The First Jhana

Leave a comment

Having read the method to attain the first jhana and also the attributes that it includes, I conclude (albeit cautiously) that I have attained the first jhana and even have the ability to sit down and almost immediately go from access concentration to first jhana.

One thing to say is that the first jhana is a beneficial state to achieve for probably just about anyone- it’s pleasurable and relaxing.

More importantly, I should point out that in all my years of spiritually seeking, in all the kinds of practices and meditations I’ve done, this is the first time I’ve ever been to discover WHERE I AM ON A MAP.

Yes, I understand it’s not a good idea to get chained to any particular map, but this is the first time there’s anything I can recognize, and that means I have my prima facie case that Buddhist meditation is worthy of study (here meant as practice).

I’ve never been able to say that before.

I can still maintain an awareness of the Buddha Nature in daily life. Someone pointed out that technically, that’s what Zen meditation’s “mindfulness” is referring to.

So, here we go!

Steve

Advertisements

Buddha Nature

Leave a comment

Since sometime last week, I’ve had the burgeoning sense of what I’ve called the “True Self” or the “Buddha-Nature” appearing.

The sensations are located in the stomach area, around where I might have referred to the “Black Fire” being, but this seems like it’s more than that.

The essential fact that I see about the Buddha Nature (the term I’m using currently) is that it underlies everything in reality; in all my moments of my lifetime, I can see that somewhere, I was aware of it, and it connects everything I’ve ever done.

The most fascinating thing is that it’s untouchable- no horrible thing in this world, no amount of suffering, can touch the purity of the Buddha Nature.

This random discovery and appearance of consistenly experiencing the Buddha Nature led me to start reading Daniel Ingram’s books Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. I’d started it a while back but didn’t get far and decided to give it another go. I’ve started meditating again, though the “Insight” aspect is new to me (but probably not nearly as new I think as it; I have a hunch that I know what is meant by the Insight meditation but haven’t properly identified it in my own experience), and well…things seem to be going forward.

All the things that I’ve found meaningful in life, for instance, the experience around Christmas and such, go back to these things become vehicles, reflections, and manifestations of the Buddha Nature. To wit, so much suddenly makes sense.

This is not something I could’ve claimed before.

Whether or not this will continue, I don’t know; it is interesting to see how Buddhist cosmology and Gnostic cosmology do indeed overlap, down to a mentioning of the Demiurge in one of the books I was reading (though by a different name).

I’m excited and inspired and ready to clear some meditations hurdles.

Steve

Christ as Logical Necessity

Leave a comment

One of my contentions against monotheism and the equation of “Creator as separate and distinct from Creation” is that we end up with this model:

God + 1

The set of [God +1] is larger than [God].

Now, if God is Infinite (or simultaneously the Infinite and the Embodiment of the Infinite), we might say that adding anything to the Infinite still realizes Infinity.

The trouble? The assertion is that we’re adding something that is distinctly not the Infinite to the Infinite; this creates a special category, meaning it has to always be noted and stand distinct from the Infinite.

Christ is the connection, the bridge between the Created and the Uncreated. Christ solves the equation, in other words; by being the means in which the Creation is united to the Uncreated, the equation is no longer [God + 1] > [God], but is now [God+1] = [God +1].

I need to think more deeply into this.

S.

The Smashing of the Pedestals

Leave a comment

In another entry, I think I mentioned how every person I’ve ever idealized or placed upon a pedestal had been knocked down. That process, whatever it may be, is accelerating at this point.

Whatever kind of unconscious pedestal upon which the ego stands seems like it, too, may be cracking and tremblng.

The “smashing of the pedestals” isn’t so much a matter of me thinking myself greater than others; rather, it’s a destruction of the impossible idealization of other people, a self-created illusion of their alleged superiority. This is destroyed, the people’s humanity is revealed to me, but now I’m able to accept that.

My past relationships that failed now seem clear: two people who idealize each other suddenly have their illusions shattered, so the pedestals crash down simultaneously, and everyone is hurt and disappointed.

So the pain of past break-ups has ultimately been more about losing that idealized version of the person and not about losing the person in question- the illusion couldn’t be sustained.

