On Packing Light for the Eternal Journey
I'm afraid it's the same with my symbolic oquations, perhaps with the exception of O, since it can camouflage itself as a letter. But throw in stuff like (•), →, (¶), or •••(¶)•••, and people start to recoil. There, see. Wait! Come back!
But for me, these symbols were a kind of lifesaver -- or mind saver -- because they allowed me to see through to the unity beneath all of the various revelations I had immersed myself in at the time -- not just across revelations, but within them. Really, it's like musical notation. Imagine how musically limited we would be in the absence of an abstract system to describe it.
The other day I was reading about an album Sinatra made with the Duke Ellington band in the 1960s. Sinatra always worked with the very best studio guys, who both had jazz chops and could also sight read as easily as you're reading this post. But as great as they were, no one in the Ellington band could sight read. Ellington wrote hundreds of compositions, and the band learned each one by simply playing it. In a way, it makes each composition a unique entity that cannot be seen as anything more simple or abstract than itself.
This is largely the position mankind at large was in prior to the scientific revolution. No one knew, for example, that the same force that caused the apple to fall from the tree, also caused the earth to fall through the curved space around the sun -- or, in Newtonian terms, that there was an underlying g-force that accounted for such diverse phenomena.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered the similarities between certain yogic approaches and Orthodox Christianity. Faced with such a similarity, one has several options. One could say that one is a debased or partial form of the other; or that one is a premonition of the other; or like Schuon, that each is true in its own right and in its own human world; or that they are symbolic or mythological expressions of perennial truth.
In my case, I suppose you could say that I attempted to develop a "general theory of spirituality" that would apply to all particular spiritual experiences, so that modern people who otherwise cannot appreciate religion could begin to access its priceless wisdom. And I am particularly interested in reaching the many westerners who are attracted to Buddhism or yoga, because only a revitalization of Christianity will save the West -- and therefore the world. We need you on our side. There is nothing in eastern religions that cannot be found in Christianity, but much in Christianity that is responsible for our uniquely valuable civilization.
Please bear in mind that the experience always takes precedence, and that the symbols are merely a means of "storage and communication," so to speak. Instead of musical notation, it's spiritual notation. But in neither case does it exist for its own sake. Rather, the purpose of music is to be played, heard, and understood. And the purpose of spiritual experience is to discover your true self, and therefore, God (and/or vice versa).
Sherrard writes that "to know oneself may be said to be a condition of knowing God.... In other words, if one cannot know God without knowing oneself, one also cannot know oneself without knowing God. To be ignorant of oneself is thus to be ignorant of the divine source of one's being. If to be ignorant of oneself is to fail to achieve an authentic human life, then by the same token to be ignorant of God is to fail to achieve an authentic human life."
So, each is a prerequisite for the other, which is why I say that (¶) is a kind of "prolongation" of O, whereas (•) is a reflection of Ø. Thus, you can see that I simply abstract the essence of what a Sherrard is conveying. Then it's up to you to refill the abstraction with your own experience. The purpose of life is to reflect and embody eternity within time, or let us say O through (¶).
For a real life example of what happens when someone fails to know themselves -- and therefore God -- see Scipio's two recent posts on the eternally clueless Maureen Dowd.
On one of Scipio's pieces, I left a comment about having viewed the Ingmar Bergman film Wild Strawberries yesterday evening. If you haven't seen the film, it's about an elderly professor who is about to receive some kind of honor. During the course of the journey to where he is to receive the award, he reflects upon his life.
I haven't gotten to the end of the film yet, but one can sense that it is all about a kind of nightmarish realization that he died long ago, and that he is solely identified with (•). The painful realization that he has missed out on his own life comes to him in the form of disturbing dreams and images. At one point, his daughter in law says to him, You know so much. And yet you know nothing.
This is the fate of all (k). It really has no living relationship to O, but is merely a kind of cloak with which intellectuals cover themselves in order to produce a kind of self-generated warmth and security. But upon your death -- or birth, it's up to you -- this (k) dissolves like a dirt clod in the water. It just decomposes and returns to the earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
There is a living source and a living knowledge (n), and only this is free from the grip of Death. It is what you take with you when you grow. The rest of your intellectual baggage is eternally lost in the errport.
@ American Thinker, another dangerously false self, Obama.