Meditations as of Late

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So where am I spiritually as of late? That’s a tough question to answer.

Craving Aletheia is a beautiful, beautiful blog, and I really enjoy writing about spirituality. Many of the insights I have during meditation are not exactly the easiest things to share, though the reality is quite clear in the meditation.

Articulating insights is not as easy as receiving them, because there are a number of connections people are normally unable to see that become clear in meditation. The occluded becomes revealed whereas the false assumptions we have about reality begin to slowly fall away.

Suffering is something necessary for the Sufi, and I have suffered and suffered in many ways, unfortunately.

By and large the suffering lately has been largely self-imposed, or so I think, but I could be wrong. Longing is an all right way to suffer, in my opinion; I would give to have longing and more longing, and increasingly it seems to be leading somewhere, but not to a place I can totally understand.

There comes a point where the rational mind cannot follow into the mystical realms. One’s thinking stops. Many times I have experienced a brief encounter in meditation of a thoughtless state where there are no thoughts, and usually my excitement causes me to start thinking again. The brief thoughtless states occur in deep meditation, and perhaps it is the elusive Dhyana, and perhaps it is not; I cannot be sure. What I do know is that my senses do not stop; I can still hear and have impressions from the outside world, but perhaps, that, too, will eventually shut down; I am not sure.

Increasingly it’s becoming clear that the Black Fire I’ve so often mentioned is indeed the Shakti, the Kundalini inside of the body. Had I only realized this connection sooner! The connection between Lord Shiva, Christ, and the Earth Father Archetype has also become clear to me.

The internet recently stopped working properly at my house, thus forcing me to write on my computer with no online connection, and to be honest I enjoyed the sense of productivity and actually getting something done. My second novel is almost complete, just in time for me to begin the work on the third and fourth ones. If I have my way, I’ll complete them all by the end of this year.

Meditation has also increased. Guided meditations are helpful because they help me to relax more, and relaxing my body is a crucial for me to meditate since my shoulders always seem to remain tense.

Forgiving myself seems to the name of the game these days. I realize a great deal of the tension that stays in my heart actually originates from my own refusal to forgive myself, even for things long gone into the past that no longer matter whatsoever. Forgiving one’s self seems to be the key to be able to forgive others as well, thus it would be beneficial for me to learn what it means to forgive myself.

Beaux

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Sexuality and Spirituality, a Terrifying Truth

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Within the course of the past several hours, let’s say around the past 16 or so, an increasingly horrific realization came upon me.

The first is that I had a genuine sense of the Grace of God descending yesterday, and I spoke to my friend Drew about it. He seemed unclear about what I meant by the “Grace of God” initially, but when I began to explain it with greater detail and point out that it’s largely a sense of peace and relaxation in the body coupled with a great sense of “good vibes” coming down from somewhere else, he understood what I was talking about.

The experience of the Grace of God is not something we ourselves induce; rather, it comes to us, which is the nature of Grace. This is the aspect of spirituality that’s sometimes hard to understand- we can only go so far by our own efforts, and let’s face it, to an American, that’s horrifying. It’s horrifying to imagine that God will determine for us at any point in time if we go any further down the path to enlightenment.

Perhaps not every system uses the Grace of God in this way, but there seem to be references of these things ultimately just “happening.” We can take the initiative and get the ball rolling, but we can’t complete the journey alone.

But then last night, a new aspect of the experience dawned. In the moments when the Grace of God descends, something else entirely is absent, something I had not realized before- the sex drive.

The more I contemplated it, the more I observed, the more I realized exactly to what degree our sex drives cause problems for us. Though the old saying that men think about sex every so many seconds is by no means true, a huge number of our motivations come down to being about sexuality, even in the sublimated forms of relationships and romance.

Think about it- how much do we do to make ourselves look good…specifically, to be sexually attractive….for other people? How much do we work on our personalities so that we’ll be a good catch for someone else? People can say that they do those things just for themselves, but let’s face it, the whole “let’s be happy with ourselves k thx bai” is actually a response to the need for a relationship, which largely, in our world of whores and instant pornographic gratification, becomes unavailable to us.

I am not suggesting for a minute that one cannot be whole and complete and happy one’s self. This is entirely possible, sure, but the caliber of person to whom these Oprah-like platitudes are catering tend to be the ones who are far away from actually getting to that point.

Moreover, so long as the sex drive exists, there will always be a sense of separation, a sense of loneliness, a sense of “needing” someone or something else.

