spiritual iron


I have a problem. There’s two parts to my problem, and I imagine that’s the general status of most problems.

The first part… my resume… the person I am by the means of my parents’ genes and my own making. I’m a skeptic, a cynic, a pragmatist, a rationalist, and all-around empiricist who doesn’t like to take anything for granted and views taking anything on faith as a quick road to human malfeasance. It left me for the preponderance of my adult life as an agnostic about better things.

I imagine few would regard this list of personality traits as a big problem; society in the wash it is these days. With the First World society moving so fast and thoroughly erratically, a balanced diet of skepticism, cynicism, pragmatism, and empiricism – slathered with buttery rationale – would be a sensible resume or goal for most people who aren’t blessed, filthy rich, or burdened with what we call talent.

I could claim to be an artist. I’m a designer by profession. I love music; having played three different instruments, and having been a singer in a charismatic church and a cantor in the Catholic Church, as well as having been a member of a philharmonic chorale. I could claim to be a romantic. I cry quite easily over a good, sloppy story. All babies are cute; especially puppies and kittens. In fact, I regret being so… so… all those things from my first list. I have always wanted to be more romantic, more the artist, more the purveyor of spontaneity and adventure; it just seemed to be that my greener grass was always nibbled a little too close.

The second part of my problem… It seems I had one of those encounters one reads about when perusing a Reader’s Digest. In my case it happened one night in January of 2009. I don’t like using another word, other than encounter for what took place as they all tend to ooze a deeply religious or spiritual formula, which then assumes an immense, historical library of proclaimed truths and prejudices. It isn't that way at all for me, and in my effort to remain neutral about an event that was clearly intentional, directional, and overwhelming, I found myself researching a multitude of subjects; from philosophy, to psychology, and onto the sciences of cosmology and physics; all in an effort to explain what I was now experiencing.

But first, I threw myself first into an understanding of religion, as simply put, its subject matter was certainly more akin to my now inner, unfamiliar state of mind and body. This seemed natural as my encounter, I confess, seemed very spiritual; a revelation and a resurrection, to say the least. Christianity does have quite a bit to say, and I reviewed much of this theology carefully, though being the skeptic, I tend to suspect a great deal of manipulation going on. (By now, you can clearly see the cynic in me.) My search for information about my concern of what had suddenly dispensed with my free will and taken charge, turned up the subject of mysticism, and I gained some comfort in that I could readily relate and verify such experiences as described by a few fortunate and unfortunate souls, and that I am not the only one who makes account of certain inner impressions that are quite inexplainable and very, very transcendental.

This encounter led me to certain visions and then onto several transcendental events; mostly of my choosing. If I went on a spiritual retreat, I found it effortless and uncomplicated to slip into a flow, as I would call it. There, my consciousness experienced a different sort of reality; a different nature of things. It was unfamiliar, to say the least, but it felt quite natural, fluid by nature, reassuring, and essentially a religious experience (whatever that is). The bottom line when I am in such a place, the best I can figure, is that I became part of one, unified system – an ordered totality – in which all things around me were and are revealed in their participating communion of nature for a common purpose.

I quickly learned that the very elements of nature are more than the static “photos” of what our intellect collects and stores. In normal life, we capture glimpses of reality; just enough to make some practical sense of it all; just enough so the human species might barely survive, but, at least to this date, not enough that we might universally flourish. We are decidedly utilitarian; not because we want it that way, but because it has worked for our species in an historical environment of necessity. We live by cause and effect because we must so that we might preserve what is only a temporal state of being. As it is obviously of great importance to us, this utilitarian philosophy is the foundation of our sole reality. That’s unfortunate.

In those first few weeks after my encounter, if it had simply come and gone like a pimple on my nose, I might have had some temporary confusion and embarrassment, but after a bit of psychological Clearasil… voila, no more encounter. To my good, this intent first set my feet on one path and one path only, and then two, directed my thoughts and actions to some universal purpose.

As I have come to realize – through a great deal of throwing myself into settings like the one described earlier – this encounter has turned out to be no pimple. Think of what took place as more like acquiring an additional brain; easily a superior one that makes better decisions than I, relates and cooperates better with other people, prohibits procrastination (at least on those things important to it), loves my wife and son better than I ever did, is work and flow directed, likes to read, to write, to learn new things, to let that first part of me be a little addled, inexperienced, and humbled, and in summation… prefers “to go where no man has gone before”; at least this man. It’s now onto ten years of this and I’m quite certain it will be the one getting the curtain call when the time comes, while the first part of me rests in the comfort that things ended well after all was said and done.

So, the problem.

This encounter was what is commonly known as a thing divine, or what humanity refers to as a divine experience. In this encounter there was intent. Some thing was acting as a catalyst that compelled me forward into a permanent, immanent state. While I can turn the visions and immanent events on and off, I have come to realize that there is some stable, new setting by which all my consciousness and decision-making processes now comes from. I am convinced this thing is channeling me into an experience of the real expression of creation.

What I was not expecting was that this intent would give rise to knowledge in a volume and understanding that I never had previously. Faith, in the metaphysical order of things, fell like Jericho to knowledge. Past, psychological sufferings were either swept out the door or exposed for what they were; something to be conquered and put away. Truly, in the classical, Christian sense of things, I had been healed and saved. But more important, and here’s where the word intent comes to life, what came upon me immediately and has continued in ever-increasing strength, is its compelling and pursuing nature. Literally, I have no issue with saying I have no free will; knowing there is a better way out there and a better source for guidance. The unique character of this intent has only one centricity; the singularity, unity, and harmony of all matter and energy. It abides by all and takes no prisoners.

