October 28, 2009

Spiritual Ships 4- Big Ship? Small Ship? Your Ship? My Ship? Which Ship?

Just joining this discussion? Please read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.

There was a time when we existed in smaller tribal groups. These groups would have a shaman/medicine man/witch/doctor/priestess/guru/Master... whatever you will. This person was the most proficient at navigating and exploring the ocean (God/Universe) and served as the chief Navigator/Sailor. He/she would lead group expeditions into the ocean. But rather than everyone board his/her ship, each member of the tribe journeyed in his or her own little sailboat. They made up a fleet along an ocean route with the Shaman’s boat at the head. That way, every tribe member, man, woman and child alike, became a proficient sailor and navigator in their own right. The reason this could be done was that the population was smaller and manageable. The priestess, Shaman, witch doctor was truly accessible and had time to spend with every member of the tribe to offer advice, healing and sailing instruction.

There was a time when every tribe member, man, woman and child alike, became a proficient sailor and navigator in their own right.

Even though the tribe had an expert, all were expected to learn mystic arts, communication with animal spirits and ancestors and the secret properties of plants. Little children knew exactly what to do to see visions to guide them home if they were lost in the wild. All were expected to work towards a level of mastery at these things. Should an ocean storm separate them, set their dingy adrift, they were not helpless. They could navigate safely because their “map” was ingrained in their hearts and minds and reading it involved real-time interaction, observation and adaptation to the ever changing ocean.

Super Ships (Great Religious Empires) were built, not necessarily to help ordinary passengers and crew to fully explore the ocean (God/Universe) but to support the interests of civilization’s elite, among them a new class of Navigators/Sailors. Any student of history will clearly see that Super Ships and empires were almost one and the same with interchangeable interests.

This kind of personal and instinctive oceanographic intelligence, sailing skill and navigation was almost lost to the world. We can still see it among some of the First Peoples and among the few of us spiritual adventurers trying to keep it alive by advocating for more personal questing and less religious dependence. But what almost killed it in the first place? What made us so scared of sailing on our own? What caused us to give up the freedom of being Navigators/Sailors and join massive populations of Passengers on board Super Ships (populous empire-based organised religions led by an elite class of priests); trusting our exploration of the ocean to an elite group of crew with one all-powerful Navigator/Sailor at the helm?

The ability to Navigate and Sail used to be imparted into our hearts from infancy. It was an instinctive thing. Even little children knew exactly what to do to see visions, which plants to eat and how to guide themselves home if they were lost in the wild.

The necessity for Super Ships has nothing to do with God. From its inception it was always designed to serve entirely human, economic and political needs. When we began settling into larger civilizations and these started to become empires, our relationship with the ocean changed completely because of competition.

Competition for earth’s resources, land and people required power...every kind of power. It was not long before this mentality started to reflect in how we explored the ocean (God). In a world made smaller by trade and population surge, many Navigators/Sailors, fearing a challenge to their position and status deliberately hid knowledge to secure their power and value to society. Others corrupted by greed and power did more than just conceal oceanographic knowledge, they deliberately misled. Others hid knowledge not for selfish reasons, but to protect it when their people were conquered and enslaved.

When it became necessary to write down secrets to exploring God/Universe in coded language, in order to preserve and protect it it, the average human could not be a Navigator/Sailor and was forced to depend on someone else who could read the secrets for them.

As generations died and ancestral knowledge of the ocean navigation became threatened it became necessary to write it down in order to preserve it. In order to protect it, it was written in secret, coded language. For the first time a special kind of literacy become necessary to understand the maps. Since populations became larger and education was afforded only to a select few, the average human could not be a Navigator/Sailor and was forced to depend on someone else.

Thus began the age of the Super Ships.

These were built, not necessarily to help ordinary passengers and crew to fully explore the ocean but to support the interests of civilization’s elite, among them a new class of Navigators/Sailors. Any student of history will clearly see that empires and Super Ships were almost one and the same with interchangeable interests. The Egyptian Super Ship and Empire were one and the same. The Babylonian Super Ship and Empire were one and the same. The Greek Super Ship and empire were one and the same. The Roman Catholic Super Ship and empire were one and the same.

Priest blessing a tank during war.

Empires grow because the Super Ships require massive crew and massive wealth to control and regulate the vast numbers of passengers on board. Increasing their numbers in turn could justify building bigger and bigger Ships to the fleet and taking the resources needed to do so through even more plunder, genocide and war.

The race to create massive fleets to rule the ocean had begun. New passengers and crew were press ganged on board using varying degrees of coercion from the clever to the charitable to the cruel. In addition, the elite class of Navigators/Sailors discouraged passengers and crew from leaving the ship or becoming empowered enough to navigate and sail away on their own. The Hebrews committed atrocious acts of genocide as part of their empire building because “God” told them to do it. Spain slaughtered the native peoples of the Americas with the full support of the Roman Catholic Super Ship it served.

