Not so long ago there was a guy in Melbourne who wanted to get an Australian drivers licence, he fronted up to the Motor Registry Office to get his obligatory licence photo and to the bewilderment of the staff, he put a colander on his head, he claimed to be a Pastafarian. Originally his wearing of the strainer-hat was rejected by the counter staff at the office, but ultimately he won out and the licence mug shot was given the green light.
What prompted me to write this post is because a friend of mine is suing the Catholic Church for crimes against humanity, he did a simple post on a social network that caught my eye. The post had a gorgeous sunrise over a beach and there was text heading that said ‘God is Not Catholic’. This uncomplicated and rather eloquent post, opened the can of Pastafarian spaghetti worms. Many of us who experienced abuse by the Catholic clergy as children have very strong views on where God isn’t; in my case I have spent my whole life since I was ten trying to make sense of the crimes, and more accurately ‘what is or isn’t God’. Although I am clear that I am standing at the gateway, staring into forever at the undefinable and trying to fit the ocean into the bucket; every time I attempt to say ‘this is IT’, ‘IT’ moves, ‘IT’ gets bigger or infinitely minute, ‘IT’ becomes more mysterious and I resemble a physicist trying to resolve the millions of issues relating to atoms. This God thing is not conceivable by the human-mind, I know this for sure. It is easy without too much questioning, no-blinking, quite logically say what God isn’t, this is a no-brainer.
Exhibitions of Devotion
I think most of us have seen the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of Bishops and Cardinals dressed up like they would be far more suited to an out-take scene from Alice in Wonderland or the Beatles Magical Mystery tour (sorry John and George); long gowns, staff in hand, ridiculous head-wear, self-important expressions, the nonsensical bowing and waving of arms, the haughtiness, hideous opulence, wasting of flowers, smokey myrrh and frankincense odors… it is beyond my comprehension how any community would tolerate this nonsense and not twig that something was not right. The story of the Emperors New Clothes always comes to mind. “Houston, Apollo here, come in Houston”, we have a very serious problem back on Earth. And it’s not that I don’t like dress ups, I always try to look my best, it’s just that when your dress-ups have an agenda and are placing you in a position between God and men, we are heading for strife. I wiil say with great confidence, “everybody is hypnotised”
Men in Dresses
The global community is unaware of the scope of Catholic abuse, there are snippets regularly in the news, it may seem incomprehensible, but if you want to get a clear understanding of it all, multiply by thousands what you hear on the news about the issues and you will start to see how BIG the problem is; and I say this because I would be one of the more informed people in the country about it this topic. I would like to be able to see the good side of the ‘being uninformed about the magnitude of the issue’, maybe there’s a way to frame it in a manner and to follow the line of thought of ‘see the good in everything’, or ‘ignorance is extremely blissful’. But considering the impact on the individuals, the suicides, those who have destroyed their lives with intoxicants, the mental health issues and the way it affects the families of those of us who have experienced the crimes, I struggle to see the light in this darkness, and not for want of trying; this dilemma has taken up a large percentage of my life.
Dropping the Robes in the Sand
From my perspective, beyond doubt, I can clearly say it chased me away from the church, at fifteen I said to myself ‘God’s not in there’, but intuitively due to the inquisitive nature we humans have, I felt ‘something is doing I don’t know what’, and was confident there is a bigger intelligence, a totality that resonated through things, in people, all creatures and across the skies. The idea that the care-taking of such a sublime thing is in the hands of a bunch of guys in dresses who have alienated themselves from the community, many of who think it is their privilege to have sex with boys and then pray to God for forgiveness and then do it again, is absolutely absurd, unreasonable and so small minded that it seems incomprehensible that so many people can be duped into believing their version of the story of Jesus; it’s just not sound. And the excuse that “it’s only a small number of clergy who commit these crimes”, is an uninformed totally uneducated view. From my readings, it is clear to me that a great human being passed through the world, but the idea that the guys in dresses are the caretakers and are responsible for our destiny, is questionable, particularly when you look at the formation of the church, it’s choices and the hideous crimes committed; if the God these people speak of is represented by the values exhibited by Jesus or any great Sage, He/She/It would not select a group such as those in the church. The ‘we have all sinned’ rhetoric does not work for me at all; the small misgivings of the man on the street does not generally include the slaughter of humans because of a religious agenda, and most of us well balanced emotionally intelligent people, have much clearer and respectful boundaries with children.
Solitude that may be found in a monastery or church can be important, yes. I will say from my personal experience that ‘time out’ of the world of madmen is critical. Being out of the loop of madmen is good, it’s similar to how it’s not until a junkie stops using and stands back and looks at the big picture of the impact of drugs, the condition of the people around him and sees the tragedy of it all, it becomes clear. Following that line of thought, when we are immersed in the ‘play of life’ we can really only see a small perspective, it’s easy to miss what is going on over the fence, the lens is too small, everything is too familiar and there is little breathing space. Time in solitude is a healthy thing for most of us, and it is in this ‘space’ that we can begin to unravel the world of men, to see what we do to each other, we can come face to face with our dark side and say, “i am never going back to that place”, then we take full control of our life instead of being kicked around by our thoughts, and following them in the opposite direction for what is good for us.
