5/31/02 - The focus of this month's Missal is Roy Masters, an English born teacher, speaker and former hypnotist. He works through his organization, the Foundation of Human Understanding and has spoken on air via his radio talk show for almost forty years. He founded the Institute of Hypnosis in Texas in the early sixties and came to notice a strange thing. The problem he saw in most of his patients was that they were in fact already hypnotized, and simply needed to be de-hypnotized. He saw that this mass-hypnosis was a common state and the source of most of his patient's problems. He felt he had discovered a method of meditation and prayer that was very similar to an ancient Judeo-Christian method. He took this method and began spreading the knowledge via talk radio and numerous books.
The technique detailed by Roy Masters helps instruct you in the practice of becoming objective to your thoughts and feelings, which results in an awakened, natural flow of understanding, clarity of thought, and effortless action, while resolving emotional upset and worry. He saw how we have become identified with our thoughts and emotions through early childhood trauma and hypnosis, and worked to help bring people back to their own inner wisdom and peace.
"A person with a wrong intent gets caught up with everything in an unhealthy way. He becomes hypnotized by everything around him: music, religion, even this teaching. Before he knows what is happening to him, he’s hooked. He begins to need the music, religion, people, and tapes more and more. He even interprets his helpless dependency on these things as "love" for them. His need he sees as "devotion," and the homage he yields up he begins to see as "largesse" that he is magnanimously handing down. He seizes on all things to feed his ego and protect his pride, and he is enslaved by all that he uses in this self-seeking way. The more dependent he becomes, the more he loses the ability to see anything objectively. He begins to live in a world of illusion, a world in which he can do no wrong. The excitement of the beautiful words, the beautiful music, the beautiful people, makes him oblivious to the fact that he is his same old unregenerate self—blundering through life, hurting others, needing more and more of what has captured him, from pot to people. "- Roy Masters
Of his many books, I've found How to Survive Your Parents to be his most direct and concise work. It pulls no punches in showing how a destructive family state of mind can be passed down from generation to generation without those involved being aware of the process, and why they are helpless to change.
His Classic Meditation Tape(see links below) is a great help in breaking the hypnosis of everyday life, and coming to trust you own inner wisdom.
"My basic message is very simple: What's wrong with people is that we are not ourselves. Somehow, we have been conditioned to respond to the pressures of the environment, rather than to the original inner knowing that we came into the world with before we were traumatized. My materials will help you discover how to reconnect to the intuitive knowing in your heart, rather than responding to outside pressures hypnotically. Soon your mind and heart will no longer be troubled. You will learn to live the real meaning of the saying, "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free."
- Related Sites -
The Foundation of Human Understanding : For over three decades, the Foundation of Human Understanding (FHU) has been helping people to cope successfully with stress by showing them how to live according to the traditional Judeo-Christian Principles of patience, honesty, courage, self-control, forgiveness, and real love for one's fellow man. In other words, to live according to conscience, and not according to the pressures of the outside world.
A Simple Awareness Exercise for Overcoming Stress & Illness: This simple concentration-observation exercise with Judeo-Christian roots enables the practitioner to remain calm and patient even in the face of extreme stress and cruelty. Praised by psychiatrists and laymen alike, it is a profound stress reduction method . The only requirement for the practitioner is a sincere desire to be a better person.
"Past performance dictates future performance." - anon
Where Are You Headed?
Do you think you will automatically go to a spiritual place after death? Will you have the drive and capacity to determine your fate and direction when the body/mind dissolves? Do you know yourself that well? What will you have for guidance? Or will the unconscious desires and fears of today, of which you may not be aware of or admit, control your fate?
After our death we may not find ourselves in Happy Heaven, as we might wish, but instead in a place formed by our true motivations, whether we were conscious of them or not. Instead of getting an eternity at The Warm-Fuzzies Fun Park, the more accurate scenario may be akin to when we fall asleep at night, letting go of our so-called conscious control and helplessly entering the world of dreams. This could be likened to the Tibetan concept of the bardo, with the experience of lucid dreaming (knowing we are dreaming while in a dream) thrown in to boot. In other words, if you can't wake up to Reality now, what makes you think you ever will? This dream world or bardo you may find yourself in would become the current dream or 'reality' in which you again act out your previously formed nature. Whether any of this is fact or fiction isn't the point. What is being asked is, do you know and trust yourself well enough to face death and what it might bring?
There is a lot of talk of lucid dreaming nowadays, but I have yet to hear of any of it reaching a valid point in terms of true self-definition. Anything we learn or experience in a dream, lucid or not, must be validated in waking life. We might be advised to wake up first from this present dream of life before playing about with states of ego-identification in our dreams. Acting out our fantasies in dream land in a so-called lucid state is not a true awakening, but simply extending into the dream realm our identification with the personality. Even though much of the talk about lucid dreaming is astute and intellectual, providing much theory and heady adventure, rarely does it touch on the big questions of our personal life and death, and even rarer does it take on the question of 'who' is dreaming
Years ago I learned how to practice lucid dreaming, thinking I would become a hero shaman, weaving magic while discovering deep secrets in the freedom of the dream world, wide awake. When I actually found myself in the dream world, wide awake, the first thought that came to me was "I can do anything I want, I'm awake in a dream!". I must explain that at this time I still believed I was in control of my thinking, that I had thoughts. It was only much later that I came to realize they had me, that all thought is projected upon us. The next thought I identified with was," Let's do all the things we can't do in regulated society, let the party begin!" I quickly created a fantasy sex partner and off we went, for a brief moment. The fun was rudely interrupted by the realization of how divided my consciousness had become. I was shocked that my true motivations, though unconscious, were not only carnal, but degraded. I was not the hero dream warrior I had imagined, but a depraved animal. I thankfully fell back 'asleep' in the ensuing turmoil of emotion. I dropped the experiments, for I realized I lacked the true self-knowledge and control that I had assumed I possessed. This was also accompanied by the intuition I was entering dangerous ground without adequate protection. This example may seem extreme, but it illustrates the point.
