Most people who claim they read Genesis 1 “literally” don’t. They believe that what they believe about Genesis 1 is literal. But they aren’t reading Genesis 1 literally.
If we read Genesis 1 literally, we come out with a very different picture than most literalists imagine. Indeed, we find ourselves firmly planted in the Hebrew worldview—an ancient worldview. And, if we know our history, we know that the Hebrews had no concept of a round earth that coursed around the sun. They believed the earth was flat, the sky was a dome, and the sun revolved around the earth.
To try to wrestle with the ancient cosmological understandings of the day and shoehorn them into our modern, scientific understandings of the Universe, as we know them so far, is to rob such ancient texts of their beauty and poetry.
Read this wonderful article by Scriablishess in its entirety for all the details in understanding this beauty, from the cultural perspective of the ancient Hebrew writer of Genesis.
Click through the jump for some of my most favorite quotes from the article!
The Universe is an ocean, and we, the Conscious, are but the energy of the sea taking the form of a wave. It rises for a brief moment, and then it’s gone. Let us live life without Attachment. The energy of the cosmos will take another shape after we are gone, and another and another… Let us allow ourselves to flow with the currents of this Ocean and not struggle against it, against ourselves. Be One, be All, and live adventurously and with mastery and joy!
Let us take a lesson from Sister Flora, who draws nourishment from deep down within the Earth. It is the connection of the roots, drawing energy and nourishment from the Earth that sustains the Tree.
Jesus said it this way:
See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these…that is how God clothes the grass of the field…will he not much more clothe you… So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …your heavenly Father knows that you need them. –Matthew 6:28-32
Sister Flora does not work or toil or worry, she only draws up the energy from Mother Earth to bring through her veins everything she needs. Likewise, we too, if we reconnect ourselves to the Earth and cosmos from which we came — within which our roots still exist from the beginnings of Evolution eons ago:
— we will find all the energy, creativity, love, and sustenance that we could ever need.
Similarly, our roots interconnect and intertwine with the roots of others who are connected to this planet, who were birthed here. And when we are aware of this intimate connection with The All, The All is entirely open to us: we are It, and It is us. We are each other, and we are Everything. Therefore, again, we lack for nothing.
In this manner, it is strikingly evident what Carl Sagan has said in regard to us and the Universe:
The cosmos is also within us… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
If through Evolution, the cosmos has begun to open itself and search within itself all of its own possibilities, then we are a powerful part of that search — that Knowledge and Unearthly Wisdom! Let us reconnect ourselves and draw that into us.
One more thought for encouragement. I often behold the apparent restrictions human civilization has put on Sister Flora, confining her to certain zones, if you will, where she is allowed to flourish among us, surrounded by concrete. But then I consider, how awesome it is that, as long as her roots are connected to the Earth and drawing all she needs from within the Heart of it, then, in fact, she is not restrained in the truest sense! Likewise, while it may seem at times that we are imprisoned in our own emotions and minds and societal situations we’ve gotten ourselves into, nonetheless, there is always Freedom, there is always Wisdom, deep down at the Heart of Creation, waiting to be tapped.
May we continue to strengthen our connection with the Earth, our Mother, and reach our roots down deep to draw upon her nourishment and wisdom.
Why must there be so much hatred? Why do we run so quickly to judgement fueled by emotion, rather than objective understanding, leading to peace and harmony? It makes me very sad when I encounter it and cannot break through….
Alas, these too, are all Attachment and Aversion… They float in and out like clouds across the Spaciousness Within. We need not claim any as our own… Still, as a regular human being, how I wish I could talk sense into others around me regarding these truths!!
To straighten the crooked you must first do a harder thing — straighten yourself.
The Dhammapada of Guatama.
When they kept on questioning him [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Jesus, Matthew 7:1-5
How easy it is to immediately say: Well! In this particular instance I know what I am talking about; therefore I will close my ears to you and what you have to say and tell you what’s what!
