One must go back further than religion. That is the starting point of the great reassessment we undertake in freeing ourselves from the burden of false knowledge. Freeing ourselves from unquestioned assumptions of truth. We need to get back to the roots of mankind, and in so doing, re-establish a direct and reciprocal relationship with nature and the universe, of which we are a part.
Religion is a man-made and once removed interpretation of the life force – and a false one at that. Whereas the life force (nature and the universe) works directly through man. There is no place for a ‘middle man’ to censor our experiences.
Religion placed an invisible wall between man and nature and between man and God, setting conditions for ‘orderly behaviour’ according to a doctrine of obedience. So now, as these walls crumble, we should stand proud in saying “Nature not religion.” “Truth not dogma”.
But that is merely the first step in our journey of a thousand miles. As the scales fall from our eyes we do not only recognise the truth ‘nature not religion’, we also recognise God to have given birth to nature. We recognise nature as an expression of the Creator. So with nature as our base, our next step up is to strive to come ever closer to our Creator. To realise the God within us. These are the stepping-stones of our emancipation as human beings.
“We must go down to the very foundations of life. For any merely superficial ordering of life, that leaves its deepest needs unsatisfied, is as ineffectual as if no attempt at order had ever been made”. ~I Ching, The Well
In terms of historical time, that event which is called ‘pagan’ came before religion and is superior to it, in that it encompassed a direct response to nature. So the progression I favour, moves through pagan to the state of higher consciousness we call Godly – leaving out religion completely. Let there be no barriers to the free-flow of the energetic life force as it gathers momentum in a universal quest for divine expression.
We humans are a vector for this divine energy. It is we who stand at the mid-point between the dawn of life on Earth and the supreme realisation of the potentiality contained within that dawn.
We are beings of pure movement and we are beings of pure stillness. We are a Divine Paradox. We juggle universality of spirit with red-blooded earthiness. Our drama unfolds as a journey through the myriad expressions of the eternal exigence we call Life.
Before religion, we were on our way in that expression of eternal exigence. After religion, we are once again on our way. But during religion we were trapped in a cul-de-sac of tantalising truths, authoritarian lies and dogma. How they clung to our skin. How they pasteurised our appetite. How they brought us to our knees. How they shamed our ecstasy. How they shackled our true God!
These chains are falling away now; you feel it don’t you? The links are rusting and disintegrating, even as the shoots of new life push upwards to embrace the call of the infinite.
Do not be afraid of your earthiness; fear not your free flying spirit. Rejoice in the downward pull of gravity; dance with the up-thrust of aspiration.
In our pagan days we saw and explored the beauty and power of nature; named gods after the forces that moved through water, plants, trees and seas. We performed rituals in honour of the changes of the seasons; decorated our bodies; wove colourful wreathes around our heads. We leaped with the flames of the fire and ran with the current of the wind. We meditated in quiet earnest; we danced in ecstasy.
“Yes” I hear you say “Then we were just a few thousand on vast tracts of unspoiled land – look at the world today!”
Yes, I look, and what I see is the devastation brought about by our turning away from the life force that offered – and continues to offer – such bounty. I see deserts of sterility where once fecundity was dominant. I see division within humanity where once was community. I see fear where once was joy.
But thankfully, I do not only see these failings of the human race. I also see long dormant seeds reawakening once again. I see the Great Spirit of nature and the universe being rediscovered within more and more aspirants of something so much more uplifting than the standard working week. I see and feel the power of that which is ‘beyond religion’ seeping ever deeper into the cracks of a failed status quo. Rising, Phoenix like, out of the dying embers of the old order’s decaying dogma. Spreading outward, penetrating the darkness of unawareness; lifting the spirit and casting light on the outlines of the world to come.
For at the centre, within each one of us, is that eternal agitator for the realisation of all latent potential. The infinite spark of creation, itself forever urging us on. So if you should find yourself still vainly clutching at the apron strings of a worn-out dogma, release your hold. Experience yourself as that which was – Is – and always will be. That which soars way beyond the great deviation from truth that goes under the title ‘religion’.
Julian Rose, Contributor