"God is mythology that we tell ourselves to make sense of the world and reinforce our self-importance."
I'm binge-watching The Handmaid's Tale at the moment and I'm so blown away by the human mind to conceive of potential alternative realities for us all. Margaret Atwood wrote it in 1985 and I cannot believe I didn't have the opportunity to read it until last year. With the current political and social systems eroding our human rights and dignities, Dystopian stories help us to imagine possible scenarios of our society and our place in it. Gilead is one of many dystopian futures which could potentially be real futures for all of us - with the assistance of the human ego.
We humans are capable of great passion, love, creativity and innovation and yet, we are also capable of great evil, control and hate. They are two sides to the same coin and the series of events that we are seeing now in Australia with the religious and political interference in the media could easily swing either way and force us down the dark roads of fascism and dictatorship or to a society where all life is valued. The American erosion of women's reproductive rights sets a dangerous precedent for the return to the suppression of women, who are only now starting to make great strides in equality.
But what is behind all of this? Is it about money? Control? Or is it something bigger? After the great yoga debacle of 2016 where my whole belief system came crumbling down, I have been in this state of, well, hollowness. It's a hollowness of faith and belief that feels empty without having something to fill the void. Religion fills that void for about 95% of human beings, and helps us to make sense of the world and our place in it. But ultimately, God is mythology that we tell ourselves to make sense of the world and reinforce our self-importance as the superior species.
Humans are just one of an approximate 8.7 BILLION known life forms on this planet. That means, for every single one of us, there is another species, plus more. How did we get to the point where WE think we are more important or valued than any of the other species here? If we look back into history, the Great Chain of Being was a massive IDEA to explain our existence which has influenced humans the past 2500 years - particularly in Western cultures. But it was an idea, first suggested by Plato. It was one man's idea about how to explain our place in the world.
We are still living with the consequences of that thought through racism, sexism, class systems and species extinction. The idea that an educated, wealthy MAN is superior to women, non-European humans, slaves, animals, plants, minerals and the Earth itself, is insanity. It's also an OLD idea that continues to affect the day-to-day lives of women, people of colour, animals and our ecosystem. That doesn't make it right. But the other thing that the chain of being does, is place "God" at the very top of the chain. A God, which, when you strip back the layers of ego, just doesn't exist. Of course, God serves a role, in helping people to have faith, hope, a sense of purpose and a feeling that we are somehow important - there's nothing wrong with that, it's good to feel purpose - unless it elevates us above another living being on this planet. That isn't God, it's human ego.
Which brings me back to the imagined realities; what if the way that we are currently living is an imagined reality that doesn't belong to us? What if we are just accepting the reality and regurgitating other people's ideas without actually having a single unique idea of our own? This was my truth when my yoga world came crumbling down. Yogic philosophy is somebody else's idea about the world, it's not mine.
It's far too scary to conceive of a world where there isn't some great creator watching over us, the alternative is horrifying - that we are alone and all we have is this little blue dot and the life on it. It makes sense that we have made up stories to help explain our existence; the stories give us comfort, faith, hope that we aren't alone. I too have been there.
With the impending ecological disaster facing our world, surely we can move past an idea that places all beings in a pyramid-style hierarchy. Surely, we need to be looking more to a world where we work with one another, with the environment and with the natural rhythms of the planet we inhabit and not some imagined reality, with the mythology of stories that we continue to tell that someone thought millennia ago?
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
"Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? ....What if it is learned consciousness?"
I've been contemplating the idea of duality lately and feeling it in both my internal and external worlds. When I look at the world around us, it seems that politics has become polarised into two different camps - the left and the right - and neither can see the other's point of view. In-fact we have lost the ability to have rational discussions on social media about the issues that affect us all. All mature dialogue has disintegrated into name-calling and physical fighting (even in our leaders) - where has our intellectual and sophisticated society gone?
The world feels polarised and our behaviours are becoming more and more irrational. There's a saying that talks about the left and right hand that don't know what each other is doing, but what's more important is acknowledging that we are more than just hands; we are whole and complete sentient beings capable of both great evil and enormous love and compassion with these hands. Both of those extremes exist within all of us at any given time.
But so do I, I feel polarised within myself. And if I'm feeling it, I imagine that many other people are feeling the same.
The idea of duality is a fairly recent one in human history. The first known written story/poem/epic ever written was the story of Gilgamesh from about 3000BCE. It was the very first written narrative to record combat between good and evil. From there our ideas in stories evolved to always include this dualism - light/dark, Isis/Osiris, God/The Devil. By the 5th Century CE the theology of the Devil was firmly established in our psyche. In more recent times, I too have been caught up in the Shiva/Shakti, masculine/feminine dualities of our beings.
The word duality comes from late-middle English meaning having a twofold character also shows contrast. But what existed prior to this? If this was the first concept of evil what existed before?
Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? What if we are in this internal battle with ourselves and others that simply is an illusion? What if duality doesn't exist as a part of the human condition? What if it is learned consciousness?
