Eight Noble Truths - Part 2
1. All that we see and touch is an illusion.
2. The only meaningful reality is in our hearts.
3. Our spirits grow when we give love or respect.
4. Our spirits shrivel when we subjugate or fixate on physical gratification.
5. Before we are born, our spirits cloak themselves in flesh.
6. When our bodies die, our spirits shed these cloaks.
7. Our spirits are eternal.
8. The reason our universe is dual physical-spiritual is because this is the best way for our spirits to grow.
In order to avoid commentary taking over the true meaning of the statements above (for instance, elevating Jesus as Christ instead of Son of Man as he intended), allow me to comment myself on the motivations of each.
1. i have no scientific evidence to support this statement. Most of our experiences testify toward a blunt physical existence. We have some anecdotal evidence toward a spiritual side but these could be dismissed as superstition, an accumulation of fears, wishful thinking, or any other emotional reaction to the unknown. Some propose 'spirituality' is merely an emotional weakness which we need to overcome. However, if we take the film Contact written by Carl Sagan as a kind of heuristic guide to the unknown, we must respect it and treat it as a way to learn about ourselves and potential paths to interact with future unknowns. i believe Sagan's basic premise in the film was: respect the unknown; use it as a way to learn about ourselves; use it as a way to overcome our own weaknesses. Sagan was not only a profound thinker, but he was obviously a deeply spiritual man .. Each one of us must decide for ourselves to believe in a spiritual side to our existence or not. This is the nature of faith and our existence.
2. If we accept statement one, there is a meaningful reality or there is not. It would be kind of pointless to have a spiritual side to existence without meaning. The two statements 'go together'. If that meaningful reality existed only in our minds, then our minds would be the 'seat' of reality. But if that were so, then our delusions, insanities, and fears would all be 'reality'. This is untenable. What is enduring? What overcomes all adversity? Love, patience, kindness, generosity,.. All good things overcome adversity. Where do these reside? In our hearts. Technically speaking, our 'hearts' reside physically in our nervous systems but.. Traditionally, we point to our chest and indicate - this is the source of our feelings - whether or not it is the actual physical source. Our heart is our emotive/spiritual center. It is where goodness/evil resides. It is our motivation. It is the reason we live.
3. If we accept statements one and two, there is a spiritual side to our existence. Whether or not we can prove it physically, there is a spirit for each human being (and likely - other species). Implicit in statement three is the fact - each of us has an enduring 'thing' which continues after death. Call it a soul, call it a spirit, call it our mind, call it 'the force' ;) - whatever you want to call it - we have something that endures.. This is not weakness; this is not wishful thinking; this is a fact - or it is fantasy - you must decide for yourself what to believe. If you choose to believe in the human spirit, then there must be some way for it to grow. Nothing living stagnates; nothing alive stays the same.
4. Goes along with statement three.
5. 6. and 7. These statements detail the implicit statement in three. They make explicit the fact each of us has an eternal spirit - and how that spirit connects to physical 'reality'. If we accept the fact our spirits exist and are eternal, then they must somehow relate to or connect to the physical 'reality' we observe with our eyes and touch with our fingers. If they were not eternal, then the 'spirit' could be thought of as a mind-of-minds over many lifetimes. But what would be the point of that? That would be little better than the 'life is nothing more than what we see' perspective. Of course, it is possible we have finite-lifetime-spirits, but i think it unlikely in the scenario we present above. If the spirit exists, it is surely eternal, has the capacity for growth, and connects to 'reality' in some way resembling the description above.
8. If we had a purely physical universe (no spirits), then this discussion is pure fantasy .. However, if there is something 'more than what we see', then surely it has properties similar to what has been discussed. If our universe was purely spiritual (with no physical manifestation), then what challenges for growth would we have? i can envision some (such as the Christian 'war in heaven'). What is a war in heaven compared to an individual 'war in each soul'? The battleground becomes personal, gritty, real, in-our-face,.. when we have the war waged in each of our hearts. i don't see it as the Christian 'all or nothing' scenario.. i see it as a lifelong battle to retain integrity, innocence, humility, and respect.
One of my old friends from middle-school asked the question "What if it's true?" (What if the Christians/Muslims/Hindus/Jews/.. had it 'right' all along?) What kind of life would each of us lead? Would it change anything? i don't think any one religion is 'right'. One of my religious studies professors said "It's all facets of the Divine." (We all see different perspectives of God.) As each religion has its fatal flaw, each also has a helpful set of perspectives of human life. i've leaned towards Buddhism because it seems the least offensive and domineering. But even that religion has its weaknesses.
When we step foot on another planet, when we transform our culture into a True world civilization, we need a faith appropriate for the times. Our species is obviously not strong enough to live without faith. We need something to believe in.. The set of values and perspectives presented above is the simplest, most cogent, most civilization reinforcing set i can derive. Please realize a tremendous amount of contemplation and prayer has gone into these concepts. They are truly Divinely inspired; they have come directly from my heart.
In much the same way as i reflected much of the good and bad in my personal relationships, i've tried to reflect the 'essence of lessons learned' in these essays.. Experience has taught me lessons, perhaps if i had known the unspeakable pain garnered in the process - i might have prayed otherwise, only experience can teach. i pray each of you does not have to experience that pain. If you can take these essays to heart, you may be able to avoid much of it.. i cannot know for sure.
The only thing i know in absolute surety is the fact we need to transform our world. We are on the verge of 'planetary divergence' (where we spread our species onto other worlds). If we continue on the path of exploitation, as we have done, we are doomed to self-extinction .. We have a 'fork in the road' right now: we can chose the path to our spiritual/civilization deaths .. Or we can choose the Better Way.