Wednesday, September 30, 2009

(16) SOL

• Sol Invictus: The Ancient World's god-imagery of the Light.

• Solar Logos: Holy Reason. The Godhead. The Cosmic Plenum.

• Solar Sophia: Holy Wisdom. The Great Mother.

• The Spirit of the World: Pneuma, Providence, Protector.

• The Lord of the Elements: Panentheism. Panpsychism.

• The Incarnation of the Logos: The Word. The Way.

• The Light of the World: Illumination. Evolving Consciousness.

• The Omega Point.

Lord of the Universe: Illumination, the Light of the World,
Intelligence and Wisdom, Altogether, Spirit, Running Through,
Infinite in All Directions.

(15) Holy Spirit

A friend once wrote: "I'm far more content thinking of
the Holy Spirit as the God that is with us."

It would seem we are on the same line here. After what
seems nearly a lifetime of exploring our God-imagery, of
examining critically our archaic religious systems, I still
hold fast to the hoped-for existence of the Holy Spirit.

I perceive the Holy Spirit to be our expression of what is
the Godhead, the Plenum, who under-girds the Universe,
who illuminates the Cosmos, who has evolved Personality
and is bound to all those evolving sentient beings who
surely must populate the entirety of Creation.

(14) Despair unto Hope

Quoting the late great monk, Thomas Merton: "When I first
became a monk, yes, I was more sure of my 'answers.' But as
I grow old in the monastic life and advance further into solitude,
I become aware that I have only begun to seek the questions.
And what are the questions? Can man make sense out of his

No longer having the answers surely can lead to an uncertain
despair; however, there's hope in asking ever new questions.
It shows we are still alive and ticking, ever moving forward into
challenging new worlds. Like so many of us who are thoughtful
in one way or another, it would seem that Merton was under-
going his particular maturation process.

And gaining ever increasing maturity can unbalance one
occasionally. Probably it's normal to feel "you have got it"
when young. One puts their marbles in a favorite bag, and
then one day the bag wears through and the marbles spill
out. We cannot hold to the "same" forever and ever, no
matter what we are told and might believe.

Merton puts: "...perhaps in my solitude I have become as it
were an explorer..."

And that's what good monks do! They are explorers of the
Imaginal Realm, of the Subtle, trying to work through, to
"Seek God." Yet God insists upon remaining a MYSTERY.
And we explorers, monk or not, sometimes really do get
tired, weary, despairing over the fact that we do *not* know!

Merton puts: "I have been summoned to explore a desert
area of man's heart in which explanations no longer suffice,
and in which one learns that only experience counts."

Tis true, I believe. *Experience* would seem to be the
ultimate teacher. But our life's experience is more like a
"process" rather than an explanation. And as we know,
process is ever fluid. There may be short respites--here
and there--and then, once again, we are caught in the
currents of this process. Like a river, there's both calm
and terrifying rapids. That's Life, that's God too!

Merton puts: "...why is there evil and what is necessary
for a good life?"

We all have our opinions, our cultural heritage about
Good and Evil. Nonetheless, eventually we are at a loss
about these polarities that both caress and confound us.
Perhaps the Taoists make the most sense of these
strange polarities that wrap around us in this weird,
wonderful world.

At the end of the day, the very fact that we were born,
given life, given mind and greater levels of consciousness,
in a world evolved to sustain us, we should be *thankful.*
Responding, we need outgrow ourselves constantly, aiming
towards greater, higher levels of being--and that's where
HOPE resides for me. The fact that we can always be *more
and more.* It can be a wonderful life when we realize that
there's always the next step forwards.

(13) UnManifest/Manifest

The way I have understood the UnManifest, it's the great Inner
Dimension of our Universe--whether we view it as spiritual or
otherwise. And the way I have usually understood, from my
studies at least, is that the UnManifest *unfolds* its information
into the Manifest. Hence we have the Micro-Unfolding of
Consciousness into "points of consciousness" that, in them-
selves, unfold in the Cosmos.

However, questions arise: Is this one-way traffic? Or is it
two-way traffic?

Generations have longed to travel back into the UnManifest.
Religious contemplatives long "to see God," or at least lounge
in hir arms. As is oft put, we also need help in this life. So,too,
we direct prayers towards the UnManifest--hoping that we will
be heard. We honor God through out worship, through our
religious ceremonies, presuming this kind of Larger Prayer
might connect somehow with the UnManifest.

Thus, it seems we humans have long felt that we can engage
in two-way traffic between the UnManifest and the Manifest.
However, this situation--for me--rouses even more questions.

Let's harken back to the Big Bang. Scientists have confirmed
its radiation throughout the Universe. They now have enough
evidence to go back just a few seconds after this great burst
of Informed Energy; and they have been able to follow through
the various stages of the Cosmic Unfoldment unto this very day.
Profound, but our science and technology has this capability.

Still, most of our observations relate to the physical universe.
But only in our own time have scientists begun to ponder about
the Inner Dimension of the Universe via Quantum Physics.
Nowadays astrophysicists at least wonder out loud about what
prompted the Big Bang and the ensuing inflationary universe.
Usually they leave it at that. Yet for some it's a Great Mystery,
just as put long before by theologians.

With this, I have to address this question about our strange 13.7
billion-year-old universe. What is it all about? Guess that's the
biggest question in the world. We Consciousness Points ask
this question all the time, over and over. And it does seem that
the question surmises an answer; and drawing closer to an
answer, we are spurred to grow and develop towards an ever
heightened Maturity. So it goes, generation-after-generation!

As for myself, I look at the questions, look at the Mystery of the
UnManifest and the Manifest from various perspectives. and
*not* all my perspectives are spiritual. I'm actually more inclined
to believe that the spiritual perspective still remains at our
human "beginners level." Our spiritual evolution only began
to sprout with the cave people, more so with the early
civilizations of the Mesopotamian Basin, of the Ganges,
and in China. And since then we can trace the slow strange
historical development of this spiritual evolution.

