Male-Female Symbolism

IsisHorusMaryJesus

by Michael Maciel

In mythic stories, such as the ones we find in the Bible, different characters symbolize different aspects of ourselves. When we read about Jesus, for example, every character in the story represents aspects of our personality, both conscious and unconscious. The relative importance of the characters in the story, the actions they carry out, and the relationships they have with the other characters, all describe our inner strengths and weaknesses, the places where our inner aspects work together well and where they are at war with each other.

tarot-cardsWithin this symbolic method of storytelling, male characters represent the conscious mind, whereas female characters represent the subconscious mind. This is part of the basic framework of Tarot symbology, as we are all well aware of. Nothing new here. What isn’t so obvious is the WHY part—why are male characters used to symbolize the conscious mind, and why are female characters used to symbolize the subconscious mind?

This is a complicated subject, so I’m going to give the outline version, so to speak, for the sake of brevity.

Basic premise: we ALL have both male and female aspects, so this is NOT about literal men and women, except in those cases where people are spiritually asleep and need to live out the drama of the mysteries in their daily lives. They are compelled to do this so they can learn the lesson by acting it out physically. The more we deny the opposite gender within ourselves, the more we are obligated to play out the game in physical terms.

Point of Inquiry: what is women’s role in society and their hierarchical relationship to men. HOW does the symbolic drama play out in real life? Is there anything generic about human psychology that reflects this forced subjugation of women in the social hierarchy, given their role as the subconscious mind in the larger narrative?

OsirisReasonable assumption: this framework, this grand symbolic narrative, describes an aspect of psychology that is SUBTLE, meaning that it’s not obvious, nor is it understood to the extent that we can adequately articulate what we know about it.

Simple version: we know that we are either spiritually awake or asleep. Being spiritually awake implies that we have at least some UNDERSTANDING of our purpose in this life, that there are soul-development issues at work, and that we need to approach our living with these in mind. We have to have some kind of PLAN, a cognitive schematic that points the way towards the realization of our highest potential.

This usually includes a set of IDEALS that not only benefit us as individuals but benefits our society as well. Another way to put it—the Rule of Law, moral and ethical codes, and clearly defined roles in the social hierarchy. This last point—clearly defined roles—is the leading edge of the current evolutionary advance and is, therefore, the most contested.

These ideals come from the subconscious. They are as yet unarticulated “dreams” of a higher, more harmonious life that exists only as a potential, just as a woman’s womb is the possibility for the realization of the potential of the entire human race. Everything that is good and perfect WILL COME FROM HER.

moses

Understanding Patriarchy involves the following:

  1. our lives must be guided by our connection to the past.
  2. we must be fully awake to our current conditions (conscious mind, science, logic).
  3. everything we say (logos) and do (policy) must support our vision for the future.

Roughly speaking, these are Tradition, Civil Law, and the Arts. Together, they form an overall PLAN, a Grand Narrative—the New Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, the Church.

The vision comes from DREAM, the domain of the subconscious. Dreams take everything we have learned and extract the value out of the “big data” collected by the conscious mind. The subconscious is fundamentally GOOD, meaning that it is always projecting itself into the MOST optimal future for the race. It is not trying to orchestrate its own demise. Nothing in Nature suggests that it is self-destructive.

BUT HERE’S THE RUB: While the subconscious is the domain of the Great Unknown out of which comes both visions and nightmares, it does not function well in the light of day. Conscious intrusion only interferes with its processes. The subconscious, while superb at synthesizing, is not so good at taking the initiative. It gathers—it does not hunt. As Ernest Holmes put it, “It knows HOW to do; it does not know WHAT to do.”

long hair

Artists are the portal in a civilization through which the Dream emerges. But, practically speaking, artists don’t make good leaders. Neither are they good at enforcing public policy or drafting laws. Laws get in the way of the creative process, which is always venturing out into the unknown, into lands that have no laws or have laws that are different. The subconscious (creative expression) MUST NOT BE CONTROLLED. Its hair must be allowed to grow uncut, as Saint Paul put it.