In the time that followed, I began instead a simple practice of dream interpretation, designed to help bring the unconscious world within up into the light of day. Thankfully, things were not really as bad in there as I had feared, but many unflattering facts and negative traits were uncovered and eventually faced in waking life. Much help was found in this endeavor, and I'm still grateful for being led back into truth from foolishness. Blindly following our animal nature and its promptings, whether in the dream world or out, only leads us through endless cycles of struggle and misery, desire and fear, with no true reckoning or resolution, forever and ever, amen. Real knowledge of the self is more valuable than any dream adventure, no matter whether we are 'awake' as our daytime ego in the dream or not. Sooner or later we will tire of the fantasy, and perhaps become curious of 'who' is experiencing these endless never-never lands.
True adventure is not in outward grandiose imaginings, whether in waking sleep or whatever, but rather in a steady inward movement, an uncovering of all that is hidden and false in ourselves. It is the greatest expedition we can make, for it leads to real peace, and true awakening. This precipitous moment of turning our attention around and looking within is worth more than any bardo of lucid fantasies, for it can lead to real Self-knowledge, to Who we really are. As G.I Gurdjieff said, " Life is real only then, when I am".
- Quotes of the Month -
" Many of your insights will take place spontaneously while you are busy at your work, doing some chore around the house, or even while you are sleeping."
" If you are willing to realize that you cannot create your own virtues or changes; if you are willing to feel the pain of emptiness, helplessness, and inadequacy; if you are willing to wait, knowing that of yourself you can do nothing - then you will be facing Reality correctly. The reply to that stress of need is fulfillment." - Roy Masters
" When I was young I learned that dreams were the source of all necessary information. "- Jim Burns
" Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."--- Winston Churchill
" The inability to enjoy being alone is the mark of cultural psychosis. There are basically two types of people in this world: those who enjoy being alone, and those who fear it. Those who fear it are your joiners and your drug addicts and your losers. They'll do anything to be accepted. " - Mr. Cranky
" If I really cared about what people thought of me, I would never leave my room."--- Anon
My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or
the other of us has to go.--- Oscar Wilde
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Dreams - 10/1/01
This month's Missal focuses on dreams and their interpretation. The study of our dreams can be a first step into the mind, and a doorway to our unconscious. Our true motivations, the discovery of energy knots and hidden egos, can be found through dreams. The business of modern life with its hectic demands on our time and minds, leaves us little space to reflect and listen to our inner self. The down time of sleep is when the inner self can have a field day through the means of dreams.
Much can be said about dream interpretation. The single most important aspect of this is to remember that you, and you alone, are the judge of what they mean. Your dreams are just that, your dreams. While there are common symbols to all of us, we may have very different associations with them. Depend only on your own 'felt validity'. You will come to know when a dream is dead right in showing you something about yourself.
To start, remember before going to bed that you wish to remember your dreams. A nightly meditation practice can help relax the mind before sleep. Place a pencil and paper or tape recorder next to the bed. If you wake during the night, write down any dreams so far. In the morning, schedule enough time not only to write down the night's dreams, but also to sit with them for awhile and put the dream into memory. The feeling, or mood, that was associated with it is important, too. One trick to remembering all this is to think of a title for the dream, just as if it was a movie. Keeping a dream journal for a length of time is essential, as the repeating patterns of dreams over time tells us much.
Dream interpretation can be a fascinating adventure, making our nighttime hours an exciting source of self-discovery. Help in interpreting the information can be had from many sources, so put on the dreaming body and see what's happening inside the world of your own mind.
" Once upon a time, I, Chaung-tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a butterfly. Suddenly I was awakened, and there I lay myself again. Now I do not know whether I was a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly now dreaming that I am a man."
" While men are dreaming, they do not perceive that it is a dream. Some will even have a dream in a dream, and only when they awake do they know it was all a dream. And so, when the Great Awakening comes upon us, shall we know this life to be a dream. Fools believe themselves to be awake now." - Chaung-tzu-
Dreams and the unconscious world they reveal is a valuable first tool in coming to know our own mind. Through this information we can discover our hidden egos, fears and desires, and allow the inner man to communicate with us. The needs of the body/mind may be only partially and perhaps incorrectly addressed in modern society. Learning to listen to the dream and its message can take us a step closer to direct contact with ourselves, as well as help correct our thinking and behavior. This correction, or retreat from error, will always be a personal one. We will come to manifest our inner self according to its own nature.
While initially we may come to find this inner wisdom of the dream through a book or teacher, the most important step dreams can give us will be the realization that wisdom is personal and comes from within. That the source of all wisdom and information is directly available to everyone of us, inside. Many years of work and struggle may be necessary to come to this surrender, but the price is worth every effort. Learning to listen to the interior voice, and placing a greater value on it than the clamor of the herd, is taking a step back towards the source. Whether we come to this crossroads through dreams, prayer, meditation or trauma, we have taken a step within.
By placing a value on our dreams, we have made an important decision. We have come to trust our inner wisdom and to see the importance of learning to listen to our inner self. Soon we may see the dream and the outer world as the same, and circumstances and events, whether in dreams or our waking world, may become a teaching, a continous unfolding of the Love within.
