Order of the Mystic

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The order of the mystic is to relentlessly stoke the sacred flame the burns and consumes all within himself.

Whatever it takes, stoke the flame.

The Black Fire in me rages most profoundly and most freely when I am absorbed in music.

Meditation augments this heavily.

Meditating while listening to music takes me to emotional depths.

But is this profundity really transformative?

I can see the Great Void, endless throughout the worlds, throughout the universe and beyond.

By see, I mean “perceive.”

And the Black Fire raging inside of me perceives the Great Void and is leaping and crackling toward the Great and Consuming Brilliant Darkness.

Have I been taken to this new depths unaware?

I am plunging unconsciously into a new realm, only to later be alerted on this level?

What the hell is happening?

Where is my teacher?

Where is my group, my church, my ecclesia?

Have I so much pride that I’ve repelled all these things?

Return of Meaning

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For a while, life had become meaningless. What I mean to say is that a severe disconnected had erupted between me and the world around me, in the experiencing of holidays and outings and the passing of the seasons. I couldn’t enjoy life and all that life offers because I wasn’t meditating.

Of course, by meditation, I mean contemplative prayer, but that should be known by now.

So it’s strange, but the further outside of myself I tried to reach, the greater came the disconnect; my own external strivings meant little.

But surrender to the living God, that God Who is Life Itself, and lo and behold, suddenly all the meaning is poured back into my world and my life.

So now I know I can never live a life apart from God. The challenge is the same, of course, at this point- bringing that knowledge and experience of the Living God into the mundane, everyday things that most of us would rather eschew. Where can God be found in the washing of laundry and dishes and sweeping of floors?

Yet we can’t waste any moments; a general sweetness of the Presence and Knowledge of God in life is, in many ways, “good enough.” God calls us to our full potential, though, so “good enough” isn’t what we can really do.

If we are to bring about peace in this world, if we are stop wars, rapes, and all the atrocities caused by the dark side of human nature, then we must have this infinite sweetness in all moments, every one of us, regardless of our station in life.

Because nothing else really matters- the healing of the world must take place now, and it must start with the broken human soul. Once the human soul begins to heal, then the healing can move out from that person and spread.

I should also note that recently, I’ve returned to reading The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. And my soul shakes and quakes when I read some of the things he wrote. At some points, of course, I wonder if he’s made strange leaps in reason and not realized it, and I do consider that the book was written well after his conversion, so he writes in terms of hindsight.

But rarely have I read someone’s words and felt myself so drawn to the truth that is driving the person to write in the first place. And this is coming from someone who’s read Irina Tweedie’s Daughter of Fire twice and started it for a third time.

That isn’t to suggest that I doubt Ms. Tweedie’s experiences or any other such nonsensical conclusion that might be drawn- it’s rather to say that in spite of all the wonderful things she wrote, my own spirit didn’t react this way while reading her diary.

Yes, I feel that I am at the door of a mystery, a mystery involving the God-Man Jesus Christ, though I can’t solve the Mystery alone; God must reveal it. Perhaps I’m enduring in order that my finite mind can contain the explosive Truth that will be revealed; I cannot be certain at the moment.

I am becoming more certain that in the Mass, we are offered to God as part of the sacrifice; we offer ourselves, and in receiving the Holy Eucharist, we are offered up with Christ. Confirmation and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit plays into this, I think, but again, exactly how it works isn’t clear in my mind. Saying the Holy Spirit takes on the role as priest would seem to remove Christ as the priest, yet Christ is the Sacrifice; so the Eternal Sacrifice is also the Eternal High Priest, all made manifest by the Holy Spirit.

But these are only words of the Christian tradition that can’t convey the true and palpable sweetness of the Black Fire blazing within.

Stevo

The Unitive State: An Experiential, First-Hand Account

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First, it would be ill-advised for us to go into the subtle metaphysical arguments of this matter, mostly with regards to how something like a no-ego state can even begin to have a “first-hand” account, as what is meant by the “no-ego” state is essentially a sudden lack or existence of subjectivity.

Otherwise, I would say to my readers, and especially to my brother-in-spiritual, a Red State Mystic, prepare yourself.

