The Secular Way

Sun  setting on the Irawaddy River in Burma    photo by GordimageI am sitting here on the roof of the Wachit  hospital here in the Saigai region of Burma where iris is volunteering and we are staying. I am listening to Burmese music coming from the community and watching the full moon rise on the Irawaddy river. My wife Iris is still performing eye surgery and training local doctors here at the hospital. I spent the day walking through the hills along the river  passing by many monasteries as  This area of Burma has the greatest amount of monasteries per person. That is saying a lot as Burma is a  very Buddhist place. People no nothing other than this religion that they were born into. They are often threatened by the presence of the 10 percent of muslims that live in Burma.
In the more western parts of the planet there is a growing number of individuals today rejecting traditional religion and coming to embrace more secular ideals and ways of living but what is it really an expression of ? Is it a complete envisioning, reflecting a direct experience that is the essence of human “being”?  Or does it reflect what it is to be human in a less examined more conventionally accepted rational  way? To reflect a deeper experience must it not provide what religion has provided for some of those who have been  most committed to discovering a more authentic existence.
Past secular creeds were built on the 18th-century enlightenment view of a belief that humans are autonomous, rational creatures who can reason their way to virtue.  Over the last sixty years cognitive science has shown that this creature doesn’t exist. We are not really rational animals; emotions play a central role in decision-making, the vast majority of thought is unconscious, and our minds are riddled with biases and that we are not really autonomous; our actions are powerfully shaped by others in ways we are not even aware of.
A contemplative way rooted in openness, stillness and rigorous investigation of our conditioned behaviours, beliefs, concepts and most of all that which we have come to understand to be self and it,s connection to other and all else may help us to arrive at a more direct understanding of what we are. This has been a way of understanding that has fallen aside in lieu of an increased reliance on more modern conventional ways of knowing. It is not a way of discovery that is exclusive to religious, scientific. rational, philosophical and/or secular thinking.sagai 2 (1 of 1)  by Gord  2015

 

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