Saturday, 11 April 2020

Not followers nor leaders -
but one's own way to God

Lent 2020 - Day 46 - Easter Saturday

Well, this is it. Lent has come to an end. It will soon be midnight, and it will be time to rejoice, have a drop of something alcoholic, and hope for a Miracle.

How the world has changed over those 46 days! On Shrove Tuesday (Ostatki), I drank the best part of a bottle of red wine; a small group of us was sitting up late at the Hotel Bristol chatting. Yes, we talked about this virus that was closing down China, but none of us realised what was about to come. The hotel itself would soon close its doors for the duration, along with our offices; everyone confined to their homes. Boris Johnson in and out of intensive care and here we are, 46 days later. No one has any slightest idea of what will come next...

Over the 46 days of Lent (28 days of which have been spent in reclusion), I have taken the opportunity to reexamine my spiritual beliefs and put them into some kind of order. Away from material distractions.

The 'build your own religion' idea is but a trope. It has served me well as a bookcase into which random thoughts can be collected and sifted. And I shall return to these in time, who knows - maybe next Lent.

The Lenten journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday begins (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) in winter and ends in spring, sometimes earlier, sometimes later, but each Lent does see that transition from shorter, darker, colder days to longer, brighter, warmer days. And with the coming spring, the rebirth of nature, symbolic of how despite Entropy, life triumphs. And with life, consciousness.

Conclusions will come tomorrow - Easter Sunday, a summing up. Today I want to finish this series of 46 Lenten blog posts about the role of spiritual leadership.

"Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters"

Don’t follow anyone. I'm not seeking anyone to follow, nor do I want anyone to follow me. I want someone beside me, talking with me, debating, construing, taking the argument forward, building a more accurate worldview together. I neither want to walk behind someone who claims to know the way nor walk ahead of followers, claiming that I know the way. Nobody can claim full access to the Universe's ultimate mysteries. I'd be a charlatan if I claimed I did. I don’t know - I've got some ideas, which I have set out over the past 45 days, but I’m looking too. That's literally the only honest stance to take regarding the spiritual.

The very notion of religious hierarchies, from top down, assumes that those in charge have access to some greater truth than the rest of us. Follow a leader and there’s the danger that the leader will one day get a change of mind, a revelation, that will point them in another direction altogether. And then what?

Having built my own religion, it is ultimately one that does not need followers, it does not need buildings, nor a hierarchy, nor funding. My religion requires rather intelligent interlocutors prepared to question, to offer suggestions based on original insight that has sprung from their consciousness - rather than constructing dogma. A walk in the fields to talk about the essence of existence, the purpose of consciousness, the future of the Universe, the interface between faith and science.

Brian [to his crowd of acolytes]: “You don't need to follow me! You don't need to follow anybody! You got to think for yourselves! You are all individuals… You’ve all got to work it out for yourselves! …

By all means seek sources of knowledge and inspirations from which to build and shape your own spiritual view of the Universe. Create (if you wish, of course) your own religion. But seek no acolytes.

My religion would be an esoteric one consisting of a band of searchers, supporting each other with spiritual insights that help, step by step, get just that little bit closer to understanding, helping each other along the infinite path from Zero to One. Knowing that in this lifetime, we shall never reach One - total awareness of all, God in All, All in God.

This time last year:
Fancy a drink?

This time two years ago:
Klimat change

This time six years ago:
Wes Anderson's Central Europe (Grand Budapest Hotel)

This time nine years ago:
The Reader

This time ten years ago:
Fertile ground for conspiracy theorists

This time 11 years ago:
That's what I like about the North


Teresa Flanagan said...

You mention that in this troubled time, we should hope for a miracle. Do you believe in the existence of miracles? Would the belief in miraculous events be included in your religion? Having never witnessed a miracle, I remain dubious about their existence. The Catholic Church’s exaltation of believers experiencing miraculous visions of Christ or the Virgin Mary leaves me cold. Curious that instances of stigmata have only been seen in Catholics. Miracle or psychiatric illness? I lean towards the latter!

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Teresa

Haha! I was out for my walk today, in meditative frame of mind. "God - a miracle for us all this Easter?" The answer surprised me. It was instant. "NO! NOT UNTIL YOU ALL STOP SPOILING YOUR PLANET!". And sure enough, a few hundred metres further along the path, I came across some household rubbish that someone had dumped. Do get the feeling that we are being punished as a species for what we're doing to the environment?

I wrote about miracles being discussed in the Tischner-Żakowski dialogue - (see here

Teresa Flanagan said...

Yeessss, I am very much of the frame of mind that we are being punished for environmentally ruining our planet. Earth needs to rest - people need to rest. There is a silver lining to this upheaval. Not a miracle, but a much needed and required re-alignment.