Mortal Agents

on September 5 | in Inspirations | by | with Comments Off on Mortal Agents

"Pyle pirates ghost" by Howard Pyle
- Pyle, Howard; Johnson, Merle De Vore (ed) (1921)
"Blueskin, the Pirate" in Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Harper and Brothers, pp. Plate facing p. 186.
Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

We might talk about guardian spirits, fairies, and angels. We might discuss the spirits of the tavern, the gambling hall, or the corporate meeting room. In the forests, we might sense a wild presence – in the family celebration, we might flush with the enchantment of another. The spirits of the saints, of the Buddha, of Jesus and the Holy Mother might seem to us to be living presences, contexts of miracles and eternal agents alive in this world.

Or we might instead dismiss all these as childish and archaic ideas. We might imagine the world to be an ocean made only of drops of water, without tides or currents. We could point at membership rosters and say, “there, that’s the ‘spirit’ of the thing, the community.” Or perhaps we’ll hold up specific texts or pick out specific locations on a map or hold up a specific picture, “this is the core of the thing, everything else is just a reference to this.”

Our choice of mental framework doesn’t change our nature. Regardless of how you see them, we are all mortal agents of these currents of mind.

If we are unconscious, we act based on external authority and our upbringing. Many simply float on the surface of the waters of mind.

If we live in flatland, we act based on a rational choice of priorities, values, and ideals. We carefully architect cities of the mind to justify and orient the flow of mind, imagining that our logical structures have some correlation to the majesty of creation.

If we swim in oceans of grace and mystery, we choose rivers of consciousness. Patience, compassion, and love well up out of the ground of consciousness like water from a spring. Anger, selfishness, and fear churn the surface of the world’s mind in fevered thrashings of attachment and sin.

When you choose to protect the innocent, you are the very hands of the guardian spirits. Choose to refuse corruption and fear, and you’re the sword of the angel. Wipe out the stress with alcohol, and you’ve paid homage to the void. Light or darkness, love or fear, peace or violence… all these are spirits that you can allow passage through you, or not. We are all unavoidably, inevitably mortal agents of things beyond our kind.

What, then, will you place on your inner altar?

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