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Ability Awakens Podcast: S1 E1: Belief in Everything

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Ability Awakens Podcast S1 E1 Belief in Everything

Transcript: Ability Awakens S1 E1 Belief in Everything

Welcome to Ability Awakens, a podcast about provocative insights in the arts of therapy, behaviour and spirituality as meaning making, with Doctor Joseph Bowers and Doctor Dwayne Kennedy.

Welcome, Dwayne. How’re you going?

Good. Joseph.

We’re just going to launch right into this. We’re talking about creation in some sense or other. And I’m asking, what is The Big Bang, and how do you understand that?

I think everybody thinks about The Big Bang more so often now than ever. And I really wasn’t led into that process until secondary school after leaving a Catholic based primary school. And your belief system is that your focused on creation and the Creator.

Dwayne came from a generation when kids grew up in the creation story and were much later introduced to the theories of science.

And we, I stepped into a secondary school. It was a public system, talking about evolution, and I guess that’s where that saying came from, is The Big Bang.

Being introduced to a whole new belief system can be quite challenging for a child, young adult, or an adult. It can take many years to unpack and discover the meanings of these changes.

 When we think about The Big Bang, and other people come from a perspective of creation, they think of God, and they may actually use many terms to actually articulate how they see God, or…

How rare it is that we actually pause… to think about these issues, how profound that a young person has to deal with these kinds of questions.

What an extraordinary journey just to be in that process of continual learning, expanding oneself, reading extensively, making ourselves much more aware that work with the people that we do. One of my biggest interests, is that, to bring both these worlds together is to think, well, what is the Big Ben? How does somebody that thinks about creation as in God, Creator, made all of this existence, and how is it related to The Big Bang?

These questions leave many of us feeling disoriented, fragmented, searching for answers to irreconcilable questions that can last many decades. For those who think through these issues, it can redefine our lives.

The Big Bang was an explosion that then forced a process of creation to expand outwards. When we really look at a deeper perspective and start to see that creation is in alignment with that understanding of The Big Bang…

Drawing synergies over a lifetime of study, Dr Kennedy has dipped into the Nag Hammadi scriptures, which is a collection of 13 papyrus codices that were discovered in 1945. They were buried under the city of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, approximately the 4th century. The fascinating layer to this discussion is how Dr Kennedy has used these texts to reframe creatively his sense of creation and The Big Bang. He talks about this concept of the Self-Generated One as a name for God.

And when we think about the Self-Generated One, we just think well that that is literally The Big Bang because it was self-generated. And we understand more then… About bringing those two worlds together and trying to understand how we come into existence.

Gosh, how do we come into existence? Well certainly we grow up through a developmental process, but my gosh. There are many deep and profound layers to the story.

We come from two quite different countries at opposite ends of this planet. You grew up in regional Australia and I grew up in regional Canada and yet the era that we grew up in is very similar, I guess across the planet. In your early school you were told about creation from the spiritual, cultural, or religious sort of traditions. Of course, the Bible in the first pages in Genesis opens up with the whole creation story. And so like you said, there’s ways of understanding this from, from the scientific point of view and from the religious point of view. But I think we’re creating a new contemporary sort of perspective on these issues that’s maybe a mix of both of them and maybe goes beyond them, you know, in the sense of traditionalist science and religion. I think even those camps themselves; they’ve sort of changed a lot over these past couple of decades.

I think it’s about trying to help people understand the bigger picture that’s like, we’re not, it’s not about us and them, it’s about us. It’s about the ‘We.’ It’s about All Is One. And it’s bringing all of that together into this enlightened path of a truth that’s expanding in our world now that people are waking up to that there’s more than being governed by a religion and more than being governed by science. The two are blending together and science is proving the facts that creation has happened and it’s still expanding. When we really focus on those two things that we’ve been exposed to in our lifetimes. And I think that our parents, in a way were not as fortunate as us. They were brought up in whatever Catholic background, Protestant, Salvation Army, and Seventh Day Adventist, many of those backgrounds and even more. But it was a religion based, it was religion driven. And then we had Government schools that brought in a new perspective of a scientific perspective of evolution and how the world came into existence. And when we reflect on that, it’s about us that has been in the midst of that, bringing those two worlds together to bring a bit more of a truth about both of those things that fit together hand in hand. It’s not about the one or the other.

Where do we go from here?

Now we live in a world where the Eastern traditions have met the Western traditions. And the blend of the two is waking the world up to a bigger picture. They’re asking questions like, what is this all about? Like, what is life about? How do we make sense of this? Becoming excited about the process of opening oneself to and non-judgmental process of the world’s religions and the commonalities.

