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My dear Brad,

How I wish you could be a wittness during the miracle of giving birth to a baby. The crowning, like a rising sun, seeing a baby's head appearing and coming through the mother's birth opening is an unforgetable gift and sight to behold. As the doctor catches the slippery baby in great expectation and anticipation everyone in the room is silent. There is a sacred communion between all as the first breath of God is given, the lungs of the baby expand and fill with the life, the Word, of Christ. There is God manifesting in this baby, a new life has joined us. Just to try and comprehend that out of one teeny weeny sperm and a woman's ovum, life, God, a miracle comes into being. A new life filled with God's breath. Amen and Hallelujah!

And I will go one step further in my testimony that His dear son Jesus Christ's gift to us in receiving a new birth again allows us to pass through our Heavenly Mother's gate, returning home as a spirit son. Only a loving Creator, the One God, could bless us beyond all our understanding.

How you are loved Brad, beyond all imaginings, and we all on this forum share this love for you in the one mind.

You are exactly where you should be in your journey of searching for truth. I honor and respect your walk. I mention the miracle of birth, because God's sacred heart of love and His pure mind filled with the greatest giving, tenderness and all intelligence can give us life, love, and His breath, together with His gift of birthing anew through His Holy Spirit.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What I am embracing now is thin air. Emptiness. Vacuousness. Littliness. Fearfullness. Sheepishness. And I know the tension must break or it will break me. I�m being forced to give up little things, little ideas, here and there, in bits and stages. And while doing so every cell in my body screams �You can�t live life by what you�re not. You can only live by what you are.� And still I get whittled down more and more. And I wonder where this is all heading. If we are alive, isn�t that what we all wonder? And I know that I�m weak enough to trade all this tension for a Jonestown-like cult if only it would offer me peace of mind and security.

LOL! Big Grin I'll bet not! All they'd have to do is say that you have to go to Church every week and sing hymns and you'd embrace your insecurity with a vengeance. Wink

Sounds like you're being "stripped" and laid bare, which is a good thing. You're a "tough nut" to crack, that's for sure -- compared to me, that is. A couple of broken hearts in my early 20s and I was acutely aware of my inner poverty, powerlessness, and inability to put "Humpty" together again. A great blessing that was. I'd never realized what a "hole in the soul" I had, and how only God could fill it. Even this realization didn't bring relief, for God's grace is given in God's own time, not ours, which is also a good thing.

Maybe one day you'll be ready to make an unconditional surrender to God? Maybe you've already done so? Only God knows for sure. But until such time, I can guarantee you that you'll be left to yourself, your opinions, and your inner brokenness.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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AND A MEADOW LARK SANG

The child whispered: "God speak to me"
And a meadow lark sang,
The child did not hear.

So the child yelled: "God, speak to me!"
And the thunder rolled across the sky
But the child did not listen.

The child looked around and said:
"God let me see you" and a star shone brightly
But the child did not notice.

And the child shouted:
"God show me a miracle!"
And a life was born but the child did not know.

So the child cried out in despair:
"Touch me God, and let me know you are here!"
Whereupon God reached down
And touched the child.

But the child brushed the butterfly away
and walked away unknowingly.

written by: Ravinda Kumar Karmani
(This poem was originally written in the Hindi Language).
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brad:
"What I am embracing now is thin air. Emptiness. Vacuousness. Littliness. Fearfullness. Sheepishness. And I know the tension must break or it will break me. I�m being forced to give up little things, little ideas, here and there, in bits and stages. And while doing so every cell in my body screams �You can�t live life by what you�re not. You can only live by what you are.� And still I get whittled down more and more. And I wonder where this is all heading."

Congratulations! I wouldn't be so quick to label your experience - vacuousness, littleness etc. While fear could certainly be a component of the process! But, consider - - perhaps you cannot know who you are, cannot get down to the truth of being who you are - that unity state with the Divine - until you are emptied of everything else - learned ego beliefs about self, reality, others. You sound to me like you may be on exactly the right track. But, then I see the mystic as the most practical of souls.

Tauler spoke of the difficulty of emptying - that there appears no end to it. I often felt it to be a kind of Zeno's paradox in reverse. Very stressful, very often fearful process. But, what's the point of all this exhausting effort? Eckhart said it best. The "perfect goodness" that is God. The "Divine" - not as the idea of experiencing unity with a loving God (though that's certainly the outcome materially). But, as a concept - an abstract one, yes, but one absolutely unique to you. What is divine to you. The Truth about you. The Word made flesh. What brought you here.