The second thing I want to establish is that, because of all the horrible things that has happened because of religion and because of religious authority’s abuse especially, I fully understand why so many people become skeptical and dismiss religion and most of all, I personally have understood and stated forthrightly in this blog my own dismissal of labeling myself as Christian- several self-identified Christians in the past have much to answer for, no matter their Church or denomination.

But this entry isn’t about defending or attacking Christianity, either. Rather, this is to comment further on what I’ve encountered and on what may well be the dawning of the Unitive State.

In the Autumn of 2007, I took it upon myself to become serious about my spiritual search. Everything that I have studied since then has almost exclusively fallen within the range of Gnosticism, Christianity, and Sufism. An underlying and connecting philosophy among these system is Neo-Platonism, though that’s again oversimplifying matters.

This is also when the experiences began starting- various kinds of insights about Christ, as it were, and of course, all kinds of experiences that way outside of any of the above mentioned systems.

Notwithstanding, eventually I came to identify what I call the Black Fire with my being Christian and with Christ. But more to the point, the Black Fire has two modes- one mode which is within, or immanent, and one mode which is without, or transcendent. The most intense moments are when this Black Fire is felt both within me and in the world around me, and this happens most especially at night when I’m driving alone but not exclusively so.

Even more recently, though, I came to realize the very real and tremendous reality of the Void that may be called Christ, something I’ve mentioned recently here. The Void seems to have been looming, moving closer and closer to me, and I’ve been forcing myself to do psychological work- facing various pains and confusions within myself, along with very real moral problems and conflicting impulses that make me a rather neurotic person on the whole.

Last night, something- and I’m not exactly sure what- happened. Something gave way within me.

Remember how I mentioned Christ as being the Earth Father Archetype? I felt the Void coming from both below and above me, moving into itself through me, uniting around my stomach area and moving even further than that- from Void to Void, from above to below and below to above.

What I came to see is exactly how deep the soul is, to put it poetically; I came to see the vast Nothingness that spreads out beyond our regular conscious mind, and it’s truly outstanding and amazing to see that absolute stillness within.

And from that point, I watched as various emotions would arise inside of me, and, as my friend Drew who is certainly in the unitive state said, be then reduced back into energy within the mystical sea.

This is identical to what Bernadette Roberts speaks of- the whole process of emotions arising and then going down the “drain” of God. Nothing sticks to one at this point- you still get angry, you still feel fear or jealousy or something from time to time, but it will fade just as quickly back into the Void.

So the realization also came to be something that has not been well-mentioned in Christianity. Christ doesn’t just live “in” our hearts. Christ is our heart. This is a mystery and difficult to explain. More to the point, I understand now what the Sufis mean about taking one step towards God, and he takes 10 steps towards us- this experience, this encounter, is more the process of God’s Grace, sheer and perfect and absolute, God’s Infinite Mercy, than my own efforts.

Lyrics from Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”

Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there
Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery

Just like a dream, you are not what you seem
Just like a prayer, no choice, your voice can take me there

I’ve listened to this song repeatedly recently. The lines in particular standing out to me are, “Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery.” This certainly describes Christ, but more importantly, this describes God’s view of us. And my favorite line of all, “Just like a dream, you are not what you seem.” This certainly rings true of my ultimate relationship to Christ or the Void.

Now, some might ask why I’m attempting to label the Void as “Christ” and not some other deity, or why I’m making this identification. I found quickly last night that if I didn’t use some kind of word to describe it, that I couldn’t process it mentally; and this must certainly be what the Sufis mean by the necessity of a “container” for the energy, because otherwise it’s helter-skelter. So, too, this is where the importance of the Holy Eucharist comes in for Christians, as the whole process of communion gives a substantial form by which we can understand and commune with Christ.

But further than that, from the union of the soul with Christ, I saw something even more important: “Just like a dream, you are not what you seem” refers also to humans. We are not what we seem and never have been so.

Red State Mystic, if you’re reading this- I can’t begin to explain the implications I have seen, but this must certainly have to do with the Fall of Mankind. The ultimate implication is that in the so-called Fall of Mankind, we began to see ourselves as we are not- this is the ultimate trick of Satan, as it were, though I have no idea how Satan fits into all this symbolically or mythologically, unless he represents our animal drives, and even then, I think that’s not quite correct.

