Saturday, January 31, 2009

Conceptual Neutrality

There is a witticism to the effect of: “Blessed is he who, having nothing to say, refrains from giving wordy evidence of that fact.” I used to think that applied to all kinds of people other than me.

No, this blog is not shut down. Every day I wrestle with it, struggle to see if my experience can be grappled into words. Often it just doesn’t come together.

I’ve lived in a conceptual universe – like most people. I learned how to form vague thought strands into conceptual objects – mental instruments and tools for navigating through life. Over the years the process grew sort of automatic and transparent – I didn’t even know it was happening.

Sometimes – rarely – I would get a strange message alerting me to a reality and wholeness beyond my experience, but mostly I lived in a prefabricated mental state with narrowly defined limits.

Eventually there were some psychic nuclear detonations that changed my outer and inner landscape drastically. These cracked open huge awareness rocks and inner glaciers began to slowly thaw and move. Now I am embarked on a quest for conceptual neutrality.

These days the concepts fly around like flies - buzzing, buzzing - landing here and there. A nuisance, but at least they can be seen for the meager thought forms they really are. Not eternal beings, but merely passing effluvia (occasionally useful but mostly just distracting) that come and go through my field of awareness out of habit.

Consequently, I feel like most of my inspirations get mauled by these concepts into something mentally digestible and somewhat bland. So there is a reluctance to speak of them, to share in words what seems so underwhelming, as compared to the glory that is slowly starting to emerge.

This morning as I sat in a prayerful state, tears were coming. I didn’t know why; there was actually a sense of love hanging in the air like a mist, a fragrance. And that old phrase “love hurts” came to mind. It was intense, like electricity vibrating the cells of the body, flowing through the heart and squeezing it gently but firmly, squeezing it flat and dry, squishing every last bit of sorrow, sadness, grief and pain out into the light.

And then I discovered that someone cared whether the blog lived or died. So, thanks to those readers who expressed concern. The blog and I are not deceased, though in a spiritual sense that may be coming.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Lost Chord

The Lost Chord

There is a legend about a musical chord that once was played but cannot be found or remembered any more. The Moody Blues probably gave this concept the best modern articulation in their second album, “In Search of the Lost Chord.”

The following poem by Adelaide Procter is sweet but misses the greater point, which is that the chord represents something that everyone has heard at least faintly.

Seated one day at the Organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys.

I do not know what I was playing,
Or what I was dreaming then;
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen.

It flooded the crimson twilight,
Like the close of an Angel's Psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.

It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love overcoming strife;
It seemed the harmonious echo
From our discordant life.

It linked all perplexéd meanings
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away into silence
As if it were loth to cease.

I have sought, but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the Organ,
And entered into mine.

It may be that Death's bright angel
Will speak in that chord again,
It may be that only in Heaven
I shall hear that grand Amen.

The argument could easily be made that the world’s hustle and bustle is mostly a frantic manifestation of the search for that chord - a desperate, if unconscious, effort to hear again the “sound” that brings meaning and peace to the confused lives people otherwise lead.

It is possible that this symbolic “chord” is not in fact lost at all, and has never stopped sounding. What was lost is humanity’s ability to hear it.

But this could be changing. Perhaps we will discover that the music of God plays unceasingly through every willing voice.

Not only in the strains of inspired compositions such as “The Messiah,” but in the prayerful chants of ordinary people, the twittering of birds, the colossal cycles of planets and stars swooping through the universe, and in fact through every created thing whose will is surrendered to truth.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pain Serves

Pain Serves

As bad as 2008 was economically, experts expect 2009 to be even worse. There will be more company closings, more layoffs and unemployment, more stock losses, more foreclosures, more housing devaluations.

In other words, more pain.

We are experiencing the collective pain of our society, both in this country and in the world at large. It is a huge pain, seemingly unmanageable, and it keeps growing.

People hope that the government will be able to make it go away, to make everything “alright” again. But even though the agony is so great, the solution is not likely to be found in administrative programs or changes in monetary policy.

When circumstances change drastically and move people very far from what they consider comfort or normality, pain is the usual result. This can produce frantic efforts to manipulate those circumstances in an attempt to restore or resolve better conditions.

But overwhelmingly difficult and challenging situations may not be solvable according to anything that was known before. It may be that the pain of these circumstances is pushing people toward a new paradigm of living and functioning.

If the difficult story of personal life or collective society becomes unbearable, people may be motivated to stop believing that these represent absolute truth.

When the comfort and safety we have been dreaming in disappears, we may feel strongly moved to wake up.

