Today’s blog addresses superstition and how the tendency toward superstition has carried over from ancient times to the culture of today, often unconsciously. But, more importantly, it is about transcending superstition and knowing empowerment in an enlightened state of awareness. It is about becoming a spiritual mountain.
Let’s begin with how conscious evolution was at work in the ancient world. I am picking up the human story during the initial development of human civilization, as we know it, in the Fertile Crescent during the Bronze and Iron Ages. This culture came out of the Stone Age hunter-gatherer reality at the dawn of civilization.
Do you think there might have been cultural factors at work in the ancient world that affected the spiritual awakening that transpired then? How could the cultural factors of the day—ancient beliefs, attitudes, and practices—not color the spiritual awakening of the ancients? When you think about how spiritual evolution works, it doesn’t go from night to day, from total sleep to total enlightenment, in a moment, a year, or a generation. I’m not arguing whether such a transformation is possible. I’m simply saying that is not usually how it goes.
To understand what was working through the consciousness of the ancients, you have to understand the nature of spiritual awakening. No doubt there are many ways to describe it and many facets to it. But at its core, in all its phases, it is a movement from an experience of victimhood to an experience of creatorship.
From the perspective of modern Western culture, the victimhood experienced by ancient cultures is named as superstition. The origin of the word is Latin: Super means “above” and stition is from a word that means “to stand, to make, or be firm.” So, the word superstition names a belief in realities that stand above human life, often seen as gods, spirits, ancestors, or demons. In the ancient world, those realities were seen to influence human destiny.
There are plentiful literary and historical references to the superstition of the ancients.
In Homer’s story of the Trojan War, The Illiad, he portrays the Greek goddesses Hera and Athena as supporting the Greeks, while Aphrodite intervened on behalf of the Trojans.
People of ancient Mesopotamia dressed up idols of gods and fed them banquets twice a day. They sacrificed animals to the gods, so their wrath toward human beings would be directed toward the animal instead.
They sacrificed children to the Middle Eastern god Moloch to appease his wrath.
Child sacrifice was offered to Canaanite gods, and they practiced cultic prostitution to encourage the gods to bring fertility to the land.
This is a small part of the history of our superstitious past. It is a story of helplessness and victimhood and the attempt to influence powers believed to be far greater than us.
There are stories of profound spiritual awakening throughout the Hebrew Bible that became the Old Testament of the Bible. These stories portrayed a movement from superstition to empowerment, from victimhood to creatorship.
The first hero of the story was Abraham. He awoke to a calling to leave his culture and create a great nation that would bless all families of the world. As the story is told, he heard God commanding him to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains. In the middle of carrying out the deed, he awoke from the old, superstitious pattern and saved his son.
There are many other stories of how the Hebrews attempted to rise above the superstitious ways of their culture. These are widely recognized by biblical scholars. What is seen less often is the superstition from the culture around them that colored their new awareness of the Divine.
So what would that look like? It is the picture of weak, vulnerable human beings who want to get on the good side of an all-powerful God. And the picture of that God with the human tendencies of wrath, revenge, capricious decision-making, and sometimes beneficent approval.
I can’t make a categorical list of the depiction of the human tendencies attributed to God in the Bible in this short blog article. But here are two:
This is from the story of Noah’s Ark:
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.
This is from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah:
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
The New Testament addressed another phase of the process, and Jesus himself took it a step further. Not that what he was bringing was, in essence, any different from what had been brought before. After all, spiritual awakening is spiritual awakening, and there is only one thing to awaken to. But he was working with it at a higher level.
And still, you have the paradigm of human sacrifice imposed on the story. There is the picture of a God who would have wreaked destruction on the world except for the sacrifice Jesus offered in lieu of the whole human race.
Why is all this relevant to us? Observe the world around you, near and far. If superstition is a belief in victimhood and disempowerment in the light of more powerful, superior forces, do you see any conscious or unconscious superstition at work?
In one respect, our culture is like the culture of the ancient world. There is spiritual awakening transpiring at an accelerated rate. And it is in a cultural context that is rife with superstitious tendencies. Like before, the suspicion is sometimes related to powerful invisible entities, some seen as good and some evil—God and the devil. But given our cultural trend toward materialism and away from religion, our superstition tends to be based on earthly powers—governments, corporations, political parties, financial institutions, and the wealthy.
