Anne Mason and Thea Mason –– — with Drake Mason-Koehler
How does consciousness grow if we subscribe to a fixed set of beliefs?
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:00 Okay. Hello there. We’ve got Drake from the East Coast. Thea down in SoCal. Me up here in Northern Cal. We’re going to try to make this quite a short one because Drake has to leave. So I want to start this out by talking just a little bit about why we’re doing these, this series of discussions, Thea and I often talk like this all the time anyway as do Drake and I when we have a chance to be together and we thought it would be a good idea to just share it with others who might be having some of the same streams of thought or questions and want to join in to the discussion. The tagline on the website, on the Sacred Osiris website is: Into the Age of the Fifth Sun, and that refers to the Mayan calendar, the Mayan elder prophecies that we are in transition and moving into a new age, which corresponds to many other prophecies of ancient texts and religions.
Anne: 01:15 Even astrologically moving out of the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius. So I perceive us––of course, we hopefully are always moving forward in consciousness. Hopefully we are always growing and developing and expanding our consciousness. Evolving. But if we are between ages, marked ages, this transition is likely even more dramatic. And perhaps we could use even a little bit more attention and effort as we, as we find new language to express this transition and perhaps new conceptions and new consciousness that we may be emerging into. So, so it’s a dialogue and it’s, it’s just a lot of questions and obviously we don’t have the answers and obviously we have some opinions. But the topic I wanted to talk about is organized religion.
Anne: 02:29 And I say that having a lot of respect for the practice of organized religion but not subscribing to one particular set of beliefs that have, has been initiated by someone else or organized by someone else, but rather kind of an amalgam of my own study and practice and sense and faith and belief. And 49 years of life experience. So the question I guess, or my, my issue with organized religion as relates to what I just said is that––and let me back up for one second. Something I love about Anthroposophy, Waldorf teaching is the, the approach to teaching the approach to answering questions, especially when the child is young. You know, “Why is the sky blue?” Rather than answer with an explanation of the way light reflects, refracts off molecules in the air. One might say, “I wonder?”
Thea: 03:46 As opposed to answering with a finite sort of dead answer that stops the questioning.
Anne: 03:55 That stops the wonder. Right? I think the idea in Waldorf teaching is to just let it keep going in one way or another. Right? Whether it’s as the children are older and you are having a discussion that takes you down many pads or not, but if we answer anything with, with just like a hard and fast fact, well, that’s done, right?
Drake: 04:25 Yep. Interesting. I remember having a discussion in class this week that left me feeling sort of unsettled. And it’s funny that you’re mentioning Waldorf because Waldorf education has been on my mind a lot this week––because my verse, I think it was my verse in fourth grade, came back to my mind: To wonder at beauty, stand guard over truth. Look up to the noble, resolve in the good. And I think that was the first line that we would say everyday when we, when we left class…When I was getting kind of embroiled in the deep that, you know, the intellectual details of something. I’m getting stressed out about it. You know, I can’t figure out this, this one little thing. And I was like, well, how about I wonder at the beauty of it? Let me just look at––of this mathematical proposition or whatever it was and just kind of sit in that. And sure enough, I understood it a little bit later. Once I stopped the frenzied, you know, logic because it can, you know, when you’re trying to figure out a problem, you can get very stuck and not see what you’re missing or what presupposition you missed.
Drake: 05:35 And Anne, when you’re talking about different ages or people switching the way that they think about things, what came to my mind was presuppositions. Because if you want to have a mode of thought or a doctrine that’s going to allow you to evolve, it seems important that it would be a motive thought or a doctrine or philosophy or whatever it is that urges you to examine the presuppositions of the philosophy itself or the doctrine itself. And maybe that’s what organized religion doesn’t do. Maybe that’s something it really explicitly doesn’t do––is urge you to question why you’d be associated with that particular organized religion. And that’s supposition on my part, I don’t have evidence to back that up right now. I don’t have a lot of life experience with a particular organized religion, but just from my reading of different texts, that seems something that perhaps the actual teachers, you know, like, like Buddha or Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita, Christ. I think they do, they do urge people to actually think about things. But then the customs or laws laid down after those teachers by other people who embrace those religions maybe don’t as much.
