But we don’t know it

Painting by Daniel Garber

“Of one hundred persons who take up the spiritual life, eighty turn out to be charlatans, fifteen insane, and only five, maybe, get a glimpse of the real truth.
Therefore beware.”

— Swami Vivekananda

*

Despite this invisible caring, we prefer to imagine ourselves thrown naked into the world, utterly vulnerable and fundamentally alone. It is easier to accept the story of heroic self-made development than the story that you may well be loved by this guiding providence, that you are needed for what you bring, and that you are sometimes fortuitously helped by it in situations of distress. May I state this as a bare and familiar fact without quoting a guru, witnessing for Christ, or claiming the miracle of recovery? Why not keep within psychology proper what once was called providence — being invisibly watched and watched over?”

~James Hillman,
The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling

*

Magick has never disappeared from the earth. The people of the Earth just forgot what magick is. The entire Earth holds such magick that if we really spent time relearning the ways of our ancestors we would know that we are one and the same.

— Neva Kennedy

*

“The sacred is not in heaven or far away. It is all around us, and small human rituals can connect us to its presence. And of course, the greatest challenge (and gift) is to see the sacred in each other.”

— Alma Luz Villanueva

We have orphaned ourselves, and then we go searching for the magic we lost while forgetting we’re still wearing our blindfolds. The general deficit of vision creates an opportunity for charlatans who pretend to know hidden things and have some kind of vision or magic. We feel lost because we have forgotten how to see that everything is connected. We see what we believe, that everything is discrete and separated from everything else. That idea holds our civilization in thrall.

We have pursued material existence to its roots and found to our astonishment that it doesn’t really exist except in a very ephemeral sense, and furthermore, everything shares the same source and is connected to everything else. It looks like reality is the opposite of what we imagine, but we haven’t adjusted to this revelation. We still feel cut off from nature and from peoples who look or speak differently than we do.

Ancient humans were often more spiritually mature than we are. The fact that we’re so proud of our machines and comforts shows how childish we are. Even our elders are lost and confused when it comes to spiritual matters. Practical advice masquerades as wisdom. Money has pushed the gods off their Olympus.

Still we long for something “beyond,” some kind of larger meaning to life. Being untutored to any spiritual depth, we grasp at straws. We wander, looking for signs and portents. Our concreteness pins us to the surface of ourselves and to our whole earthly sojourn.

If we have noticed that this is our situation, we can be more alert to the questions it raises. We can take an interest in ideas our society ignores. There is a strange void in our mentality engendered by what our culture hides from itself. We hunger and thirst after a life of meaning and intensity. We endure a life of too much stuff yoked to an empty spirituality.

There’s no quick or easy answer to this state of affairs. Tinkering around the edges of our culture won’t address the root causes. Real vision, real questions, real insights are needed. Fundamental change is required.

The task is none other than a complete revisioning of humanity. We know that very few of us are ready to do that and until a sufficient number of us face that challenge, we are all living in precarity.

From I Wayan Wardita

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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