Redefining the Foreverness of God
Standing on the beach on clear moonlit night, it’s there that we can see the shooting stars, a hint of the enormity and beauty of it all; the men in dresses lose their power here, God – whatever that be, does not know them; they are strangers in His/Her/Its house, their mad ramblings about being guilty, repent, fear of the Lord, gloom and doom, on the third day the faithful will be rising from the grave; the hundred and forty four thousand chosen ones; when we put that stuff under the microscope we can see it for what it is. When we feel the sun on our skin, sand between our toes, hold the hand of someone dear to us, or dive into Emptiness and ‘lose’ the world, that’s closer to what those on bended knee and joined palms are seeking.
Letting Someone Else Think for Us
There are a number of reasons why men and women hand over their thinking about what God is and leave it to others. Simply put ‘it’s easy’. By taking on a story of how things are, knowing there is a God and IF we get enough points together, one day we get to heaven, we can go about our business, then when the body runs out of fuel we can pick up the certificate as we go through the Pearly Gates. Game, Set, Match, too easy. Really? We can go through the motions, be a nice person, say all the right prayers, pull God out of the pocket in times of great trouble; for me that does not have enough depth. A sense of order about God seems good; we know Jesus supposedly lived two K years ago, we believe this to be true because the “Bible tells me so”….. But hey, any thinking person who has explored the structure of the churches, the history of the texts, the crimes, the abuse of power; even simple things like the missing years of Jesus….. will tell you something is drastically wrong. I am not saying Jesus did not exist or there is no God, it is just that there are so many things that just aren’t right, blind faith does not suffice for any man who is prepared to ask a few basic questions.
Changing Outfits and Going Nowhere
So what can we do? Do we become a Buddhist instead? No maybe not, do we need another somebody to tell us what IT is? But maybe we ought not discard the ‘Buddha perspective’ completely, the Dhamapada (collection of Buddhist sayings) is sensible; Tibetan Buddhism (a loose term for the Vajrayana teachings) has magnificent material on keeping the mind in check and an emphasis on compassion, whereas other religions focus on faith, or relationship between God and individual, the techniques and approach when we push aside the statues, pictures, beads and outfits, can help move aside the ‘nonsense’; Taosim helps us normalise the chaos and come into harmony; and then we have the Ramayana, the tale of Rama with guidelines on being noble, how to play each role in the community to its best-est, with Hanuman the wise monkey ever faithful as a model; and the Bhagavad Gita, the Sing of God describing the battle for the hearts and minds of men, the book that many people erroneously think belongs to Isckon (the Hari Krishna movement). As we know, there are numerous other approaches East and West, some do have substance. The idea of taking a bit from each and creating a personalised version is fair, but not really sound, it may put the mind at rest, go about our business and we can throw God or whatever IT may be into the back pocket, but all we have is a collection of ideas, concepts.
Wherever I Lay My Hat
So if we ‘leave the monastery’, the church, the safe zone, what’s going to happen? There is a natural tendency for many people to religion hop, to jump from one spiritual group to another to change from orange outfit to maroon, a bit like those bods who are collectors of stamps in their passports, they usually say they have ‘done Cambodia, are going to do Uzbekistan’, running from one destination to another, not really feeling or getting inside a culture. I always liked Alan Watts, his best work was the Wisdom of Insecurity, a magnificent book, the title may be misleading. The book covers the very thing I am talking about. If you leave the monastery, church or whatever be your flavour, the ‘space’ does not need to be filled with something else, no new philosophy required to cling to; there is great freedom in Emptiness, this IS the wisdom of insecurity, not stacking up more info or religious, spiritual stories to fill the void; no story to ‘protect us’. An important point to get to is understanding that ‘questioning does not betray God’, the God most people have is a creation of their thoughts, and I am not saying there is no God; it is our ‘picture of what God supposedly is’ that needs addressing, it’s a fantasy, a story.
Getting Rid of the Middle Man
And this is the problem with organised religion, it tells you what God is, and then sits itself between that vision and you; there is a potential for abuse of power. And nobody does it as good as, or it is better to say worse than the Catholic Church, and I don’t say this out of spite, nor do I have a ‘bee in my bonnet’, as an experiencer of Catholic crimes I made it my business to find out the extent of the breaches of power, the crimes against humanity. And I will say it quite openly, without blinking, without malice, the general populace has absolutely no idea of the scope of what has gone on.
- God is not Hindu, but there is something in Hinduism to explore; great men and woman have come and gone in the land of Bharat (India), they have spent thousands of years mastering the craft of answering the important questions.
- God is not Christianity, but Jesus showed us how to live with empathy and compassion to be selfless.
- God is not Rastafarian, but if God needed a musical groove, singing about Jah would definitely be in the front runners.
- God is not Taoism, but we can bring our lives into harmony with small-nature and the rest of the omniverse .
- God is not Buddhist, but we can learn to understand suffering and manage it.
- God may be the Beloved to some, seen and felt in all of the creation and in the foreverness.
- God is definitely not Pastafarian, when it rains your head will get wet.
Tilopa 2.0 – with love