In response to a person reaching out for help while seeking to reconcile different concepts of divinity:
Sounds like a search
I recall that a sure foundation for spirituality is shamanism, that is personal connection with the wise and sacred in all by nature and ancestry. The value of alchemy with our dark spots and neglected edges also comes to mind. Carl Jung’s guidance about one’s shadow self is a more modern/mainstream thread to follow on this. I think of it simply as shining the light of one’s humble, honest, critical awareness on that which one hates or fears. Calcinate by querying like a child, asking ‘why?’ then ‘why?’ and ‘why?’ again, with the patience of lifetimes. Any time is the right time to start. I find that the better I understand what/why I fear or hate, the less my mind is consumed by it.
I like the latter terms because it feels difficult to green wash. Take any feature that is necessary for the systems that support us, and see if it is being restored/enhanced, or if it is being degraded. Water quality. Soil fertility. Biodiversity. Alas, if there is a will there is a way, and all of these terms will be “greenwashed” to some extent, making environmentally degrading acts seem restorative.
And by what means is the greenwashing motivated and manifest? Who done it? Some words commonly attributed to the complex system in question, which degrades essential qualities while feigning friend of fundamentals:
The man The system Capitalism Neoliberalism Globalism ...
These terms too are not perfect. Each has assumptions and complexities, they lack precision and can be tricky. Then I read something which shared a term so precise, so empirical, it could not be misconstrued or exploited:
The cosmophagous world: that world which devours all other worlds to feed itself.
cosmo- From Ancient Greek κόσμος (kósmos, “universe”). -phagous From Latin -phagus, from Ancient Greek φάγος (phágos, “glutton”), from φαγεῖν (phageîn, “to eat”).
And what is the alternative to devouring other worlds? To multiply, to propagate, to support many worlds. Consider, as you go about the polarized and dissonant world, whether this dichotomy fits: some ways grow themselves by devouring other worlds, while other ways grow all by propagating many worlds.
I think of this as I visit small farms and see the countless worlds that are hosted there: the worlds of the orchard and of the pasture, the worlds of the meadow flowers and of the insect colonies which enjoy them, the worlds of the varieties of people who are part of the community affected by the small farm, and the worlds of the countless communities which have other small farms of their own.
That world catalyzation is a stark contrast to the vast monocrops, moonscapes, and mines producing homogenized ways of life, wherein one world grows larger while the others are whittled away.
May this be a high-level guideline, leading us toward Earthbound mutualism rather than parasitism.
I end with an excerpt from the text that introduced me to this concept of cosmophagy, and with a wish that you will celebrate and support the many worlds we coexist in as One.
Power is inseparable from the capacity to be affected. We find potentialities in our shared sensitivity: that sense of urgency that pushes us to seek new ways of living — to want to change this world; that feeling of belonging that pushes us to act, and likewise to risk everything. How can we unleash these potentials? The paths suggested by the existing order — call it what you will, Empire, capitalism, colonial modernity, white supremacy, the cosmophagous world — aim to capture the affects that make life worth living.
Neither sinners, nor victims: we inhabit climate change. We see that this period of disillusionment with centuries of misdirection is also one of infinite potential. Each of us have within us the remote possibility of stemming the tide of the catastrophe. By organizing pessimism, the fundamental affect of the times, and giving it a creative consistency, we can hope to bring about other worlds. But first, it is essential to make a break with this one. We did not choose to be thrown into a world that seems doomed to its own destruction, but we can decide to continue it or break free from it.
Studying Jewish folklore brings one around many old testament stories, and with that, the source of many cultural idioms and expressions: “the writing on the wall”, the value of atonement, among much else.
Something new to me is a source of wisdom on burying one’s dead. I did not realize advice about it for Jews goes back to beresheit:
After Hevel [aka Abel] was slain, he was lying in a field, his blood spattered over sticks and stones. The dog who had been guarding Hevel’s flock now also guarded Hevel’s corpse from the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky.
Adam and his mate came and sat by the corpse, weeping and mourning for him, but they did not know what to do with Hevel’s body.
