Monday, October 16, 2006

spiritual awakening

Monday, October 16, 2006
i'm having one. its breathtaking. to wade through the wisdom of ages. to come face to face with the thoughts, ideas, stories of the most brilliant and respected sages of ancient history, of present-day. to live in this era - this era in which information avails itself so widely among the populace - its such a privilege. the ideas of so many swirl all around me. i only need reach out and grab. and scrutinize. and attend, distantly.

and ... i'm doing just that. the word 'israel' apparently means struggle with g-d. i really believe i feel the essence of what that means - what that struggle feels like and whence it resonates. i tumbled into the world and landed in a microcosm veiled by an ultra-catholic filter. the cult of catholicism. an institution which strives to keep its believing masses uninformed - like faithful zombies with no capacity for scrutinizing - one cannot scrutinize what one does not fully know.

all the questions i had. ignored, all of them. one mustn't ask such questions - its a sign of your weakness of faith. we must just believe, even if it doesn't make sense. that was the standard party line. and ... well, now it just does not suffice. its a cop out. so i'm on a quest. to quench this thirst i have for knowledge of g-d. i've poked thru the summa theologica by aquinas. the logical inconsistency of the trinty, the notion that illogical propositions are 'mysterious' and therefore, worthy of faith -- these i found untenable.

i have discovered maimonides and his guide for the perplexed - a stunning, stunning and brilliant work. light years ahead of his time - in terms of his description of the universe, the notion of planets, circular motion, atoms, and description of laws of nature that remind one of the so-called newton's laws of motion. and in all this, yes, a brilliant discussion of the nature and essence of g-d.

i read a lucid, well written refutation of the classic christian proof-texts re: messiahship of jesus in why the jews rejected jesus, written by david klinghoffer. wow. inspiring to see such a lucid explanation ... such clear answers to questions i have had for so long. the questions that i always got told pointed to my weakness of faith. inspiring. incredibly inspiring.

and then i began to read about kabbalah on the bus ride back home. (yes, finally after three hours i managed to drag myself away from the library). i only read a few pages. but, even just opening my mind and heart to the words and sentiments contained within the pages i held, even this filled me with a strange ecstatic sort of rapture. not a physical feeling. an essential sensation - a psychic sensation.

and so ... that's it. the awakening. or, more accurately, its beginning.

image originally uploaded by panic-embryo


Behind Blue Eyes said...

I've read about the kabbalah too, have been reading about it for years. It's affected a lot of how I think about things. I was actually introduced to it through the tarot cards, as some people believe that the kabbalah is contained symbolically within the cards. I have toyed with the idea that the Jewish people actually reflected what I believe more accurately than the christian, but don't think ultimately I could renounce 'the saviour' it's too embedded in my psyche, even though I don't believe in it the way that other people do. I believe he was...what you called a sage...and nothing more. Which of course, technically makes me not a christian anyway. The first time I figured out that I was probably not a Christian, I felt this horrible fear, even terror. I still get a superstitious trembling just writing these though I've cut myself off from good. There is a book that I would like to suggest....The Tao of Physics. Also, Mathew Fox...he is excellent! Can't say enough about him! He was a Jesuit Priest who was excommunicated for his beliefs.
The more that I have gotten away from the teachings of the church, the more I wonder and marvel at the world. I think that God is so much more than what they teach us. Imagine....we are at an atomic level....all made of the same thing as the wind, and the earth and the water and the sky. Yet we live, we walk, we breathe, we love, we think.....isn't this more miraculous than anything I have ever heard at church? Why the separation between church and science? the more I found out about science, the more that I believed in God. But it kind of ruined my ability to think of God as something personal. That is what I lost and have never been able to regain.
I have left what I believed behind a long time ago, but am not an atheist. I don't really know what I believe. I wrote a post about the tarot cards a while back and it was really misunderstood. I suppose because I didn't do a good job writing know...saying exactly what I wanted. But my beliefs have to do with the wondrosity (is that a word? of all we see around us and I do believe that there is something creative that holds it all together. And I do believe that there is truth and good and evil and all of that. I love reading about the science of time and space and each thing that I read about, the more complex it is, the more I believe in God. I guess somehow, the Tarot proves all of this to me...though I know that sounds space-cadety and new-agey I said...I begin to lose my credibilty when I talk about things like this. But that won't stop me.
Well, have fun! Becaus it is fun isn't it?

mantissa said...

hi blue eyes.

i hear you.

