Second sleep

 

I find myself naturally going to bed early (often 8 or 9pm), awake for one or two hours around 1 or 2pm, and then waking up early (5-6am). It feels very natural and comfortable. And after I noticed this pattern for myself, I realized it may have been a very common sleep pattern for some of our ancestors. It’s often called segmented or biphasic sleep.

In my early twenties, I did experiment with sleeping four times one hour daily, and it worked very well – apart from socially, and that’s why I didn’t continue. I found myself needing my hour of sleep, but couldn’t or wouldn’t for work or social reasons. This is called polyphasic sleep.

Historical perspectives: Including nonhuman species, ecosystems, and future generations

 

I just listened to the Revisionist History episode of Stuff You Should Know.

As they suggest, all history is by nature revisionist. We always change how we see and interpret the past, based on what’s important to us now (and sometimes just new information).

For a while now, historians have looked more at economy and class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and more. They have used these as filters, and looked at history from the perspective of groups previously left out such as women, children, non-European ethnic groups, the working class and poor, and religious minorities.

Two things were not mentioned in the podcast:

First, the difference between focusing on “ordinary” people vs. extraordinary people in history. Both has it’s value, and more historians are now focusing on the history of the ordinary people. How was their life and conditions? (This was a big part of my history classes in school.)

The other is looking at history through the filter of nonhuman species, ecosystems, and future generations. If history is, at least partly, about giving voice to the voiceless, and giving focus to the previously invisible, then this has to be included. How has our actions through history impacted nonhuman species and ecosystems, and also future generations? How have we treated these? How have they been ignored, or included and valued, in our decision process? 

A Green History of the World by Clive Pointing is an example from the 90s, and many people in the Deep Ecology and ecopsychology world have addressed the topic, but it’s still not included in mainstream history. It will, most likely, and perhaps sooner rather than later as ecological and sustainability issues become more and more obviously important to us.

Some green history questions that come to mind:

How have we (humans, at different places and times through history) treated the nonhuman world? How have we treated nonhuman species, nature, ecosystems? How have we treated future generations? (Both human and nonhuman.)

Have they been ignored? Included in our decision making? Respected? Have we been blind to them? Have we justified mistreatment of them, and how?

And why? How has our world view, values, fears, survival needs and more influenced this?

What can we learn from this? How does it apply to our current situation? What are the lessons?

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Did Jesus exist?

 

Did Jesus exist?

The reality is that we don’t know. There are hardly any historical sources suggesting that he did exist, apart from Christian sources.

Looking at the data, it seems that it’s very possible that he didn’t exist.

And yet, most historians and theologians seem to gloss over this question. They don’t mention it, or perhaps say of course he existed, don’t be silly. (As one theologian did when I asked.)

Why this lack of intellectual honesty and courage? It’s perhaps because aspects of Christian theology, as it was created in the centuries after Jesus may have lived, depends on Jesus having existed as a historical person.

And yet, maybe there is another way. A way where we can be intellectually honest about the historical question, and still benefit as much if not more from the Jesus story, and Jesus’ teachings.

The Jesus story is, as many have realized and pointed out, a metaphor for the awakening process we all may go through. Adyashanti’s Resurrecting Jesus is a clear and insightful book on this topic.

Jesus’ teachings applies to us whatever label we put on ourselves – Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or whatever else it may be. As any good wisdom teachings, they are pointers. Questions. Experiments.

And, it seems, we can connect with the Christ energy whether or not we know if Jesus existed as a historical person. The Christ presence responds, as it seems to have done for centuries or millennia, to prayer and Christ meditation. (I experience it quite strongly, and know that many others do too.)

Note: Was Jesus a Pagan God, by Freke and Gandi, is an interesting exploration on this topic.

Note 2: Some say that the mutual disagreements between the texts in the New Testament is an indication that Jesus didn’t exist, but that seems a weak argument. Disagreement between historical sources is expected and inevitable, even if they refer to something that did happen.

