Dear 2010

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2010 has been one horrible year.

I lost a friend to suicide. He was once a potential boyfriend. But now he’s gone.

I had a failed relationship.

I made the Biggest Mistake I’ve Ever Made in My Life.

I lost at least two more friends because of drama and bullshit, and probably more than that without realizing it.

I managed to screw around and not finish writing my second book.

I had to realize that the people I care about can change, and that I was holding on to the image of some people as to who they were to me in the past, and that the past image of that person was long dead and gone. I had to face that people change, and I had to face my own darkness, my own evil, along with the evil inherent in other people.

There have been good aspects to the year, too- like finding Tyler, like having a Wii, that fact that I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year, the fact that I meditated almost every day for a year, and the fact that I managed to keep at least one of my New Year’s Resolutions- the only one (I think) being that I’ve kept a daily short diary of small events that happened throughout each day for the entire year. I also went to Mass at the Episcopal Church for the first time. These are all good things.

Tonight, I will be able to go back, read my diary, and see what exactly transpired during the course of 2010. Also, I feel I’ll be able to chop up the entire year into a few different sections.

Either way, this entire year has been mostly one continuous shitfest, until things started drastically slowing down in October- and they seemed to slow down for everyone at that point in time, including my friends like Caleb. Things became a little better, a little brighter.

So 2010, this is what I have to say to you, after the hell you put me through: suck my balls. Seriously. 2011 has got to be better than you by virtue of just how awful you were. In fact, you may actually have been worse than 2008, and 2008 is the worst year of my life on record so far. You’re neck-in-neck at the moment, but I have a feeling that you’re pretty close to that year.

Also, this year I quit going to therapy, because my therapist increasingly seemed to be focused on the notion that all my problems came down to my not putting Jesus at the center of my life as opposed to anything else.

That’s what I get for having a therapist who’s not as intelligent as I am. We did get along well, we did relate, but he helped me as much as he could, and after that threshold, there was no point in going to him and dropping $40 an hour for him to tell me some watered down Christian counselor bullshit that wasn’t going to actually change me in any substantial way.

I know this blog may not seem entirely focused, but I’m in a pretty dark place within myself, having not had a good rest last night, and one thing about me is that I seriously require a lot of sleep in order for my moods to be in balance and in order for me to be able to think clearly and properly. That just apparently isn’t going to happen today. Also, I took benadryl, which didn’t help me very much.

The weather outside is dark and dreary looking. Maybe this is a good reflection of how I’m feeling.

Most of all, in 2010, I also had to learn to be honest with myself, and being honest with one’s self is extremely difficult, especially when you really really really believe something or want to believe something.

But then I also learned what it feels like to embrace how I truly feel about something.

Anyway, I welcome 2011. I welcome 2011, my own personal heaven, with open arms to be a bigger, better, and brighter future.

Beaux


Vibes and a Chart

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One of the weird things about progressing spiritually is the acquisition of sensitivities to things of which other people don’t have a conscious experience. That or most people have a conscious experience of those things, and I’m completely unaware of it.

The vibes of different systems appear to me now. I’m not really sure how to explain it. Going to the Actual Freedom website, I can feel myself being roped in by the particular thought forms that they (unknowingly) impress on the world. It seems I’m much more tuned into the vibes of Sufism and Gnosticism.

I wish I could simply pick a system, remain committed to it, and go with it, but again, every direction to which I go seems to have a barrier come up very quickly. The other option is to create my own system, which is quite likely the most difficult possible thing to do and has no guarantee of working.

Everyone has their various opinions and perspectives on things. The Actual Freedom Trust is filled with the biggest world of straw man arguments I’ve ever seen in my life. But what is it that causes people who attain Nirvana to say that no one else has ever gone as far as they?

Bernadette Roberts, the Catholic mystic, says much the same of her own experience with Christianity and the Christian mystics, though she also says that the journey can be made in any tradition, and she also goes on to say that likely the Christian mystics didn’t detail the “no-Self” experience because the Church would have attacked them for it. Roberts herself certainly espouses a number of views that are unorthodox.

Making diagrams, charts, and maps is an extremely dangerous thing to do on one hand, because to do so usually creates a conjecture that the mind tries to fit itself into, and in other cases, the diagrams and such are maps that have been written on the territory one has personally traveled.

However, for the sake of the mind having something to grab onto and not completely rejecting the ability to make the mystic’s journey in the first place, it is sometimes (note that I said sometimes) useful to make diagrams, and sometimes it’s also good to write out things so others understand.

