Dualism Redux

September 10, 2009 at 2:47 am (Media Divinia, my funny valentine, Personal Insight) ()

A little too personal an odyssey this evening (likely that was the point), and due to my personal problems lately, I found myself drifting into the Sophian meditations this evening.

I became very much aware of darkness versus light, the push-pull of the awareness of the light in myself and others, and when that light becomes dimmed, through my own actions or the actions of others. This wasn’t an insight about assigning blame, however, although I admit responsibility for spreading darkness instead of light, lately. This is not a problem to feel guilt over, or beat myself up over, it is a matter of acknowledging it and then taking steps to change it.

I’m not the type for sharp, sudden changes, but I have been making the effort. The meditations tonight were insightful, not in a pleasant way, but the light of Truth has an ultimate neutrality that only human nature assigns positive or negative values to. I could make it all about the negative, and how I’ve failed or been mistaken, or I can take the opportunity to use the realizations in a positive manner to effect change.

I prevaricate. Perhaps the insight I gained tonight is not an appropriate subject for a public blog post. Much more metaphorical than I have gotten, in a long, long while.

The first meditation was very much about Sophia-as-child, who wanders away, exploring and curious, but losing sight of the thread that leads her back to the Ultimate. A squalling, quarrelsome child, which I may have come across as, of late. Time to change that. Time to pick up the thread again, and listen to that still, small voice, before I say/type things without considering them more than I have been.

The second meditation, the blind god and the prison-house of the world, led my mind down a path of apocalyptic imagery, where I admit I haven’t gone in quite a long time. I have long since re-interpreted the apocalypticism of the Christian canonical scriptures however, and I know now, that the apocalypses (multiple!) that the gospel texts speak of, are individual, personal journeys, not speaking of a literal global eschaton. Usually that’s a sign I need to make changes, pronto, or that changes are coming for me. (Like it or lump it.)

The third meditation was very much about grasping the thread back to the ultimate, of seeing the reflection of perfect wisdom in everything, as a good panentheist properly should. I’m not a good panentheist even on my best days. Witnessing the reflection of the Ultimate in this poor simulacrum of reality is what can lead one back along the golden thread to the Truth. Good, bad, or indifferent though that truth might be.

The fourth meditation was reflective of how that ingrained wisdom, that I know is there, but often refuse to listen to (far more often than I should) is what ultimately leads us all back to the Truth with a capital T, that unvarnished view of reality shown to those of us who choose to open our eyes and see. I thought about the third meditation from the Thomasine meditations, of the lost sheep loved best, and there was even some ministry tangentially related to the parable, although not presented in an allegorical manner.

The fifth and sixth meditations were very much about motion and rest, and the push-pull of darkness and light that is the eternal human condition. The final meditation was very much about following the golden thread, back to the Ultimate, and dwelling in the Truth therein.

A productive half-hour, and instructive in that I realized I have to start a daily praxis again. For the moment at least.

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The prodigal Valentine tries again.

September 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm ("Like it says on the tin.", Media Divinia, my funny valentine, Prodigal Valentine) ()

Technological issues notwithstanding (I do not have the proper hardware to adequately run the world-simulator), I have found myself of late, attending the Second Life Meeting for Worship. It is by no means an adequate substitute for a face to face “real live” Quaker Meeting, as even the non-theist Friends agree.

Given the vagaries of geography and politics and religion, combined with how all three of those factors interact, it’s the closest I can come right now. It may provide only a dim light, casting shadows on a richer reality elsewhere, but it has given me at least a sense of what meeting face-to-face, just might be like.

Much harder work, for one thing. Sitting in meditative praxis in front of what is essentially a blank IRC chat window, is worlds and away easier than “sitting” via avatar, in a rich visual setting, with other representations of real people moving around in the environment around you. I never did have any success with the “blank your mind” meditative techniques, but I can see where being in an unfamiliar visual environment, can reinforce and even strengthen that type of praxis.

I am still using the gnostic guided meditation technique, however, although I have hit on the trick of focusing the meditations through the lends of the “centering thought” that is provided at the start of each Meeting. In today’s case, it was hospitality, along the lines of the quote (that I paraphrase badly) “go cheerfully throughout the world, seeing that of go[o]d in everyone you meet”, with several insightful queries appended.

Using the Thomasine meditations, I was struck again by how the allegories themselves, while they never change, consistently provide a shifting lens upon whatever topic I bring them to bear. Including this one. The first meditation, in all of the rosaries (indeed even the standard Roman Catholic, Buddhist and Anglican ones), are set to achieve what the Quakers refer to as “centering down”, and this I have found useful.

The second meditation, the woman with the jar of flour, was very much in line with the quote above, and I ruminated on that for some moments. Especially given that is one of my weak spots, and I more often leak darkness from the broken handle of the jar, than any kind of light. This journey is not about self-recrimination for me, however, it is merely about resolving to be more aware of my faults, before I actually engage in them.