More recently we humans have sprouted another perspective,
looking at the Mystery of the Universe from a rational perspective.
This led to the Enlightenment, its philosophies, and even on into
skepticism. We see the residue of this rational perspective right
now, this very day, in our own generation.

And yet another perspective is the scientific perspective. I'm
inclined toward this perspective myself. What's interesting is that
it is based on observation and eventual collaborative data. Even
more interesting, however, is where some of this scientific and
technological data is taking us! It's leading back to the Great
Mystery, and some scientists have become unafraid to ponder
on Such.

Now what many of us humans tend to do is line-up these three
perspectives and chose *one.* It's usually one over the other(s).

Now I find that approach quite limiting. Considering our
knowledge-base, it just doesn't make sense to rule out other
perspectives. What we need is, first, to recognize the genesis
of our perspective(s)--and, then, employ *all* of them, working
together, working ever towards that beckoning Answer.

I also think that by blending our perspectives, we become more
sophisticated Consciousness Points. And I think we need be!

In the end, what appears to be is a vast Cosmic System with
both inner and outer attributes, the UnManifest and the Manifest.
What we seem to have is a continuous unfolding of Information
pouring from the UnManifest, into and contributing to the
building-up of the Manifest. This seems a basic process of
this System in which we find ourselves.

Beyond this, we have begun to realize that we Consciousness
Points are likely recipients for much of this unfoldment of
information. We are likely bathed in it, but can only process and
make intelligible small drops of it at this point in our development.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

(12) Stability

"Find the place that God has given you and take root there. The
ability to stand firm, to be where you are and to dwell with oneself
is a sign of maturity of mind. This is stability."
[From Thomas Merton's Monastic Conferences at Gethesemani.]

Forever so long I have read over and over the thought of the
late famous monk, Thomas Merton. And the quote above really
connects with my own experience. Often in monastic literature
the idea of stability is about staying in a given physical location.
It's a mainstay for monastic community. On the other hand, those
living outside abbeys, monasteries, priories, for those who live in
the world, there seems the requirement to find one's *place.*
Sometimes this circumstance is easier said than done.

In my own case there's both an inner and an outer to this
situation of stability. And the two perspectives interweave
through one another. Also, I believe that as we progress in
maturity we see a lot of shifting with these perspectives. Life
is not always rock-solid, and that circumstance oft comes into
conflict with more traditional monastic ideas of stability.

Over the course of my life I have made many moves, to
different places and environments. So during this period of
moves, how can one possess any sense of stability? Nearly
from the beginning of my own monastic-oriented life, I had to
come to realize that I would have to forge that sense of stability
*inwardly.* Again, easier said than done.

It took me years to work through this inward project, forging
my own home anchor--if you will. How did I manage? Well,
I certainly wasn't very conscious of having achieved stability
whilst along the way. It was mainly by hindsight that I slowly
began to realize that I was becoming more and more stable
within myself. Via this hindsight I began to gain some small
insight on what had happened. Overall, it was about
"accepting" myself.

But it's not easy accepting one's self, if one doesn't have a
grip on one's self. That's how I started out. One day I began
to realize that I didn't have a clue as to who I was, am...And
just pondering on my navel didn't seem much of an approach.
What was there to ponder upon? Nevertheless, when one
does start down the road of serious introspection, helpful
tools pop forth here and there.

In my own case, the first major tool of "understanding" was
depth psychology. I had had some exposure to Freudian
Psychology, but it held little appeal for me. And I cannot
remember when I first encountered Jungian Psychology,
but it was if the lights went on! I really connected with the
archetypal world so important to Jung's psychology. In time
I moved into some serious dream-work, assisted by some
equally serious study. And has been said in a famous flick:
"If you build it, [they] will come."

Sure enough my Big Dreams--as Native Americans put
it--made their appearance, over a multi-year period. And
it was my working with these Big Dreams that I first really
felt that I had an encounter with the Numinous--and that I felt
I was beginning to make out my own archetypal constellation
that I could call "Self." With this, I was on the road leading
towards inner stability. I began to know who I am, what I
wanted to be, what I needed to do. And over these many
years I have stayed on this discovered "track," and this has
led to my sense of an inner stability.

Still, there's the other side of the coin, outer stability. There's
a lot of reading material about monastic stability, more than
often written by traditional vowed monastics. Many of these
writers were very much aware that they were offering advice
for those non-traditional monastics who lived outside the
cloister. Their books are "how to" types of advice. And it's
good advice, too! These books continue to build-up your
inner stability, but they also can provide information on how
to forge a sense of community on the outside. It's always
back to "community." But what happens if you are disposed
towards being a solitary?

Naturally, if someone wants to break all ties, go out to the
desert like the ancient monks. I've trekked through deserts--
both inner and outer--but I had the good sense to leave.
I'm an urban person, though I honor Nature and work for her

Nonetheless, eventually I came to enjoy both solitude and
community. I finally began to see my own little monastic
community that I have built.

There's my home, almost a cloister with an actual fence
around the property. Not originally meant to cordon off,
but mainly the fence was just a part of how our neighbor-
hood was built, put together. Still the fence provides privacy,
a space for solitude,a space where beauty can be built and
enjoyed. Over the years I landscaped the property, working
with the soil, dirtying my hands--not unlike the monks in their
monasteries who do the same.

Beyond this, I evolved a new life as a philosophical essayist
and story-teller in addition to being a docent naturalist. These
avocations have kept me involved--out of trouble--and they
have become my monastic *labora.* Traditional monks also
work in various disciplines and pursuits. One still has to make
a living; or if already self-sufficient, one does need the balance
of an active life vis-a-vis the contemplative life. There's also my
lovely library--that I sometimes call my *luminarium*--where I
can go, quietly read, and work more into my spiritual life through
its offerings. And than there's my local church, an Eucharist-
oriented church that actually has its historical roots in the great
Benedictine cathedral services of medieval England. And here,
too. I find fellowship. Put altogether, my home, my gardens, my
library, my church--they serve, in my mind, as a monastic-type
community, where I enjoy a strong sense of stability.