How do you see people dealing with this?

It’s more than that. Life is more. And those questions are now being asked because our world is becoming a blend of our beliefs. And that’s, it’s bringing people into a bigger, bigger awareness, the oneness of creation. So, there’s two sides of this process too.

It felt like we reached a corner, a turning point at this point in our discussion and the next phase of the discussion went deeper. We explored a belief in the power of everything, a belief in everything.

But we relied on something that was bigger in our lives that gave us a foundation right from the start, and that was our belief. But belief in everything, not just in one thing, belief in everything. And that, and I think it took a particular strength to walk through that, where others found it extremely isolating. And they didn’t know how to connect, or didn’t know how to focus, or didn’t know how to see life in those traumatic experiences. And others are now connecting because of that in a deeper way, in a more profound way.

What means the most to us? And you know, how do we make that sense of meaning? The belief in everything, that’s a powerful phrase.

And when I say belief, my belief is very expensive and encompassing, hopefully understanding with compassion.

Can you unpack for me and for our listeners one, what do you mean by belief in everything?

It sounded like a really, really significant phrase for you. Can you unpack that?

When we look at creation, it’s just not about me, it’s about everything around me and everybody around me. So it’s inclusive. It’s definitely not separate. And I think when we go into a spiritual place, people think that we go into a solitude, but it’s really not. It’s about a Collective Mind bigger than us.

Are you talking about the oneness that most people talk about or?

Well, yes, and like in Buddhism they talk about All Is One. Christianity talks about the Body of Christ. So, and when we look through the world religions, even like, through the Aboriginal backgrounds, we think about like All Is One. So… All Our Relations. I think they really believe that like the creation like of the Dreamtime Serpent and even how the man and the woman came into existence, in our psyche, creation. So that connection, that’s what I’m saying, that connection is when we look and unpack belief systems, those connections are still there. They’re alive and well and everybody does feel connected, even though at times we do feel disconnected from that whole process. We’re not alone.

What’s that about? Connection and disconnection?

Connection is when we come to an evolution in ourselves of making sense of what we’ve been subject to in our life. We really haven’t had a choice. It’s been presented to us through many different forms, and then we come to a place in our lives where we can actually make sense of it. I think the disconnection  is when we are trying to make sense of it. We can go into dark places and go into depression. That’s difficult because we feel separate. But in those moments were really truly not alone in that either. We just feel at those dark moments that we are.

I like the metaphors that you’re using. If I think of them as metaphors or even as sacred stories, you’re talking about darkness and light and upheaval and depression and connection and disconnection. I wonder if in that way, aren’t we just kind of like mirrors of the creation itself, of the formation of the land and of the upheaval of earthquakes and floods. And you know, how the land was formed. As I’ve heard the elders in Australia talk about, the Serpent travels through the Dreamtime Serpent travels through the land, up and down, the way that the land was created. And the way that each people around Australia came to be. So, I just wonder, why, why do we feel often so isolated and really disconnected from that creation? And yet we seem to be part of that bigger story.

Why we feel disconnected is that our, we don’t have time to have what’s called solitude to sit still. I think self-reflection is something that we all have to pull back to.

So, kind of how do we, how do we get there, how do we do that?

It’s stepping into something meaningful and stepping away from things that actually take us away from wanting to know a deeper aspect, who we are in all of this, who we are in the greater or grand scheme of things. So, it’s an awareness.

What do you mean?

I think people have to get tired of what they’re doing first and exhausted from what they’re doing. And it sort of wakens something up in them. Saying, I’m tired of doing this same thing every day, or I’m tired of being on the treadmill of life that’s been set up for me. I want to dismantle it in some way. And I think that we can still participate and still do exactly the same thing every day, but we can change it because we’re actually becoming more involved in what Creation is about. What, what is our part in this whole process.

Just thinking that we often try to avoid this whole conversation, especially about Christianity, I think because it’s so controversial really for so many people from all different factions of Christianity and how Christians relate to each other and to the wider world and how our professional and secular life in Australia relates or doesn’t relate to Christianity. It’s a very contentious topic really.

I think sometimes we just have to step away from what we’ve been brought up to believe in, and change that to a more dynamic process of how we engage more so with that creation. And I think that’s the secret that we have to unpack. It’s about engaging. And engaging not only in what we read to expand our mind and our thinking, and how any text becomes so applicable because other faiths around the world have their profoundness to, and their depth of creation. Interesting when we gather so much information about so many different topics, but yet they’re the same topic. And that topic is creation and I find it very, very challenging to maybe articulate and bring all these ideas into one place.

Do you have to? Why do you have to?

