Saturday, 25 April 2015

Systems Analysis - Of a Kind

          The purpose of this pathworking was not to determine whether there was a problem to be addressed, but what the nature of that problem was. In combination with this meditation I carried out a series of contemplations - never easy for me - to elucidate further the nature of my problem.

..........After a while, I once more approached the garden, knocked, and entered. The Gardener walked beside me as once again I walked the familiar path away from the gazebo. I noted that there was something alien about the Gardener but this caused me no concern at all. I approached the point where the Nail was driven into the path, the Nail from which I had seemingly been released. Such symbols will arise from time to time, just like other memories or quotations perhaps, but they must not assume undue importance, dragging me towards a study of symbolic systems. They are not truth, only possible pointers to truth.
          A little further along the path, maybe a step or two, I saw that the pathway was flooded with water. In each flower bed on either side of the path was a small pool. However, the water which was designed to flow down from the left-hand pool to the right-hand pool by means of an underground conduit, was seeping across the path. The conduit appeared to be blocked. I also saw a cleared channel cutting across the path, as if that is how the connection between the pools should or must appear. The channel is invisible under normal conditions just as the Nail is invisible and had [has] to loose the tie that binds my ankle. Thus there seems to be a link between the blocked conduit and the tie to the Nail..........

          Finally, I am beginning to feel what is wrong, or at least what appears to be wrong. To begin with, the 'feel' of my surroundings is different; the Gardener is now somewhat alien, that is different from my normal apprehension of him. The future course of events must take me into stranger realms than I have yet visited. The presence of the Lion, not noted in this current pathworking description, is an indicator of my need for great strength of will, or courage, if I am to clear the blockage and move onwards.
          It was through my contemplative exercises that I began to see that I often take recourse to safe measures that are not taking me where I need to go. Over the years, as I have said elsewhere, I have studied "The Twelve Steps", some Transpersonal Psychology, the Mystical Qabalah as well as some studies into Christianity. All this has been backed by the reading of what others have said in their writings about the psycho-spiritual life, and how their experiences have gelled with mine. And there is a great deal of safety in remaining 'in orbit', so to speak, about the wisdom, knowledge and understanding expressed by others. In other words I need to break free of the 'systems' as laid down by others. That work was all about their experiences, interpreted in ways which they felt led to do. Those experiences were not, and can never be, mine. How beguiling it would be to act the part of a sheep, and follow the shepherd.
          Now it would be foolishness and hubris to discount what others have said, and that is not the way I intend to go. I have gained much from my studies, but they must be used only as stepping stones towards a greater goal, and one of which I am only now beginning to glimpse. To be candid, the thought of breaking free from my past is not one that rests easily and comfortably with me. Where once I might have attacked, now I must persuade; where once I might have used my spiritual weight to barge through obstacles, now I must tread delicately. The risk of pridefulness, and the consequent making of mistakes, is very real. Yet I cannot avoid the conclusion that useful though my past has been, it is no longer enough. There needs to be, yes a breakout, but also a refining of method and approach. The tools that have been used to good effect, must now be modified to deal with a subtler form of experience.
          I may not succeed, but if I refuse to knock, the door will never be opened to me. If I refuse to seek, I will never find. Yet 'success' is not really part of this enterprise. It never has been. That is mere ego-speak. The concept of success is meaningless, and that I must always bear in mind. I must remove my spiritual shoes which block my sense of the holy, and walk barefoot.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Cause or Effect?

          In some manner of other, I must attempt to unravel the many strands that are involved in an inner experience, whilst at the same time retaining as much as possible of the initial, composite, spiritual ambience. By so doing it is hoped that in times to come my posts will contain enough information to supply, at least, an adequate recall of that experience. Unlike a focused, conscious experience in which all 'extraneous' information passes by unnoticed, these inner journeys take place in a changing environment in which one must constantly and deliberately screen out, through meditation, that extraneous information. Yet there is ever an experiential nebulosity in which this process takes place. The attempt to unravel and interpret the information seems, on occasion, to be like extracting a filament of Dark Matter from its normal abode, knowing that in the process something will inevitably be lost in its passage through the veil that separates consciousness and beyond-consciousness. That the results of path-working often appear to materialise in consciousness on a timeline that runs counter to one's expectations, only adds to the confusion of these experiences.*
          I would like now to return to my previous post, "A Problem of Sleeping Consciousness." Bearing in mind that the interpretive ground under one's foot may only be transitory in its firmness, and that everything may change at a moment's notice, I concluded the following. Very far from the state of sleeping appearing to be the "cause" in a cause-and-effect scenario, that state later appeared to be the "effect." Thus the search began, by means of a path-working to find the cause of that effect. (Interestingly, on this occasion and in real time this latter path-working, the effect-ive journey, took place before the causal journey.)

