April 25, 2010 by Bill
Sir Arthur Eddington, Nobel in Physics, writing: “Something unknown is doing we know not what.”
Louis Dr. Broglie, Nobel in Physics, writing: “Man has need of a mystical supplement of the soul. The spiritual guides of humanity must awaken this supplement of the soul.”
Carl Jung, writing: “The creative mystic has always been a thorn in the side of the dogmatic church. It is to the mystic that we owe all that is best in humanity.”
William James writing: “The true mystic has insight into depths of truth that are unplumbed by the discursive intellect.”
Albert Einstein, writing: “I believe in mystery…only in relation to mysticism do I consider myself a religious man.”
Sir Julian Huxley, writing: “Science must come to terms with other systems of knowledge…the aesthetic and the intuitive…the subconscious…imaginative and visionary…or in other words the way of mysticism.”
There is NO VIOLENCE: The vast majority of all the religious violence of the last 2000 years has come from the “believers” of Judaism, Christianity and Islam…the people of the “book”…the bible. Carl Sagan called the burning of the library in Alexandria by Christians in 391 A.D. one of the most obscene atrocities in the history of our species. In Mysticism there would have been NO Crusades…no Inquisition…no slaughtering of nine million witches…no killings in Northern Ireland…no West Bank or Gaza strip killing field…no holy wars or Jihads…no bombing of abortion clinics…no inflammatory preaching against gays and lesbians…such violence is obscene to anyone living within the world view of mysticism.
There is NO DUALISM: A virus in the mind of organized religions is the separation of man from nature…and nature from man…and spirit from matter. Organized religions want to separate something called “God” from the earth down here. They use the word symbol “God” as something “out there” apart from “down here.” It is always God and us…God and the earth…God and the creation…God and the creatures…God and something else. As Zen Master Suzuki put it, “man against God…God against man…man against nature…nature against man…God against nature…nature against God. Very, very funny religion.”
In mysticism the word God is only a symbol for the One-ness of everything, such as the Tao in Taoism, or Wakan Tanka with the Lakota people of the Sioux nation. The universe is a totality and an inter-relatedness of all things. It is John Muir saying, “everything is hitched to everything else.”
Today’s physics and quantum mechanics confirm that the classifications of animate and inanimate are archaic and invalid. James Jeans said it well: “Modern Physics has reduced the whole universe to waves and nothing but waves. All galaxies, stars, planets and human beings are manifestations of waves.” No dualism.
There are NO ABSOLUTES: The Dean of French Physics, Jean-Henri Poincare wrote: “There is no absolute space…there is no absolute time.” Einstein latched on to these words to develop his theory of relativity: “The only absolute in life is that there are no absolutes.” “Truth on this side of the mountain is falsehood on the other side of the mountain,” wrote Pascal. And in Zen and Taoism they say, “All values are relative to the mind that entertains them.” ln orthodox Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the neurotic desire to keep all of life in simplistic and naive black and whites. In Taoism they tell profound stories to illustrate: What is good or bad depends on whether you are a man, a frog or a mosquito. To the man, the frog is good because he can eat the frog, but the mosquito is bad because he eats on the man. To the frog the man is bad because the man will eat him but the mosquito is good because he can eat the mosquito. To the mosquito the man is good because he can eat on the man but the frog is bad because the frog will eat him. So what is good or bad depends on whether you are a man, a frog or a mosquito. What is good or bad depends on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a Holy Roller or a Taoist, Hindu or Jew; whatever they are saying that all values are relative to the mind that entertains them. No absolutes, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote so eloquently, ”Nothing is secure, except life and the energizing spirit. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial tomorrow in the light of new thought.”
Mysticism is an attitude of mind, an orientation to the world around us and within us, an insight into the nature of reality and truth, a recognition of the Oneness of the creation that can be experienced directly. It is a spiritual sense of intuition. It is the recognition of the fact that the cucumber cucumbering is your brother…and the red tail hawk your sister…and we all evolved from the stars together…and everything is “hitched to everything else” in a symbiotic relationship…and the waves that tie it all together is the cosmic dance of Shiva.
