I just finished listening to Sam Harris’ waking up podcast episode 105 on atheism with his guests Richard Dawkins and Matt Dillahunty. I loved the nuance that Richard and Sam spoke with, particularly when they spoke of consciousness and that there is still a mystery to all this that needs further investigation.
Sam also spoke of the idea of no self with grace and mastery as usual. The conversation extended beyond the ideas of God’s existence which were refreshing. There was some light theological bashing which is understandable when gathering a group of like minded thinkers.
When I criticize atheism I speak of those individuals that have no nuance or subtlety to the existence of something other than logic and reason to determine universal possibilities and truths.
And yet it makes sense to me to counter arguments of literal translations of God being like a super human in the sky using his will to exercise religious moral agendas with the bodies of humans. And yet I cannot deny that when we look at the bible and other philosophical and religious doctrines many of the same themes arise again and again.
For me the issue of God is in some sense a problem with language itself. GOD is not a word but something conceptually beyond words, ideas and even ourselves. Those that take the bible literally are still unaware of the global stories that are most likely acting as metaphor to serve a greater good in my opinion. For example the meaning of the soul to the ancient Greeks is not the same as it is for Christians now, but they share a relationship with each other.
And if you are an atheist and believe that the bible and all religion is total nonsense then I believe you are shooting yourself in the foot by disregarding the great wisdom these stories have to offer us through metaphor and deep contemplation. We can find meaning and patterns of wisdom in many stories throughout human history but to disregard this stuff as nonsense because we do not understand its historical and spiritual significance at first glance seems foolish to me. Many of us can see that throughout history from Socrates to the Buddha and if we keep an open mind we can find truth in so much of it- repeated again and again.
I have been studying lately on ancient philosophers and religious doctrines and see that themes of virtue, truth and compassion arise repeatedly like a broken record. And it seems it is not all just random there is a voice that is speaking to us from beyond that resonates with our nervous system in a way. Those that I call modern day contemplatives know when they hear the truth, and it is not a cognitive process of understanding if something banal is true or false like a street light being green or red. It is a bodily wisdom delivered to something beyond the mind and yet affects our hearts and minds when we see it, know it or hear it.
If one is going to contemplate the many mysteries these stories and our lives have to offer us one has to delve beyond the superficial and see if it aligns with our own phenomological experiences. It is hard to tease out new age hog wash, literal bible thumping, and the actual spiritual dimensions of our being, but that is the work one does in self realization or awakening to another sense of being.
Throughout history we see repeated again and again similar stories delivering similar themes that we should pay attention to, and when one discovers these pattens we begin to realize that there is a larger picture to inhabit. And that is what awakening is for those that are serious about discovering their own truth. The evolution of consciousness has not evolved to speak literally but metaphorically in my opinion. To regard people from centuries or millennia ago to not use metaphor and nuance and archetypes is a great disservice to your own unfolding and the ancient discovery of truth. To me an open heart and a willingness to be undone as life reveals to you a larger scope is part of the humility we must carry in this endeavor of awakening. To assume that our brains know right and wrong or that our personal subjective learned experiences are all the possibilities that are available is refuting being and truth itself.
So can we know? For me yes and a little bit of no. To not know is a beautiful humility to the mystery of being and to say yes to the things that are revealed to us in this life is the ultimate sacrifice and vulnerability of the human heart which is constantly yearning to know itself. To be awake and know our place in this immensity is a heart breaking bliss that is not about just feeling good but understanding even the terror that visits us as we suffer.
For me to live and die and still love enraptured by mystery is the greatest devotion to god and being. But if we are just looking to feel good or be right there is more to uncover in this life as we follow the heart of truth. If one still finds duality in this understanding one is still seeking to feel right or good but when one is no longer seeking the next moment of self righteous pleasure one is delivered in my humble opinion to a greater service to this world.
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In the last few weeks an immense amount of stuff has been downloaded into my psyche as they say. I have rediscovered some old things and added many new things to my view on the state of suffering. Recently some of my old suspicions about the dangers of radical non duality have come to light again. Even all the crazy news we are being delivered is part of this bigger picture I see becoming clearer and clearer. From mass shootings to science and technology dominating our personal consciousness — all these things are happening for very specific reasons and naming them is the first part of us rediscovering our innate wisdom that many of us have detached from. My recent critiques on the show about atheism being the new “intelligent” world view plays right into the heart of the matter. I will elaborate a little on this but I hope to speak about this on the show instead of write such things for my grammar is deplorable. My apologies for this.
