On the Arising and Return of the Spiritual Impulse
The religions, spiritual traditions, and transformative social movements of our world begin with historical events that unfold in the lives of actual human beings.
Inspired men and women understand their experience in uncommon and extraordinary ways that remain mysterious to most of us.
They inspire their brothers and sisters to live life with previously unimaginable purpose, meaning, beauty, kindness, joy, mercy, compassion, and love; this is no insignificant reality.
We who experience life at a distance from the events that transformed those greatest of human beings have no choice but to use the words, images, and ideas the arise from own understanding and experience of the world.
We do this in our attempt to make sense of our own lives while communicating something that is at heart difficult to communicate or even beyond human words altogether.
The custodians of religions, spiritual paths, and transformative social movements often get lost in their endeavor and lose sight of the actual, original source of inspiration.
They create systems, institutions, schools of thought, spiritual rules, canons of sacred writings, etc. as useful tools, though at times even the most useful of human tools can become burdensome hindrances.
Mystics, spiritual weirdos, heroes, Titans, prophets, gurus, enlightened beings, saints, and the like create their own paths and often leave the rest of us behind.
Perhaps we, in our day, will find new, concrete ways of understanding those ancient sources of inspiration and make them useful to the challenges of this present moment.
We needn’t jettison that which came before this present moment, but we do ourselves no good service if we make the past our graven idol.
On Spiritual Family
A spiritual family is entirely capable of accomplishing even the most impossible of tasks.
Normal human modes of judgment — around good and evil, the sacred and the impure, the one and the many, the self and the other — will, at unforeseen times of extreme crisis, both serve us and hinder us.
A spiritual family, to the mind of the ancient ones, embraces both the mighty and weak, the noble and ignoble, the just and the unjust, the worthy and the unworthy.
Every member of a spiritual family is dedicated to the true purpose from which the family arose.
On the Tree
In ancient times, a grove of trees was considered sacred not because each and every tree was holy, but because of the presence of a single noble Tree; such is the power of a worthy tree.
It is said that the many ordinary, common, and profane trees serve to hide, protect, and honor the one Tree whose life and presence make sacred the entire grove.
Let us, then, love the Tree as it manifests itself through leaves, shoots, seeds, roots, branches, bark, sap, shade, might, beauty, immovability, agility, life-giving power, wisdom, and self-sacrifice.
The Tree ascends to the highest heavens and descends to the darkest pits, embracing the sky above, the Earth we wander, and also the underworld.
The Tree is our sign of enduring hope, for every time it is destroyed and annihilated, it is again reborn, living, and life-giving, just like the mythic Phoenix or like the Awakened One.
When our ancestral family fell from the heights and safety of a tree, it carried trees to the cave, and later built weapons, tools, homes, and great ships from trees; so long as our family exists in some form, the Tree will live and give life.
January 13, 2017