When asked “what am I?” I always answer by saying I think
of myself as being within the historical stream of mysticism, where there
is no violence, no dualism and no absolutes.
NO VIOLENCE: The vast majority of all the religious violence
of the last 2000 years has come from the “believers” of Judaism…Christianity
and Islam..the people of the ‘book’, the bible. Carl Sagan called the burning
of the library in Alexandria by Christians in 391 one of the most obscene
atrocities in the history of our species, Homo sapiens.’ Had there
been a world view and philosophy of mysticism there would have been no
burning of the library, but a celebration of the wealth of knowledge stored
there……nor would there have been the Crusades…the Inquisition…the
Witch slaughtering….nor would there be a Northern Ireland nightmare as
there is today with bible believers….nor would there be a West Bank or
Gaza strip killing field.. Such violence would be unthinkable and obscene
to anyone living within the world view of mysticism
NO DUALISM:‘ We must rid ourselves of the dualism that infects
so much of our orthodox religious views of the earth and the universe.
Dualism constantly separates man and woman from the sacred….nature from
man…and spirit from matter. Several years ago the giant Zen Master, D.T.
Suzuki, was lecturing at Stanford University. He opened his address’
by stepping up to the front of the stage…leaning toward the audience…and
saying:’ “Man against God…….God against Man…..man against
nature…..nature against man….God against nature….nature against God……a
very, very funny religion.”
Many still want to apply the word symbol “God” to something “out
there” that is separate and distinct from us “down here” on
this planet earth. It is always God AND something else….God AND us….God
AND the creation…God AND the earth…..God AND the creatures….like
the word “God” was a symbol for some “it” “out there”.
In Mysticism is the recognition that the word “God” is only a symbol
for the Oneness of everything. The Mystery we call “God” is within
every cell of our bodies, every leaf, every atom, every molecule, within
everything that is. The Universe is a totality and an interrelatedness
of all things. It is John Muir saying that “everything is hitched to
everything else.” Everything on this planet came from the evolution
of stars. For this cohesive mystery, within that totality, some use the
word symbol “God”…some the “Tao”…for the Sioux it was
Today’s physics and quantum mechanics confirm that the classifications
of organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate are archaic and invalid
(of course, Eastern spiritual traditions with American Indian traditions
have been saying that for centuries).
James Jeans said it well:’ “Modern physics has reduced the whole
universe to waves, and nothing but waves. All galaxies, stars, planets
and human beings are manifestations of waves”‘ There is no dualism.
Everything is One and “hitched to everything else.”
NO ABSOLUTES:‘ The Dean of French Physics, Jean-Henri Poincare,
wrote “there is no absolute space… there is no absolute time…”
Einstein latched on to these words to develop his theory of relativity.
The only ‘absolute’ in life is that there are “no absolutes”.’
“All values are relative to the mind that entertains them” they
say in Taoism and Zen.’ “Truth on this side of the mountain is
falsehood on the other side of the mountain” wrote Pascal.
In orthodox Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the neurotic desire
to keep everything in simple black and whites…good and bad….truth and
falsehood…..In Mysticism , as well, as in Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism)
they smile, or laugh, at this childish naivete and simplicity.’ They
tell stories to illustrate. What’s good or bad depends on whether you are
a man, a frog or a mosquito. To the man, the frog is good because he can
eat the frog, but the mosquito is bad because he can eat on the man. To
the frog, the man is bad because the man will eat him, but the mosquito
is good because he can eat the mosquito. To the mosquito the man is good
because he can eat on the man, but the frog is bad because the frog will
eat him..’ So, what is good or bad depends on whether you are a frog,
a man or a mosquito.’ All of their stories like this carry profound
The point:’ What is good or bad depends on whether you are a Democrat
or a Republican….a Holy Roller or a Taoist….a Buddhist or a Jew…..Hindu
or Moslem. What they are saying in these stories is that all values are
relative to the mind that entertains them. Nothing is absolute in Mysticism.
The symbol for this recognition of complementary and relative opposites
is the Tai-Chi disk, the Yin-Yang circle. Everything in the cosmos is composed
of these relative and complementary opposites, never frozen or rigid, never
absolute, functioning as ONE within the circle.
No absolutes:’ That giant of American letters, Ralph Waldo Emerson,
said it well:’ “Nothing is secure….. except life and the energizing
spirit.’ No love’ can be bound by oath or covenant to secure
it against a higher love…..No truth, so sublime, but it may be trivial
tomorrow in the light’ of new thought…”
Mysticism is an attitude of mind, a particular orientation to the world
around and within us,’ an insight into the nature of reality and truth,
a recognition of the Oneness of everything that can be experienced directly.
It is a spiritual sense of intuition. It is the recognition of the fact
that the cucumber is your brother…..and the red tail hawk is your sister…and
we all evolved from the stars together….and everything “is hitched
to everything else” in a symbiotic relationship…and the waves that
tie it all together…..is the cosmic dance of Shiva.
“No Violence … No Dualism … No Absolutes” is copyright ©
2001 by William Edelen.
The electronic version is copyright © 2001 Internet Infidels
with the written permission of William Edelen.