Dec 252015
 

stonehendge

by Ray Jason…….

As soon as I finish this essay and send it out into the world to find its way, I will begin my own private Christmas celebration. I will cast off the dock-lines, hoist the sails and head off to a little cove that will bequeath me the wondrous gift of Solitude. My only companions will be the creatures of the Sea and the Sky and an occasional fisherman drifting by in a cayuco.

What I will be seeking in this isolation is what has been lost in the current incarnation of Christmas – REVERENCE. This holiday is supposed to pay homage to the birth date of the founder of Christianity. But it has steadily deteriorated from a spiritual celebration into a materialistic, consumer frenzy. It is not about Spirit. It is about Stuff.

The object of my reverence will not be a god or a man-god or a man. It will be Nature. Whereas the existence of god cannot be proven, the existence of Nature cannot be denied. My handsome little sailboat will be moving through it – through the waves of the Sea – powered by the wind from the Sky. In a very real sense, my boat and I will be cradled by Nature.

On Winter Solstice Eve I will sit on the deck with my back against the mast and sip some warm milk enhanced with a festive dollop of Baileys Irish Crèam. The moon will be nearly full, and its sparkle on the water will match the glimmer in my mug. I will marvel at many things: the massive sky-dome twinkling above – the soothing stillness of the cove – the moon sphere in the watery mirror.

And I will wonder about many things: how many thousand generations ago did humans first realize that this was The Longest Night – how soon did they start celebrating the event with festivals – but above all, I will wonder why can’t the splendor and mystery of this world not be enough to satiate humanity’s need for spirituality? Why is the magnificence of our planet and the universe that surrounds it, not enough for us to revere? Why must we invent man-made gods and unleash the horrible consequences of such creations?

Our Cosmos is so lush with miracles: the precision of the planetary orbits – the power of the distant moon to affect Earth’s tides – our planet’s astonishing diversity of creatures. Why do we renounce these in favor of fake miracles – of talking snakes – of virgin births – of prophets ascending into the sky on horseback? Why do we choose what is false, when there is so much that is fantastic?

*******

We do so because we have been fooled, we have been duped, we have been conned. The monotheistic sky-gods that dominate our world these days are new arrivals on the human scene. They emerged with the switch from the nomadic, hunter/gatherer lifestyle to the sedentary agricultural lifestyle. Surely it appeared like an evolutionary advance to domesticate plants and animals and thus seemingly end the risk of starvation. But what went unnoticed was the fact that humans were inadvertently domesticating themselves.

The most aggressive and ruthless amongst us recognized that they could dominate the great mass of the people; and they swiftly proceeded to do so. Joining the rulers in this quest were the priests. And to facilitate this they designed gods that were male, that were powerful and that were intolerant.

Conveniently, they were also “invisible.” But they were surely there laying down all manner of commandments and restrictions that you must obey. Otherwise, the first generation of the Malignant Overlords would torture or terminate you – or both.

If this assessment seems harsh to you, allow me to remind you of the immense suffering that the huge, organized religions have bequeathed 500 generations of largely innocent human beings:

  • Witch hunts
  • Torture
  • Rejections of scientific discoveries
  • Persecutions of “infidels”
  • Demonization of natural sexual urges
  • Crusades
  • Human sacrifice
  • Forcing females to be subservient to males
  • Burnings at the stake
  • Inquisitions
  • Suicide bombers
  • Justification for slavery
  • Forcing unwanted children on the poor

All of these atrocities were championed under the banner of the various religions. Take a few seconds and read through that list again. Were any of them committed in the name of Love of Nature? No, but they all were carried out at the behest of somebody’s god; and many of them are still being sanctioned to this very day. The so-called Clash of Civilizations, that is destroying the Middle East, is actually a Clash of Religions. Indeed, as I write this sentence, there is probably an innocent child being killed or mutilated in that Vale of Chaos.

*******

Now that I have described some of the grisly, negative aspects of institutional religion, allow me to mention how many positive features there are to Pantheism. After I have outlined these characteristics, I feel confident that half of you reading this will convert to this very different form of spirituality. Well, maybe half of one percent.