The third meditation, the lost sheep, became more the idea of ‘bull in a china shop’ and how to meet those with whom we may not necessarily agree, or share the worldviews of. There was even some ministry regarding this, which was a pleasant coincidence.

During the fourth meditation, I became more aware of the idea that reality is entirely how I see it, and to change my reality, I need to change my perspective. The initial reaction by some to this might be “Do DRUGS!” but I’m taking a much less invasive (although no less neurochemical) approach to it, personally. I feel attuned to nature, ex., I could (and have done) sit and watch the spiders on my back porch busily spin their individual webs, and live their individual lives. Same with the blue jay that visits every year, or the ants busily making hills in the flower bed, or the moths that flicker around the lights at dusk.

My interactions with other people on the other hand, are not quite so fascinating. This is where I need to pull myself up, and it’s a key that I am only just realizing as I type it, it was not something that came up in MfW. In order for me to more easily interact with others, I have to see others (I may have to will myself to see it, but I certainly want to try) as unique, intricate, individual members of the animal kingdom, that every bug, spider, bird, and plant, that currently catches my attention is as well. Instead of automatically assuming the negative, I need to step back, and observe others as themselves. Good, bad, indifferent, I should find it all fascinating. Gaining insight into others might give me insight into myself.

It’s my crackpot theory, anyway, we’ll see how the testing phase of it goes.

The fifth meditation was very much about how little things often mean more (for good or for ill) to others, than do big, showy productions or trying too hard. I have always made at least a minimal effort to try and do little things for people, sometimes. This was also the point at which the allegory of the multiplied fishes and loaves (shared by both the christological figure and by Horus), kept popping up. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it at all, not even after I read the Johannine verses on it from the RSV.

I think the point was, at the end of the allegory, they sought the christological figure again, to punish him for being generous. In standard Christian fare, this is the source of the typical persecution complex. In allegorical terms, if you read the text from the beginning of the chapter, it indicates that the central character in the story planned the “miracle” all along. So it’s very much a satirical, cautionary tale; that if you go overboard, and do too much, out of a place of working great signs and wonders, you’ll definitely get taken down a peg for it!

Those are my initial thoughts about it. I do need to do some more research, however, and look into the original legend of Horus that the christological allegory was drawn from.

The sixth meditation was very much focused on seeing that of good in others, maybe beginning to see that of good in myself. Finally, the seventh meditation was, as it is in all of them, the concluding, ‘come back to reality’ type of wind-down that is its purpose. Come back to a more grounded, less anxiety-ridden reality, that is.

A lot of rambling thoughts, to try and describe 45min I still haven’t completely sorted through myself. But that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

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“The end will be where the beginning is.” Gos.Th., Log.18

December 14, 2008 at 1:42 am (Media Divinia)

“The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us, how will our end come?”

Jesus said, “Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.

“Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.”

If you have done any kind of comparative reading on the Gnostic religion and Gnosticism (and even gnosticism), you should know, or at least have come across, the concept lectio divina.

I had linked to a page I only skimmed, as it resulted in a search for “gnostic lectio divina”. Unfortunately that page, similar to the Wikipedia entry, takes a fundamentalist, “don’t-let-those-nasty-demons-in” literalist orthodoxy approach. As per the old adage of getting something done right the first time by doing it yourself, here are the aspects of lectio divina as practiced by Gnostics and gnostics:

Lectio

The “reading” part of the lectio divina. Read the passage slowly, attentively, several times. You are not looking to “download” the information, you are seeking to understand it fully from your perspective on the world.

Meditatio

That understanding must then be integrated into yourself. This is the essence of gnosis, and is what all gnostics (and some Gnostics) strive for.

Contemplatio

This part, if practiced at all by Gnostics or gnostics, is a very different understanding than traditional Christian prayer. Some may choose to pray to Sophia, if they take the Valentinian approach that Sophia, whether only in our minds or external to them, has a “lower incarnation” to whom we can plead our cases, and she will intercede for us in the eighth and the ninth.

Others of a more Buddhist or even Quaker bent might simply forego the intercessors, and go straight for an “opening oneself to the limitless light” type of prayer. (The oratorio and contemplatio may be combined, in gnostic/Gnostic praxis, or may be separated out, as dictated by the individual or the group.)

Given the post-modern nature of the world as it is (especially the world as it is on the Internet), submitted here for your approval is the inaugural text in the Media Divina category of the Gospel of Mikjij.

That’s right: I seek re-union with the Pleroma, through the “holy reading” of visual media (TV shows and movies) that has Gnostic (or even gnostic) undertones, subtle or overt.

My media divina of choice for today’s post is Doctor Who: Journey’s End.

Read the rest of this entry »

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