Silence

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Last week, I went on a family vacation to see my fiancé’s in-laws. We were stuck in a roach motel that smelled like a dead rat, the four of us- my fiancé, our son, our dog, and myself.

I didn’t have a moment alone the entire time we were there save for having a shower, which in my opinion is not the same thing as being alone. Furthermore, I didn’t have the chance to meditate in any meaningful way, though I did chant several times using the japa mala my fiancé bought at one time because of his interest in Hinduism.

To say that my fiance’s lack of religion and spirituality bothers me isn’t accurate; I’m not so much concerned with his adopting certain beliefs as I am his having no spiritual progress and no sense of deeper levels of reality. I would at least feel better if he would return to Hinduism and make some effort at practicing, but perhaps that isn’t how his life is meant to unfold, and I’m okay with that. He can live his life however he wishes.

Upon returning, I began to meditate again, and I came upon a very interesting conclusion- I need silence. Many times, actually, all the time, meditation results in endless loops of thoughts and songs (or pieces of songs) going on and on and on. I’ve often had a frustration about why I should give up such beautiful music or anything that makes me feel so good.

But the truth is, after not having anything approximating peace for close to a week, I realized that I do need silence and stillness. My family consists of a loud fiancé and a loud child. Fiancé is loud by virtue of his playing music loudly and making loud noises when he does things, and child is loud by virtue of his just being a loud kid.

I need my meditation to lead to stillness of the mind, to lead to silence, to lead to quiet, so I can just sit and be still and know that God is God, or know that Ultimate Reality is Ultimate Reality, or whatever the hell you want to say- and I need to rest there, in that Silence, for as long as I can.

Finally, I see Silence as superior to noise and movement; I see Stillness as something I want above other things. 

I’ve heard the phrase “Silence is God’s first language.” Well, good; God and I can then do some talking.

Stevo

Dreams

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The night before last, I had a vivid dream. I was on my way somewhere and ended up at a strange church that I realized was actually an Eastern Orthodox parish of some sort. Before I left, a ceremony took place with me and another man, a man who was certainly an Orthodox monk or priest- he had the style of beard and I’m almost certain a cap as well.

The ceremony happened this way: we stood, facing each other, in proximity, in embrace. As another priest read certain lines, we repeated them, and then we would make certain gestures. I specifically had to kiss the man on the lips at one point. 

I can’t remember much else of the dream, only this part, and that the image was so powerful that I needed to record it at some point.

Another interesting meditation upon which I’ve happened is this: I cannot love my enemies or forgive them…but if I imagine them as their infant, newborn selves, pure and undefiled, I can find myself much more easily not holding grudges or ills toward them. I can love them, show compassion to them…it’s really miraculous.

Stevo

Centering Prayer Videos

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In this video, Father Anthony Silvia of the Apostolic Johannite Church (and Bishop Thomas Langley of the Alexandrian Gnostic Church *I think*) explores and explains Centering Prayer. In part 2, the participants at GnosticNYC actually do the Centering Prayer, and you can do it with them!

On Being One’s Individual Self, More on Bernadette Roberts, and Various Rantings

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Instead of engaging in Contemplative Prayer (which is what I should be doing), I am instead writing a bit about an insight I had earlier.

 

To counterbalance this grand insight, I ended up cutting myself shaving. I do think this is the whole paradox of reality- we recognize some powerful and great Truth which is then curbed by the distressing and often annoying realities of common life.

 

Unfortunately, I do spend too much time reading theology online, along with forums and people’s opinions on various matters of religion. I’ve done so less and less as time as progressed, rightly curbing such an atrocious habit, but it does possess me here and again.

 

Naturally, with my Jungian and mystical leanings to things, I do take it upon myself to Google Jung and Catholicism.

 

Some article or another popped up one day that, of course, was blasting Jung and the “liberalism” of certain Catholics who seem to think the goal of the Tradition is just to find the “Authentic Self” and apply this to the idea that the universal quest of all religion is to find the “Authentic Self,” and there ends the quest.

 

This is partially correct. However, the issue that many mystics seem to be pressing, and the issue that I discovered when I was age 15, is that there is a point where one transcends the Higher/Authentic Self.

 

The notion that there may be something beyond the Higher Self, or that the Higher Self could even be lost, is troubling and perplexing to many people who don’t understand how we could exist without it. However, there are some technicalities in the context of philosophical and theological definitions as to what the “soul” of a human being is, such that the soul includes body and mind.

 

Anyway, some of the issues I’ve seen recently are people’s attacking Bernadette Roberts and her particular way of viewing things. They seem to gloss over some points that she makes that are very important while dissecting her with all manner of philosophical attacks that they can, and the whole bit irritates me. I finally gave up reading that particular forum after I made it to the 8th or so page out of 18 pages of Walls of Text Coming After Me.

 

Given, I did find some of the philosophical points people were making interesting, but I think I can summarize in a better way what Bernadette is attempting to convey:

 

Instead of our having a ghost or inner spirit that pops out when we die, we have an aspect of the body that is immortal, an aspect of the body that our senses don’t normally inform us about. The Holy Eucharist, then, explains this: the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ while the Body and Blood don’t seemingly appear.

