Art from the Subconscious

Article VII

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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY GOD ?

I would like to start this article by quoting and referring to
certain sage philosophers, to try and give some weight  to
a universe of spirit, in contrast with certain atheists today
who seem only equipped to debunk the religions of  the world
but who cannot engage with much deeper spiritual understandings.

Belief is one thing,said krishnamurti, reality quite another. one
leads to bondage and the other is possible only in freedom...
Belief can never lead to reality, it is the result of  conditioning,
or the outcome of fear, or the result of an outer or inner authority
which gives comfort. Reality is none of these...The credulous are
always willing to believe, accept, obey, whether what is offered is
good or bad, mischievious or beneficial. The believing mind is not
an enquiring mind, it is preconceived and remains within the limits
of its formula or principle.

Again, he said, Through experience you hope to touch the truth
of your belief, to prove it to yourself, but this belief  conditions
your experience.It is not that the experience comes to prove  the
belief, but rather that the belief begets the experience. Your belief
in a God will give you the experience of what you call God. You will
always experience what you believe and nothing else. And this
invalidates your experience. The Christian may see virgins, angels
and Christ, the Hindu will see similar deities in an  extravagant
plurality. The Muslim, the Buddhist, the Jew are all the same.
Belief conditions its own 'supposed ' proof.
 
The small in search of the large will only find what it is capable of
finding. Is devotion the worship of an image, of a person, of a symbol?
Can a symbol ever represent truth? Is not a symbol static, and can
a static thing ever represent that which is living? For those who believe
he said, your image is your intoxicant, and it is carved out of your own
memory; you are worshipping yourself through the image created by
your own thought. Your devotion is the love of yourself covered over
by the chant of your mind.

Krishnamurti is not soft on such matters and to some degree he would
expect atheists to pick up on some of them but he would be equally
scathing to them on a universe without meaning. - Unless human
beings find sacredness their life really has no meaning, it is an empty
shell. They may be very orderly, they may be relatively free, but unless
there is this thing that is totally sacred, untouched by thought, life has
no deep meaning.He goes on to say, there is a sacredness which is
not of thought, nor of a feeling resuscitated by thought. It is not
recognisable by thought. Thought cannot formulate it. But still, there is
a sacredness untouched by any symbol or word. It is not communicable
yet it is a fact. A fact is to be seen and the seeing is not through  the
word.When a fact is interpreted it ceases to be a fact; it becomes
something entirely different. The seeing is of the highest importance.
The seeing is out of the stream of space-time. Its immediate,instantaneous,
and whats seen is never the same again. This sacredness has no
worshipper, no observer who meditates upon it. Like beauty. it cannot
be seen through its opposite for it has no opposite.

The atheistic verbal assault on the monotheistic religions is quite
understandable to a serious mind- after all, the truth does not need
defending  and their various Gods that have no reality anyway   are
the fabrication of human minds. However, if you have letters after your name
and a place on the faculty of Oxford university, as an atheist you should
be able to show how such spiritual sage philosophers are wrong in their
experiential, nondual vision of the world and universe-ie spiritual to the core!
Its like picking on the small guys but never meeting the big guys. I hasten
to add that such personages as Bishops,Imams, Rabbis are not and have
never been in this context, the big guys. I could not, for example, imagine
the Journalist Christopher Hichens, with his pseudo intellect. stand up
to the likes of Alan Watts or Ken  Wilber much less Aurobindo or Maharshi.
Neither could I imagine these spiritual maestros engaging with such minds.

The philosopher Ken Wilber says, all individuals are touched by the divine
and all sentient entities intuit the divine.This is the only thing that holds the
cosmos together.Presumably Wilber is pointing to deeper levels of one's
consciousness, rather than the surface conventional self. This  divine
intuition acts like a huge unconscious magnet, so to speak, drawing us
onward and upward towards that perfect release in the superconscious all.
But it also forces us, as a temporary and remedial measure. to fashion all
sorts of substitutes for the divine-substitute subjects, objects,gratifications,
sacrifices, immortality projects and cosmocentric designs and tokens  of
transcendence. When these fail they are abandoned though created as
substitutes for the divine.

According to the philosopher Alan Watts, trust in the divine which one cannot
conceive in any way is a far higher form of faith than fervent clinging to a God
of whom you have definite conception. Even if that conception were right,
clinging to it as religions do, would be the wrong attitude. When you love
someone you dont cling to them.The Buddhist word nirvana actually means
to breathe out ; letting go is the fundamental attitude of real faith.he goes on
to say, the highest image of the divine is the unseen behind the eyes-the blank
space, the unknown, the intangible and the invisible. That is the divine ! We have
no craven image or biblical/scriptural idolatry of that. We do not know what
that is, but we have to trust it. there's no alternative. you can't help trusting it.
You've got to.He points out that the theological Mystica, was written in the
sixth century by an Assyrian monk,Dionysius Exiguus. It is a very strange
document, he says because he explains that the highest knowledge of the
divine is through what he calls in Greek, Agnostos, which means unknowing.
One knows the divine most profoundly, the most truly, in not knowing God.
Just as our sight comes out of an unseen,so when we know that we dont
know we really know. We know because we have reached a state of mind
in which we have let go of our efforts to grasp life with our intellect. We
cannot, try as we may, circumscribe that which is infinite.

Atheistic speakers such as Richard Dawkins and lesser Journalists such as
Christopher Hichens would do well to engage with such matters.They should
also realise that if their universe is not spirit and meaningless, then all within
it is also meaningless-including what they have to say about it it. For those
such as Wilber who maintain that the universe is 'spiritual to the core' , no
such problem exists.

What do we mean by God then ? if we intuit as Wilber allows and if we
are cautious on interpretation and if, as Krishnamurti advises, we meet
the ground of all on the conditions of the ground, namely absolutely in
stillness and without thought, no preconception whatsoever, then we
can at least be confident that we are trying to be a light to our own minds
and not reliant on minds that stretch back from now to the ancient past.
If the infinite and eternal appears as nothing then that is the object of
one's love. No more than that. That is Faith. The moment one subjects
this condition of the ground to even a thought, it is weakened and probably
lost.If such an experience is achieved the experience has its own certainty
and does not need interpretation. To say that man IS God is nothing
special if one comes to realise that everything IS God. Look at it another way
and it is possible to experience the reality that what we call God is nothing
less than the sacredness that Krishnamurti speaks of. All is what that
sacredness is doing. Getting rid of the ego or our sense of individual
identity is part of the realisation of achieving greater conscious awareness.
We do not exist as we think we do. When this is realised God can be said
to have been found.

 

 

  

 

All images/artwork and photography copyright © Sarah Austin.
All poems and article text copyright © R.K.Austin.
2006. All rights reserved
No photographs or other material to be reproduced elsewhere without permission.