Because of the facial hair, I at first didn’t recognize Richard. He plopped down an eclectic pile of esoterica and headed off to the café counter. Glancing at the titles, I had to admit that my curiosity was piqued. So when he sat down I struck up a conversation.
His authoritative tone brought recollection. As is common with those possessing encyclopedic knowledge, the conversation caromed across mystical frameworks: Knights Templar, the Qaballah, Chakras, Theosophy, and ninja traditions were highlighted in a nearly impenetrable mash-up of terminology.
As he leafed through his books, he stopped at the Masonic eye of the pyramid. I offered, “I’ve met one of those.”
“What, the cap on the pyramid?”
“It’s not a cap. See, it’s not a three-dimensional object. It’s a triangle.” I paused for that to sink in. “It’s a representation of a personality embedded in two dimensions.”
“Two dimensions? Really. What did you do with it?”
I shrugged. “It asked me for help.”
Attempting to reassert control, he then dove into a history of encounters with Uriel, the angel of wisdom. As he began to skip across theological boundaries, I reined him back in.
“So given that offering of power, what purpose have you chosen?”
“Yes. When we enter into the spiritual flow, we encounter many messages. Not all of them are intended for us. In the time of Jesus, there were many self-proclaimed Messiahs. Today, we have Rev. Moon. I have found that pursuit of a chosen purpose helps me to filter the messages.”
“Oh. I guess that I haven’t done that.” Then he slipped into a cynical analysis of idolatry.
“So what makes something sacred?” I interrupted.
“That’s the point. Nothing is sacred.”
“Well, let me offer this perspective: a sacred experience links the past to the future through a conduit of love. They can only be established through the genuine exchange of love, because if selfishness arises on either end, the connection is blocked. So to the cynic the saint’s bone is just a bone, while the faithful find it to have great mystical power. The bone is not necessary to the connection, but can facilitate it.”
He broke off at that point, as my brother Ben sauntered up. Somehow, though, I don’t think that he was done with the conversation.