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GOD IS SEXY
Pete McCormack interview on Spirituality, Part II
with Kim Linekin (April, 2006) 

While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.
—Maya Angelou

 

Kim: Why is gratitude so important to you?

Pete: First of all, to be in gratitude, to be grateful feels really good to me. That positioning feels really good—at the same time to realize that I actually can’t control this world around me. I am not in control, I can’t control the results of what I do.

I can just do what I do and know that I feel very fortunate to be here although I don’t feel I am the cause of my being here. So therefore there is a gratitude in that—just by my nature and what I believe and what I think.

I also feel very grateful to the people around me. People have been incredibly good to me. Family and friends and life have been very good to me. There is no way to conclusively explain why life is as it is. Fair or unfair. I can’t make up any theory on me being where I am based on something I’ve done to create it. It’s not like there’s an equation.

An analogy would be that people say that if you work hard, you make money. It is just not logically or universally true. So many people work so much harder than I do and live in abject poverty. Outside of very relevant systemic problems, human nature, and power structures worldwide, I can’t explain why that is. I have no idea why that is.

In the West—in New Age circles—we have this embarrassingly stupid notion of "Just say yes to the Universe, and it will say yes back." It’s such a lame idea based on privilege that, despite my meditation, pisses me off, because it implies 40,000 African children say no to the universe everyday. In fact, for most of us, myself included, to say no once in a while would be a good thing.

There is no way out of squalor and misery for some people in this lifetime. That is very humbling. The forces of existence are unimaginably complex and extreme. Science barely scrapes the surface of what is going on.

So gratitude seems like a natural and necessary response for me, given that I see being here as an irrepressible miracle in which we are experiencing the material aspect of the Divine mystery. And given that all things here arise, maintain for as long as they can hold on, and then fall apart, there has to be misery. I learn to accept that this is the way of the world. Life doesn’t stop coming at us, no matter how we change or evolve. How we respond to life is another matter.

I can’t explain it any more than that. I just like to be in gratitude. I feel I should be in gratitude. And to think that way keeps my conversation with the Divine going, internally as well as externally. It makes me softer, makes me kinder, makes me remember that everybody is under the human condition and the human dilemma. That much I can say, and if I can help someone feel more comfortable under the pressure of life, I’m grateful for that, too.

K: What do you feel about people who never have any experience with God or the Divine and are completely atheist?

P: I find that fascinating as well. In fact, I don’t think having an experience, a mystical belief system, or religious or whatever, will necessarily make you a better person. At all. We see that. That is self-evident. Because, one, we’re so complex. And we see this not only with the collapse of televangelists into scandal, or extremist Muslims blowing up themselves and others on a fast road to paradise, but also with certain Eastern sages, crazy wisdom teachers, Chogyam Rinpoche or Adi Da for example, who are at the very least controversial in terms of enlightenment and mental illness.

And it is factual across the board that some of the people that I most adore, and who are the most kind, barely think in spiritual terms at all.

Plus, one should never put their own limits or projections onto what we believe other people think. People have big thoughts and wide thoughts. Some people just don’t think spiritually and still live beautiful lives, and I think that that beauty just reinforces how absolutely pervasive the Divine force is.

Regardless of whether we’re spiritually minded, being here, alive, the soul in contact with the life force, the prana, the chi, the Holy Spirit, is part of the miracle that pushes forth the Cosmos. The Divine just keeps on working—or at least being.

Even for those who don’t believe, that force of being alive—if not the soul then the life-force—is everything, regardless of whether or not we acknowledge it. So that is why I think that, once again with no proof except observation and desire. (i)

K: How do you reconcile the problem of evil in the world?

P: On some level, I think there is free will—that is to say, it is only as free as we are not attached and controlled by the pull of our senses. I think also people choose the evil path because some souls like a darker path. And I believe there are forces both within and without.

You can feel it when you get in an argument with someone, and you, on your own will, then try to pull out of it. It’s not easy.

