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Thursday, March 27, 2014

EVERYDAY LIFE AS SPIRITUAL PATH

michael heizer

My friend Carole and I were talking on the phone this morning, as we do every morning, and, as usual, we talked freely in a free-flowing way, whatever comes up. We have nothing to hide from one another, no hesitations about trust, and where our belief systems are concerned, she is the only one I know with mine, and I'm the only one she knows with hers. I believe I can say I know her higher self and she knows mine. I use higher self because it is even hard to find in oneself, let alone somebody else. Our spiritual interior lives are both educated from the East, India in particular. Yet India is only the present location of ancient wisdom that goes all the way back to Neolithic times. I point out that our higher selves look to the East, noting there is nothing in the West to look to for anything having to do with one's interior life, like wisdom. I once told a zealous fundamentalist baptist that I looked to the wisdom of the East, even had a guru. It was all over the place next day that I'm a devil worshipper. That's no big deal. Anybody who knows me, knows it's not so, and people that don't know me, I don't care. Just another anonymous name to gloat in self-righteousness over. I knew that would be next, and said it just to see. He was not somebody I have ever spoken to with anything near the word trust, a preacher's husband, and my respect for this guy is an empty bag. I do things like that to amuse myself when a moment arises. When my buddy Justin was in high school running with a rowdy bunch, more like a crowd, he told everybody to stay away from that old man at Air Bellows, "He'll shoot your ass! He don't care!" Justin didn't tell me what he'd done until a decade later. His dad and I were friends, and Justin had been my friend since he was his baby's age. He said he told them this to keep them from doing shit to me. He said, "I knew the shit they got into, I wanted to keep them away from you." I thanked him, sincerely. I knew the kind of shit they got into, too, though not from the inside like he did.
 
michael heizer
 
Carole and I agree daily that we like not having much future in this world. We tend away from the news and more toward the spiritual, meaning the spirit in everyday life, living in relation to the spirit, the flow of the spirit. Neither of us meditates or goes to workshops or anything to do with "spirituality" and certainly have no involvement with religion. She watches no tv and listens to NPR radio seldom, same as I do. She reads historical novels, mostly, from the library. Every couple weeks she takes home a stack of books. And she reads books having to do with Meher Baba, as do I. My reading is all over the place. I've been interested in contemporary fiction and art films from mainland China over the last decade or more, and the history of China. I like reading American, French and Chinese poetry, as well as American and world fiction. Poetry is the only source I've found in the West that concerns one's interior life, the life we really live. That started changing with the New Age period of the 1980s. I worked in bookstores from 1965 to 1975. Very little spiritual kinds of books were available. What was available was largely out of print and hard to find. Since 1975, spirituality has become a whole new genre of American writing. Some of it is nonsensical and some of it has very practical relevance. It's good to have the whole spectrum to pick from. At the time I fell in with Meher Baba, I was most interested in American poetry, the Twentieth Century, and for the first time realized poetry had been my source for spirituality through the time of the life I rejected all that. Brought up in the belief system of Kansas fundamentalism, which makes Southern fundamentalism look logical, I see the bozo Westboro preacher that died recently from Topeka is a good example of the fundamentalism I came up in. I left that mind like an arrow pulled all the way back as far as it can go and let go. I feel like my life in that time amounted to an arrow being held at full tension until the string almost broke with frustration, anger, confusion, depression, suppression. The arrow took off like a rocket and sent me as far away from that mind inside myself as the full strength of the bow could push it, full speed.  
 
michael heizer
 
The problem I had that I did not know I had in that time of brow-beating religion was not understanding yet that God and religion are about as equal as a flame and a rock. I was rejecting false religion believing it the nature of God. It was fifteen years of peeling away the onion layers of bullshit I'd been fed in the name of God. Getting down to the core of that kind of thinking, it comes from ego, not God. I had to wash my mind of about everything I'd been taught by way of religion, threw the baby out with the bath water. It all had to go. I needed to get myself down to neutral. About the time I had convinced myself to my own satisfaction "God is dead," I learned it is not God that's dead, but religion. Meher Baba taught me that in a very short time, a couple days. God is alive and well and very much active in our everyday lives. That's where God lives, in our everyday lives. Our everyday lives is what all the gospels are about, not wearing a tie to church. God takes a human voice and explains the real thing is in our hearts, our attitudes toward life, extending ourselves to the benefit of others. Not because it's God's commandment. It's simply sound counsel. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is as much a natural law as gravity. What we put out into the world comes back. Donkeys are the first example to come to mind. They return what they get right now, like cats and children. It is automatic behavior in all living beings to return what we receive immediately. You might say it's the nature of life. I feel like Jesus was saying, use this principle to make your life better, use it for a path to inner peace. Be conscious of words and behavior, mindful. Like Melvin told a friend who is on his way to prison, First one that disrespects you in any way, knock him on his ass. That tells everybody you'll fight and they'll leave you alone. In other words, you give back what you receive right now. It works the other way too. Regard others with inner peace, no hidden agendas, respect, and everything that comes back is of the same nature. If you want to be respected, respect the people around you in every interaction. Soon you'll live in a world full of respect and wonder what happened that changed everybody.
 
