Prodigal Valentine: Two Worlds, Two Minds, One Self

June 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

A little bit of progress tonight, nothing particularly foundation-shaking. I have not had great success with getting into a focused mental space lately, even with the meditations that usually give me ready access. I did at least get a sense of why this has been so, however.

I have always known the external accusations against the gnostics (and the Gnostics), that of dualism and world-hating, were not in any way accurate. I have fallen into the trap of succumbing to such a false dichotomy however, and did not realize how fully it was entrenched, and may always be.

I come from a strongly dualistic and legalistic world-hating background, one that has instilled a mindset within me, from birth, that I will probably never be able to shake. I work around it instead, as best I can, with the limited resources I have to do so. For the most part, I am usually successful, but it is impossible to maintain such an effort thoughtlessly, and when I am tired, stressed, or ill, any such efforts are discarded in favour of fight-or-flight survival.

If there was any “message” for me tonight, it was that of balance and moderation, and acceptance of the physical, instead of rejection of it, in favour of living entirely inside my own mental sphere. This is the infinite chain of attainment that I am attached to, and that I desperately need to discard, although I haven’t quite figured out how to accomplish that. My psyche, for its part, is retreating even further into its own shell, as a result of that shell being threatened with elimination or removal.

The insight I had tonight was part of an ongoing realization, of re-framing things in a positive light. Not only mental events and dramas and other internal emotions and reactions, but physical things as well. Circumstances and physiology and relationships, etcetera. I have known that for quite some time, but it’s one thing to “know” it, and another thing entirely to put that into active practice. Maybe in that respect, the shell does not need to be discarded or eliminated, but reframed or utilized in a different manner.

Time to put up or shut up. That was my small insight for the evening.

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What?

June 24, 2009 at 8:49 am (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

What?

It’s supposed to be funny?

What?!

Not that I didn’t need a moment of levity, I actually kind of did. A lot more than I realized. But yeah, seriously? It’s supposed to be funny??

Like the kids say in netspeak I think my brain is brokeded…..

🙂

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Being troubled, and my ongoing baptism of fire.

June 21, 2009 at 2:57 am ("Like it says on the tin.", Praxis, Prodigal Valentine) (, )

The ascent of the seven spheres hit a little closer to home today than it has to date; I don’t know if I am making progress, or back-sliding. I know for a fact I am accessing long-disused parts of my cerebral cortex, because for the past week I’ve had songs from my former church running through my head completely unbidden (not the ones I’ve cribbed for the psalter, the more apocalyptic ones). I am hopeful that means I am clearing it out of my head. Reading it out of memory so it can be erased? Question is, what am I overwriting onto it??

MfW today was more of a personal reflection, than a connectedness with an external subjective reality; that was actually the point. Unfortunately. A lot of “truth came to the world in images”, and quite a considerable amount of trying to figure out if I am being honest to myself, or if in actual fact, I can “remember who I am” and make myself different at the same time. Or maybe make myself the same as what I would like myself to be.

What do I want myself to be? Remembering who I am means remembering things I don’t really want to descend into again, and I thought I had gotten past most of them. I have. Superficially. It is my interactions on the outside of my skull (what few that I have) that are still impacted by who I am, as a result of how I grew up. Remembering who I am means paying attention to those interactions, and trying to determine how they are impacted by who I am, and how I can change my interactions, to change who I am, which might change my interactions. Maybe.

Things have definitely moved from “see the big picture” into “focus in on yourself with a laser” in my praxis. Not a comfortable experience, but as the gospel of Thomas says, “Seek and do not stop seeking until you find. When you find, you will be troubled. When you are troubled, you will marvel and rule over all.” But back to the ascent.

The first sphere was fine, leaving behind the force to grow and decrease is what gets me “in” on the mental space of subjectively non-linear consciousness, quite effectively.

The second sphere, I found myself reflecting upon my own machinations of evil. Nothing of a criminal nature, and the “machinations of evil” that I came up with sounded ridiculous, even to me. The second  sphere was all about my actions and their consequences today though, not the actions of others towards me, the way it usually is.