Here is where we have to make a fine distinction, but a distinction that makes all the difference.
The fact that someone has a superstitious attitude toward an entity they see as disempowering their ability and authority to lead a thriving life doesn’t mean that entity isn’t powerful.
Take the government. From a practical standpoint, it has a profound effect on the lives of its citizens. It levies taxes, wages war, regulates commerce, and passes laws. One person might take the government as a reason to feel disempowered. For another, they accept the government as part of the context of their creativity. No problem.
God is the source of life. From God comes the code of life, the unfolding pattern of manifestation for all Creation. God is the source of Love. God is Love. God is omniscient and omnipotent. What could be more powerful than that?
For one person, they think of God as looking at them as permanently and unalterably flawed. They see God as punishing and vengeful. And they take it upon themselves to gain God’s favor. Another person sees God as a constant source of radiant Love, all-forgiving and supporting—a friend. They feel empowered by God to live a creative life.
This is the difference between superstition and empowered creativity.
Think about the subtlety of this difference. The life force works through all people. For one person, their heart and mind are in harmony with the life force within them. They attune to it. It invigorates them. It uplifts them.
For another person, their reaction to the people and events of their life induces anxious thoughts and fearful feelings. They attempt to take life into their own hands to ward off the worst the world has to give them, all the while resisting the urge of the life force within them. They ignore the impulse to relax and receive the refreshing, invigorating current of life. They resist the wisdom and Love that is part of the creative urge from within. In this case, the person feels the life force as pressure from within that conflicts with what they are trying to do. They feel great stress. And so, the life force breaks them down emotionally, mentally, and physically. Same life force. Totally different results.
Is the life source punishing this person? Is it vengeful? No. It is just that the person is experiencing the natural consequences of how they relate to the creative urge within them. They are out of Attunement with it, and so they know the disharmony of that state of consciousness.
A person with a superstitious mindset ascribes the cause of the experience to a force outside themselves. And in some way, they are right. But the effects they are experiencing are not based on a vengeful attitude on the part of life itself. It is simply the result of their inharmonious relationship with something as foundational as the source of their own existence.
These issues arise in childrearing. If a parent has a superstitious mindset in relation to God or to the world, and they view God or the world as carrying out arbitrary or capricious judgment toward them, they are apt to act like that toward a child in their care. If, on the contrary, a parent is living a life of harmonized, empowered creativity, they are apt to encourage that experience in the child.
Love and Logic describes itself as a research-driven, whole-child philosophy. I’m familiar with it through my daughter, Helena, who has used it to raise her son, Xavi. It attempts to remove punishment from the experience of childrearing. In its place is the encouragement of parents to let their children fail when the cost of failure is small so that they learn the working of cause and effect in their own life. And if the parent has to be the instrument of allowing the child to experience the effects of their actions, they do so without anger and not as a punishment. To someone else, a time-out might look the same as punishment. But to the practitioner, it is not an arbitrary act of the parent. It is the parent facilitating the expected results of the child’s behavior.
Love and Logic is designed to empower the child and teach them to harmonize with the creative laws and principles that govern their life.
What I am getting to is that a superstitious mindset from ancient times has been carried forward even to today, and it affects every facet of human experience. And that our path of conscious evolution is to reverse the superstitious approach to life—to stop it in ourselves and to stop promulgating it in the world. In its place, we can bring harmonization with the creative forces within us.
What does it mean to be a truly empowered individual? How do we act as a creator with other people and in the world in which we live?
An empowered individual who is wildly intelligent, who is learning the code of Creation, knows what it is to create. They are not reacting to whatever is happening. If we think that is what God is doing—that he is reacting to us and what we are doing—is that not setting the pattern for how we act? If I think God is doing that to me—punishing me when I’m bad and rewarding me when I’m good—then I will likely model myself after that. So, I end up living an essentially reactive life. And even if a person doesn’t believe in God or think about such things consciously, there are unconscious patterns of thought and feeling that are so deeply embedded in our culture that most people act them out anyway.
What I am getting to here is that a reactive life is a weak life. If you are reactive to other people, you are not in touch with the power of Creation and the intelligence of Creation that is yours to embrace. You are too busy reacting, and you cannot be the force in the world that you are meant to be.
Thinking about this for myself and then observing it at work in my world, I thought of two ways we tend to react as human beings. The first is aggression. Something happens that a person doesn’t like, and they lash out. Perhaps they attempt to get some kind of revenge for the perceived wrong.