Also, some point to the striking similarities between the Jesus story and stories from religions and mythologies in the middle east prior to Christianity. It almost seems that someone did a cut & paste job when they created they Jesus story. Again, that doesn’t seem that this is a good argument for the non-historical Jesus.

Finally, there is the Shroud of Turin. From what we know about it today, it’s possible that it’s real. Science can only determine if it’s a fake, and haven’t been able to conclusively do so yet. In any case, it’s an interesting question.

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Internet

 

As usual when there is a new form of information technology, some see it as unfortunate, as something that will damage the young people.

It’s very predictable, and it has happened throughout history….. when we went from a oral tradition to writing, when radio and cinema arrived, when we got TV, when we went from black-and-white TV to color (here in Norway, there was even a heated discussion in parlament concerning how color TV would damage people), and now it’s the same with the internet.

It’s good to take a sober look at this.

First, we see that some – perhaps those with a fear of the new – will have these opinions. It’s very predictable. It has happened thorughout history.

We also know that, in most cases, it won’t be as bad as some say, and it won’t be as good as some others say.

Also, it’s a tool. It all depends on how it’s used. A hammer can be very useful, and it can also be harmful. It just depends on how we use it.

We are adaptable. Our use of it changes, and the technology itself evolves. We see what works and doesn’t work, and we make adjustments.

And there is always a heightened facination with the new technology at first. I see that for myself. The use of and fascination with it reaches a saturation point, and the use becomes more moderate and appropriate to long term use.

Note: Yes, I know about “digital dementia” and that discussion. And I still find it helpful to see the bigger picture, and keep a sober view. There is an advantage and a drawback to any information technology. For instance, books allows us to be absorbed into a different world, and use our imagination to (re)create this world in our minds. At the same time, they are ridiculously linear, and makes us a slave of what the author wants us to imagine and feel. Books, movies and radio are forms of information technology where the recipient is expected to be quite passive in this sense. They are quite linear and authoritarian forms of information technology, and the information typically only goes one way – from the author to the recipient.

Even if it has its own drawbacks, the internet allows the user to be more active and intentional, and often create, share and participate more actively. That is a dramatic advantage of the internet over previous technologies. It levels the playing field for those with access to the internet, and dramatically lowers the threshold for contributing. Few could and can publish books, and even fewer can have their own traditional radio program. But anyone with access to the internet can have their own website, or blog, or podcast, or YouTube channel. Of course, many in the world do not have this access.

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Basic images about nature, animals, our body, gender, future generations etc.

 

In our western culture, we have tended to see parts of our world as inferior – nature, animals, our bodies, women, children, future generations – and treated it accordingly. We split the world in our minds, take this imagined split as reality, see one part as less valuable than the other, and then take this imagination as true as well.

There are historical, cultural, philosophical and religious reasons for this.

More immediately, it’s about the images we have in our own minds. Images transmitted from our culture, and that are there whether we consciously agree with them or not.

So it can be very helpful – and illuminating – to explore these images, for instance through the Living Inquiries.

When I bring my body to mind, what images do I see? What words? What sensations are connected to these images and words?

What do I find when I bring animals to mind? Animals vs. humans? Women? Women vs. men? Children? Children vs. adults? Future generations? Future generations vs. our current generation?

I see this as an important part of illuminating the stereotypes we all carry with us, and – at least somewhat – live our lives from, whether we are aware of it or not.

Note: In our western culture, influenced by a certain version of Christianity, we tend to split the world into good and bad, less valuable and more valuable. And the dividing line has been drawn between body and mind, women and men, children and adults, nature and humans, future generations and the current generation, with the former of each of these pairs seen as less valuable, less important, less respectable. And that’s behind many of the troubles we see today. For instance, we couldn’t have developed such a deeply unsustainable way of doing business, economics and production if it wasn’t for images in our minds telling us that (a) there is a split between humans and nature, and (b) humans are more important than nature. This is what has allowed us to pretend, for a while, that we operate separate from (the rest of) nature, and that we can mistreat nature without mistreating ourselves in the same way.

