A Few Important Notes

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Long time, no update, but there’s been quite a bit going on within a small frame of time.

The first thing to note is essentially a dream that I had recently- I was inside a kind of complex of Catholic churches that had altars made of increasingly precious materials. The search was ultimately to go through a maze of these buildings until we could find the chapel that was made entirely out of gold. This, however, including going through Hell itself- not a fun part when we had to cross through rivers of liquid fire, I daresay.

But such was the case. The altars and chapels became increasingly beautiful, though I didn’t dream of the golden chapel at any point.

Moving on, another important note that I’ve come across recently with regards to paradigms: we might suggest that there is an Omega factor in religion, even in Christianity, whereby God never changes and therefore, the way in which God relates to us does not change.

But what does change is everything else- the world around us, us, and the way we relate to God; and the key and most subtle note here is to know that the way that we understand God is relating to us DOES change. That means OUR UNDERSTANDING of what and how God relates to us can and does change.

The point is that I had not considered a very important aspect of the paradigm- that there must necessarily be an accommodating aspect, an aspect that allows for change and flexibility, lest the paradigm not survive at all.

This is where the issue with Christianity comes in and is something I’ve been trying to articulate for a long time. The Roman Church, for instance, has tried to become more flexible and to accommodate for certain changes in the world around us and our culture- but they have done so with the WRONG ASPECT OF THEIR PARADIGM. Instead of allowing women as priests and for gays to marry, they worry about “lightening up” on the Mass itself. This is ridiculous at best.

So maybe the Anglicans have figured out the best aspects of the paradigm, so sometimes they go a little nutty, too.

Beaux


The Most Terrifying Mystical Experience I’ve Ever Had

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This morning, sometime after 4 AM, I had the single most terrifying mystical experience I’ve ever had, something I’ve never encountered for this prolonged period of time before, something that is inexplicable and that I haven’t encountered in the literature or documentation.

Something disappeared- perhaps we could say the ego, maybe we could even say the Self, though I will be the first to say that I still had a sense of emotions, so my thoughts were that the Self still existed somewhere. But something definitely ended, at least temporarily, and this was terrifying.

The boundaries between myself and the rest of reality became unclear; I may as well have been the room observing the body of Stevo walk around. Now, I want to point out, there wasn’t a sense of having been projected “out” of my body- that’s not what I mean, so don’t offer an explanation of astral projection. What I mean is that I could have been the pillow my head was on or the ceiling fan for all it mattered- the distinction, the boundary, was completely gone.

My main concern was that my body might die this way, that something might happen, and that I might be unable to survive. But I turned to God, and I said that in life and in death, I belong to Him, because that’s what mattered. Even if I were to die, I would die belonging to God.

The experience was terrifying because I had no idea where it came from- it just suddenly was as I got up to go to the bathroom, and I was astonished, or something was astonished, at what was going on.

Needless to say, this makes the mystery of what a human being is exactly even more profound, because we’re certainly more than we appear to be.

Eventually, the ego returned, and I finally went to sleep. But during the time that it was gone, I can’t totally remember what happened or what I did, except for being in bed and watching this no-ego state go on. Quite strange, if you ask me, to not know the difference between me and the bed and the room around me.

Beaux


Paradigm and Considerations

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Despite my former blog having a part in it going on about avoiding mere speculation, this blog will deal with some things that are important to consider on the mystic’s path.

My new friend Erik and I have discussed mysticism and specifically Gnosticism at length recently, and some of the ideas we’ve touched on are important to share here. My friend Wes, too, has touched on this with me.

Most of the time, I make a point to the people who are more literalistic in their understanding of the Bible that the map is not the territory. This same principle can be extended to any kind of paradigm, and my major problem in the history of religious consideration is seeing that different world views are sometimes superimposed on reality, many of which are simply not correct. The fundamentalist Christian world view is not only incorrect, it’s also mixed with misunderstandings and at times, purposely distorted information.

But other world views, such as those of the mystics, aren’t entirely correct, either. Different religious traditions have different core views on things, even if in the end we’re all celebrating the One Great Truth or God or what have you.

