Archive for category Rumours of Being Human
God picks up the the reed-flute
world and blows.
Each note is a need coming
through one of us,
a longing pain.
Remember the lips
where the wind-breath
and let your note be clear.
Don’t try to end it.
Be your note.
I’ll show you how it’s enough.
Go up on the roof at night
in this city of soul.
Let everyone climb on their roofs
and sing their notes!
We are once again standing at the threshold of a new year. This is a time when most people make resolutions and set goals. More often than not these resolutions and goals are broken, and we tend to then tell ourselves how bad, or weak we are. Upon our life journey’s we will often stumble and break our resolutions. If we fail, all we need to do is to pick ourselves up and keep on trying until we do succeed. Especially in tough times persistence is the key to success. There is a wonderful tale told by Vladimir Slovyov in his book “War, Progress and the End of History” that illustrates this beautifully
“Two hermits had gone out into theNitrian Desertto save their souls. Their caves were not far distant from each other, but they themselves never talked together, except that they occasionally sang psalms, so that they could hear each other. In this way they spent many years, and their fame began to spread in Egypt and the surrounding countries. It came to pass that one day the Devil managed to put into both their minds simultaneously one and the same desire, and without saying a word to each other they collected their baskets and mats made of palm leaves and branches, and went off toAlexandria. They sold their work there and then for three days and three nights they sought pleasure in the company of drunkards and sinners, after which they went back to their desert.
And one of them cried out in bitterness and agony of the soul:” I am lost eternally! Cursed am I! No prayers and penance can atone for such madness, such abominations! All my years of fasting and prayer gone for nothing! I am ruined, body and soul!” The other man, however, was walking by his side, singing psalms in a cheerful voice. “Brother,” said the repentant one, “have you gone mad?” “Why do you ask that?” “But why aren’t you grieving?” “What should I grieve about?” “Listen to him! Have you forgotten Alexandria?” ‘What about Alexandria? Glory to God who preserves that famous and God-fearing City!” “But we, what did we do in Alexandria?” “You know well enough yourself what we did; we sold our baskets, worshipped St. Mark, visited other churches, called on the pious governor of the city, conversed with the good prioress Leonilla who is always kind to monks…” “But didn’t we spend the night in a house of ill fame?” “God save us! No! We spent the evening and the night in the patriarch’s court.” “Holy martyrs! He has lost his mind…
Where then did we treat ourselves to wine?” “We partook of wine and food at the patriarch’s table on the occasion of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.” “Poor, miserable creature! And who was it whom we kissed, not to mention worse things? Are you making a fool of me? Or has the Devil himself entered your soul as punishment for yesterday’s abominations? They were wretched libertines, you blackguard, that you kissed!” “Well, I don’t know which of us the Devil has entered; Whether he has entered me, who am rejoicing in the gifts of God and in the benevolence of the godly priests, and am praising my Creator-or whether he has entered you, who are now raving like a lunatic and calling the house of our blessed father and pastor a house of ill fame.” “Oh, you heretic! You offspring of Arian! Accursed mouth of Apollinarius!” At this the hermit who had been grieving over his lapse from virtue fell upon his comrade and began beating him. When the outburst was over they returned silently to their caves.
All night long the repentant one wore himself out with grief, filling the desert with his groans and cries, tearing out his hair, throwing himself on the ground and dashing his head against it, while the other quietly and happily sang his psalms. Next morning the repentant one was struck by a sudden thought: “By my many years of self-denial I had been granted a special blessing of the Holy Spirit which had already begun to reveal itself in miracles and apparitions. And if after this I gave myself up to the abominations of the flesh, I must have committed a sin against the Holy Spirit, which, according to the word of God, is for all eternity unpardonable. If, however, I am irrevocably doomed, what can I do in the desert?” And so he went to Alexandria and gave himself up to a wanton life.
It so happened that soon afterward he badly needed money, and, in company with other dissolute fellows like himself, murdered and robbed a wealthy merchant. The crime was discovered; he was tried by the city court, sentenced to death, and died an unrepentant sinner. At the same time his old friend, continuing his life of devotion, attained to the highest degree of saintliness and became famous for his great miracles. When finally the day of his death arrived, his decrepit and withered body suddenly became resplendent with the beauty of youth. A wondrous light surrounded it; from it proceeded the perfume of sweet spices. The pilgrims both committed every other crime, but only one met his doom – the one who became despondent.”
The most important resolution you can make this year is to never give up on what is important to you.
What I treasure most about humanity is the incredible diversity found among us aa it is reflected in the biodiversity nature. Life itself, in its essence, is diversity; it is only in the process of death that all becomes alike. Life as a vital energy generates diversity and love embraces the vitality of diversity. Yet, when I look around me into the prevailing culture, I smell the scent of death rather than the scent of life. The prevailing culture engenders death rather than life. Death of body, mind and soul.
In today’s world marketing is everything. At the basis of marketing lies the concept of finding a market for your product and then to apply proven strategies to capture the market so that they will buy your product and not another. Underlying this is the concept of dominion, or the winner takes all. Marketing is the final stage of the process of commercialization and is derived from the Latin word merx (commodity; merchandise, goods).
We can indeed say that the world is in the final stage of commercialization. Just as there is nothing left in this world today that isn’t polluted just so there is nothing left in this world that hasn’t been commercialized. Everything is seen through the filter of “How much is it worth?” Even the most sacred of all human qualities – love – has been tainted by commercialization.
In his essay “Love and Need: Is Love a Package or a Message?” Thomas Merton comments that we are taught within the framework of competitive consumer capitalism to see love as a business deal: “This concept of love assumes that the machinery of buying and selling of needs is what makes everything run. It regards life as a market and love as a variation on free enterprise.”
His comment gives an insight into why it is virtually impossible to find unconditional love in this world. Commercialization makes everything conditional. It breeds insincerity and mistrust. Commercialization is the framework within which we are raised and is thus so deeply imbedded into our way of thinking that it will take a lot of digging to uproot its enmeshment within our psyche.
