In Defensio De Contemplatio
By Rev. David Strickler
There comes a time in everyone’s life where one needs to look back and review the events and situations that occur from the interrelationships and effects from experiences within life. Many spiritual traditions teach and often speak of the periodic examination of daily events, weekly events to review ourselves in each situation that we encounter. It is quite often to find residual leftover feelings, but sensations or some type of pensive recurring feelings or thoughts can seem to loom like clouds moving through the daytime skyline overhead on a beautiful summer day.
Much has occurred since the production of the last Spiritual Climate Newsletter. I had taken a much needed vacation back to my hometown of Lorain, Ohio. This trip was long overdue and was given to me as a gift from my students. It was kind of decided for me when Ms. Ford had to make a return trip to visit some of her remaining family in Ohio. This worked out very well because I can’t travel by myself yet, let alone drive an automobile for more than fifteen or twenty minutes. I was excited to be able to return for a long overdue visit to my hometown. This gave me the opportunity with the limited time that I had, to catch up and have a 28 year reunion with some friends I had shared many tears, joys and growing pains with during the earlier part of my life, where music played a central theme and bonding role in friendship.
I am thankful for the opportunity to have renewed, rejuvenated and healed some of my relationships where it was necessary on my behalf. I was unable to see everyone that I wanted to and liked to have seen simply because I couldn’t seem to connect with them prior to my arrival in Ohio.
For all of the joy, memories and rejuvenation that a reunion with old friends can bring, this trip was also touched by a note of sadness. One would have to be blind not to recognize that my old home town is struggling for survival; that its people are fighting to maintain whatever meager existence they may have in their region of this country. I was further saddened to hear a secondhand commentary referenced to the leadership in that region and city; that the city leadership was launching an investigation to determine why the county was struggling—talk about learned ignorance and the height of conscientious stupidity—Duhhhh—an investigation? It doesn’t even require a highly skilled academic to understand what is going on in terms of the economic collapse of that city and any of the given regions in Ohio, talk about insincere ignorance from the local political leadership. Learned ignorance? Nicholas of Cusa ( 1401-1464 a.d. whose principal work is De Docta Ignorantia ) would be shocked and roll over in his grave, it would in the very least give him an abundance of fresh material with which to augment his work and writings were he alive today.
There are many parts of the trip that were surrealistic in the texture and quality from my subjective point of view that contribute to the ongoing contemplative and pensive state of awareness that I have been preoccupied with over the past ten months. It reaffirmed my findings that a quiet state of non physical activity coupled with an observant, analytical contemplative process can yield a positive abundance of conflict resolution and fresh insight; it can refresh an ongoing summation that hadn’t received necessary attention until it was given the required space, time and attenuation.
When coupled with revisiting the actual space of activities contained within a given domain of your life experience, contemplation becomes an indispensable tool that enables an in breathing and out breathing which is representative of the fruits and process of understanding. It also allows for the resizing into better proportions of any memories, thereby discarding unnecessary incongruities due to sensory maturation and contrast through time.
Contemplation is a process in which this review takes place in our thoughts within a space of mental activity. This space is an area which in its rudimentary form is the threshold and doorway to a room that converges as an intersection point for feedback from the soul. This feedback is instigated by whatever degree of critical thinking, objectivity (as far as we’re capable of) in looking at ourselves and emotions that lack resolution contained within the events being reviewed within our life.
Processes of contemplation used rightly, can render the landscape of our prior event and situational horizon from our experience in a new and different light, perhaps the clarified light that enables us to see things which may have gone unnoticed and removed from the lens of our awareness. We can gain from this process a standpoint of ourselves in relation to our activity contained within any interrelationship and situation in our encounters in the stream of our live within the container of our physical bodies during our short manifestation here within the confines of this earthly plane.
There is a cornucopia of gains in richness to be derived from using contemplation as a means to investigate wherever our experience and awareness is restricted by any defensive posture or negative response to the encounters our senses become exposed to in the hustle and bustle of the everyday world. Sometimes it can seem as though we’re negotiating as if we’re white water rafting, either through waters that are calm or tumultuous with turbulent twists and turns, up and downs through the mixture of spiritual climates that we call our day.
The yield can either be an awareness that we’ve left something undone, unsaid or maybe the realization of an achievement however small or large which occurs to us after the event has taken place. This is where the harvest can be great, as long as we provide labor to sift and sort the knowledge from the wheat and chaff contained within the bushels of information that our senses are reacting to and have gathered from the exterior world that they stand in relation to. The senses are imperfect even though they have an astonishing capability to create imagery and reflections of the representation or model from the information that they are gathering vastly exceeding any modern technological wonders.
