In the World but not Of It.

A while back I found myself disturbed that a blogger could crusade in favor of violence and dissension and against ecumenism.

I still marvel at such an attitude but my friend Keith Hancock comments:

Is this essay written for Muggles, a final kick of the bucket before you continue your path into the Silence?

A muggle is somebody who has not discovered magic. Or in our case, mysticism. Which some of course would deride as magic and hocus pocus.

My initial reaction was as follows:

I think I just found the author of that blog ridiculous! The more correct response would have been a) not to bother to read it in the first place and b) not to give a monkey’s

As Keith knows I am a Seeker. I am never too certain what it is I have found but I do know what I am seeking and day by day I inch forward towards my goal.

I think Keith is right. I may not “like” that blogger’s attitude. I think I am probably “right” not to agree with his sentiments and I think I am probably “right” to believe that in a better world people would not think in that way. But it was pointless to read the post in the first place and (worse) to become engaged in conversation with the author.

I was led back to Keith’s comment after watching a film on Samahdi last night.

A fellow blogger, Nomad of the Universe, posted links to a documentary on Samadhi by Daniel Schmidt and I watched the film with much enjoyment. I had a night of very strange dreams where I ended up in a parallel universe, somewhat upset that I was unable to telephone my dead father.

Now, in days gone by I would look up everything I could on Daniel Schmidt – was he the real thing? Had he achieved the state he so beautifully portrayed? Or was he living a lie and selling a pup. I did not bother to do that last night. I have little idea who or what Daniel Schmidt is or does and I do not intend to find out. Bar the bare facts that he is a Canadian writer who runs a retreat center and teaches meditation.

A few years back I read Andrew Harvey’s book on Rumi and was deeply affected by the beauty both of Rumi’s poetry and Harvey’s writing. I then spoilt it by reading about Harvey’s private life and his quarrels with a character called Mother Meera. Harvey had provided me with a beautiful gift and I threw it back in his face.

And so I did not make the same mistake with Daniel Schmidt. We none of us lead perfect lives but if we seek perfection, if we describe it, if we move step by step towards it then how much better our world becomes. Whatever the ins and outs of the lives of Harvey, Schmidt (or even Rumi) are they not pointing us in the right direction? More than you could say for the fellow who favors violence and discord over ecumenism.

I loved Schmidt’s portrayal of our pointlessly busy world. The ridiculous anthill we live in. The mad consumer society seeking to satisfy desires which will never be sated.

I found some of the esotericism a bit rich and I am no believer in the wisdom of the ancients. But the basic message rang very true: to discard the self and merge once again with the divine. Whatever that is.

In the world but not of it.

What a lovely thought. Or, as the Zen Buddhists would say:

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”


  1. Strange dreams πŸ˜‚ sorry about that! I did the same actually and did not read about him. Who cares. The film is a work of art and its message rings true. Back to wood and water it is then! 😊

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      1. Were there some racy bits? I can’t recall. A bit like the Song of Soloman perhaps. I imagine that is the point at which I became faintly suspicious about Andrew Harvey.


      1. Although the message self destructs in the end πŸ™‚ or we are asked to destroy it πŸ™‚


      2. Not sure. I suppose it is best to learn by experience…. As with everything in life. Letting go, ignoring all the absurdities and yet still managing to live. Living in silence in the middle of noise.

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  2. “I found some of the esotericism a bit rich and I am no believer in the wisdom of the ancients. But the basic message rang very true: to discard the self and merge once again with the divine.” I agree with the latter phrase, but will argue against the former. As I read “Catafalque” I see that Carl Jung revered certain ancients and their works and sees (saw) the doom of humans for not honoring the older generations and their ways–ways that were not ‘modern,’ that is, ‘progressive.’

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    1. I think it was all the stuff about Thoth to which I was inclined to silently say “bollox”. I have no doubt we were more in tune with nature before the technological revolution but stuff like the Kaballah drives me nuts. But yes, I too am no admirer of much that we have built. In some ways we have done well of course and I am every bit in favor of the welfare state and human decency. What I find impossible to accept is that there used to exist some great and true wisdom such as all the Thoth stuff to which we had better revert.

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