Monday, September 28, 2009

(11) Stoics & Monks

Beyond the previous post about Monks and Stoics, I've
found that the Stoic lifestyle corresponds nicely with the
great Benedictine Way.

STOIC: The Stoic philosopher Seneca believed that in order
to live well we need to develop a stability of mind. By this he
means the "well-being of soul," which he calls Tranquility.
Seneca puts the question: how can the mind "maintain a
consistent and advantageous course, be kind to itself and
take pleasure in its attributes...[and] abide in its serenity,
without excitement or depression?" What this Stoic philo-
sopher is talking about is a life led simply and steadily via
the practice of *apatheia.*

And Seneca continues: "it takes a great allow none
of his time to be frittered away, such a man's life is very long,
because he devotes every available minute of it to himself.
None of it lies idle and unexploited, none of it is at the
disposal of another." In this case he is talking about a
person who is sufficient unto himself, a person who knows
his likes and dislikes, a person who can plan ahead. He
is describing a self-contained person who is capable of
determining his own course by employing the Stoic lifestyle.

BENEDICTINE. Obedience: Over the course of my life I have
had to discern as to Whom or What I need be obedient. It
hasn't been an easy effort, fraught with a lot of failure on my
part. There has been a lot of trial-and-error, working through
territories that were part of a *via negativa* for me. Regardless,
one learns from this painful approach. In obedience I continue
trying to follow the whisperings of the Spirit, the Logos, working
in my heart and mind.

Stability: Becoming a stable person isn't easy. Like darkness is
to light, like chaos is to order, there's a linkage that must be
understood before one can run a sturdy course. The psyche is
full of such polarities, and mine surely has exemplified a great
variety of such. I've had to come to terms with these polarities,
and the job will never be finished. One must make the effort to
retain a stable and sturdy hand, always!

Conversio Morum: This is about spiritual formation, inwardly
and as an expression in the world. I harken back to That to
whom I am obedient, the Spirit, the Logos! Over my many
years I have been continuously surprised as I moved along
a Spirit- prompted path set forth for me. I have made fabulous
discoveries along the way--discoveries that have brought forth
insights and perhaps a little wisdom. My soul has steadily
grown, though sometimes I don't know it except through

Still, I make room for my being human. Perfection is not the
same as Change. Long ago I determined that the evolution
of my soul is a process towards ideal agency, making the
"ideal real."

Ora et Labora: This is about Prayer and Work. Praying has
always proved difficult for me. I am rarely pleased with myself
when praying. I've studied prayer, and there are different modes
of which I am sure I have participated. But I mainly like and try
to follow the kind of praying Christ suggested: private, simple,
and from the heart. Indeed the ancient Stoics also proposed
the same sort of prayer.

As for my Work, I'm a born scholar and possess the monastic
"Love of Learning." And I direct my learning mainly toward that
great Benedictine mandate "To Seek God." Though monastically
oriented, my universal approach through many years has also
been that of the spiritual Stoic philosopher.

Over the years I have written out my learning, not preaching but
rather hopefully sharing. Nonetheless, my aim is not to push
my few small pearls upon any soul--but rather to bring forth what
I have learned along my way as a sustenance for those who
find such appealing.

(10) Monks & Stoics

For nigh on three decades I have lived on the sidelines of the
great Benedictine Monastic Tradition and the Wisdom of the Stoa.
In due course I wished to reconcile these two magnificent spiritual
currents of Western Civilization--and started looking for any few
connections there might be.

The only serious comparison in common that I discovered was that
of "apatheia." It runs through both monasticism and stoicism.

Apatheia in the Benedictine Order is connected with the formation
of the monk, and in Latin terms it involves what is called "conversio
morum." The Benedictine need control his/her passions via
detachment--as does the Stoic--that's apatheia! In community,
the Benedictine has reinforcement and structures that lends to
this effort.

There's the order of the day, mainly involving liturgical prayer, work,
and study duties. And there's the great Rule of St. Benedict that
prescribes all this in detail. The aim is one of conversion. In their
case the Benedictine monk is aiming towards Christian perfection.

In the case of the modern Stoic, apatheia is left more to the
individual--though there are books and perhaps philosophy
classes. Ancient Stoics might have enjoyed more reinforcement
than the modern Stoic, in that the Stoa was far more pervasive
in the Mediterranean World than in our own times. Nonetheless,
the Stoic aims towards the perfection of the Sage.

There's also some possible historical connections between the two
traditions. First, the monastic founder--St. Benedict of Nursia--was a
Roman aristocrat, likely schooled in a classical education. So it's
possible he was fairly aware of some of the earlier tenets of stoicism,
as other Christian Fathers surely were, as exemplified by their
writings. Anyway the notion of apatheia transferred easily from the
Stoic to the Monk, though the aim standing behind such behavior
may have differed.

After the Fall of the Roman Imperium, with the onslaught of the Dark
Ages, it seemed as if the great writings of the Classical philosophers
were lost. But fortunately for us, medieval Benedictine monks got
around and acquired some of this lost classical mother-lode from the
Muslims. And these great classical books we read today were main-
tained and perpetuated by generations of Benedictine monks in their
scriptoriums. Indeed, these monks became quite enamored of
classical thought and eventually worked a lot of that thought into
their own monastic theology.

But naturally there are also considerable differences. One major
difference between the Benedictine Tradition and the Stoic Tradition
is that of "aim." And their outlook had to be colored by their aims.
From their outset, Benedictines declared their community to be a
"School of the Lord's Service." One might immediately think this
some kind of evangelical dictum, but not so. What it meant was that
the monastic community was the resource--the school--for the
individual monk to attain towards Christian perfection via conversio
morum, via apatheia.