Laws (and the visions they are designed to support, inasmuch as those visions can be articulated) must be continually adapted to changing conditions in the physical world. Laws have the tendency, however, to spiral out of control. They get burdensome if they are allowed to expand too far into their logical ramifications. In Paul’s analysis, “men [the conscious mind] must cut their hair” if they are to be responsible leaders (administrators) of the Church (organized humanity).

veto

THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE: It is very likely that the next avatar for the human race will be female. From what we know, the Egyptian goddess, Isis, preceded Jesus, and so the next Lord of Earth will probably be a woman.

I have been attending a local church, The Gnostic Sanctuary, that worships the Divine Feminine. It is run by a woman, Rosamonde Miller, and the altar is adorned with Feminine iconography, including the Black Madonna. But the liturgy doesn’t focus so much on the Feminine as it does on RELATIONSHIP. Heading into an era where the Feminine is coming back into the foreground does not mean an abandonment of the male or the sole supremacy of the female. It means that a workable solution to the male/female dyad must now be sought in earnest.

Frank Forest and Lief Meadows have a blue AND a red eternal flame on their altar. When I first saw it, I resisted, thinking it was a violation of the “norm.” But now I see the wisdom in it. And in a silly, overly practical way, I also thought, “These full-sized votives are expensive, so now we’re going to have to buy TWO of them???” But this just shows that we will, in fact, have to double up on our investment in our pursuit of the Sacred Marriage. It can no longer be business as usual. The subconscious is being flooded with light, and like it or not, “that which was hidden will be SHOUTED from the rooftops.” And isn’t that what’s happening now in the domain of male and female relationship?

 

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Symbols—derive the abstract from the concrete

ra2

by Michael Maciel

The circle with a dot in the center is one of the oldest symbols for God. It dates back thousands of years and maybe longer. No one really knows. And since our best understanding of what this symbol means comes from our scientific knowledge that has only been known for about three hundred years, the very fact that the Ancients used it at all is nothing less than extraordinary.

Some interpreters claim that it symbolizes the Sun, which the ancient Egyptians regarded as God. But the Sun has no dot, not any that are visible to the naked eye. Others have said that the Sun represents waking consciousness, but the Eye of Horus does a much better job of depicting this idea. The best interpretations, however, are those that see this symbol an archetypal form, one that is universal and scalable to an almost infinite degree. These interpretations have only become obvious during our current scientific age.

dotWe now know that nearly everything in the universe shares this basic architecture – a central point around which rotates a coherent structure. Galaxies, solar systems, cyclonic storms, vortex streets, cells, atoms – all of these are essentially identical in their appearance. And it’s not as though the form itself is the most real aspect but rather that it reveals the forces that cause the form to show itself. It’s as though whenever anything moves in this universe, it starts to spin.

So the circle with a dot in the center turns out to be more of a snapshot of an activity than a static form. Buried within its image is the knowledge that those things that appear are not what’s real but only footprints left in the sand indicating that something more real has passed this way. After all, which is more real – the form or the energies that shape the form?

socratesThen there’s the ancient maxim “Man, Know Thyself.” This little bit of instruction didn’t spring unbidden out of thin air. It was the answer to more fundamental questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? In other words, what is God? What is the nature of reality? What is human being? The answers to all of these questions were contained within this one symbol. The implication of it was pointed at in yet another saying: As Above, So Below. This was the idea of the scalability of Being. No matter how small or how large the scale, reality is the same. And this remains true for us as human beings, as well. Whether we see ourselves as individuals or as social beings, our lives follow certain patterns, and these patterns are true in the moment, the day, the year, and an entire lifetime. In other words, our lives are cyclical, and the cycles seem to repeat themselves over time.

Now, there’s another interpretation of the symbol of the circle with a dot in the center. This one is more psychological. It has to do with the way we interact with reality. It’s less about what we are and more about how we are being. In this interpretation, we can look at this in terms of consciousness. The point in the middle of the circle is what we know. It’s not just those things, ideas, and experiences of which we are conscious, it’s also what we can articulate. This is the world, both internal and external, that we can name. If we lay out in the sun and our skin gets hot and starts to turn red, we know exactly what’s happening and why it’s happening. We not only understand the experience, we can explain it in terms that anyone can grasp.

But then there are those things that we can all experience but that we have a lot more trouble articulating. Color is one example. When we say the word “blue,” we know what we mean by it, but we can only assume that others are experiencing it the way we are. Art is like this, too. We can look at a painting in the Louvre, for instance, and be deeply moved by it along with untold thousands of other people who have been similarly moved throughout history by the very same painting. But can we say why in such a way that will match what anyone else has to say about it? Not likely. Therefore, the space in between the dot and the circumference of the circle represents that which we know but cannot articulate.