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Exploring the origin and history of concepts

 

I notice I explore the origin and history of concepts in at least three areas:

Historically. For instance, what’s the origin and history of the idea of a split between humans and spirit? The different ideas of God or Spirit in the different traditions? Good and evil? Even good and bad? What we see as right and wrong in our culture? A particular custom? (This is explored through history, archaeology, anthropology, history of religion, history of science, history of philosophy etc.)

In my own life. When did I first have the idea of perfection? Of something being wrong? Of illness and health? (This often goes back to parents, school, friends and/or media, and sometimes I cannot remember and it’s more a matter of guessing.)

Here and now. The two previous ones are conceptual explorations, explored within the world of ideas – of history, time, origins etc. This one is here and now, and a direct looking. How is my experience of my world created? How does [anything] appear in my sense fields? In sensations, images and words, sight, sound, smell, taste? When it appears real, what gives it that sense of reality?

All three forms of explorations have their value.

The historical exploration helps me see that what we sometimes takes as a given in my culture is not really a given. The idea has its history, development, and – if we go far enough back – its origin. Someone – a human being just like me and anyone I know – made it up. And then other people took it on, developed it, perhaps took it as true and real, and passed it on.

The individual exploration helps me see when I took on certain ideas, from whom, and perhaps even why. I see that it was innocent, and from confused love. It was well intentioned, and perhaps somewhat misguided.

And exploring how my world is created here & now is even more valuable to me. It helps whatever stickiness is here soften and eventually release. What appeared solid, real and unquestionable is revealed as created by a combination of words and images, sensations, and images of these sensations.

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Hess

 

I listened to The Psychiatrist and Rudolph Hess, a BBC Witness podcast, and it seems the British psychiatrist evaluating Hess was quite eager to label him insane and even weak. I wonder if this comes from a desire to see him as much as possible as “other”? It seems that some try to do something similar with Breivik.

It’s understandable, and yet, the drawback is that the normalcy of it may be overlooked. Their actions makes a great deal of sense from within their worldview. It’s quite logical, as it is for most of us. And both of them mirror each of us. When I turn around each of my beliefs about them, I’ll find examples of how I do the same. (Of course expressed, on the surface, in a different form.)

Journey of Man

 

I gave my parents each a genetics test for their birthdays, which revealed – not surprisingly – that our maternal ancestors on either side came out of Africa, through the Middle-East, and then respectively journeyed through Central Europe and Eastern Europe, and eventually into Scandinavia.

I also recently joined Geni, a social media/family tree site, mostly to help my father with his genealogy research.

In either case, whether it is historical or genetic genealogy, it reveals how hugely interconnected we are as soon as we go back just a few generations. It is our collective history that is revealed. Going back a few hundred thousand, or one or two million of years, it gets even more collective, including other species and eventually all of earth’s life. And going back some billion of years, it includes stars, galaxies, and all of the universe.

It’s funny how something that is traditionally viewed as a personal and family matter – genealogy – turns out to be that which reveals how interconnected we are, and that our history is shared and collective.

Honesty and the historical Jesus

 

Do we know whether Jesus was a historical person? If we are honest, we would have to say that we don’t know. We cannot know. The historical data is far too sparse. There is hardly any mention of Jesus as a historical person outside of the Christian sources, and whatever support is found within these Christian sources is indirect at best.

There is also  a plethora of earlier non-Christian mythologies that are closely aligned with the Jesus story. So the Jesus story may be just another in a line of similar mythological stories, all reflecting important inner truths. Or if such a person as Jesus existed, it is likely that the version we have now is highly mythologized and influenced by these earlier stories.

The evidence for Jesus as a historical person would not hold up in a court of law, nor would it be close to convincing in the “hard” sciences.