As to whether or not one will experience the same thing in the absence of the sex drive, I cannot say. I cannot say that the need for companionship or intimacy is all completely abolished at this point, as it may not be, but I can say that the overwhelming degree of peace and goodness that one encounters in its absence is by far superior to the emotional entanglements and dances that we do for sexual and romantic encounters.

Some might accuse me of simply being obsessed with sexuality, and to this I answer that I am only diving into the topic to question it, face it, analyze it. In the absence of the sex drive, one can see the number of things that, under typical circumstances, would cause one to think about or notice something sexual.

To some for whom sexuality is their main pleasure in life, the idea of losing the sex drive is likely a frightening notion, and I am understanding of that. The peace, I have found, is superior.

The question now is how to rid one’s self of the sexuality?

The sex drive also seems intimately tied to the ego and to Self. The quiet and peaceful world that appears in its absence is much more appealing. So my question is: if the sex drive were to disappear, and I don’t mean “recede,” I mean to actually be abolished from the human being, what would happen? What would it be like? How would we live our lives? Anxiety and aggression seem tied into sexuality, too, and I know for sure that in the moments of peace I’m far less aggressive and anxious.

If God were to take my sex drive, would I be completely gone, too? Let’s see what happens.

But at the same time, upon further reflection of this, the question arises as to whether or not it is the absence of the sex drive that is causing the peace, or if the reverse holds true- that is, if the peace comes first and causes the sex drive to go into a virtual non-existence, however temporarily.

This is always something to consider, always something to remember, and always something to bear in mind. Don’t assume you’ve figured everything out, because you may indeed be missing some piece of the puzzle, or you may have the wrong explanation to describe a perfectly factual account.

This peace is well worth it. Whatever happens, it is worth it. But perhaps it works either way- the end of the sex drive creates peace, and peace creates the end of the sex drive.

Maybe here, when I say sex drive, I ultimately am referring to “desire” and “craving” in the same basic sense that Buddha meant. There’s not exactly a lot of certainty here, but if things continue, maybe there will be a more definite explanation of what’s happening.

Also, I’m going to point out that as of late, I’ve been doing a lot more meditation, typically guided meditation and chanting. Chanting is a natural method of transmuting sexual energy, so perhaps my sexual energy is being transmuted. But, so too, I have chanted in the past and not encountered this kind of Grace of God and peace, so I’m not sure if those are related to one another. I’m attempting to be open-minded and making the best attempt to be more objective about this.

Something else to point out- in no way, at any point in time, do I intend to demonize sexuality or advocate celibacy. Please; this is the 21st century, we can move past that mindset and into a greater one of wholeness. But there is something to be said for expressing sexuality in a manner that is beyond mere ego-gratification. For me, sexuality with a companion has been more about a communication, a sharing with that other person, a bonding with them, and not about just feeling good and getting off. That kind of sexuality won’t necessarily cause you to feel irritated, but mere self-gratification will almost necessarily lead to it.

This blog has been rather lengthy, but I hope it’s worked to elucidate people about the nature of sexuality and peacefulness in the mind-body.

Beaux

A Piece of the Puzzle

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It seems to me that every religion and spiritual path through which I’ve journeyed has inevitably carried a clue or piece of the great puzzle to overall life, and it is on this foundation that I see how my life is carried forward in the experience of the Divine.

Fundamentalist Christianity showed me first the dark side of the religion- people could easily be deluded while meaning well, people who were corrupted on one level might well be loving on another level and so on.

Paganism and Wicca showed me the virtue of ritual, symbolism, and a deep, profound love for nature and material reality- that life is something to be celebrated, that there is a cycle to everything, and that when we live in tune with the cycle, we come to a deeper harmony in ourselves. Paganism taught me that the Divine is immanent and not exclusively transcendent, and that we are capable of encountering the Divine within nature and also of using magic, of being able to cause things to happen around us without directly physically touching them with our body.

Hinduism and Buddhism taught me that reality can be broken down into philosophical abstractions, that meditation and concentrating the mind can lead to a deeper clarity of things, that insight can come from a direct experience and not simply from blind belief.

Various schools of philosophy, notably Existentialism, taught me again about the wonder of reality, but from an intellectual angle as opposed to a feeling angle (which is likely more of the Pagan influence.) I have been able to greater accept my own existence, my personality, and a search for a place in the world and how everything fits together in intellectual terms.

