As for the Doubts and a New Shift.

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While reading Wikipedia yesterday (a dangerous past-time for intellectuals, as we’re likely to get swept up in a dozen or so articles when we only meant to read one or two), I stumbled upon the entry on Neo-Platonism.

As I read about Neo-Platonism, I was shocked, in many ways, to see how the cosmology aligned largely with what Bernadette Roberts’s take on Catholicism and her own mystical Christian journey.

Also, I was amazed to see Neo-Platonism accounted for a few intellectual hurdles that I’d encountered with both Catholicism and Gnosticism. We’ll come back to this.

First, allow me to say that Neo-Platonism has heavily influenced the interpretation of Christianity, specifically within the Catholic traditions (again here referring to Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.) The modern evangelical Christianity adopts a more immediate and literalist view of things, which, I think, is the wrong idea.

Second, allow me to break Christianity down into two major varieties that we may call Messiah-ism and Christ-ism to give respect to the Jewish and Greek names for the Logos. First, the official doctrine of Jesus Christ is that he is both FULLY God and FULLY Man. There are two natures united in one person; there is not one nature, there are not two people with two natures. There is ONE person with TWO natures.

Messiah-ism is the kind of Christianity that has more of an emphasis on the human nature, or shall we say, on “Jesus.” Messiah-ism is largely focused on the Jewish origins of Christianity, on the historical nature of Judaism and how it relates to Christianity, and so on. This goes back to what I said about Jesus being the final puzzle piece to the Jewish mystery and how we get this feeling from Protestantism much more often than not. Messiah-ism becomes suspicious of any kind of ritual that is not specifically and outwardly Jewish, as Jesus was specifically and outwardly Jewish. Thus Messiah-ism is much more literalistic and interprets that religion from that standpoint- the superficial standpoint, supplemented with historical and cultural understanding. This standpoint definitely seems to the be the choice among evangelical Christians of our era.

Christ-ism is the kind of Christianity that has more of an emphasis on the divine nature or shall we say, on “Christ.” Specifically, Christ-ism focuses on Christ as the Logos, as the Eternal Principle that creates the universe and binds the universe together. As Christ is cosmic and pre-existent to his specific Jewish incarnation as Jesus, Christ-ism is universal- or catholic as we might say- and doesn’t have to take on a specific formula of the rituals and imagery. That is to say, the symbolism of the Christ extends above and beyond a Jewish historical and cultural setting, as do the rituals. Certainly the Catholic traditions resemble, in abstract terms, the Jewish traditions of the temple without specifically wearing and using only Jewish symbolism. Christ, then, can also be understand in virtually an infinite number of modes.

Messiah-ism and Christ-ism parallel a phenomenon in the Hebrew Bible, which is the contrast between Jehovah and Elohim. Jehovah is the nasty god, the one that’s highly anthropomorphized and turns off both Christians and Jews and anyone else who reads about him. By contrast, Elohim is a magnificent, transcendent being, the ground of the universe, worthy of our praise and adoration.

Keeping on track: Messiah-ists become suspicious of sources of interpretation outside of the Bible and selected writings throughout Christian history. They believe that the Bible represents a form of “pure Christianity” (of which there is no such thing!), and that to interpret through a lens other than the Bible and Jewish world is to make a huge mistake about Christ.

But Christ-ists would insist that Christ is bigger than that- bigger than one culture, bigger than the Bible, that there is more to the Christian mystery and the universe, and besides, if we limit ourselves to the Bible and the world view of those people, we isolate ourselves from the modern world and therefore cannot experience and more importantly share the Eternal Mystery of the Logos with others as easily, whereby said Mystery of Christ appears to each person differently and uniquely.

So Messiah-ists are more likely to be the sort of people who need to nail things down and to have things set in stone. Christ-ists are more likely to see a wider picture and draw parallels among religions while pushing the bar and trying to penetrate more deeply into the Mystery of Christ- or more importantly, allowing the Mystery of Christ to penetrate them more deeply. These are two different approaches, and each has its own merits. In other words, Messiah-ists are more literal-thinking and Christ-ists are more abstract-thinking.

