I am such a fool; such a failure, in evolutionary terms, in the perspective of the Cosmos. Here I am, entering the sixth decade of my life, having spent the last forty years seeking experience and wisdom and having, in that time, made so many errors, mistakes, and been the cause of much suffering, personal and otherwise.

How then can I be deemed wise? How – when I have leant, from sorrowful experience, from my own pathei-mathos, from the personal tragedy of the dying and the death of two loved ones, and yet have always always, until now, returned to pursuing suffering-causing abstractions and unethical goals?

There is no excuse for this failure of mine, year following year – although of course I have always made excuses for myself, as failures often do. Wordy, moral-sounding, inexcusable excuses almost always of the unethical “the end justifies the means” kind.

No excuses – because from sorrow, from personal tragedy, I felt, dis-covered, the unethical nature of all abstractions, be they deemed political, religious, or social. And yet I always seemed, until a month ago, to gravitate back toward them, as if there was some basic flaw in my personal nature, my character, that allowed or even caused such a return, such a stupid forgetting of lessons learnt; as if I was in truth an addict, addicted to challenges, to strife, to violent change, because such challenges, such strife, such violence brought or seemed to bring a vivifying existence, a sense of belonging, of being alive – and yes, a feeling of being different, special, in the sense of believing that one is able to make a difference, to the world.

Thus, I have been human – all too human, far too human; caught, trapped, by that egotism, that bloated self-esteem, that has blighted our species for centuries, for millennia, and made us place some goal, some idealism, some ideal, some abstraction, before empathy, before compassion, before our evolution into higher beings.

In addition, for a long time, I desired, yearned with all my being, with a sorrowful passion, to believe again in God, in Allah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, As-Salaam – who thus could forgive, redeem, and guide, and from whom there might, could be, redemption and thus catharsis, and who thus could take away those doubts about myself, my actions, that never, ever, left me when I returned to the foray, to the pursuit of some inhuman suffering-causing abstraction or other.

Only in moments during all these years – these long, these too-long, four years – did my being reach out again to the Cosmos, my bloated all-too-human self-esteem punctured, brought down to Earth, by some incident, or some intimation of the divine, of The Numen; as when I chanced to listen, to hear, to feel, In timorie Dei from Répons Matines pour la fête de saint Bernard, and knew again as if for the first time the essence of one allegory, the suffering, the hopes, the errors, the potentiality, of human beings, century upon century – bringing thus a profusion of tears so that moisture fell from my eyes to moisten my beard as, outside my room, the modern world flowed as it flowed, replete with noise and ego… Or as when I out walking along some Promenade by some sea caught the smile, the very essence, of a women, youthful, who passed me by in warming Sun and whom I in that one transcended moment seemed to become with all her happiness, sadness, hopes, memories and living: such an intimation of goodness, there, nascent, ready and willing to spring forth when a trusting love caught her, again. Or as when I sat in Sun to watch a young family, in some town Park, playing as such young fathers, mothers, often played with their children less than a decade in their living.

Or as when I watched from a boat the Sun set over a calm almost wave-free Sea, the red disk descending, larger, slowfully, there where sea horizon cut the darkening of Earth’s sky to cause such a profusion of changing colour that one was calmed, again, in those moments; stilled and almost awed as one watched, felt, such beauty, presenced on such a home as this.

But only in moments, during all those years…..

Perhaps all religions were, in their genesis, an answer to such stubborn foolish human forgetfulness that brought me down, for all those years; and – in their development – an aid to remembering what we so easily forget, what I so easily forgot, except in such transient moments; an aid, a means, by their rites, of presencing for us, in our ordinary, daily, lives, some intimation of the divine, of what we might, could, should be, when we cease because of egotism to forget, when we remember the suffering of others and especially the suffering that we ourselves have caused, and thus acquire or develope the dignity of humility that we human beings so desperately need, and always have needed.

Perhaps – until, that is, those religious ways lost or obscured, the numen, the numinous, in, by and through abstractions, dogma, by requiring the certainty of a certain belief, or by changing their ancient rites in some vain unnecessary temporal effort to be “modern and relevant”.

I tried; I did try, for years – to return to such ways, such religious answers; needing them – hoping to find in and though them and their rites that constant remembrance, that constant presencing, of the numinous that I felt, knew, understood, would keep me a better, more enlightened, more empathic, and compassionate, person, mindful through humility of my own errors, arrogance, and mistakes.

But it did not work, for me – except in moments; far too few moments. For always there were deep feelings of there being something missing in their rites; of there being something just too abstract, too un-numinous, in their requirement that one accepts certain beliefs and dogma. As if the pure numinous essence has somehow by some means and over time been lost, or might not have been fully there even in their genesis.

Perhaps, possibly, probably – this is just my all-too-human arrogance re-asserting itself, yet again. My presumption, my illusion, of knowing, born from some all-too-human desire. But the stark simple truth was that such accepted, conventional, religious means did not work for me – or no longer worked for me. No longer presenced the numen, for me; no longer enabled me to rise, to go, beyond my selfish, foolish, error-prone self, to where the essence of empathy and compassion and the numen itself seemed to live, far beyond our temporal world of selfish suffering-causing human beings.

Thus did I slowly, sometimes painfully, from my pathei-mathos, construct for myself, over years, my own Way.

But even this Numinous Way of mine seems incomplete, as it is only my own uncertain and possibly quite feeble answer. For even now I seem to have no means, in and through this Way of mine, to presence the Numen, on a regular temporal basis to remind myself of the mistakes of my past, to feel again the living numinous Cosmos beyond that often mundane world which has now become the place of my daily living.

Thus is there the same old haunting question – of how long will it be before I in my addiction forget The Numen, yet again, and so return to the suffering-causing habits of so many previous years?

For now, I can only hope against hope that I have strength enough, memories enough, humility enough, to keep me where I know I should belong: infused, suffused, with the world of the numinous, enabling thus such an empathic living as can make us and keep us as ethical, compassionate, human beings; one sign toward the higher human type we surely have the potential to become.

David Myatt
March 2010 ce

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