Dreams from Last Night

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In the first dream, I was shopping and ready to check out. I saw a croissant that looked delicious, but as is the case in many dreams of mine, it cost too much- in this case, this simple pastry that was hanging on a shelf cost $17.95. I recall the number clearly. (Whoever says one cannot read in dreams has no idea what they’re talking about.)

I also wanted to look at the aisle that had stickers, but people were on the aisle and kept getting in my way.

At some point, I was watching a video while waiting in line, and then a live band began playing in the store. The band members had a “zombie” theme, and the result was that they had outfits that made it look like they were exposed body tissues and bones, and then people dressed up as zombies began to come in. I ducked and kept my eyes closed, and the people kept running by and poking me and touching me, and I screamed for them to stop.

When finally it seemed like all was over, I uncovered my eyes, and I was in a wooden room. There were only two people here besides me, two twins who looked like they were in their 20s. They had blond hair, dark eyes, large noses, and thin lips, and I was attracted to them.

But I knew they might be dangerous, so I tried to leave- I opened a door, and to my horror, the door only opened to another wooden door. I turned the knob of the new door and had fear burning in me because I knew that I was dreaming and could run into anything terrifying at this point.

The door opened this time to a small greenhouse-like area, and I quickly began to fly and burst through the glass. I “swam” in the air, and I recall seeing a huge moon in the sky as well as the rising turrets of some kind of factory.

I woke up. End Dream 1.

Dream 2:

As I fell asleep, I went in with the determination to find my Shadow and confront it. I don’t remember much of what happened here except that I was in my parents’ house, and then I remembered to find the Shadow. I went to the front porch- the first “shaded” area that I saw, and there was some kind of tree growing up from the middle of the front porch ┬áto the its ceiling.

The tree appeared to made of stone, and I walked around it, crying aloud that I wanted the Shadow to appear, that I was here to confront it. Then I cried out for the Subconscious as well.

When I turned to face the house, growing against the wall were two women, one on the left and one of the right. I didn’t know which one to talk to, but the one on the left had darker skin, so I connected that with “Shadow.” I began asking her what to do, what the problem was, and I don’t remember getting a response. I spoke to the one on the right as well without getting much of an answer, and returned to the one on the left, who now looked different.

At some point, her face distorted, and she grabbed me and clutched me too tightly to her breast, leaving me unable to escape. But then I knew what to do- I struggled as much as I could to stand up and face her, and I inhaled her into myself- which, surprisingly, WORKED.

And after that, I woke up.

So my Shadow apparently has something to do with “the feminine” (big surprise there), and I’ve…at least somewhat incorporated her into myself. So…yeah.

Now on to figure out the Social Anxiety.

If anyone wants to help interpret the other elements, bring it.

Steve

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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


More on Being Right All the Time

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Sometimes, the degree to which I’ve been right about reality all along seems to sicken me. Naturally the charges of arrogance fly out at me at this point in time, and of course, I try to fight against what I already know on many levels. Let’s just jump in and go with it, then, shall we?

The Svadisthana chakra, the second chakra up, in other words, is where most of our problems in life are. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says that most of humanity lives collectively at the level of the third chakra, but I would add to this that’s only barely that anyone lives there. If someone as self-aware as I has the sheer number of problems with his lower chakras, it’s likely that most others do as well.

Trying to do the Sufi meditation of the heart has been ridiculously difficult for the past I don’t know how long. My heart chakra would barely open, I could barely feel love, I could sometimes (gratefully!) feel a twinge of longing, but there was a kind of pain that kept me from really feeling. Many would try to argue that this stemmed from a blocked heart chakra, and so I thought as well, but now I see that the whole time it’s been the blockages in my lower chakras that’s been causing the problems.

A few Sundays ago, I was driving to see my friends in Headland. I came into Dothan and felt social anxiety just driving around the other people, and the fear was without a doubt beginning from the second chakra. This gave me the key that I needed to progress somewhat.

Suffice it to say, that before I can put love in my heart, I’ll have to free up the energy and clear out the blockages that exist in the second chakra. Maybe the heart chakra can help, I’m not sure.

The truth is, though, that cleaning out the lower chakras is also part of Sufism but put into a different terminology: this is the Shadow work, which is the first part of the journey. Dealing with the basic instinctual nature, clearing out the subconscious misunderstandings, accepting the Shadow tendencies. This all comes before the raging, burning, furious Love for God.

