For many centuries humanity has cast God in its own image. We have some benevolent /vengeful geezer with a beard in a paternal sense and a Caucasian man getting nailed to the cross in Israel long before there was widespread travel and intermingling. Over the years many cultures have their own version of God and Gods. Our concept of deity is a time evolving one. This is a safe statement. Even the religions splinter and have different versions of God which arise out of the same scriptures.
I personally cannot imagine heaven and hell as they are often portrayed in artwork, because these portrayals have humans in corporeal forms. When you are dead and have quit your body, you don’t have one that looks like meat. Some people even have their body burned.
There are some questions that we cannot answer.
Science is pretty sure that the universe exists, and modern science even has a time frame for this current manifestation of the universe, 14 billion years-ish. By using instrumentation based largely on electromagnetic radiation we can measure the visible or emissive universe. This is the prakṛti or material universe, we do not have any instruments that might measure puruṣa. So even in our wisdom, which we might overestimate, we have at best half the story. The immaterial universe, the subjective is as it currently stands, beyond our instrumentation. The cycling of universe is spoken of in Vedic writings, and is not as yet forbidden by modern science, we have the so-called great crunch as a possible fate for this one. The one in which you and I are currently manifested incarnate beings.
We can say with a fair measure of confidence that the universe is.
We cannot answer why it is, nor for what purpose it manifested / is manifesting.
We might be able to offer some reasoned arguments for how come it came into being, in what way it manifests.
So, did a God kick off this whole shebang?
Does God have other beings who are his/her Gods?
Many traditions have a sense of an overarching Spirit which remains unmanifested. The so-called negative veils of existence Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur of the kabbalist, the Nagal of the Toltecs, The Brahman and in a sense Wakan Tanka of the Sioux.
Is it necessary to invoke some kind of being? Or could we simply have “an awareness” without any form whatsoever, an awareness which is arupa, formless, no matter, no shape. As an abstract concept it is difficult to get your head around an insubstantive thing which is aware. Are we limited by our prejudices?
Now more than ever humanity is much more capable of abstract thought, we do not need oil paintings, or statues we have virtual reality and that can be time evolving.
In the Toltec Teachings there is a notion of before the universe. If there is no universe, there is no thing. No thing is very empty, a void, the utter nothingness of vacuum. We already have few problems with our cartesian thinking. What were the dimensions of this no thing? It is an invalid question because if there is no thing, even dimension has not yet manifested and remember dimension is something we humans dreamed up.
The narrative continues. This no thing this void was somehow aware, and it figured out that it was lacking “self”-knowledge there were aspects about itself which were unknown, perhaps unknowable. Remember this awareness was alone in the non-universe the void. In contemplation it had the inquiry as to what was known, unknown and unknowable. Some ”thing” stirred in its awareness. Or perhaps it might be better to say the progenitor of “thing”, this bugged it. In order to find out what was unknown it had to manifest the unknown or matter aspect of itself. It had to make stuff. Out of arupa and pure nothingness it had to manifest rupa. And so, in a quest to understand its own awareness the great Spirit, the Nagal, gave birth to an aspect of its own awareness, the Nagal’s awareness which precipitated the creation of our universe as we now know it.
To imagine even for an attosecond that we mighty comprehend an awareness capable of manifesting a universe to better understand itself, is foolhardy arrogance.
You may notice that I have used it. This it cannot be until after the very first stages of manifestation. Because it cannot exist unless there is something. Nothing implies no it. I have used it as a convenience cognisant that it is strictly a turn of phrase.
Is God – a being or a state of awareness?
Being involved with the rule may be described as living a myth. Don Juan lived a myth, a myth that caught him and made him the Nagual.
