Sunday, April 04, 2010

Idol Thoughts for Pesach

Joy and Melancholy

I'd just returned to Moab from Provo when I blogged last. Since then, my mind's been distracted with busy-ness, so I've been itching to have a long retreat at the canyon cave.  But I've only been able to stay up there a few days over the past weeks. Mark Sundeen (the writer) came back to Moab from Montana and took me to my parents' house in Colorado to interview them. He said he was impressed by their charm, sincerity, and Christian compassion. I stayed on at their house for a few days after Mark left, and then they brought me back to Moab. After a few days camping, my friends Damian and Dorina asked me to house- and critter-sit. So here I am for a couple weeks with 2 dogs, 4 cats, and a score of chickens.

The highlights of my time in Moab are the usual Free Meal and Sol Foods organic farm. I work a bit at the farm with my friends Brer, Haila and Chris and others who care to show up. It's more for the sake of community than planting food that I need, and it's splendid. Now that it's Spring, new faces (and old faces from last year) are showing up in Moab, and Free Meal is a daily party. Some days I can't contain the gratitude I feel for friendships here.

However, between times, I find myself going through melancholy - a springtime phenomenon for me. Melancholy is a kind of gift, too, if I embrace it as such. Silent meditation resurrects it into beauty. 

Today I write the thoughts it has given birth to:


When I last blogged, somebody asked me if I had interest in politics. I usually avoid talking politics. But I got caught up in politics when I was at my parents', with Fox News blaring over the airwaves, planting a ball of nausea in my tummy.
This got me thinking about idolatry and what it really means. I'm thinking of corporations and how we revere them above life.

Today is Passover/Pesach/Pascha/Easter/Ishtar

It's the time of year when the dead seed sprouts, resurrects to new life.  It is the time when the Israelites are liberated from the slavery of Egypt.  And the ancients saw Venus/Ishtar/Easter as the ruling planet for this time, with her ability to cross over from day to night (as Evening Star) and resurrect back to day again (as Morning Star).  Esther (Ishtar) enters the forbidden presence of the King and saves her People from death, as Mordechai (Marduk) looks on.  In ancient Sumer she is Inanna, who gives up all her Seven Possessions to enter Hell , until she is stark naked.  Then she gives up her life, and is hung on a prick.  Then she resurrects after 3 days and 3 nights.  The Seven Seals are broken!  "I am the Bright and Morning Star" (Rev 22:16).

So I'm thinking about how this applies to now and the mess the world is in.  I'm thinking about religions being mostly dead, useless, idolatry.  I can speak from my perspective, my culture, where Christianity is mostly dead, useless idolatry.  "Christians" are zealous in America, but their zeal is for a dead idol, and our religion's fruit is death: greed, war, and environmental destruction.  It appears the same is with Islam and Judaism.  Can life be breathed into a dead idol?.  In the Quran, Jesus breathes life into a clay bird, just as Allah breathes life into clay Adam-Eve and breathes life into Mary.

What Is Idolatry?

Idolatry is revering and serving non-living entities and symbols as if they were alive and feeling beings. Idolatry is mistaking the symbol for Reality, putting the symbol above reality. We become the idol we revere and serve: unseeing, unhearing, unfeeling: both the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible say this (Bhagavad Gita 17:3 and Psalm 134:15-18) as I point out in What Money Is and What Money is Not in the website.

Blasphemy Against the Holy Wal-Mart

You might notice that a few times I've denounced Wal Mart in this blog, and some people have become highly offended, as if I've blasphemed a living, breathing god. I've been noticing how folks who are offended when we call corporations bad names have no problem calling fellow human beings names and looking down on them. Go out and check it out for yourself: experiment in different crowds of people by denouncing the corporation of your choice, and see what I mean. It's a blasphemy to many Americans, right up there with flag burning.

It doesn't matter to people that Wal Mart and McDonalds and Mansanto and Exxon are mega-corporations destroying local businesses, farms, and communities and outsourcing jobs, pulling America apart in the most unpatriotic campaign ever. Wal Mart and others have learned how to create and market a populist image, as if they are your warm family, with their fictitious values of "God and courntry." Morality and patriotism are not on their minds except as devices to snag your money. This is how they're duping religious America. People lap up corporate propaganda and talk about the evils of "big government" even as they feed the biggest government in the world, the Mega-Corporation, the government of all governments.

We now have laws in place in America that grant any corporation the same rights as an individual human being, plus even more rights than a human! 
And the life-blood of the Corporation is the Bank. All our patriotism and talk against big government is hot air if we support banks and corporations  (Check out Is Banking Criminal? on the website).

