Sunday, May 15, 2011

Be Not Afraid

Go outside some cloudless night. Somewhere where the light pollution doesn't block out the stars. A lake. A clearing in a forest. A prairie.

Look at the stars. See the thousands, millions? Think of the distances. Imagine the size…the eternal vastness. Our own solar system. Our own galaxy. Galaxies beyond. So huge. Be overwhelmed.

I have done this; and felt defeated by the hugeness. Shrunken to nothing by the unthinkable distances. Cold and miniscule and desperately insignificant. Sad. Frightened. Lost. Inconsolable. I've had to physically turn aside the feeling; to keep from collapsing in upon myself.

All I've known of human religion has provided no consolation for that sensation. Quite the contrary. Religion constantly reinforces our smallness, our weakness, our ineffectiveness. The better to control us with, I suspect. Fear. Find it, grow it, exploit it.

That fear no longer resonates with me. I don't want to be afraid. I shouldn't be afraid. But the Universe is so vast, so huge, so powerful. What does it care about me?

Two days ago, I discovered the words of an Eskimo Shaman. Words that burrowed straight into my soul and extinguished my fear.

Najagneg, Inuit shaman and guide to an early 20th century Danish explorer, explained that Sila—the great Being of Strength, the Soul of the Universe, "has a voice so fine and gentle that even children cannot become afraid. What he says is: Be not afraid of the universe."

I am ready…


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    I hope so much that you have a different experience of Christian faith someday, because it is nothing like this except in warped and sad forms.

    I'm glad that you are finding other wonderful places, though.

  2. I know that variation (sometimes dominant) voice of Christianity...but I also know it is not the only, nor the best, voice of Christian faith.

    That said, I have and continue to, find great solace and insight from other traditions, including indigenous spirituality - so bound in the mystical world where all of life is inter-related.

    Eishing you well on this adventure!

  3. Ladies, the Spirit is the Spirit, no matter what you call it or what path you take to it. Christianity being such a dominant religion, there are certainly many individuals who follow that discipline to a happy and fearless relationship with "God."

    Overall, however, I feel that "Abrahamic" religions have had a stunningly negative effect on the human race in general over the years. Weigh the negatives against the positive and it's hard to judge which comes out on top. That said, I nevertheless respect anyone's path to the Spirit, as long as it enriches them and does not harm others. Largely due to my own personal experience, Christianity no longer works for me.

  4. Lisa, my heart leapt for you when I read this, and I was reminded of something I read that filled me with the same excitement. When angels spoke with humans in the Bible, the first thing they said was, "Don't be afraid." They weren't saying 'don't be afraid of me'. They were saying there was no need for fear. Here's to joy in your journey.

  5. I hope Tom Cowan's interpretation of Hildegard is right. Maybe our bodies can't walk between the stars but our souls can dance from galaxy to galaxy.

  6. What Terry said; the Celtic voice of the church that has been surpressed for so long just keeps popping up in the oddest places-no matter how hard some folks try to ignore it.

  7. Jackie--Perhaps the Celts created the most harmonious blend (so far) of Christianity and Earth-based spirituality. I think that is why Cowan is so drawn to Celtic spirituality.