  • There are no “enemies” in Pantheism. People don’t go to war over who has the most beautiful rain forests.
  • There are no ornate trappings in Nature worship. Who needs cathedrals and mosques on a planet abundant in fiords and volcanoes?
  • Pantheists do not dictate how people should conduct their lives. There are no commandments handed down from celestial tyrants.
  • Because they don’t view this life as a dress rehearsal for some celestial paradise, those who worship Nature live their day-to-day lives more fully and richly.
  • Pantheism is the perfect answer for atheists or agnostics. These non-believers clearly see the absurdity and evil that dominates the big religions, and yet they seek something to revere beyond the material world.

*******

As I wind down this essay, I can almost detect AVENTURA tugging at her dock-lines – anxious to head out to the islands. Soon we will be anchor down – with just a few flying and swimming friends to keep us company.

But I believe that our Solstice solitude will be as magnificent as any Christmas Eve mass in a mighty cathedral. And even though I will not hoist a golden chalice above an ornate altar, I will ceremoniously lift my humble mug of milk and Irish crèam. And I will do so to the sacred congregation of stars that twinkle silently above the Great Tabernacle of Nature.

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Ray Jason
Read more of Ray Jason’s work on his blog.

“I live aboard my beautiful sailboat, AVENTURA, and wander the wide waters as an itinerant philosopher. My life is simple, free and joyous.”

Ray currently lives on his sailboat in Panama. Previously he was a Key West cab driver.
 December 25, 2015  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #146  Add comments

  12 Responses to “A Pantheist Looks at Christmas”

  1. Ray,

    Such nonsense at your own hand requires a reply.

    Worshipping/Revering the gifts of Nature, without acknowledging the Author (Source) of such wonders, contradicts the premise, content and title of your essay.

    As science refines its abilities to determine the origins of our cosmos, discoveries have determined the universe comprises a system that possesses an order and harmony, which is incompatible with random chance. In fact, ‘quark theory’ has established that the tiniest of particles identified in the universe “are elemental conscious particles”.

    Where might such consciousness come from?

    The lengths we sometimes go to, so that we may appear to be different, special and more sophisticated than our fellows.

    PANTHEISM
    [pan-thee-iz-uh m]
    Spell Syllables
    • Examples
    • Word Origin
    noun
    1.
    the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God’s personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.
    2.
    any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

    By matter of fact, all Creators are present in their Creations.

    Only after authentically Realizing my true identify, was I able to love and accept Creation and Its Creatures. Mind you, possessing a flesh and ego desiring to be pleased and pleasured all the time, for me, it’s a constant challenge to press forward with my potential and true calling as a human being. Conflict dogs my every step. However, on those occasions when I master my pseudo self, the rewards are intoxicatingly blissful.

    Circumnavigating the world via backpack on several occasions, I value and appreciate the beautiful stories describing your travels. Your priceless essay’s convey wisdom and perspective, while stimulating my thoughts. Although I didn’t agree with your take on the aforementioned topic, I sincerely respect, appreciate and look forward to reading future articles. Thank you, Sir.

  2. John, Neither Ray nor people like myself deny some kind of genesis or creation that has led to all this, but we are not so arrogant … I’ll repeat that … arrogant! to actually know just how this all began nor WHO was responsible for it, nor foolish enough to worship or yield cult to something so beyond our understanding. Nor do we deny the fact that there is an order and harmony to all this, one that most of the God people seem oblivious to. In fact, the creation of this duality of god and us has become a very negative thing. John, we owe absolutely nothing to god, but we owe everything to each other and the rest of the world’s flora and fauna. “God” is an anachronism, one that is holding us back, one that clouds our reason, one that separates us needlessly and deflects our allegiance in the wrong direction. I feel a total responsibility to you John, a responsibility to treat you right and honorably. I feel no such responsibility to “god”. Your arguments here are inconclusive, vaporish, unsubstantiated, as religious doctrine so often is. Love and peace, Jerome

  3. Jerome,

    Utilizing the ‘God people standard’, whatever that may be, determined by our individual misunderstandings, biases and prejudices; provides a lot of wiggle room and rationalization for judgment, anger and hurtful actions.

    While ridiculing and making fun of ‘church people’, I was blinded and lost in my own madness. Quick to condemn, I was slow to examine and seek the meaning of what was before me.

    Pain smashed my arrogance to the point where I became as open-minded as the dying. Humility allowed me to expose myself to the ‘wisdom of the ages’. Understanding that in my ‘finite form’ work would be required to advance my acknowledgement and understanding of Creation.