Yet, most Christians, theologians and historians seem to assume that Jesus was a historical person. Few bring it up even as a topic. Why is it so? Why does it seem to be almost a taboo? A non-topic? Why do some even try to brush it away by calling the possibility of Jesus as a non-historical person a “thoroughly dead thesis” when the historical data is so sparse?

Are they concerned about the implications for Christianity? Are they concerned about questioning assumptions that are shaky in the first place? If so, the solution seems a simple one: Develop – or find – an approach to Christianity that does not depend on Jesus being a historical person. The Jesus story is a powerful story in itself, as a basis for religion, a source for ethical guidelines, and a reflection of an inner process we each may go through in different ways. None of that is dependent on a historical Jesus.

If religion is about truth and honesty, this seems to be one of the first places we need to be honest and truthful.

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Living our past

 

Again, simple on the surface but it has profound implications the more clearly it is seen – and lived.

We are all living our past.

This personality, with all its likes and dislikes, is a product of its history. It is a product of my personal history, that which is more or less unique to this individual. And it is a product of culture, evolution, and how this universe happens to be put together. There is really nothing personal about it. It all comes from somewhere. Anything this human self does has infinite causes, stretching back to the beginning of the universe and out to its widest reaches.

Also, all my stories are based on my past, and these guide how I orient and act in the world now. They are about the past, whether they appear to be about the future, past or present, and I live from them – whether I believe in them or take them as guides only.

There is a great liberation in seeing this, to the extent it is investigated in daily life and in more and more areas of my life.

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2012

 

strieber_2012_100407a

What will happen in 2012?

Will the mysterious planet Nibiru enter the local solar system and wreak havoc with Earth?

Will the sun rise in conjunction with the milky way and strange things happen?

Will the completion of the thirteenth B’ak’tun cycle in the Long Count of the Maya calendar coincide with a major shift in collective human consciousness?

Will nothing special happen, proving the folks holding those beliefs as kooks?

2012 – like UFOs and other good projection objects – is fertile ground for exploration.

First, what are the practical effects of taking certain stories about 2012 as true or as guidelines for actions? Do I relate to others and myself differently? Do I become more or less engaged? Do I become more receptive or more entrenched in holding certain perspectives and identities? These stories are just tools anyway, so what type of tools are they and what are the effects of using them?

Then, whatever stories I hold about 2012 or others’ beliefs about 2012, I can find it all right here.

I can notice that it all happens within my own world of images. My own stories about it and what I see in others, the wider world and in 2012 is all happening within my own world of images.

I can find the characteristics and dynamics I see in others, the wider world and in 2012 right here as well. How do they happen right here, as I hold onto these stories? How do they happen in my life otherwise?

I can notice all as happening within and as awakeness.

Another way to explore this is to identify and inquire into my beliefs around 2012 and others holding certain ideas about 2012.

2012 is doomsday. 2012 means a major shift in human consciousness. People who think 2012 is doomsday or means a shift in consciousness are flaky kooks, with little or no grasp on reality and science. I know what will happen. My views are right. I am right, they are wrong.

When 2012 arrives, I can notice what happens whether my expectations are met or not. If my expectations are met, do I take it as proof that I was right all along? That I am better than others? If my expectations are not met, do I try to explain it away? Do I take it as an opportunity for inquiry?

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Norwegian resistance and two thoughts in the head at the same time

 

Since the movie about Max Manus is coming to the theaters in Norway these days, there is a resurgence of interest in the Norwegian resistance during WWII. A couple of things has puzzled me about it. One is why the communist resistance continues to largely be ignored, even after the fall of the Soviet Union and so many years after the war. The other has to do with how the Norwegian resistance is sometimes talked about, as if it had more – or different – impact than it really did. (Not that I am a historian.)

A recent essay in Aftenposten addressed the last issue and led to some controversy.

But it seems that this too doesn’t have to be so complicated.

