Monday, June 15, 2009

The Awakening Meta-narrative

My belief is that all human beings are evolving towards spiritual awakening, which is not only the aim of their individual lives, but also the aim of life in general, and indeed the cosmos as a whole.

This is the source of the ecstasy of the enlightened. They realise themselves as the crown of creation.

Various religious and spiritual traditions are metaphors for this, or stories about it, which their exponents may or may not understand.

In this understanding, spiritual awakening is something that only a human can have. It can't be written down or removed from its context of a live human consciousness. (This is understood in Buddhism.)

Most humans don't understand this, and don't want to. They are happy enough in their own identity and pursuing their own purposes. And there is nothing the matter with that, but it will come to an end, and when it does, one can either weep about it, or move on to the next level of human development, beyond the personal.

As it happens, Vedanta and Buddhism are the two paths or ways that most explicitly reflect this understanding of reality. However there are others, chief amongst them being neo-Platonism and some of the mystical schools within the Judeo-Christian religions.

But it doesn't necessarily help to get to involved in all of the details. You must seek this wisdom yourself, in yourself, and in your own way. By all means adapt the practices and teachings of the traditions where they are meaningful. But don't get stuck in tradition, bound by argumentation, or too attached to any particular viewpoint.

And generally speaking, people don't know how to participate in this. Enlightenment requires 'skilled action' as Mahayana Buddhism says. It is no use clinging to belief or being fanatically enthusiastic about something which is not going to help at all. Yet this is where many religious types are. They believe badly. Western religious history is full of these types; I would class Calvin and Luther as prime examples. And most anti-religion is based on opposing them. So it is a criticism of a misunderstanding. 'But you and I have been through that, and it is not our fate.'

This is the enlightenment meta-narrative, and the only one I am interested in reading about.

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