Friday, January 10, 2014

RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, AND TRUTH (repost)



The etymology of words reveals a great deal. Take religion, for example: in Latin ligare means to tie together, to bind or connect; and religare means to rejoin what was separated. Therefore, religion is what ties together, reunites or reconnects us... but with what? Our unknown origins? The mysterious source of our being? With our tribe? Certainly religion is what reconnects us with the Godhead, or Divine Nature.

Along the way, the word “religion” becomes defined as “obligation” – and the idea of tying together or reconnecting somehow devolves into being tied up, bound by God’s Laws, imprisoned by rigid rules. And thus the joy of an ultimate homecoming gets twisted into an ingrained and unquestioning obedience, a sheeplike submission to restrictions externally imposed by “expert authorities.”

So let us redeem religion by defining it as a means to realign with and rejoin our sovereign self, the nucleus of our cellular awareness. Call it God or Goddess, Prime Creator or Source, Great Spirit or All That Is... religion has no purpose other than to get us reconnected, in order that our soul can reintegrate with the Cosmic Oversoul. Religion is a safe route from confusion to fusion with the many facets of the One.

Where does fundamentalism fit in with this definition of religion? The written word hasn’t been around very long: the oldest writings we know of are the Sumerian cuneiform tablets dating back a mere 6,000 years.

Fundamentalists cling tenaciously to the literal truth of their scriptures. They worship the written word as divine memos from On High. That’s why it takes a book religion to produce a fundamentalist – and the three best-selling book religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I don’t know what form Jewish fundamentalism takes, but you can be sure that in its extreme manifestation, it’s not particularly friendly towards non-Jews - just as Christian and Muslim fundamentalists don’t admit “infidels” into their paradise, and certainly not into their hearts.

Reading and writing are mostly left-brain activities engaging a “logical” masculine bias. Thus, the worship of the written word is of necessity a linear approach to non-linear reality: it perceives the divine as an Almighty Father and gives rise to a patriarchal, polarized social order that separates good from evil, light from dark, right from wrong, the sheep from the goats.

It’s easy to see how, in a pastoral community where illiteracy is the norm, the literate few can wield enormous influence over the many simply by monopolizing the interpretation and perpetuation of scriptures.


Now let’s take a look at what spirituality is all about. Spirit has been set apart from Matter as if the twain should never meet. Yet when we approach both Spirit and Matter from a scientific perspective, we find that the difference seems to be essentially vibrational: that is to say, Matter is what happens to Spirit when it slows itself down to a lesser frequency. Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC2, suggests that mass and energy are interchangeable under certain conditions determined by velocity.

Another 20th century genius, R. Buckminster Fuller, postulated that 99.9% of the electromagnetic spectrum is metaphysical, that is, beyond the range of our sense organs and even our most sophisticated instruments. This means the physical world experienced through our senses and our scientific tools actually constitutes less than 0.1% of “reality.”

However, it’s possible to evolve to the point where 100% of the reality spectrum becomes accessible – by becoming, literally, All That Is! In a holographic universe, the difference between what’s micro and what’s macro is merely a question of scale. The Master Jesus is quoted as saying: “My Father and I are One.” Was he implying that he had attained a fractal awareness of the Godhead, of the Totality of Being? As a Son of God, he was divine; and as a Son of Man, human. This fulfils Meister Eckhardt’s mystical dictum that God must become Man, so that Man can become God.

In other words, the separation between Spirit and Matter is only apparent. But we have people at both ends of the reality spectrum, each claiming their end is superior or more important - a bit like the long-running feud between the Little Enders and the Big Enders in Gulliver’s Travels, wherein perpetual war is waged to decide which end of the egg should be regarded as the top.

To the scientific materialist, Matter is all that matters; while the mystic argues that Spirit permeates all space and time, and must therefore precede and prevail over Matter.


