This week’s DYK is excerpted from a soon to be published book entitled God and Spirituality written by a Dr. of Philosophy living in South Bend, IN: It seems paradoxical in the extreme to allow ourselves to feel the infinite abyss below as a source of profound peace? Putting back to sleep all the personal demons in our closet of anxieties by entering that space which spiritual newcomers find even more frightening? Did that not sound paradoxical to the point of absurdity? Indeed, yes. But Richmond Walker and thousands of others who read his 24 Hours a Day meditation book found that this type or system of spirituality worked. Richmond did not attempt to explain it, but just observed that it was so, and thousands of others tried these same daily actions, prayers and meditation and found the same thing.
The message we are teaching here is not one of fear and despair and the descent into helplessness and hopelessness. It is a message of peace and hope and new life. We are explaining here how to find a path that leads to functioning with clear heads and stout courage in the face of anything at all that life can toss at us. Read from the fine print section at the bottom of the page in the 24 Hours a Day daily meditation book every morning for a while (the top of the page is just for alcoholics, but the bottom of each page is applicable to everybody), and you too can verify that it does in fact work. That is how the famous spiritual masters of the past rose to great spiritual heights which they achieved.
Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob Smith’s twelve-step program put these ancient spiritual ideas into modern language. In fact none of the basics ideas behind the program were new or original. Anyone who has studied traditional spiritual systems will have been nodding over and over again as he or she recognized old familiar spiritual truths.
The question which may well be asked at this point however, by some modern western atheists, is why it would be necessary to regard the ground of being as divine in any kind of way. The answer is that the root of our human problems always lies, when we first begin the spiritual life, down in the subconscious, where we have buried all the real issues under a think layer of alibis, lies and evasions. The power of the real sacred, however, as Rudolph Otto talked about it, has the ability to drive itself down into the deepest depths of the human subconscious. Years of Freudian psychoanalysis may be able to bring this subconscious material up to the level of conscious awareness, but long experience shows that most human beings, even when they know what the subconscious forces are, still are left with precious little ability to change whatever these compulsive forces are continually whipping and goading them to do.
Allowing ourselves to feel the full sacredness of the experience of the mysterium tremendum forces us, for the first time, to start changing. We must immerse ourselves into the experience of the awe, the majesty, the raw energia, the totally alien, the Wholly Other, and the pull of the fascinans, and finally allow ourselves to receive the illumination and enlightenment which transforms us in the depths of our souls and remakes our hearts. The ground of being IS the God of the western Jewish, Christian and Muslim tradition, the One of the ancient pagan Neo-Platonists, and the Brahman of the Hindu philosophers. We do not have to view it as a personal God. But we do have to acknowledge it as the Sacred Itself, and meditate upon its depths, in order to heal our souls when our lives have gone astray, and we are left wandering blindly through the darkness of this world “as atheists, without hope and without God.”