I feel like I want to share that excitement with others of what I’ve learned.

Is that how you do that? By sharing something unitary, something singular? Or is it in the diversity of it all?

Yeah, but people can add then to hearing what I’ve got to say and they have those ‘Ah ha moments,’ and think oh, I’ve read that, and I’ve read this, and Oh my God, that’s opened my eyes and… So… I think just going back to that, everybody wants to know, like, or they choose not to have a belief and, and I think people are so stuck in labels so I’m a Christian. I’m an atheist. And everybody gets stuck in that prices instead of being really, really open and thinking well, even if science says that there’s a Big Bang, that the Big Bang itself is creation. It doesn’t matter how you look at it scientifically, a Big Bang is the formulation of something coming into existence.

You have a circular spiral process in your, in the way that you think through these deep topics and you come to a place of convergence, a percolating awareness that comes up, that connects these divergent ideas by this concept of creation. Technically, if we talk about the diversity of people’s beliefs, science doesn’t necessarily believe that there is a Creator who instigated the creation. And creationists or those who believe in the notion of creation have a sense that there’s a higher intelligence involved, perhaps, or that God created The Big Bang. And then the universe expanded. And the narrative of creation in Genesis for a lot of Christians and probably a lot of Jews as well, and people from the Islamic faith and anyone who ascribes to that worldview or cosmology might believe that the creation of seven days, God created the heavens and the earth, and the Seven Days story in Genesis is a poetic story or even a more literal sense of story that expresses this wider view of creation and evolution that incorporates the notion of The Big Bang.

I do love the way the Nag Hammadi scriptures actually acknowledge how creation started. And it acknowledges as Forethought came into existence and from Forethought the first Aeon came into existence and that Aeon asked if it could have Mind. And Mind came into existence. Then we have Thought and Mind. And I think that’s amazing when we really think about it.

What’s amazing about it?

That Thought and Mind existed. The first Aeon. And the way I see the first Aon is…

An Aeon is an expansive amount of time, right?

It is. But also, I think it’s deeper than that. I think that expansive amount of time is an awakening of a universe, in itself. It’s like a body, in itself. That’s the way I see it. Not like as a human body, it’s like a, it’s like an expansive, universal body… that’s waking up.

You’re talking about creation or evolution as having a consciousness.

In the rest of the interview, you’ll hear me trying to figure out what Doctor Kennedy is, is really kind of trying to say and I think that narrating this show has been really quite a dynamic process. We have Forethought as giving rise to Barbelo as an Aeon in which the Christ emerges and expresses forgiveness through the Judas experience, the Judas story. And we have the God of the Old Testament, as the Son of Sophia, actually figuring out his identity and searching for the light, working through his darkness. And if you read the Old Testament, there is certainly a lot of darkness in the God of the Old Testament. This being searching for light gives rise to the Christ, but at the same time the Christ comes not from so much of the Father, but from the Mother, from Sophia, from the Goddess of Wisdom who is a precursor to, and a source of all life.

And when they talk about the Aeons, the first Aeon was Barbelo and Barbelo is, this is where Christ existed in… And is from… When I look on these scriptures, or I look on…

Hold on, you’re confusing me. What is Barbelo?

Barbelo is an eternal Aeon. Endless.

What do you mean?

An existence in itself.

Is Barbelo a God?

No, it’s not. It’s a place.

A place.

Yeah, Barbelo.

Did Forethought come before Barbelo? Or are they the same thing?

No, Forethought is. Yeah, I believe that it is Barbelo.

Just to clarify, is Barbelo talked about in the Nag Hamadi scriptures?

Barbelo. Yes.

Oh, OK.

Doctor Kennedy’s mind seems to spark from one idea to the next. He moves into the Book of Judas, which is one of the scriptures found in the Nag Hamadi Library, and he discusses the profound teaching that he found in that book related to a really radical way of looking at forgiveness and the Judas story, and he relates this to the whole history of the notion of the God of the Old Testament coming from the bosom of Sophia and manifesting the history of humanity, and in some sense, a struggling humanity searching for light and meaning and truth and wisdom.