So, let’s get cracking at this.

The point to consider with any paradigm is that it has limitations. Certain things were not historically and are not presently taken into account in said paradigms. The traditional Christian world view, for instance, does not account for extraterrestrial life or UFOs. This is simply not part of the system, and anyone who suggests that it is seriously has to read it into the text or make guesswork on it. Little grey men with huge eyes are not part of Christianity, and they’re not even really allowed for in the more orthodox view of things, even if the Church is now trying to accommodate for the potential of aliens in the present era.

But better still, for the mystic, it is good to remember that not everything is going to fit into the paradigm. Gnosticism has been the one “catch-all” system that I’ve found so far. It contains the elements that are necessarily mystical while also containing the imagery of Christianity that is so dear to me and also containing the truths of various “pagan” traditions. However, even then, it’s fair to say that Gnosticism doesn’t have room for everything, and…that’s okay!

It’s okay to have a paradigm that doesn’t consider everything. It’s okay to have a paradigm into which you can’t fit every experience. What’s important is to understand that many of the mystic’s experiences are off the charts, off the maps, and not in the literature. And that’s OKAY! We don’t have to force-fit everything into some kind of intellectual framework.

But we also don’t have to do the opposite, which is constantly expanding the paradigm until there is no paradigm. That becomes problematic in a different way, because we’re essentially left groping in the dark for something we cannot find. There is no sign pointing to where we’re supposed to go from there, and we can get lost more easily.

Not everyone is comfortable working within a system. And that’s okay, too! Some people are better at seeking when they don’t have presuppositions or too many reference points. I found my problem was the opposite- with no reference point whatsoever, I had NO sense of direction.

What’s your path like? What has it been like?

Comments are incredibly welcome to these questions!

Beaux


The Past Few Days

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From what I can tell, something inside of me has indeed changed or altered- and whatever has changed or altered hasn’t become undone for something like a week at this point, and so I’m beginning to guess that this must be largely permanent, even if there are fluctuations within the state of being.

Now, what exactly has changed, I cannot begin to explain to you- I’m not totally sure what’s gone or altered. The Self is still present- there’s definitely an emotional system and a sense of being alive. So, too, the ego still seems to be around, which is to say that I still have a sense of an “I” within me.

But what has changed? How can I begin to explain it?

First, there’s been the tiredness or the Grace of God or what have you that has almost not let up at all. There seems to be a great, deep stillness within me, but that may not even be the correct word. Peace doesn’t do it justice, either- it’s just something deep that isn’t moving as it once was, which is not something that most people would understand.

Here and there I’ve also had incredible bursts of love and affection, a sense of seeing other humans as essentially my children. In seeing other people as my children, I came to an understanding that I didn’t have before. My sense of being different from them is not necessarily a matter of feeling superior to other people but seeing the difference in spiritual maturity that allows for me to be compassionate towards even the most hateful of people. There are still human tendencies in me where I can see that I don’t like certain people or have a sense of anger at others, but these things aren’t terribly strong.

Last night, a certain kind of mystery was revealed to me that I can explain here but that will likely be beyond the comprehension of those who hear it. I’ll take the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and use them: let he who has ears, listen.

When I tried to meditate, I found my mind was particularly filled with music, and so I decided to look up music online. I talk about the “brain radio” that I have- I can hear a song, and my brain will encode so many details about the song that it’s difficult for me to not hear the music constantly. The playing in my head is constantly, and this has been going on since childhood, I know. The dhikr, if placed here, could be and would be repeated automatically with no volition of my own, and that’s the way it should be.

In the meantime, I looked up the music from video games that I played in my childhood, and hearing the music, I began to understand why music calls me in the way that it does, why I have been drawn into the world of music, why I love music- it is because it is God crying to Himself. This is difficult to explain, but there is a saying of the Sufis about a man who cried to God, and khidr comes to him to tell him, “Do you not realize that your, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah’ was His ‘Here I Am?'”

