St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Again

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Over a year ago, I first walked through the doors into St. Michael’s Episcopal Church to a loving congregation. I found myself attracted to the tradition and openness of the church members while frustrated with various aspects of the liturgy that I felt weren’t traditional enough or simply didn’t understand. 

Tonight, a year later, I have a certain kind of measurement between last year and this year, and a certain deepening of mystical consciousness that has changed at least since last year. To be honest, this year, I’ve only received Holy Communion once, and this was my second time. 

Thank God.

The drive to St. Michael’s filled my heart with longing, and as I was there, during the simplified version of the Mass, I felt the energy rise higher and higher, even to the point where the headache I’ve had for two days disappeared. 

Yes, it was gone, at least for a little while.

The drive back felt akin to how one feels after finding one’s lover, after the sexual experience, and I couldn’t help but think back to the Sufi teachings about God as the Beloved and how Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee established that, essentially, the Gnosticism of Christianity became absorbed into Islam as the Sufi teachings…and of course, the story is probably infinitely more complex than that, but it’s a simple bird’s eye view of things.

So, the Holy Eucharist, then, has an effect on me, whether or not I’ve realized it all this time. Mystical consciousness progresses for some more quickly than others, and perhaps I’m on the slow track after all; if so, I’m fine with that. 

What remains to be seen is if Christ has chosen me as one of His own to be taken permanently into His Mystical Body, never to be separated from the Beloved. In life and in death, I belong entirely to Him.

Stevo

Further Understanding

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Lately, I’ve written a few different blogs that are lurking on my iPad. I’ve yet to upload them for various reasons, but that’s okay; I’ll make sure that I note when I finally get around to putting them online that they come, chronologically, after this blog.

That being said, something happened recently. I’ve been in the process of integrating the Shadow for quite some time, and most recently, I fell ill. Each time I’ve been sick since last December, I’ve noticed that I was going through some kind of purgation.

 

I’m not sure if anyone else has had a parallel experience of a physical sickness manifesting in their body when they’ve come upon a deep psychological transformation or integration or not.

 

One thing I should note is that my dreams have for many years seen me back in high school. These always bothered me for various reasons, not the least of which that I’ve already graduated from college.

 

But now I’m having dreams about entering college, and not the colleges I’ve actually attended; the dreams are actually about larger colleges as opposed to the smaller ones I attended.

 

This isn’t a reference to my actual education so much as it is to my internal or spiritual education, I would guess. So, the moving on up to the college level makes me think I’ve made some kind of transition.

 

So, I integrated some of the Shadow, in fact, probably a large part of it. I resisted it for far too long, and the scope of this blog as a whole couldn’t explain to others the kind of torment I endured during the integration process. I can’t give specifics because they wouldn’t make sense to other people. Suffice is to say that once you realize that the Shadow largely consists of irrational processes that control us and direct us to do things we may not consciously want to do or would find horrifying and repugnant, you have to also accept this reality and allow yourself to feel the darkest of the dark impulses- and accept them.

 

What I mean by “accept” is difficult to explain. “Acceptance” is not the same as merely making a conscious acknowledgment, nor is it a conscious acting out of the Shadow impulses, though in some cases one can act out the impulses without any kind of social repercussion. I wish I could explain.

 

But then, this process happened while I was sick and thereof in a slightly altered state of mind as well, so accepting was easier for me to do.

 

The immediate effect that happened is the blockages which I’ve so long lamented of in my heart began to disappear. When the particular Shadow problems appear now, as soon as I accept them, the block that appears in my heart goes away, and I can feel Longing and Love much, much more easily.

 

The other blockage is in my head; this was a more recent discovery. Whereas the energy moving through me used to catch at the heart and go no further, it now catches as the base of the skull and seems to only go into my head as a whole in very small amounts.

 

The condition as it stands reminds me slightly of the unitive condition or what tastes I’ve had of it before, though it’s still gradually building at the moment. In general, I feel more peaceful, I seem to enjoy myself and life more, and I have this sense that the next great movement is the integration of the anima/animus.

 

Though some would argue that as a male I lack the animus, I disagree; I have seen the animus time and time again during the course of my dreams, even since I was quite young, and my animus largely overlaps with the Self. I’m okay with that, too.

 

Anyway, the next step of integration that was revealed to me deals with realizing that the guy I’ve seen in other guys is actually a projection of me. I’m actually the guy I long for, for I am the Longing One, and the Longing One, in turn, is actually the Inner Christ.