But the wise men of ages past knew and have told us what it is to be wise — to judge not, to embrace The Shadow in all of us, and realize we are all exactly the same; we are connected to each other. We are all of The One. It is not our place to judge the actions of another, especially not solely based on our initial emotional reactions to it! But we must seek to understand, and above all, Love. And Perfect Love is not judgmental or conditional, it simply Is… Mother Earth, indeed the cosmos around us, from which we ultimately came, exhibits a perfect love for us in that the Universe does not judge us for our constant pettiness and smallness and arrogance; the sun still circles around us, the earth still rotates, It does not speak, It does not complain…
Unconditional love feels like nothing… emotions, feelings, judgements — these are all conditions. (Visit this page for more on the Witness State of Unconditional Love.)
Indeed – if we rather turned our attention inward and only sought to straighten ourselves and not others, what a marvelously beautiful world this could become! To attain a state of simply Being, and allowing others that same respect, is a path toward Peace.
Ultimately, however sorrowful I may feel from time to time, it is all up to me and the straightening of myself within, and not the pressure or conditions I feel like placing on others.
May Namaste — I, the Divine in me, bow to the Divine Spark within you — be the sincere word among us all, to tie us together.
Our thoughts are like butterflies; when they amass, they may assume any certain shape of a supposed reality, yet when we observe the cloud of butterflies carefully, we may be more and more able to see each individual butterfly, and watch them as they flutter by, to and fro. Then, to be able to look past each butterfly and see the spaces between their fluttering wings, that is to begin to understand… My thoughts are not me.
Our mind is like an onion. To meditate and to slowly peel back layer after layer, we will eventually find our primordial self. Imagine and see the primordial being from which we have evolved; that same being is at that heart of us all, underneath layers and layers of accumulated other beings, across the eons. Therefore, let us realize that we ourselves are an accumulation of eons of thought, passed down from one generation of beings (and all the adaptations that are attached to them) to the next. In this sense, our current forms truly are simply the present incarnation of life and energy.
We came from and are so intricately intertwined with Mother Earth and Grandmother Starry Host. In this way the Universe itself is a part of our Collective Mind. May we reach out during grounding and breathing meditations, and become the conduit of energy and life from above and below… May the universal energies that stir the cosmos flow without hindrance through us, back and forth from the cosmos to the earth’s heart, and back….
We are each of us, an independent mini-verse; and yet, too, we are fully and intricately entangled with and in our environment, and each other.
How long and often I have heard and seen displayed, the ideology of “Not of This World.” The premise behind it is one of judgement — that this World is of some nature that we ought not be a part of, and to be separate from it is to attain a nature of peace, purity, and enlightenment of one sort or another.
In a way, one might look to meditation and the release of Attachments as a form of this kind of release from the world… But how much better we will fare if, instead, we realize — and, yes, take delight in — the fact that we are holistically integrated with ourselves and our environment. The notion of releasing Attachment is not to bring separation from this World, but instead to come to the awareness that we are One with the World, with the Universe (yes, I know how cliché this phrase is, but it nevertheless remains true). And by this understanding we welcome true peace into our existence.
Without it, we struggle against the World — the Universe, the very womb that birthed us. We see, we, judge, we hate, we long for that which we cannot have and we look endlessly for a mythical release that will not come, as it is powered by fear and hate and a desire for easy, unbalanced escapism… We condemn others who do not conform to our ideologies, and we blame them for the misfortune that seems to overtake us at every turn during our existence on this earth. More than this, by struggling against the very nature of our integrated beings, we create cognitive dissonance in our very souls; how frustrating it is to inherently know the Truth in our beings, for we have the mind of…the Mind… 😉 but retain the need to dismiss it with the excuses of our own imaginings! To maintain this life-encompassing delusion at all costs… This is truly, mentally and spiritually, exhausting!
That we could all come to understand that Perception is everything! That we could each welcome and explore the nature of Attentional Focus; that by employing the realizations of Open Focus we may freely explore the nature of who we are, tied intimately with our environment, in wholeness and peace.
We are made of stellar ash. Our origin and evolution have been tied to distant cosmic events. The exploration of the cosmos is a voyage of self-discovery.
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose.
And you are made of a hundred trillion cells. We are, each of us, a multitude.
We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.
Some part of our being knows this is where we came from… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
The juxtaposition of mind and body vs. spirit is a topic that has been explored in many a myth and philosophical exercise across the ages. We all somehow sense that there is more to us than this mere physical body which we inhabit. Yet it is still an elusive mystery…
What can we say about the nature of who we are?
