Happiness, Fulfillment, Meaning, Separation, Ego

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While exercising earlier, I arrived at several conclusions, and perhaps these conclusions are springboards for even more complicated levels of reality.

Allow me to preface this by saying that I recently discovered a few things: a statement that I deserve happiness and fulfillment (and that everyone deserves such) causes a boost and a swelling in my otherwise typically damaged second chakra. This means that a key to healing this chakra has to do with allotting happiness and fulfillment for one’s self, perhaps even on an ego level.

Happiness and fulfillment are not the same, as one implies fullness or completeness and the other does not. The question is whether or not it’s perfectly possible to experience each independent of the other.

My experience is that an empty happiness is possible; one can be happy without the happiness having any kind of meaningfulness to it. Fulfillment seems to bring about what I would call “deep” or “subtle” happiness, perhaps more of a sense of contentment because one feels complete or whole.

Moving on. The striving for meaning relates to something I’ve questioned and mulled over dealing with the notion of something greater than us and independent of us endowing us with things such as meaning and ethics.

I read a long debate between some Catholics, non-Catholic Christians, and atheists on an apologetics blog recently; I took something like two days to actually read through the whole set of debates that were going on.

The essential notion is this: if a god or gods don’t exist in some capacity, then everything boils down to relativism or utilitarianism. The atheists attempted to argue back, but on this particular point, the notion of appealing to an objective set of ethics, they were completely and utterly lost; the only real answer that can be given at this point is that everything boils down to one’s subjective experience.

One could argue that meaning, ethics, and such things can only be given by something external to one’s self that is also greater than one’s self. Of course, the question here is: why would the existence of a god who gives such things imply that they have any more meaning at all? It’s strange to say that god’s existence somehow validates ethics, meaning, and so on.

And the point that the atheists and non-crazy Catholics could argue is that the assent given to the Catholic Faith, for instance, is a subjective assent- and the crazy Catholic arguing on the site couldn’t grasp that his subjective assent to the Faith was just as subjective as an atheist’s worldview.

Also, as I pointed out early on in my own theological adventures, arguing that a god exists or proving that a god exists is only one step in the process; the next argument, of course, is to prove the god in question is the “Christian” version of god exactly, yet the crazy Catholic didn’t even bother to go there.

That’s fine, though: the debate was forced to stay on topic for the most part, and this wasn’t a question that proposed or debated.

So, to break down what’s going on here, the need for something “greater than one’s self” is how we create meaning in life. Our ego, in other words, the very mechanism separating us from God, is what creates the contrast of experiencing meaningfulness in the universe.

I’m reminded both of the Hindu saying, “I don’t want to be the sugar; I want to EAT the sugar!” and the Sufi saying, “I want union, but He wants separation; thus, I leave what I want behind so that His wish comes true.”

So perhaps, then, the existence of the ego isn’t quite as big of a tragedy as we’ve thought it to be; perhaps the ego is meant to exist and be exhausted with the ultimate meaning, and then, and only then, can theosis occur. Only when God has been grasped by the ego’s experience as an infinite meaning can it be dissolved in a blissful moment of awe and triumph.

One might say that no god is necessary for this as society is greater than the individual. While this point may be the reference some use initially, society is ultimately a collection of subjectivities, and in a way, society is NOT “other” to one’s self.

A crude example that will be emblazoned in your mind from now on is that a little piece of shit can be compared to a big piece of shit, but they aren’t of a different substance; they’re the same shit, only one is “more” and “bigger.”

Thus, when making this statement, God’s being “bigger” than us is not enough; our substance must in SOME way vary from His own, for if it does not, then God is simply some variation of Man, and that’s not the case.

This isn’t to imply or suggest that the technicalities of, say, our soul ultimately being a spark of God can’t be dealt with or looked at, and maybe one might say that in the ultimate sense, we are not different than God, that God is NOT so other.

In this instance, I would argue that the mind’s mechanism of separating us from the God-stuff within prevents us from experiencing that God-stuff, and thus a part of us is experienced all too painfully as “other” or “separated” as well.

This may sound very cerebral, but my experience of it all was very lived and awe-striking.

Stevo

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So much to say, so little time. So many thoughts that I’ve not been sharing.

Several days ago, I made an “executive decision” to create a kind of religious retreat for myself. This retreat requires a few simple things, the main thing being to try to get me to meditate more each day. I will say for the past few days, I’ve chanted much earlier than usual, so that’s something.

For a month or so, I plan to simply keep to myself and not go out more than the few scheduled times I set up. Friday is typically going to be my outing. Around the end of September, I’ll lift the self-imposed cloister, and I’ll return to daily life in whatever way.

My main issue is having avoided meditation so much. It isn’t that I haven’t meditated; it’s that meditation has ended up coming at the very end of the day and only for a few minutes at that, and I can’t put myself in that position. Meditation, like prayer, affects one even if one isn’t meditating or praying.

I don’t know if I’ve spoken about “spiritual delay” yet, but spirituality is not like fast food. Mysticism is not McMysticism; you cannot meditate and expect things to just magically be okay 10 minutes later. That’s just NOT how it works. Yes, you will eventually see the results, but for whatever reason, they’re delayed, and it’s a difficult thing to explain how and why this happens.

Prayer today may result in a sudden descent of God’s Grace three days later, abruptly. Visualizing something intently today may result in its appearing two weeks later when I don’t care to have it anymore. Maybe that’s a method of God teaching us a lesson or something.

My organized prayers have fallen through again, too, but the good news is that all the problems I had trying to reconcile various religious traditions with one another have essentially fallen through as I’ve gone to a deeper level in understanding them. That’s how I end up using Hindu chants and praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus all at the same time; Gnostics are allowed to do this, you see, as these things facilitate gnosis and bring us closer to God. That’s what matters.

I spoke with Erik the other night about Gnostic views of the Holy Eucharist, and of course, the Gnostic views of the change in the bread and wine parallel those of the Anglicans in some ways- the acknowledgement of a spiritual change, though the spiritual change is a complete and utter change; the bread and wine DO completely change, but naturally, it is ultimately a mystery we cannot explain.

We also pointed out something very interesting as well- Lutherans don’t seem to often acknowledge any kind of change in the bread and wine. Communion is simply a blessing of bread and wine, not the actual sacramental union or whatever Lutheran terminology is supposed to be. The technicality may be consubstantiation, but this often seems to be unknown to Lutherans.

By contrast, Episcopalians will not be happy if you tell them the bread and wine aren’t really┬áthe Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. You’re not going to sell Anglo-Catholics and your garden variety High Church Episcopalians on the “Hey, it’s just a symbol, folks!” ilk; it’s just not going to happen.

While I’m sure there are Episcopalians who don’t acknowledge the Real Presence, they’re most likely in the minority.

And at this point, I understand this entry isn’t helping anyone, so I’m just going to stop here.

Anyway, I’m having to incorporate a HUGE amount of what I know about mysticism and spirituality and really jump in and start using it. I find a lot of times that whatever I do or say or practice seems to work for a while, then it begins to stop working or seems less effective; maybe I’m just craving novelty? I’m not totally sure what the issue is here. But lately, I’ve really begun to understand how things work, and I’m going from that level.

More later. I’ll try to update more frequently, especially now that I’ll have more free time.

Beaux