This does not mean that the Messiah-ist denies the Divinity of Jesus, nor does it mean that the Christ-ist denies the humanity of Christ. What matters is where the emphasis lays, what matters is the approach.

Now, a word on Anglicanism (Andy, you knew it was coming). The Episcopal Church, while fantastic for many reasons, oddly enough has a number of people who are shifting towards the “fully human” view of Jesus. I think what happens is that the Christ-ist view gets left out somewhere along the lines, and therefore many Episcopalians are left with Messiah-ism, and a watered-down Messiah-ism at that. I’m not really sure why that is. Bu at the same time, I have heard the saying that Anglicanism is “defined by the Incarnation,” so the notion of the Eternal Christ (that is, the eternal and pre-existent principle that allowed for and created the universe and its laws) limiting Itself in the form and appearance of a human being is something that certainly appeals to the Anglicans.

Now, I want to point out something to everyone else after I’ve written all this: the above categories are something that I invented. If others who have encountered Christianity have made the exact same sort of apprehension and been able to divide the theology about Jesus Christ into said categories, I am not personally aware of this. Others may have categorized this much better than I, so don’t take my views as the golden and solid ones.

Tying this back into Gnosticism: the cosmology of Gnosticism makes far more sense to me than the cosmology of orthodox Christianity. The mystical nature of Gnosticism, along with its sacramental nature and liturgy, appealed to me greatly.

To give a brief and crude summary, in Gnosticism, the Eternal Father, who is the ONE existence, pours forth from his own perfection attributes of himself that reflect himself: this process is called emanation. To understand what this means: God is Eternally Full and Complete in and of himself (that is, Perfect), and the Fullness and Completeness forced into existence reflections of itself. So God’s own Perfection created reflections of itself that are known as the Aeons.

The Aeons appear in masculine-feminine pairs. Different stories exist, but the final pair of Aeons are Christ (Logos) and Sophia. Logos and Sophia respectively would mean, “logic” and “wisdom.”

Different stories exist at this point, too, but the essence is that Sophia tried to emanate from herself without Christ’s help. In another story, she “falls” from her station. In another story, she is essentially raped. She gave birth a kind of lesser god that thought it was THE only god in existence, and with its afterbirth, it created the material universe, even lower gods, and Adam as a kind of helpless slave.

Some Gnostics do view the material universe as evil; they’re often accused of “radical dualism,” which is just not true for the majority of them and certainly not true for the modern Gnostics. Father Jordan Stratford of the Apostolic Johannite Church deals with the attacks on Gnosticism concerning “dualism” rather well in his own blog; I suggest you look him up if you’re interested. His main point is that matter is not the issue: the issue of the material world comes down to being the systems that are imposed on us, the laws and rules and regulations and so on.

Even so: there’s still the view that the material universe is a kind of prison for us, that it is essentially flawed but not evil. And this is where Gnosticism and I part ways: I see the material world as good. I see creation as being a good thing.

The Gnostic would argue that world was created flawed, so flaws are bound to pop up.

The Christian would argue that the world was created perfect, including mankind being created perfect, but that we collectively chose to leave that perfection (which is illustrated in the myth of the Garden of Eden.)

Enter Neo-Platonism. Neo-Platonism has the same system of emanations of the Aeons from God. who is called “The Good.” The difference is that the Creator, which is called Nous, is a being that is a perfect reflection of God (or the Good) and creates the universe. Thus, we can conclude that the Neo-Platonic Nous is one and the same as the Christian Logos, which all adds up to and refers to being Christ. Then comes the World Soul, which essentially splits into various Souls, and here we all are. Again, this is a very, very rough draft of this, and with more research, it can become more refined.

But I think the major issue with me is that I would be properly categorized as a Neo-Platonist who uses Christian imagery to reach the Good as opposed to a Christian who interprets Christianity through a Neo-Platonist lens.

For the moment, Neo-Platonism has resolved the issues I have with both Gnosticism and orthodox Christianity, at least on the intellectual level of trying to sort out the cosmology.