 

This all sounds heavy and maybe too intellectualized but reflects actual experiences I’m having and not just ideas that are floating around me or that I’ve read in books. But then, for all the trash-talking I hear some mystics do about books, I also think books are good for finding the external method of integrating one’s experiences; as Andy of A Red State Mystic states, the Tradition gives us a language by which to express ourselves.

I can’t say whether or not my own Dark Night has finished, but I can say that there seems to be a Light at the end of the tunnel that I did not see before. So, in good cheer, I do tell you, Andy, that the Dark Night is worth the traverse, and I do tell you as well to KEEP GOING.

 

Also, a bit of a theological reflection here: I understand now what Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee means when he says that it is ultimately God’s grace that takes us home. To see this state that I’m currently in, I understand from the inside-out that *I* did not induce this state of being; *I* did not create this; *I* did not stumble upon this; this is something into which I was brought.

Yes, it may appear that one is brought in the state by actively participating, but the participation on our part, too, is Christ compelling us. Perhaps we are all called and only some answer His call; I cannot say.

 

One glimpse of how this may work that I’ve seen is that, since so much of my Shadow has to do with self-denial and self-hatred, the integration of the low self-esteem and self-hatred will be countered by the integration of the animus that I adore so much and which largely represents a high self-esteem. I could see this works possibly as a “thesis, antithesis” which then collapses into a synthesis- that is, the alchemy of the Shadow and the Animus thus mixed together cause a collapse in the Ego and a revelation of the Interior Christ’s true dominion.

 

That, however, IS speculation, though I was aware of these things in meditation.

Pax Vobiscum.

 

Beaux

 

 

Legitimate Fear

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One of my so-called legitimate fears at the moment is that I’m not experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul or any such mystical trial; indeed, I fear that perhaps my lack of feeling life within me, the sense of emptiness, the lack of the longing and yearning in my heart and in my stomach is all indicative of something: I’m just getting older, becoming an adult, and like all adults, I simply am not as inspired or full of life as I once was.

 

I don’t know if this is really the case or not, and I certainly haven’t made any kind of conscious decision for this to happen.

 

Yet here I am.

 

Sometimes I have dreams- I would call them nightmares- where I feel the true burden of the tightness in my shoulders and chest, a painful, woeful cry that erupts from my soul that “LOVE DOES NOT EXIST! ALL IS LOST! ABANDON ALL HOPE!” The pain in those dreams is so strong that if I were to feel it in waking life with any duration of time longer than a few minutes, I would probably, and I mean this quite seriously, kill myself as soon as I could.

 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy my life; I do. But the Longing always indicated SOMETHING MORE. And without that SOMETHING MORE, things fall apart; everything is grey and empty.

 

Perhaps I really am depressed and refuse to admit it or have repressed my sense of depression so much that I can’t feel it in ordinary consciousness. I’m really not sure anymore.

 

Maybe this is the slow death of the ego in which the true self is born. Maybe nothing is actually happening, and nothing will happen, and all is lost. I have no option but to go forward- if I can go forward. My greatest fear is that I have stagnated and will simply succumb to the same destiny as all other adults seemingly do.

 

God, help me.

 

Beaux

 

A Wordy Rant and Emotional Revelations Within; Read at Your Own Risk

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An emotional pattern is rising to the surface. I’m not sure I can totally categorize what this complex pattern of thoughts and feelings looks like, but I will try my best.

 

I’ve been meaning to write this entry for almost a week now, while the feelings and happenings are still fresh on my mind. God willing, I will be able to take the pain and go from there.

 

Let us begin.

 

Part of my social anxiety- not all of it, but part of it- stems from my fear of confrontation with other people. Just thinking about having an argument or someone getting angry with me causes my adrenal to rush. I don’t want to do or say anything that will invoke someone else’s harshness to come down on me.

 

In my life, avoiding conflict has become almost an art. I can’t handle rejection- of any kind- very well.

 

Low self-esteem can do that.

 

But yes, arguments, fights, being attacked and feeling defenseless in that attack, is one of the sources of my social anxiety. This much I know.

 

This ties in, of course, with the fear of public humiliation.