And in this way, pain serves.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



There is a burning ember inside, like a chunk of smoldering coal – hot, stinky, with razor-sharp edges that cut whatever they contact. Touching this piece of fiery energetic agony is like being crucified mercilessly, relentlessly, interminably.

And it has a name: BETRAYAL.

If only I could be the one betrayed – how much kinder that would be to my soul. But this cross is so much harder to bear: wounding loved ones and destroying their trust.

It is the discovery that you, even the “you” that was assumed to be somewhat wonderful, is capable of ultimate darkness and malicious harm to others.

How, just how, is this awareness, this hideous knowledge, to be borne? One can try to run from it, but there is a limit and eventually the shadow claims its victim.

It seems this ember cannot be extinguished. After a while even the tears become exhausted and run dry – the eyes cannot cry enough, the heart reaches its capacity for grief. The soul longs for annihilation as recompense for the pain it has caused.

I carried the lump of fiery darkness into the new day, accepting that this demon was to be my constant companion - as two prisoners are shackled together to make escape that much more difficult.

I said to it, sit down on my heart, be at ease, for I must still go to my day job.

But then I saw something along the road, nothing in particular, and a deep feeling arose. A feeling of abundance, of being in the middle of something alive and warm. And I remembered feeling the same thing as a child. Perhaps this is why children, who can do nothing for themselves, are not afraid at first.

But those children soon forget that loving, embracing presence. They “grow up” and learn they must provide for themselves - because the world is hostile. They lose the most precious reality, and after this they are always seeking (in the wrong ways) to find it again.

And I saw that betrayal can occur from the desire to recover and reclaim, at whatever cost, the ultimate joy that was lost so long ago.

Not that this makes it any easier.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The New Explorers

The New Explorers

I’ve read a lot of books, but these days I mostly just cycle through Michael Brown, Eckhart Tolle and Gangaji. The same books, over and over, speaking new words every time - each from his or her perspective.

Other authors get my thinking mind too involved – with these three it is like what they are saying skips over the mind like a rock on a smooth pool of water – and doesn’t stop till it reaches the other shore.

It must be wonderful to put words together like that, in that way that goes right to the reader’s heart. It must be a thrill to be a spiritual explorer who inspires others to follow them into the mysterious paths of life.

It is easy to consider people like these as the equivalent of Lewis and Clark, charting out strange new lands that everyone else reads about in the newspaper with sighs of astonishment, trying to visualize what this or that thing might really look like.

There is a Hindu Fable about six blind men who go to “see” an elephant.

The first approached the elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! But the elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! What have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ‘tis mighty clear
This wonder of an elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The other four blind men conclude the elephant is like a tree, a fan, a rope and a snake. So each of the six forms an opinion that is both right and wrong, correct but incomplete.

But what about considering something larger than an elephant, such as the universe - or the emerging consciousness of mankind?

I suspect that every person who sets forth on the journey of inner discovery and revelation has something unique and valuable to contribute, by which others can be benefited. They may see part of the picture, but the picture is infinite - so there is plenty of room for an infinite number of descriptions.

No doubt there are as many potential explorers and consequent inspirational messages as human souls. And that is exciting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Touching God

Touching God

"Satan" is what happens to energy that can't find its way back to God. Ungrounded mental energy that can't feel its way to the source, that has lost awareness of being part of something more, something whole - is "evil," meaning separate.

It is lost, and not being able to touch the God it loves and must have, it conjures up images of what it manages to recall and worships these instead. They emerge as abstractions, thoughts, concepts, machines . . .

God must be experienced and touched, if not in reality then in distorted imagination. Life cannot bear to be apart from itself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Being Alright

Being Alright

So today I got close to the center of it, the epicenter of my truth. It has been the little seed under a thousand mattresses that still gave the Princess bruises on her butt no matter what.

“I’m never going to be alright inside.”

Yes, let’s argue against this and get the psychologists and psychiatrists involved. There are a million reasons why it shouldn’t be true. I’ve spent decades trying to disprove it in every way I could think of.

I’ve achieved this and accomplished that, succeeded in this thing and almost succeeded in that thing, had this multitude of relationships that demonstrate my worth and value and virility and necessity.

But the short answer is that none of that was ever needed, or would have ever been needed, if I had been alright inside. And since I’m not, therefore a million attempts had to be made to try to change my deficient inner condition from without.

Only now do I see how fruitless and vain this colossal effort was.

So what is left? As of today I just have to cop to the fact that “I’m never going to be alright inside.” Just bed down with that feeling and let it roll all over me and drown me in the vague sensation of nausea like something putrid has been sitting on the stomach for millennia.