The third sphere, I found myself reflecting that the guile of lust could also refer to the infinite chain of attainment. Yeah, the one that gnostics vow to escape. I contemplated whether or not there was anything in my life that I could really say I was attached to, through greed or desire or even lust. I couldn’t find an answer right away, until I realized there is one thing that I am attached to, that I should probably let go of.

It isn’t anything material though, it is a mental tic that I have used for a security blanket for as long as I can remember, one that I am definitely 100% absolutely attached to. How I am going escape it, I have absolutely no idea. It informs who I am, just as much as any of the rest of it does, and not in a good way. I wish I was attached to stuff, or things, or even other people (in the real world) although being attached to other people would be a swing of the pendulum in the exact opposite direction from where I am now. I’m trying to find the median, although I don’t know where that is, nor how to get there, if I even can.

The other thing I realized is that NOT being attached to anything, can be a guile of lust all on its own. Rejecting everything out of hand, that isn’t healthy either. Motion and rest. Seesawing between being too attached and not being attached enough is surely better than not being attached to anything or anyone, anywhere, ever, isn’t it?

The fourth sphere was all about reflecting on how I was and can still be judgemental. Again, how I’m going to change that, I have no idea. I was even judgemental of someone, AS I REALIZED that I had to stop being judgemental!! THAT’S NOT GOOD. My brain refuses to cooperate…….How the hell am I going to get my brain to cooperate?! Maybe my brain won’t ever be able to cooperate. Judging others is basically the default setting for all of my interactions with people in the real world, and I DON’T KNOW where the damn DIP switches are………

The fifth sphere, I realized that for me, unholy daring and rashness can be inaction, as well as action. Thumbing your nose at the outside, crawling into your hole and pulling it in after you, THAT’S “unholy daring and rashness”! Crawling out of a nice, comfortable, unthreatening hole to make a life and connections with others, on the other hand, that’s troubling. Which is the point.

The sixth sphere, at least was a little more mundane. I certainly don’t attain wealth through malicious means, but I do have problems with money. Not what you think. I pinch nickels so hard, the beaver chews off its own tail in an effort to get free……Which I realized is also a form of attaining wealth through malicious means. Not something I can readily modify, in my current situation, as being cheap is necessary right now, and more of a help than a hindrance. Mostly.

The seventh sphere had me wandering back to the beginning, and wondering how in the hell I’m supposed to work harder to reflect my “true self” to myself and others around me, when I don’t even have the first clue who or what that true self really is? I know exactly who my true (childhood) self WAS, but given that I was raised in a closed high-demand Bible-based group, I definitely don’t want that “true self” escaping ever. Ever. At all. Not even a little bit. Maybe I don’t have a “true self” maybe I actually am a black hole. Blank slate. I really don’t have any hobbies, popular culture stuff holds absolutely zero interest for me, and my interactions with others are strained at best, and awful at worst.

I don’t know how to change. I don’t even know how to convince myself that I NEED to change. Part of me is still going, “You don’t need to change! You’re in almost total isolation except for your imagination which gives you everything you will ever want or need, you haven’t settled down anywhere,  you have no permanent connections with anyone, ever, anywhere, but it’s easier, less messy, and you’re free to pick up and go as you will! Why is this a bad thing?”

Um, because it’s the stuff normal people’s nightmares are made of?

They’re not kidding when they call it a baptism of fire……..

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The Prodigal Valentine Explains

June 17, 2009 at 12:36 am (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

A Friend asked me recently what MfW was like for me; seeing as I am a non-theist, intellectual (filthy word that, in some circles) self-hacking quasi-gnostic (no rituals please), I described it as best I could at the time.

Today I found The Splintered Mind, a blog I had bookmarked some time ago, but had never gotten around to reading. Everything lined up tonight though, it seems.