 

The majority of confrontations in my life have resulted in my feeling guilty, with my being the one who is first to say that I am sorry, with my being the one to swallow my pride, no matter how right I was, and to give in to the other person so that they won’t be angry at me. I am also talented at bringing comfort to people by doing this, and it has been very rare that anyone has apologized to me.

 

For that reason, when someone sincerely apologizes to me, I appreciate their apology more than a starving man would appreciate bread. I appreciate that someone can see that they have hurt me or done me wrong.

 

The emotional pattern that happened recently was a miniature reflection of a much large, on-going process with one of my friends while also being the latest in my own series of emotional hits. It goes something like this:

 

I meet someone, and there are fond feelings there. Shallow or deep, this doesn’t matter; the feeling of comfort and the belief that the person is somehow and somewhere good is there.

 

A disagreement or misunderstand, whether large or small, occurs. The person in question goes on to not only disagree or misunderstand me, but then turns on me, becoming hateful, spiteful, and spinning his own web of lies and deceit in which I am then caught.

 

Before I can defend myself, before I can realize what’s happened, the person has taken up his stance as Judge, Jury, and Executioner; he strikes at me with false accusations that, when reason is applied, are obviously false, but in the heat of the moment bring up rejection after rejection in my life, and I am forever cast out of his life, no matter my relative level of importance to him.

 

At this point, while still believing his attacks on me, I break down, crying.

 

Then I go around, trying to make atonement for the sins I’ve committed- to other people. It’s as though part of me believes that my expressing my love and gratitude for other people, I will be able to garner a larger army, a larger defense on my side.

 

So, maybe a good does come out of it. After all, expressing appreciation and gratitude for others is good, and I mostly just assume that they understand by my actions that I care about them.

 

Then I start feeling guilty about hating the person in question, and I basically beat myself up for not being spiritually advanced enough.

 

This past time, I saw that all these feelings of self-doubt and lack of self-worth and such are preventing me from being close to anyone in a relationship type sense. I had previously not seen this, but the pain I felt when an almost perfect stranger and a completely perfect asshole attacked me, rejected me, and left me to shake with my own tears seemed to be there.

 

It is worse when the people you have known or thought you knew turn on you in this way, yet a perfect stranger reduced me to tears.

 

The night before this happened, a intriguing thought appeared, going back to my youth: why did I believe things people said about me? Why? Why would I automatically believe that if someone said something, good or bad, that it was true?

 

Why did it never occur to me that other people may actually do things that I don’t do- like say nasty things to hurt me, to harm me, because they are jealous of me? Because they really do see something in me that they don’t have, or they really do assume something’s happening in my life that isn’t in theirs?

And all this time, I believed people said mean things to me and attacked me because somewhere, I deserved it or really wasn’t good; I believed they were simply telling me the truth.

 

But what happened to me to keep me from thinking for myself about myself? Why is my self-esteem so low?

 

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says that the Teacher can see what these things really mean. However, I do not formally have a guru or teacher, and therefore, I can’t say that my low self-esteem has ever done anything except make me suffer.

 

People are often surprised that I’m not always passive. I am passive a good bit of the time, not making waves, being a good little boy from a culture long since dead and faraway, but when has this benefited anyone? I do have my opinions, but when out in public, when around other people, when people do and say things with which I disagree, I simply smile and nod, not agreeing internally but politely just hearing them out.

 

Please don’t be mistaken, dear reader; I’m not saying that I think less of or look down on the people who have differing opinions. My concern is not what people opine but how they go about it. I have had some of the most fascinating conversations with people who don’t have antagonistic opinions or experiences, just different ones, and that, that is the stuff with which this life is spiced.

 

People say things about me that are misunderstandings of me. I have been accused more than once in my life of being “stuck-up.” The latest rendition is someone using the exact word “snotty” and telling me that I was trying with all my effort to make myself feel better than he.

 

But I’m not stuck-up, or at least I don’t think I am; being polite and reserved in social situations doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone. What it does mean is that I respect everyone enough to act in a way that shows I care about them, even if just a little. Being able to conduct one’s self does not mean one thinks one is better.

 

Yes, I may be, in some ways, more educated and more cultured than other people, but those other people are still people, still my fellow humans, and even if they don’t have opinions or perspectives that are as well-reasoned as mine, they still have their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences to share, and many times, it’s simply a matter of giving a person a chance to share herself.

 

Or maybe there is a Shadow side to all this where I really do believe that I’m better than other people, and I simply have been too stupid to see it.

