What can Parmenides teach us?

Who was Parmenides? He is an ancient Greek philosopher, the founder of modern philosophy, but he differs from what you would normally think of as a philosopher. He believed that philosophy could be felt with every atom of one’s being, in stillness, without going into long dialogues or debates.

He was not just a philosopher, but he was also skilled in prophecy, poetry, healing, and oddly, lawmaking.

Only a few of his poems survive, but they provide the key to his philosophies and prophecy even more clearly than prose.

Parmenides is the central figure in the book, “In the Dark Places of Wisdom” by Peter Kingsley.

According to Peter Kingsley,  Parmenides insisted that;

“Before you can really heal anyone you first have to know what men and women are in their deepest nature-what human being are from the beginning, not just how they react to this or that condition.

…the first great philosophical systems created in Italy and Sicily weren’t theoretical products at all. They were meant to have a practical application. But above all, [philosophy] was bound up with healing-with getting one’s own life in order on every possible level and helping other people get their lives in order as well.

[Their philosophy] came from the experience of other states of consciousness. Those philosophers were mystics and magicians. And as far as they were concerned there’s no real healing until you come to discover what you are behind the world of the senses. (pgs 143-4)

In Parmenides’ poem, he talks about humanity endlessly rushing from one distraction to the next.

Kingsley expounds,

“Life for us has become an endless affair of trying to improve ourselves: achieving more and doing more, learning more, always needing to know more things. The process of learning and being taught has simply become a matter of being fed facts and information- receiving what we didn’t have before, always being given something different from ourselves.

That’s why whatever we learn never touches us deeply enough, why nothing really satisfies us. And the more we sense this the more we rush around trying to find other substitutes to fill the void we still feel inside. Everything pushes us outside ourselves, -further away from the utter simplicity of our own humanity.” (188)

Remember this one fundamental thing.

“The knowledge we already have is useless unless we can really live it, in and through ourselves. Otherwise it becomes a burden that can weigh us down or even destroy us.”

“We already have everything we need. We just need to be shown what we have. And it’s the same with traditions. Even the strongest of them have to be revitalized, because it’s so easy for them to become weighted down as well. The life in them can die out without anyone even noticing, or wanting to notice. And it’s usually a complete outsider, a nobody-someone who doesn’t fit in, who logically is quite unnecessary-who has to inject the life that’s needed.”

“This is why the greatest teachers are often utter nobodies. They’re nobodies who give nothing at all. But that nothing is worth more than everything else. In some circumstances they might introduce you to a new system of knowledge, or demand that you change your lifestyle. Yet this is not what the teaching is really about. It’s just a trick to keep your mind focused while the real work is done on another level, somewhere else.” (191)

This is why I teach the destiny cards, and why I give readings. Because it’s about helping you know yourself, while at the same time giving you a distraction that can allow you to focus on the cards, while accepting yourself and others on another, deeper level.

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