    I believe a key point in our disagreement rests in the idea that human beings posses the power and where with all, based upon their own unaided understanding, to live in peace and harmony with one another. As we have all seen, it hasn’t happened and it’s not going to happen based upon the aforementioned format.

    The ‘darkness we’ve created’ (human beings) has caused great pain and suffering for this planet and its inhabitants. Insanity is doing the same thing, expecting a different result.

    Negativity is resultant from the ignorant thoughts and actions of ‘mankind’. Self-Realization and Self-Actualization is available for everyone. Most Schools, Nations & their subsidiaries will not provide children and citizens with this instruction. It’s not in their best interest.

    As you suggest, the reality of God ‘is not holding us back’. ‘Chronic Contempt’ prior to investigation will maintain a ‘mindset’, unable to free itself from the orb of its certainty and darkness.

    I’m lucky and blessed to have individuals such as yourself and Ray press back, providing the friction necessary for my growth.

    Esteemed writers of your caliber nurture the world with your brilliance, wisdom and honesty. Thank you and Love to you both.

    • Dear John, Sorry man, I was not ridiculing anyone, and if you took it that way then maybe you are the one who is insecure about all this. I have always had a completely open mind about all of this, I was raised in “believing” (not seriously, but an “acceptable” level of such). My culture has done everything in its power to make me believe. And I take umbrage with how that word is used. I believe in much, I am a believer, I just believe in the stuff I believe in. Now, you might say great, that is good, but if we continue to use this word “god” to define our beliefs, we are not moving ahead. The baggage it carries with it is just too heavy to move us forward. It confuses everything. John, I bet your idea of god, or spiritualism, etc., is not much different than mine, but we must begin to express it in a new way, something that gets us where we want to go. God and religion have failed miserably. Love and peace, Jerome

  4. John, One more thing I left out: The reason we have not yet been able to live in peace and harmony (or more peace and harmony), is not because of our inability to apply our religions positively. It is because we have decided to develop and distribute the world’s resources in the way we do. This is what truly dictates our behavior, not religious dogma or omnipotent deities. We need to do better constructing a socio-economic system that naturally leads us towards peace and harmony. The one we are currently living under is a disaster in this sense. sincerely, Jerome

  5. Jerome,

    Taking the time to share your valuable input is sincerely appreciated.

    Grandma said: “Never talk about religion or politics”. We regularly broach both topics and have remained Friends.

    I concur, our energy and the spirited dialogue set forth in “The Blue” are forms of religion and spiritualism. The word ‘God’ emotes so much drama. Almost like one of those politically incorrect terms, which must be degraded and debased, in order to be mentioned or discussed.

    Threatened and offended by a word! Such nonsense and silliness.

    Critique me. But don’t construct a discourse disputing the scientific evidence proclaiming an ‘Intelligent Creation’ and expect to proceed unscathed.

    I adhere to no dogma or specific system of beliefs, awakening to the realities and causes of my existence, provided me with the incentive to seek another way.

    Education and proper instruction are required, if we ever expect to converse and interact with one another in a meaningful and purposeful manner.

    Self-Realized and Self-Actualized citizens and government employees will share the world’s resources and wealth with their Brothers and Sisters.

    Ignorant individuals, produced in a school system devoid of a “how to live” curriculum, with all their shades of grey, employed by governments and paradigms world-wide, will forever birth discontent, hatred and war.

    The ‘wisdom of the ages’ exists. The wheel does not to be reinvented, to change the world.

    Love and Blessings….

  6. The use of the word “we” as a collective humanity, having collective desires and goals, is problematic. In my black and white, un-nuanced way of looking at our universe, there are two different types of humans in the world… One who at the end of the day, month, year, life, has created and invested in more Go[o]d than [D]evil. The second performs the opposite.

    By the time one has reached adulthood, there should be no excuse for not knowing the difference between what is good and what is evil.

    It is important to understand that there are individuals, entities and groups who actively seek to perform evil. It is the job of those who actively seek to do good to expose and stop this evil from overtaking the universe. It’s really quite simple.

    • sister agreed….2 types of people as simple as there are they who wish to be ‘independent living in liberty’ tempered with common sense and there are they on the opposite who wish to ‘control and regulate’ them with nonsense.
      individualism vs collectivism.
      we see this stark contrast everyday in every way.