So Christ’s coming then reveals not only the nature of the Divine but also the true nature of mankind. If one could see humanity from the standpoint of God, one would understand that as much as God is man’s mystery, MAN is GOD’S MYSTERY.

So, too, we must also see that while in the Holy Eucharist we apparently receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, in the same way, Christ receives our Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Here’s to the further mysteries and revelations about God.

For me to not be Christian, I sure am a good poster-child, don’t you think? Hah!

Last night also saw a few strange psychic events. I dreamt that my friend Rheana called me and talked to me. When I awoke, five minutes into being awake, I received a text message from her. Otherwise, I didn’t sleep well- this state continued heavily until about three in the afternoon or so and has tapered off a bit but hasn’t completely gone. The emotions don’t seem to be “going down the drain” as easily at this point, but there’s definitely some kind of huge dent in the ego, and it won’t be long before it’s swallowed up whole, I bet! YAY!

Beaux


Numinous Christ, or the Noumen of the Holy Eucharist

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Immanuel Kant proposed the notion that we have both the phenomenal world which can be apprehended to the senses and the noumenal world that cannot be apprehended by the senses. Before taking this into the realm of metaphysics, I think we should focus on the fact that he probably meant that we simply don’t experience reality as reality is- we experience reality as our bodies tell us reality is.

But that doesn’t mean that the notion of metaphysics can’t somehow fit into this.

My realization is that the noumenal reality- or better yet, shall we say, the Noumen- the stark void is-ness of things, what I’ve termed “black fire” at times- is precisely what I’ve come to identify with in terms of Christ.

What I mean to say is that Jesus Christ gives us both levels of reality, the phenomenal and the noumenal. The historical man Jesus is the phenomenal reality- the flesh and bones that made up his body. The Christ is the noumenal reality- the Logos- the unseen reality that we can’t possible begin to grasp with our bodies.

So it goes with the Holy Eucharist, and Bernadette Roberts says as much. The Holy Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ- yet we see no body and we see no blood. This has been explained in terms of Aristotelian philosophy that I’m not going to go into now. The Holy Eucharist remains bread and wine phenomenally, but noumenally– the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ has appeared. The phenomenal, then, is a veil over the noumenal.

The question that’s on my mind, and likely the minds of everyone else, is why I would identify the overwhelming experience of the Noumen with Christ in the first place, and this is a confusing thing to me as well, as, quite frankly, that seems almost superfluous. I can experience the Noumenal reality and imagine most people do or have without necessarily identifying it with Christ.

But what I can say is this: the Noumen is real, more real than the vast majority of the life I’ve lived. Perhaps the Christian imagery is simply the major way in which I can interpret the Noumen- otherwise, I’m left with a kind of vast Void that cannot be translated to other people. I can write blog after blog about the Noumen, about the black fire, but who will understand? Maybe this is the kind of frustration that Jesus faced in trying to explain things to the Apostles.

Another point is that the actual revelation here is something that my liberal tendencies don’t want to accept- that there is actual and substantial connection between the Noumen and Christianity. That’s pretty terrifying, as it sets me up in a position that Christianity is no longer a religion among religions but becomes more absolute.

But Christianity is certainly not perfect, and though it may point to the Truth, to the Noumen of Christ, it is not the Noumen that is Christ in and of itself, and I’ll always be aware of this.

WHY CAN’T A GNOSTIC CHURCH OPEN DOWN THE STREET? OR AT LEAST A LIBERAL ANGLO-CATHOLIC CHURCH, YEESH!

Okay, done ranting.

Beaux


Processing, Translation, and Explanation: An Ordeal, and More on Christ

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First, I’ll initiate this blog by saying that translating one’s experiences can often be difficult, because we all come into a situation of communication with presuppositions and sometimes think that others have at least a basic grasp on the things we’re discussing when often they do not. So, I first want to welcome each and every one of my readers here to ask questions, to send me messages, to speak to me, here, on Facebook, on IM, or whatever means, if there’s something I say in particular that needs clarification or doesn’t make total sense.

