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Before I write about the Urantia book II part I wanted to talk a little about religion.

I have a bias about religion. It is this:

I find organized religion to be a Machiavellian control scheme, imposed via a collection of mostly bad mythological fiction, which is loosely based on some elements of facts, those which at this point nobody will ever have straight, and which are mostly if not completely irrelevant to an individual’s personal relationship with the divine inside them anyway.

I will add that under the umbrella of organized religion, untold numbers of individuals, both alone and collectively, have given more mercy, charity, faith, devotion, altruism and sacrifice and every other good thing, than any other umbrella mankind has ever had.

I have the utmost respect for anybody who is truly dedicated to what they perceive as bringing the divine of spirit farther into our world. To the degree this reflects anything I can recognize as sun-centered (love) philosophy or practice, I’m all for it, no matter what the details. To me, Christian or Catholic, Buddhist or Hindu, Sikh or Muslim, Mormon or Zen or Cabalist, or “independent mystic” as I would probably be labeled as, it is the personal relationship with God and what it brings to the inside of the human and their outside reality as a result, that I feel matters. Not the label or the detail.

To take something love-centered and then screw it up so profoundly as to leave a planet-wide lasting legacy of knee-jerk bias just like mine, you need the worst-possible collective human form, which of course is “government:” and it is Church’s function as government, both social and otherwise, both external and internal, that my bias is addressed toward.

And sure, it’d be fair to point out that without the control construct, much of the umbrella that individuals have used for good works, would not have existed. I recognize this, but that’s a sorry excuse that does not begin to exempt the rest.

**

I studied theology sincerely as a teen. I have read every major holy book cover to cover, sometimes multiple times. (I did not finish the Koran. Unfortunately by then I had sufficient bias in certain areas to have damaged my objectivity.) I have prayed fervently and often constantly since I was a very small child, I have attended and studied in churches, in temples, and extensively via books for the things not near me.

It’s simply that I haven’t done this for a long time now, and all the things I studied did not, oddly enough, prepare me for an internal spiritual awakening, which was inconsiderate enough to not fit into all or even any of the boxes I had studied thus far.

In cycles, my life has been very focused on “God.” Which by nature of our culture, for most people usually begins in religion. I’m apparently a natural mystic (good brain chemicals maybe!), so even when in churches, my intuitive knowledge and my rather intense feelings set me a little apart. (I have often had to resist the urge to simply lie on the floor face-down with my arms out and spend awhile telling God how utterly amazingly awesome he is. Apparently nobody does this anymore, if they ever did. I’ve seen it in movies a few times. This reminds me of an occultist friend who once told me that when he was a child, he was a Catholic, and he knew something was wrong when he said he realized, “I was the only one who took it seriously!”)  I tried to “pass” and thanks to being very musical, having a good memory, loving sports, the things that churches “do” with youth, that usually worked out.

I officially left ‘organized religion’ when I was a teen, when I discovered that everything I intuitively understood and had even experienced — the consciousness of all things, multiple lives, etc. — was not only not within the parameters of my church, but was actual heresy, literally contradictory. It was a sad day for my pastors when they finally realized that what I believed had nothing to do with books or what people of authority told me, but was completely, firmly, comfortably within me, and really couldn’t be phased at all by anything that anybody said. I later had the thought that perhaps they had literally never before in their lives met a person who was not persuaded in religion by an appeal to The Book or sheer peer pressure. Especially someone young. By the time I left the office — where at the last point, all six of them had gathered for the Intervention of sorts — I felt calm and loving and almost sympathetic for them, but I also felt more sure than ever of what I felt, and they were looking at me like I was an alien they had never seen before.

But that instigated my much more formal and intense study of every ‘other’ religion for awhile. At the end of which I was simply irritated about it all, about why this must be so complicated.

Some years later, as a medical model skeptic, I decided that I was too smart for god. Surely nobody who had half a brain would believe in those invisible things they tell children about. Proud of myself for having divested myself of this cultural baggage of religion–and oblivious to the irony that ‘the divine’ itself has nothing to do with all the cultural baggage which is, by its nature, completely UN-divine–I officially became an Atheist.

It was some time later I realized that for a long time, given that God was in my head of course, I had been regularly apologizing to him for not believing in him. By the time I realized this, the sheer ludicrous level of it hit me fortunately, and I had to accept that this is just the way it is: it’s more like a ‘being’ and ‘knowing’ thing — I don’t “believe” in god as an intellectual decision. Reason did not get me into that, so reason can’t get me out of it. Anybody who thinks it is truly an intellectual decision has definitely missed the real experience inside.  So, I dropped the Atheism shtick, and aside from talking to God in my head — because he’s there, of course — if I formally prayed, even to myself, I would begin it, “To Whom It May Concern.” I was trying to make a point, in a way, to God himself. I guess that’s the thing about growing up with someone in your head, you’re comfortable with the idea of them.

