One of the fathers at our Zen parenting group read this aloud at our last meeting, and I’d like to reproduce it here. It’s from the book Raising Spiritual Children in a Material World by Phil Catalfo:
I often think of the early humans who left behind the first religious artifacts: the cave paintings and henges of Neolithic Europe, the petroglyphs of the American southwest, totems and carvings and ceremonial adornments found among the ruins of ancient settlements around the world. I try to imagine what motivated them to create these images and objects, through which they still speak to us, in some cases, tens of thousands of years later. What prompted them to fashion brushes and pigments and invent religious art? What did they think they were doing? What were they saying to themselves, let alone us?
In my imagination, what they were saying goes something like this: We were here. We shared this place with these other beings. They had some powers, and we had some powers.There was so much magic we didn’t understand it all. There were spirits in the air, on the land, in the sea; everywhere, spirits. We think maybe we are spirits, too. We tried to understand just what we are. This is as far as we got.
I haven’t read the rest of the book yet, but I love that passage. Especially the last two lines. It’s how I view religions in general. Their texts, their scriptures, are not the last words on the subject. They’re as far as they got.
We still need to seek, because the story is far from over.