K: Instead of evil, call it suffering.

P: That is interesting because the Dalai Lama asks that if there is a God, why would He create all this suffering? On the other hand, Christians generally believe that suffering is a part of being here, period. Unlike the Buddhists, though, they believe in God, very strongly, which is an interesting and important difference.

I think the idea of being a soul and not this body, a body which by its nature is created, maintains and then is destroyed, well, that looks like misery and sadness simply because it is counter to our true nature, which is eternal. So that is the dilemma, the conflict, and maybe the road to the answer, of being in the material aspect of the Divine, and we barely know it. And the world is challenging for humans on so many levels, because within the matrix of our suffering, we are always trying to remember who we truly are.

And there may just be plain ol’ rotten souls, too, and before you know it, everybody’s scrambling. And who can deny that with even a cursory glance at history?

K: You’ve written and directed one film on the darkness of war in Uganda and one on the pain and struggle schizophrenia – how did these projects affect the way you see the world?

P: I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and spirituality and philosophy and what is self and what it means to be here. So with “See Grace Fly,” it was a certain question of: do all the voices that someone with schizophrenia hears, are they all simply biochemical?

Or do they have a greater sensitivity to certain phenomena and impulses, by their nature, a better radar than non-schizophrenics—or a disturbed radar, for that matter, that picks up more “information” than a person without schizophrenia? (ii)

That is interesting in itself and if that’s possible or even slightly correct, where do those voices and thoughts come from? Or even those impulses, which I am sure get translated as something else—like many so-called mystical experiences.

I always found it interesting that for a long time, the general angst of a schizophrenic would be a religious confusion— they are Christ or Satan or possessed. Nowadays the story is much more secularized—that the government is infiltrating their heads or lives or whatever.

What’s interesting is as paranoid as it seems to be, on some level it has turned out to be true. We are tracked by our consumption habits, credit cards, by surveillance-cameras, by private and government infiltrations, across borders, by taxes, by so many means. I find that both interesting and disconcerting.

From a spiritual point of view these beliefs are also true—the response is just hypersensitive. There really is the possibility of an apocalypse through nuclear war, environmental disaster through our addiction to oil and farting cows and so on, and just through modern weaponry or disease.

The fact that the freest country in the world has 150,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs is sort of just accepted as normal, is perhaps even more insane than the schizophrenic with tin-foil stuffed under his hat to keep bad signals out. So this, at the very least, is interesting.

From my own perspective, the thought of having to be human and suffering mental illness in this way is very painful and humbling—sort of an intensified version of the human condition. I wanted to give that character in my film a sense of a life that we don’t generally see with schizophrenics —we just see someone with schizophrenia, who probably makes us uncomfortable. But they have a life and dreams and desires and thoughts and actually have gifts to offer as well.

So it was relevant and important to me to show that person with great dignity on one level, without excluding the suffering that takes place during psychosis. That was vital to me. In some ways, by doing a study of someone suffering so much with mental illness, I think I saw everybody more deeply—and that can only be good.

K: Are you attracted to dark or challenging subject matter for a spiritual reason?

P: Well, it looks like it from the last two projects but I’m not very driven by that. I’ve never done drugs—except for love— I don’t really drink and I’m a vegetarian so I wouldn’t say I’m on the edge . But I would say, with humility, that I’ve had my own awareness of so-called mental-illness.

K: Not in your life but in your art, are you attracted to that as a subject matter?

P: Um, I guess the question in a spiritual journey is how would you stand under such pressure? People get up and meditate in the West with nice incense and life is really blissful and the sun is shining and we still go, “I couldn’t meditate today, I was all confused and my mind was shooting all over the place.”

The process of who we are is always more deeply defined—and hopefully refined— under duress. I guess there is some connection to that.

The Uganda film was an amazing opportunity. The footage just fell into our laps, and then my job was to try to understand what was going on there. When we were putting together the film, Jesse and I—I was writing it and Jesse was simultaneously editing it—we were trying to figure out just what we were going to say and how it was going to be shaped, and I would walk to his place everyday, 45 minutes in the morning, and then walk back home late at night, one or two in the morning.

