Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Self-importance

"Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it - what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone."
-- Carlos Castaneda

Organized religion

I feel that this post on my main blog is relevant here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Symbols of symbols of symbols

Many of use love the smell and feel of paper books. If you think about it, that can only be because of association with the stories and ideas we've read in them in the past. The stories represent people and things in the world. And those stand in for Source.
So we are attracted to symbols of symbols of symbols!

As we are

We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.
-- Anais Nin

Friday, May 23, 2008

D.U. and the male/Western Ego

Why is The Disappearance Of The Universe drawing in a 50% male crowd, when spiritual events usually are attended by 80% women?

My guess is that the book embodies a certain "male ego" quality which spiritualism usually doesn't. I have it a lot myself. It's also a Western quality. It is "I'm the master of my own life, dammit."

Gary even says it directly in the book, when A&P tells him he is going to write a book. He says "I'm glad you think you know my future, but I'll be the one who decides what I'm going to do." (Or words to that effect.)

It's a good quality in the world of form, as you can see in the Western world, where the male ego has raised living standards way above what's typical in the Eastern world.

But ultimately it's an Ego quality, it's part of what keeps us separate from others.

Most spirituality does not reach people who are in that mind-set. We get the hives from the sweetness-and-light quality and the "surrender yourself" attitude.

Which is why D.U. is so brilliant. It clearly outlines a compromise-free metaphysical spiritual philosophy which makes it clear that ultimately you will have to give up individual existence, but it does so while maintaining an edgy attitude and language which the male/Western person can appreciate. The rock-and-roll orientation. The dry humor. The smart-ass comments. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Anger

"Holding onto anger is like grasping onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned."
-- Gotama Buddha

Monday, May 19, 2008

Picturing the divine

"Consciousness by its very nature tends to make the divine into its own image and likeness; the only problem is, the divine has no image or likeness. hence consciousness, of itself, cannot truly apprehend the divine. Christians (Catholics especially) are often blamed for being the great image makers, yet their images are so obviously naive and easy to see through, we often miss the more subtle, formless images by which consciousness fashions the divine. For example, because the divine is a subjective experience, we think the divine is a subject; because we experience the divine through the faculties of consciousness, will, and intellect, we think the divne is equally consciousness, will and intellect; because we experience ourselves as a being or entity, we experience the divine as a being or entity; because we judge others, we think the divine judges others; and so on. Carrying a holy card in our pockets is tame compared to the formless notions we carry around in our minds; it is easy to let go of an image, but almost impossible to uproot our intelletual convictions based on the experiences of consciousness. Still, if we actually knew the unbridgeable chasm that lies between the true nature of consciousness or self and the true nature of the divine, we would despair of ever making the journey. So consciousness is the marvelous divine invention by which human beings make the journey in subjective companionship with the divine; and, like every divine invention, it works. Consciousness both hides the chasm and bridges it - and when we have crossed over, of course, we do not need the bridge any more."
- interview with Bernadette Roberts

Update: it is very remarkable, that BR, in this quote:
"Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self as a house, he said, "All thy rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed". and there it was - the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self. When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bulls-eye."

... Talks about an arrow from the beginning of time, hitting a bulls-eye. Several years ago I had a perception that Our Path is "endeth", we are done, we are free, only we just need to shake off the residual pain to realize it. And I got a vision: A huge crystal arrow sitting in a big target, a perfect hit. I was mightily struck with the perfection of this hit, and with the finality of it. And also of the knowledge that it had been launched with such precision from the beginning of time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Curing anger

"If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself: 'I used to be angry every day; then every other day; now only every third or fourth day.' When you reach thirty days offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods."
-- Epictetus

Bill Thetford used as a measurement of progress: how long does it take you to let go of enmity? If it gets shorter, you're progressing.

Enemy outpost

"It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head."
-- Sally Kempton

Indeed.
And if one looks further, one finds that the outpost is what makes the enemy. If you remove it, no more enemies.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Western mystic traditions

"That said, there are historical reasons that the inner Western paths are not well-known or understood. They had to survive in an extremely hostile environment for hundreds of years. In medieval times, a mystic or a theologian who stepped outside the limits of conventional Catholic dogma would be condemned. And condemnation in those days was not just a matter of failing to get tenure: it meant poverty or even death. We can only admire the courage of the people who kept these traditions alive against all odds.
"Today, at least in the Western nations, nobody is going to be persecuted for having esoteric beliefs. Even so, the climate is not terribly favorable. Religion is either highly rationalistic (as in the mainstream Protestant denominations) or fundamentalist. In either case, everything is understood only at the lowest level. The media either portray the higher spiritual search in a clich├ęd form — everyone has a shaven head and a saffron robe — or they focus on the most obvious nut cases, the latest batch of Kool-Aid drinkers or what-have-you. This is part of what the spiritual master G.I. Gurdjieff called “the mechanism of self-calming”: you laugh at the nut cases to reassure yourself that there’s nothing to this spirituality business."