I happened upon some articles and a healer in a moment of synchronicity that supported the idea of the issues being in the Svadisthana chakra. Everything became increasingly clear.

Also, I happened upon an article that spoke of how the parts of the brain dealing with meaning and thought are not directly wired to the parts of the brain dealing with emotional memory, and this clued me into why therapy did little for my social anxiety: I was right the whole time (again) that feelings, not thoughts, were the issue, despite how my therapist insisted that I was thinking the wrong thoughts and somehow misunderstanding the situation which is what caused the anxiety.

But that’s just not how it works, and now I know diving into a nameless emotional realm is the only solution to the problem.

So I’ve been feeling my emotions, searching without words in the basic energy patterns, trying to find what’s causing the blockages and problems in my lower chakras. I’ve even take up some of the hatha yoga practices I used to do once more, and they feel wonderful; the asanas don’t make me sore the next day.

Going through and dealing with the energy in the Svadisthana chakra has done a few things. First, it’s unleashed my power and creativity- I’ve written profusely and started doing art again and am just driven as an artist. Second, my sexuality- the basic instinctual kind “high” that comes when being turned on- has largely dwindled and come under control to where it doesn’t control me or compel me in situations that are unhealthy. In this case, it doesn’t feel like I’m resisting or fighting it- rather, the energy simply just isn’t there to begin with. Likely a lot of the sexual energy was really trapped emotional energy bouncing around and going haywire in the lower chakras.

Lastly, dealing with the energy in the lower chakras creates a peace in the body. The body feels practically weightless, and a few times I would move my legs and almost fall because of how quickly they moved; I wasn’t accustomed to that kind of lightness.

Maybe my body will also shed some of the weight on it- now, given, my body isn’t exactly overweight to begin with, but some areas have been hard to tone, and I’m a big believer in the mind-body connection and that the body carries weight and ailments in it when the psychological energy isn’t processed correctly. I’ve seen this for myself way too many times to discredit it.

Just an update.

Where God is in the midst of this all, I have no idea. Sometimes He’s near, sometimes He doesn’t seem to exist.

Beaux


Lately

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Does the darkness indicate that one is again approaching the Light?

Last week went so terribly on so many counts for me, and now this week, despite the physical pain, or maybe because of it, I’m having incredible insight. Is this the meaning of gnosis?

The love- oh, the LOVE! I remember in high school diving into the love, I remember the trip back from New Orleans when I understand my mission was to love, to love, to love, and that even when I died, I would reincarnate and suffer more for the sake of love. Is this the reality I’ve forgotten for so long?

Is that what it means to surrender to God? I will gladly return to this Earth to love. I will gladly endure the horrors to tell others of the Great Being of Divine Love.

Do you know what it feels like to be unable to love? That is a hell, a prison, a terrible place in which to be. To struggle, to fight, to break free and love again is not an easy task. Possible, yes. But it is not easy, and you will endure a hell to get there again.

Bernadette Roberts is wise in stating that the stages of the mystic’s path are only outlined in retrospect. I can now see that 2010 was such a horrible year because I facing my own Shadow.

Facing the Shadow is not what you might think it is. You’re plunged into it. Or at least, I was plunged into it- thrown into the very depths of my own darkness, unable to see that’s where I was, unable to see that there was a world outside of that strange and dark universe. I thought that was reality, that my actions were justified, that perhaps what I did was the will of God operating on a level that is beyond normal human understanding.

Now I can see the intense egotism in it all. I can see where I knew I was wrong but pushed forward anyway. Again, this is all in retrospect.

Then again, maybe there was a dim understanding that I was facing my Shadow, but as with so many things that happen mystically, these processes are unconscious. The Shadow is an unconscious process, and the dealing with it, the controlling it, the integrating it, relies on becoming aware of it. But you can never fully understand exactly how unconscious these things are until later on, when you’re far more aware of them.

At this point, through my own observation, I truly opine that the mystical changes in an individual begin on the unconscious level and trickle into the conscious mind. We can participate in our own transformation, yes- and those of us who are aware that such a process is going on are obligated to do so, I would say- but we do not create the change by our own hand in the ultimate sense. We can say, “Yes, let this happen” and start the ball rolling, but we are not responsible for the end results- something greater than us intervenes.

