Can We Be Our Own Priests?

Anne Mason and Thea Mason –– — with returning guest Drake Mason-Koehler

What does a priest provide that we can’t provide ourselves?

Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason discuss––with returning guest Drake Mason-Koehler.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:01                Okay. Here we are again, we’re going to dive into some possibly controversial topics. I want to ask the question, can we be our own priests?

Drake:                          00:18                Yeah. Remembering what we were talking about last time where we, we sort of discussed different spiritual paths that people might have, whether they, I believe in God, whether they don’t believe in God whether they’re agnostic and whatever they’re sort of moral guidelines or a spiritual path might be. And coming back to this question of whether we could be our own priest, I feel like that leads me to think about what are the things that I would want a priest to do. ‘Cause I’ve never been a part of an organized religion. I’ve never had a priest. I’ve gone to church a couple of times, I’ve talked with a couple different priests, and it seems like a very important thing is that you would confide, right? And I know that that’s different in Christianity depending on whether you’re Protestant or Catholic in terms of things that confession and stuff like that. But that kind of leads to this difficulty of building up a relationship with yourself where you actually confide things or dialogue about things with yourself, whatever that would look like. Would it be a journal? Would it be a prayer? Would it be a conversation with a loved one? I feel like these are all different spaces that you could sort of hold that confidence with.

Anne:                           01:45                So in that’s the context of a counselor almost. Right? So a priest serves as a counselor and a guide to people. And we all need that sometimes. The reason the question comes up for me is that I have a difficulty with the idea of a middleman between me and my source. And maybe I have it wrong. Maybe the priest doesn’t get in the way of that. I don’t know. But Drake has gotten me reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, and I’m only about halfway through. Drake has read it and there’s a particular chapter that came to mind when we were talking about this before we started recording. Drake, could you describe it briefly?

Drake:                          02:59                Yeah. Well, we were talking about about The Grand Inquisitor (chapter), and I remember I first read that book in high school and then re-read it recently. And it’s pretty life changing. But I do remember that chapter where one of the brothers presents a poem to his younger brother. And in the poem––it’s set in the Inquisition in Spain where many heretics have been burnt––and Jesus appears. And the Inquisitor instead of celebrating or kneeling down or anything like that, sends Jesus off to prison. And then comes down later, I think it’s later that evening, to interrogate him and tell him how in refusing the temptations of the devil––which is in I think Matthew and Luke section four or something like that––how they damned mankind to be free and who they choose to worship, to have freedom of conscience and have to try to be their own conscience. And he, the Inquisitor talks about how the church has stepped in to be that authority and to be what he thinks Jesus couldn’t be. Keep in mind, I mean I have to keep in mind this is all Dostoevsky’s view of the church. But what the Inquisitor lists off that he thinks that the church has provided for people, that Jesus refused to give, is miracle, mystery and authority. And so I feel like in Anne’s question of, “Can we be our own priests?”, well then we have to ask like, is that necessary? Like do we want the authority of a priest? Do we want miracle to come from, cause that’s another thing when you’re talking about, you know, not wanting a priest. I feel like, I mean I know human beings can be incredible, but I don’t look at them as exalted in that way. And I feel like that’s something that rubs me the wrong way. If someone was to tell me I needed a priest to have a relationship with God, I’d be like, well, I know he’s studied the text more than I have, but what makes what makes them special?

Thea:                            04:54                We’re all creations of the, out of some divine.

Anne:                           04:58                Right. If we all have a divine spark in us, if we are all God’s children, why should one have more authority over that relationship than another?

Thea:                            05:14                And I mean, and that’s wherewe were talking a little bit about the priest or whatever the Holy person is in a tradition that they do provide that quality of being a wise person, an elder or some sort of a guide like we just spoke of. And then there’s also that these are people who are dedicating their lives to this practice of this religion, of this tradition. And so therefore they’re giving their time and energy and efforts in a daily practice that maybe strengthens…The reason I’m saying this is because when you were saying that, it’s like, yeah, do they have a direct line to God? Is it like their channel’s a little clearer? And maybe that is what it is a little bit. Maybe their channel and frequency is tuned in a little bit more clearly, and in a stronger path to it because it’s been practiced.

