Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spirit Is Manifest

The tree on the right died at the same time as Chamo.
“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
Albert Einstein

When I traveled in Asia, I often saw homemade shrines with offerings to Spirit. These shrines held a place of sacred importance and took up but little space in a home or place of business. Often they sat in a corner somewhere. A figurine representing Buddha or Krishna, or another saint sat on a pedestal, and all around were placed offerings . . . candles, incense, food, money—even cigarettes. These offerings were given to please Spirit, and in so doing, the giver hoped to get a blessing in return. This might be health or healing, or prosperity, or any of many other forms of blessing.

I am aware that the spiritual world is powerful and invisible, and that it affects every element of our physical existence. Spiritual signs can be read from physical phenomenon.
Chamo, at about three months.

Recently, this was made apparent to me again when we lost our puppy, Chamo, to an illness. He had come to us with a hidden birth defect that caused him to become ill. He was operated on and recovered, but then became ill again, and we had to put him to rest. Two weeks before, I noticed one of the trees outside my art gallery was dying. It had stood in a vase outside the entrance—opposite another tree on the other side. When Chamo died, the tree died also.

I had seen this sign from Spirit, heralding death, on another occasion. When my daughter Naomi was eighteen, she was fighting cancer. As a child, she had brought home two pine tree sprigs, and planted them on our property. They sprang up and grew until I decided that they would be better at the top of our driveway, framing the entrance, so I moved them. They continued growing, and I often thought that they symbolized Naomi and I. At one point, midway through Naomi’s struggle, during a drought, one of the trees began withering, despite my watering it. At one point, Naomi arrived home from California where she was living and being treated, and the tree had died. She was upset and scolded me for moving it from its original spot. Naomi died soon afterward. I planted a new tree, which has flourished . . . as I am convinced that she is flourishing in the spirit world.
See my previous post: Endlessly Changing

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Endlessly Changing

“Physical bodies are transferred past one barrier after another, from one life to another, and all things are subject to transformation and change, save only the essence of existence itself -- since it is constant and immutable, and upon it is founded the life of every species and kind, of every contingent reality throughout the whole of creation.” - Abdu'l-Baha

This quote is so beautiful and profound. I found it because a few days ago my dog had to be euthanized in front of my wife Lori and I. He was not even one year old, but had come to us with weaknesses that led to his demise. In the brief time he was with us, he had made our hearts more open and full. Now, we were faced with ordering his death—and in that we were also dying a little.

During this sadness, I felt again the feelings I experienced losing my beloved daughter, Naomi, who died from cancer at the tender age of nineteen. I have always known Naomi went from one life into the next, and she is in an exalted realm now. But what about our dog, Chamo?

The way I have been living is so simple, that I do not even own a shovel, or piece of earth. Lori has a house 45 minutes from Santa Fe, but when we put down Chamo at 6 AM, August 16, I could not go back there immediately, so we had him cremated. And that is all that is left. Our memories of him fill us with emotion . . . but nothing else remains. In this world, only humans have rational souls that can communicate through all eternity, from every dimension.

As for the physical elements that were held together by divine love and made the creature that we called Chamo—they have returned to dust, to be scattered and rise again in many forms, endlessly changing in the play of cosmic unfolding.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Turning Point

"Claustrophobia and Insanity"

When I was in my late teens I was surprised to find violent darkness within myself. I will always remember that the surprise came when I suddenly had a violent thought, and the thought was directed at someone I was intimately close with. This experience came at me like a thunderbolt from the underworld and it shook me to the core. Life was not the safe place I relied on, especially now that my peaceful inner world had been violated. 

From that time on, I became guarded about the world, and worst, guarded against the vast mysterious places that existed inside myself and were the “invisible” realm of the universe. When I had unsettling thoughts typical for teenagers, I was shaken, and the divide against myself widened. Essentially, I could not accept psychological violence anywhere in the world or universe, and loathed it.

As I was so embroiled, I continued to be an avid reader, and read heavyweight books, especially classics like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, and Crime and Punishment, and various books on psychology. I began reading a book in my mother’s vast arsenal of literature, called Our Inner Conflicts, by the esteemed German psychoanalyst, Karen Horney. This book had a profound impact on my thinking, and I realized that I must not set up ideal pictures of life to enforce, but rather accept all of it, including the darker, less ideal parts. I must discover myself, rather than idealize. To do otherwise would only lead to neuroticism. 

I began practicing allowing all my thoughts and feelings to flow uninhibited through my being. Immediately, I sensed freedom and even joy, but also great fright because of the power of the demons that lurked within. 

About this time, I had also become religious, having joined the Baha’i Faith. I reached a crucial turning point of continuing on a path of freedom, joy, and suffering, or turning to embrace only the light and reject the dark. I succumbed to my fear and went on a path of war—the war of light against dark. Essentially, I fell back into the war of opposites. This led to even deeper suffering.

Over the course of many years, my perceptions have shifted countless times. I perceive this physical existence as illusion and I am unafraid of death or the darkness it represents. Life is THE DREAM, and I am actively watching and participating, but know that I cannot be harmed by experience.