Saturday, February 23, 2008

Is it Real or am I Dreaming?

Lately at a forum that I post at, probably for reasons of nostalgia more than anything else, people were talking about God and not-God, God’s existence and God’s non-existence. I try to stay away from these conversations because nothing is ever gained by my participating in them.

I find it amusing whenever people parade their limited intellects in posturing declarations of what is and what is not in relation to the incomprehensible; the unknown. This is not to excuse my own efforts in that direction. I’m just as limited when it comes to painting the 360 degree canvas of ever changing circumstance and color, using what we all use within the limited bandwidth to describe that which is neither circumstance, color nor anything else that is manifest. How do you describe the blank screen on which existence takes place? This is what it emerges from and what it is absorbed back into. This blank screen, brimming with life force; quick and sudden to expression... retreating endlessly before the probe of science, the press of thought, the reach of emotion. It’s as shy as it is bold and you can’t define it because it is always more and always something else at the same time.

When I see people argue about the existence of God it becomes immediately apparent that they aren’t talking about God. They are talking about religion. Would any of us feel comfortable being described according to the clothes that we wear? Would you think that accurately summed you up? If someone were to say, “He’s that guy with the salt and pepper hair that always wears a blue suit. You know... that guy in accounting that’s always talking about sailing?” Would that be the measure of the man? That’s what happens when we describe the indescribable according to seeming appearance and the impressions of our childhood, our parents, our society and our pre-dispositions.

No sane person is going to believe that the pope, dressed as he is and behaving as he does, has the ear of God, nor that God has his ear. Common sense tells you that when an old man is dozing on the dais and drooling into his raiment that he’s not emblematic of cosmic consciousness. I’ve actually seen this by the way. Common sense tells you that religions which are filled with perversion and dreadful behavior are not expressions of what the words of the founders declared. Does anyone imagine that, if God does exist, he is as boring as the people who drone on and on about cant and dogma; their words falling upon your minds like cinderblocks hitting the ground?

Because there has been so much bloodshed and brutality, so many lies and venality, it’s a sure bet that either it has nothing to do with God or that God is actually like this.

I have a certain advantage in respect of the great question. I have conclusively proven certain things to myself and I can do it again and again at will, just about any time. I found a doorway in my mind, my heart and I can pass through it much of the time. It could be this is some personal fantasy. It could be delusional. It doesn’t matter. I’ve no inclination or need to prove it to anyone else. It is me only who must be convinced and I have achieved that. If my life then serves as some kind of evidence of something, so be it. That’s not a concern either.

I do not expect that I will ever comprehend the ineffable. It could hardly be that if I could. Neither I nor anyone else will ever define it. Whatever it is, it is. Can anyone say that the unknown does not exist? If the unknown does exist and I think we can all agree to that, we also must agree that we don’t know what the unknown contains because it is unknown.

Most people are not all that concerned about God’s existence one way or the other. Most people are concerned with putting food on their families (grin), living well, having sex, being important to someone, avoiding pain and scandal and fitting in... humanity, unlike God, is not difficult to figure out. Among the human foliage are concealed terrible vipers. About six percent of us are psychopaths and they account for most of the darkness in life. The rest is the product of collective ignorance and fear.

I am a student of the Hindu tradition. For me it is easy to understand existence because it is all reincarnation and karma. Karma creates veils called ‘samskaras’. In times of greater material darkness these samskaras can be very thick. Think of gossamer scarves with one placed over another until vision is impossible. Some few have few of these scarves and different degrees of light can pass through. Imagine the difficulty of describing something to a person who cannot see. Karma eventually resolves all of this. The education of pain burns away the veils. We don’t like pain and as a result we are usually dragged kicking and screaming toward understanding.

We can argue about God’s existence or non existence but all of us will admit to the existence of Love. We all know about cases where people have sacrificed their lives for love. We all know that wisdom and knowledge exist. We know that things happen which cannot be explained. We know that mercy and kindness exist. We know these virtues are real and we know that the darker perversions of these virtues also exist. Ergo...

For myself I wish to move in the direction of more love, more wisdom, more of the better qualities that can be acquired. I want to move away from the other things. Like any of you I will fail repeatedly in my efforts. Some of us are relentless and we will pick ourselves up ten thousand times and more and continue. We will not be denied. Something waits for those who persevere. Why else would we proceed?

When I look at the inspiration contained in the lives of great examples, when I see the power of true art and the elegant beauty of nature, I am moved. With all of the heinous outrages of the day there is so much that is remarkable in counterpoint. Let me go that way. Others can make their own decision. Everyone who survives to a greater age will find themselves sitting on some porch front of their minds wondering about what they have done and what the memory of their lives will tell them about themselves.

Since I have come face to face with a particular force many times I have no question about whether it exists or not. I am confident that reincarnation and karma will afford every single soul the same type of encounters tailored to their needs. It’s not important to argue about something when there is no possibility of agreement. Sooner or later, on up the road we will all meet up with each other again and everything will be different.

Rather than acting like clumsy skaters as just another version of the woman in the Robert Burns poem, sitting in the church with the louse crawling on her... pirouetting and falling on our asses... rather than winding up like Isadora Duncan, samskara scarf tangled in the wheel, it’s probably better to just skate for the enjoyment of it apart from the performance angle. Many a graceful turn has been seen and done. Far more have come up painfully short. It takes tremendous dedication to gain mastery of your art and it is unlikely you will do so when the focus is on the people watching you. You have to get lost in it as if you were all alone in the moment for the sake of the moment alone.