So let us attempt to make out a chart here with me.

In so far as I understand it, the mystic’s journey happens something like this:

First, the ego surrenders to God or the Soul or the Higher Self. The ego eventually becomes burned away and remains only as a sort of shell for the Soul. The Soul then becomes united to Christ or the Cosmic Self. Eventually, this unity with God burns away even the Higher Self, and one is left as a vehicle of complete cosmic reality- many people experience this as a Nothingness. (In Sufism this is what it is termed.)

And then, and only then, one enters into the final state, which is totally Other.

Most people, when they refer to Enlightenment, tend to refer to the dropping away of the ego and the revelation of the Higher Self. This is often experienced as expanded awareness, bliss, love, and so on. It is, however, not the final state, and I think not realizing this is the mistake that a lot of the New Age crowd makes.

As to whether or not the Absolute State can be experienced while still in the body is also a huge matter of debate.

These are my thoughts for the moment.

Beaux


Spiritual But Not Religious and More Goodies for Tackling

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How many times have we all heard people make such a statement as, “I’m spiritual but not religious?”

If only I had a dime for every time I heard someone say it.

What someone means when they say this is a little more complicated: they mean to convey something more like,

“I do admit that there is a deeper reality than the everyday reality most of us encounter, but I’m so disenfranchised from the religionists who make little to no sense or have no substantive value to their practices that I do not commit myself in a formal or enduring way to an organized religion.”

Naturally, it’s much easier to say one is spiritual but not religious.

The real problem is that yes, there is a lot of corruption in organized religion, and at times, the orthodoxy in many religions is not encoded or poetic, it’s outright incorrect and doesn’t line up with reality, and maybe even more to the point, most people are idiots.

Okay, forgive the over-bearing, superiority-complex-laden statement above, but it’s the truth. The reality is that the number of people who actually understand what a religion is trying to convey through its mystical currents and decide to ride the waves to the so-called “other shore” on those currents is depressingly small, and they are and always have been in the minority.

Now, it’s true, not every person wants to make the mystical journey, and that’s okay- it’s their right to not do so, but it is also our birthright to be able to do so if we choose.

There is certainly a time for religious and spiritual exploration. Absolutely. Do not mistake me- this period can last a long time, especially now in the age of the internet with so much information immediately accessible to us, so many different paths presented and explained, so many Gurus, Teachers, Holy Men and Women who claim that their way is the best way (sometimes going so far as to say the only way), the contradictory paths and ideas and summaries of the people who have made the journey, and it can all become rather mind-boggling.

But we must take heart and sort through the mess, and for the vast majority of us, it will be easier to choose a path and walk down that path, come-what-may.

There is likely a time when we need things such as dogma and doctrine to guide us, and that is fine- but the time for dogma and doctrine to guide us will end as well, and we’ll have to keep walking with no such signposts or rules.

Religion often exists without the mystical core, and mysticism can exist without a definitive religious framework, but it’s much easier if they work together. Psychology, especially Jungian psychology, works as a translator between religions and mystical systems.

Another thing that irks me is when people try to say a religion is not a religion. This is not exclusive to any one religious group, but it does happen among various ones: I was taught in Christian school that Christianity is not “a religion” but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ- that Christianity is God teaching Man, while religion is merely Man seeking God.

I’ve also heard the same about Buddhism. Buddhism is not a religion; it’s a way of life! Again, wrong. Buddhism pretty much falls in line with the definition of “religion,” and it’s difficult to dice it otherwise.

So, the point is, religion, even formalized religion, provides us something, something important. It’s okay to be religious. It’s okay to be devout. And it’s also okay to question the orthodoxy of a religion. There is such a thing as being too rigid.

These are just some thoughts.

Beaux


The Holy Eucharist

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To Pray or Not to Pray: The Mother of God and Saints

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Having an evangelical Protestant upbringing and living in a largely evangelical area, the notion of prayers addressing anyone but God the Father (no, seriously) are often regarded with distrust, suspicion, and outright condemnation.

I honestly was confused when I first found myself inside of the evangelical world about the Holy Trinity, and eventually the formula presented was, “Pray IN the Spirit, THROUGH the Son, TO the Father.” Okay, that was nice and all, but I don’t think it’s necessarily THE ONLY way to pray.

Someone asked me recently about what I thought concerning prayers addressing the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I think here I can express my thoughts completely.

My ultimate feelings are that, with regards to spirituality in general, any kind of prayer, practice, or devotion that draws one closer to God is a good thing. However, this must be done within reason. Allow me to try to explain.