Dana Gioia laments the state of the prevailing culture; “When virtually all of a culture’s celebrated figures are in sports or entertainment, how few possible role models we offer the young. There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child’s imagination, and we’ve relinquished that imagination to the marketplace. But we must remember that the marketplace does only one thing — it puts a price on everything.” In a recent survey done in England vitually all the children responded to the question of what they wanted to be one day, that they wanted to be famous.
The way commercialization impoverishes our lives is that it reduces everything to what will sell best. This of course directly affects biodiversity but it also affects creative expression. A reflection of this is seen in the wine market where the wine critic Robert Parker’s particular likes in wines have global effects. “As wines rise and fall on the basis of Parker’s judgments, and as producers respond to his presence, the industry worldwide is moving in an unexpected direction, toward denser, darker, and more dramatic wines.” (Ref) The production of wines now is geared towards what will be best received by the critic.
Creative output is tailored to suit the market, not the artist’s particular vision. With the result we are seeing less and less creative work that comes from the heart and more and more creative work that comes from a marketing campaign. Creative work that comes from the heart is still out there but we are less likely to encounter it because we are less likely to pick it up in the search engines which operate in a hierarchical way. Even in the blog world that once encouraged individual creative expression we are now seeing more and more work that are produced with the specific aim to get as many hits as possible, using specific recommended marketing formulas, rather than coming from the heart. Even spirituality has become a huge marketing campaign.
Commercialization has been around in some form since ancient days of trading. The big change today is globalization. Now commercialization is tailored for the global market or more specifically for tastes the biggest market. Before globalization more diversity was allowed to flourish because brand consciousness was more localized. Now everything is tailored to reflect what is most successful on a global level. “If you sing, then you must be able to sing like the best in the world or give it up.”
On a pure economic level there are of course countless examples of the devastation that global commercialization has had on smaller economies, of which Somalia is a classic example. Michel Chossudovsky summarizes in “Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine”
“While “external” climatic variables play a role in triggering off a famine and heightening the social impact of drought, famines in the age of globalization are man-made. They are not the consequence of a scarcity of food but of a structure of global oversupply which undermines food security and destroys national food agriculture. Tightly regulated and controlled by international agri-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.”
Commercialization is of course rooted in our need for survival on the most basic of levels – survival of the fittest. Yet, if humanity is to advance in consciousness we must find another strategy for survival. Up till now we have even used the same strategy of dominion to bring about change in our social environment against “hierarchical domination.”
In her essay “Love as the Practice of Freedom” Bell Hooks concludes “that many of us are motivated to move against domination solely when we feel our self-interest directly threatened. Often, then, the longing is not for a collective transformation of society, an end to politics of dominations, but rather simply for an end to what we feel is hurting us. This is why we desperately need an ethic of love to intervene in our self-centered longing for change. Fundamentally, if we are only committed to an improvement in that politic of domination that we feel leads directly to our individual exploitation or oppression, we not only remain attached to the status quo but act in complicity with it, nurturing and maintaining those very systems of domination. Until we are all able to accept the interlocking, interdependent nature of systems of domination and recognize specific ways each system is maintained, we will continue to act in ways that undermine our individual quest for freedom and collective liberation struggle.”
A strategy that is based in the ethics of love rather than that of dominion is a strategy that is inclusive rather than exclusive, allows for us to live and let live. The reason humanity has not made much advancement in consciousness since the dawn of modern humanity is that we still apply the same strategy for survival as we did so many thousands of years ago. To evolve, to develop, we must first want to be different from what we are now. This is the first requirement of evolution.
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved with the same level
of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
This way of survival is simply not sustainable. We have reached the zenith of this strategy. From this point on it will further impoverish us on every level, and rob us of all that we once held dear.
In the Sophian Gnostic tradition the Transference of Consciousness is an essential practice. It is a practice to shift of our center of consciousness from the physical body to a spiritual body, a body of light. Although in our tradition and indeed in the Tibetan traditions it is most often a practice given for conscious dying, it is also a practice for conscious living, representing an esoteric or mystical understanding of resurrection and ascension. To experience a shift of our center of consciousness into a body of light, whether astral, spiritual or supernal light, is to experience a very different view of name and form, and personal history, a very different vision of this body and this life – one that is transcendental. Even a glimpse of this greater reality of our being on an energetic level can be empowering and transforming.
Although this practice may appear to be a very lofty practice, I believe that the essence of this practice is also, and have always been essential in the evolution of consciousness in humanity. If we feel ourselves attached to name, form and history, it is very difficult to change our consciousness because we will feel ourselves trapped in our present form. Although we would like to change our consciousness we would time and again find ourselves up against the wall of what we think our limitations are.
Although we are quite capable of thinking alternatively, we have no way into it, because we have had no experience of it. What we actually learn and see is contained within our social and environmental parameters. What we do is also determined by what we can do and need to do in order to survive, given the environmental, technological and social context. What we do determines a particular sort of relationship with our environment. We participate in our environment, in a particular way, to achieve particular objectives. The outcome is a human being that has a particular way of relating to their environment and pays attention to particular phenomenon in the world depending upon social and physical context.
In our minds the form of something both gives it its power and restricts its power. In our minds, the form of something defines the potency or strength and innate nature of something. “An elephant is big and strong, it therefore does big and strong things.” A way of thinking about this link between form and potency is identity; some people or things do certain things and others different things.
Now, ironically that which I have written in the last two paragraphs is actually exact quotes used by anthropologists to explain primitive modes of thinking. All I changed in the texts was to replace “them” with “we” and took out “so and so postulated”. I did this to show how little we have actually changed in mode of thinking from the so-called primitive way of thinking. The reason for this is exactly the reasons outlined in the above texts.