This is the reason I think religion is so important. It isn’t just about having a belief. It isn’t just a bunch of outdated science. Religion is a reflection, a conscious incarnation, of man’s deepest inner psychological happenings. Religion is a map, concretized and depicted, of man’s own consciousness. People of our modern era constantly miss that point.

These days, I often see the more orthodox-minded Christians going at it with one another, arguing over silly things like homosexuality and citing this verse or that verse in the Bible. The entire approach is often so far off-base that it makes the whole things laughable. I feel as though the entire point has been overlooked.

Maybe the days of being a self-proclaimed heretic should be embraced. Father Jordan said something interesting in one of his blogs once, that it seems most arguments come from people who are claiming to be orthodox but have nuances in doctrine as opposed to being between people who are orthodox versus so-called heretic.

But maybe I should also face the truth about myself: my views would typically be deemed heretical by the more mainstream churches. I’m not against the orthodoxy, though- I’m very much a huge supporter of Catholicism (both Anglican and Roman!) and Eastern Orthodoxy. When it comes to Protestantism as a whole, I tend to be more cautious, because Protestant encompasses everything from Lutheranism to Pentecostalism. Some would also lump the Anglican Communion in with the Protestants, but I’m staunchly against that for a variety of reasons.

But would it do any good to call myself Gnostic? Gnosticism, too, has a problem with the label game. There are so, so many misunderstandings about Gnosticism, and people much wiser than I have detailed endlessly how often misconceptions are spouted about Gnostics.

Something will come of it, I’m sure.

Beaux


Debbie Ford and Shadow Work

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, Debbie Ford is the author of a series of books that deal with working with one’s Shadow, the part of our psyche that we have neglected, repressed, or forgotten. To my understanding, she’s in league with The Omega Institute, and she might be labeled under “New Age” to some degree.

Her books are, on the one hand, a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the “happy thoughts thinking” fluff that exists in the New Age community. Though I tend to be rather idealist and think that most religious movements begin as a heartfelt reform or as a matter of Truth Seekers, I’m also realistic in pointing out how quickly movements can devolve into drivel that benefits few people, if any.

Debbie’s premise is largely that the Shadow can usurp you, and that thinking only about positive things ignoring the dark side of life can lead to devastating consequences. This, in accordance with Jungian psychology and my own observation about the world, seems to be fairly accurate.

Yet I still feel that something about her method is incorrect. Something strikes me, intuitively, as being wrong about certain aspects of what she says.

I’ll first consider that it’s quite possible I’ve misunderstood what she’s saying. Ford seems to be under the impression that if you see a trait in another person that you do not like, that ultimately it is merely your own projection of your Shadow onto that person. This seems to almost be THE rule of thumb in reading The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. Now, it is always reducible to traits- so, for instance, it isn’t about whether you’re a cold-blooded murderer, it’s about the characteristics of a cold-blooded murderer- someone who is callous, uncaring, hateful, unable receive or give love, and that there is such an aspect of this in ourselves.

But something about this doesn’t mesh well with me; the first response people will give is that I’m just now owning that dark part of myself.

At this point, I would like to defend myself and express that yes, I’m constantly working with my Shadow and am aware of the Darkness that exists inside of me. I’m, to the best of my ability, making friends with it, as it were- learning its depths, its power, its secrets. So to say that I am not owning my Shadow would be incorrect.

I think that on a reasonable level, I can’t buy that every single time we have a problem or dislike something about another person, that it’s merely and only something about ourselves that we don’t like. Now, I’m not denying that this is sometimes the case. But…it makes more sense to say that sometimes, if not most often, other people actually embody traits that have negative effects on us, and we don’t like them because it makes sense to stay away from people who might hurt us.

These are just some thoughts for the moment.

Allow me to also say that despite my criticism, I would still recommend reading Debbie Ford’s works. She has exercises and meditations written to do with Shadow work, and, in my own experience, they can be enlightening and informative.

She does offer some good explanations, too, about the Shadow- one’s flaws are actually one’s greatest strengths whose “volume” is just turned up too high. (I’m pretty sure Neale Donald Walsch says this in the forward of the book.) That can make sense to a degree…but sometimes some people’s flaw-volume is so loud, turning it down still might not repair our character-eardrums.

Just sayin’.

Beaux