My grey tiger stripe is still young. She's working on figuring out the toilet. We are connected through the toilet paper. What she unrolls I reroll--endlessly.
Today I am going to get into the importance of emotion and I'm going to do so by using one of the areas with which educated western Catholics have some issues--miracles and sainthood. To introduce the topic I've taken an extract from theologian Andrew Hamilton's editorial on the recent canonization of Australia's Mary MacKillop. It's from the Eureka Street webzine of which Hamilton is the consulting editor.
......The interesting thing about the encounter between the educated and the popular approaches to sainthood was that, as in Latin America, the popular approach seemed more interesting and potentially subversive. The easy accommodation of miracles and prayer was seen as strange, but also as attractively liberating because it addressed a hidden disquiet that the world is entirely worked out, and that the only questions that now matter are ones of technique. Within this view, pervasive in our culture, miracles and prayer are primitive survivals. The discussion of miracles focuses narrowly on whether they can be proved to violate scientific laws and to be an intervention of God. (This intellectual attitude, which basically says emotion is primitive, is really crippling. I should know, it crippled me for a long long time on my personal path.)
Against such a constricted view of the world, miracles and prayers are signs of a larger world and of a reality which is much greater than we can ever comprehend. They do not prove the existence of God or that God intervenes from outside, but they point to a reality beyond what we can know and to a God who cares for it. That relaxed and open view of reality is valuable because it encourages curiosity about what we do not know. (Bring this topic up amongst most educated western people and the first reaction is usually a reflexive defensive dismissal.)
Once miracles are seen, not as events outside the order of nature that prove God's existence, but as inexplicable and non-replicable events that take place in the context of faith, they raise interesting questions. Spontaneous cures involve physical processes – tumours are absorbed into the body, lesions are healed and malignant cells lose their power. Intellectual passion and energy would surely be better deployed in research into such events and into the prima facie connection between them and mental states than in dismissing them in the interests of a narrow and controlled view of the world. (This is happening, but mostly by secular paranormal investigators. What's fascinating is no matter how tight the experimental method and how high the significance of the results, mainstream science is still dismissing the field and research money is very difficult to obtain----except from governmental intelligence and defense agencies.)
In my way of thinking, Andrew Hamilton has laid out the basic world view of the educated West towards the idea of the miraculous. One difference I have is that rather than saying folk Catholicism is primitive, I would say most of us see folk Catholicism as a more child like form of faith expression. We do identify with it, if only because it is the Catholicism many of us were raised in. But we identify with it from our emotional child self and not our rational adult self. The rational adult self finds it easy to dismiss. That's a mistake.
The fuel which triggers change on the quantum level is emotion. Most of our saintly miracles involve people who are usually in serious physical states. These states break through emotional denial because they threaten our existence and blow past emotional defenses. Prayers from this kind of emotion and motivation are intense and focused. Often times they are prayed by many people and carry even more focus and intent. The saint is not the active doer, but the focal point for all the emotionally charged energy. Sort of like a magnifying glass can be used to focus sun light and start a fire. So how does this result in miracles?
In my quantum speak, I would say the saint, divine image, or ceremony (focal point) creates a singularity in space and time through which information is exchanged. In this exchange of information, emotion is the biggest component of the information. In a very real way, emotion is the language in which the information is expressed and understood by the dimensions and entities of the quantum universe. In a 'miracle' the information which is returned from the quantum universe, is genetic cellular information and once that information is received, cells will act on it. Voila, 'miracle'.
I have personally participated in a dozen or so of these kinds of 'miracles'. Which, by the way, does not make me a saint. It does make me far more aware of how incredible our reality actually is and how we haven't begun to scratch the surface of the potential of human consciousness. These events have proven to me that we know virtually nothing about the construct of the self aware personality or how the soul or spirit fits into all of that. I've also learned that we really do not understand how time, as a force of this universe, works in the scheme things. Einstein was right on about time being relative, he just didn't go near far enough.
It's also taught me that our Catholic world view, as opposed to what Jesus taught, can be one of the biggest obstacles we have to overcome in order to 'live' effectively in this greater reality. The other is our cultural world view, which denies and constrains emotional experience, especially for men. The task should not be to deny our emotional experiences. Emotions are how we experience life itself. The healthier approach is two fold: The first is to learn basic discipline about expressing our emotion, and the second is to learn to live in the most positive emotional state for our own well being and that of others. As Jesus taught, that would be a state of love.
Peace, love, hope, and joy have a very practical application in the greater quantum world and in our own world. They are the prime organizing principles of the universe. They give us the beauties of life and the lessons of choice. Fear, and it's other emotional flavors, anger, hate, guilt, and shame, also have real effects. They are the agents of chaos. They produce the monsters of life and seek to control and dominate our choice. Thankfully they also have a fundamental weakness. Darkness can not exist in light and has no effect on light. It works the other way around. Which means, whether we want to believe this or not, the universe is stacked in God's favor. God did not play dice with the universe. It only looks like it from our ignorance.
Our universe and reality are His creation and everything is part of His creation and it is fundamentally good. Once a person really gets that, a whole new world and universe opens up. It's just easier to get this after we've transitioned at death. It's time humanity made a real effort to understand some of this before we transition at death. It would make this life a whole lot more enjoyable for a whole lot more people.