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Creation Is Just Sound
Standing Bear: It’s been a while since I wrote, but wanted to give you an update on some interesting developments. I continue to meditate and focus on overcoming my limiting vasanas as well as study Vedanta. The result is quite dramatic. It seems that I see Vedanta everywhere. In every teaching of almost any religious practice I examine I can instantly ascertain the elements of the original non-dual teaching, as if religion as a subject is laid open before me like an open book.
James: Yes, indeed. The vision of non-duality is the basis of all religions.
Standing Bear: I presented a short, four-page ceremonial description, and the ceremonial elders have instantly recognized it as the truth and wish to enshrine this description by including it in the creation of a ceremonial code they had already planned on creating. As well they asked me to write a book with a more comprehensive explanation of this information and how I came to understand it. If you know how impossible it is to introduce new ideas to the Native American elders you would know how huge this shift in willingness to listen is. The chiefs of the tribe instantly signed their names to the document, validating it as the official description of the symbolic representation of the Native American Church (an idea that was totally their own). I have just been in a mild state of shock as to the swiftness this has all happened once I wrote the description. It is the first and only comprehensive description of this ancient ceremony that I am aware of. Anyway, I would like for you to read it and weigh in on it, if you would be so kind. I have come to think of you as my teacher and it would mean the world to me if you would do me the honor of proofreading it. I realize you are not familiar with the ceremony itself, but I feel a need to confer with you regarding the descriptions I have laid out.
It seems simple once I get the basic elements down. So in lieu of attempting to teach Vedanta to my the practitioners of the Native American Church, I opted instead to write a description of the true meaning of the peyote ceremony using the Bible (which is widely accepted) and my knowledge of Vedanta to make a case to Native Americans for the idea of spiritual awakening and the possibility of enlightenment as a concept.
James: I read it carefully. It is very interesting. Your approach is very intelligent. Vedanta is not “Indian” Indian – it is pure revealed knowledge – but it is so closely associated with India that it would be counterproductive to mention India, because people are so identified with their local brand of spirituality. Even though they say that all is one, when it comes to religion, “my” religion trumps “your” religion every time.
Once you get a reputation as a wise person – and you will if you get your vasanas under control and can reveal the logic behind the creation – you can then raise the question of what “union” with the Holy Spirit means and how it is achieved because, whereas ritual provides experience of the Great Spirit and indirect knowledge of the Great Spirit, it does not set the ritualist free. Once the ceremony is over, the participant has to contend with his vasanas, which cloud the knowledge. This of course brings up the issues of experience and knowledge and the daily “ritual” of karma yoga. The peyote ritual gives spiritual experience and, if taught properly, knowledge, but these rituals are special events. For spiritual growth, the mind needs to be involved with the Great Spirit in some way every day. And what better way than to explain that the world is the Great Spirit and that it is in control of the results of one’s actions, etc? Anyway, good work, Standing Bear! The associations of the ideas with the symbols in your paper were not always clear to me, but only because I am unfamiliar with many of them. However, I am sure there is a solid metaphysical connection for them all. I particularly liked the association of the gourd and vibration and creation and time. In “Indian” Indian ritualism the drum symbolized creation because creation is only vibrations of energy warbling out from the Creator into the subtle realms and then grossifying into the physical world. I wrote an article entitled Symbols of the Self, which may give you some more ideas. It is at the website.
~ Love, James