I was looking for a quote from Gandhi.  He says (my paraphrase) that you'll never see such a look of religious reverence on people's faces as you will when they enter a bank (if somebody can find that quote, please send it to me).

Idolatry crumbles relationships

This idolatry affects not only our politics but our individual relationships. Our relationships don't last because we love ideas of people (idols), not people themselves. We are unable to see or hear each other. We love our American Idol, we love image and flattery and praise and plastic surgery and fictitious ideas of worth. It is even our common vernacular to say, "So and so is worth x amount of dollars."

Idolatry makes war

Conversely, adoring an idol is the flip side of fearing and fighting an idol. We hurt and kill human beings because we see them as ideas, images, not as humans. It is impossible for one human to hate another. We can only hate an unreal image of a human that we create. Just as we become what we worship, we also become what we hate. Unrealness worships unrealness and unrealness hates unrealness. This is why in war, governments create evil caricatures of the enemy - otherwise soldiers wouldn't fight them. No way could the Nazis have exterminated Jews if they hadn't first made grotesque caricatures of them.

In other words, there is no real thing and no real person that is evil.  All that is created is Good. All that is Real is good, and all that is Real is One. There is only One Good, One Reality. When we idolize one object or one book or one person as Guru, or call one thing or one person good we are calling other things and people evil, and we aren't seeing Reality. Nothing or nobody is good apart from Everything. How can you love God (Reality) with all your heart, mind, and soul, and have anything left to love your neighbor as yourself if your neighbor and yourself are not part of God (Reality)?


Imagine not putting imagination above people.  Imagine idols crumbling.

Imagine what our world would be like if we loved and served living beings with eyes that see, ears that hear, nostrils that smell, and mouths that speak and taste, as much as we love and serve machinery and ideas and words? Imagine the Seven Seals breaking, the seals blocking our ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth, that seal the Book written on our hearts. Then we stop seeing ideas in our heads and start seeing Reality As It Is. Hear the Seven Tumpets as the seals break, as our disillusion (breaking of illusion) becomes our liberation!

Imagine the Zen mind, the Mind of the Infant, the Buddha (Awakened) mind, that doesn't see ideas but sees Reality.

You can't serve both Reality and Illusion

You either have a mentality that serves and loves non-living entities or a mentality that loves and serves living, breathing creatures. It is impossible for any mentality to love and serve both. You cannot serve both Reality and mammon, for either you will love the one and despise the other, or visa versa.

It's considered patriotic to kill thousands of people for money (for our "economy"), but you are called anti-American if you denounce corporations for the sake of human community and a clean environment,for the sake of love.

What if we got as upset about bombing thousands of people as we get about burning an inanimate cloth with stars and stripes on it? What if we got as upset about people having their lands grabbed and clear-cut and polluted by corporations forcing people into illness and poverty and servitude as we get about somebody saying "fuck"? (What if we could keep reading what I'm going to say instead of getting stuck on the 4-letter word I just said)

Notice how we love the idea of Native American, but not living, breathing Native Americans.  We build statues to and name our states and cities after the Native Americans we conquered and killed and broke our treaties with and pushed onto reservations.  Kill the prophets and build tombs to their honor.

What if we put Reality above symbol? What if we were as apalled about our rejecting our own ten commandments ("thou shalt not kill" and "thou shalt not covet" and "thou shalt not bear false witness") as we are upset about not getting to prop up inanimate plaques of the Ten Commandments on government property? What if we pledged allegiance to living beings instead of to a symbol? What if we were as upset about not keeping Jesus' teachings as we are about burning inanimate Bibles? What if the Word were a Living, Breathing Being, right here and now in the flesh, rather than a book or an unapproachable person who lived thousands of years ago?

Bow Down To Reality, not to Images in our Heads

What if we, whether Christians, Jews, or Muslims, changed the definition of our word "God" to mean Reality rather than a twisted, make-believe image in our minds that causes us to kill each other? What if we became People of the Book written on the Heart rather than written on paper?  "The letter kills but the Spirit gives life."  We fight over books, doctrines, ideas, politics, not Reality.  Reality can't fight over itself, for a house divided can't stand. 

And what if we bowed down in total humility to Reality, come in the flesh, the Word incarnate right here and now, in the form of our neighbor, and we stop bowing to images in our heads? In other words, what if we loved our Real neighbor as our Real self?  Every real creature (angel) bows down to All Humanity (Reality Incarnate) except Satan, says the Quran.  Because Satan is not Reality.  There is nothing but Reality, no One Good but Reality, say both the Torah and the Quran.