My Christmas wish is this: That we decide as individuals, as people, as members of a species, that we must work to help each other and if we are not up to it – then we at least commit to not hurt anyone.
This is not an original thought. As an adolescent I had what some might call a “near-death experience” when I almost drowned. Trapped beneath the water I was panicking and then everything became still. Everything became a vast awareness that had no boundaries. The boy in the water was and wasn’t me - I was the field of awareness the boy arose in. There was a clear vision – that we should try to help one another and if we aren’t up to it that is ok, just don’t hurt anyone. Then I surfaced (the boy again) choking and gasping.
Years later when I was a graduate student I had a similar experience in a derailed white water rafting experience. Again, I was underwater, again I panicked, again everything became a vast field of awareness that even my own identity arose and fell away in. Again there was a vision. “Try to help people. If you’re not up to it that is ok – just don’t hurt anyone.” Again I surfaced gagging on water and clawed my way to shore.
This experience repeated when I was in spiritual direction at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1990 and in another altered state experience I had in the late '90s. The message was the same.
Like my ancestor, Robert Green Ingersoll, I claim to be an “agnostic.” For me it just means that I cannot wrap my mind around the enormity of something like God anymore than a dog can wrap its mind around algebra (allusion to Huston Smith). I am open and suspicious of those who claim to have it all figured out (“for-profit prophets”).
I have not been a very good steward of my vision and last Friday some circuit in my brain “snapped.” After vomiting and crying I realized I am responsible for this vision, thus this blog. Anyone who seeks truth; anyone who seeks integrity; anyone who wants to leave the world better for future generations must be accountable. Let’s start with the basics.
1) There is no reason any civilian needs an assault weapon, an extended munitions clip and there is no reason ammunition purchases should not be traced like we trace the purchase of cold medication. We have for too long allowed the fear and rage that fester in mediocrity to direct the course of our society.
2) There is no “muscular” Christianity. Firearms and the Jesus of the synoptic gospels and Revelation are utterly incompatible. If you claim to be Christian you must step up and help stop this madness. You can’t have it both ways and you don’t even have to make a rational decision – just practice your faith and discern what the center of that faith would have you do. Would Jesus really “conceal and carry?” Really?
3) Those who practice or are attracted to “new age” belief systems – there is no non-dual perspective on the death of a child. “Yes,” there is a non-dual experience wherein we become the field of awareness in which all things arise – “yes” – but it doesn’t matter – you and I are here in a dualist world where there is good and evil and where we must be accountable for our choices. The wisest will never be the ones in political office so WE MUST ACT rather than naval-gaze hoping that some “new consciousness” (which DIDN’T happen on 12/21) will arise.
I will do my part and my Christmas wish is that you continue doing yours. Life can be a beatific vision or a horror. Which, is up to us.