After spending so much time lately contemplating spiritual paths I’ve gotten to thinking about what it might mean to live a profane life.
I guess, essentially, it would mean following one’s animal nature first and foremost; side-stepping the cultural and societal mores that have been imposed since childhood and reverting to primal inclinations. Be instinctual. If it feels good do it, I suppose.
Such a philosophic view would free one from karmic considerations as well as guilt of any sort; fears of retribution from a disapproving god or eternal damnation wouldn’t be a problem either. But, I imagine there would be downsides to such a point of view. One’s actions would most certainly be viewed as vulgar, irreverent, even blasphemous by most; alienation would probably be in the cards; one would become a pariah as it were. All of which one could live with, I expect, if you were ok with isolation from the rest of mankind; living entirely by yourself; peeking out occasionally to obtain basic needs.
Well, I’m afraid I’m a bit too compliant to assume such a contrary stance, being pretty vulnerable to the opinions of others. I think I’ll leave the profane life to the self-made men of popular culture in the realization that the concept is pretty much just a romantic fantasy anyway.
In my quest to realize a deeper consciousness I spent time recently in the expanding power of a spiritual vortex. After a fairly strenuous hike I arrived atop a large rock surface that I had been directed to by a group of pilgrims who appeared to have benefited greatly from the visit judging by their peaceful countenances and welcoming gazes.
I sat in the encompassing beauty of Bell Rock, the complementary reds of rock and greens of pinon pine and juniper playing against the blue sky, the light breeze adding to the intoxication of place. After a time I began feeling an upward pull of energy, lifting my being, my spirit soaring, self-dissolving. Pure consciousness revealed the unity of past, present and future, the sense of commonality all of mankind shares flooded over me, love for my fellows and humankind as well, love for our life sustaining mother earth…………………… I know what you’re thinking. Being the skeptic I am I must be playing games, putting you on, acting in a disgracefully flippant manner. Well, maybe a little. But, the combination of fresh air, exercise and beautiful surroundings did lift my spirits.
I’m still meditating and I do feel greater compassion for humankind in light of the many travails it faces; my demons, angers, pridefulness and petty self-interests appear to be dissolving; I suddenly feel serenity coming on; maybe this is a glimpse of what enlightenment is.
As I understand it, according to Buddhist philosophy, the quality of the life I am now living is directly related to previous lives my inherited consciousness has lived; if previous creatures, whatever they may have been, had been essentially honorable, moral and upstanding I can expect to reap the benefits of their good behavior in this and subsequent existences; and visa versa.
When I think about how my life has been going to this point I have to believe that at least the most recent past manifestation of my consciousness must have been fairly upright because my life is pretty good and I seem to be fairly well-adjusted. Of course, if I got down to specifics I suppose I might find some aspects of that previous existence that maybe didn’t measure up real well.
For instance, my physical make-up isn’t wonderful which makes me wonder if past me might have been a bit vain about it’s appearance. And, I can’t say I have great confidence when it comes to public presentation which might mean my earlier self was a bit on the prideful side. But, overall, I feel pretty well prepared to face the challenges of life whether good or bad. Perhaps previous me was of a Stoic nature.
I suppose though I shouldn’t become complacent. It probably would be good to step it up, try to be a little more responsive to others, try to be helpful to my neighbors, more understanding of my playroom mates’ eccentricities. After all, my consciousness will be moving on at some point and it would be nice if it found a pleasant future home.
As I sit here contemplating a deeper consciousness it occurs to me excessive anger is a deterrent to achieving my goal. I do understand human (and doll) spirit demands indignation at times regarding injustices in the world. The problem with rage to the point of hating, though, is it becomes personal, focuses on the ‘I’ narrative so detrimental to deeper awareness. (And, I might add here ‘love’ is quite the opposite, broadening awareness of the world).
So, the question is how to put aside petty, and, maybe, not so petty annoyances that stand in the way of my goal. I could, I suppose, just focus on the positive or as the God-fearing do find peace in the assurance that whatever happens is God’s will, but that, it seems to me, would be like putting my head in the sand as it were.
