Saturday, December 20, 2008

Some points arising out of a recent conversation with a Chippewa-Cree friend:

If we look at the natural world, it’s clear that every plant, every animal, every insect has the conditions it needs to live its life. This is the way that that mysterious greater consciousness, of which we are all a part, has arranged things, so to speak. And the same applies to us, if we act intelligently. The conditions are present for humans to live their lives. So there is a sense in which the universe is on our side, it nurtures and nourishes us, for in a sense it is simply looking after itself.

I think with humans there is an added factor that distinguishes us, for better or for worse, which is that we don’t know who or what we are. This also reveals that we haven’t been around very long. Animals and plants know what they are, they just get on with it.

But the universe looks after itself. So it would be strange if the conditions were not there for humans to take care not just of their physical needs, but also to come to know themselves. This one has a bit of a wow factor for me: our minds, our souls are so deep and complicated and rich and problematic, yet the possibility is there of becoming fully conscious of who we are during the course of our lives. It would be strange if it were not like this. The conditions are there, not through accessing some special teaching or saviour-figure, but simply by attempting to live in a conscious way.

I am the universe having an experience of itself as Dharmaruci.

So what happens when we die? What we do know is that all the physical elements that we are made of dissolve back into being part of the greater whole. The earth element goes back to the earth, the water to the water and so on. There is nothing ‘special’ about our bodies. So why wouldn’t the same apply to that other element, consciousness? Doesn’t our consciousness simply merge again with the wider consciousness, the wider intelligence that is all around us? Why would it not be like this?

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Rossa said...

Speaking of the natural world you might like to take a look at this...a fabulous picture of the Solstice Sunrise from the Megalithic tomb at Newgrange in Ireland:-

There is also a link at the bottom of the page for a LIVE webcast of the Solstice Sunrise tomorrow from the same place, scheduled to go live at 08.30am.

The picture changes every day at the above link so if it's not there, click on the “Discover the Cosmos” link at the top of the page and you can access their archive of stunning pictures.

This NASA site is also good for anyone with an interest in astronomy/astrology like yourself. I like to look in regularly to see the beauty and majesty out there in the stars. It sure puts my life into perspective!

Enjoy the Solstice.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what the taoists believe, that all the components of your individual consciousness dissipate on death, and eventually become recycled into new individual beings, same as the physical components.

So we are according to taoist belief, the amalgam of multiple deceased beings, i.e the lung spirit of person a, the spleen spirit of person b, the kidney spirit of person c, etc.

They also believed that only taoist masters through their enlightenment process could marshall their individual consciousness through the death process and maintain their individuality intact on the other side, thus attaining immortality of spirit if not of body.

Dharmaruci said...

I think I was being more agnostic and less literal than that. I'd agree with the recycling, but death is Pluto, all component parts are completely dissolved before being reconstituted. So you wouldn't end up with someone else's spirit lung, and re-birth itself is kind of an assumption beyond our direct experience.

It sounds like the Taoists have converted an original insight into something less subtle and more literal - but that is the way of religions.

As for masters and sages, I'd make the same comment: it is turning something into a system, an unnecessarily hierarchical one.

Even though I'm presenting things logically, I'm actually trying to put these notions around death in terms that we can resonate with, that aren't just one more theory or belief. And part of that is that there is very little we can know about death, but we may have a sense of this dissolution into the greater whole that we see around us.

Anonymous said...

"it is turning something into a system, an unnecessarily hierarchical one."-----Nature is a naturally hierarchical system. that is the way it works- that is the way we work.that is why religion is going nowhere- it is around to stay forever- as a reflection of our fundamental belief in systems and order. in nature-there are majorities, minorities, the strong survive, the weak die out, there are elements of random energies, sometimes the cunning survive,sometimes the creative survive,there are miracles of birth and life in the harshest of conditions- we as humans are under constant attack from bacteria and virus on 'planet bacteria'- they are constantly regrouping and challenging our presence on the terra- instead of focusing on 'death' per se, which in the end is just part of the system- why not be asking what is this driving will to survive and thrive and overcome and 'live' in all plants, animals? it must be part of our programming? to what end? is it more 'spiritual' neptunian? or is it pluto- constant transformation, order in chaos, survival- so is pluto the will in all of us (plants animals humans)to live? well that is enough- i am not resolving anything here... i just thought that maybe examining first 'life' instead of 'death'- ciao

Dharmaruci said...

You could argue that the theory of evolution and survival of the fittest is just a theory that fits in with the modern competitive, capitalist societies that we live in.

So to view nature as a sort of competition just reflects our modern prejudices. We would see it like that.

I'm not sure an animal or plant sees life as a competition: they are just living their lives.

Anonymous said...

I too question the moral relativities of the theory of evolution.
How do we know it's only the strong that survive. Maybe the weak overcome the strong. The strongest species ever known, the dinosaurs have long gone...outlived by the worms and the bacteria.
And as for the human relationship with our bacteria innerworlds, some strains do seem antagonistic to us, whilst others are essential to our digestive process and thus good health.
It's all far too complex to be explained by a theory as simplistic as evolution, as it stands at present.