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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Nicolas Berdyaev and More

I find myself fascinated by the thoughts of Nikolai Berdiaev (Russian spelling) in his book, "Freedom & the Spirit." It is an odd book, for the pages look blotty and copied rather than newly set. It is a bit challenging, but worth it. Nikolai lived from 1874 until 1948 - quite a span of history and its major changes from the end of our Civil War, to the 1917 revolution in Russia, to two world wars and the insanity of the warmongers to the drop of the first atomic bombs on people, etc. It was a vastly different world at the end of his life, scarcely recognizable from the one of 1874 I would say.

Here are a few excerpts (I'm sure more will come later as I'm only on page 52 of 369 pages):
Victory can indeed be won over the past, and Christianity teaches us that it can be redeemed and forgiven. Rebirth into a new life is possible, but into every new and transfigured life there will return those former experiences which cannot disappear into oblivion without leaving traces behind them. A period of suffering can overcome, joy and happiness can be born anew, but into every fresh joy and happiness there will enter again, in some mysterious way, that suffering which as already been endured. Joy and happiness will henceforth be different.... Suffering disappears, but the fact of having suffered is always with us.
He shares that the struggle to awaken to God, going through the darkness, makes a person different and more open to Spirit than those who never questioned and did not go upon the quest. Those who stay only with the rituals and traditions are not free, and finding Spirit/God is Freedom. Since Spirit is not static, frozen teachings are not about God but about control of people. He seems to think that for Christianity to survive it needs to let go of the political controls, superstitions, pagan elements, and go to Spirituality much as it did in the very beginning. He said:
Spirit is life, experience, destiny. A purely rational metaphysic of spirit is impossible Life is only disclosed in experience... Spiritual life is the most real kind of life.
I bring to mind the how of it all. I have known for a very long time that we the people of earth are in need of genuine spiritual awakening. All we need to do is look around to see the sorrowful life of so many of us. The how has not come to me. Let us all contemplate and seek how to seed spiritual awakening for ourselves and for all the people of earth.

Lord God, Spirit of all, open our hearts and minds and lives to You and to ways to seed an actual spiritual awakening on earth. I know there is a way or You would not have given me this idea. Show us the way.

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