“It is said that what is called ‘the spirit of an age’ is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure.
The “spirit of the age” has been a significant point of discussion for the current election season in the United States. On the one hand, Donald Trump with his rhetoric of Making America Great Again, promises a return to a Golden Age of prosperity, abundance and a fertile middle class.
On the other hand, the Bernie Sanders campaign seeks to Immanentize the Eschaton by bringing out revolution, heralding an end of the old world and the summoning the beginning of a brave new one — which, in the end, is a return to a mythic collectivist Utopia.
It is a mark of Higher Spirituality to move carefully through this mine field of a fanatical zeitgeist. We must be the eye at the center of the storm, carefully observing the motion of the tempest while remaining impassive in our gaze, ultimately directing it beyond the chaos to the sunrise on the horizon. In order to make the best of current generation, we must make the best of ourselves. Continue reading “Daily Meditation: The Spirit of the Age”
If the general cannot overcome his anger and has his army swarm over the citadel, killing a third of his soldiers, and yet the citadel is not taken, this is a disastrous attack.
Therefore, one who is good at martial arts overcomes others’ forces without battle, conquers others’ cities without siege, destroys others’ nations without taking a long time.
It is imperative to contest all factions for complete victory, so the army is not garrisoned and the profit can be total. This is the law of strategic siege.
Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter III (Thomas Cleary translation).
Conflict is an inevitable factor of the human condition. We did not evolve out of the primordial ooze without facing a bit of conflict of the way, and our current social and political order is the result of key conflicts that have shaped global history. It is naive to imagine a world without conflict, for it has been essential to our evolution and survival as a species.
The evolution of the higher person comes not from the rejection of conflict but the refinement of it. Continue reading “Daily Meditation: Conflict, Battle, and The Higher Man”
“Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet / This is not Done by Jostling in the Street,” wrote William Blake.
The modern world suffocates the soul of humankind. Matter longs for the embrace of soul, just as the unborn is ensheathed in the mother’s womb; and the soul desires the caress of matter, just as a newborn is cradled in the mother’s arms. Every moment is the nondual experience of gestation and birth of soul into matter, matter into soul. Modern life severs this connection as carelessly as the assembly line obstetrician prematurely severs the umbilical cord that still carries vital nutrients from mother to child. We are weighed upon scales imbalanced by ceaseless activity and insidious apathy, our hearts faint with anxiety and our bodies dead with the weight of indifference.
How do we reconnect with the primordial source in a decentered and displaced world? Continue reading “When Men and Mountains Meet: Spiritual Ascent in the Age of Commodification”