The past couple of days, I’ve had a migraine. I offered the pain to “mystical unite” with Christ. It’s the most I could do. Yes, I was still uncomfortable and wanted out of the pain, but I think that helped somewhere.

I’ve been profoundly aware of the divine the past two days; the awareness of the Divine is that sense of connection with the particular season. I can definitely expeience “autumn” internally at this point; I’m not completely separate from the rest of Creation, as it were.

More than this, today the reality of “Impermanence” also descended upon me. Attachment to the particular forms of things will always cause us pain because these things, by their nature, change. Nostalgia isn’t bad, necessarily; one can fondly recall the past and good experiences thereof, but there is an element of illusion there as well as the experience in the moment is likely not nearly as grand as one recalls it.

But the point is, God alone is the center of all things where there is PERMANENCE; all the forms of this world, all the movements, all the energy and actions, are destined to collapse and pass away by the nature impermanence. The sooner this is understood on the level of the Soul, the  sooner this is accepted, the easier things become.

This also brings a different enjoyment- Impermanence means that “all things are made new” in each moment. Yes, things change, but that changes promises something NEW.

The trouble for many people, including myself, is that we’re caught in the world of understanding Impermanence but not being completely united with the Permanent; and this is terrifying.

I’m continuing to pray the Spiritual Act of Communion along with several Marian prayers when I’m up to it.  Praying the rosary as the hurricane began to arrive was definitely a powerful experience. I can only pray now that a church where I can properly receive the Holy Eucharist will appear near me.

S.

Thoughts on the Real Christ, Continued

Leave a comment

First, one must always recall that Bernadette Roberts is one of the main reasons I returned to Christianity in any capacity. Specifically her Eucharistic theology is what causes me to hold fast to Christ- indeed, there is nothing like the Holy Eucharist the world over.

I will have to offer some points of thought from my point of view here as well, but then what else could I offer?

Bernadette defines Christ in a specific way; other people use the word differently. For instance, we Gnostics would tend to refer to the Eternal, pre-existent Logos as the Aeon Christ.

Curiously, the modern Gnostics tend to hold a view that’s virtually identical to Bernadette’s own regarding the man Jesus and the Logos, though the word “Christ” comes into play here as well. So, too, would the Gnostics be in line with Bernadette’s Eucharistic theology (the Holy Eucharist is the Glorified, Spiritual Body of the Risen Christ, not the literal flesh and blood of the man Jesus of Nazareth- an enormous difference, and a huge reason to use the full phrase “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”)

So, let’s establish some things here on my end.

First, I’m not overly concerned with attempting to maintain “strict monotheism” or to avoid “tri-theism” or “polytheism” or “anthropolatry.” To be perfectly honest, there are various theological ways of looking at things that make all of these perfectly valid and subsumed into one another.

Second, I tend to fall along the line of Monism. Bernadette mentions this briefly but doesn’t detail it the way she does tri-theism and anthropolatry.

In fact, mainstream Christianity would make more sense if it had simply admitted it was tri-theistic or that it was practicing anthropolatry instead of doing the bizarre song and dance of theology regarding the Holy Trinity.

I’m not here to deny the Holy Trinity, only here to say that, at least from the Gnostic point of view, it’s virtually unnecessary to conceive of God in this way.

Bernadette did, amazingly enough, really highlight the virtue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and my devotion to Our Lady has grown immense, but the reality here is that the Gnostics see the Virgin Mary as the icon of Sophia in the way that Jesus is the icon of the Logos!

So you see, it’s all coming together, full circle, in a way I never imagined. The Blessed Virgin Mary is easy for me to have devotion to; I’m eager to pray the rosary, I’m eager to say Litanies to her. Am I falling into Mariolatry? Perhaps, but I also don’t care about maintaining “party lines” as Bernadette calls them.

Yes, yes, I’m stumbling toward God as ever. I have half a mind to one day write a book entitled, “How I Fell Up the Stairs to Enlightenment: Memoirs of a Christian Mystic.”

The experience of the Silence has happened a few more times, notably on Labor Day, as I rode with my husband and my stepson to see my in-laws. The ego dissolved somewhat, and I had a great sense of peace and almost of floating.