This sort of thinking, involving the body as our insertion point into life, underlies the
phenomenological studies of Husserl, and later Merleau Ponty, that contributed to contemporary
considerations of embodiment and cognition. In 1967 Horton suggested: ‘In evolving a theoretical scheme, the human mind seems constrained to draw inspiration from analogy between the puzzling observations to be explained and certain already familiar phenomena.” We therefore look towards the familiar to explain the unfamiliar and because we do this we are actually stuck in a loop of consciousness. What really differentiate us from past cultures are our skills, also explained in Anthropological context as; development, in hand with practice and training in a particular environment, generates the skills apparent in different cultures.(Ref)
“Mode of thought is more resilient than mode of production,” according to Philip Duke in “The Foraging Mode of Thought” where he introduced the notions “that certain phenomena have different rhythms of change and that these rhythms have different effects on society and the individuals in it.” In other words although we now live in a society where we are no longer foraging hunter gatherers, we still think in that way. Today our hunting grounds are malls and the world of business.
New thinking have always originated in the visionaries among us. In tribal societies these visionaries were the Shamans and medicine men. In the West the visionaries are philosophers, mystics and artists. What they all have in common is that they are able to transfer their consciousness into a body of consciousness that is beyond the bound body of consciousness of the times in which they lived, which is exactly what the practice of Transference of Consciousness is.
Most Anthropologists agrees with an idea of Lévy-Bruhl that what really distinguished our present day thinking from so-called primitive cultures was, that primitive people lived in a world that had no distinction between the natural and the supernatural. “In this world that ties people into relationships with phenomena, it is possible to exchange abilities or powers.” It is in the sense of taking on an ability that Lévy-Bruhl recognized that Bhororo people of Brazil can actually become parrots. Similarly, Khoesan can become lions and that this was, not a metaphor but a reality in their minds. (This will also be an accurate description of what is achieved in the Transference of Consciousness.)
This concept was called by Lévy-Bruhl, “Participation mystique”, or mystical participation, and refers to the instinctive human tie to symbolic fantasy emanations. This symbolic life precedes or accompanies all mental and intellectual differentiation. (Ref) Jung used the term throughout his writings and the concept is closely tied to that of projection, although the Jungian “projection” is an unconscious projection rather than a conscious projection as is done in transference of consciousness or the techniques used by Shamans to transfer their persona into other planes of being or to access the spirit realm to transfer power. We may well ask why we unconsciously project our feelings; could it not be that we instinctive are already aware of the potential of transference of consciousness?
At the outset, of practicing the transference of consciousness, gathering our consciousness as light within our heart, envisioning the image of a holy and enlightened being in a body of light, and projecting our consciousness as light into that light-presence, and merging ourselves with them, is nothing more than a flight of fantasy – an imaginative exercise. However, over time, with continued practice, it can become more than fantasy. We may actually experience a shift of our center of consciousness into a body of light, whether astral, spiritual or supernal light, and in this experience we will discover a very different view of name and form, and personal history, a very different vision of this body and this life – one that is transcendental. – Tau Malachi
Dying and death are very similar to going to sleep and dreamless sleep – according to the Zohar sleep and dream are 1/60th the power of death, and is the same basic process in consciousness, although the vital connection between the body and soul are not severed in sleep as in death. Therefore, this very same practice of the transference of consciousness can be used as we are going to sleep, as a practice of “dream union,” or an invocation of luminous and lucid dreams.
This in itself reflects what was called “primitive thinking” – “making no distinction between the natural and the supernatural.” Life is a Dream” therefore we can transfer our consciousness into “bodies” that is beyond what we are at present.
The place of this transference of consciousness is at the top of the head, the top of the skull, hence the “Place of the Crossing on Mount Golgotha,” the skull.
This same center is also called the center or star of the Divine I Am, which becomes an interesting contemplation when the nature of this center as a point of transition is known and understood.
Although the practice of the transference of consciousness may seem like a very lofty and advanced practice, and on some level it is, nevertheless it is a practice any of us can take up and benefit from, even if nothing more than used as a visualization of what we can become. It is especially useful during times of crisis where we have to cross boundaries of transitions.
Transference of Consciousness is the way through which we can transcend the event horizon of our current physical limitation, which transcends thinking only from what we know to what we consider beyond the horizon of our imagination. In a sense it is exactly dying consciously in order to live consciously. For in order to move beyond our current limitations in consciousness we need to die to our former way of thinking through the process of resurrection and ascension. In order to make a radical leap in consciousness we need to go beyond the present event horizon of our mode of thinking.
Let me be like grass that had been eaten to the ground, but always grows again.
Let me be like a fountain that had been trodden into mudiness, but always becomes clear again.
Let me be like the morning red that always triumph over the darkness of the night…
Success and excellence are the shinning baubles dangled in front us as the ultimate of life’s experience. Even in most spiritual writing these days most is focused on excellence and success. “Ten steps to Success”, “Ten Steps to Lasting Happiness”, “How to get all you Desire” and so forth. If you look at the amount of literature available on those subjects and how many sales they have generated, then the world should currently be experiencing a boom time and the world should be filled with happy people. Yet, what we see in the world is just the opposite. How many people are experiencing an economic boom and how many people are happy? What is wrong with the picture that we see in relation to the theories? The empirical evidence seems to belie the theory.
The problem with most of these theories is that they depict only a partial truth. They show only a small fragment of the whole picture. Life is change; that which is without change, without growth is dead. To be alive means that we have to experience seasons of growth and seasons where everything seems to stagnate and even retrograde. We are also part of the whole and therefore part of the spirit of the times. No matter who or what we are, we will find ourselves influenced by a greater or lesser degree by the season that humanity find themselves in. No one is exempted from this, unless of course we have completely transcended our corporeal form. Furthermore if we are part of the whole we cannot be truly successful if a part of us is not successful, nor be truly happy if a part of us is not happy.
