chaos and praxis

August 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm (Prodigal Valentine) ()

I’m finding it hard to get back into regular praxis again. A side-effect of my recent banning from QQ? I went through a similar period, after being banned from the PTG. I have been trying, though, and have been using the Thomasine meditations to do so.

I find myself drawn to the allegory of the mustard seed/tree, and I keep getting the message that it’s small actions that have large consequences; the “butterfly flaps its wings in Mexico and a hurricane hits the US” mentality.

Rationally, such an approach applied to the human condition, at least in my case is unproductive. I spent entirely too much time in my younger years obssessing over small things, and ruminating on how my small actions, had the opposite or unintended consequences. To fall into that form of self-reflection once again, will take me to a very dark and self-loathsome place, that I fail to see the benefits of existing in.

Tipping that on its head, it very much implies that Self is not the centre of the universe, however, a sentiment that grows stronger within me daily. I am far from the butterfly who causes catastrophe, although I have been in the past. Now I tend to take an apathetic approach, and try not to do anything, however. Not the wisest approach either.

The allegory of the woman with the jar of flour can be meditated upon as either positive, or negative; either you see the flour pouring out of the jar as emblematic of the idea represented by the Jewish ruach hakodesh (I just know I got that spelling wrong, I apologize to any who might be offended), or the elemental force referred to in the Hebrew Bible (rightly or wrongly) as “the holy spirit”. That elemental, ineffable force, that connects everything. Even if it is only an illusion. Or, you see the woman’s carelessness as leading to the further spread of evil in the world.

Perhaps the lesson is that this IS the illusion; that we are somehow all connected, in the manner of chaos theory, when in reality we are isolated instances of slightly-similar consciousnesses, with enough differences to make our experiences with ourselves and each other, indelibly unique.

The meditation of the “100th sheep” I have never found particularly applicable nor relative to my own understanding, but I had the insight yesterday that it might possibly be that the 100th sheep was loved, not because it was the one that was lost, and then returned to the fold (the traditional literalist Christian interpretation of the mythology), but rather the fact of the search that was necessitated.

If, as the meditation on “you will not find me in the sea or the sky” informs, the ideology of “christos” or the inward light is within us, at the core of our selves, then it is the continual striving and reaching after the brass ring, that is being exhorted by this parable, not a grasping and holding (that leads to stagnation and decay), but an ongoing process. This ties in with the Valentinian baptism of fire that I have been ruminating on.

The “little leaven, leavens the whole lump” meditation then expands on this, that if your search is imperfect or even sometimes unintentional, it can still have world-altering effects.

The sixth meditation, that we should concentrate not on dead mythologies or false idols, but rather within that living spark within us, is how to escape a neurotic obsession with the chaos theory approach to spirituality. This flows naturally into the final meditation, that the living spark of consciousness within all of us, is a mere reflection of the ocean of light of every living thing that is all around us. “Split a piece of wood, or lift a stone”, and the light is there.

I guess I got more out of it than I thought I did, because I kept getting distracted. Which is probably the moral of the story right there.

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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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Praxis and the Valentine worships again

May 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm (my funny valentine, Personal Insight, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine, Un-Lectionary) (, , , )

OK. The rosary of the ascent was not much good to me yesterday, but I realized that was because I had done nothing productive all day. I didn’t do that much more productive today, but I at least ate a quick snack before getting into the swing of things WRT the group experience thing.

So I decided I would stick with the Sophian mythos that has been working for me, for the moment at least. Much better, at least this go-round, and I did not find myself quite so easily distracted.

I ate my snack through the first ten minutes of the service, but it’s not like it’s on webcam, so hey. Another advantage to the virtual meeting thing. Give me some credit though, I tried to approach it with a Gnostic bent, “envisioning the substance of the food and drink as light”. (Even though I disagree with the rest of the self-styled “Malachi’s” writings/teachings.)