Second, I want to explain that I am not an enlightened person. Stumbling up the mountain of enlightenment may indeed be a good metaphor for what I’m going through, but I am by no means a guru, a teacher, a swami, or someone who can teach anyone else. While the Sufis are adamant and wise to suggest that all we need to arrive on the Other Shore is someone who walks but a single step ahead of us, I would daresay the person walking behind me might find themselves tripping over me and smashing their nose into the ground as I became distracted by a butterfly or an apple or something seemingly innocuous.

Recently, I’ve had an increase of psychological healing. But as I’ve known for a while and as a few good teachers can point out, the healing of the individual traumas and integration of the Shadow in the psyche is not synonymous with enlightenment. A sign of maturation, yes, but a dissolution of the ego and eventually the entire Self, no.

So, as a disclaimer of sorts, I want to make everyone who reads my blog understand that I’m doing this as a first-hand account of what I personally have experienced and still encounter, a sort of real-time record of the journey and the trials and struggles that I face on it. Most accounts of the journey appear to be written from a retrospective standpoint, and thus we only hear about when expectations have been defied from that reference point. Here, I can clearly state expectations and projections and then test how they play out.

In my last blog, I mentioned a few things about Bernadette Roberts and not having a clear “system” of what to do. Now, I’ll give a further critique of Christianity and try to explain why the system appears difficult.

Christianity is, in my opinion, a difficult and cumbersome system, and I don’t mean to convey this in the same sense that a typical Evangelical would mean it: “Of course it’s difficult, it’s the TRUTH! Of course it isn’t easy to be a Christian!” This amounts to simply being, “We’re right, and so any adversity we face necessarily is proof that we’re right.”

What I mean to convey is that Christianity doesn’t tell us what to do, and when it does, the doing is in terms of ritual and has little to no direct psychological work. (I’ll address the role of the Mass and of the Sacraments momentarily, but let’s keep going where we are.) Christ says to love our enemies. Okay, but how does one do that when one naturally reacts with fear, anger, distrust, and yes, even hatred of one’s enemies? How does one simply stop hating?

So the equivalent of telling someone to love their enemies without explaining how to do deal with the hate first is of telling a child to go bake a cake for his grandparents without the child knowing how to cook. The child can certainly identify a cake, knows what a cake tastes like- much as the Christian knows what love feels like- but the child isn’t given the tools or the instructions that break the cake down into something he can create, and even then, he needs help from a parent most of the time to learn how to do this in the first place.

The most we’re offered is that we should simply resist the flesh, but herein lies the problem: when the “flesh” becomes intoxicated with its own desire, resisting that desire is not only difficult, it’s almost impossible. From what I have personally observed, one cannot “resist” the flesh; one must simply ride out the emotion or distract one’s self, as a one-to-one battle with the instincts will certainly lose and one will give in. There are no tools that are given, no instructions that are given.

Ideally, and I say ideally for a reason, we’re to love God so much that our love for him simply exceeds the passions of the flesh, minimizing our ability and tendency to sin. But this works largely only in hypothesis and is rarely, if ever, carried out in the world around us. The majority of people don’t do bad things or “sin” because they’re afraid of temporal and eternal consequences or, on the flip side, are greedy for temporal and eternal rewards. Rarely have I seen Christians being ultimately motivated by love, but I have seen it, so I know it happens; mostly, Christians seem motivated by greed and fear, which is to say, greed for heaven and fear of hell. Rarely does a Christian seek God for God’s sake. Perhaps this can just as easily be said of any other religion, and I’m not going to contest that here.

But let’s not throw the baby out with the baptismal water. Andy of a Red State Mystic makes an extremely good point in one of his responses to a comment: the beauty and holiness of the Christian liturgy will, in and of itself, eventually transform the individual. In many ways, there is a parallel here to Sufism, as it speaks of God transforming one and not the other way around. Thus, one’s ego does not have a hand in the transformative process and cannot upset it. The mysticism of Christianity is found largely in the Holy Eucharist. Simply go and partake of the Holy Eucharist, and the Great Work is done within you- Christ freely offers himself.

