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.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

A State of Stillness

          Reviewing some of my earlier posts drew me to the conclusion that projection may well be our normal and unavoidable way of thinking. Of course, this practice is rather frowned upon in certain circumstances by psychologists and psychiatrists. Nevertheless, it may be that we are stuck with this way of analysing our worlds, both inner and outer, if there is indeed any difference between the two. The problem is that we think and experience life in terms of symbolism.
          Thus when analysing my personal experience in, "I Am Only the Bearer" it emerged that an experience at the deepest level which I could access during meditation was projected onto a less deep level, until in the end these consecutive experiences were projected onto the realist world, which one often calls the 'real world' of consciousness. The problem is that in turning experience into symbols, the language of the unconscious mind, and thence into ideas we ultimately lose contact with the essence of the experience. What we are left with is something that is illusory and general and cut off, or removed, from the initial personal and particular experience.
          Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are all too often exhorted to act under the influence of the general and illusory conclusion, rather than stick with the initial and particular experience, which may lead us along a path of spiritual recovery and growth. That path is essentially non-egoistic, whilst the general activity is usually quite the opposite. Save the world? No, I am powerless to do that. Save myself? Now to that process I can have some input, and by God's grace have some success. [Success? ugh!].
          I find myself in a state of pregnant stillness at present, regardless of the political upheaval that is going on, and which is going to have a direct influence on my life. Somehow, I sense the need for a new assessment of my personal way forward. It is like standing in the eye of a hurricane, just waiting to get caught up in the winds of the spirit which will buffet me when the storm moves. [Where would I be without symbols?]
          If this post seems to be vague and disjointed, it is because that reflects my thoughts about my current inner life.
         

Monday, 25 March 2019

The Kind-ness of Creation

           Let me say at the outset that I believe in the power of love. I have no problem with the principle of the 'brotherhood of man' or the 'sisterhood of woman', if one must categorise the human race in that way. I make this statement because I wish it to be quite clear that, regardless of the dysfunctional behaviour that is abroad all over the world, I am not anti-humanity only against their negative behaviour patterns.
          Now the Bible is littered with statements about love. In the Old Testament they seem, more often than not, to be about the individual and God. In the New Testament such statements are more about love between individuals. "Love one another as I have loved you" for example. This does, however, raise certain questions.
          How does one obey an injunction to love? How can one love to order? If it is indeed possible to do so then clearly, love is something other than what is usually meant by that often misused word. And what about, "Love your enemies." What does that mean? For me it can only mean treat others with the respect that you would like to receive from them.
          On a broader scale, the idea that one can love the whole world, interpreted literally, is totally beyond me if for no other reason than sheer impracticality. It makes little sense to me, a flawed human being, and seems to be asking for the impossible. How then has this idea found its way into our culture? I would suggest that it has done so through the agency of religion. Christianity, and I will speak for no other religion, has imposed a belief system on its followers which appears to be impossible by taking the sayings of Jesus the Nazarene [and some of the apostles] completely out of context.
          Did the Nazarene ever say that we should love the world? No. Whenever he and other New Testament writers talked about this matter they were inevitably talking to particular groups of people, and how they should treat each other within that group. Often the group was no larger than Jesus' disciples; sometimes it was simply a church community battling for spiritual survival in an ideologically and physically hostile world. We see the same kind of injunction of loving one another in Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-anon, Narcotics Anonymous and other groups. There, within the narrow confines of a group working for its own spiritual recovery, it works and can work very well.
          Is there a way that we can get out of that seemingly impossible injunction to love everyone? Perhaps the word that stands out most, when I think about love for one another, is "kind". Let us be kind to one another, for we are all of a kind. That kind-ness is shared with the rest of the animal kingdom for we are all part of that kingdom. Indeed, we share much with all the other and various life forms on this planet.
          Perhaps by paying focused attention on our own psycho-spiritual condition and recovery  we will, as a result, allow the rest of the world to heal. How wonderful it could be to believe, as a guiding principle, not in a brotherhood of man or a sisterhood of woman but.......... in the "Kind-ness of Creation." We might then be a little more respectful of the living world around us, and even humbly come to love it.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Experience Beyond Understanding

          It was in 1992 that I carried out the following pathworking, that I first went onto a mountain to pray. The purpose of the exercise was to meet with an unspecified "wise one." At that time I saw that other presence as a Druid, rather than a Christ or Christic Self. Looking back to that time, I see that there is much that has some symbolic meaning, but I will comment on the one aspect of this inner journey which I think is the most important. Yet there remains much that can be inferred from this exercise. First, however, comes the description of the inner journey, or conversation.