(I might add this is not true in ‘practice’ though. Mere exposure to the Queen and especially Senior makes me have to resist the urge to literally fall to my knees and bow at their feet. I think they might actually help me resist. And that inner angel, the blue eyes of soul as I call him, whom I have just a few times perceived in various ways, well he is just ‘God’, like the actual light of god in singular local form, he’s beyond all words. I find that the better I do at “tuning into” the inner world, the more that “sense of holiness” tends to take me, and I feel it for IG, and for the Sun (archetype), and so on.)

Anyway, eventually, the point made me. That really IS the point! God IS “to whom it may concern” –he IS literally, “the one concerned.” Nobody and nothing else matters. There is no name and book and religion that matters, I realized. If you address yourself to the post office box of “the sense of the divine within you, who loves you desperately,” that’s God’s address. He gets the psychic emails. You can call it your higher self or your holy guardian angel or your thought adjuster or christ or buddha or shiva or whatever turns you on, but if that’s how you focus it, you’re talking to God. Who will probably be more than happy to have the elements of him which are your HGA or TA or Christ or Buddha or Shiva hang out with you if that’s what makes you feel comfortable and a sense of rapport or if that’s what’s best for your inner evolution.

*

The last church that I attended, for nearly two years, was unofficial in a way, and I was an adult then. My friend Shirley was a Scientologist, the old-school variety. She’d actually studied with Hubbard way back in the day, and she’d left the church in the 70s when there was a huge breakup. But she still practiced a lot of stuff and associated with others who’d broken off the official line. She and I were in a class together, run by our mutual friend ML in her living room. We did archetype meditation and hands-on energy work, mostly.

She was a pianist and an instructor, and she was also the choir director of a tiny little church in the town in which I was born. The church was very small. And they got a very young pastor — with an earring, gasp! — and the mostly very old congregation had some issues with that. If he dated, he was “loose,” if he didn’t date, he was “gay,” and the fact he’d been in China for years studying the i Ching before that probably didn’t help. His father was an established minister in the church for eons, that probably did help. Shirley barely had enough people to do four part harmony never mind a choir, so we were sitting there one night when she looked at the three of us who were there — me, Danny, and ML — and asked us to come sing in the choir.

At first I thought I had a good reason for saying no. I’m not only not Lutheran, I’m not even Christian. But then I realized — Danny was a jew! (He was also one of the sexiest men I ever met. He was a general contractor who ran pretty large jobs, so a rugged outdoors type, very tall, broad shouldered, dark haired and dark eyed, intelligent, deep, a decade older than me, and very much a manly-man. Lawd have mercy. One of my fictional characters in a little novel, a werewolf, is partly based on him. OK back to the point…) And he agreed, to help out Shirley, figuring, it wouldn’t kill him, might be kinda fun to sing again for awhile, some old people would get a choir and Shirley was a friend.

ML was a minister herself, she did a lot of marriages and ordainments and baptisms, she is a Bishop in her small semi-virtual church, but it is definitely “Marian” and she is definitely “metaphysical.” She suggested to me that we could sit in the back and practice energy work together with the congregation. In case you don’t know, you can definitely do things like raise or lower temperature (or perceived temperature, I am not sure which), increase or relax general tension in a room, etc. and that seemed like a great exercise with human/environmental feedback, so I agreed.

We were, collectively, the most totally un-Lutheran collection ever.

But we sang for her, and we had fun doing it. She gave me a lot of solos, which was nice. We sang, then we sat through the sermon at the back of the church and did energy work. This turned out to be somewhat needed. The young pastor prided himself on never preparing a sermon but speaking “in the present.” He really should have prepared, heh. We were often busy keeping everyone awake or calming them down to help bring a nice relaxed and ‘present’ tone to the people, while his ‘in the present’ sermon was either boring them fidgety or unconscious. Then we’d go sing again, and then we went home.

I loved that church. Not the sermons. Definitely not the religion. I will not chant that I am born in sin. I consider the doctrine of Original Sin to be the greatest genuine evil ever perpetuated upon mankind, and one that has profoundly polluted every religion and culture since the dawn of recorded time. Ironically, with ‘sin’ considered ‘an imperfect orbit’ in the cosmology model, and this rendered into “metaphysical geometry” of the individual needing alignment via the life experience, I don’t necessarily disagree in a way, but the way it has been rendered for humans has been in my view nothing but destructive on every level and in every sense.

