18 May 2013

Saturday Morning Musings

It has been a rather unusual week for me.  The fact that I haven't written a blog post since Easter is testimony to the kind of internal and relational journey upon which I, somehow, got launched.  The days and weeks of April rocked along.  Visits from our two daughters with husband and beau were delightful breaks from the rocky internal journey.  American political bravado and over-the-top reactivity meant that less television and news journalists was in order.  The tragedy of Boston and senseless violent behavior and rhetoric took their toll.  I got to a single point, about two weeks ago that, 'this reality really sucks!'

Light began to dawn very early Monday morning of this past week...well before actual sidereal daybreak. I have practiced contemplative prayer for years...with a greater degree of regularity since retirement from professional parochial work.  It was during that time in predawn Monday that the title/subtitle and eleven major points "dropped" on me like an unfolding scroll.  This sudden gift came as a descriptor for the project that has been my passion for five years (and one reason I retired at age 60.5)...a book that reflects the deep experiences and learning I have had in my journey with Celtic and Lakota culture and spiritual traditions.

That moment of revelation began an intense 2.5 days of writing....hours at a time without break.  The product was a Prospectus and narrative outline of a book that will now take about two years to write.  Two years?!  There is much research and learning yet to do...most of which has to happen by being in the field and in relationship with significant persons and places.  Only about 10% of what will be written can be gleaned from hours in libraries or with already published resources.

At the end of the 2.5 days of writing, and a good talk with my Lakota mentor, I relaxed a bit and began feeling that deep engagement with a larger tapestry of reality.  But, then there was Thursday morning.

I won't go into great detail... than to say, if something could go wrong, it did...physical stuff.  Spills, breakage, malfunctions and, then, the ultimate....a near computer crash.  My not-too-old laptop became cyber psychotic.  After having a remote tech move around in my system for two hours and another 1.75 days doing internal cleanup and storing files to a cloud system, my overall life settled down to a happy sunset on the beach last evening.  With our reliance on cyber technology being what it is these days, I think we can say:  "If the computer ain't happy, then nobody is happy."

I awoke at 6:00am this morning thinking about dying.  Now there is something that almost never happens!  I sat up with a start and did an immediate "systems check."  I seemed to be intact and normal in all ways that mattered.  I padded downstairs, built my first cup of coffee and reflected.  Yes, at age 62.5, there are statistically less years ahead of me than have passed behind me.  True, my body is different...a tad slower with systems that require me to be a bit more careful.  Yet, there is still a passion for life, relationships and experiences that will expand and balance both corporeal and essential (spiritual) realities.  I synthesize these two aspects of being far better now than I did even ten years ago.  In fact, dualism is no longer a functional state of mind for me.  It is simply a continuum that bends back on itself.

As the above thoughts drifted along, I suddenly got an insight.  As some know, I read pretty heavily in life sciences and physics.  Science has been huge for me from the time of childhood.  A graduate degree in theology and 35 years as an Episcopal Priest have not dampened that desire to explore those fields.

Not long ago, I was reading some journal materials on astrophysics research.  The technology is incredible and complex.  In our human desire to measure things, here are some statistics I gleaned from that reading:

  • The earth rotates on its axis at 1,070 mph
  • The earth revolves around the sun at 66,610 mph
  • Our solar system is moving in our galaxy's rotation around center at 485,415 mph
  • Our galaxy is moving in universal space at about 1.34 million mph.
These numbers are approximate...mostly because I calculated them from the original kilometers/hr to miles/hr.  The astrophysicists calculate in kilometers/second and a thermo-geometric measurement that looks like an equation (some call it "parsecs").

Further consider that the earth (in size) could not be seen, if we were taking a picture of our galaxy outside its boundaries.  If we were to take in all known galaxies, earth would be as elusive as the Higgs-Boson particle is to atomic physics.  Consider that we are living on a planet in the universe the size of Higgs-Boson and are looking within our physical, sub-atomic reality for the smallest particle called Higgs-Boson.  