I would chant mantras both ways and it would dislodge some of the horrendous events that we would have seen and read about and looked at all day, and that would keep me clear to put the situation in some sort of perspective. But imagine to be actually living under those conditions. So that was an interesting and humbling process.

It was a meditation doing that and staying clear and positive as opposed to miserable or feeling guilty or ineffectual.

K: What are some other examples of how you use your spiritual practice to support your art?

P: I think they’re really connected and they get more consciously connected as I get older. I don’t see a separation. I find life to be spiritual. I don’t go on a non-spiritual jag and then come back to the spirit and need to be filled up again.

I find very much in life that that conversation goes on all the time with me in my head—this sort of mysterious journey we are all on. I find it quite wonderfully fascinating. Other people would find it to be like, “Stop thinking about that! It’s driving me crazy!” But to me it is really freeing.

K: So it goes both ways. It is not just that meditating in the morning will help you be more creative in the day; it is that if you have a good day being creative, you might have a better meditation the next morning.

P: No, actually. It’s a mystery out of my control. That’s why I find austerity really important—repeated discipline, both as a writer and in spiritual practice, and in literally trying to be more loving, kinder.

I believe that spiritual practice can hasten very subtle shifts in perception in how one gauges the world, which is more important to me than anything else—like whether I write a great paragraph or whether I have a good meditation or not. It is the austerity of it and the repetitive nature of it that makes the difference.

A good meditation today does not mean a good meditation tomorrow, whatever that means. Nor does it mean a better day.

Also, I find feeling really good in the morning doesn’t mean I’ll have a good meditation. It is very interesting. Same as writing. It is very hard to replicate the “good” experience by one’s own will—without mood altering substances—which also begs other questions about good feelings in general. My addictions are chai and granola, which result in insomnia and bloatedness more than liberation.

K: So your spiritual practice as well as your creativity are both to make you a better person or to serve God or what?

P: Both, I hope. Someone once asked Northrop Frye, the great Canadian scholar of literature and the Bible, they asked him, “Does being in the arts make you a better person?” His answer was, “No, wanting to be a better person makes you a better person. If you want that, being in the arts can help.”

I think that is true. And being a better person is relative too. It depends on one’s intention and what they want. I’d like to do beautiful things. I like to write beautiful things and I like to feel beautiful things. I try to be more loving; it is good for me. Trying to be creative in a way that celebrates being here, regardless of how difficult it is, like in Uganda or how difficult it is in one’s own journey or how difficult it is being schizophrenic.

That is really important to me, to see beauty not in the negative side of what a person is undergoing—which can be a sort of pain-equals-piety confused Christian thing where pain becomes the journey—but in trying to still stand (and stand still) and remain human and have dignity and to remain expressing oneself lovingly when everything available may be against human dignity. That is an amazing challenge. That tension is really what keeps my life force up. And my heart beating.

Again, it is not a moral issue; I don’t even know how much of it is free will. It is what I am attracted to. And again, I say this with the utmost humility and understanding of my own good fortune.

K: At what age did you realize you had a spiritual awareness?

P: I grew up in a devoutly non-religious environment but I was always exposed to lots of psychology and philosophy that intrigued me: Arthur Janov’s Primal Scream and Wilhelm Reich’s The Function of the Orgasm, and Ashley Montagu and the LeBoyer Method of underwater birth and Peter Benchley’s Jaws and Alan Watts and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch which had a great cover and divorce and Hockey Night in Canada and Canadian winters.

I had a few thicker emotional problems in my early 20s, as many do.

With a brain like mine, which seems to be very creative and fire very quickly, part of the journey is how to keep that aspect healthy, and how to strengthen other areas—how to remain vibrant yet sane. What techniques are used and how life will unfold are mysterious—we learn that along the way, how to remain more grounded. And if we’re lucky we get great input and great teachers.

