Monday, February 11, 2008

The Junction

There are junctions where the ‘spiritual’ intersects with the ‘material.’ It could be a place, (a church, mosque, or temple), and it could happen in an action, sound vibration, breath, dream, intention and a day of the week (the Sabbath). Our bodies are also junctions. That connection of spirit to matter is what makes the body alive, and what makes the body a tabernacle.

In Hinduism one goes to the temple to take darshan (have audience) of the Deity. A Christian goes to a church to pray, and a Native American crawls into the sweat lodge, or medicine lodge, and, acknowledging kinship to all beings, utters “Mitakuye Oyasin – all my relations.”

A Jew might go to the Wailing Wall. There, he might leave a letter to God. And in the synagogue, the Torah is kept on the altar and adorned with a crown and wrapped in beautiful cloth, just as Hindus adorn the Deity with crown and elaborate dress.

A Moslem would view all this as idol worship, although he thinks that one of the most important events of his life is to travel to Mecca to circumambulate the Kabba and kiss with great reverence the black rock housed there, just as, in the synagogue, when the Torah is paraded through the congregation, everyone wants to kiss the cloth in great reverence.

A Catholic will take communion and a Hindu will take prasadam (sanctified foods). They, along with the Buddhists, chant on prayer beads, whispering the names of God. The dervish dances to evoke the sacred. And all traditions make pilgrimages to their holy sites. All these practices are very beautiful, and they reveal a rich tapestry of worship of the Transcendent Reality.

But there are several deadly viruses that destroy the connection – pride, greed, anger, fear. Once again fear is manifesting itself with the reemergence of fundamentalism. Fear inhibits our vision, and, unfortunately, most so-called religionists see God’s world as very shallow. They curse, denigrate, and discredit one another for their beliefs and practices. This gives religion a bad rep.

In the meantime, for those who take the time to learn how to see properly, this natural world, full of diversity with all its various colors, shapes, smells and tastes, reflects the wondrous diversity of God’s Eternal Realm. In their gradual awakening, they come to realize that it's all a junction.