Here, is what MfW is subjectively like, for me:

“[W]here the body is motionless… there is an almost complete adaptation of the receptor organs, and the result is that the body simply disappears from the phenomenal world. This is indeed what seems to happen to a very high degree in the practice of certain oriental sects, where those who are expert are able, by remaining motionless, to achieve an extreme state of apparent “spiritualisation”. Movement appears to be essential to the phenomenal existence of the body, and it is probable that we are aware of our bodily states only in so far as they are terminal phases of movements.”

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The empire never ended.

June 16, 2009 at 8:49 am (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

This happened last week but I didn’t mention it then because I hadn’t fully processed it. I had a sense of “the empire never ended” in that I pictured the Thomasine parables as my subconscious would like to think it “happened” two thousand years ago; a bunch of Middle Eastern early mystics, sitting around trading yarns and basically seeing what they could crank out of the insides of their own skulls.

It definitely wasn’t a romanticized image; I, for one, am under no illusions that life three thousand years ago in the middle of the desert, in a time of political uncertainty and upheaval, not to mention religious oppression, was any picnic.

I wasn’t quite sure how to process the images, or what they meant for my particular path, until I ruminated over them this morning.

I then recalled Philip K. Dick’s “revelation” (albeit brought on by schizophrenia, but many of the same chemical processes occur in enlightenment; hopefully in a controllable manner), of the delivery girl with the “jesus fish” necklace, when he had the sense that they were really persecuted Christians, living two thousand years ago, the subsequent “modern time” was just false image overlaid onto the collective unconscious.

Now, I don’t believe that to be “true”, any more than I believe Bladerunner to be a documentary! (Excellent flick, BTW. Recommended.) But it served the point, for me, to illustrate that humans have been hacking their own brains since long before they had the terminology to adequately describe it, never mind the technology to accurately study it.

Which may be part of the reason why gnostics are accused of being syncretic, or why some religious Gnostics are led towards cults, such as guru-driven closed groups, or other high-demand philosophies like Anthroposophy or Theosophy, or other “faiths” that mask controlling intentions.

In a zeal to connect to that which connects us all, a thin strip of meat in the middle of our cerebellum ( that grows thicker through meditation, studies have shown), some may seek “answers” or concrete “truths” of what it is, exactly, they are experiencing.

For me, it isn’t finding an answer for “what” the subjective experience I am having “is”, in any literalized or fundamental sense; that is the meaning of the admonition from the gospel of Philip not to create gods, after all. For myself, it is trying to connect the dots, that my subjective experience is the same as every other spiritual “seeker’s” subjective experience, regardless of the labels or personas they slap onto it, or have the need to slap onto it.

I wonder if labels would serve any purpose for me…..Then I remember that it is not about the “finding”, but about the seeking, to begin with. The empire never ended. It is within and without us, however that “kingdom” is defined.

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Struggling a bit….

June 12, 2009 at 8:47 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

The prodigal Valentine, at it again, struggling with a bit of a push-pull realization.

Small deeds have large consequences, seen and unseen. Leaving your deeds behind you unseen makes it impossible for you to see what impact you have had and are having on the world.

You must not look behind yourself at deeds and consequences that can no longer be changed; seek peace (even if you do not ever find it) that you can be more mindful bit by bit.

It is not the attainment of peace, the grasping of the golden ring, the finding of “the truth” that marks spiritual progress; it is the seeking, in the spaces between reality, that indicates an honest spiritual path. Seeking after peace is striving to never have judgement, towards yourself or others. Not a goal with an end-point, but an ongoing journey. Such is life.

It’s that “striving not to have judgement towards yourself or others” that seems unattainable, for me at least. Partly because of the black-and-white thinking I grew up with, and partly because I may never be able to shake the ingrained concept that the world is inherently evil.

Maybe it isn’t about excising that particular part of my soul, though; maybe it is about working around those flaws and imperfections instead. I don’t know. I know this is what I have to do, if I want to move forward; I’m just not sure yet, how to do it.

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Truth Came Into the World in Types and Images

June 10, 2009 at 8:35 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, , )

Simplicity is not what you say, what you think, what you do, what you own, what you wear: Do not make false idols out of rules masquerading as truth. There is only one Truth: Rather, the kingdom is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and will understand that you are children of the Aeons of the Pleroma. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and embody poverty.

