Friday, November 03, 2006



One Step Beyond

Earlier, I wrote about how it is difficult today to find agreement with others about all sorts of things. Indeed, that does seem to be a part of life today. Again, I reiterate that my entire discussion about world view is not intended to convince anyone to agree with me. I just hope it provides food for thought and encourages others to become more aware of the factors that influence their own behaviors and actions, and to grow in their ability to make free will choices based on both reason and love in their hearts.

Nevertheless, as a concluding chapter, I want to take note of a happy event that does take place in each of our lives--occasionally. That event is when we find another person who DOES agree with us. What fun! It is clearly a human trait to find joy in agreement. It doesn’t happen too often; so we do appreciate when it does. I want to include a couple examples of how this works.

When I was 18 years old, I was--even then--a serious thinker. Enrolled as a freshman at the University of Michigan, I took a course called “Great Books.” That course introduced me to the ideas and philosophy of Plato, the great Greek philosopher and teacher. Previous to this I had always felt much like an “outsider.” I knew no one who thought the kind of deep, philosophical, and (to even me) “weird” thoughts that I thought. But when I started to read Plato, I discovered that my thoughts were neither weird, nor were they just mine. I found most of my thoughts in Plato’s writings as well! What joy! I wasn’t alone in the world! That simple little experience lifted my soul and confidence to a considerable degree that carried me for years. I discovered “connections.“ I expect that many others find similar connections in various sources, philosophical or religious, or possibly even in self-help psychology.

Over the years I have found such connections in hundreds of books by hundreds of authors from the distant past as well as the present. This has continued to bring me great joy and encouragement. I intend to conclude this discussion with my most recent connection. I just completed reading a book by P.M.H. Atwater, a fascinating authority on death, near death, and the afterlife. I have read several of her works. This new one is called We Live Forever: The Real Truth About Death (A.R.E. Press, 2004). While I was reading this work, I was also working on my discussion of “world view.”

Here are some pertinent items I found in Atwater’s book. She said, “The real us is I AM; and what I AM everyone else is, for all of us are cells in the Greater Body, expressions of the One God. We are one with the One. Always and ever connected.” (39) She quotes from world scriptures that assure us that we are gods in the making: “I have said, You are gods; all of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6); and “God becomes man in order that man might become God” (Bhagavad Gita).

Atwater expresses her belief system as follows. I find it is nearly identical with my belief system (or world view). “Oneness is the unity of all things within the reality of the One I call God. . . .Manyness is the diversity of ensoulment that God created . . . Littleness I consider to be you and I as personalities with an ego. I would also include dogs and cats, trees, boulders, and all created things, for each is an entity of purpose and potential.”
(So I could say that THIS is my current belief system, based on all previous experiences, studies, and insights.
I do like the way she says it.)

She summarizes:
“Oneness--unifying factor, the central source of the central vision; God.
Manyness--extensions from the central source charged with the outworking of the greater plan; souls.
Littleness--expressions of the greater plan; the myriad forms of entities that enable God to experience Itself as Itself through the process of individuation, of birth and death, beginnings and endings; individuals.”

Given that I taught Myths of the World for twenty years, and that the Hopi myths always intrigued me especially, I was also touched by Atwater’s comment about the Hopi. “In the Hopi language, the word family translates “to breathe together.” Humankind to the Hopi is a single unit with all people members of the same whole, the same oneness. Science essentially tells us the same thing: We come from a common ancestry, we are relations, we are one.” (This, too, is my personal spiritual belief.)

[By the way, “Hopi” means peace.”]

So I conclude (at least temporarily on this subject) by wishing everyone “peace.”

May God bless us all.

Namaste. (A Hindu expression that says: I honor the God in you and the God in me).


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