You only have to remember it to return to being - the butterfly lands without being noticed and the external world alligns itself with you. But, for a few souls - it is so damned abstract - so nearly impossible to put their finger on, after a life time of brainwashing, that it is maddening to contemplate. Like trying to thread a needle with one's mind. Who am I? Why am I here? What do I love? But, don't give up. When you remember it or rediscover it, it turns out to be something only a child would know. You've only forgotten it. A still small voice drowned out by the chaos of others and the world.
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Traveling | Registered: 30 April 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Congratulations! I wouldn't be so quick to label your experience - vacuousness, littleness etc. While fear could certainly be a component of the process! But, consider - - perhaps you cannot know who you are, cannot get down to the truth of being who you are - that unity state with the Divine - until you are emptied of everything else - learned ego beliefs about self, reality, others. You sound to me like you may be on exactly the right track. But, then I see the mystic as the most practical of souls.
I think you make many good points, Mystic's Maze. And it can be oh-so-hard to discern right paths from wrong paths. They can feel very much the same. And certainly people will label the same experience differently. Some will see something as positive (such as the emptying process, which can be productive), and some may just see a loaf, a dead-beat, a whiner and complainer. Wink It is an odd thing indeed that some of the greatest fruits of the spiritual life (at least as I understand things) sound like just ghastly things to the average man or woman on the street, if you know what I mean. So it takes a bit of trust to go down some of these paths, but in my case, all it takes is the sure knowledge of (as Phil intimated) my own powerlessness.

quote:
Tauler spoke of the difficulty of emptying - that there appears no end to it. I often felt it to be a kind of Zeno's paradox in reverse. Very stressful, very often fearful process. But, what's the point of all this exhausting effort? Eckhart said it best. The "perfect goodness" that is God. The "Divine" - not as the idea of experiencing unity with a loving God (though that's certainly the outcome materially). But, as a concept - an abstract one, yes, but one absolutely unique to you. What is divine to you. The Truth about you. The Word made flesh. What brought you here.
I realize now that, at least in my case, the only thing I can expect is nothing. If one is trying to accomplish something then that assumes that one knows where one is going or should be going. And if we knew that then we could just do all this ourselves. But this feels more like a turkey basting in a rotisserie oven. I'm sure a little button is going to pop out when I'm done, but I don't know when that will be or what that will mean. Wink

quote:
Who am I? Why am I here? What do I love? But, don't give up. When you remember it or rediscover it, it turns out to be something only a child would know. You've only forgotten it. A still small voice drowned out by the chaos of others and the world.
One of the things I�m have some success with these days, Mystic's Maze, is shutting down that questioning engine quite a bit. It's certainly not bad to have those questions. And I, for one, will never stop questioning things. But powerless can eventually (and in a good way) reach one even here, in our questions. At some point our questions start getting in the way. Letting go of the questions (at least for stretches at a time) is often the best thing to do and to know that our silence and listening is one of the finest and most excellent ways we have of probing reality. And letting go of even this desire to "probe" reality, we might then just let our silence rest and try to accomplish absolutely nothing. Just be. Just be like that turkey roasting in the oven. And if there is heat (pain, uncertainty, fear, etc.) we know we're cookin'!

quote:
Tauler spoke of the difficulty of emptying - that there appears no end to it. I often felt it to be a kind of Zeno's paradox in reverse. Very stressful, very often fearful process.
Yes, indeed. You're quite right. Quite stressful. Very fearful. And my hunch is that it's the equivalent of our butt-cheeks clenching. Stuff is leaking out of us and our first instinct is to tense up to try to keep it in and/or to protect ourselves after having lost something. We feel vulnerable. All this crap points to this process as something being wrong and therefore something we shouldn't be doing. So add a little more fear in the backdoor via this route.

I like to focus on the image of me going door to door with my begging bowl should the "worst" happen and should everything pretty much slip off me. That's as bad as it gets. Could I survive by the charity of others? How are others doing by the charity of me? More fear. Wink

Thanks for you comments.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad -

Your description of the ego's resisting emptying - "our first instinct is to...try to keep it in...to protect ourselves." Doesn't it help to remember that the ego is purely a survival system? My repeated warning to others for years is "You are not your feelings! You are not your thoughts! Observe them and examine them, don't believe them! What we feel is only a learned protective system of fears and thoughts that are rarely valid beyond surviving a specific childhood pain.

Jesus' paradox regarding faith has helped me at my lowest points. Because we can only experience what we believe is true - we literally "live by faith" - and the bummer is that we cannot increase our faith, which sadly returns us back to the painful process of getting rid of what we have faith in, there must be an internal/external goal that can allign our effort and help our discernment. Can you verbalize yours (or perhaps you already have - please refer me to the post)?

I'm in agreement with you re: shutting down the questioning. I never asked any because I already knew the answers. That, however, had no affect on the roasting turkey experience of ego terrors.

But, I've found fear to be the only place to start. Grace or the Divine at work - unfortunately. And, while the metaphor of a crown of thorns is physically accurate in that our pain is always multiple and in our minds, that doesn't help our misery. Here is where I discovered "questioning fear" to be mandatory or the progress was painfully slow. Literally years..... What exactly am I feeling fearful "of." Examining fear is often mind-boggling because we are excessively complex creatures and they tend to be weblike rather than in layers. But, I've found no way around it.

But, consider, ... if the begging bowl fears can only be overcome by experiencing them in reality - and finding ourselves still alive when the worst that we have believed in happens, we've only proved our courage but suffered needlessly according to Jesus. What a bore to live out such excruciating progress. And, to be truthful I've never seen nor experienced such efforts to be truly productive. Have you?