A raven whose companion had just died said: I will teach Adam what to do. The raven took his dead companion, dug up the earth before the eyes of Adam and his mate, and buried him in it.
Adam said: We will do as the raven. At once he took Hevel’s corpse and buried it in the ground.
Importantly, the universe being a simulation does not imply solopsism.
I have seen a few cases of solopsism and similar philosophies taken as a given, based on the ‘universe is a simulation’ press circulating. Eventually news will spread that theoretical physicists think of mind as a substrate of reality. What philosophies will people be drawn to while digesting that revelation?
It is important to remember that in any of these metaphysical views, it can still be true (and perhaps much more-so) that we are all in it together. Perhaps I am just an ant, or just dust, or just digital. And so, I know how much an ant, or dust, or digital bits, can suffer, aspire, inspire, and love.
“If I died in a month would I be satisfied with my life, and the answer was ‘no’.”
“I don’t have to be a reincarnation. It’s not the most important thing. If my existence has meaning, it’s because I’m doing good in this world—I’m helping people. I don’t have to be a tulku in order to do that.”
“We don’t need all those complications,” he says. “We’re all humans. We’re all struggling. We’re all learning from each other.”
“Yesterday, I was talking to one of my tulku friends who is in New York, happily driving for Uber.”
– We are all unreliable narrators of our own lives. – To tell a story is inescapably to take a moral stance. – Stories are the way we make sense of our lives. – The way we narrate our lives shapes what they become. – Change, even really positive change, involves a surprising amount of loss. – What would happen if you looked at your story and wrote it from another person’s point of view? – Life is about choosing which stories to listen to, and which ones need an edit. – There’s nothing more important to the quality of our lives than the stories we tell ourselves about them.
Sunday: It is all about our unique individuality and what we do with it.
“All that survives of these solar hymns are an altered version of Proclus’ Hymn to the Sun, and the 9th hymn in the Nomoi … the Sun is ruler of the other planets, and with them governs all terrestrial things. …The theory of prayer with which Pletho introduces his hymn is remarkably like the theory of magic behind Ficino’s astrological music; Pletho addresses the gods thus:
‘May we carry out these rites in your honor in the most fitting manner, knowing that you have no need of anything whatever from us. But we are molding and stamping our own imagination and that part of us which is more akin to the divine, allowing it both to enjoy the godly and the beautiful and making our imagination tractable and obedient to that which is divine in us.’
Pletho’s hymns and rites, like Ficino’s do not aim at any objective effect on the deity addressed, but only at a subjective transformation of the worshiper, particularly his imagination.” -(p.61)
Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella by D.P. Walker
via Mark Stavish of the Institute for Hermetic Studies
200 winters away
How many generations will have passed?
What will I&I enjoy in life? What of one's own ways will continue?
What lessons will I&I have learned?
What challenges will I&I face?
What will I&I have of the essential gifts to sustain oneself? Wood, water, air, soil, energy?
#TreesAreTheAnswer #WeAlreadyKnow #Hózhó
Though the work is easier together, we spread out in the darkest time of year to cozier burrows, diffusing the weight of winter, lighter on the land. Though it is dark, we are warmed to know there are familiar others nearby. Our struggles are tied up together, and while one faces scarcity, someone else has more than enough to share, so that we may survive together and work together in brighter times.
So it has been through the ages. So it is still in little ways in overdeveloped places where big systems eclipse mutual aid: we turn to neighbors for power during long outages, for tool shares, for relationship. So it is still in big ways in underdeveloped places where small systems are made sufficient by human relationships: cooperating to cultivate land, to maintain infrastructure for basic needs, for relationship.
The lessons of the seasons proceed before us, though we may be distracted by a house on fire, our own or our neighbors.
May we be there for each other, so that we may all meet our needs, in mutual benefit with the sources of that sustenance and satisfaction. May peace be upon you.
“Language is our gift and our responsibility. I’ve come to think of writing as an act of reciprocity with the living land. Words to remember old stories, words to tell new ones, stories that bring science and spirit back together to nurture our becoming people made of corn.”
via Robin Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, page 347.