..........I stood on a narrow track. The black, slick mountain of almost crystalline rock climbed away to my left to the summit. To my right lay a valley in deep shadow, filled with evergreen trees. From this vantage point high above the treetops, the valley appeared to be totally enclosed in the mountains. There was a harsh angularity about these slopes that contrasted with the soft roundness of the full moon. Yet there was also a feeling of cleanliness and purity about the mountains, uncluttered as they were by soil or pebbles. There was nothing to mar the slippery slopes glistening in the moonlight.
          I had difficulty keeping my footing on the slippery track as it wound its way along the mountainside. I continued for some distance until at last the track forked. The right fork continued on much as before, but I chose the left which climbed steeply, in deep shadow, towards a cave. At the entrance to the cave burned a fire. I approached with caution, then waited. I found there was something attractive, magnetic about the fire. I felt the drying heat on my face as it seemed to draw me closer. The desire to step into the fire strengthened steadily, but I resisted. To the right of the fire was a pile of logs which I began to feed to the fire, turning the flames from yellow to white heat. The desire to step into the flames and be purged, to experience catharsis, became overpowering. As I made to take those last steps into the fire, a tall figure dressed in a black, cowled robe appeared at the cave mouth. Though I saw a hint of nose and chin, the newcomer's face was virtually hidden in shadow.
          I opened a conversation by requesting access to my unconscious mind, a request that appeared to be well received. As the Druid touched my right shoulder we exchanged bodies. I became aware that the Druid had waited a long time for me to come, and also that the Druid's powers were not unlimited, though immeasurably greater than mine. We had both wanted this meeting for so long, and now that it had happened there was a sense of having arrived and been accepted. So we re-exchanged bodies.
          I was lost in silence, not knowing what to ask of the Druid. He reached into a large leather bag leaning against the wall at the cave mouth and drew forth a handful of ordinary-looking rock chippings and gave them to me. I carefully placed the apparently worthless gift in my pocket and turned to leave. I walked down the path, westwards, until once again I arrived at the fork. There I stopped to inspect the Druid's gift. The rock chippings had undergone a remarkable transformation. They had joined to form a composite of intensely beautiful, purple-violet crystals surrounded by a circlet of milky white. They seemed to hold such mystery and purity in their depths. They were life in inanimate form, were both weak and strong.
          I began to try to prise the crystal structure apart until my fingers began to bleed with the effort, and my finger bones began to break. So strong was the structure that it defied all my efforts to dismantle it. Then it was that I discovered that I could take the structure apart by lovingly willing the component crystals to slide along their fracture planes. Just as easily I could reassemble the structure. After continuing to dismantle and reassemble the crystals for some while, I saw at last in the depths of the crystal lattice a golden ring containing a single diamond. Around me had developed a mist of glittering particles which had emanated from the crystal, yet the structure had steadily grown larger and more beautiful..........

          "..........and drew forth a handful of ordinary-looking rock chippings and gave them to me.........." 
       
          At the time, I struggled to see the significance of a handful of apparently worthless collection of rock chippings. As time passed, however, I began to see that what passes as ordinary, run-of-the-mill, primordial even, in the realm of the superconscious mind is, in the world of consciousness, something precious and jewel-like. [I have before me a piece of amethyst to remind me for always of that experience.]
          There is much that could be said about the meaning of the amethyst image, its colour, and the appearance of the gold ring in its depths. But that would take too long. It is enough to say that what is represented relates to truth, knowledge, spiritual temperance and repentance, resignation and acceptance. I recall the characteristic 'let-it-happen-to-me' attitude of Mary, the legendary mother of Jesus. And the diamond? Light, life and incorruptibility.
          Spiritual truth, the kingdom of heaven, is not something that can be assailed with force. It requires that a recipient uses truth lovingly and respectfully. I say again, the spiritual life does not conform to dictat but responds only to persuasion. Only in that way can it grow and spread like a living entity. [It is not unlike the taking of five loaves and two fishes, sharing and spreading them and garnering what they become, far more than that from which they grew.]
          This truth, reality, authenticity, so common at the highest realms of our Christic Self, is experience beyond understanding. It is incapable of being subject to mere intellectual analysis. There is also something oddly alien and other-worldly about this kind of truth that is, paradoxically, both powerful and weak or fragile, that can be lived yet not understood. It is lived because it is Life.
          As the Christ said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."