Then there’s the circumference. This is the border between what we know and the unknowable. Outside of the circle, whatever exists is beyond our reach. It is the unknown. We have no way to relate to it. And yet, even though we are separated from it by our inability to conceive of it, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t still affected by it. We can be totally oblivious of a radioactive substance and still suffer its effects. Someone close to us may have plans that we are not yet aware of but that will affect our lives profoundly. So much in life is this way. So much of reality is this way. We are subject to unknown causes whose effects are every bit as real as those we can see.

This symbol of the circle with a dot in the center is a rather complete map of our being. It includes everything that we as conscious beings experience, whether we know it or not. As a symbol, it doesn’t try to explain God as a thing but rather as a be-ing. God, you might say, is what’s happening, not what’s happened. God is the potential for everything that can happen, not a historical figure who created the universe and then left on vacation. We might not know what lies on the outside of our perimeter, but we can sense that it is there. We don’t have to know what the potential is in order to feel in awe of its presence. It might be wonderful; it might be terrible. Who knows? But it’s as real as everything we can lay our hands on, either physically or intellectually.

 

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Oh, Hell…

hell

by Michael Maciel

I think that much of our religious imagery comes from the very deepest parts of our biology.

What is the one thing that we share with all forms of life? Isn’t it survival? That’s as rudimentary as it gets, wouldn’t you say? It’s so deep that even our cells know it.

Living in an advanced, industrialized civilization, it’s easy to forget just how well we have mastered the survival game. We have heat in cold climates, plumbing to stave off diseases, clean water, law and order, education, healthcare…the list goes on and on.

What we don’t have is chaos, not very much of it, at least. Chaos is inimical to survival. The more chaos, the greater the chances that we will die. It stands to reason that some kind of basic order is equivalent to a virtuous (sinless) life.

I like the translation of hell as “Gehenna,” the landfill outside the walls of Jerusalem. Dumps are filled with items that are no longer useful. They no longer contribute to the common good. They are the antithesis of organization, everything piled haphazardly, destined to be burned.

Hell, in other words, is chaos—the lack of order, the lack of organization, sustainability, and viable environment. In every way, chaos undoes life.

As such, hell is more of a principle than a literal place. As a principle, it helps us to organize our lives in ways that support not only our survival but our ability to thrive. It’s a constant warning, not that we will be punished by a dictatorial deity, but that we must take seriously the precarious situation that life is, that we must always be mindful of and appreciate the good that we, as a species, have developed over time. Not that it’s all good, by any means, but it sure beats the hell out of freezing in the dark or living in a jungle without laws or agreed upon societal norms.

Wouldn’t you agree?

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The Ineffable Name of God

tetragrammaton

by Michael Maciel

The Unmanifest (the formless “no-thing”) is enormous untapped energy. The prohibition against giving it a name is equivalent to today’s saying, “Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it!”

Naming the Unmanifest gives it form. In Genesis, God gives Adam the task of naming everything—an allusion to this process of bringing the creation into manifestation. Male figures in sacred texts symbolize the conscious mind, so we have to be careful of which thoughts we allow to slip over into the subconscious.

Our innate potential (the Unmanifest’s expression of Itself within us) is a wide spectrum. What we focus our attention on narrows the spectrum to a single point. As such, it is how we shape our reality and is therefore not a thing to be taken lightly.

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Reassess your understanding of sin as “missing the mark”

cain

by Michael Maciel

As an archery term, “sin” means not hitting your target. This implies that you’re aiming at something. But it also implies that you might be aiming at the wrong thing, that your goals in life are misdirected, or that you aren’t even trying.

So instead of being an indictment of your inability to shoot accurately, sin might be more about not shooting at all. Maybe you’ve given up. Maybe life has been hard and you have grown resentful and cynical. Maybe you have come to believe that there is no higher meaning to life and that nothing you do makes any difference.

Such a mindset is dangerous. It leads to cruelty and wanton destruction. This is what makes sin the source of evil in the world, not just the tendency to make mistakes.

