I am doing an inspirational talk tonight, which I anticipate will be less well attended than usual because today is Saint Patrick’s day. And I got to thinking ‘Saint Patrick… Who was he?’
Well it turns out that Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Christian missionary and bishop. He was brought up in Roman Britain in a fusion of Roman and Celtic culture. He is known as the “Apostle of Ireland” and is venerated in various churches as “Enlightener of Ireland.” When he was 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken into slavery in Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family and becoming a cleric. He returned to Ireland in later life and served as a bishop. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s day is said to be the date of his death. It is celebrated as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is a Holy Day of Obligation, on which the faithful are obliged to attend Mass. Saint Patrick’s day is also a celebration of Ireland itself and the way I remember it, or don’t, is that it’s a good excuse to drink eight pints of Guinness.
So I started to wonder, if Saint Patrick had anything to do with my talk and how I could weave him in.
Well, the spirit of Saint Patrick is immortalised in a popular story. He lived around 1500 years ago so we have the makings of another legend. I want you to think about current cultural legends and which of them might survive the next 1500 years?
Do you think as a race, humanity will be celebrating the death of Steve Jobs on October 5th? Or David Bowie on January 10th?
Will they all be painting their faces with the Aladdin Sane zig zag?
Or what stories will they be telling about our culture? Our common sense world view might seem crazy in a couple of thousand years…
As human beings, we are guided through life by stories. Some of the primary stories which drive our culture are the story of God, the story of Jesus, the story of Self, the story of separation?
We live in the “it’s all about me” generation. It is getting harder to become selfless. To connect with “that which we truly are”. In last four decades culturally we moved away from “serving our country” – the War era, to “self-enquiry” through New Age courses and psychology. And a part of that paradigm being that we are all doing something huge for humanity or for the planet.
But I think what sets us aside from the rest of life as human beings is awareness, imagination, recall and the ability to convey ideas. It is miraculous that life has evolved to this point. But then why do we make ourselves wrong for doing it?
Do you think grass looks forward to rain, or sunshine? Does it look across the great divide to its neighbouring blade and ask “remember the time when the gardner mowed the lawn?” perhaps deciding that it will never ever grow in that direction again.
And what about animals?
Do you think that by looking into the eyes of your cat, or dog, that they really are truly spiritual beings? Or are they just stupid? They don’t seem to have the same thought stream that you and I have? Should we aspire to have less thoughts? Because when our thought stream is clear, then it’s useful isn’t it.
Our dearly departed cat was called Isambard, but unlike his namesake, he didn’t do a lot of iconic engineering. Shortly before he died, something was missing in his eyes. He just wasn’t there any more. His body was still breathing but it wasn’t him.
Now was that a function of thinking? Or was it something else? When you look into another beings eyes and you look behind the thoughts, then what is that? There is clearly an animating force in the Universe? You can see it in the eyes of another bio-electromagnetic organism, so where is it actually located? And does that same force animate all things? It seems to.
And what about mirror neurons? Another way we learn as humans is by copying the actions of others. When I am leaning Tai Chi, the brain establishes the pattern of the movement by practicing it in the imagination first. There are countless experiments with MRI scans that show this. So if I, go into that deep place, access consciousness, be the life force energy, know thyself as the animus, then as mirrors of one another, we can go deeper.
So what are we up to?
I want to mention the common sense world view and to think about how that might change over the next few thousand years. In this culture, I am a BODY, and a MIND and a SPIRIT. I exist in TIME and I have a PERSONA. I am one of over seven billion human beings on a huge planet in an even bigger solar system. I am an incomprehensibly small and insignificant blip in the grand scheme of things. I am also the centre of all experience for the self. The brain generates all of reality and perceives it through the senses. This my world. Every aspect of this world is controlled by me through my interpretation of its events, through my beliefs and my stories about this life. By my very existence I am the most significant aspect of this life. A life without ego would be meaningless.
But I think the common sense world view will change over time and I think a small pocket of people in the current culture reflects the direction where humanity might be headed. An over inflated ego is not a good survival trait. Neither is complete identification with consciousness. I think a renewed sense of balance in all things is what is required. So a culture that embraces the life force energy that we all are and celebrates all forms of life.
And if I can recognise it in you, you can recognise it in me, then it has no real location. It is in everything. Influences everything. We feel separate in our day to day lives and yet we are always connected. And this is an invitation to be connected. When we celebrate ego as an expression of life force, in ourselves and in others, then we don’t get stuck in a “you or me” world of “this versus that”.
I am an individual. This is me, here, doing this. It’s cool isn’t it. Well, I am enjoying it. But I am also the Universal Life Force. The being called ‘Mark Ty-Wharton’ is not really separate from life itself, but more a character in a dance. And it is the dance that makes us. It is in the dance that non-duality or oneness occurs. The separate me and the life force are both doing it. It is no longer about “either/or” but becomes more about “and/both”. And I think the degree to which human beings are willing to take this on, will be the degree to which World peace becomes apparent on this planet.
So I invite you to look for yourself and find out what you truly are.
See you on the other side of the looking glass,
Anurajyati (be delighted)