One of the fruits of contemplation is a newfound awareness generated from a view compiled from preceding events in our lives. This awareness is actually one of the signposts that we are beginning to utilize spiritual consciousness in this world and the awareness that I’m speaking of is quite simple: Do we really understand where another person is coming from or do we just merely recognize the words that they’re speaking and from there go on to create a picture generated from the personal bias of definitions of those words merely from the subjective dictionary generated from our own experiences. In other words are we on the same page? How much of the page is similar? Where and which words being used are we responding to in the same way that the other person is responding; are we seeing the picture that the person is conveying with their words?
It is in this area we can come to realize or at least begin to realize where a vast field of misunderstanding and non consensus is contained. This is one domain that can be investigated within anyone’s interactions where signals of misinterpretation have been rendered because of the subjective listening bias of any participant. This type of phenomenon is widely recognized by translators who must render words and sentences spoken from another individual of a different language being presented to the listener in their own native language. Translation is a delicate process and requires skills, discernment and objectivity for the rendering to come as close to the intent of the foreign language being spoken to be understood by a listener who is a non native.
Haven’t you ever wondered about the accuracy of what is being translated in some social situations; is it an approximation? Personally, I have heard and seen many situations within which a translation has been rendered and a word comes out which is only a close approximation to the foreign word being used and is lacking in accuracy based on the skill of the translator. People who only speak English, read English and write English are often times prone to such misunderstandings that occur within translations, due to lack of education or some peculiar form of cultural narcissism where they have allowed themselves and their perceptions to become the center of the universe.
This phenomenon is common in the political arena, especially where the current news-entertainment industry takes its usual five to ten second sound bytes and presents the misinterpretation of their focus by interpreting a given set of words spoken by another individual completely out of context, in its place creating a phantasmagoria of biased perception to be impressed upon the listening audience and painting the way towards a canvas of socially engineered mob perception.
On a larger scale using contemplation we can see the tools of compliance being used, implemented suavely and with great ingenuity by public relations engineers in order to achieve the desired end through the creation of a pseudo product. What else would one expect in the world of the religion of consumerism, whether that consumerism be products of engineered misinformation from religious, scientific or any other field of discipline which subscribes to the historical inertia resulting from the heresy in the ongoing activity of sophistry descending from the heritage of Greek history? This phenomenon has continually incarnated and reshaped into every period of time generated by the skills of materialists who have drawn from the instinctual art of morphing and adaptation contained within the subhuman animal portion of the human brain.
One only need watch the parsing of words in any political, religious or scientific arena where a common language is shared during a discourse, exchange of opinions and points of view to experience the stretching behavior that results from the compulsive behavior generated by selling; have we turned our society into nothing more than a group of individuals who have become a consortium of morally depraved salespeople practicing their salesmanship to achieve some form of transitory gratification in the form of personal fame, glory or satisfaction for the behest of some hedge fund, private equity firm or any other form of institutional economic terrorism that seeks to disassemble the greater welfare of this nation and our children?
We live in an age where entertainers, such as Ann Coulter (not to leave out Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity) express themselves and use the word liberalism in a profoundly suspicious approximation of usage as Adolf Hitler did in his book, Mein Kampf.
“Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.”
~ Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872 )
Shouldn’t this raise enough flags to question the philosophical parentage of some of the babbling writers within today’s current society and at the very least question the motivation of some major writers and pundits who have celebrity status with the trash they produce-what is it that they seek to do? Perhaps they’re just laughing all the way to the bank whilst striding across the stage as an idiot telling the tale of rancid rant in order to gratify some unfulfilled need that came into being during their childhood or adolescence. In all fairness, pundits such as the above mentioned and many others would appear far more credible if they wore a straitjacket when speaking when appearing before the public on any platform where they are engaged as guests or host speakers.
Words and usage of words is important as we should strive for accuracy instead of intentional misinformation, disinformation and the lemming syndrome that can occur in such instances of uncritical acceptance of word collages designed to incite fear, insecurity and compliance. Further contemplation is needed in this area where some are recognizing the use of engineered compliance being tooled to generate a psychological form of coup d’état to produce an outcome that usurps freedom, liberty and the genuine expression of spiritual individuality, depriving any future growth out of the delusion and illusion that appears to be festering like an unconstrained cancer in this world in the its Tower of Babel.
