It’s a cliche anymore to say that it is healing to spend time in nature, but just because it’s a cliche doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Nature is God’s creation. It bears his mark and testifies of his existence. That’s why it is said that even if one has never heard the gospel, there is no excuse for not at least believing in a creator, because creation reveals the truth of his existence, and everyone has witnessed his creation, more or less.
By less, I mean those unfortunate souls that dwell in a world created by man – cities.
I’m not saying that cities don’t have any beauty in them. I appreciate some of the architecture, and some marvels of engineering like bridges and vast aqueduct systems.Though, almost always, the parts I admire most are from an earlier time. Modern buildings are – to my eyes – cold, ugly, and soulless things.
Eckhart Tolle talks about this in his book The Power of Now:
The mind left to itself creates monstrosities, and not only in art galleries. Look at our urban landscapes and industrial wastelands. No civilization has ever produced so much ugliness.
The reason we see this trend towards more and more ugliness in what humans create, he says, is because of the growth and spread of the disease of the mind – namely, ego. Ego, therefore, is not static. It spreads like cancer, and is speeding up the devolution of mankind.
I agree wholeheartedly with that conclusion, but where I veer from Tolle’s perspective is in what drives this devolution and what the solution will be. For me, ego is not a cause, but a symptom. Tolle quotes Christ repeatedly, but for him Christ is not God – he’s merely an early manifestation of a burgeoning pattern of awakening, of moving beyond the ego, beyond Self.
This is where it gets tricky and sticky.
For me, the awakening that Tolle speaks of is synonymous with what happens when one surrenders their life to Christ. You can’t serve Self and Christ. You can’t serve two masters, as Christ himself said (Matthew 6:24). You can’t hold something back in surrender, because surrender is implicitly complete – 100%. That leaves no room for Self.
There is a difference though between surrender and awakening. Choosing a path of surrender does not mean immediate enlightenment. That is a different creature, one which I believe does happen suddenly, without warning or explanation. But that is exceedingly rare.
Normally a path of surrender is a daily commitment, a long process of winnowing out the dross of ego. It seems that the contamination of ego appeared when man fell from sinless perfection. The seed of ego came in and began its gradual work of corruption and destruction. I personally believe we are approaching the final stages of that process right now.
Satan is the perfect embodiment of ego, and the author of it in the world. He did not create the world, and that’s why, through nature, it still testifies of God. But right now he rules it, temporarily, and it is mankind’s creations that testify of him – and that includes cities. Cities are bullish on man, bearish on God.
In cities you will find all manner of ugliness – loud, poison-belching vehicles, banging and grinding construction equipments, sirens of every kind, steel, aluminum, glass, concrete, asphalt, and every other material devised by man, all bearing the mark of the adversary. I’m telling you, cities are built by man, but are inhuman. The reason is Satan, and the ego he infected us with.
Satan said “I will…”
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.
I will. Me, me, me.
Satan says “My will be done.”
Christ says “Thy will be done, Father.”
Christ embodies selfless surrender and salvation from the destruction of ego. Satan embodies this famous statement of Aleister Crowley: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Any fans of this man should be able to clearly discern who is the true author of that statement.
Satan hates mankind and wants to destroy us with a passion so large I’m sure it is quite incomprehensible to us. And yet so many humans live in inhumane cities devised by him – cities that make a mockery of what it means to live a nourishing, fulfilling human life. Yes, it’s mockery, and I’m sure that he is laughing at our stupidity. We embrace that which offends and degrades. Unbelievable, yet true.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…
Suing the Devil, a movie starring Malcolm Mcdowell playing Satan defending himself in court, has an amazing scene where the Devil admits his role as the author of all ugliness in the earth. It mirrors exactly what I’m talking about here and is one of the most revealing, truthful few minutes ever delivered in a movie. Please take a look – it’s well worth it.
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