..........Having entered the Secret Garden, and with the door closed behind me I began to walk along a gravel path in a direction away from the gazebo, noticing as I did so that I was being accompanied, and then led, by a cat. In a number of odd places around the garden, and seemingly placed at random, were statues of the black-cloaked, old man who had previously lighted my way through the fog to the inn. 
          Suddenly, I stumbled and fell on my face on the path. As I attempted to rise, I fell forward again. The cat returned to me and sat looking at my feet, the left one being tied at the ankle to an invisible nail, driven into the path. I have a problem, and that problem is that I have become bound or restricted in some way.
          After mulling the problem over for awhile, and half deciding to let it go, I noticed that the Gardener had reappeared. He stooped down and undid the bonds that tied me to the path. I stood up, looked around in a puzzled way, and discovered that once again I was on the move, but no longer restricted to a two-dimensional landscape. Ghostly doorways appeared in the air above the garden, and I realised that I had indeed become restricted in my thinking. There were more, and more ethereal, dimensions to be explored. 
          I sensed a certain tingling of excitement. Then everything disappeared except for the Gardener who 'stood' beside me, and the cat. Slowly, the cat was replaced by an image of the head of a lion, and I wondered about this transformation, or transfiguration. Perhaps the lion represented an image of which the cat is a manageable reflection, or that the strength I needed was not as great as before. In any case, my time in/above the garden was over for the day..........

          Thus it seems clear, or at least clearer than my original, and opposite, conclusion that my thinking about my inner life has become restricted by what I have studied, what I have become accustomed to. That restriction has led me into a false sense of security, a sense of dreaming whilst thinking I was still awake. Yet still I wished for more, to back up this conclusion. It was with that wish in mind that I undertook a second path-working to confirm my findings, a path-working that I will describe in my next post.

* There are some, including some counselling acquaintances of mine, who say that the investigation of this work in an attempt to discover meaning isn't worth the effort. Some say that it isn't even necessary to make any response. There are more important aspects of life to attend to. I take the view that if there is that within who, or which, is trying to communicate with my consciousness, it is a question, at the very least, of courtesy to try to respond.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Problem of Sleeping Consciousness

          It is unclear to me whether now is the time to recommence writing. I write for no other reason, therefore, than that I feel a need to stop an apparent inner drift, to refocus, and to put my recent experiences and my thoughts into some sort of order. Only time will tell whether or not I have pre-empted the barely-felt impulses within, whether or not I have given way to some ill-defined fear of arriving too late. I begin this post with a path-working that, although simple to understand at first glance, nevertheless holds much that needs to be investigated.

..........I knocked on the garden gate, then entered my inner, secret garden, drawing the bolt behind me. From a gazebo to my right emerged a lion who led me along a path towards a pale grey, Gothic-style archway or portal beyond which I could see nothing. We appeared to have risen a little above the garden, with everywhere around us immersed in a fog, or pale grey mist. Passing through the stone archway I saw that the mist had disappeared and that the archway gave access to a long, straight corridor sloping gently upwards and which seemed to consist of a whole set of Gothic archways generating a ribbed, almost organic, look to the corridor. We walked steadily upwards until it seemed that we were cut off from any other place. Finally we halted at the end of the corridor. There was nothing ahead except the reappearance of the foggy void. Momentarily, I felt a large paw in the small of my back as I was pushed unceremoniously into the fog.
          I had expected to fall, yet found myself buoyed up by some unknown force, which gave the semblance of solidity beneath my feet. I then saw that immediately in front of me waited an old man, cloaked in black, who was holding aloft his lantern to light my way. We walked on for some while until I saw that we had entered a medieval town barely visible in the darkened, evening fog. The walls of the buildings seemed to approach and then recede with our passing as, finally, the cobbled road entered a more open area with lights shining dimly but warmly onto the road. To our left appeared a cheery inn with some shop-front windows and a large entrance space, but apparently without any doors. A little to the right of the inn front was a built-over arch leading to a courtyard, big enough for wagons-and-horses.
          I approached the inn, but seeing that the hermit had not followed, turned back towards him. He indicated with a wave of his hand that I must enter the inn, and that he would not be accompanying me any further. Inside, the inn was as foggy, almost spectral, as the road outside. The innkeeper offered me a tumbler of greenish liquid, which I drank, before motioning me towards a nearby flight of stairs, leading upwards to a bedroom. There he unlocked the door and ushered me inside.
          The room was small, but clean and comfortable with a well-sprung double bed. The nearside wall of the room consisted of planks of wood with large gaps between them, offering no privacy and little protection. The open window on the far side of the room looked out onto an inner courtyard lit by the light of a full moon. Nowhere was there any trace of mist or fog. There was also a rather puzzling image of a moon-like disc on the bedroom ceiling. Finding that I was already dressed in night-clothes, I crawled into bed, and lay watching the moon. At some stage I drifted into sleep..........

          It had been clear to me that the path I trod in this psycho-spiritual exercise, led me to a place (or rather, a non-place) somewhere in the 'upper' reaches of my being. There I found myself as "the Sleeper." For some while I was content with that as a simple explanation, hoping that in the sleeping state some form of transfiguration might be taking place at a level beyond my consciousness. Yet as I meditated on the other aspects of this journey, I began to feel a certain unease.
          I will not go into the many twists and turns that my thinking took me; it would seem to serve no useful purpose. It did appear to take an inordinately long time for me to understand how I needed to approach the way I have to deal with the very obvious Tarot images that arose, (and continue to do so) as well as the images relating to the Hebrew alphabet, both of which were present in my past studies of the mystical Qabalah. A total change in my approach is necessary, because I discovered, quite surreptitiously, that in truth the conscious 'I' has been lulled into a state of sleepiness from which it must be roused.
          It would be difficult to overestimate the the dangers and pitfalls, the possibilities for making mistakes, that lie ahead of me; difficult to overestimate the strength of the apparently natural desire to allow consciousness to sleep and dream. Somehow, I must simultaneously both reject and embrace the many 'systems' with which I have made contact, in the hope of discovering the way to the country that lies beyond.