My favorite symbol for the process is the Shiva, standing on the howling ego, brandishing the symbols of transcendence. Fire, the painful purifying process, trust in the Divine guide despite appearances, the stoppiing of the drumbeat of eternity, etc., etc. We can easily use it as a measurement of our self-knowledge if contemplated, but I find Jesus's life metaphor more viscerally accurate from the point of view of feeling like the "squashee" under foot.

Perhaps this might be helpful to others as a kind of mental "Hail Mary Pass." If even physical death need not be feared, and we are contemplating the present fear back to its root or origin in order to reframe it accurately and forgive ourselves. (Using Sedona, NLP or whatever combinations) What is the significance of our "sins being forgiven." Most of us haven't committed any atrocity - we only live as though we have - unconscious of feeling that something about us must be unfixable/unredeemable. What else could account for the painful experiences of living!!? (Jesus gave us a perfect visual example of how the psyche suffers as a result of "taking on the sins of the world.")

What if? What if when light bulb comes on, we discover the original sin - the origin of our sense of unfixableness - is only the unchangeable core of being - that the mental battle has only been resisting our true nature. What if enlightenment, that Zen moment is that we are back to where we started? That's the real purpose of surrendering. It is only the rebirth of the Christ Self.
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Traveling | Registered: 30 April 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Doesn't it help to remember that the ego is purely a survival system?

Yes, well put, Mystic�s Maze. Maybe this should be transferred over to the internal dialogue thread or the false self thread, but I had this thought this morning:

If there is some kind of divine indwelling, if God sort of bubbles up from within, then our head talk is likely a resistance to this. Our core survival instinct kicks in and we resist losing ourselves. We resist losing ourselves especially if we feel we have never gained ourselves.

My repeated warning to others for years is "You are not your feelings! You are not your thoughts! Observe them and examine them, don't believe them! What we feel is only a learned protective system of fears and thoughts that are rarely valid beyond surviving a specific childhood pain.

That sounds very Buddhist, Mystic�s Maze. I like it. But I think I�ve sort of expanded out from that initial conception and have sort of married the opposites together. We�re not our feelings, yes. That�s true. But yet we are. I�m not a real big believer in trying to silence the rest of the "noise" of feelings, thoughts, etc., in order to get to our supposed real self. But I do believe in silencing our thoughts, feelings, internal dialogue, etc, in order to connect to the Divine (which is, I guess, a secondary way to connect to our real selves). I don�t particularly believe in "privileged" states of mind. But I do think that to know and appreciate what states we already have, we may need to delve into some silence. They say it isn�t the sound that makes for music. It�s the silence between the notes. I think that�s the same sort of thing in terms of our mind, feelings, etc. Through the experience of silence those "notes" of mind and feelings are no longer just mindless background noise. We may come to better know them and appreciate them better.

Jesus' paradox regarding faith has helped me at my lowest points. Because we can only experience what we believe is true - we literally "live by faith" - and the bummer is that we cannot increase our faith, which sadly returns us back to the painful process of getting rid of what we have faith in, there must be an internal/external goal that can allign our effort and help our discernment. Can you verbalize yours (or perhaps you already have - please refer me to the post)?

First off, I don�t see how we can only experience what we believe to be true. As humans, we are often surprised by things. And we wouldn�t be surprised if we weren�t experiencing things we had never expected or imagined before. And I must confess that, strictly speaking, I don�t think I live by faith as commonly perceived. If I believe at all in Christ it is because I see Christlikeness all around and see it, in the context of all that is, as a fundamental element of the universe. I don�t need to believe that goodness exists. I see it all around and see the effect it has on me and others. Now, when we get to God herself, then we come to matters that I agree are truly much more faith-based for me � but sort of faith in the sense that, on a dark night driving down an unfamiliar road, that I have faith that the road extends farther ahead than my headlights can see; that the road doesn�t just stop and either head off a cliff or turn into scrub land. I suppose one can have faith in anything one sets the will of one�s mind to. But I guess that�s not where I�m coming from. I�m not saying that everything has to be completely anchored in experience, but if faith isn�t reasonable anchored in experience, in logic, in a reasonable sense of spiritual "knowing", then one could have faith in anything and everything and I�m not sure how much that could ever mean.

And I wasn�t aware of the idea of faith not being able to be increased. Maybe you could expound on that idea. I think every time we get up in the morning and see that the sun has indeed risen again, we have a little more faith that it will do so tomorrow, even if things such as this never cross our minds anymore because, frankly, our faith is so strong we now call it "certainty".

That, however, had no affect on the roasting turkey experience of ego terrors.

Yeah, ego terrors are difficult.

Here is where I discovered "questioning fear" to be mandatory or the progress was painfully slow. Literally years..... What exactly am I feeling fearful "of." Examining fear is often mind-boggling because we are excessively complex creatures and they tend to be weblike rather than in layers. But, I've found no way around it.

I very often (50% of the time) will wake up in the morning and be full of fear. And often it�s not just a low-level fear. And I�ve tried examining it and, you�re right. It�s necessary but it is very difficult because we are such excessively complex creatures.