More importantly, Neo-Platonism unmasked the Reality behind Jesus Christ as a cultural phenomenon and revealed Christ as one-to-one universal reality that I have personally encountered; now I understand that this Reality is something quite real, something that I can accept, because I know I’ve encountered it personally.

I want to point out this entry has not been a matter of attacking orthodox-minded Christians or Gnostics; I’ve only wanted to point out my intellectual objections to both of them and how Neo-Platonism has offered a potential bridge between the two and likely among other world religions for the time being.

Moreover, I would say that the Gnostic understanding of their cosmology and scriptures has more to do with the human mind and our psychology than it does with the cosmology of the universe, thus setting them apart and saving them from their opponents attacks. So conflating the ideas of Gnosticism with literal understandings found in other denominations and religions would be a mistake.

I would also like to point out that Neo-Platonism apparently views evil as an absence of good. I can grasp this. I can totally grasp this. Evil is not the presence of something; it is the absence of something, like cold being the absence of heat. So in reality, there is no such thing as “cold,” there is only “absence of heat.”

I like it.


P.S. Dear Gnostic Priests, if you happen across this blog and see any number of errors with regards to philosophy and Gnosticism, please forgive me and don’t burn my biscuits too much if you so choose to correct me.

P.P.S. I realize that in writing this blog, I apparently have included even more of an issue of so-called “measuring the spaghetti” instead of eating it, but I would like to point out to all my readers that I meditate/contemplate daily, along with doing a few other non-essential mystical practices, and thus I have action that I take in addition to simply thinking about these things.

Meditation and a Grey Alien: Everyone’s Wondering About This


On Facebook, I wrote recently of my encounter with a Grey Alien.

Now, naturally, this may sound like I’m rehashing a story of a typical UFO abductee, but I am not, as I was not an abductee or even a contact-ee or anything along those lines. This experience simply occurred in the context of meditation, a fairly deep meditation at that.

Most of my friends and family know that the Grey Aliens have terrified me since around age 5. If you want to see the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen, Google Whitley Strieber’s book Communion, and that face on the front has never been matched in the world in terms of fear.

Some would immediately interpret this to mean that I’ve been abducted, but I find that to be a dubious notion. The image is archetypically frightening, as someone once pointed out- the enormous, slanted eyes with no iris and no apparent soul in them, the pale, withered skin, not unlike a corpse. But that wouldn’t explain exactly why the image traumatized me and why later on I would burst into tears at the mere sight of it.

During the contemplation, the deep mulling over my feelings and just outright feeling them, I had the impression of being in a room with a Grey Alien. She didn’t move her mouth; instead, I heard a definitive female voice all around me. She appeared to wear a cloak of some sort and explained things to me. Having been terrified of Greys all my life, I found it strange that I wasn’t afraid here- in fact, quite the opposite; I found myself completely at peace and relaxed.

Later on, I continued the meditation, and discovered a few things. First, the alien had a name: she called herself “Saiya,” or my mind gave her that name or some along those lines. Second, her skin wasn’t grey- it was white, pure white, like light. Third, her eyes weren’t black voids- they were sky blue, beautiful, pure, and clear.

She had the quality and feel of something quite natural and vital, much like one would imagine a butterfly, a rain drop, or a flower. Something about her was Holy and Beautiful, almost Angelic.

I also want to note that this happened at quite a deep level of meditation and relaxation; at this point, I kept fading in and out, my thoughts stopping and my simply existing, probably quite closed to the so-called “Dhyana” of the Hindu tradition. No time was lost, though; I could account for everything for the most part. Again, there was no fear of “Saiya.”

So to Van Tilden, I must say that I wish you could experience that kind of peace and motherly feminine nature, as that would rather solve the fear of the aliens for you, I think. I can’t say that the fear is completely gone, but I do know that it substantially decreased, because there’s a new understanding or perspective that I haven’t had before.

As to whether or not aliens actually exist or what this experience really means, I can’t give a definitive answer; what I do know is that I would trust the part of myself appearing as “Saiya” because that kind of peace isn’t given to us every day.