I think in a way it called to me—I was moved towards things of a spiritual nature. I go towards things that are interesting to me in that way.

For instance, I have two books I’m reading right now, both very interesting. One is called, How the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker and the other one, The History of God, by Karen Armstrong. Both are really interesting to me but for some reason, I like the spiritual premise. It is more engaging to me. The question of why we are here, why all this arose.

People always say, why all this suffering. I say, why all this beauty? Why did art arise, why are we artistic and creative? Those questions are fascinating to me. I lean towards that line of dreaming.

K: And science doesn’t answer those questions.

P: Science can be spectacular, but it doesn’t even ask—or rarely asks—the question why this all arose. It just says how it is arising, causally, or from a natural selection point of view, survival of the fittest gene. They aren’t answering why it arose.

K: They can answer what psychological needs drove it. That doesn’t interest you ?

P: Well, it interests me, just not as much—and the psychology or, let’s say, the biology of it, is not an answer, it is a premise stated as fact. But there is no proof at all that the force of life, life itself, arose from matter.

To me it is the other way around, and that force is consciousness. (iii) This is where the Vedanta of India is so interesting in the discussion. They deeply suggest things like the unified field (iv), simultaneous dimensions (v), circular time theory (vi) and that we’re all energy—thousands and thousands of years ago.

Hardly anyone asks how that is possible. How could that have even been considered? There are only a few ways: through deep contemplation or by some kind of download of information or, at the very least, a bunch of meditating yogis with incredible imaginations.

And although I like to read evolutionary biology and quantum theory and all such wonders (which are remarkable), ultimately I go back to gratitude and a sort of devotional nature. That is just the way I am. I feel this way.

I could never create a brain that is as intelligent as my own or yours and therefore I bow to the intelligence that is behind that. If there is no intelligence behind it, does any intelligence have meaning?

And as I in my little brain follow causal changes back towards the Source of that intelligence—or at least back to Saturday afternoon—the idea of cause and effect sort of runs out of steam. Something never arises from nothing. That’s the first—or is it the second?—law of thermodynamics.

That means there is, somehow, always something. This is an eternal idea.

Einstein had that great line when he said, “For convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” At the end of the road, the laws of material nature break down. What is that place?

I’m sure that’s far too simplistic, so I’ll keep trying to get it explained to me.  But I believe in the miraculous possibility of the individual, eternal journey, and the greatness of existence is consciousness as it engages matter into greater and greater complexity, not matter just getting more complex until a bigger brain, developed only for survival, sort of grows life.

Perhaps a mechanism to self-reflect evolved in some way, the mind, discernment—or buddhi as it’s called in Sanskrit—but the force that instigates all this was already and always here, obviously.  That’s why it’s all here—whatever that why may be. Would it be irrational to call that why the Source of existence?

The miracle of all of this has meaning to me. I believe in the urge to freedom and creativity, not just survival. I believe in beauty and consciousness, and that maybe that precedes evolution and triggers this material unfolding. I believe in ahimsa—or not harming—whenever possible. And speaking of evolution, the more mystical or contemplative paths do not oblige me to say yes or no to evolution. It’s all amazing.

This current conversation about intelligent design, whether you believe in evolution or not, seems mostly based in an old and limited war between scientists who mostly only know God from the standard Christian cliché and a portion of Christianity who mostly just want to prove their agenda—not dive into the mystery of the journey, nor consider that their way may not be the only way. That seems to me to be a shame.

I’m attracted to eternity, soul and consciousness instead of one life, judgment, and heaven or hell. At the same time, I can accept those too. For it is only by my nature that I don’t just agree in that way. We are individuals.

The definition of God, your original question, and the mysteries of science, are so wonderful and wildly thick, converging, unified, inseparable.

So in the end, how do I define Self and how do I define God? Poetry is a start. That is why we have poetry and art; you cannot put words around some of these questions, yet we continue to try. That is magnificent and magical to me.