Anne:                           06:30                Well, and because they are devoting themselves to that. Right? Whereas we’re raising kids, we’re doing the work in the worldly world that is not giving us that time or allowing that, allowing us to become as learned first off in that way so that we have so many resources to draw upon, but also that we are not spending as much time in prayer, in meditation, and perhaps in direct connection with source.

Thea:                            07:05                I mean that’s a question. That’s a possibility.

Drake:                          07:09                I think at least on the moral side of things. And in speaking to that sort of like need for authority, like if we do have a need for authority, because it seems especially like today, it seems a big claim to say that people have a need for religious authority. It’s like you can just look around and be like, plenty of people don’t seem to have that need. Right? But it seems fair to say that we at least have some sort of tendency to want to, to look to a moral authority when it comes to things. And we might want to escape it. But we so often, like at least I know I so often want to appeal to something, to be able to judge actions. To be able to look at myself, you know, have I treated these people right? Like what am I going to compare that to? And when you’re talking about people who’ve dedicated their life to something, it seems like that’s an easy way to, to feel trust. Like this person is going to hopefully tell me the right thing to do. They’ve dedicated their life to being able to tell me the right thing to do.

Anne:                           08:10                Yeah, yeah. They’ve been studying this so much. They intimately understand it. They have dissected it, they have contemplated it.

Thea:                            08:19                And they’ve observed, right? And had experience. And seen others.

Drake:                          08:25                Well, people are busy, right? Like, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to be able to do your whole day at work or do whatever it is you’re doing. Take care of your kids and then check in with yourself and be like, you know, how am I holding up to this moral standard? That’s a whole extra level of work to do and trust in yourself. That’s difficult.

Thea:                            08:44                And that takes us a little bit too, and I don’t know if I segue too much right here, but the need of, what was it you said? Magic, mystery, authority? Miracle, mystery and authority. But that we were talking about a little bit in terms of this idea of being our own priest or priestess is having ritual, having a practice of some sort that brings us back to that space of reflection or meditation or whatever it is. Something that is part of our daily rhythm that brings us to a space of that observation really, or contemplation in some way. And I was saying that that’s what, you know, Hatha yoga came out as, I mean that’s a practice for the householder to attain self-realization. You know, because you are busy with life works of managing a household and children and all of that. But then ritual, magic, when you were saying the need for a moral authority, that, I mean our sense of that checking in with ourselves, but also, I mean, we look at our world, we have a need for mystery and miracle, you know, that is huge. And we see it in people’s excitement of tech, technological advances. We see it in all sorts of these things that show a little bit of mystery that we go Ooh. And miracle. Okay. So anyway, I went all over.

Drake:                          10:42                So that’s a funny thing looking at the, at the modern world, like I mean, so few of the people that I know are a part of organized religion, and I know they’re still so many people that are and have that as a part of their daily life. But it seems like generally, or in many cases, we don’t want the miracle, mystery and authority all in the same place. Like we still want those things, but to have them all in one figure, it seems like, I mean, so when you’re talking about us being our own priests, it brings back the conversation to like, well would I want a priest to do that if I was going to have a priest, I don’t know.

Anne:                           11:33                Well so correct me if I’m wrong. I think where you’re going is that so the miracle and mystery, well we can perceive certainly the mystery, right? We can perceive that there is the mystery, and we might be able to bear witness to the miracle. Right? But do we also then want to answer the question? Do we want to then appeal to our own authority in making sense of all of it? Is that kind of what you’re saying?

Drake:                          12:06                Right. Yeah. Cause I mean that, that at times that seems impossible. Right? To, you know, at the end of the day, come back and have yourself as the authority.

Thea:                            12:20                Yeah. Well, I wonder if there’s something else in that authority is that that’s a thread to community and not being alone. When there is an authority and you, if there are many that link to an authority figure in some way, that builds community.