Contrary to what is often said success and excellence can only be measured in relation to something else. In other words, success is seen as relative to failure and excellence is relative to mediocrity. Even if you do not measure your moments of success or excellence against the excellence or successes of others, it still has to be compared against what you see as success or failure. Thus we are not practicing non-attachment. We will either be striving to achieve relative success or excellence and thus be attached to avoiding failure and be attached to striving for success. If we are attached to something we set ourselves up for disillusionment and no matter how successful we may appear in the eyes of the world, we will still experience failure in our own eyes. Success or excellence can only be experienced in a moment. Yesterday’s success is tomorrow’s failure, and yesterday’s excellence is tomorrow’s mediocrity.
I find it interesting that in tracing back the word failure it seems to root from the latin word “fallere”, which means to deceive. To be deceived is to given cause to believe what is not true and thus involves the belief of a misrepresentation of the truth. This is indeed what we perceive when we think we are a failure or when we belief that we are failing because we can only see the partial truth.
In the current spirit of our times failure and mediocrity is seen as the modern day leprosy. In the Western world we have little or no preparation, or guidance for the process of transformation. We enter our transitions from one phase of life to another with no real preparation. As a result we only learn through the school of hard knocks. Even in this we are told to avoid mistakes and failure at all costs. We are applauded for our successes, and punished for our mistakes.
Nicholas Molina, reflects about the irony of success in his article “The Failure of Success”
… Eighteen years of a lack of failure teaches Harvard students to avoid it at all costs; we become extremely risk-averse. Ironically, classes might teach about the risk-reward relationship, but students who are too afraid to fail can only understand the former part of that relationship after experiencing it … Even those golden children who sail through Harvard as they’ve sailed through high school fail, in a sense. They’ve failed to experience failure, and their education is impoverished as a result. I’ve learned, sometimes painfully, to accept that it’s not possible to achieve everything and that only when we risk failure, are great gains possible … In the end, I realized that the criteria I’d been using to judge my education at Harvard were all off the mark. Even if the lessons that will be most valuable in the next chapter of my life have been those I’ve learned outside the classroom, my time at Harvard has been well spent. My only regret is that I didn’t learn the importance of taking risks earlier. That’s probably the most important lesson of all.
We are not shown that our mistakes and failures can show us new opportunities, new undiscovered potentials, and we hide our failures in the recesses of our past. With the result, young people look at those who have succeeded and see only the success, and do not know what it took to get there. The pain of growth is seen in itself as a failure, a lack of strength, unworthiness. If a dark night comes upon anyone, we feel that either we are punished, or are just a failure, or that life is just cruel and unfair. We have no understanding of the process of growth. We do not know, or we have forgotten, that chaos is the very source of creation.
How we perceive success and failure is a dualistic view. In the holistic view of success itself, the view of failure plays an integral part. In our limited view, we do not see ourselves as part of a unified field and we do not see life as a constant process of creative evolution. Evolution is composed of two movements; progress and regress. Seen over a long period of time it is a wave-like motion which is like an incoming tide, every progress moving further forward and every regress receding less far backward. Actually each regress is making the foundation for the next progress. If we look at the each regression in the process of evolution in this light, we find that each regression is a secret operation of the next progression working itself out. In other words, each regression shows us which aspects within ourselves still need to be worked on. The same applies to success and failure, for it is through our failure that our ultimate success is worked out.
Failure is nothing more than the limit to which we can succeed in a given cycle of progress, and represents regress necessary before the next progress. Likewise, we may say that each success is the manifestation of the work accomplished during previous failures. Tau Malachi
When we therefore look at success and failure from a more panoramic view with a non-dual awareness there is no such a thing as failure, only a process of development through trail and error towards eventual success.
What we are experiencing in the world at present is a period of regress in our creative evolution. We are experiencing a period where we must look at our previous so-called period of success and see what within that period still needs to be worked on, and what within that period no longer serves or next step in our creative evolution.
I had a dream where I was talking to Wise man with a black Cobra on his lap. While we were talking he was stroking the Cobra and the Cobra had its mouth clasped on his hand. My attention was diverted from the conversation to this. He smiled at me and said, “It will not hurt you, when you approach it without fear, its mouth is just affectionately clasped on my hand, do you want to try it?” The Cobra looked so serene and affectionate that I thought it made perfect sense. In trust I held out my hand, but as I felt the hardness of its mouth enclose my hand, I felt fear in a fleeting instant. It coiled back and struck fangs into my outstretched hand. Suddenly I was alone and I looked at my hand, the two fang pricks clearly visible on my finger. It was already red and swelling.
I awoke with a gasp of breath, checking my fingers and I instantly remembered the ancient initiations where the initiate is given poison to drink, or indeed the lethal bite of a snake, to transmute or die. Illumination or death.
The apparent failure of our tests, our flaws, our weaknesses, is like the symbolic bite of the poisonous snake.
“The symbol (the serpent) serves to indicate the subtle nature of that illusory lower self which first ensnares the ego, but which ultimately proves the means of enlightening the evolving soul.”
Each stage of our growth contains the seeds of its own betrayal. Each one of us are born with a lethal wound, one that will either bring us illumination or will kill us. It is the way the Divine Trickster trick us into finding our own individual strengths, our unique voice in the Universe. Our wounds reveals themselves to us through our childhood environment, those limitations, those apparent shortcomings that we have to transmute, whether they be mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional. The form of our wounds is unique to each individual. We can ignore our talents and positive abilities but not our wounds, for if we do it will surely kill us.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”
We cannot operate in this world if do not have an identity – a beingness. From our beingness all our actions flow. Whether what we think we are is true or false we cannot function in this world without an identity. What we think our function is in this world, naturally also flows out of what we think we are. However, from time to time, through our living and experience, we discover that what we thought we were is not what we are. Even when we have Gnosis of what we are at a particular moment in time, the very Gnosis will result in changing what we discovered that we are at that particular moment in time. Discovering who we are is an ever evolving process.