K: Have you conquered any demons through your art?

P: I didn’t conquer. Things were transformed in a more flowing way, with occasional dams and waterfalls, some pollution, but a process leading, I hope, where it had to go.

K: Was it fear of mortality?

P: Yes, but not only in the purely cliché way—although I’m sure it had some symptoms of that existential angst found in songs by The Smiths. The fears were specific yet deluded—yet real enough to create anxiety problems.

K: Was it in your art or your spiritual practice that you worked through this, or can you separate them?

P: At the end of the day, I think grace, in some mysterious way, was and is the key. See, that’s how I think. I think that doing what I wanted to do, which was my art, helped me immensely. It kept an austerity going that was focused.

I did art, I didn’t do drugs. I didn’t do a job I hated and that ate away at me. I did what I loved to do, regardless. So that was very positive.

Then I also had therapy with the right person which was very helpful to me to expand my worldview .

I also maintained a relatively healthy lifestyle, which was really important .

I was very loved. That helped.

I got older and things change as you age, no matter what. Because the body changes and perhaps what we are evolves in a certain way. And the human condition is clearly ongoing. We get rid of our anxieties or they disappear or they may or may not. All these changes. Who can say?

But grace is my answer. It’s not heavy or deep. Scientists can laugh at it. Theologians can say be more specific. But I just think it’s grace, of which in some mysterious way, no one is excluded.

K: Is there any work of art that you’ve created where after you’re done, you said, “Ahh, I’ve got a handle on this, I can let that issue go.”

P: No, actually, I never feel that way about art. I just like creating art.

K: Maybe later you realized you had put that issue to bed?

P: No. No, I don’t think that way. It is interesting, people said I was exorcising my Christian or religious demons with “See Grace Fly.” I am not a Christian as that is defined and I’ve never had any religious demons because I’ve never been religious, per se.

It was really about a person with schizophrenia who was deluded about the end of the world. It really wasn’t about me. And the end of the world may be coming in some way. But let’s move on so I can hear myself talk a little more before it does [laughs].

K: You don’t think of art as therapy for yourself.

P: My art isn’t done as therapy but it is cathartic, I suppose, just because it is what I want and love to do and should be doing. It is sometimes tormenting and frustrating and aggravating in the process but that is because I forget the miracle and the beauty and the joy of the process. That is the only reason.

K: It is not that you are trying to reach a greater understanding of some issue?

P: Not consciously, although I think we keep trying to refine and redefine that which we are and that which we think we are. I do, anyway. I don’t know what that conclusion will look like at all.

Being able to connect my art and my philosophy and my spirituality is far more likely than me disconnecting it. And I think because everything I do is sort of creatively and spiritually linked, I think I do learn about myself and others—the human condition—in the journey, in the artistic journey. And I do learn about other people by being involved in the arts and by watching the arts.

Noam Chomsky said something interesting. He said if you really want to learn about human nature, read literature—how interesting for Noam Chomsky to say that—because you will find more there about human nature than what science can tell you.

K: Have you ever written something that really surprised you? That you didn’t realize you believed until you wrote it?

P: Sometimes I write things that I was afraid to write and that is very freeing—whether it is personal or a script thing. I have written a lot of devotional songs in the last year or two of my life and I have written more devotional poetry. There is sometimes an uncertainty in that, about being judged. Then there is great joy in doing it anyway.

That is always how art has been to me; I’m hesitant to express something and then I do it and there is great joy in that because it is never as heavy or as dangerous as one thinks it will be. At least, where I live, I am not persecuted for those things—except occasionally by critics. Come to think of it, I’m not only not persecuted, I’m pretty much ignored [laughs].

K: You’ve written novels, songs, films, documentaries, poetry. Looking back over it, what does it make you feel?

P: I hardly look back at all. But when I do, cleaning some old manuscript out of a closet or lately while working on this website, I enjoy looking back at it, overall. At least after reaching a certain skill level, I enjoyed it.