"You are always the final judge of what to believe they mean. By working with dreams, we can transcend mere opinion — yours, mine, and society’s—about how to live. One huge reward is to discover in dreams our own interior source of wisdom." - Dr. Ron Masa
-Quotes of the Month-
" We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.'' - Iris Murdoch -
" The choice to record and to learn from your dreams is a very important step. It is the establishment of a communication link with your inner self. Accepting the gift is the other half of love. It is one way to hear higher wisdom. Your own higher wisdom.
DreamWork is an educational/spiritual safari into your own interior, where guidance, healing and mystery reside. One reward is direct access to our own inner truth and Self-direction. Dreams will help thee 'Know Thyself.' "-Dr. Ron Masa-
" Life is just a dream within a dream, a tear within a tear." - Oriental saying-
" If you are destined to hang, then you don't have to worry about drowning, so let the big cat jump." -Appalachian saying-
" When the mind is quiet, we come to know ourselves as the pure witness. We withdraw from the experience and its experiencer and stand apart in pure awareness, which is between and beyond the two. The personality, based on self-identification, on imagining itself to be something: 'I am this, I am that', continues, but only as a part of the objective world. Its identification with the witness snaps." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj -
" History is a pageant and not a philosopher.'' - Augustine Birrell -
"The trouble is that we live far from ourselves and have but little wish to get any nearer to ourselves. Indeed we are running away all the time to avoid coming face to face with our real selves, and we barter the truth for trifles." - from "The Way of the Pilgrim", author unknown -
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Meister Eckhart - 1/3/02
This month's Missal features one of the great Christian mystics, Meister Eckhart. He was born Johannes Eckhart at Hochheim in Thringen, Germany, in 1260, and entered the Dominican order when he was 15. Later he occupied several high posts in the order in Germany. Eckhart also taught theology at the Universities of Paris and Cologne.
The depth and universality of Eckhart's teaching has drawn seekers of truth Christian and non-Christian alike. Eckhart's language and paradigm was that of the medieval church, but his message was his own. He continually leads the seeker back into himself, urging him to go within to find his own reality. He urges us to go beyond words and images to the truth within, to find God ourselves, on our own. He tells of the possibility of becoming one with God during our lifetime, and then perhaps of even passing beyond God to a 'still desert', a 'simple ground', the void from which all springs. His message was heretical for the times, leading him into trouble with the Papacy in his last days. He was last heard of traveling alone on foot to Rome to defend himself in person on the charges of heresy.
There are many available translations of his sermons, and collections of his sayings. His work is very quotable and personable, beseeching us not to look for answers through some institution or person, but to look within to find our true being, our own source.
"Man's best chance of finding God is to look in the place where he left him. "
" No work is ever so properly begun or so well done, no man is ever so free and so certain in his actions, that he can afford to let his mind relax or go to sleep; but he ought with his twin powers, intellect and will, to be forever hoisting himself up and seizing, at the summit, his very best therein and guarding himself against evils of all kinds, subjective and objective; thus he never misses anything but is always making first-rate progress."
"God is always ready, but we are very unready; God is near to us, but we are far from Him;
God is within, but we are without; God is at home, but we are strangers."
"The most powerful prayer, one well-nigh omnipotent, and the worthiest work of all is the outcome of a quiet mind. The quieter it is the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which free from ties and all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead as to its own. Such an one can do no deed however small but it is clothed with something of God's power and authority. It behoves us to pray hard so that all our mortal members with their powers - eyes, ears, heart, mouth, and all their senses - are turned in that direction, and we must never stop until we ourselves on the point of union with him we have in mind and are praying to, God namely."
The Meister Eckhart Site: http://www.ellopos.net/theology/eckhart.htm " Eckhart recognises that it is a harder and a nobler task to preserve detachment in a crowd than in a cell; the little daily sacrifices of family life are often a greater trial than self-imposed mortifications."
No person can in this life reach the point at which he is excused from outside works. What though one lead the contemplative life, one cannot altogether keep from flowing out and mingling in the life of action. Even as a man without a groat may still be generous in the will to give, whereas a man of means in giving nothing cannot be called generous, so no one can have virtues without exercising virtue at the proper time and place. Hence those who lead the contemplative life and do no outward works are the most mistaken and all on the wrong tack. What I say is that he who lives the contemplative life may, nay he must, be absolutely free from outward works what time he is in act of contemplation but afterwards his duty lies in doing outward works; for none can live the contemplative life without a break, and active life bridges the gaps in the life of contemplation.
If we wish to find our Source, our True Self, then, as in looking for anything, we will need a direction. As Meister Eckhart admonishes, "if we wish to find God, we should look in the place we left him." We can only find that which is real if we look for what does not change and therefore is not projected from our own minds via memory. If we are possibly eternal, then we must have been before the body and before the brain, and even before our own mind. If God is eternal, and we are as him, then he was there before the mind, too. We left God by going into, and becoming identified with, the body/mind and its ever-changing flux. To find God, or our Source, we must therefore go back, not further out into the wilderness of the mind, the matrix of images. These images are secondary to the mind that creates and projects them, so how can we give them greater meaning than the mind, and even to our observing of them? What is required is a reversal, a retreat, a going within. This will naturally lead us to look in an inner direction, away from images drawn from the memory, and even the image-creating mind itself.
