Reunion with Reality

Most lovely, there is a temple, the family temple. It is located in the northern portion of the compound, which is oriented along cardinal points. No matter where the entrance from the road is, the temples are on the northern side of the compound, the privy, workspaces and animals are on the southern side and the people live in the middle.

 

The typical habitat of the Balinese is oriented in to place them in harmony with their world and its realms. In both Animism and Hinduism, the world is imbued with spirit. Space and time are sacred. The divine spark is seen in all people, creatures and places. Time becomes sacred when daily schedules and habits help keep in mind the divinity and unity of life.

 

Such reminders crop up around the world in many cultures: the calls to worship from mosques, church bells, and matins sung in monastery chapels. In my neighborhood, the bells at one in the chain of California mission rings morning, noon and evening. I listen for its call.

 

If all time and place and beings are sacred, then shouldn’t even lower realms and beings be worthy of respect, even those that are dirty or brutish?

 

What can the “modern” world learn from this worldview?

 

First, we can recognize the drabness of a world without spirit. An outlook that sees only material reality is not only drab and boring, it’s sad. We don’t have to think of spirit as anything more than energy, the vital energy of life and form.

 

We can also recognize that humans have a place in the world and a role to play. We are an integral part of it, but we do not own it. If the world is sacred, so are we. If we all are scared, we all deserve respect.

 

We can experience what it means to worship. Worship can begin with ceremonies and rituals, but they are not necessary and are only starting points. To be useful, they should remind us of that which is sacred in the world and our union with it.

 

Worship is a mental state that moves us beyond words and acts to experience a deeper reality: the unity of life. It includes us in the unity, and increases our awareness of it. We are custodians of this awareness or consciousness, keepers of the flame, so to say.

Copyright 2017 James Phoenix

updated 9/24/2017