Unlike countless others, I do not relish the chains (marketed as wings to lift us to freedom) that society binds us with from birth. Nor am I blind to the truth that the grandiose dreams of an eternal paradise (heaven in Western religion) and personal freedom (an Enlightenment idea) that the power elites have filled the empty, fearful minds of the herd with since ancient times and the dawn of modernity do not exist in the forms they have relentlessly professed they do. Humans need the concrete and the tangible; it is one of our most awful flaws, one that has led to the corrosive restricting of the infinite essence of all truths, of all experiences into a rigid, dogmatic manifestation of our perverse nature, a nature all too quickly and easily prone to evil and wielding the sickle of decay and terror. But it can also be one of our most triumphant strengths, when we allow the imagination to embody the vast magnitude of the divine, guided by morality and reason; a morality and reason whose foundation is one of tolerance and compassion.
It is the instinct toward self-preservation, of letting fear get the better of us, based on the inflexible form and function of our senses that prevents us from freely and openly engaging with the infinite variety that is ever-present in the world. Since life is the greatest of mysteries, and death even more so, we hold on to our lives, our ideologies and beliefs, even as they keep us bound and in the end destroy us and the world around us, including all other living beings in it. There is no freedom, no progress, no hope of a more visionary future that we can bring to fulfillment if we fight tooth and claw to hold on to the archaic, destructive, and irrational values and ideas that block not just ourselves but others from enacting the purpose of life, on an individual and even species level. Salvation is in our hands alone.
When we codify an idea and demand that others adhere to the letter of the belief by devising a falsehood through which to keep them on the straight and narrow path, which serves to keep us in power and the masses enslaved, we pervert and deny the infinite spirit of life. Nowhere is this perverse action more obvious than in the concept of God. The Western version of God has done a grave and endlessly disastrous disservice to all humanity. But it is not my objective to go into why and how this is so; if you paid attention in history or religion class, have watched the news, used social media, or watched TV and films, then I need not rehearse even the little you may already know. For almost twenty years now the God I was taught about and raised to believe in has not been my God.
Thanks to many years of study in Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Sufism, and a deep faith in the mystic spiritual core of all life, I cannot accept nor bend my will, my soul, to the antiquated, conservative, tribal, and fundamentalist dogmas and traditions that cast “God” in the role of judge, of father before whom we must repent in hopes of mercy and forgiveness, a “God” we must fear as the one behind the propaganda of hell and the fires of eternal damnation, dreamed up to prevent the many from ripping to shreds the fragile grip on imaginary power that the few possess. This is not my God.
My God is Life itself, the fluid spirit that runs through and is the source, fount, and foundation of all creation, of all things animate and inanimate, of all things in motion and at rest, of all things that take and release breath. My God is infinite; a blind spiritual force that continuously creates in ever-new forms and combinations. My God knows not the barren, nuclear-wasted landscapes that the human heart and mind become when we let ego rule (through ignorance, fear, and shameful cyclic desire) at the expense of the needs and rights of our brothers and sisters in the human form divine. My God knows nothing but the immortal beauty of all creation, of which it is the essence and manifestation. We know, we see, we smell, we taste, we touch, we hear the true God, the creative spirit always in action, always in flux, when we look within our heart and mind, and when we engage with others in acts of love and compassion, and commune and become one with the natural world and the cosmos. My God is the darkness and the light.
For a decade now I have been professing my belief in the idea that Life is a dance to the music of Time. In those moments when I am alone, and even when I am alone, anonymous in the restless crowds on the streets of the most famous city in the world, I observe and see ever so clearly, so starkly, the truth that Life is most truly a dance to the music of Time. When you stand back and erase yourself, when you watch the world go by, the numberless humans living their lives, you see the dance, you hear the music, and you become one with that spirit embodied by the music and the dance, perceiving the oneness of all things in the rhythmic flow of life, ever in flux, and you have no attachment, only joy, only bliss, because you see and feel the interconnectedness of all creation, the illusion of all divisions and appearances, and the inherent beauty of this truth, this experience. You realize you, too, are one with this wholeness, this harmony, and that the spirit that runs through life, this oneness, is our true nature, our true home.
By accepting the impermanent nature of things one relinquishes attachment so that life in its fullness can be experienced in the present moment and the dance can be danced and one can have greater access to and joy in the spirit that courses through and is all creation, always transforming along with it and embracing the bliss of that continuous transformation. The spirit that manifests itself in the dance, in the music, in all creation, is eternal, but its forms are not. The spirit’s infinite variety must move through and make itself visible in an infinite number of forms, hence the fleeting nature of material things. By holding on to any one thing for longer than you are meant to dams the current of life, slows down the dance, brings discord to the harmony of the music, blocks your engagement with the spirit that is life, is yourself, and so causes suffering and unhappiness. Joy and bliss are found in embracing the present and then letting go, knowing you are experiencing the fullness of life in its beautiful multiplicity without attachment, which is life’s true meaning and purpose.