It is time to question the use of our own words whenever we find our need to communicate and to be understood in personal, business or social situations. It is also time to question the definitions of some of the very same words we use when those words are being heard coming out of mouths of people in any position of leadership for the greater good of social growth and future directions being considered to increase the life, liberty and happiness of the people of this great nation and its general welfare. We are at a crossroads, I believe, where critical and strong questions are needed to be posed in order to draw attention towards any agenda that remains hidden from the public, whether the purpose for concealment is intentional or unintentional; it is in this way that we can come to help the determinations based on information presented where decisions and choices are required in order to procure a healthful outcome for our future and our children’s future.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider the use of contemplation and further refine our skill to reclaim our internal landscape, returning it to a dynamic balance capable of producing and uncovering knowledge left in the shadows from the myopic use of our listening and visual skills generated by the unnecessary speed or the worship to the monetary gains eulogized by the productivity pulpits of the Wall Street false prophets. Maybe it is high time to fire the couturiers who are currently involved in the latest trend of the new emperor’s clothes.
Let us go forward from here and foster the use of contemplation, to offset the insidious rate of productivity that increasingly speeds us toward a rapid disintegration of our personal space and time where we are free to explore the wonders of human consciousness and the life stream created upon the tapestry of our never ending existence which continues even outside physical containers that we recognize as our life here in this world.
We don’t need innovation; we do need the discovery of new knowledge derived from a comprehension of the invisible principles that are within the physical domain of the universe in order to align with the continual expansion and inherent yet untapped plentitude that exists within their rich potential harvest in our unending travels in terra firma. The current use of the word innovation by the predominant sophists of our time appears to me to be nothing more than an attempt at diversion. Diversion from what you may ask? From the obvious would be my answer, from slowing down and taking the time to see and hear what is really going on by asking a wide range and narrow range of necessary questions that take to task the current views being promulgated by paid for mouthpieces who may not have our best intentions and livelihood at heart or in sight.
We can begin within the sphere of our personal spiritual climate, by increasing the warming of our discernment in order to bring about a thawing-out of the frozen wasteland that was produced by our non use of those abilities that were given to us at the moment of our birth when we were created in the image and likeness of our creator and source. It is through the tools of genuine meditation and contemplation that we can become unfrozen and begin to live and move and have our being within the true freedom that resides within by embracing truth and discarding whatever falsehood we have unintentionally accepted, be that falsehood an erroneous acceptance of misinformation generated by opinions coming from religious, political, scientific or business malfeasance.
In the spirit of contemplation be ever vigilant, even though the visible threat of physical terrorism has existed ever since the dawn of this great nation, I feel people need to become more aware of forms of terrorism that are not physical by nature and therefore aren’t as apparent to the unaided eye: economic terrorism, monetary terrorism, policies that create terrorism, fiscal austerity terrorism, the state of the ignorance which creates ideological terrorism, subprime loan terrorism, just to name a few.
Let in the light, ( Vayomer Elohim Yehi Aur: וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר [And God said: ‘Let there be light.’] ) and the darkness will vanish, disappear like ice and snow in the light of the noonday sun, whatever the shape and face of the darkness that appears within the model that the physical senses create will disappear when we open the curtains and allow the effulgent spiritual light infuse us in Its glistening warmth. All the creatures of darkness and shadows of phantasmagoria will disappear and we shall see truly what there is to see and know and exercise what wisdom we gain.
That is the true spirit of the Qabala, to be receptive. This begs the question, to be receptive to what? It is here with this question that we must exercise the inherent freedom of choice that we are given to employ in this world and in all worlds that we live and move and have our being within; we must choose who and/or what we are receptive to, as this exemplifies the first lesson and skill to be gleaned from understanding the practice that Qabala can bring, and this lesson is the lesson of discernment, ever to be gained, honed and wielded within the personal domain of our physical senses that stand in relationship to ‘exterior’ world.
Humanity stands at a crossroads, and the citizens of this great nation, the United States of America, born at the receptivity inherent within the consciousness of our Founding Fathers who chose to pay attention to a higher calling for the benefit of the general welfare of the future of humanity, are at a point in history where we too must choose. It is my hope that we heed the voice and record of history and select the choice that will benefit the general welfare of the current humanity and the future humanity that inevitably will come to growth here in this dismal plane.
Welcome back to Spiritual Climate Newsletter. Thank you for choosing to take some time and space in allowing me to share some of the fruit of contemplation generated during my absence in the process of confronting and overcoming some of my personal physical limitations as a result of my medical event from three years ago.
(from Hebrew: the Blessings Already are)
Rev. David Strickler, Ph.D.