My Personal Gnosis
There are some basic concepts which I build my work from which deserve attention so readers have an understanding of where I am coming from. These concepts have evolved over time and stem from both personal experiences and observations of the world around me. In order to better understand my experiences and observations, I look for similarities within the writings of others and knowledge from many disciplines including philosophy, theology, science, and literature. In the end I am presenting my personal gnosis of the mysteries of life. They are reflective of my introspective thoughts and practices as I grow and change as a human being. I make no claims to antiquity or ancient practices in my writing, though I will occasionally hypothesis on such topics. My words are witness to the ways which I give meaning to events in my life, the natural living-world around me, and the greater mystery of creation.
I wrote these brief statement of principle to bring clarity to basic core beliefs. They have undergone som revision under different titles and will continue to change. They are not absolutes. I offer them here for those who may find inspiration in the words.
Life is not dictated by ism's, practices, doctrines or dogmas. Life is expansive, inclusive evolutionary creativity, and therefore sacred.
Spirit and mater are the same. The flesh of our body is that of the land. Life on Earth shares one breath which is the atmosphere. The universe, which we are a part, is life experiencing itself.
The land is the source of our being. Our molecules and DNA consist of where we are, have been, and will be. There is no separation between those who exist within, above, and upon the land.
Person is the inherent worth and dignity that is not unique to humans and essential to who we are collectively in relationship with ourselves and the land.
There is one soul shared by every incarnation of life that is, has been, will be, and imagined. We are not isolated and fighting for servival. We are a collective entity of many parts with a creative responsibility toward life.
Traditions are extensions of our relationship with the one-soul, life, and the land. It is unethical to steal relationships from the people, time, and place of which they belong. We must forge a unique and respectful relationship with the land as sacred life-place.
Where we stand and breathe, is where we live, and the frequency in which we co-create within the universe. Without it we are listening for our own echoes in a void.
Religious humanism finds value in the communal subjective experiences of human community through the structure of religion to meet particular human needs without the need for centralized doctrine or dogma. By distinguishing between doctrines and dogmas as utilities employed by religions but not religion itself, Religious humanism focuses on the social mechanism of religion and emphasizes human experiences, value and expression without need of the supernatural. I find religious humanism offers a framework of religion which is relevent to both time and place.
Trans-personal and Spiritual
The term spiritual has become overused and means many things to many people. The rise of the "spiritual and not religious" sentiment implies there is something inherently wrong with religion, but spirituality is somehow separate from it. I do not fully accept this assumption. What most people who make this claim are doing is applying religious humanism on a personal level and not a communal one. In many cases spirituality has become a catch term for a commercialized egotism found in the New Age and other "spiritual movements." The tendency of the spiritual in western culture has become an act of navel gazing, a type of religious narcissism which at its worse creates blind spots in people's perspectives and isolates them from humanity's diversity. Trans-personal is a term exploring the psychology of experiences outside the filter of the ego. The basic definition for Spiritual being concerned about the spirit, and the original meaning of spirit comes from latin and Proto-Indo-European meaning for breath and breathing. By thinking of spirit as breath and the act of breathing, being spiritual is being aware of the breath. Our breathing contributes to the atmosphere, which is the air we breath and a vital part of the ecosystem. Thinking of breathing as a sacred act of creation helps to transcend the filters of our human experiences and learn to connect with the natural living-world in new ways.
Western society has long been intrenched in ideas of duality. The more obvious examples are in the religious language of good and evil, heaven and heal, saints and sinners, and dividing spirit, mind and body. It is often assumed duality is integral to human nature. However, that perspective comes from dualist assumptions. Eastern traditions like Taoism and Advaita Vedanta are more noticeable expressions of non duality. Speaking of non-duality within a western concept is frustrating and limiting. The best description I've found is though things seem distinct they are not separate. I have devoted myself to embracing non-duality in my life. It is not an easy task while living in a society which insist on me making divisions in things which I do not accept as being separate. Some common examples are making no division between spirit and mater, life and death, body and mind, good and evil, and ideas about "otherworlds".There are few examples within western society which are non duel. However, I feel that Unitarian Universalism and the Liberal Quaker traditions are examples of non duality traditions within western society. Yet members of those groups do not always subscribe to non-duality or are aware of the non-duality inherent within their traditions. I wish to explore non duality in western society more fully through my life.
The practical application of these ideas and concepts is best seen with improvisational ceremony. Over the years I have developed method of ceremony which takes the loose framework of religious humanism and applies it to ceremony as a form of trans-personal communication with the ecological community and the other persons we share it with. Becouse they are of a deep and moving nature I tend not to write about the events as much as what I have learned from them. I have been leading improvisational ceremony for a small group of UU pagans and naturalists for a few years now with mixed results. The basic idea is to create ceremony guided by the instinct and insperation of those participating. It places little emphisis on pre-designed structures borowed from other sources. It is in contrast to the cerimonialism found within much of neopaganism and focuses more on the meaning of the event then the execution of rituals. At its best, it is a way to open oneself beyound our human experiances and connect to the natural living-world in new ways. It may take the form of spontanious dancing, poetry, or singing. It requires one to search their heart for that moment and place where they no-longer distinguish themselves as being another. It is difficult for people accustomed to structured cerimony to understand and become comfortable with. It is scary to find that moment and place where you sense of idenity is fused with the living world and the meaning of life. The trans-personal experiance it evokes is not like the personal relationship some seek with deities, the divine, god, or eachother. It is not easy to maintain, and some basic structure is required to cultivate the right atmesphere but those structures are focused on acheiving the trans-personal. It is in improvisational ceremony, which can come at any time or place along with being planed for, that brings together all the threads of the topics I write about.
The main topics of Postpaganism.com™ diserve seperate pages devoted to them and are as follows: