Thursday, November 03, 2005

Supreme Ultimate

Recently I've been trying to consolidate my thoughts on what the nature of the divine is to me. These thoughts have been spurred in relation to reading some of the excellent blogs from the burgeoning online Gnostic community (my two favourites being fantastic planet and Ecclesia Gnostica in Nova Albion), my own experiences attending Susan Greenwood and Jo Crow's excellent shamanism workshops, The Spell of the Sensous by David Abrams, Jonathan Miller's Brief History of Disbelief which is being repeated on BBC2 and visiting my lovely girlfriend up in the wilds of Wales.

It seems when often when people talk of their belief or lack of belief in a divine figure many seem to fall into the trap of relating to God in their own image. They see the divine as essentially anthropomorphic and possessed of human qualities. So when bad things happen, be they natural disasters or human calamity, they invariably consider that God is either a mighty pissed malicious bastard to be feared or can't exist, because if he (generally it's a he) did he wouldn't allow these sort of things to happen.

Some interpretations of spiritual systems hold the belief that this Earth is ultimately fallen, that the pain and misery in the world is a result of it's imperfection and that either the commonly worshiped God is in fact our main jailer, or we are deep down no good bastards who deserve all that's coming to us.

This has always been my main stumbling block with most forms of transcendentalist mysticism and why I've never got on with a lot of interpretations of the bible. From my own limited perspective the world to me seems to be one of the most amazing and efficient systems, a self perpetuating ouroborous entity constantly devouring itself to create itself, and our presence and participation in this world is what defines us. I can't bring myself to view the world as a broken lesser thing that lives in the shadow of spirit, to me the world works fine, our problems come when we forget we are a part of it.

Mired in our own petty human concerns we can easily forget we are just a tiny, tiny thread in a massive tapestry of life (not just human life, all life) that stretches out seemingly to infinity in more directions than we can define in our limited vocabulary. We never left the garden of Eden, it's all around us, the only fall was the fall from connection to isolation. If we just stop our collective navel gazing and take a moment to pause and really notice the world around us, the cat prowling along the wall beside us, the bird song heard above the hum of traffic, the moon hung silently in the sky passively observing all with her gentle gaze, we might realize this.

The jealous fire and brimstone god, the jailer Demiurge is just a reflection of ourselves projected out into the world and then mistaken for reality. We hold the keys to our shackles we're just too afraid to use them.

That infinite 'something' that binds us all together, the sense of being embedded in something larger, that to me is 'God'. Not some Daddy figure in the sky that we cry to when we're scared, fear when we've been bad and blame when we feel wronged. Not Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Allah or any of the other masks we've felt the need to force on it when those brave people come back from the edge of experience and try to explain what they've seen. We may find it easier to describe The Divine to others by giving it a human face but the danger here is that people make the classic error of mistaking the map for the territory and worship the symbol instead of looking for the experience themselves.

We need to stop looking out from inside, instead we should just get out into the world and play.