What is the Holy?

Van Gogh. Two Peasant Women Digging in a Snow-Covered Field at Sunset, 1890

The holy is not the gods. Humans have been told about thousands of different gods, for thousands of years, primarily to steer us into obedience of earthly powers, and to make us give up our searching.

The holy is not religion. Religions were designed to organize this obedience, to add layers and layers of fictional supports, to add so many layers our heads spin, so we give up our searching.

The holy is not empire, or nation, or nation-state. These things are formed to protect earthly power, with layers and layers of fictional supports, to make our heads spin, while they and their religions use the old gods and the new to make us obedient, so we give up our searching.…

Flailing Parochial Vision

Athena and Heracles, by Douris. 480-470 BC.



Peering into the mountain
The universality of spirits
For tens of thousands of years

Peering into the cave

It’s all there
All there is
It has been that way
Again and again

For thousands of decades
With new incarnations
Every now and then
Here and there

What makes us so sure
Ours in the only one?

What makes us so sure
Ours isn’t just one more mask?

Why would we think that our
Small corner of the world
Of time
Even the universe

Is the first the last
The only point in time
Aligned with the Great Spirit?…

Tony Jones: Deep Will Call Unto Deep

Emily Dickenson


[Guest blogger Tony Jones]



Blindered by heat-flashes
of banality; the sacred barnyard
tells us nothing except it has
no room for us without our becoming
at once greater and smaller.

This is what it means to have
the mind of Christ; to become as a child
with the heart-space of a 1000 goslings,
arrow-tipped with lightning.


One of the reasons it’s hard to write good religious or spiritual verse — and I am well aware that the terms spiritual and religious are not synonyms — is that the “truths” of religion/spirituality are so public — known by millions and millions — of people that to even utter them in their publicly known form is to start from the realm of cliché and banality.…

Tony Jones: Pizza Space

[Guest blogger du jour Tony Jones]

Master Po and Kwai Chang Caine

What’s the mystique about mysticism? (Or is the question itself just a misleading fork in the road, excluded middle term, dun leaves dead on a worm-ridden tree, as in “not seeing the forest for the … ”, regarding spirituality).

When I watched Kung Fu as a young child, then as now I was entranced by the mixture of action and the ambiance of a kind of deep inner peace that drove it. I think I missed the master-pupil “grasshopper” dynamic, but I was only two or three years old.…

The Choice

I watched Doctor Zhivago tonight. Keira Knightley as Lara. Hans Matheson as Yuri Zhivago. It’s a well done TV miniseries from 2002. Moving, especially at the end. It’s not David Lean. But it works in its own way. Expanded, because of the extra time. And updated to allow for more modern depictions of the love affair.

Many things jumped out at me. But especially this: brief, ecstatic joy in the middle of a sea of sorrow. The embrace of that joy. Being consumed by it, perhaps because it is so brief. As is life. Especially life in the middle of revolution and civil war.…

The Helplessness of a Child

The Third of May, by Francisco de Goya. 1814

I had several eureka moments when I was a kid, regarding organized religion. These led to various breakaways and new directions, which I developed as I aged. No straight lines to some predetermined goal, to be sure. No easy paths to easy answers. There were always surprises and readjustments, new realizations of past errors, and new understandings of previous ignorance regarding this or that view held by others. And I tried to remain humble in the face of the mystery of why religions developed as they did and why they are so important to so many.…

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