Actual Freedom Revisited and More Things

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Just some notes to bring people up to speed. 

I’ve revisited the whole Actual Freedom site and the whole concept with a “fresh” eye, as it were. I’m not entirely sure why I returned there, but it was perhaps maybe to face the fear that I felt with regard to the whole thing and the sense of “extreme” materialism I found there.

HOWEVER…

I will say that at this age, I can look at things with a more critical eye and can make my own decisions for myself. What I can also say is that I’m working on a kind of overall articulation of the problems I find with how the system is presented and the grandiose claims that Richard makes as being the absolute, 100% first person to come upon what he terms “actual freedom.”

Okay. So I don’t buy that claim, but whatever- whether or not he’s the first person is entirely beside the point

Here is a point that is undeniable and evident and highly important- Richard is the first and only person according to what I know to advocate that the path itself to liberation from suffering is feeling good itself. 

Stated another way, most religions, spiritualities, traditions, and so on advocate instead for other methods, including various kinds of suffering, but none that I know of advocate that you should start off by doing things you like and trying to get into a good mood and trying to make sure you stay in a mood for most (and eventually, in theory, all) of the time. 

This brings me to one part of my “overall criticism” of the AF website- I don’t know if it’s a fault in my own reading comprehension or the fault of other people or actually a poor organization of the AFT, but it definitely took me a while to figure out that the path IS feeling good, followed by careful consideration of one’s social identity that works against feeling good and so on.

For a long time, I had this weird impression that Actual Freedom was about drowning out the emotions with the senses- which seemed stupid. Well, no; it is IS stupid. And I also had the impression that it was about trying to get people not to feel anything- about eliminating those dog-goned “passions” that were the source of the “emotions” that cause ALL the ills of humanity and so on.

But it’s also not about that. 

Instead, and Richard clarifies this in places, he advocates the elimination of Being- the sense of self and so on- which is the source of the feelings and such, and he clarifies elsewhere that a person who tries to “not feel” will go psychotic, end of story.

Final note before I go: last night, I had an experience of Jesus. He was physically larger than I, and we were standing on the beach. (I should note my family and I were out at the beach yesterday.) I didn’t feel immense waves of love or compassion or anything, only infinity there with Jesus- and He said nothing, just stared over the ocean.

I take that experience to mean something mystically and so on instead of just chalking it up to a “dream” or “delusion” or whatever other label the Actual Freedom Trust might throw on it. More later.

Steve

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Common Tongues

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Naturally, so many people are ultimately saying the same thing, and the people who don’t see the commonalities fall into the categories of simply not grasping the similarities or into the category of being willful idiots that attempt to make themselves superior by whatever standard.

Thus, I should point out that Husserl’s concept of “bracketing” is what I’ve meant by saying “matrixing” for a while now. To behold an object without any presupposition as to what the object’s purpose is, to see it from a particular vantage point and to touch it and to take it in, to drink in its essential essence, is what I mean, and this also seems to overlap with Husserl’s idea.

Thereto in addition, this flows into Zen and mindfulness. I can see how it all interrelates, and I can see that this is a LARGE part of the Actual Freedom Trust’s method of interacting with the world in terms of one’s sensate experiences.

Just some late night thoughts.

The Black Fire is burning tonight.

Beaux


Memoirs of My Religion IV

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After the terrible experiences with the Actual Freedom Trust and the struggle of my young mind to once again learn how to think for itself, I floated through the ether of world religions for a while. I knew I needed a spiritual path to walk, that I needed something that could give an expression to what I experienced within myself, but it was increasingly difficult to trust any system.

One thing I noticed is that for a long time, religious experience had, for me, been all about swallowing certain beliefs and never taking any kind of action. I came to dub this process “the measuring of spaghetti” and will blog on it later.

One of my former friends made a statement that I considered: it would be better to follow a path that is from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic world view than it would be to go with something foreign like Buddhism.

But the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions remained quite repugnant to me in many regards: it spoke of the idiocy and fundamentalism of my childhood, of the constant wars in the Middle East, of the atrocities committed by the leaders of these religions in the past.

Around the Autumn of 2007, I had a series of epiphanies. The first I remember happened while I was driving home one night.

While on Fortner Street, I remembered the love of Jesus in my heart. I remembered the depth of the love, and initially, I tried to fight the experience- then I realized I had to go through it, that I couldn’t just ignore what I was being told.

And it was true, a large part of my experience in being Christian when I was younger was simply in the desire to help other people- the overwhelming compassion that I felt for humanity due to Christ’s presence in my heart.

That night, or a night not long after, I had another epiphany as I was falling asleep. I realized that the Wiccan God was indicative of Nature and the Seasons, much in the same way as the Dying and Resurrecting Savior Jesus Christ indicated the Sun, Nature, and the Four Seasons (the Four Points of the Cross and the Sol Invictus, you see). They were one and the same Archetype within me- God truly was ONE!

That night, I had a dream that the Earth itself was Christ. I remember being in an airplane, and seeing a bright lava running over the face of the Earth- only to realize it wasn’t lava, it was blood, and upon landing, we saw these strange bubble-fruits that were like blood cells. This was the blood of Christ.

So I began looking into Christian Mysticism, starting with Bernadette Roberts, who was the first Catholic Mystic of whom I could think.

Needless to say, if you read anything by Bernadette Roberts, she’s REALLY a mystic- saying all kinds of things about Reality that are so far out of bounds from what Catholicism seems to normally teach that she would likely be declared a heretic if she ever reached a high level of popularity. But she has a strange balance between Orthodoxy and her Extreme Mysticism, which is very confusing.

Next, of course, came Gnosticism. This was before I realized that Gnosticism wasn’t a coherent, singular movement, and the first group I came upon was actually kind of, well, homophobic and seemed lumped in with the “sex is bad” Gnostics. Later on, I came to realize this group wasn’t related to Gnosticism as it relates to Christianity, and therefore I had no business messing with them in the first place.

Then I happened upon the Ecclesia Gnostica, which translates to Gnostic Church. I read an article by the +Bishop Stephan Hoeller called “The Gnosis of the Eucharist,” which can be found below.

The Gnosis of the Eucharist

I recalled in one of my history classes my teacher had been an Episcopalian, and she had explained that Roman Catholics and Episcopalians go to church to take Communion- that this is reason they attend church, as opposed to the Protestants going to “hear preaching.”

So, everything suddenly fit in my mind. Something snapped. The Holy Eucharist made sense to me- going to take God in the Eucharist was something that made sense on a level that my mind couldn’t fully reach (and still can’t.)

This was the active component that I had been searching for- I had all the theory of Christianity, or at least the gist of it, and now I knew what I had to do, what was going to be done.

I voraciously began to consume all material I could on Gnosticism, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and the Eastern Orthodox churches. I romanced Christianity and had many dreams about taking Communion. I searched for a rosary, I romanced the liturgical year, I watched Mass on EWTN.

Thus began the modern “era” or “chapter” of my religion and its experiences. There are, however, a few more bumpy aspects to it, as we shall see.

Beaux