Perspective counts here folks -- even if it bends the mind!!!

In these morning musings, I remembered a portion of Psalm 144...a poetic writing attributed to David in the height of the Era of Kings in pre-Diaspora Israel:  "O Lord, what is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should (even) care for him?  Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow..."  (Ps 144:3-4)  Like the smallest possible sparks of light are we in the vastness of creation.  Yet, we are told we are of greatest value.

The human ego is a conscious construct of the mind that gives us the reality of "self" in the context of are surrounding conscious reality.  We can inflate this sense of "self" to the point that an individual can think of him/her-self as the center of almost everything.  How important...in the perspective of the universe...are our machinations, pronouncements, and efforts to be the center of attention?  If we take away the lenses of  macro/micro perspective, we are left with the duality that we have invented for self-justification.  In order to be whole, I have to be right and in control.  That means that others have to be wrong and not in control.  As I really wake up to this day, I realize there is not a duality of life/death, or good/evil, right/wrong.  Motion is constant...and we are moving at blinding speeds...literally.  Gravity is the weakest force in the universe and the only "seatbelt" we have, as we hurl through space and time.  Time, in fact, is a unit of motion.  This makes age and experience relative to our capacity to truly be in any given moment of that motion.  Nothing is going to stop for us.  

Lest you think that I have careened onto a road of gloom and doom, I submit to you that this is really good news.  If we let go of the ego construct as THE defining reality of who we are, the true "driver" of our life becomes abundantly clear.  There is an essential center of our being that connects us to both conscious and hyper-conscious reality.  For lack of anything better, we call it "Self" (the "S" is capitalized).  In my tradition (Judeo-Christian), Jesus, asked the question, "what does it count to gain the whole world at the cost of True Self?..." (Mark 8:26 or Matthew 16:26).  Other traditions have similar considerations in this life journey.  It is a question for everyperson.  

Most biblical scholars/translators use "soul" in place of  "True Self" in translating the biblical texts above.  The Greek language of the original writings is much more sublime than English.  Our theological language -- regardless of our religious tradition -- is a product of filtering experience through the ego structure to create a relational structure we call doctrine.  Doctrine can quickly become dualistic.  In the Hegelian model, this dualism should be synthesized into a new conceptualization.  In our reality construct, however, we maintain the duality of, say, "orthodox" vs. "heterodox."  That means that someone has the real truth and someone else is a heretic/blasphemer or worse.  We are currently "stuck" in this false reality...as evidenced by our own socio-political machinations of the moment.

On this day, I am comforted by Dame Julian of Norwich (1342-1416).  After a prolonged illness from which she nearly died, Julian had a series of mystical visions...gifts from Spirit.  At the end of those, her summary words were:  "And all shall be well...all manner of things shall be well."  It was the voice of True Self.  Dualism no longer existed for her.  It was the continuum of creation reality.

The ego, in its created place, serves rather than drives.  It gathers information, processes what our senses take in, but does not qualify or quantify (i.e. make judgement).  The True Self...informed by its own nature as Divine Love... embraces the experience and engages our environment and external experiences with an open stance...seeking synthesis in the presentations of all actions (judged dualistically by the ego).

Well, I woke up thinking about death...mine?  One day I will no longer engage this reality in the manner I do now.  I am deeply affected by the experience of Dr. Eben Alexander, MD (Proof of Heaven).  There is a reality far greater....a hyper-consciousness.

Meanwhile, men and women will go on thumping their chests, rattling their metaphorical sabers, standing in judgement, crying for revenge, looking for the worst, being proud of the badge of identity they wear that makes them more special or better than anyone else.  These things will go on, as Creation groans in its birth pangs (a paraphrase of a statement by Paul the Apostle).   Yet, there are a growing number of people from all walks of life and spiritual traditions who are awakening into True Self.  It is a good day.  Life is a beach.

Love and Blessings,