When you understand all things
can you step back from your own understanding? Lao Tzu
Our falling apart is an imaginal process, like the collapse of
cities and the fall of heroes in mythical tales – like the dismemberment
of Dionysian loosening which releases from overtight
constraint, like the dissolution and decay of alchemy…
Afflictions point to Gods, Gods reach us through afflictions.” – James Hillman
(It is the process of our falling apart that I described in my series of the Dark Nights of the Soul)
It is human nature to reside in complacency unless something forces a change in us. In our urgency to find an antidote, a cure for our affliction, we are led deeper than we would have been if we just passed the test. Our very flaws can if we acknowledge it, be the cause of our evolvement. We are at a point of our evolution where we can become conscious creators and stop the mindless destruction we are currently engaged in, and live in synergy with our fellow men and all life forms on this planet.
“The purity of the moment is made from the absence of time.”
In the stillness between,
in the quiet instant,
there lies a treasure beyond compare,
a song of piercing beauty,
penetrating the deepest secret chamber of my soul.
Within dusk and dawn arise subtle hues
memories of the night
Possibilities of the dawning day.
Within the breathless moment,
in the moment of infinity,
in quiet wonder
I know the miracle of being.
“… commune with your soul on your bed, and be silent …” Psalm 4:4
I awoke this morning and I did not move, neither did I open my eyes. I remained still and became aware of time moving from my past to the present and to the future. As I remained still, and allowed the past and the future to swirl around in the moment, I became aware that even in my stillness, by simple being aware everything is continuously changing. Even in my stillness a present moment is being created that is always different. Yet, here I still am, and while I am doing nothing I am changing. Just as a rock that remains unmoved for thousands of years in one place, is never the less still changing. Perhaps in another thousand years it will become grains of sand, and perhaps through some fierce burning fire even change into glass.
I continue to remain still and motionless seeing thoughts and emotions swirl around my awareness. As long as I remain still, I remain between being asleep and awake and am just a being in becoming. As soon as I move I will be incarnating into my being a set of beliefs of who and what I am, of what I am becoming. As long as I remain still I abide in just becoming in the fluidity of moment, but as soon as I move a paradigm of meaning will shape my awakening and as such I will embody a set of beliefs. In truth my beliefs are based on arbitrary hopes of possible becomings birthed in hidden desires. All I can really know for sure is that I am becoming whether I remain still or not. Right now I have a choice to remain still and still become, or I can consciously awake within a chosen paradigm of becoming. I can choose to be in the eye of the storm of my becoming, or on the extremities and experience suffering.
“Pain is unavoidable, suffering is not.”
No becoming is without pain, knowing and observing our becoming ease the suffering. Being a being in becoming, we observe our pain and happiness as flickering moments shaping our becoming which still remains an essential mystery.
In the Kabbalah Binah consciousness is the mind and heart actively engaged in thought and desire, akin to our ordinary state of consciousness, and Hokmah consciousness is the mind and heart completely silent, without thought or desire – a state of pure awareness, thus just being.
There is a term called Hashmal which indicates the simultaneous experience of Binah and Hokmah consciousness and is called “Speaking Silence,” or Dynamic Silence. There is silence and there is voice, and there is no contradiction between them, but they are one and the same. This “speaking-silence” appears in Ezekiel, at the culmination of Ezekiel’s vision, when it says God speaks to him out of silence. In Exodus 20:18 it is written; “and all the people saw the sounds.”
In this state of consciousness, one actually experiences a silence of the mind and stillness of emotions and desires, yet, at the same time, thoughts and desire-energy continues to flow. It is a supramental state of pure awareness, yet, at the same time one continues to experience the mental and vital states. The experience of Hashmal or Speaking Silence is the experience of being in the now – a zone of complete silence in the mind and vital, which is in the midst of the mind yet also beyond it, and at the same time there are thoughts and images and emotion – a complete stillness and motion at the same time. This allows a linking of the various levels of consciousness and thus a free flow and exchange between them.
Although Hashmal is a very lofty attainment and requires a radical change in consciousness, we can relate to this experience through the experience of love. Just as we cannot actively seek out love, as seeking it directly often obstructs it all together, we rather have to cultivate the conditions necessary through which we may naturally and spontaneously experience love, just so it is with Hashmal. In the Mysteries the social identity of the neophyte, the focus of the self-aware person, was temporarily dissolved so that the individual could experience “wide-field” cognitive ecstasy in the presence of the Other, the Beloved. For initiation to be undergone in a way that assured that the content of illumination would be retained, a long process of depersonalization was required, thus a process of clearing away all unauthentic concepts of self.
To experience love we must first clear what will obstruct our ability to experience true love, otherwise will not see our beloved as they are but rather we will see the projections of our needs and our desires and be sorely disappointed. The experience of Hashmal is the state within which the Gnosis Mind manifests and we are able to behold the true nature of reality; hence Reality as It Is. Within the Gnosis Mind the knower and that which is known becomes one. In the moment of sexual ecstasy the beloved and the lover becomes one, yet continue to exist as two distinct individuals simultaneously. Just so it is with Hashmal. We can only “run and return” to this state of being.
“The god Eros lives in the gap between
what we have and what we seek,
what we are and
what we are becoming.” –Connie Zweig
Eros perhaps, it could be said is the passion for transformation, the passion that transfuses and transfigures all forms, sweeping one form-thing-being through another, interfusing self and other, human and divine, perpetuating the eternal mystery of these brief encounters.
Diotima, a seeress and midwife from Mantinea in the Peloponessus, is famed for telling Socrates that “Eros is a mighty daimon, for its power mediates what is divine and what is mortal.” (Symp. 202 E) When Socrates proposes that “Eros is a part of the beautiful (to kalon),” Diotima corrects him, saying “No, love – that is, Eros is an esthetic bent, the passion for engendering and expressing the Beautiful – tes genneseos kai tou tokou en to kalo.” The “esthetic bent” as Diotima called it, is intimately linked to our capacity for love. Love and Eros enhance and complement each other at every turn. Love includes the capacity to embrace and transmit the Beautiful.