As far as I have been able to determine, we are God in the making. That sound, that ancient and enduring vibration is resonating in all of us. It is our reactions to it, our ability to be in concert with, or dissonant by choice, that indicates our understanding of the perfection we have yet to realize. Harmony is the key and balance is not a static thing. It’s always reaching for itself like the Two of Pentacles in the Rider Waite deck. The spirit of God sings through everyone but sometimes it carries a tune.

Visible sings: I Love You by Les Visible♫ I Love You ♫


Anonymous said...

Furthermore brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things pertain to love, whatsoever things are of honest report, if there be any virtuous thing, if there be any laudable thing, those same have ye in your mind, : Paul
Thanks Les.
Peace, Al B.

Anonymous said...

In the debate between religious fundamentalism and science, science wins hands down. No contest. This is easy to see and people should accept it. But as you’ve said before, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Unfortunately that’s what so many of these otherwise rational and intelligent individuals do. They tend to be very uncomfortable with anything they can’t explain or understand. If it can’t be quantified, it must not be real. I find this to be such an odd position for many reasons. Just look at the scientific body of knowledge itself; so much of what we “know” today would have sounded like science fiction fifty years ago and would have been scoffed at by the same ‘intellectuals’ who now do the scoffing at anything that resides outside the realm of current accepted scientific fact. They tend to puff up just a little and get satisfaction out of asserting how God doesn’t exist, as if they have somehow determined this fact with absolute certainty and anyone who disagrees is either ignorant or delusional. If someone from this camp is truly rational (which they pride themselves on greatly) the only respectable approach would be to say, to admit, “I don’t know.” Or maybe something like “I have seen no evidence for the existence of God but I can’t rule the possibility out.” But no, they somehow manage to rule out the possibility based on what they don’t know. Where’s the rationality in that?


kikz said...

"When I look at the inspiration contained in the lives of great examples, when I see the power of true art and the elegant beauty of nature, I am moved. With all of the heinous outrages of the day there is so much that is remarkable in counterpoint. Let me go that way."

and so should you be moved. for thru nature we are given the key to understanding the divine, without & within.
the counterpoint, the duality, exists for that very reason in this plane.... to allow the conscious freewill to choose its path of attraction.
then consequence has its say, and we live and learn from our "reasoned" choices...

if we don't.. we get to visit the lesson again in successive incarnations. few if any eternal souls could learn all the lessons they are to, in the blink of an eye that is a human life. :)

my personal philosophy encompasses tidbits of all the older civilizations great thoughts by great minds, although the hermetic school resonates more deeply for me.
once again, i'll pass along something that has helped me so often.

so simple and so beautiful in its distillation the kybalion is quite all i need to find understanding & peace. :)

lovely essay usual.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive and certainly inspired. You can now be numbered among the great metaphysical philosophers due to the simplicity of your language as well as the way you sum it up every time with something like the pirouette you mentioned.

I flat out love your work and I'm glad I've been here to see it grow. I am not ashamed to say that you sometimes make me cry and I am proud of that. I am proud of being moved by something like this and grateful that you gave me the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

You have an awakened mind. I was told by an elder that 98% of the people on this earth sleepwalk thru life. They have no want/desire to awaken. Of the other 2% that have the potential to awaken, only .02% will. The rest will be continually drawn back to materialistic persuits. Its all about love. Love is of the soul, fear from the ego. I think its the ego that masks consciousness from the God within. The more I simply notice my ego, and refuse to believe its lies and play its silly games, the better I am.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In Dreams
Thanks Les

Anonymous said...

Dear Ben
Re: ...scoffing at anything that resides outside the realm of current accepted scientific fact. As a landscape painter, there is one long ongoing consistently overarching mental argument always going on which is trying to reconcile what it is vs. what I think it is.

Anonymous said...

If we are not passing on these insights through simple actions to our offspring, we have probably never known love.

Anonymous said...

I have been following these writings for a few months now and now must step forth and make a comment. The notion that we are charged with the task of finding ways to shine and spread love in spite of everything that tries to harden us or make us truly believe (and thus live like) we are all seperate entities with everyone and everything else being the "other" is quite simply, for me anyway, The Answer. I can live with that. Now I just need to find a way to live LIKE that. Thanks for making it so clear. Your writing is brilliant and speaks to me in the same way that a small internal voice that I have yet to really connect with does. Truth seems to have a certain resonant frequency and often when I read and ponder your words I feel the "buzz" that lets me know that there is something there worth holding on to. I often feel like I am dreaming - that this can't be "real" and what we are experiencing cannot truly be all that we are. I feel like I have been asleep for a long time and have started to wake up, rub my eyes and roll out of my slumber. The problem is I am feeling like I am looking around and have no idea where the hell I am or how to get home. I needed to hear a reminder that my job is not to take up arms, tap into my anger, and sweep across the world cutting down all the evil-doers and bringers of misery and death in some kind of self-sacrificing crusade. That seems like a big job and I have a wife and kids, bills, a lawn to mow and guitars to tune (and occasionally play if I'm lucky). Becoming myself what I truly wish the world would become sounds doable, even though I am getting a late start and it seems like no one around here (the American Midwest) sees much value in coming together for the benefit of others unless there is a tangible personal benefit. I think I'll try meditation and stay as far away from the "Mega-Church" as I possibly can, and try to find a way to put the rage and sorrow at bay. Thank you. And thank you again. Peace. Z



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