Today the modern Stoic seems somewhat aimless in comparison.
Yes, there's a small trickle of individuals looking for a better form of
living in this world. Perhaps they are looking for a certain content-
ment, a way of managing the chaos that life oft presents in one way
or another. But beyond these individual pursuits, does the modern
Stoic aim towards any greater goals? Hence there are...

Questions: Early Christianity, out of which the Benedictine Tradition
grew, stressed the "Body of Christ" on several levels. One level was
more immediate. It was about building the Body of Christ which was
the Church. In time, for some in the Church and many in the
Benedictine Tradition, another level of approach became that of
building-up the world that had also come to represent the Body of

Now are there such aims in the Stoic Tradition? I'm not sure modern
Stoics have moved much beyond their own individual consideration.
However, I have read that ancient Stoics did hold to a certain outlook.
One such account sticks in my mind. For the ancient Stoic, the "goal"
of man is to live in agreement with world design: the cosmic citizen!
As a cosmic citizen, man has a loyalty and obligation to all things in
that city--the world, the cosmos, man's essential worth, universal

Now if this goal is still considered viable, than it would seem the
modern Stoic has a target. From encyclopedic accounts, the Stoic
wise man was independent of the society in which he lived. Yet a
man could become more virtuous only by exercising his virtue in
his relations with other men, and the exercise of virtue was to be
found in areas demanding responsibility. Thus it was necessary for
the Stoic to earn his living and take part in public life.

There's surely no doubt that many ancient Stoics did indeed take
part in public leadership. The teachers of the Stoa, in their own
way, were educating the young ruling classes of the Roman Empire,
surely in the hope of seeing, eventually, a more humane and
rational public service.

As for the Benedictines, regardless their religious outlook, they
have always provided public service. In the Dark Ages they
actually helped re-teach the peasantry the rudiments of agri-
culture and fisheries. In time they established "outer" schools
for the ruling classes. And towns (and eventually cities) built
around the hub of the monastery. Today Benedictines can be
found outside the cloister, not only working in churches but also
in public service such as in hospitals and in teaching.

(9) Soul

I still find it difficult to "live" myself as a soul. But now that I am
advancing in years, I think it beneficial to start trying! But how
would I go about this endeavor? Here's some points:

• I must think in terms of Energy, that I am a Conscious Energy
entity. That all of Life, on all levels, is about Energy.

• I must consider where my "true" home is. My experience
keeps pointing to a Center that seems the essence of my being.
It would seem, somehow, that this Center is my soul.

• I believe I have led previous lives, thus I subscribe to
reincarnation. Have these previous lives come out of my
Soul-Center as separate existences? Or is there a continuum
of consciousness in regard to these various existences?

• I suspect my various existences were lived as separate
personalities; yet, on the other hand, the experience of these
existences pool into my Soul-Center. And upon occasion,
perhaps memories of these other existences can impact upon
one's present existence. That's how I have tried to explain
a past-life vision I experienced, which profoundly impacted
upon the "me" that I'm living today. So there's some kind of
connection in my opinion.

• What's the point of being a soul? Only my view, but I feel
it surely must involve "soul growth"--ever evolving towards
a greater maturity of head and heart. Then what? Somehow
I can only imagine a great convergence of souls from all over
the Universe. Such a convergence could take the Universe
into another dimension of be-ing, beyond physical matter,
indeed probably beyond our religio-spiritual imaginings!

• In the meanwhile, what about here and now? As always,
I *try* to live the noble life. Rarely very successful, but I try.
What I mean is that I want to be good, I want to be noble,
obliging towards others, towards Life in general, without
having to have a carrot perched in front of my nose. I try
to self-generate this sense of nobility. Somehow I feel the
good and noble life is the soul's responsibility, that it is
part-and-parcel of our evolutionary process.

• I also want to continually inform my soul, so as to sharpen
its knowledge and intelligence. Also, I hope as I grow to
become more wise, more considerate, more compassionate.

• I want to experiment, too! What I am planning is to practice
what I call the "mind-matter" connection. Throughout my life
I've noticed definite connections with my thought and outside
synchronistic events. I think as Energy beings, we have
considerable potential in this area that we have barely begun
to realize. Perhaps as conscious Energy we might have the
capacity to form energy into material events. This is not a
unique idea, but I think we need practice.

• I will try to be less afraid of physical decay and destruction,
trying to keep in mind that I am a conscious Energy being.
Terribly difficult, one cannot deny. Still I feel I must try to work
my mind around to the fact that I am an Eternal Soul--and try to
live this life with intent and joy, rather than be fearful.

• Finally, I must become aware of what I deem a future life to
come forth from my Soul-Center. I have had intimations of such,
just as I once had a past-life vision. Indeed, I sense that what I
have been doing in the later years of this life somehow relates
to the person I will become in a future life.

So there's my points about being a soul. Not exactly a manifesto,
but it's a pretty good map for me!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

(8) Spirituality

"I've used the word 'spiritual' as a label to identify a meaning-
oriented approach to [life]. Its focus is on the yearning of human
beings for a world of love and caring, for genuine connection
and mutual recognition, for kindness and generosity, for
connection to the common good, to the sacred, and to a
transcendent purpose for our lives."
[Michael Lerner, THE LEFT HAND OF GOD, Harper, 2006,
p. 158.]

Saturday, September 26, 2009

(7) Ideas About God

Essentially I am going to take a three-pronged approach to this
"idea" of God. Thus I'll be addressing Presence, Providence, and

PRESENCE: This part of the discussion will focus upon my own
more immediate personal experience in relation tto God. Like most
people sometimes my experiences have held a numinous quality
for me, occasionally in extraordinary ways--whether in dreams, in
visions, in locutions. I don't put down these experiential occurrences--
nor does the Bible or modern psychologists. It's how you react to
such (I guess) that determines whether you might be crazy or not.