This takes us to a point that is purely experiential. You come to understand that it is only God who loves, only God who rejoices, and only God. ONLY GOD. The meaning of the shahada, “La ilaha illa Allah” becomes clear at this point- there is no God but God, there is no Divinity that is not Divinity, that ultimately, God is the one who experiences, who rejoices- all Hope is God’s, all Joy is God’s, all Love is God’s.

But this makes no sense to us, as humans- why, then, are we the ones who suffer, who seemingly contain this experience of God? I have no idea.

I do know in hearing the music last night and being caught in the fit between laughter and tears that I kept looking up at the crucifix on my wall and had a distinct impression that I finally understood what it is that Jesus had been trying to tell me all this time. I understand the mystery that Jesus attempted to explain, but His Mystery is beyond words, pure and simple. At least right now the Mystery is beyond words. Maybe in the future, I’ll be able to explain it.

Today, I awoke with a sense of love burning in my heart, and I had, for one of the first times in my life, the sense of burning with love AND the sense of being the guy I am supposed to be, a working together of both the heart chakra and the solar plexus chakra, something that had been a kind of intellectual antagonism before. This, too, should eventually reveal the mysterious connection between Sufism and Christianity, though my ultimate guess is that the Gnostics show a perfect Sufi relationship in the central redemptive myth of Sophia’s fall and her subsequent longing for Christ, whereupon Christ saves her by command of the Father. I look forward to the further revelation of these things.

To have a sense of who you are, who you truly are, and for it to be something that is beyond a narrow social definition and at the same time for it to not be some weird, abstract sense of the Buddha-nature is a powerful experience indeed- and what I mean is that the Buddha-nature and Atman are discussed in terms of this kind of faceless, personality-less sense of being, and this is clearly not the case. There is a distinction among personality and ego and Self, and with all the garbage and mental masturbation that goes on about spirituality these days, it’s ridiculous to see that nobody gets something this simple.

But of course, a great deal of what we see today has nothing to do with experience- instead, people spew out the accounts and speculations of others and have absolutely nothing of their own to contribute, and this is a great error in our age.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical, as I’ve made the same mistake- just look at what happens when I get interested in orthodox Christianity. But the truth is, I’m not an orthodox Christian, and I may not even be Christian for that matter, and hell, I may not even be Sufi! Who knows at this point?

Beaux


The Continuing Struggle

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Currently, I’m re-reading Bernadette Roberts’s book, What is Self?

One criticism I have of her writings is essentially that, while she goes on at length to explain what exactly Christ and God are, and moreover, what exactly “self” means according to her terminology, the book doesn’t exactly explain what one is supposed to do.

Other readers and some who have attended her retreats have mentioned on websites that they can summarize what they think she’d recommend doing, such as continuing to participate in the Holy Eucharist. With no doubt, the reception of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and its importance to my approach to Christianity was highly influenced by her. This is where the core energy of Christianity is, where it lays, where it’s always been: in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Sufism, too, has been, in part, a let down for me, but the difference is that Sufism doesn’t distract me in the intellectual way that Christianity does. Instead, I’m capable of simply living out the Longing and Love for God, but the problem comes in being able to access that sense of Longing and Love; the lower chakras take up a huge amount of my own personal energy with their damage and traumas and darkness, so for energy to even make it to my heart chakra to create love is amazing.

Love is not limited to one chakra, though; neither are many emotions. This is something that I’ve rarely seen mentioned; one can feel longing in an intellectual sense, in the higher chakras, though this seems counterintuitive to what we would image, and love can also be experienced in the solar plexus chakra. There’s no end to the amazing things one discovers.

But to the point, Sufism, as I have known it, as de-emphasized the lower chakras in favor of the heart chakra. Michael and Kelly made a similar criticize of how modern systems talk about focusing on just the third eye chakra, which one cannot access without going through the lower chakras, and I would daresay this is my own experience, though others may experience things differently.

My first thought about the reason for focusing on the heart chakra and on the third eye chakra is that they’re likely purer than the lower chakras; to awaken the third eye chakra allows a kind of clarity of what the reality in the lower chakras is. Summarily, the lower chakras store old emotional imprints, largely dealing with childhood trauma that became our “template” for interacting with other people, and thus when we encounter those emotions and feelings, we can misinterpret them, or they can be stored in such a way that it affects our bodies negatively.

