Notes on 666

horsemen

by Michael Maciel

Notes on 666:

6 is half of 12, which is the number for wholeness or the state of being complete.

When a number is tripled, as in 666, it indicates a kind of exponential power. In this case, it denotes a universal or general “principle.”

In 666, only the physical (instinctual/intellectual) mind is acknowledged. It means “worldly minded,” the mentality that denies the existence of the “unseen” and that rejects metaphysics and theism.

The Book of Revelation has been described as a roadmap for those who have accepted the teachings of Jesus Christ and are now endeavoring to incorporate them into their lives. It is a text for those who have stepped foot on the spiritual path, not those who are still in the process of deciding whether they should.

Consequently, those who have accepted the teachings are now in the throes of transformation, and this is where all hell breaks loose—Armageddon.

The “beast” is all of the worldly-mindedness in ourselves that must give way to spiritual-mindedness. And this can be a real struggle.

This is an inner “war,” not an outer one, although there’s nothing that says that civilizations can’t go through (or mirror) the process of transformation of an individual. This has happened many times throughout history every time a major shift in consciousness takes place.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

White horse: our spiritual nature
Red Horse: our emotional nature
Black Horse: our intellectual nature
Pale Horse: our physical nature

It doesn’t take much to see that these four elements of ourselves—in their un-transformed state—are our chief “adversaries.”

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How to Worship a REAL God

worship-1

by Michael Maciel

We live in a great being. Should “great being” be capitalized? It should if we were to use it as God’s name. But as names go, it’s not a very good one. Too cold, too “scientific,” and too limiting. But nonetheless, “great being” is a good descriptor for what God is. And it gives us a way to make God real in our lives.

God is not the universe, although there is a certain majesty in that. The sheer infinity of it is awe-inspiring. And its complexity is marvelously intoxicating to ponder. But science has kind of ruined it as a literal God by the way it reduces it to vast, cold, empty space, filled with intermittent hot gasses, whirling nuclear furnaces, and enigmatic black holes. Black holes. Who could worship that?

But just as God is not the universe, neither is the universe “the universe.” Not really. Every year, we learn something new about it. It is never the same in our understanding or our imagination. Just when we think we know what it is, we’re told that there are multiple iterations of it – the multiverse. If, then, we say that God is the universe, we are left with the conclusion that there are multiple Gods. If one God is unfathomable, how much worse would multiple Gods be?

And yet, there is one thing that we know about the universe that makes it useful in the way we worship God: it’s alive! And not just alive in the same way that protoplasm is alive, but alive in the sense that we are alive. Just like us, the universe is intelligent and imaginative. Imaginative? Just look at the bizarre deep-sea creatures, the ones that look like ghosts and neon lights. If that’s not imaginative, I don’t know what is. Clearly, the universe is capable of imagining the unimaginable.

Is God a person, or is God a thing? This is the perennial question. Things are hard to worship, and persons are too…well, personal. We’re too used to thinking of other persons as being separate from us. And if they’re separate from us, it’s all too easy for them to be absent. Over-personifying a deity can be deeply problematic.

If we fixate on God as a person, it’s very hard to feel empowered. It tends to make us see our own personhood as somehow flawed and insufficient, which makes any kind of intimate relationship impossible. Unless, of course, you’re into being dominated and mistreated. Seeing God as an all-powerful person (with the emphasis on “all-powerful”) becomes the perfect recipe for feeling perpetually persecuted.

And God-as-person always seems to take on the look and feel of a parent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But who among us had perfect parents? Anyone? If we see God as a parent (whether father or mother), we wind up projecting all of our hurts and disappointments on Him or Her. It’s inevitable. Add to that the insidious terror of being abandoned, and you cannot avoid resenting God altogether.

One thing we can safely assume: nothing is as it appears to be. This doesn’t mean that the refrigerator is actually a cow or that physical substance is somehow unreal. No, what it means is that things are deeper than they appear. Everything in this world (ourselves included) is but the tip of the iceberg. Everything (ourselves included) seems to emanate from within itself, a kind of radiance that is alive, intelligent, and imbued with intention. Not intention as we normally understand it, but intention as in “purpose.” Everything fits. Everything, in the broadest sense, is in its native environment. Where else could it be?