Thea: 07:12 It makes me think a little bit, Drake as you say, that like that the teachers themselves were teaching, one of it was to maintain interest in things and questions. That space of wonder. And what seems to be one of the things that people in general, one of the places where we get tripped up is that wanting to claim something entirely or, or be secure. I wonder if it comes from a sense of wanting to be secure in some finite existence that the wondering stops. Like it’s a failing of humans. Maybe not a failing, but it’s a habit. It’s not necessarily what the teachings are at all. Right? That the teachings and that thread, stream of wisdom isn’t finite like that, but that’s what we’ll do to it––like hanging on to the image of it rather than penetrating to the essence of it.
Drake: 08:20 Yeah. Or just, I mean, and that seems to be simply like staying in your comfort zone, right? And that doesn’t have to be something that is totally seen as negative. Like, yeah, all of us humans are going to do that, want to stay in our comfort zones, but if we can understand that it applies intellectually or religiously or spiritually as well. Because I feel like we, at least personally, I don’t often think about it applying to those areas as well. Like, oh, you know, I wanna stay in my comfort zone in terms of I don’t know, how hard I’m working at something or some other aspect of my life that’s maybe more external and easier to examine and I might not realize, “Oh, wow! It might also be my natural tendency to stay in my comfort zone religiously or spiritually” or whatever these other aspects of, of life that are less tangible.
Anne: 09:17 Yeah. I mean, humans have this kind of dichotomous relationship with change and the unknown. So we are drawn to it because we are curious and we have an innate need to grow, as do all beings. But it’s scary too. So we like to find answers that we can rest upon, I’d imagine. Right? I really like your point, Drake, that probably the original teachings and teachers we’re conveying a truth and spirit to others who then took that and fixed it. I mean, when I say fixed, put it in a fixed organization that can be handed down and worked with as a framework, always difficult to do. So I guess, since I don’t practice an organized religion either and my main experience is with Catholicism, but I didn’t get that deeply involved in it. I can’t speak to the tenets of all the different religions. I do agree that a foundation of morality is critical to a society, a family, a religion, anyone. Right? But those can be principles that are not challenging to understand. But when we get into pedantic details, even of…I was having a conversation with someone whose religion does not subscribe to a belief in reincarnation. And the first thing that I think I remember him saying is we don’t believe in reincarnation. Right? And so that, that just saying, “we don’t believe,” to me that’s problematic because, I mean, I’m not a collective. I work with people and I need people, and I I learn from people, and I also share some beliefs with people, but I don’t like saying “we believe.” I believe. So far, too. I believe, so far. Best I can ascertain. Here’s what seems to make sense to me. Sorry, go ahead.
Drake: 12:50 Well, yeah, that’s just what jumped to my mind when you said, “we don’t believe,” for some reason, I thought of the “royal we,” how a lot of a lot of literature when kings are speaking, from like older times, they use the “royal we” and it like is it from themselves? And I was like, oh, well, obviously, royalty, authority. You know, like if you’re saying “we don’t believe,” it’s like this credence of authority that you’re like interweaving with your opinion. Your opinion is the authority, and an authority kind of seems like something that’s less likely to be questioned.
Anne: 13:23 Well, yeah, right. Also, you know what I think of though? I think of the Borg from Star Trek, right? The collective, hive mind, “we believe.” Right? Anyway. But back to that topic, for example, reincarnation. Look, I don’t know. For sure. To me, there’s enough evidence out there and certainly enough has been passed on through the hermetic traditions by many that I respect to suggest that reincarnation is something. Does exist. However, as I pointed out to my friend, maybe the ultimate goal is to stop cycling. Perhaps the goal is to stop reincarnating. Perhaps, perhaps that’s the goal for humanity. Perhaps that’s the goal for each individual soul––if you subscribe to that belief that there’s a soul––and perhaps it was interpreted somewhere along the way that because the goal is to not cycle, it doesn’t exist. But, but doesn’t want one need to leave room for the possibility that it does? Doesn’t one need to leave room for the possibility that there is something contained in every religion––every current modern religion being practiced, and every ancient religion that we have learned about, and every future one going forward––that there is some, some piece of the puzzle there that cannot be ruled out?