UPDATE: Okay, I wasn’t sure when this happened how the name was spelled; the first impression was “Saya,” which sounds like “Sah-Yah.” “Saiya” just sounds more like Americans would say it, but I looked up the meaning of the word “Saya,” and talk about freaky: in Hindi, it means “Shadow.” Thus, I would say that “Saya” and the Greys have been my own psychological Shadow- and it’s long been thought on my part that the Grey Aliens are a kind of modern-day space-age analogy to the Devil and Demons and so on.

So Saya is then likely my own Shadow, my own Carnal or Animal nature in Jungian terms.

That’s an INTERESTING coincidence, to say the least. She’s beautiful.

More Thoughts.

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Some of the mystical movements and notably the words of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee suggest that this is God’s world and that this is God’s story, and that we must take a part in God’s story; in other words, our lives are not about us, they are about God, and we must focus on God and not ourselves; otherwise, we’ll never find happiness.

This is a difficult thing for me to do for several reasons.

First, the notion that we must focus on God and not ourselves is fantastic- if one believes in God, if one has a clear idea about who, or more importantly, what God is, and if one has a clear idea about what God expects from us. In this case, a devout Catholic (or Anglican) has it much easier than the devout Gnostic or Sufi or New Ager. If one firmly believes in God, and then if one has a “rule book” that relates one to that God, well, you’ve no problem. I should add that if one experiences God, that this applies as well.

Second, what happens when you aren’t even sure what God is, and then you aren’t sure that God exists at that, and then you aren’t sure what God’s standards would be anyway? I can’t trust a Holy Book from any religion simply because it is a Holy Book. So a religion may have rules, and they may claim these rules come from God, thus setting the standard for our behavior and how we are to live.

But I don’t buy that.

If someone asks me if I believe in God, I can’t give them an answer, not a clear one, not an easily articulated one. There’s no belief in me of an Old, Bearded Man Sitting on a Throne, the “classic” image of both Zeus and Jehovah. I don’t believe in that. Period. But do I acknowledge that the cosmos may have a binding force that holds us all together, that is aware of us in a way that we can’t imagine, that perhaps even loves us and wills us into existence? Sure. I can see that, totally.

Now, I want to point out that originally and even today, MUCH OF CHRISTIANITY ACTUALLY VIEWS GOD THE FATHER IN THIS WAY. This is not the “popular” image of God that’s espoused in the media and in many of the Evangelical churches, which take a more literal reading to the Bible, but the “formless” Ground of Being was one of the first aspects of God identified in Christianity and used to counter to the Jews; in other words, early Christians pointed out that the Jews had anthropomorphized God and done a disservice to him in the process. This is one of the reasons that the Incarnate Christ was such a big deal. The Ultimate Cosmic Force condensed Itself into one particular human form- not a small feat.

But back to the point. My skepticism is still quite present inside of me because of disappointment after disappointment with different religions and philosophies. The ultimate problem I’ve found is that it comes down to squabbling over highly abstract systems that have little bearing on reality. Some might argue that the systems tell us how to think and therefore how to act. I would say this can only be true to a certain degree, but that isn’t the point of this blog entry.

The question is, if you don’t really believe in God, how can you live your life for him?

The “bubble” that Llewellyn and others wish to burst is simply the idea that our lives are only and strictly about us. Well, not everyone has the idea that their life is strictly about themselves and no others, so the presupposition is shaky as it is, but for me, I have found the selflessness comes at the service of other people, namely those people with whom I have fallen in love. As the old saying goes, “Being deeply loved gives us strength; deeply loving gives us courage.”

Only when I have been deeply in love have I had courage to face things I would otherwise not face. I have done the craziest things, things that would have otherwise made me cower and quake, for the sake of love.

The Sufis speak of loving God, of God being the Beloved. Again I cite the problem: how are we to love a Nameless, Faceless, Bodiless, Amorphous Nothingness? Loving Christ, the image of Jesus, came easier to me, yet even that image is tainted.

If there is a God, and God will show me what it means to love It, then BRING IT ON.

