Martin LeFevre: The Gods Were Once Human
The Gods Were Once Human
A high, thin layer of clouds fills the western sky, blunting the warmth of the sun and giving the land a subtly somber cast. The little stream on the edge of town is now full enough to create a cascade over a step of rocks, as it wends it way along its gentle slope through the Central Valley.
A hodgepodge of cheap, poorly planned and poorly designed housing projects is engulfing the creek and the land. The falcons, coyotes, and rattlesnakes one saw here just a few years ago are gone. Without radical change, soon there will be nothing but man.
Another great asset of this formerly remote corner of California—the stupendous views of the hills and canyon beyond town—has been permanently marred by the idiotic construction of monster houses on the ridges at the entrance to the semi-protected expanse of “Upper Park.” Chico is beginning to look like the San Francisco Bay Area that many of its residents despise and thought they had left behind.
But the hills are clear today, and if one looks beyond the new, multi-million dollar mansions, the sharp edges of the sentinel rock at the mouth of the canyon beckon the eye. Effortlessly, in method-less meditation, the gaps between thought grow in frequency and breadth, and insights flow into the spaces. Then, spontaneously, the mind quiets down altogether, and once again, as if for the first time, there is the blessedness of being.
Without losing contact with humankind, one feels the presence of the gods. After all, the work of igniting and manifesting the revolution in human consciousness, which finally changes the course of humankind, is for this world. The work must fully come down to earth, and be in the hands of human beings.
Suddenly, a huge hawk silently glides by from my right. As I sit under the large, V-shaped sycamore, its flight path is below the level of the treetop. For a split second our eyes meet--the piercing look of a raptor and the piercing look of a human being in which thought is silent. There is no actual divide between species, only in the human mind.
Do gods and goddesses exist? Not self-proclaimed goddesses and gods on earth, marvels in their own minds, but a higher order of beings, beyond the mortal coil? I’m allergic to supernatural mumbo-jumbo, and have an aversion to New Age nonsense concerning ‘Masters.’ But in the meditative state one feels the presence of other beings, ‘embodying’ tremendous awareness. Can one find out whether such beings are real, what they are, and from where they come?
The Greeks, who in many ways achieved the high water mark of Western civilization, believed in a panoply of gods with which most of us are familiar, such as Zeus, Apollo, and Dionysus. We think it all quite quaint now, but their beliefs were at the core of their cultural prowess, exemplified in perhaps the greatest architectural wonder of the world, the Parthenon, which was built as a temple to Athena, as well as a treasury.
Was there a kernel of truth to the Greek pantheon, for which monotheism represents not an advancement of spiritual understanding and development, but a regression or arrest?
As a great religious teacher said, “reincarnation is a fact, but not the truth.” That is, people reincarnate because they have unfinished business, and must return and repeat the cycle of birth and death to learn what they could not or would not learn in a previous life. As such, the ‘afterlife’ is not some supernatural realm, but merely a recycling of consciousness in the minds, hearts, and brains of the living generations.
If so, the gods are human beings who have ended the cycle (and vicious circle) of death and rebirth. The awareness they realize while alive does not perish when they die, but continues without continuity, as some form of energy. They may incarnate, but they don’t reincarnate.
It is, I believe, the intrinsic potential and innate goal of humans to grow to that level. The world is a wheel to which we are chained until we attain liberation, and with it, possibly, immortality.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic
religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing
in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now
New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: email@example.com.
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