The one constant is that we can be aware of all of the above. This ever present awareness, which is constant and indefinable, is the only unchanging fact. The images can be made to have value which changes according to memory, circumstance, or an agenda of the ego, and as such are on a lower level than that which is aware of them. The fact of this is seen through the process of going within, by retreating from the images themselves, the image-making process and projection, the memory, and even any concept of an individual 'self '. To put our faith in any image, whether of an idea, personage, or institution, is to go out and away from the source. To turn towards the source and leave the images behind, is to turn within and find what remains when nothing remains but that which is aware. This 'still desert ' is frightening, for it means the death of the ego, which cannot live without an image from which to draw its existence. As long as we turn away from our Source, lost in the finite flux of images, how can we come to know we are the Unknown? Look fearlessly within; a timeless field of awareness that is everywhere and nowhere awaits.
Quotes of the Month -
" We are the cause of all our obstacles.
What is truth? Truth is something so noble that if God could turn aside from it, I could keep the truth and let God go.
It is a fair trade and an equal exchange: to the extent that you depart from things, thus far, no more and no less, God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. It is here that you should begin, whatever the cost, for it is here that you will find true peace, and nowhere else." - Meister Eckhart
" Did not Eckhart teach his disciples: 'All that God asks you most pressingly is to go out of yourself - and let God be God in you'? One could think that, in separating himself from creatures, the mystic leaves his brothers, humanity, behind. The same Eckhart affirms that, on the contrary, the mystic is marvelously present to them on the only level where he can truly reach them, that is in God." - Pope John Paul II
" Religious experience is simply our awareness of communion with the Ultimate. Not only is the mystical core of religion inexhaustible, it is also ultimately unspeakable. The heart of all ritual is stillness; the heart of all teaching is silence." - David Steindl-Rast
" Anything that pays the bills or works in the everyday world, including psychological systems, is never able to be rejected or seen for its errors. As long as you pay the bills, you have little chance of escaping your thought patterns. The average person has a set of succeeding habits designed to master the simple production of livelihood and never seriously questions life unless he has a disasterous defeat. " - Jim Burns
" Real integrity stays in place whether the test is adversity or prosperity."- Charles Swindoll
" Honesty is not something to flirt with. We must be married to it." - Anon
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St. John of the Cross 3/03/03
This month's Missal takes a look at the Mystical Doctor, St. John of the Cross. Juan de Yepes was born in the Castile region of Spain in 1542 to a poor family. His father died soon after, leaving Juan and his family in dire straits. He spent his youth working in a hospital, and begging alms in the streets. When he was twenty-one, he took his vows as a Carmelite friar. He studied at the University of Salamanca for four years, during which time he made the acquaintance of Teresa de Jesus, a decisive turning point in his life.
Teresa, later known as Teresa de Avila, was involved in reforming the Carmelite order, turning it back to its roots of prayer and contemplation and the road to mystical union, and away from the power and privileges church officials had come to enjoy. In 1568, Juan took vows in the new order of Discalced (meaning 'barefoot', in reference to their vows of poverty) Carmelites, changing his name to Juan de la Cruz.
The efforts of St. John and Teresa to reform the Carmelite order, and their founding of simple monasteries and convents dedicated to pure worship, made them many powerful enemies in the Church. In 1577, St. John was kidnapped and sent to a prison in Toledo, where he was tortured and kept in a tiny unlit cell, too small for him even to stand. The frequent whippings left his shoulders crippled for the rest of his life.
After months of solitude and suffering, he experienced a mystical release, his cell filling with light. It was soon after the time of this mystical revelation that he began to write his poems of love and union. A kind jailor provided him with paper and pen, and he wrote many of his greatest poems while imprisoned. In 1578 he escaped, scaling the walls "with the help of the Blessed Virgin", and fled to a hermitage in Andulsia, El Calvario. Here he finished many of his poems, and forever fixed his fate as a great mystical poet.
He spent the next years in service to the Order, traveling about Spain, until the political climate in the Church again turned. He was stripped of all office, and in failing health, sent to a convent in Ubeda where he was refused treatment by the local Prior for fever and ulcers eating away his legs. He died there in 1591, revered by the towns folk as a saint. He was not canonized by the Church until 1726.
I came into the unknown
and stayed there unknowing,
rising beyond all science.
I did not know the door
but when I found the way,
unknowing where I was,
I learned enormous things,
but what I felt I cannot say,
for I remained unknowing,
rising beyond all science.
- from I came Into the Unknown
St. John's poems use the metaphor of the lover and the Beloved, speaking of the longing the soul has for union with God. He writes often of the "Dark Night of the Soul ", the title of perhaps his most famous poem, and of suffering as a path to freedom and union.
Below is one of his poems, The Fountain, and a few of his Sayings of Light and Love: The Fountain
How well I know that flowing spring
in black of night.
The eternal fountain is unseen.
How well I know where she has been
in black of night.
I do not know her origin.
None. Yet in her all things begin
in black of night.
I know that nothing is so fair
and earth and firmament drink there
in black of night.
I know that none can wade inside
to find her bright bottomless tide
in black of night.
Her shining never has a blur;
I know that all light comes from her
in black of night.
I know here streams converge and swell
and nourish people, skies and hell
in black of night.
The stream whose birth is in this source
I know has gigantic force
in black of night.
The stream from but these two proceeds
yet neither one, I know, precedes
in black of night.
The eternal fountain is unseen
in living bread that gives us being
in black of night.
She calls on all mankind to start
to drink her water, though in dark,
for black is night.
O living fountain that I crave,
in bread of life I see her flame
in black of night.
Sayings of Light and Love:
Consider that God reigns only in the peaceful and disinterested soul.
