Saturday, February 2, 2008

NOTES on The Power of Myth, Episode 6

Episode 6 : The Masks of Eternity

“We want to think about God. God is a thought, an idea, but its reference is to something that transcends all thinking
He’s beyond being, beyond the category of being or non-being. Neither is nor is not.

Every God every mythology every religion is true in this sense. it is true as metaphorical of the human and cosmic mystery.

He who thinks he knows doesn’t know. He who knows that he doesn’t know knows.

All of the symbols in mythology refer to YOU. Have you been reborn, have you died to your animal nature and come to life as a human incarnation?”

NOTE – Reference to NT Wright’s work, and his concept of the continuum from animal to human. That redemption happens along that line, and that we’re all either becoming more human or more animal. That is salvation. And that the only true human was Christ. The only fully realized human being, created in the image of God.

“You are God in your deepest identity. You are one with the transcendent.”


“Truth is One. The sages speak of it by many names.”

Anyone who has an experience of mystery at all, has a knowledge that there is a dimension to the universe that is not that of his senses.

For a sunset or a mountain, you pause, and say , “Ah.” And that is participation in divinity.

NOTE – The “AH” the AUM, the God vibration.

In the west our way of thinking is that God is the source of the energy. The way in the east, and in primitive cultures, is that God is the manifestation and the vehicle of that energy, not its source, and that they level of the energy involved or represented determines the character of that god.

Gods of passion, violence, protection, these are personifications of the energy that’s in play, and what’s the source of the energy? that’s a perpetual mystery.

Is divinity just what we think? Yes. But what does that do to faith? I don’t have to have faith, I have experience. Experience of the wonder of life, of love, of hatred, of malice. And I admit this, but those are different divinities, from the point of view of symbolic imaging.

But where does that energy come from? From your organs, the organs of your body. From your own life. Including your head.

And your life comes from where? Well there you are. The ultimate energy that is the life of the universe? and then you say that someone has to generate that, but why do you have to say that? Why can’t it be impersonal? That would be Brahman. The transcendent mystery that you can also personify.

Can men and women live with an impersonality – yes they do all over the place, just go east of Suez.

In the east the gods are much more elemental, less human and more like the powers of nature. Deity as representing an energy system. love, hate benevolence, compassion. The god is the vehicle of that energy, not its source.

So what do you think about Jesus? We just don’t know about him. we have four contradictory texts. But we know his sayings. They’re pretty close. but when you reach the Thomas gospel, it has all the flavor of the synoptic gospels, except it doesn’t say quite the same thing. “When will the kingdom come?” In Mark 13 it says the end of the world will come, but in the Thomas gospel, “The kingdom of the father will not come by expectation. the kingdom of the father is spread upon the earth and men do not see it.” “he who drinks from my mouth shall become as I am, and I shall be he.” The being of beings who is the being of all of us, and anyone who lives in relation to that as Christ, and anyone who incarnates, or rather brings into his life the message o that word is equivalent to Jesus.

So you are the vehicle, you are radiant of the spirit and why not recognize it.

“I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” I believe in what?

What is religion? Religion means “religgio”, linking back the phenomenal person to a source. If we say it’s the one life in both of us, than my one life has been linked back. Connecting link.

Jung – “the most powerful religious circle is the circle. In considering the image of the circle we are analyzing the self.”

The center from which you come, to which you will go.

The circle represents a totality. One thing enframed. The temple aspect of the circle is the alpha and the omega. The source and the end. Somehow it suggests immediately a completed totality, no beginning no end. The year, the month, the day, the cycle.

it’s experienced everywhere by everyone. Going and coming back. the womb and the tomb. Burial for rebirth. Back into the earth for rebirth. Jung used the circle as a pedagogical device. The Mandala. The Hindu term for a sacred circle.

A personal mandala – draw a circle and think of the different impulse systems or value systems in your life and try to compose them on the circle. It’s a system for composing the different systems in your life. Find the center. A discipline for pulling g all the scattered aspects together and ordering yourself to it. Coordinating your circle with the universal circle.

the Navajo pollen path. Pollen is the life source. The single path – the center. Beauty before me beauty behind me, beauty above me beauty below me, beauty to the right of me beauty to the left of me, I’m on the pollen path.

The little cosmos of ones own life and the macrocosm of the universe are in some way to be coordinated. The Navajo healing ceremonies with sand paintings. The sand paintings in Tibet – sand mandalas… two very different cultures – the same imagery.

Jung’s Archetypes of the collective unconscious. Basic fundamental forms that appear in different persons without connection. Expressions of the human psyche.

One can say that the images of myth are reflections of spiritual and depth potentialities of every one of us, and that by contemplating those, we evoke those powers in our own lives to operate them ourselves.

Bastion, German Anthropologist… followed certain motifs in all the religions and all the spiritualities of the world. He called them elementary ideas, from which Jung got his archetypes of the unconscious.