But, consider, ... if the begging bowl fears can only be overcome by experiencing them in reality - and finding ourselves still alive when the worst that we have believed in happens, we've only proved our courage but suffered needlessly according to Jesus. What a bore to live out such excruciating progress. And, to be truthful I've never seen nor experienced such efforts to be truly productive. Have you?

I�m not sure I completely follow what you�re saying, but I think it�s generally regard as a truth that if we face our fears that we will overcome them. And that may well be true. Thinking back, I often tried to face my fears, but perhaps I was never facing the true fear because I really didn�t know what that fear was. Or perhaps it could be that that truism isn�t so true. We all have limitations and it might be exceedingly egotistical and pig-headed to just go around banging our head repeatedly into the proverbial wall trying to face and conquer all our fears. But I do think fears can be overcome, but I think many times it is a process the involves something other than an explicit attempt to "overcome one�s fears." There are probably sideways entrances and backdoor entrances to dissolving (or at least minimizing) some of our worst fears. I�ll willingly listen to all you have to say on the subject, Maze, because I just haven�t a clue.

If even physical death need not be feared, and we are contemplating the present fear back to its root or origin in order to reframe it accurately and forgive ourselves. (Using Sedona, NLP or whatever combinations) What is the significance of our "sins being forgiven." Most of us haven't committed any atrocity - we only live as though we have - unconscious of feeling that something about us must be unfixable/unredeemable. What else could account for the painful experiences of living!!?

I think that�s a great question/comment. First off, I think the problem of suffering remains primarily a mystery�at least to me. It just is. From our perspective, it often seems gratuitous and cruel. And it�s particularly hard to rectify when we consider that, indeed, a good deal of our suffering is caused by sin � and a lot of it just from being. We will suffer even if we have done nothing wrong, and we will sometimes suffer because we do something wrong. But suffering cannot be avoided. And I think we can turn ourselves a little nutso if we assume that every little suffering is because we, or somebody else, did something wrong. In the grand scheme of things, we�re just left wondering why nature is put together the way it is. We might gather a few clues. We can see how suffering can actually mold us for the better and induce love and compassion. And we might suppose that suffering is just one half of a duality, that you couldn�t have pleasure without pain. That it would just be logically impossible. Even God can�t create square circles�that sort of thing.

And as far as I�m concerned, one of the big clues that there is a God is that all human woes are not cured by psychology. In fact, even while medical science progresses rapidly, psychology still remains a hit-or-miss affair. It can certainly help, but it is just part of the process. There seems some deeper source, some forgiveness source, that is required for us to progress further on the path of sanctity. How that all works, I don�t know. If it were as sure and predictable as an aspirin tablet, then it couldn�t really be forgiveness, eh?

What if? What if when light bulb comes on, we discover the original sin - the origin of our sense of unfixableness - is only the unchangeable core of being - that the mental battle has only been resisting our true nature. What if enlightenment, that Zen moment is that we are back to where we started? That's the real purpose of surrendering. It is only the rebirth of the Christ Self.

The "Zen" or enlightenment moment is when Brad is being Brad and when Maze is being Maze. That�s how I see it. The miracle of Maze is the Maziness of Maze! And, frankly, I don�t see any way to "logically" figure out humanity and existence in terms of precise cause-and-effect notions that serve us so well in, say, our scientific pursuits. Existence is definitely more an art than a science. And that�s why just plain, pure, un-efforted silence is so remarkable. That�s when one might get the slightest sense that "being" is a rather active verb. Remarkably so.

But I do think you are right in that there is a mental battle involved in resisting our true nature. It�s the why of this battle that I find so intriguing. Why not just create us in a more divine state? And, if anything and everything in this life seems to be trying to kill us, why is it then so bad to be egotistical and to be hell-bent on clutching onto every little bit of ourselves that we can? Shouldn�t reinforcing our separate nature bring us peace if that�s how everything works? Why, instead, does giving up or egoism and our radical separateness bring us peace?

We all seem to be stuck smack-dab in a development project where there is a lot of excavating, demolition, and construction going on. Apparently the process is considered to be every bit as important as the result.

You ask so many great and deep questions and have made some really good comments, Maze. I�m afraid I was only tangential with a good number of them. Maybe a moderator will want to move this discussion elsewhere.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brad:

... "I�m not a real big believer in trying to silence the rest of the "noise" of feelings, thoughts, etc., in order to get to our supposed real self. But I do believe in silencing our thoughts, feelings, internal dialogue, etc, in order to connect to the Divine (which is, I guess, a secondary way to connect to our real selves)."...

MM: Here is where our experience and understanding differ dramatically. (unless it is just semantics) The Divine is not only our connectedness, what binds us together - the "perfect goodness." The Divine is the Word (idea/concept) made flesh, the purpose for which you came into this body. What is uniquely "divine" to you. The real Self, the true Self is the Christ Self as opposed to the learned ego.

..."I don�t particularly believe in "privileged" states of mind. But I do think that to know and appreciate what states we already have, we may need to delve into some silence."

MM: If "privileged" denotes the pursuit of a unity state as a purely mental exercise and an end in itself? If so I agree. It appears to have no practical purpose.