The Norwegian resistance acted in genuinely heroic ways, giving everything – including often their lives – for a free Norway. Their existence lifted the morale and gave a sense of purpose and hope to many in Norway. And their actions did have an impact, although often local and limited.

It is also pretty clear that their activities were often no more than a nuisance to the occupying forces. Mosquito bites. Not contributing significantly to the outcome of the war. And quite often, the Nazi retaliation against civilians (executions) was predictable and maybe not justified by what the resistance achieved.

As they say in Norway, it is possible to keep two thoughts in the head at the same time. We can greatly appreciate and value their efforts and sacrifices. (If I had lived then, I hope I would have joined them.) And we can also acknowledge that their actions led to needless loss of civilians, and didn’t contribute significantly to the outcome of the war.

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Kidney stone Entertaiment

 

Who would have thought that kidney stones could be so entertaining? It is quite an adventure to have one, as I have discovered. And the history of kidney stones is surprisingly interesting as well. It illustrates that you can take any subject, even the most mundane one, and discover how it branches out into some very interesting areas….

The medical history is fascinating. The psychology around pain is rich and meaty. Kidney stones have been a topic in the entertainment industry, as above. And kidney stones have changed the course of history on more than one occasion.

For instance, at the Wikipedia’s Kidney Stone Formers page, we learn that Napoleon III may have lost the Franco-Prussian war due to a kidney stone, and that a vanishing kidney stone is one of the miracles used to promote sainthood for Mother Theresa.

History is what somebody wants us to think happened

 

I have enjoyed watching Terry Jones‘ (yes, the Monty Python guy) documentaries about the Crusades, Medieval Lives, and the Barbarians. They are all very well done, and give a different perspective than the traditional historical view, for instance pointing out that the way we see barbarians today is largely Roman propaganda, still effective 1500 years later.

(Watch the Crusades, Medieval Lives and the Barbarians online.)

Another excellent documentary is When the Moors Ruled in Europe, showing how the Renaissance – and what we know as modern European culture – was born out of the Islamic Golden Age. (Watch it here.) Islam and Islamic culture has traditionally been seen as an enemy in Europe, and this is a good antidote to Islamophobia and a way to nuance the picture somewhat.

We all know that history is “often what people want us to think happened” as Terry Jones says. History is constructed by those in power, often to protect their own interest.

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The Jesus story

 

From New York Times today:

JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

Of course, the Jesus story has parallels with not only Jewish myths, but also myths from other earlier traditions of that time and region.

Some examples are given in The Jesus Mysteries by Tim Freke and Peter Gandi where they outline the following parallels of the Osiris-Dionysus and Jesus stories:

  • Osiris-Dionysus is God made flesh, the savior and “Son of God.”
  • His father is God and his mother is a mortal virgin.
  • He is born in a cave or humble cowshed on December 25 before three shepherds.
  • He offers his followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.
  • He miraculously turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony.
  • He rides triumphantly into town on a donkey while people wave palm leaves to honor him.
  • He dies at Eastertime as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
  • After his death he descends to hell, then on the third day he rises from the dead and ascends to heaven in glory.
  • His followers await his return as the judge during the Last Days.
  • His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine, which symbolize his body and blood.

Why is it so? The obvious answer is that the Jesus myth picked up elements of existing myths to make it more familiar to the people of the time.

But another answer, as Freke and Gandi points out, is that these stories are about an inner truth more than an outer – historic – truth. They reflect an inner process of growing and waking up.

And that is why similar story elements not only appear in traditions of that place and time, but around the world in many different cultures, and also in dreams and visions of people today.

None of this really touch whether Jesus was a historic figure or not. He may well have been, and the specific events of his life may or may not have followed the lines of the Jesus story as we know it today.

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Bamyan Buddhas

 

Giant Buddhas - Christian Frei

I watched The Giant Buddhas earlier today, a documentary about the Bamyan Buddhas shown as part of our local/international archaeological film festival.

