Diwali: Return of the Light

Sikhs and Hindus and Jaians all celebrate Diwali this weekend at the new moon. Darkness has ended, light is returning. We light candles to carry our hopes.

This has been a dark time politically, a time when our institutions are doing nothing to help us with fear of a virus, but are isolating us from one another, unnecessarily IMO, at great cost to our culture and our resilience.

A time of great darkness is coming to an end, and we are fortunate to have an opportunity to create a more beautiful world, a world of diversity where individuals flourish, a world of harmony among humans and other living forms. In Hindu tradition, this is the close of the Kali yuga which has lasted thousands of years, and the dawn of a new Satya yuga, the time of truth, a golden age of humanity that will last 1.7 million years.

Beyond Wine and Wafers

Brian Muraresku spent a decade researching and writing a book about the mystical roots of Christianity, and the pharmacological basis of mystical experience. His thesis (at risk of spoiling the book for you) is that

  • The Greek Eleutherian mysteries were a drug-induced foretaste of the ecstatic experience of death, as described today by many who have had near-death experiences.
  • Early Christians democratized the mysteries by bringing the ceremony to every Christian. This was the original eucharist, before the wine and wafer were de-fanged.
  • In a reading of the original Greek of the New Testamament, Jesus was clearly identified with Dionysus, not just the god of wine, but the wine itself.
  • Ancient drawings on Greek pottery and chemical analysis of ancient pottery shards show that this was no ordinary wine, but was spiked with psychoactive herbs and fungi.
  • Women were the bearers of this tradition and probably were the first priests of Christ’s church.

Listen to Joe Rogan interview Brian Muraresku

Incantation

Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun,
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.

— Czeslaw Milosz

Letter to a Discouraged Activist

Dear —-

Of course you’re committed to doing all that you can to preserve democracy. Of course I’m your ally in that quest. But if the quest becomes a struggle or a battle or an all-consuming war, we’ve lost perspective. 

We’re not desperate. This is a voluntary adventure. We’re doing what we’re doing because it is the most meaningful work we know. We have chosen this challenge among many others we might have taken on. This is the most dramatic and important turning point in human history, at least for the last 12,800 years, which I take to be the time of Noah’s flood. We are the Noahs of our era. When we embodied in these forms, at this time, we wanted these lessons for our souls’ journey, and we chose the drama of being alive during a decades-long crisis. One way or another, humanity’s war on the biosphere is going to end. One way or another, the billionaire overlords are going to lose their grip. One way or another, the destinies of a few billion humans and a few million cetaceans and a few trillion trillion insects will be reconciled. 

There’s so much we don’t know. There are greater forces than we can imagine: banking families with trillion dollar arsenals? would-be masters of humanity who have planned a dystopian matrix in the name of saving the planet from global warming? international pedophile rings with the power to blackmail every politician in Washington? mind control technologies that turn humans to puppets? underground breakaway civilizations where people have been living our future for decades? (what do you think became of the $21 trillion that Mark Skidmore discovered missing from the Pentagon’s books?) shamans and yoga masters who shape humanity’s future with their thoughts? extraterrestrial intervention? imponderable destiny? And these are only the known unknowns…

The hormones of fear that course through our arteries are the product of evolution’s need to keep us safe in a life-threatening minute. The stories that are shouted in our ears all day are designed to keep those hormones flowing 24/7, to keep us paralyzed with fear and unable to think, unable to trust one another or to unite in concerted action.

My wish for you is peace that comes from the humility whose name is realism. We do what we can, and we have faith that our efforts will be amplified by unseen forces for good.

Mitteldorf’s Law: The disaster that bites you is never the one you’re worried about. 

May you continue to act powerfully with peace in your heart.

Love,   
Josh

Better than ‘live and let live’

Better than ‘Live and let live’ is a humility that allows us to be open to the possibility we might learn from others who think very differently than we think.

We think the world will be saved if only we could generate larger quantities of goodwill and tolerance. What will save the world is clear thinking. Of what use is it to be tolerant of others if you are convinced that you are right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong? That isn’t tolerance, but condescension. That leads not to union of paths but to division, because you are one-up and the other is one-down. True tolerance only arises from awareness of the abysmal ignorance of everyone, as far as truth is concerned, for truth is essentially mystery. Our beliefs may point to it, but cannot put it into words. In spite of this, people talk glowingly about dialogue, which at worst is a camouflaged attempt to convince others of the rightness of your position, and at best will prevent you from becoming a frog in the well who believes that his well is the only well there is. — Anthony de Mello

Anahata = अनाहत

aside from faith,
as far as you know,
you will never have another heart.
better to grow the one you were born with.
fill it with blood & love. risk.
let the strange world sneak inside.
accept all of life in your chest.
death is the end of percussion.
breathe deeply, the music
will function. listen close.
freedom thaws in your ribcage.
dance with vehemence
to feel its fast-pumping.
tempt two lips to greet your throat
& take note: your racing pulse
will laugh & kiss back. god is strong
in the clock of your desire.
every tick, my friend, divine
confirmation: you are alive. beat. yes!
you are alive

— Lenelle Moïse

Art by Linda Aranda https://kripalu.org/presenters-programs/presenters/linda-aranda-belliveau

Anahata is the heart chakra.

Common Dreams

“The universe for those who are awake is single and common, while in sleep each person turns aside into a private universe.” — Heraclitus

And yet, despite this vision of dreams as paradigmatically distant, many of the world’s cultures—especially outside of the modern West—have developed elaborate protocols by which dreams can be shared. 

Here's What These Ancient Cultures Believed About Dreams – Dream Tending

Historically, traditions of great intellectual subtlety have developed to interpret dreams, and to consider what interpreting a dream actually means.

 In many Australian cultures, dreams provide an essential point of connection. Conception occurs when a soul crosses over from one realm to the other in dreams; death doesn’t truly occur until a person is sighted one last time in a dream; dreams produce insights about where to hunt, or they answer a question about lineage; sometimes they give birth to new songs and new rituals; they often provide a stage on which dreamers can glimpse the eternal and world-creating movements of their individual ancestors, whose inner essence their own bodies contain. 

[Among Canadian Inuits,] Animals had to be taken (or give themselves up) in dreams before they could be killed in waking life; indeed, the real hunt took place in dreams, and the waking hunt was only its fulfillment or realization. 

Read more from Matthew Spellberg

These are the times that try men’s souls

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them…

’Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world…. 

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to despotism, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to assert democratic control by every decent method which wisdom could invent. 

— Thomas Paine, 1776

The Daily Wrap Up

We’ve come to meet these times

Some say we chose our circumstance on earth
Between lifetimes, when clairvoyance was ours.
(But do our ghosts indeed command such powers,
Only to lose them in the throes of birth?)

Or else we’re here to expiate our karma,
Because in past lives we despised the masses.
(But have so many monarchs been such asses,
Oblivious both to empathy and Dharma?)

No matter by what path we here arrive,
We cannot doubt we’ve come to meet these times.
We must not be distracted by contrition
For failures of the past or distant crimes.
We apprehend the world, and sense our mission;
It’s in our calling that we come alive.

— JJM