Once the gods walked among us in the Golden Age of humanity. The divine spark in every being was burning brightly because we were pure and our karmic debts were as yet non-existent. We were awake, not slumbering and responding blindly to delusions. We had not yet retreated into the cavern of our ego-mind, and we did not block and interfere with natural processes.
We did not have or need to have opinions, and we had not yet become attached to gratification, so our intents were pure and rooted in the sacred. In this era, we humans had no need to practice to wake ourselves up and focus our spirits through mindfulness and meditation. We wore the weight of the human form with ease, not weighted down as we were in later eras.
In short, we did not need to rehearse or practice how to locate and connect with the divine, because we were divine performers, not practitioners as we are often referred to today. The notion of practice in modern English historically implies doing or acting, but post 15th century it often was connected to a profession, e.g. medicine or law, implying that a skill had to be performed repeatedly in order to perfect it.
Gradually, the practical or ordinary human attitude prevailed as we moved increasingly further and further away from the divine, from our higher minds. Finally, in our present degenerate times, we so-called developed peoples are so remote to the divine, wedged tightly into secular worlds, that we have to obsessively practiced to make contact with our higher selves, and so with the divine, if we are so disposed.
Most of us moderns place our own sensory needs, according to our own view of the world synthesized by our human minds, first. We eventually lose touch with our spiritual being, our divine nature, all together. In such a view, if we are not gratified, we indulge ourselves in delusional behavior and thought, such as fear, anger and all manner of machinations to get what we feel we are entitled to. But our True Nature is one with the universe, so it craves nothing for itself.
Once, we had no fears because we were totally in tune with the love of the great universe of which we are a vital component. Our divine nature is a special thread, its texture and colour vital to complete the tapestry of the Universe. At that time, we had not become arrogant and wilfully separated ourselves away to try to make our own tapestry.
The ‘spiritual practices’ or performances of indigenous people are akin to those of this Golden Age. I experienced them first-hand when I stayed with a tribe which was returning to traditional life deep in the interior Lands of Australia. Their desert lives are totally integrated with those of their creation heroes who manifest all around them in the natural environment, which is known as ‘The Dreaming.’
They consider themselves to be not separate from the universe, and view natural phenomena as they view themselves, part of the Great Mother Nature’s creation. They interact directly with the external world, never needing to put themselves apart from it by constructing their own concepts of it or filtering their perceptions.
The climax of their lives is The Djang, the glorious death ceremony. Each of them is in love with death, longing for the moment when their spirit is freed from its physical vessel, the body. Preparations for Death ceremonies last usually for 12 days, and they are filled with ritual dances and observances. Then, as the moment of the Djang approaches, they sit and wait for creator spirits to visit the sanctified Burial Ground, and for that moment when the deceased is released, having learned all the lessons of being human. Their spirit rises up into the sky against the backcloth of a full moon, and travels on into other dimensions. Life conducted in full knowledge that death may come at any moment is perhaps the greatest spiritual practice of all.
In the western world, meditation is one of the prominent and fashionable forms of spiritual practice, in modern times. However, there is great danger that it becomes the be-all and end-all of spiritual pursuits, representing an end in itself. Many of us desire transformation; we are convinced that we are imperfect, that our minds need wiping clean because they are fundamentally flawed. This is an impossible feat, indicative of the tendency towards dependence: we ask someone or something else to give us a fresh start.
We must learn to accept all our thoughts, good or bad, sincere or insincere; simply stand back and witness them as if we are staring up to the surface of the iceberg from its massive body (the tip is the conscious mind, and the body of the iceberg is the unconscious mind).
It is inspirational to consider what ordinary people were like going about their daily lives in the early periods of so-called ‘civilisation.’ In this Golden Era of ancient India, several thousand years before the Buddha’s appearance, the gods, the Holy Beings, lived among the members of communities, making the divine easily accessible and full enlightenment possible by simply being in their presence.
This notion is based on the premise that all humans born into the physical dimension are endowed with a divine flame, an indestructible link with the sacred; that, unlike today, in the Latter Era of the Dharma or Law, when our societies are in serious decline and our karmic debts on a colossal scale, we were originally sacred beings, with natural faith born of our closeness to the divine.
The situation in ancient India was similar in Ancient Greece where the gods were constantly present, tangible, as they were in many other European civilisations. In other areas of the world, we can see today that surviving indigenous peoples, e.g. native Americans and Australians, unexploited African and South American tribes, et al, also live in the constant presence of their divine beings, their Creation Heroes as they are often known.
If we fully and equally respect each entity that we encounter during all the moments of our life, we will be able to live in complete harmony and with joy and wisdom once again.