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Further reflections from The Soul of Religion

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise. — William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

"This ironic foolishness is not literal stupidity. It is something infinitely subtle […] As such it is compatible with clear thought and good judgment […] Those who have written in praise of the fool, such as Plato, Erasmus, Jung, Yeats, Blake, Dickenson, and Lao-tzu, were all brilliant minds but they were aware of an entirely different kind of intelligence." [p.xix]

Moore invites me to discover further avenues in historical figures I otherwise may not have been exposed to.
Jung came to me as a seed planted in the field of my contempt for myth, metaphor & symbol. Needless to say, that seed broke through its casing, blossomed & flowered vitally bearing the fruit and promise of decades of further revelation.
Others seeds were dropped in more fertile soil tilled by contemporary writers such as James Hollis, Stephen Mitchell, and David Whyte.
But Moore lends his own voice resounding with poetic appreciation in the halls of my mind.

"The point of spirituality is to find a way to break the boundaries of reason and ego. What we find on the other side is not wisdom but emptiness. […] On the other side of ego is air, the possibility of breathing again instead of trying to outsmart existence." [p.xix]

I can’t say with any more clarity how this passage empowers me to place hope that there is a power greater than my ego, a fresh breeze that is as open as a clear blue sky. Outsmarting existence, that’s often exactly what I’m trying to do…

"Intelligence happens when you stop trying to be smart. A sense of self appears when you no longer have a need to be somebody. Transcendence arrives when you embrace the life that is given. " [p.xx]

You must to understand, I need affirmations that I need not literalize things like foolishness and emptiness from a voice I can hear like Tom’s. After all, I carry the title by trade, “engineer” and am a recovered religious fundamentalist from my youth.

"As people who like to fill our minds with facts and our lives with things, we may find it difficult to cultivate emptiness, which is both an intellectual and an emotional openness. But spiritual emptiness is not literal nothingness. It’s an attitude of nonattachment in which we resist the temptation to cling to our points of view. This kind of emptiness, confident but never certain, gives us room to be flexible and self-aware." [p.5]

Right. Information and even intelligence do not by themselves make the most vital ingredients for spiritual insight. They can be the tea that over fills a cup which otherwise might better be filled with emptiness so as to have that potential to be filled, an openness to discovery. And honestly, I’m giddy with the invitation of nonattachment to position and making room for flexibility.

Feeling some hope, modest freedom and a growing appreciation coming from embracing ideas of holy foolishness while soaking in vast quantities of emptiness, I catch intimations of opening frontiers, a broadening of horizons…

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Comment by Barque on March 11, 2009 at 11:15pm
What are the practical daily ways to develop this empty equanimity that is our intellectual and emotional openness?

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