THE HERMITAGE

A Harmonist spiritual center where we are one in the spirit and the earth is our family.

 

 It is a fearful time of increased nationalism, sectarianism and tribalism. Finding common ground is a major issue and seems nearly impossible. What could possibly bind us together? Perhaps we need a new set of values that comes from a new perspective, a new way of looking at things. There has long been a mystical viewpoint that says that life is a single unit, a single organism, and not what it appears to be, a conglomeration of individual, even unrelated things and creatures. This idea of separation, isolation and an inherent aloneness is reinforced by our senses, custom, even language itself, which divides things into subjects and objects that can affect and interact with each other but remain distinct.

 But the Harmonist' point of view, which is based in mystical tradition, states that separation is a superficial illusion that ignores the underlying unity and wholeness of existence, which says we are all part of the same thing, that each of us is incarnated spirit, so that we are connected on a fundamental level and that not only the planet, but everything is a single organism and we are facets of a jewel.

 It may be time to reassess the Revolutionary War flag depicting a snake cut into pieces representing individual colonies, and with the motto "Unite or die." That flag could also refer to our own time because, as separate creatures and countries, we are well on the way to death. We suggest it is only by recognizing our connectedness that civilization will not only survive, but flourish.

 A new set of values will lead us to question the state of society, with its emphasis on a market-driven economy with producers and consumers, winners and losers, and a goal that defines the pursuit of happiness in terms of quantity of goods. But there may be other ways of looking at life, perhaps through shared communal values of mutual nurturance and sustainable living. Perhaps making the world a better place for everyone could provide jobs and income in a way we haven't considered. So much is possible when we realize that tribalism and nationalism are illusions and do not reflect the true nature of reality.

 Even language itself can be changed based on a change of values and a fresh perspective based on unity. For example, instead of the phrases "I say . . ." or "I think . . .," it might be more accurate, if more awkward and embarrassing, to use the phrase "This incarnation of the spirit says . . ." and "This incarnation of the spirit thinks . . ."  Such language would reflect our changing understanding of who and what we are.

 Understanding and implementing a change of values does not come quickly or easily. Here at the Hermitage, for example, our ideals, as contained in our hymns and tracts, often conflict with our very human natures, especially when emotion overwhelms higher level cognition and we revert to the ugly behavior of a spoiled child. Such behavior makes us question just how much free will we actually have, when faced with the demands of genetics and learned behavior. Or perhaps we just lack discipline and will power.

 In such cases, it might be best to forgive ourselves, not as excuses for inappropriate, even infantile behavior, but in recognition that we are indeed human, all too human, and don't always match our ideals. Perhaps regret and the desire to keep trying are the best we can do.

 Still, it's important to us to develop a technique to maintain awareness of the unity of earth, body and spirit. Being aware of the act of breathing is a repetitive reminder of being grounded in the spirit and being filled by the spirit and, in turn, breathing into the spirit to maintain it as well, a working together like organs in a body.

 There are also four behaviors which exemplify our Harmonist work: patience, kindness, humility and respect. Using these towards ourselves and the planet as a whole, with all its creatures, as difficult as that can sometimes be, keeps us focused and balanced.

 As incarnations of the spirit, it's important to be motivated, self-reliant and independent, so the spirit can work through us. However it's equally important to recognize our inter-dependence and to emphasize that fact as much as possible so that we can work together for the betterment of the planet. Being good to ourselves, nurturing ourselves and maintaining a healthy body, is an important first step so that we can, like breathing out, in turn nurture and be good to others while maintaining a healthy planet.

 We are truly one in the spirit and the earth is our family. Or, in seven words, All are one and one is all.

 

Click on the audio file to hear the hymn tune played on programs such as Windows Media Player.

Hymn No. 80 Patience, Kindness . . .
Hermitage emblem cropped

The emblem of the Hermitage: the lily time at the end of Revelation when the spirit, as New Jerusalem, and the earth, as New Eden, unite in wholeness. The quill represents our writing about it.

Hymn No 73 Building an ark copy

 

The website introduces the Hermitage in words and pictures, with information about upcoming events and about the Mahantongo Heritage Center.