Do not rejoice in temporal prosperity, since you do not know if it gives you assurance of eternal life.
The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired.
There are souls that wallow in the mire like animals, and there are others that soar like birds, which purify and cleanse themselves in the air.
Be silent concerning what God may have given you and recall that saying of the bride: " My secret for myself ".
Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it; reflect that all must come to an end.
Anyone who does things lukewarmly is close to falling.
- Related Sites -
Tricks and Traps
Trick: Using procrastination. Paradoxically, procrastination can be a good thing, if we use it against our desires and fears. Next time you feel the urge towards temptation, just blow it off. If you keep this up for long enough, you might realize what the temptation was actually about, and possibly its source and purpose, while gaining time and strength.
Trap: Thinking that the robot,or personality, will enlighten us. This is trying to solve the problem of the mind, with and from the mind. It won't work. No matter how much we tweak the machine to make it perfect, to become the ideal person of our dreams, we are still running in circles in the labyrinth of the mind, fueled by ego-desires. If becoming the ultimate 'good boy' or 'good girl' could save us, why hasn't it worked so far?
Who Do You Love?
" We can be aware of our Source of Being . The illusions of the mind may hold our love for a time, but to love Love itself, we must turn within. The soul's longing for its true Home is the guide to finding this Love. Follow the lover of the Beloved back upstream to your Source."
In the search for our true Source of Being, or what might be called 'God', we would do well to use the proper part of ourselves. In other words, what is searching will determine what is found. The above quote gives us a clue as what not to use. The 'customary self', robot ,or 'personality', are selves formed by life, as a reaction to that life, and will die when that life ends. If our goal is to find the real, it would further us to use the most real part of ourselves as the searcher. Gurdjieff referred to this problem using the terms of 'essence' and 'personality'. The essence, or 'soul', refers to that part of us which is immortal, and was there before this life, and will be there after. " I do not know her origin. None. Yet in her all things begin" is one way St. John describes this. Personality is the reaction program and pattern formed by life, and is only capable of seeing that life. For this self, the realm within is just a blank, an emptiness, which it disregards and refuses to cross.
St. John uses the term 'soul' for essence, and the word 'creature' for the life-created reaction pattern or personality. His poetry and sayings tell us the story of the soul's love for the Beloved, the essence's longing for its divine state, being lost in the world of form. He advises us to leave the parts of us that long for the world in favor of that which longs for God. These are not idle words, written to amaze or entertain, but a clue as to how to carry our search past the limits of the world of form, and what we must become in order to venture into the formless.
Using the mind to seek that which lies beyond it is a trap we all fall into. We have lost contact with our souls, and puffed up with the pride of our personality, we vainly insist on using the learned formulas we have been unconsciously taught by life to attempt to enter the realm beyond thought. Let's look at another method, which will carry us perhaps a bit farther, beyond the path of logic and reason as it vanishes in the Unknown. Think of a scene of beauty or wonder you once saw, that had a profound effect upon you. Most of us have had this experience, one in which we are breathless, and the awe renders us speechless and quiets the mind. This feeling/perception was not just a thought-reaction, but had something of the eternal in it, ... remember? What part of you was this, that could remember the feeling of eternity, something beyond the mundane, and linked you directly to it? How can you find this soul within, hidden in the heart? Look within for it in the course of everyday life, and let it help you find your way back, back within through the formless realm to your Source, your true Being.
This essence within, this soul of longing, is not of much use in getting through the workday, paying the bills, or worrying about your taxes, but when you find you can no longer find total interest in life only, and begin to wonder what is really up, it then once again comes to have meaning. Let the personality or customary self deal with the things it was created for, but do not let it become your only guide in matters of the spirit. It will only lead you farther into the death-dream of life and its creatures. Find what you truly love, that can love Love Itself, and let that be your guide through the dark night. The soul comes into its own once the mind dies, and then the words of St. John burst with meaning : "All things of the Maker forgotten - but not Him; exploration within, and loving the Lover."
- Quotes of the Month -
" There are three signs of inner recollection: first, a lack of satisfaction in passing things; second, a liking for solitude and silence, and an attentiveness to all that is more perfect; third, the considerations, meditations and acts that formerly helped the soul now hinder it.
Deny your desires and you will find what your heart longs for. For how do you know if any desire of yours is according to God?
A bird caught in birdlime has a twofold task: It must free itself and cleanse itself. And by satisfying their appetites, people suffer in a twofold way: They must detach themselves and, after being detached, clean themselves of what has clung to them.
See that you do not interfere in the affairs of others, nor even allow them to pass through your memory; for perhaps you will be unable to accomplish your own task. - Speak little and do not meddle in matters about which you are not asked." - St. John of the Cross
" True observation must be carried on from a superior dimension. The mind cannot be studied with the mind. It must be observed from some point, outside of, and yet superior to the mind. " - Richard Rose
" Allow the Source of Being to maintain contact with you: ignore the impressions and opinions of your customary self. If this self were of value in your search, it would have found realization for you. But all it can do is to depend upon others. "- Amin Suhrawardi
" A slave is also a person who waits for someone else to set him free." - Anon
Multi-tasking - Screwing everything up simultaneously. --- Anon
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. --- Sir Winston Churchill
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8/31/01 This month's Missal features the down under mystic, John Wren-Lewis. His is a remarkable story, one of a scholarly skeptic who was suddenly transformed as the result of a near-death experience from being poisoned on a bus in Thailand. It is refreshing because he was never a "spiritual " person before the transformation, and had a mistrust for all things mystical. His story helps us to know that a permanent spiritual transformation is not limited to those of any particular discipline, and is everyone's birthright, whether religious or not. Upon awakening in a hospital bed, he felt "as if I’d emerged freshly made (complete with all the memories that constitute my personal identity) from a vast blackness that was somehow radiant, a kind of infinitely concentrated aliveness or “pure consciousness” that had no separation within it, and therefore no space or time." This state continues up until the present day, some 18 years later. He lives today in his native Australia.
