I was asked the question;
|Do you believe in the hereafter; life after death, reincarnation? A God? Tell me how you feel and think….|
This not where I intended to begin answering this question, however the question spun me in so many directions, at the same time, that I had several beginnings. It is not a simple question for me to answer. My beliefs are not static, but evolve as I evolve, and it incorporates each paradigm that I move through. Just as I had several beginnings in answering this question, so my beginnings in life began with several seeds sown, each growing at the same time, each exploring a different aspect of life.
There is a well known story told of a Zen master Dogen. “When one of his students reported that during meditation he had seen a vision of Buddha in a brilliant white light, Dogen replied, ‘That’s nice. If you concentrate on your breathing it will go away.’ A shaman reply might be, ‘Well, what did you do with it?’ There’s no particular virtue in getting visions unless you can make use of them.” – Serge Kahili King
So it is for me personally, in to all aspects of spirituality and life.
“I found that while many people are helped by religion, it is possible to get help
from the very circumstances in your life: they become sources of information, requiring
only a slight shift of attention or interest. In fact, it is the delivery of information by
events, via one’s emotions, interest, or repulsion, that formulates itself into a different
kind of knowledge, … This knowledge is available to each person who is open to the possibility that their life is much much more than cultural conditioning would have us believe.” –Kathleen Damiani
That has also been my personal experience. William James said in his book “The Varieties of Religious Experience”, that Religion is “The belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.”
Most religions strive to give a name to that unseen order, and then find rules and rituals for the faithful to follow, that will bring them into harmony with that particular named aspect of the unseen order. What name do you call your God; for whatever that name, is what you live your live by, and it will determine much of the course of your life. This where it felt right for me to begin.
The Tao that can be told
is not the universal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the universal name.
In the infancy of the universe,
there were no names.
Naming fragments the mysteries of life
into ten thousand things
and their manifestations
Yet mysteries and manifestations
spring from the same source:
the Great Integrity
which is the mystery within manifestation,
the manifestation within mystery,
the naming of the unnamed,
and the un-naming of the named.
When these interpenetrations
are in full attendance,
we will pass the gates of naming notions
in our journey toward transcendence.
God is omnipotent, all-seeing, all-loving, omni-present, unname-able; omni, all, infinite, timeless; in all cosmonogies the unutterable and unthinkable are used to describe god. Actually then at the basis of all religions and belief systems there is an acknowledgment that there exist alongside and within us, something that is actually unthinkable to us, beyond which the human mind can conceive of. The unthinkable then is the source which our questioning minds and imaginations try and make sense of, try to make known to ourselves. However, the human being can only explore the unknowable from the basis of the known.
“That which in its primal nature has no limit, is thus not truly thinkable. It cannot, indeed, be defined, for to define anything is to state its limits. Without quantitative statements, however, something of these notions can be conveyed in terms of relationships, as in the sentence of Marsilio Ficino, ‘Light is the shadow of God.” – Melita Denning & Osborne Phillips
So we can in reality only explore the unknown through relationships. We however find it difficult to form a relationship with something that does not have a name So we set about naming, as anchors from which we could explore the unknown.
“Without doubt, the fundamental quality which man has always desired in his gods is that they should hear and should be propitious to him. No cult would endure for long if this requirement did not at least seem to be fulfilled; and if the cult did not endure, the god-form faded.” – Melita Denning & Osborne Phillips
How could a devotee call upon something if it did not have a name to call upon. The word God is probably the most “limitless” in most religions’ concepts, but even that is defined by the limitation of each religion and belief. Atheists can say they do not believe in a God concept, but even they will only get up in the morning, because they believe in something, even if it is just a belief that they will live through the day. We all believe in something, whether it is purely material of nature, psychological, or something more mysterious, and once we find what we believe in, we give it a name. That very name then becomes a channel of a specific energy, but at the same time a limitation if it becomes a habituation. Such channels of force, or energy can also be named Egregores, Memes or an Attractor.
The following is from Gaetan Delaforgem from a Gnosis article, “The Templar Tradition: yesterday and today”:
…”An egregore is a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose. Whenever people gather together to do something and egregore is formed, but unless an attempt is made to maintain it deliberately it will dissipate rather quickly. However if the people wish to maintain it and know the techniques of how to do so, the egregore will continue to grow in strength and can last for centuries.
An egregore has the characteristic of having an effectiveness greater than the mere sum of its individual members. It continuously interacts with its members, influencing them and being influenced by them. The interaction works positively by stimulating and assisting its members but only as long as they behave and act in line with its original aim. It will stimulate both individually and collectively all those faculties in the group which will permit the realization of the objectives of its original program. If this process is continued a long time the egregore will take on a kind of life of its own, and can become so strong that even if all its members should die, it would continue to exist on the inner dimensions and can be contacted even centuries later by a group of people prepared to live the lives of the original founders, particularly if they are willing to provide the initial input of energy to get it going again.
