Almost as profound a quandary as Milton’s famous blank verse poem Paradise Lost, the spiritual seeker, too, is often facing down a seeming loss of innocence in their quest for reunion with the spirit, the Creator, or their very own selves.
Nobody’s dirty, and yet, everybody’s dirty, and still, this has nothing to do with the sin of religion, for verily it does not exist but within the confines of that particular culture’s dogma. And yet, we feel dirty. Weighed down by years of experience our immutable soul becomes covered by mutable character, hardened and hidden under a great disguise like so much callous over soft flesh. And so the rites of purification that promise to restore that innocence lost.
Purification rites and ritual exist for the express purpose of purification. If the purpose is not being served, then I am engaged in just so much more fancy. After all, whether I encase myself in rock candy or diamond, concrete or coal, a prison is still a prison no matter the décor. Real questions must be asked. What exactly does that smudge of sage cleanse if not the stain of doubt and stink of fear, and if not that, then what is this ephemeral aura we speak of?
A colonic will clean your innards instantly, washing away years of plaque and decay, but how do I wash my mind thus? And won’t my diet and lifestyle simply restore the former degradation of my system even should I wash it clean once? Will not my doubts return once the mists have settled? Thus the rites of empowerment exist to support the rites of purification.
The callous which grows on the heel after years of walking on hot asphalt naked is not easily scrubbed away. What of the callous on the burdened heart whose trials by guilt and anxiety have left it in despair? I might devote a few minutes daily to tenderly moisturizing my feet and grating those heals with a scrubber. I might even see some results. What mettle is required not to give up even such simple rite as this at the first sign of progress? So much more mettle required to caress away the notion of sin. Thus the rites of empowerment. It is not enough to wear cotton socks when my soles have cracked, nor cover my mind with the illusion of metaphysics while I am unable to sustain coherence of the physical.
Purification and empowerment, they work hand in hand. Purify the mind with the scientific method, asking the right questions, fearlessly examining and accepting no less than irrefutable, replicable, objective, substantiated reality. Empowerment soon follows, not only because real knowledge is power, but through the further willingness to practical application of said knowledge is my creation encouraged and sustained. Working in both the shadow and the light, my own mind, my conscious and sub-conscious compartments open and connected by an uncluttered hallway with light switches on either end. I can walk this valley without fear for that Eternal Lord is with me and I have a rod and staff to comfort me. A great table is laid before me and my cups overflow. David’s Psalm. An innocent guy overwhelmed by his passions on occasion, still he always managed to come back to the point. Purified, empowered and enabled to do the Great Work…which he ended up leaving to his son Solomon, but I guess that’s another story altogether.
Translation of the Latin in the first image image:
Slaughtered Since the Beginning of the World
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.