His previous mistrust of all things mystical has vanished, but he doesn't consider the main spiritual systems to be of much value because "they all get bogged down in their own basic idea of a 'path', which inevitably suggests that 'higher consciousness' is a goal to be achieved, thereby reinforcing that very preoccupation with one's personal future which is the cause of all the trouble."
He spends the time remaining to him in search of ways to help others find the "Dazzling Dark" and in describing the change this has brought about in him. He is currently finishing a book, The 9:15 to Nirvana, which is scheduled to be released in 2002.
For an account of his experience, go to:
" My impression is that my personal consciousness was actually “snuffed out” (the root meaning, according to some scholars, of the word “nirvana”) and then recreated by a kind of focusing-down from the infinite eternity of that radiant dark pure consciousness. An old nursery rhyme conveys it better than any high philosophy:
Where did you come from, baby dear ?
Out of Everywhere into here. " John Wren-Lewis
In Dan Sutera's article on John Wren-Lewis, a very important point is brought up, that of forgetting. This problem of forgetting gets little mention is most esoteric circles. Wren-Lewis tells us of two forms that this forgetting of ourselves can take. The first he calls a "slipout" and is caused by focusing the attention on and through the mind. Usually this does not lead to a complete forgetting, but occasionally he forgets "eternity" and the slipout occurs. The return occurs when he remembers the "Dazzling Dark" and returns to the "correct "seeing, or eternity consciousness. This forgetting is relatively minor, as long as the attention, or value, placed on the mind is minimal. The second forgetting, that he refers to as "screening", is much more severe in that it is a complete loss of the Dazzling Dark, his own dark night of the soul. This has occurred rarely and comes from intense stress. Let's take a look at these two types of forgetting and see how they occur in daily life.
G.I. Gurdjieef remarked that we need tools to remind us of ourselves, he called these 'alarm clocks'. Little mental mechanisms we can put into play to remind us of our aim to 'remember ourselves' or to reconnect to the Dazzling Dark. These alarm clocks are necessarily of a personal nature, and serve to pull us back from the outward mind, reminding us to 'go within' once more. Sooner or later these alarms will lose their effectiveness by becoming habit patterns and will need to be changed. One of the best methods of remembering the need to staying awake is to take advantage of our fellow seekers. Nothing serves to remind us more of when we are slipping into the mechanical mind than a good shock from a friend or fellow group member. They may know us better than we know ourselves.
The more severe form of forgetting can be caused by becoming engrossed in the first until we have become so hypnotized by the problems and demands of the outward mind that we become wholly identified with its self-madness. Wren-Lewis refers to this madness as "some kind of inflation or hyperactivity of the psychological survival-system." The ego/mind becomes wholly concerned with its own personal brand of self-survival and we no longer have any freedom of attention. We have lost the ability to go within and listen to the Dark. At this point, Grace and surrender may be our only hope. Again, our fellows can help us see the pattern of ego-infatuation and help us to relax and turn the inner head back towards its source.
One of the best alarm clocks we can have is to remind ourselves of the three lines of spiritual work, as taught by Gurdjieef/Ouspensky. These simple reminders can help us to remember that we are not alone in our struggle, that there is help to break the spell of the outer-directed mind.
The Three Lines of Work:
1: Work on Oneself. How do you work on yourself in day-to-day life? How do you try to see yourself, go within, meditate, etc., while going about the business of everyday life?
2: Working with Others: What are your thoughts about ladder work? Do you have a teacher, and are you helping someone? Can you remember and perhaps relate to the seeker you were, say, five or ten years ago? How would you help that person if you met them today? What will be your legacy to them?
3: Working for the Sake of the Work:. How do think you could be useful to the Work, in your present situation? Does this interest you, and what do you feel about it? Do you think the Work needs to be preserved and passed on, and how could you help with this?
-Quotes of the Month-
"The main point I want to make here, however, is that perhaps the most extraordinary feature of eternity consciousness is that it doesn’t feel extraordinary at all. It feels quintessentially natural that personal consciousness should be aware of its own Ground, while my first fifty-nine years of so-called “normal” consciousness, in ignorance of that Ground, now seem like a kind of waking dream. It was as if I’d been entranced from birth into a collective nightmare of separate individuals struggling in an alien universe for survival, satisfaction and significance.
Finite life is a continual instant-by-instant voyaging out from the “eternal Home” into the time process to discover new “productions of time” for eternity to love as they arise and pass away." - John Wren-Lewis -
"Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
Everything possible to be believed is an image of truth." -William Blake-
"Look upon the world as empty," the Buddha replied. "This is the way to overcome death. Cease thinking of yourself as an entity that really exists. If you look on the world in this way you will never be seen by the king of death."