Shakespeare said that there is nothing good or bad but that thinking makes it so. It’s our interpretation of the hardships in life that make them good or evil. Of themselves, hardships are neither. Life is simply difficult. There’s no getting around it. The secret to happiness is being okay with that, not thinking that the universe is out to get you personally.

If you have accepted the fact that you are going to die, then you can structure your life in such a way that maximizes the benefits that life has to offer. But if you are in denial about death, then you’re going to be constantly running away from it, and the likelihood of your life being meaningful diminishes. Because meaning is the product of building something good, whereas running away is the product of fear. And fear is nothing on which to base your life.

So you see, sin is not simply making minor errors as you go about pursuing your goals. It’s more about your overall orientation. Are you for life or have you given up? Have you grown cynical? And as a result, would you rather that the world come to an end because the suffering is just too much? And if that seems extreme to you, you might do well to realize that the most murderous thugs in history had this exact same mindset.

Sin is a mindset. It is the mindset that pits you against everything good in the world. When Cain killed Abel, he did it because he felt that God was being unfair. Abel’s sacrifices found favor with God, whereas Cain’s did not. Are you resentful because all of your “best” efforts fail to give you the life you want? If your resentment grows, it can lead you to become cynical and eventually nihilistic, where life ceases to have any meaning, where life is a cruel joke perpetrated by an uncaring, dictatorial deity or, worse yet, no deity at all. When you see the world through such a dark lens, everything becomes evil, and you get to assume the all-important role of becoming its savior where your sole purpose is to destroy it all.

This is sin.

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Love Isn’t Everything

loves ladder

by Michael Maciel

Well, you know………..there’s another way to look at this. It’s not that love isn’t the most important thing. All the great ones throughout history have said that it is. But I think it’s important to remember that it’s not the only thing.

Granted, love is the one thing without which nothing can have real value. Saint Paul said it best:

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

But notice that love doesn’t supplant these things. Instead, love gives life to knowledge. It doesn’t replace knowledge, it makes knowledge meaningful.

What other word might we use in place of love? What, for instance, gives action meaning? What makes action good? Intention, right? Doesn’t the intention we bring to action determine the long-term effects of our choices? You could almost equate intention with love in this formula, could you not?

You see, love is not a thing in itself. Love is a way in which we conduct our lives. Love isn’t even a feeling. The love that changes the world isn’t the kind of love we feel when we “fall in love.” That’s just a symphony of hormones orchestrated by two people hoping to fulfill each other’s highest dreams. And it’s great! But that kind of love usually doesn’t last. It’s not the kind of love that sustains the world. The kind of love that keeps the planet turning is more like intention. And let’s face it, the best relationships are those dedicated to a healthy intention, not the ones that are forever trying to recapture a special moment. Special moments fade, but true intentions only grow stronger with time.

To paraphrase one of Einstein’s famous sayings:

Knowledge without love is lame; love without knowledge is blind.

So when you sing the praises of love, know that love finds its greatest expression in the activities of our lives. Love is fulfilled in the way we live in the world. It in-forms what we do. Our love is only great when we let it fill great deeds. Without action, love cannot grow. It cannot move in the world. It is lame. Therefore, it’s every bit as important to tend to our thoughts as it is to mind our feelings. The two cannot be torn asunder. The Sacred Marriage isn’t all love; it is also intention. And intention requires careful thought.

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Find Victory in Failure

 

UFC 207: Nunes v Rousey

by Michael Maciel

Most of us are trying to make something of our lives. We have values, and we want to realize those values in our living—to make them real, to manifest them in the world. Having values is the same as saying that your life is oriented towards the good—the ideal you envision for yourself, your family, and for the society you live in. It’s the same because it’s impossible to want anything unless you value it. “Where your treasure [value] is, there will your heart [desire] be also.” The heart wants what the mind deems worthy.

We define setbacks in our life as those instances where we fail to reach our goals. We miss an opportunity, we reach but fall short, or we fail to meet an expectation, either of others or our own. This is the source of our anxiety—the ever-present possibility of failure. This fear is simultaneously our nemesis and our strongest ally, because it keeps us alert, and it goads us to try our best in all of our endeavors. But when our anxiety supersedes our desire to succeed, we take fewer risks. We cease trying. We tend to hunker down in the safety of the known, the tried and true. Too much fear stops us moving forward altogether. And since life never stands still, it leaves us behind, until we are cut off from our own vitality and die. In the face of our greatest challenges, it is fear that we need to conquer—“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”—not some external foe, real or imagined.