How do I reconcile my first part – that being habituated by an empirical, rational approach to life, which denies what it cannot see, with my second part: an encounter with some unseen thing of intent that instantaneously changed everything in my life? With the first part, I just got by. With the second part, I now flourish.

John Calvin decorously noted that people are predestined for eternal life or damnation. Personally, I think he’s a little thick with the mayonnaise. Rather, I might suggest that certain people are more apt at experiencing the system of creation in its fullest, or at least provided with the ability to do so. I do not agree with Calvin on this matter of heaven and hell. I’d like to think we all are conscious of our possibilities, but much evidence is continuously heaped at our doorsteps that confirm vast swaths of myopia.

Here’s where I break the theological piggy bank. I suspect there is no god as the Abrahamic religions have come to define him (him?). I suspect this intent, this thing, isn’t a thing at all. It has no personhood. It has no center of being; no nucleus. Christianity makes a stab at it when it describes the Trinity, though it conflates its character as some source beyond what is natural and substantive.

That’s the problem. While I currently reside within the walls of the Christian religion, I have no sense of Christianity in its trinitarian, Christ-centric form in which God, Holy Spirit, and Christ have a personhood. I always thought it a little odd, but who was I to complain or make note of the fact that with each day, proceeding from my encounter, I was never handed the Christ-card; never asked to have faith for that matter. I heard plenty from the intent, but never a word of religion being the answer to anything other than it was imperative that I understood what had preceded with humanity up to this moment and some sense on how it was to proceed on into the future; what shape was to form; what role religion had played in the past and what role will it assume in the future. I’m being told a broader story; one in which, for the sake of humanity’s residing need for a safe harbor, along with the severe limitations of language, is framed within the sensibilities and traditions of human society. Make no mistake though, from what I have been shown, I see a broader picture, and from a viewpoint not readily accessible, nor desirable. Access is limited by the fact that this viewpoint lies outside of normal human perceptions based upon societal traditions, current norms, and, of course, social media. As to the desirability of standing at such a vista, I can only say it’s lonely.

Humanity has a problem with seeing past itself. We insist that nothing could possibly have a conscious existence – meaning intent – without it being of some human form; of a personhood. Humanity is stuck in itself; literally in a state of self-consciousness, anthropomorphic idolatry, and a "gotta scratch" anxiety. We might well be the least of all things for the simple reason we are practically blind to our actual participation and communion with the universe, and yet we are so magnificanetly equipped to do so.

This is the purpose of this website; to gain some ground, some footing on a dimension of a reality that our past was incapable of envisioning due to our primal circiumstances. There was no cruel hoax played on us. Our evolving species did what it had to do in a world of scarcity. Structure had to be in place so we might survive as a social species, and that structure was based upon the principle of eternal reliance midst a temporal world, inhabited by a society of sentient, temporal beings. That’s ok, but it’s messy and deadly. We accept a certain attrition, a certain and constant level of conflict, for this structure is our only structure; as flawed as it is.

What we have to realize is that our social structure has gone through countless iterations and remodels; always building upon the same ground of its predecessor. Humanity has never been afforded the possibility of implementing a whole new paradigm for existence, because as long as humanity has not universally brought itself – every human being – into some balance of common plenitude and communication, we will never be able to shrug off the yoke of our disadvantaged diversities and inequities.

What intent has brought to me is an aptitude for a future vision; not one a few years away, nor a century. I apologize if this does not meet your immediate desires and needs. A distant vision seems little more than science-fiction. But, I understand that if we do not admit that our current social means is based upon the power to affect a short-termed cause to the next short-termed effect, and so on, then no matter how far we propel ourselves into divine-hood, we will always be at war with one another. There are constant “smoke signals” out there, midst the social flow of things. Some fast track, some eddying in a side stream, and I see them clearly. One might consider them the bones and sinew of prophecy; they foreshadow the whole body of humanity in its perfected form, when the flesh is robust and strong, and the mind is better focused upon universal goals not proselytized by divisions.

This website is my attempt to gather these “smoke signals” as I find them, and to archive them. The hope is that with time, there will congeal a single story, a certain commonality that will point in a new direction; for a new society that includes all of humanity, as well as all that humanity touches.

The essays I am writing is my attempt to decode what I sense. I hope to present it in a somewhat readable form; avoiding overly-academic terminology. Unfortunately, I admit that the subjects I engage in can be rather abstract; as they are fundamental characteristics of the human species that we rarely, openly discuss. They go to the heart of what we are as a sentient, conscious creature in a world much larger than we have any idea of. This attempt will be to first, weave together a few matters of human existence so as to get a basic understanding of why we are as we see ourselves now. Second, to project this assessed reality forward into a distant future, where, as I have been told, things are going to be quite wonderful; despite Hollywood’s wringing of their hands with all the Orwellian movies they put out annually.

The things of today are for the things of tomorrow. Mortal, we are, and will always be; at least if we wish to continue to be called human. Our past has been rift with a mortality seemingly more a curse; a hardship one and all had to endure. If you look far into the past, anyone bothering to look without bias, could only agree that humanity has come a long way to disperse suffering and the inequity of access to the necessary resources for life. There’s still a long road ahead, but the good news is that we are no longer capable of only plodding forward; burdened with the weight of reoccurring needs and responsibilities. We move much faster now and certainly more graceful. The age of the primal has given way to the age of reason, and now that age gives way to the future age of plenitude and the good life.

Lynn Reese Cumming