I was quite intrigued by a piece on The Documentary Channel about the end of the world, the Mayan Calendar, and the age of the pyramids. It would seen that people certainly have thought that the end of the world was coming on a few different occasions throughout human history, including the bubonic Plagues, the Dark Ages before the Renaissance, Y2K, and other times.
More recently some have thought that the election of George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, the wall street crash of 2008, 2000, or other events meant the end of the world. What the Mayan Calendar, according to some scholars teaches us is that dark ages of low spiritual achievement among humans, or other lifeforms on the blue and green planet have come and gone and will continue to do so. 2012 may have brought on a new dark age. Some see it some don’t. After Obama’s election high end jewelry makers, Smith and Wesson, and others were doing absolutely splendid, while others were not. Economic downs and ups are part of the nature of life, but according to those who have their finger on the pulse of spiritual achievement know that ages of enlightenment also come and go. The Mayans, and other deep thinking people from times long gone seem to have known that at certain times great positive energy comes, and goes. It’s strange to think about enlightened dinosaurs but that seems to be what they were suggesting.
For the modern, practical spiritual seeker I think it is enough to realize that our forbearers such as the Egyptians, Mayans, and others saw degradation of spirituality in their own times, and saw the fall of greatness. Some have compared the sheer lack of morals that created the crash of 2008, and the decline of the USA after as the same as the fall of the Roman Empire. Is it a fair analogy? I don’t think it really matters. What matters is for those who feel the calling to “strive on endlessly” as the Buddha suggested in his dying moments. We can posit theories about dark ages, defunct public morals, the evil in Wall Street or on Capital Hill, or White Hall all we want, but what good does it do us? Theorists try to make sense of things, to use astrology as the Mayans and Egyptians and others did to see what logic the universe shows us as humans, but in fact humans are not always scientific, or logical. Striving on means we realize that the world is not perfect, what enlightenment means as that we find perfectness, and a golden age inside the darkness. We find refuge not in perfectness, but in calamity. As Lao Tzu said we find the Tao in the “shit and the piss.” or in other words. “If the Tao is not in your bowl movement, you have big trouble.”
While dark ages come and go, spirit seekers can not allow themselves to lose heart. Harmony is not in some ideal, but in the constant, and often unpleasant aspects of life. There is plenty of reason to lose heart, but that IS the practice we all aspire to. It’s easy to meditate quietly when everything is going well, but we get to really practice when things are not. We learn more on the tough streets of Bombay or LA than we do at idyllic monasteries.
The ancients of Egypt and the Mayan kingdoms seemed to know that before them there were high spiritual times where good vibes were the norm. They predicted a natural cycle of good and bad depending on their understanding of the rotation of the universe. I’m not sure if I believe that is the complete truth, that the alignment of the stars dictates spiritual conditions on Earth, but certainly we have had better times than these.
A business broker at World Wide Business Brokers and I were talking about the overall condition of the economy a couple weeks back. He said that prior to the past ten years life was good, the ’70s were good, the ’80s and up untill the early 2000’s were good. I think you should ask those under apartheid in South Africa, or those in Tibet if all that time was good. But it’s true I think the average American after the most recent crashes and after government and big business have decided to ignore the average person that life has become more difficult for most people. Maybe we have entered the end of the world of sorts. Ask any older person if they think the younger generation is not half of what they were.
Whether or not it’s a new Dark Age, or if society is going down the tubes fast is a difficult one to say. According to the Egyptians and Mayans we are not in a position to know because our own judgement is clouded by the negativity and darkness of our age. What we have, for the few of us who have “just a little dust on our eyes”, as the Buddha said for those who were not completely diluted, is that this life is a precious gift and not to be wasted. We have an opportunity to practice our spiritual growth because the practice we must aspire to is in this life and in this second.