Is it possible that what we are looking for in our search for an external God is discovered in looking into our humanity?
John Shelby Spong writes that “the challenge of humanity is in the recognition and reconciliation of a tension that we discover that the way to what humans being have traditionally called God is not through some external projection of our needs but through entering our depth dimensions of the human experience. The Devine we have always sought turns out to be a dimension of the human. Religion ultimately becomes not an activity in which we explore the meaning of God, but an activity by which we explore the meaning of the human. Religion is not a journey into an external deity, but a journey into the heart of our humanity, here we break out of separation, fears and enter the meaning of transcendence. oneness, timelessness and finally eternity .”
Jiddu krishnamurti is quoted in the book “Freedom from the Unknown” that “The question of whether or not there is a God or truth or reality, or whatever you like to call it, can never be answered by books, by priests, philosophers or saviours. Nobody and nothing can answer the question but you yourself and that is why you must know yourself. Immaturity lies only in total ignorance of self. To understand yourself is the beginning of wisdom.
A H Almaas suggests that a unifying vision can be something misinterpreted, perhaps as the result of an experience of God. He suggests that it is possible to have an experience of insight where we begin to see the synthesis, the unity that is the basis of insight and that is inherently present and that already underlies our human experience. “However, We must do a lot of research before we arrive at a more “unifying vision. A unifying vision by itself is frequently useless. Many people have unifying visions from which nothing emerges because they don’t have the knowledge and skill to translate their vision into something communicable, something that can be used and applied. Without the ability to articulate and explicate te unifying vision, the breakthrough is useless and will most likely be lost.
I am someone who values Krishnamurti,s insights very much. There are many people; and it seems that women are more likely not to, that do not appreciate Krishnamurti`s style of presentation. I can see why that might be but it doesn`t seem to bother me as it does others. I see that he was a product of his time and culture and I don’t think that there are many spiritual teachers that do not have a very human side that seems to contradict what they teach at times and we all make mistakes and have our limitations and blockages; even spiritual teachers. Our conditioned identities have been a result of generations of cultural and familial influences and they are not constructs that we are likely to escape from in one lifetime. We come to see through these relative creations of self through seeing a deeper truth.It is all a part of our unfolding into a deeper sense of awareness. If I am not able to understand what that humanness is in someone how can I see it in myself and vice versa. What I value mostly about K is that he promotes a process of “looking at” and “questioning” his own self. And for me his teaching constantly reflects and points to this looking to understand self in this way, In the end, to explore and inquire into self and to come to understand what that is, is for me a most essential adventure.
I dont know that my way is the way that should be followed. It is more that I have questions and that it seems to be that humanity has become “closed in” by our conventional perceptions and from “there” we can not seem to find our way out. We seem to look for meaning using old ways that are proving to be limited in their scope. The way that we have been raised and educated to live our lives is one of relative truths. In general our perceptions and the related emerging identity itself is derived from a fragmented awareness. We are taught that our truth is absolute when in fact it is very much relative; a fragment of the whole. These days the conventional wisdom is one of seriously questioning the perception of objectivity that grounds our conventional identities and that we perceive to be the reality; that much of our insight and understanding flows from.
This inquiry into the limits of the conventional self and related wisdom is very much necessary if we are to practically and realistically confront the global problems that we, as a planet are encountering. We need to be able to step out of our rigid way of perception of an individual self that is ultimately in confrontation with other selves to a place that we can see the self as it more organically relates to and fits into the whole. Only than can we take responsibility for our individual actions and from there will our collective response become adjusted.
Our conventional collective response is often an outpouring of our fragmented individual consciousness and in that we turn to the experts of our fragments and their areas of expertise and knowledge for leadership and guidance. What is expressed by them is often limited by these limitations of self and perception that I am raising. There is an emerging awareness in the collective consciousness and there are some gifted individuals capable of communicating this more comprehensive vision although there is no absolute way that it need be expressed. Part of moving into a more whole way involves the possibility of allowing for a creative energy to influence our vision and expression.
There is a mistaken perception that others are more capable than ourselves in terms of knowing what the truth is. It is that conditioning and thinking that has partly been the cause of our suffering and related problems,and that leads only to further fragmentation and suffering.
There is, for some, the mistrust of thinking and for them that unfolding into a more whole way of being involves a fundamental step to disconnect from it. My own experience is more that I have become more deeply aware of parts of the self that have been neglected or forgotten and in that coming together it has influenced my thinking in a new way. To do so has involved stepping out from my fragmented conditioned habits. This has involved an important step of finding a place of silence that holds some distance from the influence of past ways and from there, what is authentic and unconditioned is permitted to emerge as a greater influence in my being.
Finally there is the communication and expression of all this. At times we arrive at insight where we don’t really know how we have arrived at them. There isn’t at times, much perception, understanding or knowledge in the process of arriving at the insight, which often makes it difficult to communicate it to others especially since our conventional language does not tend to include symbols and words to express this. Our specialized ability to perceive and express fragments is not suited to sharing aspects of the experience of the whole. Contrary to the perception that the dynamics of the whole and expression of that are better left unsaid there is a place for me in my connection with others that it is very relevant to share our authentic experiences. It might involve a new way of relating to language and creatively exploring expression but it seems to me that it is a very natural aspect of our unfolding to do so.