"Love is indescribable and unconditional. I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is.'' - Duke Ellington -
"The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.'' - Edward John Phelps -
"Wisdom is born, stupidity is learned.'' - Russian proverb-
" When I was a young man I vowed never to marry until I found the ideal woman. Well, I found her - but, alas, she was waiting for the perfect man.'' - Robert Schuman
4/03 - Jacob Boehme
This month's Missal takes a look at the German mystic, Jacob Boehme. Sometimes given the title of 'The God-Taught Philosopher', Boehme was born in the year 1575, at Alt Seidenburg near Goerlitz, Germany. He was the son of poor country folk, and in his youth herded the cattle of his family. He was fortunate in being sent to school, where he learned to read and write. Being small in frame, unable to do heavy work, he was apprenticed to a shoe-maker, a trade that he was to follow for much of his life. Even in his youth, he had the gift of entering into heightened states of consciousness, and had several visions, including one in which a stranger told him of his future as a great man, and to be careful and prepare himself. He took this advice to heart and practiced patience, piety, and simplicity of thought and purpose.
This paid off for the young Boehme, in that as a young man he experienced an ecstatic state in which he was surrounded by the light of the Spirit for seven days. He also at this time became a master shoemaker, and was married in 1594 to the woman who bore him four sons during thirty years of marriage.
In 1600, he experienced another divine illumination, which enabled him to see into the heart of all things, even when going about his normal day. In 1610, another illumination took place unifying the previous visions, and inspiring Boehme to write down what he saw. In 1612 he wrote his first book, Aurora, which caused the local church authorities to ban him from further writing. Boehme soon gathered a small but loyal following, and refrained from writing for several years. Finally, the Spirit broke forth again, and he wrote once more with a passion. In 1623 his book "The Way to Christ" was published, and once again his writing inflamed the local clergy against him. He was banished from Goerlitz again, but was allowed to return shortly before his death in 1624. He died with his wife and sons present, his last words being, " Now I shall enter paradise".
My writings are only for those who are willing to receive the truth in a simple and childlike state of mind, for it is they who are to possess the kingdom of God. I have written only for those that seek; to the cunning and worldly-wise I have nothing to say. - Jacob Boehme
Boehme's philosophy teaches that all manifestation arises from the primordial Abyss, the Ungrund, and then develops through orders of manifestation to eventual self-realization. Manifestation, with its duality, suffering and separation, was necessary, he wrote, because this was the only way God could come to know Himself, which was His desire. "God Himself does not know what He is". Much like Blake, Boehme saw the necessity of opposition, or tension, in the process of creation. The polar opposites were what brought the Void into manifestation. Without this tension of the opposites, there was only the Ungrund, which was not aware of itself.
" Whosoever finds (Love), finds Nothing and All Things; that is also certain and true. But how finds he Nothing? Why, I will tell thee how. He that findeth it, findeth a Supernatural Supersensual Abyss, which hath no Ground or Byss to stand on, and where there is no Place to dwell in; and he findeth also Nothing is like unto it, and therefore it may fitly be compared to Nothing; for it is deeper than any Thing, and is as Nothing with Respect to All Things, forasmuch as it is not comprehensible by any of them. And because it is Nothing respectively, it is therefore free from All Things; and is that only Good, which a Man cannot express or utter what it is; there being Nothing to which it may be compared, to express it by."
Boehme speaks often of man's ability to directly experience God in himself. He tells us that the obstacle to this is our own self-will, and that if we would cast this aside, we would come once again into direct contact with our Source.
Disciple: Sir, how may I come to the Supersensual Life, so that I may see God, and hear God speak?
Master: Son, when thou canst throw thyself into That, where no Creature dwelleth, though it be but for a Moment, then thou hearest what God speaketh.
Disciple: Is that where no Creature dwelleth near at hand; or is it afar off?
Master: It is in thee. And if thou canst, my Son, for a while but cease from all thy thinking and willing, then thou shalt hear the unspeakable Words of God.
Disciple: How can I hear Him speak, when I stand still from thinking and willing?
Master: When thou standest still from the thinking of self, and the willing of self; "When both thy intellect and will are quiet, and passive to the Impressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit; and when thy Soul is winged up, and above that which is temporal, the outward Senses, and the Imagination being locked up by holy Abstraction," then the Eternal Hearing, Seeing, and Speaking will be revealed in thee; and so God heareth "and seeth through thee," being now the Organ of His Spirit; and so God speaketh in thee, and whispereth to thy Spirit, and thy Spirit heareth His Voice. Blessed art thou therefore if that thou canst stand still from Self-thinking and Self-willing, and canst stop the Wheel of thy Imagination and Senses forasmuch as hereby thou mayest arrive at length to see the great Salvation of God being made capable of all Manner of Divine Sensations and Heavenly Communications. Since it is nought indeed but thine own Hearing and Willing that do hinder thee, so that thou dost not see and hear God.
Disciple: But wherewith shall I hear and see God, forasmuch as He is above Nature and Creature?
Master: Son, when thou art quiet and silent, then art thou as God was before Nature and Creature; thou art that which God then was; thou art that whereof He made thy Nature and Creature: then thou hearest and seest even with that wherewith God Himself saw and heard in thee, before ever thine own Willing or thine own Seeing began.
Boehme's works can be difficult reading, and his style somewhat inaccessible to the modern reader not familiar with the terms of Theosophy, and the works of Paracelsus and the Hermetic traditions. What is clear, is his burning spirit and concern for his fellow man, and the truth he reveals in his writings.
"O dear children, look in what a dungeon we are lying, in what lodging we are, for we have been captured by the spirit of the outward world; it is our life, for it nourishes and brings us up, it rules in our marrow and bones, in our flesh and blood, it has made our flesh earthly, and now death has us." - Jacob Boehme
- Related Sites -
Tricks and Traps
Trick: alarm clocks. In the course of the busy day, we all 'fall asleep'. While awake, self-aware, we can build little reminders to wake us up when these moments of 'waking sleep' come upon us. Think of the most hectic time of your day or week. Make a mental note to yourself, that the next time this period of indentification comes around, you will simply wake up in it. Don't be suprised if you feel the tremendous energy you're spending to create these times of stress.
