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Journal 2008-08-22

Maybe there isn't a direct link between the cosmology and practice. Directly trying to connect these may not be the most efficient way to express a spiritual vision of the universe. But I started this discussion with the question of how to tap into the flow of energy that overcomes physical disabilities and limitations. The question is not of eliminating such disabilities but making sure that they do not conquer the spirit. According to some teachers, physical disabilities may even be an expression of mental or spiritual weaknesses, and we certainly see a correlation between one's mental and spiritual state and one's degree of immunity to disease, and one's ability to surmount disease.

As mentioned, what does not appeal to me is development of will power, as something individuated from the cosmic. I would rather draw from the cosmic, align myself with it, and in the terms of Indian spirituality this is known as bhakti. Bhakti is usually towards ishwara, or God with attributes. There is also bhakti towards the cosmic without attributes, though this is conceived of as more difficult. It can also easily take on an intellectual veneer. I wonder if I can find in India a school that practices bhakti towards the absolute without attributes, with which I can feel comfortable? or maybe I should look elsewhere? In Buddhism, the Buddhism of Thich Nhat Hanh, there is the concept of interbeing, of non-separation, the idea that all beings are related to each other in their essence. This isn't a theism, but an ecological view of the universe. A view that things do not have a separate existence. In Buddhism, and other spiritual perspectives, without theism, the field of interest is shifted away from the egoistic context to awareness of the whole. Rather than a judgmental and critical view of the world, there is direct awareness, which includes within its vision also the interrelation of all things.

The above worldview is not one of bhakti, exactly, but of appreciation. It is not the worship of the God-spirit in all things, but mindfulness of the interdependence of all things. No thing can exist independantly, but requires the presence of other things for its existence. Not only does the divine essence exist in all things, it also binds them together.

The urge is to ask how can I link myself to this energy, join this union, and usually I think we attempt that by joining some spiritual movement or sangha - but these are only surrogates. Joining oneself to the divine essence, or rather reaffirming the existing connection, is probably not something that offers security, a membership card, the sense of belonging to an elite group. However, if one truly succeeds, a feeling of fellowship, dissolving individual ego, should follow from it.

You are because I am

I am because you are

We are linked

Because of your poverty

I am rich

Because of your weakness

I am strong

Because of your crookedness

I am straight

Because of my health

You are diseased

And sometimes the tables are turned

Weakness and strength are two positions on the same dial.

We are all brothers, brother.