Primal and Indigenous Spirituality; Finding the One in the Many

August 6th, 2018 by JDVaughn Leave a reply »

Primal and Indigenous Spirituality

Richard Rohr
Finding the One in the Many
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Over the next several weeks, I will explore the divine image and likeness in many spiritual streams throughout history and around the world. I can’t even attempt to give an exhaustive study—there are so many wonderful examples from the Perennial Tradition. I’ll simply focus on the religious expressions which have most influenced and broadened my own life.
The Jewish mystical teacher Rabbi Rami Shapiro writes:
To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you speak, the more nuanced your understanding of life becomes. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multilingual. [1]
Shapiro describes Perennial Wisdom as “the fourfold teaching at the mystic heart of the world’s religions”:
all life is a manifesting of a single Reality called by many names: God, Tao, Mother, Allah, Nature, YHVH, Dharmakaya, Brahman, and Great Spirit among others;
human beings have an innate capacity to know the One in, with, and as all life;
knowing the One carries a universal ethic of compassion and justice toward all beings; and
knowing the One and living this ethic is the highest human calling. [2]
I want to emphasize contemplative insights and practices that help us heal our sense of separation and isolation, experience connection and community, and awaken a sense of responsibility for all beings. I hope to show how each of the great spiritual traditions can help us rediscover our True Self—indwelled by God—and live into our fullness as co-creators of our world.
In the words of my friend and one of our CONSPIRE 2018 teachers, Mirabai Starr:
Taoism offers context for the entire spiritual enterprise in the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching: The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. Buddhism affirms that there is only one of us, and therefore we are each responsible for every link in the web of being. Christianity offers us the unconditional mercy of an incarnational God who permeates the whole of creation with love. Judaism urges us to demonstrate our love for God in the way we treat each other and care for creation. Hinduism kindles the fire of devotion for reunification with the Beloved who is no other than our own true Self. Islam shares the peace that comes with complete submission to the One. [3]
All wisdom traditions stream toward the same ocean of union.

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Primal and Indigenous Spirituality

Richard Rohr

Shamanism
Monday, August 6, 2018
Hiroshima Day

Some of the earliest evidences of human expression—dating over 40,000 years ago—can be found in the caves of Indonesia, France, and Spain. While the original meanings of these paintings are unknown to us, many anthropologists suggest “shamanism” or what we might call mystical consciousness and connection to the spirit-filled world.

There are no doubt significant differences in belief and practice between ancient traditions (as there are today between Christian denominations, other religions, and Native spiritualities). However, religious historian Karen Armstrong gives us a glimpse into what this spirituality may have looked like:

We know that shamanism developed in Africa and Europe during the Palaeolithic period and that it spread to Siberia and thence to America and Australia, where the shaman is still the chief religious practitioner among the indigenous hunting peoples. . . . [We learn from today’s shamans that] shamans have bird and animal guardians and can converse with the beasts that are revered as messengers of higher powers. The shaman’s vision gives meaning to the hunting and killing of animals on which these societies depend.

The hunters feel profoundly uneasy about slaughtering the beasts, who are their friends and patrons, and to assuage this anxiety, they surround the hunt with taboos and prohibitions. They say that long ago the animals made a covenant with humankind and now a god known as the Animal Master regularly sends flocks from the lower world to be killed on the hunting plains, because the hunters promised to perform the rites that will give them posthumous life. Hunters often . . . feel a deep empathy with their prey. . . .

The [Kalahari] Bushmen [or San] say that their own rock paintings depict “the world behind this one that we see with our eyes,” which the shamans visit during their mystical flights. They smear the walls of the caves with the blood, excrement, and fat of their kill in order to restore it, symbolically, to the earth; animal blood and fat were ingredients of the Palaeolithic paints, and the act of painting itself could have been a ritual of restoration. The images [on the cave walls] may depict the eternal, archetypal animals that take temporary physical form in [our] upper world. All ancient religion was based on what has been called the perennial philosophy, because it was present in some form in so many premodern cultures. It sees every single person, object, or experience as a replica of reality in a sacred world that is more effective and enduring than our own. [1]

Even in such an early, primal religion we can see the idea of this world as “image and likeness” of Ultimate Reality, and how the perennial idea of our connectedness with everything calls us to be respectful and compassionate toward all.

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Sarah Young; Jesus Calling

August 6, 2018

WHEN THINGS SEEM to be going all wrong, stop and affirm your trust in Me. Calmly bring these matters to Me, and leave them in My capable hands. Then, simply do the next thing. Stay in touch with Me through thankful, trusting prayers, resting in My sovereign control. Rejoice in Me—exult in the God of your salvation! As you trust in Me, I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I enable you to walk and make progress upon your high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility.

JOB 13:15 NKJV; Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. 

PSALM 18:33; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 

HABAKKUK 3:17–19 AMP; Though the fig tree does not blossom And there is no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive fails And the fields produce no food, Though

 

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