Trap: thinking that habits are reasonable, possessed of intelligence. If we find ourselves repeating habits we think we've conquered, it could be because we think we have convinced the habit to leave with our superior reasoning. It doesn't work. Habits are a force, and mechanical. As such, they don't give a hoot about our tightly reasoned thinking, they just want to manifest. Niceness and reasonableness count for little in the arena of energy.
Disciple: But how shall I comprehend this Ungrund (this naked Ground of the Soul, void of all Self)?
Master: If thou goest about to comprehend it, then it will fly away from thee; but if thou dost surrender thyself wholly up to it, then it will abide with thee, and become the Life of thy Life, and be natural to thee." - Jacob Boehme
The Mechanics of Dreaming
As spiritual seekers, we should become at least as aware of how we are built inside, as we are of our anatomy. Our mind and its workings should be as familiar as the wiggling toes on our feet. Sadly, this is seldom the case. Let's take a look within our machine and see what's really happening in the inner realm of thought and feeling.
To start, let's perform a simple experiment. Ask yourself the question, "How do I feel?". Then, take a good look at what happens, inside. You may answer in different ways, in the positive or negative, and then perhaps wonder if you're right or wrong. This is all not going to help, no matter the answer, and is what most of us do, seekers or not. Instead, try looking a little deeper, and quicker, at what really happened. When the question is first asked, a strange thing occurs. The mind projects an image of what it currently believes "I" to be. It holds this image up in the attention, so that the feeling center can get a good look at it. This feeling or emotional center then has a reaction to this image of "I", of what you take yourself to be, at the current time and circumstance. Then another strange thing occurs. The mind that created the initial image modifies it according to the emotional signal it receives from the feeling center. (If you're feeling-oriented, the process could be reversed, with the feeling reaction noticed first, then the projected image.) This brings us to the question of where did the mind get the original image it projected? It was just the most current version of this created image, brought on by the endless and fully automatic cycle of thought causing feeling, causing more thoughts. From this, we can see the importance of discovering our own dominant moods, chief features and states of mind, which all fuel and mold the above process of creating an "I" which we then identify with. We unquestioningly believe in this "I", till death do us part.
Now we have to back up a bit and get into this business of identification, and the observer. Most of us are predominately identified with either feeling or thinking, and our main sense of "I" is in one of these functions or the other. The weaker of these is usually negated, and the brunt of much abuse by the ego centered in the dominant function. The trick is to bring both of the functions into full consciousness, and to get behind them. To observe them rather than just identify. To unconsciously identify with the mechanical reactions going on in the mind is to stay asleep, believing in the dream we're unconsciously creating, which is based on the previous dream, ad infinitum. Direct contact with the inner self or higher power is impossible when this chain of mechanical reaction is running rampant. Not a good way to live, if you think about it.
Let's ask the question again, and see what happens. "How do I feel?". Be quick. You have to be awake and watching before the process gets moving. Can you see the image you project of who you think you are? Now, watch the feeling center have a reaction to this image. Then the resulting modification or acceptance is applied to this image of "I". If you try this in a very relaxed state, free from stress or worry, desire and fear, you may get lucky and see nothing. You may see nothing but an attention or awareness which looks within the quiet mind, sees nothing but silence, and then looks to the now silent feeling center, and sees nothing. No reaction, because there is no unquestioned belief causing the mind to project an image, which you then identify as "you". Now, wait until you are under stress or in a bad mood, or excited and feeling good about yourself, and ask the question again. The feeling center will be sending out a constant emotional signal to the mind, which will be obliging enough to create the appropriate image. Teamwork at its best, eh? Both of these reactions, the image-making apparatus and the feeling reaction, are mind. But where are you in all of this?
The impartial observer is not found by simply denying one half of the mind-team, and thus claiming the death, or victory, of one's ego because you have ceased to have emotions; or to think you have stopped thinking, and entered 'no-mind'. Such sophistry will soon enough be put to the test. The solution lies in the trap of identification, in the misplacement of the "I". Lead the attention farther and farther within, until you have fallen behind your self, behind the mind. In this back of beyond lies Nothing, Boehme's Ungrund, pure Silence. From then on the images and emotional reactions of the mind will be seen as simply as one sees those wiggling toes.
- Quotes of the Month -
" I write for no other purpose than that man may learn how to know himself.
Love... transcends all that human Sense and Reason can reach to.
If ... thy Will ... could break off itself for one Hour, or even but for one half Hour, from all Creatures, and plunge itself into That where no Creature is, or can be, presently it would be penetrated and clothed upon with the supreme Splendour of the Divine Glory.
Let the Hands or the Head be at Labour, thy Heart ought nevertheless to rest in God. God is a Spirit; dwell in the Spirit, work in the Spirit, pray in the Spirit, and do every Thing in the Spirit; for remember thou also art a Spirit, and thereby created in the Image of God. " - Jacob Boehme
" The truth of a matter will always haunt you, no matter how secret the hiding place." - Anon
" To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead." - Bertrand Russell
" If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas Edison
" I will not let the world make me crazy." - John Ferguson
Computers will never replace good old-fashioned human stupidity. --- Anon
Whatever it is the government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government do it to somebody else. --- P. J. O'Rourke
Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. --- Charles Lamb
- 3/30/03 -
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