So the Christian mystical transformation may well begin on the unconscious level, comparable to that of the (Golden) Sufis. In theory, the transformation simply happens on its own accord, and one day you awaken enlightened. The difficulty then is the steadfastness and patience required to wait for the transformation to take place, and that is where I find myself: questioning, wondering if there’s anything happening at all. Where are the synchronicities? Where are the signs? Where is the Face of God? Moreover, the Earth has come to a crisis point with itself: there isn’t time for me (or anyone) to wait for a 30-year-process to transform us. But there also isn’t time to waste just thinking something’s happening on the unconscious level if there’s not a true restructuring taking place.

I can daresay most modern Americans cannot fathom the idea of receiving the Holy Eucharist as being a transformative process, but there’s a great deal of theory and explanation behind why it is a transformative experience. I am not concerned with a salvation in the afterlife; I am not concerned with what happens when we die so much as I am concerned with living out the divine destiny in this world, to ultimately alleviate the suffering that we as humans encounter.

As most of my readers know, earlier this year, I gave up Christianity for the third time in my life. I spoke to a friend the other night who asked if it was Christianity that had abandoned me or Christians. To add to this, he may as well have asked if Christ had abandoned me.

Frankly put, I don’t think most Christians understand their tradition. To put this into words is difficult, and certainly I’m not the first person to come along and claim that the majority of a people in a religion don’t understand their religion and what’s really being said or what’s really going on. There is a useful Christian expression about making God in one’s image, but typically this is used by a particular denomination to refer to a contradiction of the authoritative image of God in that denomination; making God in one’s image means not following the Jewish image of God according to Genesis or the early Christian image of God according to the Greeks and Romans or some other such ilk. In essence, one is redefining the definition of “God” according to that denomination.

But herein lies the exact problem: God ultimately transcends and outright explodes any system that attempts to quantify him (or it.) God exists above and beyond the images we make of him, and this, perhaps, is why the Jews prohibited idols and initially a Temple: ultimately, God could not be contained in one particular form or image. So any ideas and formulations and opinions about God we have ultimately are blown apart by the sheer enormity of God.

It’s also no secret that if one reads the Old Testament, the God presented there is not much better than the the pagan deities who demand blood sacrifices and are violent and so forth; Jehovah doesn’t come off as being any holier or better than Zeus or Thor or any other deity of the ancient world. Theologically, the only difference is that Jehovah doesn’t have anyone with whom to compete.

It’s also no secret that, despite what many evangelical Christians now think, the early Christians didn’t regard the Old Testament as that big of a deal, which is to say that the image of God being so human-like was ridiculed and used as one of the major reasons why the Jews “got it wrong.” God the Father in the New Testament is extremely lofty and transcendent, loving, holy, ethereal, beyond our comprehension and senses as opposed to the smite ’em up Jehovah of the Old Testament.

Catholic Christianity has dealt with this with mediocre success. Conservative Protestant Christianity will likely wrestle with it until the day they die. The Gnostics did the best job, though: the Old Testament deity simply isn’t the same as God the Father, but a kind of imposter an inferior God. Christ comes to liberate us and reveal the True God.

Protestant Christianity, when not devolving into complete “modern worship” ilk, simply exists as a kind of reformed and continuous Judaism. Judaism is the real mystery, and Jehovah is their God; humanity screws up, so Jesus is sent to complete the mystery of Judaism. Thus, Judaism is the essentially puzzle of Christianity, and Jesus Christ is the missing piece to the puzzle. You now have the whole picture; nothing is left out once Jesus comes as the Christ.

But Catholic Christianity has more to wrestle with. There is a greater depth of mysticism and practice; the Mystery of Christ and the Gospel certainly almost completely usurp the place of the Jewish tradition, while still maintaining many aspects of it such as the structure of the Temple, the Tabernacle, the use of incense and candles, and the Priesthood. The vibe of Catholicism being different from Protestantism cannot be chalked up to being simply because of early “pagan” influences of Christianity. Rather, Catholicism relates to Judaism in the exact opposite way that Protestantism does: Catholicism sees CHRIST as the TRUE MYSTERY of God and Reality, and Christ was ultimately intended to be the TRUE MYSTERY the entire time; what we see then is that Judaism’s role in Christianity is almost incidental! Referring back to the image of the puzzle, instead of the puzzle being complete except for one piece, Christ reveals that Judaism is only a small fraction of the real puzzle, only a small hint at the true tremendous reality of God and reality.

Now, a word about Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church.