In the book of Judas… So, I’ve always felt sad and ever since I was a child when I heard about Judas betraying Jesus and how people perceive Judas to be as however they perceive him to be. Good or bad. But… An I just felt that there was more goodness there than how people were judging him, and I just didn’t have that. And I just had a bigger heart for Judas. I was thinking, you were the person that was led to, and was classified as in the betrayal. Even though I say the word Jesus, Yeshua, when we look at him (Judas), Jesus had chosen him for that particular process. And he was sitting with all the disciples. And the disciples go to Jesus. ‘Wait, wait, hold on there. We just have to pray to our God.’ And Jesus just laughed. And, he realised they didn’t get it. They thought he was from the God of the Old Testament. That is a different kettle of fish we need to reflect on, because Jesus actually came from a different place and that was Barbelo. And he took Judas aside. And Jesus said to Judas, do you understand where I’m from? And he said, ‘Yes, I do. You’re from Barbelo. You’re from the eternal Aeon.’ And he got it. That’s why Jesus chose him. In that act of what we see as betrayal, he was a pivotal thing in the whole process for Christ to encompass all forgiveness.

That’s a radical retelling of the Judas story, but also a different contextualisation of meaning, which probably has its roots in a whole cultural tradition that I’m not really very familiar with. I don’t think many people that are listening would be familiar with that either. I’m still wondering who or what is Barbelo?

It is classified in the Nag Hamadi scriptures. The eternal realm. And there are realms.

It’s a name of a realm.



And the first realm.

In this like heaven as a realm?

I just think it’s there, it’s present, it’s eternal, and that’s how it’s seen. Iy’s this eternal realm. And, and it was the first eternal realm.

The first, first eternal realm.

Yeah. And there’s several eternal realms. The earth is a realm.

Oh, OK.

So when we think about the earth and I think Gaia is like the Spirit or the entity of the earth itself. And we see that as Sophia in the scriptures. Mother Earth, so Sophia, when we, we look at Sophia…

Sophia. Wisdom.

Yeah, wisdom. So, she is the mother, she is the Mother Earth. That’s how we would be seeing her. And in the Nag Hamadi scriptures they talk about Sophia as being the Mother, the Mother Earth. What dawned on me is because she came into existence, she became her own Aeon, her own realm of eternity. And Christ was His realm. But what complemented them so much is that the Christ is the masculine. Sophia is the feminine. And I think for other people to understand that in a greater aspect, if we look at even Hinduism, when they look and focus on Shiva. Shiva and Parvathi are seen as the one. So that’s the masculine and feminine. I see. Now my eyes feel like that bit more open that I see Christ and Sophia as being the one, the masculine and the feminine energy in the universe.

Not to say that these words mean separate individuals or entities, but expressions of the Oneness, expressions of One Energy.

That’s right, of One Energy. And exactly…

I feel like you’re you’re, you’re bridging poetry and, and art and painting and visualisation and feeling and energy, all in one, in how you’re talking. My brain is hurting. Trying to understand.

It’s interesting how you say hurting. I think my brain has been hurting when I have these revelations. When we see creation, and I think we want a deeper understanding. And even like when we talk about Forethought or The Big Bang, it’s also classified as the Mother and the Father, the Mother-Father of the universe came into existence. Then from that Aeon Barbelo, came the other Aens of existence. And that’s Sophia. There’s other Aeons. She even gave birth to an Aeon without Christ’s knnwing. She felt that she wanted to have, because creation is in all of us. We are identical to the Creator in that desiring of creation. So, she wanted to go out and create, and she thought she could do that by herself. She gave birth to a creation. And that creation became Yalda Boath. She realised what she had don,e because he had the head of a lion and a body of a serpent. And he wanted to be a creator also. And I think this is where the interesting part comes into play. Is that a lot of people think that the Creator was the creator of how we exist in this world. It was actually Yalda Baoth that was in the process of creating this world or material world that we live in today. And that was because of Sophia’s part that she played in giving birth to her own creation. It’s incredible because we’re all eternal. I think a lot of people think we’re mortal, but our soul, our essence, our divine spark is eternal. We’re all connected. That’s the connection that we have.

You’re almost like reframing your whole sense of belief in some ways. I’ve seen and heard a lot of scholarly commentary on the Nag Hamadi scriptures. But what I haven’t really seen out there much is that people are reading this in everyday life and that they’re trying to make their new, a new sense of meaning from that, you know, they’re rewriting or re-experiencing their spirituality on a daily basis from these concepts, different ways of looking at things that they’re getting from these dug up, recovered scriptures, that were literally in jars of clay found in caves. People are reading this stuff now… How does it change the way you look at the world, I suppose?

I believe that the Nag Hamadi scriptures just add to the richness of what you already know that, in a deeper way, they still resonate a deeper, profound awareness.

Thank you, Dr Dwayne Andrew Kennedy, for such an insightful conversation. I’m your host, Doctor Joseph Randolph Bowers. We are Ability Awakens Podcast, a provocative, insightful show about the arts of therapy, behaviour and spirituality as meaning making. Thank you for welcoming us in it for listening and being with us today.

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