I do think other people give me more credit for intelligence than I deserve. I hear person after person say that I’m intelligent, yet I can see exactly how much I don’t know, I fear that I haven’t learned nearly enough in any field or subject or begun to climb to the ranks of mastering anything, and I’m almost 27 years old- an age that, as a teenager, I believed would see me involved in the world in a professional manner, doing the things I wanted to do, and so on.

 

But here I sit, in my childhood home, with the issues that have plagued me from my childhood.

 

Part of me understands what has to happen- the taking of revenge was the cracking open, the knocking down the wall between my ego and my shadow, the dichotomy no longer a clear dichotomy. I have avoided sinning, I have avoided doing things I believed unethical for fear of what might happen to me.

 

But then, if you see the problem with that, that’s the only reason I haven’t done these things in the past- the fear that karma or God or something would punish me for revenging myself.

 

However, if the same Principle of our world allows a person to hurt me in the first place, I think that the Principle should all me to defend myself. I don’t care anymore- I’m not going to sit down and take things.

 

If that requires me to sin, so be it. The reality is that society counts me as a sinner anyway, and I wonder if the concept that being gay may indeed be a sin may have kept me from actually being intimate in my lifetime to the extent that it has.

 

But no more. Down with that world, down with that world view; down with the world view that I’ve had for so long.

 

This view includes this feeling I’ve had that “other people seem to have this idea of what’s going on, and I’m totally lost; it’s like this big joke that I’m not in on.”

 

But that, my friends, my dear, dear readers, is incorrect; there are far, far too many people I have met during my short life that actually don’t get it whatsoever; they aren’t “in” in something that I’m not, I’m just seeing the idiocy that runs rampant, seeing things too clearly, and I’m confused about why other people are not seeing it.

 

Maybe I was not born with a strong will and the ability to not have my feelings hurt and the power to just blaze through whatever troubles come my way as some people seem to have been. (We’ve all met such people.) But I wish it were that way.

In the argument last Friday, I was told point-blank that I was not worth knowing, that the person in question had no desire to know me. But that was also a misunderstanding; he doesn’t know me, so his desire is ill-placed.

 

Today, I prayed for something that I dare not pray for. I whispered a prayer for something that seems to be like a cheating of everything I’ve ever done, something that seems to be the utmost of selfishness: I prayed for happiness, to be happy.

 

Everything in my life has been oriented in such a way that I think I must have something to be happy- I must be in love, I must feel love, I must suffer first, I must earn my happiness, I must accomplish x, y, and z to be happy, and so on.

 

But to pray directly for my own happiness had never occurred to me. I felt happiness in my heart, that glowing brightness in the upper part of my chest, the sense that everything is going to be okay, that sense that all the arguments and all the ideas and all the problems don’t matter when you’re already happy. Being with someone, not being with someone, being religious, not being religious; none of this matters when you yourself are happy.

 

The happiness wasn’t laced with the poisoned clouds on the horizon of “happy medication,” where one’s problems and darkness still loom, where they’re only held off by medicine that will eventually fade and hurl you into the storm again. The happiness instead was the bright sword of Christ, born happily, a claiming of the birthright of each and every human being.

 

But I have been taught that for me to be happy while another suffers is actually selfish. That doesn’t make sense, though, because it would be almost impossible (save for a miracle) for everyone to become happy at the same time.

 

So instead, I would say that happiness of one’s self must be filled, filled, and filled again until it spills over and helps everyone that you know.

 

I also realized that praying for my own happiness was a change in me, a signal that I wanted to show love to myself. This is a brave, new world, a world in which I will know what it means to love myself.

 

And really, what sense does it make to care what other people think, especially strangers? They don’t know me like I know me; I won’t apologize for the virtues I have, I will not allow my vices to hurt anyone else, so what the bloody Barbara Streisand tampon fuck has the problem been all this time?

More reflections coming soon!

 

Beaux

Great Comment on Divine Law in Religion and some thoughts (via My Caravan of Dream)

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A great blog explaining one of my major positions on religion in general.

From a previous post: "Each religion has its laws which are none other than the Eternal immutable Divine laws clothed in the garbs of the particular society, times and people." As different religions have different laws – that sometimes contradict each other – it seems it is not the laws that bring us closer to the Divine. The laws are a means and not an end. Following strict laws every second of your life disciplines the mind, body and soul. Whi … Read More

via My Caravan of Dream

On the Recitation of the Dhikr

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Reciting the dhikr is difficult for many reasons, which I want to discuss here. Having received or used the Sufi dhikr “Allah,” there are all kinds of messes that it can cause.

