(Forgive me, Ataraxia, for the following disjointed, emotional ramblings. I have far to go yet, far!)
What an odd impass. Obviously, I can't be of much help, except to say that at least making an effort toward 'understanding' is a good thing. Maybe it is better than, like some philistine business-person or some arrogant and avaricious temporal ruler, you just spend your time trying to get ahold of wealth or in controlling and directing other human beings? But here, we engage in philosophizing! In soaring dialectic! On another thread I referred to Hesse. I really think at the end of the day all we have is our art, and our spiritual and religious life, in whatever form we live it, is in a very real way our one and true art! I know, I know, I really do sympathize with you! Your poor head goes into a tailspin or a hurricane, the brain cells get all heated up, you start to snort in your really rather polite Australian way, steam comes out of your ears: you must have your descriptions completely paired-down to the most essential, language must be precise and exact, you cannot bear paradox or ambiguity, or that Life itself be extremely multivalent, multiplicitous, variegated! Be still, be still, all is well, all is well! Someday soon I will sing you a lullaby that will seem to come from the very stars themselves, a resonant, soft lullaby of Mother Maria herself, and this lullaby will pick you up like a magic carpet and take you floating before the furnace of the Lord, and you will glow with golden glow! Soon, soon! Patience, patience!
For me, at the end of the day, strange as it sounds, there is good and bad poetry. Yep, that's how it is. You sing some beautiful song in some beautiful way, you create a nice space for yourself and the people you love, and you try to live your life in a way that responds to 'the spirit', where there is some kind of recognition of and offering to 'the divine', and where you allow yourself, with a certain humility I suppose, to e guided along the path of your life. *Sigh* I know, I know, there is not a great deal in that for a certain kind of mind, it is like a sort of nursery rhyme that you'd tell to some children who sit there enchanted, their imaginations receiving the images, their feelings responding to the images, and then its cupcake time, and after that, a little nap! And then they wake up and its play time all over again...
But that is really how I see things, in a sort of ultimate way. These so-called 'wise' people, at the end of the day, what do they 'do'? It's less what they DO, and more, I submit, what they feel like. How do you feel around them? Do you find a way to carry away with you some of those feelings? And what do you do with those feelings? Because everyone in the whole world, as I see things, is searching for and hunting for and living and dying for, just a drop, just a touch, of a sort of bliss and well-being that---they say---is a by-product of an experience of 'God'.
The wondrous sages who have created this site want their religion and their spirituality and their realization...to come to them in just one flavor, I suppose that is a kind of transparent, colorless light. Buddhism, as I understand it in its Indian context, was a reaction to an overabundance of forms and multiplicities, to brahminism, and represents a means of getting back to the most essential, supposedly. But as Buddhism develops, it reproduces the whole shbang all over again, and you almost have to cuts ITS form away, and start again.
In a very short---far too short---amount of time we will all pass out of existence, and it seems to me that while we are here, and I mean this in reference to a sort of core human offering, we only ever really have a little bit of love to offer people, some little drops. Yes, yes, I know there are so many different roads of learning and accomplishment and so many ways to benefit 'humanity', but I am speaking more precisely of something else. For me, subjective though it is as a statement, that is what the practice of religion means to me, I mean above and beyond so many other different things (good ethics, a sort of purity, compassion, good sense, high thinking, beautiful culture, some kind of contribution...)
Kevin (et al) are 'non-dualists' of the Sankara school, and the same debate, the same conflict has beein going on between that rigid and demanding school and basically all the other schools. But not everyone is of this non-dualist school, and not everyone 'submits to this logic'. The most lovely manifestation of a religious form, for me, is the Krishna religion, but that is possibly because I am an artist and I love its 'art'. Kevin, I assume, reads the Bhagavad Gita as a 'non-dual' document, and yet it is very clearly not subject to non-dualism. It is a 'song' in which 'God' speaks directly, God as person. There seems to be a strong underpinning similarity between the 'personalist' religions, and Chrsitianity and Vaishnavism (Krishna-ism) have a great deal in common, but it is very, very difficult for these traditions to 'converse' with 'non-dualism', and it seems that this conversation is having that problem, and will always have it.
And that is why I say: Ease up! Take a few deep breaths! Help is on its way! Soon, very soon, some odd new feelings will come trickling up from within your own selves, a delicious effervescence! Then, you will understand that which your lopsided brains never could!
I won't abandon you, I won't!
Ni ange, ni bête