If the egregore is concerned with spiritual or esoteric activities its influence will be even greater. People who discover the keys can tap in on a powerful egregore representing, for example, a spiritual or esoteric tradition, will, if they follow the line described above by activating and maintaining such an egregore, obtain access to the abilities, knowledge, and drive of all that has been accumulated in that egregore since its beginnings. A group or order which manages to do this can, with a clear conscience, claim to be an authentic order of the tradition represented by that egregore. In my view this is the only yardstick by which a genuine Templar order should be measured.”
Through our naming we thus form an Egregore, meme or attractor, which attracts specific experiences to us.
‘Rather than viewing a state of consciousness simply as a system, let us also view it as an attractor. This is natural, as an attractor is a pattern to which a system is drawn according to its own nature. The basin for a state of consciousness would include all the situations from which one is likely to slide back into that state… If the conditions that support ordinary consciousness are altered past a critical point, however, the system will slide into a new pattern, repressed by a different attractor with its own basin…All this suggests that if a large enough portion of elements which form either a state or structure of consciousness are altered, the entire system can be up-ended and sent looking for a new attractor – a new stable pattern” Allan Combs
The first time I was faced with the importance of names, was when I was studying the Kabalah. I reached a point in the practical part of the studies where I had to find a name of an Archetypal Deity with whom I resonated, and use that as the basis of my continuous guidance or direction in my studies, my personal Egregore. Find the cosmonogy that I will work with. I hit a brick wall. I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of research. I looked at all the different views of God – all that I could come across. I looked at each of them with an open mind, without logical judgment, but as a child would look at things. This is what it is called, this is how it is defined, this is how it acts, this is how it feels, and this is its core.
I let my intuition be my guide in this, and let my intellect be the sword of discrimination. I road tested ideas, some with rather unexpected results, (that’s another story) but no name felt just right. Each one I felt an affinity for, upon further investigation, just felt too limiting in range for me. I did not feel an easy flow when I tapped into them It was much like trying to remember a name you had forgotten at a particular moment. Am I, my personal nature an attractor, an egregore for a particular energy?.
Eventually I decided to let it rest, and I concentrated my studies on other avenues, I also discovered Ascension Theories, and Theories of the Diamond body. I realized at that stage the importance of refining my emotional and thinking body, and concentrated on that. When I all but gave up on finding a particular name, I had a dream.
I became aware of a woman veiled in white, she kept on changing, disappearing and re-appearing in different forms. (Different forms of womanhood.) She touched my hand and said that I hold the means to call upon her within my hand. Then I knew whom it was the veiled one, that guides me, but still no name. Then a few days after, a friend gave me the book Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom by Caitlin Matthews, on the cover was the painting by Nicholas Roerich, that I have in my gutter, the same image I saw in my dream. It all fell into place; of course there it, in my hand – how many times have I not signed my name, the name I inherited from my maternal grandmother, too close to see.
The name I was searching for was Sophia. Of course I knew Sophia was the goddess of wisdom, but because it was my name, it never thought of investigating that avenue. The more I researched the Sophianic energy, the more I was sure that the Egregore suited my nature perfectly, right down to the aspects of “claiming childhood sense of loss by the touch of death” (I will discuss that when I go into life after death.) At times I had goosebumps from the research I did, knowing that the signs were there all the time I just did not know how, or want to, to read them.
To get back to the original question; Is there a god? I know through the experience of my life, that have been guided all along. Even the bitter experiences I had, now in retrospect, I can see were loving gifts for my own awakening from my dream of forgetting. I know that inside me is something, that watch over me, help prepare my path, by drawing me to people, books, circumstances, all sort of little coincidences, that help guide me in the right direction. It is for me, as if once you have taken the decision to find the truth, about yourself, and the world around you, everything seem to conspire to help you in advance.
A nun once asked a 90 year old Atheist friend of mine; “So what do you believe in?’ His answer was, “The Brotherhood of man.” Our perspective of life may differ, but in those words he also echoed a deeply confirmed belief of mine, that mostly our guiding energy speaks to us through other people. Often they come in strange guises, but if you listen carefully, and with an open mind, no person you are drawn to, or meet by coincidence comes to you without a message from your guiding energy. I call my guiding energy Sophia, others call it by different names, but it is there, not waiting to punish you for your mistakes, but to lovingly guide you in the right direction for your own personal development, and in doing so your place under the sun, and how you can best contribute to the whole of humanity…
Next I will be exploring life after death.