Monday, May 23, 2011
My Mind is not a Database
When, two Saturdays ago, I attended a lecture on one school of Sufi thinking, I luxuriated in the possibility of overriding some of the nesting and organized details of Pub Med (see previous posting) and academic honors with more beautiful facts. Having been shown gorgeous slides of Sufi shrines and tombs to Sufi teachers I felt a possibility of peace and a cleaner, less encumbered mind.
One teaching numbed me in an exciting way. A sage had urged Muslims should pray for all Muslims. I hear parallel versions of that in churches--praying for all Christians--but I never gave it much thought before. (And parallel, also, in synagogue, to include the third of my personal triad.) Seemed like a standard issue preaching from the pulpit. At the time I thought that if I generalize Islam, reduce it to its most mystical branch, praying for all Muslims is a joy. However:
If I reduce Christianity, reduce it to its mystics and decent faithful believers who really try to do good, help the poor, and get enough inspiration to keep going, blanket prayers are also easy. But my mind instantly went to Christians I dislike: the hateful rightwingers; "pro-lifers" who kill in the name of pro-life; the well-fed aristocracy of clerics all religions have now and in history which commit abuses including sexual abuse and, by refusing to allow use of condoms, are responsible for millions and millions of deaths by AIDS, well, then my praying is challenged.
You won't believe it, but I thought I was leading up to writing about poet W.G. Sebald's After Nature, which was my subway book last week. It's part of my database mind reaction. I'll tell you about that tomorrow. For today, I hope (and pray) for everyone's highest angels to elevate us all. It's the best I can do; may it be doable for our higher angels.