Thoughts returns to their arising. A bare tree in the icy winds of winter. All drawn within. In days long ago a mighty wizard cut a wand from its branches, gathered Mistletoe clinging to its limbs. Owls reared their chicks in its safety. Lovers whispered sweet caresses in its shade. Be quiet now and rest in a winter’s dream as your acorns dreams in the dark body of the Mother. Dream of mighty trees swaying in the Spring’s enlivening breeze. Softly I heard the Mother hum a song of dreaming, of dreams arising, within her womb.
Drifting in the Dark Sea
Formless potency of the Primordial Night
Chaos envelops me
and I surrender
In this night
a dream arose
Images rising from
the dark depths
of my soul
and stirs fathomless
What image will you choose
to represent those desires stirring
in the womb of the night
What will be the colours
of your wings?
What does your voice cry out for
in the night?
so that together we may
weave a bright new dream
Let us play for a while longer
in the starry night skies
of our imagination
before we give birth to a new dawn.
Before we can become who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person who we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger. – Thomas Merton.
The Myth of Who We Are
After many years of intensely exploring all the aspects of what I thought I was, I realized that I was lost in the myth of what I thought I was. From a young age we create a myth about ourselves. We fashion this myth from our early experiences of our interaction with the world around us. For the rest of our lives, unless we ask ourselves what our personal myth are, we live our life according to our personal myth. We limit our potential to what the hero of our myth embodies. If we do not like the way the story of our myth is unfolding we have to change our motivational myth, but first we must uncover just what our personal myth is.
How do we find the origins and the mystery of our personal myth?
The hero must enter the dark caverns of the underworld, look beyond the masking myth of that which we think we are. In the hidden shadows of our being, in that part of ourselves that we hide so carefully from others, there lies the Grail cup of our healing and our real potential.
The theme of the Grail Romance is that the land, the country, the whole territory of concern has been laid waste. It is called a wasteland. And what is the nature of the wasteland? It is a land where everybody is living an inauthentic life, doing as other people do, doing as you’re told, with no courage for your own life. That is the wasteland … The Grail becomes … That which is attained and realized by people who have lived their own lives. The Grail represents the fulfillment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness. Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth
Unless we explore the assumptions we base our lives on we will remain enclosed in an unconscious image of who we are that was created in our child hood and live according to the limitations embodied by that particular image or Archetype.
We believe we are the mask we project but at the same time we know that the disowned part of ourselves is alive and well, and will someday break through the prison of our mask, exposing that which we have disowned and that which we do not want to acknowledge. We fear that the hidden part of ourselves is a hideous monster and by exposing it to the light the ugliness of ourselves will be revealed and we will be shunned by those around us. Especially those whose love and approval we seek. This is just an illusion we created; we are like the ugly old hag in the Arthurian legends that turns into the most beautiful woman when we kiss her with acceptance, even in her ugliness.
Power: Comes from Latin root posse, which means to be able.
We feel bound and limited by what our personal myth represent to us; “I am this” and I am that”, and I can do only this. We feel limited and powerless because we do not understand and know who we are.
The Rainbow of Potential
*The Rainbow Light is the full spectrum of our soul’s energy and the Divine Power – it includes dark radiance, white brilliance, and the entire spectrum of light and color.”
Somewhere in our distant past, one of our ancestors, or more likely a few at the same time, became aware.
I feel… I?
Who, what am I? Like a mirage appearing to the thirsty lost in the desert we never seem be able to reach it. Like a rainbow that appears in the tears of our life, insights to ourselves appear in a blaze of glory, only to disappear into the vastness of the sky.
“If only we can get to the end of the rainbow you can find the pot of gold.”
The problem is that we are looking for the pot of gold instead of looking at the rainbow. We will keep on chasing after rainbows until one day we realize that the pot of gold is understanding the symbol of the rainbow.
The Hebrew word for “I” is Ani, which is spelled with the same letters as the word Ain, which means no-thingness. Thus there is a suggestion that the real I or me is the nothingness within me; that which lies beyond the mirage or the fleeting rainbow. When you turn inside looking for the self, you will not find the self. The instant one turns inward to look at the self, the self vanishes like the rainbow. Yet, when you are not looking for the self, there is a sense of self. We also find this when we are looking for the source of our thoughts; thoughts arise in the mind, abide in the mind, and disappears in the mind, but the source cannot be found. Although this may frustrate us when we are trying to find that pot of gold, it also points to the real bottomless pot of gold.
You are not Limited by your Image of Self
When you observe your thoughts, you will also notice that the mind spontaneously generates thoughts without end – an infinite potential of creation without beginning or end.
The divine destiny of the human being, is implied in the Hebrew word for rainbow, qeshet. Qeshet is spelled Koof-Shin-Tau; Shin and Tau spell the name of Seth, who is the image and likeness of Adam (the human one – transcended human being). Qof, in essence, represents previous cycles in the development and evolution of the mind or soul-stream and, thus, represents karmic conditioning or assumptions of what we are.
In the understanding of Ani-Ain we find an important key to our true nature. According to the masters when Yeshua turned the water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana it was possible because the root essence and nature of water and wine is the same – Ain/no-thingness. Thus, dissolving the Ani (I) of water into Ain, he brings forth the Ani of wine. If you dissolve your Ani (self-image) into Ain what can you bring forth? It contains the essence of what shape-shifting is.
If you think of yourself as limited by what you think you are; bound to one limited manifestation of self or personal history then think about the potential represented in the understanding of Ani-Ain in terms of self-realization. At the very heart of the path to self realization is the ability to dissolve one manifestation of Ani into Ain and thus remanifest Ani at a higher level. You can thus change the limited image of yourself through conscious evolution.