Drake:                          12:43                Right. I feel like elders that I’ve known, you know who I’m thinking of. But like they can be that figure in a community to some extent. I mean in a different way, but still someone that another young person and I can look to and, and go, you know, we’re going to be reverent to this person because look how much he’s lived and look what he has to say. Let’s listen. Because if we’re both doing that, it’s somehow affirming both of us, both of our experience in the moment, right? Like if we’re both, we’re both hushing down when this older man is talking or we’re both, you know, offering to help this older person. Like it’s a shared reverence that shows we’re both kind of on the same wavelength.

Thea:                            13:27                And that’s one of the things that I think is so important. And I think maybe that’s one of the things that comes out of the need for something outside of ourselves. Is that sense of togetherness that we feel with others when we are having something shared, something profound that we share.

Anne:                           13:51                Well so makes me think of a couple of things. Number oneI suppose this might seem obvious, but the priest is channeling, presumably channeling communication with God, connection to source and representing in some ways. A representative. The priest is a representative in the same way, you know, you might say parents are also representative to the child of the divine. We are an earthly manifestation to channel that perhaps. And speaking to your point, Thea, and yours, Drake, that, together we all revere, rightfully revere our elders, first of all. Our elders and those who have experienced and become wise. And so even in revering them, they do become elevated, right? And so…go ahead.

Drake:                          15:13                Well, right. And in that sense, they seem like a representative too, right? Like if someone has made it to 80 years old and they look happy, they’re healthy. And they’re talking about, you know, whatever it is, some experience or you know, they’re telling their grandchild that was the wrong thing to do. And explaining something to them. It seems that they’re representative of living a good moral life. Right? And I’m sure there’s immoral old people…

Thea:                            15:43                Well, not all old people are wise. I mean, not all old people shine.

Drake:                          15:50                Well and not for everyone would you hush your voice as they, when they start talking, because you have some sort of reverence., And I feel like with many, many elderly people, that’s my initial reaction because they at least seem like a representative of that. So when Anne’s talking about the priest being a representatives and parents being representative, like you were thinking about parents also as a representative of wisdom, too. Right?

Thea:                            16:16                And that’s what I was saying––or is it the same thing really like that not necessarily only that vessel of communication from the divine or the source, but the wisdom that comes through experience and observation, but from my experience so far in the moments where I feel like I’m exercising wisdom, when other things fall away and what’s left is that wisdom or that experience or that compassion of truth, when the other things fall away, that to me there is something in that that that is a channeling of what is good and true and, and is. Regardless.

Drake:                          17:05                Well, it’s like, I mean to look, I feel to look at something similar to that in a different way is like, it’s almost just like giving different things different weight, right? Like seeing what’s really most important or what’s truly relevant. Right. The other things falling away and being left with a single thing in a given moment, in any given moment that this is the most relevant thing right now. Even being in any dire situation and your wisdom or your past experience is telling you, okay, this is exactly what we need to do right now. And nothing else is important. It’s kind of going to one thing by itself all of a sudden.

Anne:                           17:41                Well and so I would like to not go a whole lot longer this time. So I also am hearing that the priest serves as one we can dialogue our experiences with. So that we can find some objectivity to our subjective experiences. And I explained, one of the reasons that I felt that having a priest, having a middleman there to me is problematic––the other reason ismaybe this is too long a conversation right now, but going back to The Grand Inquisitor the Grand Inquisitor who was actually also the Cardinal, right? The Cardinal, the Bishop? We find out later as he relates to Jesus that actually about 800 years ago they started working with the other guy, right? And they are basically, they are, they are working with Satan. And, and the people are none the wiser. So having a priest in that capacity, in that role––it is ripe for corruption. Right? So, you know, maybe this is something to explore beyond this conversation, but so I see ideally now, and I understand even better ideally why we have a priest outside of us to help us dialogue and relate to our source. But I do see some problems with it. We have all seen the corruption around us and how that power and authority can be and has been misused.

Drake:                          19:47                Right. And I feel like that that highlights again, looking for ways to be your own authority because you can follow, you can, you know, through every chain of like of authority, you can find someone for this authority to be accountable to and someone for this authority to be accountable to and so on forever. And it’s never going to be infallible, right? No person is going to be infallable. Right? So it seems like, I don’t know, I feel like my takeaway right now is that I’m my best shot in some ways.