..."They say it isn�t the sound that makes for music. It�s the silence between the notes. I think that�s the same sort of thing in terms of our mind, feelings, etc. Through the experience of silence those "notes" of mind and feelings are no longer just mindless background noise. We may come to better know them and appreciate them better."

MM: As a musician I understand the analogy, but what you describe sounds like using the silence of a meditative state to observe the ego's chaos - defensive patterns of thought and feeling. The "I" knows (or rather "is") the truth. The ego feels and thinks. Wouldn't the silence be more productive, if "I" observe the ego patterns that are in control of the outward - usually repetitive - experience?" Remembering the "two masters" metaphor is helpful - but only the ego resists the world and battles for control and safety. "I" have no need, being immersed in the Divine.

..."First off, I don�t see how we can only experience what we believe to be true. As humans, we are often surprised by things. And we wouldn�t be surprised if we weren�t experiencing things we had never expected or imagined before."

MM: Perhaps it's your karma to be surprised? I don't intend to be flippant. I respect your serious response. I have no memory of ever being surprised. Perhaps now, we're back to the topic of dual-citizenship! I think "multi-cultural/religious citizenship" is a requirement for true spiritual progress in today's world. We lose our ability to communicate past a certain point. (I agree with Sam Harris' position, "Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not," and that we need some drastic rethinking of the value of religious "faith," considering the mess the world is now in because of it."

..." but if faith isn�t reasonable anchored in experience, in logic, in a reasonable sense of spiritual "knowing", then one could have faith in anything and everything and I�m not sure how much that could ever mean.

MM: Well said.

..."And I wasn�t aware of the idea of faith not being able to be increased. Maybe you could expound on that idea. I think every time we get up in the morning and see that the sun has indeed risen again, we have a little more faith that it will do so tomorrow, even if things such as this never cross our minds anymore because, frankly, our faith is so strong we now call it "certainty".

MM: Connecting "faith" and "certainty" takes one over the proverbial cliff. Surely we "know" the sun will behave in the way it usually does - unless an asteroid or some theorized polarity reversal knocks us about- or the dimming from particulates blocks our view. That is knowledge not faith. I am not speaking of religious faith (dogma) and neither was Jesus. Faith, cannot be increased - I would argue - because for most it is entirely unconscious - more akin to a computer program - limited by our child's myriad experiences, i.e. beliefs: people can be trusted or not, love is unconditional or constrained by hundreds of conditions, I am valued when I act like (fill in the blank), everyone is good at (fill in the blank) but me, etc., etc.

We live by faith - our beliefs about reality and us - constrain our perceptions to such a degree that we are never fully present and responding rationally to experience. Thus our choices are either inappropriate or limited.

..."I very often (50% of the time) will wake up in the morning and be full of fear."

MM: Feelings are embedded patterns from the past (fearing the future will repeat the past), thus we are unable to be wholly present and receive what life (Divine) has to offer. We literally cannot see what is available. Our faith may be able to "make us whole" but usually it makes us misperceive.

..."I�m not sure I completely follow what you�re saying ... But I do think fears can be overcome, but I think many times it is a process the involves something other than an explicit attempt to "overcome one�s fears." There are probably sideways entrances and backdoor entrances to dissolving (or at least minimizing) some of our worst fears. I�ll willingly listen to all you have to say on the subject, Maze, because I just haven�t a clue."

MM: My experience has been that fear can rarely be overcome directly because we/ego develop multiple parts as buffers (Paul's "looking into a glass darkly" is an apt metaphor) Fear must be dissolved out of existence through application of "reason." It's a physical chemical response to a thought/memory from childhood (and always includes a reinforcing repetitive experience in young adulthood.) And, our general fears accumulate around a primal/fear of death experience; the ego identity develops to protect you from this death. Mine was the fear of public humiliation beginning around age three - despite that it never happened "in fact," it colored every aspect of ego development. Multilayered and powerful.

..."I think the problem of suffering remains primarily a mystery�at least to me. It just is. From our perspective, it often seems gratuitous and cruel. And it�s particularly hard to rectify when we consider that, indeed, a good deal of our suffering is caused by sin..."

MM: The suffering of others may be a mystery - for lack of knowledge, but, our suffering need not be mysterious. We tend to not look very deeply because of our sense of some vague unfixableness. But, if there is no error that is not foregiveable, why are we choosing to suffer? Why not be bold. Have a little courage.

Again, what does the word sin imply? Something concrete that cannot be reconsidered. Something "punishable." But, if we take the Christ metaphors seriously. He "took on the sins of his world," (talk about mass projection) giving us a extreme example of how we can be made to suffer despite our innocence and that whatever our fear of death is, the "laws" of reality we believe in, can be overcome. His entire life was a lesson in suffering is not permanent nor necessary.

..."We can see how suffering can actually mold us for the better and induce love and compassion. And we might suppose that suffering is just one half of a duality, that you couldn�t have pleasure without pain. That it would just be logically impossible."

MM: There is no question in my mind that some of our suffering is entered into willingly (karma again) for growth or purposes of our calling. But, overcoming the belief in the duality of good/evil is what the spiritual struggle is about. Suffering is a consequence of humanities absolute belief in it. It's comfortable and familiar no matter how much it hurts us or others.