Going back just a little, Bernadette might well simply point us to the contemplative tradition and to the Holy Eucharist- in fact, I would largely say that these are the two essentials of her take on Christianity. In layman’s terms, we have to meditate and go receive the Holy Eucharist faithfully.

The reality is that if the Roman Catholic Church knew what she was saying, she would likely be excommunicated, plain and simple- especially if her works were to gain any kind of major influence in the Church. She says highly heretical things, many times sounding more Gnostic than Catholic, and she interprets Christian teachings in a radical sort of way while throwing out a lot of the garbage in Christianity. What I mean to express here is that Bernadette doesn’t seem to think Christian teachings are perfect and pure just the way they are, even going so far as to state the Creed is worded incorrectly.

For a clarification of Christianity, for its redemption from what most of the religionists use it as these days, What is Self? is more than adequate, but it doesn’t tell us what to do.

In the same way, Sufism doesn’t explain what to do with the Shadow. I hear a great deal of discussion about the Shadow, about integrating psychology from Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. What I’ve failed to hear is how to actually do this.

Llewellyn does give a great hint of sorts: the same consciousness that created a problem cannot solve that problem. Thus, the entity and person who created a psycho-spiritual block in our chakras cannot solve it; that is, my best guess is that the level of the mind on which the blockage was created cannot cleanse it. Instead, one must go deeper.

But how do you get a psychological block in one’s chakras to give up its meaning, to explain to you what the actual block is? Maybe it manifests as an eating disorder, as sexual dysfunction, as tiredness, as being prone to illness; how do you get it to tell you exactly what it is and then change how you feel?

That, I think, is the basic and intense psychological work that must be done before we ever get around to the nitty-gritty of discussing things such as the afterlife or the soul, much less self-development and so on.

Bernadette makes a good point: we must not simply try to avoid sinning, we must rid ourselves of any capacity to sin whatsoever, and that’s where Christianity fails as a system. We are told that God will forgive us, over and over again, and that we must try not to sin, but the whole point is that the capacity to sin still exists, and our animal instincts will compel us to do things that we would rather not do at times.

She points out the fact that the Hindu systems seem to suggest the problem is intellectual: if we only saw that the ego is not real and what it is doing to make us unhappy, we would lose it. She criticizes this point a length, yet here I will point out that Vineeto at the Actual Freedom Trust actually said something similar to this. Of course, that would be depicting the AF system poorly and in an oversimplified manner, and for all its flaws and so on, I don’t mean to misrepresent it.

Had I not read something by Osho that said the exact thing that Bernadette did, I would have thought her point grossly oversimplified, but she does explain things in great detail.

I think the issue is this: feelings are the real problem. Our emotional system is vastly more powerful than our intellect, and therefore, thinking something over and over again will not necessarily change damage done at an early age. To exemplify, chanting an affirmation again and again at age 45 will not heal damage done at age 5 unless the affirmation actually changes one’s emotions.

The issue is not just thought restructuring: the issue is emotional restructuring, and for what it’s worth, our modern psychotherapy is absolutely atrocious at this. This explains why my being in therapy for two years did almost zilch to help my social anxiety and that the anxiety that decreased almost always seemed to happen on its own and not because of anything the therapist said or did.

Some people were under the impression that I did better when I was in therapy; I disagree with them. Ultimately what I gather is that people believe that therapy really works well and that my being in therapy was really helping me along. This is not to say that the therapy was completely worthless, but it did show me the limitations of therapy as a whole, and I think the issues I have must be dealt with by someone who actually knows how to heal emotions and not with someone who thinks thinking is where it’s at.

Arguably this happens in mysticism as a whole anyway, but the problem is that it’s cumbersome. Incredibly cumbersome. There don’t seem to be any specific milestones that each person passes through, which is to say that “stage theories” are useless. Sure, we can create a general map, but that map can manifest in wide and varied experiences for each person, so that doesn’t help at all.

