago as he struggled to see the innocence in others. As he tried valiantly to follow Jesus' entreaty to love others, he grew to resent them more than ever. As with most of you, he thought it would be easier to love others if they would simply be more lovable. On the sidewalks of Los Angeles he would try to practice love by mentally greeting each person wit h an inner "Namaste" - trying to see the Christ and Buddha in everyone. Instead of bringing peace, it simply amplified his own feelings of guilt over the endless judgements that arose from within him as he failed over and over again.
It was his concept of "love" which got in the way. We encouraged him to simply silently greet each person with "Fuck you my brother - fuck you my sister" instead. Immediately, a lightness came over him as he began to laugh at his own ego thoughts and in that moment he felt his one-ness with every person who he saw and his heart opened wide. Infinite love is not about the words or your concepts of what "spiritual" looks like - it is an experience.
"You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go." - A Course in Miracles
Finally, if after reading this, you are angered, I am sorry. Please go pray, and don't tell me about it.
If after reading this, you feel sorry for me because I am not a member of your church or of your faith, and you want to tell me about it, don't.
If you want to pray for me, pray instead for yourself that your heart and mind be truly opened to accepting your fellow humans.
And if you don't want to pray for that, feel free to pray for anything listed below (maybe you can turn it into a Prayer du Jour exercise!):
1. True Peace
2. End to "Holy Wars"
3. Clean, non-engineered food and water for all humans
4. Cure for Cancer
6. End to Addictions
7. That No Child EVER Go Hungry
8. That No Child EVER Be Killed
9. End to Judgment
10. End to Hatred