Certain qualities that every person possesses. Being Created in His Image. the ultimate archetype of man.

Jung “Religion is a defense against a religious experience.” Having the concept and idea defined short-circuits the transcendent idea of deep mystery….

The image of God becomes the final obstruction. Your God is your ultimate barrier. This is basic Hinduism, basic Buddhism. The idea of the charkas, these are all stages of power, but then when the heart center is reached, and the sense of compassion and mercy and participation… there’s a whole new stage of life experience. This is the virgin birth. The birth of the spiritual life in what was formerly just a human animal. But now you’ve come to something else, this sense of living in accord with another , or with some principle… a whole new life comes. This is the awakening of the religious experience.

Ultimate mystery can be expressed in two senses:
- without form
- with form

In oriental thinking you experience god with form in your mind, your thinking. This is heaven, that’s the identification with your own being, because that which god refers to is the ultimate mystery of being, as well as your being.

Maslow – Peak experiences. Moments of your life when you feel that something has come through in your relationship. In the harmony of your being. Being in full form.

Joyce – Epiphanies. This has to due with the aesthetic experience. It does not move you to want to possess the object (he calls that pornography) nor does it cause you to criticize or reject that object (he calls that didactic) it is the holding the object, you put a frame around it and see it as one thing, and then you become aware of the relationship of the part to part, part to whole, the essential aesthetic factor. Rhythm. Rhythmic relationships. and when a fortunate rhythmic relationship has been struck by the artist there is a radiance, that is the epiphany.

And that is what would be the Christ coming through, and it doesn’t matter who it is. This is transcendent of ethics, no didactics. The sublime. Prodigious expanse of space is sublime. the Asian temple gardens. Somehow with the diminishment of your ego, the consciousness expands. The sublime can be beautiful, and be monstrous. Vishnu, the god of the end of the world. Experiences that go past ethical judgment. Ethics is wiped out. god is good… God is Horrific! AT the end of the world. An Arab saying “The angel of death comes it’s terrible. When he has reached you it is bliss.” The Buddha has two aspects. The peaceful and the wrathful. Depending on what you’re open to…

Jesus – I come to bring not peace but a sword… this is known in Sanskrit as (?) discrimination. A Buddha figure with a sword over his head. To distinguish the temporal from the eternal. We live in the field of time, but the experience of eternity is here in the field of time. Right now, if you don’t get it now, you’re never going to. The eternal is beyond time. Time shuts out eternity.

the epiphany is the radiance. The showing through of the essence.

Why do we want to live forever? To secure our place in heaven? In Aquinas. heaven is the experience of the beatific image of God. You can have it now in your relationships, in your experience. Our relationships have an everlasting quality about them that is eternally with us. An intimation of immortality.

Schopenhauer said, in his 60’s – When you reach a certain age, you look back on your life and it seems to have had an order, to have been composed by someone, and those events that seemed accidental and occasional when they happened, turn out to the be main elements in a consistent plot. Who composed this plot? And just as your dreams are composed by and aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so your whole like has been composed by the will within you and just as those people whom you met by chance became effective agents in the structuring of your life, you have been an agent in the structuring of other lives, and the whole thing gears together like one big symphony. Everything influencing and structuring everything else. It’s as though our lives were the dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters were dreaming too and so everything links to everything else to move out of the will in nature.

In India, the net of Indra – the spontaneous arising. Everything arises in relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anyone. It’s as though there was an intention about it, but it’s all by chance.

When you’re on a journey and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey.

This moment now is the heavenly moment.

Eden IS.

Shiva, surrounded by rings of fire. The dancer who’s dance is the universe. The drum in his hand is the drum of time. in the other hand there is a flam, which burns away the veil of time and opens us up to eternity, and in his hair is a skull and a new moon. Death and becoming. To find that becoming point in yourself that is the goal. it is fearless. Becoming. The warrior who goes into battle and is fearless. The coming into being is the life point.

“The Word was made flesh” the eternal principle finding itself. The word in yourself. Goethe “All things are metaphors. Everything that’s transitory is a metaphorical reference.”

But how does one worship a metaphor, love a metaphor, die for a metaphor? That’s what people are doing all over the place. Dying for metaphors. But when you really realize the sound of the AUM, the sound everywhere, then you don’t have to go out and die for anything, because it’s right there all around. Just sit still and know it, experience it.

AUM is a word that represents to our ears the sound of the energy of the universe of which all things are manifestations. When you have pronounced it properly, all vowel sounds are in that pronunciation. Consonants are regarded as interruptions of AUM all words are thus fragments of AUM as all images are fragments of the form of forms of which all things are jus reflections. AUM is a symbol, a symbolic sound that puts you in touch with that throbbing being which is the universe.

AH-U-M The four element syllable. Birth, being, death. What is the fourth element? The silence. The silence that underlies it. The immortal that underlies the mortal.

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