Certainly, a life where one is only concerned with one’s self is going to have negative results. One will never be happy this way, or fulfilled, in any substantial way. So there is a merit in saying that one should “live for God.” But again, in practice, what does that really mean? How does one do that when one doesn’t even really have the same definition of “God” that most people do, and how does one do that when one doesn’t really even have a sense of God really existing?

And since I asked Keegan to read this, I’ll mention him in here as well at this point: after many debates about religion, he finally told me the truest thing that he ever said to me: “You have a really weird definition of religion, dude.”

That’s a perfect statement of me and how I approach religion as a whole: I don’t understand Christianity as most (not all) Christians do, and it’s likely that I don’t understand Sufism as most Sufis do, though that’s not the same kind of gap. But I’m not a “heretic” in the traditional sense where I simply don’t agree on a few doctrines or dogmas. My entire approach to religion is different than most religious people’s approach, and truth be told, many would label me more agnostic or even atheistic than they would theistic and religious.

So the point is, in line with Keegan’s words, I see religion as a tool, as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. This is perhaps where Bernadette Roberts and I would part ways in terms of the Holy Eucharist, as she affirms that it is an end in itself as THE Cosmic Christ, and I would say the Holy Eucharist is the means to Nirvana while also (potentially) being an end in itself. I could be wrong, and time will tell.

Maybe the reality is that one can’t understand God or religion until one has gone through other religions and even through atheism. Who knows?

This gave me another idea to write about.


A Few More Observations

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As I’ve noted, the last several weeks and specifically last several days have seen me having an immense amount of psycho-spiritual work being done on myself.

Mostly, I go into the pain that I encounter, which is very physically located, usually somewhere in the region of the first and second chakras (and sometimes the third), and I began to feel the pain, over and over and over again, thinking when I can and trying to find the source of the pain: what am I believing, what am I really experiencing, what’s really happened that makes me feel this or that way?

A great deal of the pain, as I’ve come to find out, has been crystalized; that is, emotional patterns are so old and so strong that one cannot just “clear” them out. First the crystalized pain must be broken up, and how exactly this has happened, I’m not sure.

In meditation, there appeared a sense of a flame burning within me, a tall, ultra-violet colored flame that I have often referred to as “the Black Fire.” What exactly the Black Fire is, I am not exactly sure; I suppose this may be the “shakti” of the Hindu traditions, and certainly the Black Fire seems to have an association with Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Black Fire could simply be my own life force, my own personal energy, or it could be an energy that’s coming from God. I cannot know for sure at this point.

Either way, focusing on the fire’s very real presence and attempting to use it to break up my old emotional patterns seems to have been helpful. Sleep is very important in all this as well, along with meditation that is focused on simply clearing the mind; the resting of the mind allows the physical processing to take place more smoothly, or so it would seem

The energy largely moves from the first and second chakras to the third chakra, from what I’ve seen. The higher chakras needs the energy of the lower chakras; in other words, if you have no energy in your lower chakras, if they aren’t powerful, clean, and balanced, that, is psychologically healthy and integrated, then the higher chakras have no access to said power, or at least the power that they receive is incredibly limited.

The emotional content in the lower chakras is decidedly non-verbal or pre-verbal; most of it appears to be old and locked up and so far forgotten from conscious memories that a great deal of facing the emotions appears to be speculation, but the energy is real throughout it all. Facing the energy becomes hit-or-miss; resolving an emotional conflict can only be verified after one has faced it sufficiently and is presented with said situation again, at which time one can verify whether or not the emotional pattern is still enacting.

The old emotions and energy overall appear to be stored throughout the body. This is amazing to me, considering we don’t normally think in terms of emotions being physical or part of the body, and yet somehow they are or overlap with the body.

Maybe I’m wrong, but the ego of the human being seems largely to be a product of the emotional blockages in our chakras. Dissolve the blockages (much more difficult in practice than in theory), and the ego, too, dissolves. Or so one would think, but will it really? This is a good question, and time will yield the answer.


Calling Bullshit


Sometimes, I have to wonder about people in the “mystical” community.

Some criticize the New Agers for thinking happy thoughts and wanting to create a fluffy world of light.