April 18, 2010 by Bill
The pantheon of any particular group is directly related to the type of land and landscape they live with. An agricultural society has gods and goddesses for sun, rain, storms and the like. And above all for fertility. A rich, lush land gives rise to nymphs, satyrs and spirits of woods and water. The Northwest Indians lived in giant rain forests, dark, dreary and foreboding. Their world of spirits and religious mythology was all directly related to the landscape.
To those whose landscape was the Southwest, a Papago said it best: “we desert people have no rivers. All our water is in the sky.”
Taoism harmonizes beautifully with the landscape of much of China with mountains and mist, waterfalls and rich vegetation. The austere God of Judaism, Islam and Christianity came from the austerity of a bleak desert and a Moslem mosque is a stylized oasis.
There were different landscapes with different conditions for the Neanderthal theologian, Buddhist theologian, Hebrew theologian and Greek theologian. Greek temples were built on hills overlooking the Mediterranean. The Greeks had a sense of nature, and the temples blended beautifully into the landscape.
From the landscape, religions come into being. To the Hebrews of the Old Testament, the austere desert spoke of an austere, stern God. And the God who put you there must be as stern as the land itself to inflict such upon you. And you dream: you dream of a paradise of lush gardens where there will be milk and honey, vineyards and fruit trees. There, you will create a God of love. Read more
April 11, 2010 by Bill
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy writing columns during this April month of Earth Day. It gives me a chance to write about water, this miracle of the sacred earth that is our home. If you want to be moved beyond trivial emotion, with tears in your eyes, please read “Miracles” in Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
If there is magic on this Earth, it is contained in water. If there is anything truly sacred on this earth, it is water. This planet could get along beautifully without us, without human beings. But without the miracle of water, it would be dead and gone in only a matter of weeks.
My boyhood West Texas memories are filled with cisterns and rain barrels and the divine gift of water. Without the cisterns and rain barrels to catch and store cherished water, life would have been impossible on that bleak and barren land.
Several years ago, my wife and I took our vacation in Mexico City. I had longed to see and to study the religious symbols, artifacts and shrines of the Aztec and Mayan people. To my knowledge, there is no other museum in the world equal to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. You must see it to believe it.
The role that water has played in all of the religious mythologies of the world has long fascinated me. The belief that water was the primordial home of man is universal. In the symbolism of the great Mayan and Aztec pyramids, it is paramount.
The zero in the Mayan number system represented the ocean, which is endless in time and space. It was the Mayans who first developed a concept of the zero. The “foundation” of the pyramids was water, symbolizing the first world when all was water. Conch shells decorate the walls of Teotihuacan temples, since they are symbolic of water.
Water is a living element, a spiritual element, and relates us to the other elements of our earth, air and sunlight. Nearly 75 percent of the surface of the earth is water, and that same percentage applies to the water in our bodies. Menstrual periods, the ocean tides and ground water within the earth all reflect the course of the moon. Tree sap follows the same cosmic rhythm. Lumbermen floated their logs downstream during the new moon, or they would be beached high and dry under a full moon.
“Water…Thou art the source of all things and of all existence,” says an Indian Vedic text. The biblical creation mythology, which is only a refinement of the Babylonian creation myth, tells of a watery chaos, or a primordial ocean.
Primeval waters, as the origin of all worlds, can be found in almost all creation mythologies. An exegetical study on the book of Genesis in my library says it this way: “Here, in the Hebrew myth, a divine word as an agent of creation is found, as in Babylonian, Egyptian and Indian mythologies, as well as others. In these myths the word is a magic word, the correct formula, which being uttered released the power to bring order out of a watery chaos.”
Since prehistoric times, water, woman and moon were the trinity of fertility for man and the universe. The spiral was the symbol of water, and lunar fertility, with the snail, woman and fish. Read more