First, in our culture, the name “Allah” is associated with Muslims and has a bad connotation. Second, reciting the Name over and over again, while beneficial on the one hand, also linguistically is simply saying, “God, God, God” over and over again; Erik, too, pointed this out to me.

The mystical and inner meaning of the Name Allah is “the Nothing,” as God appears to the human mind as a great Nothingness- a threshold of the normal mind’s ability to approach exactly Who and What God is, in other words.

But what we must remember is that there is also a theory behind the use of the Name. “Allah” doesn’t simply mean “God.” Allah is an invocation of love, beauty, and longing; Allah is the very cry of the fabric of Reality to Itself. We do not recite the Name of God solely for our own benefit; we recite the Name for the sake of the All.

With each breath, with each repetition, we draw Beauty into this world, and we call to His grace.

I have more things to share, but now is not the time.

Kyrie Eleison.

Beaux


Paradigm and Considerations

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Despite my former blog having a part in it going on about avoiding mere speculation, this blog will deal with some things that are important to consider on the mystic’s path.

My new friend Erik and I have discussed mysticism and specifically Gnosticism at length recently, and some of the ideas we’ve touched on are important to share here. My friend Wes, too, has touched on this with me.

Most of the time, I make a point to the people who are more literalistic in their understanding of the Bible that the map is not the territory. This same principle can be extended to any kind of paradigm, and my major problem in the history of religious consideration is seeing that different world views are sometimes superimposed on reality, many of which are simply not correct. The fundamentalist Christian world view is not only incorrect, it’s also mixed with misunderstandings and at times, purposely distorted information.

But other world views, such as those of the mystics, aren’t entirely correct, either. Different religious traditions have different core views on things, even if in the end we’re all celebrating the One Great Truth or God or what have you.

So, let’s get cracking at this.

The point to consider with any paradigm is that it has limitations. Certain things were not historically and are not presently taken into account in said paradigms. The traditional Christian world view, for instance, does not account for extraterrestrial life or UFOs. This is simply not part of the system, and anyone who suggests that it is seriously has to read it into the text or make guesswork on it. Little grey men with huge eyes are not part of Christianity, and they’re not even really allowed for in the more orthodox view of things, even if the Church is now trying to accommodate for the potential of aliens in the present era.

But better still, for the mystic, it is good to remember that not everything is going to fit into the paradigm. Gnosticism has been the one “catch-all” system that I’ve found so far. It contains the elements that are necessarily mystical while also containing the imagery of Christianity that is so dear to me and also containing the truths of various “pagan” traditions. However, even then, it’s fair to say that Gnosticism doesn’t have room for everything, and…that’s okay!

It’s okay to have a paradigm that doesn’t consider everything. It’s okay to have a paradigm into which you can’t fit every experience. What’s important is to understand that many of the mystic’s experiences are off the charts, off the maps, and not in the literature. And that’s OKAY! We don’t have to force-fit everything into some kind of intellectual framework.

But we also don’t have to do the opposite, which is constantly expanding the paradigm until there is no paradigm. That becomes problematic in a different way, because we’re essentially left groping in the dark for something we cannot find. There is no sign pointing to where we’re supposed to go from there, and we can get lost more easily.

Not everyone is comfortable working within a system. And that’s okay, too! Some people are better at seeking when they don’t have presuppositions or too many reference points. I found my problem was the opposite- with no reference point whatsoever, I had NO sense of direction.

What’s your path like? What has it been like?

Comments are incredibly welcome to these questions!

Beaux


The Past Few Days

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From what I can tell, something inside of me has indeed changed or altered- and whatever has changed or altered hasn’t become undone for something like a week at this point, and so I’m beginning to guess that this must be largely permanent, even if there are fluctuations within the state of being.

Now, what exactly has changed, I cannot begin to explain to you- I’m not totally sure what’s gone or altered. The Self is still present- there’s definitely an emotional system and a sense of being alive. So, too, the ego still seems to be around, which is to say that I still have a sense of an “I” within me.

But what has changed? How can I begin to explain it?

