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  • Writer's pictureAham Svarupa

Where is The Wisdom We Have Lost in Knowledge?

The Rose of Zion Wisdom School will be expanding our operations in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. In addition to the anchor course in Adult Spiritual Formation, which will continue to be offered and convened bi-weekly every other Saturday from 4:00 to about 5:30 p.m., we will also be adding three more courses to the curriculum.

Why is it critically important to have a Wisdom School, especially at this time of unprecedented and cataclysmic transformation in the world, in our nation, and in our community? For the remainder of 2021 and thereafter, our community (ideally, a microcosm of humanity at large) is about to face challenges of truly Biblical proportions. To review only a small sampling of the events we can anticipate over the next decade:

~ An increase and proliferation of new, stronger, deadlier, and more contagious Corona virus variants, as well as other viruses, diseases, and plagues churned up by the volatile conditions of Earth's rapidly changing climate.

~ More information about - and perhaps even more direct contact with whatever minds or beings are responsible for the unexplainable "signs and wonders" - I mean the phenomena being witnessed in our skies and seas, not just by credible individuals, but, as it turns out, our defense forces. ~ A resurgence of the radical right-wing, including the possible re-election to office in 2024 of the worst and most toxic president in American history, as well as an attempt by what philosopher Noam Chomsky has called, due to its neglect of the climate crisis, "the most dangerous organization in human history" (the Republican party). These alarming developments will presumably be accompanied by more acts of blatant abuse by the police against minorities, and a furtherance of bad behaviour by "deplorables" of every kind. ~ A drastic increase in wildfires, drought, and strange medical and environmental anomalies - as well an escalation of tornados, floods, hurricanes, and other extreme weather - due to the Earth's warming atmosphere. ~ A general disintegration of the social and cultural fabric as corporations, banks, tech companies, and political factions continue to commandeer more and more of the public sphere, engendering greater income disparity, social injustice, violence against minorities and immigrants, etc. ~ An overall decay of our religious institutions and traditional sources of spiritual strength as consumerism, secularism, racism, and egoism proceed to eat away at our collective soul, which is already sorely debilitated by a universal forgetfulness about the necessity of the Divine in human life. And these are just (as Jesus puts it in the Gospels), "the beginnings of troubles." I could have made this list much longer. This is just the tip of the one iceberg not melting on this planet. In every area of human existence - biological, psychological, political, economic, social, cultural, religious, and spiritual - humanity is, once again like little David the shepherd boy, confronted by the giants of old, i.e. enormous forces that would seem to be utterly beyond our ability to defeat. So, what is to be done? Only one thing. The "one thing needful," as Christ put it. We need salvation. But not "salvation" in any magical or mythical sense. The word "salvation" just means wholeness, genuine health, and the harmonization of the forces of homeostasis at every level of synthesis. What we need is a shift in consciousness that is rooted in mindfulness, wisdom, and good sensemaking, which itself is nothing more than knowledge and insight into the integral, holistic nature of reality. Now, at one level (granted, a very rarefied and hard-to-imagine one) we are all already whole. We are already complete, perfect, and saved. So, the trick is not to somehow coax God into saving us by begging and pleading and performing various religious gesticulations and other metaphysical bribery, but by coming to the realization that we are already saved - we are already whole and complete - by the grace of God. Traditionally, this wisdom has been called by various names in different religious and faith traditions. Some call it "enlightenment," others "redemption." In Hebrew it is called the "Tikkun Olam" - the restoration of the peace ("shalom") of reality, such that God, Humanity, and the Earth co-exist harmoniously, and are restored to their primordial balance and equilibrium. Thus, salvation - rather than being a static, one-time deal that we haggle out with the divine - actually involves us in a gradual process of psychological integration and maturity and spiritual growth leading from darkness to light. From death to life. From sleep to awakening. The whole purpose of a Wisdom School is to help lead the aspirant in this process of salvation, out of the dark cave of ignorance, sleep, and death, to the Upper World of Reality where we are perfect, whole, blissful, and united as one: E Pluribus Unum. But what about all of those intractable problems? The plagues? The conflicts, civil wars, and insurrections? Racism and poverty? Hate and injustice? A possible international or interplanetary alien invasion? Won't focusing on my own personal salvation - closing myself within the walls of some kind of "Wisdom School" - mean that I am selfishly turning away from the world's problems when the world is most in need of my compassion, care, and love? Not if we pursue the integral, holistic methods and curricula for salvation recommended by history's greatest Wisdom Schools. The motto of The Rose of Zion Wisdom school is: Include. Transcend. Correct. Connect. Like any good integral community, we strive to teach, learn, and incorporate into our everyday lives four skillful moves that lead to the ultimate Good: include and transcend, correct and connect: ~ We learn to include everyone (and eventually everything) at the table of learning: women and men, gay and straight, black and white, poor and rich, traditional and progressive, conservative and liberal, animals and humans, minerals and plants. We strive to become the priests and priestesses of the new creation. Not to consume, but to sanctify the whole world. We seek to widen the circle of compassion by raising consciousness, obviating obsolete dualities, and embracing the whole of Nature within the orbit of our equanimity, joy, compassion, and mindful love. We also include any traditions or wisdom paths of already existing religious and philosophical systems: Zoroastrian, Taoist, Confucian, Jain, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Baha'i, Mormon, Pagan, Agnostic, Atheist, and any or all of the above. The one proviso is that the tradition must promote wisdom as defined above: knowledge and insight into the wholeness, integration, and oneness of all of reality. ~ We learn to transcend the prejudices, nonsense, superstition, materialism, sectarianism, exclusivism, bigotry, tribalism, and other unskillful or immoral ideologies and standpoints of the old, dysfunctional systems based on magical thinking, tribalist mythologies, and overweening rationalism. In short, we transcend from ignorance and chaos to authentic enlightenment and spiritual integrity. ~ We learn to correct our egoism and selfishness, our ignorance and recalcitrance, our vanity and pride, our greed and hubris - all of which have led us to the current debacle in human and world affairs. In the earnest and assiduous correction of our collective self-centeredness, it will soon become obvious that there is a direct relationship between the state of the environment, the state of the world, and the state of the human soul. Nothing will become as real to us as the fact that Earth's global well-being is a function of the sacred human duty to be good, to know truth, and to create beauty. ~ We learn to connect to the One: to the One Creator; to one another; and to Earth, the one and only Mother of us all, so that the Tikkun Olam - the salvation of the world - might be brought about by God's grace synergized with our efforts; and that we might learn to do our humble part in this universal human challenge of restoring people and planet to a state of shalom.

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