| A Million Questions in the Eye of God|
|25 Oct 2004 @ 17:16, by Craig Lang|
"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the very first time."
- TS Eliot
I spent a wonderful weekend going back to my roots - attending a retreat with a Christian group in which I used to be very active. It was very interesting to see how much they, and I, had changed during the years I had been absent.
Sunday afternoon was beautiful - sunny and clear - a trememdous change from the weather over much of the weekend. I returned home from my church group outing in late afternoon, dried out my soggy rain gear, and began doing some yard work.
As I raked leaves, I occasionally paused to look up at the sunny sky and marvelled at how vast and varied the Universe of God is. The deep blue sky was nearly cloudless. Directly above, the blue was dotted with a few patches of cirrus and cirostratus. Off to the north, the clouds were more prominent, and on the northern horizon, there was a thick blanket of cloud. I took a mental bet with myself that the Clearwater forest, where we had been during the weekend, was again getting pelted by rain.
I looked back to the sky overhead, the blue and white vault that arched over the location where I presently was, and wondered about the Eye of God. I wondered, from a God's-Eye perspective, what would have been noticeable about the soggy group of spiritual seekers who had gathered in a cabin in North Central Minnesota for the weekend for prayer, study and meditation. I wondered what thought waves we had sent out to the Universe, and what that Infinite Universe - the Akashic Mind of God had thought in return.
The weekend was a fascinating one from many perspectives. It had been a long time since I had spent a weekend with a group of Christians - and I had earlier decided that it was long-since time to return to my Christian roots - if only for a weekend. So I joined this particular outing, which was a men's study and prayer circle organized by our church.
I have noted in many occasions that there seems to have been a number of changes in the spiritual side of Christianity. For the most part, this seems to be a very positive thing. What I noticed, however, something I had overlooked before, was that the focus of this spirituality was still external.
My view of what I saw and experienced was shaped much by study over the last couple of years of eastern thought and traditions. And what I realized was that the greatest need seems to be to reconcile the Eastern focus on an internal God, the seeking of harmony with Earth, God and Self, - and the Western focus on an External God, the source of strength and healing. It is a focus on a relationship based upon power and submission.
The External God (YHWH, El, Allah, etc.) seems to me to be an aspect of Universal God that is very much present, and very prominent in world history. However, I have found that this view of God also engenders a powerful polarity. And I noted that contemporary Christian spirituality seems to fully embrace that polarity.
In studying the Eastern Tradition(s), I have noted the focus shifting to the God within. This has been mostly evident in the New Age movement, but to a lesser degree, I have begun to notice it in the Christian community, as well. My belief is that the Jesus that I follow - Jeshua Ben Yusef - the itinerant healer, teacher, preacher, guru and sage of two thousand years ago - focused more on this God Within than is understood today.
Yet the words of prayer and praise that I heard and sung, along with the requests for healing - of self and others - all seemed to bear that focus on the External God. They were songs of joy, delight in the Glory of Creation, and in many ways were extremely uplifting. Throughout the weekend, I felt a sense of unity with The One. While at the same time, I became aware as never before, of the need to view this in the perspective that God is both WithinEachOfUs and ExternalToAllOfUs. God is within the Self, within the Universe and beyond.
This was the biggest change I had noted - not in those who I was with, but in the perspective gained through studying other faiths, then returning home. It seems that the more we travel, the more we learn, and the more uniquely we begin veiw our own roots. Or as T. S. Elliot so wonderfully put it, we can begin return home and "know the place for the very first time."
26 Oct 2004 @ 15:01 by : Murder In The Cathedral
I believe the quotation that opens this article is from Eliot's play by that name. It's been a long time, but I think they may be Thomas a Becket's last words...or nearly, as dramatised by Eliot. The play, terribly overlooked these days, shows a quite different view of church and state than we have brewing around the States these days.
CL Note: Thanx for the comment, Jazz. Interesting thought indeed...
26 Oct 2004 @ 15:12 by martha : Out and In
I have had little religious training as you know Craig but my understanding of Jesus was his message to know yourself which tells me an inward journey is necessary first. Once one connects to spirit or source or god or whatever label you choose then you can begin expansion and go outward. Sort of a paradox really. I think the eastern and western religions each hold truths about humantiy and the search for connection to that whcih is greater but only reveal part of the larger picture.
Thanks for the essay, very thought provoking.
26 Oct 2004 @ 19:31 by jstarrs : Great essay, Craig.
"...something I had overlooked before, was that the focus of this spirituality was still external."
Personally, I can only relate to what I experience.
An externalized 'god-head' has always been alien to me.
Here's some words from one of my teachers, Lama Zopa Rinpoché.
"I hope that you understand what the word 'spiritual' really means. It means to search for to investigate the true nature of the mind. Theres nothing spiritual outside. My rosary isnt spiritual; my robes arent spiritual. Spiritual means the mind and spiritual people are those who seek its nature."
ps. The Eliot quote comes from The Four Quartets.
We did this in the last year at school!
26 Oct 2004 @ 19:38 by : Thanks Jeff
The Quartets were my second choice. That's what I get for not Googling something before I write.
Other entries in Religion
6 Oct 2015 @ 03:38: NEW AGE: LUCIFER’S PREFERRED RELIGION, REPLACES GREAT RELIGIONS
11 Dec 2008 @ 21:17: Bless the beasts and the children
27 Aug 2008 @ 08:32: Theology of the Other
27 Feb 2008 @ 09:48: CHURCH CRIMES: WHO EXPOSES? WHO PAYS?
25 Jun 2007 @ 11:12: When Christians Torture
22 May 2007 @ 10:08: Who Is Davis Mac-Iyalla And Why Is He Here?
9 Aug 2006 @ 15:56: Constantine - The Making of a Saint
4 Aug 2006 @ 22:56: Medieval Book of Psalms Unearthed
3 Aug 2006 @ 11:06: Fundamental Madness
2 Aug 2006 @ 23:32: Implications of the Da Vinci Code