Thea:                            20:21                Well, I think so. I mean, even when we have someone who we revere, we can hear that, but then we still have to be coming to our own process.

Drake:                          20:34                It’s hard though. It’s hard to revere someone and not sort of fall into a blindness regarding their faults.

Thea:                            20:40                Well, we have a tendency to that. But I think if, I mean, when I think of the teachers I have who are doing it well, they don’t allow people to put them up there and worship them. You know, they remember and remind of their humanity and failings. Not that they have to lay their failings out, but there is, it takes a real something to not let people worship you if you’re doing some powerful work. And so I think in that, in ourselves as people who are looking towards having elders and wise leaders among us, we have to remember that we still have to bring it into our own process. I mean we’re talking about, at the end of the day, that part of the practice of becoming our best self and being of service to the world in a right way is to be able to have that checking in. And strengthening that, that compass, I guess, of ourself, of our own priesthood, priestliness.

Anne:                           21:54                And perhaps to remember that it’s a relationship that we are required to participate in fully, at least equally with any authority that we have granted. And so that we have to continually be checking them and making sure that they are also doing the work to deserve that authority.

Thea:                            22:24                Right. That we don’t hand it over blindly.

Anne:                           22:27                Yeah. Or get lazy after we’ve handed it over consciously, but then over time it’s very easy to get lazy. So, I’m not sure what we’ve concluded on this one, but it was a good exploration.

Thea:                            22:47                Well, it is. And I think that the one other thing I’d love to add to it though is that in order for us to be our own guides and authorities or then even in equal relationship to those that can offer that to us, is to have those spaces just being in nature too. Because we were talking a little bit, and I won’t go into it, but talking about creating places of worship or places that are Holy, and nature is one of those that we all have. To make an effort when we’re living in cities to be in that because it gives us that sense of connection, like a direct line. I mean, that’s my experience of it anyway. You know, and it charges that, it strengthens that current in us as people.

Anne:                           23:47                Yes, it is very grounding. It is the grounding, I think.

Thea:                            23:51                And uplifting. It’s grounding. I mean, it’s the whole thing. It’s like we become clearer to be able to perceive what is there.

Anne:                           24:00                Truth. Truth. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I like that. Okay. Let’s end on that. I mean, you know, you can’t go wrong with advising that people spend more time in nature. That is, there is the quiet, there is the reverence automatically or just laid out there for us. Right? It is creation.

Thea:                            24:25                Creation. Observation. I mean, when I think of the things I want to practice more, it’s that, that quiet observation and I mean, observing anything in its natural state is a good exercise.

Anne:                           24:40                Yeah. It’s a good reference point. Going back to references, right? Drake, it’s resetting in nature and seeing this unadulterated creation gives us some perspective to bring back into our manmade world to check it, to see if it kind of stands up to truth.

Drake:                          25:06                Right. And when you were talking about representatives too, right? Like in nature, if you can look at a natural, any little scene, right? Like a little pocket of trees in a brook somewhere, it’s kind of in a harmony, right? So you can, you can look at it as representative of things. Yeah. It does seem like nature seems to work.

Thea:                            25:27                It does seem to work!

Drake:                          25:29                When left to its own devices. So when you were talking about priests as representatives, and then we were talking about elders as representatives, to just kind of look at these things as examples or exemplary of something good that we might want to emulate, that seems like a path that it can take as well.

Anne:                           25:45                Yes, what, and that, that nature and being there in nature and witnessing all of that perfection we can see that pattern and want to find that particular beautiful, perfect pattern in at least the ideals of those that we grant authority to?

Thea:                            26:17                And even then in relationship, right? In the dynamics of relationship and the way relating is happening, those dynamics of nature, the balance. Am I losing something here? Maybe?

Anne:                           26:31                We’re just, we’re just getting very abstract here, but yeah. Okay. All right. All right. Let’s cut it here and we’ll continue this dialogue in another one at some point. Thanks you guys.

Thea:                            26:45                Thanks. Love you.

Anne:                           26:46                Hold on one sec. Love you. Hang on one minute.

Featured post

Let’s Talk About God

Anne Mason and Thea Mason –– — with special guest Drake Mason-Koehler

To move beyond the limited options of agnostic spirituality, atheism, or fundamentalist religion––we need to talk about it. And before we can talk about it, we need to think about it.

Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason discuss––with new guest Drake Mason-Koehler.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Anne:                           00:01                Okay. Here we are with a new guest Drake Mason-Koehler, my nephew, first and foremost Thea’s son. He’s home on break and he’s going to join the discussion. We’ve been having chats, discussions as we always do about some of the subjects that we’ve been talking about. And today we’re going to talk about God. And we’ve had a few discussions about this already, so we’re going to try to kind of just hit a couple of the points and go from there. I have lamented to these guys that––I live up in the Bay area in California and I don’t think people talk enough about God. I think that God, discussions about God, is met kind of with derision and suspicion. There is an atheist tendency up here and an emphasis on secularism that I think is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Anne:                           01:10                And I say this as someone who has gone through myriad perspectives and explorations and examinations. I was not raised in any particular clear tradition really. And I’ve come to my own faith very experientially. And as anyone who is familiar with Anthroposophy––I’m a homeschooler who follows a Waldorf Anthroposophic curriculum and Drake was raised in the Waldorf schools, Thea teaches in the Waldorf schools––we understand that religion, from the Anthroposophic perspective, all religions are valid and are a manifestation and expression of the consciousness of the time, the evolution of humanity. And no religion is regarded as––even the ancient myths––they’re not regarded as fables or misunderstandings, but an understanding of our connection to our source at the time. So that being said you know, both Drake and Thea brought some interesting points up. Drake, can you talk a little about your experience being raised in Southern California?

Drake:                          02:37                Yeah. Well, and this is because we’ve spoken about this a couple of times now. Just recalling that when you, initially were talking about the atheism that you’ve run into up in the Bay area, just in your experience, my immediate sort of complement to that growing up in Southern California ––and although I went to a school where we learned old Testament myths or old Testament stories in third grade, along with all the Greek and Norse and other myths that were part of the curriculum––I still have grown up with so much agnosticism and not even just agnosticism, but spiritual tendencies in the adults around me and gradually in many of my peers as well. And not that I think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to discussions about God, I think that that led me to not even really start thinking about God until just towards the end of high school. And more lately.

Anne:                           03:45                Can I interrupt you just so that you can make it clear? I think what you’re saying is when you, when you talk about this kind of agnostic spiritualism or spirituality, sorry, you’re referring to a kind of nebulous spirituality that doesn’t follow any, certainly any organized religion or firm tradition. Yeah?

Drake:                          04:11                I feel like I’ve run into a lot of that. And then also a lot of, “well, I just don’t know. And I’m also not really interested in having a discussion about what I don’t know or what I do know.” So it’s kind of maybe, I don’t know what the, what the split would look like in terms of people who are going, you know, “I’m spiritual. This is my belief which is kind of hard to put your finger on exactly what it is. But they might, you know, hold it very precious and that might be very good for them. But I think the emphasis of my point would be that there hasn’t really been much on either end of the spectrum. I haven’t known a lot of people who are very religious and I haven’t known a lot of people who are very clear cut in their atheism. It’s all been somewhere in between. And the majority of that in between has also seen an unwillingness to stop and talk about it or to think about it because I think the thinking about before the talking about it. So, yeah, that was, that’s kind of where I came into this discussion.

Thea:                            05:10                And that came after also you articulating that we grew up in the Midwest where there were a lot of very fundamental religions around us. And while that was around us, we didn’t grow up with that in our home. Ours was sort of a nondescript sense of God and faith, but not any clear delineated path within that I guess.

Anne:                           05:35                Yes. We were raised by liberal academics so who were as you point out, I’ll let you speak to this, but I think who were, as many people from that generation, turned off to the hypocrisy of the organized religion that they had grown up around or even with.

Thea:                            06:02                Like, like a lack of breathing within it. I think, you know, I mean, and that was mirrored in a lot of aspects of the culture, too. I mean, the religious aspect kind of, and the structure and strictures of life in this country. I mean, just thinking of the social changes that were occurring in the fifties, sixties, you know, so all of that was a reflection of all of it in a way, too. And so there was this pushing away from that hard and fast structure and form because of the many injustices that were seen and condoned by religious practices one way or another. And that’s throughout all of history.