I can tell you very well that my main problem is fear, fear of judgment from others, fear of public humiliation. Fear, period. Were I not afraid and not afraid at all, I would have accomplished more in this world than any other person I know. But the fear has held me back, and there’s not necessarily a way to simply stop being afraid. The mind is quite talented at fooling us into thinking that we no longer have fear or doubts or whatever until we are faced with the situation, and then boom, reality sets in.

Dustin, who may as well be dead to me, would respond, “We can’t survive on this level without fear.” FUCK THAT. I would rather die unafraid than to live my life in fear, and on top of that, I think it’s a stupid sentiment to say that we would simply die if we never felt fear. I’m not a blithering idiot. There is a distinction between, say, the torment and suffering caused by the emotion of fear and the body’s instinctual pull away from a hot flame, and he failed to make such a distinction.

This blog has been awfully long, almost equivalent to the length of a chapter in one of my books. That’s because I’ve been working on it for over two hours, off and on, stopping to cook and chat in the middle of it and entirely forgetting about it at other points.

The ultimate point is that I’ve stumbled, in one way or another, on to my own kundalini in a more controlled way than before. Though my second chakra still needs to be “cleaned’ and the blocks released, I’ve found ways to channeling the power through the rest of my body. Maybe all the mystical practices I’ve done before has lead up to this, I’m not sure.

I am aware that at the time I stopped saying the dhikr, an entire crisis erupted in my life, the remains of which I’m still feeling. So the truth is that I learned in the past half year or so that even if one doesn’t immediately see the results and benefits of a practice, they certainly exist. This has been mentioned here before, I’m sure, but I thought I would repeat myself as it fit contextually.

If I had a bit more certainty, if I was even released from anxiety, I think I would have less of an issue at this point. Even the erasure of anxiety without the erasure of the entire “self” would be enough for my own happiness, I think.

God…or Whatever…help.

Beaux


A (Long Overdue) Response to A Red State Mystic

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Well, a while back, A Red State Mystic, who happens to be an excellent blogger and Anglo-Catholic mystic with refreshing perspectives on spirituality and a sharp intellect to boot, asked a question about something I had posted on here.

The question had to do with something I said about how God ultimately is the one to take things from us.

In the end, our vices, our shortcomings, our failures, and so on- these are taken by God. It isn’t that we can’t, in the mean time, try to curb our wrongdoings and vices, but the actual DRIVE that cause us to want to do those things is taken by God. That’s how it works. God rips it out of us, and it’s no longer there.

Our own efforts, in the end, count for very little.

In the actual Christian theology, this may seem to violate the concept of free will, but the free will part comes in where we allow God to take from us the vices and problems and darkness. So we still participate, but we aren’t the ultimate captains of the ship, as it were.

I’m tired, it’s late, and I almost just typed, “I’m late, it’s tired,” so I can’t continue with this blog. But know that ultimately God is the one working on us.

Beaux


Less Peace.

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Way more tension in the body today; not nearly as much peace.

Somewhere around the Hrit chakra seems to be the absolute source of all the stress in my body and mind. I’m not exactly sure what it means, but by keeping my awareness on it for long period of time, I can eventually begin to seem some clearness in it. The clearing away of the chakra pushed energy up to the heart, and of course I had a momentary fear that I might induce a heart attack by focusing on the energy.

The energy seems to largely be trapped between the Hrit chakra and the Manipura chakra as well. I felt a little energy coming down through the Manipura chakra but didn’t feel much energy coming up the spine. Strange stuff.

Last night, I had a strange impression that we all are part of the Buddha’s body. There exists a kind of eternal body of which we are only a part, and at death, we simply return to the whole body. Maybe this is incorrect, and maybe I’ll have a deeper insight later on, but that was the momentary understanding of things.

I’m continuing to focus on doing all the things I enjoy doing throughout the course of each day. This helps me to balance responsibility with pleasure and helps me to focus on improving myself, moment by moment. Sometimes I see myself going a little overboard with some things and being too slack in others, but that’s okay at the onset- eventually the best possible combination will be attained, and things will be incredibly nifty.

Beaux


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