 

Now, this concept appeals to me, the idea of an immortal, unseen Body, because to me, it seems NOVEL. Christianity has a huge focus on the Incarnation, on physicality, and on the Sacraments being real and true and actual effective means of our receiving God.

 

I’m also not suggesting that this particular way of perceiving things should be accepted as dogma. Rather, one should test this and find out for one’s self by making the mystic’s journey, pure and simple.

 

There’s a bit of contradiction when it comes to people who perceive the Deceased and communicate with entities on the “other side,” along with comparisons of various Near Death Experiences. One wonders how these things possibly happen if it’s possible that we don’t have a thinking/feeling being that persists after the death of the body.

 

Anyway, moving on to the Insight I had earlier and referring back to the Authentic Self: as I’ve said, there’s been a new shift in my focus to try to stimulate the Third Chakra and to try to really have a sense of liking myself and who I am. The Bishop said something interesting to me prior to my Confirmation in that we have to be the person God created us to be. The problem is that this is variously understood to mean something along the lines of following a particular set of rules, but then in Catholic Christianity, the feel of it, too, is different. There is a specific measure in God’s plan that I can and should fulfill, and I have to embrace my individuality to the maximum.

 

Again, the irony that exists in trying to destroy a sense of identity and how that perpetuated my sense of self and then the embracing of a particular identity seems to erode the ego in a way I can’t precisely explain.

 

My concern has been that seeking my True Self or Ego Center might displace God. In fact, the opposite reality is what I’ve discovered: being one’s true self, finding one’s center, and living out that center, is in and of itself an act of worship. To be what God has created one to be IS a prayer, IS worship, and I’m satisfied with that.

 

I’ve heard the bit before about searching for God and finding one’s self or searching for one’s and finding God, which I think kind of illustrates this principle. I go searching for myself, and then I find myself in the Presence of God.

 

My heart chakra also seems to be able to open more freely now that I’ve been more wont to embrace the stomach chakra.

 

Another interesting thing, too, is that I’m able to enjoy my own being, my own company, and have a sense of appreciation for myself. A few times, I’ve finally felt like an adult somewhere, like there was a Bigger Me somewhere that understood things and could do things that I can’t normally do. I compare this to my finally feeling less like a child and more like a teenager; suddenly things that frightened me were more like an adventure of sorts, a fresh start, a new change that I could experience.

 

But that particular mode of being is something that requires such tremendous focus that I hope it becomes a force of habit after a while. I might well give up if I don’t get a second wind sometime soon, as it’s pretty difficult on the one hand.

 

Pax Vobiscum.

 

Beaux

 

More on Meditation

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The past several times when I’ve had any kind of substantial meditation, I’ve noticed that what feels like a certain part of my brain begins to become active, deep in the head and towards the back. It’s further back than where I understand the pineal gland to be, but that could be something I incorrectly assess.

 

Now, several blogs ago, I established that there are three parts to the mind in my own experience: the Thinker, which is the part of us that sits down and consciously thinks about things and makes decisions; the Subconscious, which is a deeper layer from which thoughts and feelings arise; and the Ego, which is the “person” aware of these things.

 

The Thinker can be quieted rather easily; the Subconscious is the real issue, and the Ego has never gone.

 

But last night, I noticed something incredibly interesting as I meditated; the real work seems to be in the Subconscious and whether or not THAT part of the mind is meditating. I think that’s what this has all been about, getting the Subconscious part to meditate. If this part of the mind is meditating, it doesn’t matter if the Thinker is operating or not; anytime one stops, one will go back to the Meditating Subconscious (more or less.)

 

For me, it takes about 40 minutes of meditation, and sometimes an hour, to really get to this point. Ideally, I *should* be sitting in meditation for perhaps 2 or even 3 hours a day.

 

I said Mass again last night, and I consecrated a host to put in what’s now my Tabernacle. I do feel the sheer of terror of mentioning that I’m doing such things online, as I can see the attacks levied against me about having no Apostolic Succession and so on and so forth.

Yet I now understand that misses the entire point; the issue here is to practice and not get too caught up in the theory. Christ will come to those who seek Him.

Of course, I should also point out that I’m not acting as priest in leading a community, either; this is strictly a private celebration that I do alone, which changes the nature of it to me.

I described myself one to someone as a Christian mystic, and someone else explained that as meaning approximately a Christian shaman. It’s an interesting twist on the concept, I think, and somewhat appropriate for me.

 

But I refuse to get caught up in the label game at this point; it’s ridiculous and unnecessary. I, of all people I have known, find is baffling that I even fit into Christianity at all, yet here I am. So what a religion is really trying to convey is not necessarily the same thing as how it is popularly and consistently misunderstand.

 

Here endeth the rant.

Beaux

 

 

Holy Spirit, Spiritual Delay

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Certainly, I’m severely behind on posting a number of blogs that should have already been up. The main issue has been my being sick recently with various kinds of sinus congestion and colds, plus the strain on my eyes when sitting and staring at a computer screen for a lengthy period of time.