Drake:                          06:47                I remember, Anne, yesterday you were talking a little bit about sort of pendulum swings, like going all the way to the other end of an extreme. So wherever you might grow up you might go the other way, like both of you guys growing up in the Midwest and then coming out to California where it’s a very different consciousness than what you grew up in when it comes to spirituality and God. And my follow up thought to that has been, well, what if you grow up where it’s all agnostic? What if you grow up where there’s no, you’re not at any extreme to swing from. Right? You don’t have that, like, trajectory to go look for. Right? ‘Cause I think, needless to say, we live in a world where, you know, if you’re so blessed that you have the opportunity to, to go to college or to go and work in our world you get to forge your own path and you’re talking about this kind of like forging your own religion or your own outlook on religion or spirituality, whatever that might be.

Anne:                           07:51                Okay. We had a little technical difficulty. So Drake, would you just start from, you were talking about, you know, for those of us who are blessed to forge our own path I mean blessed to go to college, to forge our own path, that allows us to…go ahead.

Drake:                          08:09                Well, I was thinking even just looking back at the beginning of this discussion, you said your approach to religion or spirituality has been very experiential, right? Like throughout your life, it’s changed or you’ve done work with it based on your own experiences and what you’ve read, who you’ve talked to and where you’ve been. And I think similar for you. So those are kind of like individual trajectories that you guys have had and you’ve been able to come out from your upbringing growing up in a more religious place, a different type of environment, and then sort of forge your own way. So it almost, it seems like that upbringing gave you a momentum, and I know it wasn’t like, you didn’t grow up like super strict Catholic or anything like that. Also people don’t have to escape it, like they don’t have to swing away from it, but it seems like when it comes to coming to your own understanding of something or your own beliefs where do you get that movement that would make you want to establish beliefs in the first place? Is it just life happening to you that makes you want to, “okay, I need to figure out, you know, what I believe is right and wrong? How I think about children, marriage, grief, like all these other things and scriptures and religion has a lot to say on that. And it’s not necessarily all you need to be followed, but there’s a lot of good in it too.

Thea:                            09:34                Yeah. Well I don’t know if my thought quite follows precisely. I mean it still is in there, but it gives me a picture of, you know, he was speaking about the pendulum, that swinging and you were talking about earlier the streams. And with that pendulum swing you have this momentum kind of like you’re shot out of something, you know, so you have this force carrying you one way or another. And then I was thinking that when there’s this sort of work that’s coming from your individual experiences, it’s a little bit more like picking up a shovel and digging, and you don’t want to be too far from the stream ’cause you still need the current if you’re trying to create a channel. But it just gave me the picture, ’cause today we went for a walk and it rained a lot last night. So this path was just flooded and there were so many streams flowing. And I’m just thinking that sometimes to forge a new stream, you know, you do have to pick up a shovel for a bit and then it can kind of be filled in and have some of that carrying from, not the pendulum, but just from the movement of the stream itself. So that you can kind of, I don’t know, it’s not quite there, but a picture that came with that.

Anne:                           10:51                Well so drawing both on our conversation from yesterday and what you just, you both just said. So we talked a little bit about the fact that like, for example, especially the last couple of generations in this country, given the nature of the economy and the world more and more often people leave the places they grew up in, leave the traditions, the families intermarry, live abroad, live on the other side of the country. Meet, mingle and marry people who have come from widely different backgrounds. And so one is exposed to many different streams and traditions. At the same time, like Drake brings up scripture and these traditions that have come up throughout humanity’s development, understanding and need to figure out ways, codes guidelines and guideposts, those are also valuable. And the flip side of us all moving away and finding new streams is, the downside is that we also sometimes lose and abandon that which came before us. So I think that we kind of concluded when we were talking yesterday that what we’re starting to realize is that there needs to be––so we’re, we’re entering the age of Aquarius. I think I brought up the fact that, you know, as I see it, each epoch is about 2000 years long. And so we’ve come to that end of our current form of Christianity––do we need, I mean, I’m talking about in the Western tradition because we’ve all grown up in the Western tradition, so that’s all I can really speak to, right? So is what we’re seeing around us is that indicating a need to create a new stream, a new path that perhaps for the first time in recent human history is informed by our individualism as equally, if not more than our group…What’s, what’s the word I’m looking for, Drake?

