Experential Divinity

In order to know divinity, you must know your self, beyond all that previously defined you. You must look within, stripped of all pretension. And there you will find a terrifying unity, terrifying because every little butterfly flutter of your heart has universal implication.

Which is to say that to know of God is an entirely personal affair. I learned this the hard way growing up. I grew up a Presbytarian Christian, went to church and youth group every week. The driving spiritual force in my life, however, was my grandmother, an immigrant from Sweden who prayed multiple times a day and read constantly from her bible. When she prayed, she went into a kind of trance and spoke in tongues. She would tell stories, of which she had many, of prayers answered and miracles in her life. She was intensely spiritual, and I always respected that, and I wanted to believe the way she believed. I tried. For years I tried to pray and to know god the way that she did. And it took me longer than that to finally understand that I could never know god the way that she did. I could only know god in my own way.

And this is where institutionalized, fundamentalist religion goes astray. Religious indoctrination would tell you what the word of god is. It would tell you how to think, how to feel, how to pray to their god. It would tell you of all the mysteries. But you would never experience these things directly. God has to be translated for the masses, according to institutionalized religion. And all of these things may be a good introduction. But they will never take the place of personal realization, a direct relationship and communication with the source.

Bruce Lee concocted his own martial art, a martial art which took him beyond tradition, close-minded indoctrination, and habits, and through which he learned to attack directly and quickly without waste of time and effort. But he admonishes those who would blindly follow his martial art. He tells them that Jeet Kun Do is only his own personal way, not anyone else’s way. That you can learn from it and take what you will from it, but never to follow it as a complete and universal form. Which, of course, people did anyway, and continue to do.

A more enlightened view of any form or school of thought is to think of it in terms of Ken Wilber‘s concept of holons. A holon is something complete within its own parameters, yet which still opens and connects into something beyond. In which everything is a holon, a whole unto itself and yet a part of something greater. A cell in your body is a holon. Christianity is a holon. The earth is a holon. To ever say that something has no connection with anything else or that something has no relation or ability to evolve and change with the rest of the universe is fundamentalism of the sort that leads to warfare, anger, and close-mindedness.

People who think that they are completely separate and isolated from all the rest of the world end up killing themselves. People who can never understand themselves and can only relate to themselves in terms of external indoctrination end up killing others. And all the little gradations in between that lead you daily to prejudice your mind against the world.

Within my own lifetime, I simply want to try to make myself better than who I am. I want to carry a light inside me that can not be touched by the wind of another human being’s insecurity. I don’t want to be a human being who just takes, and takes, and takes. I want to give, and take, and give. And give. And the only one who can help me do that is myself–a self that is connected with all the world.

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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