A chain of conditioning

I’ve always been interested in my great great grandfather. I think it was from him that I inherited rather an old etymological dictionary that I consumed as a boy. I remember at about the age of 8 writing out all of the germanic verbs that I found in it. He was first president of the Esperanto Society in New Zealand and I remember after getting into astrology as a teenager coming across a book of his that had some rather interesting insights into the religious significance of the constellations.

George was an evangelist, a proselytiser is probably a better description. Born in Suffolk, at some point he moved to York where he became a stuff warehouseman, as they were called. And in that environment it seems he studied Hebrew and Greek. Obviously he made some impact because he moved to New Zealand in about 1881 to lecture on religious matters.

As far as I can tell the Aldridge family up until he left Suffolk had lived around Thornham Magna and Mellis in mid Suffolk for a few centuries at least. It seems to me that religion was how he lifted himself and his family out of a life of labour. Reading New Zealand Newspapers of the day three things strike me. One was that he was quite widely respected. Another was that he was very dogmatic. And lastly, despite that he did seem to think for himself. Although, I did get a strong sense that it was his way or the high way. And the Church I grew up in, which he ministered for 40 odd years, struck me just like that.

His key doctrine was conditional immortality – the idea that you had to be born again in Christ in order to attain immortality. He even wrote pamphlets pointing out the doctinal errors of some of his contemporaries. What strikes me in my own family is that there is still an element of zeal that pervades it in various shapes and forms. And I don’t believe I’ve escaped. Is my doctrine that meditation and the practice of emptiness is a path to enlightenment any different? As long as they are intellectual concepts they certainly aren’t.

Astrologically speaking I have transiting Saturn opposing natal Moon right now. It’s a good time to dig up the past, especially with natal Saturn in the 4th. And it’s a good time to look at one’s conditioning. As I was sitting reading this stuff in the wee hours of the morning, it dawned on me that there really was no root. How far back do you go to have a sense of identity. It is without limit. Although looking down the male line is kind of interesting, after all that’s our Y chromosome. I wonder what it would be like to look down the female line at the mitochondrial DNA? The rest of us, which is most of us, is a hotch potch of intereraction.

It seems that George and I have a few things in common. Perhaps the religious karma started there, I don’t know. Other karmas probably started elsewhere. There’s probably a lot we don’t have in common as well. What does strike me is just how much who we think we are is nothing more than the result of a chain of conditioning. So who are we? And that takes me right back to the mat.

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One Response to “A chain of conditioning”

  1. Margaret Carran nee Aldridge says:

    He was also my Greatgrandfather. He and my grandfather argued over church attendance. My grandfather aged about 14 objected to attending 2 church services and 2 bibleclass sessions on his one day off after working 12 hour days the rest of the week. The response from George was “Four times or nothing” My grandfathers reply was “nothing it is then’. I recall my grandfather attending church services as opposed to weddings or funerals about 4 times. These services were not in the Church of Christ. He read his bible regularly and would not play in tournaments on a Sunday. He died when I was 12. I went to the Church of Christ to Gt, Uncle Harold’s funeral. I think I was there one other time with Gt. Aunt Hazel who played the Harmonium. My brother is very musial and wanted a go on it. I believe that very stiff necked would probably have been a good description of George. Gt Grandmother was the practical one. My grandfather had copies of every tract George had ever published I think. I found them pretty hard to read.

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