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The cross of light/baptism by fire

June 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, , , )

Towards the end of worship today (and whether I was in meeting with real people, or merely shadows), I got a brief glimpse, at the end of the seventh meditation, of the baptismal light, and I understood why some devoutly religious speak of “the fear of the lord”. Since I realize the experience is coming only from within my own mind, it certainly didn’t scare me. This is what I experienced today:

Thus the holy grail of gnosis: To turn your soul inside out, turn over all the rocks, and examine everything about yourself. Everything. Objectively, fearlessly, completely. Not a one-off experience at all: Otherwise you are left with having had a revelation without insight. That way, madness lies. Conclusively, to me at least, baptism into gnosis is literally  “by [spiritual] fire”, because you have to be willing to examine all of the aspects of your own self, in “the mirrored bridal chamber”, no matter how raw, unwieldy or unpleasant those aspects might turn out to be. It is through this gnosis that one comes to union with oneself, that “spark of the infinite fire within”, that allows one to be “clothed with the garments of the bridal chamber,” for “those who have worn it are made into light”.

Not the wishy-washy newage “perfect light of love and angels” crap. But light, the 120-watt kind you use with a magnifying mirror, to spot even the smallest of imperfections. This is not a light easily embraced, nor filled with empty, paradisical images of unconditionally loving parental archetypes: For it is the light that will reveal you to yourself, in all its imperfections and impurities.

What you do with the knowledge of your own soul reflected back at you, that’s the key part of gnosis that not many seem able to achieve (myself included), and definitely not perfectly. Perhaps we are not meant to be perfect in this world and in this life, however; maybe that is the point of it all, and what keeps us striving towards a perfection that lies beyond. A perfection we may never reach, that we have always existed within, that we will forever reach towards.

Baptism by fire is ongoing, perpetual, and infinite. If you enter the mirrored bridal chamber fearlessly.

Neither warm nor cold, neither feeling nor unfeeling, but a reflection of what lurks beneath the surface in my own mind; yet paradoxically, a reflection of what lurks just beneath the surface in every human mind. Something to quail in the face of, and balk at perhaps, but I had no sense of that. My experience was mediated through the grounding of the repetitive invocations, though, which is probably the reason why this method of praxis is particularly successful for me.

Even in the face of insanely annoying technical difficulties!!

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A Look Back Into the Past

June 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, , )

The recent past, at least. I haven’t made it to meeting in a while (I’m hoping they don’t get all 1600s on my ass because of it) but the last time I was there, meditating upon the descent of the spark from the eternal aeon, instead of the traditional Pentecost (from the RSV, not pentecostalism today) imagery, my brain kept coming up with a mustard tree.

Interesting to contemplate, anyway, although I’m sure I will only understand the implications many years later in retrospect. That’s usually the way.

Edit: I think this is what my subconscious was trying to remind me of: Some time ago, I had ganked and modified a Thomasine rosary from a devotional site, which I cannot find now. I think this may be the site, although it appears to have been changed since I last copied the text, and altered it to suit my own purposes.

Guess that means it’s time to change up my praxis again!

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Redemption of Wisdom/Sophia through Empathy/Christos

May 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm (Prodigal Valentine) (, )

Wisdom became an empty shell when it fell into the unforgiving world of forms as a result of its ignorance. Therefore, Wisdom alone, is cold and unforgiving. Except where it is tempered by empathy and compassion, when the two dance in symmetry to one another, mirrored in the round dance of the cross, and in the mystery of the bridal chamber.

The rebirth of empathy through wisdom, and achieving that delicate balance between the two, is “the resurrection from the dead”, which the Gospel of Philip speaks of.

However one may frame such a resurrection, be it through gnostic, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or Buddhist theology or secular humanism, such an enlightenment is endemic to all humans who attain and maintain the spiritual maturity of actively living in the ethic of reciprocity.

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