Some of my earliest work is just terrible and some of the things I write now are not very good but overall when I look back at say, Understanding Ken, the novel, it gives me pleasure. That was my heart and my story-telling to the best of my ability. And my albums do the same thing to me.

Most people hate looking at their art or listening to their art. I remember my friends playing on my albums and it gives me great joy. I still like a lot of the songs, because they were really where I was at the time. I’ve always written where I was at, both creatively and spiritually. Therefore they are markers in one soul’s journey.

Even with the Uganda documentary right now, it was the best I could do as a writer in trying to explain the complexities of an ongoing historical nightmare while still trying to be compassionate to the dilemmas of being human, whoever is involved. It is very challenging to be human.

It must be unbelievably difficult to inherit or take over and become leader of an African country. History is constantly bleeding there, in a way. Poverty is ever-present. The developed nations really want your resources, and their economic structures have you by the throat. And all these people, innocent people, are just at the whim of these problems.

Looking back at my art, as long as I wasn’t moralizing or proselytizing too much, and yet my stance was still strong in there, I feel pretty good. That keeps me grounded and hopeful. It is a very fine line between those two things.

K: What are some remaining challenges in your spiritual practice? What things are you working on, to get better at?

P: I continue to try and increase the emotion of my belief in that which I cannot see, and to try and see the innermost part of people. So I practice that. How that will unfold, I don’t know. I just think again, the repetitive nature of trying to remember is very enjoyable to me.

Trying to remember that which we may be; to actually consider everybody’s journey as an evolution, as a soul having an evolution. This is a huge statement if you really meditate upon that. You go, really? So everybody here could actually be a soul having physical experiences, experiencing the material world, but they are actually these eternal wondrous souls?

To actually consider that to be true is a huge change in thought and to try and stand in that and live that way and serve other people’s journeys by thinking that way takes a lot of humility, grace, practice.

My goal is to be more grateful every day and to enjoy life as much as I can and to serve in whatever ways I can. That is what makes me happy. I don’t think there is final peace being human. I think there is a dilemma in being human. The dilemma is that we are eternal in a temporary place. That is my belief.

And even if that is not true, there is still clearly a dilemma being human. Humans have the ability to ask questions that can’t be answered and also seem to want to ask the questions can’t be answered. That creates dilemma, both when you ask them, internally, and on the journey, externally.

And if you never ask them, it creates dilemma because other things happen in your life and they cause dilemma, whether we ask or not. So just the human condition is fascinating that way.

K: I’m almost done, I’ve got two more. I think we should say on the record what you were saying earlier about what frustrates you during the day.

P: Literally, from a spiritual point of view, not remembering the journey that I’m on and getting caught in unconscious, repetitive patterns.

K: Put that in some concrete terms.

P: Well, what happens is that I get frustrated in my day when I become my “Pete” self too much: “Why aren’t I doing more, I should be doing more! Why aren’t I writing more?” It never helps me write more, as far as I can see. Maybe it does, but I don’t see it that way.

That’s also a certain tone and a certain stance on the day that I don’t enjoy. So trying to find a tension that is still exciting and wild and passionate and moving forward and creative and yet not having certain voices in my head saying how depressed I am or how pointless this world is or all those kinds of things.

Those stories are not what I believe to be what I really am. Those are stories that are made up and entrenched by the dilemma of being here. I want to keep the divine conversation, the mantra, going all the time. So, in a concrete way, it is a tantra, (vii) to live in a lifestyle that maintains the tension, that keeps life exciting—the life force going—but that doesn’t criticize. Unnecessary criticism deflates the life force, the energy…

K: What are some of the critical things that you say to yourself?

P: Not being able to write what I want to write well enough—or not working hard enough. Not working hard enough is a huge one. Not doing enough. Not knowing what to do for the problems in the world. That is also an interesting one.

Yogis say that when you want to change the world, that is your ego. When you want to change yourself, that is spiritual practice. That is humbling and effective for me. Thinking we can change the world is a very dangerous proposition.