Don Juan said that when the rule caught him he was an aggressive, unruly man living in exile, as thousands of other Yaqui Indians from northern Mexico lived at that time. He worked in the tobacco plantations of southern Mexico. One day after work, in a nearly fatal encounter with a fellow worker over matters of money, he was shot in the chest. When he regained consciousness an old Indian was leaning over him, poking the small wound in his chest with his fingers. The bullet had not penetrated the chest cavity but was lodged in the muscle against a rib. Don Juan fainted two or three times from shock, loss of blood, and in his own words, from fear of dying. The old Indian removed the bullet, and since don Juan had no place to stay, he took him to his own house and nursed him for over a month.
The old Indian was kind but severe. One day when don Juan was fairly strong, almost recovered, the old man gave him a sound blow on his back and forced him into a state of heightened awareness. Then, without any further preliminaries, he revealed to don Juan the portion of the rule which pertained to the Nagual and his role. Don Juan did exactly the same thing with me, and with la Gorda; he made us shift levels of awareness and told us the rule of the Nagual in the following way: The power that governs the destiny of all living beings is called the Eagle, not because it is an eagle or has anything to do with an eagle, but because it appears to the seer as an immeasurable jet-black eagle, standing erect as an eagle stands, its height reaching to infinity. As the seer gazes on the blackness that the Eagle is, four blazes of light reveal what the Eagle is like. The first blaze, which is like a bolt of lightning, helps the seer make out the contours of the Eagle’s body.
There are patches of whiteness that look like an eagle’s feathers and talons. A second blaze of lightning reveals the flapping, wind-creating blackness that looks like an eagle’s wings. With the third blaze of lightning the seer beholds a piercing, inhuman eye. And the fourth and last blaze discloses what the Eagle is doing.
The Eagle is devouring the awareness of all the creatures that, alive on earth a moment before and now dead, have floated to the Eagle’s beak, like a ceaseless swarm of fireflies, to meet their owner, their reason for having had life. The Eagle disentangles these tiny flames, lays them flat, as a tanner stretches out a hide, and then consumes them; for awareness is the Eagle’s food.
The Eagle, that power that governs the destinies of all living things, reflects equally and at once all those living things. There is no way, therefore, for man to pray to the Eagle, to ask favors, to hope for grace, The human part of the Eagle is too insignificant to move the whole.
It is only from the Eagle’s actions that a seer can tell what it wants. The Eagle, although it is not moved by the circumstances of any living thing, has granted a gift to each of those beings. In its own way and right, any one of them, if it so desires, has the power to keep the flame of awareness, the power to disobey the summons to die and be consumed. Every living thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening to freedom and to go through it. It is evident to the seer who sees the opening, and to the creatures that go through it, that the Eagle has granted that gift in order to perpetuate awareness.
For the purpose of guiding living things to that opening, the Eagle created the Nagual. The Nagual is a double being to whom the rule has been revealed. Whether it be in the form of a human being, an animal, a plant, or anything else that lives, the Nagual by virtue of its doubleness is drawn to seek that hidden passageway.
I’ll start by referring back to the previous post on Dhyāna. Trying to classify quantized states of awareness using a pseudo-intellectual framework is to fail and from a Zen point of view, badly. Already one is hooked into comparison mind which is not a state of awareness rather a process of comparison.
I’ll make a bold statement; awareness is a continuum and cannot be quantized or quantified no matter how much you might like to do so! If you like intellectual masturbation, the concept of defining states of awareness might give you a boner or make you damp. Enlightenment it is not! It is at best an intellectual exercise wherein the nit pickers of the world can argue the toss with each other.
Retrospect has suggested to me that I began meditation at an early age, it was partially due to me having to spend large amounts of time on my own waiting for people. It was also due to me staring in a relaxed manner into the distance and sitting in near silence with my maternal grandfather on benches as he puffed on his stinky pipe and looked out across the Rhondda valley. Gazing into the distance at scenery and simply absorbing it is a fine way to calm the mind. It is not taking in every detail and having internal dialogue, it is absorbing, being in the moment and to an extent at one with the scenery.
Whenever I was caught doing this gazing thing, I was “accused” of daydreaming. I have to admit that I did do this to check out from the noise of a largely extrovert family, from time to time, it turned the volume off and there was the silence inner despite the cacophony outer.
