The Faces Within

by Maven Cade Leary
art by Dan Reece

Spirituality is such a fragile concept that any true attempt to break it down to well defined fundamental tenants is bound to result in confusion and hesitancy paired with a laxe judgment on what is acceptably termed as such. The situation is akin to sexual preferences, the decrease in racism and the increase in religious tolerance.

This all-around apparent political correctedness is exactly that, an apprearence, something we do out in the open, keeping our judgments for ourselves or others who we know will not judge us for our judgements… Doesn’t mean we think any worst of these people as human beings, but let’s face it, we find some people’s practices sometimes disturbing, or gross, or outright wrong. Like those assholes running those offshore oil rigs…

If you’re a true christian, you might not say it, but you are convinced everyone who is not is damned, as only through Jesus can our sins be washed away. This is a basic tenant of this particular Faith, and is far from uncommon. If you are an atheist, you might not say it, but you basically think believers are buying into some messed up fairytale.

However, even atheist and the undecided believe they have some form of spirituality included in their lives. This is because our link with the spiritual realm is through our emotions, and we all share those.

Whether it’s a pragmatic outlook on the world which gives them a sense of belonging, an organized religion, a feeling of connection with nature obtained through meditation, or simply a drug induced sense of something great and mysterious about to unfold, few would claim to not feel something special about the very fact of Life.

Now, what if I were to say that in well over 99% of cases I have personally come across in my long questing on the subject, people claiming to be spiritual where wrong? What would you think of me if I denied you your claim to being a spiritual person, not based on your beliefs, but on the sum of your actions?

So, what’s my point, then? Alright, let’s get right on with it…

Religion has been such a confusing concept for humanity that we have been worshiping dieties in one form or another right back to our most ancient records. The nature and accepted powers of these dieties has drastically changed over time, but one thing has remained, the ordained.

The shamans and such tribal functionaries that serve as mediators between the two worlds, the priests and monks, the missionaries, the wandering preachers, all can rightfully claim to be spiritual, in that they serve the spirit within matter, full time.

This is the bottom line: Spirituality is about serving the spirit within matter, about utilizing one’s body to perform in the material form the will of that which comes from “something” greater than oneself, something not obviously manifested at our level of sensorial perception.

Remember my earlier claim that spirituality comes to us through our emotions, which, while we term them feelings and they can indeed create sensorial perceptions, are not traditionally considered a sense.

These feelings push us to act one way or another, but over time, through learnt behavior and a lack of empowerment, many of us have taught ourselves to turn a blind eye on a lot of what feels wrong, just to stay sane, and to not stick out like a sore thumb. We have even integrated thought patterns and habitual actions that once would have seemed inconceivable to us, simply to get ahead in a dog eat dog world.

Jesus is the perfect symbol through which to persue my line of reasoning. To claim to be a christian is an easy feat. To live as Christ aparently did, in full-time commited service to the force of Life through positive actions undertaken “in the flesh”, that is something you have to give everything else up for. That is a top priority of one’s life.

Going to church and claiming to be a Christian is like going jogging for an hour once a week and claiming to be a marathon runner. There is a relation between them, and it is true that it brings out “spiritual” tendencies in individuals to bear witness to a clearly stated unattainable ideal, but between sitting in a room once a week with a bunch of like-minded individuals and going out into the world every day with the intent to uplift life around you as a full-time job, there is a world of a difference.

I am not a Christian. That dude was way too nice for me. Concerned with the wellbeing of people’s emotional states. I couldn’t do what he did on a daily basis. I’m a pretty nice and polite person, and I genuinely like people, animals, plants, and even insects, but I am one impatient bastard, and the only way I stay sane is by keeping my expectations to and for myself.

I basically assume most people I meet are lazy, which results in a diminished physical health and fitness, a lack of education and personal questing and questioning, and a lack of commitment, passion, integrity, and perceverence. You don’t get any of these by taking the path of least resistance in today’s society unless you are one unlucky sob forced through trials by fire for whatever reasons.

I am a survivalist. I believe it is the task of all of Life to sustain Life and to increase it’s reach through diversity and evolution. That this is the main consideration behind all my major decisions is my sole claim to spirituality, and why I permit myself to be contradictory.