But I loved the actual church. I think I mentioned this once before, but I always had this just profound sense of holiness and “centeredness” and appreciation for the sanctuary, especially right up at the front. I used to be there some nights overnight on the property because the church ran this thing monthly that was a shelter for battered women and children that I helped with, and I used to sneak into the sanctuary when nobody was around and sit up at the front and pray. This place was built long enough ago that it has a wall to a hospital so close to it you are lucky to get a lawn mower between them. One time my dad visited at Easter and said I was born literally feet from the place where I was standing singing, like on the other side of the wall. I find that just amazing. I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with my feelings about the building. If I were rich, right now, I would go home to Ojai and BUY that building. Not sure what I’d do with it. Maybe make it a church of nothing but music, from all religions, since that’s the best part of religion anyway if you ask me. 😉

*

They have this great holiday called “Maundy Thursday,” the Lutherans. This is a recognition of “the day Christ was crucified/died.” It’s the Thursday before Easter. The ceremony is held at night and everybody holds candles in the dark. The choir music is so incredibly depressing you want to fold up your sheet music and leap from a ledge. The year I was there for that, the pastor did a thing many do for that holiday, where he and the deacons create a big literal wooden cross, and drag it down the aisle, and prop it up some on the steps up front, and then every person goes forward and takes a nail and hammers it into the wood. This is in recognition that it is “your” sin and for “you” that he died.

I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter what you believe — me and Danny didn’t even believe the fellow died for goodness sake — it is a powerful event, like this archetype of emotion. I came back to where I was standing with Danny and I was crying, and I turn to Danny and he’s crying, and I whispered to him between my sobs, “Danny, you’re (hic!) — you’re jewish!!” and he says, a tiny bit laughing at the same time he’s totally crying, “I know!!” Man. We really laughed about that later, but it was so emotional at the time.

But that holiday taught me something really important. Because when Easter Sunday came, it was like no Easter I ever had in my life. The happy music, the minister’s floor-length bold colors from some south american church he’d been to, the beautiful sunny day, I felt like that depressing holiday was the darkest winter and Easter was the brightest life of spring, and I literally felt redeemed. I mean it was beautiful, it was real joy, and I understood for the first time in my life, why archetypes, why ceremonies, are so important to humans, why we NEED to go through these things, the dark and the light, the grief and the release.

I think maybe that is one reason why it is so difficult to get cultures to release one religion for another, and almost the only way you can do it, is to keep the primary ritual elements intact and relabel them.

I’ve come to feel there are different aspects to humans, and that one of the mistakes of our culture is that we tend to focus only on one, as individuals. I know that my linear left-brain intellectual self doesn’t believe in certain things. But that doesn’t mean that the physical and emotional body I live in, is not designed for and moved by music, by ritual. Even about those things. The problem is, people’s left brain says, “That’s retarded I don’t buy it!,” so they lose the ritual, too. The ritual was the GOOD part. The details… were just the details.

I think often people have problems that result from that, where they really NEED to be moved by ritual, maybe we all do genetically, so they end up seeking out other dramas to try and provide a sort of emotional outlet that they don’t even realize they’re missing. Like they become TV news addicts, or fantasy football obsessives, or get addicted to soap operas, not saying any of those are bad mind you, just saying I think they sometimes fulfill a need for emotional movement internally that people are not getting in other ways.

Maybe humans need the ritual. If there were a way to get the same “cosmic sized drama rituals” without the religion — perhaps done as sci-fi, role playing or something — it’d be useful for humans.

**

I had more in this blog post. It was about religion and my experience over time. But some part of me kept pointing out that here and there it wasn’t entirely ‘true’. Like I would have to write pages of caveats and subtlety details to actually make it fully accurate. Which I had no desire to do. But then it felt like, well if it isn’t entirely true, then you shouldn’t be saying it. And I deleted a whole paragraph. And then I thought about the next one, in every detail, and tried to figure out how to make it as ‘true’ as I felt it needed to be, but it failed, so I deleted it. By the time I was done there was nothing left.

I once had a dream teaching experience about “Truth” with some nuns, and realized at one point that if you really were careful about being utterly and impeccably truthful, you would find there was very little to say.

A line from another post related to Truth got my attention and suddenly seems very important:

…it begins to feel like that constant ‘unaware-thinking’ that our mind does must have been ‘venting energy’ or using it in some way, because the less of that is going on, the more fundamental power the thoughts on purpose seem to have for manifestation.

P