What do I care if asteroids come and destroy the earth? Frankly, I will hurry over to ground zero and be the first one squashed. If I’m never going to be alright inside, then nothing outside is ever going to matter. THAT has been amply demonstrated in this life.

In a way it is kind of a relief to get this insight. It feels like now I can stop fighting – stop trying to make an outer life that is just not going to work, not going to manifest being alright, because “being alright” doesn’t have anywhere to come from.

So, it’s over. The struggle to be alright is over. In a way, I’m . . . free.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Letting Go

Letting Go

It was dusk and the sky ignited above the bridge like a flaming peacock tail. The man stared wistfully at it from the rail.

“I don’t know where I am,” he said quietly.

“No,” agreed the clown. “And this is progress! Not long ago you thought you knew for sure.”

“I didn’t know I would wind up on this bridge.”

“No one ever does.”

From far away arose the faint sound of shuffling footsteps - people moving hesitantly as though unsure of their footing. The sound grew slowly louder as step by faltering step they inched nearer to the bridge upon which the man and the clown waited.

At a distance, the peculiar movements of these approaching people were difficult to make out. But gradually, as they came more and more into view, they seemed almost to participate in an amazing dance. For they walked back foremost, unaware and careless of the forward direction, with steps unsure and novel.

And as these strange dancers moved along backwards, they swung their arms out as though casting unseen objects away.

“How will they manage to find the bridge in this way?” asked the man.

“They are walking away, not toward,” the clown answered. “Away from what they have known. Away from what they have been. And yet their steps lead directly to this place.”

“But what are they throwing with their hands?”

“God knows. They are letting go, letting go, letting go.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

Part of the Galaxy

Part of the Galaxy

The effort many are making to publicize all possible ramifications of 2012 is a tremendous service. Hopefully this information will spread worldwide. Is it very healthy for a serious sense of concern to develop about all this.

Comparatively speaking, this earth is but a speck within the galaxy of the Milky Way. And from the center of our universe, scientists believe cosmic rays may shoot forth inundating everything and creating massive geophysical changes.

What action could anyone here take to avoid that? What cave would be deep enough, what mountain high enough, to offer protection?

This is wonderful to consider, and certainly puts worldly “problems” in perspective.

All of the conflict between people and between peoples, the striving for power, prestige and money, the planning for wealth, fame, success, health, longevity – it all starts to look pretty silly, when humanity as a whole is facing an unequivocal cosmic equalizer.

Having a specific date to focus on, namely the year 2012, is also very helpful. King David wrote,

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

We are admonished to live each day as though it were our last – because eventually it will be.

Catastrophic events are very likely to occur, especially since seers and prophets have been sounding warnings about this for millennia.

Will such occurrences utterly destroy mankind? If that was the intent what would be the purpose of warnings? Warnings are for those willing to heed them and thus avoid the danger.

Holy writings emphasize that destruction is not God's goal, but rather transformation. Therefore the only path of “safety” lies not in any mechanism of physical protection, but rather in profound voluntary change individually and collectively.

The way to be isolated from the fear of death in the future is to die now.

Die to all that is no longer in the service of wisdom and the greater Life, both within and without.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Apocalypse Immunity

Apocalypse Immunity

The countdown to 2012 has gone main stream; this is clear from the showing of “Apocalypse Week” on the History Channel. But it is strange to see the cataclysmic fate of the dinosaur dynasty contrasted to the anticipated end of the world and, supposedly, humankind.

It is as though the only significant distinction between the ancient reptiles and homo-sapiens has to do with biological characterization - and perhaps incidentally, the development of civilized culture.

And that any geo-physical disaster which may occur, such as another killer comet plunging into the earth, will be happening TO us or IN SPITE of us.

But certainly not BECAUSE of us.

Yet science has already determined, at least on the quantum level, that what is seen is affected by who is looking. Physical reality (which includes energy) responds to consciousness.

Sacred literature also emphasizes this principal. World-changing catastrophic events are precipitated and influenced by the consciousness of those they affect. According to the Scriptures, the Flood which apparently ended the last age of man was induced by human corruption:

“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven” (Gen. 6: 12, 17).

Similarly the Bible anticipates another judgment yet to come, and for similar reasons:

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7).

But the world resists this idea, which results in the quandary of seeming to be both in control of destiny while remaining a victim of it. There is a profound reluctance to assume real responsibility not only for what we do, but what we are.

And yet what we are determines what we do, even when one is essentially unconscious of the inner dimensions of self.