..."And as far as I�m concerned, one of the big clues that there is a God is that all human woes are not cured by psychology."

MM: But, consider that psychology is still in its infancy, still consumed with only moderating the insanity of the ego. Perhaps quantum psychology will even replace religion in our future - and Schrodinger's cat will generate spiritual discussions!? Or not!

..."There seems some deeper source, some forgiveness source, that is required for us to progress further on the path of sanctity. How that all works, I don�t know. If it were as sure and predictable as an aspirin tablet, then it couldn�t really be forgiveness, eh?

MM: We've had hundreds of enlightened souls who've told us exactly how it works - as predictably as an aspirin. Maybe we just need a few thousand more.

..."And, frankly, I don�t see any way to "logically" figure out humanity and existence in terms of precise cause-and-effect notions that serve us so well in, say, our scientific pursuits. Existence is definitely more an art than a science.

MM: I could not disagree more.

..."But I do think you are right in that there is a mental battle involved in resisting our true nature. It�s the why of this battle that I find so intriguing. Why not just create us in a more divine state?

MM: As you would expect, my view is that we were created in a divine state. Individually realizing it is the chore.

..."And, if anything and everything in this life seems to be trying to kill us, why is it then so bad to be egotistical and to be hell-bent on clutching onto every little bit of ourselves that we can? Shouldn�t reinforcing our separate nature bring us peace if that�s how everything works? Why, instead, does giving up or egoism and our radical separateness bring us peace?

MM: This is not a real dilemma. It's a matter of transcending what we've been taught to believe (that we HAVE to clutch and grab), and finding that true separate Self that is at-one with the divine (reality). Consider unity as a peaceful equilibrium, always available although unrecognized and unseen. A synchronicity. An experience of heaven where we couldn't be more integrated or purposeful, even though we are separate and unique.

..."We all seem to be stuck smack-dab in a development project where there is a lot of excavating, demolition, and construction going on. Apparently the process is considered to be every bit as important as the result."

MM: What if that is not true? I seem to remember something along the line of, "you know them by their fruits." How else do we measure our progress except by our results?

Enjoyed talking with you, Brad.
 
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unless it is just semantics

Oh, well, you got me on that. I have to admit that I couldn�t tell a false self from a true self from a Christ self, if I had to be completely honest about it. And although there is plenty of doctrine describing how all these relate -- and what these things are -- as far as our direct experience is concerned, I think we could describe what we experience in dozens of ways, and the language would all look quite different. I tend to try to keep it as simple and minimal as I can. I know that I exist. That seems fairly obvious. And I know others exist. Less obvious, but still fairly obvious. And there are things outside myself and outside of my full understanding. That also seems fairly obvious to me. And because things exist there must be a reason. Again, that seems pretty obvious. And because we know there are conscious, intelligent beings (us), it�s not too big of a stretch to think that such intelligence and consciousness is a fundamental element of nature, inside of it, outside of it, and all around it � aka �God�.

What our �true� self and our �false� self truly is is still somewhat uncertain to me. But it seems clear enough that we can gain larger and more well-rounded perspectives as human beings. We call such things �changes in consciousness� or �higher awareness�, among other labels. And silence and the reduction of noise seem to be the best avenue to induce the �bubbling up� into our consciousness of knowledge and impressions about consciousness itself and other states of being. These impressions don�t seem to come completely from us, nor are they particularly infallible, but that do often seem to have quite a ring of truth to them, at least when looked at from the proper perspective which might be analogously rather than literally.

As a musician I understand the analogy, but what you describe sounds like using the silence of a meditative state to observe the ego's chaos - defensive patterns of thought and feeling. The "I" knows (or rather "is") the truth. The ego feels and thinks. Wouldn't the silence be more productive, if "I" observe the ego patterns that are in control of the outward - usually repetitive - experience?" Remembering the "two masters" metaphor is helpful - but only the ego resists the world and battles for control and safety. "I" have no need, being immersed in the Divine.

I�m not exactly sure what I�m observing in silence and how the observed thing is changed, for better or for worse, by being observed. Any prayer or meditation I engage in these days is most decidedly not meant to change me, clear out any empty baggage, or to understand the workings of my own mind. I simply know, now, that something seemingly magical happens from just being quiet with no other goal than that. I long ago dispensed with the hubris of thinking that I could significantly do anything to affect the workings of my own mind, at least in any fundamental way. It�s only because of the repeated advice of Thomas Merton that in prayer I�ll go so far as to ask for anything at all rather than just remaining silent and open. I tend to try to keep things very simple, MM, because I know how easy it would be for me to start labeling this stuff and pretty soon I would lose the silence and would be conceiving of myself and my mind as some huge, complex, Erector-Set-like device with a million moving parts that I had to be aware of and name.

I have no memory of ever being surprised.

I think that would make you unique then, MM.

I think "multi-cultural/religious citizenship" is a requirement for true spiritual progress in today's world. We lose our ability to communicate past a certain point. (I agree with Sam Harris' position, "Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not," and that we need some drastic rethinking of the value of religious "faith," considering the mess the world is now in because of it."

