Reflections on Non-duality

Non-duality is an experience. It’s also a theory about the way the universe works. We can encounter ideas about non-duality in a whole host of places. Examples include Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, as well as more recently parts of what is often called the new age movement. One can also come across observations on the subject by scientists working mainly but not exclusively at the margins of the mainstream. However the experience of non-duality is as old and as widespread as the mystical impulse itself. Continue reading

A Response to the Gatha Ahunavaita

May I too, find favour in the sight of God by remembering the wisdom of my soul. That I might give voice to my inarticulate heart, which yearns to praise the Light in the darkness of its forgetfulness.

Thus may I approach Thee, in reverence and awe, Oh Ahura-Mazda, suppliant to Thy great Majesty, lest I should be consumed by Thy blazing Light!

Yet may I grow fair in the gardens of Thy Love, and promise Thee offerings of my harvested fruits; if the wisdom and understanding be mine, the planting is Thine, the nurturing and the ripening all Thine.

And may I marvel at the great Hierarchy under Thee.
For the highest Lords of Heaven, do radiate a cascade of golden blessings into the hearts of humble seekers adrift upon the seas, according to Thy Laws harmonious.
Oh God! May I worship and praise Thee, in contemplation of Thy endless mercies. Continue reading

Trust in God

We commonly define articles of faith as the set of doctrines a person or a group holds to be true. In a religious context we sometimes refer to believers as members of the Anglican faith or the Hindu faith, for example. Faith in this sense expresses our deeply held belief in the teachings of our religion accepted by us as true despite the impossibility of ‘proving’ them to the satisfaction of the unbeliever or the purely material thinker. We take on trust that they are true because our intuition tells us that they are. At its best our faith constitutes the substance and the evidence of those truths which our material reason cannot fully know, but we believe because they have been revealed to a higher part of our nature. St Paul’s definition is as good as any:

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrews)

The subject is an important one. Reflecting sincerely on our own faith helps us to a better understanding of who we really are and where we truly belong. However, important as it is, this aspect of faith is not the main subject of this article. For the ancient mystical traditions recognise a hidden power in faith which no seeker of truth can afford to ignore; for those who do not gain a measure of it will never travel far along the mystic path. Although it has been alluded to in many different ways in the past, we refer to it here as ‘Trust in God’. Continue reading

Belief in God

At best many of the current debates about God are noisy and ill-humoured; and more often than not they are spiteful and cruel. At worst they are despicable inversions of any notion we might have of righteousness or ethical behaviour. In the West, aggressive materialists appear determined to stamp out all expressions of religious faith from public life. From their perspective, belief in God is an outdated superstition, delusional, and incompatible with a modern civilised world. Some of them openly argue that religious faith is the root of all evil.  Because of the corruption and decay of religious institutions and practices, these detractors have been able in large parts of the modern world to make steady progress towards achieving their mission.  In other parts of the world fundamentalist religious tradition-keepers are making every effort to turn back history by eradicating all manifestations of modernity, particularly the modernising and materialistic influences of the West. If some of the attacks on traditional religions by materialists are hypocritical, malicious and ominous, the religious communities themselves can hardly claim the higher moral ground. Child abuse, the treatment of women, sectarian hatred and the slaughter of innocents are too common and widespread for that. Continue reading