“He is off daydreaming again…”
“ahh, peace, no noise…”
So much is written in bated breath perhaps about the zen cushion, the abstemious monks meditating, the yogis doing extreme body piercing, the rubber asana yoga people, and there is discussion as to who is the best. This “top trumps” mentality misses the point. There is no TripAdvisor guide as to which is the best path to nirvana, besides who in reality could make a cogent comment based on personal experience?
Do you know what my test would be, it goes something like this:
Could you in the middle of a painful messy divorce, with a grant application deadline looming, maintain the point of no mind from Brixton tube station to Victoria at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning in a crowded tube train?
This is the weird thing for me, there is a disconnect. Meditation is not something one does for 20 mins a day down at the dharma centre, the yoga club, the church. It needs to happen in real life context like a tube train journey into work. Until one can do it under non-ideal conditions, one does not have control.
And here is the funny bit. There is a lot of prejudice against smokers. I quit about six months ago. I was accustomed to sit, stare into space and chuff on a tab. What people saw was some vile geezer smoking. Doesn’t he know that smoking will kill him? What a vile disgusting habit! Tut, tut, tut.
What I was doing was gazing direct into infinity.
Is it necessary to have a model with which to understand living as a human being on this planet and in our times?
The short answer to this is no. There are many people who have but a passing notion of God and some vague concern about heaven and hell but that is as far as it goes. If one does genuinely believe in heaven and hell and sin, then it would be pretty stupid to carry on sinning. If one thinks that there is only one life and after than nothing, even that as a philosophy has implications, namely that time is precious one might seek to make the most of that time. I think the trouble is people think a whole bunch of different things at different times and don’t have a core life philosophy, it is too inconvenient.
They may be interested in money, self-advancement, lots of clothes, lots of sex, lots of food etc. They may like attention, fame and praise. I suspect that the vast majority of people haven’t really considered what life is all about or they have swallowed what they have been told at whichever temple they subscribe to and without thinking about it over much, let the clergy do that for us. Life is a social interaction thing without much meaning. People may be seeking romantic love and the building of a family, which is very time consuming.
I’ll speculate as a whole we are getting increasingly secular and materialistic and that our morals are declining. The obsession with image is a pandemic which outstrips coronavirus, and it is one that lock down and vaccine cannot ease.
There are a whole range of belief systems out there. Some of them describe the same things but from slightly different angles.
My model for understanding is based on one which might be described nagal (or spirit), dreamer, dreamed or monad, causal vehicle, personality. So, the causal vehicle acquires for itself a new human body and personality, each time it incarnates, or the dreamer dreams in another dreamed, a being and a life.
I have only used one concept here which differs from the outlines in the first paragraph, namely reincarnation. For some this is a nice concept and for others it is absurd. I personally am confident that reincarnation happens not because I read it in a book nor because someone in a funny costume told me. It is a concept which is consistent with my own experiences. I have memories of previous lives. If one wished one could argue that I have made up these memories, they are my delusion. It is impossible to prove either way, certainly to the standard of six sigma statistical proof. I know philosophically that I am placing a bet. The light could go out and that is the end, I could end up on a barbecue or at the pearly gates. I am betting that that isn’t the case. I won’t be having loads of virgins at my disposal. I have clarity at least on that bet.
From my meditations outside the crown chakra, it seems likely to me that my abstract awareness persists in a non-corporeal state and will do so after death. This could be termed monad or expression of nagal’s awareness.
If, as I have been “told” I will never incarnate again, then what happens? My awareness persists in an abstract formless state a kind of quasi-eternal Jhana, a state of contemplation, until the end of this Kalpa.
I will no longer be separate as a causal entity, I will have returned to “the source” and blended back as a piece of that totality, into that awareness. There is still some measure of differentiation, but I can no longer say I or even us. Perhaps a part of a wider awareness, yet intermingled with it, without boundary or distinction, is a way to look at it. Though eyes do not exist in this state, conceptualize it perhaps. Free of the limitations of a brain who knows what is possible? I will not hanker after another piece of meat to live in.
