All That Is
I used to read these books by Jane Roberts collectively referred to as the Seth Material. It was my new age phase I suppose, but I liked some of the things that were in it. I thought it was a pretty remarkable body of work (all of the sessions, not just the book sessions) and it intrigued me that an otherworldly entity would write a book. I don’t really believe in spirits, ghosts, or energies exactly. I say exactly because I do give a certain credence to the idea that there are energies in a way. It’s just not all voodoo like. I don’t really think about them, but I think there is a certain latent psychology to things in general. Maus is not impressed.
Like All That Is in the books, I guess it’s a form of religion without the religion. I trust my senses and rational thought more than I trust “energies.” I would definitely not make life decisions on them. That would be absurd.
My recent remembrances of the Seth Material, and the realization that later it was just a rehash of a lot of Madame Blavatsky themes, got me thinking about spirituality though. Actually, I was thinking of beauty when I thought of Seth, and then I thought of spirituality.
I don’t have spiritual experiences. I’ve never encountered a ghost, or a demon, or a spirit, or had a revelation, or communicated with a higher spirit. Just, hasn’t happened as a sane person. But, that’s okay. Sometimes my mother has told me that other people have wished that I could believe in something higher because that might make my existence easier. It probably would. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t come to me.
It’s not a belief in the non-existence of a higher spirit. That would acknowledge there could be one. It’s a complete lack of belief in anything as un-experience-able as God. I don’t think about it. I don’t care if he’s real or not, it’s just not part of my life. Atheism, in this pure form, is a lack of faith, not an opposite faith.
What does come to me is my experience. I confess I have had transcendental experiences, so to speak, but they weren’t religious. I didn’t find anything other than me and my feelings. My feelings however, were amazing. The mysteries of existence, the questions about being alive, the observation of people and their dire situations, come to me sometimes as beautiful.
Beautiful in an Objectivist sense, as I understand it, is a kind of regard for something that embodies the values you hold. I don’t think that’s an entirely satisfactory description of beauty. In their own way, disgusting, ugly things have their own portrait of beauty: a landscape of color and emotion, how they are, their sense of life. Picture a scene from a Kubrick horror movie. It may be horrifying, but at the same time, it’s beautiful.
It’s like the recognition that sadness isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ emotion. I don’t believe that emotions are bad or good. There is a place in everyone everywhere for happiness, joy, anger, self-hatred, pity and pain. In their own right, each emotion is a beautiful expression of being alive.
I think that beauty, as portrayed, is my spirituality. Beauty is at once immediate and mysterious, carefully crafted and accidental, and spiritually pure. Each thing in this world is unique, and in that uniqueness, the essence, the beauty, of things comes out. If you’ve read Victor Frankl and his views on Logotherapy, you may also see that suffering isn’t an end in itself, but it does offer us a certain beauty. Maybe what I’m talking about is the quality featured in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Quality is a virtue, and virtue is beautiful. Life is beautiful. We just have to be open to it, be willing to see without immediate judgment.