Saturday, August 19, 2006

Honoring the Authorized Deputies of Your Celestial Parent (8.23.08)

Never fail to respect the sages. See the divine in your mother, father, and teacher... --Taittiriya Upanishad

The fifth of the first five “vertical” commandments is “honor your father and your mother.” This is an important point, because the verticality of this commandment means that it is clearly not just referring to our earthly parents. At the very least, the commandment implies a link between the earthly and celestial dimensions, filtered through the family. The trinitarian family of father-mother-child is an intrinsic reflection of God's design, another instance of the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm (“as above, so below”). Also, being the last of the vertical commandments, it is somehow an important link to the next five "horizontal" commandments that allow the wider human community to function properly.

Naturally, a large part of the leftist project is to undermine this commandment and to de-sacralize the family, so that it essentially becomes "just anything." Thus, the vertical family that is ultimately oriented in a hierarchical manner toward the divine is reduced to a wholly horizontal unit in which the members are only oriented toward each other. A family is “any two or more people who love each other.” Not “honor your mother and father,” but “honor your father and father,” or worse yet, honor just earthly love. But earthly love alone cannot sustain a family, which is one of the reasons for the increased incidence of divorce. If you go into a marriage thinking that another person is going to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs, you are bound to be sorely disillusioned.

Some may think that the onus of this commandment lies with children to honor their parents. But I believe this is a misunderstanding of the total context of the commandments. For the burden is actually on the parents--especially the father--to be an earthly reflection of the celestial father. Indeed, this is a father’s only claim to legitimate authority--the extent to which he is a dignified and noble man through whom divine authority radiates “downward.”

Parents do not own children--this was one of the radical innovations of Judaism, in contrast to other ancient peoples who practiced infanticide and other forms of systematic abuse.

In raising a child, you are deputized by the divine to help usher your child from his earthly caretaker--i.e., you--to his celestial benefactor. Even if you are not particularly religious, this is still the aim of your parenting, but it will merely go by another name--for example, instilling good values. Few people outside the Muslim world actually consciously want to raise their children as antisocial, homicidal beasts. And even these Moloch-worshipping parents are under the delusion that they are on a divine mission to raise their children in this perverse way.

Arab parents are now naming their children “Hizb’allah” and “Nasrallah,” a genocidal group and a genocidal fanatic, respectively. These children will surely grow up to honor their father--the father of lies. These parents are spiritually unfit to bring children into the world, because they inflict the worst possible psychic injury to the child: failing to provide them with a parent worthy of honor. Like most any abused child, the child will still do his part--he will honor his parents--which will have the practical effect of making him lower than the beasts, unless the child somehow sees through his warped parents and locates his father “who art in heaven.”

In short, to the extent that our parents are worthy of of honor, it is because the archetypes of our otherworldly Mother and Father are revealed to us through them. Not only do many parents fail at this fundamental task, but they even usurp God’s rightful power, becoming bad gods and “lording it over” their children (as undoubtedly happened to them).

More generally, the pure love we receive “vertically” from our parents is like a seed that is planted deep within our psyche. Children can have no idea how much they were loved until they have children of their own. This is as it should be, because the task for the child is to spread this divine-parental love horizontally, out into the world. If children loved parents as much as parents love their children, it would be very difficult to break out of that closed circle and evolve psycho-culturally.

And just because we have left our earthly parents, it hardly means that we have no further need of parenting. Again, there is something primordially true in the trinitarian arrangement of father-mother-child. In order to continue to grow spiritually as adults, we must in some way "become as children" and establish an ongoing rapport with the divine masculine and feminine. As such, the commandment also implies that we should honor worldly representatives of the divine, for example, the avatars, saints, and spiritual masters who, just like our own parents, have made incredible sacrifices for our benefit, and who extend truly priceless wisdom, guidance, and even salvation. Thanks to them, the vertical hole in creation is always accessible.

There is nothing which is more necessary and more precious in the experience of human childhood than parental love.... nothing more precious, because the parental love experienced in childhood is moral capital for the whole of life.... It is so precious, this experience, that it renders us capable of elevating ourselves to more sublime things--even divine things. It is thanks to the experience of parental love that our soul is capable of raising itself to the love of God. -- Anonymous


Anonymous said...

Bob -

I think too that parental love allows for the *breaking* with one's birth family, in the spiritual sense, of course. Obviously, almost all of those who are raised in conditions which do not allow for a flowering of parental love become psychologically attached, unhealthily bound, really, to their families - and this is a burden they carry around for their entire lives. (I've often thought that if there is a fundamental nexus for "karma", it would be the dysfunctional family) Those who are raised in moreless ideal conditions are much more able to spiritually transcend the gravity of the bloodline. They are much more likely to become spiritually autonomous adults.

There are cases, I think, in which an "orphaned" child can eventually be spurred on to the transcendent path because he or she is desperate for love and understanding, not having been so nourished in the home. A perilous course, probably requiring a spiritually "pre-programmed" soul, but I think it does happen now and then.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bob. I’m glad you made the point that some (earthly) parents are not worthy of being honored. While there are way too many children who show no respect for anything, the notion that ALL adults must be obeyed is very dangerous. A child’s deeply ingrained desire to love and be loved even by bad parents, and the fact that it often carries on long into adulthood, fascinates me. What do you think – nature or nurture?