That being said, I should point out one important aspect of spirituality that, if everyone who reads this blog were to ignore and dismiss anything else I’ve written, should be considered and relished and tested out, that of what I personally term “spiritual delay.”

Spiritual delay is something that in our modern culture we must acclimate to, living in this world where we’re accustomed to instant or semi-instant gratification. Spiritual delay is the fact of reality that a prayer or meditation or wish is not most often immediately answered; in fact, it may take some time to receive any kind of substantial or adequate response.

The same is true even with visualization. For instance, one visualizes light on a headache to heal it; the headache doesn’t heal this minute or the next minute, but perhaps within the hour or two or three hours from now, it DOES go away; one prays for the same thing, and the prayer is not immediately answered, yet a few hours later, the prayer IS answered. One repeats the Name of God and sees no immediate benefit of repeating His Name, yet the next day, the bliss of His grace comes to us.

This is something to ALWAYS remember, that the help, that the grace, that the benefit WILL come at some point in time, especially with substantial practice.

Another major realization lately has been of the Holy Spirit and the Wiccan Goddess. The Holy Spirit has been recognized as God the Mother for quite some time among Christian mystics, most notably the Gnostics, and it simply makes sense: God the Father, God the Mother, God the Son. The Trinitarian formula then, is somehow complete with the Divine Feminine being present within it.

I mean to make the association with the Goddess as I always understood her to be associated with the Day, with the Sun, with Light, and so forth, and I see the same to be true of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is the person of the Holy Trinity that calls us to prayer, that teaches us to pray, the invokes and kindles the Longing and Love for God; verily, we might even say that the Holy Spirit IS THE LONGING FOR GOD. This would account, at least intellectually, for the Sufis saying that one’s Longing for God IS God’s Presence, IS God’s declaration that He is there.

Whatever the case may be, I have personally found that prayer to the Holy Spirit has been the most immediate and intimate relationship to God that I’ve found. This could potentially be because of my background in Pentecostal churches, though I highly doubt that plays as significant of a role as one might guess.

But back to the point, Wicca had a huge emphasis on ritual, and of course, I now see that magic, that ritual, that all these things, the transformation of Will into Reality and so forth, are the domain of the Holy Spirit; it is with a greater certainty that I know the miracles take place because of the Holy Spirit, and that the bread and wine truly become Christ’s Body and Blood BECAUSE of the Holy Spirit; She is, in fact, a key in the Holy Eucharist, and it saddens me to know that despite Her importance, She is often pushed to the side in Christianity and not given proper reverence or emphasis.

Even to me, the importance of the Holy Spirit has been occluded for the past four years as well, and I did wonder many times how She fit into the Holy Trinity and why She was deemed important, how She became more than simply a reference to God’s presence on Earth as the Jehovah’s Witnesses insist. Even Bernadette Roberts, in all her great elucidation of the Christian mystery in her books, seems to focus namely on the Mystery of Christ- indeed, she is not wrong in this, as the Mystery of Christ is inexhaustible- but her reference to the Holy Spirit is the love exchanged between the Father and Son, and no more is really said.

But does not leave us with the full or clear picture of exactly how important She truly is, and that is exactly the mystery into which I’m being drawn.

At the same time, it truly amazes me that in our present world Christianity and its profundity is so often and so easily cheapened. I can’t quite grasp how something that IS so profound can devolve into something that is so treacherous and easy to revile, but such is the nature of corrupted men.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Beaux

On Meditation

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I have literally been meaning to write this blog for a while, as its contents may be one of the more important things that I’ve put forth. 

During meditation a few weeks ago I made a discovery of a kind of “mind-map,” if you will, that explains how the psyche works during meditation. 

Too much theory and too many models and too many maps CAN be problematic as they can quickly become overly complicated and will essentially tell us nothing; this will be simple.

Three parts of the mind include

1) The Participating Thinker

2) The Subconscious Thoughts

3) The Ego

Now, to explain what I mean:

The Participating Thinker is the part of our mind that consciously engages in thinking, that consciously weighs options, ideas, and goes through the whole process. Someone says something, we think on it, we engage it, it happens because we’re pushing the buttons and driving the motors.

The Participating Thinker is the easiest part of the mind to relax and get settled. Focusing on one’s breath or whatever object of meditation is what will cause the PT to slowly disappear.

The Subconscious Thoughts are more difficult to deal with, mainly because we’ve no conscious control over them. I consider this part of the mind to be a kind of threshold between the conscious and subconscious, as these thoughts are the ones that seem to intrude on meditation relentlessly; one moment, you’re quiet, then the next, you’re having an argument in your head over the price of eggs or wanting to explain something to someone. 

IF you can control the Subconscious Thoughts and get them to stop, good- that’s the hard part.

Then there’s the Ego- the actual awareness of all these things going on. The Ego has, so far, not disappeared for me during meditation. I suppose one might say I’m not very good at meditating, but I’ve almost always been aware of what was happening and maintained a self-reflection in knowing that I exist. 

Now, there may well be more parts to the mind that than these three; the subconscious itself, the unconscious, what have you, but I’m saying that for the purpose of meditation, THIS is what I’ve seen, and I thought it would be good to report it.

Beaux 

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