After sitting for an hour beside the rippling stream, watching the water flow by below my feet and people on bikes and foot flow by on the pedestrian road across the water, I stand in awe as the last sunlight floods the bare upper branches of the oaks and sycamores in alpenglow.
One has spontaneously left the fabricated reality of thought and entered the immeasurable actuality of the sublime and sacred. It's always a surprise when this happens, and something of a miracle.
What leaves reality and enters actuality? 'I' don't. When the mind-as-thought falls silent in passive watchfulness, the brain directly perceives what is. What is the door to the actuality of beauty, sublimity and sacredness.
In the so-called mystical state of being, there isn't "a God," but there is God. By God I mean immanent intelligence and sacredness imbuing nature and the universe.
However God in this sense only comes with complete negation. As Silesius, a 17th century Lutheran/Catholic mystic wrote:
God, whose love and joy
are present everywhere,
can't come to visit you
unless you aren't there.
Is such a God completely indifferent to the fate of sentient, potentially sapient creatures such as Homo sapiens? In other words, though it sounds and perhaps is anthropocentric, does God care?
Despite the orgy of consumeristic sentimentality that Christmas has become, I would be remiss in this contemplation on Christmas Eve not to reflect on the life of Jesus.
Christians believe "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I'm no atheist, but from the looks of things in America these days, one cannot help but think that the atheist Christopher Hitchens came closer to the truth when he quipped, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him will believeth in anything."
What else can explain why over 90% of evangelicals still support the cruel, malignant Donald Trump, and many even believe he is "the chosen one?"
If he's the chosen one, Satan itself chose him. (No, I'm not "demonizing" Trump; he made himself a puppet of dark things in human consciousness long ago.)
However we conceive of God, s/he never did "love the world." The question is, does s/he love humanity?
The birth of Jesus purportedly attests to God's love for humanity. Jesus certainly felt God cared about humanity. After all, he gave his life for his mission.
With respect to the Bible, as Thomas Jefferson said in his famous "diamonds from dunghills" letter to John Adams, "parts of the Bible are the fabric of very inferior minds, parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man."
In our age, scientists make pronouncements of truth like Delphic oracles, and repeat in unison: "Evolution is unpredictable and undirected, and humanity is a fluke outcome rather than the inevitable result of billions of years of increasing complexity."
Completing the tired refrain, they echo, "There were all these other worlds out there in the Earth's primeval past; someday ours is going to be just another one of them."
Such atheism is indistinguishable from religionism; such fatalism is indistinguishable from nihilism. Clearly the human species is a fluke outcome of evolution. The question is: Are brains like ours a fluke outcome?
Incontrovertible evidence of a single intelligent species from another planet (though humankind hasn't attained that threshold) will prove not only that life is plentiful in the universe, but also that brains with the capacity like ours ineluctably evolve.
That still doesn't address the question of whether cosmic intelligence 'cares' whether potentially intelligent species make the transition and transmutation to true intelligence.
For a mystic, there is no doubt that immanent intelligence beyond the mind of man exists. One is aware of that otherness whenever the brain gathers sufficient undirected attention to completely quiet the mind.
The doubt, given the world as it is, is whether Intelligence, which is neither separate from evolution nor directing it, is operating in human consciousness and on the human brain.
I'm only certain of two things: the existence of man-made darkness; and the negation of thought/darkness in methodless meditation.
Though no light at the end of the tunnel is discernible at present, what choice is there except to keep going? Don't hold out hope, but keep the faith as best one can.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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