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Old 10-22-2007, 02:17 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Right, that would work too. That would be hard to fit into a Christian worldview, as usually God is not seen remotely like that, but it's definitely possible.
These concepts aren't completely unique to Eastern philosophies but indeed you are right -- they do not fit well with traditional Christian teachings. Meister Eckhart of Germany was charged with heresy in 1326 for proclaiming this exactly this type of Christian mysticism.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Perhaps you could explain in a general way how this view works in relation to responsibilities (how to live your life, etc)?
The biggest thing this view provides for me is perspective. Whether in terms of human relations, quantum mechanics, or chaos theory -- the sense that all things are changing but the internal nature within everything is not. It's like when an astronaut looks down at earth and sees this sphere silently hovering beneath him. He knows all the hustle and bustle that is taking place below, but from where his, it appears almost at rest. But unlike the astronaut's view who's looking outwards at something other than himself, this view of the world includes myself.

In addition, the belief that God unifies all things helps to reinforce feelings of empathy. When I'm at work or when I'm driving, for example, and I feel angry towards someone, I can overcome those negative emotions by remembering that this person is not someone so different from me. That person and I share the same core being after all. And then suddenly being angry doesn't seem so important.

Can't help but remember a Beatles song: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Beyond that, I've come to believe that (at least for me) the purpose of religion is not to lay down a set of dogmas to tell me how to live my life, but rather to provide an understanding of the relationships between all people. Morality then follows understanding. And of course, this includes the understanding and acceptance of our own mortality.

To wrap up, I'll just point out one of my favorite mnemonics. It is the dancing statue of Shiva Nataraja. This figure symbolizes the idea of eternal being/becoming. The drum that Shiva beats begins the dance of life and symbolizes creation, the fire in his other hand symbolizes its destruction, the raised hand with palm out says "wait, don't be afraid, nothing is really happening, be at peace".

I see they put one up in front of CERN.

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