No one is perfect. “All have fallen short of the glory of God.” This is the number-one reason why Jesus told us not to judge. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” If you are a person of good will, you naturally want to do your best to expunge the world of evil. And evil is everywhere! But it’s not so easy to reconcile our own evil, the malevolence we carry around in our hearts, the desire to correct the extraordinary evil in others. We would do anything to eliminate the atrocities we see on an everyday basis. We might, if given the chance, murder those who commit them, because our zeal to do good can easily flip and become its own kind of atrocity.

Recognizing that we ourselves are capable of doing evil is in itself a horrendous failure. That’s why we don’t go there. We don’t sit with our propensities and acknowledge their existence, because to do so would show us that we aren’t good at all, at least not as good as we pretend to be. So we try to bury it, we keep it under lock and key, like Pandora’s Box hidden away in the cellar of our psyche. But what we conceal in darkness has its way of oozing through the cracks, and we find ourselves doing strange things that we cannot control, things that we believe only strangers are capable of committing. And when we do them, we become strangers to ourselves. And that, dear friend, is our downfall. It’s when we surprise ourselves with our capacity to do evil that our lives are upended, sometimes catastrophically.

So, imagine what power there might be in getting to know the contents of the darker corners of our hearts, to go into each contest, whether external or internal, knowing that the evils we hate have already taken up residence within us. In fact, they have been there so long that we can hardly regard them as other. On the one hand, knowing that we can just as easily be bad as good can make us more compassionate. We’re not as quick to condemn others because we’ve “been there.” But, on the other hand, since knowing this about ourselves is a failure in itself, we might want to simply give up, to write off the whole human endeavor, to see the world as hopelessly flawed and unworthy of our efforts to change it, since we ourselves are the problem we seek to solve.

This, however, is the greatest failure of all. It’s what keeps good people doing nothing, because there’s no better way to psyche out your opponent than to get inside his head and make him doubt himself. And those who are unabashedly evil-minded do not hesitate to do that every chance they get—to make you feel guilty, shameful, inept, and powerless. True heroes, however, already know that about themselves and enter the battle anyway. In a way, they know they don’t have anything to lose and are therefore the most dangerous. They have no badges of honor to defend, no purity to preserve, no inviolable standards to uphold, because they know that they have themselves violated all these values. They themselves have been untrue. They themselves have done the evil they seek to overthrow. Really accepting this eliminates any pretense in the combat. This is what makes the wounded warrior a formidable foe.

If you are serious about doing good in the world, understand one thing: there is no virtue in naivete. None. It does not give you strength. It doesn’t make you pure. It doesn’t mean that you are better than the evildoers you hate. It only means that you are naive. And realize this, too: If you are hellbent for justice, you are potentially the most hateful, malicious, and genocidal person in town. History is full of such do-gooders. And millions upon millions have died as a result of their self-righteous efforts to purify human society. Don’t be one of them. Not on any scale.

Let’s call it the vehemence of justice. Its tools are the flaming social-media posts, the student rallies at universities, the riots of tear gas, rocks, and broken glass, and, finally, the guillotine, the firing squad, the forced marches, and the death camps—all in the name of righting wrongs, of casting out the beams from the eyes of others, of ridding the world of evil. What we repress, we project. And God help those upon whom we project the things we are unwilling to look at within ourselves!

Justice—real justice—never froths at the mouth. Real justice knows how to restrain itself, to make the punishment fit the crime, not gouge out the eyes of those who only knocked out a few teeth. Real justice doesn’t force anyone to do anything but instead deals with the present moment without imposing a utopian vision that only has room for conformists.

“Judge not that ye be not judged” doesn’t mean to let everything slide. It means
stop condemning other people for displaying in broad daylight the things you are hiding in the dark. Stop that. Stop it now. If you see something you don’t like, something you wish other people would do differently, imagine yourself in their shoes. Chances are that if you do, they will fit your feet perfectly.

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Lose Your Religion and Find God

praise

by Michael Maciel

Too many people base their religious beliefs on ideas, and too few base them on deep, inner experiences. Language conceals more than it reveals, and beliefs almost always come in words. Even if your belief is predicated on a mystical experience, you have to translate it into words before you can articulate it, even to yourself. And once you speak about it, it becomes an idea, and the idea is far removed from the experience.