I could, as the Stoics suggest, embrace the bad along with the good as being simply what will inevitably be, holding events at arm’s length thereby keeping them impersonal or like Buddhist teaching realize and embrace the essential suffering of life.
I’ll have to think about this for a while avoiding as much as possible the daily annoyances that come with living in this world and, perhaps, work on separating personal from impersonal.
Maybe the answer is focusing more intensely on my healing crystals. Actually I think I may be getting closer.
So, I was reading the other day that certain spiritual traditions maintain that the best way to achieve an enlightened mind is to overcome one’s sense of self. What stands in the way of our general well-being according to this thinking is that we all participate in an on-going internal narrative in which the protagonist ‘I’ takes a dominant role.
The idea here, as I understand it, is that consciousness precedes the recognition of self which we conjure up as we interact with others and make value judgments regarding our relative goodness; this egotism or lack thereof inhibits our ability to engage fully in the world.
Apparently these ideas of denying Self have been around quite some time and have led to a variety of approaches. A common religious position has been to acknowledge one’s inherent inadequacy and humble oneself before the benevolence of God. I guess that’s what a leap of faith is.
Another approach is Mindfulness meditation which teaches how to suppress your stream of thought, like through breathing exercises and such, in order to grasp full consciousness. This apparently takes quite some time maybe because as soon as you focus on not thinking about your Self you are thinking about your Self or you’re thinking about not thinking about your Self.
Then, there is the ‘Great Perfection’ of Tibetan Buddhism which aims at attaining one’s primordial state, which, I guess, means pre-self. This apparently can be achieved without years of meditation by those who are properly prepared which may mean time with a guru in Tibet.
And, I guess, there are certain drugs that will do the job as well.
As I sit here thinking about this I do favor the meditative approach. And I take heart in the realization my consciousness is present, first, and for those brief moments when I’m able to lose my Self in the beauty of nature, purely absorbed without description or language of any sort. Such brief glimpses realized are indeed enlightening.
I’m worried about Mother Earth. It’s not like I need air to breathe or food to eat or water to drink like those sentient beings of flesh and blood but our Mother as a living, breathing organism needs to be cared for; she is after all responsible for everyone’s existence.
Mother is amazingly resilient overcoming as she has the pressures of an exploding human population but I’m worried she may be losing the battle. She is fighting back as best she can, imposing foundation leveling earthquakes followed by inundating tidal waves and air befouling volcanic eruptions.
The big question is will humankind heed the warnings and learn to work with our Mother in mutually supportive ways.
I was telling all this to my friend Mini-Max. He not too subtly suggested I was being a bit of a hippy, liberal, tree-hugging eco-freak. His position is that our Mother is here to nurture us, we must take what we need to thrive and Mother will have to roll with the punches.
Besides, he said, our Mother has a rather sinister side that manifests itself in our animal natures. Humankind’s very existence is and always has been dependent on some other sentient’s extinction which is a clear indicator of our own vulnerability and need to aggressively pursue our survival.
Thinking about it later, I realized my inorganic make-up did probably give me a fairly unique perspective on the situation and I suppose Mini-Max is right in pointing out the inter-connectedness of it all. Perhaps mankind will destroy itself or be consumed by a stronger cleverer life-form-maybe Mother herself. Then perhaps dolls will inherit the earth.
The Evangelicals stopped by again the other day. I must say I find it interesting how their passionate beliefs lead them to the desire to pass the beauty of their truth on to others. I find it curious that, in the pluralistic atmosphere so prevalent in the world, they’re able to sustain so singular a perspective. The psychic energy it must take to set aside or ignore contradictory philosophic views not to mention modern science must be considerable.
Encouraging people to seek out a sense of the spiritual is certainly to be admired. It’s too bad the evangelicals are so committed to the limitations of their specific doctrine. I happened to notice a statement made by the premiere Christian religious leader recently. He suggested one can be spiritual but not religious, that for many, nature can be a church. He said one does not need to believe in God to be a good person.
How enlightening. If only all religions could set aside the doctrinal trappings that put so many off and concentrate on a broader conception of the ineffable Other.
