Faerie brother and yogic swami, dada (aka tangerine), was recently picked up off the ground by new york police while sitting in meditation on Brooklyn Bridge during an Occupy march, and carried to their van to be taken to the station. The march had been led onto the bridge by the police, who proceeded to stop traffic and block in the marchers in order to detain and arrest the protesters. Dada saw what was about to happen and decided to do what a monk does. In his orange robes he sat down where he was, between the marchers and policemen, began to meditate. When dada meditates he goes deep. On the video of this moment, filmed from above on the bridge, there even seems to be a glow emanating from him. We see the police approach very gingerly, utterly uncertain how to react. When they tell him he is obstructing traffic (er… the police have put in roadblocks so nobody can get on or off the bridge and making it impossible to see what is happening on it) he continues to meditate. So the policemen pick up his deadweight body… it takes a few of them…. and carry him to their van… their first arrest is a man communing with god in silent meditation. The Crowd chants “he did nothing!”
HOW DID U REACT TO MY STATEMENT?
‘a man communing with god in silent meditation’
in the western world we are on the whole utterly confused about the g-word. This word is meant to represent something capable of creating and sustaining the universe we find ourselves in – and science has certainly shown how incredibly complex, beautiful and huge that is. This small word stands for something so awesomely intelligent, loving, powerful, that we puny humans can hardly expect to be able to fathom it. The very idea of god implies a consciousness so far beyond our own, that our attempts to understand and know him/her can only ever be partial, never able to embrace the totality of the magnifence of that being.
But in our western society we don’t seem to see it that way. A very black and white scenario is going on where most people fall into one of two camps – either believing in a christian god usually rejecting all other depictions of this vastness, or denying the reality of any creator force in the universe at all. But perhaps another approach is taking hold of people’s imaginations, one that is yet to have impact on the fixed single-minded attitudes of the atheists and christians. More and more people are becoming open to thinking about spiritual realities in new ways, learning from faith traditions from around the world, taking their relationship with the divine into their own hands, away from the priests, and expanding their conception of what the divine is – and what we are. This, I suggest, is one of the most crucial of all the r-evolutionary changes happening on earth at the moment. This change is incredibly threatening to both long-established religious institutions and to the vocal atheistic wing of society, who seem so convinced they are right and everyone else wrong they can barely be reasoned with. Atheism even seems to have its own ‘high priests’ and has a grip on media and education that presents a scientific reductionist interpretation of existence as absolute end-of-the-line fact. This anti-belief system creates all sorts of destructive situations in our modern world, creates disharmony, disconnection, selfishness and fear.
Our society certainly needed to question many long-established assumptions and conventions. The secular approach to governing society has brought us all a lot of freedom of make our own choices in life. We have been a society in flux for quite a long time. The 60s and 70s saw social conventions breaking down, influenced by a yearning from the people for ‘peace and love’, and many of the shackles of a fearful, prejudiced world were removed. This was followed by an era, kicked off by the policies of Thatcher and Reagan, where pursuit of success, especially in form of wealth, became the dominant drive, an approach that put the individual ahead of the community and created the economic and social challenges the world is now facing.
People I speak to in the west have usually rejected their religious background, either dismissing notions of god and spirit all together or standing in a grey area where they don’t know what they believe. This sets in for us as children, when a thoroughly confusing set of messages are bombarded at us – especially at school where we are simultaneously encouraged to take on board a rational scientific atheistic worldview, and take part in an annual calendar of religious festivals.
But maybe 5 – 10% (or more?) of people are thinking things through a bit further. It is usually impossible to switch from a sceptical mind set into one open to god just like that. If we wish to know a spiritual reality that is just as real as the physical one our outer senses tune us into, we have to develop the inner senses through undertaking spiritual practices. In the scientific experiment to test the existence of god we are own instrument to work with.
Dada sat on the bridge and went deep into his own consciousness where he regularly sits in presence with the divine. We have been taught that religion is all about rules, obedience and punishment. Eventually, if we question and think more deeply (often a major life crisis pushes us to do this), we work out for ourselves that the real spiritual story is one of love, light, inner search, expansion and celebration. It is about having a relationship with the planet, her living things, and the universe itself -and with our own innermost being, the spark of the divine that gives us life. For most of its time on earth humanity probably felt its connection to and interdependence with all life, but our modern scientific outlook has convinced us we are all separate and so better look out for ourselves – darwinian survival of the fittest doctrine at its destructive worst. This approach views the planet we live on as a resource to use, rather than as the mother who gives us life and sustains us, in return for which we take care of her.
Similarly, we are discouraged by the fast paced, consumerist, self-serving culture from taking time to find the peace of mind, strength of heart and expanded spirit that comes from opening to the ‘Father’ – the light of consciousness itself. If we do not explore and train our own consciousness we may end up living trapped in the mind, totally unaware of the riches of light, bliss and union that we are capable of. Eventually the soul struggles to stay in an incarnation that stays stuck in a ‘little me’ and we develop serious illnesses.
Christianity tells us god is far away in heaven, and that by disobeying his rules we will end up in hell. It offers us some valuable and useful moral precepts, things a society needs to function well, but cuts us from our bodies and our bliss by teaching us to feel guilty about sexuality. We are told how bad we are, and told to be ‘in fear’ of god. This sort of thing does not make for healthy self-worth, relationships or society. But atheists believe we are made of flesh and blood alone, they view our existence as a random accident. So many scientists believe our sense of self, our emotions and thoughts are produced by chemical reactions. They present a scenario in which our lives are meaningless, our existence pointless. They see our sense of consciousness as arising from the physical world, but spiritual seekers the world over have always discovered that the physical world arises from consciousness. Now we learn from science that physical matter – atoms – are largely empty, made of space. Physicality is actually an illusion, and certainly not the ground of our existence.
When the New York police dragged a meditating monk off a bridge why did this not make the news headlines? If he had been a christian monk I believe it would have. What a pity more of the genuine, sincere, spiritual heavyweights of our planet do not speak up against the greed and shame of our economic and political system.
WATCH DADA ON YOUTUBE: