The Energetic Resonance of Reality: What do you believe?

People often wonder what spiritual tradition I follow. They read my blogs, my Facebook and YouTube status updates, my LinkedIn profile and Twitter feed and they wonder if I’m a Devil worshiper, a New Age adherent, a Gnostic Christian, Agnostic or any number of other classifications of spiritual system they might be familiar with. But people rarely ask me directly what I believe personally; if I pray, or if I perform rituals to some form of Divinity in my private life. Of course such a question might be considered rude by most, as religion and politics are oft thought to be two of the most personal things a person can engage in and they both reveal so much about who a person truly is and what they really believe. For me to answer this question, it is necessary to engage in a short discourse regarding the nature of the world as it currently exists and my – and by my, I mean the individual’s – place in it.

I’ll begin as I’ve begun so many times before. As Above, So below. This hermetic truism is also a scientific axiom and a general statement of inter-relational inter-dependency between the Cosmos and Self. Expressed through physical manifestation and an infinite variation of potentiality at every level and stage intervening between extremes, personal experience as a subjective perception of a reality beyond the ability of the material senses to fully grasp is my, our, individual flashlight, or candle, the tool with which we define and interpret the things that we think, see and do.

All of manifest materiality is energy. I am energy. You are energy. The computer is energy. The table it sits on and the floor that sits upon are both energy, as is the planet itself, the grass, the dirt, the rock, the magma, the water ad infinitum. The speed at which energy resonates, or vibrates, determines its solidity. For example, the table is vibrating at a slower rate than the air that we are breathing, which vibrates at a slower rate than the electricity running through our computers, which vibrates at a slower rate than the thoughts that pass through our minds, which is a form of subtle energy that science has not yet formally announced the existence of but which must exist, as it is beyond question that we think, and are. Despite its nascent history and fumbling grasps at hypotheses and postulations regarding the nature of reality, science plays a large part in my understanding of reality and what lies beyond. As we move through time and space, inter-connected through quantum entanglement and the energetic resonation that permeates all of existence, it becomes clear that consciousness is the common denominator that connects all things at varying levels of interactivity and awareness.

Religions and spiritual systems reflect what seems to be a mathematical equation of Truth. Truth is a form of awareness, one that, when present, thrums through my body like an electrical current. Words, when spoken or heard, if containing Truth, lead to a visceral experience of discernment, which is beyond any doubt a form of connection to something beyond the mundane, beyond body language, beyond surface-level reality and the culturally-determined and biased truths that comprise the stuff of our daily grinds. All religions contain a kernel of Truth. By this stage of human cultural and societal evolution, it is apparent that the inter-relation between religious systems is much greater than most proponents of specific religions might admit to. Given certain cultural biases and evolutionary processes which have had a strong part in determining many of the ritualistic and humanistic aspects of different religious systems, the extraordinary amount of correlation about basic tenets and ideas about humanity and our relationships to the Cosmos and Creation is humbling to consider. As there are so many resources currently available for all who seek edification in this matter, it is not necessary for me to expound too deeply upon the subject other than to acknowledge this Truth and contextualize it.

Religions are culturally perceptive lenses through which we interpret reality. No more, no less. A woman born in Lebanon might find Islam to be her preferred lens while a man born in America might find Christianity to be his. An Englishman might choose Wicca or Luciferianism while a French-woman chooses some form of New Age Love and Light to express her beliefs about the nature of the world. Religious systems serve as guidelines that modify perception, affect behavior and determine both macro and micro-scaled events to the extent that they are institutionalized within disparate cultures. The universalizing religions of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism are more than just personal choices, then, but they are also cultural institutions that have played a large role in the evolution of global society and consciousness.

Because religions are variable, it is necessary to look at their core truths in order to determine the nature of the Greater Truth that underlies them. Coming from the perspective of criticism and censure negates clarity and limits potentiality and understanding, which muddies the vision, the mind and the ability to understand clearly. Emotional processes designed to lend energetic impetus to intentions then lead to compartmentalization, differentiation and hierarchical enumeration, dichotomous diffusion along a scale between extremes and a further playing out of human dramas within the crucible of cosmic forces manifest and hidden by idiosyncratic and egocentric blusterings.

The first word was a release of energy. That energy differentiated, becoming All That Was, Is and Ever Shall Be, as explained above. The first word was a sound, much like the words that we use today. The Buddhists say that word was Ohm. The power of words is expressed in ways too varied to remark upon, but suffice it to say that each of our lived experience should give us a very visceral understanding of this Truth. Words spoken in anger or in love, the beauteous sound of a harmonic chorus, a large choir, a child’s laugh. Words, sound, vibrations, resonation, creation. The relationship of musical notes to sacred geometry, to energy, to the very fabric of Creation, is emphasis of the importance of an holistic understanding of reality, of consciousness, of who and what humanity truly is and what our potential really encompasses.

Becoming aware of the importance of a scientific understanding of the world is secondary to the experience of the world. The visceral and involving task of living, or engaging the process of creation in the crucible of the Now moment trumps all attempts at codification and so, in this view, knowing the terminology and the processes can be seen as an irrelevant distraction from the beauty and perfection of pure knowing gained experientially. The triumph of ignorance and laziness threatens this perspective, as those who seek the comfort of illusory stability and understanding proselytize doctrines that encourage blind faith and impotent works rather than seeking knowledge and meaningful participation. Jesus taught that we had to be as innocent as children to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Buddha taught that you could find Nirvana by sitting still and meditating upon a blade of grass. Simplicity in Being is the common denominator.

Once your perspective has shifted to the point where you begin to understand the world as energetic interactions and relationships of linked and resonant fields, you begin to understand what it means to live in a state of grace, or in the flow of life. Once you have begun to lessen your inner resistance to the energy that is flowing through you, that is flowing through us all, you begin to realize that it is most often the blockages within yourself that cause many of the problems that surround you and that lead to further emotional imbalances and material contradictions in your life. It becomes possible to be aware of the flows of energy in your own body and the bodies of others, as well as the flow of intentions and the resultant interactions through which thought is manifest into deeds which imprint upon the very fabric of reality. As you clear your own blockages through meditative and prayerful practices, acupuncture, energy work with doctors, shamans, priests, preachers, pastors or psychics, your Self begins to experience states of consciousness previously unknown. Bell-like clarity and flashes of intuitive understanding that seem to come out of the blue, but that truly come from deep within you, from your Higher Self or God-presence, become only now accessible because of the clearing of mental and emotional detritus that was blocking their full expression. Our innate psychic potentiality can then be realized and we begin to experience more synchronicities, more intuitive leaps. Our dreams begin to instruct us and our lives begin to change, to simplify, to become less dramatic, less stressful, less blocked by negative energy that is really only our fears expressed in various forms stored in different locations in and around our physical bodies and astral fields.

The great Avatars, Prophets and Holy Men of the many religious traditions could have all sat down around a table together and had a great conversation. There would have been no fighting. No disagreements. The Buddha and Jesus would not have been rolling around on the floor trying to beat the life out of each other. There would have been only understanding. Only a flow of energy between clear conduits, unencumbered by mental and emotional blockages.

Any religious practice, if combined with an active curiosity and a deep desire for knowledge and understanding, can lead any practitioner to the heights of spiritual elevation and the transcendence of the physical world. The many interlocked levels of inter-relation between religious systems old and new point to certain deeper material and spiritual truths that mix physical science with biological science. In fact, there is only one science, the differentiation into disciplines was and is an affectation of the West done in the late 1800s more in order to confuse rather than enlighten as the masses of the European countries began to seek real educations. The human body, in microcosm, is a replica of the Cosmos, in macrocosm. The ancient peoples of the world knew this and built monumental structures designed to imprint eternal truths upon the facade of the world encased in stone for posterity’s sake. The Secrets of the Ages are now available to any who truly want to know.

The dangers we face we do so as a consequence of our chosen perspectives. All energetic relationships correspond to very strict rules according to flow and direction. This holds true regardless of context or type of energy. As an illustration, between the New Age-related and dichotomous designations of Service-to-Self and Service-to-Others as expressions of Bad and Good or Dark and Light, respectively, there exists a middling pole around which both extremes spiral, as exemplified by the yin-yang symbol. This pole is Unity Consciousness, a recognition of the necessity – and rightness – of the manifestation of opposition as an expression of the whole. Those whose intentions approximate the expression of Goodness as a lived reality can be seen to be on one side of the equation, while those who approximate the expression of Evil as a lived reality can be seen as the other side of that same equation. Being polar extremes, there is an inordinate amount of resistance and conflict between these two poles, as is readily understood by all. The eternal battle, it is called, or the War of Opposition. Those who plant themselves firmly between the two extremes experience the least amount of resistance as the energy from both poles flows through them rather than finding terminus within them.

Our personal perspectives are comprised of the choices that we make in regards to our cultural and spiritual alliances. Truth is beyond all of that. Beyond society, beyond religion, beyond politics, beyond opinion. Also, the reality beyond the mundane ability of our eyes to see is beyond what most care to know. The truth of it is that Creation can be a scary place if you allow fear to build blockages within your personal energy field. Since we are all connected, the fear that I might feel will affect those around me, passing like electrical current through capacitors linked and locked into multi-dimensional relationships we are barely aware of. Being an expression of primal creation, consciousness is not limited only to humans. Using the Judeo-Christian hierarchies of Angels and Demons as an example, there are multiple levels and types of consciousnesses that interact with humanity on behalf of Divinity in the form of God, corresponding to the di-pole expression of good and evil. They do not all have what we might consider our best interests – from our limited perspective - at heart, but they do engage in similar types of energetic relationships with us as we engage in with each other. Hence, the necessity of clearing one’s energetic fields so as to be better able to ascertain our inter-personal and inter-dimensional influences.

The Truth is, none of us is ever really alone. Therefore, there are no real secrets. There is no death as an end of consciousness and, in the end, there really is no you or me. We are variations upon a theme, holographically discrete expressions on a fractional scale ranging between 0 and 1, individually and collectively expressive of all the infinite potential therein. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed. I am finding that what we are each responsible for in our own lives is what kind of energy capacitor we want to be when it comes to our own integral natures and expression of Self and our resultant interactions with others. And that depends upon our intentions and our orientations and the clarity we create during the course of obtaining Knowledge of Self.

So, to answer the original question, I follow all traditions and no traditions. I can sit in a church, a temple, an ashram, a mosque or a forest and find God. As my friend Deepam is wont to say, some follow the Pathless Path, written in the Sky.

I am one of those.

The Cult of I: All that we were born to Be

It remains amazing how life applies force, through the medium of experience, in order to let us know when it is time to move on. Conversely, it remains amazing to recognize how we often work against this force in order to stay where we are at. Opportunities arise at seemingly coincidental stages that give us the option to move out in a new direction, to optimize our experiences by adding on to what we already know with new things, infinite possibilities. But the old, familiar beliefs beckon, whisper in our ear, urge us to remain planted, feet firmly on the ground, resisting all temptation to strike out into the unknown. Life is irresistable though, and each time we resist movement, we invite harder and more painful lessons into our life, until that force then forces us to embrace change.

When the ego meets the spirit, it often seems as if an irresistable force is going up against an immoveable object.  Nothing could be further from the truth. In the first instance, the ego is the spirit’s tool, designed to help navigate the currents and shoals of experience. The ego’s job was originally designed to man the helm of our conscious journey through the world, following the directives of our spiritual imperatives, handling the gross material details of our body’s movement through the four-dimensional world of space and time while the spirit maintained the more subtle and intricate aspects of the quantum mathematical formulations that regulate our unconscious bodily functions. In the second instance, there is no real separation between the ego and the spirit, and any distinction between the two is illusory. The ego is a personality construct formed in response to the dimensional manifestation of consciousness upon the material plane. Within a hierarchical structure of duties, the ego is to our spirit as an operating system might be to a hard drive; created to order, interpret and present Reality as an operating system orders, interprets and presents binary code. In the third instance, any illusion created by the appearance of separation is an affectation. A choice we make, to interpret only what the ego interprets as the totality of reality. To ignore the evidence of our senses beyond the five and live limited perceptively by the constraints of our bodily organs and the material world.

When social and personal imperatives elevate the importance of material success, personal strength as exemplified by well-developed egocentric personality constructs become the norm, sublimating the inner, spiritual core that undergirds the ego, bolsters it, informs it at its foundation. Success as defined by worldly pursuits minimizes empathy, compassion and the importance of the collective over the individual. The Cult of I proliferates and the spirit is sublimated beneath the chorus of experiences that chatter incessantly, drowning out the quiet voice that originates in our center. Past and future take on real and threatening aspects that obscure the moment. As we regret and worry, the petty events of our days and nights, our interactions with others, all lead us into the cause and effect creation of karmic debt that then limits the cast of possible future situations, while simultaneously hardening the imprint of past situations and their related choices. We are then pushed remorselessly into temporally impenetrable future choices and situations that, once we make them, also seem as inevitable as the originating choices and situations themselves.

The ego revels in its position as Chief Interpreter of Events. The improbable battle between our deeper Self and the ego is waged incessently at the almost subliminal level of consciousness. Sometimes we can hear it and feel it as an argument between the chatter of our egoic mind as it struggles against a feeling, or a quiet knowing deep within that tells us when we’re about to make the wrong decision, go down a more difficult path, choose the harder way through an experience. The voice of our egos seems to argue with something else - voiceless yet as present and real as thought itself – that we never take the time to identify, yet recognize as our Selves, conscious and knowing beyond all intelligence and reason. All too often, the ego wins and we ignore that deep knowing in favor of rationalizations, of intellectual bombast and flawed logical arguments that leads us unerringly in pursuit of our desires and material gain, often to our own detriment. We look back and shake our heads at our ignorance, wondering why we didn’t listen to ourselves in the first place, knowing full-well that, given similiar circumstances, in all likelihood, we would make the same decision again and, as a result, the same mistake. The problem is not our reasoning, our intellect or our decision-making ability, it is our dependence upon a mental faculty that has been overtaxed way beyond its ability to cope with the intricate, multi-dimensional folds of a quantum, holographic Reality.

It really is that simple. All knowledge is internal not external, and we know the answer to all of our questions before we even ask them. Once we realize a few things about ourselves, consciousness and the world around us, we realize that things we’ve always believed to be true about life just aren’t, and that there is more to existence than the pursuit of material satisfaction, happiness or riches. Perfecting clarity, or removing the multiplicity of experientially-biased lenses that we and society have created in order to limit our perception, becomes the only goal worth achieving, at this point. And this means going above and beyond, shifting our efforts from external pursuits to internal. Undergoing a life-review in extensive and personal detail, finding out where our most deeply held beliefs were born, where our most secret disfunctions live, where our most intimate desires are whispering for us to go. Clearing a lifetime of mental and emotional detritus, all of which are spattered viscous and gross, like bugs on the windshield of perception, causing Self to squint and crane in the attempt to see past the mess and interpret incoming stimuli accurately and in the service of our best karmic and dharmic interests.  Life deserves our best effort, and we can only give it if we obtain Knowledge of Self first, and then use that to better the lot of those around us, in service of the Divine that we finally realize is manifest in every single aspect of Creation, from the most humble beggar to the most arrogant Moabite.

The force of life is the lifeforce. That which gives us breath, the animating force of the Creative Principle itself, the Creatrix, preceding conceptualization (omniscience), dichotomization (omnipotence) and manifestation (omnipresence) by any other name (or Divine Moniker). Serpent Power energy, Chi, Ki, Qi, Kundalini, Prana, however it is described, suffuses Creation, the life force and life consciousness that animates every aspect of material incarnation. We are all connected in this web of subtle energy at the level of thought, directed action, auric blooms and beyond, our sometimes inconsequential interactions and true st intentions more far-reaching than we could ever imagine, given the intricate weaving of meaning and destiny that originates in hidden histories far past the wildest postulations of our most febrile imaginative jaunts. But such is the life we’ve all chosen to live, as your presence here indicates our pre-life decision to interact and share experience during this Cycle of Incarnation and who knows how many others. Let go of the limiting beliefs and manifest the power of oceanic divinity through the droplets of consciousness we have chosen to become, this time around. Failure is not possible and fear is only a choice we make when we forget that we are greater than we seem to be, as boundless and powerful as the stars that shine above and the rocks that quake beneath our feet. G-d is Change, and embracing that fact releases us to wonder, and the joy of Becoming all that we were born to Be.

2012 and Beyond: Conscious intention and growth

2012 is a year of destiny. So many people are saying so many things about so much. What is going to happen? Is the world going to end? Is it going to be a year like any other? Is life going to get better for more people or worse? Are bad things going to happen, are good things going to happen, or both?

Not all years are brought in with the hoopla surrounding them like this particular year is experiencing. So many people have been looking forward to it with anticipation or fear that nobody knows exactly what to think. Most people are comfortable believing that it is going to be a year like any other with no special significance. Other people are desperately hoping and believing that this year will mark a shift in the world and its people, for better or for worse.

Religious folks look to prophecy and ancient tomes and herald this year as the end of a long period of testing. Spiritual folks look also to prophecy, ancient tomes and ethereal voices and see the same. Materially-oriented folks look to the state of the world, the economy, wars and rumors of war and see pessimistic possibilities also. It seems that no matter what perspective that one might cultivate, the outlook for 2012 is one of transformation. Transformation of the world that we live in and and possibly of ourselves.

What do you see occurring in 2012? Do you see the year as being one of transformation? Do you think that the transformation will be positive or negative? That the world will become a better place because of it or a worse place?

Depending upon your viewpoint and perspective, the world may indeed change for better or for worse, believe it or not. The power of intention is under-rated, for the most part. In our personal lives, if we are not consciously following a path of personal transformation, our intentions are ephemeral and shift with the moment. Our motivations are decided by our emotional states, by circumstances or by whimsy. We don’t necessarily pay close attention to where we might be coming from or what we might intend in general. Depending upon our level of self-knowledge, this could result in the expression of a life without direction or  motivation.

Individually, we affect all those with whom we interact and sometimes even more people than that. We affect the way they think, which can affect their intentions which eventually results in a change in their behavior through a shift in their actions. If we can each, individually, affect one another in this way, consider the greater implications of societies and cultures and the possibility that each can be viewed organically as well.

What are the intentions of the United States toward the rest of the world? How do those intentions affect others? How do the intentions of the US manifest as thoughts? And how do those thoughts eventually result in actions that express the intentions of the US? Canada? Great Britain?

As we are indoctrinated in the cultures of our countries, so our intentions, thoughts and actions are a reflection of that subliminal indoctrination and we come to express, individually, a national character that is distinct and recognizable in other countries as we represent ourselves and our countries in our travels. The extent to which we consciously become aware of this process of indoctrination and how deeply we internalize it ourselves determines the extent to which we then become responsible for the intentions, thoughts and actions of the nations within which we have each achieved self-awareness, to greater or lesser degrees.

Disassociating one’s self from the indoctrination process allows one to then become aware of who they are, individually, perhaps, for the first time ever. Going deeper than the nationalism, the patriotism, understanding the extent to which the society, the educational system, the media, friends and family conspire to keep each other in a state of somnolence is necessary for each of us.  The ending of the restless and fitful slumber of the masses, interrupted by fits and starts like 911, like the 2008 financial crash, like the arrival of a year like 2012 that threaten to fully rouse populaces tired of sleeping and ready to wake and look around, finally aware of what is truly going on in the world around them, allows us each to understand that it is our responsibility to infuse the national character with conscious intentions commiserate with those of their individual components.

It takes a year such as 2012 and the attention of a vast number of people to bring sub-surface intentions and thought-processes, both individual and collective, to the surface. It takes a year like 2012 and the strident arguments, the passionate contentiousness, the awakening realization of billions of people that we are all in this together to consciously make a shift in this world that will result in its betterment. It takes a year like 2012 and the recognition that the pyramidal control structure that has been in charge off the planet for far too long is not our only alternative when it comes to governance. It takes a year like 2012 and the understanding that Banks have not been the repositories of security for the populace that they’ve advertised themselves as being for so long. It takes a year such as 2012 for people to understand that divide and conquer results in the empowerment of a minority to the detriment of the majority.

Whatever happens this year, it will be what we all choose. What we all decide, together. If there is to be war, then it will be with the consent of the majority of the world because wars cannot be fought without warriors to fight them or their parents, wives and children to support them, passively or actively. If there is to be financial ruin, it will only because we decide that it will be so, because we continue to give power to fiat currency and to a system of banking that rewards the 1% and punishes the 99%. If there is to be racial and ethnic conflict, it will be because we decide that we are different from those who do not look like us and that that difference is enough to determine who belongs at the apex of the power structure. If we decide to go down the pathway of the catastrophic earth it will be because we all choose to do so, together.

Of course, there is another choice. There always is. If we individually decide that we want 2012 to be the best year of our lives, then we can make it so, no matter what happens in the world around us. And if many people make that decision and affect each other’s intentions, thought processes and actions, then, together, we can all make 2012 a year to mark the progression of years through the timeline of evolution and consciousness, to make this year a banner year despite the intentions of the minority in power and despite whatever may happen around us in the world. Come comets, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, cold spells, hot spells, droughts, famine, pestilence, disease, the world as it is perceived is as we decide it to be, subject to the infinite power of intention.

Make 2012 a banner year, for yourself. From you, this intention will spread to others and from them, to others still. Instead of being a year to end all years, 2012 can be a year to begin all years. Year 0 in a brand new future beyond the prognostications and prophecies of the ancient and new traditions. 2012 will be what we make it, individually and collectively.

Happy New Year, to One and All.

2013 and Beyond: Conscious intention and growth

The Rules of Capitalization: The spiritual lies we live

It is often difficult for people to handle the Truth. We all have our “little t” truths, but when it comes to the “big T” Truths that speak to aspects of “big S” Self as opposed to “little s” self, we often do not want to hear it. People can go an entire lifetime running from Self and Truth. In fact, even understanding that there is a difference between self and Self, truth and Truth can be too much for many to handle. Here are two examples of “little t” truth versus “big T” Truth:

Money will make you happy. That is a “little t” truth. Money will give you the capacity to pay your bills, to buy gifts for people during birthdays and special celebrations, to get things that you desire and think you need in your life.

More money, more problems. That is a “big T” Truth. Money will not only allow you to take care of the material things in your life that you need, it will also allow you to engage in behavior that you may desire, which is not the same as need. Indulging our desires is the quickest way to find out who we truly are and, sometimes, that is not necessarily a good thing.

Now here are two examples of “little s” self versus “big S” Self.

I’m an individual. I like certain things and dislike other things. This is an example of the “little s” self. There are things that happen in life that make us happy and sad. Naturally, we like the things that make us happy and we dislike the things that make us sad. Our bodies react to our thoughts by sending a cascade of chemicals out from the hypothalamus (neuro-peptides) that suffuse our cells, changing their state, which we call having an emotional reaction. Being happy, being sad, etc. Chemical reactions which are imminently controllable, if we so choose. Our emotions are powerful and they are often an important factor in the decisions we make in our lives.

We are One. We are all a part of God.  This is an example of the “big S” Self. Also called the Higher Self or one of the 72 Names of God, we are, individually, like cells in a human body or like droplets in the ocean, a part of something larger and beyond our individuated consciousnesses. Being such, we are not our egos or personalities, we are the silent stillness of Awareness that lies beneath the thoughts that often course remorselessly through our minds. This Awareness is our connection to our Higher Self and to that higher Divinity which lies beyond. This is who we really are. The core of our BEing, that which is aligned with the Eternal and Infinite.

Coming to understand these differences between self and Self, between truth and Truth is coming to terms with the reality of the holographic matrix within which we live and carry out the conditions of our lifetimes. Our “little t and s” truths and selves are the ego-bound, personality-driven, limited almost mechanical constructs through which we view the world and our interactions. They are the product of our upbringings, our family values, our societal mores and our conceptions of dualistic existence. It consists of our likes and dislikes, our rights and wrongs, our goods and bads, our positives and negatives.

Our “big T and S” Truths and Selves are our connection to each other, to the world and to the cosmos and the Infinite and Eternal beyond even that. They are our resonant response to the thrill and joy of existence, to the contradictory and yet supportive conditions of a limited material existence and an unlimited immaterial existence. The contradictory understanding that we will die, and yet we will live again. That we have only a short while upon this earth, yet there is no end to what lies beyond.

A general response to these Truths that lie beyond the ken of too many is an immersion within the daily grind. A concentration upon minutia. An over exaggeration of our physical bodies to the detriment of our spiritual bodies. An elevation of the emotional and personal entrapment to the exclusion of a greater form of emotional and personal detachment. We often desperately hold on to the “I”, to the “me”, so that we don’t have to admit the existence of a greater “We”. The contradictions of our existences demand this willful blindness to the Truth in favor of our truths.

To enjoy material life in the Western cultures is to celebrate the “I” and the “me” over the “We”. To live within a capitalist culture is to celebrate the “I” and the “me” over the “We”. To continue to internalize the inherently separative qualities of our culture, we must create a virtual battlezone within ourselves between self and Other, the Other in this instance being everyone outside of self, to include family members and friends. This results in the fundamental schism of a lifetime, when considering the fact that, in order to alienate others, we must first create division and separation within ourselves. This division and separation comes at the cost of the greater “We” and often occurs at a very young age.

The journey of a lifetime then becomes a reclaiming of the innocence of childhood; an innocence that recognizes the Truth of Oneness and a resonant, compassionate understanding in the collectivity of BEingness. We are alike, we share more in common than may be immediately obvious, your good fortune is mine, your happiness is my joy. Being happy for your sister because she is happy, celebrating your friend’s good fortune because it is also yours, honoring the stranger because you have also been a stranger before and know how it feels.

Awakening to the necessity of piercing the “little t’s and s’s” is one of the first steps along the journey of reconnecting with your spiritual and greater Self. Controlling your emotional states and the inner dialogue, finding out who you truly are within and living life in the Present and not the Past and the Future are all attainable goals, if and when you decide to embark upon that path. Going within to meet your Inner Child, seeking to heal her or him and send that part of yourself on a journey of re-connection with your Higher Self will lead to sustained and constant spiritual growth and a more joyous and connected experiential journey through the days of your life. This is the goal of an incarnation, at heart. Not money, not security, not happiness. These things are ephemeral and do not last. Only what is within and reflected without, lasts, and only what is within and reflected without, is Truth. Only what is beneath the inner-voice, beyond the thoughts, is Self.

Learn to recognize the Rules of Capitalization. Then live your life seeking to internalize them with eyes and hearts wide open to experience.

Nationalism and Spirituality: As above so below

This body I inhabit was born in the United States of America, In the late 1960s, to parents born but also raised in the big sky and red dirt country of the lower Panhandle region of West Texas. Our people are the descendents of enslaved Africans, galvanized by intimate, cultural interactions with both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, creating a singular and genetically consistent sub-racial/ethnic population identified as African-American. My own specific indoctrination into American culture is as a member of the generational cohort designated Gen-X, the child of an Air Force Veteran, being raised across the country and the world surrounded by the trappings of militarism and nationalism in a concentrated and volatile format. Being thusly sired, it was no stretch for me to enter the Army myself in the late 1980s culiminating in the First Gulf War-Desert Storm in 1991, whereupon the completion of my tour of duty found me more than ready to resume the formal aspect of my educational career, which I came to the end of 15 years later. It was only then that I formally embarked in a more concentrated manner upon the individualized spiritual journey that, earlier on, had characterized my life as a parallel thread of interest, but that has, over time, come to define the middle years of my life as the primary focus of my personal endeavors.

For most of my life, questions of religion and spirituality were answered within the confines of the Baptist and non-denominational Protestant Christian churches, where the perceived and affected africanisms, remnants of the continental genetic inheritance of an enslaved peoples familarized me with the intimate spiritual nature of African-descended folk, including such storied psychic capabilities as speaking in tongues(glossolalia), getting the spirit(possession), and the inherent and undeniable power of souls in synch expressing God-consciousness through the invocation of The Word put to music and the pounding, throbbing rhythms of the beat, either by drum, feet or both. The power of raw emotionality, the ability to leave the body and experience reality as Other than ordinary – as expressed equally in the synthetic religions of Santeria and Vodun – a cultural as well as a racial inheritance of the Middle Passage, known to Africanists the world across as the Maafa.

 The contradictory nature of spirituality and nationalism confront all spiritual seekers at some point of their personal evolution. And yet, our specific circumstances, our dharmic inheritance as it were, serves a purpose in the unfolding of our spiritual destinies as nationless Citizens of the World. Coming to grips with one’s Past and integrating it with one’s Present is a key component in the journey towards Transcendence of the material plane of existence, which can mean many things to many people. For me, personally, Bush’s War on Terror and Obama’s War on Liberty aftermath has left me struggling, caught within the grips of an extreme case of cognitive dissonance as my training and upbringing as a member of the American Warrior Class(AWC) surges within my mind. Memories of soldiering, the endless repetitions of the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegience and Star Spangled Banner during my early years combine with the direct military indoctrination of my young adulthood and the subsequent, rough cameraderie of soldiers, as well as the life and loves that have formed an indeliable impression upon me in the Past have made me the man that I am in the Present. I would not be who I am now, if it were not for who I was then.

When I was stationed in Germany during the late 80s and early 90s we used to call the United States the World. When someone’s tour of duty ended, they were headed back to the World. For us, everything that we could ever want was back home in the States, the World. I rather expect that soldiers, wherever they are stationed, continue to do so. In fact, I have seen movies of Vietnam where this convention is honored, and it signifies the way that soldiers think of the United States, of home, even though, technically speaking, their deployment across the planet might more accurately be considered an experience of the World. Sentimentality knows no bounds of logic or experience, it seems.

The expression of this dichotomous viewpoint, the struggle between the World and one’s current circumstances and understandings is the stuff of spiritual elevation. In each moment, it is possible for us to let goof the Past, to die to who we were in order to become who we are meant to be. As an example, it is as if there were a grand template of Rahkyt out there somewhere, a vision of perfection and peace whereby I realize my inherent probabilities, manifest at the highest level of Being, the possibilities of my spirit and my soul. A similar vision exists for all of us, regardless of our stations in life, or our individual experiences, because we are all One, connected at every level of interaction, our actions and reactions being determined by the chaotic effects of stimuli too many and diverse to specify ranging from an vast number of options spanning both space and time, creating matrices of chance and probability that result in our individualized Destinies, sending us upon life-journeys of perfection and peace, despite the emotional highs and lows of illusory materialism that distract us from what is really going on, beneath the surface drama of life and its attendent trials and tribulations.

And yet, this illusory materialism is the very stuff of life, isn’t it. It is the daily grind, the emotional relationships we share the history, and the cultural and social milieu that we inhabit forms the majority proportion of our perception, given our tendency as socially conditioned Westerners to elevate the external, material conditions of our shared realities over the internal, spiritual conditions of that selfsame reality. Which brings me back to Nationalism.

It almost goes without saying that the connection of body and mind, and some aspects of the spirit, to the collective of humanity is of necessity a mandatory expression of Oneness and that Nationalism, even considering all of its ills, is reflective of this subconscious desire of disparate groups of humanity to express this reality, given their shared ethnic and cultural affiliations. Group-mind, mob behavior, both have an aspect of shared consciousness at the level of the human sub-conscious, binding individuals together in ways that are scientifically documented and verifiable through varied methods utilized by the mass media, corporations and governments in order to direct and control populations.

So on the individual level, for those of us seeking elevation and death to the Self, it become incumbent upon us to examine all of our previously unexamined habits and beliefs in order to determine what istrue and real in our lives, what is Ego and what is Soul, and sublimate our tendencies toward the ease of groupthink accordingly. For me, personally, the heartache and pain of American soldiers fighting and dying on foreign soil is a visceral experience to me because I feel them on an individual level, know what they are going through to an extent and recognize what it took and takes for them to live the lives that they have chosen.

On the other hand, because of my empathic abilities and somewhat specialized, geographic knowedge I can feel and intuit the pain of those in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, as they are subjugated to a foreign power, Palestinians and Israelis fighting for their lives and land, Iranians, Egyptians, Syrians and Kurdistanis seeking to make sense out of the shifting, political sands. All of these groups change, evolve, merging and interacting on a super-personal level as collective, psychic entities embroiled upon multiple levels of interaction, sending tendrils of potentiality out into the aether which respond to the collective intent and desire of nations and people across the globe, all connected within the miasma of Gaia’s aetheric emanations, collectively, as macro-level expressions of the diversity of lifeforms within our own bodies, working and living together as individuals and organizations for the evolution of the whole.

This body I inhabit is formed of Stardust born of Earth, third planetary body from Sol, one solar system among many clustered within the Milky Way galaxy, reflecting the Infinite Array, expressive of the expansive nature of both matter and consciousness and the continuing evolution of the multiverse, transcending time and space within the remorseless imperative of the evolutionary process occuring within the soul of each moment, born anew with each thought and subsequent action at every level of Creation Become. My experiences and genetic programming, explicit towards the manifestation of my own personal destiny as a microcosm of our shared, collective destiny, the fulfillment of an imperative born far beyond my, or our, capacity to conceive of in its awesome and terrifying immensity.

Life Has A Way of Reminding You of What is Important

My partner, I and my 10 week old son have just moved to a new apartment. A great place, a turn-of-the century home with stores below and apartments above, we live on the third floor. Everything in the apartment was new when we moved in, from the paint job to the appliances. The only problem was the front door, which was not framed correctly. You can see light from outside all around the edges of the door when it is closed and the door won’t stay shut, nor will it lock without lifting the entire door for the deadbolt to fit into the frame.

So we’ve waited for weeks for it to be fixed, but finally, today they came to fix it. As I answered the door, still mentally in PA and with my son in my arms, thinking about my response and future actions, the workmen stood there. I said hello and the lead workman, Luc, looked at the door, bent to check out the frame and immediately collapsed.

I asked if he was ok, his companion, speaking in French, did the same, a small smile on his face as if, perhaps, his friend was joking around. But it was no joke. Immediately Luc began harsh, grunting and laborious breathing, his body began shaking violently, he was in the midst of what looked to be an epileptic seizure. He was face down, his head wedged into the space between the door and the frame. I immediately grabbed his shoulders and motioned to his friend – who spoke no English – to grab his legs and we turned him over.

I ran quickly upstairs to wake up my partner and hand her the boy, but she had heard the door and was already stirring. Hearing my voice below become strident, she knew something was wrong. She took the boy from me and I told her to call an ambulance and ran back downstairs. The other guy was standing there, tentatively, watching his friend, his voice high as I assume, he kept asking Luc in French if he was ok. But Luc’s eyes were rolled up in his head and he was breathing like a freight train, spittle blowing all over his face and jacket, his body trembling uncontrollably. I called upstairs for a blanket and my partner brought it. Luc’s friend ran downstairs then, calling something to me that I did not understand.

I sat with Luc, one hand over his heart, the other behind his head, holding him up, staring into his eyes, telling him, “relax, you’re going to be ok, you’re going to be ok”, and consciously sent him energy from my core through my hands into his body. I kept on in this manner as Luc’s friend returned, this time with two younger guys in tow whom I recognized as being co-workers, as they were all working on another shop in the back of the building. One of them told me that he was Luc’s nephew and he knelt beside us and spoke to his uncle in French, holding his hand and reassuring him. I asked him if his uncle was epileptic and he said no, this is the first time this has ever happened.

My partner brought down blankets and knelt with me, holding his head, also sending him energy, engaging in the work of her soul. We both continued to do so, eyes closed, her silent, me speaking softly, to his soul, as he trembled and moaned on the ground between us all.

As his tremors began to subside and his eyes flickered, the first responders arrived on the scene. At that time, his tremors had almost stopped. I’d only met him once previously, when he had first come to see the door. He’d measured it, told me they’d have to order a new door and that his name was Luc. He seemed to me a good guy. Now, as he was returning to himself, he seemed a bit sheepish as his awareness returned and he saw his nephew, two co-workers, me and my partner and three first responders encircled around him with concerned expressions on our faces.

He tried to stand up but couldn’t and he was helped to a couch, where he sat and answered a few questions. I moved back then, wearing only a pair of sweats and my winter coat which my partner had brought out to me at some point as I knelt there with only the sweats on in 0 degree Celsius weather, helping a near-stranger to the best of my ability. I looked out over the village as they spoke to him and others took charge, thinking about this moment. Why this had happened at this particular moment and what it meant in the larger scheme of things. I felt my heart wide open, bare in the face of mortality, and tears threatened as the fragility of life and the immediacy of the Now was impressed upon me yet again.

We are not promised tomorrow. We are not promised the next minute. Even in the midst of constant change, as life flows and we flow along with it, there are moments when you have to be forced into a recognition that we are the sum not only of our environment but out choices and those deeper streams of genetic and biological truth that we are not necessarily cognizant of. The confluence of time and space conspires to create moments of awareness, flickers of a candle’s flame against the dark resonance of the unknown, each moment a step into that darkness, taken with the faith of innocence that it will land upon something solid and that we are assured of a safe passage into the future. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The choices we make pre-life are mysteries to us now. Luc did not know when he knocked on my door that a life-changing event was about to occur. I did not know when I answered the door that a perception-changing event was about to occur.

Each of us influences each other as we interact, even if we are only within the context of an internet community. Those of us who look upon our interactions here without thinking about the deeper moral and spiritual aspects of those interactions are missing the lion’s share of the meaning that is inherent within each successive moment. Those of us who act without thinking about that importance, those of us who speak from pride, from a deeper, ingrained hubris,must look further for meaning than the rules of an old society, the understandings of an outdated paradigm.

We are each responsible for every single thought, every single word we utter, every single intention that we manifest, whether spoken or written, and will stand to account for it at a time not of our conscious choosing but at the choosing of our Over-soul. Coming to grips with that reality in the face of a cold gust of mortality can be a bracing thing if you’re not expecting it.

Our reminders are synchronicitous whether we realize it or not, each event holding meaning, following from some prior causation originating materially from immateriality. We are given precious glimpses into this Truth at key moments. These are moments that are designed to remind us of who we are and why we are here.

These are moments when life has a way of reminding us of what is important.

Trust: Changing your codes Pt. 1

I don’t feel like poetry today. Nor do I feel like going off on some deep spiritual riff, no matter how the notes promise to spiral and ascend through chords, timpanic booms echoing into the distance as flutes and violins chatter and obos and clarinets rustle through the thick undergrowth of lowing trombones, whispering cornets and frustrated french horns.

Today I’m feeling staccato, like eighth notes and sixteenth note runs on a cacaphonic Coltrane high. My anahata chakra is throbbing, spreading heat throughout my solar plexus, pulsating in tune to my mood; and I want to share the immediacy of the feeling. I want to talk about trust.

It’s not always the ones who smile in your face and listen to your problems who end up being your friends.

People come at you different ways. Some obstinately indifferent, others fiendishly polite and some wilfully obtuse. This is nature, this is life, this is how people do people and how its always been since time immemorial. When you make the decision in your own life that it’s not ok to remain mired in the same patterns of disfunction and neurosis that you’ve been caught up in for your entire life, it seems as if the entire universe conspires to work against your resolution. The determination to live your life trusting people, having faith in your decisions and your path in life becomes a torturous series of trials, during which you are accosted every which way by individuals and events both inside and outside of your control.

You take people at face value. You trust their word. You believe the things that they say to you. And when they tell you that they’re your friend, you believe that too. So believing, you share things with them that occur in your life. You tell them personal details about yourself, sharing your ups and your downs, the happy events and the sad events, the past events that have made you the person that you are and the future-possible events that will make you into the person that you want to be, living the life that you want to live.

And they smile in your face, nod and offer encouraging platitudes. They laugh when you laugh and look you directly in the eyes, making you feel warm inside and you experience that happy, glowing burst of chi that suffuses your body and sends tingles shivering down your spine, or, if the connection is strong enough, raises goosebumps along your arms and the back of your neck. Sometimes, it’s really that good.  And, in those times, life is good.

And then there are those who are indifferent; who are unfailingly polite and who live by a stark distrustful code that doesn’t allow for intimacy at the early stages of any relationship, be if formal or informal. Those people have been shaped by experiences sometimes negative in nature, wherein their trust has been broken, perhaps numerous times, leaving them broken in turn and distrustful of all outside of a small, intimate circle of friends and family who have been close to them for years, if not decades or a lifetime.

Physical and emotional abuse, the death of loved ones and other harsh experiences of reality conspire to inculcate fear and reinforces cycles of trauma and heartache that can be lifetimes in the undoing.

These people suddenly find other things to do, or display their discomfort through their body language and tone when personal conversations get too personal, or when they’ve reached their limit of interaction with certain individuals, maybe even with you or me. While it is difficult to pierce that seemingly cold exterior, within, in many cases, these individuals are warm, caring people who just need proof that someone is who they say they are to them, that proof being of the type that may take years – or extreme events of a sacrificial nature - to supply.

Those who are cold and distrustful fall under this category as well, although it usually takes quite extreme events to break through the mask which they have donned, and which has, almost invariably, become too fixed to ever remove - unless an extraordinarily powerful and consistent application of will is applied - resulting in the proverbial ‘hardened heart’.

Trusting, irregardless of the type of person trusted, is always a personal decision that one makes for themselves, in order to remove the mask of social interaction and reveal the truth of the person within. Trusting, then, is a choice. A promise and a commitment that we offer of ourselves, and, ultimately, for ourselves. This mask that we wear - that can become fixated and more expressive than a latex Hollywood monster mask augmented by the most high tech of digital special effects - is synomous with the choice, made by you, by me, to hide ourselves, to deliberately lie to others because it is what we have been taught to do by society ever since childhood.

Even though trust is a personal decision, dependent upon no one outside of ourselves, it still breaks my heart when my trust is broken. When someone I trusted disappears from my life suddenly and with no explanation, when tales are told out of school and you hear something you’ve told someone else in trust from another person’s mouth, or, when people begin acting differently toward you and you put the series of events in perspective and piece together the sad and disappointing truth that your trust has been broken.

Even worse, is when your trust is broken deliberately and malignantly, and you are placed in a compromising position in a very public manner, or in a manner that is detrimental to you materially or spiritually. In these cases, it seems as if trust was the wrong way to go, that you should have stayed in your shell, kept your mask intact, been cold and indifferent, taken years to choose whether or not to trust that particular person. So does this mean that you should follow your natural instincts and retreat back into your shell? Replace and tighten your mask even further, shelling out whatever it costs in order to have the most recent digital upgrades, so that nobody, ever ever again will see your true face, know your true feelings, be able to reach your true and everlasting heart?

While your ego, paranoia and hurt Self tell you, unequivocably, ‘yes, dammit, what, you want to get hurt and misused like this again???’, your heart of hearts always tells you true, and it is at this point that contemplation and silence come to bear, and that still, quiet Self within that speaks from the soul must be cultivated, stroked and lovingly caressed in order to retrieve the peace that you’ve been searching for all along. The peace that trust brings, by releasing you from the pain and heartache brought about by distrust, suspicion and living lives spilling over with anger, hatred, suspicion and fear.

While the surface waters of your consciousness are roiling and boiling copiously, the urge toward revenge and unholy self-righteousness crests, while the calm, deep and living waters that gird the warmth and movement of the surface retain their stability and their firm assurance that peace is the eventual goal, the inevitable end result and our eternal promise.

So let them do them, and we’ll continue to do us. Take a moment or two, a day or even a week, and allow your silence and calm response to speak for you. Do the inner work necessary to cultivate that calmness and to remember that you are better than that, that you no longer play those games, or are suceptible to base emotional manipulations, and, eventually, it will become true in your life. Not necessarily at first, because it takes time to get past emotional response habits that have been a lifetime in the making. Wanting to lash out and exact a bloody and righteous toll is natural.

Let me repeat that: Wanting to lash out and exact a bloody and righteous toll is natural.

But it is this form of nature, unexamined and formed by the instincts of our reptilian brains, that must be transcended, that we must spend our lifetimes sublimating in favor of the higher nature that we all share, that which brings us to the table in trust, peace and familyhood, regardless of our circumstances or our differences. Whether it be through monotheistic prayer, eastern meditation or agnostic contemplation, accessing your Self through intense self-awareness and purposeful conscientiousness is the mode by which we ‘change the code’ at the base level.

It has to be done, and no person should hold that much power over us that we succumb to the urge to destroy ourselves under the illusion that we are actually doing something to them. Because nothing could be further from the truth.

Sometimes it is those people who, at first, seemed unapproachable and self-contained that end up being your best friends. And, sometimes, it is those who seem to open up and listen to your problems who end up being your worst enemy. But either way, by trusting, and allowing yourself to be yourself and present that true face to the world, we end up being the winners. And that light of inner sight that shines forth from those who have achieved a state of peace and self-knowledge beckons us as a promised state of being, if only we can stay the course and implement the changes within ourselves in order to achieve our life-goals.

Trust: Changing your codes – Part II

Transitions: Ego at the crossroads

A deserted crossroads, stretching into infinity, tableaued upon a broad and dusky plain, uninterrupted by terrain variablity. Flat, expressionless, the crossroad forms a cross of infinite length, within the center of which lies a core of eternity. An old, black man, skin dark, smoking a cigar and hoisting an expensive bottle of rum sits there, waiting for you. And me. He is Papa Legba. The Guardian of the Crossroads.

Transitions are represented by the Crossroads, in many spiritual traditions. In Vodun, the Crossroads are the domain of the Lwa, Papa Legba, or Elegua are western representatives of the African Orisha, Eshu. This diety’s domain is the doorway between the mortal and the spiritual world, the revelation of the veiled sight called prophecy and is the first and last to be invoked in ceremonies dealing with communications between this and the Other Side.

Many different types of transitions can occur simultaneously in life. The ending of a semester, the evolution of relationships. The growth of children and the continuous cycling of world affairs. We all experience transitions differently. My past as an air force brat has affected the way that I experience transitions in a fundamental manner; a manner which I’m not sure is totally positive.

Transitions were always an exciting time, growing up. From birth until my sophomore year in HS, my family moved every two years like clockwork. From my birthplace in Paducah, Tejas, to Bangor, Maine, and Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire by the time I was 3. From there to Wichita Falls, back in Texas, then out to Cali at Nevado, then outside of Vallejo, at Travis AFB to 5 years of age (first UFO sightings here). From there, back to Tejas, Paducah, grandparents, aunts uncles and cousins until we moved to Biloxi, Mississippi in preparation for our 2 year sojourn on the island of Crete, Greece, where we stayed until  I was 10.  Del City, Oklahoma and Tinker AFB and  Scott AFB in Illinois, where we lived in both O’Fallon and  also on the AFB – went to school off-base at Mascoutah HS – brought me into the HS years, and then we moved to Washington State and Fairchild AFB, not far to the west of Spokane. We stayed there for 3 years. My father extended his tour there by a year so I could graduate from HS in the same school.

Moving so much made it easy for me to let people go. The excitement of the move, the thrill of new places, new spaces, new friends, the possibility of being whoever you wanted to be and not having to worry about your past catching up with you were unconscious benefits of a life lived moving forward, hardly ever looking back. The first time I felt real remorse at leaving a place, and people, wasn’t until after we moved from Oklahoma, at which point I missed a close friend whom I still look for sometimes on the Net, hoping to see his name in lights, because he was a magnificent artist, at such a tender age, and taught me much that girds my artistic endeavors to this day.

Military brats didn’t write each other often, to my knowledge. We just moved on. Sometimes we saw others that we knew before in new places, most times not. The ability to live fully in the present and the future, to some extent, is either a gift or curse that arises from this kind of lifestyle. And I realize that there are many other people out there who have lived in such a transitory manner, moving as often or more often, for different reasons. I believe that the military lifestyle is singular though, in that sense, because you are moving within a very formal and self-contained structure, so there is a similarity of outlook and experience amongst those who grow up in that lifestyle: there are commisaries and BX’s on every base, a bowling alley, gym, recreational facilities (lakes, rivers, ski resorts, parks, golf courses, trips, tours, clubs) and excellent educational opportunities available to us that really aren’t available to people of a similar economic and social status in other walks of life.

I remember every few years, the Air Force would send my father home with a comparative chart, and we would sit around the table exclaiming at the benefits that we had access to, and the comparison to civilian equivalents always left us at least 10 to 20 thousand dollars higher on the economic ladder than the actual amount of money my father was making. Being an enlisted man (Non-commissioned officer, lower ranking) for half his career, then finishing school and going to OCS for the second half of his career allowed us, his children, to experience ‘both sides’ of the military hierarchy, the lower and upper, and to transition effortlessly between different types of people, of different experiences and economic backgrounds outside of the military fold.

So, transitions have always seemed to come easily to me. And yet, my nature is fixed, according to the Zodiac, and I tend to hold on to things inside. Not necessarily physical things, or places, but the memories of people, of events, which is something that we all do. It seems to be all that we truly have sometimes, as the vagaries of life send us tossed and turning, flailing helpless in the winds of change to then be dropped into the ocean of despair, then borne atop the frothing crests of all-consuming waves of experience that leave nothing but emotional and spiritual detritus in their corpse-strewn wakes.

