Secular Spirituality

as expressed by the musical group

 

"THE MUSIC of Yes is certain that our spirituality is innate, is natural, is a birthright, is an inheritance.

The music of Yes makes the simple choice to express empowerment,

making the music proudly sound like self-empowerment -

and radiantly sound like spiritual-empowerment!"


To have a voice over on CD of my own version of Thomas Mosbo's diagram of "The Gates of Delirium" that is "designed to aid the listener in understanding the relationship between various segments of Yes's major works," email me at:           

(dimension05ATsbcglobalDOTnet) and I'll mail you a free copy. 

SAMPLE


 

I find my relationship with God to be a struggle. It's touch and go, because I vacillate, not God. My trust in the Divine wavers from day to day. I value things in the world more on some days than others. And so I can't hear or feel God even though I know that my relationship with the Creator is a natural part of me. 

Even though I am willing to listen to what the Totality of Life, or God, wants from me, even though I want to place Love first and then me second, I too often make the mistake of placing me first and then Love second. I forget to ask Life what It wants from me. I stumble in making the choice of releasing control to the Living Intelligence and instead make the error of giving only myself control. I miss the mark in respecting this wholey relationship.

Currently, I'm learning that my relationship with God is reflective of my relationship with myself. Eventually, perhaps, I can get to the place that even the duality of a "relationship" (two - myself and God) will evaporate.

As my own understanding deepens, I learn that like a wave is to the ocean is my relationship to God. The wave is not separate from the ocean and is naturally a part of the ocean. If the wave were sentient, I would think that it would silently feel certain about it's connection with the ocean. In fact, I imagine that the wave probably exists beyond the duality of feeling certain to a... (this is a place that no words can go, only you.)

Thankfully, God gives me the freedom to learn about this holy relationship at my own pace, but too often the world does not. The world limits me with it's incredibly strong pull to measure and compare myself to other things and people by placing them either below me or above me - behind me or ahead of me - worse than me or better than me.  And, the world limits me by telling me that "you need more." It says that I am lacking and I need to improve.

I am the one who buys into this because my inner experience is a constant cascade of either "I am not enough" or "I don't have enough." It is my honest feeling of what is. At these times, my relationship to the world IS more important than my relationship to my Creator. Unhappiness, depression, anxiety, compulsions, fear, are the results. 

One of the biggest limits that the world puts on my relationship with the Creator is the belief that I am sinful, I am bad at core, I am very small and insignificant and do not deserve God, which means that I am definitely not part of God. I do not understand why the Creator of the universe would cause His own creation to feel undeserving of love. I do understand  though why people would. People limit, God does not.

Ultimately, this is not the worlds fault because I unconsciously agreed to this belief - I unconsciously allowed the feeling of it into myself. I'm learning though that as I own up to this quiet agreement that I made, I'm more empowered to change it. Being that I am the one who quietly agreed to feeling like a victim, I am then more capable of  choosing NOT to feel like a victim. This is a warm feeling.

Relatively though, on the human level, it sure FEELS like the world is at fault and I am a victim to it.  On some days the gravity of feeling/being a victim is so extremely powerful, I don't really feel like expanding into empowerment.  It is not what I honestly want because it's not what I'm feeling. "I am alone and afraid in a world I never made." This is a cold feeling.

But by me secretly agreeing to the "I am bad, I am small, I don't deserve" belief, I stay stuck in comparing myself to the outside world, comparing things in the outside world with itself , finding fault outside of me, and compulsively struggling to control people, things, and circumstances. This equates to me still believing that I am a victim to the outside world, and even to my own mind. 

A human being's spirituality too often is seen as existing solely in the religious world. The result is that they are often limited, suffocated, and disabled in their own rightful spirituality. Therefore, I see our spirituality as existing in the common, everyday world. I see a human beingís spirituality as innate, inherent, and natural. Therefore, not being in the religious world only, I see this innate spirituality as exiting in the secular world and one's own spirituality as normal and down-to-earth, as opposed to being unusual, extra-ordinary, super-human, untouchable, and far out of reach  "up in the clouds." In other words, we really DO know what's good for ourselves at core, and it's NOT natural for others to tell us what they think is good for us. We innately know what's healthy for us...body and soul.

