in one of my other blogs....
and thought I'd share...
reading Eliphas Levi, godfather of modern occultism/ceremonial magic.
And I find him all too similar to all other spiritual/religious writers
in this one fundamental sense: He assumes that Being is founded in
Spirit, and that the material world is a temporary creation and that
matter is a prison from which it is the goal of Spirit to free itself,
and that Spirit is our true form, and the true form of the Creator.
Every great spiritual movement, and every great world religion believes the same thing: The world is a place and condition from which Spirit needs to be freed.
I think they’re all wrong.
Call it an inspiration. Call it disgust with the same old, tired song and dance. Call it monumental arrogance for me to gainsay Popes and Hierophants and Buddhas and Saints and Medicine Men and High Priests.
I think “God” is material. I think the material universe is as essential to Being as Spirit. I think Spirit eternally seeks incarnation. I think Matter is equal to and as holy as Spirit.
I think they are symbiotic. I think Matter without Spirit is dead; I think Spirit without Matter is impotent.
I think material life is the POINT. I think material life is what being consists of, and is its intended and final form.
I think Being is Spirit/Body. Not as a temporary, or conditional ordeal to be suffered, endured and transcended, but as the very goal, aim and objective of the whole goddamned enchilada.
I think material life is the PURPOSE, not the PRELUDE.
I think Spirit loves Matter. I think Spirit like to taste tastes, smell smells, and touch stuff, and make love and get high and feel the wind in its face, and ride motorcycles and hear music, and cry, and laugh and get tickled, and hold other material beings. I think Spirit hungers for material life. I think it loves the smell of grass, the sight of the sunset, the beauty of the moon, the sound of children laughing, fireflies, butterflies.
I think the essential, fundamental, intended, planned condition of being is Spirit/Matter. Or, if you will, Soul/Body. I think one without the other is half-life.
According to Christian tradition Jesus ascended to “heaven” with his corporeal body intact. He didn’t slough it off and prefer to be “pure Spirit”. And don’t forget Mary assumed like her son, complete with human body, to the same place. I mean, what does that say about the permanence of Matter?
We miss this wonder because we fear death. Because we fear change. Because we fear loss.
We love our Body/Souls so much we can’t bear to lose them. And so we have invented a fantasy of bodiless eternal life in “heaven”, in which we can remain safe, unchanged, un-frightened, un-threatened forever and ever, Amen. The fact that we would be impotent, stagnant, static, unproductive, bored, and probably ultimately driven insane has clearly not occurred to anybody.
Safety first. We’re like that. Perfectly normal. And perfectly wrong.
But wisdom tells us that it is not the permanent, unchanging, indestructible, or everlasting that we actually value. Nobody spends a lot of time staring at an empty sky marveling at it. It is a marvel…that blue, endless vista. But it is there, every single day of our lives and that of our parents and their parents and for generations and millennia back beyond the memory of man.
But a shooting star? A lunar eclipse? We get more excited about them because they are rare. Daisies are lovely flowers. But we don’t spend much time admiring them. They are common and long lived, and well, everywhere.
But the rare and delicate blossom that blooms for one night only once every 100 years is valued beyond price. To see such a thing would the an event of a lifetime. But is it really more beautiful that the common daisy?
It is its tragic, brief and fleeting existence that makes it so valuable, and its beauty so hauntingly bittersweet.
And thus with our human lives. Immortality would render our lives small, uneventful, unenthusiastic, dull, meaningless, paltry and pointless. It is death that makes life so sweet. It is death that makes us love so hard. It is death that allows us swooning passions. Without death, life would be a wasteland. An empty, endless, featureless wasteland.
From the doomed perspective of a mortal, immortality seems, well, “heavenly”.
But upon a moment’s imaginative reflection, the vampiric shadow of an endless existence of jaded tastes, surfeited appetites, exhausted enthusiasms seems a a lot more like Hell than Heaven.
Being is not some sort of static suspended animation. Being is birth, growth, action, evolution, change, learning, experience. It is passion and laughter, suffering and grief. It is dying and being reborn because of the hunger to do it all again…knowing the consequences, knowing the risks, knowing the pain and the joy, knowing the beautiful, terrible glory of it all.
Spirit is not “better” than Matter. It is not a “higher plane” of existence. Spirit alone is only a sort of twilight half-life, like sad, wretched ghosts who envy the living. Spirit is one component of the quintessence of Being, which is the fantastic, amazing, mind-blowing, unbelievably, insanely great Body/Soul thing we got going on right here, right now.
And if you don’t think so, you’re who Auntie Mame was talking about when she said:
“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
I submit that neither bodies nor spirits are capable of what we call “life” without the other. They are mutually dependent for True Being.
I submit that Spirit, being incorporeal, cannot die. And that when separated from its material vehicle, it continues to exist, and seeks out a new material vehicle. Call it Reincarnation. Call it Transmigration. Call it whatever you like.
Until that Spirit is united with a material body, it cannot experience true Being. It is in a sort of limbo. I don’t know what happens during that time. Maybe it assesses its past life and makes plans for the next one. Maybe it gets judged by the Lords of Karma, and gets the next life “it deserves”. Maybe it just “rests from its labors” and when it wakes, picks a new material half.
We humans have assumed that anything we can’t detect with our sciences or or senses must be non-material (or non-existent). I submit that matter may come in a variety of “densities”, and in a variety of “dimensions”, and just because we can’t detect that which we call God, does not necessarily mean He is only a Spirit.
Indeed, considering His clear affection and propensity for matter, I submit that He is just as material as we are. I think He, like Creation, is a perfect balance of Spirit and Matter.
Maybe He even dies occasionally, just to keep things fresh and exciting. After all, religious history is rife with “dying gods”. Maybe they were on to something.
Lastly, I submit that to pray for release from this (glorious!) “vale of tears” to a place of (a shadowy, comatose) “eternal life”; to want nothing so fanatically than to discard this amazing amalgam of consciousness and sensate vehicle we call “life” is surely insulting to the glorious artist who designed it…for our pleasure and wonder…as much as for His own pure joy in creation.
Perfection is boring. Immortality is tedious. They are to be dreaded, not sought after. They are wrong and unnatural. To sacrifice the Great Gift for their Empty Promise is surely the most unthinkable tragedy, and the greatest of all sins.
• • •