The Rolling, Golden Cloud

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I get headaches quite a bit, a cycle that goes through every few days or weeks.

Sometimes, the headaches are obviously from stress- I stress out really easily, and my mind-body naturally overreacts. I’ve attempted to curve this nature, to mute it, to lull it, to bring peace instead of freak-outs, yet that seems to largely be an exercise in repression.

Yesterday, my husband I attended a funeral for the woman who was my grandmother-in-law; my mother-in-law’s mother, or more accurately, my stepmother-in-law’s mother.

I find it odd to be at a funeral for a person I had never met or known in life.

She sounded like a good woman, like she had lived a good life, and I’m glad for that. She was truly loved.

In the midst of it all, I didn’t maintain the kind of “awareness” that one should have at those times- I found it difficult to turn to Wisdom, and I mostly felt irritated and had a headache come on in the middle of the service.

Today, I’m at home, and I’ve had a good, long rest. I’m not sure what the mystics of yore would say- whether or not sleeping and dreaming have much to do with the spiritual life- but it is the processes of the dreams that I have found comfort and the ability to truly rest.

Today, even though I have a headache, I can slowly turn my awareness to the dazzling, golden cloud that’s bursting forth in my brain. It’s rolling and tumbling and full of all things. The Divine Spark.

I am surprised that it is there. I shouldn’t be, but the skeptical nature bred into in my teenaged years remains strong.

At long last, I’m beginning to understand what the Sufis mean by “remembering” and so on.

And it is true- the Lived Reality of God is nothing like what you might conceive. The Ladder of Being and Non-Being appears quite clearly- this magnificent golden cloud tossing and turning in my mind is only the bottom rung.

But by God, if people, if every man, woman, and child, could have this experience and live it constantly, the world would be healed, and the true purpose of mankind would unfold. The end of all our ills would happen, finally. We would be able to then cure all the physical ailments because our minds would seek out the answers fluidly and easily- the painstaking mental processes we go through now would be bolstered by Divine and Immediate intuition.

I have not made it here on my own. I have put forth effort, but the saints and the dead have prayed for me, my loved ones and friends in this world have prayed for me, and it is only through their prayers and my cooperation with the Grace God has offered me that I can even begin to have a tiny experience of the Good.

Now I pray, more fervently than ever, that I would be able to maintain this awareness- I pray for the infinite grace necessary to always remember the Christ-Sophia, in all moments, in every experience in life. The truth of pain and of luxury and of all the things we go through can only be known through this experience of perfect infinity.

My heart leaps gladly. May my temporal anger and fear be swallowed; may my appetites and passions that would hurt others be swallowed; may my life be surrendered to God Most High this day and always.

Amen.

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Belated Updates

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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

Weakness and Strength

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There’s the kind of wisdom existing among the ages that our weaknesses are our greatest strengths. This is even indicated in the book A Wrinkle in Time, and there’s a Sufi story about a pail of water that has holes in it that I’ll share now.

The bucket has holes and loses half the water each day as the man carries it back and forth- it feels incompetent around the other buckets. Then one day, as they’re walking along the path, the bucket notices flowers growing. The man carrying the bucket tells him that he knew of the bucket’s weakness, and used it to his advantage.

The ultimate idea is that God will use our weaknesses to His advantage; our weaknesses are actually hidden strengths.

Bringing this to practical reality:

How in the hell are social anxiety, reclusiveness, and shyness supposed to be my strengths?

Anxiety, specifically, social anxiety, has set my entire life on the weirdest course I’ve ever seen. I’ve avoided so many things that normal people give no thought to, and I’ve been uncomfortable and quiet in situations where normal people flourish. To make the point, it just doesn’t make any sense to say that it’s somehow a strength- at this point in my life, it seems like the anxiety has taken more from me, more from my happiness, more from other people’s happiness, than it has given.

So the tactic I’ve developed in life has largely been one of avoidance, has largely been one of making myself scarce and staying out of other people’s way. I feel like if I can do my thing and not obstruct other people, if I can just stay out of their way, I won’t succumb to their wrath, I won’t anger them, I won’t get in trouble.

So I try not to make waves.

When I do become louder and more open, I feel like people largely just think I’m annoying, and so I prefer the quiet aura. There’s no reason not to- it’s historically been effective and kept me safe, whereas being more extraverted has historically caused me pain.

Maybe I just go to extremes and should seek a balance, but then I’m always one for questioning the dogma of balance that pervades modern thinking. Maybe life isn’t meant to be balanced- maybe the chaos is the natural way of things.

Who knows?

Someday, I think I’ll know and understand all this. Maybe the whole point is to keep me away from people so I’ll turn to the contemplative life. Maybe the whole point is to make sure I’m in a place where I can have meditation and quiet. Maybe the whole point is that I have social anxiety because I’m so open to other people that I get all their superficial levels AND their bullshit hitting my energy core and it sends me reeling.

I pray that one day, it will fall away, and that people won’t make me want to break down into tears, or that suffering will be so minimal that I can bear more than seems humanly possible.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus will guide me, I know. God’s Love will guide me. The better and more I understand God’s Love, the more I’ll know what to do in life.

Beaux


To Pray or Not to Pray: The Mother of God and Saints

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Having an evangelical Protestant upbringing and living in a largely evangelical area, the notion of prayers addressing anyone but God the Father (no, seriously) are often regarded with distrust, suspicion, and outright condemnation.

I honestly was confused when I first found myself inside of the evangelical world about the Holy Trinity, and eventually the formula presented was, “Pray IN the Spirit, THROUGH the Son, TO the Father.” Okay, that was nice and all, but I don’t think it’s necessarily THE ONLY way to pray.

Someone asked me recently about what I thought concerning prayers addressing the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I think here I can express my thoughts completely.

My ultimate feelings are that, with regards to spirituality in general, any kind of prayer, practice, or devotion that draws one closer to God is a good thing. However, this must be done within reason. Allow me to try to explain.

If, for instance, a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary were to completely eclipse devotion to God, then the devotion would be defeating the original purpose. The point of being devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary is by virtue of her being the Mother of God.

Prayers to the Saints are a little more foreign to me but nonetheless have an archetypal resonance.

Also, the experience of addressing the Saints is a bit different as well- one naturally doesn’t regard them as being God Himself, and yet in a way, because of Theosis, they are somehow related to God. It’s all very subtle and complicated on the psychological level but makes sense according to the intuition.

Some day, I’ll start creating charts and put them on here to explain things when I can conceived of suitable chart.

Beaux