Anyway, I am not going to plague you by discussing my dreams in
detail. They are mine, only mine. Rather I will emphasize that some
20 years back (or more) I experienced what the Native Americans
call "Big Dreams." They were special, full of numinous content--and
unless you are a dullard, you know when you have them!

At the time of these Big Dreams I was at one of the lowest points in
my life. And these special dreams came to my rescue. I approached
these dreams as a series and wrote them down. At first they seemed
to be addressing my problems, and various dream characters were
trying to come to my rescue. The major gist of the dreams was that
of kindness and love and hope.

In these dreams, too, I was introduced to a Great Presence--and it's
here where I must be honest. I encountered the Divine Feminine, a
Great Mother who was a nourisher and a savior. There was also a
numinous Masculine figure in the guise of a Great Abbot. In depth
psychology one can say we are dealing with the anima/animus
energies. Perhaps so, but all through they were very, very numinous
beings. Eventually I experienced the Great Eye of God and was
given some direction in no uncertain terms!

These dreams also gave me insight as to my soul. I learned from
whence I came, and I was directed to be "as good a soul as I could
be." And in due course I eventually was able to determine from
these dreams a certain direction that I should take in this life.

Eventually I came to the end of these Big Dreams; and upon
pondering them altogether, I was utterly astonished. I was
astounded, because I was suddenly hit with the realization that
there was SOMEONE far beyond, far more intelligent, far more
than myself involved in all this!

Now depth psychologists oft call this situation an encounter with
the "Greater Self." It's there, present within us. Well I certainly
could not deny that there indeed was a great Presence that
came to me, nourished me, informed me of the significance of
my soul and of my life, and actually really *cared.* Having said
this, for me this Presence is very much up-front and personal.
And we worked together to put the pieces of my life back together,
even better than they were before! In a sense I was re-born.

Now it's easy to diminish this experience, assuming it's all just
in my mind and part-and-parcel of my mind's mechanism.
Maybe so--but if so, than we were created this way and it's a
gift of kindness provided by the Creator. But I have chosen to
think there's much more than this. The numinous qualities as
well as the encounters with the Numinous in its special forms
made it clear to me that there is (and remains) a Great Presence
that awaits our awareness--and, in turn, tries to help make us
more aware of who we are in relation to Such.

PROVIDENCE: The dictionary relates that this word is about
"care and control by a deity." This is the idea of both a
transcendent and imminent God that stands in its *own
freedom* to determine its own actions.

I stress this idea of freedom, because we humans too often
conjure over this and that, of what God must be! Perhaps we
can't help ourselves, but our opinions of God are *not*
necessarily God. So--with Providence there's this free God
that remains outside our control, a God that simply IS what it is.

Over my lifetime I have become less and less inclined to read
into God's actions. They happen, and sometimes they seem
bad as well as good. It's hard to explain a loving, caring God to
hurricane victims or to people in terrible, terrible pain that can
seem so endless. I, for one, will not presume to thrust the
"Summa Bonum," the All Good God, on people who are suffering,
oft innocently suffering.

The "Theodicy Problem" remains, and unto this day we keep
trying to figure it through. Nonetheless, I can speak of provi-
dential acts in my life that I must admit have been very helpful
to me. Providence has seen fit to play into my life with both
negatives and positives. Over time, too, I have learned that
there's major meaning in "closed doors" and "open doors."
What this means, IMO, is that these varied circumstances that
Providence provides offer us a *freedom of choice.* This is
where Providence gets personal, I guess. We can choose to
make the best of it, or not.

However, it would seem there are also impersonal acts by
Providence. Providence works in History, in social and cultural
decisions, as well as in Nature. The process of this universe
isn't just about our personal edification. It would seem that
Providence--as well as Presence--also plays out on this
Grander Scale of Being. And at our level of consciousness,
we cannot presume to know the *why* of providential action.

The old Stoics said just accept the acts of Providence. But
we have moved beyond just mere acceptance. We do rush
into assumptions and judgments, but we also are beginning
to see (or at least sense) the *challenge* that can stand behind
the movement of Providence. Perhaps providential acts are a
"prompter" that can move us along unto higher levels of
consciousness and being--if we stand aside from out own
need to control and accept the challenge of these acts. If we
rose to the challenge, so much pain and suffering in this world
could be eliminated.

PERSPECTIVE: Here the focus would seem more on us than
upon God. We seem *not* to be able to not have ideas and
imagery about the Numinous. It's in our heads, it's in our
cultures and societies, and it's just as much in the heads of
atheists--otherwise they wouldn't try so hard to deny God.
Everybody is touched at some level by a perspective of God.
There's cults and creeds, and opinions throughout about who
God might be.

As for myself, I love playing with all these perspectives that have
come my way--mainly through my studies. Though these days I
am studying Taoism, I'm mostly Western-oriented. And just my
perspective, but I view God in terms of a CONTINUUM--revealing
hirself slowly down through the ages via many interpretations that
we humans have managed.

(6) Wondrous Creation

For myself, I have tried to develop a personal spirituality that
allows for living more in communion with this world, this Universe.
It's all we really have. It's a truly fascinating place, a Living System
as our scientists are now beginning to admit. It's a self-organizing
system, containing further systems infinitum within itself. There's
creativity and experimentation and adventure all over the place!

Some philosophers and theologians are beginning to realize
that our Universe includes a suggestive *subjectivity,* hence
mind and consciousness. We humans in this world would seem
the proof. Think upon this, through millennia of evolution *we*
represent all the living organisms (once and now) on this planet.
Through groping, punctuated jumping, whatever, there's been a
steady trajectory. We can trace back our ancestry up from the
earlier forms of humans, from land mammals, from the amphibian,
from marine creatures, indeed right from the amoeba. But it is *we*
who represent the Earth's arrival into self-consciousness! As
Teilhard de Chardin once expressed: "the cell has become

We have become Consciousness Points in this wondrous creation.