Drake:                          13:53                I don’t know. Like our need for community or something like that?

Anne:                           13:57                Well, you know, we need, we need community, right? But, well, Thea and I had done a talk a while back on claiming our authority and we emphasized the fact that––certainly for us, we see the need to we have lived and, and strived to, be our own authority, rather than look to the experts, rather than look to the doctors the lawyers, the teachers, the priests. Not that that means we reject what they have to offer, but I will put my authority above them all in my final decisions about anything. And I think that this, there is a lot of that, there is a lot of that impulse in people and they’re finding that groove in different ways. Maybe one of them is simply and embrace of atheism, because they are rejecting everything that came before them. Because they’re saying, no, that didn’t work. But perhaps what needs to happen is we need to find something that doesn’t then throw the baby out with the bath water. Because we are spiritual beans, which I will say again only for my own personal, my own experience, but I believe we are spiritual beings or we have a spiritual impulse, a spirituality and we do need to speak to that. And materialism, reductivist materialism, doesn’t answer that need in us.

Thea:                            15:48                Well it doesn’t hold the space for that mystery that is always present in some way. But I’d like to go back just a moment, ’cause I think there was something you said yesterday in our conversation that was really important to distinguish when we’re talking about this sort of age of coming into this individual sense of seeing. I want to find a better way to say it. It is reclaiming our authority or claiming our authority, but also really the honoring of our own seeing is part of that. But what you said yesterday, was there’s a difference between individualism that is just self-serving and sort of narcissistic, as opposed to a group of individuals coming together––I mean maybe you want to say it––as opposed to a group of people who are all thinking the same or don’t have their own responsibility of self quite there. But when everyone is an individual and their work has been done through themselves to come to where they are, there’s more power in that group of people working together towards a shared goal than there is in a group of people following someone with a somewhat shared goal.

Anne:                           17:13                So, basically that, you know, there’s a difference between a group of individuals bringing their own unique skills, talents, perspectives, experience to the table toward a, a shared goal––the evolution of humanity, let’s say that––versus a collective of group think that is following one idea and path. And so I think the way we concluded, and we want to wrap it up just to keep this short, but we want to keep this going, I think, this is a good start. I think what we determined perhaps is that there’s gotta be, there has to be another path now. And so, you know, there’s, there’s a path beyond just the choices of atheism, fundamental religion, nebulous, agnostic, spirituality. Something else maybe needs to emerge and be formed. And new language must be found for a new, experiential understanding of God, or our connection to source, whatever that is for you. And the way to do that is to start talking about it more.

Thea:                            18:28                Thinking about it.

Anne:                           18:29                Well exactly. Like Drake says, you have to first want to even think about it before you can want to start talking about it.

Thea:                            18:36                Well, and then that’s where the conversations come ’cause you have to show up, you have to show up for the––now I’m thinking of baseball––show up for the game. You know, you have to be able to stand at the plate and be like, yeah, let’s bring this discussion up. Let’s bring this topic.

Drake:                          18:50                Yeah, ’cause I was going to say, if you don’t––and it can be totally reasonable to not want to be thinking about these things at certain times. But if you’re not wanting to think about it and people start, you know, asking you questions, pointed questions about your beliefs or what you think and presenting you with what they think and all of that. It can feel like an attack or sort of like a barrage of something coming in at you. And if you haven’t even wanted to start thinking about it, I mean it’s going to feel weird. It feels like people are trying to get you to think like them. Which is I think why discussions about this stuff can be like…it’s so vulnerable. It’s so vulnerable for people to say what they believe or that they don’t know what they believe and they’re like, it feels like it’s a difficult thing to get past that before you say, I want to figure out something for myself, whatever that might be. Because when you were talking about materialists, I mean, I feel like, there’s so many different types of people and there’s so much out there in terms of what people have thought about these things. Like, I know there are ancient authors that I haven’t read yet that don’t believe in God, but have a system of morals and ways of thinking about things that is beautiful and can totally work for someone to read and think about and be inspired and not necessarily adopted as a sort of creed, but to feed into their own understanding of what their work in the world is. So it’s like, yeah, starting to think about it.