The idea that God is within you is also just an idea. Like a traffic sign, it tells you what to do, but it doesn’t do it for you. In order to actually find God within, you have to have some practical means by which to do so. Otherwise, it will remain an idea forever. There has to be a way to put the idea into action in such a way that the idea becomes an experience.

cars

The word “within” can be misleading. What does it mean to “go within”? Let’s try using the word in a different way, using a driverless car as an example. Most of the technology for autonomous vehicles (AV) is invisible, hidden away in its computers. So when we say “within” an AV, we’re not talking about a mystical component but real-life, albeit quasi-physical components in the form of programming. The most “mystical” thing about an AV’s architecture might be its internet and GPS connections – invisible sources of information coming from outside of the vehicle.

“Outside of the vehicle,” however, isn’t really an accurate way to say it, because the signals are everywhere, realistically speaking. The AV swims in a sea of information the way a fish swims in the ocean. This invisible information is, therefore, every bit as real as the AV, maybe even more so, because it’s bigger and more densely packed.

Our body’s “in-the-world” state of being is analogous to this information-rich environment in which the autonomous vehicle functions. For the most part, it doesn’t need us to navigate through most of the activities required for life on Earth. We don’t tell it how to digest its food, how to breathe, or how to circulate blood. It does all these things with mind-boggling proficiency. The sheer sum of all the different kinds of intelligence it takes to keep us alive and healthy is nothing short of miraculous.

In fact, our bodies are so adaptive and resilient in the face of ever-changing environmental conditions that it strongly suggests that they must be connected to a larger network. Their individual neural framework is simply too small. A larger, invisible “brain,” like the Internet and GPS networks that make AVs possible, must exist. This idea is far more plausible than each body being self-contained, having no broader connection with the world at large. This likelihood leads us to believe that the world we see isn’t so much made of matter but of information. Either that or matter IS information, only made visible, in which case it would be nearly impossible to discern where the external world ends and we begin.

The third thing we need to understand about this Sea of Information, this super-conscious, creative intelligence we live within (and that lives within us) is that it is wider and bigger in its field of operation than we are. In other words, it is capable of performing far more tasks than it takes to simply keep us alive. If matter somehow IS information, then the entire universe is one giant mind. It manages everything.

It can be argued that this way of understanding the universe is nothing more than equating God with Nature—“Nature IS God.” This would be true if the nature in question were comprised of only what we can see. But nature is more than that. Much more. The farther we look into its depths, the more mysterious it becomes. Take consciousness, for example. Science still has no idea what it is. No idea whatsoever. Our best guess is that consciousness is somehow epiphenomenal to mind, meaning that it arises out of a much larger field of intelligence than we are capable of comprehending. It is literally the “tip of the iceberg,” when it comes to the totality of our being. It is as though one part of the universal intelligence is looking back at itself, as in a mirror, and what we regard as “us” is nothing more than a reflection—a very small reflection at that. This makes us virtual beings, at least when we think of ourselves as conscious individuals.

This doesn’t make the world we live in unreal. It just makes it different from what we normally think it is.

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So, how do we find God? Well, we first have to start thinking in more realistic terms, which means that we have to investigate this idea that we live in a sea of information that is way bigger and far more intelligent than we are. Next, we have to enter into a two-way conversation with it. And since it’s bigger and more intelligent, the best way to approach it is by asking it questions. Asking questions is really the only appropriate interaction we can have, aside from simply acknowledging how awe-inspiring the whole thing is and maybe expressing how grateful we are to be in a position where we can appreciate the enormity of the existential environment we are fortunate enough to inhabit.

And—lest we slip into the false notion that we are dealing with a “blind,” machine-like intelligence, no matter how big and sophisticated—consider this: if this universal mind is more intelligent than we are by some unknown order of magnitude, then it’s more than a little likely that its consciousness is far more profound than ours, in ways that we can’t even imagine. So talking with “it” is not exactly like entering code in a program—it’s more like talking with another person.

If speaking to it in words doesn’t come easy, try showing it pictures. Use your imagination to form images of your highest ideal, your visions of perfection, your fondest hopes, and your most exquisite conceptions of beauty. And if images aren’t your thing, try feelings. In moments of ecstasy, when the goodness of life verges on being unbearable, share THAT. Sing to it, laugh with it, smile with everything you’ve got at it. And do all of these things with the expectation that you will be noticed and that it will respond to you in ways that are as varied and sophisticated as the ways in which you approach it.

Once you establish this kind of communication, your life will never be the same again. Then, if you want, you can go to church. You can adopt a religion. But without this, you might as well not.

 

 

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Find the Self

Tip of the Iceberg

by Michael Maciel

The Self does not exist on the Earth plane. Because of this, YOU do not exist on the Earth plane either. Because the Self (along with the soul) is who you are. If you do not exist on the Earth plane, where DO you exist? And furthermore, who or what is this person who obviously DOES live here, the one who thinks, is self-aware and is conscious of the world? Who is THAT?

When Jesus said, “I come from above,” he was speaking for all of us as our true, spiritual nature. He was saying that who we are is NOT a product of this body (which he referred to as a “temple,” one that could be destroyed and rebuilt in three days) but rather like the people in some of his parables who had traveled into a “far land” at the behest of their lord. Whoever we are, we are definitely in a far land.

What if everything you think you are is a fiction—even your consciousness? That would imply that the real you exists someplace else, would it not? It’s not so difficult to imagine that the self you have created is a false self, but can you imagine that the “you” that you think you are, the one that sits inside your brain looking out of your forehead as though out of a picture window, that that self is not you at all? What if the person referred to in the question so adroitly posed by gurus to would-be seekers, “Who are you,”—the one that feels more like a countermove in a chess game than an answer—what if THAT person is nothing more than an animated figurehead?

You have to consider (and I mean, REALLY consider) that consciousness is overrated. Maybe the Self is as different from your conscious self as your conscious self is from your toenails. And if that’s true, there is no way that your conscious self can lead you to Self-realization. You literally can’t get there from (t)here.

What then can you do? Well, the first thing is to recognize that God is WAY bigger than you are, that your true self—the Self (and soul)—is as close to “other” as anything you can imagine. Stop regarding consciousness as the totality of your being, because it’s not. In reality, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of you. Trying to get more of it will only separate you further from who you really are.

I know that this all sounds counter-intuitive, but believe me, it’s worth looking into. The Self is not what you think it is. It’s not “you” in the way you’re used to thinking of you. Nothing you can think from the standpoint of who you think you are will get you closer to Self. You have to lose “you” to find YOU.

Only by denying self can you find Self. The more you let go of the idea that you are already God and start to entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, that God is entirely outside of anything you can conceive, then you will stand a chance of finding the Self. And when it arises, you will SEE it. It will be as real as anything you have ever seen before. At first, it will seem external, something “other.” But that’s because you are the other. You are the one on the outside looking in. Doesn’t that seem plausible? No amount of empty affirmations will bridge that divide. The “you” who is making those affirmations is powerless. Nothing it says will make any difference at all.

This is going to demand some real worshipfulness on your part. You are going to have to admit that you don’t have anything—no inherent divinity, no “already there” mentality, no “God and I are one” justifications. You and God are NOT one, not when it comes to breaking out of the illusion of self. Self has no affinity whatsoever with self. None. But in order to discover the truth of this, you are going to have to venture into the unknown.

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Buddhism and Suffering

buddha

by Michael Maciel

Buddhism teaches that all suffering is caused by ignorance. And that’s kind of hard to argue with.

The word sin means to miss the mark. It’s an old archery term. Since we all have goals in our life, our success, to a large part, depends on how good our aim is, how intelligently we pursue those goals.

And not all diseases are inevitable. Some of them we bring upon ourselves, such as lung cancer by smoking. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and everyone dies eventually of something, but just as people used to die of cholera because they didn’t know the dangers of drinking contaminated water, surely there are many things we die of today because we don’t know what causes them. In other words, we’re dying of ignorance.

The term past life doesn’t have to mean reincarnation, and Karma doesn’t have to mean punishment. The mistakes we have made in this life are sufficient. And mistakes—actions taken out of ignorance—will, like any action, produce reactions, just as speaking ignorantly at a crucial moment can negatively affect one’s life for years to come.

These are basic wisdom teachings, and Buddhism is profoundly good at them.

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