OH, Andy; where to begin? Do you even like me calling you Andy? Is there even a you or a me to call or to be concerned with this? Oh, these questions of ours.

I started this blog almost a decade ago while exploring Christianity and more specifically, Christian mysticism.

Whatever one might call it, theosis or Nirvana or what have you, is what I’ve been seeking for any number of years in my life, literaly since I was a teenager.

And I’ve not been very good at it at all.

What’s apparent to me now is that the vast majority of my interest in Christianity and Christian mysticism was ultimately the investment of social capital- I could become Christian, explore mysticism in Christian language, and have an easier time socially by belonging to the dominant religion.

Otherwise put, by being Christian, I could do my thing safely. People wouldn’t question me or my religion (outside of the atheist/skeptic community).

However, and there is the however, I’ve experienced, essentially, hurdle after hurdle with Christianity. First the encounter with Gnosticism, which is great except that there are literally fewer Gnostics than even people of other minority religions, so I spent years with some weird hope of “one day” living near a Gnostic Church without understanding the full implications of all the other complications that would arise in my life in order for that to happen.

I eventually settled on the Episcopal Church after worrying for no reason for literally years. That lasted the greater part of a year and faded away into its own thing- I too easily became entangled in the mire of “But are they doing this correctly?”

Maybe this is my version of the guru telling me to build the same house over and over and then telling me to tear it down and move it a few feet or whatever and then eventually, presto, Enlightenment.

For what it’s worth, I despise that story/parable/whatever the hell it is. Not all parables are created equal, and some of them may be illustrating a point which also still quite wrong.

Also for what it’s worth, in saying all this and leading up to the point I’m going to make, I don’t regret my involvement with Christianity or the Episcopal Church. Andy helped to make that all make sense to me. There were heartfelt and meaningful experiences of Christ and Mary and Sophia.

But that doesn’t excuse or erase the true underlying issue, which is that I had a low self-esteem, a deep need for community and self-acceptance, and that my life generally involved trying to survive in the on-going war with my anxiety and unresolved emotional issues.

And another difficult truth I’ve faced lately is that understanding Ultimate Reality or attaining Nirvana can help one to sort out the psychological shit, but it isn’t, in and of itself, a panacea or psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, working on one’s self, is categorized in a different “training” in Buddhism.

Which is where I’m going with this.

My entire pursuit of Christian mysticism was due to the particularly bad advice of a particular person who’s no longer in my life and never will be again. The bad advice was to pursue mysticism within the framework of my own cultural background.

And this sounds like good advice until you realize that most Christians aren’t interested in mysticism and don’t actually have any knowledge of how the mind works.

Avoiding Buddhism as “too foreign” sounds like a good idea until you realize that enough competent teachers speak English and are able to communicate the Dharma and that there’s a such thing as “skillful means” and that Buddhism has adapted to various cultures for thousands of years and that there’s a whole movement knowledge as the “Pragmatic Dharma” that gets to the nitty-gritty of understanding how to attain Nirvana and that what we’re getting with Buddhism are the “high” teachings and not folk Buddhism (but folk Buddhism has a place and is useful, and I myself would embrace such).

How’s that for a really long sentence?

Moreover, how’s that for the fucking point?

I’m not here to fuck around anymore. I’m not here to listen to someone’s bizarre, highly-theoretical-yet-completely-unproven opinions du jour. No, give me practice. Let me meditate. I’m going to train.

Maybe one could call me a Buddhist; I’m not sure. But I’m going to break out the impermanence or the transience here- it’s time to start a new, different blog. It’s time to get serious. The experiences in this current blog serve to remind me of beautiful, transitory experiences that faded from mind with time.

Things have to change this time on the fundmental level of reality.

So, I’m closing this blog. Or better yet, I’m leaving it up, but I’m no longer updating it; I’m going to start a new one, start fresh, have the break, the “gap” in reality, and maybe that will help me to focus on things.

Thanks, Andy. I want to make the joke, “Andy was Buddhist first! This is all his fault!” Of course, that’s not true; I heavily flirted with Buddhism in high school, but still.

Maybe we’re both being swept along by Reality.

I’m tired of all the gunk.

Time to change.

Steve

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