Friday, September 25, 2009

(5) Continuum

What I have been able to do is as follows: I've come to approach
the Plenum of this Universe, the Ground, the Center if you will,
as Mystery that wishes itself to be unraveled or unfolded. This
will always be our primary job as cosmic Consciousness Points.
I also see that this process has only begun, considering we are
only beginning to reach towards more sophistication in our

Remember, we started with animism, religious tribalism, to
pantheons of gods, to various levels of monotheism. It's all
about consciousness development and our evolving
conceptions of what this Mystery might be. Hence over the
millennia we have not only these different concepts, but also
different labels regarding the Mystery.

Though many today are attracted to Eastern philosophy, I
(for one) am definitely a child of the West. Consequently I've
tended to look back at the West's religious and philosophical
evolution, rising out of the Middle East in many forms, moving
to the Mediterranean World, on into the European continent,
and than via empire into its colonies.

I've studied this evolution, from Mesopotamian gods to the
Olympian Pantheon to the Mysteries of the Hellenistic World
to Judaism to Christianity to the unfolding of what I deem
"Scientific Spirituality." In turn, I've worked hard to *integrate*
this evolution of religio-spiritual thought into what I consider

Now only personal for me, but I latched onto the Greek philo-
sophical concept of the "Logos" as a way to carry through this
awareness of the Ground--from its earliest conception unto
today's contemporary science theories.

I like the idea of the Logos, because originally it was a way of
explaining the Mystery, the Ground, *universally.* Now I have
little trouble thinking about all this in universal terms, and oft I
do so. Still, one must look at the overwhelming majority of any
given population. For the most part, they are not at a universal
level conceptually and still remain compartmentalized within
creedal contexts. Still, human beings (I believe) intuit this Ground
of Being; but they must somehow bring it into their own horizon
in order to grasp it. That's why we need images and analogies
that more than often are found in religious creeds.

Yet, it would seem that we are now beginning to advance toward
a different time, a different place perhaps in our conceptualization
of the Mystery. Maybe this has to do with the advent of advanced
transportation and communication. Today the world rubs up-and-
against itself. East and West, North and South are all implicating
one another in varied relationships. These relationships also
include creedal and philosophical perceptions as well. It's like
many colors streaking across a canvas, beginning to blend into
one another. This process has only begun and we don't have any
idea what the final outcome will be, if ever!

But what seems to be happening is that this universalization of the
Mystery is taking hold more and more. And it is coming head-on
with older creedal concepts. Consequently there's a certain
discomfort, oft misunderstanding.

The trick (I believe) is to stand above the process for a little while,
and looked upon dispassionately one can see that the whole
blasted thing is a CONTINUUM of evolving conceptualizations
about the Mystery, about Ultimate Reality. If viewed this way, all
our spiritual efforts, all our religious creeds have been all a part of
the *process* of this ever unfolding Continuum.

(4) Mother Hen

Quoting from an article: "The problem is that big things, like stars,
planets and galaxies (collectively the macroworld), are governed
by Einstein's theories of relativity, which revolutionized physics a
century ago. The embarrassments started coming soon after with
the development of quantum theory: it turns out that small things,
like atoms and their constituents (collectively the microworld), are
ruled by a completely different set of physics, one that conflicts
horrifically with relativity."

I've always considered this strangeness of the Universe more
"close to home." If we, who are body and soul, who are micro-
cosms, than the Macrocosm must in some unknown way seem
the same as its smaller reflections.

Thus the macroworld of the Universe would seem the Body, and
the microworld of the Universe would seem the Soul. Hence the
Universe is running on two servers. Just as we Consciousness
Points are running on two servers.

This cosmic outer world seems so elegantly straightforward,
whereas--to quote--"the inner world of quantum mechanics
is a wild, unpredictable sea of mind-bending weirdness. It's
based on pure randomness: things just pop in and out of
existence almost at whim, and we end up with hundreds of
different types of particles each with different properties, and
the whole thing gets so confusing that documenting them in
one over-arching 'registry' just slows the while thing down and
ends up fragmenting the Universe into a mess..."

This seems *so* much like our own puny inner workings, doesn't
it? Our soul, our inner life, still borders on the random, on the
chaotic; so, as microcosmos, is it so hard to ponder the similarity
we see in the Microcosmos? Neither level--Macro or micro--of
the Universe would yet seem finished or complete.

It's kind of like adolescents suddenly in a nearly mature, elegant
body, but yet still all messed-up inside. Poor kids, poor us, poor

Now scientists are impatient to explain it all: and, yes, they are
irked over this strange condition of the Universe that is both
steady and chaotic altogether. I know that most scientists
would never take the philosophical (or spiritual) perspective I
have on this issue, though some of the more thoughtful are
twittering around this territory.

In the meanwhile we, in our own smaller worlds, existing in the
Greater World, will just have to become ever more conscious, more
comprehending, in order to work through the chaos towards a
better existence. I've no doubt the development of us microcosms--
the Universe's Consciousness Points--are utterly necessary for the
development of the Macrocosm.

So that's my theory, wishful as it may be. But one does have to ask
where "God" might be in all this scenario? Just my opinion (and
really no more than an opinion), my little Wotai Stone carries a
curious image within it. It's the image of a sunbird--a rainbow
streaked eagle--hovering over a globe. Since it is my stone, the
image is mine only. Yet all along, for much of my life, I have felt
the Great Spirit hovering over and within us all, hovering over the
Earth, hovering over the Cosmos, hovering over each living entity
that had come forth in Creation.

It's like a "Mother Hen" watching after her own as they edge
precariously out into the Light.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

(3) The Light

Occasionally I weary over all of our God-Talk. In reality I'm not
positive any of us know very much about what we talk about.
Lots of this God-Talk comes from various sources, and nowadays
some of these sources are under critical re-evaluation. And,
overall, we mostly inherit our opinions from religion, philosophy,
and history. To use a Catholic term, we are all "cradle"

So is there any *new* approach that we might take outside
religion, philosophy, and history? I don't know. It has been said
that we humans are immersed in our inherited world-view by the
time we are two years of age--and really locked-in by the time we
are four.