When we contemplate this, it becomes clear that we too are in our native environment. We are in the universe, not merely on or of it. This is where we are. It is where we have our being. We become aware that this is our home. But not the “this” that is apparent, but rather the deeper “this,” the part of reality that extends far below the threshold of our conscious selves. It is from this deeper part of us that God emerges. It’s as though the universe is inverted. The entire thing is within us, right here inside our being. We don’t have to go anywhere to find it. We carry it around with us everywhere we go. It is existentially impossible to be separated from it.

Only when we drastically change our perspective, as I’m describing here, can we hope to enter into a real relationship with God. We cannot worship the infinite with a finite mind. Until we find the infinite within ourselves, we cannot worship God. The only thing we can do is worship an idea. And that’s no kind of worship at all.

 

 

 

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Why Be Good?

Washing-machine

by Michael Maciel

Like a washing machine, our lives can be seriously out of balance as long as we’re just plodding along. But when our circumstances change, such as entering into a new relationship, a new job, or moving to a different city, our pace of life increases dramatically, and our imbalances become amplified. The washing machine starts walking across the floor, destroying everything in its path and eventually shakes itself apart.

There’s a saying that people tend to find God at the end of their rope. It’s in the face of utter failure that we discover who we really are. There’s no more solid a place to stand and find one’s footing than rock-bottom. But such events are usually the catalysts that bring us to the spiritual path. They should never happen as a result of having set foot upon it.

It is for this reason that spiritual schools have throughout history demanded strict moral development of their students, that they be able to demonstrate superior levels of self-control. Because once the energy of spiritual practice kicks in, it’s too late to make those in-depth adjustments, the imbalances that heretofore could be safely ignored. When the spin cycle begins, all hell will break loose, so it’s better to begin the process of spiritual acceleration with the most pressing adjustments already in place.

This is why obedience to the teacher is so important, why renunciation and strict adherence to the rules of your practice are so critical to your success. When your teacher tells you to do something that you don’t want to do, do it anyway. When you know you should be meditating, meditate, whether you feel like it or not. By working against your “natural” inclinations, you bring that which is out of balance into balance, and your further spiritual development is assured.

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A Lotto Prayer

Lottery Balls

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matt. 21-22.

My friend Jeff wanted to win the lottery. It would be the answer to all of his prayers, he thought, and he daydreamed about it constantly. A solid middleclass blue-collar worker with two healthy children and a loving wife, he considered himself fortunate, but couldn’t help thinking how nice it would be to have a lot of money. He could see himself paying off the mortgage, maybe getting that fishing boat he’d been longing for, and, of course, a year off for travelling wouldn’t be bad either. Life would be so easy — no bills, no hassles, and no stress. What a dream! Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?

Then he started thinking how having that much money would change the way others saw him and how his friends and relatives would want a handout. He would have to say no, of course, to most of them, and would probably alienate everyone. After all, most lottery winners take their cash in yearly stipends, not all at once. And with prices going up all the time, what seems like a fortune today could become merely a sufficient income tomorrow.

Costs have a way of escalating. Getting a nicer home would mean higher mortgage payments. A larger house would require more furniture, which needs more upkeep. Getting an extra car would mean getting more insurance. He would want to send his kids to college, and they would need cars too, along with a myriad of other things. There just wouldn’t be that much to go around. He would have to put his immediate family first. Everyone else would have to fend for themselves, just like he had been doing all along.

Jeff and his wife always put family first. Both their parents lived nearby, and they needed more and more help as they got older. He had two brothers; she had a brother and two sisters. None of them had gone to college, and all of them were in about the same boat financially as they were. If he helped his parents, would his wife think that he was being unfair to hers? The family politics were complicated enough without adding a pile of money to the equation. And even if he did have enough to meet everyone’s needs, did he really want to set himself up as godfather, making all the decisions about who got what? God Almighty! How could he possibly make everyone happy?

Friendships were important to Jeff, too. Most of his buddies had gone to high school with him, and some went all the way back to grade school. He had always felt awkward around rich people, because he had the bad habit of trying to impress them, thinking that they might give him money or at least some valuable advice. What would his life be like if he never knew what his friends’ motives were? Would he be loved only for his money? Would his friends be nervous around him, and would they continually be asking him for things? They were all great people, but they would have to be extraordinary not to start seeing him as either their personal banker or someone who was purposely denying them help when they needed it.

Jeff also believed that if he suddenly became wealthy he would have to associate with those whose incomes matched his own, and he didn’t particularly like those people. They seemed pretentious and shallow. And anyway, they would never accept him as an equal, no matter how much money he had. After all, they had gone to college, had professional careers, and came from wealthy families. He was unlike them in every way.

Obviously, Jeff had opinions about rich people. He had been schooled in the daytime soaps-the rich were self-indulgent and led reckless lives. Husbands and wives always cheated on each other. Divorces were frequent and often violent. Their kids were cynical and usually wound up on drugs, became pregnant, or both. For Jeff, being wealthy meant that you were decadent, narcissistic, and bored. And you could never trust anyone, not even your spouse.

Life for the rich, he believed, was all about “getting yours”. How could anyone who lived like that ever enjoy the simple things in life, the things that really matter? If he was rich, would he become obsessed with getting more and more money, the way he thought wealthy people were? Would his kids become spoiled and get into trouble? Would he become suspicious of his wife? These scenarios were frightening. No amount of money was worth losing love and happiness over!

Were any of Jeff’s opinions about rich people true? He knew they probably weren’t. But deep down, he felt that if he suddenly came into a lot of money that he would lose his place in the world. The newly rich usually make fools of themselves, he thought, through conspicuous consumption. And though people envy them, no one really likes them. No, there was just too much about being rich that he either didn’t trust or didn’t understand. He realized that he had it pretty good right where he was and decided that being wealthy wasn’t for him.

All of this didn’t stop Jeff from daydreaming about winning the lottery, but now he knew it was just an idle fantasy and not what he truly desired. Life might not be bed of roses, but he had his family and his friends. This was the kind of wealth he could accept wholeheartedly. His life was a perfect demonstration of what he was actually praying for. Top on his list was a loving family and lots of friends with whom he could relax and be himself. This is exactly what he had. He was in complete control. Having money, in his mind, would jeopardize everything.


 

The Lesson

Once we learn that prayer works, we feel that we must immediately set about getting our prayers answered. There is a feeling that we should ask for the things that everyone else on our block is asking for, such as health, wealth, and happy children. What we don’t realize is that there has never been a time in our life when we haven’t been praying, that the patterns of acceptance woven into the fabric of our day to day living are indeed our prayers. Our actions mirror the conditions that we will accept and the conditions that we will not accept. The truth of this is reflected in the saying, “You are always exactly where you need to be.” Merely changing our actions, besides bringing us face to face with our resistance, will not by themselves effect any lasting change. We have to look closely at our “bottom line”, those deeply held, sometimes subconscious beliefs that motivate us to do the things that we do.

Are all rich people obsessed with money? No. In fact, the opposite is usually true — it’s when we’re broke that we become obsessed with money! As Mark Twain said, “Money isn’t everything, as long as you have enough of it.” The lack of money breaks up more marriages than being wealthy does. But these were Jeff’s beliefs about what it means to be rich. Our beliefs about money are powerful regulators of how much of it we allow to come into our lives.

Possessions work the same way. We are successful when we own what we have, not just on paper, but in our heart and mind as well. Pursuing things we don’t really want, simply because we think we should, is the same as going into debt, only spiritually. And regardless of how much of the material things of life we possess, we can only have as much as we are comfortable having. As long as our possessions do not interfere with the things that we really value, such as love, family, and friendship, we can have as much or as little as we want.

The fact is, we always have exactly as much as we are willing to accept. Sometimes we think we want much more than we actually do. When we think about it, really think about it, we find out that money and possessions might not be the things that we are actually praying for.


 

Putting the Principle into Practice:

Here is an exercise that I know you will find helpful. It’s called “Fasting from Acquisitiveness”. It is the deliberate reversal of the desire to acquire more money and possessions.

Here’s how it works: each morning when you wake up, say to yourself, “I have enough”. Briefly review the things that you have, your money, your possessions, and your relationships. Create the feeling (pretend) that all of these things are more than sufficient to fulfill your desires. Allow your heart, if only for a moment, to feel satisfied. Then forget about the exercise and start your day.

At night, as you’re falling asleep, say to the Infinite, “Thank you.” Again, mentally encompass all that you have – “select all” like the computer menu says – and create the deepest feelings of gratitude that you can muster. Allow your heart to touch, if only for a moment, the hem of the garment of perfect gratitude. Then drift off to sleep.

Do this morning and night for twenty-one days. This will effectively establish the pattern of perfect fulfillment. After all, if there’s no pattern for perfect fulfillment within you, how will you ever experience it?

The feelings of gratitude and satisfaction are independent from the circumstances of your life. In other words, you can feel grateful without having to feel grateful for a particular thing. You are simply allowing your heart to have the feeling without attaching the feeling to an external object. Likewise, the act of saying “I have enough” allows the mind to accept this new idea.

Remember that our mental environment is saturated with the message, “You need more!” This keeps the race going — both the rat race and the human race. We counterbalance this extreme position with another extreme position — “I need more” with “I have enough”.

Our inner pendulum of desire is constantly swinging between the extremes of frustration and satiation. Only when the pendulum comes to a standstill do we find the Stillpoint of Buddhism, the “I shall not want” of the 23rd Psalm, and the Peace of Jesus Christ.

“When the mind is quiet and the heart is still, the doors of perception are cleansed, and we see the universe as it is – infinite.” (William Blake)

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Get Ready for the Judgment Day

judged-by-the-law

by Michael Maciel

We have to be careful not to insist that those who have committed evil be punished for what they have done, because at the end of this life, we will stand in judgment of our own deeds, and the punishments we would mete out to others will be meted out to us, not because God is vindictive, but because we are.

If, however, we endeavor to forgive those who have wronged us here in this life, then we will be more apt to forgive ourselves of the acts we have committed against others, acts that we will be reviewing and evaluating as part of our transition into our next stage of life.

I knew a woman once who failed to strap her infant’s car seat into a seatbelt. She hit another car and her baby was killed. The officer on the scene issued her a citation, because it was against the law in that state to leave a child unrestrained while riding in a motor vehicle. My immediate concern was for the mother—the grief, along with the unbearable guilt, that she must be feeling. I also could not help but be astonished that she got a ticket for her negligence, as though she hadn’t been sufficiently “punished” already. The law, in this case, had already been fulfilled in the most punishing way possible.

The one thing we can reasonably expect in the immediate afterlife is a stripping away of the filters that blind us to the feelings of others, enabling us to mistreat them. Without those filters, the full force of our actions will make themselves known in such a way that we won’t be able to escape feeling their effects, as if we ourselves had been the victim. This is the “purging” or “Purgatory” that can be found in one form or another in the teachings of all of the world’s enduring religions. There will be a “Judgment Day,” but it will be us in the judge’s seat, not God.

The only preparation we have is to humbly and sincerely review our past deeds here and now, to develop our capacity to feel empathy and and to have remorse for the pain we have caused others. The measure of our success will be in our ability to have compassion on those that the world, in its unrelenting thirst for revenge, has consigned to the fires of hell.

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Is Reincarnation a Scientific Fact?

reincarnation

by Michael Maciel

If you identify yourself as your physical body, reincarnation can seem farfetched. But if you identify yourself as a trans-physical being, regardless of what words you use to describe it (such as “soul”) then reincarnation blends seamlessly into the experience of life.

“Trans-physical” is different from “non-physical,” in that it acknowledges the importance of physical life, as distinct from those who say that physical reality is an illusion. In one sense, that statement is correct, but it is only correct in a sense. The notion that physical reality is an illusion implies that physical reality is unimportant, which anyone with a clear sense of themselves knows that it is not. We need a physical body in order to experience physical reality. And, as it turns out, our spiritual growth depends on it.

The notion that we have a trans-physical being is more scientific than one might think. It is the notion that matter is in-formed by vibration and not, as is most commonly thought, the source of vibration. This idea that matter creates itself is fundamentally superstitious, and yet it perniciously inserts itself into nearly every vein of scientific thought.

cymaticsWe know that matter can be shaped and reshaped by vibration, as in the manipulation of sand particles on a paper diaphragm by sonic input (cymatics). We also know that we live in a sea of vibration, cosmically speaking. The tendency, however, is to regard this “sea” simplistically, the same way (before the advent of spectral analysis) we regarded sunlight.

We now know that the complexity of matter’s range of vibration exceeds our ability to comprehend, as in astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington’s famous quote, “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”

The analogy for the “sea of vibration” in which we live is the broadcast of radio waves from a transmission tower. The broadcast is simultaneously power and information, which any radio within the broadcast range can transmute into intelligible sound.

But just as sound can form shapes in the particles of sand on a diaphragm, these infinitely more complex “sounds” of the universe (the broadcast) can form complex structures of infinite variety in the part of the greater spectrum we call the physical world.satellite

In this way, we can say that vibration = information = matter. Matter is information made visible.

The notion that reincarnation is a scientific fact becomes plausible when we place vibration, in all of its infinite variations, at the center of “being.” Vibration and information are one—separate, yes, but one.