More recently, I was riding to a wedding and praying a sort of “mini” version of the rosary, and my heart opened to the Blessed Mother and God and I felt very in tune with and very in line with Nature- I could sense the connection, the “vitality” of the world around me and myself.

Suffice it to say that it seems like I’m on the correct path! Glory be to God.

Steve

Descent of Silence

Leave a comment

My current spiritual practice is praying the Spiritual Communion on the daily.

The other day, of course, with the rekindled fervor for the Blessed Virgin Mary (thanks to Bernadette Roberts), I prayed the rosary- something I used to do frequently but haven’t done as much in recent years.

(To explain: I used to drive quite a bit. My school was a good half-hour away, and virtually all of my friends lived at least 15 minutes from me, and so driving was the perfect time to pray the rosary. Perhaps not the most reflective time, but lovely nonetheless.)

Let me tell you, whatever happened when I prayed the rosary, I unleashed something in the realm of the Unseen because I then grabbled with immense stomach pains for three days followed by the Silence appearing.

The Silence is the stillness of the mind one finds in deep meditation/contemplation- no words, no feelings, just perpetual awareness.

Now, this was remarkable because it descended upon me and was effortless, and even when thoughts and feelings arose, they arose around the Silence, and if I turned my attention to the Silence, I could return to it, and…this is the first time this has happened to me…I could put the emotions in the Silence, and the emotions would be over.

I knocked something off the shelf in my bathroom, and of course I thought I would wake my husband who was in the next room, and then I turned to the Silence immediately and the irritation and frustration suddenly vanished- emotions have never been like that for me. They’ve ever had to run their course.

The Silence doesn’t remain, necessarily- it comes and goes, and I go back into being my “normal” self, but this is probably the next “step” on the journey- I have to go into the Silence and through it.

Also noteworthy is that the Silence is almost oppressive, almost like something pushing on and numbing my brain. I have to make certain to relax my neck while it’s going on because I tense up in trying to receive the experience.

Steve

12 Days Later and The Real Christ

1 Comment

At some point in time, after I had the experience of God (the one mentioned in the previous entry), I found myself researching Bernadette Roberts yet again.

Turns out, her book The Real Christ was now available for purchase through an actual publishing house and was on Amazon.com!

The price is steep- close to $50, but it was a worthy purchase.

Well, I obtained the book after a few days, and let me tell you, this is the most hardcore thing Bernadette has written yet.

In some ways, I think it would take a stronger background in reading the Church Fathers to grasp what she’s saying.  But the most important thing to note is that Bernadette is speaking from her experience- her direct, mystical journey. EVERYTHING she says is in that context.

I found a forum where people were pretty keen on bashing her due to their clinging to old dogmas and doctrines and criticizing Bernadette for putting her authority of experience over the authority of the Church. Well, what do you expect? Do I go with what’s actually happening to me, or do I adhere to believing what a bunch of people who didn’t have the experience tried to formulate through sheer reasoning with virtually nothing to back it up?

The two can go together- Father Troy Pierce once said that our gnosis can be verified through epistemis. And that seems largely to be what Bernadette has done- she’s made her journey, and she’s verified it through research into the Church’s teachings and writings.

The most bizarre thing about that forum is how so many of them hadn’t read the book, and how Bernadette had answered almost all their complaints.

The experience I’ve had as a Gnostic is this: most people are more willing to cling to the superficial narrative and imagery rather to understand those as symbolic of something deeper and more profound.

Moreover, Bernadette has a central point of saying that Christianity is about the Living God, the Living Experience of God (my phrasing, not hers), and it isn’t about the Dead Letter of the Bible. She speaks of how Catholics derive their authority from the Holy Eucharist, and how Protestants (generally speaking) do not- they’ve clung only to the Bible.

So, too, (most) Gnostics would claim that our authority and power is derived from and celebrated in the Holy Eucharist- that the Holy Eucharist is the experience of gnosis, albeit perhaps more like a glimpse rather than a complete and radical change.

Bernadette says so many amazing things that overlap with the Gnostic worldview that it’s almost shocking but definitely feels like it jusifies my own path in some way.

That’s all for now.

S.

Older Entries Newer Entries