We are a “mini universe”, we are a multitude; in a sense, our ultimate Personal Consciousness is built upon the delicate balance of myriad other “lesser” consciousnesses, if you will. My cells, genes, every bodily function readily perceived and not, even operations on the quantum level upon which the operations of the entire Universe are based, are all directed, expressed, and controlled by various processes: such as the quantum-mechanical forces, DNA and RNA, energy cycles, and much, much more. Because of our amazing evolutionary legacy, this “mini-verse” of ours is able to operate at its current utmost via its own cyclical system of communication processes, without Me getting involved, aside from providing it the necessary fuel and energy sources it needs to continue normal operations.
Incidentally, this is why I so enjoy and resonate with the notion of the fractal multiverse; we ourselves — and all of nature around us — are a smaller version of the intricate interweaving of processes and structures that make up the larger cosmos we inhabit! All is unfolding and overlapping in fractal symmetry; Nature begets after its kind in ever-evolving improvement and adaptation to changing surroundings. The truth of these things is all around us to behold. All we have to do is observe and understand…
The evolution of the human brain is wondrous and revelatory!
…moving from the simple to the complex over an extended period of time. The billions of cells that work together to make the brain and body function harmoniously have numerous critical functions. …the brain has adhered to Charles Darwin’s “natural selection” methodology by ridding itself of less important functions while enhancing the more essential ones over time.
It is a fact that as man evolved, certain mutations took place within the nervous system that forced it to evolve in time with the body. …mutations in the nervous system were also forced to prove their might against environmental challenges.
…as man’s ability to survive began to necessitate increasingly complex actions and reactions to his environment, the nervous system was also compelled to adapt accordingly. –(from The Evolution of the Human Brain)
–>(Next segment from Consciousness In The Cosmos: Perspective of Mind: Carl Sagan):
Sagan notes that in “the human intrauterine development we run through stages very much like fish, reptiles and nonprimate mammals before we become recognizably human.” And thus it is not surprising that we possess a corresponding “Triune Brain.” [Carl Sagan, THE DRAGONS OF EDEN: SPECULATIONS ON THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE, Ballantine Books, 1977, p. 59.]
The schematic of a human’s Triune Brain is as follows: * The Reptilian Complex * The Limbic System * The Neocortex
Declaring that there is considerable evidence for the localization of brain function–as well as discussing in detail the electrochemical nature of brain function–Sagan lays the groundwork with his depth discussion of the Triune Brain.
The Reptilian Complex is the site from which our propensity arises for “aggressive behavior, territoriality, and the establishment of social hierarchies.” The Reptilian Complex still performs dinosaur functions, according to Sagan. [Ibid, pp. 62-63.]
The Limbic System is mammalian. It is the base for our emotions. Our passions, our altruistic behavior, spawn from the Limbic System– which also is devoted to oral, gustatory, and sexual functions.
The Neocortex is our third, newly human brain in terms of evolution. “Among other functions, the frontal lobes seem to be connected with deliberation and the regulation of action; the parietal lobes, with spatial perception and the exchange of information between the brain and the rest of the body; the temporal lobes with a variety of complex perceptual taks; and the occipital lobes, with vision, the dominant sense in humans…” Sagan suggests, too, that the Neocortex is the locus for abstract thinking and nonverbal intuition. The Neocortex is what makes possible our judgments, what makes for the moral knowledge of good and evil. It is also the site from which our creativity emerges. And the Neocortex is home to our sense of self. [Ibid, p. 98.] (Bold-facing my own emphasis.)
Might we then say, that our myths and concepts of achieving Enlightenment have an actual basis in science and biology? I like to think so!
…Sagan draws upon the Platonic metaphor about the human soul as an uneasy charioteer drawn by two horses in different directions. He considers this metaphor as remarkably similar to our “neural chassis.” The two horses correspond to our Reptilian Complex and Limbic System, and the charioteer to our Neocortex–which is barely in control.