I feel this frustration that arises within me and I feel torn by this polarising force that just doesn't feel right for me. Maybe I'm living in this utopian world where I only want to see peace in and around me. But I do sense this duality within ourselves and the world coming to an end - we are coming to a point of conflict where the duality will cease to exist in its current form. Donald Trump, for all his flaws, has unconsciously highlighted this incredible duality that exists both within us and in our world and that's probably his purpose for being.
And yet, the solution is simple: to surrender the duality and bring the polarisation of each hand and into the place of the heart, the centre of all beings. The place that is love. It begins with us centering into love.
© Alyssa Curtayne 2018
"What I’m finding that the only thing I know for sure is where I am now. I cannot make any promises for the future or plan too much because ultimately I will die, and the path that I take there will be dependent upon my decisions and reactions in the now."
Richard Dawkins, in his 2006 book, The God Delusion, proposes that all religion, particularly those with a creator of some form, is a kind of collective delusion, “that a belief in God is both irrational and profoundly harmful to society.” This theory is often applied to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but increasingly I’m finding it coming up in the worlds that I inhabit. I have always been, I suppose, a spiritual person in the sense that I appreciate nature with a huge sense of gratitude; I am in awe of this planet from the microcosmic to the macrocosm of all that science has discovered. But I have never been religious in the traditional sense.
When I was about 10, I discovered that I was the only one of my primary school friends who wasn’t Christened, and I was mortified. What was I missing out on? I attended Sunday School briefly and after my parents discussed it with the minister, who astutely advised to wait until I was old enough to make my own decision, I didn’t get Christened. I vividly remember writing a poem about Jesus and was quickly put in my place by a girl who asserted her literary and religious dominance.
I needed to convert to Islam when I was about to be married, as my ex-husband is a Muslim. However, Muslims believe that all people are born Muslim and nobody converts, they revert back to what they always were. Needless to say, I didn’t take this reversion seriously and said all the right things to become Muslim so I could marry. But I didn’t revert from anything because I have never had a label attached to my belief, so in my mind, nothing changed.
Religion has skirted the edges of my life and I have met some wonderful people of all faiths but I wonder if Richard Dawkins was right all along and we are all under a delusion? If I transfer that thought process to my recent growth and development, I am very influenced by Buddhist and Hindu teachings, particularly around my yoga teacher training. Interestingly, I think all religions originated in India and the big five; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are just a different interpretation on the same thing. Somehow the message gets warped and it turns into its own version of events and wisdom. The culture that is developing in the new age or spiritual community is an interesting one and I’m asking myself now if we too aren’t under a delusion of belief; if the things that we all started out believing are being warped into this ego-version of what it originally was. Our shared stories are turning into something else.
So if all oral and written stories aren’t true and there is no great God or Goddess, what are these stories? Are they just a way to explain our existence? Are they a way for our tiny minds to find some meaning in why we are here? And why are we here? What is the point of life? And why haven’t the beliefs of Indigenous populations become more mainstream? The reason for our existence is truly a question that has no answer and not one of us will ever find the answer. So many people turn to religion because it is familiar, it is comfortable, it creates community and there is historical evidence of sorts that the people in the stories were real or that they provide lessons in the best way to be human.
I’m finding that I’m questioning all of my beliefs at the moment and I think that is a healthy way to be, I get to be conscious about what I believe in. I love the human story, our collective history, and while growing up in Australia has been a fairly Western, Christian version of events, I’m constantly asking more questions about the human story in other parts of the world. We are all influenced by so many things and in this age of the internet, while we have limited censorship (at this stage), ideas can spread and, in technological terms, go viral. That, to me, is so exciting. We can start to hear the voices of other humans and not just from Western, English-speaking countries.
And the future? How can I be sure of the future and do I really want to know what will happen? If I spend too long worrying or thinking about the future, I miss the dragonfly that lands on my chair or my children asking for my attention, or being thoughtful as I vacuum the floor and being grateful for electricity and a home to live in.
What I’m finding that the only thing I know for sure is where I am now. I cannot make any promises for the future or plan too much because ultimately I will die, and the path that I take there will be dependent upon my decisions and reactions in the now. There is no delusion in the present. The messages that go to our brains from our senses; what we see, hear, feel, smell, taste and intuit that is true, it’s how we interpret and react to them that then defines us and our human experience.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2016
Last week with the “Blue Moon” it got me thinking about what we value and why. A blue moon is a second full moon that occurs in a calendar month. My newsfeed was awash with advice and recommendations about the blue moon and what we can manifest in this once-in-a-blue-moon sort of event. I have no doubt of the power of the full moon for manifesting and of the new moon for letting go. This is not about the moon’s powers. This is about the value we attach to things without asking the questions.
As in the previous blog, I’ve been questioning everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! If we look at the blue moon, it is based on the concept of months as in a calendar. Just as days of the week are human-made, so are the months. If we were to be true to the cycles of this planet, we would divide it by the moon’s cycles not calendar months, that is January, February and so on. There are thirteen moon cycles in a year based on the movement of the moon around the earth and there-in lies another human made concept: Linear Time. There are no “rare” moon events just because the calendar says so.