 

***

Back to where this writing began, I feel my personal experience of my relationship with God is a struggle, a constantly fluctuating process between not feeling like a victim and feeling like a victim, between feeling certain and feeling uncertain, between being empowered and being disempowered..."I get up, I get down." As I understand the humanness of these Yes lyrics, I come closer to accepting my own humanness. And in accepting my own humanness, maybe there's more of a chance to understand my own relationship with the Divine, more of a chance to find, to claim, my own Heritage. 

I'm becoming more aware that it's up to me to make a conscious choice for myself to feel empowered in order to make it a reality in my life. Even though "the world" is more about a contracted, disempowered, self-power, my spirituality (my personal relationship with the Creator/Life) is about an expanded self-empowerment (or spiritual-empowerment), which naturally inspires me to respect and care about others, as well as myself.

To further deepen my understanding of my relationship with God, I need to believe that I am good, that I belong, and that I deserve to be an integral part of God's whole universe (both the physical and non-physical universe - All That Is).

This is where the music of Yes fits in, for it affirms and reflects to me that I am good and that I do belong! The music of Yes is certain  that our spirituality is innate, is natural, is a birthright, is an inheritance. The music of Yes makes the simple choice to express empowerment, making the music proudly SOUND like self-empowerment - and radiantly SOUND like spiritual-empowerment!

Music in general is an avenue for a needed invisibility into this world. I personally feel that the music of Yes however offers into this world an invisible conduit of goodness, nourishment , health, centeredness, and energy, that is unique.

***

Through the inspiration of Yes music, A Course in Miracles, an extraterrestrial being called Bashar, numerous male and female masters, numerous authors, and my wife Connie Cook Smith  (2) (3), I've been feeling more that not only can our humanity and our Divinity live together, but that our humanity and our Divinity in fact already DO live together. 

Being that this empowering view is too blasphemous to the religious world, and that this more natural holographic-like perspective envelops the common, normal, everyday person, I feel that this idea of spirituality fits more appropriately in the secular world.

 

One analogy of this holographic idea is akin to a jigsaw puzzle, except each individual piece reflects the bigger picture, like a mirror. Therefore, the part reflects the whole and the whole reflects the part. 

Therefore, this scientific concept has the capability of transforming into a religious one (and vise versa)... the individual person reflects God and God reflects the individual person.

A Course in Miracles - text pg. 165, "God Himself is incomplete without me." Complimented with - I am incomplete without God.

***

In the autumn of 2004, I started giving local (Canton IL) presentations entitled  "Spiritual Music as expressed by Yes - A Secular Spirituality" (later changed to "Secular Spirituality as expressed by the musical group Yes").

This talk contained a short video intro of the band that I made. It highlights the music of Yes as optimistic, hopeful, spiritual, an instrument for the good of all, and choice sections from 8 of their songs. Many portions of the talk came from Thomas Mosbo's excellent book "Yes - But What Does It Mean?"

Here are some images from the video.

View 2:26 of the video here 1.79MB.

One song that I included in the talking presentation was "We Have Heaven," in which the music of Yes first sounded its chord within me. When I was about 13 I was walking along my neighborhood street and this song was playing in my head.  Suddenly, my soul "got it" and I understood what a celebration of life and love this song was (and to me much of Yes's music). I saw how the music of Yes believed that it is natural for us to feel and express this love for all of life, and how this feeling includes myself too. I felt incredibly expanded! Incredibly grateful! I felt as if I was being lovingly held within a feeling of connection to all life!

After playing this song at the talk, I focused more on secular spirituality, the merging of science and spirituality, and a universal democracy. 

Here is an excerpt: 

The title of this song, "We Have Heaven," immediately blends the Divine world with this earthly world, thereby bringing the spiritual down to earth, bringing a valuable future moment (Heaven) to this present moment, and forming a kind of secular spirituality that is warmly innate, very empowering, genuinely practical, and readily accessible to everyone.

Many times in society hearing the word "religion" can automatically imply the word "spiritual." I feel that this is too confusing and can even be unhealthy for a human being. This confusing (co-fusing) of the words - "religion" and "spiritual" - can cause our personal spirituality to suffer.