If Spirit and Matter are two sides of the proverbial coin, what does it mean to be a “spiritual” person? Superficially, one who shows less interest in material comforts could be described as “spiritual” – but does that indicate a more “correct” lifepath than someone who pays greater attention to materiality? If Spirit and Matter are indeed complementary, just like Yin and Yang, doesn’t it make sense for us to seek a dynamic equilibrium between these polarities. “X” marks the spot where Spirit and Matter intersect, where the horizontal meets the vertical, and what was once separate becomes whole... and holy! The Christ, instead of being seen as Spirit crucified on the Cross of Matter, is said to be simply on axis, and thereby freed forever from all suffering, real or imaginary. And as we uncrucify Jesus the Christ – who represents the Omega point of our evolutionary destiny – so, too, do we release ourselves from endless cycles of unnecessary grief and pain and guilt.

Pontius Pilate’s claim to fame, as recorded in the New testament, is the rhetorical question he posed during the trial of Jesus: WHAT IS TRUTH? Indeed, how do we define truth? Is it not an everchanging circumstance, always mutable? For instance, on a rainy day, it’s true to describe the streets as wet. But when the sun shines again, this condition is no longer true. Is there anything that can pass as “immutable truth”? I honestly doubt it. Perhaps we’re better off just being HONEST, rather than perpetually seeking some sort of immutable truth. At least, with honesty, one can conclude that the truth means different things to different perceptions – and all perceptions are, to a certain degree, valid.

What we’re dealing with here is a problem of semantics. Concepts that were in vogue hundreds, or even thousands of years ago, have influenced the way we define words and apply them in our everyday language, which in turn determines how we interpret our sensory perceptions.

The “rugged look” is viewed as “scruffy” by unsympathetic eyes. What’s “sexy” to one person comes across as “obscene” to another. So do we really want to commit genocide – and, ultimately, nuclear suicide - over a mere linguistic misunderstanding? Yet, that’s how bloody wars have erupted throughout history and, sadly, this continues to be the case.

All I’m saying is: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE!

Arthur C. Clarke, the visionary writer, once remarked that all human problems can be resolved with a little intelligence. I think it would do no harm to add a generous dash of love and a measure of genuine goodwill.


[Extracted from an unpublished manuscript, THE (UNFINISHED) BOOK OF JOHN: Confessions of a former Christian fundamentalist. First posted 16 February 2007]



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

THE SULTANIZATION OF UMNO LEADERS ~ by Hussein Abdul Hamid


Here's an excellent essay from blogger Hussein Abdul Hamid that expands on exactly what I've been saying in recent months about Umno...

OVER THE YEARS we have seen UMNO assuming the role that was once the prerogative of the Sultans of the various states in Malaysia. It was a process started by the British and ironically concluded by the Malays themselves, albeit through UMNO. These tendencies towards Sultanization have evolved over the years to what it is today – an UMNO president living in splendid isolation in a grandiose palace called Sri Perdana in Putrajaya, surrounded by all the trappings of wealth and power. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The quest by UMNO leaders towards their own Sultanization began with a partiality to ostentatious consumption: Muhyiddin's very costly shirts, silk ties, expensive suits, really expensive cars, and grand houses. Khir Toyo’s palace is the manifestation of these tendencies to a tee. The Prime Ministers motorcade, the legion of people that seems to surround him everywhere he goes, and the splendid, splendid office at Putrajaya is all par for the course. Of course, to maintain this lifestyle on their meager salaries as Ministers and YB’s means that they are all susceptible to corruption on a grand scale.

Personalization of authority

In Malaysia all power resides with the Prime Minister. In the state the Mentri Besar title says it all – BIG Minister. This concentration of power in the PM at the federal level and the MB at state level can only give rise to the politics of patronage and nepotism, as all largesse flows from these leaders. The wholesale change that is the norm whenever there is a change of these individuals gives rise to the ‘make hay while the sunshine’ mentality. So where the Sultan was ‘king’ in his state, it is now the Mentri Besar that dispenses favor to the Sultans – in business opportunities, in extending credit to pay gambling debts, in keeping under the lid the excesses of the Royal family.


Historical Identity

Like the Sultans who are normally descended from an immediate family tree – UMNO too are comfortable with accepting its leaders when they are descended from families closely associated with UMNO - possibly with the exception of Mahathir – because his Indian background precludes that possibility. But at times, even when your Father is a Class-A leader, his genius will skip a generation or two. How else can you explain Najib and his cousin Hishammuddin?