First, there’s been the tiredness or the Grace of God or what have you that has almost not let up at all. There seems to be a great, deep stillness within me, but that may not even be the correct word. Peace doesn’t do it justice, either- it’s just something deep that isn’t moving as it once was, which is not something that most people would understand.

Here and there I’ve also had incredible bursts of love and affection, a sense of seeing other humans as essentially my children. In seeing other people as my children, I came to an understanding that I didn’t have before. My sense of being different from them is not necessarily a matter of feeling superior to other people but seeing the difference in spiritual maturity that allows for me to be compassionate towards even the most hateful of people. There are still human tendencies in me where I can see that I don’t like certain people or have a sense of anger at others, but these things aren’t terribly strong.

Last night, a certain kind of mystery was revealed to me that I can explain here but that will likely be beyond the comprehension of those who hear it. I’ll take the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and use them: let he who has ears, listen.

When I tried to meditate, I found my mind was particularly filled with music, and so I decided to look up music online. I talk about the “brain radio” that I have- I can hear a song, and my brain will encode so many details about the song that it’s difficult for me to not hear the music constantly. The playing in my head is constantly, and this has been going on since childhood, I know. The dhikr, if placed here, could be and would be repeated automatically with no volition of my own, and that’s the way it should be.

In the meantime, I looked up the music from video games that I played in my childhood, and hearing the music, I began to understand why music calls me in the way that it does, why I have been drawn into the world of music, why I love music- it is because it is God crying to Himself. This is difficult to explain, but there is a saying of the Sufis about a man who cried to God, and khidr comes to him to tell him, “Do you not realize that your, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah’ was His ‘Here I Am?'”

This takes us to a point that is purely experiential. You come to understand that it is only God who loves, only God who rejoices, and only God. ONLY GOD. The meaning of the shahada, “La ilaha illa Allah” becomes clear at this point- there is no God but God, there is no Divinity that is not Divinity, that ultimately, God is the one who experiences, who rejoices- all Hope is God’s, all Joy is God’s, all Love is God’s.

But this makes no sense to us, as humans- why, then, are we the ones who suffer, who seemingly contain this experience of God? I have no idea.

I do know in hearing the music last night and being caught in the fit between laughter and tears that I kept looking up at the crucifix on my wall and had a distinct impression that I finally understood what it is that Jesus had been trying to tell me all this time. I understand the mystery that Jesus attempted to explain, but His Mystery is beyond words, pure and simple. At least right now the Mystery is beyond words. Maybe in the future, I’ll be able to explain it.

Today, I awoke with a sense of love burning in my heart, and I had, for one of the first times in my life, the sense of burning with love AND the sense of being the guy I am supposed to be, a working together of both the heart chakra and the solar plexus chakra, something that had been a kind of intellectual antagonism before. This, too, should eventually reveal the mysterious connection between Sufism and Christianity, though my ultimate guess is that the Gnostics show a perfect Sufi relationship in the central redemptive myth of Sophia’s fall and her subsequent longing for Christ, whereupon Christ saves her by command of the Father. I look forward to the further revelation of these things.

To have a sense of who you are, who you truly are, and for it to be something that is beyond a narrow social definition and at the same time for it to not be some weird, abstract sense of the Buddha-nature is a powerful experience indeed- and what I mean is that the Buddha-nature and Atman are discussed in terms of this kind of faceless, personality-less sense of being, and this is clearly not the case. There is a distinction among personality and ego and Self, and with all the garbage and mental masturbation that goes on about spirituality these days, it’s ridiculous to see that nobody gets something this simple.

But of course, a great deal of what we see today has nothing to do with experience- instead, people spew out the accounts and speculations of others and have absolutely nothing of their own to contribute, and this is a great error in our age.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical, as I’ve made the same mistake- just look at what happens when I get interested in orthodox Christianity. But the truth is, I’m not an orthodox Christian, and I may not even be Christian for that matter, and hell, I may not even be Sufi! Who knows at this point?

Beaux


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


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Some of the mystical movements and notably the words of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee suggest that this is God’s world and that this is God’s story, and that we must take a part in God’s story; in other words, our lives are not about us, they are about God, and we must focus on God and not ourselves; otherwise, we’ll never find happiness.

This is a difficult thing for me to do for several reasons.