But what we don’t hear criticized on the opposite end are the extremely pessimistic, negative people who claim that there is no end to suffering, that there is no truth, and so on and so forth.

To these people, I have two things to make note of.

First, if there is no end to suffering for the individual, then why pursue mysticism at all? Buddhists especially who spew this ilk seem to have missed the basis of the Four Noble Truths. If meditation and prayer, if a dedication to God and so on and forth doesn’t eventually lead to the end of suffering, then why are we pursuing it? Just to have something to do, to distract ourselves as the time goes by until we die? Then why not take up knitting or play air hockey instead?

Second, in all likelihood, if you’re still experiencing all kinds of negative emotions, enough to suggest that suffering never ends, the likelihood of your having made the full journey and existing in the final state of Nirvana is not high at all. In other words, you need to keep going and shut up and stop with the acting superior to the people who want an actual end to their suffering. Christ suffered a great deal in his passion and crucifixion, but in the end, he resurrected to a glorious existence.

Just some observations.


On Celebration and Paganism and More

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I sat down to write an entirely different blog than what’s about to come out.

Mainly, I think that celebration is a specific aspect of religion that has attracted me for quite some time without my being able to put my finger on it. The holidays in Catholicism, the Feast Days and such, made me especially proud.

So, too, my flirtations with Paganism and specifically Wicca largely dealt with the High Holy Days, at least in recent years. The Wheel of the Year, the High Holidays, the Formalized Rituals- this all appeals to me at my current age and since I was 22 or 23.

My blog is not the place to debate the origins of modern Paganism or Wicca or how one can identify one’s self and so on; others will rage with the battle of self-identification until the cows come home, and I’m not here to deal with that.

Naturally, it’s quite likely that most teenagers are attracted to Paganism for the aspect of self-empowerment. Contrary to what many would have you believe, the dark aspect of Wicca is something that attracts them. The image that one is a “witch” and that one can “cast spells” on one’s enemies is definitely one of power, of intimidation- and thus it frightens people, even those who boldly proclaim that they aren’t fearful, because even they have a subconscious fear that the Wiccans may actually have some power.

Paganism as a whole stands in a kind of limbo with itself. Pagans will argue amongst themselves almost as much as Christians; it’s truly amazing that a religion that should be encouraging freedom and life becomes so quickly absorbed in debates within itself.

Different than Christianity, Paganism has no centralized authority external to itself. I used to refer to this as a double-edged sword, meaning that Paganism lacks the kind of structure that we see in Christianity. However, as per the often chaotic state of Christianity, despite the sources of authority being the Pope, the Bible, Tradition, Reason, and sometimes experience, apparently external authority matters less than I think.

But the trick here is that there’s still some kind of recognizability; walk into a Catholic or Anglican parish, and you’ll notice the overarching similarities.

One Pagan’s altar can vary from another’s in the craziest way- and that’s okay. That’s truly okay. Pagans often have to make do with what they have, so it’s not a criticism.

But back to the point. Previously, I was interested only in casting spells; later on, my interest was in the use of psychological symbols and rituals that were structured and analogous to the Christian rituals.

This makes me think of the days that I flirted with Gnosticism. No, I didn’t flirt with Gnosticism- I would have been a prime example of a Gnostic were there a Gnostic parish around me. Modern Gnosticism unites Christianity, Paganism, and Buddhism- three religions that have been most influential on me- into a system that is beautiful and coherent.

How do I break this down?

Gnosticism, as I have known it, uses the rituals, imagery, and symbolism of Catholicism. Thus, it is intuitive to me and familiar.

Gnosticism emphasizes the Divine Feminine– an aspect that is sorely missing in Christianity as a whole and tends to be reflected in the Virgin Mary- but she is emphatically stated to be not God. This distinction is clearly made, despite the greatest howling of Evangelicals.

Gnosticism has an understanding of the psychological nature of the human being. Our psyches are broken down and explained, then taken and put into the context of a transformative ritual. (This reflects what we established before about the ability of the liturgy to transform the individual.)