The question then becomes whether we identify with our physical bodies or with the broadcast that informs them. If we are “unique creations of God,” as the doctrine of souls proclaims, then we could very well be unique “messages” within the broadcast.

The real value of the idea of reincarnation is not in discovering who you were, but rather in discovering who you are. Instead of interpreting your life as a series of points on a timeline, across which your being travels, it makes more sense to see yourself as the immoveable point past which the timeline flows.

So this then is an alternative way in which to approach the subject of reincarnation. I’m not saying that it’s the “truth,” but rather suggesting it as a starting point for a more nuanced inquiry, using it as a hypothesis rather than as a dogma.

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How to Tell When a Spiritual Teacher Is Lying

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by Michael Maciel

There is only one story, says the famous mythologist, Joseph Campbell, and that is The Hero’s Journey. It is the story of all of us as we leave the safety of the known and venture into the unknown, to find there the Pearl of Great Price and bring it back into our everyday lives.

This Pearl is, of course, the Self, called by many names by many faiths, but always the simplicity of who and what we are. It cannot be described. But the Way to it can be described. It has been laid out in countless tales by those who “for My sake” have left the world behind and traveled the inner paths to the real.

Once arrived, no further description is needed. Nor is there any necessity for a “path.” But there are those who are called to teach, to lead others on the same path that helped them achieve their enlightenment, who know the value of the Ancient Wisdom Teachings. These master teachers would never set these teachings aside. They would never dismiss them because they were buried under centuries of misinterpretation and erroneous translations. Because, having been there, they can see through the clutter. Therefore, they know what is useful and what is not.

The Teachings are a living thing, and like all living things they require constant renewal—the continual adaptation to present-day circumstances and levels of consciousness.

It’s reckless to say, “You don’t need the Bible or _________ (fill in the blank),” because as we grow in spiritual consciousness, each new level brings with it a test, the temptation to stop at the border station as though it were the destination. One teacher said, “The student will be tempted to take the bit and run.” Thinking they have the whole story, they set themselves up as spiritual authorities, and then devote most of their time to self-promotion.

The other temptation is when they regard their own minds as the pinnacle of spiritual attainment. Having grown accustomed to their superiority, they lay aside the principles they learned on the path that got them to where they are, and they advise their students to do the same, even though they’re not ready to strike out on their own.

This is an all-too-common mistake committed by those who are enamored by their own achievements. They say things like, “Just be!” as though that’s the all-and-everything anyone needs to know in order to wake up. They will spout endless streams of platitudes pointing to some elusive state of being, which for the average person is unattainable—not because they’re unworthy, but because they are unprepared.

It would be ludicrous for a virtuoso violinist to tell his students, “Just play!” Such guidance could only come from an ego completely separated from reality. Why then is it so believable when a pretend spiritual teacher says, “Just be”?

Oprah Winfrey, who has done so much to bring spiritual teachings to the world through the mass-media, nevertheless once told one of her guest-speakers, “We sell the dream.” As long as spiritual attainment is portrayed as a “dream,” it sells. But the very instant you place requirements on it—the way a master violin teacher would require of his students—the dream loses its appeal and ceases to sell.

And it doesn’t matter whether the fee is in dollars or applause. When so-called teachers present spiritual awakening as a vague allusion, an exalted state to which everyone is entitled whether they work for it or not, they are only drawing attention to themselves. They care nothing for the actual spiritual advancement of their students. Their entire presentation is a fraud and will only serve to keep people stuck where they are, replacing one “dream” with another.

True spiritual teachers are not self-promoters. One of the greatest teachers—Buddha—told his followers, “I am the finger pointing at the moon, not the moon.” He too was beleaguered by followers who wanted to turn him into a god. Whenever someone passes themselves off as a “spiritual authority,” continually pointing their finger back upon themselves, beware. They do not have your best interests at heart. All they’re looking for is to get something from you, either your money, your applause, or your sex—and sometimes all three.

Spiritual attainment requires work, the same as any other worthwhile discipline. It doesn’t matter how many books you read or the words you use or the symbol you hang around your neck. The only thing that matters is the amount of time you spend practicing. This requires intense inner work.

Meditate. Pray. Be charitable. Lose yourself in self-forgetting service for the good of all. There is no other way, and there are no shortcuts. If someone says, “It’s easy,” they’re lying.

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What Now?