…It is, however, the Neocortex where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” It comprises more than two-thirds of our brain mass. The realm of intuition and critical analysis,–it is the Neocortex where we have our ideas and inspirations, where we read and write, where we compose music or do mathematics. Sagan puts it thus: “It is the distinction of our species, the seat of our humanity. Civilization is the product of the cerebral cortex.” [COSMOS, p. 229.]
It is an observable and scientifically established truth that our physical bodies are directly integrated within itself — all parts function together in harmony (or are meant to, at least!) — and therefore our bodies and physical brain matter are also an integral part of our minds and personal consciousness. Part of the practice of meditation is to position ourselves in such a mindful manner as to begin to simply observe — apart from judgement or reaction — the various parts of Us.
…This is my Ego, telling me how I should interpret and react…
…This is a manifestation of Karma, an unmindful gut reaction based on memory and, consequently, judgement…
So, perhaps this age-old struggle of our mind, soul, body, and sprit, is, in fact, the age-old struggle of the older Reptilian and Mammalian remnants of our evolved brain with our higher functions of the Neocortex.
Naturally, all parts are thus far integrated and are all important to life as we know it, right now; we cannot function without all portions of our brains intact! Perhaps one day in the distant evolutionary future, however, our brains will have but reduced these former forms of brain structure to naught. It is the former animalistic propensities for violence, domination, leadership, and blind judgement that I see in current Culture Wars and instability across the nations and earth in our present days. If all would turn inward and Align the Universe Within themselves — find reconciliation between the lower and higher forms of thought, and embrace their Higher, True Selves of the Neocortex — then, I believe, this race of humanity may be able to survive and heal, and continue to evolve toward greater and greater planes of consciousness.
Carl Sagan holds hope for human intelligence, for our extension of Mind. We are still people from divergent and cultural backgrounds, yet our intelligence is beckoning us toward greater webs of global relationships. In due course, he hopes that we will simply be the “whole human community, the entire planet Earth.” And further, Sagan dreams of our comprehension that we are a “local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness.” We have become “starstuff pondering the stars.” [Ibid, 286.] (Bold-facing is my own emphasis.)
Indeed, Carl Sagan has said that the evolution of our higher brain structure is an effort of freedom — a gift from the nature of evolution to liberate us from the necessity of merely storing information in our lower systems, liberating us from this limited universe of operation in our environment and enabling us to create and evaluate… in a sense, “helping” evolution along. But if we do not align ourselves within, will we allow the lower forms of brain function to control the tools and gifts our neocortex has bestowed upon us — more than likely bringing destruction upon ourselves? I sincerely hope we will awaken to our amazing legacy and heritage as inhabitants of the planet Earth, and work together in peace toward our unfathomable destiny!
Big Brother Mountain;
Father Sky above;
Canopy of clouds and sun,
Nourishing the Earth.
Brush, grasses, wild flowers, trees;
True Breath of our Life.
Gaia, Goddess Earth;
The womb of humanity,
From whence we are birthed.
Mother Starry Host;
Scattering the Seeds of Life
To all who’d receive.
Unity, wholeness, and peace;
I Am as I Am.
Wholeness within and without,
We are, The I Am.
(Copyright 2012 Sarah Wallin Huff. Used with permission.)
There is no wrongness in embracing an innate kinship with the world we see around us. After all…
We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands…
Some part of our being knows this is where we came from… We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Our kinship and love of the Universe need not be an empty, mystical rite to be looked upon by others with ridicule or misunderstanding; but, rather, it is yet another type of personal allegory or myth that may illuminate to our understanding our place in the Universe. As Sagan has so oft-beautifully taught, there is much proven scientific evidence that points to our intimate physical connection with all of matter. We came from the cosmos; we are the cosmos, on the most basic, scientific levels. So it is only natural to embrace with wonder the familial kinship we have with our surroundings. It helps us to put so much more in perspective.
I am in love with Nature, I am in love with the Cosmos and with the Universe and all its inhabitants, from the seen to the unseen.
The Past is not a real place that we can (or should!) visit. In fact, what we think of as The Past is nothing more than our memories, often filtered through the perspective of our Ego, of events that happened prior to this moment and our emotional associations with them.