I say that, but how does Sufism fit in? Sufism is arguably Gnosticism in an Islamic context. The Sufism I follow is mostly Sufism from a Hindu context, using both Arabic and Sanskrit words; moreover, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says one can be a Sufi in any religion. But saying Gnostic Sufi sounds awfully redundant.

Ultimately, these are all means to an end, not an end in themselves. I cannot mistake the finger for the Moon, but sometimes intellectuals become too big for the britches and get caught up in the concepts.

So why the turn to a more orthodox Christianity? I searched and searched for the mysticism present in it. Again, no Gnostic parishes are nearby. The mysticism is there- specifically in the Holy Eucharist- but it is difficult to extract and appears to come with a package deal. The Episcopal Church offers the best deal- the liturgy and so on being the most traditional. But I easily find myself getting lost in the attempt to extract the mysticism.

I find myself agreeing with the Gnostics about almost everything. Almost.

Now why can’t they open a church here?

Interestingly, Bernadette Roberts has many conclusions and explanations of the Holy Eucharist that overlap with Gnostic perspectives. I would say “theology,” but there is no “orthodoxy” of philosophy in Gnosticism.


Oppression and Meaninglessness

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Here’s a chance to document something in real time. Earlier in the evening, I took a nap that turned into fours of my sleeping. In the dreams I had, a sense of meaninglessness and oppression that I experience in my life appeared and appeared strongly. In waking life, this feeling is minimized, likely through various mental tricks I use.

Imagine an icy-hot fire gripping the chest, especially the top part of the heart or above the heart and at the corresponding area on the spinal cord, and imagine all sense of meaning being taken from reality; this is the experience I’m going through as I type these words. The world seems both empty and oppressive, grey, and stripped of purpose.

Naturally, this is a Veil of God. This isn’t permanent. My immediate thoughts are that these relates to me on an ego-level, of something unfulfilled or missing in my life, but further ideas that appear make me wonder if it’s more than that, if maybe this is part of the transformative process.

I didn’t bargain for having only negative experiences in transformation, but good grief, that seems to be the vast majority of them. I suppose in the end I will have felt every possible emotion until the end of its existence.

Another immediate reaction in the middle of the clenched-up-chest experience is to not look for God, to not say the dhikr, but it is absolutely crucial in these moments to do just that, to keep a focus on the Divine, however we may encounter him.

But what does one do when the Divine is encountered as meaningfulness, and there’s suddenly no meaning? Ah, here we have the problem, and the only solution is to continue with the action as though we know the Divine is there.

Here, I have a glimpse of what will lay beyond all unconscious oppression, in that the peace that will follow will enable both confidence and a general contentment with life. But how to get there? Well, in a sort of honest manner, one cannot get there on one’s own, as it is ultimately contingent upon God and not one’s self. But many mystics say that the Grace descends only after have made every effort on this end, and I’m making a great deal of effort and finding every way I can to turn to God, whatever it may be.

Categorically, I can’t place God anywhere, and I’m even having trouble using the word “God” because of the negative connotations that I have with the word. Certainly I know what I mean, but does everyone else know what I mean? That’s always the question.

I think for most Christians, God is first conceived of in personal terms, e.g., as a person or entity, and only secondarily does the entity contain ideas such as the Supreme Beauty or Absolute Reality, whereas I would conceive of God in the opposite manner: the Ultimate Meaning or the Truth that is translated into imagery of an entity. Yet I cannot mislead anyone in saying that God is a mere abstraction, as I would argue God is quite real and beyond our ordinary understanding. Moreover, many great Christians would certainly be in agreement with me, even if they are somehow considered unorthodox for their views.

The oppression in my chest seems to have lessened, but does that mean something good? Does it not make me less reliant on God? Maybe I should be grateful for the afflictions that befall me, but that’s a difficult thing to do.

I have trouble when people say we should be grateful for our suffering, because many people don’t understand that the person who is grateful for suffering has achieved a certain level of consciousness (or be given it, if not achieved it), and that the person has an understanding of the suffering that someone else simply doesn’t have.

Now I should go get to the root of this.


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