If, for instance, a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary were to completely eclipse devotion to God, then the devotion would be defeating the original purpose. The point of being devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary is by virtue of her being the Mother of God.

Prayers to the Saints are a little more foreign to me but nonetheless have an archetypal resonance.

Also, the experience of addressing the Saints is a bit different as well- one naturally doesn’t regard them as being God Himself, and yet in a way, because of Theosis, they are somehow related to God. It’s all very subtle and complicated on the psychological level but makes sense according to the intuition.

Some day, I’ll start creating charts and put them on here to explain things when I can conceived of suitable chart.

Beaux


Strange Paradigm Shift

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When meditating on the matter just now, I was able to bring myself into the immediate moment. By meditating, I mean what we would normally call something like “contemplation.”

The paradigm shift brought me into the moment and broke some kind of background noise psychologically speaking. I feel more alert now, even though I’m tired. My mind doesn’t feel so weighed down.

Here I sit, watching The Nanny, wondering about the wonder that is the world.

I’ll detail more about the goings-on of this later.

Beaux


Betrayal

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Through deep introspection, I came to a particular insight in the past few days: a common theme of my trust issues is the degree to which I’ve experienced betrayal in my lifetime.

Even in the past few years, even in this year, I have experienced betrayal by people I thought I knew, people I cared about, and people I trusted.

This experience seems to have occurred far more frequently when I was a child.

In essence, I feel betrayed from a number of directions- by my society, my family, by my culture, by people I once called friends, and by my religion.

An ever-present thing that seems to be a the very root of all my anger at people in general is that even when I was young, I hated for people to tell me things that made no sense. The society around me did and said things, held certain attitudes, that even as early as age five I could see made absolutely no sense, and this irritated me to no end.

As an adult, I can now look back to that pent-up aggression and remember always that I am not beholden to follow the rules of the society around me just because everyone else does. I can observe the local customs, see what makes sense, and go from there instead of mindlessly parroting others, which seems to often be the case.

Too many times as a child, I experienced being told that I was smart and THEN ridiculed when I gave my opinion on matters. This happened too many times to recount.

Now, that doesn’t mean that one should not repeat or act like anyone else whatsoever. Give credit where credit is due, and if you sincerely arrived at similar conclusions to someone else, especially independently, then by all means embrace those conclusions.

There are people in the world who are trustworthy. No one is 100% perfect, and anyone can be mistaken and let you down; however, there are people who are truly dutiful and guard their own darkness to keep it from hurting others. Don’t worry- not everyone is going to betray you.

These are just some thoughts that were on my mind.

Beaux


The Great Nothing

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: I wrote this a few days ago, then decided not to publish it because it was so late. But here I am now, publishing it, so it isn’t quite as current as it looks. That doesn’t undermine the importance of it.

An experience I’ve had but twice happened upon me today, and this was the second time said experience happened.

The first time, it happened like a crack of thunder due to a synchronicity, and I was catapulted into a no-man’s land of voids.

This time, it crept up on me, over the course of a few days; the preceding days have seen me somewhat irate, so it was good to know that the irritation was ultimately indicative of something happening.

When this experienced happened the first time, I had a synchronicity dealing with an old lover, a statement made by Meister Eckhart, and a song in which that quote was found. At this point in time, I had been interested in Gnosticism/Catholicism for almost two years, and in the course of a few seconds, my entire world view came crashing down around me in shambles.

Suddenly, there was no God, there was no Christ, there was not value in anything- with the exception of that one person I had loved. This experience continued for a few days, I came out of it, and went back to my spiritual pursuits.

That time, in a way, I fought agains the experience with an intellectualization of it. This time, I didn’t fight it- I simply embraced it, knowing that it wasn’t the end, that this Great Meaningless Void is more like a veil, not an end in itself.

The Great Meaningless Emptiness just suddenly happened upon me, and all the friendly and beautiful notions and abstractions about spirituality and mysticism fell away. And I let them fall away. I let my concepts of God fall away, all those things.

Slowly, they’re returning, but not because I’m forcing them to. I’m just riding with my feelings, with my emotions, with my thoughts, and seeing what happens. I am merely an observer in all this.

The Great Dark Meaninglessness isn’t hurting my feelings or bothering me, either. It’s simply there, and I’m slowly moving inside it and then away from it again.

What does it all mean? Maybe I’ll find out, maybe I won’t.

