Mirror To The Universe
By Rob Mohr
A Spiritual Life
Most of us are pragmatic, rational beings who spend our time dealing with daily challenges. Yet, many meld their everyday existence with a spiritual life. The following essay explores how this integration occurs.
“The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” Carl Jung
Jung’s ‘light’ dawns as spiritual life created within an integrated human mind. A reality unfortunately mitigated by religious dogma, and the appeal of self-indulgent, corporal life over spiritual freedom. Science and philosophy guide our understanding of the spiritual life – (1) reality itself is spiritual not material, and (2) all life exists within a spiritual realm. The dilemma for those of us who deal with daily challenges is how we might move from the physical to the spiritual.
During pre-historic and historic times humans moved out of caves, into protective communities, city states, nations and, finally, into an interactive world. Today, literate, and open minded, with broad knowledge of ourselves and the universe, we grasp for the mystical. Our spirits rush toward their spiritual home seeking truth and the fate of our souls.
Anthropologists excavated our spiritual roots, analyzed artifacts and discovered human spirituality emerged 500,000 years ago as animism – the attribution of life to everything that exists. During the Neolithic period, this belief evolved and focused on anthropomorphic attribution of animal characteristics to humans. This symbiotic relationship continues today, Victor Batz, my Maya co-worker in Guatemala, was born on the Maya long count day of the monkey (Batz) and was named accordingly. Such beliefs indicate the enduring role spirituality plays in human communities throughout the world.
Pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico and Central America shaped life via spiritual connections.The Maya used ceremonies involving ‘pain’ as a gateway into the spiritual world. Royal women pulled a knotted rope through a hole cut into their tongue, while elite men pulled a rope through a cut in their penis, letting the blood flow onto pulp-paper crumpled in a ceramic bowl, which was then burned. The ensuing smoke formed a serpent from whose mouth their ancestors emerged and provided counsel.
Other gentler rituals, performed in seasonal cycles, continue to enable human transition from materialism to spirituality. Victor Turner explored in detail how such liminal rituals transform human life through social drama. Rituals entreat guidance from spiritual forces and move humans from egocentric existence, and blindness into an infinite, sighted, spiritual domain. Humans petition rain for crops, fertility for women, initiate youth, and inaugurate presidents. We celebrate salvation with a Passover meal, and confirm our faith through baptism, and communion.
Meditation, which transforms our vision and focus, offers a second avenue from the physical into unbound spiritual dimensions. Our preoccupations dissolve, our awareness expands. We discard who we were for a more perfect existence, one where we connect with the silence, and “…close our eyes in order to see.” Paul Gauguin
Most profound is the permanent unleashing of our universal and genetic consciousness, which enables movement through space and time. We reside in a place where no force can withstand the ramifications of spiritual existence. Like the Maya our metaphorical temple has become our metaphysical home, the pre-historic cave our refuge in a world dominated by self-interest, and violence.
Consider the implications of these understandings for your life today in a world where providence directs us into a a spiritual world where “…there are no coincidences, and all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
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