Thea:                            20:27                Yeah, and if this ties in just a little bit. Yesterday we had briefly spoken about this, which led to that reflection you had about the normalcy of leaving one’s, place of birth and upbringing. And that came after us speaking about Arjuna and his quest towards his seeing…

Anne:                           20:52                For anyone who doesn’t know what you’re referring to. Arjuna from the Mahabharata epic tale of ancient India, right. As Krishna’s talking to him too, right?

Drake:                          21:04                Yeah. He’s about to, if I recall correctly, I think he’s about to fight his own family, he’s about to fight, you know, half of his family members and he’s like, how, how am I supposed to reconcile myself to this? Then I was remembering from, I think it’s Matthew in the Bible where Jesus says that he’s coming to take, you know, son from father and daughter from mother or something along those lines.

Thea:                            21:30                So those pictures of having to let go of that which is familiar, to forge one’s own path with honor and truth and dignity. And that is, you know, there’s a part that’s necessary to throw off these things so you can see what’s sort of left standing. And I feel like maybe that’s what epoch we are stepping into now. It’s like, what, what’s left standing? What is there, something that we can really protect and nurture and grow for humanity from this point? And what is that relationship with God, source, a structure of morals.

Drake:                          22:12                Well also all these situations that we keep bringing up, it seems like there’s something to do with, when you run into like, contradictions, like very irreconcilable things like Arjuna having to fight his family and wanting to be a virtuous person. Those seem to be impossible to reconcile those two things. So it’s like, what does he do in that situation? And whether you want to do exactly what he does is beside the point, but just getting to see what other people do in these stories? And if that leads to conversation too, with other people like, “Oh, what did they do when they ran into a super sticky moral scenario? Where did they turn? How did they get through it in a way that they thought benefited themselves and others?

Thea:                            23:01                Where the seemingly obvious gentle, compassionate route is actually the cowardly, unhonorable or dishonorable route. Not to not have compassion. That’s not what I’m trying to say, but what seems to be a general kindness may not truly be a kindness.

Anne:                           23:20                Absolutely. And, and the only way to really kind of push through those kind of black and white choices, and push through to, to understand, embrace the complexity, but still take action, one has to examine and explore that. And I think what Drake has brought up to some degree speaks to the fact that we should not throw all of that out in forging our new path, but take that, benefit from everyone’s experience from history, humanity’s experience. Take it, examine it, discuss it, discard, try it, try something different. And then form something new. Correct?

Drake:                          24:17                Yeah. I mean, it just seems like we’re going to have to take action, no matter what. Right? We can’t just hide in our rooms forever. We’re going to have to go do things. And so it seems like it might help us make better decisions as opposed to just going, “I don’t know.” ‘Cause if you just say, “I don’t know,” you’re going to find yourself in situations where you have to do things, anyway. So, at least trying to know might…

Anne:                           24:48                Because you can sit in your room or you can sit in your community, and you can say it’s all good and you know, and decide to not make a decision toward judgment, which leads to action. But if you do that, the world is going to eventually exert its influence on you and you’re going to have to then react. So let’s get out in front of it. Let’s start talking about this more in a new way and find some new language and new concepts to examine and discuss and go from there.

Thea:                            25:31                And I would even just say maybe they’re not new concepts, right? But maybe we do need to find a new language so that those old concepts that are probably timeless and ever present just need to be understood and digested and reused in a way that we can understand now more easily.

Anne:                           25:54                Because truth is eternal, right? So truth is eternal, but our consciousness is ever changing. And so we need to develop some new understandings, I think, in order to incorporate those truths and most beautifully, powerfully, and positively manifest them going forward into this new age. Into the Age of the Fifth Sun. So let’s wrap this up. It’s getting too long, but let’s keep going. Okay? All right. Thanks you guys.

Thea:                            26:35                Thanks. Bye.

Anne:                           26:35                Let me stop recording. Bye.

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