Beaux


Father Jordan Stratford’s Brief Guide to Dispelling Common Myths about Gnosticism

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Okay, seriously, Father Jordan (somewhere one is supposed to put a plus sign in the names of people who hold rank in the Church, but I get confused with this; forgive me!) is one of the most articulate modern Gnostics out there. He is a formidable intellectual and a dedicated Priest. He’s kind-hearted, but if you were to step on his toes, he would, for lack of more appropriate words, bust your balls.

I’ll write my own thoughts on Gnosticism in here later on, but for the time-being, you can check out this blog entry and watch as the commonly held myths are dissolved and the reality comes to light.

10 Things Religious Pundits Need to Know about Gnosticism

Oh, and just in case, if Father Jordan were to read this: forgive my reposting without consulting you first, but this entry is just too good to not share.

Beaux


Memoirs of My Religion IV

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After the terrible experiences with the Actual Freedom Trust and the struggle of my young mind to once again learn how to think for itself, I floated through the ether of world religions for a while. I knew I needed a spiritual path to walk, that I needed something that could give an expression to what I experienced within myself, but it was increasingly difficult to trust any system.

One thing I noticed is that for a long time, religious experience had, for me, been all about swallowing certain beliefs and never taking any kind of action. I came to dub this process “the measuring of spaghetti” and will blog on it later.

One of my former friends made a statement that I considered: it would be better to follow a path that is from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic world view than it would be to go with something foreign like Buddhism.

But the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions remained quite repugnant to me in many regards: it spoke of the idiocy and fundamentalism of my childhood, of the constant wars in the Middle East, of the atrocities committed by the leaders of these religions in the past.

Around the Autumn of 2007, I had a series of epiphanies. The first I remember happened while I was driving home one night.

While on Fortner Street, I remembered the love of Jesus in my heart. I remembered the depth of the love, and initially, I tried to fight the experience- then I realized I had to go through it, that I couldn’t just ignore what I was being told.

And it was true, a large part of my experience in being Christian when I was younger was simply in the desire to help other people- the overwhelming compassion that I felt for humanity due to Christ’s presence in my heart.

That night, or a night not long after, I had another epiphany as I was falling asleep. I realized that the Wiccan God was indicative of Nature and the Seasons, much in the same way as the Dying and Resurrecting Savior Jesus Christ indicated the Sun, Nature, and the Four Seasons (the Four Points of the Cross and the Sol Invictus, you see). They were one and the same Archetype within me- God truly was ONE!

That night, I had a dream that the Earth itself was Christ. I remember being in an airplane, and seeing a bright lava running over the face of the Earth- only to realize it wasn’t lava, it was blood, and upon landing, we saw these strange bubble-fruits that were like blood cells. This was the blood of Christ.

So I began looking into Christian Mysticism, starting with Bernadette Roberts, who was the first Catholic Mystic of whom I could think.

Needless to say, if you read anything by Bernadette Roberts, she’s REALLY a mystic- saying all kinds of things about Reality that are so far out of bounds from what Catholicism seems to normally teach that she would likely be declared a heretic if she ever reached a high level of popularity. But she has a strange balance between Orthodoxy and her Extreme Mysticism, which is very confusing.

Next, of course, came Gnosticism. This was before I realized that Gnosticism wasn’t a coherent, singular movement, and the first group I came upon was actually kind of, well, homophobic and seemed lumped in with the “sex is bad” Gnostics. Later on, I came to realize this group wasn’t related to Gnosticism as it relates to Christianity, and therefore I had no business messing with them in the first place.

Then I happened upon the Ecclesia Gnostica, which translates to Gnostic Church. I read an article by the +Bishop Stephan Hoeller called “The Gnosis of the Eucharist,” which can be found below.

The Gnosis of the Eucharist

I recalled in one of my history classes my teacher had been an Episcopalian, and she had explained that Roman Catholics and Episcopalians go to church to take Communion- that this is reason they attend church, as opposed to the Protestants going to “hear preaching.”

So, everything suddenly fit in my mind. Something snapped. The Holy Eucharist made sense to me- going to take God in the Eucharist was something that made sense on a level that my mind couldn’t fully reach (and still can’t.)

This was the active component that I had been searching for- I had all the theory of Christianity, or at least the gist of it, and now I knew what I had to do, what was going to be done.

I voraciously began to consume all material I could on Gnosticism, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and the Eastern Orthodox churches. I romanced Christianity and had many dreams about taking Communion. I searched for a rosary, I romanced the liturgical year, I watched Mass on EWTN.

Thus began the modern “era” or “chapter” of my religion and its experiences. There are, however, a few more bumpy aspects to it, as we shall see.

Beaux


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