In a time of peace, the goal would be to increase health and happiness, to do much what Jesus was portrayed as having accomplished as a matter of daily activity. In fact, no matter what, such individuals are needed, and are powerful agents of the bonds amongsts human communities.

But in my perhaps brash opinion, we are in a time of war, a vaste battle wagged by a bunch of irresponsible humans on the very fabric of our ecosystem, and what we need now are warriors for Life, individuals willing to go all out to unite and oppose the status quo, to reclaim the power for the benefit of the whole, not just to increase some weird gold rush fever cancer growth that we call an economy.

We need people who don’t see themselves as individuals, who are not so much concerned with their personal comfort as they are with whether or not we will have a planet to leave to our kids.

My body is composed of billions of cells working in harmony. Each of those individuals could be said to be a part of something bigger, me. In this sense, the “holon” which is me is a part of something bigger, directly and tangeably, the earth’s biosphere. We all share the same amino acid profiles. We exchange energy around and through complex loops keep it within the circle of Life.

Thus, whatever I am, whatever we all are, does not end at the perimeter of our bodies, but extends away from us into a network of intricately connected energy distribution channels.

This aint no hippie realization that we are all ONE. Hell, this is simply fact. This is what we are. Seeing this thing as a whole, realizing that its very survival is currently in jeopardy due to a narrow view of the self, I am constantly baffled that this is even an issue. How can an entire species be blindly run by such a mercantile attitude? How can a whole planet be so suddenly polluted? How can so many species and sheer numbers of biological organisms neccessairy for the cycle’s survival be so easily dismissed and overlooked?

Major corporations group together to hire lobbyists, individuals weilding significant political leverage, to push their agendas forward. Their agendas are increased profit margins.

Harper was a lobbyist…

So where are their rivals, the elite lobbyists pushing the collective well-being’s agenda forward? I am certain a few of these exist, but their power and reach is likely extremely limited. They cannot grease the wheels with good intentions. Little brown envelopes and promises of contracts and such are the way to go. How can honesty dominate a crooked game?…

As much as I enjoy my daily existence, and consider myself fortunate to be alive at all, I am saddened and disgusted on a daily basis. I am ashamed to be a member of this species. I am not even certain I AM one of you… I wish with all my heart that I had the power to step up to these tyrants, that I had the funds to launch a Cannabis empire to overthrow the lumber and oil indistries… And that’s just the start of my Master Plan…

Thus, while I cannot claim to be a member of any organized spiritual movement, and while it is extremely difficult to maintain my core values in a world not rigged the way I feel it should be, I am since early adolescence consciously committed to utilizing my time on this planet primarily to act on behalf of Life in as much as I am able to as a single multi-cellular organism.

I might be very limited as an individual, but if I can find the right leverage, the right way to harness the sleeping giant that is all of those like me stuck in a mean, ugly and cold world, well, then I can maybe create something bigger than myself, something more than one individual. Maybe, given enough diversity in my allies and sufficient funding, I can participate in an actual political/economic paradigm shift, within our lives, before we have completely messed up the cycle on which we are so obviously dependent.

One of my life-long aspirations has been to create a social organization that would unite to create multiple economic entities, and through our association and shared abilities, come to grow as an economic force, and as a social force as well.

In one of my next pieces, I will lay out the concepts I have been juggling with and present my vision for the foundation of one of these modern non-secret secret society. I am at the time of writing this very preoccupied by the concept, and hope to find a concret, realistic, and possible starting point given my current ressources and environment by the end of the year.

I understand that not all beings are willing to dedicate their lives to such a mission. I even more clearly understand how many many more just don’t see any viable way to undertake such a quest even if they had the inclination to do so.

Then, through time, through failed attempts and shattered illusions, we default to the simple life, one in which we at least do good in our environments, to our families and friends, and leave the global domination schemes to more obsessed amongsts us, almost all of which result in sad tales of unaccomplished objectives due to unrealistic expectations.

Yeah, sure, I’m obssessed. But it’s not really much of a choice in my opinion. The game of Life is happening, right now. Are you really gonna hang out in the tavern on WoW and chat your life away?…

And so only time will tell if I will be a rare success story or one of the many failures. But I will remain true to the principal of collective evolution, and hope that I will find the right allies to participate in the creation of something big.

As I often say: Alone, we are strong. But together, we are powerful.