I have a notion that I am on my way to my home world from whence I came somewhere up by Sirius. This would be seen as the flakiest thing someone from my background would say. It would be pounced upon as being ridiculous. But then they have never met the Great White Lodge on Sirius, nor The Nameless One. It is only a notion, not even a hypothesis.
If I strip it down, I believe that awareness exists in non-corporeal states and that from time to time that awareness takes on form, a form prone to physical plane death or mortality. Immortality is not living for ever it is not being born to flesh again, no more mortality.
That sentence says a lot and does not need much embellishment. Good models are not complicated.
Perhaps this one suffices?
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.
There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
My unconscious knows more about the consciousness of the psychologist than his consciousness knows about my unconscious.
Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.
I believe it is essential for our planetary future to develop tools that can change the consciousness which has created the crisis that we are in.
Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.
Barbara de Angelis
A rare experience of a moment at daybreak, when something in nature seems to reveal all consciousness, cannot be explained at noon. Yet it is part of the day’s unity.
The real history of consciousness starts with one’s first lie.
Changing mass consciousness is an individual responsibility.
Life is a state of consciousness.
Only those within whose own consciousness the sun rise and set, the leaves burgeon and wither, can be said to be aware of what living is.
Joseph Wood Krutch
Where you are in consciousness has everything to do with what you see in experience.
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness: ‘I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live’.
Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.
Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.
In his homeland,
On the spare bed,
Sunk into the depths of his being,
The darkness breaks
He saw it.
He saw it,
Quickening of breath,
Huh, huh, huh,
It began to form.
Summoning the dragon to guide him.
They watched him.
Patience and waiting.
He touched its power,
Felt it absorb him,
His him probed with an awareness.
Alien and ancient.
Terror, blind terror.
Lithe and poised
Wise beyond wisdom
Since the first days of man
Amused and laughing,
He held it and the fire in his heart
Began to burn.
The crows outside called
Their battlefield cry,
Hungering for food
Taken on the caw to another time.
In the mist of lore
The dragon breath cloaks
Shimmering in be-coming.
Hessian cloth upon his skin
Staff in his hand,
Rain in his beard
And silence in the world.
From their deaths to their deaths,
They reached the place
And settled on the rocks.
Less faces than before
Heads hung on Castle gates.
And those eyes.
Why must they stand and die?
Doubts, oh the doubts
They plagued him
It hangs all on the next few seconds.
The dragon’s dice have been rolled
His fate is sealed.
What was it that the wizard said?
Focus on the feelings for that is what you store.
The memory will guide you back
Learn the lessons well….
For next time”
He reached into his pack and took it out.
He tied the flag to his staff.
Silently and into the circle he walked.
He planted his staff and unfurled the flag.
Y Ddraig Goch.
They watched him
And slowly someone began to sing.
The sound of a hundred Male voices together
Blew back the mist
And the sun broke through.
One by one they stood.
They drew their swords and stabbed the heavens.
By God if we die to day
Then at least we have died free men.
Hope flies on the dragon’s wings
Red and redder,
Like the blood of our foes.
Vengeance is ours,
For the lives of our brothers,
And the treachery visited upon us.
Let us kneel
And pray God that this bitter day,
Will seal our fate,
Are you ready Sons of Wales?
To rise against the Temple of the mind?
To send it crashing with the brimstone of the Heart?
Look to the Dragon’s eyes my friends
And see there your courage, your faith and your hope.
Let it conjure in you.
Feel its ancient force.
Written in the hillsides and the valleys of your lives,
Washed through your rivers,
Permeating your being-ness with the dragon’s fire.
If we believe, though we are few, we can call the dragon to our aid.
We are an ancient race and we have been here long.
We have sung our songs and shared our poems.
We have laughed and we have cried.
We have learned.
This is now our last battle.