It is a very well made movie, weaving together several different stories and perspectives: A Chinese monk traveling along the Silk Road around year 630. A woman from Kabul visiting the Buddhas that her father has visited in his youth. A family living in a cave between the Buddhas, and then relocated by the current regime. A French archaeologist searching for the location of a 300 meter long reclining stone Buddha in the same valley. An Al-Jazeera reporter who filmed the destruction in 2001.

Some of the information is not so well known in the west, such as the claim that Saudi Arabian engineers were called in and helped with the destruction. And that the destruction of the statues was ordered in response to western money coming in to restore artifacts, instead of as much needed aid to the people of Afghanistan. (It may be just a way to blame the west for something people in the west were upset about, but there could also be a grain of truth in it.)

When I first heard about the destruction in March of 2001, I thought of how well it illustrates the essential teaching of Buddhism – impermanence.

If we really get impermanence, if we see it and feel it, over and over, not only in stories of impermanence but as it happens here now in immediate awareness, there is no foothold for identification within content of awareness. And this invites a shift into Big Mind, into finding ourselves as that which experience happens within, to and as.

Exploring impermanence, thoroughly, over and over, as it happens in the sense fields here now, is one of the many ways to discover what we really are, and probably a sufficient one as well.

Also, it is an invitation for me – and us all – to see what stories we cling to as true, and examine them and find that is already more true for us.

It is a reminder that iconoclasm is maybe not so useful when targeted at artifacts, but has more value and meaning if we target the real icon worship: Taking stories as true. Making a thought – a story, an image – into a God for ourself.

And a reminder that we all are at different places in regards to all of this. Some of us take a modern western view on it, emphasizing the value of culture, art and tolerance. Others take a more fundamentalist view, seeing literal iconoclasm as a pretty good idea. And others again see it as a reminder of impermanence, and of iconoclasm having its value if targeted with some wisdom and applied with gentleness.

And if we want to be practical about it, we see the validity in each of those views, work on ourselves with impermanence and investigation of beliefs, and in the world in trying to prevent these things from happening using whatever – hopefully skillful – means seem appropriate.

Btw: Here is a link to the German version of the movie, although it is also available in English.

History of Mysticism available as ebook

 

I just received this comment on one of my previous posts:

I thought you did an excellent job of encapsulating the book. However, as you may have noticed, it is no longer available on amazon.com, as it is Out of Print. The good news is that I am offering History of Mysticism (with some additional text in the Chapter on Gnosticism) as a FREE Ebook in PDF format on my website at:  www.themysticsvision.com. Check it out. And, if possible, please publicise its availability.
Best wishes,
Swami Abhayananda (Stan Trout)

As before, I can highly recommend this book. It is among the clearest and most inspiring books on the history of mysticism I have read, and I am looking forward to reading the new sections on Gnosticism.

And what an honor to receive a comment from the author!

If you would like a copy of the free ebook, send an email with “History of Mysticism” in the subject line to abhayanand [at] aol [dot] com

Inner and outer truths

 

freke_-_laughing_jesus.jpg

I started reading The Laughing Jesus today, and have also placed a hold at the library on a few other books by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. (Thanks to Peter at the excellent The Seer blog for introducing me to them!)

The book helps differentiate inner and outer truths of Christianty, first going through the outer truths about Jesus and early Christianity, and then the inner truth of the early gnostics and gnostics, or mystics, anywhere. The basics of both is familiar to me, but it is presented in a very clear and insightful way, have some angles that are new to me, and is a joy to read.

In terms of the outer truths of Christianity, it shows the parallels between the early gnostic stories of the God man and the life story of Jesus, the lack of historical evidence for Jesus ever having existed in flesh and blood, and examples of the literalist interpretation of Christianity came into being through the usual politics.