michael heizer
  
 I'm thinking about  friend I've not seen in a lot of years. She'd been hanging with an odd bunch of people that kept her on the verge of bonkers all the time. Something changed in her. She came to some new understandings of her relationship to the world around her. Friends started dropping away, so fast and so many she became a little bit hysterical. She was telling me about this on the phone, and I felt I had insight into what was happening, because I'd noticed in myself that when I change within, the people around me change, some fall away and new ones come in. I suggested she wait and see what happens. I said those old friends have to go with your old way of thinking; they're interwoven. With patience, you'll see new people coming in and new circumstances. It was the biggest change of her life. Right away, circumstances started changing for her and more reliable people came into her life. At the time, I wasn't sure that what worked for me would work for her too, but it was all I had to offer. I find in myself, I have cycles too. From one cycle to the next, a rather remarkable change occurs in that some people fall away and others come in. My cycles tend to seven years. In one cycle, I did the radio show at the local AM station of mountain music for seven years. In that time, about all my life had to do with the music in the area. Next cycle I started making videos at regional music venues for YouTube and writing articles about the music of the region for an old-time music magazine. Had the inspiration for the next one today. It won't be until October, giving plenty of time to consider how I want to approach it. I want to write about the Hillbilly Show, an annual event in Sparta for the last 20 years, this the 20th. Theme this year will be music of the county.  I will be the one making video of the whole show to put on dvd for sale to the people that want them. The one we've used in the past to make video of the show puts the equivalent of a cell phone on a tripod and lets it run. I will be doing some hand-held and tripod some, move around, different angles, lively images. Use the zoom. This cycle has about two more years. I went into this cycle curious to see if I'd make it through it. Made it this far.  
 
michael heizer
 
 
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6 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post TJ! I resonated with what you said about connecting with people's higher selves and that God is in the ordinary. I needed this reminder today - thank you!

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    1. Thanks Christine, connecting with other people's higher selves is very important. It frustrates me when I find somebody unaware of "higher self." I can't connect with them. Half a dozen years ago I was down and out, grateful I owned my house or the bank would have taken it. One day an envelope in the mail with 4 twenty dollar bills in it. No reference to who it came from. That's just the first example that comes to mind as it's so literal. This is how God works (in my way of seeing), somebody you never expect says something that says, Something's going on and I don't know what it is. Moments when I see consciousness behind something that is speaking directly to me, those are moments I feel like God is saying, Hi.

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  2. Interesting about your cycles being in 7 year stretches...I have always know that...Grew up with "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Good advice..I like what you said about God and religion be about as alike as a rock and a flame...Since I have always associated God with religion I rejected both...I am not a religious person at all...do not belong to any of the organized western religions...dropped that part of my life when I rejected Catholicism and the mish mash of churches I attended growing up but do have more of an alignment with the eastern teachings.. though I feel I am still searching for my higher self..Thanks for some more food for thought...

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    1. Thanks Darlene, you reminded me that through my college years it turned out all my friends were people who had rejected Catholicism as I had the Baptist branch, and people who had rejected their Jewish religion. We were automatically drawn to each other in the process of educating ourselves away from religion. I've found among people drawn to Meher Baba a host of ex-Jews, ex-Catholics, ex-Baptists. Many of the people I've known along the way have rejected the religion they grew up in as simply not credible. In Europe church attendance is down to ten percent. It is headed that way here, too. This is how the world changes. We come up believing we're the only ones who are not satisfied with fake God. Christians are trying to make atheists into the enemy now. I found my Christian-inspired period of atheism a very important place in my own path to God is love.

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  3. My father used to tell me that the Bible is myths to be demythologized--I believe he meant them to be both universal truths relevant to human existence as well as the history as written by the vanquishers. I found no solace in this whatsoever except the realization that I couldn't count on humans to be straightforward or forthright. My dad, the sociologist/anthropologist/philosopher/University of Chicago trained theologian, who wrote his dissertation on the theology of Jimmy Baldwin but never defended it, tried hard to get me to see the value of spirituality as a sort of tonic I think. I recall long breakfast talks about Whitehead, Hanna Arendt, Tillich and others of what I now know today to be liberal theology. He tried to change the Episcopal church from the inside out and lost--they wouldn't perform his funeral. Nope, I've seen the worst side of institutions. Perhaps this is why I'm an institutional reformer, not to mention areligious. Hell, I even found the Unitarians to be Methodists on steroids. Your advice about respect "If you want to be respected, respect the people around you in every interaction. Soon you'll live in a world full of respect and wonder what happened that changed everybody." Is what it's all about to me (I'd like to quote you in my Cultural Intuitiveness blog if it's ok with you). I'm looking forward to your next cycle as I'm sure you are, too. I'd like to get on with my next cycle, too--I'm rather weary of this one, I think. Thanks for coffee...I expect it's almost as good as a daily phone call. She's lucky.

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    1. Carol, I say hooray for your dad that the church would not do his funeral. I'm sure you've seen the facebook meme that says: Live your life so your funeral will be picketed by Westboro Baptist Church. He got rejected by Episcopal Church. LOL. We have a new episcopal church here with a preacher who was kicked out of his last church in Florida. Brilliant man who has the spirit too. Saw yesterday a little girl was put out of a Christian school because she looked too much like a boy. I love what you said about Unitarians. That was my first stop in escape from fundamentalism. Why go to an academic lecture on Sunday morning? How about Thursday evening or Tuesday afternoon. Why Sunday? In my experience Sunday was when the crazy came out. Daddy in a mood from hell all day and mommy gloating all day because she forced him go to church again. What does a kid do? Watch television. Everybody leaves you alone when you're watching tv. Television is the only sacred in America, television being entirely about money. Reading about your dad, I was thinking you had a blessed childhood with an educated daddy. How I would have loved talking about Hannah Arendt with daddy. Or anything. Then I see, that's not it either. I accept my own fate having to learn by trial and error that religion is not it. --- Go ahead and quote me all you like. By the way, I really appreciate these conversations with you.

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