-- Interview about Western mystic traditions

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Amelia Earhart and courage

"Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace."
-- Amelia Earhart, Courage, 1927

I've never been a courageous person in the physical sense. You wouldn't get me do a bungee jump. But it's my unprovable conviction that being adventurous in the spiritual realm takes a much deeper kind of courage.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Belief in pleasure from The World

J says of the body:
"While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain."
(ACIM chapter 19)

It strikes me that the same can be said for the world of form in general.

It does not seem easy to give up the Pleasure of The World. I think desire will only go away when the need for it, the addiction, is gone. When the reservoir of Guilt is gone, or at least nearly.

When you have nothing more to run from, there will no need for anything to run to.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Is Guilt energy

I am often struck by the apparently quite mechanical quality of spiritual progress, and the necessity that it takes time. I am wondering if the "Guilt", while obviously illusory like the rest of the universe, is an actual energy. A quantity. If it's mechanical rather than conceptual. If it was just conceptual, one should be able to change one mind instantly. So it seems to me there has to be a mechanical change which has to happen over time. "Erasing" energy bit by bit by stopping believing in it and stopping fighting it. Or some such.

Friday, May 9, 2008

End of a journey

"You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over. You are still worn and tired, and the desert's dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless."
ACIM chapter 18

... That's another section which resonates powerfully for me. I had a mystical awakening about 20 years ago, and one of the things which kept returning to me in various guises over the years has been a strong subjective perception that we are done. That anything seemingly left to solve is just the dust settling.

One of the visions I had a few years ago of this idea was a great, shining crystal arrow sitting in a target. The arrow had been fired from the other side of the universe and from the other end of time, and the aim was perfect and it was all done.

Another vision I had was of a swimmer who has crossed an entire ocean. He is in the breakwater, and actually he is already crawling on the sand under eight inches of water, but he is not sure he can feel it with his numb and cold limbs.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Commenting

I've just found out to my irritation that this blog for some reason had been set to not accept comments from anybody except Blogger users. I don't know how that happened, but I've corrected it now. You can comment as Anonymous now, or you can just write in a name (I prefer that, rather than having a bunch of Anons to confuse).

I appreciate comments, and read them all, even comments to old posts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The extra-physical experience

"Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. This feeling of liberation far exceeds the dream of freedom sometimes hoped for in special relationships. It is a sense of actual escape from limitations. If you will consider what this “transportation” really entails, you will realise that it is a sudden unawareness of the body, and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you, as you unite with it. And both become whole, as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness, and lost your fear of union. The love that instantly replaces it extends to what has freed you, and unites with it. And while this lasts you are not uncertain of your Identity, and would not limit It. You have escaped from fear to peace, asking no questions of reality, but merely accepting it. You have accepted this instead of the body, and have let yourself be one with something beyond it, simply by not letting your mind be limited by it.

"This can occur regardless of the physical distance that seems to be between you and what you join; of your respective positions in space; and of your difference in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present or anticipated. The “something” can be anything and anywhere; a sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you join it without reservation because you love it, and would be with it."

-- Course in Miracles
Text, Chapter 18 - VI. Beyond the Body

This section is important to me. I have powerful experiences like that with art, both my own and that of others.

Lucid dreaming

"All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same."
T-18.II.5:12-14

I had an amazing experience the other night. I'm not sure if it will seem extraordinary to anybody else, but to me it really was.

I was dreaming in the night, and it was just about walking around in my old home town with some friends and having various experiences. But it was parts of the town I had not seen before, and since I know every inch of it, I knew it was not real.

Whether for that reason for inspiration, I became aware that I was dreaming. And I became aware that I might wake up, but not necessarily immediately, and it did not matter.

The really amazing thing, though, was that the dream and everything in it was astoundingly detailed. It was every bit as detailed as what I see in "reality" every day. Perhaps even more, I think my eyesight was better in the dream.

It was a fantastic experience to walk around in this world which I knew was a dream, and yet it continued, and yet it was fully as detailed and real-looking as anything I'd ever seen.

It might not be proof that "reality" is actually a dream. I don't know if that can be "proved". But it can't be proved that it's real either. Any proof you need to prove that it's real, you can also dream up!

But it did prove to my personal satisfaction that a dream can seem at least as real and detailed as what we call reality, and therefore there's no reason, apart from emotional necessity, to assume that reality is not a dream.