Well, first we need to define progress. Then we need to perhaps discuss if, in fact, mysticism is inherently free of some of the junk that infects religion. (I don�t think it is. Not by a long shot.) Yes, learning to communicate with people who have different religious beliefs is useful and good. I agree with that. Whether that�s a requirement or not for spiritual progress is highly debatable. What that has meant in the west is that we�re not supposed to take our religions and traditions seriously (and amend them or delete them if they are the least bit offensive to anyone) while bending over backwards to accept, in total, what everyone else believes. This is often what passes as �multiculturalism�.

Surely we "know" the sun will behave in the way it usually does - unless an asteroid or some theorized polarity reversal knocks us about- or the dimming from particulates blocks our view. That is knowledge not faith.

Well, actually, we don�t. Remember we�re trying to talk outside of human conventions and conceptual shortcuts. We say that it is a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow, not a matter of faith. But there is no clean dividing line between fact and faith other than our rather pragmatic agreement among ourselves to say that there is this line. But (from our perspective, anyway) there is no logical reason that the laws of physics have to be the same tomorrow as they are today. We simply observe that they have been so far and call that a law. Fine. That works. It might even be true that the laws of physics never change. We just don�t know. But it would be quite silly to act as if the laws might change tomorrow. There are better things to worry about. But because there is technically that teensy weensy bit of the possibility of doubt, we still exercise a bit of faith in regards to the sun coming up. Or, for shorthand, we call it an �assumption.�

Faith, cannot be increased - I would argue - because for most it is entirely unconscious - more akin to a computer program - limited by our child's myriad experiences, i.e. beliefs: people can be trusted or not, love is unconditional or constrained by hundreds of conditions, I am valued when I act like (fill in the blank), everyone is good at (fill in the blank) but me, etc., etc.

I just can�t relate to that because my faith, for months now, has been pinging up and down like a ping-pong ball with an overactive thyroid.

Feelings are embedded patterns from the past (fearing the future will repeat the past), thus we are unable to be wholly present and receive what life (Divine) has to offer.

That�s a deeeeeep thought, MM. Wink But I think it�s a good one. It has been on my mind a lot the last couple days of just how very close peace, love, and a lack of fear may actually be. If a thief is trying to crack into a safe, he knows the obstacles in front of him. He has to either blow the hinges off or pick the lock. It�s all pretty clear what he or she has to do. But it is not so clear to me the things keeping me from peace and, presumably, the resolution of my fears.

Fear must be dissolved out of existence through application of "reason." It's a physical chemical response to a thought/memory from childhood

I�ve never been able to get that to work for me, but I don�t doubt that it can work.

And, our general fears accumulate around a primal/fear of death experience; the ego identity develops to protect you from this death.

Yes, I very much think you are correct. I do have the distinct impression that my fears (perhaps all fears) have to do with protecting something from extinction, whether it be our love, joy, life, ego, ideas, beliefs, or whatever.

We tend to not look very deeply because of our sense of some vague unfixableness.

Yes. I think that�s a very good observation.

We tend to not look very deeply because of our sense of some vague unfixableness.

Yes, I think that�s true.

But, overcoming the belief in the duality of good/evil is what the spiritual struggle is about. Suffering is a consequence of humanities absolute belief in it.

Well, I do think I see this side of the argument and I agree it�s an important one.

But, consider that psychology is still in its infancy, still consumed with only moderating the insanity of the ego. Perhaps quantum psychology will even replace religion in our future - and Schrodinger's cat will generate spiritual discussions!? Or not!

I see the inherent limit to psychology being that of materialism. The brain is treated like little more than a storehouse of impressions and conceptions�some which can conflict with others. And when push comes to shove, don�t most psychologist really look at humans as a machine? And I�m not saying that there isn�t a machine component. Nor am I saying that chemical imbalances are going to be corrected by all the praying and spiritual direction in the world. But there does seem to be more to us than the physical, thus the inherent limits to psychology.

MM: We've had hundreds of enlightened souls who've told us exactly how it works - as predictably as an aspirin. Maybe we just need a few thousand more.

I�ve read a TON of self-help books. Each self-help book author is totally convinced of his or her method to achieve peace, love, money, God, happiness, or whatever. There seems to be a fundamental law about such things and it that what works for some doesn�t work for others. Something can work for a hundred enlightened souls but not work for anyone else.

As you would expect, my view is that we were created in a divine state. Individually realizing it is the chore.

That, I suppose, is as good an explanation as any. But it�s not without its problems. I think it was Phil who said that it seems a strange thing that a truly divine creature could forget that it is divine.

Enjoyed talking with you, Brad.

Likewise.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mystic's Maze, you wrote the following: As you would expect, my view is that we were created in a divine state. Individually realizing it is the chore.

Why should that be a chore? If we are divine, then why should divinity be ignorant of its nature in the first place? That's the problem that monistic perspectives always run into.

Fwiw, Christianity doesn't teach that we were created in a divine state, nor does Christian spirituality emphasize divinity as something we need to "realize." Divinity belongs to an-Other Person, who shares it with us as gift, or grace. Our spiritual practice isn't about "realizing" this grace, but of opening to and accepting it. This is the way of faith, which is at the heart of Christian spirituality; it entails both conscious and unconscious levels of our being.

