Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Humanity's Need

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: "Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." (Matthew 10:6)

For a man who spent much of his time in the company of those on the fringes of society, or with the underclass such as tax gatherers and prostitutes, as well as with people in various states of immorality, the statement in Matt. 10:6 appears to be a somewhat heartless, unkind injunction to 'the twelve.'
          In my earlier post, "Still Scratching the Surface of Christianity" I quoted a comment by Bart D. Ehrman, the author of, "Lost Scriptures" in which he points out certain emphases in contrast such as those who can understand and those who cannot; between knowledge that is exoteric (available to all) and that which is esoteric (available only to insiders); between the immature outsiders (regular Christians, symbolically called "Hebrews") and the mature insiders (Gnostics, symbolically called "Gentiles").
          If one now applies that comment to the text quoted above, a meaning can emerge which is more in tune with what we read of Jesus' character. There would be little if any point in preaching the 'good news' or gnosis to the gentiles as they were already in possession of gnosis. Similarly, why waste time in Samaritan towns where gnosis (albeit mixed with a degree of error) was already present? They had already been awakened. It was the 'lost sheep' of the House of Israel, the unenlightened, literalist Hebrews, who needed to become enlightened to the true meaning of scripture, to refrain from 'taking things as read.'
          It was then, and still is now, important to change our way of thinking, or repent as both Jesus the Christ and John the Baptist often said. The principle of repentance and the acquisition of gnosis applies just as much in other fields, such as science, psychology, politics  as it does in more religious and psychospiritual areas of endeavour. The time is here when we must search beyond the forms of the realist universe around us, to gain fresh understanding, wisdom, and gnosis, if we are to meet the needs of humanity. Whether the news out there is good or bad, we need to listen and to hear.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

In Truth and in Error

Now why would I be interested in knowing where I stand on the spectrum of exoteric to esoteric knowledge? (See previous post.) I am interested because I need to know against what background I am living my life. I have spent too much time trying to adjust my inner life to what I have perceived to be my outer reality. I need continually to change my external life to conform to my inner reality.
          At this point I intend to become a little metaphysically creative. I will dispense, if I can, with the crutches of logic and rationality and, instead, try to use my imagination and intuition in my task, for I reason that it is consistency (or steadfast adherence to) that is key to determining some measure of truth.
          Now in the Holy Land the River Jordan, symbolising the flow of life within the psyche/spirit, first passes in its upper regions through the area of Galilee. This is the area in which Jesus the Christ is reported to have carried out his ministry. The key words here are 'upper' and 'Christ', for they can be said to relate to the Real-Higher-Christ-Self. In contrast to that the River Jordan at its lower end flows through the desert of Judea and into the Dead Sea. This of course is the region in which John the Baptist, the earthier relative of Jesus, carried out his mission. The key words here are 'lower' (or perhaps ego), 'relative' and 'dead', for they in their turn can be said to relate to the Lower-Self.  Metaphysically, 'dead' means spiritually unenlightened The Lower-Self has often been seen as a reflection, a virtual image of the True-Self and thus indissolubly linked or related to it.
          Between the two regions of Galilee and Judea lies the country of Samaria. Metaphysically Samaria represents a state of consciousness in which Truth and Error are mixed, the Samaritans signifying mixed thoughts, partly worldly and partly spiritual.
          So I think it is in this in-between land, looking both towards Judea and Galilee but never simultaneously, and where I must remain awake and stand watch in the metaphysical 'Watchtower of Samaria', that my I-self finds its inner life located; partly worldly and partly spiritual; partly in possession of Truth and partly in Error.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Still Scratching the Surface of Christianity

It is a new year, 2020. Yet whatever is going on inside me in this moment has its origins in all my pasts, and its fulfillment will be in all my futures. What is happening is part of a process of becoming or indeed many processes, perhaps. It does not restrict itself to a timeline defined by numbers, but only by changes in awareness, and those changes, that movement, is vital.
          Of late, I have been increasingly drawn to the study of the Nag Hammadi scriptures, and through that towards a renewed interest in orthodox, Christian scriptures. The distinction between the two sets of writings is blurring and beginning to fade. And this is right and appropriate. Perhaps and finally, I am beginning to scratch significantly, the surface of real Christianity. (Ref. my blog post of 27.4.2013, "L'Abbaye de Boquen.") Again, I find myself needing to write to clarify my thoughts, and to answer some impulse within me. It seems to offer me no rest, yet I feel that I am the least able person to express something that seems to be so far beyond me and my abilities to express what I might understand. However, I must at least try.
          I will begin with the Gospel of Philip, for no other reason than that it insists on drawing my attention to itself. So:-