About religion… pearls before swine, right? Apparently the spiritual leaders of some religions consider us all to be swine. They seem to want to feed us dogma and avoid giving us deeper answers or even begin preparing us to receive the pearls. Many priests and even a few rabbis tell people “that’s just the way it is” instead of helping people acquire true understanding. That may be enough for many people (“I guess Father McDogma told me! I’ll just sit down and shut up now.”) but it’s not nearly enough for some of us, who either become disillusioned with religion altogether, or must set out on a lifelong search of our own for the Truth. In my opinion, this is the point where religion ends and spirituality begins. When I was young I saw the Bible as a collection of history and arbitrary rules because that is how my church taught it. Now decades later after learning about Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism, the Bible is finally beginning to make sense to me and it is quite different, more meaningful and more beautiful than the way Catholics led me to understand it. Judging by what you write, I think my new improved understanding is substantially similar to yours. Ironically I had to remove myself from “religion” to find Truth.

Maybe the difference between religion and spirituality is a matter of semantics. It seems you deride spirituality when leftists use the word; yet you practice it yourself and somehow it’s a good thing when you do it. I’m baffled, Bob.

Gagdad Bob said...

No need to be baffled. It's like saying "you deride martyrdom when Muslims use the word, but embrace it when Christians use it." Exactly.

The word "spirituality" means something quite different to a leftist than it does to a classial liberal.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I truly enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for the (almost) daily dose of writing and the great book reccomendations too.

Keep it up.


Anonymous said...

Doug -

No "almost". It IS a daily dose.

One pure, undiluted, from-the-vertical-to-Bob-to-you stream.

And that's daily.

Lots of matinees, too. (updates) (with pix)

Anonymous said...

The first piece of the reading of Pirkei Avot, Ch. 5, the reading for this Shabbat was "With ten utterances was the world created."

I'm enjoying your commentaries on the 10 Commandments very much.

Your Blog has become a daily part my intellectual-spiritual diet.

Keep up the good work!

Mother Effingby said...

I walked out of my church, Sunday, September 16th, 2001 when the pastor gave a sermon that had to either have been recycled or poorly thought out. No reference was made to the events of 9/11. Not. One. Word. My husband and I went together, and he isn't a churchman. But his spirit was aching and wounded, as was mine, and our pastor gave a progress report on the funds being raised for a waterpark investment in Hungary. Reaching the lost through waterslides and concession booths.
Not many months later, I read where our associate pastor had been arrested by the FBI and charged with embezzling from senior citizens using Ponzi schemes and other ruses to get their trust and their money. But the most agregious violation of the 5th commandment to honor father and mother, was by a man who was a predatory paedophile, and still singing in the choir...he had a beautiful voice. His son died in police custody with a large cache of child pornography on his computer. The boy I knew had changed into a sodomizing monster. What future lies for parents who so warp their children that they make it impossible to be honored?

Mary Lois said...

Bless their hearts, so many parents are trying, or think they are, but unable to fulfill the real requirements of parenting. My parents' generation assumed the role of father and mother came naturally, and did what had been done to them, and I fear I did the same. My daughter grew up strong and brave, and has two wonderful children, but she carries with her the legacy of at least a mother who was lost without a spiritual compass when she most needed it. Traditional religion did little to help.

The discovery of vertical parents at an advanced age has helped her mother, and I hope will help her too someday.

This was a very good post, Bob. I guess you know that.

Anonymous said...

The father and mother I honored, and still do, were my adoptive grandparents.
My mother was adopted as a baby, and though she had 2 wonderful parents, she became strongly narcissistic, and married a like-minded man, my father, who left when I was 5.
There were other stepfathers, but they were worse, as my mother grew worse.
Yet I always found spiritual, physical and mental sanctuary, wisdom, truth, discipline and guidance from my grandparents, to whom I'm forever grateful.
If it wasn't for them, I probably would've ended up like my mother: a dysfunctional wreck.
I have seen alot of pastors and priests
who were not honorable, and not ready for the calling, but I have known some who were.
For a few years I was a hedonist, and a self-professed agnostic.
I wasn't truly agnostic, but it was easy to point to hypocritical Christians and fool myself into thinking I was, using the reason and logic of an immature mind.
But I couldn't forget what my grandparents taught me, or ignore the seeds they planted in my soul.
Because of that, I felt God, even though I didn't want to.
I was finally forced to choose, because not choosing is the same as choosing the horizontal only.
There is no neutral when it comes to the Spirit, or anything good.
I honor my grandparents, and the other guides I have turned to throughout my life.
Without them, I would, in all likelyhood, be lost and dead.

Thanks for another fantastic post, Bob!

Anonymous said...

Before I understood how dysfunctional my family was, I at least knew how unprepared I was to be a parent. And so, I sought out other women who were kind, loving, and forgiving of their children. Others who believed it was okay to nurture and comfort a troubled child without pandering to their fears. I sought out mentoring and "parenting".

Later, in painfully and finally acknowledging the extent of the abnormality of my upbringing, I knew I was right in seeking to lose my so-called "life" in order to gain something more eternal...a quest I was on since childhood.

And yet, I still find I need to honor the imperfect tools in the hand of a perfect Creator. I cannot hate or be bitter... I only have one set of parents and to hate them would be a sort of self-hatred. I find I can embrace the imperfect good in even seemingly monstrous neglect...not whitewashing or surpressing, just a little cosmic judo, if you will. If you believe in the Good, it's all working for good.

Or something.

PSGInfinity said...

Thanks to Bob, the BobbleHeads, and especially ben and Joan.

One of the avatars of truth and beauty in my life said that I reminded her of a dysfunctional [subject of conversation]. I knew she meant it, and suspected she might be right. Your comments helped that seed sprout. I think Mimi was onto something.

Thank you, so, so much...