Likewise, the Future has not happened yet. I recall, throughout my childhood and adolescence, having suffered under an imposed lifestyle of perfection; if I wasn’t perfect according to the customs of my family’s culture, then I was essentially deemed as a disappointment to God and the godliness of the family. So, I had made it a habit to, in a word, daydream all possible scenarios of upcoming interactions – complete with the detailed playing-out of scenes in my head of what might be said and how I might respond, and all the various combinations of statements, questions, and answers I could conceive – thereby ensuring (in my mind) the greatest likelihood of success: preventing embarrassment of any sort. Needless to say, I’d wind up spending a good deal of time, effort, and concentration on these endeavors; oddly enough, it had become such an ingrained habit, that I wouldn’t even recognize the reality of what I was doing or the brainpower I was wasting. In fact, it wasn’t until I recently began the practice of grounding and mindfulness in meditation that I even began to perceive the existence of this attachment. Once I became aware, I immediately stripped this futuristic mental drama of all its imagery and perceived reality; and, suddenly, I was only talking to myself, in the Here and Now. And the whole exercise seemed silly.
After all, of all time and effort I wasted in planning in this way, as far as I can recall, all the future scenarios I’d planned for never once occurred as I’d intended. For, I cannot induce others to speak or interact as I want them to. I can only respond…
The Future is not here. The Past is forever gone. All we truly have is The Now, and that which we’ve brought with us to this precise moment, including the interpretations we’ve formed based on our experiential memories. Enjoy this very small snippet from the beginning of an awesome essay on Time by James M. Corrigan:
…we are only reflecting upon certain essences of existence that we discover once we have vivisected conscious experiences from the living wholeness of the world. “Duration” is a concept that we apply to certain essences that our reflective analysis of our conscious experiences – our lives – finds there. The concept “time” symbolizes these essences and not any particular existent. Are the essences merely artifacts of the vivisecting process of reflective thought?… The idea that time ‘flows’ is based upon the familiar unfolding of our experiential lives, and our asynchronicity with events that we remember, as well as those that we anticipate… what is the source of the continuity of our conscious experiences and also the source of the differences apparent in that continuity?… time is relativized into localized “frames” and those frames introduce what can be called perspective…. There is nothing about Time that necessitates that it flow in a particular ‘direction’, whether we describe that flow as Time moving from the past and flowing into the future, or as events that come from the future and recede into the past…. it appears that Perspective is something about the flow of Time, the contents of Space, and conscious experience. Yet we ignore perspective as a fundamental constituent of reality, and instead grant to Space and Time an ontological status that is only a convention, but a convention that confuses us… When we speak about the Universe, or the World…we are speaking of a conceptual construction that assumes a form for reality. This assumption is present as a pre-cognitive way of viewing the phenomena wherein we assume that what we are conscious of not only exists it is in fact real and separate from us. Our perception of Time and our conceptualization of its aspects are necessarily informed by this pre-cognitive view of reality as a world of separate physical things, and this occults reality from our awareness of it. When we reflect upon our experiences, this view structures the objectified memories of those experiences that are necessary for reflective thought. We can only respond naturally to either our perceptions or our thoughts about these perceptions (or about other thoughts), thus when we are attending to our thoughts when in a reflective pose we are necessarily dealing with experiences that have been vivisected from the ‘flow’ of our experiential lives.
The entire essay is indeed a great read!
Interestingly then, the concept of past lives, on our journey of cosmic evolution, is really a moot point. I really enjoyed this article on the interpretation of past life visions in a universe where you are All and in which Time is happening within The Now! Rather than search suppressed memories for our past selves for the anxiety of it, images of such experiences are more likely (and more helpful!) to be seen as allegory by which we can gain truth effective for our lives in the Here and Now. Thus, whether your vision of Cleopatra is a suppressed memory of you existing in a past form, or if it is instead a connection of two minds in the collective consciousness occurring simultaneously in this amazingly interwoven cosmic fabric, it doesn’t particularly matter. What matters is the lesson the vision holds for the Now.
All of Time is occurring simultaneously (perhaps as a result of our unfolding and overlapping multiverse), and we are All that is, our consciousness wedded to that of every being in the cosmos…
“The distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one.” –Albert Einstein