Unlike religion, secular spirituality considers the possibility that guiding moral codes can come from a non-physical love within the human heart. There does exist a moral code within oneís own heart of hearts that offers a state of well-being that can be trusted.

In agreement with the music of Yes, I feel it is more humane that spirituality is accessible to all - no matter what oneís religion is - thereby being truly helpful to all human beings.

***

A long time ago, science and technology brought us the invention of the photograph. Today we know a photograph is a flat 2-dimensional image. In the future though, pictures will be in 3-dimensions called holograms. A fascinating difference between a photograph and a hologram is that if you cut a photograph in half, youíre left with 2 halves. But in a hologram, if you cut its film in half, youíre left with 2 wholes, because every portion of a piece of holographic film contains all of the information of the whole image.

 

 Iíd like to show you now an example of a 3-dimensional hologram from the movie Star Wars.

  View video here 0:56 567KB. 

 

Here we see a holographic film as a plate. Lets say it's encoded with the image of an apple. To the naked eye it looks like raindrops on the surface of a pond.

 

Even if the plate were broken into fragments, each piece can still  be used to reconstruct the entire image because, remember, each piece contains all of the information of the whole image. And when a laser beam is pointed at a single fragment, a 3-dimensional image of the apple still appears.

 

To me, this image of broken fragments also looks like all of humanity, where each fractured piece represents an individual soul, cut off and disconnected from the other pieces, from itself, and from the whole image - or the image of the entire universe, All That Is, God. Further, in a hologram, because each individual piece contains the information of the entire image, we could then say that each individual piece of this holographic film is the CENTER of the entire image.

Perhaps, like this hologram, each individual soul of humanity is also a center of an entire whole? Seen in this way, every single person in the universe naturally has within themselves all the information of the entire universe, and has within themselves a natural connection to all the strength and support needed for whole health. Also, we are not alone in this connection. For me, this is a very hopeful thought!

Further still, perhaps as the "laser light" of our own awareness shines and focuses through our own self, we will respect our own self, which in turn automatically inspires respect for all the other fragmented souls?

 

In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker was motivated to start his adventure when he saw a hologram of Princess Leia. In a similar way, I too am inspired to venture forward as I saw the part-in-the-whole/whole-in-the-part  idea of a hologram, and thereby drawing an analogy of a holographic film to humanity, thus wholely blending science and religion.

 

The music of Yes asks: 

Do we continue to see ourselves as separate individuals, or can we see ourselves part of a larger whole?

***

Similar to this countryís Declaration of Independence in which our rights were seen as "self-evident," the music of Yes believes it has a right to feel that it is an integral part of the whole universe, because it sees itself as automatic members, or citizens, of the universe simply by fact of its very existence within it. Through their music, Yes express pride and gratitude in the knowing of this fact. By representing a kind of universal democracy, their music exemplifies what I call secular spirituality - a spirituality that is at home in this world, and in the universe - a spirituality that is life itself - a spirituality that embraces a whole and healthy self.

By honoring the very empowering democratic ideals that we in this country have come to love, the music of Yes makes the choice to feel empowered. And in making that choice, the music sounds like empowerment and radiates self-empowerment!

I sometimes wonder if the idea of democracy is similar to the part-in-the-whole/whole-in-the-part idea of the hologram as well, and thereby making it more humane that our spirituality is seen as natural, and therefore more accessible to all - no matter what oneís religion is?

 

***

A core of the presentation was the 3rd movement from the song "Close To The Edge" called I Get Up, I Get Down. After immersing the audience with it's sounds of serenity and power, I posed the question, "Can it be possible that our humanity and our Divinity in fact already do live together? At the same time? That itís innate within us? That itís natural? That itís a birthright? That it's simple? 

And can it be possible that it is our very own soul that connects our humanness and the Divine? Can it be possible?

 

***

 

Being that my relationship with my Creator is a struggle and is enigmatic to me, I feel truly grateful for the presence of Yes in my personal journey of discovering this relationship with God. It is a learning process and I'm glad that Yes is in my life. They make my journey less lonely,  more meaningful, and help me embrace a more certain, more empowered aspect of my own being. 

 

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Mark