It's all about the journey...
I knew of a physicist at the University of Chicago who was rather crazy, like some scientists, and the idea of the insolidity, the instability of the physical world, impressed him so much that he used to go around in enormous padded slippers for fear he should fall through the floor.
— Alan Watts, Nothingness
Most people would laugh at such a scientist. But as new science steadily addresses realities far beyond the reach of our so-called “common” sense – I find myself wondering about the craziness of those padded slippers.
I heard it again at a recent Christmas party, as my girlfriends from high school were sharing the “whatever happened to…” of the last 30 years. Another friend had suicided, the second in our class of barely 30, and this one by an overdose of antidepressants.
I came home heavy-hearted. Not just at the tragedy of a life needlessly lost, but the means of her going: during the hormonal uproar of my 30s, I’d attempted the same thing. It took far too many appointments with far too many psychiatrists whipping out scrip pads the moment I sat down in their office, far too many descents into pharmaceutical hell, before I finally found people who would teach me to manage my turbulent thoughts and emotions, not manipulate my brain chemistry.
Pondering questions springing from a disconcerting conversation last night (trying to phrase these in the most open-ended manner possible):
- Does the overlap between new theories of quantum science and ancient metaphysical and shamanic principles lead you to a perspective focused on personal desires, intention and goals, and/or to a mystical experience of awe, wonder, relatedness?
- What point on the spectrum of and/or resonates as a personal place of balance?
- What is the impact of that point on personal consciousness and action? On others, human and nonhuman? On the planet?
- How does this experience shape personal choices regarding responsibility and action?
I saw a church sign today, offering the week’s Sunday sermon: The Tragic Fall from Faith to Religion. The preaching was long past, so I don’t know what the gist of the message was, but the topic stayed with me. It reminded me of the verse from the Tao te Ching (translation by A.S. Kline):
When the great Way is lost
There is ‘benevolence and rectitude’.
When cleverness appears
There is ‘great ritual’.
When the family is not harmonious,
There is ‘filial piety’.
When the state is in chaos
There are ‘loyal’ ministers.
It’s one of the most powerful marketing secrets out there: that most of us have a hidden, painful sense of inadequacy… a lurking subconscious suspicion that some super-informed and miserly “They” are keeping all the ability, the skills, the knowledge about useful (or lifesaving!) topics from the rest of Us.
Just take a look at the pages that came up in a quick Google search (these are selected from the 95,900,000 results listed!)…
- 20 Things They Don’t Want You to Know
- Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know
- Debt Cures They Don’t Want You to Know
Nearly four years ago, I witnessed a tiny, shattering microcosm of the destruction being wreaked on the Earth. I was sitting by the fire-circle of my husband’s teacher (“Coyote”)’s sweatlodge, at the edge of a forest where he had often conducted vision quests…sacred land consecrated by years of ceremony. And now this land was under threat: the legal owners wanted the trees logged and sold so they could get double the value of the wetland before they sold it for development. Legal steps had been taken, counter-offers made to preserve the land, with no result. The loggers were due to move in soon.
Age 10, sitting on the swings, watching the sunset: the light saturated everything around me, swings, sliding board, trees, house, birds…it all shone from within, became energy, connected living energy-forms, conscious, feeling, thinking, communicating, sacred, shining with divinity.
When I emerged from immersion in the living Interconnected cosmos, so much realer than any catechism lesson, I ran inside to tell the story:
Mommy, mommy…! — We don’t believe that, dear, that’s pantheism, it’s heresy.
That was the beginning of my journey, with a Church-wound dividing soul from soul, soul from self, and soul from the transcendent/immanent Divinity of the cosmos.