The trouble for our present living generations is that our world-view
no longer seems to have that "lock" that it once had on people. We
are those generations on the cusp of a New Millennium, leaving
the Old one behind, and that maybe makes our predicament even
more confusing. Regardless, either the Old needs new ways to
view its theologies--or the New needs to start coming into view. It's
a rough time, perplexing, and we living generations certainly reflect
all this activity in a micro-scale kind of way.

Now I've spent a goodly part of my life gleaning insight from history,
philosophy, and religion--as well as science. And over this period
I've slowly been putting all that I have come to know into a kind of
new package (or world-view). Beyond that I have been whittling it
down into shorthand. Quickly, my personal world-view can be
called the "Light."

I really can't say that God does this, or God says that, or God means
thus and so. Sorry, I just can't presume such a thing. Rather mine
seems more an observation, an interpretation, and an evaluation.
Yet not any of this approach is set in concrete. It's always open-

Looking out onto the Universe, reading about the beginnings of such,
knowing about the detected background radiation of the Big Bang,
there's just a great burst of Light. Out of this Light comes forth all the
building-blocks for the gradual unfolding of the Universe, as we have
come to know it today, and surely as we will never see it in far
different ways in the Future.

The Light stands as a spiritual symbol for me. We have come to
know that Light is both Particles and Waves. In turn I can transcribe
these constituents into Matter and Energy. And bingo! That's what
composes this Universe, and what constitutes us!

What else might Light be--as we understand it? It's Illumination, and
it's Energetic Vitality. Out of these conceptualizations we can glean
forth the Forces that move us through evolution, move us from the
primitive unto various levels of Civilization. These Forces of the Light
would seem to be Consciousness, Comprehension, and the urge to
move forward towards greater Achievement and Character.

So--when I look back at all our God-Talk, look back on our inherited
world-view(s), I now can spot the Light slowly and surely creeping
into our horizon, into our vision. We have "incarnations" of the
Light (the Logos), we have our great moments of Nobility wherein,
who in, the Light illuminates most brightly.

And, finally, my view of the Light takes us into far-reaching territories,
not just in the realm of God-Talk. The Light is the underlying Core
that under-girds all the activities of the Universe, including our own.
Thus, I view the Light standing behind our pursuit for ever greater
knowledge, via all the disciplines, via our integral approaches. I also
view the Light in our myriad of efforts to become better human
beings, to become more truly aware and fully spirited beings, to
become the "Consciousness Points" of the Universe through which
the Light shines and shines and shines ever more clearly.

(2) Light & Word

What I will be trying to say here is "darned difficult," if you will. It's
not something heavy or harsh, just something complex that has
been whittling its way in my mind forever so long. It's about both
knowing and not knowing.

Without going into a lot of detail, I've studied the history of Religion--
coming to understand the continuum of religious thought (at least
here in the West), ranging from the archaic to the modern. Within
this continuum the connections are fairly obvious.

But there's also a *disconnect.* At least I have experienced such.
Having studied contemporary science theory, having written about
these theories, working to blend them with a sense of spirituality,
I have had a lot of difficulty relating such to our archaic forms of

These new theoretics, these ever continuing scientific revelations
about how our universe has evolved, how physical forms have
evolved, how intelligence has evolved, all seem so far removed
from the God/gods of our religious continuum. It has been
darned difficult making sense of where we have come from and
what we now have.

Consequently, I have moved into more vague and usually un-
explored territories that I can only label as "universal." But this
sense of universality doesn't seem to fit our standing religious
prescriptions. When I get into these archaic prescriptions, I feel
as if I'm driving a Model-T while sitting in my garage is a

I've pretty much stepped out of the Model-T, but I haven't yet
found a comfortable way to slip into the Thunderbird.

Over the years I have only found one religio-spiritual concept
that makes sense to me: the idea of the Cosmic Plenum. This
Godhead, sometimes called by both Pagan Philosophy and
Christianity the "Logos" or "LogosSophia" is (for me) a Universal.
Yet--today--in the world, in the Modern Mentality in which I live,
I have difficulty connecting our archaic spiritual legacies with a
Quantum World that is, in fact, an Evolutionary System.

I know that a goodly number of the Early Christian Fathers were
classically trained, indeed some were pagan converts bringing
their philosophical manuals right on into the Church. Many
Christians today aren't even aware of these spiritual connections
between Pagan Philosophy and Christian Thought. Yet,
historically, they are easily traceable.

Knowing this, I initially felt let-down. But "down" is not necessarily
"out." I've just begun reading Francis Collin's THE LANGUAGE
OF GOD. He's the Director of the National Human Genome Project.
He is finding God's code, in you will, written into our genetic script--
albeit presented somewhat from an evangelical or fundamentalist
perspective. Via my own studies, I also ponder the Double Helix
and the incredible information which it carries. I also have been
fascinated by the field of Memetics--a new discipline that is
probing mental genes now currently labeled "memes."

These are societal mental codes, not just ordinary ideas that come
and go--but, rather, these are great flows of information that are
like great currents that continuously wash over our minds, over
our Collective Mind. And I am playing around with what I call the
"MEME of all memes." Of course this is the GOD-MEME.

Again, working out of the traditions of the West, those parts that
can be universally applied, I lean towards two trends of memes
that might be God-inspired, that can evolve right along with us:
Light and Word.

The meme of Light has been with us humans nearly all through
our existence. It's ultimately about illumination, about ever
greater consciousness and comprehension. The meme of Light
has sparked not only our spiritual endeavors but also our pursuit
of scientific understanding.

As for the meme of Word, well it's through this that the meme of
Light is conveyed . Right up to our own day we have seen the
Word expressed by our great avatars, our spiritual warriors, our
probing philosophers, and our scientific questers.

