Be the change..

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and ...

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and spiritual leader of India. Location unknown. Français : Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), Guide politique et spirituel de l’Inde. Lieu inconnu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have not been shy about expressing my opinions and sharing what I have learned in the realm of religion and philosophy. Just as society has gone through “ages’ of darkness and enlightenment, so have I as an individual. We live in an extremely materialistic world. A world where people are often judged and classed by what they possess and the influence they have rather than the content of their character. It is also evident that the less one is required to think about a topic, the more consumable it is for public discourse. When one takes a step back and looks at how far we have come scientifically, medically, and technologically it is difficult to understand why we are socially on a death spiral in the opposite direction.

How can a society that is charting DNA and uncovering the secrets of the human genome find television shows that claim to be reality when they are mere facades and staged fallacies displaying utter ignorance and Neanderthal behavior to be entertaining?

How can a society with the resources available to wipe out hunger across the globe instead squander the wealth by engaging in unnecessary combat?

How can a society claiming belief and reverence to a man who preached “what ye do to the least of my Brethren, ye do unto me” be more concerned about defending the wealth of the wealthy than the well-being of the poor?

There are some that believe that the rise of secularism in the world is the cause for the moral collapse of society and to those people I can only ask them to explain the Inquisitions and Holy Wars of the past and the lavish lifestyles of high-profile pastors and clergy today. The overwhelming majority of wars that have been fought in history were either for religion or imperialism and ironically enough, up until the 20th century imperialism itself was also tied to religion due to the perceived “divine right” of monarchs.

It is incumbent on all of us to find a way to move society forward in a rational, compassionate, and tolerant way. We cannot expect things to change without any effort of our own and we cannot expect or allow the discourse to be done without any effort of our own. It has been over 50 years since a vibrant and inspiring leader said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I think this premise needs to be extended further as we now live in a more global centric world. The myth of one country being “greater” than another is not conducive to geo-political progress and it creates a vain and false sense of exceptionalism, which is counter productive in building relationships.

We all need to take a step back and consider that our personal worldview is limited by our personal education and experience. Just because we have grown up under certain conditions and beliefs does not mean that they are true or that they apply to everyone. The art of compromise has all but vanished in the halls of the U.S. government because of ideological stubbornness and the perception that compromising somehow is a relinquishing or surrendering of core values, when it is an essential part of managing cultural diversity.

So how is this in any way relevant in the Quest for Light you may be asking? Well, it is simple really. Take a look at how you spend your day. No doubt it is probably a repeatable routine that resembles a hamster in a spinning wheel. Do we look at the forest for the trees anymore? Do we spend time walking on something other than concrete or asphalt? Do we sit in the shade provided by something not consisting of trusses and plywood? Can we even see the stars anymore? Do we even look up?

We live a life with no evidence to support that anything will follow once we take our last breath. Life has a cycle that if you live long enough you eventually become just as helpless as you were when you were born. A full circle of life that ends almost exactly as it began, except instead of the promise and potential that comes with a new life we must consider what it is we did with all that promise and potential.

Darkness dissipates by a mere spark of light and a spark can cause a flame and a flame can lead to a fire. Gandhi once said to “be the change you wish to see“. I think it’s time we all stop waiting for change or praying for miracles and start doing something.

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Albert Pike

A new spin on life: Apotheosis

The human body is a small-scale replica of the universe. Just as the universe contains millions of galaxies, the body contains millions of cells. Just as the Creator gives life to all things and enables the balance and order of the cosmos, the brain controls every function, reflex, action and reaction of the body. Just as Jesus (or one of the other religious messiah figures) gave blood so that others might live, the heart beats and gives blood to all extremities of the body to enable them to live. And just as the seed meeting the egg initiates the formation of a new life, the Great Architect through Divine Providence and immutable and incomprehensible power created all things.

The concept of self-deification, or apotheosis, may seem somewhat foreign to some of you but, it is actually a pretty common concept. It is just perceived and taught in different ways. I realize that to my Christians friends this view may seem heretical and for you I can offer you text directly from the Bible that teaches the concept of self-deification. “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Or “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). And for my Jewish friends, this concept is in the Torah as well “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2). The Kabbalah is filled with teachings about attaining more Light for the purposes of emulating and emanating that Light.

All the religions of the world have the same general purpose, to comprehend and interpret the Creator and the intent at which the Creator acts through Providence. The problem comes in when you add layers of dogma about justification and sanctification and when radical fundamentalism takes root. The result of these flaws is usually a “Holy War” or “Jihad” – as if there is anything holy about war. The Israelites brutalized the people in Canaan in the name of God, the Christians during the Crusades and Inquisitions, and now the Muslims (with some help from the Jews and Christians). How in the name of common sense does killing anyone over their belief in the Creator make any sense? What exactly does it accomplish? If we were all to emulate the Creator and show the same kindness that we are shown, the world would be a much better place. Think about it, even the most despotic of people is allowed to breathe because the Creator’s love is more benevolent than any of us can comprehend. We are not alone though. The sum of all creation falls under the same magnificent design. So things like earthquakes and hurricanes that we consider bad are all part of the natural order and serve very distinct purposes, regardless of how inconvenient they may be to mankind. It it the selfish nature of humanity that is the problem, not the actions of God.

When we observe the wonder and perfection of nature we are able to discern the benevolence of our Creator. We do not need a book or a prophet to tell us the love our Almighty Father has for us. Every breathe we take and every move we make are made possible by the infallible gift of nature, which is the true Word of our Creator.

This great gift of life and the Creation that enables and supports it, should compel one to emulate the Creator. Imagine a world where people didn’t put themselves first and gave for the sake of giving and expected nothing in return. The Creator gave us all we need and did so without us having to ask. We should do the same for each other.

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light