Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Ongoing Spiritual Journey

By walford

Like most of my contemporaries, I thought that the religions deemed acceptable by our culture defined all for religion. There was no connection with the Divine, rather what was important was that you agreed with other people's perspective and accepted their mythology.

My skeptical mind could not accept that, so I thought that I was an atheist. But at the same time, I held a great reverence for life. The more I studied in the life and physical sciences, the more I appreciated. Many scientists can be found expressing themselves in reverential tones about the objects of their research – and for good reason.

None of our technology can come close to what enables the simplest of living things. The electro-chemical processes that take place on the surface of a cell membrane are nothing short of phenomenal. Competition seems to be an essential part of life; even lifeless chemicals compete with each other for space. It seems that the essence of the struggle for life is which strands of genetic code will survive into the next generations.

The delicate balances that permit life on this planet, such as the orbit’s size and shape, the Earth’s tilt, speed of rotation, the magnetic field, etc. are astounding in their precision. There have been a number of what seems like interventions when the “reset button” on life has been pushed, such as the mass-extinctions that took place at the beginning and at the end of the Mesozoic Era. It’s almost as if that particular paradigm had been exhausted in potential and needed to be swept away for the next stage of development.

I found that science wasn’t enough to grasp these phenomena, so I researched religion. Sometimes I sat in on observances by those who would allow it. Many of them were followed by testimonials from the practitioners, saying that one didn’t need to understand why things worked, just BELIEVE and so many good things would happen. That wasn’t good enough.

Besides, I saw the danger of cults who would invest themselves with Divine sanction, which permitted them to command other people to suit their needs and do great evil.

But my research also yielded unmistakable evidence that, as our species spread throughout the planet, people developed religion independently of each other. [I know of no atheistic tribe leaving evidence of itself.] There were certain Sacred images they had in common, such as a mother cradling her infant child. A woman was often seen as channeling the Divine as she brought life into the world. The practices of the earliest religions were similar also. They danced and sang around fires. They knelt upon the Earth, raised their faces to the sky and gave thanks to that which propitiated life.

Their observances were based upon the phases of the Sun and Moon, because they are vital to life. We seem to have lost that – particularly the reverence for Nature, the appreciation for women and the female aspects of the Divine. Often it has been replaced by a sterile, gloomy, male-dominated system that functions more like an expansionist political ideology than anything else. It could not suffer competition from anything that would put an objective standard above their subjective cult, characterizing that which they aimed to replace as demonic.

So what comes from Nature is evil and what is fabricated by man is good? We can have a Father and cannot have a Mother unless she is lesser-than and subordinate?

Our species started out rare and vulnerable; we were most definitely NOT at the top of the food chain. There were many fits and starts in our development. Most of the experiments failed. We are descended from those who found a way to survive.

As such, there was no room for cults of personality that put the will of certain people above Nature. The successful religions had in common that life is Blessing, there is Order and Justice in the universe, we have a stake in each others’ welfare – and most importantly, in the world we leave behind.

We seem to have forgotten this and do so at our peril. We are no less subject to Nature’s Laws. All our technology has done is make it so the consequences of behaviors that are toxic to life are spread to the general population. We are still not exempt as our entire civilization hurtles toward a significant fork in the road.

Lets us discard our prejudices and emulate our ancient ancestors whom we must thank for our existence today. There is no secular or religious “ism” made by man that can replace the Laws of Nature.

I write this during the time of the year when the tribes of the Northern Hemisphere would be reaping their final harvests. They took the time to remember their forebears, purge bad habits and plant the seeds for the future.

Let us take this time to give thanks for the Blessings of Life by nurturing what brings it and discarding what harms it.

Be Blessed.