Super Ships brought with them fundamentalism and persecution of anyone who wanted to empower themselves to sail or navigate independently.

In this new world of conquest, war and empire, many found themselves cast adrift in foreign lands as refugees, slaves or prospectors, without a Navigator/Sailor in their own language and tradition. The sea longing in these refugees, slaves and immigrants was of course as strong as ever and even after assimilating into the traditions of a Super Ship it was hard to give up their traditions and their own instincts. The Semitic peoples constantly battled with their past memories of and longing for the Goddess despite the newer patriarchal Yahweh Super Ship that now dominated them. As the Hebrew monotheistic empire grew stronger, their beloved Goddess was banished as Ashtoreth, a female demon of lust. Navigators/Sailors decided to homogenize and control the growing and diversifying population. They decreed that it was best if everyone was made to submit to one map, one way. Fundamentalism now entered the picture.

The defeat of the Spanish Armada by the British heralded the end of the Roman Catholic Empire.

The elite crew and Navigator/Sailor of Super Ships discouraged access to any other maps from other explorers in other parts of the world and denounced modern technology that could aid anyone to become a cartographer independent of the Super Ship’s Navigator/Sailor. Galileo can attest to that. These Super Ships often crashed into reefs and countless passengers would drown when ancient map reading clashed with the realities of science like the superstitious killing of cats which increased the rat population leading to the massive spread of Plague.

Throughout history, when a Super Ship encountered a smaller one, it would mow it down and press gang the new members on board.

If anyone dared to build a boat and try to navigate on their own, the Super Ship would mow them down, sending them into the depths of the ocean for all to see, increasing the fear of individual navigation. Passengers and crew fearing a similar fate submitted blindly without question or at least public question. If one Super Ship should encounter a smaller ship from a different culture, using a different method of navigation, sailing and design, they would pirate it or destroy it, calling the smaller ship’s Navigatiors/Sailors and Passengers/Crew primitive, lost or degenerate as justification. If one Super Ship met another Super Ship from a different culture, they would engage in protracted wars for supremacy, with passengers and crew being forced into battle on the Navigators/Sailors behalf. There would be causalities in the millions.

Violent mutinies happen aboard Super Ships, like the Sunni/Shiite division that leads to devastating sectarian violence.

Sometimes though, the conflict did not come from an outside a Super Ship but from within. Navigators/Sailors would disagree on ancient map interpretation, leading to violent mutinies in the middle of the ocean as a Super Ship broke apart. Suddenly hapless passengers and crew became casualties again. We all know the violent history of schisms in religion that resulted in sectarian violence. Unfortunately, many of the new ships built by mutinous Passengers/Crew and Navigators/Sailors, once they got going, still employed the same approach of their predecessors- acquisition of passengers by any means and then the control of their behaviour on board to prevent them from becoming Navigators/Sailors so that they can become Super Ships too.

Some Super Ships are so huge and have so many passengers on board they might as well be floating countries. When you are on board, you don’t even feel the ocean rocking the ship (those who have been on a cruise ship know what I mean). In fact, you can spend your entire life on that ship and barely even see the ocean because there are so much people, so much on ship activities, so much rules and competition for a window seat or balcony view. In fact, some ships start to require large offerings to get a window seat or balcony view. As for getting the chance to navigate or sail that Super Cruise Ship you can forget it! There is a high level of intricate bureaucracy is involved in becoming a Navigator/Sailor.

It is very easy for a passenger or crew member on a Super Ship to live a life that revolves entirely on the ship and not as an explorer of the ocean. Some eventually get so frustrated they have not seen the ocean and disgusted by the bureaucracy and ills aboard the ship, they become Dry Land Dwellers or simply take a lifeboat and try to explore the ocean on their own. For some on board a Super Ship, their sea longing and their love of the luxuries and activities aboard the Super Ship and respect for its posterity keeps them on board. Every now and then, they get a blast of ocean breeze or glimpse of the sea and that keeps their heart content.

So here you are, standing at the shore. Before you several ships are docked, each inviting you to come aboard.

Super Ships provide lots of comfort. But your chances of Navigating or Sailing are very slim.

Some ships are gargantuan cruise liners with billions of passengers and a long history of exploring the ocean along a certain route, using a certain ancient map. They have weathered many storms, disasters, epidemics, mutinies and wars at sea. They have done many atrocious things but enough good things to maintain large passenger count. They promise you a great ocean (God) expedition in relative comfort and lots of support systems along the way as long as you remain a passenger or at best crew and submit to the ship’s rules, hierarchy and itinerary. Keep in mind you will never be Pope, Ayatollah or Rabbi and navigate or sail that ship. They only want passengers and crew.

Some vessels beckoning you are smaller yachts and require a certain dress code, status and huge financial offerings to even come aboard.