The Gospel of Philip (Coptic Text: NHC II,3: 51,29 - 86,19)

In the introductory remarks of this gnostic gospel the authour of "Lost Scriptures", Bart D. Ehrman, points out certain emphases in contrast such as those who can understand and those who cannot; between knowledge that is exoteric (available to all) and that which is esoteric (available only to insiders); between the immature outsiders (regular Christians, symbolically called "Hebrews") and the mature insiders (Gnostics, symbolically called "Gentiles").
          Those who do not understand, the outsiders with only exoteric knowledge, err in many of their judgements -- for example, in taking such notions as the virgin birth or the resurrection of Jesus as literal statements of historical fact, rather than symbolic expressions of deeper truths.
          The first question that arises for me, and one to which I need give answer, concerns my place on the spectrum of exoteric/esoteric knowledge. That will begin to be addressed in my next post.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

What Colossal Spiritual Forces

          When I review my experience of meditation, I am drawn to the conclusion that as one rises up through the levels of meditation experience, one notices something rather interesting. As projection follows projection, the experience acquires characteristics appropriate to that level of the experience. Compared with the mysterious ultimate these characteristics may seem to be like contaminants being absorbed by the spirit. More than that, they influence how we think and feel about matters of the spirit. Perhaps one of those contaminants, or acquired characteristics, is that what was an experiential process at the deepest levels becomes personalised at the higher levels, such as God as a loving father, God as a vengeful judge, or perhaps the Christ as a near human being.  Thus an experience which is without form at the deepest levels acquires or takes on a humanoid form, but one not yet fully human, as one heads to surface consciousness. Finally, a fully human form is experienced as recorded in myths, legends and spiritual/philosophical writings such as the Bible.
          Without these humanised allusions to the everyday world around us, I seriously wonder whether it could ever be possible to cope with the enormity of absolute truth, with the enormity of the naked Godhead. Maybe as creatures at our present phase of evolution we are simply not ready. Perhaps we still need the parable, the 'as if' approach to understanding that which is inherently not understandable in order to cope with the apparent, virtual realities of life. We live at the centre of paradox which may always remain thus.
           Space-time is a powerful concept, almost overpowering in its implications. Yet if the space-time continuum is a projection of some deeper psycho-spiritual, timeless continuum, then the latter must be at least as powerful as the former continuum. Every thought, every emotion, every feeling and experience would cause a warping in the psycho-spiritual continuum. All subsequent experiences would be affected by those warps just as the 'contaminants' mentioned above influence our responses to experiential phenomena.
          I must remember to try to imagine what that means: try to imagine what colossal spiritual forces are hidden in our minds, beyond our understanding and, I suppose, our imaginings.
          I am aware that this post must come across as rather disjointed and perhaps confusing. I am also aware that I need to get these musings recorded before I lose them. Such as they are, therefore, they represent my efforts to confront some kind of inner reality that seems to insist on remaining hidden.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

I Will Return

          There is darkness through which I move.....vast planes of darkness which slide and intersect each other, that intersect with me.....yet we are one.....we are the Abyss.
          I am alone.....and I question endlessly, yet am content.....stars which are not, flow down and through my fingers and hands which I have not.
          There is energy and power.....overwhelming in their intensity.....yet I am safe; I am unconcerned.
          There is no light, yet I see. I am alone, yet I am not lonely. I am so young, yet have had my being forever. I know not, yet do not need to know, but I ask.....endlessly I ask.....and I live and move.
          I must return.....I must pass down the valley.....die into the world of the physical for a little while longer. And I must remember, for I will return to a where that is nowhere.....for I AM.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Is This God?

          This is not the post I had intended to write but, rather, the one I feel needs to be written. I have written in the past about the ego and the Higher Self and also a rather shadowy self that appears to be about a sense of I-ness. It is that which appears to be associated, or identified, with both the real or higher self and also the lower self or ego but never simultaneously. It is always an association or a state of 'either/or'. In the light of my recent return to my thoughts about physics, one might describe that association either in terms of particles or of waves. In short, the sense of I-ness shares much with the quantum uncertainty principle.
          When I consider the ego, it is more than simply a system associated with morality or with my persona. It is as if the ego has expanded to include the totality of my engagement with the realist world around me. Yet one feature of that engagement is its essential duality. I am the observer of that world, not an entity which is indissolubly part of that world. And I can enter that state at will.
          When I consider the Higher Self, I realise that that state is the only true me, the only true and real self in any meaningful way. Only in that state which seems to be offered to me, rather than my claiming it when and where I choose, can I experience anything that I choose to call God.
          In one of his books, "What Is God?" the lovely Prof. Jacob Needleman describes an occasion when a close relative has died, and young Jacob is sitting on a step with his father. His father looks up at the night sky and utters the words, "That is God". Since reading that book I have often wondered what experience lay behind those words. It seems to me, now, that it was a heightened experience by that part of one's being associated with what has been called the True Self in which duality has disappeared, or has been removed by something beyond consciousness, and in which one is at-one-ment with the universe. That experience cannot be defined: it is what it is.
          The clues and experiences have been cropping up throughout the second half of my life; I have written about them here on Gwynt; but they have become spread out, dispersed; they almost demand to be brought together and experienced as a totality. Yet I cannot do that right now. That experience of totality, that experience of being absorbed into God, is too big, too overpowering. It excites me to the depths of my being, but it also scares the hell out of me. And maybe that is precisely the point.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Movement But No Passing