Sufism brought back to me the Love of God, the ease and simplicity of spirituality, how things need not be complicated and that an elaborate ritual is not necessary for everything. Sufism brought me to the true art of Zen “being in the moment,” and Sufism taught me to honor Beauty, Love, and Truth as a Holy Trinity.

Finally, Gnosticism and Catholicism have taught me again that the truth of everything can be found in Christianity, in my own backyard, in my own garden, right in front of me. The symbols, memes, and meanings inherent in Christianity that are beyond the grasp of the established orthodoxy are understood by the enlightened man. Everything makes sense now; everything lines up in a way that it did not before.

I do wonder sometimes if I’m forcing a paradigm of reality that isn’t actually real, but here again, that is the difference between the Finger and the Moon at which the Finger points. What many people fail to realize is one still needs the Finger to find the Moon in the first place- I think many people miss that part. There is a time for practices and prayers, and there is a time when they are no longer necessary.

But the question is this: is my consistent pursuit through a specific tradition a force-fitting of reality into a paradigm that isn’t necessary, or is the reflection of an honest and heart-felt seeking? The truth is that sometimes, I simply don’t have the same regards for Christianity. I already understand it all in mystical terms and in archetypal terms, and thus I am likely outside the realm of mainstream Christians; I’m not opposed to that fact, in all reality, I’m not one to want to be lumped in with the nutters of any religion.

I could write more, but I think I have spoken enough for tonight.

Beaux


Memoirs of My Religion III

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During my post-Christian era, the major religions that came to the forefront for me were Wicca and Buddhism. What I liked about them specifically, I’ll try to spell out here, as they were symbolic of the larger struggle that I experience even to this day.

Wicca appealed to me for the sake of power and by virtue that all was related to nature. Allow me to first back up, though, and bring out something else:

When I was in 5th grade, the movie The Craft came out. Magic had always interested me, specifically the kind you see wizards and witches using (I was obsessed with the Wicked Witch of the West as a child), and The Craft, when I finally saw it, brought out a theological point that I didn’t quite understand.

Namely, that theological point occurs when Sarah asks about Manon.

Nancy explains that Manon is like God and the Devil- that it’s everything. It’s the moon, it’s the rocks, it’s the trees. If God and the Devil were playing football, Manon would be the stadium they played on, it would be the Sun that shown down on them.

And provided, this concept of God resonates heavily with the concept of Brahman from the Hindu traditions, and the reality is that it magnifies God to be much larger and more inclusive than the evangelical Christian idea of God. There’s not a lot of room for argument on that.

Thus, Wicca was in. In the more orthodox sense of Wicca (if such a statement can be made), there is actually the worship of a God and a Goddess. They are, however, synonymous with Nature in most cases, and the question of whether they’re actual anthropomorphic spirits, personified energetic currents, archetypes, or symbols is often a moot point in the actual practice of Wicca.

The structure of Wiccan ritual was neatly defined. The theology was laid out, and as far magic and casting spells went, this was largely left up to the practitioner.

There’s an entire blog I’ll have to write about the politics within Wicca and the larger Pagan and Neo-Pagan community, along with the realm of arguing who is and isn’t Wiccan and who is and isn’t a witch.

Naturally, as a teenager outside the mainstream, using the edgier term “witch” was totally in with me. Also, I had a tendency to be drawn more towards spells and spell-books, and naturally I missed the deeper spiritual current that existed in Wicca.

The other majorly influential religion at this time was Buddhism. Buddhism was and is part and parcel of Japanese culture as well as the culture of East Asia in general. Buddhism also afforded me something that seemed more realistic- the concept of Nirvana, a state of being in which one experiences bliss, compassion, and wisdom. The ethical arguments of the Buddhists, the principles of meditation and the rational explanations that were given appealed to my highly skeptical mind.

But Wicca and Buddhism had serious theological conflicts. Now that I look back, I see they are in reality not as conflicted as I thought, and I have managed to gather what the crux of the problem is, glossing over it in other entries.

In the end, it went something like this: I was Buddhist as my religion, but not Wiccan as my religion. I practiced magic, yes, but not in terms of a religious structure.

Around this same time, a former friend, the same one who introduced me to comparative religion and the Astrotheology I had been so avid about a few years before, began to pursue Sufism because of his philosophy teacher.

Sufism, in a nutshell and by most people, would be classified simply as Islamic mysticism. The current of Sufism my friend brought was not quite like that.

Sufism was all about love. Love, Longing, and God. God was everything, and everything was God. The concepts were highly analogous to Buddhism but made use of Western religious words and imagery. The Sufis largely were everything that the fundamentalist Muslims were not- loving, embracing, tolerant, filled with a love for God and all mankind and wanting peace in the world.

