Sunday, August 21, 2005

Paths to the Spirit

Before we begin, a recommendation and a warning: for those of us without cable TV, Norm Jensen's great site, is our only access to that jewel of cable TV programming, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Well, I think I pulled a rib cage muscle while watching this one (just open the video at that link)—it may be the funniest Stewart skit I've seen. It is hilarious, but it might hurt. Well, you've been warned.

Another excellent point in the firmament of the blogosphere that you may wish to explore and bookmark is our link of the week, Current Era. Here you'll find some of the backstory that gets missed by the mass media amid their obsession with the obvious, the Rovespin, and the scandalous. Sites like Current Era have helped to lead this country toward the critical-mass point that we're at now, where the tide of public opinion has done a near-180 degree turn from where it was a year ago—even in the so-called Red States.

Need proof? You can check out the polls. But what about the response to Cindy Sheehan's appearance in Crawford—particularly how even the mainstream media has retreated from the chickenhawks' efforts to demonize her as a tool of liberal advocacy groups, or the performance of Paul Hackett in the Ohio Congressional election?

As bad as things are, there is tremendous potential in a moment like this—an opportunity to cut clear through to the exposing and discarding of the underlying ideologies that have brought us to this time of global hell. Just watching Paul Hackett on the Maher show, and realizing that this fellow lost by a whisker an election in which he shouldn't have had a claimer's or a Nader's chance, was enough to reinforce my confidence about the future.

This is why I'm attempting a small contribution toward shaking the ground that the fundamentalist house of cards stands upon: people are already wondering how a fellow like Bush could imagine that God directly advises him to go off and destroy a foreign country that has done the U.S. no harm. I want them to go another step beyond that and ask, "where did we get this notion in the first place that God is someone or something that works via revenge, destruction, and deceit?" If enough people rigorously ask those kinds of questions, then tyranny will no longer have any ground to stand on, because its programmatic lies will have been flushed out of the consciousness of the citizenry, one person at a time.

Voters with clear minds make the right choices: the government they choose tends to endure. It all begins within the heart of each individual. A truly secular society is not a spiritless one: it has simply cleared out from its heart the medieval prejudices of institutional religion. We do not have that yet in America; but we're getting there.

One way to get there will be to follow the leadership of our sciences. This is why, in writing my most recent book, Drinking From the Darkness, I found myself discussing Einstein in the midst of a chapter about relationships. I discovered that just as Einstein, Bohr, and other scientists have developed a fresh understanding of gravity as a principle of attraction rather than merely of mass; just so must we come to the realization that love is not about falling, but rather about connection.

So what does that have to do with encouraging a spiritual renewal in society? Everything. If we can take the dull weight of sentimentality and falsehood out of our most intimate and personal relationships, then we are sure to realize a concomitant cleansing of all our social relationships—including those that we form between leaders and the led; managers and employees; government and citizens; God and the human race. It's all about turning within and killing the ideas that will otherwise inevitably kill us.

What caused the deaths of 3,000 people at the World Trade Center nearly four years ago? What has killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and nearly 2,000 of our soldiers? What was responsible for the genocides in Bosnia, in Rwanda, in Sudan?

Sure, there's power and greed at work in these situations—no reasonable person would deny that. But if that's where we leave it—blame the whole thing on the "ugly side" of human nature, we are stopping far short of a whole understanding.

Bush says that God—specifically, Jesus—told him to destroy Iraq and start the madness that now embroils and divides this nation. Osama says that God—specifically, Allah—told him to kill as many Americans and other "infidels" as possible, in whatever way he and his followers can.

Whether or not these beliefs are pale rationalizations serving private designs matters less than the fact that people accept them. It is up to us as individuals living in the way of Nature to boldly and plainly tell these people that we reject their false brand of spirituality. That, in essence, is what a grieving mother did last week in Crawford, Texas: Cindy Sheehan said to Mountain Bike Flash, "tell me what your war's noble cause was and is; tell me what God said to you that caused you to send my son to his death."

To this point, she has received no answer.

That's because there is no answer: as I said before, if we take that vapid religious rationalization away from Power by refusing to assent to its stupid sentiment, then we accomplish two things. We destroy the base upon which tyranny supports itself, and we recover a natural spirituality for ourselves.

If you'd like to get a clearer and more personal idea of how God works, of what It truly is, then I'd suggest following the lead of Science. It doesn't have the answers, but what it does have is the perspective that each of us can draw upon in forming a unique understanding that penetrates the thin veil of piety put forward by the agents of terror and tyranny. Try reading one of Brian Greene's entertaining and illuminating books; or go to a website like The Global Consciousness Project to see real evidence of universal consciousness at work. You don't have to understand all the technical stuff: all you have to do is see that there is so much more to life, mind, and the universe than you have been told is there.

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