A Red State Mystic is by no means a closet Episcopalian or mystic. He certainly has been granted the gift of Faith which I have not been, and he’s much more comfortable in the world of Christian orthodoxy than I am. So much the better, as he can communicate with more orthodox minded Christians what his experiences and encounters with God are in a language they will understand. He, too, has run into the same problem I formerly ran into with the “label game.” Anglicanism is a broad term. One Episcopal Church may be “I can’t believe it’s not Catholic” whereas another may be “I can’t believe it’s not Methodist.” There is no set standard or rule for it. To clarify where Andy’s sentiments (and mine) have lain, he has used the word “Anglo-Catholic” in the past but recently wrote this blog entry discussing why the term “Anglo-Catholic” may be unsuitable at this point. His assertions are incredibly fair and accurate when compared against my own experiences.

I cannot, at this point, properly term myself “Christian.” I have too many issues with Christianity, I have too many bad memories of it, too many negative encounters, and too many attempts at forcing the “Christian worldview” onto the world as I actually experience it. In some technical way, or, in some mystical way of which I am not yet aware, I may indeed be Christian whether or not I would like to admit it. But if I were going to participate in Christianity, I would do so at the Episcopal Church, which is to where many dreams would point. I would pray for God to show me which church I should join. I would dream of the Episcopal Church. This is not a difficult thing, especially since this happens so consistently. My other option would be the Gnostic churches, but they are so few and far in between that joining one would require a move across the country.

My main perspective on Anglicanism at this point is that it should be understood as its own tradition- instead of arguing that it is Catholic or that it is Protestant or that it is both, it should argue that it is neither- it is its own tradition in its own right with its own compromises and its own peculiarities. No one should categorize it as Catholic or as Protestant; it should be categorized only as Anglicanism. That’s a harsh pronouncement, but that is where I would stand at this point.

Most of that is quite cerebral, I am aware, and little of it has anything to do with the so-called actual practice that I constantly refer to as being missing from the writing. But the underlying theory on why one participates in such a practice is also necessary. One cannot simply have the practice without understanding what is going on, nor is it good to have theory without any kind of practice and test grounds.

Now, I turn to another subject, which goes back to Christ (who else?). The essential mystery of Christ may be that he has never been who he has portrayed to be. Several Christian mystics have come upon the horror of their image of Christ being destroyed and replaced with the raw reality of Christ, and I think this may be the key to my own experience as well. What we think Christianity is- and who we think Christ is, at least in the typical sense of both these words- happens to be incorrect, an image that has been perpetuated through misunderstanding and misinformation for the sake of power and control and so on.

But the question is why the impression of the raw reality would still be that of Christ. Is it simply a mislabeling, a forcing of the reality into a particular paradigm? Most lately I have encountered him as a kind of elder brother figure who guides me through the Void that is Reality. Is this really Christ, or is Christ only a convenient name we give to this strange reality? I wrote before about the connection among Lord Shiva, Christ, and the Earth Father Archetype. But even with that connection being established, I take into account that Archetypes are never experienced in-and-of themselves; only images and hints at the reality of the Archetype are encountered.

On the one hand, this all seems important, and on the other hand, it all seems to be a bunch of intellectual masturbation.

I know this blog has been long and tedious, so if you’ve made it this far with me, you have my thanks.

Beaux


3 AM-ish Ramblings and the Ides of March

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A number of wonderful things have begun happening recently, a number of beautiful synchronicities and the wonderful things that these signs bring.

Problems abound, but there’s no reason and no time to worry about those. Instead, I have to focus, alas, on myself- and on the others who are resonating with me. Leave it to God and the inner vibrations to attract and repel people to and from you.

We must always progress forward consciously. Time is of the essence, and we must use it wisely and wholly and fully.

Where am I inside myself? Somewhere that I’m finally beginning to accept the ego, which is the only way for me to dissolve it. Or rather, it is the only way to allow the ego to be dissolved by God. That sounds more accurate.

So now I understand that I have to set goals and boundaries for myself, inside myself, and that it’s okay to be flexible, but there should still be something there to help ground me.

The energy on the way home tonight was familiar; this is the energy of changing tides, an energy that comes right before something happens, and something good at that. The preparatory energy, as it were. Perhaps this another form of the Grace of God, and this is a form I have felt specifically on four occasions of which I know.