The current of Sufism affected me, somehow. I’m still not sure when it took, when it began to happen, but I firmly believe even now that God cried out to me then in a way that I had never heard Him.

Then came the dark era. The same friend introduced me to a website called the Actual Freedom Trust. The AFT claimed to be a new, non-spiritual way to find liberation. Their leader, Richard, claimed to have found a state no one else had ever been in and developed a method to find that state.

Somehow, they really brought me to a point of fear, a point of, “What if when we die, we really do just stop existing?” that caused me to become one of their blind followers. The only solution, if we just die when we die, is to seek out this state Richard’s talking about!

This was my next real experience with cults.

My critical thinking skills were not sharp enough at the time, and inability to question authority except in extreme cases of abuse led me to swallow huge amounts of Actual Freedom “dogma.” Intuitively, I knew something was wrong, though I was unable to articulate exactly what it was about the AFT that bothered me so much.

I fought against their concepts but felt the pressure of the authority prevented me from thinking for myself.

At this time, I declared myself an avowed atheist, I became more arrogant and self-righteous than I had ever been (after all, I suddenly found the “right” religion again), and I was literally more miserable than I had ever been before.

Off and on again there was an internal battle with Actual Freedom, and finally at the beginning of 2006, I managed to completely shirk the 3 year long battle and move on with my life.

One of my first assessments of the AFT prior to my swallowing their dogma was that they were simply parroting mysticism of old, and even though it was repackaged and resold teachings of all the world’s traditions, they acted like they had something new- but it wasn’t. It was simply mysticism put in extremely materialistic terms. Numerous people would say things to get approval, and numerous other people said stupid things to try to explain to the poor idiotic fools who didn’t agree with them just why they were wrong.

Making an open comparison between Actualism and Mysticism was tantamount to heresy and created all kinds of ridicule of just how wrong people were.

Eventually the abuses, the lies, the contradictions, the blatant superiority complex of Richard and his followers, and failure of the method to deliver what it promised it would deliver to me caught up with me, and I rightly left that path.

That brings us almost into the modern era of my spirituality- almost, but not quite, which is to say we probably have two or three more blogs on this subject.

Beaux


Foreshadowing: Basic Info on Craving Aletheia

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As promised, I’ll address the differences between this blog and Holy Poached Eggs.

1. Here, I’ll be dealing with spirituality and mysticism. Likely I’ll cover a huge amount of territory and will not be as coherent or focused as HPE. Religion in general is an enormous topic that cannot be succinctly described and neatly pushed into a specific topic. To the extent that I can, I’ll attempt to give a break-down of things and make short blogs on occasion, but don’t expect that to be the norm.

2. Very likely, my blogs on here will be lengthy and spattered with a greater degree of verbosity than Holy Poached Eggs. In other words, I don’t plan to write simply for the sake of other people’s pleasure; instead, I’ll be writing intense articles that otherwise would stay swinging around in my brain, and I’ll leave the reader to his own discretion of what to think or take away from the conversation.

3. While I have no problem with people commenting or opening a dialog, any kind of argument that is begun that is disrespectful will quickly be reduced to silence. In the domain of my blog, I maintain the autocratic, god-like position to determine who can and cannot speak, and while I encourage differing opinions and varying perspectives that are not necessarily synonymous with my own, outright flaming and idiocy are not only discouraged but prevented.

4. I am passionate, if not outright obsessive, about religion and spirituality, and I choose freely to channel that obsession for the sake of other people along with the sake of sheer expressiveness and creativity. This is a huge component to my personality, so much that I created this new blog for the sake of sharing it.

5. Always read between the lines. In reality, I plan to say more than I actually say, and it’s quite likely that on some level of the Soul, I’ll express things that I didn’t realize I was going to express. Be prepared. Once this unleashed, once the floodgates open, nothing will stop it.

6. I will record and detail things such as dreams and actual mystical experiences I’ve had. Mystical experiences can seem to those who have not had them to be alien and perhaps delusional; without making judgment, I would like to ask everyone to understand that no matter what the reality behind an experience is, the experience still happened nonetheless. Please bear this in mind.

7. If anyone, at any time, needs any clarification about what I mean or the terminology I use (which may be full of jargon or have a specific meaning or background), please, feel free to ask for clarification, as said clarification may lead to writing yet another blog and will further us all.

Beaux