So then I dropped fairly comfortably into praxis. They’re not kidding when they say protein is brain food, people. I have no idea why the image of Stella Maris kept popping up however. Maybe I wasn’t devoting enough attention to the meditations, and was focusing too much on the words of the decades? Or maybe it meant something else. Definitely wasn’t the Stella Maris Gnostic Church I was thinking about, although that’s more than likely where the imagery came from, as I have been exposed to that site in the past.

For those of you playing at home, Stella Maris to the Catholics, and to the Gnostics, are essentially sea-goddesses, or guardians/protectors of the sea. You will often find “Star of the Sea” appended to Stella Maris invocations, in both Catholic and Gnostic canon.

Prayer from Our Lady Star of the Sea Gnostic Chapel
“Holy Mother,
Rightful Queen of faithful souls,
Who never erred,
Who never lied,
Follower of the rightful course,
Who never doubted
lest we should accept death
in the realm of the wrong god;
as we do not belong to this realm
and this realm is not ours –
teach us Your gnosis
and to love what You love. “

Early morning church tomorrow. 😛 Ah well, at least it works with my schedule.

Oh, and for the record, as to why I was so puzzled the imagery kept popping up: I can’t even swim. 😯

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Praxis and the Ascent of the Seven Spheres

May 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm (my funny valentine, Praxis, Prodigal Valentine) (, , )

OK, so maybe they aren’t hell-pavers after all. I seem to be getting back into a useful mode of praxis, after letting it slip terribly. Continuing on with the rosary of the ascent I have been using has been helpful, although I did add the Sophian one once, for variety, and because I had time.

The rosary of the ascent is useful for me, I find, as a retrospective of my day, a contemplation on how I was affected by, or affected others with, machinations of evil, the guile of lust (which has nothing to do with sex, honest), unholy arrogance, unholy rashness and daring, the gaining of wealth through malicious means, and the malicious lie. (Leaving behind “the force to grow or decrease” is what gets me “in” to the contemplative space to begin with). If I can’t apply that particular sphere to my day, I try to determine how it applies to the past, either recent or distant.

Thusly, the sixth and the seventh have become, for me, about finally leaving the church (or, more accurately, leaving the leaving of the church) behind. I don’t know if it will be successful in the long run, but for the short term, it seems to be progressing well. WCG/GCI is epitomized by gaining wealth through malicious means, that of malicious lies. Finally leaving that behind, means completely leaving it behind, including the ex-member circles. From whom I have gained much, and hopefully at least a few friends. I intend try to move on, though, through the use of the imagery/meditations of the sixth and the seventh.

Participating in a post-post-modern cyberpunk version of the ritual Valentinian ecclesiastics, who were notable for attending religious services side-by-side with those who believed very differently from them, is proving to be interesting. No, not in the Chinese curse way. And it could hardly be said that I am “attending”, in the sense that the ecclesiastics in question know I’m there! (OK the admins must, at least from the IP logs, if nothing else.) And yes, there is an element of safety, in that I don’t have to directly interact with the others. Which is something to work on, or maybe an issue I will never be able to directly resolve. Meditations on the fourth and the fifth helps greatly with this, however, so we shall see.

I did look in, on their post-ecclesiastic social time once, and immediately regretted it. Not a mistake I will make again, or at least very soon, I think. Although I don’t know how much of that is me, and how much of that is needing to work more on the sixth and the seventh. The meetings are frequent enough that they coincide with my daily praxis, and even though my praxis is sometimes shorter or longer than the length of the meetings, that doesn’t impact me, as they are being hosted in a virtual setting anyway. So if I run over or under the allotted time, there is no one there to shoo me away, or to distract me. And while I found and find parts of the ritual to be distracting by its inherent nature, that is again where the meditations on the fourth and the fifth assist me tremendously.

I intend to try the Sophian rosary again at the next meeting. Since they are in a Christian context, as are the Sophianic mythologies, perhaps that will allow me to “connect” with the more off-putting parts of the ritual and some of its participants, better. Or at the very least, provide an illusion of same.

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