Saturday, January 8, 2011
Hello and Happy Saturday!
First up I wish to thank Ebtesam for her very interesting and informative interview last week. Great job Ebtesam, thank you so much for sharing!
Today we have a new post so please welcome Alan Jones.
Alan is a Rational Mystic and I know you will enjoy his post as well!
Here Is Alan Jones's Introduction:
Alan Jones is a well respected trainer and workshop facilitator who describes himself as a ‘Rational Mystic’. He brings his broad knowledge of the western magical tradition and experience of shamanistic teaching together with his professional expertise in NLP, Transpersonal Psychology and Personal Coaching in a creative and innovative way. He has appeared on radio and television discussing various aspects of his work and travels throughout the UK as a motivational speaker, educational coach and trainer of NLP, Hypnotherapy and Communication Skills. He is Director of Inspire NLP
website link: www.alanjones.ws : http://www.aljones.net/
1) What religion do you practice?
I call myself a Rational Mystic which means that I attempt to have a rational view of all things paranormal whilst recognising that there is a spiritual side to the human experience which is purely subjective and need not be analysed, quantified or codified. I guess the Rationalist part of me makes me a Humanist and with regards the spiritual side of me, well I'm drawn to shamanic, magical traditions.
2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
For me its not about converting, it is about growing in understanding... I have studied aspects of Christainity, Buddhism, Taoism as well as other traditions. Seemed to me that the common threads running through all of the organised religions had been politicised and dogmatised out of all recognition. Religiosity is perhaps the real challenge of our time and fundamentalism of all flavours derives from an unbalanced view, interpretation and application of 'scripture'
3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
A moderate - in fact bordering on being a total libertarian
4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
A willingness to accept others views, opinions and attitudes and belief in free speech, discussion, the idea of limited censorship and the right for individuals to live their lives as they wish. Certain 'occultists' will recognise the dictum "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, love under will is the whole of the law" often abbreviated into "and harm none do what thou wilt'.
There is much in this attitude that I subscribe to.
Of course within the bounds of the need to protect the 'innocent and the weak' from the words and deeds of some of those who seem not to be able to recognise the rights of others to be..
5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
I think I've covered that above - in essence it is about behaviour and the way they treat other people, their ideas and their culture (in the broadest sense)
6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
My current thinking is that we make our heaven and hell here and now. We can be active participants in our lives and the world we live in, striving to allow peace, harmony, love, tolerance, growth, understanding or we can become indolent passengers.
In my 'cosmology' there are places or spaces beyond the here, now, past and present BUT I am not convinced that the personality that is me survives.
If God (which is a human not a divine construct) created everything then he/she/it probably did so to understand themsleves (that's a Qabbalistic view point I guess) and so everything we do, we are and we can be is a reflection of that original consciousness.
The real challenge of there being a paradise to go to is that there can be an abdication of responsibility and the need to act NOW, in this life-time-frame.
7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
By your own actions you create personal heaven and hell and are subject to those manifestations now and in the future.
8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Because it speaks of fundamental human rights, responsibilities for now and the future - it celebrates life and the value of that life. There is no dogma and it has not promoted sustained conflict because of a fundamentalist acceptance of 'the word'.
9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
The days are tied to the cycles of the year, the natural cycles. In a spiritual sense there is the desire to recognise each and every day for what it is and what it can bring.
In 'modern' traditions there are eight major 'festivals' marking astronomical events (the two solstices and equinoxes) and four major agricultural based festivals - start and end of the growing season and the two harvests
10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes - why not. People are people and more than the label they are given or give themselves
11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes - out of honour and respect as well as the sense of humility of being invited.
12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
The extent to which a 'Law' restrains or dishonour freedom bothers me. I think the current trend to outlaw the wearing of the burka is racist in both its intent and subtext. If a person wants to express their faith in ways that do not infringe the rights of others outside of their faith then they should be allowed to. Of course there are some practical considerations to be considered as well. Jewelry, clothing and certain 'fashions' may not be safe or appropriate in certain environments. There can be no absolutes just common sense and balance.
As for one faith declaring 'war' on another or seeking to subjugate it then this, I believe, has no place in a multifaith, integrated world.
13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
Archaic and out of step with the now and the needs of this society - HOWEVER I accept and recognise that some religious practices do so and assume that those within that faith are there by choice not coercion and are therefore 'happy' with the system they worship within.
14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No - and again to create a subclass or out group is the first step towards possible persecution - HOWEVER I accept and recognise that some religious practices do so and assume that those within that faith are there by choice not coercion and are therefore 'happy' with the system they worship within.
15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
No - it openly allows for the consideration of choices, options and possibilities recognising that one persons story and sitiuation is not the same as anothers. My attitude does call for a full exploration of these issues on all levels...
16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
Totally understandable - again ensuring that all aspects of the decision are explored. If a religion proposes that LOVE is all and that a choice of marriage partner is based on LOVE then how can there be an honest, congruent objection?
17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No - they may be creating that hell for themselves and others.
18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
There is no single spokesperson - those who offer guidance are revered for their wisdom and insight not their divinity or rulership. There are those who profess to be King of this or High Priest of that but they tend to be regarded as ego driven and seeking attention.
The true masters of any religion are the ones who offer to teach without seeking adoration; inspire by what they do and guide by how they are.
19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No... target of misplaced anger from ignorant, bigoted folk but little else. Possibly because there is no need to acquire followers or convert anyone
20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
Never - it celebrates who we are. who we can be and what we seek to become
21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
It can - it recognise the human condition and all that that is prone to
22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
Yes - but perhaps not in the way that it is generally considered. There is possibly a part of us, an essential part, that goes on to somewhere - I'm not sure that the personality is part of that...