A traveler crosses the horizon, a distant speck on the consciousness of a Diety. Papa Legba’s cigar fizzles out and he produces another from a pocket of the old, formless grey and dust-covered jacket he wears. He snips it with weathered teeth and it lights, magically, as his black, black eyes watch the small speck grow larger. Timeless, his patience is eternal, his station as Gatekeeper the Be All End All of Creation itself, at least as far as us mortals are concerned. Without him, we cannot move forward. We cannot experience the presence, without his intervention on our behalf with the greater hierarchies and regiments of the Divine. As I draw near him, Papa Legba’s face breaks out in a cracked and weathered grin, his voice is raspy and deep as the rivers as he says, ‘Welcome back, boi. What’chu got ta say fuh yo’sef this time.’

Since the only experience I can speak on authoritatively is my own, the conclusions that I come to in blogs such as these apply to me only. If, by some extraordinary coincidence someone else’s experience is of a similar sort, perhaps the nature of my conclusion might bear some relevancy to their lives as well. If so, such statistical improbabilities are probably meaningless curiosities in an otherwise logical and rationally-oriented universe, the aforementioned stated with tongue firmly in cheek.

Every transition we make is a Crossroad, and involves spiritual/psychic/psychological communication between our rational/irrational, conscious/unconcious and spiritual/material sides, and so every transition we make is a communication between Self and Diety, whether we realize it consciously or not. In order to move forward in health and vigor, all aspects of the past must be reconciled with the future or else they remain suppressed in compartmentalized voids within our personality/ego structures. There, they fester like old wounds and draw energy to them, taking it from our Present and creating justifications and intentions that befoul our highest aspirations, that twist our good will into something selfish and perverse, proving the truism that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Within the highest of all spiritual aspirants, there remains a mortal seed. Yin and Yang each contain a seed of thier opposition, representing the true equality of dark and light, the manifestation of a perfect relationship, a necessary realization of the total aspect of Creation. One without the other, cannot exist. I, without you, in this world, cannot be whole. We are One, dark and light, black and white. Opposition challenged, fought and resisted, is strengthened. As in the final chapter of the Matrix Trilogy, when Neo realized that he could not fight Mr. Smith, but must instead realize his inherent duality – represented Arujuna on the battlefield with Krishna, Jesus in the desert with Satan, Buddha in the forest with Mara – we each must integrate and accept our inherent duality, thereby mirroring this universal battle within ourselves, as in the expression, “As Above, So Below.”

Transitions are the flow of life, the necessary condition of existence that makes experience possible, that takes us from one state of consciousness to another. So often, they pass unremarked upon, although, at the moment of their occurence, we each experience an extraordinary clarity, where we know that something momentous has just happened, where we realize something, before allowing it to fade from our conscious mind and permitting the mental chatter and egoistic formation of past/future existence to return to its predominant function of running our lives.

My own transitions leading up to the present were marked by turmoil, mental and spiritual, and, often, material. Through them, I realized that the core disfunction of my personality construct was on the run, and, baby, when your Ego is on the run, guess what it does, it turns around and attacks you, the best defense being a good offense. And who knows you better than your Ego? It will present your most alluring temptations to you, offered up like a spring pig on a platter (or a fig leaf-encrusted soy platter, for the vegetarians), your greatest material or sensual desires will suddenly appear out of nowhere and your deepest, darkest passions will arise like a bat out of the pits of Hell to confront you in the midst of your devotional practices, distracting you, pulling you back down into the Ego’s grasp.

The servant has become the Master. Instead of being an event that frees you from the past, transitions become occasions for the Ego to tighten its grip upon your consciousness, upon your true Self, which lies beneath, forever observing, emotionless and steady, the core expression of who you are in this incarnation and those beyond. Only by cultivating the Now through the many, many specific practices available (meditation upon the breath, visualization, mantras, prayers, quiet time), going within to find out who you really are, can we overcome the habit of allowing our Ego to remain in control, our thoughts to remain unstructured and typified by useless, banal chatter.

The lives we have created around ourselves act as a barrier most times to truly getting to know ourselves, and this is an intentional device that the Ego uses to strengthen it’s grip upon us. Death to the Ego is really acceptance of the Ego as a tool of the Self. Not giving the Ego power, not listening to the worries and fears, not allowing them to settle and take root or to grow tendrils of intention that reach out into all aspects of our lives, perverting our present by creating more negative kharma that will only end up repeating the same old cycle, over and over again, if we allow it to. The way out of this trap has been known since the beginning of time, but it is only by going within, that we can change what goes on without.

Papa Legba awaits each of us and we all, in our own way, seek him out. Whether it be at the bottom of a bottle of rum, or the highest mountain in the Himalayas. Whether we be Buddhist or Pentacostal Christian, Hindu or Sunni Muslim, Animist or Philosophical Diest, the power that Papa Lega represents is real and transcends culture and spiritual affiliation. Whether we acknowledge this particular belief system or not, we cannot trick ourselves. The alien formation of Ego structure can and often will attempt to downplay the reality of the spiritual, our responsibility to the collective human family and the greater trends of positivity that might awaken the selflessness of our peculiar human nature. But beneath the Ego’s selfish rationalizations, our true voices whisper constantly, reminding us that there is more to our lives than that which we want, or desire. That our purpose is greater, that we are called to Glory, no matter our personal situations, or what we can or cannot do, according to our own interpretations and understandings of what we, as individuals, are capable of in life.
Nobody holds you back but yourself. Only I hold myself back. Only you do too.

As I stand there at the crossroads, Papa Legba grows ferocious in aspect, his black, black eyes all-encompassing, growing in my awareness, drawing me in, further and further, becoming swirling black whirlpools of intention and destiny, and I am sucked into a void of eternal light, within which total consciousness exists. Around me I hear voices, of loved ones and strangers, an echoing chorus of laughter and light, of pain and suffering, of life and love, of experience and desire realized. My soul opens, my secrets exposed, I cry out to the multiverse surrendering myself to All That Is and Ever Shall Be, knowing now that my life was never my own in the first place, that I am but a part of the Whole, a singular thought in the Mind of God, an echo of a shadow of a reflection of an infinite collectivity that is One. 

Abruptly, I am returned to myself, standing alone at the Crossroads, the litter of ashes and cigar butts, and three, empty bottles of rum accompanied only by the echo of Papa Legba’s laughter, born on the desolate, whispering wind of encroaching night. Freed of all encumberances, I laugh out loud, listening to the sound of my life lived Now, and Forevermore.

Experiential Living: Life and lemonade

I suppose experience is what I’ve been after all along. Back in the day, during my college years, especially at the HBCUs I’ve been blessed to attend, I’ve seen more than my share of fights, comprised of individuals and groups, although I’ve been doubly blessed to be a peacemaker rather than a warmonger. Whenever the masses would run away from the gunshots or surging crowds, I would run to them. Whenever an argument would break out, I tended to seek resolution rather than further animosity and chaos. The experience was visceral and real, requiring me to be totally present in those moments of conflict. The same emotional highs that create vivid memories and the addictive need to experience them again and again also act as markers in our mind’s eye, drawing us back to them for the reliving, again and again.

In those days when experimentation was the goal, rather than the method of intoxication being the most important aspect, it was the friendships and the journey itself that provided the experiential manna, which is why that time period came and passed in my life as a phase, one which I look back on and do not miss but appreciate, for the experiences and memories both good and bad. Attempting to hold on to experience and to keep memories alive are both banes of the dope fiend seeking to escape experience.

Being caught up in sensual experience is also expressed by the pleasures we accrue as we age, the food and drinks we like, the television shows and movies, the drugs, the sexual positions, all remnants of previous experience. For example, I love McDonalds Big Macs because they’re good. I’ve known they are good since the first time I ate one and they taste the same today as they did back then. Experience. I eat them now seeking that same taste, comfortable, familiar, without mystery. I watch science and speculative fiction television and movie shows because I seek a return of the familiarity of youth, the books and the comics I used to read. These movies, with this new technology brings these things to life in ways that were impossible to do just a decade ago and it is a joy to me to see the characters I could only imagine by animating a 2-dimensional comic up on the big screen, their muscles just as taut, their exploits just as superhuman as I remember. Experience, albeit more cerebral than actual.

At a certain point in life, experience becomes stale. Most people, when this occurs, take refuge in the fact that they’ve always done it before so they continue to do it, even though every fibre in their being is telling them that it is not working anymore. As with dope fiends, the high doesn’t get you as high anymore. With food lovers, the big mac doesn’t please your palate the way it used to, even though it tastes the same, something is missing, the enjoyment, the pure, sensual satisfaction.

Rather than look at these thoughts, examine these feelings of discontentment, we seek to drown ourselves even further in a miasma of sensual experience hoping to find that dish that reawakens our passions, that sexual position that takes us just a bit closer to the perfect orgasm, that drug that makes us just a little bit higher, that takes us away from the underlying realization that none of this experience is enough to truly satisfy something within us, something that is telling us that there is more, that we need more, that we have to have, more.

For those to whom these feelings overwhelm, experience steps in and they/we create, consciously and unconsciously, conditions in their/our life that send them/us spiraling into the dark night of the soul and the supreme realization at that point is that change is an experience. That, perhaps, there is more to life than what we have previously known, that perhaps drugs aren’t the way out at all. Perhaps there is a bliss beyond the sexual orgasm, a physical contentment beyond that provided by the comfort foods that we consume daily. That experience is not bounded by what we’ve experienced before. That there are new experiences out there, new forms of perception, new forms of sustenance, new forms of living, of loving, of experiencing life in its variagated aspects.

The transition from one perceptive narrative to another can be immediate or transitional, can occur in an instant or take a day, a week, month, year or decades. But whenever it occurs, at some point you stop and realize that you are not in the same place that you were, that you are not the same person that you used to be and that something happened at some point to make you different. Meditative journeys into Self confirm this realization and you begin to trace the path back, into your past, noting the milestones and important events that changed the course of your life to its present one, morphing your perception of yourself and the world into the one you currently possess, or are currently in the process of formulating through your own unique experiences.

When you realize that you no longer need the crutches of the past, that you no longer smoke the cigarettes or the weed, that you no longer watch Jerry Springer or engage in the neighborhood or workplace gossip, that you no longer seek outside of yourself – in another person for instance – for completion, the quality of your experiences take on an entirely different tone, and your worldview expands as you become aware of alternative perspectives and the interconnectedness of humanity as a whole.

Life being comprised of successive experiences, being a collective experience in and of itself, I suppose what we’re all after is experience. I’m not special, or at least, any more special than you are. Being consciously aware of our movement through the days and years of our lives becomes a paramount accomplishment when we finally realize that each and every event, each and every choice is meaningful and that the quality of our lives is dependent upon these decisions that lead up to and make up our individuated life paths. In this viewpoint there are no bad decisions, no negative occurences, because every, single thing that happens to us has meaning and leads to further movement, evolution, and even, change.

Change is a good thing. Clarity of mind and the purification of the body/temple go hand with the shedding of the past in the attempt to create a present and future of light and love. The importance of finding one’s life purpose and living in accordance with the truths we discover on our journeys of experience cannot be understated. Change is inevitable, the removal of the physical, mental and spiritual detritus that obscures the perfection of our conception is evolutionary in nature and will occur at every level of Creation as a condition of life itself. Growth, movement, experience. In seeking the light, what further evidence of Divinity’s perfection do we need, other than the proof of our own experiences?

Conscious Living: Seeking the highest potentiality

Sometimes it is difficult to see through the haze of emotions, past experiences, neuroses, personality quirks and cultural and familial indoctrination in order to find your truth. In fact, this is probably one of the most difficult things to do once the decision to take your spirituality seriously is made. No matter what tradition you may practice, there remains the detritus of a lifetime’s worth of programming that must be identified, codified and sorted through in order to find the pure light of your spiritual self that lies beyond. The major religions all recommend certain spiritual tools that allow you to sift through the layers of the personality in order to accomplish this aim, to include affirmations, prayer, contemplation and meditation.

Within the structure of traditional religious practice, all of these tools serve certain ceremonial functions. People pray together in churches and mosques, they quote affirmations and meditate together in Sat-sang. Tales of faith designed to teach deeper spiritual lessons bind believers together within the ceremonial structure of the religion to create a common narrative that transcends individuals and cultures. The codification of belief has come to define aspects of societies to the extent that entire geographic regions of the world can be simultaneously assigned to disparate religious systems that also possess political characteristics as well. Because of this institutionalization effect, the structure of formal, spiritual aspiration takes on both the positive and negative aspects of politics and economics, resulting in the degradation of spiritual qualities and the elevation of consumptive qualities.

When spirituality becomes mass-produced, therefore, the danger of formal religion’s incapacity to elevate the individual soul to a higher plane of self-realization and existence becomes much greater. When church or mosque becomes a weekend jaunt, when prayer or meditation becomes only a social function, when affirmations become pithy quotes, spirituality dies a quick death and dogma sets in. Of course, the original capacity of each religious tradition to bring the seeker to a state of higher consciousness remains available, yet the path of such a person must then wend its way through all of the personal and cultural brambles that conspire to keep the true aspirant from self-realization. Working through your daily trials and tribulations is then experienced as a constant questioning of Self versus Other, of belief versus truth, of personal knowledge versus cultural tradition.

Are they lying to me? Do they know the real truth or is this just their interpretation? Is what I believe right or wrong? When seeking the elevation of the soul beyond the material planes of existence, when seeking to exemplify a higher form of living while still being incarnate upon this earth, when seeking to embody Divinity in thought and practice, these questions threaten the aspirant with immobility and doubt. It is at this point that tradition – the teachings of your religion, the experience of your own, personal spiritual explorations – comes into clarity. Seeking the highest potentiality, according to the system of truth that your own discernment has confirmed, becomes the way through the morass of doubt and ambiguity that ever threatens those without conviction.

The highest potentiality is the path that best exemplifies a divine passage through life’s disparate lessons. The form of the ever-present question becomes, what is the highest potentiality of this experience? Our individual growth depends upon the manner in which we deal with life’s trials and tribulations. How we respond to each test determines whether or not we have to repeat it, at a higher cost for each iteration. Seeking the highest potentiality allows us to consciously chart a course forward based upon our own personal spiritual knowledge and experience, no matter where we may be along the path. As we both succeed and fail during the course of our lifetimes, we gain a greater confidence in our ability to live our truth. How our personal truths then come to resemble and manifest the greater Truth that binds the cosmos together in love then becomes the indicator of our personal spiritual progress and the standard by which we come to live our lives in a conscious manner.

Living life consciously can only occur once we have recapitulated our lives, gone through our memory banks and examined each lesson we have learned for its deeper Truth. Once we have done this we become aware of the story of our lives, our own personal mythos. We become aware of the trends of our lifetime, whether we are the hero or villain – according to our personal belief system – and what the value of such assignations might be to the future course of our lives. We can then make the effort to live an examined life and become resolute in our desire to become better people and we are able to make conscious decisions about who we are and who we want to be. It is at this point that seeking the highest potentiality of each lesson becomes ingrained within our psyche and lived reality, allowing us to then embody our highest principles automatically and on a daily basis.

Coming to the point where we can live a conscious life is not an easy thing. Often, it takes personal trauma to get to the place where we can even examine our lives deeply enough to realize who we truly are because it takes being able to pierce the lies we tell ourselves as well as the lies we have taken on as our truth. That truth can hurt and, often, we have to be at a place where life experience has forced us in order to even want to examine our behavior and thought processes to that degree of detail. This is generally known as the dark night of the soul and results in the death of the Self and the rebirth of a new aspect of Self, better equipped to live your life honestly because of this direct-if-originally-unsought self-appraisal.

Mid-life crises, traumatic events, social ostricization or unforeseen occurrences and accidents can all result in the onset of the dark night of the soul and the resultant death of the self. And while it may seem like a negative thing when you are going through it, once you have come out the other side you realize the importance of what you’ve just experienced and are then prepared to live your life consciously in search of your highest potentiality. The tests never stop, because that is what life is all about. It never becomes easier, just different. Envisioning our experiences as cyclic and spiraling ever-higher as we continue to co-create our shared reality gives us the necessary perspective as well as the impetus to reach for the stars, seeking the truest manifestation of Self as we journey through our lifetimes in preparation for what lies beyond.