Now that the wedding is over and I have time to think again of issues not related to all things wedding, I have time to resume this project/exploration.
I just finished reading Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and while I'm not a big fan of his writing or even of his stories per se, there was one idea in this book that I found thought provoking. (The rest are ideas that I've come across before in all ove my various new age, wicca, spiritual explorations - and although I find that he is like James Redfield in "The Celestine Prophecy" in that he amalgamate several more complex ideas into one tale - I suppose his strength as a story teller is that he is able to translate them into simpler concepts and turn them into a text that captivates popular culture, again like Redfield. A captivation that actually fascinates me because of the implications it hints at... but that's another topic).
Anyways, in the story he plays with the idea that we are all god and that if we look at the word elohim (which is plural in Hebrew - the wiki link isn't the best authority of this concept but gives an idea), we could reinterpret the idea of god being other than us. The book explored, loosely, this idea that we are parts of god and that when our consciousness unites, we will become one with god because we will unite together and be part of god again. I'm not expressing this very well probably, nor is the theology in Brown's book to be taken as an authority on the issue (it is fiction) but the concept prompts intriguing thoughts (at least for me). Forget all the original sin crap, or the literal interpretation of the bible and other sacred texts, I'm more fascinated by the metaphors and mysticism there to be explored. (And I guess a large segment of the population must share that same interest, given Brown's publishing success.) I mean, what would a world where the majority of the population actually held the sacred, sacred actually look like? In other words, what would a world where people actually held their neighbour as sacred actually be like?
Once upon a time I told a friend that I thought that everyone should do yoga because I thought the world would be a much better place if they could take their practice off the mat and learn to live their life with loving kindness, and I still hold that idea to be true. Forget all of our quests for money, success, love, travel, etc... while they can be important, I often feel like my real challenge in life is to learn to live life with love, patience, and tolerance. Easy words to throw out but very had words to actually practice in daily life in the midst of turmoil, traffic, or tension.
So although there were many things in Brown's book that bothered me or bored me (because even though his writing has improved, his writing is still quite mechanical and too jumbled), I loved that the book left me with hope. Because for all of our darkness, we are called to be better than we are and hope is what lights our way. I might not know what religious path holds the key, or know which path is best for me, but I do know that I am called to transcend the material and be a better person, and I have hope that I will learn a great deal from this process and have hope that I am not alone in this quest. And I have hope that regardless of whether a person is an atheist, agnostic, or practicing follower of a particular faith, that at the end of the day, the universe's message to us is to remember to have hope and live a life based on loving kindness (internal and external).