011113-national-gun-laws

by Michael Maciel

It’s especially important during times like these, when emotions are running high and fingers are pointing in all directions, when everyone is desperately trying to make sense of a world that is clearly going insane, that we practice meditation. We must find that clear space in the midst of the chaos and take refuge within it. Only then will we be able to think clearly and not be carried away by mass hysteria.

Take a moment and consider the following:

Most of the time, the thoughts we think are not our own. We merely re-think thoughts that have been around for thousands of years. Our brains have evolved around them, not for our survival but so the thoughts themselves can survive. Because for the mind, consistency is more important than truth.

Our collective thoughts are a trap of our own devising—a box outside of which it is nearly impossible to think. Believing that you can think your way out of the trap (implied in the statement “you create your own reality”) is simply more of the trap. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.” –Albert Einstein
There is a way out, but it does not involve thinking. The trap is made of thoughts. Thoughts are the only way that the trap can keep itself intact. It is onlyby NOT thinking that the trap can be transcended.

But do not equate having thoughts with awareness. They are not the same. In fact, it is very difficult to think thoughts and be aware at the same time. Only a quiet mind can become fully aware. Once the mind is aware, the trap becomes obvious for what it is—limited and small.

The thoughts that make up the collective trap (the box the mind has created for itself) are logically consistent, but truth cannot be discerned by logic alone. Just because the thoughts that make up the trap are logical doesn’t make them true. Any premise, true or false, can be carried to a logical conclusion.

The mind is not the problem. A good mind serves awareness. But a mind held captive by its own thoughts can only impede awareness.

Throughout time, mystics have taught three methods for escaping the trap:

1) Concentration
2) Meditation
3) Contemplation

Concentration is mastering mental focus. It is the ability to think about one thing at a time, the ability to control your attention, to keep it where you want it to be.

Meditation is the intentional cessation of thought for the sake of enhancing awareness. It is the ability to be aware of both inner and outer states of being.

Contemplation is the ability to be aware and to have thoughts at the same time. It cannot be achieved without having first mastered concentration and meditation. Contemplation can only be achieved “outside of the box.” Merely thinking within the constraints of the pre-fabricated thoughts of the collective mind will only yield more of what is already there. Only through contemplation can anything new be revealed.

If quieting your mind is difficult, practice concentration. I recommend the “Orange Concentration Exercise” found in the “Exercises” tab of The Mystical Christ.

Your mind is your most valuable asset. Take care of it. Don’t let others tell you what to think. Do your own thinking. But you can only think—I mean REALLY think—if you can first NOT think. Only an aware mind can think its own thoughts. Be aware. Be awake.

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Christmas as Death

by Michael Maciel

sunsetIt’s not a difficult concept. The esoteric teachings say that the Christ Being, the Lord of the Sun, the Son/Sun of God, voluntarily shrunk Itself down into the body of a little child. It did this for the express purpose of bringing new life into the planet so that it could overcome the spiritual inertia in which humanity had become trapped. So the birth, in a sense, was actually a death—an entombment in the dense, confining consciousness of the physical plane. The very act of being born was, for the Christ Being, a crucifixion.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our souls are led deep inside the labyrinth of our physical body, the vehicle prepared for us so that we can experience Earth. And like Theseus, we are given a thread of truth that will lead us out of the maze and into the Sunlight of full spiritual awareness.

mazeAll of us—you, me, everyone— are the Christ Being refracted into billions of shards of light, seeking to “boldly go where no one has gone before.” Joseph Campbell, the famous mythologist, said that we are the eyes of the Earth, the ears of the Earth, the hands of the Earth, as though humanity were the Earth’s vehicle of self-expression, its most sentient organ of perception, its ultimate product of evolution—the entire ecosystem become self-aware.

But Campbell was only partly right. The Earth is only one component of this Solar System. To say that humanity is a product of the Earth is to say that life itself is a product of the Earth, when we know for a fact that it is not. All life comes from the Sun. The Earth is a response to life, not its author. So it’s far more accurate to say that we are the Sun, and even more than that, we are the entire Solar System, shrunk down into a particular expression within a particular domain. The “Self” is the Whole Thing. We are It, and It is us. Earth, as it happens, is merely one adventure in the soul-saga upon which together we have embarked.