The fact that it is the number 2015 is a human construct designed to keep us feeling some sort of control in a linear time-space continuum. But as physicists know, time is not linear, yet, here on this planet we as a society create it so. Through the simple act of the blue moon, I have dismissed the names of days, calendar months and numerical years in my worldview. And don’t get me started on European season names that were imported to Australia when half of the country exists in a wet-dry climate cycle and things like autumn make absolutely no sense. Aboriginal seasons with their intricacies of plant growth, types of wind and rain, and when animals breed make so much more sense in such a diverse country.
Countries – they are names again! I could go on forever with these human-made constructs that we don’t ever question. I think John Lennon said it best when he said in Imagine, “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too.” But what’s been happening even more in recent years are images coming back from the International Space Station of Earth from space. In those pictures, there are no delineated lines marking what is mine or yours, or even theirs from space. From space, we share this blue planet that we call Earth. Even the boundaries of our homes, our lands, our fences separate us. Traditional societies shared spaces and lived in relative harmony. I’m not suggesting that there weren’t conflict over territory, but in general it was shared spaces and there was a mutual respect for another’s space. Until we delineated “mine” and “yours”, it was “ours”.
Even our names that we are assigned at birth, define our gender and expectations of behaviour even before we have become solid in our new bodies. We parent girls and boys differently and have different expectations on them; girls are “soft and need nurturing”, boys need to “stop crying and toughen up”. Where did these values come from and how do they define us from external pressure? Where are the parents who value the child’s soul and allow them to grow and be who they are?
In his book Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body, Von Braschler (Destiny Books, 2012) explores the concept of time as an illusion on the Earth plane with physical limitations. We restrict the possibilities of existence by restricting ourselves in linear time. We are caught in a cycle where time defines us, not us defining time. No longer do we follow the natural rhythms of the Earth and ourselves but we fill our lives with constant activity without ever stopping in the stillness.
Many of the great thinkers: Aristotle, Leibniz, Issac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, H.P. Blavatsky and more recently Nicholas Tesla knew that this concept of time doesn’t really exist, except in our minds. We spend our lives rushing around after electronic clocks, when the concept of measured time; seconds, minutes, hours is an artificial construct and we are suffering with an enormous amount of stress-related health conditions, because we are unable to allow the natural rhythms of the Earth work with our own natural cycles and to allow the soul to unfold like a flower without pushing and pushing to do this course, or earn that money or have this skill or be more “spiritually advanced” than other people, it all seems very survival focused. Braschler says that our sensory perception; sight, sound, touch, taste, hearing, limit our Earth experience, instead we should be trusting our higher consciousness and exploring beyond the cultural and social structures. Yet, these experiences in the higher consciousness, “cannot always relate to normal frames of reference that are comfortable for our rational lower mind to process and resolve.”
This planet is ours. We all share it. When we start to separate ourselves by name, gender, days, months, countries and the ticking of a clock we do our souls a dis-service. We are creating this external construct of linear time and perceived identity, which does not exist. We all perceive what we want to see and what we have been socially conditioned to see. Immanuel Kant said that time is a tool we use to keep our thoughts orderly. So what is the key to overcome these social and cultural conditionings? I have some thoughts:
1. Firstly, question where your values come from. Is the blue moon any more powerful than a regular full moon? The answer is in the energy you put into your desire. July is an artificial measure of time that we use to track the Earth’s annual cycle around the sun. The months compartmentalise the year into manageable chunks that we arrange our lives around. Even Wednesday is “hump day” the day half way to the weekend. What sort of world are we living in where we rush through the “week” in order to get to the weekend where we can do what we really want to do, where we can actually follow our soul’s callings? What a phenomenal waste of the present moment!
2. Secondly, if you are a woman, track your menstrual cycle by the moon. Of course this will be harder if you are on synthetic contraceptives. If coming off these, you need to have all the necessary discussions. I’m not a doctor or your partner. Do your research, ask the questions. For me I know that my period comes around the new moon and I ovulate at the full moon. I always have. For other women, the cycle is reversed. Hospital staff and midwives repeatedly report that babies come in clusters around the full moon. I haven’t done the research, but I’m fairly certain men too have their own natural cycles.
3. And the final thing that I would suggest is to ground yourself deep into your body and soul and live in the moment. It’s one thing to cognitively know to be in the moment and another to be driving the kids, while listening to the radio and have your mind reel off the thousands of things that need doing. Just drive. Be present. Really listen when someone is speaking and be mindful of thinking about your responses. Just listen. Just be. Time as we have created it truly is illusory. We need to unplug ourselves from thinking we don’t have enough time, that there is a hurry, that we allow the world to define ourselves from the outside.
We need to return within and trust in our souls to guide us to where we need to be. We can control time, we can be the masters of it and not be driven by it, we just have to change our perception of what we view as true and as always, Question Everything.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015