(From the little I know of mainstream scholarship on this subject, it seems that their basic thesis is not too far off, but I am sure there are different takes on many of the details. This is not a book for those interested in exact and nuanced scholarship, and that is not the point of the book either.)

The inner truths of Christianity is that of mystics anywhere and any time, and I am reminded of Douglas Harding and the headless experiments in the simple and elegant ways Freke and Gandy write about it.

Finally, the book is a reminder of looking for the inner truth of any spiritual or religious story, independent of its outer or historical truth (or, most often, lack thereof). The historical truth has historical interest, which is well and fine. But the inner truth is about who and what we are, here and now.

The depth of the shallow

 

I used to be identified with an identity as cultured, which lead me to read a good amount of literature classics, philosophy and art history, watch obscure and sophisticated movies, listen to music such as Arvo Part, Palestrina, Bach, Philip Glass, and so on, and although I genuinely enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, it was also a one-sided life and identification.

During the dark night this identification, as so many others, wore down, and there is now more of an open space for anything… deep and shallow, artsy and popular… it matters less now.

The irony in this shift is that now, finding more fluidity within the wide landscapes of literature, movies and music, I am also more easily able to find the depth in the shallow, and the same dynamics and patterns in all of it. Popular or sophisticated… it is all reflections of the same basic dynamics and patterns of the mind.

There is a depth in the shallow that, although I was aware of it all the time, I held at arm-lengths distance. Now, that it is right here in my life with no distance, I can appreciate it much more.

Conversely, I guess I can say that there is a shallowness in the deep as well, often an identification with a particular identity which sets up boundaries where there really are none, and a self-congratulatory attitude about things that are really not that sophisticated, and sometimes not even that important.

Documentary: Who wrote the Bible?

 

A documentary which shows the journey of Christianity from flavored by amber (fundamentalist, authoritarian, ethnocentric) and earlier to orange (science, rationality, early worldcentric) and beyond.

For someone like me who grew up in a culture that is heavily orange, green and beyond, and where the church is mostly the same, there is nothing new in the approach of this documentary. We learned mostly about the historical aspects of the Bible and Christianity in school, including the authoring of the various parts of the Bible, the politics of selecting the final books, translation issues, and so on.

And since the culture is at orange/green+, this approach was taken for granted… maybe too much so, since there is now an influx of people there who has more of an amber minus background, which creates conflicts and problems they were – and are – not prepared to deal with.

It is still interesting to watch, and maybe especially because it is also a personal journey for the presenter, from amber to orange+ Christianity.

Thanks to Educational Television for finding and posting it!

History of Mysticism by Swami Abhayananda

 

Strictly scholarly works on mysticism are of course necessary and useful, but it is still a relief to come upon a history of mysticism written by someone where Spirit has awakened to itself. It gives it a freshness, immediacy and clarity that is often lost in the more dry and exclusively scholarly works.

History of Mysticism: The Unchanging Testament by Swami Abhayananda (Stan Trout), is one of these books.

In going through the history of mysticism, from prehistoric to more recent times, he touches upon some of the highlights from many traditions, showing how they all describe the same realization of Spirit as emptiness and form.

(Brahman and Maya, Purusha and Prakrti, Shiva and Shakti, Sat and Asat, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Theos and Logos, Tathata and Samsara, Tao and Teh, the unspeakable Tao and the speakable Tao, El and Elat, Baal and Asherah, Yahweh and Chokmah, Haqq and Khalq, yang and yin, masculine and feminine, and so on.)

This lens gives the book a clear focus and message: there is one theme with minor variations from culture, tradition and personal flavor. It takes some of the many flavors of ice cream and shows that it is all ice cream. (If there is a minor drawback with the book, it is that it becomes somewhat predictable after a while, and that some of the interesting variations are downplayed.)

Still, highly recommended for its clarity, for its excellent overview of the history of mysticism, for its clear theme, and for its ability to inspire.

Note: The book is available for free and in digital form at The Mystic Vision.