Our bodies truly are a product of the Earth (fueled by the Sun). They are Life’s act of “reaching up” to the Sun, its desire to be inhabited by its Source. Evolution is a two-way street. Intelligence, encoded in the light, permeates the Solar System. Matter, simultaneously fueled and animated by that intelligence, continually seeks to attune itself with it. Our bodies are literally built by the Sun, informed by the intelligence within Its radiance.

theseusWhen the attunement of matter with Spirit is close enough, the Heavenly Marriage takes place. The vehicle is impregnated with the Word (the intelligence), and a “Son” is born. But the child is born in a cave—a labyrinth—from which it must find its way back to its father, the king. It’s path is fraught with danger. Many heroic feats must be accomplished before it can fully remember who and what it is.

This was the only way for the Christ Being to experience the Earth. From deep within the “cave” of the human body, It had to learn how to use the organs of perception the body provided, organs that were made by and for the Earth. And in using them, It would develop and strengthen them, so that they could withstand the intensity of pure awareness—the total spectrum of divine consciousness that would eventually shine through them. This is the Hero’s Journey described by Campbell, the descent into darkness—the death and burial in the tomb of matter—and the return to the world of light.

BuddhaLight

It is highly unlikely that Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25th, or even in the year zero of the Common Era. His actual birthdate is irrelevant. What is likely is that he was an initiate of high degree, born and trained to be a suitable host for the Christ Being’s incarnation, which had been foreseen for thousands of years. This is the historical significance of the event we know as “Christmas.”

But as significant an event as this was, it means nothing if it is not recapitulated in each and every human being on the planet. Each one of us must stop identifying with our physical body and look within to the Christ Child at the center of our being. We must, like the Three Wise Men—the fully developed body, mind, and feeling nature—offer our gifts to it, and guide it away from the forces of the world that seek its destruction. We must lead it into the Land of Egypt, into the Ancient Mysteries, where it can grow and be strengthened by the truth before it embarks upon its Hero’s Journey.

So this, then, is the Mystery of Christmas. It is the most inward part of the spiritual year. It’s no coincidence that it is also the shortest day of the year, the day on which the Sun once again begins its own Hero’s Journey and ascends from its lowest point on the horizon back to its exalted position in the heavens. This is the season wherein all of the powers of Earth and Heaven collaborate with us in our endeavor to find the Christ within—our own divine nature. Let it be born. Let it shine forth through our eyes, and let it give its gifts to the world through our hands. Let it hear the sorrows as well as the joys of the Earth through our ears. BE the Christ. Be the All. It’s who you are anyway. It is what you were born to do.

christ light

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Balance vs. Commitment

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by Michael Maciel

In boxing, there are training exercises where parts of your body are restricted. Your ankles are tethered together to keep you from over-reaching and getting off-balance. Your strong arm is lashed to your body so that you’re forced to use only your jab. These exercises are designed to isolate certain functions in order to draw attention to them, not because they’re weak necessarily, but because you’re not using them enough. You’re out of balance.

Your trainer tethers your ankles because you’re stepping too far in the direction of your opponent, which means you’re “chasing” him. Thus, he’s controlling you and can lead you into a trap. If your trainer lashes your punching arm to your side, it’s because you’re trying too hard to knock the other guy out. And any swing that doesn’t connect puts you off-balance.

Balance is the key in almost every sport. Balance is the position of power.

The same can be said about the spiritual life. We can get so caught up in outer forms of service that we neglect our inner connection, using our busy-ness as an excuse to skip our meditations. Or we can choose the outer route of trying to “fix” people, always jumping in with an answer, instead of taking the inner route by simply connecting, letting them know that we understand what they are going through.

But sometimes, people need an answer, and sometimes they need our silent presence. Sometimes one, and sometimes the other—we have to be good at both. Our own Self-realization is the greatest service we can offer the world, but it’s not the ONLY service. It’s the people who are relying upon us for one reason or another (either our family members or our customers) that test our ability to respond. We don’t have to go looking, necessarily, for opportunities to serve others. All we have to do is answer the door when they knock.

But don’t let balance itself become your new god. There are times, when in the act of commitment, that balance must be sacrificed. Just be sure that your commitment—your punch—connects. A commitment that doesn’t connect can be your undoing.

Balance is the Middle Path. But it’s a place from which to instigate action, not a thing to worship. It’s a platform, not a destination. It’s the place you always want to return to as quickly as possible, but don’t tether yourself permanently to it. The secret to throwing a good punch is not in the strength of your arm; it’s in its timing and its exact placement. Timing and positioning, balanced by the appropriate amount of power—this is the Middle Path.

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