  7. Sister,

    Blessings to you. Excellent comment. As always, I thank you for the astute awareness that you bring to the discussion. Your ideas are brilliantly put forth.

    They, We or Others deciding upon what I Am and how I must think and live my life in order to be ‘approved of and accepted’, into whatever the indoctrination of the day may be, was never appealing nor adhered to.

    I made my decisions based upon the knowledge and intuitive awareness accrued over many lifetimes. Perhaps my evolution as a human being is painfully slow, however, it’s mine.

    I reached adulthood ignorant and unaware of the spiritual potential and nature of our species. I concur, punitive consequences are necessary to protect society from the rogue elements within. As you say, evil flourishes when good people do nothing.

    For myself, along with many children and young adults I’ve instructed, no matter how evil their conduct and violent their crimes; Meditation immediately corrected and tamed the wild impulses that drove these kids to commit evil acts. Mind you, it did not eradicate the mindset behind their actions; it did create a gap whereby learning and the acquisitions of positive skills could alter their understandings and perceptions of life.

    I’ve seen them in Maximum Security settings under my supervision, and upon their release I randomly came upon some of them sitting at a bus stop on their way to be interviewed for a job. In fact, I stopped and transported them to their destination. It was at a truck terminal, loading and unloading vehicles. They had made some dramatic changes in their lives. They were moving on and forward..

    In public school with ‘disabled & troubled’ students the beneficial result was the same.

    It’s not rocket science, curriculum’s exist that uplift consciousness and achievement; with an accompanying by-product of positive thinking and action.

    Sister, great insight and wisdom, thank you…

  8. John, First off, thanks for your always civilized discourse. Unlike your granny and just about everyone else, somewhere along the line I believe we have to talk about these things, and all other things that antagonize human existence … race, religion, others. People like you make this possible and I appreciate that.
    Now, as for some specifics: 1) I am not threatened or offended by the word god. All I am doing is explaining why I believe it is holding us back, that it is not the solution. 2) being that you brought it up, where is the scientific evidence showing an “intelligent” creation. Creation? yes, but who? how? what? … Go ahead, tell me. 3) As for education, yes, I agree, it does a poor job of creating people with the right attitude on life. But I disagree when you say there is no “how to live” curriculum. Our “education” is nothing but a how to live curriculum, one teaching us to adhere to and glorify the competitive adolescence of the consumer society. No religious doctrine will trump that, in fact, our religions have been absorbed into this behavior. If we are going to continue to live in this kind of socio-economic system, you can talk god and religion all you want … it won’t change things. very sincerely John, Jerome

  9. Jerome,

    Would not an enlightened society and world, stimulate the ‘change’ and growth all human beings authentically desire? The change they seek via money, power, ego enhancement and worldly conquests hasn’t been working out very good.

    Trailblazers and pathfinders seeking a manner to relate to the Author of this Intelligent Creation, not satisfied to amble along incomplete, unknowing and bound to the delusive spell of their bodies and material world, developed a map of directions for those desiring to know and meet the Author of it All.

    This is the “How to live Curriculum” absent from our government schools.

    You appear to be pushing the answer away, as it’s not the one you want.

    Meditation classes, techniques and teachings have catapulted the consciousness of ‘hardened minds’ not wanting to evolve, to a more harmonious and peaceful setting. It’s the action that counts. It bears the real by-products that we seek. Thus, the demise of the ‘consumer society’, as it loses its power and draw; for it can no longer deliver the pseudo relief once promised.

    We must talk Spirituality, Self-Realization and Self-Actualization; and maybe even utter the word GOD; if this self-inflicted hell is to be dissolved.

    Got to run. Love you Jerome. Questions from a Man of Honor & Integrity such as yourself, will always be prioritized and answered.

    Thank you, Sir.

  10. John, Good stuff. I think, at the very least, we have admirably defined the fault line in our respectful, intelligent disagreements here (I’m not even sure they are disagreements, perhaps it is just nuances in our world view). The spiritual self realization you speak about will find itself almost helpless against the consumer society’s sound machine. There can be anecdotal success, like yours, but the generalized self realization you speak about can only happen once this form of socio-economic practice is toppled. You seem to think the self realization will topple it. I think it can only happen after it is toppled by practical, socio-political action. Good stuff John, Jerome

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