First, the notion that we must focus on God and not ourselves is fantastic- if one believes in God, if one has a clear idea about who, or more importantly, what God is, and if one has a clear idea about what God expects from us. In this case, a devout Catholic (or Anglican) has it much easier than the devout Gnostic or Sufi or New Ager. If one firmly believes in God, and then if one has a “rule book” that relates one to that God, well, you’ve no problem. I should add that if one experiences God, that this applies as well.

Second, what happens when you aren’t even sure what God is, and then you aren’t sure that God exists at that, and then you aren’t sure what God’s standards would be anyway? I can’t trust a Holy Book from any religion simply because it is a Holy Book. So a religion may have rules, and they may claim these rules come from God, thus setting the standard for our behavior and how we are to live.

But I don’t buy that.

If someone asks me if I believe in God, I can’t give them an answer, not a clear one, not an easily articulated one. There’s no belief in me of an Old, Bearded Man Sitting on a Throne, the “classic” image of both Zeus and Jehovah. I don’t believe in that. Period. But do I acknowledge that the cosmos may have a binding force that holds us all together, that is aware of us in a way that we can’t imagine, that perhaps even loves us and wills us into existence? Sure. I can see that, totally.

Now, I want to point out that originally and even today, MUCH OF CHRISTIANITY ACTUALLY VIEWS GOD THE FATHER IN THIS WAY. This is not the “popular” image of God that’s espoused in the media and in many of the Evangelical churches, which take a more literal reading to the Bible, but the “formless” Ground of Being was one of the first aspects of God identified in Christianity and used to counter to the Jews; in other words, early Christians pointed out that the Jews had anthropomorphized God and done a disservice to him in the process. This is one of the reasons that the Incarnate Christ was such a big deal. The Ultimate Cosmic Force condensed Itself into one particular human form- not a small feat.

But back to the point. My skepticism is still quite present inside of me because of disappointment after disappointment with different religions and philosophies. The ultimate problem I’ve found is that it comes down to squabbling over highly abstract systems that have little bearing on reality. Some might argue that the systems tell us how to think and therefore how to act. I would say this can only be true to a certain degree, but that isn’t the point of this blog entry.

The question is, if you don’t really believe in God, how can you live your life for him?

The “bubble” that Llewellyn and others wish to burst is simply the idea that our lives are only and strictly about us. Well, not everyone has the idea that their life is strictly about themselves and no others, so the presupposition is shaky as it is, but for me, I have found the selflessness comes at the service of other people, namely those people with whom I have fallen in love. As the old saying goes, “Being deeply loved gives us strength; deeply loving gives us courage.”

Only when I have been deeply in love have I had courage to face things I would otherwise not face. I have done the craziest things, things that would have otherwise made me cower and quake, for the sake of love.

The Sufis speak of loving God, of God being the Beloved. Again I cite the problem: how are we to love a Nameless, Faceless, Bodiless, Amorphous Nothingness? Loving Christ, the image of Jesus, came easier to me, yet even that image is tainted.

If there is a God, and God will show me what it means to love It, then BRING IT ON.

Certainly, a life where one is only concerned with one’s self is going to have negative results. One will never be happy this way, or fulfilled, in any substantial way. So there is a merit in saying that one should “live for God.” But again, in practice, what does that really mean? How does one do that when one doesn’t even really have the same definition of “God” that most people do, and how does one do that when one doesn’t really even have a sense of God really existing?

And since I asked Keegan to read this, I’ll mention him in here as well at this point: after many debates about religion, he finally told me the truest thing that he ever said to me: “You have a really weird definition of religion, dude.”

That’s a perfect statement of me and how I approach religion as a whole: I don’t understand Christianity as most (not all) Christians do, and it’s likely that I don’t understand Sufism as most Sufis do, though that’s not the same kind of gap. But I’m not a “heretic” in the traditional sense where I simply don’t agree on a few doctrines or dogmas. My entire approach to religion is different than most religious people’s approach, and truth be told, many would label me more agnostic or even atheistic than they would theistic and religious.

So the point is, in line with Keegan’s words, I see religion as a tool, as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. This is perhaps where Bernadette Roberts and I would part ways in terms of the Holy Eucharist, as she affirms that it is an end in itself as THE Cosmic Christ, and I would say the Holy Eucharist is the means to Nirvana while also (potentially) being an end in itself. I could be wrong, and time will tell.

Maybe the reality is that one can’t understand God or religion until one has gone through other religions and even through atheism. Who knows?

This gave me another idea to write about.

Beaux


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