The Ides of March is especially going to be important.

I constantly question if my decisions and movements are the right ones. I wonder why things happen the way they do. My heart breaks, but I have to keep going. Intestinal fortitude is incredibly important.

Heartbreak has forced me to grow inside myself. Heartbreak has forced me to mature. Until you have known that bitter world of utter desolation in which there is nothing but a grey sky and rocky ground in all the psychic territory around you, you cannot know what it is like. But it is there that the greatest Alchemist changes your lead into gold, and though I wish it were not so, it is the truth, pure and simple.

Not everyone must go through this. But the Sufi must.

I think the major problem with forming a specific mystical map is that mysticism’s maps are extremely rough and general. Perhaps we can outline what happens to the person in a general sense, certain stages that each person will pass through, but this a huge area, and we may not all pass through the same territory, experience the same things, and benefit the world in the same way.

That does not take away our role of importance. Each of us is important, whether or not we realize it, and perhaps our importance is not something that we can fully and completely know.

I, for one, am not keen on the idea of waiting around. I am not keen on the idea of not going all the way. I am not keen on the idea of accepting a half-assed enlightenment.

But I’m also not keen on accepting the dogma of others. Obviously what others have said in terms of dogma and doctrine and presupposition has so often failed that anything that one says in this regard requires examination, reflection, and sometimes an altered view.

And that’s okay.

One thing that bothers me in this day and age are the platitudes that people spew out. Things such as, “Oh, just accept who you are!” and so on really bother me.

Being a person who has encountered a low-esteem and battled with it his entire life, I’m well aware of what it means to not love one’s self. The oft-cited example I have is when I was 6th grade and the teacher of my history class asked if anyone in the room didn’t love themselves, and then proceeded to ask us to raise our hands. In this moment, I lied, for I did not raise my hand, but it was true- I was 11 years old and did not love myself.

The reality is that the concept of “loving myself” was not even present, not even the slightest degree. I didn’t like myself, and how much less did I love myself?

There can come a point inside an individual in which they are generally a mature, healthy person who reasonably cares about themselves and others. This is something of an ideal, and there’s a point where one can see one’s own true specialness and wholeness and completeness; one sees that’s one very existence is an awesome and incredible phenomenon, and that being here, in this world, as this mortal body, is a fantastic feat of the cosmos.

But such experiences rarely last or persist for too terribly long.

Loving one’s self is difficult because we first have to figure out if who we are is who we’re meant to be, or if we’ve created a false self. This is my situation- the person I have been “trained” to be is not the person I wish to be or portray or express; the huge problem, as I’ve always said, is the gap between the “inner” awesome me and the seeming perceptions that others have of me in a social sense.

It would likely be impossible to project to others who one really is in every single moment of every single day, if for no other reason than other humans would misunderstand the reality one was expressing because of their own bias and perceptual filters.

But at the very least, one could be reassured that this energy was what one was displaying, and that if the other people around one misunderstand that, it was their problem and not one’s own.

The next problem encountered is the energy level required in order to continue that expression of one’s self. The body, seemingly, can simply not handle it. There is not enough energy in the body to keep it up; one eventually comes to a point where one is exhausted and falls into the easiest patterns, which should not be confused with the most authentic or truest ones.

And what is there to say of the moments of identity loss? What is there to say of moments of such peace that it doesn’t matter either way? These all complicate the issues of trying to live as an individual in the society, and that’s okay, too.

The Ides of March is coming, and the Black Fire is howling; the Grace of God is descending, and now is the time to appeal to the Earth-Father and Aphrodite Urania and Eros Urania.

Beaux


Black Fire, Being, and the Sufi Love

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Bhai Sahib said something intriguing in Daughter of Fire about first encountering pure being, then entering in the currents of love and bliss in Dhyana. So that makes me wonder, then, if the Black Fire precedes the Sufi love. If that is the case, then I’ve been in training for longer than I realized, and now I get that I have to see the Black Fire with every last ounce of my life, mind, and body. All the energy must go into it until it reveals whatever mysteries it holds.

Then we’ll see what happens. This is yet another new mission.

Beaux


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