For now the Sultans still cling to being the head of religion in their own states. But we can see this too is increasingly becoming the function of the religious authorities – whose salaries and appointments are the function of the central government – controlled, for now, by UMNO. So, effectively, even in these areas UMNO will have a say if not absolute control to do as it wish – with just a passing nod to the Sultans as a mark of respect.

So in reality these UMNO leaders – have not only taken power from the Sultans but have also assumed the Sultanization of their own selves in the very mould of the Sultans that they have now deposed in everything but name.


The Malays have always been loyal to their Sultans and are expected to obey their commands unquestioningly. We are all aware what Hang Tuah had to do to appease his Sultan: kill a loyal friend, Hang Jebat. I do not think any Malay today would want to kill a loyal friend for a pretender to the throne that calls itself UMNO. Not when the Sultanization of these pretenders was done without due consideration of the rights and aspirations of the Rakyat.

Hussein Abdul Hamid

[First posted 23 September 2009]

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A cinematic overview of spiritual consciousness by Daniel Schmidt









Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds was created by Daniel Schmidt and is the result of a lifetime of inner and outer exploration. Along with his wife Eva, Daniel currently lives in a forest full of tall pine trees located in Ontario, Canada, where they run a meditation and yoga center called Breathe True Yoga.

Daniel Schmidt
Daniel has studied meditation from the traditions of Buddhism, Taoism, the Yogic traditions of India, as well as the mystical traditions of various cultures, and has come to his own understanding of what is at the root of all of these traditions. Eva has studied and teaches Chakra Yoga, Hatha yoga and meditation as well as healing through dance and creative expression. Together Dan and Eva were the Shiva and Shakti forces that birthed the film into the world.

It became clear during the making of the film that Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds had to be released for free for the benefit of all beings. hmidIn the ancient traditions the dharma or “the truth” was always taught freely and never for personal gain or profit in order to preserve the purity of the teachings. It is Daniel and Eva’s belief that to awaken one's true self, one must awaken the entire world. Daniel and Eva have started the Awaken the World initiative to bring the ancient knowledge back to the earth in order to restore balance and harmony on the planet.

[Released in October 2012. First posted 5 December 2012]

Monday, January 6, 2014

Trapped by their own greed and stupidity! (reprise)


Umno/BN, after 22 years of Mahathirism, has degenerated into a robber baron regime paralyzed by a complete failure of imagination and rendered powerless to adapt to changes in the political terrain by the sheer inertia of its own overweening arrogance and greed.

Najib Razak and his grotesque wife Rosmah Mansor were pushed into power by 191 corrupt and inept Umno division chiefs - just as George W. Bush was muscled into the White House in 2000 - to take the flak and serve as a target of public ridicule, so that the nouveau riche Umnoputra elite could continue to rob the nation with impunity and hide the loot in numbered accounts and property investments abroad.

With their control of the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, civil service, the armed forces and the tribal monarchies, Umno believes it can continue to misrule - by brute force if necessary - through deliberate aggravation of artificially engendered racial and religious differences.

The majority of urbanites have long woken up to Umno/BN's dirty strategies and will never again be fooled. In the rural areas where the only source of news are the mainstream media, the awakening is slightly more sluggish but inevitable. 

Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin created a financial buffer against political defeat by nurturing an ultra-rich entrepreneurial class to feed the Umno/BN electoral juggernaut (hence the lopsided contracts signed with Independent Power Producers and utility corporations privatized to political cronies). This unwholesome conspiracy between centralized government and capitalist self-interest to bamboozle the public will grind to an abrupt end when Umno/BN is booted out - and that's why we see panic breaking out in the hysterical headlines and perverse spins of crony media like Utusan Malaysia and TV3. 

It's time to draw a clear line in the sand, people. It's time to open your windows, stand on a street corner, and shout...

"We're as mad as hell and we're not going to take this anymore!"



[First published 19 June 2011... reposted 5 January 2013... now one LAST time!]