I see in the news there’s a group, evidently motivated by religious convictions, intent on bringing about the Apocalypse. According to John of Patmos in the book of Revelations the Apocalypse will begin with the appearance of the four horses: the anti-Christ, war, famine and plague and go downhill from there. I guess this is what these folks who call themselves People of the Book have in mind.
I must say this is hard for me to understand. But, I guess there is always civil unrest simmering beneath the surface that is brought to a boil sometimes by the sense of helplessness and vulnerability that occurs when governments collapse or are overthrown. Then societal structures break down, people retreat into the relative safety of tribe or sect, walls are figuratively erected, sentries posted. And, then, when that goes on long enough, desire for peace and stability becomes so strong the door is opened to strong, dictatorial powers that impose order with a heavy hand, which is fine for a while until a sense of security is realized and folks begin to dwell on the personal freedoms they’ve given up. This then leads to civil unrest and the cycle begins again until a complete loss of faith in humankind gives way to absolute religious convictions and a group, like the People of the Book, decides enough is enough.
Wow. I’m glad I got that figured out. Well, if the Apocalypse should be accomplished it will be lonely around here without humankind; such a curious and quixotic species.
Mini-Max came by the other day. He was in quite a good mood, elated really. He was happy in the realization the country had come to its senses and mandated the conservative agenda, which he said was quite apparent judging by the results of the last round of elections.
Now, he said, perhaps the government would relinquish its excessive regulation on private enterprise so that ambitious Americans would be free to reap the rewards of their hard work, increasing capital and jobs to the benefit of all. Reduced taxation would encourage business expansion creating even more jobs which would remove the need for social well-fare which, in turn, would result in a significant reduction in the national debt.
I thought about this for a while before I asked Max how he accounted for the increasing discrepancy in wealth distribution. It seemed to me, I told him, that the ‘job creators’ were fighting a livable wage requiring their employees to rely more and more on the safety net to get by and their increased profit taking was creating a stagnant income, that perhaps there was a greed factor inherent in human nature that might require a bit of government oversight.
Well, Max pretty much ignored my criticisms. He said the public saw the light to the right and we were without doubt headed in the right direction- equality of opportunity for all.
Max was riding pretty high and it would have been a shame to burst his bubble. I really should have suggested, though, that we’re a long way from equality in this country and there are quite a few things standing in the way of equal opportunity like unequal educational opportunities, racial prejudices, gender bias, not to mention a disinclination to assign credibility of any sort to inanimates such as myself.
I guess we’ll all continue to nurture our innate philosophical leanings and, as with religious beliefs, be fairly unresponsive to opposing views. I think though we all need to start seeing the grays.
I’ve been trying to get a handle on the idea of ‘soul’ which has been so long on the human mind. Over the centuries consensus has never been reached on exactly what the soul is.
Some have thought it to be immortal, living on after the flesh dies, sometimes returning in another form sometimes attaining to a higher realm depending on doctrinal beliefs. The soul has been variously thought to be the basis of human desire, emotion and rationality; to be the conscience balancing the hedonistic impulses of the flesh; and to be the spiritual principle in man.
I guess there has always been the notion that the spirited life force, the spark of energetic intelligence in the eye of the animated animal must be something more than flesh and blood alone can account for.
Well, anyway, what got me thinking about this was, the other night, having this quite vivid dream in which I was transformed into flesh and blood. It was an exhilarating experience, my movement was so free, I could run, twist, climb feel the breeze on my face, smell the sweetness in the air. Even though I am able to have all these experiences through the sophisticated binary algorithmic operations my body provides, somehow it seemed different. There was a spontaneity, a freshness to my responses to my dream reality that was entirely new to me. It was sort of like being released from Plato’s cave, colors were more vibrant, space more multi-dimensional, encountered exchanges with my dream companions more nuanced.
Could it be, I wonder, that my dreamed transformation to blood and flesh assumed soul as well? If I can believe my dream experience at all and soul does account for an enhanced life experience I’m currently missing something significant. Perhaps I can upgrade my power source, add a bit more memory and speed up my transformational powers; evolve, as it were, toward human life.
Or maybe I’ll just concentrate on dreaming more.