          Over a period of one week at the end of the year 2005, whilst meditating on the vast spiritual reservoir "in which man lives and moves and has his being", [Acts of the Apostles 17:28] I made the following notes which, perhaps, are more relevant to my current thinking than to my faltering thoughts of those more distant days. I should add that the words I used were not mulled over, carefully thought out, but were recorded as they came spontaneously to mind. I suspect they were, therefore, more authentic and closer to the original experience than they would have been if my notes had been carefully constructed.

1.        "My spirit seems to be free to move where it will, like a wisp of smoke dancing on the surface of the deeps. Yet my world is constrained to move along a pre-ordained path, like a planet moving through a dimly-lit cosmos. I am subject to its spiritual laws. It is calm, alone, spheres within spheres."

2.        "I sense struggle, a longing. Something is trying to be heard, but I cannot hear what I see; it continually eludes me. Words seem frustratingly pointless, inadequate. The equal-armed cross hangs in the background, waiting."

3.       "It seems as if only my experience of my Higher Self, or God is truly real; all else is virtual, images. I move through life in a state of alone-ness, in the company of other 'alones'. This spiritual reservoir in which I move has both negative and positive aspects: the blind coexists with the aware. All opposites coexist and are one."

4.       "There is an image before me, now steady and unchanging. I see it during my waking hours: I awake in the night 'seeing' it. Below me a planet of water moves silently through the cosmos. A wisp of purple smoke dances on the surface of the waters; shadows glide below the surface. In the distance is the centre of my galaxy, bright like a cosmic sunset. All the while a silvery-white cross hangs in space. There is movement but no passing. There is serenity, timelessness."

5.       "The universe is a system of cohesive forces and includes all living creatures. What I perceive as real through my sense organs and brain is illusion because my perceptions are limited by the nature of my brain. Solidity then is illusory, being an effect produced by the repulsion of like atomic forces. What then am I? How can I really be aware?"

6.        "The foot of a Qabalistic Cross stands in the 'world of water' with its head engulfed by a white light, not the sun. I see a boat on a lake moving into the mist; a juxtapositioning of Glastonbury and Avalon; a coming together of spacetime and the spiritual."

7.         "I have been here before; my mind is tired but I am not bored. The images of the past six days have become transparent, and I am enveloped in a white mistiness which extends as far as I can sense. It feels like a 'Cloud of Unknowing' of an intensity I have never felt before. I have been beset by images I have struggled to hear, and at some point beyond my conscious awareness I sense something is happening."

          I have reproduced my words from that time in full, because there may well yet be something to refer back to which I may have missed.

          To continue with one of the points I made in my previous post, "A State of Stillness", it seems as if an experience on one level of meditation is a projection of the experience at a deeper level. The final projection is that of the consciously sensed world around us. World in this sense is everything outside the mind. Reversing the process means that the deeper one can travel in meditation, the further one moves away from projection and the closer one comes to reality, an experience that approaches absolute truth, yet one which cannot be ideated or described.
          No word, idea or image is the truth. They are fingers, as it were, which point towards the truth. It is a grave mistake, therefore, to so concentrate on the finger that one loses the direction in which the finger is pointing. Ultimately, I suppose there must be a state where no images can exist, and one is left staring into the face of God as the eagle stares into the face of the sun. I would be that eagle. Yet prior to that final state there is one last image, the experience of the Abyss.
          I have said elsewhere that God is not in the Abyss; God Is the Abyss. It is as if the Abyss is the fundamental psycho-spiritual continuum of life, and maybe of all existence, that lies outside time. God is that vast spiritual reservoir "in which we live and move and have our being. We are his offspring." That reservoir or continuum permeates everything and may have preceded everything. It impinges on our daily lives at every turn, whether or not we are aware of it or even believe in it. It is hidden in plain sight. It is so close that most of the time we do not even sense it; but if it should end then, I am certain, the life of the spirit, of the mind would end also.