Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why Cosmos and Psyche?

Richard Tarnas's revolutionary new book COSMOS and PSYCHE is mentioned several times, and there is even a podcast of an excerpt, "Two Suitors: A parable".

So you may wonder, what has Richard Tarnas or COSMOS and PSYCHE got to do with this site, or Philip Levine, or Mystery: Dancing in the Dark?

Good question. Sometimes I wonder too.

But it's really quite simple. I do know Richard Tarnas a little, and like me, he is very interested in the Mystery and astrology.

The only reason his book appears here is because I feel it is wonderfully written, and very important. He tries to make us "look through Galileo's telescope," to see the world around us with fresh eyes. His purpose is in part to help end the centuries of living in what he calls a "disenchanted universe", one in which science has banished any reference to spirit, to the imagination, or the Mystery.

So it is only out of a feeling of kinship and appreciation that I have undertaken here to help promote his great book.

The First "Mystery" Podcast Episode is out

The first chapter of "Mystery: Dancing in the Dark" is the Introduction. Observing the Mystery requires for most of us a fairly radical shift in our perception. The focus is on where we are in the dark, where answers are missing, on the unknown. Our culture and our minds are trained to see any empty space as something to be filled, not entered into. We fill our rare moments of empty time with entertainment and shopping, rather than being encouraged to sink into the emptiness.

Listen (3-30-06; 15:55/7.3 MB)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why "Dancing in the Dark"?

A songwriter for Broadway and Hollywood from the '20s to the '60s, Arthur Schwartz wrote most of his popular tunes with lyricist Howard Dietz. This one was recorded by many artists, including Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, and others.

Its ability to capture the fleeting essence of what it means to be alive, and the mystery of that life, evokes the spirit of our series "Mystery: Dancing in the Dark."

Dancing in the dark til the tune ends
We're dancing in the dark and it soon ends
We're waltzing in the wonder of why we're here
Time hurries by, we're here and we're gone

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hear it here!

Best-selling author Richard Tarnas, whose 1991 book The Passion of the Western Mind has been required reading on many campuses, has just finished his new and exciting Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View.

[from the Cosmos and Psyche website:]
"With The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas gave the world what many scholars, from Joseph Campbell to Huston Smith, regarded as one of the finest histories of the Western mind and spirit ever written. Now, Cosmos and Psyche challenges the basic assumptions of the modern world view with an extraordinary body of evidence that points towards a profound new understanding of the human role in the cosmos.

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View shines new light on the unfolding drama of human history and our own critical age. It also suggests a new possibility for reuniting religion and science, soul and intellect, ancient wisdom and modern reason in the quest to understand the past and create the future."
--Published by Viking Press (Penguin Group) 2006, $29.95

Listen to "Two Suitors: A Parable", an excerpt in a podcast.
(3-30-06; 15:24/7.1 MB)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Why Living with the Mystery Is Important

We do not understand that it is an unknown Mystery that holds it all together. We do not honor this Mystery as those before us did.

Because their chosen words and names for this Mystery are old-fashioned and based on a level of education that we consider antique, we have mistakenly and foolishly decided if the name is outdated, so is the Mystery. Whether called "God", "Allah", "Krishna", or "Satan", the Mystery IS. It does not depend on a name, nor does any one name really capture the Identity which I am calling "Mystery."

We are addicted to certainty because we have no safety net anymore. Without any belief in a Greater Power, what is there to save us, to catch us as we free-fall when our traditional answers serve us no longer? We prefer certainty to the truth.

In a time of increasing danger and confusion, the black-and-white convictions of religious fundamentalism and mandatory jail sentences, of the political "axis of evil" and the implicit assumption of our role as the force of "good" have great appeal. So do the hard "facts" of our technological world. It is often the outward appearance of certainty that is most attractive. Young people in particular yearn to feel as secure and sure as those they see around them who have the "answers" to life’s questions.

Many philosophers have told us it is not only the answers that matter but the ability to live the questions. And living the question means being unsure, living in ignorance or uncertainty, risking making foolish mistakes and appearing hesitant and insecure. Just like the legendary hidden entry hole into the underworld, this is our entry into the world of the orphan and its innocence.

So the questions constantly being posed by life do not open us up to wonder anymore. We avoid the questions with pat answers that have been spoon fed by the sham of education. It is merely atmospheric conditions that caused the awesome glow in the night sky. It is only your imagination that leads you to envision impending disaster. A recent NASA website displaying the grandeur of a sunset described it: "What's happening over the horizon? Although the scene may appear somehow supernatural, nothing more unusual is occurring than a setting Sun and some well placed clouds."

When something suggests any presence of mysterious depth or "higher" powers, it has to be reduced: feelings reduced to chemicals in the brain, unexplainable phenomena to atmospherics, psychic anomalies to mental illness or "imagination."

But "I wonder…"

Look at ANYTHING. Your big toe, a dust ball, a tree, the sky.

Wonder: Why does it exist? Where did it come from? What is my relationship to it? How much do I need it? Depend on it? What would I do if it were suddenly not here? Where does it go when I can no longer see it?

Interestingly, we do not know where the word "wonder" came from, but one must be innocent to wonder.

Why is it childish to spend time wondering "where did I come from?", "why am I here?" What does it imply to call these core questions that should concern us and once did matter to others, "childish?" It implies that with sophistication, education and experience, somehow these questions become irrelevant.

But do they? Are they no longer important and worth considering?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Orphan and the Mystery

"Are we more vitally conscious than an Egyptian 3000 years B.C. was? Are we? Probably we are less. Our conscious range is wide, but shallow as a sheet of paper. We have no depth to our consciousness."
--D.H. Lawrence in Apocalypse (1931)

Recently I had a dream and I take dreams seriously. I saw a young orphan girl, dressed in rags, standing alone. A woman approached showing contempt for the orphan, and then spat at her. As I awoke, I suddenly realized that I was this girl’s guardian. I heard her voice asking, "Who will speak for me?"

The orphan wants to be heard now inside of each of us. We need to listen, to turn back toward the empty and innocent place which we have abandoned. It is my hope that if articulated at the right moment, the Mystery which the orphan represents can reach us through our numbing, denial and escapism, and awaken us once again to the realization of who and what each of us really is, beneath the roles we play.

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Podcast Series - Mystery: Dancing in the Dark

"Mystery: Dancing in the Dark" is a podcast series which explores the empty spaces, the unknown, and the hidden "underworld" beneath the surface.

The purpose of "Mystery: Dancing in the Dark" is to help you to wonder, to pause and reflect on questions like "Who am I really?", "Why am I here?", "What is death and what does it have to do with me?", and "What really holds all this together?".

We are all dancing in the dark, but most of us go along with the crowd by pretending there is no dark. This podcast series asks you to think about the dark, and in doing so, perhaps to recover an appreciation for the fact that you and I came from the dark (mysterious unknown). In doing so, we may find that the dark Mystery continues to be the source of life and continues to bring us new life.

This series and this page are not connected with any organization or religion. They are my attempt to help us as individuals to think independently about who we are, where we are, and what we may do to restore our world to health.

Listen to the introduction (3-30-06; 15:55/7.3 MB)