I was blessed to find this little video below that quickly points to some of this stuff with a great quick synopsis on some of Carl Jung’s philosophy that I was not totally made of aware till recently but touches on some key things that have been brought to my attention.
Several months ago I made comments on the show about my distrust of science and reason being our saviors. Lately I have noticed in myself looking more and more into a spiritual dimension within myself as a possibility for better understanding the state of things and the plight us humans are currently facing.
Even in my art work I see symbols unintentionally arising again and again unknowingly delivering a road map to rediscovering sanity, spirit, compassion and wisdom that many of us have lost access to. Symbolism is way more powerful than we think, and I long ago disregarded all that as pure nonsense but I was wrong. Even dreams are communicating to us a deeper sense of being and one has to cultivate this language like art is cultivated in the artist that is expressing something transcendent.
The transcendent is never lost in my opinion but disconnected from or obscured to the individual. The transcendent is immensely important part of our world culture. When we stop seeing people connecting with the transcendent it is in my opinion that violence arises amongst the culture for they lose sight of something beyond themselves, and individuals start to become their own gods. When this occurs we will see a rise in the desire for power, greed, materialism, perversion, and violence in the culture.
I see even literal religious interpretations disregarding many of our innate secular wisdoms, and it seems it is time to listen to ourselves and recover what we feel is lost in the world. We have not fostered our intuition into our development of popular culture, and I see making art or doing what we love creatively as a direct connection to our intuition (a road map in a sense). Now seems to be the time to follow that to the best of our abilities.
I recently read some blogs and watched some videos from some radical non dualists speaking about accepting things as they are and that there are no real problems per say. I myself have said things like this long ago in a state of delusion to convince myself of the pain that I felt was just a mere figment of my imagination instead of an internal alarm, but I recently discovered that that is not the case. This issue is more complex than I believe and understand, and I am still processing how this all plays a part into understanding the world around me.
For now it is obvious that the world is experiencing many real problems. I am slowly in the process of trying to put the pieces together with hopefully a clearer perspective to help those that have struggled like I have. And maybe you like me are intuiting that there is more to this two dimensional picture of the way things are. Don’t be confused of course there are still some imaginary problems that have to be seen through but that is not the whole picture. And hopefully many of us are starting to see that there is something on the horizon speaking wiser words.
I also do not want to disregard the immense power non duality has had on me to seeing beyond the false sense of myself and developing a closer relationship with what I call myself now. But there is more work to be done here in my opinion. And for me it is a constant process of discovering more and more of what we truly are. And discernment has to be cultivated not disregarded as societal nonsense of the ego.
I would love to have more conversations along these lines to further elaborate. I have felt a fire burning in me the last few weeks wanting to speak more on the importance of our own personal spiritual paths, and accessing a new dimension of ourselves that is hidden and many of us have grown accustomed to not listening to these innately wise and compassionate sounds our bodies are making. When I ignore these sounds within myself many times I am left feeling alone, empty, nihilistic and disengaged. If you are interested in speaking about things like this and recording them for our audience contact me at campostattoos at gmail dot com.
Below is a youtube link I found after Annie made a comment about the above essay. Dr. Peterson masterfully explains the role of God and religion in our lives that seems very accessible. JP explains eloquently the role intuition, truth, spirituality, and religion are communicating but many fundamentalists have obscured and confused with literal translations. Peterson also explains the essential nature of what real conversation does to our being in relationship to truth.
I want to apologize for the delay on releasing our latest episode. Been a bit overwhelmed the last few days.
Our new episode will be up tonight on truth, in the meanwhile I recommend listening to this podcast on death by Sam Harris and Frank Ostaseski. It is episode 104 and can be found on the “waking up” podcast on iTunes or soundcloud. Probably my favorite podcast episode ever.
The podcast was extremely powerful for me and made me look at many things in my own life and I hope most of you listen to it and I loved how gentle and kind Sam seem to be with Frank.
Thanks for reading this,Luis