(Just thought I'd liven up the conversation a little. Wink ).
 
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Cross-posted with Brad. Roll Eyes
 
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Also. . .

Mystic Maze: And, our general fears accumulate around a primal/fear of death experience; the ego identity develops to protect you from this death.

And Brad: Yes, I very much think you are correct. I do have the distinct impression that my fears (perhaps all fears) have to do with protecting something from extinction, whether it be our love, joy, life, ego, ideas, beliefs, or whatever.

I don't completely agree. See my thread on Ego and Self. I think we'd have an Ego even if we weren't afraid of death, and I think the Ego is about far more than fabricating and identity that denies death. Such an understanding describes something of the agendae of the false self system, which is not exactly the same thing as Ego, to my thinking. Ego-as-intentional/reflective consciousness seem to me an inevitability given the soul's fundamental disposition to animate a body and express itself in space and time. The problem, here, imo, is sin, which distorts our nature and leaves us fearful within, thus breaking the harmony between Self and Ego.

I don't think your metaphysics hangs together very well, Mystic Maze. It seems very Eastern/New Agey . . . divine beings with deluded Egos (think of the contradiction inherent in that perspective!).
 
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Fwiw, Christianity doesn't teach that we were created in a divine state, nor does Christian spirituality emphasize divinity as something we need to "realize." Divinity belongs to an-Other Person, who shares it with us as gift, or grace. Our spiritual practice isn't about "realizing" this grace, but of opening to and accepting it. This is the way of faith, which is at the heart of Christian spirituality; it entails both conscious and unconscious levels of our being.

If there is a god, certainly it makes sense that we relate to Her in a hierarchy. We see how hierarchy is involved in everything from atoms to molecules to cells to tissues to organs to animals, etc. If there is a God then it seems very logical to me that we're going to have some sort of disproportionate power relationship. God is going to be further up the ladder than us. It might even be true that we were created in a "divine state." But what does that actually mean? What is a divine state? If it means we are gods-in-the-making, and not quite there yet, imperfect as we are but getting better, then, correct me if I�m wrong, but doesn't that square completely with Christian dogma that says we will be like god one day but that we're sinners now? Maybe this is all about semantics, which is one reason I tend to avoid a lot of labels about such things. I could use labels but I'd have a heck of a time defining my terms let alone proving that they mean anything.

The way I look at it is that there is God and there is everything else. But there's also that inevitable logical bit about everything in nature ultimately coming from God so one could be said everything is divine is some way. But the true ontological "magic" is that from this brew of everything that was made come beings who can act and think for themselves. It's a mystery to me how a God could sort of insulate himself enough from His creation so that anything that arose would have the state of at least semi-sovereign existence. You would think that being a part of Him that we would be either indistinguishable from Him, and thus not really independent beings, or His presence would be so large and powerful that we would be literally swamped as independent beings. It would be like a firefly getting dwarfed by, and lost in, the blaze of a sun. But we're talking about true high-powered college-level ontological engineering to make this possible. We may play with atoms and molecules and make things. But image the creativity (let alone the raw materials) that a God would have to work with.

Therefore, to me the most logical way to relate to the divine, even if I had never heard of Christianity, would be to find ourselves completed by coming back to Her. We don't realize our divinity, per se. We connect with our Source. We integrate with that source and one might see how, logically, this must be done of our own free will to some extent. We are but fireflies in the presence of a blazing sun. In the presence of such power, we must willingly open the spigots and say "Yes, overwhelm me." Otherwise we're not respected as independent beings and the requirements of love probably necessitate that we are invited, not simply commanded.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't completely agree. See my thread on Ego and Self. I think we'd have an Ego even if we weren't afraid of death, and I think the Ego is about far more than fabricating and identity that denies death.

Yes, I agree. I don't think all fears run through the ego. I actually don't have much of an opinion on how all that works. But it seems clear that a lot of long-term fear, if not all of it, has to do with the fear of something far less immediate and tangible. Yes, we fear physical pain, but most of us don't go around all stressed out over the possibility of stubbing our toe or breaking our arm. We're careful about such things, and if we're doing something risky then fear will rise up and often keep us from injuring ourselves. But that fear then soon goes away. But the long-term fear seems to be all psychological in nature. It's strange because the pain we gladly bring on ourselves through things such as exercise usually exceeds any pain we actually feel through embarrassment, a sense of failure, or being humiliated. But even though these latter pains may be technically less, we will spend SO much time trying to avoid them and thus our behavior can be severely affected. And maybe the fear of these latter types of pains ultimately is related to the feeling of something being threatened with death or diminishment. I don't know. I still think at the heart of this is our desire to protect that which we value most highly such as our true desires and true expressions of ourselves which we cannot bare to have battered again.
 
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I think you've described very well the kinds of pains usually attributed to Ego, Brad. To nuance it a bit more, those kinds of psychological pains are more consequences of our false self conditioning than the fact of having an Ego.

I'm going to continue the Ego-Self reflections on the other thread. Just wanted to comment on a few points I'd read on this one.
 
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