Yet to not want to give more love in the world is also a dangerous proposition for me. So those are the ways—just being critical and being frustrated in the limitations of being human can be self-defeating sometimes when, clearly, we’re all human. That is the experience we are having.

K: Last question. Do you see yourself being a spiritual teacher at some point? Even in a way, putting these conversations on a website…

P: There is something going on there clearly. I don’t know what it is. I don’t aspire to being a spiritual teacher. I don’t really know the answer to that question because I don’t know exactly why I want a website, even, which is interesting. Some part of me wants to remind myself of some miracle, but I can’t put my finger on it…

K: Exhibitionism, perhaps?

P: Yeah, well, that is there too—and an ego problem probably as well. Part of me wants to remind or encourage people to feel free to be creative and to feel free to express themselves.

That is a very loaded encouragement because I mean express themselves with love and beauty and positive ways but not all expression is done that way. Nuclear bombs are creative, unfortunately in a hellish way.

But there is the desire to somehow inspire creativity and sensitivity to the miracle of being here. That I think I can inspire people is not really the prevalent thought in my head and body. But to think there is an unstoppable enthusiasm that can inspire people? I believe in that.

I believe love is like that too. We make it episodic. We stop love. Love is when I love one person and another person and when they are not there, love stops. But I think it never stops, we just stop it.

And so, my hope is that I would always like to inspire people to remember how wondrous they really are and how miraculous and incredible this journey is. That would be a good day.

***

Kim Linekin has contributed film reviews and interviews for NOW magazine and eye Weekly in Toronto, Fast Forward Weekly in Calgary, the Director's Guild of Canada magazine, and CBC national radio.

 

See Spirituality Interview Pt. I

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(i) One of my soul-sisters, Gina Chiarelli, who also happened to play so transcendently the lead role of Grace in See Grace Fly, told me recently this beautiful line from the Bible, which I’d read before, but overlooked. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1. Isn’t this what also allowed Einstein to think of the Theory of relativity (imagination is more important than knowledge), and isn’t it behind every gorgeous attempt for social justice ever undertaken?

(ii) This is a quote from Deepak Chopra from an interview with Dave Weich from Powell’s, which sort of elucidates the idea: “The more you look at it and speak to eminent neuroscientists and physicists, the more apparent it becomes that consciousness is independent of brain, that if anything the brain edits the consciousness, taking bits and pieces to reinforce a prevailing worldview. Amongst the sages and psychotics and geniuses you find access to domains of consciousness that you don't find under the hypnosis of social conditioning. What we call everyday reality is actually the psychopathology of the average edit.” I don’t know much about Deepak other than that he’s very rich and famous, but this is sort of what I’m saying. And if he says it and I say it, maybe in some sort of unified field theory, I’ll either get rich like Deepak because the universe wills it, or he’ll spontaneously send me a lot of money. Check in for details.

(iii) Ken Wilber puts it this way in Up From Eden: “…there is a “force” driving evolution that far outdistances statistical probabilities—and that force is Atman telos [which I think is a fancy combination of Sanskrit and Greek meaning Consciousness with intention].”

(iv) This idea of ultimate unification of the distinctions in matter is found in many places in the Vedas. See the 13th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, for example, which is about that.

(v) These multiple dimensions within the material world are also well documented. There are fourteen of them in the Vedas, compared to the 11 now described by string theory.

(vi) For yogis, past, present and future are simultaneous, and Vedic cosmology is on a cosmic sense of time—the world being 8.7 billion years old for example—is a Vedic conclusion, and that the entire process is circular, with no beginning or end, is also a repeated theme.

(vii) Jeffrey Armstrong has a line here that is useful, I think, to remember: “Speaking to each other as souls is the platform of tantra. Through words, we have a key to unlock each other.” Italics mine. This is quite a practice, everyday, out in the world, in frustration, in love, in sex, in service.

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copyright 2006 Pete McCormack