The second reaction is recoiling. Instead of standing their ground, they crumple emotionally. They cower and retreat.
So essentially, these two reactions are to attack or retreat. From a practical standpoint, there are times to retreat and times to bring an action that is assertive, if not aggressive, to the world. But I am not just talking about practicalities. I am speaking of what is happening spiritually within ourselves.
There is a third option—to be fully present in the situation, without any aggression and without any recoil. That is the way of power.
Then I am free to create. I am free to be wildly intelligent. Reaction is not wild intelligence. It does not lead to creativity. It takes us out of being in tune with the wisdom that is available to us. It also takes us out of being open to the higher Presence that becomes our presence. So, we become non-present in a state of reaction; we are not totally there. There is a sense of self that we create out of the reaction. It does not tap into the higher reality of who we are.
I want to use another word: disciple. We become a disciple of a Higher Presence. We become a disciple of the Wonderful One Within.
There is a discipline of being devoted to a Higher Presence.
I am here for this. I do not have the capacity or the interest to be reactive, because in being reactive I am not being true to my discipleship. I am becoming something that I am not meant to be. I am a disciple of myself, not just myself as a human personality but a disciple of the higher ranges of who I am. I am devoted to that, to being true to who I am. And I betray that discipleship if I am either recoiling or reacting aggressively. I am not being true to that discipleship.
There is the principle of these things, but then there is the living experience of them. It has practical results in the world in which we live, but it also has consequences for our own spirit. Our spirit is set free when we accept this discipleship for ourselves.
When we accept this, we become a spiritual mountain. The old superstitious mindset is gone.
I invite you to stand on two feet and feel yourself as a mountain. Feel your two feet firmly planted on the ground or floor. Feel what is above you. Feel the auric field surrounding you and penetrating you. Feel yourself as a mountain.
This is my affirmation of who I am as a mountain. You might like to make your own affirmation for yourself.
Whatever is happening in my life now, near or far, here is my answer: I am a mountain. I am a mountain of spirit, absolute, part of what is eternal, infinite, and omnipotent.
I am a mountain. And whatever happens in my life, I face it without cowering and without aggression, and without moving.
I serve a Higher Presence, a higher reality. I am a disciple of myself. I do not move.
I am a mountain.
I enjoy searching for music for our Gatehouse Sunday Service, to find some fitting pieces to set the atmosphere for our Zoom call. However, this past week my attention has been drawn to an extraordinary piece by a young British musician, Ren Gill.
The YouTube I first encountered was “Hi Ren”. It was anarchic yet riveting. Who is this guy? Thereafter, a run of commentary by well-experienced music critics and movie-makers reviewing this video. Each one with the same question, who is this guy?
With promising musical career and a signing with Sony, Ren was cut-down by what emerged as Lyme Disease. A tick, like a mosquito, attacks the nervous system and, undiagnosed, wreaks havoc. The poor man’s health over several years gave rise to an array of symptoms – painful joints, chronic fatigue, panic attacks, psychotic behaviour, isolation. Having recovered, he is using his music to highlight mental health issues. This is really gaining traction in the media and elsewhere.
A turning-point in Ren’s recovery came when he learnt to relax and soften. He wrote a song called “Patience”, with a repeat line, “Can’t you see, I have the strength of a mountain?”. This seems counter-intuitive to our notion of a mountain, but being resolute is the strength of spirit at work deep within us. It does not come from an aggressive stance. As Ren discovered, it comes when we surrender.
Beautiful!!!! Thank you!!!
David, this is such a brilliant exposition on the difference between superstitious/reactive “thinking” and the creative/empowered wisdom that comes naturally to an awakened consciousness. Your words so clearly describe conscious evolutionary process at work in the world today.
It has often been said that faith can move mountains. I believe Jesus said something to that effect. All too often words from the Bible, or words ascribed to Jesus, are interpreted literally instead of metaphorically. Thereby superstitions are perpetuated throughout history right up to the present.
When, as a child, I read those words, I took them quite literally and therefore I doubted their veracity. Such doubts, no doubt, prevented me from experiencing TRUE faith. My child’s mind had been infected with superstition.
Your words, David, have deeply moved the mountain that I AM. Let whatever superstitions that still remain be shaken loose. Let them crumble and be gone.