on tarot. i have, in fact, read that also - about the kabbalah connection. in fact i read a book by a dude who also made and published his own kabbalah tarot cards. it doesn't surprise me - i am learning that many, many things can be traced back to jewish thought. more than we know ... or perhaps are willing to admit.

on the jesus as messiah thing. i know what you mean. but ... y'now, i have always just wondered. had questions that no one wanted to entertain. and for me ... i just never bought the whole line of 'well we believe because it is mysterious' (ie doesn't make sense) - that's a farce.

and ... catholicism - mine anyhow - was famous for keeping its laity from knowledge ... of ancient peoples. like ... cultural context of the time in which jesus lived. i mean, jewish society and law. now that i am finding out for myself, it all seems to make sense. i don't have any doubt about this. one rabbi - (rabbi's seem to have an innate wisdom for distilling the wisdom of the most complex things in life) - said that there is no way you will ever convince a jew that a man is g-d. and ... yeah.

if you read the old testament, the entire new testament indeed seems apocryphal. and that is the difference - the catholics just blindly accept without question. the jews struggle, admonish, question ... and ultimately know.

i now sort of feel mildly outraged at the dupe of catholicism. but i also tell myself its not deliberate. those people actually believe all that, i suppose. the real culprits are the useless pricks in the vatican. i think they know ... on some level ... and i think ego has won over g-d there. i think the church has become the idol warned against in the 10 commandments.

one more thing about g-d. i see now that g-d's image indeed has been burned into my psyche. and all along i suppose i knew. but anger at the manipulation of my religious framework and hypocrisy therein coloured my feelings about g-d. so i re-approached it from an intellectual perspective. that 'shalom in the home' rabbi sparked my interest. and i followed an information thread. i cannot believe how knowledge repressing catholicism is!

i highly recommend checking out maimonides 'a guide for the perplexed' ... its unbelievable. its sort of verbose and takes time to wade thru but not too bad. he wrote this in the 13th century and yet he refers to the universe, motion of spheres, describes physical phenomena that later newton would call the laws of motion and in all this, there are discussions of g-d and his nature etc. it blows me away. science and g-d. together. how much wisdom is contained in jewish writings. makes one think that maybe they do know something the rest of us don't.

yes ... this is quite an adventure ... fun, indeed to revisit the stories of genesis, and old testament.

ok. sorry to ramble ...

Enemy of the Republic said...


You are the person formally known as a type of fabric, I just want to make sure. I plan on coming back to do justice to this post. I think about changing my name and if I go beta, I will. Kabbalah is fascinating, but this week I'm teaching the Koran, so my mind is caught up with Islam. However anything that implies mysticism and our own finite understanding gets my vote.

mantissa said...

yes, eotr. that's me - formally known as a type of fabric. lol.

i'm discovering the world, lol, now that i have dared step out of (and renounced) that catholic box. sheesh! it was awfully cramped and stuffy in that box.

i'm amazed at mysticism. at the wisdom of judaism. at the passionate conviction of muslims. wow. is all i can say.

cool about the name change. beta's good - really i like it. i think i like this name for awhile. no guarantees about the template though. lol.

hang in there.

Lady Prism said...

You must write more of what you read. And I feel safe here to say that..probably I am not a Christian as well...BehindBlueEyes brought out a pouring of what is inside the last drop of word...I do not know at thispintt what I believe about He he exist..truly?...His teachings however are profound..and that I want to live...However..I want t learn deeper..I think...I think...I am no longer really think...

mantissa said...

lux - i have been reading. reading reading. its amazing. i cannot believe anymore that jesus was divine - you know that he was g-d. i can't believe that possibility.

when i learned about and got to understand the way society was at the time ... and also know about the prophesies fortelling the coming of the messiah in the old testament, then ... jesus just seems like some rebellious jew with outrageous ideas, not a divinity.

things that bother me about the jesus thing: he was not a pious or learned jew. he did not follow the torah (jewish law) and did not marry (all jewish men are obliged by the torah to marry and have children).

he also dragged 12 other men away from their families and livelihood. he claimed to be divine, himself. that seems like idolatry. no other prophet claimed divinity.

many of the well known stories surrounding jesus have their roots in ancient mythology - ie the notion of a hero being borne of a virgin, the notion of resurrecting after three days - and one wonders.

i am learning ... going deeper.

Lady Prism said...

my husband would always say..everything is about politics...the politics of that time is weaved inside the stories...we are indoctrinated to believe...and not to think...

It's time I get myself a copy of the kabbalah...

mantissa said...

lux - your husband is right ... mine says the same thing. funny, huh?