Thea: 15:17 What it draws to my mind a bit is there’s certain stories––and I know Drake can relate and probably you––that I like to reread every few years, even novels or whatever, to come back to a story. And every time I read it, as I live more life, I see more in the story that was always there, but I couldn’t, I didn’t have the experience within myself to reflect it and see it. And so it makes me think a little bit of the teachings of these different lines, these different religions, that that’s why there has to be a continuous study and penetration of the wisdom that’s passed to us. Because if we take it at face value, we see it in the way we saw something when we were five or ten or fifteen or twenty five or whatever it is. Instead of allowing it to just continue to work on us and for us to work with it in that expanding depth of anything that’s true or you know, that has that seed in it.
Drake: 16:36 That’s funny. That makes me think a couple people last night were talking about a certain Homer translator that is disliked in my dorm. And part of the reason for that, and this is debatable, is that part of her philosophy of translating is that when Homer repeats these epithets that he did because it was an oral poem and he was remembering he needed to remember what came between. So he would have these easily repeatable lines “dawn with rose red fingertips” or the “wine dark sea”, like things that he would draw on––the sea, it’s the wine dark sea. Dawn, it was this dawn. But this one translator, she translates it completely differently every single time, because she wants the reader in English to be struck with the image as if it was a new image every single time. So she’s giving different words to it.
Drake: 17:33 And I think I, I get, I think I understand why she’s doing that because it’s more impactful for the reader. But the flip side is it seems like that takes some of the work of the person reading the book away, right? You really try, you can read it and get something different out of that image or be struck by that image, equally, if you’re actively (inaudible) every single time in one of them lesions. And so this seems to get into, like, if you’re going back and rereading a text, whether it’s a religious text or some other thing that’s helping guide your morality or your spirituality or anything it takes effort to read it differently, right? Like it naturally happens if you let years, if years go by and then you go back and read a book you’re probably gonna get something out of it just cause you’ve changed as a person in that time. But if you’re, if you’re a practicer of a religion and you’re doing it every single day or every week or something like that, it’s hard. Like, it’s hard to read the same things over and over again and have it, you know, hit you like have it really stir something in you every single time. Like it seems to be a difficulty of prayers too. Like if you have a prayer you repeat, it’s a really good practice and I, and I admire it. But to feel it every single time instead of having it be habit. And maybe, maybe the habit’s not bad as well, but it came up when I was hearing you guys talk about that.
Anne: 19:04 Yeah, and that’s also why the, the curriculum, the Waldorf curriculum, there’s, there’s a new verse every year for the growing, the changing consciousness of the child to say. A new prayer. Right? So we’re going to wrap this up so that Drake, you can go on to practice and we can make this shorter for people as well. I think that something that’s always been very helpful to me is, I mean, this is not a new concept. That’s why comparative religion, comparative religious studies is something that people do in university. I hope they still do. I don’t know. But I think that doing whatever one can, to stimulate thought and reconsideration so that we can continue looking at things from a slightly new perspective, a fresh perspective, whether it’s engaging with new people, other people reading the texts of other religions that are different than the one that you practice, and allowing for possibility. To me that would temper the problem that I have with a strict dogmatic practice that organized religion often becomes. And dead. A deadened one, I found that with Catholicism, and I’m sure that that was my experience with it. And it’s not many people’s, because I know some Catholics who blow my mind with their connection to so many dimensions of realms and spirit and God and faith. Like blow me away. So it’s not Catholicism that is the problem, but certainly how I came to it or how it was introduced to me or the priest that was heading things up, I guess. Butso anyway, I guess that’s the conclusion for now and we can continue this discussion in another, we can continue this dialogue in another discussion. Thanks guys.