It is understandable that since the development of self-consciousness, thousands of years ago, human beings have had to come to cope and deal with a vast sense of aloneness, separation and in general a great sense of vulnerability. These are things it did not know or experience in an ongoing way prior to that. In coming to that awareness, human kind reactively and somewhat habitually turned to ways of thinking that attempt to bring relief and security to this new aspect of consciousness. In our newly emerging self consciousness, when there had not been the kind of realization to help cope with life, something had to be created. Creating ideas that superficially relieve our insecurity is what humankind has done.
John Shelby Spong indicates in his book “Eternal Life: A New Vision” that ” any serious study of the meaning in religion in life must identify these self-serving attempts to build impenetrable defensive walls behind which human beings seek to hide their fear and thus to cope with these threatening realities. Variations on these themes can be found in almost all religious institutions and traditions.” I would add to this that this aspect of our thinking has, as well, been extended into how we embrace secularized notions of science, economics and other ideological notions.
If we want to in fact experience a deeper realization of life and explore meaning in a more comprehensive way we must understand what it is that we do in our effort to cope with death and fear and aloneness and ultimately separateness; all aspects of the self aware being. We must look to understand how religion, economics, politics and culture contribute to a power to compel conformity and to enable non conformists to be effectively silenced or ostracized. There seems to be a human tendency to find refuge, security in conforming and what is considered normal. Even in these modern times of change we often treat new ideas as fashionable that become the norm that are aspired to. In the same light we seem to grasp and attach to external notions that are fixed and provide stability and are not willing to look honestly at what may not be so fixed and permanent that is contrary to what we have been led to desire or believe.
The way to make sense of it all is not in searching, in a way that has been our habitual tendency, but to set this all aside and to inquire in a way that causes us to explore more deeply, our own individual consciousness and how it has evolved and where it has evolved out of. It involves a more authentic and self directed inquiry and investigation of what the truth of this may be. This ultimately involves setting aside our old ways of reacting and processing: not eliminating them but to allow for a space of deeper seeing to influence them in a new way that we have not before known.
I encounter, at times, the notion that thoughts are always a product of the head and that they are a nuisance; something not conducive to a meditative life. This is a dualistic conclusion and contrary to this it seems to me that thinking is part of our evolutionary development that has become a useful tool; the problem being that at some point humanity has become conditioned in a way that has separated the process of thinking from the heart. Rather than “thinking” being something that falls away through a contemplative life, the heart is reintroduced to the process of thinking as a fundamental part of it, playing a role in balancing and focusing it in a less fragmented way. For this to arise, it seems that there is, however; some necessity that we are able to find grounding in the vastness of our being, that is inseparable from that wholeness, that influences our orientation and that is a source and guide for our thinking.
At those moments of our relating to others from this intimate place, when we are connected with ourselves and other, there is the potential for an unfolding, with heart connected thinking being the medium. This partly involves a dynamic, intimate and spontaneous use and sharing of words in a verbal connecting. The connection between individuals is in fact deeper than the words and the language being utilized, but there is as well the possibility for a dynamic and creative exploration in the use of language to express oneself and to share with another that experience. Wen our thinking, comes under the influence of the heart, ideas can influence ideas in an intuitive and creative way. It is highly possible that in a place of not being aware, that dialogue and the thoughts that fuel it are hijacked by a very conventional and static process. At the same time from a place of awareness there is always the possibility of an organic unfolding that occurs together with others in this more holistic relating.
I’ve recently read a book called The Evolutionary Mind: Conversations on Science, Imagination & Spirit by Rupert Sheldrake and Terence McKenna.
A section in the book explores language and there is a suggestion raised that the development of language has taken human kind away from a fourth dimension of being that is more intuitive.
Language has been a step in evolution that has allowed us to see our world in parts and in an abstract way and is a gift to be able to do that. Its given us a foundation for developing some wonderful inventions and allowed us to see as no other being on this planet can see. But in our seeing of parts and abstractions we seem to miss a lot. We have come to rely on language to understand our worlds and even ourselves in a second-hand way and it is an enormous part of what we teach and pass on to our children and others often taking the form of factual and absolute information. But it is not the direct experience of living and never will be, mainly because it is so hard to capture moments of love, connecting to others, compassion and other very human experiences in language. They are not as amendable to abstraction and the senses as more material, measurable phenomenon are. Our reliance on what we call empirical information as absolute truth has taken our planet towards dilemma and crisis. We don’t seem to be able to perceive the dire consequences of our selective thinking and the perception that it influences, that are becoming so apparent in our modern times. We don’t seem to comprehend what it is that we are missing of our humanity and a being on this planet and in this universe, in our selective and conditioned perception.
My own experience is that, in coming to this awareness of the limitations of our modern ways it has been helpful in that I can focus on expressing and creating language that does reflect a deeper and more direct experience. It emphasises more often than not reflecting and pointing to that experience as opposed to abstractly representing it.
I am reading a new book “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living” by Krista Tippett that gets at this a bit I think. I think as well that this is where Marshall Rosenberg intentions around non violent communication
might be helpful.