An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 17, 2017
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucatán, Mexico

MY RADIANT VISUALIZATION

To me the most beautiful feature of Nature is the irrepressible energy and inventiveness with which She evolves ever greater diversity, while at the same time causing the created parts to be ever more integrated and mutually interdependent. My spirituality is rooted in the mental image of this process.

For, when I need guidance, I refer to that mental image, and if my proposed behavior feels harmonious with the feeling the mental image evokes, then the guidance given is to go ahead. If the behavior seems to strike a sour note with the feeling evoked by the mental image, I'm advised against it. There's nothing rational about the process. It's just that after all these years, this process seems most honest to me, and is the most effective one I've tried.

I don't know if philosophers have provided an appropriate name for such a thing as this mental image. When I think of the mental image, it's easy to visualize it as a radiant, gold-coin-like thing suspended inside my head. A magical feature of this radiant visualization is that the process it represents provides a motif for the most complex and integrated of its creations.

For example, on Earth the most obvious example of my radiant visualization's motif being echoed in its creations is the evolutionary history of the Earth's living things. Life, like the Universe itself, sparked into existence, then explosively evolved into its own universe of interconnected diverse living parts.

And, since humanity is one of the creations, the history of humanity's evolving, ever more sophisticated mentality, and the history of humanity's ever more complex social structure and even the recent history of computers and computer programming... all echo my radiant visualization's prime motif. All those subsets of reality constantly struggle forward out of simpleness and isolation toward every greater sophistication and community.

"In the beginning there was the Word... " says John 1:1. I used to think that that was a clumsy and inexplicable way to begin a book. However, now I'm wondering if it might not hit the mark exactly, insofar as the word "word" is understood by all to be something that conjures a mental image or feeling -- a kind of visualization that if we're talking about John's "God" then we can say that it's a radiant one.

Some might argue that a mere visualization is a modest rooting medium for one's spirituality. However, the radiant visualization inside my head is very clear about the following "commandments":

  • Revere and protect diversity
  • Help maturing communities that seem to be on the right path, whether they're a forest's living thihgs, or a community of people
  • Never cease struggling toward greater refinement of my own understandings and sensibilities

I have found these few words more than enough to keep me busy, and feeling good about my spiritual state, for a lifetime.