I am definitely an odd-one-out. . . . BUT--
I have no problem finding meaning :-)
Earlier I posted that sometimes I am wordy - well here goes - these are
re-posts of some things i have written elsewhere.
I was asked recently how I can be an atheist- zennist and "believe in"
Well. . . .
First of all I wouldn't say I "believe in" Archangel Michael, any more
than I "believe in" Bill Clinton, my brother, or elephants. I take his
existence as a given, a fact. I certainly don't worship him, any more
than I worship Bill Clinton, my brother, or elephants.
I think the energies of gods, goddesses, angels, etc and etc are symbols
of natural forces that exist in nature, and therefore exist in us too. I
think people deify these forces because they don't understand them. I'm
very comfortable with things I don't understand :-) So I can easily
relate to Archangel Michael. I also relate to the Greek goddess Artemis,
and the Chinese goddess Kwan Yin very strongly.
I would also say that being an atheist doesn't mean I don't relate to
soul and/or spirit. I most certainly do. I just don't attribute it to
god, but think it's a natural thing. My eyes are brown, my hair is red,
I have a soul. Simple, natural, no more to it than that. :-)
Life, the Universe, and Everything~~ according to Artie:
My fear is that I won't be able to express myself very well, for we are
crossing into an area where words can be maddeningly inadequate.
>And Artie, I like the way you put that "symbols of natural forces". And
I think Jung (and several others) tried to begin this work. I think Jung
understood this and tried to give us other names for these things. Look
on any natural scene; the seashore, a forest, space, your own back yard.
Most people look out on these views and think of them as something "out
there". What I had known all along, but Jung gave me words for, (and zen
me no-words for) is that vast and wild nature, is also "in here". Very
here". There truly is no separation. Everyone knows this deep, deep
it scares the holy living daylights out of most people. Because to quote
"The real 'god' is very wild. The real 'god' is very crazy. And the real
be controlled." Think about this, really think about it. These are the
that create life, that keep the planets in their orbits, that make
that bring death, that send asteroids hurtling through space, etc and
Very powerful. And they are not only "out there", they are also "in
We can't control them and we can't get away from them, ever.
So what do we do? Well first we deny that they exist "in here". Then we
project it outside ourselves onto any "god" you like. Denial and
are partners. We make nice churches and temples, usually very quiet and
sedate and calm, in the illusion we can contain these vast and powerful
forces, to make them safe, or rather to make ourselves feel safe in
presence. Another thing I learned from Jung is that it's human nature
may be hard-wired for this, I don't know, but strongly suspect we are)
personify these forces. So indeed, "god" did not create us in his image,
we created "god" in our image! Human beings project these forces outside
themselves and personify them. Presto! you got religion. We fancy we can
communicate with a being like ourselves, if much more powerful. We fancy
we can ask for mercy, forgiveness, forbearence. We bring it down and
down, and make it smaller and smaller, until all the real juice is gone
of it, and there's nothing left but a petty tyrant smiting and throwing
plagues at us. Or until it's dry and dessicated and meaningless. Or, as
most often the case, until "religion" becomes a political organization.
. . . I
think we all know the results of that.
Now comes Zen. Zen says, "Yup, it's both "out there" and "in here",
you. . . . that's reality. . . .you can't get away from it no matter
do. You can't put it into words. You will never figure it out. . . . .
we ought to learn to deal with it on it's own terms. . . "
The other thing I learned from Zen is that we really don't know. Oh, we
think we do, we want to believe we do. But we don't know.
We don't know what life is, or gravity or consciousness or electricity,
and etc. We can "measure" them, yes. We know what they do and how they
behave (mostly), yes. But we don't know what they are. We rely on our
perceptions, but out perceptions are biased because we only have one
lens (the human one) to look through. And our perceptions can be oh so
wrong. The earth is not flat, the sun is not the center of the universe,
sickness does not come from evil spirits.
So I realized I better get comfortable with not knowing. Now, I prefer
And I said all that to say: I believe in nature.
. . . . . . .
--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "ED" <seacrofter...@...> wrote:
> Most or all on the Zen Forum appear to have a "meaning system that
> provides structure and helps them understand their world."
> You appear to be the odd one out. Are you?
> "Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but
> for believers." August 4th, 2010. www.physorg.com/news200138848.html
> " "Thinking about religion makes you calm under fire. It makes you
> distressed when you've made an error," says Inzlicht. "We think this
> help us understand some of the really interesting findings about
> who are religious. Although not unequivocal, there is some evidence
> religious people live longer and they tend to be happier and
> Atheists shouldn't despair, though. "We think this can occur with any
> meaning system that provides structure and helps people understand
> world." Maybe atheists would do better if they were primed to think
> about their own beliefs, he says."
FROM: Over the hills and far away. . .
The way to do is be. Lao Tzu