Some claim to have the most accurate ancient map and/or the most accurate interpretation of a particular ancient map.

Some are military styled with a vigilant crew who monitor your every activity on board from what you eat to how you have sex to what music you can listen to.

Some are pirogues with just one motor and a Rastafarian rudder man holding out a pipe packed with ganga as the map. It will offer you considerably less bureaucracy but less safety on the high seas.

Smaller personal vessels will give you freedom to chart your own course, but require a lot of mastery.

What are you to do?

We return to the question that started all of this,
“Which religion is the best one to learn the truth about where we came from, what is our purpose and where we are going and why?”

If your ultimate goal is knowledge and understanding of the ocean (God/Universe) who says the first step in learning about the ocean is getting on board someone’s ship or boat (join a religion?) Is that truly the only opinion available to you? Remember the Dry Land Dwellers. They do make a valid point, if you want to learn about the ocean, you can study “marine science” (comparative theology, mythology, anthropology, history, mysticism as well as astronomy, geology, evolutionary biology and quantum physics). You do not have to obtain a PhD in every subject you just have to be open to learning about everything. You will have to pull from as many sources as possible, from ancient maps to current satellite mapping systems to the tide pools in your backyard.

Beware of ship passengers who try to scare and hurry you aboard their ship with woeful predictions. Humans and their ships have time-tables and itineraries. The Ocean (God/Universe)is timeless. Remember too that the ocean is unconditional in its offering to you so beware of attempts to guilt you into devotion to a particular ship.

Eventually, you WILL be compelled to jump in and test the waters (begin testing and consciously interacting with the seen and unseen aspects of God/Universe) Start in the shallows, (the basic universal principles) then learn to swim, snorkel and scuba (apply them in order to transform your life). Learn how to be a cartographer (how to read, study and accurately interpret religious books/texts and ask the right philosophical and spiritual questions of them), navigator and sailor (increase your understanding and prowess with the many forces that surround us) and learn the many methods and arts of ship building (the best way to build up a strong mind and body, then extend that to your household and then your community) taking as much time with this as needed.

Take your time! Beware of ship passengers who try to scare and hurry you aboard their ship with woeful predictions. Humans and their ships have time-tables. The ocean does not. Remember too that the ocean is unconditional in its offering to you so beware of attempts to guilt you into devotion to a particular ship. A simple way of diffusing such a tactic is....
Christian: Aren’t you so grateful that God sent his only son to die for your sins?
Me: Well, if indeed that is true, I am certain God will make me undoubtedly certain of this great gesture and why it was done and when THAT happens my gratitude will pour out of me unbidden. Till then, I cannot be grateful for something by taking YOUR word or any man's word for it, especially if they expect my gratitude to manifest as membership in their religion.

When the student is ready, the Master WILL appear!

Really what more can anyone demand? If this is not reasonable and respectful enough, it is obviously a case of a passenger confusing their personal need for validation with genuinely trying to help you with your oceanographic knowledge and skills. Insecure passengers and cannot handle it when people turn down their preferred voyage, their faith in their ship, Navigator/Sailor and their map reading. It causes their faith to waver a little and they might become hostile towards you. Forgive them and move on. Theirs is not a ship you’d be happy on anyway.

When you are ready, choose a ship to test your skills on the open ocean. By this time, you will be more than able to make an informed choice of which ship to venture on board and you will also be extremely careful not to become complacent as a passenger or crew member. Your ultimate goal is that of Navigator/Sailor. Hopefully you will find an experienced, ethical, genuinely ocean-oriented Navigator/Sailor who unconditionally desires your empowerment and will take you on as an apprentice.
“When the student is ready the Master will appear”.

Perhaps, from time to time, you might decide to temporarily switch ships to learn how another Navigator/Sailor does it. Perhaps from time to time, another ship may offer you safe passage or rescue you from a storm and provide a chance for you to relax and regain your strength to continue your exploration. Or perhaps you will explore and navigate totally alone using everything you have and if you die on the ocean, then you are just fine with that. There is nothing better than to be welcomed into the loving arms of the Ultimate Source of life. You have no fear of this. Eventually, one day, you’ll build your own ship and have the acumen to apprentice another who desires to be a Navigator/Sailor.

I’m not here to judge anyone for their ocean expedition approach or lack-thereof. All I can do is urge you to explore the ocean with truth, love, joy and constant vigilance. Don’t get distracted by ship activities and politics. Don’t get beholden to ships and their Navigators/Sailors. Don’t allow your exploration to be limited by one ancient map that only shows one route, part of the globe and currently inaccurate representations. Remember to dive in and see what lies below the surface.

See it, feel it, smell it and watch it change and force you to change in real time, in real life, everyday, giving it the respect it truly deserves. Respect the other ocean inhabitants and explorers you meet along the way. Let the ocean’s vastness humble you and help you realise the more you discover, the more there is yet to learn.

Happy exploring!

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