You can dissolve false self-images and bring forth the true image of yourself – a being in becoming
The Hebrew word Eheieh, which literally means “I am” or “I shall be” which is the highest or innermost name of God. Every time we say “I am this” or “you are this” we are actually invoking the holy name Eheieh. This relates directly to third commandment; “Do not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.” In Hebrew “sin” translates as “missing the mark”. We are missing the mark every time we use the words “I am this” or “you are this” in negative terms. When we speak in such a way so as to uplift ourselves and others, we are uplifted. It is a simple and basic truth – it is the power of Eheieh.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” Marianne Williamson
Perhaps this musing on ‘Who am I” will also give a deeper insight in what self-love is. John Carroll in his book “the/ western/ dreaming,” describes soul love, as the “hallmark of soul-mate love is that any enquiry about who you are, what you have done or where you have been is entirely superfluous. It is the I am in another, hardly needing to speak, but to acknowledge with gratitude and awe: I am known. Someone walks beside me. Then each to each on their journey of journeys, may repeat: Courage. I am. Don’t fear!”
Just so it is with self-love from which flows all other love and life.
In soft green grassy lake
I drift and merge
in unfathomable depths
A rainbow burst in splendour
seeds of light
scattered in the passing storm
In brief glory
of numinous potential
I see evolution in terms of consciousness. Whether you look at evolution of the universe, the earth, humanity or the individual person, it seems to me that it follows a particular course. Up to the point of physical, mental and psychological maturity, humans all over the world, across cultures, develop in certain areas of what constitute the human being, in a very stage specific unfolding.
After that we have a free will to consciously evolve ourselves. I call this self-evolution. For me the most important contribution that we as individuals can make to the well-being of the whole, is to evolve ourselves. To raise our level of consciousness. That is for me the primary direction of our present development as a specie. In achieving the highest of what we are capable of, we uplift the whole, and we fulfill our purpose. That which has no purpose will die out. .
Consciousness is not something you don’t have one day, and suddenly have another day. Consciousness is an evolutionary process. There are however levels of consciousness. Consciousness is an awareness. Consciousness is always about something. Consciousness is about bringing something into awareness, whether through thoughts, dreams, memories, feelings, or sensory impressions such as visual images, tastes, smells or sounds. So you can say that the more you are aware of what influences your thinking, and subsequently, your actions, the more conscious you are. The less aware you are, the less free will you have. When you are aware that something influences you, then you can use your will to decide what you want to do about it.
To develop a high level of consciousness requires an attentiveness. Attention makes you aware of what you have been accepting unconsciously. It is virtually impossible to consciously know all of what influences our thinking. Scientists are beginning to realize that we receive information, not only through our sensory perception, but there are also items entering our consciousness that exceed the range of sensory perception; they can leap, it seems, across wide reaches of space and time.
Although endless possibilities are open to us, both as humanity and individuals, we cannot know everything, be everything, and do everything in the physical time-dimension. I think all of our brains have an amazing capacity to learn, however, we do not all have the same desire to learn certain things. In general for example the male mind is better in abstract logic than the female mind. Why is this? Is it because the male brain is better than the female brain in that area? I don’t think so. From what I have observed, it has everything to do with desire. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Learning requires a need for directed attention. Attention goes where interest goes. Energy goes where attention goes. If I am not really interested in mathematical equations, or technical data, it will be very hard for me to concentrate in order to learn it. I see each human being as a window on the universe. As a specie our strength lies in our ability to co-operate with each other, to pass our insights on to others. It is through our ability to interact and co-operate that we evolve in consciousness, that we can make a leap in consciousness.
Rather than discrete things and independent events, there are but ripples upon ripples upon waves upon waves in this universe, propagating in a seamless sea. – Ervin Laszlo
Life is a Dream
If you want change, then you must allow for chaos. No change can be completely predictable. There will always be a part of change that will be at the mercy of the fates, because we cannot be aware and conscious of every factor that will be part of what remains in the process of transformation as the chaotic attractor. Complete chaos would mean a complete loss of consciousness or death. We need a body to house the viewpoint of our being. The body of our being will reflect the viewpoint of our being. A being needs a viewpoint to operate within this world. Only with a beingness can we receive an inflow and a outflow. To survive a chaotic situation one would needs to have something familiar to grab on to. Something to hold your identity of self, as without any identity no action would be possible. The physical realm is after all at the jewel of the apex of the triad of action. Action results in something physical manifesting.
Even within our mind/brain action without some limitation no-thing will be the result, as limitlessness, the eternal, implies infinite potential; not yet in manifestation. As soon as something becomes manifested, it will have limitations as it is limitation that defines a form. When something is boundless, it is the potential of becoming. For change to happen a degree of chaos is necessary; a part of something undergoing change must disintegrate from the previous form into the potential to create a new form of becoming. That which had not dissolved into the chaos of becoming – thus formless potential – will serve as the attractor for the new form of becoming.
Strangely there is a feeling of freedom within chaos – the great liberator.
I had a dream in which I had to move. I was completely unprepared for the move although, before the event I thought I was. Until the last moment I had no idea where I would be moving to. Chaos enveloped me. All the known that surrounded me disappeared one by one. With no sleep between days, days just rolled into one with just boxes to mark the passage of time. Will it ever end?
At last the last remnant of my presence was removed from my physical abode and then came the rain. Drenched and exhausted, I stumbled into my new transitionary abode. This home was unfinished. It was a building begun before this present life of mine but left unfinished and uninhabited, waiting. It had no running water but the running water from a stream that nurtured its surrounds. Planks and pieces of wood left waiting for its continued building everywhere, with boxes stacked on top of it. Saw dust and scurrying spiders everywhere.
This house was built with old and new wood that grew on trees from many places. The doors and windows were from houses and buildings demolished long back into the past. There were even doors from a distant island carved with beautiful Arabic patterns and the words “May God bless all who enters here.” It was standing in the middle of a room waiting for a doorway to grace.
In the dream I had another dream. I was back in the house that I left on the last day of moving. I found a room that I had forgotten about. My heart sank; it still has to be packed. I knew the room from dreams I had in many dreams past. It formed a wing to the rest of the house, but it was a room that was never used as it was always found by accident. It was an ancestral room filled with furniture and ornaments from many generations of ancestors. Ancient tapestries and weapons adorned the walls as well as portraits.