It is useful to reflect on the various ways Apocalypse could manifest, and how destructive this could be.

But question then should not be: “What can I do outwardly to keep myself safe?”

But rather, “How should I be inwardly so the whole world is safe?”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Moving Mountains

Moving Mountains

Thoreau was once asked, “What would you do if you knew the world was going to end tomorrow?” He replied, “I would weed my garden.” At first blush this answer sounds like naivety, bravado or both. But it reflects wisdom.

The History Channel is running a lengthy series on the Apocalypse, featuring every conceivable doomsday scenario that could result in mankind’s demise. For the last couple days they have been focusing on the possibility of giant asteroids devastating the earth.

Certain telescopes are currently on a mission to detect bits of falling rock. They methodically observe each quadrant of sky every two weeks.

But there is ongoing worry among scientists that these instruments may miss something - for instance an object coming from the sun that would make it appear invisible or one that would show up just when the telescopes were looking elsewhere.

Other scientists are pondering what action to take when (not if) the “killer asteroid” ultimately is sighted. Plans to deflect or destroy this threat include battering it with nuclear explosives, painting half of it white (No, I am not making this up), pulling it with spacecraft tractor beams, etc.

It is interesting that these programs often refer to such asteroids as mountains – and the asteroid event as equivalent to throwing an entire mountain into the sea at the speed of a bullet.

If such a mountain WAS to hit this planet as hypothesized, existence as we know it would be pretty much over for most living things.

So what to do about all this? Weed your garden.

Given the current state of the world, the time for people to propose and implement rational, logistical reactions to problems is rapidly coming to an end. Another kind of response is both possible and desperately needed, but it cannot be discovered or developed in the absence of weeding one’s garden.

Two thousand years ago Jesus gave instruction on handling problematic mountains:

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Mat. 17:20).

Scientific knowledge is useful, but insufficient. A deeper knowledge is needed, based on reality and truth. This, I hope and believe, is what mankind is moving toward. Weeding the garden can reveal it.

And then asteroids will pose no threat whatsoever.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Last

The Last

“But many that are first shall be last; and the last first” (Mark 10:31) This is one of those inscrutable verses in the Bible that gives rise to countless interpretations. It seems to indicate that much is opposite to what we think it is.

This principle comes to mind in viewing the wreck of the Peter Iredale on the Northwest coast of Oregon. The Peter Iredale was a 278 foot British four mast bark that ran aground on Clatsop Beach October 25, 1906. Everyone aboard escaped safely but the ship itself became part of the shoreline – literally. Today it is partly buried in the sand and seems to be in the process of revealing more and more of its skeleton to view as the years pass.

If the Peter Iredale had not become a shipwreck on the Pacific coast of America, it would likely have returned to England and decayed in permanent obscurity. But now it lives on, in a manner of speaking. The passengers are unknown, the crew is unknown, the cargo is unknown, its other voyages are unknown, but people come and stare in admiration at this hulk over a hundred years after its demise.

Whatever purpose this ship served in its supposedly useful working life is long since forgotten and insignificant – whereas now it inspires fascination and wonder.

How much of our own lives that seem so important now at the “first” will be so later at the “last”? Perhaps something that is presently unknown or insignificant will be recognized as the defining characteristic of our existence.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Creature

A New Creature

Just before the New Year I bought a Vietnamese Walking Stick. Why? Because it was the cheapest thing I could find for the terrarium. I like strange creatures anyway, and these long, gangly insects that hardly move and don’t need anything but blackberry leaves (which grow everywhere year-round in the Pacific Northwest) seemed ideal for my quiet environment.

New Years Eve was pretty good; there were lots of productive reflections about the immensity of the year just passing and all that had happened. I felt like I had grown maybe an inch over the last twelve months in terms of a goal to become more integrated and authentic. But hey, that’s at least some progress – I think.

Then New Year’s Day occurred . . . and darkness and despair seemed to overwhelm everything all over again. I felt like the same helpless, hopeless person I had always been and apparently always would be, with plenty of pain and no gain to speak of. I was ready to throw in the towel and just say that’s it, I give up, I quit, let me out of here forever and ever.

Then I happened to notice the Vietnamese Walking Stick. He had gotten a lot bigger and below him on the ground was a smaller, deflated version of himself. Just like that, with no fanfare, he had molted, popping open his old skin and stepping out of it.

What an amazing feat! And it was all done so quietly, without drama, self-pity or anguish. He just unzipped his former self and emerged ready to continue life as a brand new creature.

And suddenly, I felt better.