I had the honor to be a part of a memorial celebration for my dear friend Paul Bingman. He was an integral part of the Portland scene, ranging from Techy, trains, writing, music and pagan circles. We put together a grand gathering and celebration for this giant Bear with the Big warm heart. I was the person to share about his Spiritual inner life, in a prayer and commentary.
Our Paul has graduated with a Ph.D. from the school of life. Congratulations Paul!
Holy Father, Divine Mother and Great Goddess, Creator, Great Spirit, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, Universal Mind, Great Mystery, Source, You with so many names, and You that is un-nameable, we recognize and affirm our Unity today, with you, the great cycle of Life. Today, We gather as one community made from several, to honor and give thanks for our dear one, Paul Bingman. Though we may feel saddened by his passing, we are still full of the gratitude for knowing him and loving him and being loved by Him…this Big Bear with the biggest warmest heart. For He has now graduated with a PhD from the School of Life. And in the words of Rabbi Kominsky, “May the Source of Comfort grant Peace to all those who seek it.” And may it be so…And so it is.
Our Paul was a son, brother, uncle, mentor, friend. Obviously, he knew a lot of people..in so many circles. Techies and nerds, train buffs, writers, Bakers, Artists, Preistesses, and Shamans, musicians and fairies, theres is even rumor that he knew Mermaids. Being a private man, he kept aspects of his life in compartments, so many of his circles were not even aware if each other. And everyday we made new conntctions, and the circle grew bigger and bigger and bigger, much to our amazement.
He could do this, flow from circle to circle to circle, because he was a highly Spiritual person who lived his Spirituality in everything he did.
His home was his sanctuary. He surrounded himself with his beloved computer, his inventions, his shop, his dark room, he had journals that he made notes and recorded observations in everytime he went out…all his beloved books. It is where he had his computers for his business, his shop and dark room, memorabilia, beloved books, wrote his observances in journals, made and collected dozens of videos and CD’s. He drank tea, made his own shirts, secretly played the piano and the ukulele, recycled everything he could or just kept stuff till he or someone he knew needed it.
He was intrigued with Theosophy and was a member of the Hermetic Fellowship, who’s principles holds all religions or spiritual traditions hold a unique aspect of a larger truth, and the purpose of Humanity is to strive for unity with that larger truth or Divine Universe. This foundational principle led him to join groups like the Red Cedar Circle, part of the Native American Church, and help create and was on the board of the Nine Houses of Gaia organization, both which holds the sacredness of the Earth and our connection to it. He was an esteemed elder who helped create the Spiritual Anarchist Beltane Celebrations, to celebrate the Divine in the form of the Goddess and her life renewing fertility. He was a member of a very active mens group, and many other alternative spiritual groups and attended numerous festivals and celebrations for many years. He made connections and brought people together to make more connections.
He loved the contemplative walking of a labyrinth as a metaphor for life, seeing it from different angles, reaching a center, being replenished then returning back to the outer world. He also was a great student of Jungian, Depth and Transpersonal Psychology, the enneagram, and mythology. He studied the Kaballah with a study group. He investigated Sufism by attending the Dances of Universal Peace or observed a Sema ceremony of Whirling Dervishes channeling Divine energy… observing and experiencing the universal principles at work as applied to the human experience.
Even though he was a private person, he loved to go out and meet people and introduce them to others and build networks of hearts.he thought would go together well. He encouraged any reason at all for people to get together whether it was a conference, presentation or just for beer or Tea, Paul wanted to make mischief, merriment, or invent something new.
He not only saw that each spiritual tradition was part of a larger truth but also that each person was the bearer of their own spark of Divinity. One friend told me Paul saw everything like it was a work of ART, people and things alike. Another friend, said Paul was the Ultimate Voyer, He observed everything and everybody. He loved inclusively and diversity, which Portland is well known for having.
He was fascinated with the creative capacity that humans have, the ability to create a steam or deisel locomotive, to computers, movies, new devices to help people live better, scrumptious food, thought provoking Art. …anything that pushed and redefined the conventional. ..
For our Paul, it was not what he did or with whom he did it with, but How he did it., how he lived, how he was, the quality of his being. and we know very well it was always with his heart. It was bigger than he was physically.
His love of people and their creative nature kept him connected to Life. His friendship was known as such a blessing to many, even to those who knew him for a short time. They felt his warmth in his beingness… in his bear hugs, his smile and charm.
Paul was a great Being, and set a positive example of how we too can allow ourselves to live by our hearts.
Pauls gift to us then is how he reflected back to us our own spark …..of divinity..
to be the best us…
In history, we know this beloved poet Jellaluddin Rumi. And when Rumi passed, his funeral was attend Jews, Muslims, Christians, storekeeprs, prostitutes, the lowly and the high, everyone loved Rumi equally. And in some ways, Paul is a lot like that. He knew a lot of people, he gathered people around him, he connected people together, his heart was so large.
So to quote a Rumi poem from one of Pauls book, one he highlighted….
The Light you give off
did not come from a pelvis
Your features did not begin in semen.
Don’t try to hide in anger
radiance that cannot be hidden.
Now, at this moment, think about his face, his Being…and how sweet he was.
And in your own way, say Thank you.