I knew that within this unbuilt house resides my future; its structure; a future slowly taking shape. A future built on past forgotten dreams, carved and shaped. Within it was contained dreams not only from my personal self, but also the dreams from past generations and dreams yet unborn in the hearts and minds of future generations. The transition was an abrupt one, as being transferred from one body into another. It takes time to adjust to a new body. To feel how you can move within a new body. Your very thought processes have to adjust to thinking and feeling within a new body to explore the qualities and potentials held within the new body of becoming. Slowly unfolding, a largo in rhythm with a different beat
Often karma is thought of as relating to an individual only. Yet, we are not just an individual self. We carry within the very fiber our being the love, hopes, dreams and desires, as well as the pain, sufferings and disillusionments of past generations within our present selves. We carry within us the potential of the future; the yet unborn hopes, dreams and desires of future generations as well as their pain and suffering. All is one and one is all.
At present humanity is still self-centered; interacting with the larger world through individual isolated pain and desires. Although many may voice the words “All is one” few really know that we are one. Yet, if we are to advance as a whole, as humanity, we must come to know that we are one. We must have Gnosis of our inter relatedness. Then we can truly awaken compassion within us without vital sentiment. It is only when we can operate without vital sentiment that our actions will reflect a higher cause, and benefit all. If we seek enlightenment are we seeking enlightenment purely for ourselves or for all? The Divine impulse is to receive in order to give. Yet, we can only truly seek enlightenment for all when we know that we are not just an individual self.
The spiritual path is all about clearing away blocks, untying karmic knots, and purification of what we think we are. We begin our spiritual journey seeking to still our individual inner longing, but as we clear away the debris of what we think we are, we begin to realize that to advance on the path we must first lose what we thought we were and transfer our consciousness into a “newer home” of being. It is indeed a home that has been coming into being for a very long time. Yet, before we can truly make it our home we must except the chaos of transition.
Within each of us, we progress from paradigm to paradigm in our personal self-evolution. Each stage of this evolution is brought about by a personal crisis, a turning point, a dark night of the soul, a soul encounter. Our personal evolutionary shifts reflect the evolutionary shifts of the greater whole. Within each stage is contained a germ of “betrayal” that will be the wound that causes the Dark Night of transition for our next level of understanding.
Those who do not understand their destiny,
will never understand the friends they have made,
nor the work they have chosen,
nor the one life that waits beyond all others. – David Whyte
Prelude to a dream
No other monster has slain more valiant questers than disillusionment. No matter what the aim of your quest, if you are ever going to reach your goal you have to face this one. I remember with absolute clarity my first encounter with disillusionment, the place, what I was leaning against, and what was in the immediate environment, everything. I was shocked into brilliant clarity.
Where I grew up there weren’t any girls my age. So, my friends were the local boys. One had an elder sister who would sometimes come and talk to me. One day she asked me;” You do not believe in Father Christmas anymore do you?” “Yes” I said, “One year Father Christmas had normal pants and shoes on that I knew belonged my father; I then realised that there was no Father Christmas.” “Yes ” she said, ” Then you also know that there are no Easter Bunnies and no Tooth Mouse…” I promptly burst out in tears. “Is there really no Tooth Mouse…
I really believed there was a Tooth Mouse. Perhaps it was a happy coincidence, I don’t know, but one day the mouse did not come in the night. As soo as I checked my slipper and found my tooth still there, I ran to my parents room to tell them. They just smiled and said maybe the mouse was late. At that moment the cat jumped from the window sill and my parents said, “Ah, that must be the mouse now.” I raced back to my room and there were silver pieces shinning in my slipper. That single incident made me a true believer.”
My friend’s sister, seeing how devastated I was, apologised to me and said she was so sorry to bring me disillusionment. Still, I was devastated. Is there no magic in this world; is everything just what it seems to be? I withdrew for a long time to deal with that one.
I deal with disillusionment by withdrawing for a while to my “cave” to contemplate things. If I lived another time another place I would have been a hermit living in a cave somewhere. Though, on second thoughts my curiosity would have drawn me out. Anyway, since then I had to face the Dream Eater on many more occasions.
There is no way that you can avoid disillusionment if you want to find the truth. For disillusionment clears away the fog of illusions. It stops you dead in your tracks and forces you to face the truth. It is vital for the process of maturation. Maturing as a person, maturing in physical goals, maturing in spiritual aspirations and not least in relationships. What one has to do is not to take it personally. This is however much easier said than done. For it is certainly not easy, not to take it personally when you are knocked flat. You were going so well, confident in your progress when wham, the wind is knocked right of your sails. At this point it is very easy just to give up completely.
You often see this happening when people go on a self-help course. First they are all fired up from the inspirational message but as time goes by reality sets in. They give up and try something else. It is not difficult to see this happening in relationships. What do you do when the honeymoon is over? In my country the initial euphoria of our union as a people was replaced with a general depression. Things did not meet our expectations. There was increasing violent crime, unemployment soared, the social conditions of the poorest of poor did not improve and some even felt they were worse off than before Apartheid ended. Many emigrated fearing for their children’s future.
In evolution there is always a progression and regression. It is like watching the incoming tide. Every progress moving further forward and every regress receding less far backward. We can say that each regress is making the foundation for the the next progress. Thus, nothing gained in the former progress is lost in the process of a regress – the potential and ground of the progress is maintained, though hidden by the appearance of a regression. Each regression is a secret operation of the next progression working itself out. Likewise each apparent failure is nothing more than the limit to which we can succeed in a given cycle of progress, and represents the regress necessary before the next progress. Each success is likewise the manifestation of the work accomplished during previous failures and regressions.
When next you encounter the Dream Eater, gracefully pick yourself up from the ground, wipe the dust from yourself and ask your wiser self; ” Do I still believe this dream is possible. Is it worth the price I have to pay? ” Remember that nothing worthwhile comes cheap, otherwise you would not put a high value on it would you?