The Light

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My current circumstances are somewhat odd. A new focus has been taken up inside of me with respect to the dhikr and the repetition of the Name of God.

The Grace of God has been descending constantly for a few days. The only way to explain this is to say that a certain kind of inner and deep tranquility is present- not perfected, not complete, but I am aware of its presence somewhere.

I’ve had an interesting week- first, having contact with a new Gnostic friend named Erik who helped to clarify many things about Gnosticism to me; second, celebrating (or not celebrating) my birthday; third, having some intense spiritual experiences on top of that.

Last week, I realized I would have to make a concerted effort at repeating the Name of God. I’ve meditated nightly for a year and a half, only to have barely any “results,” as it were; in other words, I cannot see a profound difference in myself even if it’s possible that one exists. So in the moments when my emotions would go awry, in the moments when I would be worried about something, in the moments when my sex drive would attempt to usurp me, I would necessarily repeat the Name of God even harder.

All these things came to point at something interesting- I’ve said many times that my religion is Beauty, or that I seem to go for the religion that appears to be most Beautiful at any given moment. Beauty and Majesty are the two major means that are discussed in Sufism- and moreover, these two are also likely hypostases of God in Gnosticism- Beauty certainly is.

While commenting on Beauty and Majesty is too complicated at this point and beyond the scope of this entry, it’s something to point out- that Beauty calls to me, and that I can offer up my attention on bad emotions and feelings to the focus on Beauty.

So, let’s begin with May 10th. I had an overwhelming sense of tiredness. But as Nick the Buddhist once said, Americans can’t tell the difference between relaxation and falling asleep- once an American begins to relax, they think they’re falling asleep because they’re so accustomed to being stressed out. All the stress did not leave, but an almost mindless did appear, and certainly the thinking processes seem to have been slowed down and almost stopped into total silence at points- and this is in full, waking consciousness.

I stayed at a friend’s house until 5:30 in the morning- my birthday- because of the great conversations that the people present were having, and then I drove home.

But instead of going inside and straight to bed, I walked around outside- truly something different and new for me. The exhaustion was beyond a normal exhaustion, and everything seemed magical in a way, connected into some kind of great unity. The notion that we are inside of God and totally protected seemed quite apparent- and I didn’t have much of any kind of emotion at this point, only an interest in seeing the world around me.

Later that day, the experience of the Grace of God was still with me- a kind of tiredness and detachment.

The same thing the next day, whereupon I had a dream of receiving the Holy Eucharist- actually being in a church at Mass, walking up to the altar, kneeling, receiving the Eucharist (albeit in my hand), and then consuming it. This was the first time I’ve ever had that kind of dream, which implies something.

And now, today- the tiredness, the relaxation, the Grace of God, is here.

But last night, while asleep, I had an experience. A kind of spiritual teacher was talking to me, and then I recall seeing light. In the dream, the first impression I had was that the light was simply a lamp overhead, and I began chanting the Name of God. As I repeated it, the light grew brighter and brighter. At this point, I was no longer dreaming- I could hear the sounds in my room around me. So the light became brighter and brighter and hotter and hotter- I recall distinctly the heat- and I remember feeling a lightness on the lower part of my body, as though I were no longer connected to it, or as though it were floating upwards.

I entered the light, however briefly, to the point where my room around me went silent. This sounds interesting but in reality is tremendously terrifying. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee would state the the light is the Higher Self, which is, of course, a spark of God’s light, or the Gnostic might also say a spark of Christ’s light.

Then it was over, and I was awake- the fear of what was happening always seems to stay with me into the silence.

I’ve seen the light several times in my life and still have yet to fully understand what it is or why I see it in said situations. What I do know is that as I repeated the Name of God, the light increased in intensity. The increase in light may not be apparent on the regular level of consciousness, but I’m almost sure that it happens regardless. What this ultimately means is that the dhikr has been doing more than I realized, coinciding quite well with the realization I had back in January after everything went to hell when I stopped saying the dhikr. This slight bit of encouragement is all I need, and especially in a positive sense, to keep doing it faithfully.

Another realization that I’ve had is that to repeat the dhikr is constantly draw Beauty into the world. This is important since Beauty is important.

The wife of my former preacher used to say something that I think is not just ill-informed but incredibly stupid- she said that the Devil makes sin “beautiful” because he was the most beautiful angel. Essentially, she equated beauty with being malevolent- and I happen to have a problem with this as God is the author and origin of Beauty, not the Devil (or the demiurge, as it so happens.) So to suggest that sin is beautiful when grace is far more beautiful and God Itself is Infinite Beauty is to say something that amounts to bullshit.

On another note, I’m making a better attempt at celibacy of all forms. This is extremely difficult on the one hand but also a chance to offer the sexual energies to Beauty- which is what I really want. I really want Love, I really want Beauty- not just sexual pleasure. Thereto in addition, I’ve wondered if the phrase, “I will cry to Thee and cry to Thee until the milk of Thy Kindness boils up” has a reference to the transmutation of semen and sexual energy. Certainly the imagery of semen and milk is common, from what I’ve seen, and it seems that the dhikr does cause the energy to move up the spine.

It’s true that I think our society is oversexed. That doesn’t mean that I look down upon people who have sex for pleasure or outside of marriage- they’re entitled to do as they please. What I’ve seen, though, is that while sexual release gives a temporary sense of relief, ultimately, it can also drain one of energy entirely and that it creates a kind of slight emotional instability. This is a subtle process, not a blatant one, and only when one sees it over and over again and knows how bad one will feel after too many orgasms does one “get” it.

But that’s only from my personal experience- maybe other people don’t feel so terrible about sexual release, and if they don’t, more power to them.

The sex drive is incredibly powerful and incredibly capable of producing strange thoughts for the sake of its own release. The sex drive can literally trick you into thinking you’re in love with someone- or that you could love them- in order to get you to have an orgasm. It’s that powerful.

But really, all it wants is the orgasm.

Truly being in love with someone goes deeper than sexuality. This is a hard truth that people in our culture don’t really grasp so many times.

And the reality is, when the heat of the moment strikes, when sexual passions strikes, it is difficult to resist, to stop it. The sex drive is extremely compelling! It’s not like we can just “control” ourselves without leading to some serious repression.

Thus, spiritual practices are necessary to transmute the energy unless one just receives a special grace from God- and lucky is that person.

Again, I’m not trying to demonize orgasm, I’m not trying to demonize sex- no moral or value judgments here. Instead, I’m attempting to look at things practically, to point out that sexuality is extremely powerful and that we must be extremely careful about our sexuality because it can not only hurt us but can also hurt other people as well.

The rant for today is done.

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