So--though I have pretty much narrowed down into universals
the memes of Light and Word, I still have found it darned difficult
working with them outside of a traditional context. But more
perplexing for me is that I have found the traditional contexts
"wanting." They have stayed too much in place, not bending or
growing as continuously developing evolutionary systems.

Thus, I am into that unwanted place of "not knowing." It would
seem that we are on the edge of a Big Leap, but we haven't
yet been driven to that last foothold. But we will be. Else we
will fall backwards--and I pray to God that will never happen.
Though it has happened before.

As for the thought of the monk Thomas Merton, as for a lot of
current contemplative thought, I sincerely believe that this is an
area where we might probe--not just looking back, but looking
ahead. Contemplation is perhaps the "nesting place" for both
the Light and the Word. A place for birthing, for evolutionary
jumps in consciousness, and perhaps for a more universal
comprehension of the Lord of the Universe and Creation.

So--what with change in our midst, perhaps this might be
the time where new spiritual frontiers might be seen in the
distance, where we might explore and wonder, where we can
hopefully take our Spiritual Past into the Spiritual Future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

(1) Being in BEING

Academically--back in 1987--I began studying professionally
the then fairly new field of "Science and Spirituality." And my
efforts finally culminated in my website, the "Stoa del Sol." At
the time I felt myself, along with a few other stalwarts, petty much
a pioneer in this work. But now I have become *antiquated.*
The field of Science and Spirituality has exploded on the scene,
big time, with world-class contributors that include major
philosophers, theologians, and scientists. Bookstores are
rampant with books on this subject.

As it turned out, my small effort was just a tiny squeak down in
the trenches. Still, every little effort counts. So--what are we
trying to do?

It's always tough saying it, but the "God" of tribalism and magic
just isn't cutting it anymore. Simultaneously, most of us are at a
loss as to why this is happening and what can we do. It's true, I
believe, that "God is a mind-projection," as has been said; on
the other hand, "God" is with us regardless our pithy efforts of
comprehension. The God Image is collectively in our minds.
It plays us, no matter how dense we are in term of our imagery
and projections. This situation *is* about evolution--our mental

But spiritually we seem to be moving slightly ahead of our old
mental concepts of God. Still trying to hang-on to our mythopoetic
concepts, our self-generating God myths, we are at last left
remiss and confused.

On some levels, we poor humans are resorting to barbarism--
playing out our "God" via wars, killings, hating, finger-pointing,
rigidity. BACKWARDS personified. Others desperately try to
retain the STATUS QUO, insisting on so-called "fundamentals"
that, in turn, point straight back to our old tribal cultures. Trying
to relate tribal mindsets with a modern technological secular
society seems nearly bordering on craziness. Oh well, we
humans are a murky folk at best.

Than there's the issue of our religious institutions. They have
gone afoul, and some even smell of dastardly deeds. Again,
however, we humans mostly are afraid to set foot outside of
our "container systems"--as Jung puts it--thus we shiver and
shake over our ominous institutional breakdowns. I guess not
many of us are ready to "stand on our own two feet," as Thomas
Merton once put.

It has been said that if our religious institutions fell by the wayside,
there would be nothing to fall back upon. Not true. Unless you
can't read--and that is a problem for a goodly number of us--there's
that Great Treasure of Wisdom come down through the ages, in
books. Perhaps we need to come straight on with our magnificent
conveyors of Wisdom--rather than via lesser voices that are prone
to power and authority.

Trying to "fix" something that is failing, near collapse, may be an
effort in futility. Hard to say for sure, but I would think our efforts,
our energy, can be put to better use. We humans--spiritually--
really, really need to move forward. But the old contexts, the old
vehicles, just are not carrying us in the right direction.

So back to Science and Spirituality, will it be the next step towards
refining ourselves? I don't know, but it's certainly a prospect. Now
not everyone is going to be terribly informed in Science, but more
of us are now becoming more aware of the Infinite Universe of which
we are a part. The Universe is a challenge to our minds, to our
imagination, and surely to our spiritual inclinations.

As to whether the Universe is all that there is, that the Universe is
God, well that's a moot point. These days scientists talk of multi-
universes. I, for one, focus more on God's Creation that reflects and
resides with the Architect. A more panentheistic view, I suppose.

But imagine this fantastic Universe, what with its myriad aspects that
just can shake us into astonishment. Whatever must the Architect of
such a Creation be like? When evolutionary babes, we looked out
onto the world in fear and trembling, later in wonder at the "canopy"
of stars, turning the constellations into gods, or worshiping the
thunder and lightening. Our minds have struggled to grow, to
grasp towards an ever greater understanding, moving into more
sophisticated god-concepts such as the Logos and Sophia, such
as Love and Compassion and Reason. And we also indulge in the
habit of "incarnating" our concepts--hence our god-projections.

Moving on, now at the cusp of another spiritual level, looking out at
the Universe via Hubble, assisted by world-class philosophers,
theologians, and scientists, will we make the next jump in our God
Imago? It would seem logical, maybe even hopeful--yet we poor
humans still have the propensity to fall backwards into "Dark Ages."
Historically, that has happened before.

Nonetheless, after all this has been said, after all my long study in
Science and Spirituality, and now working as a Naturalist, I have
barely any new god-images in mind. Indeed, maybe the answer is
NO god-image will be forthcoming. Perhaps we will eventually just
reach the level of simply "being in BEING." Then, we just might have
arrived *Home.*


A number of years ago I started writing a miscellany of posts
that I buried away. Only recently I re-discovered them, so I
decided to put these past writings into a blog. And following
these, I'll continue to add new items.

However--over my lifetime--I must make mention that
there has been lots of change in my approach, going through
different phases when it comes to what I might believe and
where I put my hope. Hence, overall, these personal posts
reflect those different perspectives as I march through my
ever shifting "Seeker's Sojourn."